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04 April, 2017

Rime Release Date Pushed Back on Nintendo Switch

Releasing in May on PS4, PC and Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch version of upcoming indie adventure Rime has been pushed back to later in 2017.

The upcoming indie adventure game Rime by Tequila Works is a title we have been keeping a close eye on. It has been in and out of developmental hell like a yo-yo over the last four years, but is finally nearing a release. On May 26, the game will land worldwide on PS4, Xbox One and PC. The Nintendo Switch edition was always set to be released later, but all reports had it still hitting a June release window. Until now.

We can confirm that Rime has been officially placed in a Q3 2017 release window, which spans anywhere from July to September. Rime’s Australian distributor, Five Star Games, sent us an email today with its upcoming release schedule, showing the new release window for the game. It also confirmed the previously reported $20 price hike on the Xbox One and PS4 versions.

13 March, 2017

The 2008 Cory Barlog-led Mad Max Game that Never Happened

More details have emerged about the game that almost was when the director of God of War joined forces with Mad Max creator George Miller.

Indie developer Dan Graf is currently achieving great things with his mobile title Rodeo Stampede - which has now passed 50 million downloads - but his career stretches back over a decade. It includes time spent not only making games, but also teaching and making films. During a recent episode of the GameHugs podcast, Graf spoke in-depth about his origins as a game developer and some of the incredible places it has taken him. One of those places included Dr. D Studios, the company founded by Mad Max creator George Miller.

Graf was introduced to Miller by a fellow staff member while working at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) in 2008. Following the blockbuster success of his film Happy Feet, Miller had just founded Dr. D Studios, a digital animation house. During the podcast, Graf detailed how he came to work for Miller, and their initial meetings prototyping a Mad Max game. Here is what he had to say:

How did you meet George Miller?

I was very lucky to get an introduction through one of the staff members at AFTRS. George wanted to meet me partially because of my background making games, but more because I was sitting in this space between games and film. And what I did for George was I showed him Shadow of the Colossus (PS2 – Team Ico). I said, “I didn’t make this, it was made by someone way cooler than me, but I hope you can see the potential here for the way film and games can converge.”

[I showed it to him] because it is pure cinema, but it is interactive. It’s David and Goliath; it’s Godzilla; it’s King Kong - yet it is interactive. It has all the nuance in camera direction, score and emotional impact. So I said to him, “this is the future of games, you should do this with Mad Max.” And George said, “stay awhile, let’s have lunch.” Which then turned into dinner and at the end of it all he shook my hand and asked, “when do you finish film school?” To which I answered, “whenever you want George!”

So that was a wonderful opportunity as he offered me a job. But I forgot about games after I immediately started as I was so sure he was going to make a Mad Max game. And he invited me to some meetings where I met Cory Barlog, the God of War director, and I thought, “this is really going to happen, they are going to make this game and it’s going to be massive.” But none of that eventuated while I was there. None of it eventuated in Australia. It all happened overseas and it happened a long time after I left [in 2011].

So this was Dr. D Studios right, part of KMM?

KMM [an Australian film production company] existed when I joined the company and was about 30 people. Dr. D was formed shortly afterwards, and I was shifted across to that like most other people. Then Dr. D grew from 30 people to 600 people, and that was an interesting shift to be part of.

It was always difficult for me to establish the difference between KMM and Dr. D; was Dr. D a game studio?

Dr. D was exclusively a film production company part owned by George Miller, part owned by a tech company called Omnilab. It was set up with a lot of ex-Animal Logic people, and I think a lot of the baggage and negative head space of people who wanted to leave behind something they didn’t like came to Dr. D and it festered. Founding a company on peoples’ disenchantment and displeasure in a different company is not going to create a good foundation.

Where to Next?

Looking for a great read? Author Nicholas Abdilla has just released his new sci-fi novel Adam Exitus through Amazon and iTunes today, and it’s one for sci-fi fans. The first entry in what will be a 10-part series, it’s based on the author’s own original comic strip, and it’s reminiscent of the work of Philip K. Dick and Timothy Zahn. Filled with imaginative alien technology, strange creatures from far-off galaxies and one of the greatest vessels in sci-fi history, Adam Exitus is worth checking out.

