If only this was a game featuring John McClane as he fights German terrorists in a dark dungeon screaming “Yippee ki-yay” at the top of his voice. If only. Alas, Diehard Dungeon is a hardcore roguelike dungeon crawler with plenty of interesting stuff going on that doesn’t involve balding action stars. You’d never believe it, but Diehard Dungeon is actually the renamed Dungeon of Despair that Tricktale teased last year. Okay you would believe it because the game hasn’t changed that much.
The reason for its sudden return is due to it being entered in this year’s Dream.Build.Play competition, like so many others. Of course, to have a chance in such a competition means that your game will need to look polished and preferably have some unique features. Diehard Dungeon is rolling out with the promise of a difficult time, further illustrated with plenty of the red stuff flying about and a multitude of aggressive enemies.
Helping you cope with this wretched, randomly generated dungeon is a hovering chest…and some sharp tools and magic. Quick tangent regarding that hovering chest – which we all know is the most “WTF?” element – it seems that you’ll be able to control it at some points. It also plays a part in some of the game’s slot machine-like moments which can win you various buffs and abilities. How often these moments pop up is unknown – the developers have kept details as a visual reveal all this time.
Back to the bloody bits – judging purely by the trailer, you’ll have plenty of traps to watch out for as well as overly sized (and numbered) enemies. There are some projectiles to aid you in keeping a safe distance, but most of the time you’ll have to rely on timed guarding and swinging your weapon at the right time. Just to sound a little cheesy – Diehard Dungeon certainly seems to live up to its name.
Diehard Dungeon is coming to the Xbox Live Indie Game Marketplace “soon”. A PC release is possible considering that Tricktale do develop for both platforms, but they’ve mentioned that nowhere regarding Diehard Dungeon. More information will hopefully turn up on the official website, but there hasn’t been an update in over a year.
You know, I’m sure Sam Fisher’s job would have been immeasurably easier were he a possessor of ethereal characteristics. OK, maybe he doesn’t do a lot of sneaking these days, but let’s forget that the last few years ever happened and rekindle buried memories of his days as a tranquil secret agent, his deft footsteps lighter than a snowflake as he clings to the shadows in a desperate attempt to remain incognito. And in the face of all those Georgian soldiers wielding assault rifles, attack dogs ready to munch away at his flopply-dopplies and those civilian tell-tales waiting to grass on him for looking at them funny, it’s pretty likely that he’d have jelly-wrestled his father-in-law for the ability to walk through walls.
Unending Zero, a stealth action game from a group of diligent students at The Art Institute of California, lets players do just that, extending a mirthful “Ha, ha!” in poor Sam’s general direction. The game’s protagonist, Martin Orfeo, holds a prodigious command of the infamous “no-clip” function, giving him the ability to pass through walls, disappear in the shadows and move freely within the confines of solid objects.
The drawback to these aberrant attributes? They accidentally killed his wife.
It’s fair to say that there’s been a curious resurgence of exquisite art styles in the games we’ve covered over the last few days. And now that we’re on a roll, Still Alive Studios have upped the ante once more with the first details of its magically-motivated action RPG, Son of Nor.
Despite being in the very early stages of its development phase, the game conveys an unerring, inherent charm in its first publicly released item of gameplay footage. Roaming the vast stretches of a barren desert, players will utilise the powers of telekinesis, terraforming and, of course, a substantial repertoire of magic spells as they attempt to traverse the devilish terrain. These supernatural powers can be employed as the means by which players are expected to pile up sand to create barriers, traps and generally instigate a kerfuffle of monumental proportions. Apparently, it’ll also be possible to combine different spells and powers for a potential deluge of super-duper consequences.
We mentioned in our quick overview of the games on show at the IndieCade booth at E3 that Steve Swink’s Scale sounds like a promising idea, but little is actually known about it, despite it having been in and out of development for a while now. The principal behind it, we’re told, is that you can manipulate the environment through shrinking and growing it. From this central idea, the gameplay wraps itself around and many different puzzles will be born. Having one strong mechanic such as this usually proves successful – look at Braid and Portal for two of the best known examples. Surely we’re desensitized to such clever ideas now though? Our reaction to seeing Scale in action proves that may not be the case.
As this is the first time Steve has ever shown off Scale to the public, he wants to make sure that it is clear that everything is placeholder for now. The colorful presentation with the blue sky and green islands will stay, and things will just look different by the time the game has finished, which Steve says might be another couple of years away yet. Scale is first person and, yes, you do have a gun in your hand. The ammo, if you like, in this case is something called ‘Scale Juice’. With this, you can shrink and grow objects at will. If you shrink an object, you gain more juice and by growing it you’ll lose some. This restriction is necessary so that puzzles can be based around it, and also so that players cannot go mental and just grow every object out of proportion.
