Indie Showcase … – De Mambo

De Mambo is a fast-paced single-screen action platformer currently in development by The Dangerous Kitchen. Supporting up to four players, De Mambo is “kinda Smash Bros, sorta Breakout and somewhat nothing like either of these since it has its own swing”. Interested? Yeah. Me too!

de-mambo-screeny

The aim of the game is to knock you opponent off the screen with the three attacks available to you. Controls consist of the D-Pad and a single button to perform all three attacks depending on how you use it. Head here for a tutorial on ‘How to De Mambo’. The environment around you is also destructible, so as you smash through your opponents, the level will start crumbling around you!

De Mambo will feature: (The ones in bold are yet to come)

  • One Button Action – easy to learn, hard to master gameplay designed to use one action button and a D-Pad/keys
  • Multiplayer – roughhouse up to four of your friends/enemies in Mambo
  • Loser Rail – the feature designed to give you a second chance, for those of you not good enough to win
  • Flimsy Architecture – Breakable environment for reactive gameplay
  • Single-Player – A lone wolf mode that that we like to describe as ‘Zelda 2 meets WarioWare’
  • Challenge Mode – Replay challenges from single-player with multiplayer functionality and also send custom challenges to friends.
  • Multiplayer Stages – a wide variety of new multiplayer stages
  • New Gameplay Modes – Same core Mambo gameplay, new ways to play

De Mambo has been shown at various events over the last 12 months, and will be taken to EGX and Tokyo Game Show this September. Currently slated for release on: PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PC, Mac, and Linux, The Dangerous Kitchen are currently running a Kickstarter to fund the last stages of development.

With 27 days left of the campaign, they’ve already reached 42% of their £15,000 goal! De Mambo is also on Greenlight, so if make sure to drop a vote over there if you want to see the title on Steam. Last but not least, there’s a free demo available so you can get first-hand experience with De Mambo.

I’ll leave you with the trailer as usual. Mark my words, you’ll be seeing lots more of De Mambo once it approaches release, it’s a perfect party-title to play and have fun with friends!

Let’s take a look at … – Xeodrifter (PS Vita)

Last week we covered the news that Xeodrifter, a metro-style platformer from award winning indie devs Regenage Kid, is now available on PS Vita. Well, we’ve since been given a key, and I’ve been playing it! Here’s what I think of Xeodrifter on Vita.

xeo_screeny_1

Let me start by clarifying that I’ve not played Xeodrifter on any other platform before, so all comments are in regards to the Vita version only. This also directly contributed to my confusion playing the title.

Let’s start from the beginning. The game opens to a view of a space ship travelling through space. You hit a comet, take damage that wipes out your warp drive, and you find yourself stranded in the middle of a small collection of planets. You’re free to visit any of them, so I head to the top one. I step onto the planet, and get owned. Really owned. Try another planet, and it’s full of water and I can’t swim. Another planet and a big eyed bastard fires a laser at me and fries me instantly. WHAT IS GOING ON!

xeo_screeny_2

The first 15 minutes playing Xeodrifter was the most I’ve been confused playing a game in a long time. Everything seemed to just own me, paths were blocked, and the menu looked like something that was found at Roswell. I had no idea what I was doing, but managed to stumble upon my first boss, and decided to run at him shooting … poor decision. Xeodrifter is a hard game. It’s one of these where you don’t just run around and go crazy on a boss, you have to learn the moves, the patterns, and execute your moves carefully in response.

After what seemed like 3 million deaths, I took a deep breath, watched the bosses moves, and I killed him! The problem was I was so frustrated by this point, that I didn’t really saver the victory. Part of this was down to my own inability, but I don’t want to take all the blame. Xeodrifter could do more to tell you what’s going on. You’re given nothing. I only knew there was an upgrade system for your weapon because of Steam comments I’ve read! It’s very much a case of ‘work it out yourself’ but, for me, it’s a bit too much. The smallest of tutorials would have helped immensely in getting into the game, and skipping the whole ‘I want to throw my Vita into the road’ phase.

xeo_screeny_3

After killing my first boss I was back to a brick wall, with every path seemingly lead to either a dead-end or an unbeatable enemy. I resorted to a YouTube walkthrough to see what was going on. And then it clicked. The video showed that there are hidden powerups throughout the levels that you really need to collect to continue. That in turn made the menu make sense, and the fact that some paths were blocked now made total sense; I don’t have the correct abilities yet, so need to come back. The YouTube video provided the context and instructions that I think should be there from the start; at-least in some capacity.

