OlliOlli

OlliOlli by developer Roll7 is the indie skateboarding game we’ve been waiting for! Skate for a high score and fight your friends on the online leaderboards while you do your best to avoid/grind over all the obstacles along the way to the finish. A cool sprite-based art style, hypnotic rhythmic gameplay and fantastic soundtrack make […]

Kickstarter + Demo: 16-bit inspired JRPG Legena: Union Tides

Legena_UT_Screenshot_031.png

Legena: Union Tides is to be Grandpa Pixel's first game and the first game in a series of three. Development on the game began in 2013 when it was just a project to learn programming with, but it's grown into a high-quality project which aims to touch on mature themes while offering a robust gaming experience. If the demo (Windows) is any indication, the game is going to be a steal at the price of $5.

The story in Legena: Union Tides revolves around a young king and his close advisor, who get asked for help in defending a man known as Scholar from someone else called The Narrator. The Narrator is considered a myth, a bogeyman used to frighten children into obedience, but Scholar insists that The Narrator exists and helped the young king's father with an evil plot that the young king foiled some years before. Now The Narrator is after Scholar, and Scholar believes that only the young king and his advisor, two of the heroes who prevented the old king's plans from coming to fruition, can save him. Legena: Union Tides is to be the first game in a trilogy, throughout which the truth about The Narrator will be revealed.

That brief introduction already ties the story to an interesting backstory in which one of the main characters was responsible for slaying his own father for the good of his people. There are other dark undertones waiting to be drawn out, too, with this first game in the series intended to focus on deceit and crime through the lens of piracy on the open seas. The demo also shows attention to diversity issues and normal life troubles, too, with the young king's advisor being in a same-sex marriage which seems to be faring less than well.

Aesthetically, the game's 16-bit inspirations are clear. The tile-based pixel art is well done but has its own style, with the quality being on par with late 16-bit era levels of detail and variety. It has some neat map borders going on that clearly establishes map boundaries and marks a clear difference between the combat, cutscene, and traveling portions of the game. The music also hearkens back to the era that inspired the game, but the melodies and compositions are all Legena's own and do an excellent job of supporting the story.

Legena_UT_Screenshot_027.png

Although the aesthetics hearken back to days of yore, the gameplay offers the kind of choices, customization, and cleaner user interfaces common to more modern games. Before combat, party members' special abilities can be customized by equipping them with different feathers. In combat, play occurs in rounds with allies' and enemies' turn order clearly displayed in one corner. On the map, encounters are visible, though unless scripted you can only tell that you'll be fighting something, not exactly what the enemy party's makeup will be. On top of that, dialogue choices can affect the main character's relationship with other party members.

The demo doesn't clearly show what the effects of those dialogue choices will be in the long run because it's only a small snippet of the game. However, it does show off what is already a solid game with good writing and a lot of hooks to snag the player's attention. It isn't very long and you can download it here.

Grandpa Pixel is currently seeking support on Kickstarter, where you can reserve a copy of the game for £3 (approx. $5 USD) or of all three games in the series for £8 (approx. $14 USD).

[The Legena Series]

Browser Pick: Sokoboros (Trevor Newton)

sokoboro2a.pngTrevor Newton's Sokoboros is a PuzzleScript game in which you play as a baby snake who has to eat to grow. It features multi-room puzzles similar to the ones found in Cyber-Lasso, the excellent Space Cowboy Jam entry by Alan Hazelden. Players will have to traverse back and forth between rooms regularly, solving the sort of challenges that require some planning in advance.

Every time the snake bites into a fruit, it grows slightly longer in length and takes up a bit more room when slithering through small tunnels or corridors. Doors blocking your way can be opened by crawling over their corresponding switches, but some doors will require more than one switch to be activated before they can be unlocked.

Sokoboros is available to play in your browser via this link.

Adventurous iOS Picks: Blackwell Legacy, Unbound and Convergence

BlackwellIOS.pngThree of the finest and arguably most important indie point-and-click adventures have finally made it on Apple's App Store and you, oh tasteful adventurers, can now enjoy Wadjet Eye's terrific Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound and Blackwell Convergence from the portable comfort of your touch-screen. Mind you, the games run equally well on iPhones and iPads, look lovelier than ever and your meetings with the ghostly Joey and a pixelated New York still provide all the intrigue, puzzles and fine storytelling the PC versions offered.

Adventurous iOS Picks: Blackwell Legacy, Unbound and Convergence

BlackwellIOS.pngThree of the finest and arguably most important indie point-and-click adventures have finally made it on Apple's App Store and you, oh tasteful adventurers, can now enjoy Wadjet Eye's terrific Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound and Blackwell Convergence from the portable comfort of your touch-screen. Mind you, the games run equally well on iPhones and iPads, look lovelier than ever and your meetings with the ghostly Joey and a pixelated New York still provide all the intrigue, puzzles and fine storytelling the PC versions offered.

