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Found 15 results

  1. Take one glance at Terrorarium by Stitch Media, and it’s impossible not to think of Nintendo’s Pikmin. Both games share a similar premise with a lone traveler utilizing an armada of diminutive aliens to overcome obstacles. Terrorarium veers left, though, by encouraging the willful destruction of your cute companions as opposed to building their numbers. The result almost feels like a spoof of Shigeru Miyamoto’s lovable plant buddies that, with time, could become a respectable counterpart. Players control the Gardener, an elderly, and perhaps sadistic, woman in command of an army of tiny creatures called Moogu. These cute critters can be gathered together, told to wait, and lobbed at obstacles. Moogu come in a variety of types sporting unique abilities. Gassy Moogu, for example, can inflate themselves to allow the player to float. Spicy Moogu ignite flammable objects such as wood and plantlife. Two types of Moogu can be carried at a time, with additional types coming from eating the fruit of Moogu trees. While Pikmin values building items and growing an army, Terrorarium revels in the concept of self destruction. Stages usually require players to sacrifice Moogu, whether it be using them to trigger explosive vegetables or offering a set amount to the end-level tree. When Moogu die, the remaining horde use the corpses to spawn new Moogu. That means you’ll need to intentionally slaughter Moogu in order to get more of them. End-game messages reinforce this theme by teasingly asking the player how many Moogu died for their success or outright calling them monsters. Just because death is often the answer doesn’t mean you should completely throw caution to the wind. If Moogu multiply too much, their large numbers will overwhelm the player which leads to Game Over. A meter on top of the screen represents the maximum number of Moogu allowed per stage. Thus, Terrorium becomes a balancing act of skillfully growing and depleting Moogu supply. Stages present a series of environmental puzzles to overcome. Some obstacles can only be traversed by the Gardener or the Moogu. One stage featured two routes: one filled with water while the other was a spike pit. The Gardener can cross water but Moogu cannot. Conversely, spike pits are a no-go to players but a non-issue to Moogu. The solution came in having the Moogu wait on the edge of the spiked path while I crossed the water to the other side. I then beckoned the Moogu across the spikes to the end goal. Most of the introductory stages I played were similarly easy and decently entertaining. One of the more devious levels forced me to continually sacrifice Spicy Moogu by tossing them into a long series of spiked logs. Corpses piled up in a hurry, and since Moogu are attracted to corpses, I had to reach the end faster than the Moogu could reproduce. Terrorarium’s 20+ stages aren’t the most visually interesting (especially compared to Pikmin’s charming “little person in a giant world” theme), but players can build their own in the Maker Mode. The editor puts all of the game’s assets at player’s fingertips with levels being made from scratch or from three presets: Mountain, Dungeon, and Sprint. Mountain stages are designed to be tougher from the outset. Dungeon focuses on more complicated, puzzle-like layouts. Lastly, Sprint levels encourage speedy playthroughs. Creations can be uploaded to Steam Workshop where other homemade stages can be downloaded to play. The easy-to-use tools make slapping levels together a breeze, and players can instantly hop in them for quick test runs. Terrorarium taps into some of Pikmin’s magic but seems to differentiate itself enough to stand on its own. The premise has potential, so hopefully the later stages ratchet up the challenge and creativity. I’d also like to see additional types of Moogu added to the final game as there’s only a handful at the moment. Terrorarium is currently for sale in Steam Early Access with a release date to be announced at a later time. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. Take one glance at Terrorarium by Stitch Media, and it’s impossible not to think of Nintendo’s Pikmin. Both games share a similar premise with a lone traveler utilizing an armada of diminutive aliens to overcome obstacles. Terrorarium veers left, though, by encouraging the willful destruction of your cute companions as opposed to building their numbers. The result almost feels like a spoof of Shigeru Miyamoto’s lovable plant buddies that, with time, could become a respectable counterpart. Players control the Gardener, an elderly, and perhaps sadistic, woman in command of an army of tiny creatures called Moogu. These cute critters can be gathered together, told to wait, and lobbed at obstacles. Moogu come in a variety of types sporting unique abilities. Gassy Moogu, for example, can inflate themselves to allow the player to float. Spicy Moogu ignite flammable objects such as wood and plantlife. Two types of Moogu can be carried at a time, with additional types coming from eating the fruit of Moogu trees. While Pikmin values building items and growing an army, Terrorarium revels in the concept of self destruction. Stages usually require players to sacrifice Moogu, whether it be using them to trigger explosive vegetables or offering a set amount to the end-level tree. When Moogu die, the remaining horde use the corpses to spawn new Moogu. That means you’ll need to intentionally slaughter Moogu in order to get more of