Check out these wicked screen shots from "Dragon Quest Heroes", a fully 3D hack n' slash DQ game for PS4, out in February. Unlike it's RPG predecessors, DQH promises more streamline play, less talk, and less RPG elements.We will definitely be getting a copy, given the language barrier will be less important for gameplay. Looks great!
So it's a rainy night in, you have a bottle of wine, and some time on your hands before everyone starts demanding you pick a movie out for them and you think, "Hmmm, I think I want to lose myself in a good ol' fashioned art game. Something light but not meaningless, something fun but won't suck me into it's vortex..." Ladies and Gents, I give you Totem's Sound.
TS is basically a 1p exploration rpg set along the North West coast of the United States. Players star as Johan Jacobsen, a Norwegian sailor who lived irl during the late 1800's and collected indigenous/native artifacts. So basically the Scandinavian Indiana Jones with less action and more chit chat. The game begins in a little coastal town, quest's present themselves, and Johan begins a Zelda map-esque journey to essentially run errands for artifacts. The game is slow in game play, the story is pretty basic, and the battles with local wildlife are relatively easy.
It's not necessarily the gameplay that makes Totem's Sound such a gem, however... It's the design.
Spatially speaking, TS feels almost limitless though it is quite limited. The spirit of exploration is not hard to fall into as each new challenge seems mildly dark and frightening, given the anticipation for action on each large-scale map. The graphics feel as if you really are in a mysterious pixelated PNW forest, hunting down native art and attempting to survive along the way. Something about the way the map is created, with small figures and intricately detailed bit art captures the imagination. From the totems, to the characters, to the intricate little houses--- I found myself continuing on to the next chapters just to see what developer Adeline Ducker offered me graphically in reward for my completion.
Soon though, the art was not quite enough to keep me playing until the end. Slow movement and a mildly aimless to-do list, coupled with the inability to break rules seemed to put me in a storybook kind of appreciation for Totem's Sound. It is very pretty, and expertly crafted---entertaining, though? Only for a bit. Play Totem's Sound for the art, the history, and the fact that you probably won't be playing all night.
Heres a peek at Slain, a game in development by Wolfbrew Games. The slick occult bloodbath is scheduled for sometime next year, but creator Andrew Gilmour keeps a devo-blog up for fans of the aesthetic to check in. Some really wicked stuff here!
Personally, I found "Dethlands" to be a complete embodiment of what we here at Wicked Basement strive for... Metal, monsters, 8bit, violence, and occultish horrors... However, production has halted after the head programmer deserted the team and there will be no further advancement post alpha. It's a lucky thing we at LEAST have the alpha though, check it out in the link below...
Like a game out of Giger's dream-catalogue, ESA explores the realm of a failed terreform project suddenly sending distress signals after years of being shut down. Explore developer Hempuli's world as a mech, searching for answers as to what happened to the "bio-dome" and enjoy some excellent pixel art in the process. The game is not out yet, but is very close to being finished. Follow the developers blog HERE and keep up with us on a release date!
Super Bat Puncher is a sidescrolling 8bit game which blends the happy-go-lucky elements of Kirby and Kid Icarus, with a bit of Cave Story's narrative for cuteness. Characters begin as a boxing-glove wielding cat who accepts a quest to help his canary friend, Sir Loin, find a few lost spirits. Players can be both the cat OR Sir Loin once P1 accepts the mission. It becomes an option to play with a friend and P2 can log in at any time. Most of the first stage is spent getting your bearings, punching bats (hence the name), and navigating the maze-like cave through a host of non-threatening enemies.
As players make their way through the cave, new bouncy surfaces reveal a certain few challenges, character upgrades are available through the treasure chests along the way, then a VERY easy boss battle releases one of the spirits mentioned earlier after victory. Gleeful chip music playing throughout, Super Bat Puncher is definitely one of the cutest games I have played in the neo-retro genre, but the actual challenge of the game is a little lacking. After acquiring the barrel roll skill, I found myself wanting more action that wasn't map/navigation based. Harder enemies, possibly mini-bosses could have helped this... Other than that I really enjoyed playing Super Bat Punch, even given that it was a short demo. I hope to see more from this developer and watch this game grow :)
Panopticon has to be one of my fav bands of all time. Their savvy blend of earth shattering black metal, progressive chords, and intermingling genre-work is nothing short of absolute genius. Growing up in the south eastern United States, myself, something about their sound harkens back to bygone days... Of blistering heat, white whiskey, and corrupt establishment all around.
