Dual-character action platformer Virus takes on Mega Man X formula, crowdfunding now

virus_100114.png

Much like 2D Metroid and 2D Castlevania, 2D Mega Man (or heck, any Mega Man for that matter) has become something that feels like we'll never see again. And much like those properties, the fans have learned that if you want to play a new entry, it'll have to come from somewhere else. That's not to say Virus is a direct clone of Mega Man X, but it's vastly inspired by it. And if it's half as good it's going to be one kick ass game.

Frankly, the story sounds a bit more like Mega Man Battle Network than Mega Man X. You're in control of an antivirus program named Yara, and your goal is to rid the virtual world of a growing virus threat. Your placement in the internet's central hub allows you to select what stage you pick to tackle in any order. Aside from the six regular stages, there will be challenge levels to tackle as well, though they'll be difficult or impossible to complete without the proper upgrades.

One of the most unique features in Virus is the ability to switch characters. You can take control of Yara's creator, whose abilities allow you to change the world itself. He can not fight bosses, however, so switching back to Yara is always required. Luckily she receives numerous offensive options as the game goes on, ranging from a single-shot pistol to an aerial artillery cannon.

Virus is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter and is on Steam Greenlight as well. The plan is to release on Windows, Mac and Linux, though it could come out on consoles and handhelds if it reaches its stretch goals.

Neon Phoenix (Alpha)

Today we’re going to have a quick look at the alpha version of a game called Neon Phoenix by developer Fisholith. We’ll fly our phoenix around trying to activate crystals while avoiding mines all to a fantastic and catchy soundtrack. Check out Neon Phoenix right in your browser at the link below. Play Online

Freeware Pick: Tsunami Cruiser (Boris van Schooten)

tsunamicruiser_icon.png

Released for Windows yesterday (and Android and Ouya last week), Boris Van Schooten's wavy-navy, Geometry-Wars-at-sea twin-stick shooter Tsunami Cruiser has come on a long way since the early prototype developed for Ludum Dare 29. With tighter controls, super-clean redesigned vector graphics and a new speaker-buzzing, arcadestep soundtrack from BitBurner, blasting away marauding sea critters and alien saucers whilst bouncing about on an increasingly choppy ocean has never been so much fun!

The core mechanic - and indeed one of the reasons why the control system works so well across all formats - is that your ship can only move left or right over the waves, with the ever-changing and explosion-reactive rise and fall of the sea determining your height. You can fire either above or below the water, but your torpedoes/missiles detonate on hitting the ocean surface, resulting in a frantic arcade experience as you race back and forth over the waves in order to get a clean shot at the relentless enemy forces.

Progress through the game is achieved simply by clearing (an undefined) number of enemies on each level, with new types and combinations of attacking units introduced over the first 18 or so stages. I can't help but feel that Boris really missed a trick here - surely 'waves' makes more sense in this context? There are no power-ups or upgrades, just the tsunami, the score counter, a horde of bad guys and your little boat and its dual-purpose torpedo/sea-to-air cannons. It would be nice to see a proper score table added in an update (and of course online tables would be boss), but even as it stands Tsunami Cruiser is more than worthy of a few minutes of your time.

Tsunami Cruiser Game Trailer from Boris van Schooten on Vimeo.

Universally playable via joypad, mouse or touch (even on the browser-based version, which is pretty neat), Tsunami Cruiser is available over at itch.io for free/pay-what-you-want for both Windows and Android. You can also grab it over at Google Play or the Ouya Discover store.

Kickstarter Pick: Graywalkers Purgatory (Dreamlords Digital)

The Graywalkers: Purgatory Kickstarter somehow manages to combine all sorts of buzzwords and influences in what will hopefully become one ambitious and unique RPG. Actually, make that one ambitious and unique episodic, post-apocalyptic, strategic, turned based RPG with procedurally generated elements set in a dynamic, emergent world, inspired be X-COM, Fallout and Jagged Alliance. See? Buzzwords.

Then again, let's be fair here. Sometimes buzzwords and references are all you have to explain things to people, even more so when you're trying to describe complex, gamey things. You know, like CRPGs.

Having played the early Graywalkers demo (available here for Windows, Mac and Linux) I must admit I was surprised to discover both a robust and enjoyable combat system and hints of a truly interesting game world. And everything looks really good too, especially considering this was a pre-alpha thing I tried.