them. End-game messages reinforce this theme by teasingly asking the player how many Moogu died for their success or outright calling them monsters. Just because death is often the answer doesn’t mean you should completely throw caution to the wind. If Moogu multiply too much, their large numbers will overwhelm the player which leads to Game Over. A meter on top of the screen represents the maximum number of Moogu allowed per stage. Thus, Terrorium becomes a balancing act of skillfully growing and depleting Moogu supply. Stages present a series of environmental puzzles to overcome. Some obstacles can only be traversed by the Gardener or the Moogu. One stage featured two routes: one filled with water while the other was a spike pit. The Gardener can cross water but Moogu cannot. Conversely, spike pits are a no-go to players but a non-issue to Moogu. The solution came in having the Moogu wait on the edge of the spiked path while I crossed the water to the other side. I then beckoned the Moogu across the spikes to the end goal. Most of the introductory stages I played were similarly easy and decently entertaining. One of the more devious levels forced me to continually sacrifice Spicy Moogu by tossing them into a long series of spiked logs. Corpses piled up in a hurry, and since Moogu are attracted to corpses, I had to reach the end faster than the Moogu could reproduce. Terrorarium’s 20+ stages aren’t the most visually interesting (especially compared to Pikmin’s charming “little person in a giant world” theme), but players can build their own in the Maker Mode. The editor puts all of the game’s assets at player’s fingertips with levels being made from scratch or from three presets: Mountain, Dungeon, and Sprint. Mountain stages are designed to be tougher from the outset. Dungeon focuses on more complicated, puzzle-like layouts. Lastly, Sprint levels encourage speedy playthroughs. Creations can be uploaded to Steam Workshop where other homemade stages can be downloaded to play. The easy-to-use tools make slapping levels together a breeze, and players can instantly hop in them for quick test runs. Terrorarium taps into some of Pikmin’s magic but seems to differentiate itself enough to stand on its own. The premise has potential, so hopefully the later stages ratchet up the challenge and creativity. I’d also like to see additional types of Moogu added to the final game as there’s only a handful at the moment. Terrorarium is currently for sale in Steam Early Access with a release date to be announced at a later time. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. Creating a truly multiplayer shooter that differentiates itself feels nigh impossible given the sheer glut of games in the genre. Lemnis Gate (previously known as Convergence) by Canadian developer Ratloop Games may well pull it off. This inventive shooter combines elements of time travel and turn-based mechanics to create a truly fresh and mind-boggling take on a well-worn genre. Lemnis Gate’s core gameplay revolves around a difficult concept to explain so let’s start with the basics. The game is a hero-based first-person shooter that pits up to four opposing players against each other. Instead of controlling one individual character, each player commands an entire squad from a roster of 7 heroes (so far). Like similar games, Heroes sport specific traits and loadouts, such as one focused on laying down traps. Players win matches by completing their respective missions. In the bout I played against game director James Anderson, I needed to destroy one of three objectives. Anderson’s job was to protect them. Still with me? Good, because that’s where the simplicity ends. Like a tactical RPG, matches play out with each player taking turns to perform actions. Turns grants players 25 seconds to move anywhere and do anything on the map. Whatever you decide to do, every action is recorded and saved as a repeating loop that constantly replays itself every turn. I use my first turn to run down a hallway, enter a room containing the objective, and destroy it. That action will repeat itself in subsequent turns–unless something interferes with it. It’s Anderson’s turn next. After witnessing my move, he counters by taking a quicker route to the same hallway that my past self will soon arrive in. He lays a proximity mine. When my Hero enters that hallway he’s blown to bits. This means he never gets to destroy the objective as he had before. My previous outcome has been erased from time. If that sounds complicated it only gets crazier. Now that Anderson’s counter is in play I have two options for my second turn. I can either chase after one of the other objectives instead or try to neutralize his previous action. I choose the latter. I take a different route and locate Anderson’s character in route of setting his proximity mine. I gun him down before he reaches his planned destination. Events have once again been altered. Since my second loop interfered with Anderson’s first loop, that means MY first loop proceeds unimpeded. My first Hero destroys the objective as before. Loops will continue to stack like this as players try to outwit one another. Once all of the turns are expired, a match that took several minutes to set up plays out in 25 seconds in real-time. Loops collide and interfere with each other–a cool scene to watch unfold–and whoever successfully pulls off their mission wins. Like chess, Lemnis Gate is a game about planning multiple moves ahead by predicting/manipulating your opponent’s actions. As