Award-winning publisher Curve Digital have announced an Xbox One bundle for five of its highly revered titles, for one incredibly low price.
The Gimme 5 bundle will be available until November 3rd, and contains Human: Fall flat, The Flame in the Flood, Dear Esther, Serial Cleaner and Manual Samuel.
Only available on the Xbox Live store, the Gimme 5 bundle will give gamers a huge 70% worth of saving compared to buying the titles separately. The bundle will cost £18/$18/€18.
Publishing Director for Curve Digital, Simon Byron, says “We always love giving our fans the best deals that we can dream up at Curve Digital. The Gimme 5 bundle is no exception to this, with a saving of over 70% across five titles in one bundle, there’s no better time to jump into our most loved games.”
Most of these have been positively reviewed by TiX, and you can read those reviews by clicking on the links. Click here to visit the page on the Xbox Store to purchase!
These days games have you racking up the body count, leaving the mess for the computer to tidy up. Serial Cleaner instead places you in the shoes of the clean up crew – the twist – you have to clean up the mob’s sloppy work all from under the watchful gaze of the cops.
Cleaning up after the mob might not sound like fun, but the funky soundtrack and tasteful graphics ooze coolness to what is essentially a puzzle game. Get in, scout the area via your cleaner senses – Spiderman eat your heart out – and avoid the patrolling cops. Should they catch sight of you as you go about your business of disposing bodies, hoovering up blood and swiping evidence, they will give chase or call for help – thankfully they are too stupid to catch you if you can make it to the safety of a bush or closet. Only guards that carry guns warrant an instafail if they spot you.
Beyond the puzzle mechanics of navigating each mazelike area, there is a dark story to be told – with equally dark humour – everything wraps up neatly for an amusing finale. It’s thoroughly entertaining, if a little short. There are additional movie inspired levels to play through – unlockable by finding movie reels within the main campaign – but there are no visual cues as to which levels have the reels so you need to keep your head on a swivel in order to spot them.
As the game progresses, so does the size and complexity of each area. Getting caught means starting from scratch, with bodies, evidence and blood splatters resetting and often being placed in different locations – in can be quite annoying to make it all the way to the end and get caught. While you move (and hoover) you make noise and some enemies later in the game have rather good hearing – at times, Serial Cleaner is anything but easy.
Unfortunately though, it does climax too quickly. There are mutators to add some longevity to the game and give each level more of a challenge. Split into day and night, these mutators range from enemies with no vision cones and hiding places that can only be used when not in an enemy’s sights to disabling your cleaner sense or removing visual noise indicators. My favourite though was the ‘drunk on the job’ mutator, which adds a wavy warp to the graphics.
Serial Cleaner is fun, simple and stylish, and while it’s light on ideas, Winston Wolfe would be proud.
Thanks to VIM Global Consulting for supporting TiX
There is something to jump about on Xbox One today – Curve Digital’s Jump Stars is out now and the competitive local co-op game looks like there’s plenty to get jumped pumped for, just take a look at the brand new trailer below:
Protagonist Bob in Human: Fall Flat is akin to a toddler learning to walk. He haphazardly stumbles around the environments, bumping into objects and clinging on to them like a drunk trying to steady himself. It’s delightfully humorous and charming, and when he drops from a significant height and crumples to the floor with theatrical, squishy ragdoll physics – suggesting he possesses no bones whatsoever – it’s hard not to concoct more and more dangerous activities for poor Bob to undertake, just for fun. Indeed, that’s a large part of the fun, but there’s a physics puzzle game here as well, one that’s brief but clever and funny enough to leave a lasting impression.
The colourless, devoid of detail, anthropomorphic blob that is Bob is essentially a crash test dummy for you to experiment with. The environments are equally devoid of details, with block colours on austere textures but it’s a unique aesthetic that’s easy on the eyes. With an editor, you can personalize Bob to your heart’s content, and let your creative juices flow somewhat, but the visuals quickly take a back seat to the physics.
Human: Fall Flat’s objective is to solve a set of puzzles and platforming challenges in order to reach the end of the level, with each level sporting a different theme, such as a building site, a mountain pass, and a medieval castle. You don’t really control Bob per se, instead you try to steer him around the environment, moving objects, pulling and pushing levers and switches, and otherwise clearing the way to the exit. It starts off simple, with a couple of tutorial levels teaching you the basics, before larger, more complex levels really start to get your grey matter working. Experimenting with the environment and Bob to see just what can be done within the physics engine encourages you to explore the environments and discover multiple methods to master the madness.
Indeed then, it’s a humorous game and bringing a friend along for some coop fun takes it up a notch, as you uncontrollably giggle your way through each level. But whether alone or with a friend, Human: Fall Flat remains fun and intriguing, and while Bob is sure to fall off cliffs, get squished with boulders, and make suffer less than graceful trips and falls a few too many times, figuring out the puzzles and making it to the exit is hugely satisfying. Meanwhile, the puzzles can often be solved multiple different ways, adding some replayability and a spark of creativity to your play-through.
