Testosterone-pumped behemoths built like blocks of flats will be treated to a blast from the past next week with the news that Oniken will be available for purchase from Friday 22nd June.
Created by Brazilian workhorses Danilo Dias and Pedro Paiva, Oniken is an 8-bit action platformer that makes no qualms about its purportedly punishing difficulty. Put in general terms, it’s cut from the same cloth as the original Ninja Gaiden, gratuitously handing out the keys to the 2D hack-and-slash sweet shop to anyone with a quenchable thirst for shoryukens perforated enemy lungs. Blissful Oriental sadism aside, players will be forced to keep a watchful eye on a mind-addlingly enfuriating distribution of insta-death traps and obstacles, ranging from flaming pits to hulking six-foot spikes up the rectal passage.
As we see more and more indie games heading down the commercial route, it’s rare to see a game with such apparent pizazz as in the trailer as Of Light & Shadow being released for free. It’s apparent why the developers made this decision upon playing the game; it’s not particularly long. On top of that, a 2.5D platformer that plays with light and dark mechanics isn’t exactly something we’ve never seen before. Still, it’s a pleasant little thing for what it is, and easy to deem worth a play.
Developed by 12 students since early 2011, it’s clear that Of Light & Shadow has at the very least a couple of good artists behind it. The game starts off by setting down the premise with pencilled in visuals alone. There are two characters which co-exist in two different realms, if you like. Mr. Light and Dr. Shadow – need we say more? Mr. Light can run and jump whereas Dr. Shadow walks around in a bi-pedal machine which cannot jump but can walk along walls and ceilings as well as floors. Unfortunately, the light upon the planet which they dwell goes out so they set off to fix it; at least, that’s what seems to be the case.
First you’ll play Mr. Light in a fairly standard platforming level with jumps over lava and moving platforms to time correctly. The only difference being that you must stick in the coned light for a few seconds in shadow will obliterate him. Being made in Unity, the art is clean, smooth and fairly colorful. During Dr. Shadow’s introductory level and further on in the game you’ll come across some more fantastical elements such as a giant meditating toad and a whale which sticks out its tongue for you. Regarding the playing as Dr. Shadow, things are arguably a little tougher, but only marginally, as you move at all angles to avoid light and other environmental objects, as well as solve a couple of puzzles due to being able to push levers.
After the first two levels are completed, you’ll then play the rest of the game with the ability to switch between both characters at will. This is introduced quite elegantly with a simple level which has clear moments when you should be each character. You’re travelling on a treadmill as various hazards move towards you and at times light will be introduced or taken away so as to dictate which character you shall be.
After this point, the game then gives you a little bit more of a challenge which is usually working out a puzzle with Dr. Shadow, jumping across platforms with Mr. Light or a slightly awkward combination of both. By “awkward” it is meant not how the game works or is designed, but more how the player has to constantly flicker between the two characters while judging jumps with light or without and so on. To write this down may make it sound much more complicated than it is – at no point was the game ever really that challenging.
To finish up, the player is placed in a circle of hazards and moving light sources. It’s quite a fun way to end the game and is certainly the peak of the game’s challenge, but it does feel as if the game was only just starting to gain momentum. Take that as a good thing, that the game left us wanting more – especially to see what else the artists could have come up with to keep us entertained in the background with various creatures as well as the challenge in the foreground.
Being free, you can’t really complain about Of Light & Shadow. It won’t last you long nor will it challenge anyone with platforming experience, the world created due to the game’s art is rather alluring though, and so if you find yourself intrigued about the game just by some of the screens or the trailer then you may as well give it a shot. You can download the game for Windows by clicking on this link.
This is starting to become a bit of a habit now – the posting of information about Exodus. To be fair, it’s coming along well and despite being a 2D platformer of the metroidvania variety (there’s a few of them), it’s pretty unique looking. It’s starting to feel like we’re just repeating ourselves now, but just in case this is the first time you’ve heard about Exodus, let’s recap.
Think about Oddworld, the first games which featured Abe – yes, those ones. Exodus bears quite the resemblance, not so much in the look which is much more colorful, but the gameplay seems pretty similar at least. For instance, sneaking past enemies in an exaggerated way, jumping from platform to platform, and running away from little critters who give chase. Exodus certainly seems to be on the slightly more casual style though, death seems to be less of a common thing and, well, just look how friendly looking everything is.
In this latest and most lengthy gameplay footage, we’re introduced to another alien being called Ly’Sax, who seems to be female. Whether or not she has different abilities to the blue alien you also play as is not made clear. We do see her chuck some form of energy ball at a bird and double jump though. Other than that she sneaks, runs and ducks all the same.