such, the game lends itself to a variety of strategies. One tactic Anderson regularly used against me was to stand in a doorway or corridor and unload fire. If I were to enter those areas, I’d be met with a barrage of bullets–a smart play for cutting off key areas. However, friendly fire is enabled so you have to keep your own moves in mind too, lest you fall prey to yourself. Anderson once bit the dust by crossing paths with a shotgun blast fired by his own time looped hero. This design also means players are essentially playing alongside multiple versions of themselves as teammates, something Ratloop refers to as “Auto Co-op”. Up to four players can enjoy Lemnis Gate on a single screen with one controller. There’s no split-screen whatsoever; players simply pass the gamepad between turns. This makes the game extremely accessible since you won’t have to worry about having enough controllers for everyone. Everything looked and played well, an impressive feat given that Lemnis Gate has only been in development for less than a year. Though I largely sucked at the game (playing against an experienced developer didn’t help either), I had a blast with Lemnis Gate. As a shooter it plays competently, but more than anything I was in awe at the level of strategy at play. Once I got my head around the concept I found myself thinking of new, better tactics I couldn’t wait to try out. Lemnis Gate is one of those games you have to play yourself to truly appreciate/understand. There’s no release window for now but 2020 would be the earliest launch period with PC and potentially consoles as target platforms. Until then, multiplayer shooters fan looking for a shake-up should definitely keep Lemnis Gate on their radars. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games
  4. Creating a truly multiplayer shooter that differentiates itself feels nigh impossible given the sheer glut of games in the genre. Lemnis Gate (previously known as Convergence) by Canadian developer Ratloop Games may well pull it off. This inventive shooter combines elements of time travel and turn-based mechanics to create a truly fresh and mind-boggling take on a well-worn genre. Lemnis Gate’s core gameplay revolves around a difficult concept to explain so let’s start with the basics. The game is a hero-based first-person shooter that pits up to four opposing players against each other. Instead of controlling one individual character, each player commands an entire squad from a roster of 7 heroes (so far). Like similar games, Heroes sport specific traits and loadouts, such as one focused on laying down traps. Players win matches by completing their respective missions. In the bout I played against game director James Anderson, I needed to destroy one of three objectives. Anderson’s job was to protect them. Still with me? Good, because that’s where the simplicity ends. Like a tactical RPG, matches play out with each player taking turns to perform actions. Turns grants players 25 seconds to move anywhere and do anything on the map. Whatever you decide to do, every action is recorded and saved as a repeating loop that constantly replays itself every turn. I use my first turn to run down a hallway, enter a room containing the objective, and destroy it. That action will repeat itself in subsequent turns–unless something interferes with it. It’s Anderson’s turn next. After witnessing my move, he counters by taking a quicker route to the same hallway that my past self will soon arrive in. He lays a proximity mine. When my Hero enters that hallway he’s blown to bits. This means he never gets to destroy the objective as he had before. My previous outcome has been erased from time. If that sounds complicated it only gets crazier. Now that Anderson’s counter is in play I have two options for my second turn. I can either chase after one of the other objectives instead or try to neutralize his previous action. I choose the latter. I take a different route and locate Anderson’s character in route of setting his proximity mine. I gun him down before he reaches his planned destination. Events have once again been altered. Since my second loop interfered with Anderson’s first loop, that means MY first loop proceeds unimpeded. My first Hero destroys the objective as before. Loops will continue to stack like this as players try to outwit one another. Once all of the turns are expired, a match that took several minutes to set up plays out in 25 seconds in real-time. Loops collide and interfere with each other–a cool scene to watch unfold–and whoever successfully pulls off their mission wins. Like chess, Lemnis Gate is a game about planning multiple moves ahead by predicting/manipulating your opponent’s actions. As such, the game lends itself to a variety of strategies. One tactic Anderson regularly used against me was to stand in a doorway or corridor and unload fire. If I were to enter those areas, I’d be met with a barrage of bullets–a smart play for cutting off key areas. However, friendly fire is enabled so you have to keep your own moves in mind too, lest you fall prey to yourself. Anderson once bit the dust by crossing paths with a shotgun blast fired by his own time looped hero. This design also means players are essentially playing alongside multiple versions of themselves as teammates, something Ratloop refers to as “Auto Co-op”. Up to four players can enjoy Lemnis Gate on a single screen with one controller. There’s no split-screen whatsoever; players simply pass the gamepad between turns. This makes the game