Monday, November 30, 2015

The Watchlist: FAR

Title: Far
Developer: Mr. Whale's Game Service
Platforms: PC, Mac
In development
Control an extraordinary vehicle across the endless desert of a dried out sea
Some game titles sum up their theme in a single word. Journey. Soma. Limbo. Far is all about a long lonesome journey, to some faraway place across the sprawling expanse of sea-floor desert.
Far takes place on the floor of an evaporated ocean, now just a pale desolate wasteland where beached ships rust and once-water-locked structures now lay exposed to the elements. You're a lone traveler, crossing this landscape in an large all-terrain vehicle. But driving that vehicle isn't as simple as holding down accelerate and moving forward. Reminiscent of the recent Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime. the vehicle interior is a level itself, divided into different sections with their own critical functions.

As you roll across the seemingly endless desert, engine coughing out black smoke, you'll need to contend with various hardships and dangers, from weather to the landscape itself. Managing your resources is crucial for traveling; fuel must be gathered from debris found outside, the engine must be keep cool or run the risk of overheating. Unfurling a large sail lets you converse fuel by catching the wind, but if all else fails, you can always drag the vehicle forward yourself. You will traverse this wasteland, whatever it takes.
Far is expected to release next year. You can learn more about the game here and the developer's Twitter page.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

SitRep: Slain

Title: Slain
Developer: Wolfbrew Games
Releasing January 27th (PC), May 2016 (PS4, Xbox One, WiiU)
Last time I posted about Slain, it was February and the game was in the midst of a Kickstarter. Since then, the Gothic hack-n-slash was only gotten more gorgeous and gory.
In Slain, you play as white-haired hero Bathoryn, as he embarks on a quest to defeat seven dark overlords. From the crimson halls of The Blood Tower to the great lupin effigies around the Wolf Tower, each area is unique and filled with deadly traps to avoid and dangerous beasts to slay.

Since the Kickstarter, the developers have been working on new enemies, areas, and effects, each rendered in smooth and lavishly detailed pixel art. The gameplay has been improved, with a slick new dodge maneuver, faster animations, and blade power-ups like the flame sword and ice axe. Below is a collection of GIFs from the past months showing off Slain's monsters, locations, and art style.
Originally planned to release in December, Slain had a slight delay till late January, so the developers can further polish the game. The PC version is slated to release on January 27th, with console versions coming later in 2016.

You can learn more about Slain here and find more GIFs and screenshots on the developer's Twitter page.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 11/28

Title: Manifold Garden (formerly Relativity)
Developer: William Chyr
Manifold Garden is an exploration puzzle game that imagines a universe with a different set of physical laws. Set in an Escher-esque world filled with secrets and mysteries, you utilize a unique gravity manipulation mechanic to turn walls into floors. Learn to see the world through whole new perspectives as you navigate mindboggling architecture and solve seemingly impossible puzzles.
Title: Innerspace
Developer: PolyKnight Games
Piloting an agile craft, take the role of an unnamed cartographer to explore the various bubble-worlds, collect relics, and encounter each bubble’s unique patron deity- all in order to discover more about the universe, its history, and its future.
Title: Subscout
Developer: Retrific
You play as a failed explorer who always wanted to explore the depths of the ocean. In a world where no one is interested in the ocean you are the only one who thinks that there is more than just water and a few fish. You decide to scrape together your last money and to buy a boat. Where the ocean is deepest you decide to start your journey.
Title: Luisa: The Sorceress Awakens
Developer: Logic Squirrel Studios
Luisa: The Sorceress Awakens is a pixelated, exploration platformer. The game is heavily inspired by NES action adventures

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Watchlist: Rise & Shine

Title: Rise & Shine
Developer: Super Mega Team
Platforms: PC, Consoles
Mid 2016
Think of a more arcadey Another World, also with a very tight relationship between gameplay and story
In a word of game characters and digital threats, you're the only hope. Wielding the powerful handcannon Shine, young Rise must venture out into the war-ravaged landscapes and destroy enemy hordes and towering bosses in the upcoming Rise & Shine.

Rise & Shine is a side-scrolling mix of action and puzzles, as you take cover, blow away your enemies, and explore a world of game characters and tropes. The combat and exploration pops with color and charm, thanks to the game's vibrant hand-drawn artstyle.