If the team manages to realize the supernaturally ravaged world they seem to be envisioning and include all the exciting features they are promising from strategic management to a huge 3D overworld, I'm pretty confident this will become a fantastic game.

It already is one worth supporting after all and $20 will secure you a copy upon release.

Trailer: Psychic-platforming title psyscrolr for Wii U uses touch screen creatively

psycrolrgif1.gif

The Wii U's touchscreen game pad has never really caught the creative eye of the development community, indie or otherwise. Sure there are games that use it, but few do so in a creative way. That's part of why psyscrolr stands out. The game is a platformer that uses the screen for environmental interaction, which sounds kind of obvious until you realize almost no one has done it.

You'll spend a good deal of your time in psyscrolr like you do in most platformers, running and jumping along. But sometimes you come across blocks that have to be pushed from side to side, or enemies that you'll need to tap and kill with fireballs. It's a pretty novel approach and it's a little surprising people aren't using the controller screen in this way already, but hey, it wouldn't be right to complain about that now since this looks pretty fun.

Actos Games will be releasing psyscrolr exclusively through the Wii U eShop this Fall. No price has been revealed.

Gamasutra’s Talking Devs podcast: Desert Golfing

talking devs.jpgIf you enjoyed the IndieGames.com podcast a few years ago (you can still find the episodes archived here!), then a new podcast we've started over on sister site Gamasutra might tickle your fancy. It's called Talking Devs, and essentially, we pull a couple of developers in front of the mic each week to talk about a game that is currently on their minds.

The first episode is about the glorious Desert Golfing from Justin Smith -- a mobile game that looks simple, but (maybe) houses a whole host of mysteries. I've got JS Joust creator Douglas Wilson and QWOP dev Bennett Foddy on to discuss the game, so it's well worth a listen.

You can also find the podcast on iTunes, and as an RSS feed. The intro track is called Timelapse Kingdom, and is from Daniel Rosenfeld, also known as C418.

Cosmochoria now available on Steam early access

Cosmochoria-Screenshot-3.jpg30/30's Cosmochoria, the action roguelike about a naked man with a jet pack planting seeds in space, is now available on Steam early access for Windows, Mac, and Linux after successfully meeting (and exceeding) its Kickstarter goal in May.

In Cosmochoria, the player starts on a lonely planet with a seed to plant and nurture. The plant that springs forth will give the player more seeds which the player may plant on that planet or on another one with the help of their jet pack. It isn't long before aliens start attacking, though if the player grows enough plants on a planet, that planet will give the player life. A given planet can only nourish the player for so long, however, which means the player must explore, seeking out new planets and seeing what the procedurally generated galaxy has to offer.

Since we previewed the game back in February, the game has undergone a number of tweaks and gotten some new content. The game's early access page says that the game is slated for full release in early 2015, with the game's core already in place and a primary focus on additional content going forward. Cosmochoria is currently 10% off of its regular price of $9.99 for launch week, with the regular price slated not to change upon full release. The Wii U version is slated for release early next year.

[Cosmochoria]

Fiction writing adventure game, Elegy for a Dead World, now on Kickstarter

Text-based games exist in several forms, including interactive fiction, but never had I seen a game where the player is the one in charge of writing the prose until Elegy for a Dead World.

Elegy for a Dead World, which we've covered previously here, is a text-driven adventure game about exploring and documenting the remnants of dead civilizations. You do this by adventuring through gorgeous hand-drawn scenes, and reacting to writing prompts by filling in the blanks.

Completed narratives can then be shared and read through Steam Workshop.

Developer Dejobaan Games stresses how in Elegy for a Dead World, anyone can be a writer, but that doesn't mean the game won't pose some challenges.

From the game's Kickstarter page:

"Each world offers multiple sets of prompts, each intended to inspire you to write a different story about it. Elegy might ask you to write a short story about an individual's final days, a song about resignation, or a poem about war. In the more advanced levels, you'll sometimes get new information halfway through your story which casts a new light on things and forces you to take your story in a different direction. We like to think of those as puzzles -- writing yourself out of a corner, so to speak."

Elegy for a Dead World is on Kickstarter for the next 20 days, and looking to raise $48k. Head on over if that's your thing!