The following is written by Robert Nurse, an indie developer that creates his own no-budget titles at Netherscene Games. In addition to his indie development, Nurse is also a professional performer, and has danced with..
Please, don’t get me wrong, I love weird games. If there’s a game that breaks traditional gameplay techniques and stories, I’d probably love it! Have I ever told you a few of my favorite games? Mirror’s Edge, Jet Set Radio Future, The World Ends With You…all those games do a great job of defying what traditional games in their respective genres do. I love games that are weird like that, but they still have to be a bit grounded. Tale of Tales’ trippy title Luxuria Superbia is pretty far out there. It’s essentially a beginner’s acid trip.
Luxuria Superbia is a (rhythm?) game that was originally meant to be played on a tablet. In fact, playing with just a mouse is pretty much impossible. You’ll be plugging in a gamepad for this one. You control two cursors (flowers?) inside a tunnel, and each side of the tunnel begins colorless. Through petal collection, each side begins to fill up with color, and you gain points as long as your cursors stay in the colored area. But if you fill up every side completely, the level ends.
The control of the cursors is really smooth, and I thought it made the game a little more challenging than it would be on a tablet. The sensitivity of the analog sticks is near perfect—you can always predict where you’re going to move to, and that’s essential in a game like this. It’s only detrimental in the later levels, where I noticed some slowdowns and FPS drops during gameplay. That’s weird, considering the later levels are pretty easy. The game has a very easy difficulty ramp, but I have trouble calling it a ramp. It’s more like a very small elevation change, like stepping from the street up onto the curb. This game is really, really easy. The only hard part is having enough time to finish the levels with a high score.
That is, if you’re not too put off to finish the levels. During each one, text will appear in the middle of the screen that’s…disturbing, at best. Phrases like “Touch me.” and “Oh god.” or maybe “Right there.” Might throw you off your game a little bit. Or a lot. I had them on for two levels and then paused the game and found the option to turn them off. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had to keep them on. Thankfully, the visuals aren’t nearly as creepy. They’re mostly nonsensical, with flower petals turning into chairs and other random objects depending on the level you’re on. The music, while well-produced and interesting at times, is pretty experimental. But what did you expect from an experimental game?
I feel like this game should be judged from a standpoint of visual art/multimedia art, but I’m a game critic, so it’s not my place to look at Luxuria Superbia like that. It really does look beautiful, and I’m just one person; this could be right up someone else’s alley. As a game, however, it’s got a long way to go before I’d pick it up and play again. There are elements of replayability, and there’s a start-to-finish game, but everything else is either missing or just a little bit off. It’s worth a look, and I recommend it to anyone interested in art games or solid control schemes. Let us know what you think in the comments, too!
Luxuria Superbia will be released on November 5th for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Ouya. It is $3.99 for iOS/Android/Ouya and $5.99 for PC/Mac. You can keep up to date with Tale of Tales on Twitter!
The Voxel Agents, the Aussie-based developer responsible for the popular Train Conductor mobile titles, has released a beta build of its upcoming puzzle game Toy Mania – available to play now for free on Facebook.
Dubbed a ‘match many’ title, Toy Mania takes major inspiration from the Rubik’s Cube and has you frantically collecting toys in single-minute sessions. Connect matching colors by sliding rows and columns to help expand, speed up and otherwise improve your baubles. The game doesn’t have a trailer out yet, but since we love including video content in our posts: Here’s a quick profile piece on the team.
The Agents of Voxel are currently exhibiting at PAX Australia with a touch screen version of the game in tow. If you happen to be attending the event in Melbourne this weekend, track these incredibly friendly fellows down and give Toy Mania a spin – Master Chief already has.
For many people the Ouya is going to be the really big deal this year, in terms of indie gaming. It promises a new and exciting platform that should bring about a major improvement in the games we traditionally see on Google Play.
Hopefully the Ouya will move the mobile market away from just the traditional quick throw away games, and start to develop some games that actually have more substance for a sit down console.
Earlier this week we saw some early gameplay footage of the Ouya playing Roasty Roosters on the development console. It’s still early days and the game has yet to be optimized for the console but it proves an interesting first look at the console (even if it seems to only raise more questions than it answers). Check out the video below:
Although the Ouya’s release is still a little way off they did run a competition over the Christmas period that would allow developers to get their hands on the console early and for free. These early developer builds have proven to be difficult to get hold of for many developers due to their high price point, but Ouya assure us this will drop once the console ships this year.
The competition saw 13 developers scoop up a free Ouya development console that will allow the developers to port their games to the new console. Of course this is a great idea for Ouya because it will help bolster their launch titles as these developers will be ahead of the game.
