Posts Tagged Mission Europa

cursedrealmsint01Ryan Mitchell has been diligently releasing some fairly under-appreciated gems on the App Store for quite some time now. Of particular note are Necromancer Rising, a first-person dungeon crawler, and Mission Europa, a far more refined first-person dungeon crawler with a really creepy atmosphere. And now he’s working on what can best be described as a Dungeon Keeper-like titled Cursed Realms.

We contacted him recently and he was gracious enough to speak to us at length about his new project, and tease a little bit about a possible Mission Europa sequel. Please note that all of these images are from a pre-alpha version and that the look/style/etc are, naturally, subject to change.

cursedrealmsint04148Apps: What made you decide to start developing Cursed Realms?
Ryan Mitchell (RM): I had finished Mission Europa and I was looking for the next big challenge. I wanted to develop a universe that is so encompassing any storyline is possible. As Stargate allowed its viewers to escape any rules or bounds, I wanted the same. Thus the Cursed Realms universe began.
 
148Apps: Why something akin to Dungeon Keeper rather than a follow-up to Mission: Europa?
RM: I wanted to create a more mainstream type game while also creating a new game engine. I constructed a new Shader and Opengl ES 2.0 based engine. Alas, my scope of work exploded far broader then I originally intended. I LOVE Mission Europa and do plan on a sequel in the future. The update would be using the new engine which includes a LOT of online components. I would like to have some systems where users create scenarios and the like. User created content REALLY blows open a game even if it is just a simple base defense like clash of clans.
 
148Apps: I know you’ve been working on Cursed Realms for quite a while, so it couldn’t have been in response to EA’s upcoming Dungeon Keeper release.
RM: Not at all. This is an after-work endeavor, and for quite a while my main job ate into my night time dev time. I also am married with two kids in sports and we all are in Brazillian Jujitsu. However, I have dropped a lot of activities and am pouring more time into developing again. That along with a scope of game that ballooned far bigger then I expected. However, that is a main reason for the switch to a Clash of Clans type game mixed with Dungeon Keeper. I am culling back some of the scope to not only make the game better but get it done sooner.
 
cursedrealmsint04148Apps: Why the sudden switch from Dungeon Keeper to something more Clash of Clans-y? And how significantly will this shift affect what’s already there?
RM: The current game had been in alpha testing developing game play when I was introduced to Clash of Clans by a friend who does not play any games at all. His addiction blew me away. I then realized I needed to change several things in Cursed Realms to make it most importantly more fun and addictive, then secondly to make it more appealing to a wider audience. The gameplay will be immensely sped-up in multiplayer and maybe single player (single player is taking a backseat now). This speed up conforms to the devices strength of popping your device open and jumping into a game for a short break or while waiting on something.

The online element and crowd sourcing gameplay is [also] very important. The ability for people to build, defend, and destroy other bases and minions explodes the content level. Then being able to take over your own minion in 3D and personally take on another players base adds a new level to this type of game. Another concept I saw as very important is a purchase model where players with more money then time can accelerate their play and help support future games I make.
 
All assets were unchanged really just database adjustments. I just had to clean up programmer interfaces and expose them to the users. My scene graph based engine really is quick to prototype and create new game-types. So the change accelerated completion instead of delaying.
 
cursedrealmsint07148Apps: Do you think long-time Dungeon Keeper fans will love, hate, or be indifferent to the change?
RM: I think it will be an amazing upgrade into the new century. I played the old Dungeon Keeper extensively before starting Cursed Realms and it helped remove a level of nostalgic awesomeness I had in my head. It is still a GREAT game and one of the best classics ever. However, we have some really interesting new tools now. And back then we could not fit the 486 in our pocket for quick game sessions. As far as to whether fans will enjoy it I will not release Cursed Realms until my testers say it is ready and it is awesome.
 
