First Republique, and now this – Kickstarter seems to be rife with photo finish stories lately. With just 5 hours left on the clock, ambitious ship-building, physics-driven procedural space combat game Kinetic Void (as previewed here) passed its $60,000 funding target, ensuring it’s continued development and carrying the hopes of quite a few Freelancer fans with it. Here’s hoping that the target money will be enough to fund the full development of the game – it’s quite a low figure by Kickstarter standards, although Badland Studio seem to have achieved quite a bit already on a shoestring budget.
While the game didn’t raise it’s secondary target of $80,000 (they had plans to hire more team members if they got there), they’re safe and sound at this point, and the nearly 2200 backers so far should be getting semi-regular alpha builds from here on in. This particular last-minute dash was particularly impressive, as the game was short of the funding goal by about $13,000 about 12 hours ago. It looks like the rapidly approaching deadline went and pushed some people off the fence and got a few wallets open. We wish the developers the best of luck and a following wind, now that their project is officially greenlit. Indie gaming needs more spaceships!
XII Games’ hotly anticipated adventure title, Resonance, has been made available for pre-order on GOG.com, with a juicy incentive for potential pre-purchasers to jump on the bandwagon right now.
Any customer who pre-orders the game for $8.99 before its June 19th release date will gain immediate access to a GOG-exclusive demo version, featuring the first four hours of the story campaign. Once the game is released, its price will revert to its standard point of $9.99. So, $8.99 to guarantee access to the full game as soon as it’s released and four hours’ worth of gameplay right now, or $9.99 for the game on its own? Decisions, decisions…
Popular video game developer and sporadically active musician Michael Molinari has released a new gameplay trailer for his latest game, BasketBelle.
Taking the physical properties of a basketball and using them to fuel the game’s level design, BasketBelle features a wildly varied set of gameplay mechanics that see the player undergoing a veritable goldmine of interactive tasks. For example, while one level is based around the concept of dribbling a basketball around the rotating innards of a purple monster, another has you leaping above the skylines of Paris, slam-dunking round objects beside the sprawling heights of the Eiffel Tower. All in a day’s work, no?
After being released on XBLIG back in February, Brand has since been patched up a little bit due to a slight lack of polish and refitted for a new audience. So if you’re a PC gamer and are after an action platformer then Brand is now available for your purchasing delight.
In Nine Dots Studio’s debut title, you’re given a sword, a rather pathetic one, and told to go and make it better. In fact, you’re not to return until it’s fit for a king. Well, where do you start? The journey to fix up this darn sword takes you across a Steampunk Castle, an Alexandrite Mine and a Cursed Necropolis. The reason for traipsing through these monster-filled locations are that the three probably not-so-wise men who will help you improve this sword need some resources from them. These are a Mage, a Smith and a Chemist. Note: It’s not advised that you visit your local chemist asking them to improve your sword.
Here’s the slightly more interesting bit; you can actually improve your sword in a number of different ways, meaning that if you replay the game you can try out some of the other abilities. It is for this reason that Nine Dots describe Brand as a customization game inside a 2.5D action experience. That’s certainly an odd way of putting it.
Brand is available for $4.24 on Desura and $3.00 over on IndieCity. Get used to making decisions – you’ll be making a few of them in the game.
More information on Brand can be found over on the game’s official website.
After quashing the many rumors that they were working on a sequel to Nuclear Dawn, Interwave Studios have announced their next title which is to be a 2.5D sidescrolling survival game called Dark Matter.
Unfortunately we don’t have many visuals to show you – we love the visual candy – but we do have some details to sink your teeth into and get a little taste. So the good thing is that Interwave seem to have moved away from the grandiose ambition of Nuclear Dawn, which was a multiplayer FPS/RTS hybrid if you didn’t know, to work on something that initially seems more manageable. That being a sidescrolling game of course. The emphasis that they’re keen to share is on hand-painted graphics and survival with a mix of combat and exploration.
Revealed is that this combat element in particular will be fairly interesting as you’ll have to rely on “cunning and tactics”. Makes a change from the usual ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ many games use as an approach. The weapons that you’ll be using will also be customizable, but there are no details on what these may be – we presume guns given the studio’s background.
As to the story and setting, well things are taking a very dark turn. This summation from the developers should see you off good:
“In the deepest reaches of space, an ancient evil slumbers. It coils around the walls of its stronghold, its prison, and dreams the restless visions of endless hunger that drive it to hate all life.
A human expedition stumbles upon the heart of darkness that conceals this nest of destruction. All are annihilated, save one.”
There’s no release date for Dark Matter as of yet but Interwave hope to have completed most of the work by the end of 2012 – so an early 2013 release sounds likely. Look out for more details on the game as they are revealed over on the official website.
