Crescent Moon Games has a big 2014 and beyond ahead of them, as always: a large slate of releases is planned for the coming month and year across many genres. Josh Presseisen, founder and head of the unique outfit that serves both as a publisher of third-party titles and also develops its own, demoed many of these upcoming titles to us during GDC 2014, including commenting on early footage of some of the games recorded at the show.
Exiles: While still not too far along, Exiles (an in-house title) promises to be an open-world action RPG on an alien planet, mixing elements of titles like Ravensword with Fallout and Mass Effect. Players will have a strange world to explore, and plenty of baddies to shoot – and the twist as to just why is revealed in this video, though it’s planned to be revealed early on in the final game.
Gear Jack Black Hole: This sequel to Gear Jack takes the original’s auto-runner concept and makes it a full-blown endless runner. Players will still jump and roll through levels, but now in a high-scoring context while warping through various environments.
The Deer God: This game is still so early that its gameplay hasn’t even been finalized, but its look is rather intriguing: it mixes the pixel art that Superbrothers made famous in Sword & Sworcery in a 3D environment. While there’s still a lot to be locked down with the game, its concepts sound intriguing, as discussed in the video.
Almightree: This puzzle-platformer has players trying to survive a crumbling world by moving through puzzling layouts of blocks, and moving them around as necessary. Good luck.
Sky Story: Another game still very early in its development, this upcoming title is inspired by Kid Icarus, but going in a different direction from the recent 3DS title by trying to be more of an exploration-driven game. This one will be 3D, though: levels have 2D sections, but the ability to move into depth sections of levels will also be present.
This was only a selection of Crescent Moon’s upcoming titles: there were other titles Josh Presseisen demoed that are either still unsigned or not quite ready to be shown publicly. This could be another jam-packed year for the studio.
Tonight, Crescent Moon Games releases their Metroidvania-meets-Minecraft adventure game, Mines of Mars. Featuring procedurally-generated 2D worlds, players must dig through Mars to try and discover the secrets beneath it. Josh Presseisen, founder of Crescent Moon Games, joined me on 148Apps Live on Twitch to discuss the game’s origins, how Crescent Moon’s publishing helped shape the title into something radically different from a year ago, and how PC gamers approach titles in totally different ways from mobile gamers.
Catch the recorded broadcast below. (Pardon our dust -footage may be choppy due to technical issues)
Crescent Moon Games has recently announced that it’s been working with Galoobeth Games for the past year or so on a new Aralon title. Specifically Aralon: Forge and Flame.
The new game is set 100 years after the first Aralon, and centers around the discovery of an entirely new continent. As well as the expected amount of danger and intrigue, of course. Players will be able to explore three totally separate continents this time around, and will be able to enjoy some pretty major visual improvements – especially the lighting.
There’s no concrete release date for Aralon: Forge and Flame just yet, but it’s expected to release sometime later this year.
Clash of Puppets is a hack-n-slash action game filled with upgradable weapons, three different worlds to fight through, an endless survival mode, leaderboards, and iOS controller support. Check out the video below, then start anxiously waiting for December to roll around.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 29th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Ravensword: Shadowlands is prepping for Halloween as it’s set to receive a new update that brings forth a brand-new area. ‘Realm of the Ancients’ will hold new enemies and a big bad werewolf boss. There is also a new magical rune known as the Rune of Shadow. So get ready to start exploring this Halloween when the update release. By the way, it also includes iOS7 support. Come on, Thursday! Get here!
Crescent Moon Games has revealed its latest title, Mines of Mars, which takes you through the depths of the red planet with a pickaxe in hand, mentions Pocket Gamer. With influences like Metroid, Motherlode, and Terraria, you will discover many dark secrets while exploring tunnels in this sci-fi story-based adventure. There are a number of unique weapons and different items to use, helping make sure you safely stumble your way through the game. There is even co-op for you and a friend to go digging together.
There is no current release date for the game, but make sure you check out the new trailer below!