extremely accessible since you won’t have to worry about having enough controllers for everyone. Everything looked and played well, an impressive feat given that Lemnis Gate has only been in development for less than a year. Though I largely sucked at the game (playing against an experienced developer didn’t help either), I had a blast with Lemnis Gate. As a shooter it plays competently, but more than anything I was in awe at the level of strategy at play. Once I got my head around the concept I found myself thinking of new, better tactics I couldn’t wait to try out. Lemnis Gate is one of those games you have to play yourself to truly appreciate/understand. There’s no release window for now but 2020 would be the earliest launch period with PC and potentially consoles as target platforms. Until then, multiplayer shooters fan looking for a shake-up should definitely keep Lemnis Gate on their radars. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games View full article
  5. Those attending IndieCade’s booth during E3 probably heard the pitch for Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble loud and clear: “Tired of waiting for Nintendo to make a new Advance Wars? Check out Tiny Metal!” That battle cry from Area 35’s enthusiastic hype-man about sums up the project. Though I’ve never played Advance Wars, I love turn-based strategy and Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble feels like a respectable take on the genre. Full Metal Rumble is a sequel to 2017’s Tiny Metal and, like any good sequel, promises to be bigger and better than its predecessor. Like Advance Wars, players control armies made up of a variety of infantrymen, tanks, and assault vehicles, among others. Anyone familiar with the genre will pick up on the game mechanics immediately. Every turn, players push their units across a grid-shaped battlefield to complete objectives like wiping out enemies or capturing rogue headquarters. The map is largely hidden from view by a fog–or really blocks–of war that makes careful scouting a necessity. Players gradually reveal surroundings as they advance, meaning they must balance offense with a reactive defense until they’re within spitting distance of targets. Stepping onto a hidden tile occupied by a foe will cause said enemy to ambush the player. Units have four offensive options: Attack, Assault, Lock On, and Special. Attack does exactly what you’d expect. Assault deals less damage but pushes defending targets a tile away. Lock On allows multiple units concentrate fire on a single enemy, which can be useful against hardier foes. Specials are powerful abilities that appear periodically. An example would be a buff that increases the attack, defense, and movement of nearby allies. As units take down enemies they’ll Rank Up, becoming increasingly more powerful. Taking down foes isn’t the only job to focus on. Players generate coins each turn which are used to purchase more units. Capturing buildings becomes vital as owned structures will pump out additional units, resources, and currency. This eliminates the need to rely solely on the beginning factory, plus new recruits won’t have to trek from the start of the map. Individual units consume fuel and ammo, which are resupplied at friendly factory or city tiles. Keep that in mind as mismanagement of these tools could leave soldiers without the resources to defend themselves. Terrain matters as well. Some tiles, such as tundra, boost defense. Units hunkered in forested tiles are tougher to hit while mountainous tiles can’t be traversed at all. The campaign features 39 maps that weave with what Area 35 describes as a “twisting” and dramatic narrative. Three distinct characters share the spotlight. One searches for her lost brother, another hunts ancient, powerful artifacts, while the third pursues a mysterious adversary. A Skirmish mode lets players focus purely on the action across 77 maps of varying types and sizes. Those who want to test their strategic mettle against other would-be General Pattons can do so in a head-to-head online multiplayer mode. As a fan of the genre, Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble didn’t surprise me, but it proved to be a competent and enjoyable experience. As I made my way across a winter-themed map I engaged with enemies while churning out reinforcements in the background. The game hits many of the genre’s sweet spots like the satisfaction of strategically leading an army against decently challenging opposition. Those looking for something to fill the long empty void left by Advance Wars can pick up Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble right now on Nintendo Switch and Steam. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games
