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‘Yooka-Laylee’ and six design choices we hope Playtonic Games implements

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I backed Yooka-Laylee within hours of it being revealed by a group of former Rareware developers [now calling themselves “Playtonic Games” ]. I grew up on Rare’s 3D platformers, and the possibility of game industry veterans making a spiritual sequel to Banjo-Kazooie has me legitimately more excited than any other game coming out in 2016. 18 years later, that original title has held aged remarkably well and stands as one of the prolific studio’s crowning achievements.

Even if it weren’t being made by old masters, I’d still be excited for any new upcoming 3D platformer because it’s a genre that’s all but died out. Whatever survivors there were seem to get by on brand recognition or by adapting to new trends in gaming. That’s not a knock against those games mind you, but it just feels like no one’s been able to fill that particular void in gaming left by Rare ever since they got consumed by Microsoft.

What little has been shown of Yooka and his winged buddy looks promising, but my cynical mind also remembers the last time I was teased with the return of everyone’s favourite bear and bird duo and how that turned into a car building simulator. I’d also argue that there was more to the original game than having a world where everything had google eyes and spoke in odd murmurs. With that in mind, here are 6 design choices that I think Yooka-Laylee needs to implement to truly capture the spirit of Banjo-Kazooie.

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1. Make Each World Feel Unique

Banjo Kazooie’s level design borrows elements from Mario and Zelda titles. Like the former, there are plenty of wacky and crazy challenges, but they’re weaved together with a sense of consistency that fits the latter. These days, games with a big cohesive world tend to become sandboxes, which have only gotten bigger and more realistic with newer technology. As impressive as that is, there’s more to making a game world interesting than just having a lot of believable ground to cover. For all of the work Assassin’s Creed puts into nailing its historical settings, the environments blur together due to how repetitive they are. That makes it really difficult to develop a complete sense of geographical awareness and is sadly why “objective markers” have become so prominent recently. Banjo Kazooie had no need for those though since every corner of the map had something unique and distinct to look at. This not only made it easy to recognize where you’ve been, it made you anticipate each new thing coming around the corner. Even a level like “Click Clock Wood”, which is literally the same map repeated 4 times, managed to avoid staleness. Each version had a different aesthetic related to the 4 seasons and said season would inform how you could travel and which puzzles could be solved. Hell, the game’s locations were so memorable that the developers were even able to quiz the player on them near the end of the game. [Side note: more games should have deadly quiz shows as a lead-in to the final boss]

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2. Make Exploring the Worlds fun

Going back to the aforementioned comparison, like Mario you have a lot of moves from the onset that all effect your traversal [different jumps, ground pounding, rolling, etc.], while, like Zelda, you’re constantly learning new moves and abilities. In that specific case, though, most of the upgrades were used solely to unlock the next section. They usually don’t make the traversal itself more fun. It also doesn’t help that you only can only quickly access a handful of them without having to navigate menu screens. Granted, that’s fine for the type of genre Zelda occupies, but for a platformer, it would have completely killed its flow.

Actually; quick digression on flow because it’s sort of a hard concept to pin down… The ideal platformer is one such that movement through the level has an almost musical rhythm to it [see Rayman Legend’s music levels for a literal example]. Preserving that sense of momentum with your character is in the back of the player’s head at all times. They should always be thinking: “yeah, I did well, but could I have done it better?” Consequentially, this means that there needs to be some challenge in pulling it off to make this sensation gratifying. Going back to what I said about Assassin’s Creed, the initial thrill of clambering around rooftops dissipates when you realize how little thought or skill is required to get anywhere. Hold one or two buttons and hold the joystick forward, and the rest of the game will practically play itself. It’s also worth pointing out that simply getting from point A to point B faster isn’t a solution to maintain flow if it’s at the expense of bypassing the levels themselves [see Batman’s zip-line glide in Batman: Arkham City].