10 March, 2017

RiME up to $30 more Expensive on Switch than Other Formats

The Australian pricing for exciting, upcoming indie adventure puzzler RiME has thrown a surprise figure at Nintendo Switch owners. It's Double!

Update: The distributor just sent through revised pricing due to an error in the initial price release. New pricing is $79.95 on Switch, $59.95 on Xbox One and PS4, and $49.95 on PC. So the price gap is $20 to other consoles and $30 to PC. Still significant.

RiME is one of the more promising looking indie titles coming out in 2017 – one we highlighted in our sister site's Nintendo Switch Guide (see below). The game is like a cross between The Legend of Zelda, The Witness and Ico, mixing in puzzle-solving and adventure-like exploration with a more introspective tone and atmosphere. You play as a seemingly cursed young boy left shipwrecked and alone on a rugged, but beautiful island.

Your goal is to escape, which means discovering the secrets of this place. The action is less about combat and more about exploration and puzzle-solving, the latter using elements like light, sound, time and perspective. It’s all set in a large environment navigated to via an over-world, and it looks gorgeous - you can see the full trailer below.

03 March, 2017

Sci-Fi Author Singles Out Mass Effect as Major Influence

BioWare’s iconic RPG has done more than just entertain gamers, it’s inspiring a new wave of creators.

 

Author Nicholas Abdilla has just released his new sci-fi novel Adam Exitus through Amazon and iTunes today, and it’s one for the sci-fi buffs. The first entry in what will be a 10-part series, it’s based on the author’s own original comic strip, and it’s reminiscent of the work of Philip K. Dick and Timothy Zahn. Filled with imaginative alien technology, strange creatures from far-off galaxies and one of the greatest vessels in sci-fi history, Adam Exitus will hopefully find an audience.

Abdilla is a renowned gamer who also created the comic series Game Guy, as published in Game Informer Australia. So during a recent interview as part of the promotional lead-up to the book’s release, he was asked how gaming had impacted his novel. Here is how the conversation went:

03 March, 2017

Nintendo Switch Surprise Australian Launch Line-Up – 9 Unannounced Games

The Nintendo Switch launch games in Australia aren’t what the locals expected.

The Nintendo Switch launched at midnight in Australia, with lucky fans already well and truly deep into games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is the big system seller of the launch window, and what we’ve played thus far has been truly incredible - a fantastic gaming experience and a must-own. You can read more about it in the Nintendo Switch Magazine. It is not alone at launch, of course. In all 12 games were set to launch alongside the Switch, the lowest in 21 years. However, when Australians opened up the eShop for the first time, they weren’t greeted with the list of titles they expected.

25 February, 2017

Indie Game Hellion Looks Dope

Indie developer Zero Gravity has released the space survival game Hellion on PC through Steam, and it looks amazing.

Hopefully you just watched watch the trailer above and have a good idea of the quality indie studio Zero Gravity is aiming for with Hellion. Far beyond what we would usually expect from an indie! In fact, it matches many AAA launch trailers we've seen. The game is out today on Steam, offering a space-set, first-person multiplayer survival experience. Kind of like Left 4 Dead meets Dead Space, perhaps. One of the interesting aspects of the game's design is the laws of the real world it obeys. Zero Gravity established that, "in the Hellion solar system, all in-game objects from planets and moons to ships and stations abide by Newtonian physics and full orbital mechanics." 

What that means for actual gameplay we'll have to find out.

Here is an overview of the premise for Hellion:

A solar system thousands of light-years from Earth, Hellion is the destination of the first interstellar colonization mission of the 23rd century. A million colonists, suspended in cryogenic hibernation, wake up a century later and find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Instead of grand habitats and planets waiting to receive new settlers, there is only evidence of devastation and conflict everywhere with ruins, debris fields and empty stations. With no trace of UN officials, corporate representatives, engineers, scientists or law enforcement troops, and a rescue operation over half a century away, colonists turn to scavenging, stealing and outright violence. Others try to live in a more civilized way and begin uncovering the truth behind the largest disaster in human history.

This is the first game from Zero Gravity, and the developer has aimed very high indeed. Hopefully we will get a review up shortly so we can see whether the game can live up the quality of the trailer. In other space game news, did you here Mass Effect Andromeda is still looking at the Nintendo Switch?