Posted by Andrew Stevens on April 30th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The new Topia World Builder update focuses on the editing tools and the ability to save in a much simpler way. The save system has been completely rewritten giving players an easier handle on save files without having to sift through a confusing timeline. Players also have the ability to plant trees and enjoy visual enhancements to the water.
You can now paint down paths and patterns in ‘dirt’ and the grass, as it grows, will not cover them.
Importing levels from graphic files: More info on this coming later…
Preset worlds: Players can start from a selection of preset worlds, 7 in the current version.
Scale/Offset/Smooth tools, used to make world scale changes to the level.
Advanced tools: Some silly effects to tweak your world
Life editing in edit mode: Wipe out all trees and creatures, plant random trees.
Carter chats with Josh Presseisen of Crescent Moon Games to talk about Ravensword: Shadowlands, the studio’s new open-world RPG. Topics include the long development time of the game, just how big the world is, and the game’s voice acting, including a much better role for Josh’s wife as compared to the original. As well, we talk published title Last Knight, along with some of the titles that alternative label Forest Moon Games is publishing as well.
Way back in 2009, Crescent Moon Games released an open-world RPG named Ravensword: The Fallen King. After years of titles developed and/or published by the studio, including various other RPGs, it’s returning to its big original hit, and it’s promising to be bigger and better than ever. Meet Ravensword: Shadowlands. Releasing on December 20th, it’s not only going to contain a massive open world, with numerous quests and things to discover, rivaling even console and PC open-world games, but it could be one of the best-looking games on the platform, as evidenced with my time on a near-final build.
The first hours of the game set the tone that this is an open world, and once the opening tutorial scene is finished, it’s open season. A town with dozens of buildings and giant detailed landscapes are immediately available. Want to go on the main quest, to discover what happened to the main character after the battle of Heronmar? Sure, do it. Want to mess around and join a guild, and help random citizens, affecting the character’s reputation? Do that, too. The game won’t say anything about it. In fact, doing a lot of side quests and exploring is highly recommended, because there’s plenty of tough foes that will come in the way, and the game prefers trial by fire. Spoiler alert: trolls and bears are a lot tougher than goblins and deer.
Weapon-based combat is simple: tap the attack button to use a weapon, tap on an enemy to target it, and hold down on attack to raise the shield. It does mean that shielding is not necessarily the most intuitive thing, but it does keep the controls from being overly-complicated. Magical items can add a third button for special attacks, and weapons and items can be set as quick use buttons at the bottom of the screen. In general, the best way to raise a stat like shielding or a weaponry type is to use it, or train it at a guild.
The game is going to be absolutely packed with content, if the sense of scale is anything to be believe: anywhere visible on land may actually be accessible in the game. Even many of the NPCs feature voice acting (usually for their first line), and a voice actor who worked on the Elder Scrolls series provides many of the NPC voices.
iPhone 5 owners are in for a treat: the game looks absolutely stunning, and only stutters occasionally in towns, for example. The build I have is “near-final” so it may or may not be sorted out, though the game is generally quite smooth. The draw distance is unparalleled as well.
Playing Ravensword: Shadowlands for several hours already, it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface of this game, and there’s still mountains of content to discover. Between the vast landscape to uncover, and stories to unfold, this game could take a long time to truly discover all it holds.
Josh Presseisen, founder of Crescent Moon Games, is taking a big leap by launching a second publishing label for new types of games that he and his company thought were really interesting, but didn’t fit with its portfolio. Thus, Forest Moon Games was born. Titles published by Forest Moon promise to be an eclectic bunch, but according to Josh Presseisen, “the label will focus on casual, 2D, experimental (some 3D), pixel and retro games. This was largely influenced by many of the submissions I received at Crescent Moon Games, that didn’t fit the style of Crescent Moon.”
Crescent Moon is largely known for its specific style of games both in their look and play style. They primarily boast 3D graphics, and play with some core gamer elements, though titles like Paper Monstersand Mutant Storm are of course very different when compared with each other, yet still published by the same company. However, there’s often a visual style between the games that is shared, that gives them a kind of cohesiveness that other publishers like Chillingo lack.
