It’s looking really nice, too. I didn’t play it myself but the controls seem to be simple and responsive, and the visuals are pretty darn... pretty. Of course since it’s still in Early Access there are lots more features in the works that haven’t been implemented yet, so it’s bound to be even more interesting once it’s officially released.
Since the App Store doesn’t actually have anything comparable to Early Access we’re going to have to wait a bit for the iOS version, but that’s understandable given how - let’s go with “finicky” - App Store reviews can be. But I’ve been assured that the iOS release should be right behind the Steam release, so we won’t have to wait too terribly long to get our hands on Drifter in its final form.
Developers met with us last week at GDC to show us their latest projects, the games that currently are deep in the works for them. Some of these games are closer to release – one game actually had its update approved by Apple an hour after we talked about it. These are the games that are more off in the distance.
Drifter from Celsius Game Studios is well in the works at the moment. This will be a space trading game, an homage to games like Freelancer. Colin Walsh of the one man studio had an iPad 2 build on hand, showing off the massive procedurally-generated galaxy the game will boast (that will take a very long time at warp speed to travel across), ships docking in space stations, and some of the combat that’s in the works. The game uses the same 3D engine as Red Nova, but the game uses a lower camera angle, and the engine is obviously more expansive to cover this massive space trading epic. A new teaser trailer featuring music from Danny Baranowsky was recently released, and the game is expected sometime in the second half of this year.
Ezone’s Simon Edis showed off their new endless runner, Awesome Man. This game uses a Unity engine and graphic style similar to Diversion, but it features a faster pace and a flying superhero. Players try to fill up their flight meter by collecting gems, also collecting coins on their way. The arrogant eponymous hero can be hurt by flying into walls or dropping to the ground from great heights, but these also grant the player coins. The scale of the levels are massive: Awesome Man can fly up to great heights using jump pads, and can even fly through the windows of some of the floating office buildings in the sky. Awesome Man is still a couple months away, and next up on the list is adding and refining the game’s difficulty curve.
Finally, Gamerizon, developers of Chop Chop Ninja, showed off their upcoming game, Chop Chop Ninja World. This promises to combine two different styles of game: the typical side-scrolling gameplay the series is known for, and a social city-building element. The city-building will be in a side-scrolling interface as well, with players able to build their cities of different elemental types to create custom looks. Gamerizon have announced bold plans for connecting with friends, utilizing push notifications to help protect friends' villages for rewards, pushing new content through background content downloads, and potential integration with an upcoming Chop Chop Ninja cartoon series on Cartoon Network. The game will be free to play, and is currently scheduled for a September worldwide release after an extended single-country release in order to refine the game based on public feedback, according to Kael Lazla of Gamerizon.
In space, no one can hear you bounce around. Or scream. Or hear anything, for that matter.
On This Episode:
Peter Babiy of Strapped to a Meteor Studios discusses the new game Deo, and how its design and gameplay have evolved from initial concept to the final release.
Colin Walsh of Celsius Game Studios discusses Red Nova Episode 2: Mercy, and how he made a brand new way to play the game with the same core mechanics, as a free update to the already-existing Red Nova.
Red Nova, the space shooter released back in December 2010, has gotten a massive new update that brings an entirely new mode to the game. While the basic gameplay mechanics in Episode 2 - Mercy are the same as in Episode 1, the objective is entirely different. The player is in a starfield with the alien mothership and a fleet of disabled ships along with the flagship Red Nova. The goal is to rescue the people on the disabled ships and to ferry them back to the Red Nova so that the ship so that they can escape. Meanwhile, the alien mothership is launching fighters that will attack both the player and the defenseless ships. The player is the only thing that stands between survival and failure.
The game takes place in two waves: for 60 seconds, the mothership launches their forces, including a large explosive device that will heavily damage the ships unless the player takes it out first. Then, for 90 seconds the mothership recharges, which gives the player time to take out any enemy forces left over, and to start picking up people from the deactivated ships and delivering them to safety at the Red Nova. The goal of the game is to try and rescue as many people as possible without dying.
This is almost a completely different game from Episode 1; whereas that was about short-term survival and making one frenzied last stand, this is more of an endurance run. The enemies not always targeting the player means that survival is a bit easier, and damage tends to accumulate over a longer period of time. However, there's a lot more to deal with in Episode 2, and new strategies to employ. Do players use their energy to repair their shields or to take out enemies that are assaulting the fleet? Do players start picking up people from nearby ships, or travel to the further outreaches to pick up people, only returning them on the next recharging phase? If players stray too far from the mothership, then they risk not getting back to there before the enemies become too spread out. It's an intense experience, one that plays familiarly but in reality is quite unlike what came before it.
As promised back when developer Colin Walsh was on The Portable Podcast, Red Nova: Episode 2 - Mercy is now available as a free update to current Red Nova owners. As well, the bulky but tough ST-10 Raven that players use in Episode 2 is now playable in Episode 1.