After checking out The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth at PAX Prime, I spent a decent chunk of time with another upcoming Nicalis project, Castle in the Darkness. It's a challenging platform-adventure PC game that feels all too appropriate given the company's prior involvement with 1001 Spikes.
Admittedly, words like "challenging" and "difficult" get thrown around often -- too often -- when describing games that aren't afraid to test players. But good lord, Castle in the Darkness was tough. I must have died 50 times during my playthrough, and that's being conservative.
Part of that has to do with your limited health -- a few hits is enough to do you in, at least early on -- and your knight's movement, which takes getting used to. He's quick, super quick, and his initial sword attack doesn't extend very far. It was frustrating at first to come to terms with all of this, but I suspect the fast pace will feel great with sufficient practice and muscle memory.
The game's structure is exploration-based in that you'll hit switches and acquire items that will allow you to reach previously inaccessible areas. There's also going to be a ton of bosses, based on what I played. That damn owl from the trailer gave me hell. Expect gear upgrades, too.
Castle in the Darknessis rather clearly inspired by NES classics in the genre, particularly Castlevania, which I don't consider to be a negative. Maybe you do. Either way, I'd suggest getting your hands on it before casting any final judgments. Could be pretty cool at the right price.
When Epic first announced Fortnite, I was on board based on the premise of defending player-made forts from monsters. But that was a couple of years ago. Things change.
My interest had been waning up until recently, when I got to spend two hours with the "action building" game during PAX Prime. Mechanically, it's like a mix of the third-person shooting and trap-laying defense of Orcs Must Die! with the scavenging and construction of Minecraft.
Flick, flick, flick. That’s all you’ll be doing in Skullduggery. Flicking to collect treasure. Flicking to outrun bosses. Flicking to line up stealthy headshots on unsuspecting enemies. You can play the game however you want (usually) -- fast or slow; just know that you’ll be flicking the whole time. And, if the build we saw at PAX Prime is any indication, it’s a flicking good time.
Skullduggery’s a title developed for tablets that borrows liberally from the simple mechanic that Rovio (maybe) popularized. By pulling back and letting go, players launch a skull across the screen. Do this ad nauseum, and you have Skullduggery. However, instead of an interspecies vendetta against pigs, this game’s protagonist has a goal that’s much easier to empathize with: riches.
It's certainly an exciting time to be an independent game developer. With the rise of Kickstarter allowing anyone with the knowledge, the skills, and an idea to find support, we're seeing a larger breadth of games come out that try something a bit different. One such game is Neverending Nightmares, and last year Jonathan Holmes wrote up a nice post about its Kickstarter campaign.
After a few ups and downs, the Kickstarter for this evocative horror title managed to make its funding goal. With release set for September 26, the developers are finally ready to unleash their survival horror game that's far more personal than most would realize. At PAX Prime 2014, I got the chance to check out an updated build and chat with some of the talent behind the game.
It was almost surreal to be playing Persona Q in English for the first time this past week. It came out of nowhere late last year, a fantasy game mixing Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters in a new 3DS game that uses Etrian Odyssey's engine and dungeon play. I didn't believe the game was real after first hearing about it -- it sounded more like fan fiction! Now I'm playing the very first English language build, just ahead of the North American release.
Something about the video I posted on Gun Media and Mighty Rabbit's title Breach & Clear: Deadlinedidn't sit well with me. I kept thinking about it the day we ran the story.
After revisiting it that night, it still didn't hit me as to why Devolver Digital had decided to co-publish this game. I just kept feeling that I was missing something important here. So, the next day I decided to reach out to Mighty Rabbit to see if I could take a look at the game in person.
To my surprise, co-founder Josh Fairhurst was nice enough to set up an appointment for me to meet the team on Labor Day. After arriving at Mighty Rabbit's studio, I was given a hands-off walkthrough of the same gameplay segment recently shown at gamescom.
In the team's own words, Deadline is a "strategic tactical action RPG in a modern day setting, featuring Special Forces weapons, tactics, and equipment vs. horrific monsters."
From what I saw during my time with it, I'd say it could be described as having a combination of elements from Rainbow Six, Left 4 Dead,XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and a pinch of Diablo's loot grinding for good measure.
Destructoid recently caught up with the folks at Gaijin GamesChoice Provisions to check out the studio's next Bit.Trip game completely new project, Tharsis.
The turn-based strategy game follows a team of astronauts on a mission to Mars. Of course, things quickly go awry for our intrepid heroes, because nothing good ever happens in space.
An asteroid strikes the vessel carrying the explorers, which proves to be quite the problem. Fires erupt all over the ship. Objects become unfastened, transforming into deadly projectiles in a gravity-free environment. Other stuff happens too, probably. Oh, and people start dying. This certainly isn't a joyride.
They can't just go home, though. The fate of the planet hangs in the balance. It's pretty much Mars or bust. You see, there's some sort of singularity on the red planet, one that might allow someone to send a message back in time, and so the crew presses ahead, hoping to warn people in the past of impending calamity and avert disaster before it's too late.
It's no secret that gaming conventions are fertile ground for developers to try out their new creations. Back in April, Jonathan Holmes got the chance to check out SoundSelf with Robin Arnott, the creator of the unorthodox horror title Deep Sea, and saw first hand the impression it had on players. Utilizing virtual reality, players are taken for a ride through their own personal odyssey of light and sound.
During the hustle and bustle of PAX Prime, I got the chance to go on a special trip of my own, and it was clear that SoundSelf made quite a name for itself on the show floor. I also got some time to speak with Robin Arnott about his creation and the desire to create an existential experience that brings players to a state of zen and wonder.
Hironobu Sakaguchi is best known as the creator of Final Fantasy; a man responsible for some of the most influential and well-respected role-playing games of our time.
