Over the past year I played hundreds of amazing games across a wide spectrum of team sizes, budgets and ambitions. These exemplify the best that 2014 had to offer: interesting places to explore, important achievements, or just nice ideas executed simply. I hope you'll find them as surprising and delightful as I did.Read the rest
Cory mentioned this campaign when it first launched, but the team behind the charity-driven Humble Indie Bundle 2 -- which lets you pay what you like for five top-tier indie games -- have now added all six games from this year's previous Indie Bundle, if you donate more than the overall average amount.
That means that for at least around $7.60 (you choose how much goes to the developers or organizations like EFF and Child's Play), you get eleven games: World of Goo, Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD, Penumbra Overture and Samorost 2 from the first bundle, along with newcomers Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, and the newly released and super-stylized Revenge of the Titans.
Further unlocks like this are also expected -- the Bundlers have also just announced that Titans will go open-source if donations reach $1.75 million in the 2 days remaining in the campaign.
Click here to contribute! (Humble Indie Bundle 2, illustration by the ever-amazing Nikklas Jansson via Amanita)
It all started -- it should be noted -- with Steve Swink and Scott Anderson's Shadow Physics, revealed at the Game Developers Conference's Experimental Gameplay Sessions in 2009, and still in production at their upstart studio Enemy Airship (as yet offline, but already with this amazing logo designed by Phil Fish). After that came Lost in Shadow, Hudson's own upcoming fantasy/storybook platforming take on shadow-play.
And now, spotted very briefly at E3 in Sony's PlayStation Network reel, but now shining in a stronger light on their PlayStation.Blog, is echochrome ii, an upcoming downloadable that'll use the PlayStation Move motion controls as a flashlight to modify the game's cast shadows to solve yet more puzzle/platforming levels.
Sony's take does, to be fair, appear to be a logical next step from their original optical-illusion puzzler echochrome, but it is a curious case of Hundredth Monkey game design, and will be interesting to see how each makes its own mark as they all come to market.
Above: the first video of multiple IGF award finalist and all around fantastically ambient game Osmos running on the iPad, ahead of its July 8th App Store release date.
I've been lucky enough to spend the past couple weeks with a pre-release version of the game and it's quickly become one of my iPad favorites. You'll have to reconfigure your brain slightly to adjust to its particular brand of ambient play: though it shares some of the same basic consume-to-consume-more mechanics as something like Katamari, attempting to approach it with the same carefree knockabout spirit is a quick way to instant failure. Instead, you'll need to more slowly and strategically work your way around each level, looking for openings and playing the waiting game.
Hemisphere have more information on the new additions to the iPad version (and the iPhone version to follow a month later), and, coincidentally, Steam has the PC and Mac version of the game currently on deep discount for a mere $2.50 to give it a whirl ahead of time.
Osmos for iPad, coming July 8th [Hemisphere]
While it might not quite be on artistic par as Europe's score with arthouse film streaming service MUBI, the announcement of Hulu Plus -- an ad-supported and subscription based alternative to the current TV streaming service -- has also brought word that both the PS3 and Xbox 360 will be getting their own on-dash version.
The guided tour of the $9.99 per month service notes that the PS3 version will launch in July with full seasons of current programming (full list here), along with full series archives of shows like Buffy, X-Files and Arrested Development (full list of those here, too). An Xbox 360 version will follow after the holidays.
Currently the service is invite only, with the iPhone and iPad viewers already available as a free download on the App Store.
Read more about the new service via Hulu's latest blog post, and see the video tour here.
While I'm still in the thick of preparing the deluge of words on the good things I did see at this year's E3 (somewhere buried underneath the thick strata of identikit first person shooters were several truly rare shining gems), here's the one game I'm depressed I didn't see: Rock of Ages, the sophomore effort from Chile's ACE Team due for downloadable release in spring 2011.
At heart a seemingly simple defense-busting action-physics game, ACE Team (the same as behind recently released [and just as fantastically stylized] first-person beat-er Zeno Clash) has upped their own ante and dressed it as a fully realized art-historical world from the Renaissance, Rococo and Gothic eras.
More information should be shortly forthcoming from publisher Atlus via their teaser site here.
Rock of Ages [ACE Team]
You were the tallest one of them all, armor clad and looking rather delicious. I don't know- I suppose I have a bit of a costume fetish (and video game boys), but wow. You looked astounding in that gear. I can even begin to imagine what you'd look like without it, nor do I really care. All I am sure of is that I really want you. Seriously, haha. Costumed and masked- your identity is safe. Hell, I don't care which Helghast soldier I get. I just want one of you.
NYC artist Zach Gage should already be a familiar name both for his accidentally-controversial art/game Lose/Lose (the Space Invaders-alike that deleted a file from your hard drive on every successful kill) and, more recently, Sonic Wire Sculptor -- Amit Pitaru's generative sound app which Gage helped bring to the iPhone.
As I mentioned in the writeup of the latter, Gage has been quietly released a steady stream of stylishly low-bit apps for the iPhone, among them block-puzzler Unify, audio toy synthPond and Bit Pilot, an 8-bit asteroid dodger with sound design by chiptune artist Sabrepulse.
If you've been waiting for a good excuse to experience what Gage is all about, your chance has now arrived, as Bit Pilot's been set as a free download for today only -- grab it on iTunes here for one of the best tastes of his signature game design aesthetic before the deadline ends.
Bit Pilot [Zach Gage, iTunes link]
Saving you the trouble of coming all the way out to LA, IGN have published off-screen video of the Portal 2 demo Valve's currently demonstrating here at E3. The first gives you a bit of story background -- taking place as GlaDOS resurrects herself years after the events of the first game -- while the second two below the fold dig further into the new gameplay features, including the "propulsion pudding" paint-gun enhancements added when Valve employed the fresh student indie team behind Tag: The Power of Paint.
The best part? As always, the hapless turrets and your merciless blanking of them a minute or so in that first video.
My new first stop tomorrow when the E3 halls properly open: the Ubisoft booth, hoping to get a closer look at Child of Eden, the new motion-controlled game from Rez creator Q? and Ubisoft.
Q? have evolved Child of Eden beyond the sharp, vector-line world of Rez to a lush, bio-luminescent seascape, but look to be retaining its tunnel-vision gameplay, now with Kinect and PlayStation Move gesture control. More on this if and when I get my hands on it!