Friday, October 28, 2016

Potential reasons to back Hellhunter by Ballistic Interactive

Official Description:
Hellhunter is a supernatural investigative hunting RPG, where you assume the role of a freelance hunter building your career towards uncovering the ultimate terror.
Potential Reasons to Love:

That art. Oh my God, look at that art. It's gorgeous and creepy and wonderful to look at. The look evokes memories of Sanitarium and Stasis, two of my favourite adventures, so you know I'm willing to be all over this.

That perspective. I'm a fan of top-down stuff, and this isometric style certainly falls into that category. Feels like not a lot of games these days are using this sort of fixed-perpsective 3/4 view stuff along with near-"realistic" art, so yeah I'm on board.

That premise. You're a paranormal investigator, which means you can't go in guns blazing. First you have to scope out the scene, collect evidence and figure out what you're dealing with, and THEN go in guns blazing... with the right ammunition, of course. I love that concept so much.

Creepy vibes. I made a passing mention to the creepiness in the art, but it bears repeating, this game looks creepy in every good way.

Procedural levels. Every mission is procedurally generated, which means fresh experiences every time you play, right?

Frighteningly complex. Reading through the Kickstarter page (linked below), the game loop seems very complex. This isn't going to be a game for the casual crowd (darn), but hopefully there'll be some handholding for those of us who just want to get spooked out and blast some evil spirits back into hell ;)

Nightmare backer tier. I have a thing for nightmares, so seeing a backer tier named such is a-okay with me.

Just overall awesome-looking. It's almost 9am, which means I need to sleep since the bill-paying job happens overnight. But I'm willing to forego a little bit of sleep to post about this game because God damn does it hit all the right notes with me. It's creepy-looking, with gorgeous art, an appealing premise, and a gameplay loop that seems to be deep and engaging. Everything about it looks lovely, and you should probably back it right now so it can be developed and I can bug the developers for a review copy when it releases :D

For More Information:

Official site here.

Back is on Kickstarter here.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Potential reasons to love The First Tree by David Wehle

Official Description:
From the creator of Home is Where One Starts… comes The First Tree, a third-person exploration game centered around two parallel stories: a fox trying to find her missing family, and a young couple dealing with a tragedy in their own. Players take control of the fox on a poignant and beautiful journey that crescendos at the source of life, and perhaps results in an understanding of death. Along the way, players can uncover artifacts and stories from the young couple’s life as they too become intertwined in the fox’s journey towards The First Tree.
Potential Reasons to Love:

Walking sim! This is a game along the lines of Journey, Firewatch, Abzu, et al, and I love it. That sort of narrative/exploration adventure is totally my thing.

Lovely art. Since these kinds of games eschew traditional gameplay, they have to make up for it in the presentation department, and The First Tree does not disappoint in that regard. It looks like a gorgeous world to explore.

Emotional story. It's one of those games where the story is dual-layered. The playable part is of the fox searching for her missing family, and it's a metaphor/runs parallel to a story about a young couple dealing with tragedy. Hopefully the devs here fare better than those of That Dragon Cancer did.

Short and sweet. The dev says the game will take 1-2 hours to complete, which is perfect for this sort of thing.

For More Information:

Official site here.

Vote for it on Steam Greenlight here.

Potential reasons to love Adaeus: Rogue Planet by OMGWTF Games

Official Description:
Play as Darius Cayne in Adaeus: Rogue Planet, a 2D sci-fi Metroidvania roguelike platformer with an emphasis on RPG elements and tight platforming action. Investigate the appearance of a new power source in order to save your colony. Customize your attacks with mod chips, solve environmental puzzles, brave challenge rooms, and uncover the secrets of the rogue planet, Adaeus.
Potential Reasons to Love:

That art. It looks like something out of the Super-Nintendo era, which is good. Real good. I like it.