I was able to try out a recent Rise & Shine press demo, showcasing an early level, and the blend of shooting and bullet-based puzzling was a fun and unique experience.
Combat in Rise & Shine is hectic but also deliberate. Cover shields you from projectiles, letting you time your shots and choose how to handle an encounter, which enemies to deal with first, and such. But it isn't all careful cover shooting; double-jumping and dashing around onslaughts of grenades, missiles, and sprays of bullets is just as important if you want to survive.

Your gun Shine isn't just useful offensively, but solving the game's puzzles as well. A wide array of bullet modifiers are available, from remote-controlled rounds to electric bullets that can disable robots and charge machinery, While those bullets allow you to take on enemies in different ways, they also allow for a variety of puzzle types. One challenge might have you weaving a bullet through remote-control fields to reach a button or hit hard-to-reach switches as you navigate gates
Rise & Shine already features satisfying gunplay and gorgeous art, and the mechanics have the potential for tricky puzzles and challenging bosses. You can learn about Rise & Shine on the game's site and TIGSource devlog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PC Review #133: Glitchspace

Title: Glitchspace
Developer: Space Budgie
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $12.99
While some games like Hacknet and Uplink present relatively realistic focus on manipulating systems and code, many revolve around a more game-y form of programming, from Gunpoint's Crosslink to Spacechem's chemistry veneer. Glitchspace combines first-person puzzle platforming with a sleek visual programming mechanic.
Glitchspace drops you into a minimalist expanse of floating architecture and portals. As you traverse the levels, new programming mechanics are unlocking, allowing you to manipulate the properties of red platforms. As a platformer, Glitchspace is simple; you won't need split-second reflexes to jump across gaps or ride along moving objects. But where Glitchspace excels is putting the power to manipulate the world at your fingertips, through its clean visual programming interface.
Altering physics, editing logic, transferring momentum to objects, and much more is possible through Glitchspace's programming. The interface is presented through a simple-to-navigate menu of linking nodes, divided into sections such as Math, Vectors, and Logic. Combining nodes lets you turn a platform into a powerful trampoline, edit a passing object out of existence, or even change your own properties.

From exploring the game's odd stages to mastering the programming puzzles in both the campaign and Sandbox mode, Glitchspace is easily my favorite in the genre. The interface is simple to use and easy to understand, and there's something quite satisfying about seeing the effects of your manipulation in real-time, as platforms shift and change or launch you through the air. Exploring with the programming possibilities in Sandbox shows the potential depth for challenging and complex puzzles, especially when you find yourself drifting through the world because you made a platform disable the effects of gravity.

Glitchspace was completely revamped in a recent Alpha 2.0 update, improving everything from the art style to level progression and the look of the programming interface, and the game continues to grow on Early Access. The developers are currently working on a better tutorial, a level editor, and crafting new challenges.
Glitchspace is available on Steam,, and IndieGameStand.

Monday, November 23, 2015

No Money, No Problem: Who Must Die

Title: Who Must Die
Developer: Antoinusitos
Platforms: PC
Who Must Die is a polished and eerie puzzle/adventure game that, in the vein of recent releases Her Story and Contradiction, uses full motion video to great effect.

Designed for the Epic Game Game Jam, the premise is simple. A bank of monitors, three subjects, and one of them is infected with a disease. From your control room, you must figure out which person is the carrier...and kill him.
Learning who's infected and who's not involves using various stimuli on the subjects and closely watching their reactions on the monsters, using info and clues in the station to look out for key behaviors. It's unique, compelling, and a smart use of FMV, given the game a realistic voyeuristic atmosphere that graphics alone couldn't have accomplished.

