Thunder Lotus has hit their stride in game making. Their first game, Jotun, made waves largely due to the beautiful hand-drawn visuals. They’ve now embarked on their second title, Sundered, and they’re hoping to do the same again. Shifting to a more “Metroidvania” style game has only benefited from the appeal of Thunder Lotus’ hand drawn aesthetic, which carries over into the new action/platformer title.
In Sundered, you control Eshe, a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world. Separated from your group by an eldritch sandstorm, Eshe is forced to investigate the powerful arcane forces that shattered the world. Throughout the game, enemies come from two fractions: the Valkyries and the Eschatons. The Valkyries were once humanity’s best soldiers, formed to try and stop the cataclysm that shattered the world. The Eschatons, on the other hand, were humans that fell under the sway of those same eldritch powers. Eshe will have to overcome both throughout the game.
Quadrilateral Cowboy is the latest release from Blendo Games, a company which usually consists solely of developer Brendon Chung, but in this case includes team members Tynan Wales and Aaron Melcher. Cowboy is vaguely connected to previous titles Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving by the fictional city of Nuevos Aires, but explores an entirely different style of gameplay.
The player character is known as Poncho, one of a three-person crew of hackers selling services to the highest bidder. The core premise, according to Blendo Games, was “a first-person sneaking game, but all of your equipment is outdated and heavy and clunky.” An array of gadgets is used to plan ten heists in “alt-future 1980-something” (don’t worry too much about that).
The Witness is the second game from Braid developer Jonathan Blow, this time acting as the head of small indie team Thekla, Inc. Development began soon after Braid’s 2008 release, and is still continuing now, if the frequent Steam updates are any indication. It is, like Braid, a puzzle game depositing the player on a mysterious island dotted with strange ruins without any explanation of who they are or what is happening.
Epistory - Typing Chronicles is an “atmospheric action/adventure game” from developer Fishing Cactus, available on Steam Early Access since September 30th. The game mechanics focus on two of my favorite things: typing long words as fast as possible and riding a giant fox. What more do you really need?
The basic premise of Epistory is that you’re a girl who’s lost her memory, and—again—you’re riding a giant fox. The forest is in danger, and it's the player's job to clean house by ridding of various patches of bramble and giant snakes. That was about as far as the narrative got in the time that I played, and there was no indication that it would get more elaborate than that, but possibilities abound in a title so early in development. Additional “chapters” of the game will be released over the course of its time in early access, leaving plenty of room for expansion through its 1Q16 release target.
Following its unreasonably high-resolution 4K teaser trailer, Noio & Licorice’s Kingdom made its debut US convention showing at PAX Prime 2015. Kingdom is a side-scrolling, two-dimensional, mono-height kingdom builder game that utilizes a single mechanic for all actions. Players use coins to motivate filthy peasants into building walls, towers, castles, and shops of various types.
We gave Kingdom a short go at PAX 2015, having liked fellow indie game Mekazoo, and paid close attention to the two-button minimalistic input.
PAX is a microcosm of the gaming industry: Fraught with chaos and ambition, but terribly fun to take part in. The indie scene is the center of that chaos and ambition; its developers are often more open and willing to share or provide insight, it’s just a matter of finding the games worth seeing.
Mekazoo was one of those.
Digital distribution platform Desura, recently acquired by Badjuju, has reportedly failed to pay its partnered developers over the past several months. Through forum posts and reader emails, we've learned that indie game developers who have entrusted the service with the sale of their games have gone unpaid, despite exceeding payment threshold requirements. We've received multiple emails from indie developers pertaining to Desura's lack of payment and decided to conduct further investigation.
Anyone growing up in the earlier console era remembers the days of split-screen. Those were the same days that LAN play still existed – it's a strange thing to think that game developers have favored online play so heavily over local play that the latter has nearly ceased existing.
Back in those days of split-screen play, though, there was “screen looking” or “screen cheating:” The act of looking at your couch-neighbor's screen to determine their map location. Anecdotally, I recall the days when my friends became so aware of screen cheating that they'd look at the floor of the map to mitigate the impact of the act; we'd rely strictly on memory to navigate the map, hoping that the floor would be plain enough to disallow screen cheat advantage.
From Danish developer Zero Point Software, Interstellar Marines is an in-development single player / competitive multiplayer / co-op FPS featuring space marines (obviously) in the near-ish 21st century future. The game is based in that middle-era of sci-fi where mankind has ventured into space to find new life forms, but hasn't quite worked out how to not be promptly murdered by them (think Alien).
We’ve been asked to take a look at Interstellar Marines for preview and review purposes -- here are some of our thoughts.
Kickstarter projects have flooded the market over the past few years. Multi-million dollar success of titles like Star Citizen have only furthered the torrential downpour of indie titles hoping to realize their game-making dreams. Saturation to such an extent, of course, also brings with it a great burden on consumers when seeking out new titles. Not everyone can deliver, as we've learned, and some projects never even make it to market.
Skara - The Blade Remains stands as one of the newest additions to Kickstarter, but its arrival isn't without towing force from Unreal Engine 4. What was once a multi-million dollar engine is now available at $20/mo. (with royalties) for developers, and now that the engine has been out for a few months, we're starting to see impending indie games utilizing it.
You'll find our Skara - The Blade Remains preview and unedited gameplay footage below, along with further analysis of mechanics.
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