Monday, April 21, 2014

The Watchlist: Hover: Revolt of Gamers

Title: Hover: Revolt of Gamers
Developer: Fusty Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One
Releasing 2015
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Between the crazy Jet Set Radio, the interactivity of Mirror's Edge and inspired by films like "The Fifth Element" or "Star Wars", Hover let you play as a Gamer Team from another world, appalled at the dictatorship in their city.
Take Mirror's Edge, Jet Set Radio, mix with the towering sci-fi cityscapes of The Fifth Element, add multiplayer, and you get Hover: Revolt of Gamers. A first/third-person parkour game set across the bustling districts of a futuristic alien city, Hover combines free-flowing acrobatics with tricks and stunts in an open world.
Set in a video game-hating dystopia, you're the member of the Gamer resistance, helping citizens, tracking down secret warehouses of confiscated consoles, and fleeing police drones. Equipped with a high-tech suit, the sky is the limit as you leap across rooftops, grind along rails, slide along walls, pull off flips and stunts while fluidly racing through the city. Hover can be played from both a Mirror's Edge-inspired first person perspective (complete with Oculus Rift support!) and a third-person view to better admire the animations and stunts. But chaining high-flying combos across the city and through hover traffic is always better with friends, and Hover promises to also offer seamless online multiplayer, allowing you to race and compete in co-operative and competitive modes.
Hover: Revolt of Gamers just oozes potential and promise, from its vibrant colorful visuals and its fluid open-world parkour to its ambitious cities and multiplayer. You can learn more about the game on IndieDB and support it on Kickstarter. The campaign is already more than fifty percent funded in less than two days, and stretch goals include new characters, new game modes, a bigger game world, a full soundtrack from Jet Set Radio's composer Hideki Naganuma, and a Wii U version.

Hover was Greenlit in February.

The Watchlist: Before

Title: Before
Developer: Bill Lowe, Päl Trefall, Jenny Minton
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
In development
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Before is a game about survival. Guide your tribe through the challenges of a harsh and unforgiving pre-historic world, shaping their culture and defining their history.
The premise of Before is best summed up in three words: "stone age survival." While "survival" and the screenshots imply some kind of third or first person scavenging action game, Before is actually nothing like that. Set in a low-poly prehistoric landscape teeming with wildlife and rival tribes, you guide your tribe in a real time strategy fashion, commanding members to hunt, forage, travel. It's a vast dangerous world to explore, where animals grow tired and rest, grow old and die, where the natural ecosystem of predator and prey occurs around you as your hunters and gatherers face dark nights and deadly elements, struggle to find food and shelter, and most importantly look for a place to call home, settle down, and develop beliefs and rituals. Guide your tribe wisely since death is permanent. Lowe's ambitious plans for Before include open seas to cross, subterranean caverns to enter, and other tribes and mysterious artifacts to discover.
Before is currently in development, with a playable alpha somewhere on the horizon. Lowe is also planning on launching a Kickstarter so he can fully realize Before's stone age survival experience. You can learn more about the game on the official site.

IOS Spotlight #57: Unpossible

Title: Unpossible
Developer: Acceleroto
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $1.99
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By now, any regular readers here probably have noticed I have an affinity towards twitch reflex games. I've been anticipating Unpossible since the first screenshots were revealed last month and the game does not disappoint. In fact I'd say it's one of the most addictive I've played in a while.
At a glance, Unpossible might seem lacking compared to other games in the genre. It doesn't have Spike Dislike's myriad modes, or Pivvot's complex obstacles, or Super Hexagon's pulsing visuals. Beneath a muted cloud-filled sky, you race along a serpentine Tron-esque path, weaving around various hazards such as pillars, fins, rings, and different barriers. The first person perspective and tubular track bring to mind games such as Boost 2 and Proun, and yet I'm enjoying Unpossible more than either of those games. There is a real sense of speed and danger as you speed along the track, a roller coaster thrill as you evade obstacles by a hair's breadth. You only have mere moments to look ahead and react and the smooth responsive controls and unique atmosphere give the game that addictive "one-more-go" appeal. Besides the randomized levels and three difficulty modes, Unpossible also offers daily challenges for each difficulty and a zen-like Cruise mode.
Unpossible is back-to-basics evasion finely tuned to deliver a fantastic exhilarating experience. A thrilling sense of speed and immersive style makes Unpossible well worth your time and skills. You can purchase the game for $1.99.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

