by Joseph Leray

Shu

Nestled somewhere in the Scottish Lowlands, presumably near Dundee, is an office for Secret Lunch, an indie studio formed by former University of Abertay students. Secret Lunch’s first project is called “Shu,” a gorgeous platformer about running, jumping, and gliding your way up a mountain, chased by cataclysmic tornadoes and flooding rivers.

The eponymous Shu is a bird-beaked little traveller hoping to escape some sort of malevolent storm. He can escape it by reaching the top of the mountain (shown in the trailer below), but landslides, lightning strikes, and the destroyed remains of a town called the Nest are getting the way.

Read More...

Tags , , , ,

by Joseph Leray

After what seems like years of complete radio silence, The Behemoth have been on a hype-blitz for “Battleblock Theater,” detailing its modes, its closed beta, its PAX East tournament, and its built-in level editor. As of yesterday, and thanks to this spiffy trailer, “Battleblock Theater” (finally) has a hard release date: the arena-based multiplayer action-platformer will be available on Xbox Live Arcade on April 3, for 1600 Microsoft points.

Normally, release dates aren’t a particularly big deal: a developer announces a new game, and it comes out a year later, give or take. If it’s a big game, you can expect it in October, November, or March. But “Battleblock Theater” has been in development for so long, it almost seems like an elaborate practical joke, like someone moved April Fool’s Day back two days this year.

Read More...

Tags , , , ,

I have a friend who was receiving a bunch of submissions for a design competition who complained that there should be a note to would-be indie devs: cut it out with the moody platformers. Indeed, the darkly-lit, grim puzzle-platformer has become the black and white student film of game development—deeply personal, occasionally emotionally impenetrable, and really more about some implied message than actual gameplay. And hey, there are some pretty fantastic puzzle platoformers out there, it just feels like for every Limbo, there some young designer's attempt to work through his parents' agonizing divorce with physics puzzles.

Thankfully, although full of the requisite dark and somewhat moody, my time with Strange Loop's Vessel isn't the buzzkill that its art style would imply. The chunk of gameplay on display here is the thing and there's a very, very solid physics-based puzzle game under the rain-drenched, cave-dwelling exterior.
Read More...

Tags , , ,

uncharted_platforming.jpgWhat is a "platformer"?

Or what isn't a "platformer"?

That's the question that came up in my interview last week with Naughty Dog's Amy Hennig, the Game Director of "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune," which is in stores tomorrow. According to her, "Uncharted" is not a platformer.

The third-person action-adventure game is similar to "Tomb Raider" and "Prince of Persia." While there's plenty of shooting/fighting sequences and some puzzle-solving, "Uncharted" is still essentially a platformer at its core: The player navigates Nathan Drake as he scales ledges and jumps to and from suspended platforms. So if it's not a platformer, what is it?

Reps from Sony and Naughty Dog (the development studio that created "Crash Bandicoot" and "Jak and Daxter") have been calling the game "traversal," so I asked Hennig to explain...

Read More...

©2014 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. MTV and all related titles and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.