Who Must Die is available to download on

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 11/21

Title: SPACR
Developer: Jaroslav Meloun
SPACR is an adventure game about time and space travel. Drive vehicles and ships, talk to people and bots, navigate, fix circuitry, fetch items.
All the planets, stars and galaxies are to scale
Title: Timruk
Developer: Studio Oleomingus
A storybook adventure from within Somewhere
Title: Pictures of a Reasonably Documented Year
Developer: Outlands Games
You found a computer. What happened to the owner?
(Released, free download)
Title: Slime Rancher
Developer: Monomi Park
Slime Rancher is the tale of Beatrix LeBeau, a plucky, young rancher who sets out for a life a thousand light years away from Earth on the 'Far, Far Range' where she tries her hand at making a living wrangling slimes. With a can-do attitude, plenty of grit, and her trusty vacpack, Beatrix attempts to stake a claim, amass a fortune, and avoid the continual peril that looms from the rolling, jiggling avalanche of slimes around every corner.
Title: Bombslinger
Developer: Mode4
Bombslinger is a Spaghetti Western single and (local) multiplayer player action game very much inspired by Bomberman.
It's a classic quest to avenge your family's murder by the hand of your younger brother and former posse-companion, the Gunslinger.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Watchlist: The Last Shore

Title: The Last Shore
Developer: Pulpo Games
Platforms: PC, Mac
Releasing mid 2016
A girl must sail across the ocean, visiting islands and collecting powerful artifacts, to confront the gods and save her family
Inspired by games like Zelda, Shadow of the Colossus, and Proteus, The Last Shore is an adventure across an ocean fraught with monsters and mysteries. Wielding blade and bow, you guide a young woman on a seafaring journey to defeat the gods.

The Last Shore drops you in a vast randomized sea, filled with islands, towns, dungeons, and other locations. From vine-choked temples to towering mountains, each island is unique, offering dungeons, monsters, puzzles to solve, or items to gather. The sea is just as varied, featuring both calm waters and massive underwater monsters to avoid during your travels. Sailing across the ocean is a mechanic to be explored and mastered.
To face the gods and other beasts, you'll be able to equip powerful weapons, from the bow of Artemis to a sword of light found deep within Ares' volcano. Combat looks to be fast and focused on deft evasion and precisely timed attacks.

Text is sparse in The Last Shore's tale of adventure and adversity. Instead, its narrative is told through the environment, animations and music, and the game's vibrant pixel art.
The Last Shore is slated for a mid-2016 release and is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. You can learn more about the game here.

No Money, No Problem: Rejection

Title: Rejection
Developer: qwerty
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
You awaken in a dark futuristic room. Lights power up, consoles rise from the ground, screens appear on the walls. In Rejection, you need figure out how to escape before it all resets.
The game's page recommends that you have a paper and pen at hand; this is that kind of puzzle game. Each console has an array of colored buttons, and figuring out the proper pattern from the surrounding screen is the only to get out. It's tricky, satisfying when the clues and solutions finally click, and features an uninviting Alien-esque atmosphere, due its retro sci-fi tech and aesthetic.
Rejection is available to download from

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Watchlist: Killers & Thieves

Title: Killers and Thieves
Developer: Candle & Key
Platforms: PC
Releasing 2016
Control a feudal thieves' guild, preying on the riches of an old and corrupt city
From Mark of the Ninja and The Swindle to Gunpoint, Ronin, and even This War of Mine, 2D stealth is flourishing.  The upcoming Killers and Thieves will add to that growing list with its blend of thief guild management and medieval heists.

In Killers and Thieves, you don't simply control a single thief, but maintain an expanding guild in a city of skilled rivals and houses waiting to be looted. From your tavern hideout, you can plan heists. recruit new talent and upgrade your thieves, and can further expand with new additions such as the spymaster room. Each thief is unique, with special abilities and attributes, both positive and negative. One might be able to scale the outside of buildings, while another might be able to slink into the shadows more effectively.
From the hideout, thieves can be sent out on missions or controlled directly, taking a team of up to four into the dark city streets. Rather than offering a single building to pilfer. an excursion in Killers and Thieves features an entire procedurally-generated street with several buildings, allowing you to leap across rooftops for a better entry or scout from above.

Developer Candle & Key plans for the gameplay to be a tactical experience with an emphasis on interlocking systems. You'll be able to pause the game to precisely queue actions for your team of thieves. A poorly-planned move might result in a thief captured by guards, but you'll still have the opportunity to rescue your partner before he's carted off to prison. And if all else fails, the skilled killers on your team can resort to bloody violence to fend off alerted guards.
But you're not the only faction active in the city; rival guilds and the authorities are an ever-present threat, tempting members to betray your guild or seeking out your hideout. Expanding your successful thief guilds means keeping your members well-paid, attempting more daring, more lucrative heists, and maintaining a low profile.

