Game recommendation: Abu Simbel profanation

September 13, 2010

Today, I’m going to talk about Abu Simbel profanation, a game created by Dinamic, on the 80’s.

The game is about a brave explorer that got into the Abu Simble temple. Then, a curse tuned him into a small strange creature with two legs and a big mouth.

It’s hard to overstate the cruelty of this game. It’s not hard… it’s simply evil. All the obstacles are based on timing your steps and your two different jumps (a short and a long one).

There are different kind of dangers, and you have to think fast and have great reflexes to pass every room. Their creators were proud of its difficulty and they offered a money reward to the first one wo complete it.

Of course there was a limited number of lives and you had to restart the whole game if you lose all of them.

One day somebody told me that the creature was actually the Abu Simbel 3.0

Our gameplay is completely different, we have a different plot, different enemies… both games are completely different, but when you play abu simbel; when you see that spherical creature walking and jumping inside some cursed ruins… it’s impossible to see some similarities.

That’s why we decided to make a tribute to abu simbel inside our game! There is a secret way to find the abu simbel temple inside the cave… and you will be able to play a few levels of the original game! (but it will be a little bit easier).

The abu simbel game, or one of its unofficial remakes can be found for free download on lots of sites! Try it if you dare, but be patient because is a very difficult challenge!
You can play it online here:
Abu Simbel Profanation
Abu Simbel Profanation
Controls: Left, Right, Ctrl for jump and Ctrl + Down for short jump… Good luck!


Game recommendation: Braid

September 6, 2010

Probably the best 2D sidescrolling game ever.

When we talk about braid, we are not talking about just an incredible good and original idea. Good ideas sometimes are the worst enemy that a game designer can face.

But in this case, that good idea was perfectly developed, breaking with ordinary canons, opening new chapters on game designer’s manuals, and simply taking the videogames one step closer to become pure art instead of simple entertainment.

I’m not going to explain what braid is about… or why it has become a masterpiece. I assume that all af you have played braid before, and if is not your case… you shouldn’t read reviews: simply get on steam and buy it.

I’m writing this post in our game’s blog to talk about the things that Braid has meant to me, and how it’s reflected in the spirit in our game design.

Since Braid was released, lots of independent developers started to copy it. I don’t blame them, the truth is that copying a success use to be a success. But don’t worry: we are not going to do that.

You will not sense that you are inside an abstract hypothetically oniric world where time and space are braid together; there is not hand drawing, no impressionistic backgrounds, and you won’t be able to create copies of yourself…

The Braid inspiration only affects on game design decisions. Things that contribute to make Braid a great game, and maybe you don’t even realize when you play it.

First fact: No menu or cutscenes. There are no menus or cutscenes in Braid (except for the pause menu which is completely minimalist and necessary), there is only game. Your are playing it since the first moment it starts. And how do you play again old levels? simply, the level select itself it’s a level. We have followed this doctrine in our game, because we want you to start playing without being bored with introductions or cutscenes… you want to discover the story of the creature? you can do it using the second fact:

Second fact: Optional storytelling. How do you learn about the story in Braid? there are some books at the beginning of every “world” that tell you about Tim’s past and thoughts. You want to read them? nice. You don’t want to? simply pass through or come later. We have added also another twist to this feature. In our game, some story parts are hidden and you will have to discover them if you want to learn all the truth.

Third fact: For everyone. Maybe the most important one. Braid controls are freaking easy. Everyone can play to a game which uses just four arrows and two (sometimes three) buttons. But don’t misinterpret me: Braid is a difficult game, but it’s difficult lies in complex mental puzzles and its multiple ways to face obstacles. So everyone can play… but everyone will find it challenging. “The creature” has more skills, but you obtain them gradually (you start with just two buttons); so everyone will be able to play or game too.

As a conclusion I would like to say that we are not trying to compare with Braid. We are far from that. We are talking about inspiration, and Braid is one of the most inspiring games I’ve ever played so… thank you Braid, this is for you:

Game recommendation: Trine

August 30, 2010

Today we are going to talk about another game that also influenced us a lot: Trine.

This finnish game is about three different characters (an attractive thief, an inexperienced wizard, and a mighty fat warrior) that accidentally join their souls using an ancient artifact created for joining souls.

They will also have to fight the evil forces that are destroying the peace in our world… but actually that doesn’t seems to be the main problem. The most dangerous thing that the “heroes” will face is the environment itself: Plenty of deadly spikes, burning lava pits, or inaccessible cliffs.