Controls are very simple. With the left stick you move, and then you press square you’ll shoot in the direction you’re aiming. That means your limited to only shooting in four absolute directions, but that’s part of the Metroid charm that the game has. Movement feels good for the most part. Sometime when jumping up multiple ledges, the inertia that the character carries felt cumbersome, but for the most part they feel good.

xeo_screeny_4

As mentioned, hidden throughout the levels are health and weapon upgrades, and these really are key to moving forward. Your weapon has a number of different categories that can be upgraded that range from increasing fire speed, power and scatter shot etc. Something I really like about this system is you have three weapon setups available, you’re not limited to picking a single setup. You can assign your upgrade points three times, to create three individual setups and change between them at any point.

There are 7 bosses I believe in Xeodrifter, I’m only up to bass 2 myself, and each boss drops a power when defeated. These are entire game mechanics, and are required to continue working through the planets. The first one you receive is the submarine. Finally, now I understand why everywhere was blocked with water! The second upgrade you get is a Phase Shift which allows you to shift between the front and back layer. Again, much more of the planets are now accessible so it’s time to revisit each and find what you missed.

xeo_screeny_5

Xeodrifter is a tough game, and I’ve played tough games before that make you really work for your score, but I just wasn’t feeling it with Xeodrifter. I’ve been looking for a game like this for my Vita for a while now, and really thought this would be it, but it missed the mark for me. It’s not a bad game by any means, but I just didn’t feel very rewarded after the tough battles and the work needed to progress. It felt very empty.

If I hadn’t had found that YouTube video explaining the game, I would have just put it down after the first 20 minutes. I’m glad I didn’t, I enjoyed my time with it, but I don’t think my play time will get much higher.

Tl:dr – Xeodrifter is a tough and confusing Metroid style platformer. If you stick with it enough to learn how to enjoy it, there is a good experience in there. For those not into their hard-core platformers this will turn into an exercise in self-control. Those into their tough platformers may relish the challenge, but for me it wasn’t substantial enough to justify the work it wanted.

Rating – 6.5/10

Purchase – £6.99/$9.99 Steam | PSN

Trailer –

Let’s talk about … – EGX announce partnership with YouTube Gaming

EGX, the UK’s largest gaming event, has this week announced a partnership between themselves and YouTube Gaming, bringing the YouTube Gaming stage to EGX taking place later this month. YouTube Gaming is the brand new app from that aims to provide a home for the rapidly growing game community on YouTube.

The partnership will bring some of the biggest gaming stars on YouTube to EGX, taking part in a myriad of events such as hosting panels, workshops, Q & A sessions, and live Let’s Plays from the stage. Confirmed creators include Synidcate, The Yogscast and Outside Xbox.

youtube_egx_screeny

One of the coolest things about this partnership has to be the fact that a large portion of EGX will now be streamed on gaming.youtube.com/egx. If you can’t make it to EGX, you can simply tune in from home and keep up with all the action. Global Head of Gaming, Ryan Wyatt, has the following to say regarding the partnership:

“EGX is a big moment on the UK gaming calendar that we’re psyched to be a part of – not least as an opportunity to meet members of this hugely vibrant gaming community face-to-face and to bring the best of YouTube Gaming to life for those that come down”.

“YouTube Gaming’s plans are hugely exciting and we’re delighted to host them at EGX.” “Their presence at EGX will be a fantastic new feature for our attendees”, said David Lilley, Managing Director of Gamer Events.

For more information on YouTube Gaming visit the official website, or get the dedicated app, available on both IOS and Android.

Have you used YouTube Gaming yet? I checked it out when it first released, and wasn’t blown away! I didn’t see why I’d use it over my subscription list. Still, this is an awesome partnership, and we look forward to seeing what YouTube Gaming produces moving forward!

