I would like to welcome you to a new column here on TechRaptor, the Indie Spotlight, where we shine a light on the independent games that deserve a bit more attention. For the inaugural issue I would like to introduce Lupinball by Craftven, a top down arena brawler/shooter, only you shoot dodge balls at each other instead of bullets, oh, and you're a werewolf. What a high concept!
Lupinball is an Australian creation made by Michael and Chris from Brisbane, and combines two of my favorite things together: couch co-op and fast, fun gameplay. The concept is very simple. There are orbs on the ground, you pick them up, this charges your power meter and when you get three orbs, the meter is full. When it's full, you can decide to shoot a dodge ball, or put up a deflecting shield to protect yourself. As I said, very simple, but that is where the depth and fun of this game lies.
It's a very easy game to pick up and play, but there is a lot of differing strategies you can employ that drastically change the way the game feels, like being able to deflect a ball back, which will only disappear from the map once they hit an opponent. The levels each have their own quirks with different layouts and surfaces which alter movement or the way the ball moves, my favourite being the foosball table. This simple concept makes for a hectic 30 second round.
When I was at PAX Australia, I was lucky enough to be able to not only play Lupinball, but also have a chat with the head honcho of Craftven, Michael, about his game, his experience, his inspirations and his passions. He was also able to school me somewhat convincingly in the art of Lupinball many times, but that's another story. The chat and some gameplay from PAX is just below this paragraph.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYpIt59MAPs
Since PAX, some new content has been tested and added, although I do not have a copy of that unfortunately to test myself, but there are new levels, as well as online multiplayer coming in the game's full release, whenever that may be.
As far as my recommendation goes, this is where I would tell you to go greenlight the game, but thankfully I am too late as it recently got through thanks to a big push from the people who played it at PAX, and I can see why. It is extremely hard to convey why and how this game is worth your time without picking up a controller and playing it yourself, but once you do it's hard to put it down again.
This is a genre I have a lot of passion and respect for, as the way people are playing games has changed radically in the last 10 years, and couch multiplayer gaming is all but dead in the mainstream market. With the rise of the independant developer however, proper multiplayer gaming is coming back, and games like Lupinball do everything to make you remember why this was something you did, and still want to do.
If you happen to be going to RTX Australia in a couple of weeks, make sure to swing by the Craftven booth where you can find the game, and most likely myself as well.
Thanks you for reading the first edition of the Indie Spotlight, and I hope it was as fun to read, as it was to write. For the next few weeks there will be a lot of Independent games being spotlighted here, mostly from PAX, but will drop back to a regular schedule after that. In the mean time, if you have any suggestions for games that need a bit more attention leave a comment below.