Human: Fall Flat is a charming physics platformer and puzzler but also a very short one. The multiple solutions to puzzles as well as the coop mode offer some replayability, and the pacing ensures the concept and humour don’t out stay their welcome, but still it’s all over with disappointingly swiftly. However, it’s certainly an afternoon well spent.
Thanks to Xbox and Curve Digital for supporting TiX
The physics-defying and rule-breaking hilarity of cult PC puzzle game Human: Fall Flat will be unleashed on the Xbox One May 12th, developer Tomas Sakalauskas and publisher Curve Digital announced today.
Human: Fall Flat on Xbox One, brings all the content from the Steam version plus plenty of extras, and starting today pre-ordering Human: Fall Flat will also bag you the amusing physics puzzler Manual Samuel for free.
Launching on console and updating on Steam with additional content, brand new puzzles and a bespoke customization option, Human: Fall Flat has players escape surreal dreamscapes by solving open-ended puzzles while struggling with intentionally unsteady controls that result in hysterical clumsiness and potentially endless falling.
After releasing on Steam last year to considerable praise, Human: Fall Flat became a YouTube phenomenon, garnering more than 100 million cumulative views thanks to the game’s hilarious gameplay that had people discover their own solutions to overcome obstacles and “work” together as best they can to solve the puzzles in co-op mode.
At Curve Digital we like to provide people with an amazing value for their pre-order purchases and the Human: Fall Flat console pre-order continues this company philosophy,
said Jason Perkins, Managing Director at Curve Digital.
Human: Fall Flat and Manual Samuel have both earn massive praise from the community and by pre-ordering Human: Fall Flat on console people get two amazing games for the price of one. In addition PS4 users will also receive a dynamic theme developed by Truant Pixel.
Playing as Bob, players have complete control over his arms and movement. At first, this can make it challenging to traverse this beautiful yet deadly world. However, players who learn to master Bob’s movement will be rewarded with a wealth of opportunities to break the rules and beat the challenging puzzles that block their path. Bob can pull stuff. He can push stuff. He can kick stuff. He can carry stuff. He can climb stuff. He can break stuff. And he can use stuff on other stuff to make even more stuff happen. It’s all up to you – want to open that mysterious door? Or would you rather see how far you can throw a speaker set out that window?
Indie publisher, Curve Digital, have announced along with developer, iFun4All, a new fast-paced stealth-action game coming to Xbox One. Serial Cleaner is set in the 70s and will see you sneaking around bloody crime scenes, disposing of incrimminating evidence and dodging the police.
This fast-paced stealth-action game has you playing as the main character. As him, you will have to clean up murder scenes by disposing of bodies, covering up bloodstains, hiding murder weapons and other incrimminating evidence from the law authorities. To succeed, players must explore, experiment and make some pretty swift decisions in order to avoid detection by the police. Get caught and you’ll earn yourself a black mark on your career.
The game will use real-world data to modify levels according to the current time of day in a player’s whereabouts, so you’ll need to be very aware of your environment. There will be marked differences in noise detection and the ability to sneak around depending on whether it is night or day and that may very well mean the difference between freedom and jail.
iFun4All writer and designer, Krzysztof Zeiba;
Serial Cleaner was inspired by lose-fast/reload-fast games that demand players retry a level several times to learn how enemies react and figure out which zones of the map are the safest. If caught, the level generates the crime scene with the bodies moved, ensuring that the players can’t rely on just muscle memory to get through the stage. The game is tough, but fair, so players need to plan their moves accordingly, or just get in there and improvise: both approaches work.
If you are lucky enough to be on the way to PAX East in Boston from the 10th to the 12th of March, then Serial Cleaner will be playable at booth 22125. The game will also be showcased at EGX Rezzed in London from the 30th of March to the 1st of April.
Serial Cleaner will be hitting the Xbox One this summer.
Although it’s brevity and depth makes it little more than a proof of concept with experimental mechanics, Manual Samuel still manages to put a smile on your face and challenges you to approach everyday tasks – and a few more extreme ones – in a way you’ve seldom approached them before.
You are Samuel, a complete douchebag who’s rich, pampered, and arrogant. But after a fight with your girlfriend and a little accident with a chemical truck, you die and are whisked away to hell, where you meet the skateboarding, hoodie wearing Death. You strike a deal to return to the land of the living but in order to earn your second chance, you need to survive 24 hours doing everything manually. Mechanically this means every action requires manual control, from walking one leg at a time, to blinking and breathing.