Of course, all of this teasing from the developers is building up to the big alpha release on June 15th, when finally we’ll be able to play it for ourselves. Keep an eye on the official site for any more developments.
Swedish development studio Might and Delight has revealed that its mesmerising pseudo-2D platformer, Pid, is likely to be see a commercial release this August.
In an article over at Joystiq, it was confirmed that the game, originally slated for a December 2011 launch, is now targeting a summer launch through the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network console services, along with a Steam release on PC. A price point, however, has yet to be decided upon.
Roguelikes are becoming quite the hot thing to develop at the moment, and why? More than likely because they can offer players a high dose of replayability and they are something that small developers can put can adequately achieve. It’s all about the procedural generation folks. Even more so with the dungeons. Combine both of those things together and that is exactly what The Crystal Catacombs has to offer. Though it’s a lot more than just that too.
Rendered in those familiar, but colorful, big pixels and in a 2D form, The Crystal Catacombs has you taken up the role of treasure hunter Captain Vasil Ravencraft. He encounters the fabled catacombs and it is you who needs to guide him through them, over and over and over again. But you’ll never have the same experience twice, and thus reveals the beauty of the roguelike. The Crystal Catacombs contains seven Crystal Realms to travel through altogether; each unique due to their random concoctions of enemies, traps, hazards, treasures and bosses.
Essential to this type of game are those all-important magical artefacts, which can offer you some extra powers to aid you. The Double Jump Boot, Dragon Armor, Crystal Skull and Grapple Spikes and many more are yet to be found. You won’t just rely on these alone though – choosing your class from the start will affect your playing style and gaining experience points to level up with will cause you to become a force to be reckoned with. Well, maybe not.
Unfortunately, as great as all of this sounds, The Crystal Catacombs is only about 40% complete and you’ll never guess what – the developers are looking for funding on Kickstarter. This is actually the second time the game has been submitted to Kickstarter as last time it failed – sad face. Maybe this time we can make it work though, yes?
The funding is to recruit people to make the game sound, look and play even better. Plus you can secure yourself a copy of the game or help design it, be in it and so on. More information over on the Kickstarter page and the game’s official blog.
After much teasing from the folks at Gaijin Games, they’ve finally decided to drop the news that Runner 2 will be coming to the Wii U. Can’t say it’s much of a surprise really, considering the original game was released on WiiWare to much success. It will be released as a launch title of all things, offering first time buyers of Nintendo’s new console a chance to run across the screen with Commander Video, dodging the obstacles and obtaining his all important rainbow cape.
Of course, with the announcement comes a few more details that should most certainly interest you. For a start, Runner 2 will come with a number of retro levels which will be playable on the Wii U Game Pad itself. As announced at the Nintendo conference at E3, the game will also be able to utilize HD graphics – a first for one of their consoles. On top of that, music will be provided by none other than Disasterpeace, who most recently scored Fez.
That up there is presumably one of the retro looking levels that Gaijin mention. Another cute detail is that there will be 10 unlockable characters in this sequel, including CommandgirlVideo, Unkle Dill and Whetfahrt Cheesebörger. The one thing we’re looking for is a release date but of course that hasn’t been revealed due to Nintendo keeping their mouths shut on the release date of the console. Slow clap Nintendo.
If you want to find out some more information on Runner 2 then you should head on over to the official website. Don’t expect to find out too much more yet though. Otherwise, why don’t you check out some alpha gameplay below if you haven’t already.
As part of the teasers leading up to the initial alpha release of Exodus, Gahlmac Game Studio have released yet more screenshots and, most impressively, an alpha gameplay trailer. If you read our previous post on the game, you should remember that we somewhat half-seriously compared to the game to the first two games in the Oddworld series, and quite rightly so. After having watched the first dose of gameplay though, we find ourselves not joking about the game at all – this really does look like Oddworld!
If you didn’t catch it, that comparison is a good thing. A very good thing. What you can see in the gameplay trailer is basically what we seen in the screenshots…but in motion. World’s Most Obvious Sentence Award goes to…! Seriously though, the art looks much better with some movement added and the animation on top of that is very clean, smooth and pleasing to watch. The actual gameplay itself, though based in a much brighter setting than Oddworld, is very much like it through and through. First up is the ability to sneak and in very much the same way as Abe used to do – tippy toes! With this you’ll be able to sneak past various creatures which would otherwise give chase upon hearing the thuds of your footsteps.
Then you have the jumping around part of this metroidvania game, which is quite clearly much more intuitive than anything Abe was able to offer back in the day. Quite frankly, that’s only a very good thing. We also get a glimpse of the game’s minimap too, which should help us all navigate the luscious environments; a vital aid given that the game offers freedom of exploration providing you have the right tools to overcome the obstructions in the way. The only other thing we see in the gameplay is the first signs of combat, in this case it’s just a basic slash from the arm, whether this will evolve with weapons or through other means we’ll see. We’re hoping that the game will encourage players to use their brain to bypass enemies rather than sheer force though.
