Articles tagged with headup games

Apr
10
Posted by Ben at 12:26
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is coming to the Nintendo Switch in the fairly imminent future, and Nicalis have announced that they're teaming up with Headup games for a physical release

There's no firm date as to when we'll see The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ on store shelves, but we do know that it will be in Quarter 2 and priced at around 39.99 (depressingly that's probably a straight translation to 39.99 :( )
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The Inner World

Apr 03
Posted by Mark at 15:23

Ahead of the imminent sequel- subtitled The Last Wind Monk- Headup Games have brought Studio Fizbin's The Inner World to console.

There has been a disaster in Asposia, a physics-defying world existing on the inside of a sphere, as the Wind Fountains, Asposia's sole form of ventilation, have stopped blowing, and creatures known as the Basylians have emerged from them, turning the Asposians to stone.

The remaining Asposians have all looked to Conroy- the Wind Monk in charge of one of the fountains- for guidance, which happens to be puritanical and austere. When his endearingly naive apprentice Robert manages to lose the pendant which reminds Conroy of what he cryptically claims is the happiest day of his life, he goes looking for it- meeting local criminal Laura, who helps him discover that Conroy's rule is not as benevolent as it seems.

Taking control of both Robert and Laura at different points in the story, their hand-drawn adventure sees them collecting arbitrary items and hoping that they'll be useful later, in that way that point-and-click adventures are. As they go along, they visit a range of exotic locations and meet plenty of interesting individuals.

The writing that drives the characters carries all the water it needs to, although many of them fall into the trap of being character traits waiting to be fleshed out and on occasion lines will often jar with one another- a character would say something, then immediately say something else that implies they didn't know the thing they said last. There are, however, smiles to be raised if few or no laughs.


The point-and-click game contains its entire control system in its name- you point at a thing and you click it. Historically, this was achieved with a mouse- something that isn't present on PlayStation 4. Instead, you control your character directly with the left thumbstick, cycle through hotspots with L1 and R1 until you find the one that you want, then a menu gives you the options you have for interacting.

There is an easy criticism of the genre in that eventually it boils down to systematically applying every item in your inventory to every part of the scenery or every character until the game relents and lets you progress, and The Inner World's control system serves only to formalise this process, and as such it's all too easy to allow autopilot to set in.

Revealing all the hotspots in a scene may be a necessary evil, maybe as a last resort for a player who just can't work out the solution to the puzzle, but this system takes away not only the immediacy of interacting by forcing you to cycle through all the options you don't want to get to the one you do, but also the joy of working out solutions- or finding interesting 'wrong' answers yourself- by having to go through a better answer before you get to the one you wanted.

It also makes the direct character control almost entirely redundant- some hotspots only make themselves known if you're near them, but this is implemented inconsistently and the cycle will rarely start anywhere near the hotspot you want.

Worse, the touch panel on the DualShock 4, which you'd think would be perfect for this sort of game, isn't used at all.

The Inner World is pleasing enough in that way that modern point-and-clicks can be, but the console port can be very easily skipped in favour of the PC version.

GALLERY:
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Pixel Heroes:
Byte & Magic
Feb 06
Posted by Mark at 14:35

There's every chance that this game's title alone will tell you everything you need to know. It's going to make a song and dance about its low-res art style, and it's not going to take itself that seriously.

A roguelike, you start your adventure by assembling your rag-tag bunch of adventurers as they head off on their quests to help the citizens of Pixton, a city very aware of its retro appearance, by exploring dungeons and lopping the heads off the various beasties within.

Those dungeons, as befitting the genre, are procedurally generated and unforgiving- and if your characters cark it on their way through, then unless one of them makes it to the end and can pay for a resurrection, they're gone for good.

Those expecting a dungeon-crawler in the vein of Diablo or even Etrian Oddysey will be coming away disappointed, however. Rather than being left to navigate a maze, taking down monsters and collecting loot as you go, the game simply plonks you in a room which will contain either some monsters or a chest, and once that's dealt with, you get a quick shuffle of your inventory and it's onto the next room.

For a genre where inventory management matters so much, it's surprising to see that Pixel Heroes makes such a mess of it- the inventory shares its screen with the character stats, and to equip an item involves choosing it from the inventory menu, pressing and holding 'A', moving over to the character's equipment slot and then releasing the button.

This screen, which contains two grids of items, space for a short description and a graph of the character's stats, winds up being cramped and messy to fit into a screen with the effective resolution of the 3DS' bottom screen, a canvas which has seen many, far better similar screens.

The interface isn't a lot better in the main game, with unnecessarily huge icons for your party's attacks pushing the action into the top third of the screen. Each character can equip two weapons and has two innate skills, and the two groups can be toggled between. The two teams- your team of three, usually facing off against three enemies- trade blows until one team expires.

