Following a PAX-themed two week vacation, Screenshot Survey is back once again to post about the big and the small indie developers currently sharing their work on social media. After all, every Saturday game developers from around the world take a break from coding and testing to post tweets featuring screenshots of whatever they happen to be working on at the time. Every week, stories are already being forged about the next great indie hits and hidden gems. Every week in the Screenshot Survey, we impart just a few of those tales.
This week, we begin with a game that I have a bit of experience with. SkyRider is an action oriented platformer where you control two characters. One is a human that has to navigate across floating islands, and one is a floating robot that can create platforms and shoot lasers, among other things. Players have to think on their feet as levels begin to auto-scroll while they time jumps onto platforms that they themselves are creating. On top of that is the need to watch out for flying drones and forcefields that can destroy one or both characters. The game is accompanied by a wonderful chiptune soundtrack that changes and speeds up ever so slightly as the levels progress, and the whole thing is an engrossing experience. SkyRider is heading to Kickstarter soon according to the developers, so be sure to keep a look out.
Cities: Skylines has recently come along and reinvigorated the city builder genre, but it is also a game that is still improving the same basic model that Maxis introduced with the original SimCity. The folks at Pajama Llama Games (which is a great moniker for a studio) are trying something different with Flotsam, which is a survival building simulator set entirely on the high seas. The game is very early on in development as noted in its devlog located here, but the art style and animations already on display are impressive. The concept is one that hasn't been done before to my knowledge, which gives me hope that it turns into something special in the months to come.
Good pixel art and particle effects make any game better. I'm talking about the ones that require some graphical power, the ones that really show off the fact that 2D was given a premature death sentence. This is Megasphere, a procedurally generated action platformer developed solely by Anton Kudin, and it has the kind of visuals that remind you of the first time you saw the Super FX chip in the SNES days. It also has a gun that can be upgraded and transformed into everything from a flamethrower to a grenade launcher, all with spiffy new effects for each weapon. We definitely needed a Rouge Legacy for the sci-fi set, and it seems like Megasphere will fit the bill quite nicely.
Speaking of procedural generation, Whack-A-Dungeon is a rougelike that looks to take the genre down to its bare essentials. Featuring the dungeon trappings of larger games, here you are the adventurer, and your fingers take the place of a sword, mace, or other implement of destruction. Tapping furiously on your foes while avoiding bladed traps is the order of the day, making it a perfect phone or tablet game. What better way to waste minutes at the bus stop than with a short life in an arcade rougelike? The game has been in development on and off for a little over a year, so one can only hope that it randomly generates onto app stores soon.
Finally, we have the titular martial arts amphibian, only one of several characters you can control in Spooks N' Spikes. The game is a "fast-paced deathmatch brawler grappler", which is certainly one way to describe a game inspired by Super Smash Bros. That being said, the characters on display here and the backgrounds all look really sharp. However, I personally just wish to support the absurdity of a karate frog being eaten by a cuddly giant spider and exploding into bones and viscera. In any case, we're living in the calm before a storm of Smash Bros. style indie games make their debut, and I'm hopeful that all of them can live up to this level of lunacy.
Are there any games with developers posting on Twitter that you're looking forward to? Do you wish that you could just build a house out on the ocean and live among the fishes? Answer these questions and more in the comments below, and check back next week for another Screenshot Survey!