148Apps: Even though it’s going to be more Clash of Clans than Dungeon Keeper, do you think there might still be a chance for players to jump in to their minions’ heads and play from a first-person perspective from time to time?
RM: ABSOLUTELY! That is one of the biggest differences from base defense games. Here you can be a part of your army. You also fight THEIR army. And in reality it is about 70% Dungeon Keeper I would say. The engine can support an immense number of characters on screen and this leads to epic battles of which you can wade through with your weapon in hand. The Clash of Clans thing is the purchase model.
 
cursedrealmsint09148Apps: Going back to Mission Europa, is there anything you’ve learned since creating it (and while working on Cursed Realms) that you’d consider incorporating into an update/rerelease/sequel/hypothetical game that will never actually exist?
RM: I am a FPS RPG fan at heart and Mission Europa 2 is on my radar. This time with user created content and worlds tied into Cursed Realms as they are tied together in the storyline currently. The main thing I have learned is marketing/price models are 90% of the battle these days and the little guys have a really hard time getting noticed. Along with the pricing model of free with in game purchases is the best way to fund development which is not free; music and assets cost money, not to mention software and hardware.
 
148Apps: Care to elaborate on the connection between Mission Europa and Cursed Realms any further? Might that mean that players could control, say, a faction of hellish machine/human demon hybrids?
RM: Your actions in the end of Mission Europa also had a significant impact on the fabric of the universe which is Cursed Realms. Here is a small design snippet:
 
The Abaddon – A horrible mechanical race possessed with souls converted from living flesh. One weakness of this race is their poor connection to their equipment. The souls that run them seem to have a loose connection thus they have a hard time controlling them. They are however HIGH in armor to compensate. The Abbadon have wormholes to the north. They sweep entire galaxies harnessing the organic life, and some think souls for their evil.

cursedrealmsint11Cursed Realms doesn’t have a definitive release date yet, but once it’s been given the green light by testers it will hit the App Store for free. In the meantime, you can keep track of the game’s progress on the official development blog or soak up the lore on the wiki. Thanks so much to Ryan Mitchell for taking the time to talk with us.

Favorite Four: Non-Fantasy RPGs

RPGs are incredibly popular, and probably will be for quite some time to come. The weird thing is that for some reason people seem to have trouble adapting the genre’s concepts into a world that isn’t full of magic, goblins, dragons, and so on. These games certainly do exist but they’re few and far between, especially on iOS. Hence our shoutout to four of our favorite iOS RPGs that aren’t saturated with dwarfs and elves and such.

fav4nonfantasy_missioneuropaMission Europa Collector’s
One part dungeon crawler, another part shooter, a sprinkling of horror, and a ton of stat driven RPG elements make up this offbeat adventure. Players must brave the abandoned tunnels of Jupiter’s moon as they attempt to piece together what happened to the crew that was initially stationed there, as well as try not to get torn to pieces by the hideous amalgamations of rotting flesh and electronics that continue to roam the halls. It’s a very action and loot-heavy RPG with nary an orc to be found.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-15 :: Category: Games

fav4nonfantasy_corporatefuryCorporate Fury
When a new CEO takes over a company, they can sometimes really shake up the way things are done. Corporate Fury takes that concept to a whole new level when salary men (and women) are forced to fight each other one-on-one for every little thing. Want a promotion? Then beat the snot out of the person above you. Thinking of passing that report along to the intern? You’d better hope they’re a pushover. Amidst all the goofy violence and mayhem players can improve their character with new skills, equipment, and combat moves as they attempt to fight their way to the top of the corporate ladder, leaving a trail of broken bodies in their wake.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-08-25 :: Category: Games

cq_rainslick03Penny Arcade’s On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3
Zeboyd’s latest convention-defying RPG might be full of all sorts of fantastical creatures, but they include things like mollusks with a love of mimes and giant crab-wizards. It’s a vaguely steampunk world filled with semi-Cthulhian horrors and a remarkably goofy sense of humor, not a series of dark forests filled with giant spiders and ogres. There’s still plenty of evil afoot only this time it’s a bit less conventional, as are the protagonists and their rampant multi-classing.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-10-24 :: Category: Games

fav4nonfantasy_theworldendswithyouThe World Ends with You: Solo Remix
When putting together a list of non-fantasy RPGs I knew I just had to include The World Ends with You. It’s a fantastic RPG in its own right that still manages to set itself apart from most other titles in the genre thanks to its style, music, characters, and plot. And it all takes place in modern day Shibuya as Neku and his accomplices attempt to survive the Reaper’s game and save themselves from a horrible fate.