Let’s take a look at … – Master Spy

Master Spy is a stealth platformer from TURBOGUN games. Comprised of just two developers, John Coxworth (Art) and Kris Truitt (Dev), TURBOGUN have been working on Master Spy for the past few years, in-between their full time jobs. With pixel-cinematic goodness, and tight and unforgiving platforming, it really impressed us. Let’s take a look.

mspy_screeny_1

We have to start with the great pixel-art. Pixel-art is used frequently in indie games, but few get it as right as Master Spy does. The environments are large, and packed with hand-pixelated detail. The characters and obstacles look and feel great. There are also full cutscenes constructed through just pixel art. They are kind of comic book style, with a maybe a frame every few seconds, and they work great.

Working hand-in-hand with the aesthetic is the awesome backing track. The team brought in composer André Allen Anjos (RAC), and I’m very glad we did. His music brings a lot to the game, and ranges from pumped pieces whilst in combat, to slow acoustic numbers in the cutscenes. It’s as diverse as the game environments, and they wont great together.

mspy_screeny_2

Master Spy plays just as good as it looks and sounds. Controls or devilishly simply; one button to jump (a quick double tap produces a slightly longer jump), and button to activate your invisibility jacket. The trivial controls in absolutely non-trivial situations makes you work for each level. My only reservation with the controls is that I’d like the main character to move a bit quicker. That’s mainly to make it easier! His slow speed can make jumps a bit more difficult, but I guess that’s the point!

The goal of the levels is to get the key-card, and reach the door . . . If only it was that simple. Whilst doing so you’re also avoiding rabid dogs, guards, lasers, and much more. Each level requires you to take a step back, watch the patterns of your adversaries, and strike when you feel you can make it. You’re probably wrong, you can’t make it, so prepare to die lots.

mspy_screeny_3

Gameplay is very fast, as is the respawn time. Ala Meatboy, where when you die you’re running again before you know it. This fast respawn time makes dying not TOO much of a problem. I’ve had some rage-inducing moments where I get stuck on a certain part, but at least there’s no delay to trying again. If you get a certain length through a level, there is usually a checkpoint, so you don’t have to go right back to the start which is good. My controller would be in the neighbour’s yard if I would have had to go to the start of each level after each death!

The line between a successful run and a death is razor thin. Truly, unless you’re the chosen one, the only way to complete the levels is to study your enemies, their patterns in this level, and then going for it. No delaying, you’ll just die, pick a plan and run with it. It feels great when you’ve just ran past a dog, up onto a car, quickly applied your invisibility cloak before the camera could see you, then slowly sneak out the door.

mspy_screeny_4

You play as Master Spy, a … master spy who’s been tasked with recovering a tape for Gale-Electro. The game appears to have 5 main missions, each taking place in a new environment, and over a number of different smaller rooms and tasks. I have 40 minutes play-time into the title, and think im roughly half way through mission two. I’m sure however as the game gets tougher my progress will significantly slow down. I’ve seen some gifs of the later levels and they make me shudder!

After each mission you’re given a spy grade for speed, sneakiness, and an overall Spy Grade. After my first run of mission 1 I have 52 deaths, and scored F in speed, F in sneakiness, and a grade of Novice overall. There’s plenty of room to improve, and I plan on doing just that.

mspy_screeny_5

Tl;dr – Master Spy is a brilliant stealth-platformer. With simple controls, and devilish environments paced with dangers, it takes a sharp mind to find the correct path, and even sharper skill to execute. The pixel graphics are great, with the pixelated cutscenes taking that one step further. Throw into that the amazing soundtrack, and you have simply a great game that any platforming fan should play.

Rating – 9/10

Purchase – Steam £6.99/$9.99 (10% discount until 15th September £6.29/$8.99)

Trailer –

Let’s talk about … – Game Developers Unite for War Child

20 years ago Oasis, Blur, The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and many more created the first HELP album. It went on to raise £1.5M for War Child’s activities and helped protect children on the war-torn Balkans. Now, 2 decades later, the big players in our world are doing the same, and coming together in a unique ‘studio game jam’ to help keep Way Child’s activities strong.

war_image_1

War Child will be providing a brief to the studios taking part, who together, across their various offices around the world, will come together to create the title in just 6 days. Some big players have signed up to the jam, including:

  • 343 Industries
  • A Brave Plan
  • Bossa Studios
  • Carbon Games
  • Creative Assembly
  • Curve Digital
  • Hardlight
  • Hinterland
  • Spilt Milk Studios
  • Sports Interactive
  • Team 17
  • Torn Banner

Together, these studios have sold well in excess of 100m games, so it’s certainly the dream team. Major technology providers including Unreal, GameMaker, and Unity are also backing the project by providing their tools to the teams at a ‘no cost and royalty free’ basis.