Going back to Banjo, it’s important to note that nearly every move you learn is accessible with a mere 1-2 button combination. They each had a distinct purpose that built on your previous abilities and they all transitioned into each other smoothly. That quickness of being able to react and perform a move meant the game never wasted your time. To see how this can be mishandled, let’s look at Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. Full disclaimer: I haven’t played it, I can’t comment on it accurately, and I don’t want to treat it like a great big betrayal without firsthand experience. In any case, that game’s major design decision was to replace getting new moves with getting new car parts, and having those open up the world instead. It seems similar, but the catch is that instead of a few button presses to bypass an obstacle, you potentially have to pause, go to a menu, and rebuild your car with the new components you need. Doing this every single time you get stuck strikes me as being absolutely deadly to the game’s flow, and while it could be a neat mechanic for a different game, it’s a terrible fit for a platformer.

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3. Give the Player Some Freedom in How They Want Progress

Rare’s become synonymous with the unofficial “collect-o-thon” genre, wherein you must collect an assortment of shiny trinkets to beat the game. I maintain though that it wasn’t merely the compulsion to get 100% completion that made this work, but the amount of freedom they gave the player to get there. While there are some Jiggys that need to be obtained first in order to get others, it’s otherwise left pretty open. You got dropped into these big worlds with all sorts of things to see and do at your own pace in whatever order you desire. It’s what made it feel like an adventure. For all that openness, though, they were still able to structure an appropriate difficulty curve by limiting progression based on the amount of notes and Jiggys you found. It’s a great balancing act of never making the player feel too constricted while providing enough structure such that the game can elicit specific reactions from the players. Even players who did want to uncover every secret were rewarded for their diligence with earning extra health and a bonus ending, so this freedom doesn’t simply devolve into an “everyone wins” outcome.

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4. Trust the Player to Think for Themselves

Egoraptor already pointed this out, but it’s worth repeating… It’s amazing how modern titles aim for “mature” and “grown-up” audiences, yet treat the player like a child who doesn’t know how to follow basic instructions. When the game feels the need to constantly remind you what every button does, what you should be doing at this exact moment, or flat out telling you how to progress, you lose that sense of excitement and discovery. You’re no longer playing a game; you’re following instructions. Players want to uncover new locations on their own, master techniques, and figure out the solutions to puzzles. Fortunately, Rare encouraged those elements because they trusted the player to think independently. They didn’t need objective markers or text prompts because all the information you needed came from the world and the characters’ dialogue. They also knew that they could have complex challenges as long as they were fair and not 100% essential to complete the game. Banjo-Tooie had some of the most devilishly clever interconnecting challenges I’ve seen in a game but still allowed less experienced players to keep progressing should they feel some of it was too hard.

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5. Keep the World as Seamless as Possible

Honestly, this entry is more just to address a complaint I’ve always had with the otherwise fantastic 3D Mario titles. Like Banjo, you have a game with a bunch of worlds to explore with each one having its own series of objectives to complete. Unlike Banjo, after collecting each star/shine sprite, they pull you out of that world and you have to dive back in to get more. It’s a minor gripe, but it suddenly makes the game world feel less like a big place to explore, and more like a series of disconnected levels. The goal of any game should be to fully immerse you and make you forget you’re playing a game at all and having pointless roadblocks can suck you out of the experience. To be fair, it’s one thing if the level has changed completely for each objective [this is seen more in Super Mario Galaxy], but otherwise it needlessly disrupts the flow, which, as stated, is crucial for any platformer, be it 2D or 3D

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6. Give the World, Characters, and Gameplay Compatible Personalities

A lot of people like to cite the humor, vivid colours, and the overall quirkiness as to what made Rare games special. That’s all true, but I want to stress that it wasn’t those elements individually that gave them their identity, but how they all worked off each other. There’s no shortage of games that are funny, have great art styles, or eccentric characters. What’s tricky is getting all of these elements to fit together. For all of the absurdity, self-awareness and the occasional breaking of the fourth wall found in these games, there was a consistency that made the universe seem believable. Just look at our main character. We play as a bear wearing yellow shorts whose best friend is a rude bird living in his backpack. Yet, Banjo walks upright like we do, and the dynamic he shares with Kazooie is similar to that of two roommates, or an old married couple. Because they keep some aspects grounded in reality, they manage to create something quite silly that remains relatable. This carries over to the seeming cliché plot where you must rescue your kidnapped sister from an ugly witch who’s jealous of her beauty. As overused as that trope is, I doubt that in most of those interpretations the two sides sparring were neighbours; one living in a quaint little house while the other in a giant lair shaped like her head.

