Animation and art style can do a ton to bolster a game. One game I saw at Play NYC 2018 was Scrap Bringer, a top-down action beat 'em up that really caught my eye. The game's great character design and animations really went a long way towards making me notice it in the crowd. So I stopped to play it and found a delightful little top down beat 'em up to play with.
The demo had you running around a strange version of what I assume is New York City and punching zombies. The unnamed character you play as, I like to call him Scrappy but that's totally an assumption on my part, has a few simple skills at his disposal. In the demo he could punch and dodge roll, and each successful punch he did caused him to gain some energy. Eventually you could spend this energy on skills, although the only one available in the demo did little more than heal you.
It's a skill you'd need though. Scrap Bringer was brutally tough. Each zombie provided a decent challenge, with high damage and unpredictable attacks. I had to duck and weave to find openings so I could hit them, and safe moments to get away from the combat to heal. The entire time I was extremely impressed with the game's animations. Each punch felt like it was taken straight out of a cartoon, and the zombies displayed a surprising amount of life in their simple movements.
At the end of the demo I met what I originally called the traffic knight, but who goes by the name of Dead End. It really was a dead end for me, as I tried quite hard but simply was not good enough to beat the boss. I really appreciated how his design and mechanics matched up though. His stop light "sword" would flash colors and he would react differently depending on what color it was. While green he rushed around the arena, using a dash attack. On the other hand, red saw him planted in one spot, charging up a massive swing.
Ultimately, I couldn't defeat Dead End. In fact, according to Scrap Bringer's Twitter account, only four people managed it. I do worry this difficulty is a bit much, but I also feel the lack of other abilities in the demo contributed to it quite a bit. Scrap Bringer is a game I really do want to keep my eye on, as there was so much I enjoyed from this small slice.
After getting my ass kicked by Dead End, I took a break from Scrap Bringer to have a chat with Konrad Messyasz, the game's artist.
TechRaptor: Okay so I just played Scrap Bringer. Can you give a quick rundown on what the game is?
Konrad Messyasz: Top down action RPG where you play as a dude who likes punching things a lot, and… yeah. Right now it’s very basic, there’s not much to it, but we’re planning in the future to make it a full story-based game where you’re this dude who just wakes up and doesn’t know what’s going on, like the world-- just everyone turned into a bunch of monsters. Its got this early 2000’s cartoon vibe to it. Everything's hand drawn, hand animated, and yeah we’re trying to work on it. Hopefully we’ll have a Kickstarter out by January. We’ll have a full-on demo that really represents what we’re trying to do with the game.
TechRaptor: You told me you’re the artist for the game, so what went in to… I noticed when I was playing the game I noticed that many of the animations were really good. Can you tell me the process of making those were?
Konrad: The animations were done in Photoshop. There’s just like a little animation tool in Photoshop that you can use, and that’s primarily where I did it from. Photoshop isn’t the best tool for animation, but it's definitely really good for video game sprites, since it’s really basic and very two dimensional. So that’s what I did it on, and pretty much I just hand drew it, I taught myself how to animate over the years… yeah.
TechRaptor: Did you also make the designs for the characters?
Konrad: Yeah I made all the character designs and all that stuff. The main character we kind of made, me and the programmer Peter, we made it up together. Like we were just sitting together and talking about what he should look like and that’s how we came up, and I just drew it out. So I’m going to give him some credit for that.
TechRaptor: What about the boss for this thing, the traffic knight basically.
Konrad: Traffic knight. [Laughter.] We call him Dead End, that’s his name.
TechRaptor: I love it.
Konrad: Thank you, thank you. I designed him. I remember we were just talking about it, just “oh there should be a knight dude that uses a mechanic based around a traffic light.” After I got home that day I just designed it, and it came out really well. It got really popular on Twitter. Like I posted it to Twitter and it got a lot of likes, which was cool.
TechRaptor: Well it’s a good way to basically show off the game, I guess. Especially since it’s a super unique design that, when you’re playing, the design of the game, when you get to the actual boss fight, the design of the boss plays into how he acts.
Konrad: Yeah, yeah, exactly, that was kind of the point.
TechRaptor: So, Scrap Bringer. When can I play it?
Konrad: I don’t know. That’s going to be determined. We want to do a Kickstarter, and we’re planning on releasing a demo, like a bigger demo, that kind of shows off the world design. This is super basic, there’s not much going on, it’s just a couple of zombies and the dude, but we’re really trying to like import characters and really make it RPG-like.
TechRaptor: And what can I play it on? Is it going to be on PC and any kind of consoles?
Konrad: At the moment it’s going to be on PC. We’re hoping to, maybe when it goes well, to release it on the Switch, but that’s about as far as we think we’re going to go. Maybe on others, but for now it’s PC and Switch.
TechRaptor: Alright, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk to me man.
Konrad: Thank you, thank you. It’s a pleasure.