But who are the luck 13, well lets find out:
- Fists Of Awesome
- MechKnight Chronicles
- Syder Arcade
- Kid Electro
- Space Runner
- Legend Of Dungeon
- iMech Online
- Dusty Revenge
- Journey To Hell
- Cloudbase Prime
- A Tofu Tail
- Festival Magic
In all honesty it’s quite a diverse range of games and games like Journey To Hell should really push the Ouya’s graphical processing to its limit. However personally I am really looking forward to seeing how Legend of Dungeon and Starbound fair on the new mini system.
This year should be a very interesting year for the indie scene as many companies push out mini consoles leading the way to new and exciting ways to play your games who will win out in the end.
Be sure to check the Ouya site for all the latest news about the console.
Divine Space is a whole new take on sci-fi games introducing in a huge range of detailed RPG elements to the genre whilst giving it the flexibility to be played on your prefered device. That is right Dodo Games are planning to make Divine Space available on every platform known on this earth.
Dodo Games are a small indie studio from Russia who have only recently launched their Kickstarter project and have in the very short time already gained much traction. Raising over $10 000 in the first few days Dodo Games are still a fair way off their ambitious $100 000 funding goal however.
An ambitious goal maybe, however the scope of this game sounds quite phenomenal. With a fully customizable ship you really are able to play the game anyway you want. Fitting it with a whole host of weapons and items creating quite the individual experience.
The level of customization of the ships alone seems very detailed and really what you would expect from a Sci-Fi RPG. I really like the way Dodo Games are taking this project as they are going to develop a whole galaxy for you to explore.
You will be able to fight, explore and even mine giving you almost a new EVE like game. Holding a conventional story arch it will contain all manner of interesting twists and turns finding you exploring far flung areas of the galaxy and seeing innovative and new worlds.
Divine Space aims to really reach out into cyberspace and begin to redefine the playing field by creating this highly engaging and exciting new title. Divine Space is going to be a free to play multiplayer title working, eventually on all platforms.
If you like what you see about Divine Space I encourage you to head to Dodo Games’ Kickstarter page here and support this extremely ambitious but totally awesome title. The Kickstarter page also contains a great deal of extra information in case you really need more reasons to back it. Also be sure to check out the official site here.
For better or for worse, Valve Software really do seem to be maneuvering themselves into position as a cornerstone of the indie gaming business, and now they’re getting right in on the ground floor. It’s been known for some time that Steam was going to be expanding to support commercial software soon, and now it does – the very first app on the pile? YoYo Games’ incredibly popular GameMaker Studio.
It makes sense – GameMaker has been the development software of choice for a lot of indie classics over the years, including the original version of Spelunky, Immortal Defense, freeware hits such as Iji and Hero Core and even the Cactus’ upcoming hyper-violent 80s action game Hotline Miami (coincidentally Steam-bound soon) were all developed using the package. Just about the only thing it can’t do consistently well is 3D graphics – Unity, UDK and Cryengine fill that niche, though.
What makes the Steam launch of Game Maker so important? Steam Workshop integration. Previously, games were showcased, launched and often completely lost on YoYo Games’ own showcase site. Now, games developed with Game Maker can be directly uploaded to the Steam Workshop where players can find, download, play and rate them. It effectively turns Steam into an almost Newgrounds-esque freeware hub filled, if you know where to look.
As with the regular site-bound version of GameMaker, the Steam edition comes in Free, Standard and Professional editions, and with optional upgrades to export titles as iOS, Android & HTML5 packages. Right now, there’s a 10% launch discount on all the software, and there’s even some strange Steam-specific perks, such as achievements… Yes, achievements. An amusing lot, including ones for racking up a certain number of compiler errors. Guess you’ll be able to see which of your friends suck as programming.
Last week had a somewhat heavy Ludum Dare focus (arguable like most weeks), so this week I will aim to avoid Ludum Dare, simply for a bit of verity. Today’s entry comes from the two man team at Toge Productions from Australia and is a very interesting zombie infection game.
Each level on Infectonator 2 you are given a scenario in one of the places around the world. In each of these scenarios you are given a variety of different goals for that scenario to complete. The goals range from the easy to the much more taxing and can take a significant time investment to complete them all, this is why the save feature does come in handy.
The infection mechanic is great and works well overall. There are upgrades that tie into the mechanics of the game which work well in adding additional levels of variety and customization.
The overall graphics styling has been very well put together in a great cartoon manner that adds a bit more of a light hearted take on this zombie epidemic. All the scenes have been lovingly created with a nice amount of variety, yet they all feel consistent within the theme the game portrays.