That clash of the regular with the strange is ultimately what informs every other aspect of the game. The worlds all have familiar settings [Beach, Swamp, Desert, etc.] with exaggerated characters and landmarks populating them. The moves are conceptually ridiculous [like having Kazooie stretch her legs and suddenly start carrying Banjo], but they all serve a practical purpose. The dialogue can be cheeky and self-referential, but it primarily served to illustrate the dynamic between the characters to make them credible. It all culminates to a game that would happily acknowledge the absurdity of its own world but always believed in it. This particular detail was, unfortunately, something else that Nuts and Bolts didn’t appear to grasp [at least, that’s how the introduction comes off]. They happily mocked how inactive the bear and bird duo have been by wasting time playing video games and how the old game mechanic of collecting various knick-knacks was archaic and dull, and that this game in question would need to avoid it. These gags, in particular, are sour because it seems like Rare is just being mean to its fans and itself for no good reason. It goes beyond self-depreciation straight into self-shame, which ultimately makes it less fun and belittles the goodwill they earned from fans in the past. Need I remind you that that goodwill is what managed to fully fund Yooka-Laylee in less than an hour?

Daniel Philion

Ever since I could remember, people have told me I should become a writer. I had no training unfortunately, so I did the sensible thing and secluded myself in various hotel rooms with only a typewriter to keep me company. I came out of that experience with a permanent case of disheveled hair, bloodshot eyes and an overall 50% decrease in sanity, and still never managed to type a single word. I still haven't fully recovered, but I now fit in too well with everybody in my MFA class, so I have to keep the charade going...

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10 Years Later: ‘Mass Effect 2’ is An All-Time Sci-fi Classic

Mass Effect 2 didn’t just nail the formula for a successful sequel, it tied together one of the greatest science fiction tales ever.

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Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect launched in 2007 as the boldest science fiction project ever conceived for consoles. The complex mythology, history and the many alien races, each with their own political/religious beliefs offered a depth rarely seen in the medium. Only a game as ambitious as Mass Effect 2 could not only match the pedigree of such a massive project, but surpass it in every single way imaginable.

Released 3 years after the original, a full decade ago, Mass Effect 2 set the benchmark for not just sequels but for science fiction gaming as well. Few sequels are able to overcome the weaknesses of their predecessors with such perfect accuracy while also doubling down on what made them good in the first place.

The first task that fell to Bioware was to refine the combat. The original game had more of a strategic angle to it but that strategy meant the game was constantly stopping and starting, stuttering the action and ruining the flow of the game. By streamlining the combat into more of an action RPG experience (emphasis on action), Mass Effect 2 created a much better sense of tension in battle sequences. Aiming, using techniques and issuing orders also flowed more smoothly with these changes.

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Another major change was the removal of the Mako, an exploratory rover the player drove around alien planets with. While a novel idea, the Mako often lead to aimless wandering as the player sought out resources on the many planets of Mass Effect. Instead of driving to their destination, players were now warped directly to the area they would be exploring. Resource collection was overhauled as a result.

While few players will talk about the thrill of spinning a globe around and aiming a reticle in order to collect resources in Mass Effect 2, the simple speed by which this process was streamlined offered a hefty margin of improvement over the original game. Resources that might have taken a half hour to collect in the first game could now be found in 1/10 of that time. Resource collection, while a vital part of the game, was never meant to be the time sink it was in the original Mass Effect, and by speeding up this process, Mass Effect 2 allowed players to get back to the meat of the game: doing missions and exploring the galaxy.

Of course, these aren’t necessarily the most significant changes that players will recall from their time with Mass Effect 2. The story and character roster were also expanded considerably from the first game, and these are without a doubt the biggest improvements that this sequel is able to mount.

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While Mass Effect had seven playable characters, Mass Effect 2 expanded that to twelve. Not only was the amount of characters an improvement, though, the quality of the characters on offer was also much stronger this time around. A full nine new characters were introduced for players to utilize in combat, strategize with and get to know throughout the game. Among them were badass assassin Thane Krios, dangerous convict Jack, morally dubious Miranda Lawson, and hivemind robot Legion.