Metroidvania. The devs cite last year's critically acclaimed Axion Verge, among other Metroidvanias, as their inspiration. It's a good gameplay structure that is often seen for a very good reason.

Roguelite. I'm not sure if Metroidvania+roguelite has been done before. It probably has, but I imagine it's a difficult thing to pull off well. Hats off to the devs for taking on such a challenge!

Sweet-looking enemies. The enemies you encounter have some pretty cool designs, especially the very last one shown in the trailer.

Centralised upgrades. Unlike the classic Metroid, Adaeus has a central area where you can upgrade your character to take on the dangers ahead. That's pretty neat, because it means you don't have to go hunting for checkpoints in order to upgrade.

For More Information:

Official site here.

Vote for it on Steam Greenlight here.

[Update] Potential reasons to love Book of Demons by Thing Trunk

Official Description:
Book of Demons is a deck-building hack and slash adventure game, where it's the player who decides the length of quests. The game is the first installment of the Return 2 Games series - a series of original mid-core titles, inspired by the early golden days of PC gaming. Book of Demons will launch on Steam and on Xbox One as an console exclusive.
Reasons to Love:

Turn-based Diablo. I've been pining for a turn-based Diablo for quite a while, and it looks like Book of Demons might actually scratch that itch. Sure, there's been a lot of turn-based RPGs out there, but none have ever felt so much visually like a Diablo game.

Unique look. The trailer has a quote saying that "nothing looks quite like it," and I agree. That papercraft style is only, sadly, used rarely in games, and it looks lovely.

Adjustable game lengths. You can determine the length and difficulty of your sessions, so if you only have a few minutes or just want to mindlessly hack your way through some fiends, you can. Or, if you want some more meat to chew on, you can do that too. More games need that kind of customisation, but I suspect that's a feature that only an RPG can effectively execute on.

Procedural dungeons. Variability is the hot thing in games these days, but hack-and-slash RPGs in particular are known for them, even before procedural generation was a buzzword du jour. It's always nice to see, though, especially in a game like this where it seems more about having fun that getting to the end.

Part of a more ambitious project. Book of Demons is the first in a planned series of seven games called "Return 2 Games," each of which is a tribute to a classic 90's game. That could be good, especially if they keep to the idea of letting you choose how long your play sessions will be.

Demo available. The devs have kindly made a demo available so you can try before you buy! That's always nice to see.

For More Information:

Official site here.

Get it on Steam Early Access here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Potential reasons to love Vulture Island by Donut Games

Official Description:
Help 4 friends escape Vulture Island in an exploration-oriented retro platformer.
Potential Reasons to Love:

Charming art. Look at that art! It's so lovely. How could you not love it?

Non-linear adventure. I'm in the mood for a good non-traditional adventure game, and from the reviews of the original iOS version of Vulture Island, this appears to be one of them. There are some traditional platforming stuff like enemies and boss fights, but the core of the game is exploring the world and solving puzzles.

No punishment for death. Thankfully, the devs aren't punishing you for failing. Instead you're just thrown back to the overworld map with all progress otherwise intact. More devs should do this, I feel.

Multiple protagonists. You get to control three different characters, which is good for if/when you get stuck on a puzzle, you can switch to someone else and not just stare frustratedly at the screen.

For More Information:

Official site here.

Get it on Steam here tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hearts on with Slayaway Camp by Blue Wizard Digital

Official Description:
A killer puzzle game where you control Skullface, a psycho slasher bent on slaughtering teenage counselors at the title campground. Slide an adorable voxel murderer around hundreds of isometric puzzle levels to squash, flay, and decapitate hapless teens in this darkly comic homage to 80s horror.
Reasons to Love:

Sokoban! Out of all the different puzzle sub-genres, I'd have to rank sokoban-style games as my favourite (followed VERY closely by programming-based ones). Slayaway Camp is probably the best sokoban variant I've experienced, because it's both unique and charming in every aspect.