Steve’s interest in the the scaling mechanic comes from his observation of the effects size can have on human perception. His example is that a normal-sized chair is boring; make it huge, however, and some may call it art or at the very least will gaze in amazement. Similarly, shrinking a chair becomes something you want to pick up and examine, even play with as part of a doll house. So how does this translate into the game? Things start off simple, as is always the case; players will be gradually introduced to the kind of things they can achieve through shrinking and growing objects. Something may be blocking a tunnel, in which case you should shrink it so it is no longer a problem. If there’s a ledge you cannot reach, then simply jump on the small pillar in front of it and then grow it so that is lifts you up to the desired height.
A little further into the demo, things get a little more interesting as more physics-based considerations hinge off of the scaling. Of course, as an object gets bigger they gain mass and can be used to weigh down a button on the floor. Momentum is next, with a ball gaining speed the bigger it is and the slower the smaller it is. As movement is introduced, certain obstacles have to reduced in size so that others can get through, thus gradually making the puzzle elements slightly more frantic. Though not implemented in the game yet, Steve also showcases his plans with a dollhouse – something that seems to be a central motif – having the player grow it to go inside and grab another doll house, bring it outside and then put the first dollhouse inside the second dollhouse. Obviously, it needs some work, but there’s something in there.
Another idea brought to the table by Steve evolves from his thinking that the player is creating worlds which were not accessible before. When you grow something that was initially inaccessible to due to the size of the player’s character, you will find new discoveries. For instance, imagine a creature blown up to a much bigger from of itself. You could then enter into its mouth and discover a whole new reality. This is the kind of thing Steve is thinking up in terms of level design now that the gameplay is more or less sorted. His ideas regarding creatures are actually much more exciting than the puzzles based around lifeless objects. In the demo, he scales up a butterfly and jumps on to reach an area across an open stretch of sky, being careful to shrink obstructions on the way. He also amused himself with the idea of making the player have to create a huge spider, just to tease arachnophobes. Futher still, a fresh take on enemies in Mario-like style: stomping on, say, a Goomba’s head would kill it, providing you’re the right size in relation to it so that the mass provides enough downward force.
While all of this is very exciting, Steve went one step further to showcase what we have all been waiting to see – something that makes your lower jaw just every so slightly drop. He built a Grand Canyon level just to showcase how far he was taking the mechanic. How do you pass over the Grand Canyon? By shrinking the entire world, of course, and simply stepping over it. Pretty exciting stuff. It was then that Steve brought in his latest consideration – the manipulation of time. He says that by shrinking the land like he did with the Grand Canyon actually opens up the game to time-based puzzles, because you can skip needlessly long treks by making the distance each step makes bigger. Travelling up mountains can literally be managed with just one step, if you manipulate the land in such a way.
The IndieCade demo was being played with a PC, so a PC release for Scale seems very likely. Steve cannot say anything about any other platform at the moment in time, as that’s not on his mind, but he seems up for a release on consoles, though. We’re pretty sure that once the necessary people see it, Scale will easily secure a console release in some form or another. There’s no official website for Scale yet, but there will be very soon, and you can catch a quick Q&A about the game on this page for now.
Developers of Wizorb, Tribute, have released a reveal trailer for their next project, Mercenary Kings. Though still in the alpha prototype stages, it’s quite plain to see what kind of game this is going to be. Featuring the always stellar animation from Paul Robertson, this is a 2D shooter much in the same vein as Metal Slug. Saying that, the pace of the run ‘n gun series seems to be slightly amiss, at least in this trailer, but in place of that comes a bunch of other features.
In Mercenary Kings, you’ll be given the choice of what mission you want to take on, before being told to head off and do it in a rather aggressive performance from your commanding officer. You, dressed up in a fairly typical red bandana and light army gear, head off with your powerful array of guns and a bunch of jumps and rolls to complete the missions. At this early stage, it seems that Mercenary Kings is actually all about collecting materials, which you can find from downed enemies.
The example mission, called Gathering, has the player heading into the sewers to defeat 10 snails and taking their acid containers so that you can make corrosive ammo. Note that missions are of different types, the others haven’t been revealed. They also roll out with time limits and sometimes sub-missions to complete, if you should wish to do so for the extra monetary return.
You can collect materials for your own personal gain to, in the form of crafting your own weapons. While at base camp, visit the charming lady with all the stock and she’ll bring up the crafting options. Receiver, Barrel, Magazine, Sight, Stock and Ammunition are the six parts of the gun which you can alter according to the materials and money you have available. It seems like they’ll be a lot of choice on offer in this part of the game, ultimately helping to decide how well you fare in the game’s missions.