  6. Those attending IndieCade’s booth during E3 probably heard the pitch for Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble loud and clear: “Tired of waiting for Nintendo to make a new Advance Wars? Check out Tiny Metal!” That battle cry from Area 35’s enthusiastic hype-man about sums up the project. Though I’ve never played Advance Wars, I love turn-based strategy and Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble feels like a respectable take on the genre. Full Metal Rumble is a sequel to 2017’s Tiny Metal and, like any good sequel, promises to be bigger and better than its predecessor. Like Advance Wars, players control armies made up of a variety of infantrymen, tanks, and assault vehicles, among others. Anyone familiar with the genre will pick up on the game mechanics immediately. Every turn, players push their units across a grid-shaped battlefield to complete objectives like wiping out enemies or capturing rogue headquarters. The map is largely hidden from view by a fog–or really blocks–of war that makes careful scouting a necessity. Players gradually reveal surroundings as they advance, meaning they must balance offense with a reactive defense until they’re within spitting distance of targets. Stepping onto a hidden tile occupied by a foe will cause said enemy to ambush the player. Units have four offensive options: Attack, Assault, Lock On, and Special. Attack does exactly what you’d expect. Assault deals less damage but pushes defending targets a tile away. Lock On allows multiple units concentrate fire on a single enemy, which can be useful against hardier foes. Specials are powerful abilities that appear periodically. An example would be a buff that increases the attack, defense, and movement of nearby allies. As units take down enemies they’ll Rank Up, becoming increasingly more powerful. Taking down foes isn’t the only job to focus on. Players generate coins each turn which are used to purchase more units. Capturing buildings becomes vital as owned structures will pump out additional units, resources, and currency. This eliminates the need to rely solely on the beginning factory, plus new recruits won’t have to trek from the start of the map. Individual units consume fuel and ammo, which are resupplied at friendly factory or city tiles. Keep that in mind as mismanagement of these tools could leave soldiers without the resources to defend themselves. Terrain matters as well. Some tiles, such as tundra, boost defense. Units hunkered in forested tiles are tougher to hit while mountainous tiles can’t be traversed at all. The campaign features 39 maps that weave with what Area 35 describes as a “twisting” and dramatic narrative. Three distinct characters share the spotlight. One searches for her lost brother, another hunts ancient, powerful artifacts, while the third pursues a mysterious adversary. A Skirmish mode lets players focus purely on the action across 77 maps of varying types and sizes. Those who want to test their strategic mettle against other would-be General Pattons can do so in a head-to-head online multiplayer mode. As a fan of the genre, Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble didn’t surprise me, but it proved to be a competent and enjoyable experience. As I made my way across a winter-themed map I engaged with enemies while churning out reinforcements in the background. The game hits many of the genre’s sweet spots like the satisfaction of strategically leading an army against decently challenging opposition. Those looking for something to fill the long empty void left by Advance Wars can pick up Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble right now on Nintendo Switch and Steam. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games View full article
  7. Video games are wonderfully weird. We all know it, but sometimes it just needs to be said. That weirdness tends to surface in the indie world more than anywhere else. One of the games coming to IndieCade later this week really delves into that strangeness. The Black Window comes courtesy of Flux, an interactive story-telling studio that has worked on various narrative projects since 1999, often far outside the mainstream and with unique approaches to creating their experiences. In the late 1800s, Louisa Collins received a conviction for the murders of her two husbands in 1887 and 1888. She was hanged for her crimes... but was she truly guilty? Players are tasked with uncovering the truth by physically interacting with a custom made wooden spirit board controller to communicate with Collins' in the afterlife. She responds to a wide variety of questions as players delve deeper in their lines of questioning. It's certainly a unique take on mystery solving, but it's unclear if the game will see a wider release. People interested in fringe indie experiments can play The Black Widow for themselves during IndieCade this coming weekend, October 6-8 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. You can learn more about The Black Widow on Flux's website. View full article
  8. Video games are wonderfully weird. We all know it, but sometimes it just needs to be said. That weirdness tends to surface in the indie world more than anywhere else. One of the games coming to IndieCade later this week really delves into that strangeness. The Black Window comes courtesy of Flux, an interactive story-telling studio that has worked on various narrative projects since 1999, often far outside the mainstream and with unique approaches to creating their experiences. In the late 1800s, Louisa Collins received a conviction for the murders of her two husbands in 1887 and 1888. She was hanged for her crimes... but was she truly guilty? Players are tasked with uncovering the truth by physically interacting with a custom made wooden spirit board controller to communicate with Collins' in the afterlife. She responds to a wide variety of questions as players delve deeper in their lines of questioning. It's certainly a unique take on mystery solving, but it's unclear if the game will see a wider release. People interested in fringe indie experiments can play The Black Widow for themselves during IndieCade this coming weekend, October 6-8 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. You can learn more about The Black Widow on Flux's website.