Murder! As you can tell from the trailer embedded above, you play as a serial killer looking to gruesomely murder all the civilians in the level. Like I just said, it's a unique take on the genre, and one I never knew I wanted until I played the game.

Making victims run away. Sokoban games are about moving blocks, which usually involves pushing said blocks around. Slayaway Camp breaks that tradition. You're still moving blocks, but you can't actually push them, because the "blocks" are actually people. In order to get them to move, you have to either stand next to them or kill a person standing next to them, which causes them to run away with a delightful, terrified scream. The trick, then, is to cause the victims to run to the right locations in order to facilitate annihilating them all then moving to the exit. It's easier said than done.

Art style! The game uses a chunky voxelly art style with smooth vectory images for character eyes and expressions. The combination makes for a pretty gorgeous look that's both chunky and abstract, yet also very expressive, which is good because you'll want to see the faces of the characters clearly as they scream in terror >:D

The various kill scenes. Every time you kill a character, you're treated to a nice, bloody kill sequence. Sometimes it's simple and in-map, but other times it'll be a separate cinematic that's more in-depth. Both methods are super satisfying and fun to watch. I never got tired of seeing them, even when they repeated.

Blood and gore! It goes without saying that this game has a TON of blood and gore effects, and they're great. What's more, there's a semi-hidden slider that will amp up the amount of viscera that sprays out when you pull off a kill.

Devotion to the VHS-era conceit. The game's aesthetic is inspired by the VHS-era horror movies, especially the Friday the 13th stuff, and the devs maintain the theme throughout the entire experience. Each set of levels is depicted as a VHS box in a video-store shelf, for example, which you can pick up and turn around to read the flavour text on the back. The level-selection screen looks just like the VHS machine's menu system, and you'll see tracking artifacts during cutscenes while you play.

Captures what I'd imagine a horror movie monster must feel like. A large part of the game requires you to move the various victims into the right positions so you can kill them and move on, and this gives the experience a very cat and mouse feel. It felt like I was playing with my victims, toying with them and getting them to go where I wanted. It sucked me into the experience, making me feel like I really was a killer in a movie.

TONS of puzzles. Normally, I don't much care for the number of puzzles in a game. I'm more interested in the quality of the content. Needless to say, the quality of Slayaway Camp's gameplay is extremely high, so the fact that it has literally hundreds of levels is a bonus. Even then, it doesn't feel like enough. I just want to keep playing this game forever.

Gameplay twists. One of the big appeals to Slayaway Camp is how every set of levels offers up a new twist on the basic formula. These keep the game fresh throughout, and force you to think in new ways in order to solve them. And once these new factors start coming up in combination, boy it becomes a brain-burner.

Built-in hint system. Luckily, if you're finding yourself in over your head, you can use a two-stage hint system to help. The first stage offers a hint about where you should focus your attention; the second does a step-by-step playthrough of the solution. It's always nice to see something like this in a puzzle game, because it helps keep the flow going.

Unlockables. In order to use hints, you have to spend coins that are earned by playing kill minigames in between levels. These coins are also used to purchase new kill scenes and killers as well.

The kill minigames. Oh, man, I loved those kill minigames, by the way. I could easily spend hours just playing those alone.

Grindable. Fortunately, the devs included a special tape on the level-select shelf that lets you play the kill minigame over and over again, in order to grind for the coins you need for unlockables and hints.

Handsome, Trustworthy Recommended. Slayaway Camp is a game I never knew I wanted. The combination of sokoban with gory murder is a beautiful and inspired mix that I just can't get enough of. We all search for that "perfect" game that will fill the void in our hearts and leave us so satisfied we won't have to buy another game again. I thought mine would be some kind of life sim, but it's actually this gorgeous, gore-filled experience. Of course I'm giving it A Handsome, Trustworthy Recommendation. In fact, I give it three :D

For More Information:

Official site here.

You can get it on Steam here in a few hours. Go wishlist it right now and buy it as soon as it goes live.