2015 Showdown : Unusual games to watch
Happy New Year everyone! 2014 has been quite a year for gaming, and naturally, 2015 is looking like there’ll be some little gems around too! There’s plenty of websites out there that will list the big names they’re looking forward to in the new year, but here’s four unusual little games in production right now that have the potential to be something quite remarkable this year, lets have a look at them and start getting excited already, shall we?
How to describe The Magic Circle with what little we know about it? Its a first person exploration/puzzle game about rewriting the code of a fictional game that’s been in development for over 2 decades (by interacting with it as you explore it) without attracting the attention of the gods of the world, the developers. The game is full of glitches and bugs and you use these to ensure you fly under the radar, subverting rogue AIs and sections of the world to allow you to continue your progress. In some sections you might need to build a small army and strategically fix them out with abilities that allow them to tackle the surrounding hostile environment or entities. In others you might need to warp and mould the world to your choosing so that you can continue. All of this must be done without getting the developers attention.
Very little else is known about The Magic Circle, and even the games website keeps you guessing and doesn’t like to reveal much. It’s all very meta, and can be slightly confusing, as the games website describes the fictional game world of The Magic Circle, and not the actual game. The development team behind this game (the real one, not the in game one, keep up!) clearly want to draw you in to the game’s world and in that regard everything they have released or said has done that spectacularly well. Its release date is unknown, and its unlikely there’ll be much more info released until its nearly time, but this one is worth keeping an eye on.
You can probably guess the idea of this game from its name. Scale is all about, well, scale! In this game, you progress and solve puzzles by resizing everything in the game world, and the developers promise that nearly everything will be scaleable to some degree. You’ll scale objects using a gun which requires energy to fire and keeping that energy topped up will be one of the major puzzles of the game outside of figuring out what needs to be smaller or bigger and why. There will also be other entities that you will need to interact with, some hostile, like giant jumping spiders that attack on sight, some neutral, like giant creatures that you must get eaten by to get to an object inside their stomach.
The developers state that there will be a narrative running through the game that explains a few things about the game world and the characters in it, but the details will be mostly left down to the players imagination. The game is designed to be a surrealist adventure in a foreign and strange world that doesn’t work by the same rules as ours. A bit Alice in Wonderland-esque, if you will. In addition to the main story, for those diligent explorers or puzzle solvers there will also be plenty of secret areas with little bonuses to collect or easter eggs to find. Exploring the world through the resizing mechanic seems to be a reward in itself though!
As of my last check, Scale’s release date is also a rather vague ‘2015’, but hopefully more info will come out soon!
Miegakure is a four dimensional puzzle platformer. Let that one sink in for a moment. In the game world, you see three dimensions at a time and pressing a button allows you to change your perspective, revealing the fourth dimension. Its not easy to explain, but what this basically means is that each object in the game world, in addition to having an X, Y and Z co-ordinate, they will also have a W co-ordinate. If reading that caused you to sit back and go ‘what?’, then click the link to the website and watch the video or the animations of the game shifting dimensions, and your brain might snap clean in half.
Each level in the game will be based around performing a set of actions thanks to using the fourth dimension. Early levels will be about walking through walls or crossing gaps, and later levels will mix these objectives and add more complex goals, like making two objects intersect without breaking them or making an object appear to hover in mid air. The games creator says that everything in the game is mathematically sound, though whether that fact will stop your brain from breaking while playing is rather less certain. The good news is, Miegakure’s demos have slowly been making the rounds for a while now, and most playtesters have said that the game doesn’t feel particularly difficult to play, and that the idea flows once you get going.
Miegakure has a release date of ‘soon’, but its expected to hit sometime in 2015.
While the other ideas in the games above might be considered a little mind-breaking at the simplest of times, Mushroom 11’s gameplay mechanics are simple and instantly intuitive. You are an amorphous mass that constantly grows. You can control yourself by trimming off sections of your organism, so for instance constantly trimming the left side of the organism will cause it to move right as it grows. The game is based in a post-apocalyptic (but strikingly beautiful) world and as the game progresses you find clues as to how this world came about and how the player organism came to be.
The main focus of the game will be getting around the environment and its puzzles, but after you’ve got past the initial levels and familiarised yourself with the mechanics, the complexity will start to increase with new options for control and other environmental objects. There will also be enemies and bosses to contend with, mostly made up of other mutated nightmares that you must find a way to defeat or get past to continue.
The whole game evokes a ‘World of Goo’ feel to me, of taking a simple idea and running with it, adding little complexities along the way. That comparison can only be a good thing, and I’m hugely looking forward to the games release, which is aiming for the middle of this year.
There you have it, four games that I think are definitely worth keeping an eye on over the next months leading up to their release. I don’t really want to pick a winner, as I think all four of these are great ideas and I hope they all live up to their own high standards, but its not a showdown without one soooo…
Todays winner is…Mushroom 11!
I compared it to World of Goo. I feckin loved World of Goo. Happy 2015 all!