The audio has been put together well with a few interesting musical choices which vary enough to keep the music continually interesting. Although it has clearly been put a little bit on the back burner it ties into the game well and is something that cannot be complained about overall.
Average play time – less than an hour
Infectonator 2 is a fun little time waster which does feel repetitive after a short time, but it works perfectly as a minor distraction. It is well worth your time and has very well constructed gameplay mechanics that works well for its duration.
If you are a developer with A fun indie game that can be played over a coffee break, we want to hear from you! Private message us on twitter @IndieGameMag or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Indie Intermission” and you could be our indie intermission pick of the day!
Does anyone remember Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo? It was a puzzle game created by Capcom. It featured Street Fighter Characters and was eventually rereleased for the PSN and XBLA. Yes? Oh, you loved its lightning fast puzzling and 1-on-1 style action? Well then, mysterious gamer from 1996, you are in for quite the treat. Developer Novaleaf have announced a competitive falling-block puzzle game made in the spirit of Puzzle Fighter. They call it God of Puzzle.
God of Puzzle plays nearly identical to Puzzle Fighter. Two players have their own Tetris-style area into which blocks will fall. Blocks, which are called gems, drop in different combinations of colors. The combination of like-colored blocks will create bigger more powerful gems. Eventually a diamond-shaped gem, called a breaker, will begin descending. If the breaker is of the same color as the combination of blocks it touches, the gems will all break. This causes counters to fall on your enemy’s screen. These counters are unbreakable until their number reaches zero. If a player’s side fills and no blocks can fall, that player loses.
Other features of God of Puzzle include “lag free” multiplayer, HD 3D graphics, and a feature which is described as “play it your way.” This feature allows players to play with classic Puzzle Fighter rules, new God of Puzzles rules, or customize the game to their liking. God of Puzzle rules include special abilities for different characters, which allows players to choose a character which gives them an upper-hand in puzzle battle. One example is character Aphrodite’s ability “Love & Lie”, which causes the opponent to be unable to see the color of dropping gems once they leave the preview window.
God of Puzzle is also Novaleaf’s answer to a problem they found with Puzzle Fighter on XBLA and PSN; it is tough to find an online match. God of Puzzle answers this problem with a modern-day solution; cross-platforming. God of Puzzle will be available on iOS, Android, PC, and Mac, and all owners can play other players regardless of which system they are using. The hope is that lovers of the game will always be able to quickly match make and find an opponent, which will be made easier through the planned match-making, clan, and friends system integrated in God of Puzzle.
Novaleaf has hopes of gaining some additional funding for God of Puzzle through Kickstarter. They are currently $9,900 short of their $10,000 goal with 24 days to go. You can also check out more God of Puzzle at the official website, and check out Novaleaf online or on Twitter. Keep checking back on IGM for more details on God of Puzzle and all of your Indie gaming news.
Gene Hunter Studios, an indie game company from Melbourne, Austrailia, has recently released their first prototype for Dr. Hex, a tower defense game with a tiny twist towards hex strategy games. Instead of having the loose structure that typical tower defense games have, Dr. Hex adds a bit more puzzle and rigidity to the equation, allowing you to change the attack range of each one of your towers based around its hex placement system.
By using this hex placement system, where you decide to put your towers becomes ever more important since you have such limited space to place your towers when you compare it to a majority of other tower defense games. The strategy part of the hex system makes it so that any towers within one of the blocked off hex areas can only affect enemies that are moving along a path that connects to its area, making placement a key part of Dr. Hex‘s gameplay.
Dr. Hex is only available as a prototype for now, so it doesn’t have the best graphics or any audio / music, but its gameplay is fairly solid already and it has plenty of room and time to grow and be refined. If you want to try it out in its current state, you can check out the prototype (but be gentle! its the first prototype of their first game!). If you want to keep up with the development of Dr. Hex as it happens, you can check out Gene Hunter Studios’ official website.
Flyleap Studios, an Australian indie studio previously creating mods, announces the release of their first mobile game, Little Dragon 3D. The game is out on iOs and Android, so thanks to Flyleap for not making us wait several months for a Droid version!
Little Dragon 3D is described as a physics-based gliding game, but from the looks of the trailer, this is hardly a typical flinging-objects physics game. Instead, players learn to master the effects of wind resistance, lift, gravity and drift in the air as they learn and improve at dragon flight. Once the adorable little dragon is a competent flyer, players will have new flying challenges, with different maps and obstacles. Some are pre-existing levels, and some are randomly generated, but allare composed of these eye-catching cell-shaded environments.