In fact, the cast of Mass Effect 2 is so good that it has rightfully become a benchmark for the creation of a compelling cast of characters in RPGs, and video games, in general. The sheer diversity on display in the looks, personalities and movesets allowed for the cast is awe-inspiring, and this is without even considering the trump card that Mass Effect 2 flashed throughout the experience of playing the game.

The monumental suicide mission to raid the Collectors’ base and save humanity is the impetus for the entire plot of Mass Effect 2, and the reason for which the player is recruiting the baddest mother fuckers from all over the galaxy in hopes of success. It isn’t just a suicide mission in name either, many, or even all, of the cast can die during the completion of this mission, adding a layer of suspense and finality to the final stage of Mass Effect 2 that few other games can match.

Mass Effect 2

To this end, players were encouraged to get to know their crew through loyalty missions specific to each cast member. By undertaking these optional missions and completing them in a way that would impress or endear themselves to the character in question, players were able to ascertain the unquestioned respect and loyalty of that character, ensuring they wouldn’t go rogue during the final mission.

Still, even passing these prerequisites with flying colors wasn’t a guarantee for success. Players also had to pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the characters when assigning tasks and making split second decisions. Who you would leave to recon an area, repair a piece of equipment, or lock down a path, could make the difference as to who was going to survive the mission. Further complicating things, the characters you wanted to take with you to final branches of the mission might be the very people best suited for these earlier tasks.

Getting everyone out alive is a truly Machiavellian task, requiring either a guide or multiple playthroughs in order to get it precisely right. To that end, my feeling is that it’s better to go at it honestly the first time around, dealing with the requisite losses that this experience entails. After all, it isn’t really a suicide mission without a couple of casualties right? Even with all of my preparations and foresight, I lost Tali and Legion in the final mission, but for the fate of the human race, these losses were an acceptable cost.

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Even outside the strength of this fantastic cast and the monumental undertaking of planning and executing this final mission, there were other key characters and elements introduced as well. The Illusive Man, voiced by the great Martin Sheen, emerged as a necessary evil, saving Commander Shepard from death but asking morally complex decisions to be made as the cost of doing business. The relationship with, and the choices the player makes, in regard to The Illusive Man have far reaching consequences for the remainder of the series, and as he emerged to become a primary antagonist in the final game of the trilogy, the considerations to be made were vast and insidious by their very definition.

With so many factors working in its favor, Mass Effect 2 is the rare game that is so perfectly designed that both its predecessor and sequel suffer by comparison as a result. While the improvements of ME2 make it hard to go back to the original game, the scope and ambition of an entire cast that could be alive or dead at the end of the journey also neutered the third game, causing many of the best characters in the trilogy to be excised from the final leg of the trip.

Truly, Mass Effect 2 isn’t just one of the greatest science fiction games of all time, but one of the best science fiction experiences in any medium, full stop. Like The Empire Strikes Back before it, Mass Effect 2 is the best exemplar of its universe and what makes it compelling and worthwhile in general.

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PAX South 2020 Hands On: ‘Speaking Simulator,’ ‘Iron Danger,’ and ‘Wildermyth’

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Iron Danger

PAX South brought an extremely diverse lineup of games to San Antonio, and in this next roundup, it’s time to look at another diverse assortment of titles. These include Speaking Simulator, the surrealist take on the art of speaking, Wildermyth, a beautiful new RPG based on D&D, and Iron Danger, a surprisingly player-friendly take on roleplaying.

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Speaking Simulator

When asked why he was inspired to develop Speaking Simulator, the developer promptly responded, “I don’t know!” That was exactly what I felt while playing its demo at PAX. It left me mystified, amazed that it exists, overwhelmed by its complexity, and delighted with its absurdity. Speaking Simulator follows a highly advanced android tasked with assimilating into human society in order to gain world domination – and to do that, he’ll need to learn how to speak first. Players are thus tasked with controlling every aspect of this android’s face and guiding it through increasingly difficult social situations.

Speaking is an awkward art for many people (including myself), and Speaking Simulator is just that: awkward. You can control nearly every aspect of the android’s face. You can move its tongue with the left stick and its jaw with the right, while manipulating its facial expression, eyebrows, and more with other buttons. This leads to a delicate balancing act where complete control feels just barely out of reach so that you must always be alert and able to sufficiently direct your mechanical face.

