Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Indies I'd Like to See on the Vita

Last Night, as I eagerly awaited Hotline Miami to go up on the store, it occurred to me that it was yet another Indie title that I was looking forward to specifically because I could play it on my Vita which is shaping up to have all sorts of games on it, contrary to popular belief.  And despite claims that Playstation has all of the Indies - Count it: Fuckin' all of 'em - they actually don't, not quite yet.  Ignoring the obvious Minecraft (which I sincerely hope didn't get another year minimum of exclusivity because of the XBone version), there's all sorts of Indie games out there that haven't been outwardly courted to the Sony side just yet, or at least not in a way that I know of.  Though, it does sort of help that the three games I'm going to feature tonight (three, who would have guessed, it's almost like it's a theme) aren't even complete just yet, I suppose - they probably want to at least -launch- on PC first before considering any other platform - or platforms - as it were.

The....rather lengthy video above is Alpha Footage of a Multi-player client of Broforce as played by one AvidyaZen and one Coestar (who isn't going to update his Youtube account anymore, but still, for posterity and apropos) for -hours- (yes, it has been editted down to -only- a single hour) and I assure you, it is worth your time.  Unless, of course you don't like a very Contra-esque sidescrolling shooter featuring 8-bit versions of 80's and 90's action movie stars and almost wholly destructible terrain.  But, I mean, if you don't like that, then I don't even know what to say to you.  If the notion of playing an 8-bit Arnold ala Terminator with a friggin' minigun as his default weapon in a world where it can literally tear a wall of dirt to...nothing at all doesn't instill a certain interest and giddiness in you, then....I dunno, just skip to the next game, I guess.  God.

I must stress in so many ways that the above video, as stated, contains alpha footage of the game, meaning it's not even really -done- in the conception stage of things.  More heroes (though seriously, there's about two dozen in the game already), more enemies, more areas, et all still have their place in the minds of the developers - who go by Free Lives, by the way and offer a download of the game in its current state (the 'Brototype' as it were) on said website - and just have yet to make it into the game proper.  Still, what's there is rather impressive, especially the terrain deformation aspect to the whole game.  As Coestar puts it a few times in the video, it creates 'emergent gameplay' which I have to agree with since it could fundamentally change how you approach a part in the level, or just how it plays out in general.  There won't be randomized level designs in the final product, but the deformation ensures that you'll have a hard way of it playing any level the same way twice.  Definitely neat.

I've talked about Stardew Valley before, I'm sure, but anything I've said about it deserves to be reiterated anyway and you can bet this won't be the last damn time I talk about the game anyway.  What Stardew Valley is, if you didn't click this much, much shorter video and watch it, is a throw-back to the classic Harvest Moon style and look, while also taking the Rune Factory approach to it by adding fantasy and combat elements to the mix.  Though, I should make the distinction that it clearly sways more to the Harvest Moon side of the fence than Rune Factory....which is a distinction that I'm probably in the minority of to be able to detect as much.  That's not quite the point, however.

The point is that Stardew Valley is a very, very Harvest Moon-like game which, for the most part, the Vita completely lacks.  Sure, there's a couple of the classics, including the very, very good Hero of Leaf Valley as well as the less-good in-fact-almost-bad Innocent Life, but they just don't scratch the itch as well enough as I would like.  It should also be said that not only does SV look like a very Harvest Moon-like game, but also a good one, which is even more enticing.  Everything seems to be there - the crop raising/management, animal farming and even the social aspect of the whole series on top of a few things that aren't always there like customizable farms (except a little moreso, obviously, since it appears that you're going to be building everything) and the whole caves bit.  Combat, as stated, is generally saved for the Rune Factory series (though it -has- made it into proper HM games) but looks to be well represented here as well as some neat terrain deformation and mining....which...is actually usually in Harvest Moon games as well.  The mining bit, I mean, not the terrain deformation.

It's not perfect, of course.  The portraits shown for the characters of the game are...alright, but they need a little working on and I'm wary to suspect they actually will see work done on them.  (Update!: I received an email from someone pointing me to a portion of the website that -I- even linked which showed markedly improved character portraits.  So, basically I didn't pay close enough attention.  Good catch!)  It's also a little strange to see your character carrying an item over his head to use it, especially a single torch, which I also hope will be made a little less awkward before the game sees a release.  Still, even if it were to release in the state that it appears as currently, I would be satisfied.  Or...as satisfied as I could be with a PC game, given that I cannot play PC games quite at the moment of this writing.  As denoted by its website, the publisher for the game is listed as Chucklefish, who you might just know already from their little game called Starbound.  That would also be a game I'd love to see, and I believe I will allow myself a little bit of hope, considering Starbound is very close in development (and developer) to Terraria, which is, as we know, finding a home on the Vita in the coming months.

Last up is a game that you probably have not heard of, but it certainly looks like something you think you have, and it's definitely something you -want-.  Of course, you might take a look at the voxels, the fully 3D world and go, "Oh, so it's third-person Minecraft", but if you would, I would like to direct you towards a game that more closely fits this type of game in 3D Dot Game Heroes.  In fact, what it feels like this game is to me, is simply the developers, fresh off of playing 3D Dot Game Heroes and going "That was cool, but let's make it awesome" and then proceeding to do just that by taking the lovely aesthetic of the game and inserting that into a game that randomly generates infinite worlds as you explore them, has ridiculous amounts of terrain exploration options (a must-have for a giant world such as this) and just all sorts of things to really pull you into the voxel world provided.

The other videos on the developers channel freely tell the tale of the game since its inception over a year ago, and it's made several long strides since then.  Of course, there is also the main site of the game which offers you a more comprehensive look at all the things that are somehow being fitted into this world of wonder.  It's honestly going to be a game of amazing and impressive possibilities, though I just wonder as to -how- it's really going to manage it.  It's just completely above my comprehension, to be honest, especially when you consider the option that you will be able to improve your weapons by adding voxels to them, completely changing their shape as well as making them stronger.

What is promising about Cube World above all else is that it -is- being planned with consoles in mind, though what platforms and what sort of timeframe are completely up in the air at this point.  Even the PC version is only -now- entering a closed Alpha client, meaning it's still likely a year out from being completed anytime soon.  Still, given Sony's relationship with Indies, I imagine a PS4 version, at the very least, will be on the table.  Even without a separate Vita version (which I still very much want) that alone will ensure that the game will be -playable- on the Vita, if just through Remote Play.  Yet beggars can't be choosers and if that's the only way I'll be able to experience the wide wide blocky world of Cube World on my handheld of choice, I'll take it.  But, seriously, a stand-alone version would be lovely.

So there you have it.  Three indies with various chances of releasing on consoles beyond PC and the Vita beyond consoles, all of which would find a loving home on the little device.  I want it, obviously, and I'm assuredly not alone in that, so perhaps the next time someone asks "What Indies would you like to see on Playstation platforms?", you'll have a few new answers.  Because you can never have enough fantastic looking indie games on your platform of choice, no matter what it may be.

no, but seriously, I want all of these and Starbound and Minecraft and all of the Indies

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