  9. Among the giants of gaming with their colossal booths was a haven for the indie crowd at E3 2017 in the form of Indiecade. The goal of Indiecade is to give indies the spotlight–a great juxtaposition considering the commercial, triple-A nature of E3. One such game being showcased was called Borders. Borders has its players navigate as an immigrant trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border with many dangerous obstacles in between. At its core, the game is simple in both its controls and graphics, but it's the message behind it that makes it a powerful piece. The 2D side-scroller intends to not only demonstrate the storytelling prowess of video games but also hopes to shed light on the risks facing illegal immigrants. Developer Gonzalo Alvarez (artist, creative director, art direction, and animator) created the game alongside Jon DiGiacomo (engineer, level designer) and Genaro Vallejo Reyes (game, level, and sound designer) after they met each other at another Indiecade event. Development of the game spanned a seven-day game jam with Reyes being the only team member with prior game development experience. Alvarez's inspiration came from his own parent's stories of crossing the border. "They get excited to see all of the little things," Alvarez said standing beside a demo of the game on the E3 show floor speaking about his parent's reaction to the game. In Borders, players have one goal: get to the border. In between there and the starting point, though, are plenty of border patrol and a constant risk for dehydration. Again, the experience is straightforward (you run and duck into the occasional bush) but it is very addicting. Borders is still a game, and it can be easy to get sucked up into the standard gaming goals: dodge the enemy, make it to the end. But the landscape is littered with constant reminders of its political purpose. Skeletons are left in wake of the players failed attempts symbolizing the sometimes fatal nature of crossing the border for immigrants. This feature was even more startling in the E3 demo since everyone who had played the game and died had their markers piled up along the path. Needless to say, there were a lot of skeletons. Borders gained attention after an art exhibit showcased it in arcade cabinet form earlier this year. Major news outlets covered the game, and long story short, the attention earned it a featured spot at E3. "It is surreal," said Alvarez about being at E3, "if it wasn't for Indiecade I probably wouldn't be a game developer." The game is available now on Windows, Mac and Android marketplace. Depending on the platform, Borders is either $.99 or name your own price. The three devs formed a game company called Macua Studios and are currently working on a non-political game called Paleo Hunter.
  10. Among the giants of gaming with their colossal booths was a haven for the indie crowd at E3 2017 in the form of Indiecade. The goal of Indiecade is to give indies the spotlight, a great juxtaposition considering the commercial nature of E3. One such game being showcased was called Borders. Borders has its players navigate as an immigrant trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border with many dangerous obstacles in between. At its core, the game is simple in both its controls and graphics, but it's the message behind it that makes it a powerful piece. The 2D side scroller touts the mission of not only displaying the storytelling prowess of video games overall but also hopes to shed light on the risks facing illegal immigrants. Developer Gonzalo Alvarez (artist, creative director, art direction, and animator) created the game alongside Jon DiGiacomo (engineer, level designer) and Genaro Vallejo Reyes (game, level, and sound designer) after they met each other at another Indiecade event. Development of the game spanned a seven-day game jam with Reyes being the only team member with prior game development experience. Alvarez's inspiration came from his own parent's stories of crossing the border. "They get excited to see all of the little things," Alvarez said standing beside a demo of the game on the E3 show floor speaking to his parent's reaction to the game. Playing the game you have one goal, get to the border. In between there and the starting point though are plenty of border patrol and a constant risk for dehydration. Again it's straightforward, you run and duck into the occasional bush, but it is very addicting. Borders is still a game and it can be easy to get sucked up into the standard gaming goals, dodge the enemy, make it to the end. But the landscape is littered with constant reminders of its political purpose. View full article
  11. SupeRaven

    IndieCade Festival

    until
    IndieCade features indie games from around the world, an annual award show celebrating 12 different innovation award categories, and a three-day conference in beautiful Culver City, California. The Extra Life Los Angeles Guild will be returning to the IndiCade Village October 23-25 to represent Extra Life. IndieCade Festival Hours Friday, October 23rd 12:00 PM - 8:00 PMSaturday, October 24th 10:00 AM - 6:00 PMSunday, October 25th 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  12. I really adore the game 6180 Moon (even though I am just awful at it) for its tight platforming and clever puzzle mechanics. So imagine my delight to find that the developer behind 6180, Turtle Cream, had returned to E3 this year with a rough build of a new game with a new central mechanic that I have never seen before. Long Take is another game that is both clever and challenging. The premise is that instead of controlling the main character of the game, you are merely the camera man who is trying to make the hero look good. Here is where it gets interesting: Everything outside of your camera frame ceases to exist. All manner of hazards from rockets to lasers can be avoided by zooming the camera closer to the hero. However, the proximity of the zoom has to be weighed against how fast the hero is moving. If the platforming protagonist leaves the camera frame, you fail the level and start over again. This means you have to be careful if he decides to go back to collect the last few coins in the level or makes a dash for the exit. This leads to a number of creative puzzles that revolve around where you point the camera. Though I didn’t have an extended play session with Long Take, it shows a lot of promise for such an early iteration of the concept. I only had a couple gripes about what I have seen thus far. First, the player isn't given time to survey each level to formulate a strategy beforehand (only a brief glimpse of everything before automatically beginning), which leads to a number of frustrating and seemingly unavoidable trial and error deaths. Second, I encountered a bug where things off screen continued to fire despite not being visible, which is really debilitating to the core concept of the title. There were a few other minor annoyances along the lines of the second complaint, but I was assured that they were due to the early build and would be ironed out before release. Overall, color me intrigued and hopeful that Long Take will live up to the pedigree of 6180.
