Despite my programmer/problem solving nature, all form of puzzle games has always rustled my brain. Therefore in those occations that I do sit down with a puzzler, I subtly gather an group of people who can help me. I couldn’t for the life of me finish Braid without the aid of a buddy, or ever understand Sudoku without proper explanation 100 times over.
So while I my brain lost in the battle of playing the next entry, I could trust the help of my co-workers to help me out.
Now puzzling combined with chemistry is a deathtrap waiting to spring. Luckily, we got through un-singed. In Sokobond, the goal is to form a molicule from elements that you can control and shove around the game board. The elements have connection points which tells you if you can make further connections. Some elements only have 1 connection, and some have several.
Control your element by using arrow keys
You’re element can be controlled in 4 directions on a board
Each stage has it’s own board.
Elements on the board can be pushed by the element you’re controlling
Completing a molicule completes the stage.
I think it’s the meditative state I enter(due to the music,sounds and aestetics of the game) that saves me from going bonkers. Only from 10 minutes playing Sokobond, I learned more about chemistry than 10 years of schooling on the subject. Therefore, I recommend it to any puzzle enthusiast out there, including chemisty fanatics. The funfacts at the end of each stage is reward enough in them selves!
A game concept that has always struck me as an untapped source of innovation/fun, has to be the concept of heritage between characters. If there’s one game I always thought would hold the torch on this one, it was when I first heard of Lionhead’s Project Ego(aka Fable).
I’ve been looking for a game that properly used the idea of heritage to such an extent that the gameplay would actually change based on the given traits of a character. Since Fable dropped the ball on this concept, I’m glad there are great alternatives!
…is pure addictive fun! The game has become extremely known, atleast within my own circles, but until now I’ve only watched as others play, because I knew that this was a game that would require me to go sleepless.
Rouge Legacy is a 2D platform RPG, which starts you off with a hero, which you control until he is killed (early in the game), to leave you with a choice: Which traits are you’re next descendant gonna have. There will usually be a down-sided and a couple of up-sided traits to choose from. The choice you make alters the characters abilities, and sometimes alters playstyle entierly. A couple of gameplay mechanics makes the game very addictive:
You can upgrade you’re family castle with looted gold
New classes can be unlocked by upgrading certain parts of the castle
Weapons and armor can also be upgraded
Each time you enter the castle, you lose all your coins, and the castle is randomized
Replay ability is sick in this game, and it’s also why you’ll tolerate to die… ALOT! The game is quite big, and I havn’t been able to get to the first boss yet. Once PAX is done, there is no doubt that I will!
Go here(http://www.roguelegacy.com/) to get the game: Be warned, if you’ve got important shit to do(like readying demos for PAX), don’t get it!
Aaah, the memories of the arcade halls. We didn’t have any back home, but when we traveled, I’d always make sure to scour foreign cities for their dark gamer-corners. Bubble Bobble was my favorite because I could play it co-op with my sis. My love for that game went so far that I created a game trying to capture it’s spirit.
But tonight, I’m looking at an arcade game that made us fight for who’d go next on my computer(Thanks to Beast Games for donating it to me, this one’s a keeper!)
Avalanche 2: Super Avalanche
The game struck me as quite simple for the first 10 sec during the tutorial, where you learn to pull the right moves to overcome a simple obstacle. The controls are as follows:
Jump on top of chests/enemies/powerups to open/defeat/pick em up.
Jumping to a wall let’s you cling to it, allowing for wallkicks.
Bouncing into and knocking a block with you’re head a couple of times, destroys the block
Different powerups gives you different abilities, like double jump, burst speed, floating etc.
Collect coins to buy items.
Simple! Classic even! But there’s a twist to it all. From the controls scheme, it might sounds as if we’re dealing with a simple platformer. But upon completing the tutorial, you’re given a completely new goal, and that’s to scale as high as you possible can, bouncing off falling blocks as lava rises from the ground! The perfect kids game, which makes me wonder why I(and the rest of the office) enjoy it so much!
Among the powerups are pogosticks, capes, shields and headbands, which all let’s you play differently.
If you’re defeated you end up all the way down at the bottom again, but you retain a feeling of accomplishment, as coins are carried over to your bank and allows you to buy new gear(some really cool stuff) to prepare for the next try. As you try and try again to beat your current height, you’ll end up loving the visuals, the music and your own skills at the game. It’s a hard and unforgiving game, and I love every second of it!
