It’s always a nice surprise when an indie game studio appears out of nowhere with games nearing completion and a good head on their shoulders. Xpod Games know that just having a game almost finished is only the beginning to being a successful studio. While it is a major step, if no one knows about your game then how will they purchase it? With that in mind, XpodGames had a brilliant idea; what better way is there to promote your games and studio then to show off not just one, but two very different titles at this year’s Eurogamer Expo.
The first of two games is a retro style arcade shooter and puzzler that showcases a 3D projected line-art style by the name of Genix. The game is set to come with online multiplayer with LAN functionality as well as a level editor for added replayability to make those retro gamers happy. Genix is set to be released on the PC on the first week of October and then on XBLA a few weeks later.
Hypoxia on the other hand is a complete 180 from Genix. A dark 3D action survival horror game platformer where you take the role of a maintenance technician named Vex. Wrapped up in a sinister plot to absorb her existence (whatever that means), you must escape from hell and confront the nemesis before you are trapped forever. Your only weapon is a device that allows Vex to shift between dimensions, hopefully allowing her to escape with her life. Hypoxia is set for a Christmas release this year.
Those heading to the Eurogamer expo will have the chance to talk to the team at their booth in the Rezzed quarter. There you will be able to get a hands on with playable builds of both of Xpod’s upcoming titles. You can also keep up to date on any news on Xpod Games at their website.
Despite the connotations of the title, Routine is something quite special, or at least that’s how we perceive it in this early stage. Since we last saw it, Routine hasn’t seen much more development time. This is due to the hiring of two new people to the one man team, one of which is on a work exchange basis – i.e. you do the art for my game and I’ll program yours.
Now that the art work on the other game has been done, Routine comes back into focus so we expect to see many more updates from now onwards. Why are we drawing attention to it once again then? Well, we can’t resist to be honest and there are two more screens we want to share and that’s enough of a reason to be honest. We became interested in Routine initially because of the premise, it’s a combination of sorts. First it’s a survival horror set in an abandoned moon base. That by itself is enough to make us listen attentively. Then you have to take into account that it’s also a roguelike, meaning it has permanent death and some random generation in hazards and items.
Most importantly is that the gameplay doesn’t resort to shooting things. Oh no, this is a proper survival horror which involves running away and hiding when under threat – it’s that or death…permanently. The couple of new screenshots we have move past the simple environment displays we’ve seen so far and introduce the game’s main character. They look fairly typical of what you might expect but that’s not too important anyway considering the game is first person. Still, it’s nice to look at something more regarding the game and we’re genuinely expecting to be further impressed in the coming future.
There’s not too much information on Routine at the moment but you can explore the official website if you want to give it a look.
Bleep. Bleep. Bleep. No readings yet. Bleep. Bleep. Bloop. Oh, what’s this? Seems we’ve found a 1.1 update for Sonar – the survival horror game that scared us quite a lot last year. Marvellous.
If you’re a big fan of survival horror then you would have already played Sonar, but let’s just pretend that you haven’t. An explanation of the game is that you play as Catherine Dubont who has the misfortune of getting trapped in some pitch black caves with just a sonar scanner to navigate. The game’s graphics look poor to start off but that is intentional – you see things around Catherine with sound through her sonar device. You can chuck rocks and smash through some walls, you can send out a sonar wave to help map out the area. However, doing these noisy things can and will attract unwanted attention. The result is utterly terrifying.
It’s been a while since we’ve played through Sonar as it was released and left as it was. Now, the developer returns out of the blue with a 1.1 update and we find ourselves rather excited to revisit this near masterpiece.
This update adds, somewhat controversially, a mini map which the developer initially feared (as well as us) would ruin the whole experience. Part of Sonar’s most effective way of inducing horror was getting lost in the dark, so a mini map would alleviate this, no? Apparently it “changes” the experience and in a good way, we’ll see for ourselves whether we agree.
On the more positive side, when an enemy gets near to Catherine, the sound of her heartbeat now kicks in, with it getting louder and more frequent the closer an enemy gets. Throwing rocks has now been made more effective as it won’t put the enemies on such high alert straight away, rendering the act better used for distraction. Also added is a level selector, which means you can play back any previous levels and luckily the oxygen meter will adjust according to which level you start on (the amount of oxygen is another thing that worries your mind while playing the game).
Sonar now supports gamepads and there are some more options to adjust the settings of the game. For the real hardcore crazy people, a “One Life” mode has been added to the game – self explanatory and won’t be completed any time soon.
Dreampainters have released another trailer for their survival horror title, Anna, though this time the focus is on the game’s soundtrack and sound design.
Going against the expectations from a survival horror soundtrack, Dreampainters’ upcoming game Anna will be treated to a much more gentle soundtrack for the most part as outlined by the composer Alessandro Monopoli. According to him, Anna isn’t out to absolutely terrify throughout the course of its playtime, it’s actually a sad story and one that the player will be invited to understand and feel empathy for.
As such, the soundtrack will treat the player’s ears with the strums of guitars and the echoes of a beautiful female voice. We’re not implying that there won’t be any of that more usual soundtrack that comes as standard with the genre – as the game progresses, things deteriorate and the whole mood drops and changes and so the music will too. However, for the large part, the soundtrack seems to be more of a storytelling device rather than a bone chilling one.
