I remember when I was younger, platformers were all the rage. There was at the time, a heap of amazing games to choose from. A plethora of choice. For that reason, I always get a little excited and interested when I see that a new platformer is heading to the Xbox One.
Developer, Jaywalkers, have been showing off their wares with Kick and Fennick for a few months now and they’ve just released a big fat heap of new screens to make any platforming fan drool. So, what’s the game about?
Kick and Fennick will tell the story of a young boy, named Kick, who finds himself waking up in a bright and colourful world. It isn’t a safe world though. A wary Kick discovers a friend in the small flying robot, Fennick, who saves him from a menacing guard robot. In the course of this, the little robot’s battery breaks. Kick must embark on a mission to the Core Tower to find a new energy core.
Besides shooting down enemy robots, Kick can make massive jumps by using his weapon’s powerful recoil. Together, Kick and Fennick must explore this strange new world, jumping and shooting their way through 45 levels of collapsed skyscraper buildings, treadmills, bounce-pads, magnets, teleporters and a truly huge guard robot.
These are all out to stop Kick at all costs, which usually means that he needs to defend himself at all times.
Abstraction Games are publishing this for Jaywalkers and it will be heading to Xbox One soon.
Have a look at the lovely new screens that have been released, below.
Double Fine, publisher of some smashing titles already on Xbox One, have recently announced a partnership with serial video game adapters, Abstraction Games, to bring Jeppe Carlsen’s 140 to Xbox One.
This rhythm based puzzler will challenge anyone with, or without, any sense of timing in a quest to, well, we’re not quite sure what the quest is. It looks interesting though.
Jeppe Carlsen, for those who are interested, was the lead puzzle designer for LIMBO, so I’d be expecting something fairly devious and challenging in 140. The title has been out on PC and MAC since 2013 and even won the Excellence in Audio award at the Independent Games Festival, with in-game music by Jakob Schmid, Playdead’s current audio programmer.
Abstraction Games have been handed the task of adapting 140 from PC to Xbox One, something they’ve done a few times in the past with titles like Pixel Piracy.
What can we expect from this puzzler then? Well, if the trailer below is anything to go by, we can expect some well-timed moves to conquer an environment controlled entirely by Schmid’s thumping soundtrack.
It won’t be over-burdened by graphics either. It sacrifices plush graphics for more precise and frustrating gameplay.
Carlsen Games have 140 down as an old-school platformer at heart though. Set in it’s world of colourful yet abstract graphics. You’ll certainly need to up your rhythm game and sync up every move and jump to the backbeat. The game will give you ability to switch your playing piece between circle, square and triangle in order to traverse the current area. It’s up to you which one you pick to best meet the obstacles in your path.
You’ve played Terraria, right? It’s sort of addictive in a little pixel character doing lots of different tasks kind of way. But that character was never a pirate, were they? No. Well, now, thanks to 505 Games and Terraria developer, Re-logic, you can be.
Coming to Xbox One on the 16th of February, Pixel Piracy takes the pixelated world one step further. You control a pirate captain, free to roam and have swashbuckling adventures in the game as you have no set quests to fulfill. Build your very own ship and outfit her with a crew worthy of the name pirate. Keep an eye on their vitals though, a hungry pirate is a useless pirate.
Plunder and capture enemy ships and raid wild islands for more loot than your hold can carry. Be careful though, your captain can be killed by hunger or enemies and at higher levels, by cats and chickens.
Get set for an adventure on the high-seas, but always remember pirate rule number 37; ship happens.
Anyone who has played A Boy and His Blob on the Wii will probably remember it as a surprising and endearing platformer from WayForward Technologies back in 2009.
Publisher Majesco Games have slipped an Xbox One version of A Boy and His Blob into the Xbox Store, sort of on the quiet. It looks like the game’s port is being handled by Abstraction Games, who have also worked on Titan Souls and Rogue Legacy.
The story revolves around a boy who can feed his pet blob jelly beans to make it grow and transform into useful and fun objects that will help solve puzzles in the game.