The game they will be creating will be called HELP: Real War is Not a Game, and will be releasing through Steam and other digital download platforms late in March 2016. With more announcement expected in the coming weeks, head to http://www.warchild.org.uk/helpgame for all the news, and follow War Child’s UK twitter for updates.

Indie Showcase – Overfall

Time for another Indie Showcase! Overfall is a seafaring RPG with a rich backstory, and gameplay that is determined by the player’s actions. Recently greenlit, and with a Kickstarter campaign at 56% of its goal with 11 days to go, let’s take a quick look at the title from Pera Games.

screeny_1

Overfall is a tale of redemption and retaliation. After being caught in the act stealing a powerful artefact, the artefact’s guardians (the Vorn) rush back to your world in retaliation. With two of the Everking’s nine heroes (Fighter, Cleric, Monk, Guardian, Druid, Rogue, Warlord, Ranger, and Wizard), your mission is to find your missing ruler, and save the world from imminent destruction.

Dys is a rich and bountiful world, with a number races, each with their own political backstories and agendas. With everything in the world being the result of player decision, your actions will determine the alliances, and enemies, that will be forged throughout the game. If you decide to help a Dwarf early in the game for example, the Goblins might not appreciate it and cause trouble later down the line.

screeny_2

Combat is presented in a turn-bases system with three distinct phases: mobility, utility, and attack. With each class having unique abilities, which can be chained for devastating results, there’s plenty of combinations and strategies to be taken into combat. Be careful though, death in Overfall is permanent, with only your unlocks surviving between runs.

To check out the game in more detail you can visit the Greenlight page, and if you wish to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign you can find its page here. Also, here’s the Kickstarter trailer so you can check the game out for yourself.

[Disclaimer: The goal of the Indie Showcase is to give indies exposure. Most content comes from press releases, and is not the personal opinion of anyone from IGUK.]

Let’s talk about … – Xeodrifter now available for PS4 & Vita

Xeodrifter, a metro-style platformer from award winning indie developers Renegade Kid and publishers Gambitious Digital Entertainment is now available for Playstation 4 and Vita. After releasing late last year for PC and 3DS, now PlayStation owners can join the party!

screeny_1

You’re a galaxy-traversing traversing nomad with a damaged ship. Stranded in the dark void of space, your goal is to re-build your ship and go home. The journey will take you through four sprawling planets, unlocking new weapons and abilities, allowing you to grow stronger, ready to face the nasties that await you in the strange woods.

screeny_2

The Steam reviews for Xeodrifter are ‘Mostly Positive’, with common complaints being the lack of content, and it falling short of its Metroid goal. Maybe it will lend itself better to be played on a Vita, where you can pick it up for 15 minutes at a time. We have a key for the Vita on the way, so we’ll check it out ourselves and will let you know what’s what!

Xeodrifter is available on PS4 & Vita for£7.99/$9.99/ €9.99 (Cross buy). If you’re interested in the PC version, you’ll find it on Steam for £6.99/$9.99.

Let’s talk about … – Trion Worlds announce new title Atlas Reactor

Trion Worlds, the publisher behind RIFT, ArcheAge, Trove and Defiance, made some big announcements this weekend, including unveiling their new title Atlas Reactor to fans at PAX Prime in Seattle. The all-new turn-based tactics game is now open to alpha signups following the official launch. Here is the trailer.

Trion has also opened alpha signups for their upcoming ARPG/MMORPG hybrid Devilian, for which Founder’s Packs are now on sale. In addition, they revealed major updates for both ArcheAge and RIFT, and showed new content coming to Trove soon.

