Following on from yesterday’s little adventure into the Terrible Tunnel of Games at Eurogamer, I’m diving back in with another selection of titles which caught my interest.
You can catch the post from yesterday here, but read on for stories about how girls hunted me down on a plane, how I peed on a girl by accident, and other games which had no girl-related misadventures.
The Soul Cloud’s business pitch is simple, letting you save your favourite memories on servers for you and others to relive for all time. The reality is much more horrifying than that.
You wake up in the middle of a train wreck on a deserted beach; no idea what has happened or what is ahead, but it is certainly quite an arresting view. Finding a portal creating cube frame transports you first to a dense forest in which you chop through logs, and then from there to a futuristic hub world.
It’s from this hub that you visit the various twisted memories, and indulge in over 30 differently traumatic experiences. Mine was on a plane, waking up to find it utterly abandoned, a bizarre girl with neon glowing eyes – the Cloud’s anti-virus system – pacing up and down the central isle, and just a sliver of shade to keep me hidden.
I died many times trying to figure out what to do, trying to discover the keys that would unlock the doors, and which seats I could cower in and which I couldn’t. Every time she’d spot me, charge down the aisle and all too soon that would be it. Persistence paid off though, and I eventually made it past (with a pointer or two) and up to the cockpit, where I could find the cube and teleport away.
Though I have a feeling it might resort to cheap shocks in a few too many moments, the intriguing aspect is that each area can be completely different. A fun fair, a hospital ward, a library, all twisted up and altered into something altogether more creepy.
Master Reboot is coming soon to PS3, PC and Mac, and is set to be the first Welsh language console title. It is made by Welsh Interactive, after all, and you can read more about it on their site.
Framed is quite a simple idea, executed very well. It takes traditional comic book stylings and joins up the dots by animating the various frames to tell a story. Except that every page has things turning out very badly for our silhouetted hero, as he desperately tries to escape the law.
Your job is to put the scenes into the right order so that he comes up trumps, in this cunningly crafted puzzler. This might sound easy enough, but each tile that you move can have ramifications for the next one in line, so that you come to the copper with a pistol from the front instead of behind, or think that you’ve created a path around the edge of a building, only to see that you’ve sent the silhouette over a loose ledge, and he falls to his death.
The art style and music paint a nice neo-noir atmosphere, with the shadowy figures running across simplistic and clean cut backgrounds. The animations are a simple pleasure to view too, from the brutally simple deaths to something as basic as running across the frame.
It’s still very much evolving right now, with the tone stepping away from the action packed section which I saw, and heading off to explore things like romance and more sedate puzzles. Similarly there’s more gameplay ideas on the way, such as panels which you need to move and re-use, or which need to be spun 90º, to spice things up a little.
Framed is heading to iOS, PC and Mac, aiming for early next year. You can follow the latest on the game at Loveshack’s website. I love that company name.
Off Grid wasn’t in the Indie Arcade, but I’m bending the title’s description to include it, because this is quite an interesting take on what others are doing elsewhere. You play as a plain old civil servant in a near-future version of Britain, which is more of a 1984 or V for Vendetta styled totalitarian state.
When your son is taken by the police for viewing material online which he shouldn’t have, you embark on journey to find him and get him back, bumbling into and helping the underground resistance almost as a means to an end. There’s no action hero story line here, though, and no gun wielding. Just good solid cyber-stealth, reminiscent of some of the themes and ideas explored by Watch Dogs and Volume.
The mission I played was to sneak into a building, extract data from a laptop and set up a new subnet node on the roof, in order to upload. What makes it all quite tricky is that you’re not this highly trained spy – the tagline of Impractical Tactical Espionage gives that hint nicely – and so movement is often clumsy. Crawling is horribly slow, whilst running will draw guards to you.
The inventory is similarly painstaking and methodical, with sub-menus to get there and needing to use items in order adding time. I’d quite like to see that aspect improved, and the team know there’s plenty of work to be done, even just to polish up the demo which I saw. However, the stand out feature is being able to hack in and view all of the nearby internet traffic. This could be used to highlight points of interest, with a lot of data flowing, or have you snatch passwords and clues from security guards nearby.
It’s a lovely concept, backed up by nice and stylised graphics, so I look forward to seeing this evolve.
It’s still very early days yet, so there’s not much more of Off Grid to show right now. You’ll be able to keep track of things at the game’s website here, as they aim for a release some time next year.
Tenya Wenya Teens
It’s utter madness, I tell you. Pure and unadulterated madness.
You wake up in the morning in the same room as your brother, and instantly start competing in everything you do. Who can pee the quickest, brush their teeth first, kick more footballs, confess your love before the other. The tasks come quick and fast, and the person who completes the most gets all of the glory at the end of the day.
Sounds simple and delightfully childish, but it’s made all the more charming and fun by way of the customised controller – an arcade stick in your left hand, with an 4×4 array of multicolour-LED buttons. Your first task of the day tells you a colour, and all the buttons are that colour. The second task switches half to a second colour, the third a quarter, the fourth the other quarter. On and on.
It’s tricky enough remembering which button you want to press in the first place, so that you don’t end up peeing on a skunk. Then the colours move, and all of that memorisation goes out of the window. The stages start to mix the various elements and tasks together, so you go for what you know in a frantic dash to complete everything first.
All too soon it’s time for bed. The day is at an end. Everyone has laughed, smiled, and even yelled that they didn’t mean to strip naked (for a shower) in front of a girl.
A good day.
Tenya Wanya Teens seems to be practically an underground movement at the moment, which you should look for on YouTube. I’ve no idea what an eventual release might be like, but follow their twitter account, check out their static web page, and if you ever get a chance to play it, then grab the nearest person and enjoy a few minutes of nonsensical fun.