Recently I took a big move to the state of North Carolina. I was worried that, by not being close to New York City anymore, I’d lose access to all the great little games cons that come up and provide me with previewing awesome new projects. Thankfully, I was wrong. By chance, I happened to hear about Playthrough and found out it had indie devs out and showing off their projects. So, of course, I attended. While there I got to see some awesome upcoming games that I think are worth highlighting.
Okay, hotshot, robot aliens are attacking and all you’re armed with is a tennis racket. What do you do? Fight back of course. This is the general premise of Miracle Mia, about a woman named Mia that needs to save her sisters while fighting monsters along the way. However, because she is only armed with a tennis racket, she can’t just whack the monsters to death. Instead, the goal is to deflect shots back at them, letting them be killed by their own attacks. Thankfully she’s joined by her little sister, who can shoot cubes that stun enemies and buy you precious time.
Along the way, Mia will pick up items that give her more powers. During the demo she got a teleportation ability, letting her warp to specific points in the environment to help get away or to assist with platforming. When I talked to the developer he said there would be more, and gave the example of a fan that would allow Mia to dash. She’s also joined by members of her family. One section had Mia team up with her cousin Ace, who would run around deflecting shots and knocking enemies on the head with a baseball bat. It was actually refreshing to see allies participate in combat, rather than do something off-screen or stand around in the background. I had a good time playing the game, and it felt like a smart evolution on regular combat games.
If you want to try Miracle Mia there’s a demo on the developer’s website. The developer said that the full release would be some time in the Summer.
Squirrely Roo Rabbit
But what if you wanted to go even cuter? Then you turn to Squirrely Roo Rabbit, a puzzle platformer. In it, you play as, well Squirrely Roo Rabbit, which appears to be a pretty adorable combination of all the animals you’d expect. While the main character is 2D, the world it navigates is 3D, leading to an interesting art style that combines the two in a fluid way. Teaming up with an outcast chameleon named Cammy, Squirrely Roo Rabbit will have to save the world from being incorrectly colored.
Yes, incorrectly colored. You see, a gang of chameleons decided it would be great to just mix everyone’s colors up. Thankfully, Squirrely is unaffected and has the ability to fix the problem. How? By throwing fruit. Squirrely can pick up and throw fruit that matches the three primary colors, and you can use these fruit to mix colors to get something more specific. It’s charming, and I thought the game was a sweet effort at making something non-violent and fun. Also, there’s a giant pig with a big ol’ mustache. Like, c’mon, that’s great.
Squirrely Roo Rabbit has a demo on itch.io if you want to try it.
Now that you’ve had a pair of cute games, it’s time for some bloody horror. In steps Immure, a 2D episodic horror game from the developers of Crowman & Wolfboy. The game features a main character that wakes up in a mansion and discovers that every doorway leads to a different dimension. Early in he finds a mysterious item known as the Shining Trapezohedron, and by charging it up it can be used to stun creatures for him to sneak by. You can also use it to scan the environment to find mysterious writing, or just to light your way up.
Of course, you need to be able to stun and hide from monsters, as most of them are otherworldly creatures that are a bit too much for the main character to handle. Getting caught by a monster means I had to watch a rather gruesome scene of the main character getting his arms ripped off and head eaten. More importantly, however, Immure was scary. More than once I passed by the developer’s booth and saw someone playing the game either jump or scream. It does a fantastic job building up the kind of atmosphere expected for a horror game, and then paying off with scary monsters, tense situations, and creepy art.
If you want to give it a shot, Immure has a demo on Steam. The first episode will be releasing some time in April.
Buy It or Don’t
Alright, let’s take a break from video games for a few moments so I can tell you about a neat card game. Buy It or Don’t has a rather simple concept. All you have to do is sell an object to a player who is the banker. Easy, right? Except you’re not selling an object of your choice. No, instead you need to draw cards. Each round you’ll have to combine a noun, adjective, and slogan to make your product. You then get 13 seconds to pitch that product to a player who’s an investor. After each player has pitched their product, the investor chooses his favorite to invest in.
Simple, sure, but so is Cards Against Humanity. However, now the entertainment doesn’t come from slapping together cards, but in working hard to sell that bizarre product you created. Do you think you can sell some Amish-made man-in-a-can? What about a magical taco? There seem to be enough weird combos that there should be plenty for goofy card game enthusiasts, and also it may be worth seeing a drunk friend try to get you to buy something dumb. Then again, I feel like most of my friends, when drunk, already spend a lot of time trying to get me to buy dumb things. I guess they’re already experts at this game.
If you’re interested, Buy It or Don’t just started a Kickstarter.
Originally known as Nebulous Rax, Sojourners is still very very early in development. Well, the game itself is. The engine has had about four years of it. See, Sojourners doesn’t run off of Unreal or Unity or any of that. Instead, the developer went out of his way to build his own engine completely from scratch. While that may seem like an insane amount of work, it has paid off thanks to the impressive full terrain destruction seen in the demo. Charge up an energy blast and launch it into a wall and you’ll see that wall explode into many chunks.
As for the actual game, it’s hard to say how it’ll turn out yet. The developer told me the goal was to make “Dragon Ball Z in space.” He also handed me a business card that describes the game as “Dragon Ball meets space opera in a breakneck ARPG with 110% explodable terrain.” At the very least that claim about the terrain is true. For now, all you could really do is run around the insanely destructive world, shoot energy blasts at flying enemies, and use those same energy blasts to explode precious minerals out of the ground. Still, there’s a lot of promise here, and I’d love to see where it ends up going in the future.
Okay, this one is a bit of cheating since I didn’t actually play Zero Day. Or see Zero Day. In fact, when I got a chance to talk to developer Puny Human (mostly known for Blade Symphony) they admitted the game wasn’t even being officially announced until Tuesday. All I got to see was a single poster and what I was told in my chat. The poster told me that Zero Day will be a cyberpunk objective-driven looter-shooter, which is already enough to get me interested. The game is a spiritual successor to Puny Human’s first project, a Half-Life 2 mod called Dystopia.
In my chat, the game was described as a “backwards royale”. There are five teams of five players, along with 80 AI controlled enemies, that start on the outskirt of the map and move towards the objective-heavy center. The goal is to fight them, collect loot, craft items, and get out of the map with an objective. Without seeing the game it’s a bit hard to make any judgment calls, but that’s enough to catch my attention and keep me interested in the game. Here’s hoping we get a chance to see and play more soon.