Here are the details on all announcement:

  • Atlas Reactor – Combining fast-paced action with simultaneous turns in nail-biting, high-stakes battles for the last man-made reactor on Earth, Atlas Reactor will have players outsmart and out-gun their way to fame and glory. The game’s first alpha testing period starts today, and players can sign up on the Atlas Reactor site right now.
  • Devillian – For lovers of MMORPGs, ARPGs, and MOBAs, Devilian offers the visceral action combat of ARPGS, a huge persistent world with the deep guild and socialization systems found in MMORPGs, and competitive player-versus-player action found in MOBAs. Devilian will be entering Alpha on September 3, 2015 and will feature Founder’s Packs for players, which are on sale now.
  • RIFT – RIFT’s 3.4 update will, for the first time since the game’s launch, introduce a brand-new calling, the Primalist. This will launch with six souls and bring with it a slew of new content including the all-new Planetouched Wilds expedition zone, Lord Arak Raid, Rhazade Canyons dungeon and much more.
  • ArcheAge – ArcheAge‘s biggest update ever, ArcheAge Heroes Awaken, will launch on September 12, 2015 and feature significant updates to the game. The brand-new Hero System, updates to the Guild Progression System, Housing upgrades and a reborn Diamond Shore offer just a glimpse at the new content in ArcheAge Heroes Awaken.
  • Trove – Trove, Trion Worlds’ recently launched voxel MMO adventure game, has been a big hit amongst fans since it launched July 9, already amassing more than 2.5M monthly active users.  The upcoming Fall update, The Shadow Tower, will introduce an all-new class, the Lunar Lancer and endgame content as the game prepares to launch on Mac in Fall 2015.
  • Defiance – The upcoming Defiance Supreme Patch will introduce a new race of enemies, the acidic Shrill who inhabit Silicon Valley’s arkfalls. Also added will be Supreme Weapons, a new higher tier of rarity which can be applied to all current and future weapons.

trove_screeny

Big things coming from the publisher. Their title Trove, the voxel RPG released recently, now has 2.5M monthly active users. Very impressive! Do you play any of their titles? If so, let us know which one in the comments and why you like it!

Let’s take a look at … – STASIS

STASIS is a sci-fi point-and-click adventure game from The Brotherhood. Kickstarted back in 2013, STASIS received $132,523 of its $100,000 target, and today launches on both Steam and GOG. Inspired by the game Sanitarium, and made by a one-man-band Chris Bischoff over the past five years, STASIS promises a true, horror sci-fi experience. Let’s take a look.

stasis_screeny_1

STASIS starts with an awesome, movie-like introduction, showing a ship flying through space. The music, art, and direction show clearly already that the title is not lacking production value. You wake up on an abandoned ship, fresh out of a stasis chamber, with no recollection of what’s happened. The last thing you remember is you, your wife, and your daughter were heading to Titan.

You are alone. Not only on the ship, but in regards to gameplay and problem solving; you are truly on your own. There are no goals, no objectives, and no tips on where to go next. Only through meticulous exploration of your environment, and taking careful note of your surroundings, and the scraps of information provided, will you be able to progress.

stasis_screeny_2

Gameplay is typical of point-and-click adventure, and the isometric environments help pull you into the environment. The art utilizes pre-rendered 3D environments, with a gritty, film-grain like layer atop. It creates a very grungy atmosphere, that when coupled with the ambient backing track, and the terrifying sounds the ship makes, creates a very tense and uneasy feeling.

The music and sound in STASIS go a long way, and thanks to the highly successful Kickstarter campaign, two world class musicians, Mark Morgan and Daniel Sadowski worked on the project. Same goes for the excellent voice acting. The Kickstarter funds also allowed professional voice actors Ryan Cooper, and Rebecca McCarthy to join the project. All interaction is excellently narrated which goes further in immersing you in the experience.

stasis_screeny_3

The game starts somewhat slowly at first. You’ve taken damage and are ill, so can’t move too fast. Your first task is to find medical help. You come across an old machine that can help, and the first puzzle presented is to get it up and running. This is a great example of how the game doesn’t molly-coddle you, and leaves it up to you. There are no prompts on where to go. No suggestions on how things work, you just have to work things out. There is a circuit breaker on the wall, and to learn how to use it you have to press all the buttons and see what happens. It’s authentic, and the sense of adventure and the unknown is great.