Killers and Thieves is currently in development; an Early Access release is slated for early 2016. You can learn more about the game and follow its progress here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 11/14

Title: Eastward
Developer: Pixpil Games
An action adventure influenced by Zelda and Earthbound
In the world of Eastward, human societies are isolated and shrinking, due to some severe environmental problem. You will be playing a father with a following daughter, and go through this post-apocalyptic world
Title: Mordhau
Developer: Team Mordhau
Mordhau is an upcoming medieval first-person fighting game with a strong emphasis on skill-based competitive play.
Title: CURE
Developer: Cryogenic Entertainment
CURE is a real time strategy game that puts the player into the shoes of a scientist creating new life forms in order to produce the world's most powerful medicine, or perhaps its worst disease
Title: Boss 101
Developer: Donley Time Foundation
Boss 101 is an action adventure game with you taking the role of Max, a teenager with a jetpack. Help your brother and save the world at the same time. Buy weapons, hats, upgrades while you battle millions of randomly generated bosses.
Title: Nadia Was Here
Developer: Joep Aben
Nadia Was Here is an RPG about the worth of a life in a world that is about to forget you ever existed. Features an original battle system and puzzle-filled dungeons.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Watchlist: Song of Horror

Title: Song of Horror
Developer: Protocol Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One
Releasing 2017
Story-driven third person survival horror
Developer Protocol Games first revealed Song of Horror earlier this year. Unfortunately, their first attempt on Kickstarter failed, but now the game is back, Greenlit on Steam and slated for consoles, and looking even more terrifying.

Song of Horror is a survival horror game that promises to blend the old-school fixed angle horror of classic Resident Evil and Alone In The Dark with a modern approach. You control the fates of 16 characters, all haunted and stalked by an insidious eldritch Presence, a cast of normal men and women against an ancient cunning evil.
While the characters in Song of Horror are weaponless, they aren't defenseless. You can run, and hide, slow its advance, avoid its shadowy clutches by carefully watching and listening for clues, But if the Presence does kill you, the story isn't over. Similar to games like Heavy Rain and Until Dawn, Song of Horror features a narrative that molds around character deaths.

I was able to try out an early demo of the game, featuring the first chapter set in the Husher Mansion. (Each chapter takes place in a different location.) For a game that still at least two years away, Song of Horror already feels polished and promising. Don't expect many jump scares; the tension and dread here comes from knowing you're not alone; that you're being stalked by a force that can kill you in a moment anywhere anytime; that can't be stopped, only slowed and avoided. The experience is one of measured pacing, cautious careful exploration, and moments of desperate flight as you try to outrun and delay the Presence.
Song of Horror is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, and is expected to release in mid 2017. You can learn more about the game here; the demo should be releasing publicly soon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

IOS Review #106: Five Card Quest

Title: Five Card Quest
Developer: Rocketcat Games
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $2.99
Between Mage Gauntlet and Wayward Souls, Rocketcat Games is well established as a developer that can develop a challenging quality RPG/roguelike experience on mobile. Now with Five Card Quest, they tackle the turn-based game and deliver a challenging tactical dungeon crawler
In Five Card Quest, you select a duo of warriors from a selection of classes, from the powerful support Priest to the dagger-wielding Rogue, and traverse room-by-room through dangerous dungeons. You might find a healing fountain or a merchant or another warrior to add to your party, but more often, you'll find enemies blocking your path to the exit.

Combat in Five Cars Quest is an interesting blend of card game and lane-based strategy, reminiscent of Zachtronics' Ironclad Tactics (however less complex). Your party is one side of the screen, enemies on the other, spread out across three lanes. Each turn you have five skills to use from, a mix of random abilities from each of your warrior's pool of skills, and with each action, your enemies move down the lane, closing in until they're within striking distance.
The combination of random abilities and staggered enemy approach gives Five Card Quest's combat a unique feel and allows various strategy and tactics. Abilities don't just inflict damage; they let your characters swap lanes, freeze an enemy's movement or knock it back to its side of the screen. Some attacks may take three turns to charge up, forcing you to consider how long it will take certain enemies to close the distance to strike. Other attacks do lane-based damage or injury the front-most foe.

