Atlus’ Persona series, and Persona 4 Golden in particular, can be a difficult act to follow, with the game’s phenomenal presentation, engaging dialogue, pristine visuals, and diverse score, but one studio from New Jersey is stepping up to the plate to take a swing at it.
Your view of the world comes from that of Alex Eggleston, an unemployed recent college grad, who stumbles across the answers to the mysterious death of a stranger, while perusing 90s era message board.
For a game which was only 42 days into production, it looked fantastic. Elements of battle scenes were clearly missing, but the open world segments contained enough detail that I believed it to be a finished product.
What is a Slugcat? What are those crazy creatures trying to devour the Slugcat? What is going on in this harsh alien world? Just looking at the trailer for Rain World has left me with all these questions that fill me with intrigue about this universe, and that is setting aside the gorgeous visuals. I have a great love for mysterious universes like this, leaving you desiring what is coming together in the world created for you. I find it rare these days that a game fills me with a feeling much like I had the first time I played Metroid as a child.
Within this unique universe Rain World offers the story of a nomadic Slugcat trying to obtain food to survive a hibernation cycle in a vicious land of intense, uninhabitable rain only letting up for short periods. While your Slugcat hunts, gathers, climbs, and crawls you must keep safe while other creatures attempt to do the same often relentlessly hunting for you. This is all done through some seriously beautiful animation that moves fluidly like they found a way to rotoscope made up creatures. It reminds me of Out of This World/Another World or Flashback from the 16bit era but with even more frames of animation and if it plays even half as smooth as it looks it should be a joy to traverse your Slugcat through it’s many perils.
Project Rain World is currently in the process of being Kickstarted to help fund through the rest of development so it’s a bit of a way off, but you can also find it on Steam Greenlight (where it was recently Greenlit) or follow the whole process over at the TIGSource Devlog.
Elliot Quest from Ansimuz Games begins with with an unfortunate set of circumstances. The wife of the protagonist, Elliot, disappears. He then falls ill and, upon attempting to take his own life, discovers that he cannot perish. He is instead cursed, and is slowly becoming a demon. So, as the title entails, Elliot begins a quest to seek help from one of island’s guardians in solving his plight before the curse consumes him.
Fortunately the story is where the ill words end on this adventure RPG. Ansimuz Games, a development team ranging from all over North America, has created a smooth playing, free-roaming adventure and filled with beautiful pixel art. They have gone with the tagline of being “inspired by Zelda II: The Adventure of Link” though I feel though it downplays the excellence found in the demo, which is available over at the Elliot Quest webpage. Although I can see the inspiration from the overhead map and through the sidescrolling action, it provides its own interesting spin on combat through use of a bow and arrow. This weapon even has assignable stat upgrades as you level up. To add to the intrigue, the stages are expansive and wonderfully varied, bosses are interesting requiring some strategy to take down instead of mashing your weapon into it, and the platforming throughout the levels control superbly.
Ansimuz moves forward on the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign and toward a closed beta, meaning it won’t be long before you can get your hands on it through PC, Mac, Linux, or an Ouya. So, if you itch for more 2D adventure, follow the progress or preorder the game for $4.99 on the official website or help move toward a Steam release by giving them a vote on Steam Greenlight.
You may have thought that XBLIG was long forgotten, based on the decreasing number of titles being released each week, but Cashie Brothers still have something to say on the platform. Their upcoming title, IOTA will be their first title on XBLIG, but if the trailer is any indication of how things are shaping up, then we’re in for treat with a game which holds distinct aesthetic on the indie channel .
Much like the color switching mechanic IKARUGA popularized nearly ten years ago, IOTA’s protagonist can absorb the power of colored orbs when it makes contact with one. That power is then used to offers the capacity for the protagonist to perform various maneuvers, including hovering briefly and dashing through obstacles.
Development team run by siblings out of Nova Scotia, Canada, Ruben and Dermot Cashie, claim that we’ll be able to give this 2-5 hour experience a go by the end of the holiday season on XBLIG, and a Windows release is to follow shortly after. Not a newcomer to the industry, before working on IOTA, Ruben had experience working on titles such as the FIFA and NBA Live franchises.
You can find out more about IOTA at the game’s home page, here.
Minority Media presented gamers with serious subject matter in Papo & Yo, which focused on Vander Caballero’s childhood living with an alcoholic father. However, they’re not done telling personal stories through gaming. Silent Enemy is their next announced game, though it is still rather early in development, and the subject this time around will be bullying.
In Silent Enemy, the player controls a character in snowy land of north Quebec, an as-of-yet untouched environment in gaming which is home to the Cree native Americans. The winter is never-ending, and the goal is to bring back the spring to rejuvenate the land. Although the player character will be able to gain experience and use spiritual powers of nature to achieve goals, your progress will be impeded by crows, the bullies, who cannot be confronted head on through physical force. Silent Enemy is not a game about becoming more and more powerful.
Personally, I’m really excited to see what they will do with the what is such a hot topic in media today, particularly in the video game world where harassment runs rampant in forums, on voice chat, and on the Internet as a whole. Also, the perspective will be from two different members of the Minority Media team: Ruben Farrus, who grew up in Spain, and Ernest Webb, who grew up on a Cree reservation. Papo & Yo, despite its flaws, touched many players around the world, and I have no doubt that the team can pull it off again. For now, we know it is being developed for mobile platforms and PC, but not much else.
You can watch the teaser trailer below and get an idea of just how rampant bullying is.
Massive. That’s the best way to describe Russian development studio Nival Games’ upcoming MOBA Prime World. When we previously saw Prime World in July, it wasn’t nearly as feature rich as the version I had viewed during GDC this year. It was probably a wise idea to have two members of the development studio play the game in front of my eyes, as I doubt my brief period with the title would have lent itself well to fully understanding all of Prime World’s intricate mechanics.
Those of you who don’t want to play the standard 3 lane DoTA approach can instead choose to take a support role in the form of a mini-game played alongside your base’s spawning point. Upon successfully completing the mini-game, players are awarded scrolls (buffs) which can then be used on other players. Moreover, you could always just purchase them from the marketplace as well, in the case that your time is more valuable than your money.
Mechwarrior 2 on the PC was lauded as both a critical and commercial success. During the rise of 32-bit consoles in the late ’90s and early 2000s, however, a more casual style of mech game came along, but one team of developers, MekTek, craved their hardcore mech roots.
Building from the rich universe that is Heavy Gear, the team at MekTek has plans to grab that rabid fan base and generate the experience they’ve been craving since the rise and fall of Mechwarrior 2. A brief demo for Heavy Gear Assault was available at GDC Play this week, and I had the opportunity to get my hands on it. The blend of arena style shooter and mech sim worked well, and should scratch that itch which fans of either genre have so desperately needed resolved over the years.
Each year Double Fine takes a short break from making their scheduled games to take unique game ideas and make them into prototypes. This period is what they like to call “Amnesia Fortnight”. The result can sometimes blossom into an entire game, but most of the time they don’t make it past the prototyping stage. Fortunately Double Fine decided to sell these prototypes as a package to the general populous, and thus Armless Octopus is going to delve into each of them and record the process for your view pleasure. Please enjoy.