The treat behind the next door on our calendar gives you wings and lets you soar. Day sixteen of The RPS Advent Calendar, which highlights our favourite games of the year, brings…
RPS Feature Fight and flight
RPS Feature Trend of an era
As December approaches like a runaway sled and we prepare to say our goodbyes to 2016, it’s natural to reflect on the year as a whole. Those reflections could easily take the form of laments but we’re keeping our focus firmly on the world of PC games, where we’ve identified ten trends that may not have defined 2016, but have certainly helped to shape it. We delve into Sorcery and synthwave, DOOM and Danganronpa, and much more besides.
RPS Feature A real hoot
Oh gosh, it is a splendid thing when a game like Owlboy [official site] comes around. Big, smart, involved, silly, gorgeous, aurally stunning, and with a compelling story. It’s got flaws, a couple of big ones, but it also has the wit of a Mario & Luigi game, and the professional delivery of a classic 90s big-studio platforming production, despite coming from a five-man indie team. This is something very lovely. Here’s wot I think:
The elusive Owlboy [official site]! For the past decade, tales of his hooting and platforming have delighted all. Believers insist that he’s real, that he loves us and he’ll be with us soon. (I can’t help but note most of their “evidence” is blurry photographs obscured by clumsy thumbs.) Our Alec even swears blind he’s met Owlboy and stroked his feathers. Yeah, while off your tits on Lucozade tablets down one of those Brighton all-night silent discos, I bet. Well, all shall be known come November 1st. That’s Owlboy’s release date, developers D-Pad Studio have announced with a new trailer:
RPS Feature Hands on with the beautiful, flight-based platformer
To borrow a line from Graham, there’s a parallel reality where Owlboy [official site] came out before Braid, earned mega-bucks and now Norwegian devs D-Pad are making elaborate and beautiful 3D follow-ups. But now, eight years later, there’s a seething, pixellated mass of neo-retro-platformers and Owlboy is no longer the slam dunk it might have been.
Whatever its fortunes now might be, it’s almost unbelievable that I now actually get to play Owlboy, a game I can remember posting about on RPS back in our earliest months. It is not a disappointment.
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Savant Ascent is a simple game, but it feels so good. Controlling Savant – avatar of Norwegian music producer Aleksander Vinter – you ride higher and higher into a tower, pushing your right analog stick to fire and aim and your left analog stick to dodge and jump between prescribed positions. It was a fun diversion when it was released on Steam last year, and now there’s a free expansion called the Void Update.
Owlboy is not out yet and doesn’t have a release date. That is the bad news. And by that, I mean that it’s the bad news – the news by which all upsetting and otherwise unfortunate events are judged. Developer D-Pad Studio’s been bending over backward and probably turning its head upside-down to get the gorgeous side-scroller out the door, but it’s only (composed of) human(s). Everyone needs a vacation and nope actually D-Pad is just insane so it’s spent its “holiday” making a different game. This one’s called Savant, and it’s a lushly gothic bite of, er, elevator action. If dictionaries were organized by distance between meanings of words, those two would be at opposite ends (and also dictionaries would be useless), but the game actually looks kinda great! Watch the trailer below and see for yourself.