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During each conversation, you’ll have so many different moving parts to consider. You’ll have to follow prompts about where to move your tongue, how to adjust your mouth, how your face should look, and so on. The more complex the conversation, the trickier it is to speak. Scenarios during my demo included a date, a job interview, and the most normal social situation of all, speaking to a man while he’s using the toilet. And of course, if you don’t perform adequately in these conversations, then your face will start to explode – which is only natural for awkward conversations, after all.

Speaking Simulator is the definition of controlled chaos. It shows just how difficult it really is to be a human – controlling the face alone was far more than I could handle, as my frequent face explosions during my demo showed me. Playing Speaking Simulator was an equally hilarious and surreal experience, one that I can’t wait to experience in full when it releases on Switch and PC at the end of January.

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Iron Danger

Iron Danger was one of my biggest surprises at PAX South. When I arrived at the Daedalic Entertainment booth for my appointment with Iron Danger, I didn’t expect to enjoy it half as much as I did. As a western-styled, point and click RPG, Iron Danger was outside my comfort zone. Yet the game is explicitly designed for players like me, who can feel intimidated by the immense amount of strategies and decisions that the genre requires. This is thanks to its core mechanic: time reversal. Perhaps this mechanic isn’t entirely unheard of in RPGs (Fire Emblem: Three Houses comes to mind as a recent example), but the way it’s implemented in Iron Danger makes all the difference.

It begins simply enough for an RPG. Your village is under attack, and as you attempt to escape to safety, you have the misfortune of dying. But death is only the beginning: just as you fall, a mysterious being blesses you with the ability to rewind time at any moment you’d like. That means that if you ever make a wrong move during combat, then you can reverse that decision and try something else. Time is divided up into “heartbeats,” which are measured in a bar at the bottom of the screen.  If you want to go back in time, simply click on a previous heartbeat. There’s no limit on how often you can use this ability: battles become a process of trial and error, of slowly rewinding and progressing as you discover what works. If you end up walking into an enemy trap, simply click back to the heartbeat before the ambush, and try a different strategy.

Iron Danger takes the stress out of roleplaying. RPGs are all about making decisions, and typically, making the wrong decision comes at a high price. But thanks to the time-reversal mechanic, Iron Dungeon gives you the room to experiment without consequence. As the developers at the booth explained to me, the ability to undo your actions turns Iron Danger into more of a puzzle game than an RPG. It’s all about evaluating your situation, the abilities at your disposal, the locations and actions of different enemies, and so on. And if everything goes wrong, then there’s nothing to worry about.

That doesn’t mean that Iron Danger will be too easy, however. Current indications point to the opposite. After I played through the tutorial, the developers took over and showed me an advanced, extremely complex level from later in the game, filled with deadly enemies and dynamic environments to consider, with fields that can catch on fire and explosive barrels to throw at enemies. You’ll have to constantly skip forward and backward in time only to survive. This combination of player-friendly mechanics and hardcore roleplaying combat is an exciting mix, extremely appealing for someone like myself who loves RPGs but doesn’t enjoy the stress that often comes with them.

Wildermyth

Wildermyth

In addition to video games, PAX South also had a substantial portion of the exhibit hall devoted to tabletop games – including, of course, Dungeons and Dragons. But if you wanted to experience D&D-style action without leaving the video game section of the expo, then Wildermyth perfectly fit the bill.

This new RPG is a hybrid between DnD storytelling and worldbuilding with XCOM-esque combat. Like D&D, it allows players to forge their own adventures and stories. Decisions during story events can impact everything from the way the larger story plays out to the weapons your character can use in each battle. Story sequences play out randomly, with events occurring differently depending on which enemies you’ve faced, which characters are in your party, which regions you’ve explored, and so on. It’s an extremely variable story, but with such adaptable writing, each story sequence feels natural, despite its apparent randomness. Instead, it should encourage replayability, to experience every possible story beat there is.

Wildermyth

Combat plays out in a grid-based strategy style, similar to games like XCOM. Each character is decked out with unique abilities of their own, and can interact with their environment dynamically. My favorite ability to experiment with was with the mage character, who can imbue environmental objects with magical abilities, such as attacking enemies who get close or inhibiting nearby enemies with status debuffs. I loved exploiting my surroundings and constructing the best strategies during my demo, and cleverly using special abilities like these will likely be key to strategically mastering combat later in the full game.