Controlling Samuel is a matter of pressing the triggers to walk, left for your left leg and right for your right, pressing a button to blink, holding another button to breath, pressing yet another to breath out, straitening your spin if you walk too fast with the d-pad, and stopping a marker that’s quickly moving side to side along a gauge for context specific tasks like drinking coffee without burning yourself, or peeing. There’s no analogue stick walking or action button shortcuts here and it makes for a refreshing challenge.
Inevitable you’ll mess up a button input or forget to do something. Pressing the same leg trigger twice will cause Samuel to do the splits; meanwhile, not blinking turns the screen blurry and not breathing can cause Samuel to faint. It’s pretty amusing stuff but also treads over the line into frustrating quite often. No matter how long you play, you simple won’t fully adapt to these mechanics, and as tasks become more urgent, mistakes are more easily made.
But it is funny to see Samuel flail his legs around and collapse in a heap, or fail entirely to hit the toilet when taking a pee. And despite the urine mishaps and frequently snapping spine of your seriously disabled protagonist, it’s never visually crude or shocking, just funny. Some excellent, plinky plonky music accompanies your escapades that match the tone splendidly, meanwhile, the 2D cartoon aesthetic is charming and quirky, straight out of a Saturday morning show. Unfortunately, however, some of the humour stems from the same morning cartoons.
The hip take on Death is especially irritating, with his constant use of the word “faeces” quickly grating, and the rest of his dialogue feeling clichéd and like developers Perfectly Paranormal are trying too hard to be funny. However, the narrator, who joins you for the entirety of your 2-3 hour playthrough, is terrific. And indeed, the title is inherently funny. The silly concept, paired with the well-paced and amusing story, makes for an entertaining little adventure.
Manual Samuel channels the same quirkiness of titles such as Octodad and Stick it to the Man, with it’s neat take on controlling the protagonist, extraordinary slice of life narrative, and its cartoony visual aesthetic. It gets frustrating trying to manually control Samuel’s every move, but it’s clever and ultimately entertaining when you do manage to complete each task and make it through the day.
Thanks to Xbox and Curve Digital for supporting TiX
There are some crazy games that have been released, especially in the ID@Xbox or previous Indie world. Perfectly ParaNormal’s new title is looking to trump them all, however.
Teaming up with publisher, Curve Digital, these Norwegian developers have embarked on what they describe as a ‘Dexterity Adventure’. In Manual Samuel, you will have to guide the titular hero through the worst 24 hours of his life.
Samuel has had a sheltered upbringing. Never wanted for anything in his pampered life. His day is about to start in most extraordinary circumstances. Samuel, making his way along in life, gets knocked over and killed. This, you’re thinking, might be the end rather than a beginning, but Samuel’s got a rather special friend. With this special friend, he may very well end up living happily ever after.
Samuel’s special friend is none other than the Grim Reaper. Death makes a pact with our hero that if he wants to live, then he really has to live. For the next 24 hours, all of his bodily functions will have to be controlled manually.
This obviously makes everyday situations increasingly slapstick. Simple tasks such as getting dressed become a hilarious backdrop to some crude and lewd humour. Just remember to breathe in and out or what started out as a bad day, could get much, much worse.
As his day progresses, Samuel must work hard to keep himself together and keep not only Death happy, but also his boss and his girlfriend too.
Every aspect of Samuel is controllable. From breathing to blinking, you’re guaranteed to spend a lot of time trying to stand up. This will culminate in lots of silly walks, surreal moments and dark humour as you try to guide Manual Samuel through his 24 hours of torture.
If you’ve ever had the wish to think about Editor-in-Chief, Dave, drunk; watch the trailer below.
Manual Samuel will be guided bodily towards an Xbox One near you from the 14th of October.
‘Charming Indie Puzzle-Platformer’ is a term that gets bounded about so often these days that it makes me a bit apathetic when a new one is announced for release. However, on watching the trailer for Hue, I was quite intrigued. At its core, Hue is another puzzle game with a standout mechanic, but is it any more than that?
Developed by Fiddlesticks, and published by Curve Digital, Hue centres on the eponymous hero’s quest to save his mother from being trapped in the ‘mono world’, with only a ‘colour ring’ at your disposable. There’s a tiny bit more to it than that, but essentially, as silly as it sounds to begin with, that’s the premise. Along the way, you’ll populate the ring with shards of colour that allow you to manipulate the game’s background to help you get through each puzzle.
The story unfolds as Hue collects a series of notes in between sets of ‘levels’; they’re not really levels in the purest form, but more a collection of puzzles that eventually end up with a guy that looks completely lifted from Spirited Away’s ‘No Face’ watching you, and then walking away toward the next unlockable colour. The notes are delivered through a very well-spoken British voiceover that plays out whilst Hue walks through an uninteresting path for around 60 seconds each time. It’s a bit of a dull way to deliver the story; the accent is so over-the-top that it takes a while to get used to it, and having Hue just continue to walk, jump and climb ladders whilst the speech is playing feels like a bit of a cop out.
