As retro-inspired two-dimensional indie games have gaga’d critics everywhere, the now-classic three-dimensional games from later generations have been ignored for a decade. Seriously, when was the last time you played a new 3D action-platformer? The people at GRIN Studios were thinking the same thing. So, they made Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries, a faithful iteration on the forgotten formula.
If you were a fan of Ratchet & Clank, Prince of Persia, Banjo-Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot, or one of the many games like them, you know what I’m talking about. Moving platforms, perfect double jumps, timed switches, labyrinthine puzzles, combat combos, magic attacks… it’s all here. And it has a modern coat of paint, a dramatic story and a beautiful setting to bring it into 2015.
The bright white face masks of We Happy Few turned heads on the PAX East show floor this year with their sinister gaze and art style. If you played Contrast, you will immediately recognize Compulsion Games’ handiwork. We Happy Few‘s characters wear a look that says, “Be happy, or else.” And that’s what the game is about.
Creative Director Guillaume Provost explained that We Happy Few explores a dystopian alternate history that takes place 20 years after the Nazis won World War II. How might have Hitler’s ideological fantasies manifested themselves over time? What would daily life be like? What would happen if you tried to resist?
It’s these open questions that the team at Compulsion Games put a lot of thought into. They came up with a world in which the government engineered a utopia where every single person is required to be blissfully happy — no exceptions. To accomplish this, the government keeps everybody drugged so that they will never need to worry about anything at all, not even worry itself. Everybody must be happy, and everybody must conform.
Compulsion Games have announced their next game, We Happy Few, with an announcement trailer that can be seen below. After their work on Contrast, they have decided to take a new approach to their development cycle. This time they want fans to start playing the game as soon as possible so that they can start collecting feedback and then utilize it to improve the game. Which would also explain why they announced that the game will be playable at PAX East for all who want to stop by and check it out, Booth #6216.
There’s no time frame for a release date yet since the game is still quite early on in development so the announcement trailer and some new artwork will have to hold us over until Compulsion Games decides to reveal new information.
Reverb Publishing has announced that Sanctum 2, a hybrid tower defense and FPS, will be available this spring on the Xbox Live Marketplace. This announcement comes nearly a year after …
The Indie Mega Booth at PAX East this year held a ton of content for us. We had previews from everything from Charlie Murder to Runner2 to Super Time …
When Xbox Live Arcade launched in 2004 on Microsoft’s debut console, six titles well-known for their arcade roots appeared on the service at a fraction of retail cost. After Xbox Live Arcade re-launched on Xbox 360, the “Arcade” titles being released had a meager size limit of 50MB and retained the trend of being quick, shallow experiences. Today, some downloadable titles earn more critical attention than major blockbusters and may even reach Microsoft’s mandated size limit of 2GB.
“Now is an excellent time for high-quality, original, specific, relatively low-priced games, and I think this will continue for the foreseeable future,” said Greg Kasavin, writer and designer at SuperGiant Games. “Though it’s very difficult to make games, it’s never been easier due to the digital platforms and free tools out there these days.”
The family is about to sit down for dinner and we’ve just wished each other Happy Easter — over the phone. Instead of sitting down at the dining room table with the rest of the family, I’m hours away in Boston for PAX East. A little white bunny is on a screen in front of me, but he’s not that bunny. No, this little rabbit hops down an entirely different trail than Peter Cottontail. The rabbit in question on the show floor, Ash, is the star of Arkedo Studio’s Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit and the Prince of Hell. The independent French studio has previously developed handheld, mobile and XBLIG games, so most Xbox gamers aren’t terribly familiar with it. Well, that’s all going to change this summer when Arkedo releases what studio co-founder Camille Guermonprez would later describe to me as “a [fluffing] video game.”
Easter Sunday was the final day of the 2012 convention hosted by Penny Arcade, and an appointment with Guermonprez to discuss Hell Yeah! was the last one on the XBLA Fans schedule for the weekend. I had passed by the game’s booth many times over the weekend and caught glimpses of what appeared to be a wonderfully insane and gorgeous action title that proudly channels early ’90s Genesis and SNES side-scrollers. Several other members of the team had gotten their hands on it during the first two days of the con and word was that this was not a demo to be missed.
But my schedule was jam-packed with appointments to play other promising games and talk to other developers all weekend. Hell Yeah! would have to wait. When XBLA Fans EiC John Laster, reporter Nick DePetris, photographer Scratch Pratt and I finally arrive to speak with Guermonprez, though, it turns out that we are doomed to wait just a little longer. Guermonprez, surely having spent even more time on his feet and in interviews than I had during the weekend, had given in to exhaustion and headed to lunch. And so we waited.
Awesomenauts‘ zany 1980s look is immediately appealing. Inspiration for the graphics was drawn from Galaxy Rangers and the Earthworm Jim and Bucky O’Hare franchises. The bright shades and disparate characters that clash in the outer-space battlefields send a message that the game is something fun and ridiculous. Aside from everything playing out on a 2D plane, though, nothing felt especially exciting when I first took the controller in my hands at PAX East. My options were pretty much limited to jumping or shooting in the early-going and death came swiftly. That all changed after building up some coin and getting the hang of what was going on. It was then that I began experiencing the joy and gratification the game’s silly character design and pretty colors had initially implied I would.
Playing as a cowboy character named Sheriff Lonestar I ran into the thick of things at the outset and began firing his laser blaster at the mindless drones marching ceaselessly towards my team’s first turret. Someone on the opposition was playing as the heavy robot class and he was relying on his thick armor and powerful weaponry to shred up poor little Lonestar. There are multiple levels to platform between in each map, but the side-scrolling nature of Awesomenauts still made it feel like there wasn’t much room for evasion. That coupled with the fact that there didn’t appear to be any way to recover from damage was making the situation look grim for our team of XBLA Fans writers.