Saturday, August 1, 2015

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 8/1

Title: Wanderers
Developer: Anthony Pismarov
A four-player, open world, action-adventure game.
Title: Somewhere On Zibylon
Developer: Mykhail Konokh
A sci fi puzzle game with stealth elements in the atmosphere of cold space and zero gravity.
A repair drone sent for routine inspection to the colonization station Zibylon. Upon arrival, it detects a strange activity and loss of control over the station. Using the capabilities of the drone you have to explore Zibylon, unleash a lot of puzzles, having passed a difficult way through the station in the atmosphere of cold space and zero gravity.
Title: Sublevel Zero
Developer: SIGTRAP Games
The laws of physics are crumbling and reality is falling apart. Fly through procedurally generated zero gravity environments, looting and crafting the ancient technology needed to keep yourself and your clan alive.
Title: Omnis: The Erias Line
Developer: Elyn Studio
Omnis: The Erias Line is a 2D, story-driven game that blends the spirit and mechanics of a j-RPG with the darker themes of western sci-fi, fantasy and new-weird fiction. As you play, every decision you make can influence how you experience the story. A huge range of choices - from dialogue options picked to key-items found - change how character relationships develop, how major events play out and how you shape your path to the ending.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Money, No Problem: AniMa

Title: AniMa
Developer: Jord Farrell, Mark Sparling
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
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In AniMa, you go by many names - Reborn one, Ruthless one, Devouring one - but you only have one goal. You are a disembodied specter, given the opportunity by some mysterious being to regain your life. But returning to life requires you to take life, in this ominous puzzle platformer.
In each level, you must open a portal to exit, a portal that requires blood sacrifices to unlock. As a spirit, you can't die or pass through the portal, but the inhabitants of these trap-filled levels can. Possessing them allows you to activate switches, open gates, and, most importantly...die. Each inhabitant is different - one able to jump, another equipped with a shield that can block vaporizing lightning beams, and so on - and the challenge comes from figuring how to use their abilities, which must die, and which will be used to enter the portal.

But don't worry. You're taking nothing of value, according to your otherworldly benefactor. AniMa's gloomy, grainy art style and eerie sound design completes the game's dark atmosphere.
You can download AniMa here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

PC Review #121: Feist

Title: Feist
Developer: Bits & Beasts
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $14.99
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You are not alone in Feist's dense forests and dark caverns but you certainly are on your own. Danger abounds, from traps to deadly animals, and only through quick thinking and agile platforming can you survive. At a glance, Feist may bring to mind puzzle platformers like Limbo, but this action platformer is all about desperate combat.
You're a small fuzzy creature, escaped from the clutches of the bipedal troll-like beasts that roam this atmospheric landscape. In pursuit, you traverse towering trees, overgrown marshes, and claustrophobic caves, using the environment to your advantage to overcome overwhelming odds. You have no means to defend yourself, no talons or tough hide, only your agility and size.
Feist's world is not a kind place. From the start, you're evading spiky caterpillars and buzzing flies that pounce with long stingers. Desperate is the word that describes the experience best; you're always outnumbered and overpowered, always a hair's breath away from death. You're running through logs and under mushrooms to avoid stingers, snatching up rocks and pine cones and twigs to stun and kill creatures.
But your greatest ally is the environment itself. Traps that can skewer you with flying barbs can just as easily be triggered to kill other animals. Stunning flies let you pick them up and fire their stingers. Cave-ins underground can crush leaping spiders if you're quick enough to evade the falling rocks. The reactive environments and fast-paced combat makes for frantic, challenging, and satisfying encounters. Death can occur quite frequently; thankfully frequent checkpoints alleviate some of the frustration,

Feist oozes with atmosphere, from the shadowy aesthetic of the world or hazy reflections as you run past a lake to the haunting soundtrack. It's a short experience, but the tension and challenge doesn't let up. Feist can be purchased from Steam, Humble, GOG, and itch.io.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 7/25

Title: Spirit
Developer: Rinaldo Wirz
"An isometric, narrative-focused, exploration-heavy adventure" with a possession mechanic
Title: Collecton
Developer: Daniel Branicki
Collecton is a roguelike-platformer with heavy emphasis put into interaction with the world's creatures, items and exploration.
Title: Traces of Light
Developer: Mikhail Pigichka
Traces of Light is a third person adventure game about Dirk Young, a lighthouse keeper. His life is completely changed after a devastating solar storm ruins his village home. Help him to find a new mechanism for the Lighthouse and bring it back in order to save his friends and family from mortal danger. To finish the game pass through the mazes and obstacles, solve the puzzles and find the way home. There is no time to waste, let the adventure begin!
Title: Atomic Society
Developer: Far Road Games
Atomic Society is a post-apocalyptic city building game that aims to let players decide what laws, morals and values their survivors will live by, as well as giving them the fun of managing a bustling town and its resources. You can create a dystopia, utopia, and or whatever wasteland town you desire.
Title: miniLAW
Developer: Lasso Games
Futuristic tactical law enforcement roguelike
Roam the city of New Babel in search of crimes in progress. Procedurally generated crimes and encounters make no two plays the same.