Only one member of each team can act in each turn, and the one who acts has to rest during the next turn- this reduces battles to alternately attacking and healing, and removes much of the strategic advantages to attacking one member of the enemy team over the other.

The game has its genesis in a mobile game released about six months ago, which goes some way to explaining many of its design decisions- the huge icons being designed to be poked by fat fingers on undulating trains, and the holding of buttons being a holdover from being able to drag across the screen.

In its natural habitat of mobile, this is a nice distraction- bite-size gameplay chunks which are easily operated on autopilot, superfically reminiscent of the games people played in their youth, all mercifcully free of the trappings of microtransaction-driven free-to-play. At home it's just a bit of a waste of time- not involved enough to warrant full attention and made less enjoyable by a lazy port.
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Pixel Heroes:
Byte & Magic
Jan 26
Posted by Mark at 16:36

Coming in alongside the announcement that Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic is coming to XBox One, we did a quick livestream of failing to complete the first quest.

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Jan
12
Posted by Ben at 01:33
Toby: The Secret Mine, the eerie puzzle platformer from developer Lukas Navratil is headed to both the Xbox One and WiiU soon, with the WiiU version set to release on January 19th

Headup Games are bringing Toby: The Secret Mine to the WiiU eShop, priced at 7,99 (9.99 in dollars and Euros). The XBox One version is priced the same, but release a day later, on January 20th (that's down to when the stores update I'd imagine)
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Jan
03
Posted by Ben at 15:28
Headup have announced some Xbox One ports too, which we'll get to, but the most notable thing is a new WiiU game, with Headup bringing the PC platformer Toby: The Secret Mine to Nintendo's not long for this world WiiU console

Headup are also bringing Toby: The Secret Mine to the Xbox One at the same time. They're also porting over Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic, which I'll admit to not knowing much about, and Trulon: The Shadow Engine, which I reviewed and quite enjoyed when it came to Steam.

All 3 games are due out in January and February
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Super Treasure Arena
First Play
21-09-16
Posted by Ben at 16:02

Headup sent over a few copies of their new multi-player 2D arena shooter (if that's how you'd characterise it) Super Treasure Arena, which is still in Early Access on Steam, but we thought we'd take a look at it.

We're a little clumsy at it, certainly not showing off particularly high level play, although after a couple of matches against randoms the other night I can attest there's several levels beyond where we're at.

Super Treasure Arena seems pretty good so far, the use of enemies hides that it might otherwise feel a bit empty with only 3 or 4 humans (or bots) in the arena. Personally I could see an 8 player local co-op game being fantastic, but the online seems to work pretty well, even at this early stage (note: the game is only 4 players)

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Sep
09
2016
Posted by Ben at 02:27
Super Treasure Arena looks kind of like a shooty Bomberman. It's a multiplayer twin stock shooter, where you take on your friends, and pick up their dropped weapons, whilst also facing enemies and completing tasks. It looks pretty fun

Super Treasure Arena is out next week, and is playable online, or split screen (there's bots too for playing on your own, I'm not sure if there's an actual campaign or not).

The trailer's below, and with any look we'll have something on the game as it's released

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Sep
08
2016
Posted by Ben at 16:09
Headup Games have sent over a couple of trailers for their new Steam game Safety First! and I'm going to post both of them, because... well, just take a look at them

The premise is simple; Qwop your way across to a a broken wire, then drop your yellow repair fluid on them to fix them.

Safety First! looks like it could be a laugh, and it's pretty cheap to pick up too, currently only 1.33 on Steam (1.99 usually)

Multiple trailers below

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Meridian Squad 22
First Play
23-08-16
Posted by Ben at 02:02

We were sent a code for Meridian Squad 22 back when it was in Early Access and probably should have taken a look at it then. However, I was having a few difficulties with the game, and it didn't seem right to go in to detail on the rough edges of Meridian Squad 22 while it was still in development, especially as a lot of what it was missing was polish

Meridian Squad 22 is a good looking game, regardless of how many people made it (1 person!) it's graphically pretty impressive. There's a lot of content there, the "10 hours+" referenced on the store page is, for me at least, a gross under-selling. This all being said, I'm not feeling it. I'll need to play more to write any sort of review, but it strikes me that hat Meridian Squad 22 needs is a little more handholding. RTS genre die-hards probably don't need this, someone like me, I could do with easing in a little more, levels structured to introduce mechanics. There are a few like that, and I guess you have to give the game credit for getting to the point rather than laboured tutorial missions, but it can make the game a bit of a chore to play

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