Looking at the Xbox Store page, A Boy and His Blob will be slithering onto Xbox One on the 20th of January.
Do you want a taster of the action? Of course you do. Here’s Majesco Games’ new trailer.
Starting off as a Kickstarter back in 2013 and reaching its target pretty quickly, Whispering Willows has made its way on to the Xbox One. The game is quite different from any puzzle adventure I have played – I can’t recall many games featuring astral projection other than Prey on the Xbox 360, and Second Sight on the original Xbox – the game is about a young girl named Elena whose father has gone missing. She has a vision of things to come and her father’s whereabouts, so she grabs his coat, the family amulet and sets off on the adventure of her life.
The game begins with our heroine going to the mansion where her father works and quickly winds up in the catacombs after a seemingly unexpected encounter with a ghost. Elena quickly learns about her ancestors and the amulet’s shamanic powers that grants her the ability of astral projection.
When equipped, the amulet allows Elena to project her ghost and travel to places that her physical form cannot reach. Unfortunately you can’t travel through walls but you can squeeze through small openings and possess objects that can be manipulated so that you can progress through the story. When the amulet glows a bright green it means there is a nearby friendly ghost that will talk to Elena and help her. A bright red glow will warn of an enemy lurking around, which will sometimes be in a cage or a cave that you can only see in her ghost form or under a bright ceiling light. Elena has no means of attacking or defending herself against enemies, but she can pass safely past by studying their movements in her astral state and returning to her physical form when it is safe to pass.
Through astral projection you will come into contact with a variety of interesting spirits that will give you information or send you in the right direction with clues. Most spirits require you to do some leg work first before they will help you – from finding items like letters or piano scripts, to solving puzzles, once you have helped them (and they have you) the ghosts will move on having found peace.
Scattered in and around the mansion are notes that are lined with an insight into some of the ghostly character’s motives and psyches. There are also a few entries from Flying Hawk, who provides a look into Elena’s ancestors and their victimisation. There are loads of entries to collect, which adds a little background to the story but it is entirely possible to go through the whole game without collecting or reading any of them.
I was expecting a lot from the types of puzzles in Whispering Willows and unfortunately the majority of them were too easy to solve, usually needing Elena’s ghost form to pass through a gap and possess an item to unlock a door or move something around to allow you to progress.
Whispering Willows has a beautiful art style, hand drawn and vibrant in some cases, it sets the tone of where you are in the mansion but I felt the storyboard cutscenes could have received more love. In terms of the soundtrack, it is full of well-timed eerie noises that reside around a mansion that is haunted by its ghostly occupants. The floor creaks and the odd weird sound effect drifts in that will make Elena shudder with fear.
The game is really atmospheric, great to look at and features a unique and fun astral projection mechanic, but I felt it did not use this to its full potential. Puzzles were too easy to solve and didn’t have enough variety to them. The astral projection wasn’t used enough to make me feel satisfied with its inclusion in the game. Completable in a little over two hours, the story also fell short of my expectations and while the collectibles made for an interesting read, I felt that they needed to be more integrated into the storyline – you don’t have to find or read any of them, which left the story full of gaps. If you like collecting stuff as much as I do then I urge you to collect them all, plus doing so will mean that you will enjoy the story to its fullest!
Thanks to Reverb Communications for supplying TiX with a download code
You may have seen that Night Light Interactive’s supernatural adventure, Whispering Willows was due for an Xbox One release on the 12th of August. Well, it seems that the spirits were unhappy and decided to suggest something to the developers that just may make up for the release being rescheduled.
The new release date for Whispering Willows will be the 28th of August and the reason? It will be included in the Microsoft Deals With Gold program for a limited time. This is your chance to own this intriguing looking ectoplasmic puzzler at 30% off from the day of it’s release until the 11th of September.
