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.
I really like Concursion, I like it a lot. I don’t say that because of its pretty genius concept of mish-mashing 5 games in 1 (although I like that too) or for its testing of skills and determination (but this is also a plus point). Concursion reminds me of the games younger me would play before class with friends in computers labs, frantically testing the limits of our own patience and our school’s budget keyboards. We’d rush off to lessons afterwards hating ourselves for not playing more as we regaled tales of who got further in the game than who. It’s a beautiful thing, nostalgia, and, as I said, I really like Concursion and I think that you will too.
Robots do have minds. Not in the traditional sense; their innards are metallic and made of fraying wires and code most humans couldn’t understand, but they can feel and hurt and make decisions for themselves if we program them to do so, gifting them with relationships and smarts that even their mechanical pieces can understand. That’s what’s afoot in Reset, a first person puzzle game that puts players into the shoes of a robot who must make their way through a mysterious sci-fi story, working co-operatively with themselves to do so. Reset is ambitious and enthralling and to find out more, we’ve interviewed Alpo Oksaharju, Reset’s Designer and Artist and one half of Theory Interactive, the team behind the game.
When it comes to Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries, people should expect the unexpected. For this game, from developers GriN, is no video game imagining of the classic fairytale. In their virtual imagining of the story, Woolfe shows a dark, gothic albeit far more believable twist than a hungry wolf gobbling up your grandmother (or hiding her in a cupboard, depending on how much your parent or guardian wanted to scare the living daylights out of you). Instead, Red Riding Hood’s journey pits her against a mechanical army whom she must attack, avoid and stealth her way around in some truly attractive platforming. I’ve covered the title before and now it seems that Steam think it’s as fantastic as I do as it has now been Greenlit!
According to more than a handful of titles that were released in the past year, rich, well thought out stories have no place in video games, almost always being shunted out of the way for energetic, on-trend gameplay. Indie title Woolfe, however, is the game that has both, riffing off of the well-known cautionary tale of Little Red Riding Hood to make a title that’s a stealthy, engaging and intriguing solution to all of the bland games out there. We are very much looking forward to what Woolfe has in store and so we’ve spoken to Wim Wouters, the game’s Creative Director, to find out more.