When it comes to things scaring us sh*tless, the 90s were a pretty good time. We had documentary spooks from The Blair Witch Project, masked scares from the very first Scream movie and The Sixth Sense forever made that one joke about seeing dead people a staple in pop culture. Nearly 15 years on and those things are still keeping us awake at night like your screamo enthusiast neighbour but arcade co-op title Devil’s Dare gives us an opportunity to shoot those bad guys in the face. Find out more about the game and its 2D stylings after the break.
We’re at a very special moment in gaming right now where we don’t just get to run about and play in our games, but we also get to tinker around and make our own games within them. Principia is a game of this sort, mashing together Minecraft like material collecting and LittleBigPlanet world building for the best combination since chips and gravy (or chips and guac if you’re in North America). Whether you want to make a robot death squad, a collection of marching, pooping animals or if you want to just make the best Space Invaders clone of the ages, Principia will let you do that. So there’s unlimited potential with this one and it’ll be out soon. More on Principia after the break.
So Many Me is exactly the type of game you love to root for. A quirky underdog, the game’s clone gameplay, in which spawned characters follow you and put their various abilities to use, is a bit like Lemmings without the peril of death being quite so funny. The fact it also combines that with physics-based puzzles and a blobby, green protagonist that’s as cute as can be, probably makes So Many Me seem like the Frankenstein’s creature of games on paper (which is likely why the game’s crowdfunding efforts didn’t go so well). But in action there’s a spark and a bright one at that. Read our So Many Me review after the break.
Wolf eats granny, Wolf cross-dresses as granny. Wolf tries to eat Red Riding Hood, hunter has to chop wolf to itty bitty fleshy pieces. That’s how most of us know the story of Little Red Riding Hood anyway, the tale of a sweet young girl in a crimson coat who tried to bring her grandmother some biscuits but nearly gets murdered 5 times on the way. How darling. Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries is equally as gritty as this time ‘Red’, as she’s known in the game, is forced to seek revenge and answers after her dad is killed in a work place ‘accident’. The air quotes are all mine of course but Red is also convinced that her father’s shady employee B.B Woolfe, CEO of Woolfe Industries is involved in a cover up. With a name like that and a monstrous, clockwork army there’s no way B.B Woolfe is anything other than nefarious, really. Read more on Woolfe after the break.
Jotun is a game that puts you in the suitably badass boots of a Norse warrior named Thora as she battles through Viking purgatory trying to make her way to the cushy haven of Valhalla. Naturally, the game also sticks an axe in her hands (that’s far too heavy for our puny, mortal biceps) to make sure she’s well equipped to stab, jab and pummel the ugly out of the titular jotun who are an array of giant elemental beasties. On her quest for redemption and proving herself to the gods, Thora will also come across runes, puzzles and “many more Viking mysteries” according to the devs, which are all things I very much like the sound of. It seems plenty of you like the sound of that too as Jotun has reached its Kickstarter goal. But if you’re out of the loop about the indie action adventure title, you can find out more on Jotun and its gameplay goals after the break.
When I interviewed Jotun designer Will Dubé about the game earlier this month I learnt that the top-down action title is as much Dark Souls as it is Shadow of the Colossus. Its primary boss battles might seem to embrace SotC’s ‘gentle giant’ theme with whatever inspiration grabbing appendages but the jotun in Jotun are going to pulverise you to little Norse pieces if you don’t dodge out of the way of their attacks. Like Dark Souls, there’s a method in the madness of getting squished by a foot, a blade, or whatever over and over again in that Jotun challenges us to use our wits to defeat its enemies. I thought this sounded like a novel premise but being an in development game, Thunder Lotus didn’t really have much to prove that to me. They’ve since put together a combat teaser video for Jotun, showing off the battle mechanics and such. Watch it after the break.
Jotun is a game far more inspired by Team Ico’s Shadow of the Colossus than it is by the soaring wave of popularity surrounding Thor. The game’s lead is a Norse woman for one and the fact that her name is ‘Thora’ in a time when Marvel have decided to make Thor’s comics counterpart a woman (also named Thor) is a happy coincidence I’m told, but in all honesty, the similarities end there. Thora wields a mahoosize blade from the get-go and gameplay is a mix between death-defying feats of wit, bravery and willpower against giants (those would be the ‘Jotun‘ then) and puzzles that see you embrace runes, shrines and the gods of Norse mythology as Thora fights her way out of Purgatory and into Valhalla. So with that enough to whet my axe-wielding appetite I decided to talk to the game’s designer, Will Dubé, to find out more.
When Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag launched last year I praised it and included it on my list of PS4/Xbox One launch titles to watch. It had a white protagonist but (on PlayStation) it let you play as Aveline, a mixed-race woman whose mother is a slave and it also introduced us to Adewale, a former slave who became Edward Kenway’s First Mate on the Jackdaw.
In AC4 slavery is undoubtedly a focus of the game, with plantations as common as the hairs on your head and slavemasters being met with the pointy end of Edward’s sword more than a handful of times, but many aspects were jarring and being told that you’d freed ‘8 out of 10 (nameless) slaves’ in a series of optional side-quests s didn’t feel like it was doing the realities of slavery much justice.
There has to be a game that depicts the horror of slavery right though; gaming needs its 12 Years a Slave or its Django Unchained* and new game Thralled will be the story-telling masterpiece to do it.
That headline’s a little bit misleading, actually, because it implies that there’s just one good reason to play Concursion, the ambitious indie title from Puuba Games. There are actually a good few many reasons why you should be interested in the game, most of all the fact that it combines 5 different gameplay elements in one (and when I say combine I quite literally mean combine – levels have bits of one another squished together seeing you change character and gameplay on the fly). There’s also my Concursion preview in which playing it made me promptly fall in love and the game’s new trailer (also included in this post). There are quite a few others which I’ve listed after the break but if you play the Concursion demo you’ll be able to find out why for yourself!
Welcome to the Rapid Fire Reading List! The world wide web is a big place and my deadlines are always close! So this is where I put all of the interesting links from the week when I haven’t had time to cover them for J Station X. Sometimes they cover feminism/gaming/queer theory and occasionally they cover all three! Read on to find out which big stories were making the headlines this week.