Fruitbat Factory is a new independent game localization company specializing in bringing Japanese indie games to English speakers and they’ve just announced their existence as well as the first game that they have been working on. The War of the Human Tanks spawned a series of grid-based strategy games when it was released back in 2008. It’s the combination of its quirky outset, dark humor and challenging gameplay that has led to it becoming a fairly popular series of games.
War of the Human Tanks plays out like you’d probably imagine a grid-based strategy game to, with the opposing sides facing each other attempting to take each other’s units down one at a time. Units include close range explosive types, assault rifles and long range artillery, with the more interesting ones being the Scouts and Interceptors which can give tactical advantages if used efficiently.
The translated version of War of the Human Tanks is slated for a Fall 2012 release and will be available on PC.
More information on Fruitbat Factory can be found on their site and if you’re handy with Google Translate or a Japanese speaker then check out the official War of the Human Tanks website.
The ghostly point and click adventures of the Blackwell series has just appeared on GOG as an entire bundle. How about that? Oh, there’s already a Blackwell Bundle on the Wadjet Eye Games website you say? Ah, but this one is better value for your money dear grumble goose.
If you haven’t already got the Blackwell series then that’s a crime in indie game world, but we’ll let you off as you can now pick the whole four part series up on GOG.com. This your last chance though, otherwise we’ll send the The Countess after you. That’s not a good thing by the way.
The Blackwell series has been appraised just about everywhere for its quality voice acting, intriguing plots (which get better with each episode), point and click puzzles and engaging characters. Yep, we have nothing but gushing praise for the series and as adventure games are making quite the comeback at the moment, we suspect the increased amount of the inquisitive may have the same reaction.
As mentioned, the Blackwell series has been available in bundle form before now, but this new GOG.com one includes all four episodes rather than just three, and it’s $5 cheaper. Go figure! Bit of a bargain though so go grab it.
You can find out more information on the Blackwell Bundle over on the official GOG page.
If horror games revolve around how effectively they place the player into a state of feeling vulnerable, then Among The Sleep is certainly starting off strong on the concept level alone. After being tucked into your cot and left to the lullabies of the baby mobile overhead, you’ll then sneak out around the empty house in first person to the delight of the unknown horrors. Movement is mostly done by crawling but standing on your little legs for short periods of time is possible. Being so short means that climbing over obstacles is a must too.
The game doesn’t just take place in the confines of your house though, or at least that’s what it seems. Being so young, you’re susceptible to suggestion and your imagination will run wild. On this particular night many mystical happenings occur which force you to actually flee your home and enter a surreal world, though it won’t guarantee your safety. Is it a dream or reality? Luckily you’ll have Teddy to help protect you on your way back home.
Krillbite Studio have already picked up a couple of awards for the game and we can see why with the release of the first gameplay taken from the first level. It’s looking very good, and by that we mean it comes across as pretty creepy. We particularly like how the kid hides around corners and looks down while crawling at times; builds up the tension.
Though this is a “gameplay teaser”, we’re not entirely convinced that this is in-game footage even though it claims to be all “in-game” at the beginning of the video too. Hopefully it is, we’ve been burned too many times before clearly. There’s no release date on the game as of yet but when it is ready for us it will be available on PC and Mac. Check out the new footage below:
More information on Among The Sleep can be found over on the game’s official website.
This one is hard to really classify as indie. But it doesn’t really fall under the heading of mainstream either, or retro, for that matter. It’s a bizarre, obscure grey area… so why not write about it anyway? Prolific Japanese devhouse FromSoftware have been darlings of game critics worldwide these past few years, thanks to the Souls series (Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls) re-igniting people’s passions for old-school, hardcore dungeon crawling through strange and hostile lands. But it’s not like those games came out of nowhere. In fact, right up until 2003, FromSoftware were still making that same brand of uncompromising action-RPGs.
Shadow Tower Abyss (2003) was the last they released, before mothballing the concept until the release of Demon’s Souls on the PS3, years later. It was due to be released stateside, published by Agetec, but Sony turned the game away at the last minute, despite a full translation already being complete. As such, the game was quickly forgotten outside of Japan until a few months ago. Thanks to a heroic (albeit belated) effort by the Sword Of Moonlight community, Shadow Tower Abyss is now available to play fully in English. So long as you don’t mind bending the rules a little. And have either a modded PS2 or a respectably beefy PC so that you can emulate it.
Okay, this is a niche story, but it’s worth a mention anyway. STA is an interesting game; a sequel to Shadow Tower on the original Playstation, which in turn was a spinoff from the venerable King’s Field franchise, which in turn were the origin of the Souls series. Complex family tree aside, it’s a pretty odd blend of styles. It’s a first-person survival action RPG with an unusually Lovecraftian setting and a mix of medieval, modern and mystical combat styles. The controls are very clunky, deliberately limiting your maneuverability and attack precision, and the graphics certainly aren’t great for their time, but it’s a highly atmospheric experience nonetheless.