Information is gained by exploring items, and reading computer terminals. Often, things like this can feel disjointed from the task at hand, and somewhat superfluous. Asif you’re going out of your way to learn extra, non-critical information, but not with STASIS. Everything is relevant to the storyline, and you need to gather the information in order to continue. It’s just you, the operating system that runs the ship, and your intrigue.

stasis_screeny_4

After more delving, and puzzle solving, you discover that you appear to be on a scientific research ship that’s been running for 50 years. How long you’ve been here for god only knows. As you explore the ship further things start taking a turn for the macabre. Corpses lie in empty corridors, screams radiate throughout, and shadows of creatures scurry past the edges of your vision. I’ve also come across another human, and have been instructed to leave the area I’m in immediately. Things are ramping up, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they’re taking me.

Narrative plays a large part in what makes STASIS great. Diligent reading and exploration will yield the greatest results, and you’ll get out of it what you put it. I think if you rush through it, just solving the puzzles in order to move forward, you might have a lesser experience.

stasis_screeny_5

I’m about an hour and a half into STASIS, and it’s clear that a rich and well produced journey lies ahead. A grungy and rich aesthetic makes the environments real, and the excellent voice acting brings the characters to life. I love the fact that the game really leaves you in your own. It’s a true adventure game, not ‘Go Here, Do This, Collect That’. If you don’t have a sharp mind and approach the environment diligently you won’t get too far. For fans of adventure games, STASIS is a must-play.

Tl:dr – STASIS is a sci-fi, horror, point and click adventure game. With great production value, including the effort of great musicians, and professional voice actors, a fitting world is created to host the rich narrative. It doesn’t hold your hand, and it requires a sharp mind and key eye to progress. You’ll get out of it what you put in, and if you invest in it you will be rewarded with a great experience.

Rating – 8.5/10

Purchase – Steam £18.99 | GOG £18.99 (£15.29 with launch discount)

Trailer –

Indie Showcase … – Netw0rm

Netw0rm is a 3D action/runner game by indie studio Cuddly Zombie Games. We were recently given access to a build, and was pleasantly surprised! It’s a fun little action game, with a great premise, but has a few flaws. We were originally going to review the title, but given the fact that it’s not yet available, we’re going to bring it to you guys via the showcase, then we’ll conduct our review upon release.

networm_screeny_4

Netw0rm is an action shooter surrounding hacking. Yeah, how cool is that! You play the role of what I presume is a systems admin, and you have control over a system called the mothership. You can buy parts for your system, upgrade its hardware, and buy tools to help you hack. The game interface is pretty simple, and it looks like you’re working on an old computer terminal. It’s minimalistic and fits the mood and theme of the game well.

Gameplay sees you hacking into servers of multiple companies and instituted in order to steal data. What you do with this data is up to you. Leak it, or sell it on the black market for more credits in order to upgrade your PC. The hacking mechanic involved travelling down a tube, with multiple obstacles in your way. The steam page states:

“The game is inspired, in part, by the hacking sequences from 80’s sci-fi films and TV shows. In various films, hacking into a computer was represented in a very videogame-like way, navigating along a series of wireframe environments, dodging enemies and barriers as they attempted to break into the heart of the system.”

 The developer achieves this, and the game feels very much that way. You play the hack, you have to keep a certain space otherwise the trace will find you, and the obstacles in your way and things like ICE blockers, for which you need a certain type of program to overcome. But be careful, programs require both RAM and CPU cycles, so you need to manage your system carefully.

networm_screeny_1

The premise to the game is great, but unfortunately I feel there are problems with the fundamentals. The movement during gameplay feels … sluggish and flawed. It’s not as fun as it could be. The developer states that the game is ready to launch as soon as Greenlit, but I’d like to see some more time spent polishing the feel of the controls, and I’m sure others will agree.

Another potential issue I see is with repetitiveness. Given what I’ve played, I’m not sure how long it could hold the attention of the player without becoming too repetitive.

networm_screeny_2

Despite some concerns, I think Netw0rm is a fun game. The premise is great, I just feel the controls need some TLC to reach their maximum potential. If you want to check out the game, head over to its Greenlight page and drop your vote!

Here’s the trailer so you can get a feel for gameplay.