Gallery: DARQ

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Be afraid. Be very afraid.

With indie and AAA horror games being a dime a dozen these days, it’s going to take something really different to get some gamers jumping out of their seats and diving under their beds. Unfold Games has taken up the scare you halfway to death challenge with DARQ, their upcoming PC/Mac/Linux game that as you can see, certainly seems to have it going on in terms of delivering the frights.

So, what’s this stylistic and creepy psychological horror game about, you ask? Well, here’s what the official site says:

DARQ tells the story of Lloyd, a boy who becomes aware of the fact that he is dreaming. To Lloyd’s misfortune, the dream quickly turns into a nightmare and all attempts to wake up end in failure. While exploring the darkest corners of his subconscious, Lloyd learns how to survive the nightmare by bending the laws of physics and manipulating the fluid fabric of the dream world.

In DARQ, sound plays a very important role. There are sections of the game that take place in absolute darkness and in order to navigate the environment, Lloyd has to rely on the location of sounds.

 

Yep. If you’ve ever had those nightmares where you know you’re sleeping, but wake up all sweaty looking around the room only to have something bizarre take place as you realize you’re having a nightmare inside that nightmare, DARQ will be right up that dark alley you don’t want to travel through. Of course, you’ll be going thataway because that thing chasing you is keeping you from going backward. Oops.

Some imagery to keep you awake nights. As if that trailer didn’t get all crawly under your skin enough:

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While the game is still in development and doesn’t yet have a set release date other than TBA 2016, it sure is worth keeping an eyeballed peeled for. Let that image stick with you for the day (eww!). I’d say “have a good night”, but it’s early on a Friday morning. Still, you have to go home and sleep at some point, correct? My work here is done, then.

RymdResa on Sale: Half-Off (So You Can Go Get Spaced Out Cheaper)

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Relaxing yet somehow terrifying, Morgondag‘s RymdResa is one of those great game experiences open to all who give it a shot. The atmospheric space exploration game where no combat is s key feature is also one of the more compelling games you’ll ever play and at $5.99 for the next week, an even better bargain. If you stopped reading this here and went to check the game out, my work here is done. Everyone else, keep reading.


 

Gameplay is both zen-like and creep upon you intense as monitoring dwindling resources and shields while trying to survive everything from asteroid collisions to ominously massive space creatures of assorted origin trying to stop your travels cold makes for a great means of killing a few hours at a time. The game is also great for shorter play sessions as well, given that one can level up relatively quickly (within a few minutes), save, quit and pick up later on with no trouble.

Also, Morgondag is working on a new game called Imprint-X, a cosmic-themes puzzler where players need to solve what’s on screen in as few moves as possible. It looks pretty neat and yes you should go sign up on the game’s page when you can.

Road to Ballhalla Hands-On: More-Ball Madness

If you make it this far without losing a ball, you sir (or madam) are officially some sort of deity to be bowed down to.

If you make it this far without losing a ball, you sir (or madam) are officially some sort of deity to be bowed down to.

 

tinyBuild Games decided to unleash a little surprise last week and allow some 3000 random Steam account holders to play a six stage Alpha version of Torched Hill‘s upcoming Road to Ballhalla, a game that’s a tiny bit hard to categorize. While it has a few similarities to Marble Madness and the 1998 PlayStation game Kula World (or Roll Away here in the states), Road to Ballhalla is more of a wall-less maze game where reaching the end of each level requires players changing their gameplay focus on a dime often within the same level. I guess you could all it a “puzzle” game if you like based on the simple visual style and rather cool music in that trailer below.


In case you didn’t watch the trailer and that previous sentence connotes “casual” to some of you core gamers who’d normally ignore something like this, you’re in for a big surprise. You can consider Road to Ballhalla the Dark Souls of indie puzzle games (or something *sexy* like that).
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Book of Demons: Paper Dungeons & Plenty of Danger Await in Q3


 

Sometimes you come across a game that’s familiar on a few fronts with a corker of a new twist that makes it instantly desirable. Indie developer Thing Trunk is cooking up a love letter to Diablo and similar chase ‘n chop classics called Book of Demons as part of its rather interesting Return 2 Games program. BoD will feature paper cutout characters and dungeons (a bold move that works quite well if that video is any indication) as well as a wealth of features listed below:


Paper cut-out graphics.
Upgradable card system that unifies items, spells, and skills.
Unique movement and fighting system for more strategic gameplay.
Flexiscope™ system that adjusts sessions size to players’ liking.
Endless end-game mode with 100+ challenges.
First truly accessible hack & slash.
Randomized dungeons.
Single-player campaign with 3 character classes.
60+ different monster types.
Lots of humor.

According to the R2G website, Book of Demons will be released on PC in Q3 2016. You can (and should if this one floats your own boat) consider supporting Thing Trunk by adding the game to your Steam wishlist and/or sending them some of your loot to support BoD and the other six incoming R2G projects. The developer’s plans to not only get seven retro-themed titles out total AND set them in their “Paperverse” makes everything they’re doing thrilling if it can all be pulled off the way they intend. If what’s here is any indication, it’s going to be a ride full of smiles and cool titles for anyone on the Thing Trunk bandwagon.

