Before them, fire devours, behind them, a desert waste. Nothing escapes them.
Inspired by 2D platformer classics like Another Earth and Oddworld, Windy Hill Studio’s debut game, Orphan, tells the story of boy in a world devastated by an overnight alien invasion. The young protagonist will use every object at his disposal to outsmart and outrun a horde of armoured robots that have been sent to clean up the Earth’s surface by an alien race.
The first thing that will catch your eye is Orphan’s fetching visual style. It’s easy to see why many media outlets are calling it a mix between H.G. Wells’ War of The Worlds, and Playdead’s Limbo. The flashes of lens flare and the dark, silhouetted character models are both throwbacks to the aforementioned titles. But, what makes the visuals so special is the developer’s history with photography. Scenes are a blend of real-life images, layered with raster graphics. Grounding each apocalyptic scene in the real world creates a spooky aesthetic unlike any other.
However, what caught my interest in the title was the gameplay. I loved Limbo for all its tricky puzzles and moody atmosphere, but the way Orphan implements combat - by giving the player access to makeshift armour, weapons and powerful alien technology - gives it a kind of 90s sci-fi adventure feel.
Orphan has only six days, and just under $9000 left to hit its $32,000 funding goal. The game will be available for PC, Mac, and Linux at release, and will eventually make its way to PS4 if the game hits its $36,000 stretch goal. Get Kickstarting here.
If you’re still not convinced that Orphan is worth the spare change in your pocket, check out the sombre trailer below.
All this talk about unique 2D platformers may have you flicking through your collection for something to play. Grab It's got you covered. Check out the magical sidescroller Nihilumbra, and Grab It’s Making of… an exclusive, fully interactive digital book on the App Store to tide you over until Orphan's eventual release.
The world will get its first look at a brand new indie developer at GDC 2015, with Australian-based studio Gamesoft set to launch its flagship title, Clockwork. It’s already clear from the first trailer (see below) and accompanying art that this is a professional outfit with a clear direction for its title. In fact, the studio’s CEO Vishal Gumber has come out swinging, claiming:
"Clockwork is by no means an indie game, even though it is Gamesoft's debut. Our young team is ready to take on the best of AAA when Clockwork releases later this year."
The experience is a 2D platformer with an emphasis on atmosphere that aims to mesh “a touching, melancholy narrative experience” with time-manipulation puzzles. Early footage certainly looks the part, as players take on the role of Atto, who can duplicate himself and then slip through time to get past the world’s challenges. Gameplay loops of this ilk have proven quite fun in the past, in everything from The Swapper to Super Time Force.
Set in the mechanical city of Watchtower, Clockwork follows the last survivors of a gnarly plague who hide out within metal walls and bodies. The town itself is split between poverty and technology, falling from great glittering spires down to polluted industrial slums. How the story comes together will be one of the game’s most interesting elements: Lead writer Daniel McMahon revealed:
“Clockwork is a story about unlikely friends coming together to try and fix an imperfect world in a time-bending puzzle-platforming adventure story. We want to ask players the question: what if you could go back in time, to before everything changed?"
Will this game play like clockwork? We’ll find out at GDC. The game itself is coming to PC, XBO, PS4 and Mobiles later in 2015.
In the interim, if you are looking for something fun to play on this tip, try Chronology.
It was only the other day we were walking the gameplay plank in our Top 10 Pirate Games of All Time article, and while those of you yearning for a return of swashbuckling extraordinaire Guybrush Threepwood may have wait a little while longer, we may have the next best thing incoming. We talk of the Monkey Island inspired adventure, Duke Grabowski.
At the helm of the project from Venture Moon Industries is industry legend and LucasArts alumni Bill Tiller, who has worked on titles like The Curse of Monkey Island, The Dig and Full Throttle. Although the portfolio of games that Tiller has worked on over the years is expansive, he seems to have a passion for pirates. Tiller also worked on the pirate adventure game Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island, which released in 2009.
It’s with great excitement that we announce the film GameLoading – “a feature documentary exploring the world of indie game developers and how they have forever changed the landscape of games culture. The film is a discovery of the craft, culture and people behind these innovative and personal games” - is locked and loaded for an April release. In fact, many lucky gamers will get early access at GDC 15 (where it will premiere) and PAX East, with a few other US stops allowing for other pre-release showings.
We’ve been following GameLoading’s journey ever since it was Kickstarted in August of 2013, featuring interviews with director Lester Francois and exclusive footage in a number of the Grab It Magazine episodes (available on the App Store – see below). The access Lester and his team have received to the biggest and brightest minds in the indie gaming scene is phenomenal, and the insights we’ve already enjoyed through the exclusive footage suggest a truly class production. You'll find one of our exclusives below.
You can keep an eye on the official site for more information, or stay tuned to Grab It.
If you are wondering who we are, we’re a AAA digital magazine that you can pick up on the App Store anywhere in the world to get dedicated coverage of the indie iPad gaming scene. We’re trying to not only push the boundaries of what a digital magazine can be by making the reader experience feel like playing a dynamic and interactive game, but we’re also full of hours of reviews, exclusive developer interviews, footage, images, insights and more. Below you will find links to each edition. - Episode 1 - Includes The Making of République (*free sample issue*) - Episode 2 - Includes The Making of Oceanhorn - Episode 3 - Includes The Making of Monument Valley - Episode 4 - Includes The Making of Last Inua - Episode 5 - Includes The Making of World of Tanks Blitz - Grab It Episodes 2-5 Bundle - Episode 6 - Includes The Making of Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers - Episode 7 - Includes The Making of Tiny Troopers Alliance and Midnight Star - Episode 8 - The PAX AUS edition - Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection
Surgeon Simulator developer Bossa Studios has “100% confirmed” via their dev blog that their title I Am Bread will be releasing on iOS once the game launches out of Steam Early Access later this year.