PC Spotlightlight #89: Goat Simulator

Title: Goat Simulator
Developer: Coffee Stain Studios
Platforms: PC
Price: $9.99
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So Goat Simulator really exists. According to IGN comments and Steam discussions (clearly the most reputable opinions on the Internet), the game is an obvious sign of the PC gaming apocalypse, a mindless lowest-denominator bug-riddled mess for the causal gamers who listen to Let's Play channels like sheep. Ignore the naysayers. Yes, Goat Sim is mindless, and it's bug riddled, but it's also stupid silly fun and what's wrong with that?
Any impressions of Goat Simulator would be lacking without acknowledging the game's origin. What started as a fun little jam experiment for Coffee Stain interns went viral and somehow become a real released game. I think that sense of fun and just doing it for the love of making games rather than trying to develop a serious actual experience just permeates all aspects of Goat Simulator. You can tell the developers had an absolute blast making the game and guess what, it's stupid and silly but so much fun. Even though the map is small, it's packed with cool little secrets and things to discover and the glitchy ragdoll physics never get old. Perhaps more than any game I've played since Just Cause 2, this is a true sandbox. Sure there are missions to complete, but the real fun is just equipping some of the crazy mutators and trying to accomplish some emergent goal and failing hilariously in the process. Steam Workshop support only gives Goat Simulator more longevity and variety.
More content in the form of split-screen multiplayer, a new map, new goats, and more is coming in a patch mid-May. Goat Simulator certainly won't appeal to everyone. Some will dismiss it at a glance, or even say it's not a "real game." But it is. If you see Goat Simulator somewhere on my GOTY list in December, it's no joke. This is a genuinely fun, funny game that revels in its stupidity and craziness and silly mindless fun, and that makes it an experience worth playing. You can purchase Goat Simulator on Steam and through Humble.

The Watchlist: Oblitus

Title: Oblitus
Developer: Connor Ullmann
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Releasing July 2014
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Oblitus follows the tale of a small, spear-wielding creature named Parvus who seeks to discover their purpose and origin within an unfamiliar realm full of huge, ancient terrors.
Oblitus is an upcoming action roguelike, set in a dark world teeming with dangerous enemies and towering beasts. Alone, armed with only a mere spear and shield, you guide the small, spindly Parvus through this landscape. Outnumbered, outmatched, you must rely on your agility and skill, patience and strategy, to defeat the many creatures that lurk in the otherworldly depths and dank caverns. Taking inspirations from games such as Dark Souls, death will come quickly and mercilessly to the unprepared player, as you explore this dangerous landscape and defeat your foes. Besides your spear and shield, you'll also be able to equip Parvus with various masks, which offer different stat boosts such as increased speed or higher jumps. However, even with this gear, survival is never certain.
Oblitus has been in development for over a year now, and was recently picked up by Adult Swim Games. You can learn more about Oblitus' development on TIGForums and its Tumblr. The game will release mid 2014, tentatively in July.

And here are some fantastic promo posters:

No Money, No Problem: Limbs

Title: Limbs
Developer: Rezoner
Platforms: Browser
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Limbs' inspiration is quite obvious from the moment you start playing. That isn't a strike against the game, but a mark of praise. Limbs takes Paper's Please's basic idea and builds a unique inventive experience from that foundation.
Rather than manning a booth and checking documents, Rezoner's Cyberpunk Jam entry seats you at the workbench of a cybernetic repair shop. Clients come to you with an order and a hand and it's your job to break these limbs down to their components, replace parts, swap out damaged pieces, adjust CPUs, check warranties and other registration information against an extensive manual of rules and guidelines. While Limbs doesn't have Paper's Please subtle narrative and desperate urgency, it stands outs in other ways. The gameplay is just incredibly tactile and engaging, as you unscrew pieces and place new parts in the right place. The sound effects add to that feeling of messing with a robotic hand. The various clients also help build a compelling futuristic setting; you're not merely fixing a broken hand, but rather de-arming an assassin or installing specialized fingers for a spy.
Sometimes you play a freeware or flash game and it just begs to be expanded into something bigger and better. Games like Gods Will Be Watching, SuperHOT, Westerado, and, in my opinion, Limbs is yet another addition to that list. The flash game is great, an experience with the potential to be so much more. You can play Limbs here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quick Fix: Adult Swim Games, Limbs, Hong Kong Massacre

Adult Swim Games
Mention Adult Swim Games and perhaps games that come to mind may be Robot Unicorn Attack or Super House of Dead Ninjas. But from the hard-as-nails action platformer Volgarr The Viking and musical twitch game Soundodger to the recently released Jazzpunk, Adult Swim Games has quite a wide repertoire of titles and that library has just expanded. Just a few days ago, the publisher announced that it would be releasing three new titles this year: atmospheric slugcut survival platformer Rain World (now also coming to PSN, PS  Vita, and "beyond"), the Dark Souls-inspired action adventure game Oblitus, and the improved expanded Westerado: Double Barreled.
You can learn more about Rain World and Oblitus at their sites and devlogs, and play the original flash version of Westerado here
Rain World - Site | Devlog
Oblitus - Site | Devlog

Freeware recommendation: Limbs
I discovered the flash game Limbs today and was instantly engaged by its premise and gameplay. From the developer of the stylish musical experience QbQbQb, Limbs is inspired by Paper's Please, but gives it an ingenious Cyperpunk Jam twist. Instead of checking documents and passports, you repair bionic hands, breaking down each limb to its components, removing synthetic skin and unscrewing capicators and CPUs. Checking warranties, matching skin types, disarming an assassin's weaponized hand, helping spies and engineers by fixing damaged parts, Limbs takes its inspiration and crafts a unique fun experience with its own compelling style.
You can play Limbs here.

The Hong Kong Massacre trailer
I wrote about the bloody top-down gunplay of The Hong Kong Massacre last month and now the developer has released the first trailer.
You can follow the game's development on TIGForum.