Speaking of bandwagons, here’s R2G’s rather nice theme music because every big project needs something epic sounding to back it up so well:

 

If anything, you can at the very least follow the team around the Internet just to see what’s cookin’ as they update with BoD and other games news:

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Lovely Planet Arcade: The Unknown Known Gets A Fast Followup


 

LPA_headerI’ve heard about, but actually NEVER played Lovely Planet (*gasp!*), so I guess I now need to, thanks to developer QUICKTEQUILA and publisher tinyBuild Games announcing this maybe it’s a sequel? return to the colorful pastel world of the first game. If the zippy and amusing videos of the first game are any indication as to what’s in the second, players can expect a load of challenge and even more good times when the game jumps out of the developer’s talented hands and lands on Steam later this year. Hey, don’t trust me on that last sentence at all – just go read about the game using on of the links above.

I think by the time LPA is released I’ll have played the first game. I hope. My backlog is a mountain of code that needs to be scaled and the clock is always ticking…

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Road to Ballhalla: Brains of Steel Required in This Humorous Hybrid


 

tinyBuild is at it again with another upcoming game bound to entertain and get you out of the casual funk into something far funkier. Road to Ballhalla is coming around the middle of 2016 and if that trailer bove is any indication, it will make a mockery of your gaming skills while teaching you a few things about proper reading comprehension. This will lead to you ignoring real world stuff like speed limit signs or proper parking procedures, which in turn will lead to you having to fight tickets of all sorts by explaining how this game taught you not to trust everything you read. Aha. tinyBuild wants you to disobey rules and orders just so you’re super cautious but still make ridiculous mistakes because you’re silly enough to take what a game it teaching you about IT and try to use those rules in the real world.

tinyBuild, you are EVIL. I still want to play all your games, though (so you’re not so evil after all).

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The Final Station: A Hell of a Commute Coming Your Way


What the heck is going on over at tinyBuild Games these days? All they seem to do is make games, and damn good ones at that. That’s not supposed to happen at all, folks. Where are the crowdfunded failures, the whiny employees griping about long hours as they spend too much time hanging out on message boards responding to the slightest complaint about an Early Access game that didn’t work or ate someone’s save files? Nope, I don’t see that here. Just more games that want me to play them when they’re out. Stupid indie developer!

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All kidding aside, tinyBuild’s upcoming The Final Station looks really fantastic. Take one part survival horror, one part train simulator and you get innovation wrapped up in yummy, excellently animated pixel visuals that end up more lifelike than some big buck AAA release that has every map bumped and requires you to upgrade your 3D card. Anyway, go add this one to your Steam wishlist (it’s set for a summer 2016 launch) and be prepared for more, as this week the developer has been introducing a new upcoming title for the last three days with a fourth and final one to get an announcement tomorrow. I’ll do a post on each as soon as I un-bury myself from a little backlog I’m staring at.

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Review: Electronic Super Joy (Wii U)

ESJ Boxart1Platform: Wii U

Developer: Michael Todd

Publisher: Michael Todd Games

MSRP: $9.99

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: Shut Up & Dance!

Official Site

Score: A (95%)

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Prepare to dance a lot and die even more in Michael Todd’s excellent retro platformer, Electronic Super Joy, out now for the Wii U. The game is both a throwback and a keeper, one that will test your skills while making your brain bubble and fingers tingle long after you’ve put down that controller. The game is a pixel-packed near-perfect hard as hell and absolutely hilarious as it hits you on the head with assorted wacky text as you’re trying to concentrate on completing a level. The game works on a pure “shut up and PLAY!” level where the music (by EnV) and simple visual style hook you in and you find yourself learning the basics for a few quick stages before all hell breaks loose. Continue reading

OMNIS – The Erias Line: Elyn Studios Needs You To Back Their Dark 2D RPG

OMNIS logoSome crowd-funded game projects tend to be hit or miss affairs when it comes to getting backers. Get enough (or too much) buzz for a silly little meme game that’s got an much depth as a broken pencil point and you can rake in money like as if the wind is blowing it fiercely through your front door.

On the other hand, work hard at a bigger but not hugely promoted game in a familiar but quite packed genre and you get a slight breeze of contributors that drift in at not a quick enough pace to make that funding target.

Newcastle upon Tyne-based Elyn Studios is hard at work on a pretty cool game called OMNIS – The Erias Line, and you should probably go check out the demo over on Indie DB because while still a work in progress (there’s a fair amount of placeholder art), the game is coming along really nicely.

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Bard’s Gold: Throw Down The Gauntlet (And Your Controller) In This Instant Classic

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If you remember way back when games didn’t hold your hand at all or you’re a newer gamer who wants a game that’s going to test your skills while teaching you some patience, welcome to Pixel Lantern’s Bard’s Gold. Available NOW on Steam, this retro platformer is neither another “Metroidvania” retread nor some speed-runner’s dream frenzy of the week. The game is a deliberately slower-paced side-scroller with an extreme difficulty that the developer (or at least the PR guy working for them) claims it’s the “hardest game on Steam”.

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Now, I can’t say whether or not this is true, but that trailer below sure doesn’t make it look anything close to “casual” at all.

Anyway, color me sold on this one. A request for a Steam code has been made, so we’ll see how tough this one is. Given the comments I’ve scanned so far, I’m expecting to be needing a new controller at some point.

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