Peaceful Skeleton Realm: Attacked By Helicopter

Today we will fly fancifully through a hellish world of happy skeletons in Peaceful Skeleton Realm: Attacked by Helicopter by developer LouHam. Can you RIP all the skeleton gifs? This game is just over the top ridiculous and I couldn’t resist playing through it for you guys. Check out Peaceful Skeleton Realm: ABH for free […]

Peaceful Skeleton Realm: Attacked By Helicopter

Today we will fly fancifully through a hellish world of happy skeletons in Peaceful Skeleton Realm: Attacked by Helicopter by developer LouHam. Can you RIP all the skeleton gifs? This game is just over the top ridiculous and I couldn’t resist playing through it for you guys. Check out Peaceful Skeleton Realm: ABH for free […]

Trailer Roundup: A variety of platformers, some RPGs, and more

deergod.jpg

Today's trailer roundup features a multiplayer action RPG shooter, a space tunnel game with mechanics reminiscent of Super Hexagon, a gorgeous platformer about a hunter turned into prey, a retro-inspired action platformer, a tactical RPG with destructible environments that pays homage to classic games, an isometric tactical RPG with anime style and mature themes, a three-color first-person horror game, a Vita-exclusive platformer with unusual mechanics, a free and slow-paced platformer about community, and a game about ghosts beating each other up on stage.

There will be no trailer roundup next week; it will hopefully pick up again the following Monday, but there might be a two-week break.

Blood Star
Windows, Mac, Linux | $TBD | Early 2015 | Greenlight

From the developer: "Blood Star is an action role-playing shooter, with inspiration drawn from games like Diablo, Dodonpachi, Rise of the Triad, and Don't Starve." It will be multiplayer and chaining attacks will be key to advancement. More details about the battle system are available on the Greenlight page.

Centrigue
iOS, Android | $0.99 | Available now for iOS, soon for Android

This game looks like a cousin to Super Hexagon, taking a step back from Super Hexagon's minimalist gameplay by adding things like zoom arrows.

The Deer God
Unity3D Platforms | $10+ | January 2015 | Kickstarter

"After a hunting incident, a hunter has an unexpected experience. Now the hunter becomes the hunted, and the tables are turned!" This is a platformer with what appears to be 2D gameplay in a gorgeous 3D environment. It's already met its Kickstarter funding goal and been Greenlit.

Dr. Green
Windows, Mac | $TBD | Late 2014 | Greenlight | OST on Soundcloud

Inspired by retro arcade action platformers, Dr. Green is the first game from an experienced pixel artist. There aren't many details on when it will be out, but it looks good already.

Enemy
Windows, Mac, Linux | $12.50 | Pre-Order (Release TBD) | Greenlight

A tactical RPG with a combat system inspired by the original X-Com and Jagged Alliance. It also has a physics engine and destructible environments. The environments in the game are inspired by other classic games.

Gravia Tactics
Windows, Mac, Linux | $TBD | Release TBD | Kickstarter Soon

I'm cheating a bit with this one; it's a 3-minute pre-alpha gameplay video rather than a trailer. This game is to be an isometric turn-based tactical RPG that explores mature themes. Keep an eye out for their Kickstarter, starting soon.

Into The Gloom
Windows, Mac, Linux | $2.99 | Available Now

This is a first-person horror puzzle game with low-fidelity graphics in three colors. Roam through the rooms to find items to solve puzzles and get away from "the shadow".

Metrico
PS Vita | $TBD | August 5th (USA), August 6th (Europe)

Digital Dreams calls their upcoming vita-exclusive platformer "a game about infographics and free will". It looks like it will have some interesting and unique mechanics. I could try to explain what I mean, but you should really just watch the trailer.

Sky's Isles
Browser (Unity), Windows | Free | Available Now

Sky's Isles is a fairly slow-paced platformer with cute, hand-drawn art. It's themed around fractured communities. And it's free. Bonus: rebindable keys.

SpookMash
Windows | $TBD | Sometime 2014 | Greenlight

A game about ghosts brawling in a theater. It will have MOBA-inspired online play and the developers are currently working on a map editor to allow the creation of arenas by players.

Sokobond, a chemistry lesson/puzzle game, is out today on Steam


I had to slap myself in the face this week, when I discovered that the glorious Sokoban passed me by last year. It's a lovely puzzle game about chemical bonds, in which you shift atoms around small spaces in a bid to connect them all up.

It's very clever stuff, and it quickly gets to the point of making you want to reach into the screen and break the game with your bare fists, as such additional ideas are introduced as breaking bonds, doubling up on bonds, and pushing Helium around. The game is out today on Steam, so if you're the kind of person who only buys games via Valve (or you missed it first time around like me), you totally need to grab Sokobond today.

ALIENHEARTBEATS

Today I’ve got something very strange and not particularly game-like – Alienheartbeats by developer/artist Cellusious. With this tool we can create endless procedurally generated alien hearts that come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. It’s certainly something different and I really like the idea, I just wish there was a bit more to do […]