From "The Exploding Rabbit Scam" blog, a site DEDICATED to reporting the failures of Jay and his team,
So here is what it seems like happened
1) Jay got money from a successful Kickstarter which reached many stretch goals for a game called "Super Retro Squad" and was due to be released by March 2013 (5 months ago from today). It has been suggested this was a thinly veiled attempt to make a profit from the illegal game Super Mario Bros Crossover.
2) Jay and some people bought a house, made a video about it
3) They made a dance video and Jay did a let's play video
4) Radio silence from Exploding Rabbit for months.
5) Jay makes a video to ask for MORE MONEY with nothing whatsoever delivered besides a few mock ups and what appears to be a very basic simple demo of a character jumping and collecting coins.
6) An update to the illegal game Super Mario Crossover was released, and as stated by Jay Pavlina, for the strict purpose of making money and attracting people to his site to make ad money.
7) Now people have been told development BEGAN in August 2013 and the scope of the project has changed significantly with no discussion with the share holders (Backers)
madness ladies and gents...
Yowza. That's some harshness.
But not all of it is false. TERS blogspot has reported quite a bit in response to Pavlina's admitted defeat after comments by backers, fans, and indie gamers reached a fever pitch. The distressed creative director released an emotionally charged update/apology to his backers this week, beginning by taking on blame and sorting through the issues Exploding Rabbit had encountered...
"I made a fan game, so i thought, "How much harder could it be to make a real game?" A lot harder it turns out. In SMBC, I didn't have to worry about art, music, sound effects, level design, enemy design, or much game design, and the levels were very small with no vertical scrolling or slopes. the originality in SMBC came from piecing things together in an elegant way, and I didn't realize how much more difficult it would be to come up with compelling ideas from scratch. We eventually did come up with an awesome design for SAS, but it took a very long time, largely due to persistent opposition from some team members..." -ER
As the letter goes on, Pavlina describes the choice to move everyone into a house instead of working remotely a bad decision. He chocks the disintegration of Super Action Squad up to an unrealistic estimation of cost/time and an ineffective, slow-working team of slackers.
"After this experience, I am not sure it is even possible to form a strong game development team without being able to pay everyone a livable wage. I personally feel that having an ineffective team is THE most detrimental problem we had, and we spent quite a lot of time trying to make it better, but the ultimate solution ended up being to dismantle it..." -ER
So does this spell game over for Super Action Squad and Exploding Rabbit as we know them? Pavlina says no. While there are no immediate plans to refund backers, Jay and the gang are attempting to make things right by being as transparent as possible in the coming months of hiatus development. It seems the house is breaking up, the game is being put aside, and a smaller version of the $53,000 platformer will be released when everyone gets their shit together. A sad result for both fans and creators.
If you're not familiar with the Lupin III manga/anime franchise, you may have to stick around for a Lupin movie before you leave... If you ARE familiar with the series, you know it is one of the most celebrated and long-running in anime history for a pretty good reason: Lupin III bleeds infectious style. Not only are the stories fun and interesting, but the animation style, character dynamic, and iconic art direction transcends age demographic and time period to produce a kind of fiction we all know as CLASSIC.
What a lot of people, fans or not, don't know about Lupin III is that a series of pretty shitty games came out surrounding the series. "Pandora No Isan" is probably one of the most basic, and oddly, the best of the lot. Players pick one of three characters; Master thief Lupin, expert marksman Jigen, or the katana wielding Goemon. None of the characters have a defacto advantage over the other, aside from Goemon who spins a sword (totally the worst move ever...)
The game itself plays a lot like a bad version of "Gumshoe" for the NES. Players run right through a mildly interesting but ultimately infuriating cityscape, collecting minor items and power ups, and avoiding enemies who touch you ONCE for a kill... The difference, though, between Gumshoe and Pandora No Isan (aside from the zapper), is that Gumshoe is actually fun. This game is brutal and pretty frustrating. The maps aren't very clear about what you can and can't walk on, there are no health bonuses, the controls are janky (press up AND A to jump high...rly?), and as the world progresses it just makes you more pissed when you die from some asinine reason... But its Lupin so who cares about all that!
Amidst all the faults of this game, one thing keeps me playing... The style. Those suited gunmen, the little black ninja guys, bats, cats, and items to collect! It may sound odd but the overall crappiness of this game doesn't deter me from trying again and again, falling into some hidden pit and slamming my USB controller against the couch. What this game needs is a hard core MOD/hack. The indie developer that takes this turd and polishes it up to include health, more incentives and bosses will end up with a classic.
Usnea is probably one of our favorite bands, Portland or otherwise. Their shows benefit secular/freethought organizations, their riffs melt minds, the guys involved are super nice dudes. What else do you need? How about some of their music?