Typoman Review

Typoman

During a Nintendo Direct back in November I caught sight of an indie game named Typoman for the WiiU by Brainseed Factory. A blend between Super Meat Boy and Scribblenauts this delightful little game exceeded my expectations and kept me on my toes for several hours.

GrabThe idea of the game is that you will generally see what you have to do in order to progress. Grabbing hold of letters and swinging between them soon turns into more of a puzzle, you’ll be rearranging letters (often within a time limit) racing to find the correct word before you’re killed by a monster. Continue reading

Meridian: New World – Developer Interview with Ede Tarsoly

2014-04-19_00010

Yesterday I reviewed the Steam Early Access game Meridian: New World, an indie RTS made on the most part by a single developer. Here’s an interview with the game’s developer Ede Tarsoly where we discuss his thoughts on RTS as a genre in the game industry today, his experience with Early Access and his ambitions for the future.

Sky: What have been your favorite RTS games and what do you think about the decline of RTS games over the years? Also curious if you played Command and Conquer 4? It’s removal of base building put a lot of CnC fans off. What did you think of that fundamental change?

Ede Tarsoly: My favorite RTS games include StarCraft, earlier C&C games, as well as Earth 2150. The decline in the RTS genre can be mostly attributed to the emergence of MOBA games, which are basically simplified RTS titles.

I’ve played C&C4, and like many others, I was disappointed that it no longer has the base building component.

Sky: I see a lot of comments on the ambitions of a “one man RTS”, many thought it impossible. Did you ever feel this way during development?

Ede Tarsoly: To be honest, I already had experience designing strategy games, so I knew I could do this, the only question was how much time it would take. It already takes longer than I anticipated.

Sky: Between missions you’re given almost Mass Effect style conversations with the crew and the ability to explore the ship. How important was it that this content made the Steam Early Access release and why?

Ede Tarsoly: I consider storytelling one of the most important aspects of any game and these little sequences between missions allowed me to be able to tell Meridian’s story in an interactive and fun way (while still keeping most of it optional). The reason why I included this in the Early Access phase is that I wanted to see how people would react and like this aspect, as well as the fact that story-related choices can be made with real effects on actual RTS gameplay.

Sky: How has Steam Early Access been for you so far? Were you tempted to delay until the game was finished or did you know this was the release method you had in mind?

Ede Tarsoly: It was the publisher’s idea to release Meridian as an Early Access title. I was reluctant at first, because I knew about the bad reputation that Early Access titles have. I treated Early Access like final release, I made the game as bug-free as possible and hoped for the best. I have to say, it actually paid off in the end. I got a lot of feedback about certain features that could not have been altered after final release, but I can work on them now.

Sky: The 3rd mission ‘Frozen Plains’ featured a segment where you’re restricted to building to turrets and the occasional non-controllable chimera. This essentially transformed the game into a tower defense, one I thought was really fun to play! Are there any plans to add more tower defense segments and have you considered creating a pure tower defence game? I think there’s great potential here!

Ede Tarsoly: My main game-design principle is to never include the same game mechanic twice in a campaign, so it definitely won’t happen again in the campaign. However, it would be possible to create a tower defence game with the game’s editor and scripting tool, so who knows? Maybe one day someone makes one, or I make an official one.

Sky: What are your plans for the future? Obviously there’s further content to release for Meridian: New World (next set of missions soon right?), what would you ideally like to be doing afterwards?

Ede Tarsoly: Yes, Meridian still has a lot of unreleased missions. As for what comes after that… well, there are two things I’d really like to do, one is a single player expansion explaining the origins of Squad 22 mentioned during the campaign, the other would be a multiplayer expansion. This is all very uncertain at the moment though, nothing is set in stone. I might end up working on an entirely unrelated project.

Thanks to Ede for his time discussing his game. I really enjoyed my time playing the missions so far and will definitely be keeping an eye on the game as it releases new content, you can check out my review here.

Meridian: New World can be found on Steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/265120/

Game Review – Meridian: New World (Early Access)

Base Assault

Meridian: New World is an indie RTS game capable of making you stare in disbelief when you realize it’s been made on the most part… by one man.

The game looks beautiful, very polished and plays great. There’s base building, an array of units to vanquish your enemy and a pretty compelling campaign even if it’s still in progress. New missions however are released frequently (missions 4 and 5 released as I was reviewing), and they not only expand the story but give the player new tactics with which to play. It’s content like this that makes me want to check out future updates, I genuinely want to see what the developer will throw at me next.

So first let’s take a look at the campaign. You take on the role of commander Daniel Hanson leading the first expedition to a new planet named Merdian. What you encounter there isn’t entirely clear but it soon becomes obvious you’re not alone. Not only do you detect a distress signal from the presumed uninhabited planet, but there are troops and structures on the ground. Your crew might not be comprised of ‘your’ crew and things are pretty much going to hell. Not exactly the idea expedition but it makes for one hell of a game.

Continue reading

Beyond Earth

So over the weekend Civilization: Beyond Earth was announced and honestly I think it’s the most exciting game I’ve seen in a while. Here’s a few reasons why…home_us2

1. Civ! Civilization games are great, whilst I’ve only been playing since Civ4 they offer a wide range of gameplay, micro management and infinite replayability.
2. Beyond the Space Race! Building a shuttle and launching it into a space has always been an interesting victory for previous Civilization games but now we get to see what happens when that shuttle touches down on a new planet and decide what to do once there.
3. Aliens! Is our civilization being built on Pandora with large blue tribal aliens or LV426 where everything seems normal until someone gets a hug? We just don’t know! Adapting to indigenous life on your new world is going to be both challenging and fun.
4. YOUR EMPIRE! That’s right you’re in control, are you going to build an army of battle droids, peaceful Jedi or aggressive Sith? I can see Star Wars mods for this game already!
5. Stargates! Alright let’s call them Warpgates for copyright reasons but here’s the potential to go back to Earth and integrate your distant relatives into your civilization peaceful or by force.

emporer-throne

I can’t wait to build my new empire and hear that little voice in my head once again telling me “one more turn” even though I’m tired and should be sleeping. What will you do on your new world?

Best information I’ve seen regarding Civilization: Beyond Earth is PC Gamer’s interview, it tells you “everything you need to know about the new factions, aliens, technology and more”. So go read, and enjoy the announcement trailer!

Downloadable B-Games

I’ve noticed a lot of handheld/mobile games getting HD treatment for consoles/PC lately (Deus Ex: The Fall, Arkham Origins: Blackgate), and it kinda got me thinking…

What if we had smaller games on a smaller budget, Downloadable B-Games if you will, released on Consoles/PC for mainstream games. Similarly to DLC you could have these Downloadable B-Games for a fraction of the main game’s price and they wouldn’t necessarily have to be dumbed down versions of a game either. Picture an RTS/Tower Defense Mass Effect game set during ME3’s battle against the Reapers… I’d buy that instantly!

Reaper Invasion

Just an idea really but you have to admit there’s some sort of market for this type of thing. Dragon Age has had a few smaller games released alongside the main titles, DA: Journeys being a web game released prior to Awakening’s launch, DA: Legends released on Facebook (later downloadable). Serious Sam 3 has a few indie games to accompany it as a marketing strategy too. I feel like there’s something there… Thoughts?

Cheers to @mindofgeekness for being a soundboard on this post and her obligatory comment now that I’ve posted this! 😉