Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IOS Review #104: hocus

Title: hocus
Developer: Yunus Ayyildiz
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $0.99
Earlier this year, developer Yunus Ayyildiz released the challenging shape-crafting puzzler rop. Its simple mechanic of manipulating ropes and nodes to mirror shapes was used to offer quite tricky and complex spatial conundrums. Now Ayyildiz's next game hocus is also about spatial conundrums, but rather than recreating shapes, you're navigating them,
Each level in hocus presents you with an impossible Escher-inspired structure. You guide a red cube along the perimeter of the shapes, traveling along the odd shapes towards the waiting exit. Forced perspective allows you to travel along planes that appear to touch, letting your cube navigate each impossible maze to reach your destination.

It may sound complicated, but hocus is actually a pretty laid-back puzzler. There are no timers or move counters, so you can access each level at your own pace. While the shapes grow more complex and intricate, the core mechanics remain the same and the game even has a compass that lets you know which directions the cube can move at each junction.
Every new level in hocus is a pleasure to study and navigate, especially if you're a fan of Escher-style illusions and impossible shapes. The game's minimal aesthetic complements its simple yet increasingly challenging puzzles.

Hocus currently features 50 levels, with more to come. You can purchase the game for $0.99.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 10/3

Title: "Gabraham Lincoln" (Working title)
Developer: Spiffing Games
A sidescrolling beat’em’up inspired by the Devil May Cry series with a good dose of humour and narrative to give the player a compelling journey through Gabe’s world. The story is based around the end of the Civil War in 1865 when Gabe won. Little did he know that his confederate opponent’s were still a little salty and had revenge on the mind.
Title: Chicku
Developer: Gatling Goat Studios
Chicku is a crazy local multiplayer platformer in which the player has to escape the evil Barrington chicken nugget factory, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. The player will be forced to dodge saws, spikes and other deadly traps in order to set the other chickens free. There will be a lot of cartoon voilence throughout the game with limbs flying all over the place!
Title: Cold Seep
Developer: Cowardly Creations
A Lovecraftian horror adventure game containing giant creatures, underwater deep sea exploration and Cthulhu!
Title: Captain Kaon
Developer: Engage Pixel
Revisit the classic ‘Thrust’-style gameplay from the golden age of Atari, evolved for modern gamers as a twin-stick shooter. Negotiate the twists and turns of tunnels and caverns under the surface of Mars, Ceres and many more planets across the solar system.
Engage with swarms of enemy Laser Pods in bullet-riddled combat. Rescue hostages before they can be turned into Brain Drones that swell the ranks of Doctor Quantex’ army. Deploy Marines, turret guns and other assets to turn the tide of battle. Recover fuel, data chips and other resources to aid you in victory.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Watchlist: Verreciel

Title: Verreciel
Developer: Devine Lu Linvega
Platforms: IOS Universal
Releasing January 2016
A virtual space exploration project
Devine Lu Linvega is known for his enigmatic abstract puzzle games, from the Myst-esque Hiversaires to the dimensional-hopping Oquonie. For his next game, he's taking that approach and applying it to space exploration, in Verreciel.

Verreciel sits you before the control consoles of a Glass Ship traversing the cosmos, surrounded by screens on all sides. By connecting different parts of the ship, you'll be able to power thrusters, autopilot, weapon systems, oxygen levels, shields, radio scanner, and other modules. The tactile UI looks perfect-suited for touchscreens.
In your travels, you'll discover extraterrestrial structures like the Prismatist and venture into the ashen Opal dimension. You'll collect batteries, ammo, warpgates, cloaking devices, and other items in your cargohold. You'll set autopilot coordinates to follow NPC travelers. To survive the dangers of space, Verreciel will challenge you to reroute and manage your systems amidst dangerous weather systems and hostile events.

Verreciel is slated for release on January 10th, 2016; you can learn more about the game on the developer's site and see gameplay clips on Vine..

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Watchlist: Sharp Flint

Title: Sharp Flint
Developer: EATMEAT Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One
In development
A survival/hunting game where you can chase and hunt mammoths, wolves, and other titans of the ice age
Sharp Flint takes the popular explore/survival/crafting genre and strips out the zombies, the post-apocalyptic settings, the alien worlds, the isolated islands or voxel landscapes in favor of a low-poly experience set in the prehistoric era.

Across sprawling forests and plains, your goal in Sharp Flint is simple: survive and hunt. Inspired by games like Monster Hunter, you'll carefully traverse expansive maps filled with dynamic herds, prey and predators, and both random and scripted events.
Hunting in Sharp Flint will be more complex than simply throwing a spear at a mammoth. Wind and scent will play a role in tracking and stalking herds, and you'll need to use the environment to your advantage to craft new clothing and weapons. Hazards like quicksand and rock slides can hurt you or be used against fierce predators.