  13. I really adore the game 6180 Moon (even though I am just awful at it) for its tight platforming and clever puzzle mechanics. So imagine my delight to find that the developer behind 6180, Turtle Cream, had returned to E3 this year with a rough build of a new game with a new central mechanic that I have never seen before. Long Take is another game that is both clever and challenging. The premise is that instead of controlling the main character of the game, you are merely the camera man who is trying to make the hero look good. Here is where it gets interesting: Everything outside of your camera frame ceases to exist. All manner of hazards from rockets to lasers can be avoided by zooming the camera closer to the hero. However, the proximity of the zoom has to be weighed against how fast the hero is moving. If the platforming protagonist leaves the camera frame, you fail the level and start over again. This means you have to be careful if he decides to go back to collect the last few coins in the level or makes a dash for the exit. This leads to a number of creative puzzles that revolve around where you point the camera. Though I didn’t have an extended play session with Long Take, it shows a lot of promise for such an early iteration of the concept. I only had a couple gripes about what I have seen thus far. First, the player isn't given time to survey each level to formulate a strategy beforehand (only a brief glimpse of everything before automatically beginning), which leads to a number of frustrating and seemingly unavoidable trial and error deaths. Second, I encountered a bug where things off screen continued to fire despite not being visible, which is really debilitating to the core concept of the title. There were a few other minor annoyances along the lines of the second complaint, but I was assured that they were due to the early build and would be ironed out before release. Overall, color me intrigued and hopeful that Long Take will live up to the pedigree of 6180. View full article
  14. In the midst of the insanity that made up E3 2013, I encountered a game called Pinstripe at the IndieCade booth. What followed was akin to a descent into surreal madness of the sort one might expect from a more malign Alice in Wonderland. With little introduction, I was thrust into the role of James Weaks, an absurdly wealthy man who is aboard a train with his wife. After being asked to retrieve my wife’s scarf, I was able to explore the various compartments of the train using the W, A, S, and D keys to move. As I moved through the train cars, I came into contact with various other passengers who chatted about their goals in life, before I was able to proceed. Once I obtained the scarf from several cars farther forward, I encountered what appeared to be a demonic cat. With some cryptic words, the cat vanished and the train wrecked itself in a snowy land. The haunting melodies of Pinstripe’s soundtrack played as I tried to get my bearings. Donning my wife’s scarf against the cold, I soldiered on through the ice. Soon I began to meet other survivors from the wreck, but all of them seemed different, obsessed with their desires. One of the first people I encountered was an alcoholic from the train, who was now obsessed with drinking the honey from black beehives. After retrieving a hive for him to eat, he allowed me through his shelter and I found a blunderbuss. With this weapon I was able to sever ropes and fight the enemies that had appeared; odd tear drop creatures with propellers that dropped oozing bombs. It became clear that not everything was right in the world. Pressing onward, I solved more problems from people who had been on the train and I met what seemed to be a dog from my childhood. I saw the fleeting image of my wife, running in the distance. Shortly after, I was told by the demonic cat that my wife was waiting at the hotel, a building off in the distance. To reach the hotel, I needed to take a boat across a lake. In a scene that brought to mind the crossing of the river Styx from Greek mythology, I was propelled on the boat by a lanky, oozing, black creature with a singular red eye for a head. Upon reaching the far shore, I disembarked (hoping never to see that monster again) and made my way into the nearby hotel where I was greeted by the demonic feline. At this point, my demonic guide revealed that the world was no longer the mortal world, but “a place where the selfish become more selfish” before vanishing into a puff of smoke. More than a little disturbed, I made my way to the top of the hotel, encountering fantastical creatures, like a strange spore-spider creature the size of an entire room. In the process of solving puzzles, I ran across a newspaper with a headline proclaiming the suicide of a certain Mr. James Weaks and a scrap of paper hinting that the pinstripe man might know of a way out of this world. More and more perplexed, I made my way to the room in which the cat had told me my wife would be, only to find a mannequin and the black cat, taunting me for my foolishness and condemning me to spend eternity within the room. Seemingly doomed to spend the rest of existence trapped and alone with my dog, I explored my prison. After fiddling with a singular mirror, a portal to another world was opened and I stepped though with my trusty dog companion. On the other side of the mirror, a crystalline wall arose and would not open, unless someone stood on a certain spot. Gently, my dog explained that it had been my loyal friend its entire life, and it would not stop being so now. Urging me to go on, it stood on the switch and allowed me to proceed – leaving him behind. It was a poignant moment and one that was followed by the conclusion of my time with Pinstripe. At its heart, Pinstripe is a 2D point-and-click adventure game with some light puzzle, action, and platforming elements. Overall, the impression I walked away from Pinstripe with was good. The surreal insanity of the world really engaged me and kept me wondering where the story would bring me next. The sound design and music are worth noting as well, given how well they blended with the simple and understated visuals. The actual gameplay was frankly a bit bland, but it was serviceable and it didn’t really need to be interesting given the intriguing aesthetic, sounds, music, and story. Pinstripe is being developed by one-man team Thomas Brush and will continue development until it is done, aiming for a release on PC sometime in 2013.