The release of this gameplay only further increases our enthusiasm in the release of the game’s alpha version on June 15th. Gahlmac seem to be on to a winner with Exodus, simply for capturing some long lost sidescrolling gameplay and by giving it a modern and fresh feel. Let’s hope it only gets better from this point onwards.
You can keep up with the updates and ongoings of Exodus over on the official website.
To start us off with our first Indie of the Week article, Peter decides to trek through the shadowy paths of LIMBO. Ideally, you should have played the game already, but if you haven’t then now is a fine time to.
Ever wondered what it would be like to suddenly wake up in a world with no color without a clue as to what your purpose is in this strange place? That’s how I felt upon starting LIMBO for the first time and it didn’t take long to realize one important fact: I was not in Kansas anymore and Toto was nowhere to be found.
But just like in The Wizard of Oz, LIMBO also placed the main character in a strange world where nothing was quite as it seemed, although this place was far more hostile than anything found in Oz. Danger lurked around every corner and since I decided not to be overly cautious, Death himself become an all but too familiar face during my journey. The experience was both terrifying and incredible at the same time, because with each failed attempt at passing a certain obstacle – which often resulted in my untimely demise – it was almost like there was someone there, telling me to get up and try again and again until I got through it.
That said, I was in fact entirely alone in this strange world which was completely devoid of color, and more than once did I face off against horrors likely to make some people hide under a blanket, but I knew the boy whose life I had been put in charge of had a mission to complete and that it was up to me to see it through to the bitter end, so I pushed on through one area after another and eventually there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The light was a double-edged sword however, because while lighting up my path it also shone upon a huge buzzsaw that was racing towards me! And that was just one of countless hazards lying in wait, lurking in the darkness.
It’s a good thing I was so determined though, because after getting cut to pieces by buzzsaws, drowning and even having my body crushed by boulders once or twice, I reached the end of my journey and honestly it was not a second too soon. While I was a bit sad to part ways with the nameless boy after all that we had experienced together during his time in LIMBO, it felt good to be able to close the book on it once and for all.
What happened in the end, you ask? Play the game yourself to find out. Luckily for you, LIMBO is included in Humble Indie Bundle V right now so you could potentially get it for very cheap – or you could be generous.
Frogatto & Friends is a great free game. Solid controls, smooth movement, great art and music and plenty of charming, whimsical dialogue. First released a few years back, it’s still worthy of attention and praise even now. But the handfull of dedicated coders behind it aren’t satisfied with just releasing a single platformer, and recent development builds of the game not only include a bundle of new features (such as achievements and more robust powerups) for the game itself, but an incredibly powerful editing suite that allows you to change levels and even re-write code in realtime.
Over the past month, the Frogatto & Friends development blog has been taken over by several sprawling pieces detailing the basics of creating content in the Frogatto engine, real-time code debugging, adding new characters and rewriting physics, and even delving into the strange new frontier of the game’s own scripting language. In short, a guide on how to create whole new games using this (very solid) foundation as your starting point. For a consumer – such as myself – rather than a creator, it’s a baffling breadth of options, but I’m sure that anyone with a foundation in something like Game Maker might be able to get quite some use out of all this.
The focus of Exodus is its “strange and fascinating world” as opposed to its modest 2D platforming roots; probably for the best considering how many games fit into that genre. The gameplay does have at least one unique aspect though, in that the alien creature you play as called Zoulux, can evolve on the fly to surpass any environmental challenges.
Further details to entice us to the gameplay are lacking but we do have some new gameplay screenshots, courtesy of GameSideStory. The game’s art style was summed up by our staff as looking “vectorised” and if “A Valley Without Wind had a baby with Dustforce” – you can kind of see that in there. What seems more appropriate when discussing Exodus is its similarities, at least in the tone of the game, to the Oddworld games, particularly the ones feature Abe.
It’s the sense the familiar inside the alien that invites us to make that comparison, though the visuals make it seem much less hostile and certainly more vibrant than the smog-filled factories and surrounding areas of Abe’s Oddysee and the sequel, aptly titled Exodus too. Another tie with Abe’s adventures is that you’ll be finding relics from Zoulux’s past, as dictated by the game’s narrative.
The title Exodus actually refers to a mythical being which adopted the name. Underneath it were a city full of people who founded great advancements in technology, but all of it was unfortunately lost to the Cataclysm. It will be this forgotten past that you’ll be digging up in your sidescrolling adventure.
You can view the screenshots below and anticipate the release of a playable alpha version on June 15th.