First up tonight we’re checking out Dire Vengeance, a 2D action platformer which appears to have a heavy demonic and metal look to it. The aesthetic of this game pulled me in immediatly, it has a sort of gothical futurism to it, but doesn’t allow itself to suffer from color deficiency. The environments are bright and colorful, the enemies tend to be dark and blood splattered, but most importantly your character has pink hair. Let that sink in for a second, your main character in this game has bright pink hair. With the exception of her possibly putting a helmet on, any frame of this demonic hell ride is going to have a smack of pink on it somewhere.
As far as visual design choices go, that is a guaranteed contrast between EVERYTHING you’d expect from a game like this, and I think that alone is facinating. Stop and think for a second about how many Castlevania games you’ve played where the color pink was a common sight. This is a game that’s truly working hard to set itself apart from other games of its kind, and in that one sense alone I believe it’s accomplished that nicely. We’ll be talking very much about the visual choices in this game and if they work for or against the game.
After that we’ll be taking a look into Rogue Harvest, a top down survival game by Genetix Studio. Ever since the rise of Minecraft and Terraria, different takes on the survival formula have begun to spring up everywhere. Although the genre has become crowded, it is not impossible to stand out among them all, but it requires a few things to be sure. The first thing it needs is actually something that all games need, and that is a solid unified unique aesthetic. If you take a snapshot of your game and it cannot be immediatly identified as yours, then something is severely wrong. Of course not all people are artists (myself SURELY included) so this is something that gets generally overlooked by some indie developers as “unimportant”. To a degree, they are correct, but whether we like it or not, GRAPHICS SELL! Your gameplay can be top notch, but it doesn’t mean a thing if people never play it, so the whole “selling” factor is actually quite important, as sad as that may be.
The other thing (and arguably more important thing) survival games need to be successes is a compelling enemy. For many survival games these enemies may be as simple as bears, or zombies, but for some of the more complex ones the enemy can be an abstract concept, such as keeping warm, and not starving. No matter which way you go about it, you need an enemy that can feel like a real threat to your survival, or the whole genre is shot. This game attempts to mix in a roguelite element through the use of permadeath and persistant progress, meaning each death helps unlock new things. We’ll be examining this game’s mechanical an aesthetical choices very carefully to determine just how they stack up against competitors.
Super Daryl Deluxe
Our final game of the night is a plucky looking beat-em-up RPG adventure game by the name of Super Daryl Deluxe. Oozing with style it features an almost Napoleon Dynamite looking protaganist in a very “black and white” world. The style of this game is undeniable, especially in still life, it’s easy to take a press-ready screenshot of this game. Watching the gameplay video however, I start to feel the whole style come apart a bit when it’s in motion. I’ll be discussing this in more depth at the actual event, but there is a certain floatiness to the actual gameplay that seems a bit off putting (at least to me).
I believe that this is absolutely a fixable problem, but it’s one I see happen all to often with highly visual games. The animation of a character doesn’t quite reflect what is happening on the screen. Perhaps you’ve seen this when a character is in a fast running animation, but they move at a snail’s pace, maybe you’ve seen it when a jumping character doesn’t bend their knees first for lift-off, the point is it exists, and it’s a tiny detail that can really derail a great looking game. We’ll talk more about the importance of matching up your animation in video games during the show!