Articles tagged with headup games

Aug
09
Posted by Ben at 16:44
Described as a procedurally generated multi-player co-op dungeon crawler, Looterkings does look fairly unique

You and 3 friends team up as a band of goblins, attempting to reach the elven queen. The levels are procedurally generated so each attempt should be different. Your up against cartoonish fantasy monsters, and you're on the hunt for treasure and gear

Looterkings is currently in Steam Early Access, but it gets its full release in a few days, on the 11th August

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Jul
13
Posted by Mark at 16:18
A couple of days ago we mentioned that Slime-San, one of those precision platformers that are so popular amongst the indie developers, was getting a free expansion.

Blackbird's Kraken, as the expansion is called, is being release not only as low-price expandalone, but also as a free expansion to everyone who already owned the original game. The announcement also mentioned that there's a Switch port on the way, too.

It wasn't clear what the deal was with the DLC at the time, so we asked the publisher. They said this:
Slime-san's new free update (and stand-alone game for others) won't be included in the Switch version, but it will follow some day later on after we brought the game to Xbox One.
Now we know.
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Toby
The Secret Mine
Jul 05
Posted by Mark at 17:15

A situation involving monsters, it seems, when combined with small, out-of-the-way villages, only really ever go one way. Towards the former kidnapping and hiding the residents of the latter- and that's exactly what's happened in Toby: The Secret Mine.

Toby, of course, decides he's not going to stand for this, and sets off to rescue his friends- following the paths of previous would-be rescuers, he heads into the nearby forest, where he discovers many of his neighbours are a long way from home.

We're in puzzle-platformer territory here, much the same as Limbo or Braid, but with slightly fewer pretentions of telling some ground-breaking, medium-redefining story- just getting straight into the platforming and the puzzling.

The platforming is quite simple, and early on, so are many of the puzzles, mostly equating to rubbing up against something that prevents your progession, then tracking back to find the hidden crate you'd walked past and then pushing it forwards, but it's not long before that changes, with later levels not only pushing your platforming skill but also creating increasingly complex puzzles.

In fact, Toby isn't shy about changing up its gameplay as you progress- discarding one type of puzzle for another well before you get bored of it.

The decision to stick to an art style where almost everything is flat black- as if the entire scene is being lit from behind, casting the foreground into shadow- allows the backgrounds to shine. Although, it can make it difficult to see different types of terrain or other traps before you're on top of them and on occasion it can be difficult to tell the difference between a usable platform and an object in the extreme foreground, which can lead to a lot of cheap deaths.

(Tellingly, there's a trophy for dying 100 times, but none for completing the game with a minimal number of deaths)

It also means that the game can over-rely on hiding objects and routes in blacked-out areas that only become visible when you enter them, which works for the hidden Friends you rescue as you go along (Just the 26 of them, which is a pleasing number of collectables for a game of this length), but can annoy when an important area is hidden this way.

These are minor issues, though- Toby keeps its gameplay varied, and doesn't outstay its welcome.
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Jul
03
Posted by Mark at 16:27
If you enjoyed precision platformer Slime-San- which Ben did, when he did a First Play- then you can look forward to a sort-of free, sort-of expansion!

Subtitled Blackbird's Kraken, the DLC features a short campaign of 25 levels replete with the obligatory collectables, as well as a house to customise, a submarine-based variant on the main game, and of all things, a mini-FPS.

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Interestingly, Blackbird's Kraken is going to be free on release for existing owners of Slime-San, but will be available on its own for $4- although there's been no word as to what happens if you buy the main Slime-San game after this date.

Incidentally, the Switch version is "nearly done", but they also don't say if that's just the base game or the expansion too.

Blackbird's Kraken will be available on PC from July 20th.

GALLERY:
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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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