Playing as a young, unnamed explorer, you’re on a quest to discover the origins of a supposedly mystical spear once wielded by a long-forgotten king. Your trusty old jungle guide leads you to a cavern in the middle of nowhere, and armed with nothing but a crackling old torch and an M1911 pistol you step inside. The entrance quickly seals shut behind you, and you drop your torch, which fizzles out. So, you’re trapped underground in the dark with only a handful of bullets, and there’s something vaguely humanoid in the distance, clutching a spear, staring at you with glowing yellow eyes. Not the best way to start the day, really. There’s a definite Cthulhu-esque vibe going on here, starting with a jungle full of hostile creatures, then a descent into an ancient alien ruin that links into strange otherworldly dimensions with their own hazards and even weirder inhabitants.
Loot, gear and stats aplenty. This is an RPG, alright.
If you’ve ever played a King’s Field game, the formula is going to be familiar. This is an old-school hostile mega-dungeon, filled with monsters that want you dead, loot that will barely keep you alive, shops that barely stock anything worth using, and a deliberately limited view-distance to keep you guessing what’s down the next tunnel. The twist here is that it drops the traditional RPG progression of the King’s Field series in favor of slowly improving your stats passively through killing monsters, and the occasional sharp boost being offered by finding consumable ‘soul’ items. In addition to your standard RPG range of swords, axes, maces and other medieval death-dealers, there’s a basic magic system and a range of firearms from throughout time, from flintlock pistols to 1960s Russian machineguns, although ammo is in scarce supply.
There’s no doubt that the game is pretty badly dated now – it was clunky when it first came out – but it’s still an atmospheric and satisfying experience that shares a lot of concepts and themes with the new wave of hardcore dungeon-crawlers. If you’ve got the means to play it (a modded PS2 or CPU-heavy PC), and the willingness to put up with an awkward control layout (although Control Preset 4 gives you something akin to modern FPS controls), it’s well worth a look. Oddly, the translation patch itself is a hard to find download, with the Sword of Moonlight community instead opting to just host the full pre-patched ISO. You can find the download in this forum thread here. Given that the game is almost a decade old and was never released outside of Japan, there’s no harm in grabbing it, but I’d love to see an official release one day via PSN.
NPCs in STA come in three flavours: Hostile, Dead or Dying
As an interesting aside, the community that produced this translation have been sitting on a little gem for quite some time as well. Any fan of FromSoftware will recognize the name of the Sword of Moonlight – the magical (or hyper-high-tech) superweapon that appears in almost every game they produce – but not too many know that it’s also the title of a ‘Make your own sadistic dungeon crawl’ studio package they released on the PC, many moons ago. You can find the SoM RPG maker, as well as several full-length freeware games created with it at the Sword Of Moonlight site here, and even a translated version of the original PSX King’s Field. Nifty!
The developers of Satazius, Astro Port, have released their top-down tank shmup Super Tank Warfare: ADVENTIA to Japanese players; for everyone else there’s the demo and it’s definitely worth playing!
We’re not sure of the exact details of the storyline for Super Tank Warfare, but it’s set just shortly after World War II when a secret military base is set-up and develops devastating technology in a ploy to take over the world – that kind of thing. You’ll be playing as a squadron of chirpy ladies who are clearly out to stop them. There are five of them altogether and each of them correspond to a different gun for your tank, you can select up to three. There’s some great variation between each of the guns too, from the standard one-shot to a spread shot and even huge balls of electric which can be used while you hide behind cover.
Super Tank Warfare is of course an arcade game through and through so the levels are fairly short but they make up with that with huge explosions to complement the meaty shooting. The tank isn’t the most maneuverable of vehicles of course, so anticipating the enemies fire is quite essential. Most of them don’t fire that often but the bigger ones will take quite the pounding in order to distract you while the smaller ones attempt a flanking maneuver. Later into the demo you’ll also have mines to dodge and turrets to deal with, or even turn against your opponents.
Then of course you have your big boss tanks to deal with. There’s only two of them in the demo and both are pretty easy to take down as their attacks are very easy to dodge. Still very fun though. After each level you can use the experience gained to upgrade each of your guns, movement speed and armor. Your health will also be replenished a little, which does mean that you won’t start off every level with full health.
Download the demo for Super Tank Warfare yourself, we highly recommend it – just click on this link and it’s all yours.
You can find out more information about Super Tank Warfare: ADVENTIA over on the game’s official website.