His sprawling worlds and epic adventures have touched millions of people, many of whom may be surprised to discover how significant a departure Sakaguchi's latest endeavor is compared with the titles we typically associate with his name.
Destructoid recently met with the living legend in Seattle to see that new project, Terra Battle, and believe us when we say you haven't seen anything quite like this before.
[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]
Leading up to PAX Prime, Clapfoot released a trailer for its base defense shooter Fortified. It caught my eye for a few reasons, notably the '50s sci-fi movie theme and its general resemblance to Double Fine's Iron Brigade (formerly Trenched). There aren't too many games like it.
The build playable at PAX was fairly early in development but offered a decent enough idea of what to expect. Aliens are invading the city and you and up to three friends need to shoot them down, one wave at a time. I selected the character class with a jetpack, while my co-op partner had the unique ability to command soldiers around the battlefield. I think I made the right call.
We had the freedom to place defensive structures like machine gun turrets, a slowing device, and sandbags wherever we wanted within reason, and the shooting felt good -- surprisingly good. My favorite weapon was the rocket launcher, because it sent robot invaders flying all over the place. The physics were wobbly, exactly as you would hope. Again, think lo-fi science fiction.
With some proper maze-building techniques, we managed to funnel robotic spiders into a single lane so we could concentrate fire on flying saucers and other stragglers. The boss, a hulking robot, must have been inches away from our base before he went down.
I wasn't able to see the two remaining characters, upgrades, or any other levels -- I'm told they will more than likely all be set within a city -- but I liked what was playable enough to keep Fortified on my radar. The game isn't releasing on PC and Xbox One until next year, so there's time for more features and polish. In speaking with art director Adam Garib, it seems like the studio has a solid grasp on what's needed to flesh out the experience. Fingers crossed.
Anyone who has played Super Mario 3D World knows what to expect from Nintendo's upcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. That's because Captain Toad made an appearance periodically in his own levels throughout 3D World to lend a slower, more methodical style to the cat-suited platforming that mostly defined the game.
Nintendo realized that it may have a hit on its hands with the Captain, and thus Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was born -- a game comprised solely of those bits where the protagonist hunts his way through puzzling levels for coins and gems. It's a simple concept, and one that our own Darren Nakamura covered in depth in an E3 preview.
At PAX Prime, I got my first and what could be only opportunity to try Upsilon Circuit.
You see, once it goes live, eight people will be able to play at any given time. That's eight people, total. And the "permadeath" here is actually permanent. You lose? Your turn is done.
While everyone else watches, waiting for their coveted chance in the spotlight to hack away at monsters and explore, they can directly influence the direction the game takes. The audience has control to, say, spec out players' skill trees, or spawn a deadly trap.
Legend of Dungeon creator Robot Loves Kitty is billing this as part online game show, part action-RPG. At PAX, I saw more of the latter than the former, but Upsilon Circuit's Max Headroom-esque digital host Ronny Raygon was set up on a nearby television to talk smack to attendees. He got into an argument with some kid about whose glasses were cooler.
Before you ask who would pay for something like this -- for a chance, maybe, to play once -- know that it's going to be free. In speaking with Robot Loves Kitty's Alix Stolzer, it sounds as if a large part of the monetization will be geared toward trolls or audience members who otherwise want to screw over the player characters, not help out. I told her that was a good idea.
It's still early days for Upsilon Circuit and there are a lot of unknowns, but what was shown at PAX gave me confidence in this somewhat crazy, definitely ambitious project. If the game catches on and finds a stable audience, it's going to be a fascinating experiment to take part in.
A very specific connotation pops into your mind when you think about spaceship fighters. Your brain's flooded with thoughts of dogfighting ships zooming around, barrel rolling, and flipping end-over-end to fire unceasing space lasers at equally nimble opponents. That's not what Dreadnought is; not even close, in fact.
Dreadnought -- which is currently only slated for PC -- is a thinker's game, a title for those more adept at thinking two steps ahead rather than those that rely on their twitchy fingers. It's a chess match in space -- a chess match that trades in kings and queens for lumbering, massive ships that actually feel like they have weight to them.
If Upper One Games’ Never Alone sticks out to you as one of the best examples of storytelling in recent memory, don’t be surprised. It sort of has an unfair advantage. You see, the tale it tells has only been passed down throughout several generations’ time. But, while its roots are in the past, the way it’s being told is unique and wholly original.
Never Alone is a puzzle platformer that’s about an old folktale of the Inupiat people -- one of seven major indigenous groups in Alaska. The project actually came about because the Inupiat’s tribal council wanted a way to pass their heritage down to the youths, who had become more enamored by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and of course videogames than they were with their own history. They reached out to E-Line Media to see if the educational game company would be interested in helping develop a game that would share a bit about them. The result was the creation of Upper One Games.
No, the next game from The Behemoth isn't a sequel to Castle Crashers. I mean, yeah, that'd be nice to have one day, but I'm loving how the studio is continuing to try new things. And its next project, the to-be-properly-named "Game 4," is most certainly a New Thing for the team.
It's a turn-based strategy role-playing game with the style and humor we've come to expect from The Behemoth. So, pretty freaking great. Will Stamper even returns from BattleBlock Theaterto narrate again. What begins as a typical fantasy adventure with swords and shields quickly morphs into a tale of robots, vampires, and anthropomorphic cupcakes. Knights getting extracted via space shuttle? Yeah, something's not quite right here.
As shown in the teaser trailer, a space bear has crash landed into a planet -- your planet -- and the universe hasn't been the same ever since. Just chaos, left and right. I was fortunate enough to spend well over an hour with Game 4 at PAX Prime and in that time, far more questions were raised than answered. I laughed more than a few times, though, and really dug the combat.