It’s not everyone who can say that their personal artistry has led to a video game. But that’s the case with the forthcoming FreezeMe whose developer, Alfredo Lopes of Rainy Night Creations, admits that the..
Loving Father. Caring Husband. Secret Octopus. Young Horses announced today that the highly-anticipated Octodad: Dadliest Catch will release on January 30 for PC, Mac, and Linux. While the original Octodad game began as a student..
2D action platformer Dusty Revenge is getting some extra polish in time for an early 2014 Steam re-release. After listening to feedback from fans who purchased the original version, Ken Poh and his team at..
Eldritch is a game that manages to combine the thick, oppressive dread of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos with the retro visuals of Minecraft while managing to sustain an identity all its own. Don’t make..
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The latest game in the 15-year-old Dominions franchise released this month on Steam. Titled Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension, this latest installment ups the fantasy strategy experience to a new level with a variety of new features. Broken into three distinct time periods, or “Eras”, players will have access to distinct nations across the Early, Middle, and Late Ages. Some nations are only accessible during certain ages, whereas other nations exist across all three. Those that do exist throughout all Eras of time will include noticeably different units and abilities, however.
Feature-wise, Dominions 4 includes a new cooperative mode known as Disciples Mode where players take control of mini-god disciples and work together to ascend their chosen pretender to God status. Another new addition to the series comes in the form of the Thrones of Ascension, for which the game takes its subtitle. Conquering the Thrones of Ascension is a new win condition that also provides stat benefits and ability boosts to controlled units at the start of a match until it is taken by an opposing player. It also adds a new objective-based strategy that can hasten play sessions for those looking for a quick fix. Dominions 4 developer Illwinter also states that veterans of the series will notice a lot of UI and streamlining improvements. The game is already available for Mac, PC, and Linux, and can be purchased through Steam or Desura. Additional information can be found on the Illwinter website.
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!
Chris Hayes, one of our IGM PAX Prime 2013 team members, shares his interview with developer Squad — providing his impressions of their hit Steam Early Access title Kerbal Space Program as well.
You would never know with a game like Kerbal Space Program that the idea came from lead developer Felipe Falanghe making spaceships out of fireworks as a child and having foil astronauts named Kerbals ride them into oblivion. But if you were to watch me learning to play this game, it makes perfect sense. Kerbal Space Program is a game where you build yourself a spaceship, try to launch it past orbit, and explore various planets to research what is out there and expand your technology.
Part of building the spaceship is determining the order that the rocket engages. Fail to do this or build your spaceship incorrectly and you will end up with doom on your hands. For example, my most successful mission had my four booster rockets run in phase 1 and the launch pads detach me in the second phase. Once the fuel burned out I detached the booster rockets in phase 3 and ignited my second booster rocket in phase 4. Once the booster rocket ran out, I detached that in phase 6 to free float in orbit for a while. However, as I never made it this far, I hadn’t planned on making it to orbit. Eventually gravity kicks in and I get drawn closer but phase 7 should save me when I let out my parachute, which doesn’t deploy correctly, and I end up crashing into earth in a fiery blaze of failure.
But even though it took me 24 spaceships, and 32 Kerbals to get this far, it was fun, and only the beginning. Former modder and now technical artist for the game, Chad Jenkins explained that space exploration is another key factor with Kerbal Space Exploration. Successfully returning from a mission with data will allow you to expand your research tree. In addition, how you provide that data matters as well. One example he offered is if we were to say make it up to Mars and get a sample of the planet, we could radio our results back to the planet with nominal scientific progress. However if we were to bring back a chuck of rock to our researchers on the planet, the data will reap bigger benefits. You then use this research to expand your tech tree and available spaceship parts as you see fit.
One of the most mind-blowing aspects of all this is our interview was that Felipe, Chad, and Bob Holtzman were at PAX to judge a tournament for their game not to show it off. The kicker is that Kerbal Space Program is currently available as Early Access and has not their official launch date yet. While there is plenty to do and play around with the game only Sandbox Mode can be played, with a career mode and other features to eventually be implemented.
Kerbal Space Program is available as a Steam Early Access title on Windows, Mac, and Linux — and it’s currently on sale for 40% off through the weekend.
Chris Hayes — one of our PAX Prime 2013 team members — writes on his hands-on impressions of Sinister Design’s turn-based strategy RPG, Telepath Tactics.
One would never know when meeting developer Craig Stern, that not only has his game Telepath Tactics gone through a failed Kickstarter campaign, but that he brushed off his shoulders, bounced back with a second successful Campaign and is currently pushing towards his game’s approval on Greenlight. It is not because his positive attitude and enthusiasm have not been matched at the convention so far. It is because his game is so damn delightful to play. While the tactics in his title inform you to the genre he is entering, what he is doing with this game is more than I have seen so far.
As he notes on his Kickstarter page, “Imagine that Fire Emblem and Disgaea had a baby, and that baby turned out to be a prodigy…” and when listening to him talk about his game you can tell that these two games really influenced his vision. And while the game play is driven by the standard but he adds his own flare which I haven’t seen before. Part of it is in the ways that some of the animations of attacks play out. At one point I saw one character flip over another and stab his opponent. At another I saw a satchel charge be tossed onto a bridge, which then exploded destroying the bridge, because yes, the environment is indestructible. You could even watch as one character tossed his enemy into lava.
It also has multiplayer game play in addition to the single player storyline but he goes even further by allowing levels, characters, campaign, and moves to be created by the players and more. It feels like you are given a dev kit for an tactical RPG for just a single game. While playing this game on the floor I really got into the demo I was playing, cursing loudly when my healer got killed and gaining satisfaction by destroying the remaining enemies in vengeance. I have to applaud him for his ingenuity and hard work and I cannot wait to see where he goes from here.
You can pre-order Telepath Tactics now via the game’s website, and gain immediate access to the latest pre-release build. Demos for PC, Mac and Linux are also available.
We were able to catch up (on a comfortable couch, thank god) with Ben McGraw of Breadbrothers Games last weekend at PAX Prime to discuss his upcoming old-school RPG, Sully: A Very Serious RPG.
Sully’s comedic tone matches some of the other games in the recent phoenix-like rise that indie developers have provided for retro JRPGs, but the game relies strictly on character nuance – rather than direct parody of the genre’s tropes — to get its humor across. Here’s Ben on the past, present and future of Sully:
Sully is available now for pre-order and will arrive later this year on PC, Mac, Linux and PS Vita.