When I told Pete Rosky, Assistant Product Manager at Majesco and curator of my Double Dragon Neon demo, that I had never played a Double Dragon game he said “Great! I’ll tell you as little about the game as possible then.” Confused and incredulous, I asked why. “I’ve never gotten to do this presentation with someone who hasn’t played a Double Dragon game before, it’s a whole new perspective.” Knowing then what I know now, I would have understood that Double Dragon Neon is an “old soul” of a brawler, living a life in the present with a staunch respect for the past.
Apparently, Double Dragon is kind of a big deal amongst brawler fans, so excuse me for those of you that I’ve offended by having not played the game. If it makes you feel better, I played this one and liked it. Double Dragon Neon is slow paced (which isn’t a bad thing, mind you) and all the character models are huge and for all the brawlers I’ve played this felt different. It’s a brawler that feels old, but looks new. I marveled at the eye-popping visuals and smooth animations, but the gameplay was nothing like the brawlers of today (because apparently it’s like the brawlers of yesteryear).
Just like Majesco did for my demo, prepare for a preview from a different perspective.
Awesomenauts was developed by Ronimo Games and published by DTP Entertainment. It was released May 2, 2012 for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for review purposes.
In the year 2012, the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre began to proliferate, and gamers the world over wondered how it would evolve. From the pitch black void of space came Awesomenauts, a game which dared to bring MOBA to the 2D realm. Six mercenary heroes, ranging from an ex-rapper frog to a jetpack-laden monkey, are hired to work for red or blue (sometimes appearing on both teams at once, somehow) and destroy the enemy team’s solar drill. Solar is the form of currency in the future, so having a device which literally mines money is kind of a big deal.
Awesomenauts is a 2D MOBA and it makes no effort to hide that fact. Each player in this three versus three game picks one of the six heroes, each complete with unique abilities and play styles. Both teams have droids that run at the enemy base and attack each other in an effort to destroy the towers and solar drill. Kill them for cash, use your money to buy character upgrades and side-grades, push the enemy base and secure victory for your team.
Just a few days ago we were all sent spiraling away from our computer screens, cringing at the news of DTP’s insolvency announcement. Luckily, one way or another, Awesomenauts has pulled …
Double Dragon means a lot of things to a lot of people. Developed originally for arcades in 1987, a single player version was released for the NES that became one of the defining brawlers of its time. The series eventually went on to span five numbered titles across a variety of platforms up through the Super Nintendo before disappearing into the annals of history – that is, until recently, when 2D powerhouse Wayforward Technologies (A Boy and His Blob Wii, BloodRayne: Betrayal) stepped up to man the helm for a shot back into the ’80s with the upcoming title Double Dragon Neon. We stopped by the Reverb booth at PAX to take a look at what’s on its way.
The first thing you’ll notice is the color. Wayforward didn’t choose the name Neon simply because it sounds cool, they decided to back it up by throwing a rainbow onto the screen and turning the metaphorical color amps to 11. As Assistant Production Manager Pete Rosky told us, it looks a bit garish, but that’s all part of the fun. The ’80s feel carries through to every design aspect of the game, from the ridiculous look of the characters and enemies to the incredible synth rock, which you can hear in the video below. Even the life meters have a bodaciously colorful style, complete with lightning bolts to measure your special power energy.
One of the beauties of being an indie studio is the ability to experiment; there is a freedom to development as there are no true limitations. The game can become a total fan service to the developers themselves. Brian Provinciano of VBlank Entertainment took the time to sit down with us recently and discuss this very fact. His title Retro City Rampage is a culmination of various pop culture references and game design mash-ups that merge into a totally unique game. We were given the opportunity to test it out and loved what we saw.
For the uninitiated, Retro City Rampage parodies the open-world action genre combining dozens of game mechanics into an 8-bit game. The game has a beautiful sense of humor, lampooning an entire era of movies, games and pop culture. Players take on the role of THE PLAYER, an anti-hero, who signs up as a henchman for a local crime syndicate. But things go chronically awry and he must soon defeat the EVIL GOOD GUYS, who will stop at nothing to end his RAMPAGE OF DOOM.