It’s also worth noting that the soundtrack was recorded at Davide Colombo’s Dianastudio and the man responsible has also worked on Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed before now.
Lone Survivor has now been released on Steam and this version of the survival horror has been updated with some tweaks to make the experience even better.
Just hours after we spotted it, Lone Survivor has been release on Steam and with what is being called “CODENAME: RED” version. That basically just means it’s a v1.1 update on top of the original game – a bunch of tweaks and minor additions. Nothing too drastic. If you purchased the game before this, you’ll have to wait until Jasper is able to get around to emailing everyone with the update; he is talking with Steam about giving Steam keys to all of his previous customers. What’s more, rather than being priced at $9.99 / £6.99 on Steam, there’s a 20% launch discount until April 30th, so if you’re going to get it, do so now!
We really loved Lone Survivor, in fact, we’re pretty sure that everyone did – you can read our review of the game right here. It’s a sidescrolling survival horror with some very weird scenarios and lots of creepy atmosphere to keep you entertained and spooked. Many people are saying it’s the best Silent Hill game in years, so you can get a gist of the game if you know that series – or at least what it used to be.
You can purchase Lone Survivor on Steam or on the official website – we’ve listed all of the changes to the game below for whoever is interested.
In this “CODENAME: RED” update of the game on Steam, you’ll encounter the following updates:
Allows ESC to quit from the title screen or game over screen
Hunger increases 10% slower
Stealth movement 10% faster
Thinman patrol pause shortened
Red ending ‘officially’ added (although will be extended in LS:YELLOW later in the year)
Red ending requirements changed
Blue / red path ranks made more difficult
A few more contributing factors added
A new logo and icon
Tweaked art in the basement / ground floor to remove pure black pixels
Removed glitchy pixels from the side of the ammo store
Tin of pickles now has a description
Elevator upstairs gives message if powered
Save game is cleaned up: all traces of the old system removed
Save game no longer creates a Flash Shared Object except for volume settings
Numerous typos corrected
??? won’t trade unless you’ve met him
???’s name only appears once you’ve met him
Map hints disabled if not carrying the correct map
Some small, secret mechanic changes, mostly fixes
Some re-balancing to mental health-dependent descriptions
Can opener room door made a tiny bit clearer
The cat works
Mac black screen issue no longer an issue
Panic attacks disabled in the boss sequence (which could rarely cause a corrupted save)
Fixed bug where it was possible to re-trigger the elevator sequence
Fixed bug with text boxes not reverting to interactive mode on game completion
Fundamental engine changes in cutscene / dialogue handling:
All world and object descriptions now have the player non-interactive
Last-resort freeze check & correct for scripts that don’t return control
Tweaks to the way sprites allow player interaction when simulating hotspots (solves the freezes related to positioning)
Cat / doll / stove / Gamejoy / bucket / hospital door freezes fixed by the above methods
Rare slowdown issue fixed (related to AIR system chrome setting, now disabled)
You can find out more information on Lone Survivor on the game’s official website.
hef=http://www.eyesodicgames.com>Eyesodic Studios‘ puzzle-based psychological horror game aptly named Haunted Dreams is now available to pre-order in anticipation of its release in May.
Detective Brooks and his partner were shot while on call; the former survived but the latter didn’t. Brooks was actually dead for three minutes but was revived, it is this experience that triggered horrible nightmares, ones that seemed to be calling him, so Brooks went to a psychiatrist to find out what it could mean. This is the premise of Haunted Dreams and it is from here that the game really starts as the player explores Brooks’ mind through a series of puzzles, clue solving and the occasional demon bashing of course.
The game is a typical effort from Eyesodic Studios, as in, its dark and involves nightmarish themes, which can also find in their mini action-horror series Reapers End, the similarly action-horror Blood of the Divines and their upcoming post-apocalyptic RPG, Days of Extinction. Though Haunted Dreams does seem to contain more semblance of a story and promotes the act of thinking rather than their action-filled other titles.
If you’re interested in Haunted Dreams and there’s no visible reason why you shouldn’t be, then you can pre-order it right now on Desura but you’ll have to wait until May to play it. In the meantime, here’s the trailer for you to ponder over:
Thanatophobia. Now that’s a catchy title. The word actually means ‘fear of death’ so you can hazard a guess as to what genre this debut title from Death Knell Games falls in to. Of course it’s a survival horror and one that we hold close to our hearts
Question: What on God’s green Earth is thanatophobia, the phobia? Answer: It’s the fear of death, of dying – that little fact, my friends, you can take for free. Pass it around, act learned, thank Wikipedia. (Thanks Wikipedia.) It’s also the name of a game currently in production for PC by Death Knell Games, announced last year and receiving frequent development updates on Indie DB.
It’s a title we’ve covered a couple of times before on this site, but it is absolutely worth keeping in mind for the coming year as well. Superflat Games’ Lone Survivor is still in development and, with any luck, less than six weeks away from completion if the recent blog posts by one man dev team, Jasper Byrne, are to be believed.