You will have to combine the different skills of the three characters to pass through the obstacles. The warrior can use his shield to stop dangerous stuff, the wizard can summon boxes and platforms and the thief can throw arrows and hang around using an awesome awesome rope. You can switch between them using a button, but it will be funnier if you play with two another friends; one per character. It really offers and interesting and original gameplay.

This game completely beautyful. The ambient of the different stages is simply great. Everything is done with so much care… the light, the assets… all the environment is a piece of art. It uses 2D mechanics and controls, as you advance always from left to right of the stage, but everything is built with 3D models.

The main problem with this game is that sometimes it can become frustrating… some puzzles are simply too difficult to beat and sometimes you simply end up jumping to your own death again and again until you reach the other side of a gap.

The wizard is the most original character… is great, but very difficult to control!

Why “the creature” is similar to trine?

The creature is another kind of game. Is very different in lots of aspects, but we also use a 3D ambient with 2D mechanics. We decided to use this kind of control for two reasons… to make the game easier for novice gamers and to invest more time creating gameplay instead of creating surrounding scenarios or dealing with camera issues or facial expression (guys, remember… if you are designing a third person game; the camera will become one of your worst enemies… and the facial expression).

We have introduced also a character that uses original skills. They are not the common ones (jumping and shooting); and we also have made necessary to master them to fulfill your objectives. The awesome tongue of the creature is also suspiciously similar to the awesome rope of the thief (though it doesn’t work exactly the same way)

Finally, in our game, the environment will be your worst enemy too. Yes, our cave will be crowded with strange monsters… but sometimes a closed door, or a bunch of spikes can be worst than anything.

These are the similar features… we are trying to make similar scenarios too, but they are still not as great!

This is all, the truth is that the game basis, the mechanics and the objectives are very different, but it is impossible to compare them a little bit. Maybe because there are just a few games that look like the old platform ones nowadays…

Keep keeping an eye on us, folks! And remember…

the creature will be released,

september 2010

Game recommendation: Abe’s Odyssey

August 23, 2010

The first game that we are going to recommend is very special and is not easy to find. It’s a PSX game of 1997, but you can find it for Windows or Playstation Network.

You play as Abe, a mudokon (is a thin, green skinned alien) that works in a giant factory that produces all kind of snacks based on meat. One day he discovers that his bosses are planning to sell mudokon meat to raise their sales… and he becomes the most wanted fugitive when the bosses realize that he knows the secret. While he tries to escape, he will have to free all the mudokons he can.

This is not just an original, fresh, funny, challenging and addictive game, it also changed the videogame history forever. It’s a mix between a puzzle and a platform game, and it was one of the first that didn’t use “lives”. Every time you die, you simply respawn at the last checkpoint. This is very typical nowadays, but then it was something really strange and the game was criticized for it, saying that it was too easy because you just needed to try again and again until you passed every obstacle, without taking care about how many times you died.

But the reality is that is not an easy game. Is one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played, and is even worst if you try to save all the mudokons. They use to be in secret areas, that are very hard to find… but it’s even harder to get out of them alive.

Danger awaits everywhere and there are no hit points at all. You die every time that something hurts you, so you get a free instant kill every time you walk around without being careful.

To survive and to succes you will have to use your brain. The challenges in this game demand a combination of reflexes, and intellect… you can’t just run through danger and jump through gaps until you reach the exit.

Also is a 2D scrolling game that appeared just in the boom of the 3D games, ditinguishind it from everyone and looking for a special aspect, and a special gameplay. There is also a second part, “Abe’s exodus” which I’d also recommend. As good as the original (or even better).

We inspired into this game when we plotted our game design. Our game has also 2D scrolling gameplay, our main character is also trapped and trying to escape and there are some creatures that you will have to rescue while you advance. Also we use the mechanic of: “don’t worry if you die, you can try again in just one second and every time will be better!”; but we wanted our game a little bit easier and that’s why the creature can resist two hits before dying. You will have a second chance to survive if you make a mistake.

Also, our game requires that you use your intellect to pass through the obstacles, there won’t be a obvious way to the exit, you will have to open it somehow, using your own skills and your environment.

There are lots of things to say about this game, and about its original gameplay but I don’t pretend to make an exhaustive analysis…  Just get it, try it… and if you enjoy it, don’t forget to try our game too!

Thank you again for your interest!