However, don’t expect all of Forest Moon’s games to look the same. Josh Presseisen claims that “Forest Moon Games will have a consistent quality but not sure share the same look as Crescent Moon.”
Games start launching this fall under the Forest Moon label. They include Invader Eliminator from Underground Pixel, known for Holiday Havoc and Pastry Panic. Relic Rush is another pixel art game from Jason Pickering, an action-puzzle game. 300 Dwarves from Nimbi Studios will feature hand-drawn graphics, non-linear progression, and of course: dwarves. J.A.M. from Neptune Interactive promises to be a “shoot-em-up with style.” There are 6 titles planned for this fall, and more in the future.
The selection process is quite simple for Josh Presseisen: “I am picking the ones that I like the best. I get a lot of submissions, so I do have to sort through them and see which fit with my vision for the new label. If a game is fun, polished, and interesting or unique – then it has a good chance of fitting in on Forest Moon.”
This is hardly the end for Crescent Moon either, as Josh Presseisen plans on continuing to publish games under that label. These include Topia, The Last Knight, and a couple of followups to previous popular titles.
Crescent Moon’s titles have always been noteworthy because they have had a polish to them that often does come from having an outside publisher that can step in to the process, and Josh Presseisen is often very hands-on with the visual work that he brings to the table. It will be interesting to see what gamers will get with new titles from the same braintrust, but with a different goal.
From the first moment video game consoles began to appear in homes across the world, there were people who longed to take the experience with them wherever they might go. And as rapidly as technology might improve, it’s still not easy to replicate the console experience on a handheld device. But it is possible, even on gadgets that weren’t created with video games as their primary function. With that in mind, we present an iOS title that many of us here at 148apps believe is worthy of being called a console-quality game.
*NOTE: “Console-quality” refers to the quality of the experience, not just the graphics. This is about the depth of gameplay, content, and in some cases how accurately it portrays the ideals of its console counterpart.*
An unlikely hero with a tragic past. A mystery to unravel. Revenge to be had. After some fiddling with avatar creation Aralon: Sword and Shadow begins with a bit of a foggy back-story about the main character’s father and indications of political corruption. Players work their way through a few tutorials masked as quests – thankfully no “kill the rats in the tavern cellar” tasks – then set out on their quest of discovery and redemption. And what a quest it turns out to be.
The Gameplay Aralon: Sword and Shadow is the very thing many iOS owners have been clamoring for; an open-world fantasy RPG. Enemies, treasures, and hidden areas are strewn throughout the land just begging to be defeated, found, and explored respectively. There are plenty of skills to learn and master, many of which depend on a character’s class. Factions are available for joining. Potions can be crafted from plants and other items harvested throughout the environment. Quests of all sorts can be found and taken just about anywhere. There are even a number of side tasks such as fishing to keep players distracted. In essence; it creates one of the most expansive, content rich worlds ever seen in an iOS game.
How Does It Play?
Aralon: Sword and Shadow is a fantasy RPG set in a massive fully-explorable world, with day/night cycles, mounts, few boundaries, and is playable in first or third-person. It sounds quite a bit like an Elder Scrolls game, doesn’t it? Well it kinda is. Virtually every aspect of Aralon’s gameplay is reminiscent in some manner of Bethesda’s acclaimed series; from the traversal to the crafting. The land may not be quite as large or borderless as those found in Morrowind, Oblivion, or Skyrim, but the spirit of exploration is certainly comparable.
Touch controls and hardware constraints aside, Aralon: Sword and Shadow basically is an Elder Scrolls game for iOS devices. The world is huge and full of secrets, there are lots of items to acquire and enemies to vanquish, and most importantly it’s incredibly easy to spend hours doing non story-related tasks. And honestly, I can’t think of a better game to call a console-quality iOS game.
Carter talks to two of the people behind Slingshot Racing, discussing the game’s concept, how the game came about to feel like a Crescent Moon title despite being their first racing game, and what might be upcoming to the game.
Carter talks to the developer of Are You Quick Enough? 2 to discuss the gameplay inspirations behind the new title, the future of iPad gaming, and if Apple will ever try to compete with the PC and console gaming markets.