Mercenary Kings is expected to be released in 2012 but no platforms are stated. However, the game is a Dream.Build.Play entrant so that means that PC and Xbox 360 are very likely, at the very least. Look out for more information over on the Tribute website.
All-American 2D shoot-things-to-make-explosions game, RamBros, has new things to show of and it looks better than ever before. In development under the gifted hand of Paul Greasley, we’ve mentioned RamBros a few times over here and why not? It looks incredibly over-the-top which is usually a good thing, and what do you expect with a game that is very deliberate in its pastiche of Americanisms. Someone needs to enforce freedom and stabilize foreign governments with bullets and explosions, right?
So what’s this new stuff we’ve mentioned? Those in the know will be aware that RamBros is both a single and co-op game. So far we’ve only seen the single player side of things, and that’s been crazy enough as it is. Imagine two of the blighters going at it! On top of that, there are two new weapons showcased: the laser gun and the shield. The All-American shield, that is. Level-wise we get to see the Iraq level, which of course just HAD to exist!
We’re warming up our fingers and thumbs for this fast-paced action platformer but we may be a bit premature. There’s no sign of release any time soon, but we’re prepared to wait for this one. It could have been quicker if you funded the game on Indie GoGo as well, you meanies. Should we just let you see the gameplay already? Yeah, okay then, here you go! Make sure to keep up to date with the game on the development blog.
Since the release of Legend of Grimrock earlier this year, we’ve had a bet on that many games similar to it would be popping up. We’ve already seen an in-development take on the tile-based RPG based in space, now we’ve found one with a lighter and more colorful fantasy theme. Arakion is being developed by Chris Taylor who knew nothing of Unity 3D or even programming a month ago, now he’s created something pretty impressive. Maybe some of us are just naturals.
There’s already some gorgeous artwork on display, and perhaps most impressively for a ‘newbie’, the game world reveals itself as Bastion did; with the land emerging as you travel toward it. This also enables secrets to be hidden by not having those platforms raised up until the player figures out at some point that there’s a secret there. Clever. Chris is planning for Arakion to be an old school RPG, with Might and Magic being his biggest point of reference. Puzzles, fighting and RPG mechanics are due.
It’s hard to say much about the game given how early on in development it currently is, but it seems it will be party-based at the very least. Chris hopes to be able to show off character creation, character development and combat in a couple of weeks too. We will of course be keeping an eye on this one. Check out the first couple of minutes of gameplay and see what you think.
It’s been a long time coming, in fact, MoaCube have even made a running joke of their game release ambitions, giving those waiting a promise of eventually. Things have changed recently though, the game is nearing completion, Cinders has found her true love and she’s ready to attend the Grand Ball. In other words, MoaCube have issued a release date for their rather stunning visual novel.
Around about, perhaps and most likely, Cinders will release on June 20th. But don’t you go scribbling that into your diary yet! MoaCube note that they may find an issue they want to clear up before releasing it, so there may be a delay by a day or two. Equally, they may find that everything is rather spiffing and move the release forward a little. So, the message we’re told to pass on is: be ready for the 20th but don’t count on it.
If you’re sat there thinking, “Cinders? What the hell is that?”, then come right this way. See this? That’s a preview and you should most definitely read it. We found the game to be a rather excellent take on the classic fairytale, eliminating any of the preconceptions you might have and ensuring that there are plenty of choices and paths to head down. To those that perceive the game as ‘girly’ we have to insist you give it a chance, it’s honestly not what you think it is.
You can find out more information about Cinders and grab yourself a pre-order over on the official website. You can also gawp at the amazing artwork over there – highly recommended!
Well, blow me down with a mightily large feather. Ultra Runaway’s Paper Sorceror has undergone a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter, and its art style is pure poetry in motion.
A first-person role-playing game with a solid focus on the virtues of exploration and discovery, the game puts players in the role of a renegade wizard who’s trying his utmost to escape a magical prison in which a veritable flurry of so-called heroes are trying to bring him down by the minute. Helping the wizard in his quest for survival is a recruitable party of summons, who will provide assist in the heat of battle, with the combat system taking the form of a magic-dominated spell-charged dynamic. Also on the menu are a plethora of open-ended puzzles to both tax and befuddle players in equal measure.
Membraine Studios have released an extremely substantial gameplay video for their upcoming sci-fi strategy title, Exodus Wars: Fractured Empire.
The new footage sees some of the game’s chief developers going into considerable depth regarding the intricate complexities by which the turn-based strategy game functions. Giving players a fascinating insight into the strategic assets of many of the units they can expect to command once the game launches, the video also exhibits the extremely impressive sense of scale that Exodus Wars clearly champions, not to mention its marvellously hand-crafted art style.