06 February, 2017

Rodeo Stampede Passes 50 Million Mark

The addictive and free iOS and Android mobile game Rodeo Stampede has just passed a major milestone.

Featherweight Games may want to go up a weight division. The little Australian two man indie team, alongside partner in crime and veteran local developer Dan Graf, have a heavyweight hit on their hands. While massive sales numbers are nothing particular new with free mobile games, passing the 50 million mark is still a huge win for such a small little team and one worth celebrating.

Yes it's true; you can make a little game in your home in Australia and go global.

In Rodeo Stampede – Sky Zoo Safari (which is the full name) your goal is to populate a zoo with wild animals, in order to attract more visitors and earn more money. This in turn can be used to upgrade your enclosures. However, capturing these wild animals involves riding your way through nature, leaping from one animal’s back to another in an attempt to tame them. All while trying to avoid obstacles and not fall off. Viewed from an isometric view and with a range of environments and animals to discover, it’s far from the world’s hardest game. However, by combining this addictive, arcade action with a Zoo Tycoon-like management layer has obviously proved to be a big winner for gamers.

In an interview on the GameHugs podcast, developer Dan Graf – who previously worked with other Australian global success stories Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride developer Halfbrick – confirmed that the game has passed the milestone. It is also confirmed on his Linkedin profile. He didn’t confirm how many of those downloads were on iOS and how many were on Android, but he did suggest the game is seeing around 10 million downloads a month.

The game is seeing continuing free updates, too, with the most recent in January adding a new Tundra Zone, 50 more animals and Chinese New Year themed map, animals and hats. The team is also working on an update for Valentine's Day. If you want to see what Rodeo Stampede is all about, you can download it on iOS here.

If you are wondering who we are, we're primarily a digital magazine for the iPad focused on the coverage of indie video games. Run by the former editor of Game Informer, you'll find worldwide exclusives, but also an interactive media experience unlike any you have seen before. If you have an iPad, you should check out the free sample issue at the very least, or enjoy one of our other episodes as listed below.

Get Every Episode:

- 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 the Gathering
- Episode 7 - Includes The Making of Tiny Troopers Alliance and Midnight Star
- Episode 8 - The PAX AUS edition
- Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection
- Grab It Presents Ultimate Indie Game Reviews Vol 1.

04 January, 2017

Siegecraft Commander for PSVR Confirmed and Delayed, but PS4, PC, XBO Versions Still Coming Jan 17

Exciting upcoming indie strategy game Siegecraft Commander by Blowfish Studios hitting PS4 without PSVR support, for now.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that strategy titles aren’t such a great fit for the visceral experience of virtual reality, but our hands-on session with Siegecraft Commander at PAX AUS proved otherwise. The premise of the game is to take down your opponent’s caste while defending your own. And the way you expand your empire unfolds by hurling new towers out from existing towers into the environment. Doing this automatically forms a wall, adding to your defence. However, strategic placement of towers and the choice of tower – as they each hold different attack and defence units/moves – are key.

As a result the game straddles the divide between more traditional strategy games and tower defence, and has been well received by critics during its run on mobiles.

The game works in both traditional form – controller or mouse and keyboard – and via virtual reality, with the game set to release on January 17 for Xbox One, PC, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PS4. The latter was hoped to have PSVR support, but it was only confirmed with us this morning. Unfortunately we’ve been informed by developer Blowfish Studios that it won't be available for launch. PSVR support will be patched in post-release, but a representative for the company was unable to confirm a release window at this stage.

While no doubt disappointing for those with a PSVR setup, what we’ve experienced so far suggest the gameplay will hold up in the interim with the Dualshock. And obviously owners of other formats have nothing to worry about. Reviews should land in a couple of weeks, and you can read up on how the experience plays in VR with our hands-on preview.

Those who simply cannot wait to try it out, can dive into the original iOS game, Siegecraft, or can opt for its first iOS sequel, Siegecraft Defender.

If you are wondering who we are, we're primarily a digital magazine for the iPad focused on the coverage of indie video games. Run by the former editor of Game Informer, you'll find worldwide exclusives, but also an interactive media experience unlike any you have seen before. If you have an iPad, you should check out the free sample issue at the very least, or enjoy one of our other episodes as listed below.