$17.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-08-27 :: Category: Games

In keeping with the recent mass transit theme, this Favorite 4 is all about maintaining personal space. While many of us might enjoy occupying our commute time with bird-flinging or hack n’ slash action this can sometimes invite some unwanted attention. Lining up that final shot can be difficult enough without some complete stranger leaning over us and watching our every move. This is where games that appear uninteresting, but are actually quite fun, can come in handy.

Organ Trail:Director’s Cut
Like it or not, a number of people dislike “retro” visuals. Whether it’s a general lack of appreciation or some self-imposed snobbery depends on the individual, but regardless not everyone thinks pixels are neat. It frustrating, sure, but it can also mean the difference between someone you don’t know trying to awkwardly start up a conversation on the bus about the game you’re playing and being left alone.

$2.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-08-09 :: Category: Games

Mission Europa
I’ve gone on at length about how much I love Mission Europa, and also about how downright ugly it is. But that’s the “beauty” of it. It’s a fantastic action RPG with some incredibly deep and rewarding systems, but it looks so bizarre and low tech it won’t draw much attention from the guy standing in the doorway just over your shoulder.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-15 :: Category: Games

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-16 :: Category: Games

DragonSlasher
DragonSlasher is another game with visuals that belie a much more complex experience. It looks like a simple action game with solid color cutouts for characters. It’s most definitely not much to look at and at best might draw a curious glance or two for a moment before any would-be gawkers shift their attention elsewhere. And while they’re busy reading some other poor commuter’s newspaper, you get to enjoy what is essentially a side-scrolling portable Demon’s Souls in peace.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-04-02 :: Category: Games

Game Dev Story
This really applies to all Kairosoft games but I wanted to stick with the one we all fell in love with first. Although it’s certainly cute to look at and sports some pretty colorful visuals, Game Dev Story is only really interesting when you’re playing it. Watching it, especially when you have no idea what’s going on, is much less interesting. Which means less random people breathing down your neck and more planning a new console launch.

$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-10-09 :: Category: Games

Mission Europa is a Console-Quality iOS Game

The Backstory
A mining operation on Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, has gone quiet. A team is sent to investigate and gets shot down in short order. Players control the lone survivor as he teams up with the facility’s computer in order to piece it all together and hopefully get home intact. A task made all the more difficult by the horrific cyber-zombie-demon-monsters that used to be the miners. It’s the kind of story we’ve seen in Sci-Fi horror before (Virus and Moontrap are just two examples I can think of), but it lends itself incredibly well to the interactive medium.

The Gameplay
Mission Europa (specifically the quintessential Collector’s version) is an odd duck of a RPG. It takes place entirely in first-person, utilizes both melee and ranged combat, features skills and summons that are akin to magic, contains tons of “lewts,” offers a crafting system, and has a pretty creepy atmosphere despite looking like it was rendered in crayon. Most of the time players will be wandering through the blood-stained halls, searching for a hidden item or hunting for a boss, all while fighting their way past the repurposed crew and other monstrosities. All the while finding and refining the abilities and gear that suits them best.

How does it Compare?
Because Mission Europa is an amalgamation of a number of different game types, it’s a bit like a lot of things. The gear collection, refining, and crafting is reminiscent of classics and contemporaries like Diablo or even Borderlands. The first-person combat is similar to an older Bethesda title, say like Oblivion. Meanwhile the oppressive atmosphere and disturbingly dark tones bring cult classic System Shock 2 to mind. The amazing thing is that it incorporates all these concepts, but it does them well, and even cohesively.

I could picture Mission Europa running on a PC quite easily, and it’s got the wealth of content (loot drops, crafting, creepy story, multiplayer, etc) most PC gamers crave. It would be right at home on Steam, too. Who knows? Maybe with a little push Banshee Soft might submit it to Greenlight and put my claims to the ultimate test.

*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.*

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-15 :: Category: Games

Mission Europa Collector’s Ed. HD Review

Mission Europa Collector’s Ed. HD Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It most certainly doesn't look like much, but Mission Europa Collector's Ed. HD is a role-playing loot monger's dream come true.

Read The Full Review »
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