This is disappointing, because the presentation of the game is generally quite beautiful, when you’re outside of the puzzles, at least. After the introductory story note, Hue awakes in his bedroom. A short moment later, you’re outside in a gloriously drawn seaside village, the camera zoomed in much closer than during puzzles, and you can’t help but marvel at the vibrant art, animation and music all coming together. It’s quite stunning, and kind of a shame that the game doesn’t continue to impress when you’re in the puzzle rooms, where it just becomes functional, and nothing more.
In the first few minutes of my game, I thought that it was going to be played out in the vein of Guacamelee; the feel of walking around the village being very similar, and when you change the background colour to unlock your first path in a cave, you expect yet another metroidvania experience. Hue, however, sticks to a very linear path, and in many ways, offers a lot of simplicity in tandem with it’s colour-changing wow-factor.
However, during those first couple of hours unlocking the new colours, the simplicity makes it so easy that it all feels like a bit of a grind. Imagine a game’s tutorial lasting for two hours, with every few screens stopping to ask you, ‘Are you ok? Do you know what’s going on?’. That’s how I felt whilst playing through the first section; ‘Yes! I’m fine, let’s get on with it!’. Aside from a few boulders chasing you, or thwomp-like skulls dropping overhead, it’s all quite basic in the beginning and certainly not taxing. The trouble is, by the time you’ve done all of this, you start to think that you’ve nearly finished the game once you collect the last of the colours, and your false sense of security quickly finds out that the real stuff is just around the corner, and it’s a bit of a shock.
Once you’ve reached the realisation that you’ll not be done for a while, the game gets really good, if still a bit on the easy side. Once you start what is really the second half of the game (and I won’t spoil it by saying anything about the setting), the puzzles become much more inventive. Thick, object-altering spray paints and thin, deadly paint lines cause you to stop, look at the room and make a plan before you act, rather than in the beginning, where 90% of the time you could just make it up as you go, and breeze right through without any issues. Having said that, the only puzzle that made me think for more than ten minutes was the very final one, and that was just because I’d missed something obvious, which I kicked myself for afterwards.
Looking at my stats after finishing Hue, I died 90 times. Probably 10-15 of these were through making bad decisions near the end of the game, and the rest were due to difficulties using the colour wheel. Don’t get me wrong, the general control is absolutely fine; what platforming there is to do can be achieved perfectly. All of the colour-changing is done on the right thumbstick, and once I had a full circle of colours to choose from, it just didn’t register enough times for me to be completely satisfied (and maybe sometimes I let out the slightest of swears). It’s not a big complaint, though, mainly because the idea is just so great, and it’s what makes this game stand out from others.
And, ultimately, what there is of a story is reasonable, it’s sentimental enough, and resolves in a satisfying way, and even though it stuck with me a little, it doesn’t quite reach the emotional heights for me that it thinks it does, if that makes sense. Still, that glorious piano music doesn’t hurt; it’s one of the best things about the game, and when it works together with the imagery, it’s really quite something.
Hey, Fiddlesticks, I’ll gladly take a sequel, just make it a bit harder next time.
Thanks to Xbox, Curve Digital and Fiddlesticks for supporting TiX
Publisher Curve Digital and developer The Chinese Room have announced that Dear Esther: The Landmark Edition will be coming to consoles next month. Dear Esther: The Landmark Edition is the original indie hit with updated gameplay and graphical content, add to this Directors’ Commentary from the original development team, Jessica Curry, Dan Pinchbeck and Rob Briscoe, and you have the most complete version of the game to date.
The console release of Dear Esther will also mark the start of a month-long celebration of its legacy, during which The Guardian and The Barbican will hold events in the UK to allow members of the public to get closer to the seminal narrative than ever before.
On September the 30th The Guardian is holding an event which will see Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry discuss their journey from Half-Life mod to full console release. Tickets cost £10 direct from The Guardian’s website here.
October 14 sees The Barbican host a unique live performance of the game’s soundtrack led by composer Jessica Curry, accompanied by an on-stage playthrough of Dear Esther complete with live narration. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the major components of the game brought to life in what promises to be a highly emotional evening. Limited tickets remain here so grab yours quick.
Dear Esther is a narrative-focused first-person adventure that takes place on an uninhabited Hebridean island, upon which a lone man must piece together the chain of events that led to his wife’s death. Traditional gameplay presents a truly story-driven experience, comprising of a beautifully detailed world and an emotional tale that has inspired an entire genre of games. Originally developed as an experimental visual and aural experience using the Source game engine, Dear Esther has earned multiple awards alongside critical acclaim following its original release on Windows PC in 2012.
Dear Esther: Landmark Edition will arrive on September 20 for $9.99 / €9.99 / £7.99 on the Xbox One.