Get Every Episode:

- 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 the Gathering
- Episode 7 - Includes The Making of Tiny Troopers Alliance and Midnight Star
- Episode 8 - The PAX AUS edition
- Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection
- Grab It Presents Ultimate Indie Game Reviews Vol 1.

22 December, 2016

République Targeting Nintendo Switch

Indie developer Camouflaj is keen to bring its episodic, dystopian stealth adventure to the Nintendo Switch.

One of our favourite ever indie games is République. Broken into five episodes, the first of which released on iOS devices in late 2013, it’s heavily inspired by the likes of BioShock and Metal Gear Solid. In fact, the developer’s founder, Ryan Payton, worked on the MGS series for some ten years – as well as Halo – and that blockbuster mentality transitions to the game. It was one of the first indies we can remember that tried to really push into that polished, full gaming experience that has now become standard.

The game stars a young girl called Hope, held against her will in a dystopian, totalitarian society called Metamorphosis. You play as yourself, an individual who has hacked into this society and managed to get in touch with Hope. She pleads for you to help her escape, and by viewing the world through security cameras you’re able to guide her past threats and around the maze-like facility. Finding clues, upgrading equipment, eavesdropping and slowly unravelling the mystery around this place also feature heavily. The game looks a treat, has innovative touch-centric controls, a deep lore with plenty to discover and just plain fun gameplay.

After its bow on iOS in 2013, République came to Android in 2014, PC and Mac in 2015 and, alongside the fifth and final episode, PS4 in early 2016 in both retail and downloadable forms. In a recent update to its Kickstarter backers, Camouflaj detailed its plans for the series in the future. This is what it had to say:

“Many of you have asked about Camouflaj’s next project and the future of the République franchise. We’re happy to report that our team of thirty-two are hard at work on numerous projects, including bringing République to additional platforms. It’s always been our vision to put the game in front of as many people as possible, which is why we’re continuing to grow the game’s already long list of supported platforms. Long term, we want to bring the game to the Chinese, Korean, Indian and Middle-Eastern markets.”

“We would also like to expand République to new browser-based platforms and, if NOA [Nintendo of America] supports the idea, the upcoming Nintendo Switch. Throughout all of that, we will continue updating the game on existing platforms, addressing bugs, and adding new features. As much as we’d love to make new episodes, though, we do not have any plans to do so.”

So as well as news that the company is working on a title not directly connected to the existing République experience, the reveal of a Switch release is very intriguing. Hopefully, these plans are rubber stamped by Nintendo. The touchscreen will fit naturally with the gameplay mechanics, that’s for certain.

To find out more, you’re in the right place, too. We had the world exclusive making of feature for République in our first issue of Grab It, which is also our free issue. If you want to know everything there is to know about the game’s origins and the company’s founder, you can read it on iPad here.

If you want to start playing it now, you can get going for free on iOS.

21 December, 2016

BrambleLash Announced as Xbox One Console Exclusive

This co-operative, four-player indie game from Byte Sprite Games is coming to Xbox One gamers in 2017.

There were over 70 Australian indie developers at this year’s PAX AUS, and as you can see from the articles running down the face of our blog, we liked a lot of them. One particular game to catch our attention was BrambleLash by Byte Sprite Games. A couch co-op game, it’s all about working together to chase down various grunts and bosses across a number of colourful landscapes… until it isn’t anymore.

The game allows, or even encourages, you to betray your fellow team member when the stakes are high for a shot at victory. The only way to chase down the enemies is to tether with your friends. This causes a line to appear between the two characters and by moving about the screen you can sweep this deadly line across enemy forces. If your partner is in trouble, or to quick leap them across the screen, you can also use the tether to yank them over a large distance. There are other little environment specific moves you can pull off, like wrapping your tether around a pole to increase your area of effect.

Two teams of two can occupy the play space at once, and every time we walked past the booth, a crowd was laughing at the on-screen antics as they cut through the enemy forces. However, the ability to switch team members allows you to betray your friend when you feel the time is right. Stabbing friends in the back is the hallmark of any great couch co-op game and on this, BrambleLash delivers.

BrambleLash is due in Q1 2017 and has been announced exclusively for the Xbox One on console, while also appearing on Steam for PC. We’ll provide more information as it arrives. For those of you who own a PS4, perhaps check out Symphony of the Machine, which is coming exclusively to that console also in early 2017.

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