Night Light Interactive’s Co-Founder and CEO David Logan;
Deals With Gold allows us to give gamers a break, so it was an easy decision for us to make. We are extremely proud of the game we’ve created in Whispering Willows, and if we can do something that not only gives our fans a great deal but also ensures the game is played by as many people as possible, we’re on board.
We’ve already posted the announcement trailer, so here’s just a teaser of what you can expect come the 28th of August.
Night Light Interactive and Abstraction Games have today confirmed that their acclaimed indie horror/adventure title, Whispering Willows, will be heading to Xbox One and Windows 10.
Originating on the obscure Ouya platform, Whispering Willows sees you take control of Elena, a young girl determined to solve the mystery behind her father’s disappearance. Use the amulet that her father gave her to project Elena’s spirit outside of her body.
While in this form, that would get Egon Spengler reaching for a PKE meter, Elena can interact with the benevolent spirits and wicked wraiths that used to inhabit the walls of Willows Mansion. Use this spirit form to solve puzzles, help these lost spirits and uncover the mysteries of her missing father.
Set to a haunting soundtrack and presented in beautifully hand-painted 2D visuals, Whispering Willows is set for a summer 2015 Xbox One release.
The title very succinctly sums this game up: it’s a Roguelike with a legacy mechanic, and as such it’s an immensely challenging, nostalgic, and compelling action platformer, one that can grip you for hours and yet have you make little or no actual progress.
In Rogue Legacy you venture through a procedurally generated castle and its grounds, with each environment filled with their own monsters, bosses, secret areas and loot. When you die – and you’ll die frequently – control is transferred to your heir, with any gold you acquired being inherited by them. Your heir can then upgrade their manor, which acts as a skill tree unlocking abilities, enhancing traits and revealing new character classes, before tackling the forever changing castle once again. Rinse and repeat.
It’s spectacularly compelling. After each character dies you’ve given a choice of multiple heirs, each with their own class, abilities and traits, some of which grant significant advantages or disadvantages. Colour blindness, for example paints the world in mono tone, meanwhile, dwarfism makes your hero small but able to explore otherwise blocked paths in the castle. And the wealth of character traits is terrifically balanced alongside a limited number of available heirs, meaning you often have to sacrifice playing as your preferred class so not to suffer the more debilitating genetic issues. However, traits are mostly cosmetic or hilarious, such as the irritable bowel syndrome trait that has you character comically fart their way through the castle each time you jump.
The procedurally generated castle and its grounds are truly deadly, filled to the brim with traps and foes that can very quickly reduce your health to nothing. Fortunately, upgrading your manor increases your odds each time you go on an adventure, boosting things like your health and armour, or purchasing new classes that may appear as heirs in the future, or even hiring a blacksmith, enchantress and architect to bestow you with additional armour, abilities, or temporarily freezing the layout of the castle.
Indeed Rogue Legacy is a game rife with choices; from what heir to enter the castle next, what upgrades to your own castle to make, which equipment and enchantments if any to purchase, even how you approach the castle and its dangers. Each class has its strengths and weaknesses and as such play very differently from each other. The Barbarian for example can take a great deal more punishment than the Shinobi, but the Shinobi’s speed and attack power is greater, meanwhile, the mage has a large mana pool for casting spells from a safer distance, and so on. Furthermore, collecting enough gold in a run to do anything is a challenge, and once you enter the castle a new, your left over riches are stripped away. It’s impressively complex.
It’s also very difficult, especially with your first dozen or so generations. Enemies are numerous and fast paced, and the bosses are initially insurmountable. But as you make upgrades, learn new abilities, and become accustomed to the pace and attack patterns of your foes, you’ll make more and more progress before you die, perhaps earning just enough gold to increase your stats for an even better run with your offspring next time.
Rogue Legacy is a fantastic roguelike with a compelling legacy mechanic and skill tree system that makes the inevitable short lifespans of your characters meaningful, enjoyable, different each time, and amusing. For some the frustration of achieving little on a run is going to drive them away but largely the irresistible charm of Rogue Legacy is going to consume you entirely.