Daniel Linssen of Roguelight fame has once again been inspired by a Ludum Dare competition to do wonderful things with the metroidvania formula. Namely, to fit a delicious and beyond hefty platformer into a single screen and call it bird song.
One of the many things that impressed me about Psychonauts all those years ago was the fact that it was funny in a way only a video game could be. That it used its medium and our expectations thereof to make the kind of jokes that, say, film could never really pull off.
Still, Psychonauts was first and foremost a game, whereas OverPowered is one elaborate joke wrapped around an insanely difficult platformer.
One minute you’re making Commander Keen and the next you’re Knee Deep In The Dead. id Software might be known for their violent first-person shooters but there was a time when their core franchise was all about a young lad called Billy Blaze fighting daft aliens, bouncing around on a pogo stick, and collecting chocolate bars and bottles of pop. Flying Wild Hog, creators of Hard Reset and the brill Shadow Warrior reboot, are undergoing a form of the id transformation. But in reverse. From ludicrous gibs to JUJU, a cooperative platformer that is as bright and breezy as Billy Blaze himself. It’s out now.
If you’d be so kind as to ignore the irritating prompt to log into GameJolt, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Yet, I despise him. It’s a platformer with a protagonist dressed to please Lovecraft – despite carrying a shotgun – with tight controls, smartly designed levels and carefully smoothed difficulty curve.
Though far from ground-breaking, I have to admit that what initially drew me to Super Skeleman were its graphics. Their crispiness combined with the sparing use of colour and the overall stylization of the visuals really did it for me. Also, I do have a thing for retro stuff. And for pixelated skeletons too.
Though a freeware release for Windows, Mac and Linux, the equally fresh Commodore 64 version of Powerglove is a commercial offering that even comes complete in its very own, very homebrew cartridge. That’s delightfully different, isn’t it? No need to answer, I know it is, and what makes things even more intriguing is that the non 8-bit version of the game isn’t just an emulated one.
Team Meat’s peculiar teaser a fortnight ago for a game they’d called A Voyeur For September, has been revealed to in fact be a game called Super Meat Boy Forever (anagram, see?). And despite thoughts it was to be a “live action stealth game”, it is in fact a touch-based “auto-runner”, that will have a Steam release alongside phone/tablet. Confused? I think they were aiming for that.
Having so far miraculously avoided glitch games and all related jams, I decided to give Glitch Dungeon a try for three reasons: a) one must try everything at least once, b) its trailer looked promising, and c) I quite love games set in dungeons.
Granted, Glitch Dungeon’s dungeon is quite obviously not of the garden Dungeons & Dragons variety, what with the game being a 2D puzzle platformer and all, but still a dungeon it is and like all proper dungeons it is filled with spells, quests, puzzles and monsters. And joy. Oh, yes, and meticulously planned glitches too.
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I take it hets isn’t a reference to the Argentinean Querandí mountain tribe of the Pampas. It probably isn’t even aware of Bergman’s 1944 short movie either, though there’s definitely something sadistic to it. I mean, teasing a “very evil final boss” really isn’t such a nice thing to do, especially considering I’ll never get to meet the thing. So, yeah, sadism and thus also a unique kind of pleasure.
hets is unashamedly, brutally and in a way wisely hard. Or, at the very least, it does feel so to me.
Secret hobby: peppering the frontpage of RPS with header images that look as disparate as possible. And so, from the grim meathook future of Brigador’s robot deathscapes, to Juju, a side-scrolling co-op platformer that intersperses quotes from happy children among its playful, music-infused, Rayman Oranges-riffing world.
I even get bonus points here for an even greater symbol of videogame variety: Juju is being made by Flying Wild Hog, developers previously responsible for their own violent futurecity in Hard Reset, a ’90s-throwback FPS. The first trailer for their new work is below, and boy, it’s like crayons ate a rainbow and threw up some Skittles.
There are two trailers seeking to make you desire KinifiGames’ Imagine Me below. The first contains a miniature low budget remake of Koyaanisqatsi with the Philip Glass score replaced by a song that, while pleasant enough, makes me think of achingly twee adverts that are selling floppy-haired lifestyles as well as mobile phones. By the end, you’d have absolutely no clear idea what the game actually involves, unless you’ve noticed the preview screen for the second video below, in which case you’ll be well aware that it’s a lo-fi platformer packed with spikes and trampolines.
GRAPPLING HOOKS! It’s pretty simple, every developer out there. If your game doesn’t include a grappling hook, then you are making a bad game. This isn’t complicated, and it’s about time everyone started taking some notice. Like Red Knight Games have with their forthcoming Grapple Knight. (Cheers, Indiegames.) Forthcoming, that is, if people will chuck them another $4k AUD or so. There’s a demo to incentivise such investiments.
Gorgeous shadowy platformer A Walk In The Dark was officially released a year ago. However, via the magic of that green, green light, it’s now launching itself all over again via its appearance on Steam. I’m pretty convinced that Greenlight isn’t working so well, but it’ll be interesting to learn whether these much-delayed indie releases give games a second bite of the money pie.
Contrast does trailers really well, and really badly. The previous teaser trailer was a fine thing, but left it a bit obscure what was game and what was cutscene. The new trailer is another absolutely gorgeous thing – a real pleasure to watch – but I still don’t feel any wiser about the game.
Operation Smash is clearly the name of a computer game. It’s hard to imagine the words on the cover of a Regency novel and while it’s entirely feasible that Pacific Rim was originally pitched under that very title, I’m pleased that our chosen medium has claimed these most suitable of words as its own. Unfortunately, Operation Smash looks far more nuanced, varied and complex than the title suggests. It isn’t a first-person man-smasher with a wide array of fully customisable hammers. For shame. Instead, Steve Olofsson’s creation is a Metroid-like side-scroller with fluid combat and movement. Available now on Desura for £4.79, it looks fantastic, as you can see below.
Just look how great PC platform gaming is right now! We’re just inundated by lovely, interesting games. Yesterday I was being charmed by Ecotone, then hankering after some Rogue Legacy, and now I’m being challenged by the mad difficulty of the gorgeous RunRabbitRun. A completely free, entirely mad running-and-jumping game that is making me invent new swear words.
The route to a successful indie platformer these days is to come up with a unique gimmick, or a unique twist on an old gimmick, and do an incredibly good job of applying it to your world. Sundae Factory’s Ecotone is a touch braver than that. It’s taking every platforming gimmick, and using one per level. And from the demo version that’s playable on their site, they’re doing a damned good job of it.
You need a new puzzle platformer to fill four hours of your life. I have one. This is synergy. High fives in an orderly queue. Plazma Being is the terrible name for a deceptively tricky little puzzler from first-time dev, Felix Wunderlich. (Also, coincidentally, winner of Today’s Best Name.) You, as you may have guessed, play a blob of plasma. What you might not have intuited is that you’re captured by aliens, cast on a planet with an unfamiliar force called “gravity”, and trying to find your way out of there.
John was pleased by platform-puzzler Escape Goat when it trit-trotted across to PC last summer, so the news that a sequel is not only in development but will be released on PC before any other platform should make him very happy indeed. Indie Statik spoke to developer Ian Stocker, who stated that the second game will follow the single-screen puzzle format, but will have a completely new graphical style, created by Randy O’Connor of Tiger Style, they of Waking Mars. As for the release date, it’ll be this year but Ian doesn’t mention anything more specific.