You can order the game off it’s website(SuperAvalanche.com), and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a glutton for laughs and punishments. Now, excuse me as I go another round.
Hopefully, I’ll have some extra time on my hands tomorrow to try out a game about the balance of good heritage vs bad seeds.
…and me was never friendly. I grew up on River City Ransom, Sonic and Halo, all of whom neglected any form of hide and seek in favor of brash and speedy action. I tried my hands on Metal Gear Solid once, but my trigger happiness got me killed hundreds of times… on the first level.
The game I’ve tested today on the other hand managed to keep me out of my trigger happy state by making me laugh. It’s name might got a serious ring to it, but it’s pure fun to play!
Immidietly when the game booted up I croaked by laughing. The game might have a bit of a gritty look and a musical mood reminiscing of Twin Peaks, but it all turns whimsical when the characters begin to speak. Off the bat, it’s humour reminds me of Ben Yathzee’s Trilby games, where the characters dialogues makes the game.
In Gunpoint though, you’ve got both great dialouge and hilarious gameplay! You play as Conway, a freelance spy. The goal is to break an entry, complete a given job, and get out! The different things the player can do, is what makes this game shine. I’ll break down the basics(or you could watch the Gunpoint trailer):
You can climb walls, ceilings, activate elevators, move in staircases, hack computers, etc.
Using the mouse, you can make a giant leap in any direction(Remember the flicky frogs? It’s like that)
You can rewire any circuit, forexample: You can connect a light switch to a door, and press it so the door opens.
You can avoid guards by being stealthy, or maim em by flicking yourself in their direction to pin em down, and punch em repeatedly in the kisser by pressing the mouse.
Each job rewards you with a rank and cash to upgrade your repetoire of skills and abilities, of which there are ALOT!
Breaking it down like this might make it seem like the game is advanced on all kinds of levels, but that’s where the genious comes in!
It’s super easy to execute any of the actions, and even a kid playing this should have no problem understanding how the game is controlled. If I have time on my hands come this weekend, this game will be beaten righteously! Get Gunpoint through it’s website for 10$. Bnargnin!
I mentioned in the Towerfall entry that I’m crazy for multiplayer, and one mode in perticular has always been my faved choice, the co-op mode. The very first game I ever played was River City Ransom/Streetgangs for the NES, which had co-op so good, I’ve yet to find games which can match it.
It got team-work and competition between two players just right. The players could offer help to one another or battle between themselves. The best thing ever was when you could pick up your unconscious team player, and use him to bash other bad guys across their faces.
Which brings me to another multiplayer game that seems to get the co-op just right.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
While I can’t get to try this one out for myself just yet, the trailer says it all. Two players share a spaceship, and they need to work together to get through an onslaught of space lingering baddies.
With this game, I would easily get a bud over, staying up all night, trying to beat it, beers and fists flying everywhere. In the game you can control the spaceship itself by heading up to a monitor that controls several features of the craft, like:
I might be a man of my pixels, but the colors in this game makes me want to rub my eyeballs up against the screen. If space looked anything like this, I woulda shot myself up there on a rocket long ago.
Hoping to have a nice round of ‘friends forever in space’ at PAX in no less than 8 days!
Tomorrow there will be steatlh.
They’re one of those indies who seems to be everywhere, all the time! On each convention I’ve been to, they’ve appeared, and they’ve always got something fun to show the crowd. While we’ve been around, I can’t remember there not being a Vlambeer. They consist of Rami Ismail(who also created the ever useful PressKit()) and clever game designer Jan Willem Nijman(who’s first game I played was Strangers).
This year seems to be the ‘year of the Vlambeer’ too, with the release of Ridiculous Fishing, their attendance at PAX 10 plus Indie MEGABOOTH, and even today came the announcement that their newest game Wasteland Kings is coming to PS4 and Vita, featured at Sony’s Press Conference at GamesCom. One hell of a team, and one hell of a line-up! Let’s dip our toe into their big blue PAX 10 entry.
Even the name is fun to say. What got me hooked was the intuitive and excellent gameplay, what made me stay was the music(I’ve listen to this track everyday after it’s release), the graphics and the insane amount of charm the game displayed. I considered purchasing an IPad to play it, instead, I risked life and limb by stealing and installing it on my mom’s, playing it for weeks, lurking far from her sight.