I Am Bread casts players in role of a single slice of bread, with the ultimate, life-affirming goal of becoming toast.
The player awkwardly navigates the slice of bread around various sections of a house, looking to get toasted in any way possible, which now that I think of it, sounds like the kind of thing you overhear teens discussing on the bus ride home. This task seems to pose a similar challenge to Octodad, but rather than using four separate buttons to manoeuvre long, unpredictable tentacles, you’re moving each corner of the slice – with the added challenge of a "grip" metre. How this control scheme will translate to a touchscreen without it becoming a game of twister with your digits is yet to be seen (but that’s likely to be half the fun).
One thing’s for sure, if the transition is anything like its off kilter simulation predecessors, Surgeon Simulator and Goat Simulator (which both boast four-star ratings on the App store), quick fix mobile gamers will embrace the toasty title with open arms, and watering mouths.
If you can't wait for some bread-based gameplay, check out the arcade classic Toast Time.
As far as first impressions go, it’s impossible to ignore the resemblance that Tomasz Wacławek's Ronin bears to its predecessor, Tom Francis' Gunpoint. The window smashing, office block intruding, 2D platformer wears its influence on its sleeve, and much like a doting younger sibling, it wears it with both pride and a tongue planted firmly in cheek. But, to simply call Ronin a "Gunpoint clone" would be a disservice. As anyone who has spent some time with the turned-based assassination game can contend, Ronin brings its own style of fun to the table.
What has me most invested in Ronin is it’s unique take on turn-based combat. As the titular ninja, you will infiltrate buildings, eliminating agents and other ninjas, massacring your way towards a final assassination target. When an enemy is encountered, the action comes to a pause, and the player must strategically adjust the trajectory of the ninja’s jumps to avoid gunfire and place the nimble assassin in a viable position to eliminate each target. If the player is close to an enemy, a slash prompt will appear. If the enemy is too far away, the player can choose to throw their sword. This mechanic pushes the player to fight like a ninja, with style and grace. Ronin doesn’t waste too much time explaining the possibilities this mechanic allows for, so players are driven to get creative with their assassinations. Already, there are videos emerging with players risking death to trial out new and exciting ways to take out each target, and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s a risk that pays off in many breathtakingly badass resolutions.
As development gains traction, Ronin is becoming more and more its own beast. With some freshly updated graphics, hints at an overarching narrative, and the support of publisher Digital Devolver, Ronin is shaping up to be one of my most anticipated indie titles of 2015.
Back in September, we rather excitedly shared what little details we had on the upcoming project from Shadow Blade developer Dead Mage, called Children of Morta. Speculate no longer, good people. Dead Mage has just launched a Kickstarter for its game, which is already well on the way to being funded.
Children of Morta is being billed as a story-driven hack-n-slash game with roguelike elements, citing inspiration from games such as Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy and Risk of Rain. The art style brings to the surface nostalgic feelings of games of yesteryear, with a 2D pixel art aesthetic mixed with more contemporary effects.
The game itself revolves around playing as members of the Bergson family. From the Kickstarter pitch:
Potentially the best movie ever made - slight exaggeration - The Princess Bride's mix of heroic adventure, funny one-liners and iconic characters has always been ripe for a video game translation. Perhaps we may have expected that in the form of a classic point-and-click adventure touched by the hand of a Schafer or the hilarious guys at Walk Thru Walls. Instead, we're getting a swipe-heavy collection of minigames that has you wrestling giants, swatting shrieking eels, dueling for your father's owner (presumably with your left hand) and other such inconceivable activities.
If that sounds a bit negative it's just a result of being burned by so many licensed games that contort cinema gold into a loose accompaniment of basic arcade experiences. But, because this is The Princess Bride, we'll follow our true love and not our inner troll. Being able to unlock clips from the movie and enjoy a soundtrack from The Psychedelic Furs's guitarist Mars Williams can't hurt. Enjoy the trailer below.
Indie studios MAF and Touch Touch want to punish you in the most pleasurable way possible. Inspired by the legendary mobile game Snake, Hexxy Snake takes the "guide a thing around a screen" concept and puts it on a hexagonal grid where the maze-like obstacle course actually pans out to create a nice-little piece of art. Your focus, however, will be on the fast moving "hero," which you must navigate at breakneck speeds through 100 different mazes while picking up food to munch upon, all to a pumping electronic soundtrack. In the tradition of Super Hexagon, One More Line and Wave Wave, this is a ruthless high score driven arcade experience designed to test your reflexes and resilience - video below.
Hexxy Snake is published by legendary indie publisher Surprise Attack, and is out on Jan 14 on iOS devices.
If you're into this style of game, we highly recommend picking up Episode 8 of Grab It, which includes a huge world exclusive making of feature on Wave Wave 2.0, as well as One More Line and 66 other games. (Yes, there are 68 exclusive indie developer reviews!)
In a lengthy Facebook post, developer Firemonkeys - makers of Real Racing 3 - has answered a tonne of frequently asked questions regarding its upcoming racer, Need for Speed: No Limits.
The game is the first mobile exclusive entry in the Need for Speed franchise, and Firemonkeys' previous mobile and racer experience seems like a perfect fit for the legendary blockbuster. Detailing the games free-to-play structure, car customisations, device compatibility and more, it's probably a good up-front move by Firemonkeys to head some of these questions off at the pass, especially given that a big name franchise such as Need for Speed going down the free-to-play path will be divisive to fans. (Not to mention the rocky start to Real Racing 3's F2P life.)