I’ve often thought about all the equipment that I purchased for Dance Dance Revolution eons ago. Those pads, lovingly dented from standing over the left and right arrows, are probably now in some landfill.
But when I stepped onto that dance pad again last Friday at PAX East, all the memories–and associated love for rhythm dancing–came rushing back to me thanks to Crypt of the Necrodancer. Having seen clips of it last year at PAX Prime, I was convinced that this game was worth trying.
The conventions of roguelikes are such that they can be brutally difficult, what with the randomization of enemies and dungeon exploration and what not. Set that to an infectious beat with a dance pad controller, and you’ve got Crypt of the Necrodancer.
I don’t normally find myself enticed by a racing game at a convention like PAX East, but Refract Studios’ Distance for PC, Mac and Linux stood out enough with its sci-fi-infused sleekness to grab my attention.
Billed by Refract as a “survival racing game,” Distance’s single player mode doesn’t feature any opposing racers, but rather pits the player up against a track that breaks apart and wants to send you down into the abyss to meet an explosive demise.
After a semi-long intro in which the camera slowly moved around the futuristic and shiny car that I was about to control (car porn enthusiasts will love this part), the car’s interior computer booted up and I started a drive through a lonely city that clearly wanted me and my ride pulverized.
Soothing colors whiz by on the screen as a little kite-like creature soars on through, exploring life and color. The enigmatic portrayal of this game could be compared to the likes of Flower, Pixeljunk Eden or even Sound Shapes.
But this is in fact Hohokum, a new title produced in partnership with artist Richard Hogg, British studio Honeyslug and Sony Santa Monica studios. This quirky game, announced for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita at E3 2013, is as beautiful as it is hypnotizing. Using the left analog stick, you pick up characters that guide you to unlock different parts of the world available to you. It is both parts exploratory and guided development, while the X button adds a burst of speed to keep your kite ribbon dancer gliding along.
Hohokum was on display this past weekend at IndieCade East as part of the PlayStation indie section and, naturally I was drawn to it like a hummingbird to a flower.
Roguelikes may be somewhat commonplace as indie game developers continue to grow in numbers, but when’s the last time you saw one that played like a space shoot-em-up? GALAK-Z: The Dimensional looks to fill that void.
Conceived by an eight-man team behind indie developer 17-BIT, GALAK-Z is a PC/PlayStation 4 space shooter that has you in complete control of the physics of your ship in order to dodge asteroids, fire your blasters and shoot homing missiles at enemy combatants. And in the style of most roguelikes, levels are procedurally generated and death is permanent.
The permanent death won’t be so bad if players uncover a bunch of secret weapon upgrade blueprints throughout the game, however. These unlockables can carry over to subsequent playthroughs that will give players new approaches when replaying levels.
While my time with GALAK-Z was brief it also happened to be very intense. Did I succeed?
There’s something oddly charming with videogames about games.
Virtual card games have become a surprisingly popular sub-genre. Ranging from the excellent Pokemon Trading Card Game to the various Magic: The Gathering installments, these videogames attempt to accomplish the same fun the physical card games do without the hassle of setting up and/or the embarrassment of owning way too many dice and a Sailor Moon card mat.
Now, the all-mighty Blizzard have decided to join the duel with their digital collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Behold, ye mighty, and despair.
The recent update for Starbound introduced a bevy of new features including the highly anticipated final character wipe.
Still in its early stages of beta, Starbound previously used a system that required all player characters and ships to be deleted with each update. According to the Starbound website, Chucklefish is now using a system that will no longer require them to erase characters.
According to Chucklefish: “this patch will wipe everything– characters, ships and worlds. It will definitely be the last time we’ll need to wipe characters or ships, and will hopefully be the last time we’ll need to wipe worlds.”
While it seems that worlds being erased is still a possibility, players can now finally enjoy their personal characters and ships. I have been putting off playing the game until this update, and I am very eager to jump back in.
Check out the official website for a full list of updates.
UPDATE: Skymap Games has updated its YouTube page with gameplay footage from their MAGFest 12 demo of Bacon Man: An Adventure.
You never know what kind of neat and kooky projects you’ll wind up happening upon at an Indie showcase. This year, MAGFest housed its own share of titles, with one of the more popular among them being that of Skymap Games’ tasty-sounding Bacon Man: An Adventure.
Bacon Man is described by the Massachusetts-based developer as a “3D action platformer beat-em-up RPG” for PC and Mac that stars a muscular superhero with a head made out of bacon. The game puts a fantastical spin on the Food Groups, which are essentially a group of kingdoms with villainous leaders that are plotting to take the throne from Bacon Man. The places we expect to find food, like the freezer, are represented by treacherous ice caves filled with various enemies, including armed Eskimos and a disgruntled boar with the power of invincibility.
You know, the usual.
The concept was cooked up during a typical college day for the developers, when they were sitting around, eating BLT sandwiches and throwing out ideas for making a videogame. The topic of food came up, and the rest was history.
Bacon Man still has a long way to go (the developer estimated about a year to a year and a half), but the build I got to play, while missing some polish in the textures and controls, shows a lot of promise.
The term “Metroidvania” may be loathed in some gaming circles, but the indie developers over at Discord Games embrace it warmly when referring to their upcoming PC, Mac and Linux title, Chasm.
The game amassed $191,897 on the indie team’s Kickstarter page last May, and some of them took some time off from production to show it off at the Indie Showcase at MAGFest 12. So what sets this one apart from the Super Metroids, Castlevania: Symphony of the Nights and Shadow Complexes of the world?
Within the first couple of seconds of playing Barkley 2, one can already tell that the game is leaps and bounds over its predecessor in several departments.
The days of ripped sprites straight out of RPG Maker 2000 for PC and X-Kalibur 2097 for SNES are over. While some may bemoan the lack of that stupendous remix of the Space Jam theme or the over-the-top boss music “borrowed” from Blue Dragon, indie developer Tales of Game’s is determined to make Barkley 2 the game they had always wanted to make. And given that this was a project funded by Kickstarter, that means doing away with anything that could prove legally troublesome.
In case you’re reading this and scratching your head, Barkley 2, or The Magical Realms of Tír na nÓg: Escape from Necron 7 – Revenge of Cuchulainn: The Official Game of the Movie – Chapter 2 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa is the long-awaited sequel to 2008′s Barkley’s Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. The 2008 iteration is a free game that satirizes the RPG genre with an outrageous post-apocalyptic story where basketball is outlawed and Charles Barkley is the sole wielder of the Chaos Dunk that caused the world’s descent into darkness.
Thankfully, Barkley 2 looks to continue the previous entry’s penchant for witty, humorous dialogue while also altering and improving upon much, much more.
Early last month, Chucklefish Games. released the beta of Starbound: an indie, sci-fi, adventure/sandbox game that follows the misadventures of your customizable character lost in space.
The British developers contain some members that worked on Terraria, a game largely inspired by Minecraft but set in a 2-D plane with a slightly higher emphasis on “Metroidvania” style exploration and combat. Starbound could definitely be described the same way; the most glaring difference being that it is set in space and features an ensemble of playable races and a surprisingly rich lore to the universe.
As the game is still in beta, I thought it’d be inappropriate to review a game that has yet to reach its metaphorical “final draft.”
Despite being technically incomplete, Starbound has greatly absorbed me into playing for a disturbing number of hours.
So I thought I’d record some of my thoughts and observations on my Starbound experience so far. Even for still being in beta, Starbound is an amazingly rich game that is inches away from becoming a modern classic. I hope my words are of use to anyone thinking of giving the game a try and potentially to the developers to help shape the final product.