You play the game in 3 stages:
1st stage: you throw out your hook and stay clear of fish by tilting your device from left to right. If your hook collides with a fish or reaches the bottom of the ocean, the second stage kicks in and this is where it get’s frantic.
2nd stage: The music and gameplay reverses as the line reels in, and you’re goal is to plant your hook firmly in the faces of many fish! They will attach to your hook until it reaches the surface again, and this is where it goes apes**t off the f***king walls!
3rd stage: The hooked fishes get pummeled into the air, you draw your weapon of choice, and blast em, like there’s no mouths worth feeding for 1000s of miles! Cash is rewarded on every fish who’s guts has been spilt, which let’s you upgrade your weapon, your fishing equipment, bonus items and hats.
Gotta love it, gotta have it. For those who havn’t, get it, allthough rumours has it they just passed 300,000 sales so I’d say there’s a good chance you’ve done some fishing in the same ponds as I have. Kudos to a great team whom I very much look forward to meeting!
On the 30th of August we’re going to PAX, the single biggest event we’ve ever had the honor of being invited to. We’ll be part of this year’s selected PAX 10, and as such, we’ll have more info on our game Owlboy the coming days, but I’d also like to seize this oppertunity to shed some light on the other 9 games and developers who’s going to join us for the event.
I will create one post every day up until the 30th, covering info on each of the selected games, some of which I’m a HUGE fan of, some which I’ve had knowledge of, and some which are new and exciting. My goal is to spend a few moments with these little great games, sharing whatever I learn about them along the way, all the while me and my team prepares for the single most important event of our humble indie lives.
We were one of the devs that backed the Ouya the second we saw it announced, and following the days of the console’s appearance, we found ourselves dreaming of the games we could create on such a platform. With it’s 4 controllers, easy download system, and enough affordable power for our needs, the Ouya seemed, and still seems promising! The VERY first game we downloaded and played on the day our console arrived was Towerfall.
I’ve always been an EXTREME sucker for pixel-art, and with pixels as crisp as the ones Towerfall offered, at the boot-up our new device, it was a reflex go-to game, while also keeping in mind the things we’ve heard about it beforehand: “TOWERFALL is THE Ouya SELLER!”, “pukes fun all over your face!”, and “multiplayer madness”(of which I’m also a whacko for).
The premise of the game? Nail up to 3 other players with as many arrows as you can, win the match! Bounce around the level, get new powerups and stages as you go, but always make sure to land an arrow between the eyes of your opponent, as if the universe depends on it.
So simple, so beautiful, so hilariously fun! It seems to me that Matt and his team knows exactly which amount of polish and gameplay a focused piece of art like this needs. A keeper, and a good start for the rise of a new console. Can’t wait to see more from these guys, and if you’re like me, bookmark em, and get excited for whatever they’ll do next.
I’ve always been a big sucker for pixels, they’re in my nature, which of course is why when Simon showed me his project, Owlboy, I was so enthralled by it, I dropped everything and vowed to help him continue and finish it.
I felt that Owlboy had a certain kind of spirit, one that reminded me of the games I had used to play as a kid, a spirit I felt had been put under pressure from modern game design for many year.
When I started development on Owlboy, I also started to pay close attention to the large formations of Indie legends that existed, which is when FEZ came to my knowledge. Along with Owlboy, FEZ seemed to tip it’s hat back at the age of my childhood.
As I progressed through FEZ, I found it got adventure, puzzles, insanely beautiful environments and as I was playing it, a great sense of flow and wonder was always looming, together with a fear of death. The game intentionally went out of sync sometimes, and even the randomly spawning glitches in the game’s world were out to get you.
I love FEZ to bits, and even though I’ve completed the game on my Xbox back home, I’ll probably go completely nocturnal again and play through it on my PC when it comes out tomorrow. In addition, I got me some time off and hexel’d this little piece:
Like a beacon, FEZ has successfully lead me to find many artifacts from my younger memory. Reflecting upon it, I hope Owlboy will carry a similar compass, and lead people who play it to forgotten memories, bringing back a time when gaming went beyond social networking, external achievements and by-the-book-monetizing, and was more about adventure, magical surroundings and a sense of wonder.