But be careful, because your life is not the only one at stake. You need to gather food and resources to support your family and clan. While the game isn't a roguelike, it will feature a lives system based on the number of children you have. Upon death, you'll take control of your oldest child and inherit your father's equipment; when you run out of characters, you'll need to start a new game. This lives/family management adds a persistent element to Sharp Flint's ice age hunting and gathering.
Sharp Flint is still in development, and is aiming for release on PC, Mac, and consoles. You can sign up for a newsletter on the game's site, and follow its progress on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

PC Review #128: Jotun

Title: Jotun
Developer: Thunder Lotus Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $14.99
From Titan Quest to Kratos' gory ramapages in God of War, Greek mythology has been well-represented in gaming. In recent years, a wave of games revolving around Norse tales have released or are in development, from The Banner Saga and Eitr to Trial By Viking and Niffelheim. Jotun brings the lands and deities of Norse myth to gorgeous life through hand-drawn animations and vivid art designs.
You play as Thora, a fearless Viking warrior, felled not on the battlefield but by the raging sea. But Thora has been given a second chance to impress the gods and earn entry into Valhalla. Thora must travel through purgatory and slay five massive Jotun, giant elemental beings that can go toe-to-toe with a god. What chance does a human warrior have against these towering foes?

Armed with only your battle axe and your agility, you search for runes in a set of levels to unlock the boss level. Each stage revolves around a unique puzzle element or situation. From creating constellations among the clouds around Yggdrasil's canopy to navigating the lava-encrusted crater of Muspelheim or braving the frozen wind-lashed Nine Rivers, Jotun is consistently introducing new elements or new scenery.
While you might face some dwarves or thorny vines in stages, Jotun shines most brightest when you're facing one of the titular giants. Beautifully animated and absolutely massive, these battles bring to mind the scale of the classic Shadow of the Colossus. Encounters revolve around evading telegraphed attacks as the bosses evolve across different forms.

Each battle is a spectacle of bombastic music, intricate animated Jotun, and carefully timed dodges and attacks. Isa unleashes breaths of blizzard-force winds and snow. Fé summons an army of dwarves and shakes the earth with each slam of her shield. Kaunan lunges at you with his massive flaming blade.

If axe and evasion aren't enough to fell bosses, Thora can utilize blessings from the Norse blessings, ranging from a speed boost to an ethereal hammer smash imbued with the power of Thor. These blessings are limited, so using them at the right time to augment your speed or attacks are key to surviving your battles against the Jotun.
Jotun is a gorgeously presented game, with narration spoken in the native Icelandic language, atmospheric environments to explore, and an epic soundtrack. While it's not the longest experience, Jotun is certainly a compelling and thrilling one. Each region feels unique, and each Jotun battle is a visual spectacle.

You can purchase Jotun on Steam.

Monday, September 28, 2015

No Money, No Problem: Red Amazon

Title: Red Amazon
Developer: Tom van den Boogaart
Platforms: PC
Red Amazon is a short narrative game, only lasting a few minutes, but it's still an experience fraught with tension.
You find yourself in an isolated cabin, under a grey foreboding sky. The fireplace roars, birds chirp. The minimal art style and sounds of natural create a calming atmospheric tone, but then...that all changes.

You're not alone out there in the woods.

Red Amazon is described as a thriller, and it certainly succeeds in that aspect in its short playtime. It's best to experience it without much knowledge. You can download the game here.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 9/26

Title: The Nullpoint
Developer: Schell Games
A real-time tactical survival horror roguelike
Nullpoint is a sci-fi horror game where you control a small team of survivors stranded inside a mysterious alien structure: Decipher what the Nullpoint is, and find a way to escape it– if you can.
Title: Off Grid
Developer: Semaeopus Ltd
Off Grid is an adventure, satire and stealth game about a mishap antihero. You play an everyman pencil pusher, who is oblivious to the city's prying and spying, corporate-sponsored government until a series of dark events unfold. 
The contemporary storyline follows real-world events surrounding data privacy, and gameplay utilises unique mechanics that allow you to manipulate the world and people around you with the data they unwittingly leave behind.
Title: Kill To Collect
Developer: Pieces Interactive
You are a Bounty Hunter. Without any remorse or judgement, you take on jobs, eliminate targets and collect Credits. Your mission objectives hide in the deeper levels, usually protected by their vile friends. You can take your chances alone, but bounty hunting is best done with friends! So choose your powers, gather your friends and go hunting in a Cyberpunk-inspired city world filled with danger, mystery and treasures.
Title: Speak of the Clouds
Developer: Mechanic Moon
A classical point-and-click adventure where you have to help Fenix to escape from a UFO's invasion