You never know what attacks and abilities you'll have at hand during your turn, resulting in tense and desperate strategy as you use whatever's available to postpone incoming attacks, heal and prepare blocks and parries, switch characters across lanes, and so on. Five Card Quest pulls no punches, and a careless strategy will only get you killed more quickly.

Your enemies are just as varied, ranging from shielded brutes to archers and spellcasters. Each area has its own array of enemies, enemies that can stun and poison, among other actions. Friend and foe alike are brought to life on a bright angular art style, giving Five Card Quest a unique aesthetic.
Five Card Quest is available on iPhone and iPad.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Watchlist: Wizard of Legend

Title: Wizard of Legend
Developer: Contingent99
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Releasing 2016
A fast paced 2D dungeon crawler where you assume the role of a powerful wizard on his quest for fame and glory!
Often in games, wizards and mages are designated as support. Powerful but fragile units kept away from the fray, helping out the warriors with magic and healing. Wizard of Legend takes the opposite approach. In the fast-paced dungeon crawler, you're a force to be reckoned with, wielding the might of the elements to decimate enemies.

The set-up is simple. You're a mage facing a series of trials to prove your skill and join the Council of Magic as a new Wizard of Legend. Those trials will take you from dense forests to dank dungeons, each featuring procedurally-generated layouts and dangerous enemies.
But you're more than capable of surviving these challenges. There's a vast array of magical abilities to choose, ranging from chain lightning and devastating fire blasts to summoning meteors and dropping totem turrets. Chaining together your chosen abilities is key to defeating the hordes of undead foes, beasts, and bosses; combat is a spectacle of powerful screen-filling effects, as you control crowds, stun enemies, evade attacks to get into a better position, unleash flame and ice and wind.

Special items and perks will complement your magic, but if the challenge proves too much, Wizard of Legend lets you team up with a friend in local co-op. If you'd rather prove your superior wizardry, you can face your friend in spell-slinging PvP combat.
Wizard of Legend is expected to release in mid-2016, and is currently seeking votes on Steam Greenlight. You can learn more about the game and follow its development on TIGSource and Twitter.

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 11/7

Title: GoNNER
Developer: Ditto
A fast-paced run-n-gun shooter/platformer
Title: RoboCorps
Developer: Entropy Machine Games
RoboCorps focuses on smashing together the quick, addictive action of Quake with the carnage and spirit of Worms, all fine-tuned with single-player and couch multi-player in mind.
Title: Dragonpath
Developer: Fainzeraier
Dragonpath is a Diablo-like action RPG. The game has 15 levels, each with an unique boss. You get all abilities directly from equipped gear, so go ahead and experiment with different combinations.
Title: Trashomancer
Developer: Fat Pixel Games
Strange things are happening in a weird building that emerged from the ground... It's up to you, the trashomancer, to investigate what is happening in that place!
But you never liked getting your hands dirty anyway so you decide to send your minions made out of the trash you find lying around everyday. Play with your friends as the true disposable and recyclable heroes!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Watchlist: Skychasers

Title: Skychasers
Developer: Alexis Eshford
Platforms: PC
In development
A story-driven fast-paced 2D arcade shmup about supersonic jets, intense dogfights, and giant bosses
Fighter jets carve through the skies, leaving coiling contrails in their wake and unleashing blinding explosions and streaking missile barrages. Amidst the aerial chaos, a singular pilot deftly weaves between the opposing planes and projectiles. That's the core gameplay of the in-development high-flying shmup Skychasers: vibrant, frenetic, bullet hell action in the skies.
At the controls of an extremely mobile and well-equipped fighter jet, you'll face down squadrons of enemy planes, pulling off precise aerobatic maneuvers to evade bullets and missiles. While the game might seem reminiscent of the other 2D aerial bullet hell Luftrausers, Skychasers stands apart due to its colorful visuals, stage-by-stage progressions and bosses, and a focus on letting the player remain untouched through skill alone.

A stylish barrel roll move lets you dodge incoming projectiles, and by combining that maneuver with your fighter's agility, it's possible to beat levels without getting hit once. Complementing your superior mobility is a customizable loadout to blow your enemies out of the sky. EMP bombs, rocket swarms, homing missiles, and more are available, along with a sizable array of modules to further alter your play style.
Skychasers is still relatively early in development; you can follow its progress on TIGSource and Twitter.