I was told of an article on gamefront.com written by Jim Sterling yesterday, where he talked about how Indie developers should start spreading the word on their own games, instead of locking them away for no one to see, hear or play it except their makers. He also mentioned Owlboy in this article, and I’d like to share a few words on our own experience on exposure.
The key point in Owlboy’s history was when the very first trailer was released on youtube. It was a sort of announcement to the world, that: “Hey, there’s a new full scale pixel adventure coming out! For PC!”. It also introduced something of a new gameplay mechanic, the ‘fly everywhere, all the time’, which has become a little catch phrase we tend to use when introducing the game, because we want to appeal to the explorers among players.
The very first Owlboy trailer
Off to a good start, now continue
And so the fire started spreading. The team didn’t need to do much at the time being, as the word seemed to fly on it’s own through the internet, with the game featuring in articles, blogs and forums. But when the flames died down, what were we to do?
Already knowing that a lot of people were reacting positively to the game, based on feedback from the early footage in the first trailer, we grew some confidence in ourselves, and started to write more frequently about the game. We started to show up whenever we got invited to any event, small or big, didn’t matter, as long as we got to show the game at least to a few people.
We started to believe that people were actually genuinely interested in getting to play our game, and so in 2011 we decided to let people do so. We released the early Owlboy demo, along with this trailer:
Now, our confidence in the game was already sturdy at this point, but after releasing the demo, and watching the feedback that came through from fans, we became so faithful in the game, that we dropped everything, and started working full-time to focus on development. Every comment felt like a power-up, and I found myself spending hours daily giving thanks to every positive feedback found. We also took note of negative comments, pushing our minds to a state of: “so, you didn’t find it impressive, wait till we show you what’s in store”. One example is where a few commenters thought Otus’s flying animation looked kind of stale. Our artist went – “Gimme a sec”.
Old vs New
These days we try to keep the flame steadily growing by keeping our blog regularely updated, but once in a while we work towards making bigger impact newsflashes, like the trailer we made a few months ago, where we honored our composer Jonathan Geer.
Not only did it present us an oppertunity to show off Jonathan’s work, it was also a great chance for us to show some real progress. And again, a fire spread, which again boosted morale on the team, but also set left our fans with a feeling – “Owlboy is still coming!”.
Whenever we reach a newsworthy milestone, we’ll let the press know, especially the ones who has covered us on previous occations. We already know a batch of people who are eagerly awaiting news on the game, and we also know that we should make them aware that development pushes forward. The game is often featured on sites like Kotaku, RockPaperShotgun and Destructoid, aswell as many more, and whenever I spot an article, I put the site on my bookmarks, reading it everyday, and make sure to contact the site whenever we’ve got some boiling news.
I also treat fans the same way, and anyone who ever sends us an e-mail/fan letter, I tend to view as a potential helper in making Owlboy a great game. There are many things to keep in mind if you’re a game developer. Speak of your game often, to anyone, let people play it. Whenever your game recieves praise, you’re on the right track. Do not be afraid of reciveing negative feedback, and if you are, put yourself in a state of mind that bashers are there to help you make your game better.
Now, there are other things to keep in mind when spreading the word on any game. What we’ve deliberately done is to withhold a lot of information on Owlboy, things that might spoil the game for fans, or game mechanics that we feel will make such an impact that we on purpose plan to tell about them later. We avoid giving away too much of the game so that we’ll be able to dazzle our fans even more once the game is released, and they get to experience the game themselves. This is why updates on actual gameplay from Owlboy are scarce, but it’s the way we want to keep it to let the player explore our game on their own terms once it’s in their hands.
Lately, we’ve started to think of how people are going to keep track of the game’s release, and if you’re one of them, we’ve added an e-mail subscription service which tells you once the release date of Owlboy has been confirmed: Owlboy Release Notification.
There are more points to keep in mind, and I’ll talk more about this in future posts.
Thanks to Henrik, we’ve now garnered our own personal blogs here on D-Pad. I’ll be able to do quite abit more of updating here than on our official D-Pad website, and talk more about what makes my team and me tick. I’ll also have the oppertunity to tell you of personal projects, aswell as day to day life as a games developer in general. Hope you’ll fine some of my postings interesting.