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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Second Death Hands-On: Survival of the Bit-test


 

It’s 1958, and Chicago cop David Harris made the tough choice to bring his mobster brother back from Cuba and deliver him to justice, but things get tougher when their home-bound plane crashes on a mysterious island. Now he must save his brother — and learn the truth behind his terrible crimes.

david_artThat mysterious island isn’t something out of a Jules Verne book at all, but a rather interesting PC, Mac, iOS and Android game called Second Death. Created by Evan Wagstaff (design, coding, script) using Game Maker Studio with a small team helping out with art, music and sounds, this retro style “noir Survival RPG” mixes early 16-bit looks, item crafting, JRPG-like combat, a barter system and two game modes (plus a tutorial) to take for a spin. While the game won’t be officially released until January 2016, the demo that’s currently available at that link above (and seems to be titled or subtitled Absolution) seems to be pretty much what the final version will look and play like. Continue reading

Indivisible: Lab Zero’s Beautiful ARPG Makes My Monday

Lab Zero logo 

In case you were wondering what Lab Zero (the team behind Skullgirls) has been up to, well click on over to the Indivisible game site and check out their incredible looking and still in early development stages Action/RPG that just so happens to also be an Indiegogo campaign you can participate in. The currently PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only game set to be published by 505 Games once it’s all completed sure looks like a winner in the early video below. If you want a bit more incentive to whip out that wallet, there’s a free downloadable prototype demo you should try out as soon as possible.


 

In addition to the gorgeous artwork, animation and fun gameplay reminiscent of titles such as Prince of Persia, Valkyire Profile, Metroid and other influences, gamers who love great music can expect a solid soundtrack from renowned composer/producer Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana, Koudelka, and Sōkaigi among other works). That prototype certainly brightened up my Monday considerably and it looks as if the game’s seemingly somewhat hefty (but reasonable considering it’s coming to PC, consoles, Mac and Linux) funding goal of $1.5 million won’t be a pipe dream for the dev team or publisher.

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Anyway, go give that demo a try and if you find your boat floated, let your fingers do the walking and drop a pledge into that fun(d) bucket.

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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ADR1FT Hands-On

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ADR1FT Screenshot 05
 

Do this writing about games stuff for a long enough period of time and you learn to go into every media event with no expectations. This time-built wisdom will pay off when you’re completely surprised by a game you’ve heard about in bits and pieces that’s shaping up to be a must-play title. ADR1FT was one of those games I’d heard about since its inception, but held off on writing a single word about until I was able to spend time with a demo. That happened yesterday thanks to 505 Games giving it a big screen premiere in two separate events for Boston and New York City games media. The Unreal 4 powered game headed to PS4, Xbox One, Steam (and yes, whatever rigs Oculus will run on) is one of those first games that leaves you breathless for a few reasons.

“SURVIVOR DETECTED”

The game’s story is a straightforward and simple tale of survival. You’re an astronaut who wakes up stuck in a damaged EVA suit on a heavily damaged space station orbiting Earth. Gameplay revolves around locating air supplies, repairing your suit and finding out just what happened that left you the only survivor. Part mystery, part survival game and all stunning to look at, it’s clear that ADR1FT has a mission in changing some perceptions about modern gaming. Sure, that sounds like an overly lofty goal. But again, it’s a case where if you see and play this one, you’ll “get” why it’s such an important release for its developer and publisher… Continue reading

Guess What I Did Today? I’ll Tell You Tomorrow.

ADR1FT Ticket
 

Shhhhh. It’s a secret! Actually, a little embargo is silencing my lambs for the moment, so you’ll need to come back later. Um, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel, okay? Okay. It’s a date, then…

SAVAGE: The Sword of Goshen Update: Another Indie Retro Action/Platformer Shaping Up as a Nice Surprise…


 
Matt Fitzgerald of Planet Tobor is making what’s shaping up to be a fun retro action platformer you 8 and 16-bit fanatics may want to keep an eyeball peeled for. SAVAGE: The Sword of Goshen is looking pretty cool, and although it’s still deep in development, you can download and try out the alpha and maybe let him know what you think or just hold out for a later build that’s less buggy. But even in the state it’s in in that video above, you can tell it’s a labor of love that’s coming along quite nicely. Anyway, it’s already been funded through Kickstarter, so for me, all that’s left to do is wait for the game to drop onto a download service so I can pay for all this hard work going on…

Mythos: The Beginning – Dark Gaia Studios Back In Action With This Horror/RPG Must-Buy!

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Say, do you love horror-themed games and trying new titlesVideo that should scare you up good and right? Well, you need to go slap down six bucks for Mythos: The Beginning NOW (or later today, if it’s too bloody early in the morning for you. Hey, I couldn’t sleep, so here’s a post for you). What? You’re a skeptic, are you? Well, go download the demo and try out a portion of the game and don’t be surprised if you wake up later with six bucks missing from your wallet and the game’s title screen glaring at you from your monitor. For me, it’s the 1930’s setting, the creepy atmosphere, the RPG Maker visuals that give the game a nice 16-bit look and yep, D. Robert Grixti’s writing style that gets under your skin and sticks there for a bit. Ooooooh, I’m getting cold now… wait, I left the window open (oops!).

(Thanks, Genocider Rina!)
 

No, seriously, it’s a great and creepy game with a nice Lovecraftian vibe and the fact that you create your own character and play as him or her investigating a not so right asylum adds a nice personal touch to the proceedings. Okay, I’ll shut up and let you go try this one out. And BUY it. Or else. Hey, one to one support for indie developers like Dark Gaia Studios means they get more money without their work getting forever lost on some big mega-site before they have a chance to shine, so go make DRG happy!