Apotheon is the game that looks a bit like a Grecian urn - yes it is a bit weird comparing games to pottery - and now a new trailer has been released to remind us that it totally still exists. More than that, it's still one of the most striking indie games on the horizon, and one that looks faintly stunning in motion too. We don't learn a lot from the following trailer, but we do see a bunch of new, neatly colour-themed environments and lots of very 2D, physics-based combat. The open world action platformer (with multiplayer modes) is still on track for an early 2014 release.
I'm not entirely sold on the physics at the moment - everything seems a little floaty/lacking in gravity - but it's obviously hard to judge how a game feels until you're pushing the pixels around with your own hands. I'm most intrigued by the words "open world Mount Olympus" on the official site, which suggest that this may be a more substantial game than it initially appears. Also: multiplayer? Yep, in the form of online "deathmatch and team-based game modes".
You might remember developers Alien Trap for their shooty sidescroller Capsized, which we liked to the tune of 86% back in 2011.
Summer has always been a bit of a lull when it comes to video game releases. It’s the time of year where we hear more about the upcoming fall releases rather than actually, you know, playing games. Luckily, we have the Humble Indie Bundle 8 to keep boredom, UV rays, and those treacherous, shark-filled oceans at bay.
The Humble Indie Bundle traditionally features recent indie darlings for the low, low price of “whatever the hell you want”, and this year is no exception. No matter what you pay, you’ll get access to Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, Dear Esther and their soundtracks (and Steam keys if throw in a dollar or more). Linux users should be happy to know that the Linux versions of these games are also debuting with the bundle.
Forking over more than the average purchase price (a modest $5.72 as of this writing) will net you Hotline Miami and Proteus plus its soundtrack. Yes, you might be saving up for the pricey GTX 780 that your annoying friend already has, but maybe you could skip eating today?
Like always, you can choose where your money goes, rationing out which developers and charities get your hard-earned bitcoins. You have a full two weeks to decide who gets what while stocking up on harpoons for the inevitable shark invasion.
I’ve got to get to my crewmate! I’m flying through the jungle canopy toward his transponder when a spear bursts from the undergrowth. I dodge it with a burst from my jetpack, spin, and snipe the head from the masked native who hurled it. This leaves me facing the wrong way, heading fast for a wall. I ram a baby pincer-blob out of the way, fire my grapnel at a passing outcrop, and use my momentum to swing up the wall toward the transponder signal. And into a huge pack of pincer-blobs of all sizes. The screen cracks as I’m devoured.
Capsized is a 2D platformer, where you’re an astronaut shipwrecked on a hostile planet. In order to escape you must first gather any surviving crew and any communications systems that have survived the crash. The Harry Harrison-style deathworld is inhabited by all sorts of beasties, ranging from a wide variety of angular natives equipped with primitive weaponry to the local fauna, which crawls, buzzes or leaps, but is always deadly.
Getting through this world is a matter of learning to use the various tools – grappling hook, kinetic ram (knocks enemies and objects away) – and large arsenal of weapons, to navigate the mostly non-linear levels. All the tools work exactly as anyone raised on platform shooters would expect. The grapnel enables you to swing around like a heavilyarmed Tarzan. The jetpack’s gentle lift has limited fuel. The ram knocks you back a bit, but the subject of its kinetic affections back a lot. And the ammo-hungry guns kill things.
The only flaw is that switching to the right weapon using the mousewheel, when the natives are raining spears on you, is like trying to find a pencil-sharpener in a geek’s satchel of techno-crap. The game is so reaction-based that having the wrong weapon out tends to hasten your death, so instead of being agreeably gung-ho, you find yourself creeping slowly forward and running away lots.
There’s always non-hostile fauna moving in the scenery too: stiltlegged spiders, overgrown hermit crabs and anenome-funnels that shy away on your approach. Even the internal texturing on the landscape resembles the organic, fecund drawings of surrealists like Max Ernst. Electronic music, an oldfashioned interface and hand-drawn layered backgrounds conjure memories of such ’80s platform shooters as Metal Slug or Contra, but stepped up to HD and buffed until the game is 90% polish.
The varied, well-designed levels range from flashlit tomb-crawls to low-gravity atmosphere exploration. With these, and variety of secondary game modes – co-op, deathmatch, time trials, survival and a wonderful no-guns race – Capsized is an example of what can be done with a handful of old-school game mechanics if a developer has excellent taste.