  15. In the midst of the insanity that made up E3 2013, I encountered a game called Pinstripe at the IndieCade booth. What followed was akin to a descent into surreal madness of the sort one might expect from a more malign Alice in Wonderland. With little introduction, I was thrust into the role of James Weaks, an absurdly wealthy man who is aboard a train with his wife. After being asked to retrieve my wife’s scarf, I was able to explore the various compartments of the train using the W, A, S, and D keys to move. As I moved through the train cars, I came into contact with various other passengers who chatted about their goals in life, before I was able to proceed. Once I obtained the scarf from several cars farther forward, I encountered what appeared to be a demonic cat. With some cryptic words, the cat vanished and the train wrecked itself in a snowy land. The haunting melodies of Pinstripe’s soundtrack played as I tried to get my bearings. Donning my wife’s scarf against the cold, I soldiered on through the ice. Soon I began to meet other survivors from the wreck, but all of them seemed different, obsessed with their desires. One of the first people I encountered was an alcoholic from the train, who was now obsessed with drinking the honey from black beehives. After retrieving a hive for him to eat, he allowed me through his shelter and I found a blunderbuss. With this weapon I was able to sever ropes and fight the enemies that had appeared; odd tear drop creatures with propellers that dropped oozing bombs. It became clear that not everything was right in the world. Pressing onward, I solved more problems from people who had been on the train and I met what seemed to be a dog from my childhood. I saw the fleeting image of my wife, running in the distance. Shortly after, I was told by the demonic cat that my wife was waiting at the hotel, a building off in the distance. To reach the hotel, I needed to take a boat across a lake. In a scene that brought to mind the crossing of the river Styx from Greek mythology, I was propelled on the boat by a lanky, oozing, black creature with a singular red eye for a head. Upon reaching the far shore, I disembarked (hoping never to see that monster again) and made my way into the nearby hotel where I was greeted by the demonic feline. At this point, my demonic guide revealed that the world was no longer the mortal world, but “a place where the selfish become more selfish” before vanishing into a puff of smoke. More than a little disturbed, I made my way to the top of the hotel, encountering fantastical creatures, like a strange spore-spider creature the size of an entire room. In the process of solving puzzles, I ran across a newspaper with a headline proclaiming the suicide of a certain Mr. James Weaks and a scrap of paper hinting that the pinstripe man might know of a way out of this world. More and more perplexed, I made my way to the room in which the cat had told me my wife would be, only to find a mannequin and the black cat, taunting me for my foolishness and condemning me to spend eternity within the room. Seemingly doomed to spend the rest of existence trapped and alone with my dog, I explored my prison. After fiddling with a singular mirror, a portal to another world was opened and I stepped though with my trusty dog companion. On the other side of the mirror, a crystalline wall arose and would not open, unless someone stood on a certain spot. Gently, my dog explained that it had been my loyal friend its entire life, and it would not stop being so now. Urging me to go on, it stood on the switch and allowed me to proceed – leaving him behind. It was a poignant moment and one that was followed by the conclusion of my time with Pinstripe. At its heart, Pinstripe is a 2D point-and-click adventure game with some light puzzle, action, and platforming elements. Overall, the impression I walked away from Pinstripe with was good. The surreal insanity of the world really engaged me and kept me wondering where the story would bring me next. The sound design and music are worth noting as well, given how well they blended with the simple and understated visuals. The actual gameplay was frankly a bit bland, but it was serviceable and it didn’t really need to be interesting given the intriguing aesthetic, sounds, music, and story. Pinstripe is being developed by one-man team Thomas Brush and will continue development until it is done, aiming for a release on PC sometime in 2013. View full article
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