Friday, July 24, 2015

IOS Review #99: Prune

Title: Prune
Developer: Polyculture
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $3.99
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Mobile is home to wide variety of genres, and games like Shadowmatic, Zen Bound, and Monument Valley have shown how relaxing tactile experiences are well suited for the platform. The recently released Prune drives that point home, delivering a wonderfully artistic puzzler that's a worthy addition to any mobile library.
Grow a tree, lead it to the light and watch its flowers bloom: that's the core concept of Prune across the game's five chapters. Swiping on the screen lets you slice away branches and steer the growing tree towards the light, through narrow passages, and around obstacles. From red spheres that infect your tree to windswept landscapes, gates and switches, and pollination, Prune's zen veneer blossoms into a surprisingly tricky puzzler in later levels as new and interesting elements are introduced.

Prune is as enjoyable to watch as it is play. Watching your tree sprout and reach out with twisting branches towards the light is always satisfying; combined with the shadowy landscapes with red sun and stars overhead, Prune is art in motion. Even the game's menu is elegant, as you spin the earth to switch chapters, the stars streaking by and the ground eroding with the passage of time.
Prune's freeform gameplay makes it fun to replay, or just sit back and enjoy the artistic experience. You can purchase Prune for $3.99.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

IOS Review #98: Drive Ahead

Title: Drive Ahead!
Developer: Dodreams Game Studio
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: Free
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Between games like Wrestle Jump, Badland, and others, mobile has a nice selection of fun local multiplayer games. I'm glad I recently discovered Drive Ahead, because it's a polished and fun addition to that list.
Most reminiscent of Wrestle Jump, Drive Ahead has you controlling a vehicle in wild and unusual arenas with the goal of smashing your opponent's head to earn points. It's simple and hectic, but the sheer variety of vehicles and arenas is what makes Drive Ahead stand out from similar titles. From go-karts, limos, and FI cars to tanks, garbage trucks, forklifts, and more, a sizable array of vehicles are available, each controlling differently due to their size, speed, and shape. The arenas are just as varied, ranging from simple islands with ramps to see-saw platforms. The matches only last a few seconds before entering a "sudden death" state where a random hazard appears, like descending saw blades or fireballs.

It's the little touches that give Drive Ahead its charm. A hurt driver on stretcher slides out of the back of the ambulance, bottles fall from the garbage truck when it flips upside down, and churning tires kick up dust and dirt as they barrel around the arenas. If you don't have a friend to battle, the game offers a nice selection of single player modes, including classic fights against the AI, a mission mode with various objectives, and King of the Hill. The developers have been consistently updating Drive Ahead with new arenas and new vehicles.
Drive Ahead is free with optional and unobtrusive IAP. You can download the game here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Watchlist: XO

Title: XO
Developer: Jumpdrive Studios
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Early 2016
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Command a ragtag fleet of starships to escape an unbeatable enemy and save what's left of humanity
Mankind faces a threat unlike any other: a faceless relentless armada that outclasses us in every way. This unstoppable enemy ravages across the galaxy, abducting humans for unknown purposes. As master tactician and commander aboard the lead battleship of a meager fleet, you must rescue your people and defeat this seemingly unbeatable foe.
Inspired by works such as Battlestar Galactica, The Lost Fleet, and FTL, XO offers strategic space fleet combat, driven by desperation and overwhelming odds. Forget negotiations or colonizing or empire-building; your only goal is survival and enduring long enough to gather your forces. Jumping from planet to planet to collect necessary resources like air and fuel, rescuing disabling ships to add to your fleet, and dealing with the stress and tough decisions of being a leader fighting a war of attrition. You will face mutinies and rebelling generals, will need to make sacrifices, and keep your people strong and focused, if you want to save humanity.

XO's combat occurs on a 2D plane, where you set waypoints and select targets in real time. Time is an important factor in battle; using an ETA slider, you can designate units to flank enemy vessels at the same time from multiple angles, or have your forces attack in waves, among myriad other strategies. The game's vector-art aesthetic turns each encounter into a vibrant spectacle of fleet-to-fleet combat: enemy vessels releasing swarms of fighters and massive harvesters clamping onto disabled ships to extract humans, as your fleet retaliates with point defense cannons, particle accelerators, and defensive sandcasters.
One of the most fascinating aspects of XO is the developer's hard sci-fi approach to every aspect of the game, from ship design to combat. Momentum and physics must be taken into account while setting waypoints. Collecting resources requires you to send diveships to gather fuel from gas giants or water and air from habitable worlds. Planets are procedurally-generated based on their location in a solar system, so distance from a sun determines if a planet is frozen over or a barren molten rock. Even the ship design and weapons tie into this realistic approach: your battleship's large radiator fins at its rear are there to shed heat waste generated by powerful laser cannons.
More information on XO's development and gameplay can be found on the developer's blog; XO is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and votes on Steam Greenlight.