Like so many other games at PAX, Wildermyth also boasts of a visually distinct art style. The entire game is framed as a storybook; narrative sequences play out in comic book-like illustrations, and environments and characters consist of flat paper cut-outs in 3D surroundings. Pair this with a muted color palette and a simple, hand-drawn style, and Wildermyth has a quaint, comfortable art style that really supports the fairytale feel of the whole game. Currently available on Steam Early Access, the full game is set to release later this year.

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Indie Games Spotlight – Pastels, Parenting, and Pedestrians

Check out five of the most creative and compelling upcoming indies in the second Indie Games Spotlight of 2020.

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Indie Games Spotlight

Indie Games Spotlight is Goomba Stomp’s bi-weekly column that shines a light on some of the most promising new and upcoming independent titles. Though 2020 is already scheduled to have several of the most anticipated indie releases of the last few years, this time we’re going to focus on games coming out in the immediate future. From vibrant brawlers to daughter raising simulators, you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy in the coming weeks.

Super Crush KO; Indie Games Spotlight

Be John Wick for a Day in Super Crush KO

The neon-tinged shoot ’em up Graceful Explosion Machine quickly became one of the best indies on the Switch in 2017. Almost three years later, the same crew at Vortex Pop is back again with Super Crush KO, a fast-paced brawler set in a vibrant, near-future city. Despite the change in genre, however, it’s clear that Vortex Pop haven’t lost their design sensibilities in the slightest.

Super Crush KO plops players into a pastel world full of evil robots and cat-stealing aliens. Such is the situation of protagonist Karen when she’s rudely awoken to find her fluffy, white-furred pal catnapped. Thus, she embarks on a mission to punch, kick, juggle, and shoot anyone trying to keep her from her feline friend. Just like with Graceful Explosion Machine, the goal here is to clear levels with style, rack up high scores, and climb the leaderboards to compete with players around the world. Super Crush KO is out now for Switch and PC.

LUNA: The Shadow Dust Rekindles Lost Memories

Luna: The Shadow Dust is an absolutely stunning, hand-drawn adventure that follows the quest of a young boy who must restore light and balance to an eerie, enchanted world. This lovingly crafted point-and-click puzzle game originally began as a Kickstarter and is finally seeing the light of day after four long years of development.

Beyond its frame-by-frame character animation and appealing aesthetics, LUNA also promises to offer all manner of environmental puzzles to keep players engaged. Control will be split between the boy and his mysterious companion as the two gradually forge a bond and try to uncover the boy’s lost memories. With emphasis placed on emergent storytelling and atmospheric mastery, LUNA should be well worth investigating when it releases on February 13th for PC. Don’t miss trying out the free demo either!

Georifters – An Earth-Shattering Party Game

Genuinely entertaining party games are shockingly hard to come by in a post-Wii world. Georifters looks to fill that gap by offering a multiplayer-centric platformer centered around spontaneous terrain deformation. Players will be able to push, flip, twist or turn the terrain to overcome challenges and battle competitors in hundreds of stages in single-player, co-op and four-player multiplayer modes.

Of course, multiplayer will be where most of the fun is had here. Each character boasts a unique terrain-altering ability to help them attain the coveted crystal in every match. This makes character selection a serious consideration when planning a winning strategy against friends. To drive this point home even further, there will even be dozens of unique themed skins for players to customize their favorites with. Just like the original Mario Party titles, get ready to ruin friendships the old fashioned way when Georifters launches on all platforms February 20th.

Ciel Fledge; Indie Games Spotlight

Master Parenting in Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator

To say the simulation genre is ripe with creativity would be a massive understatement. Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator takes the Football Manager approach of letting players manage and schedule nearly every aspect of their daughter’s life; classes, hobbies, time spent with friends, you name it. The week then flies by and players get to see how their decisions play out over the weeks, months and years that follow. To keep things engaging, extracurricular activities and school tests are taken via a fascinating blend of match-three puzzles and card-based gameplay.

Just like in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, it’s easy to imagine the strong bonds that’ll form after investing so much time and energy into Ciel’s growth into an adult. Better yet, Ciel Fledge is filled out by what Sudio Namaapa calls “a cast of lovable characters” for Ciel to befriend, learn from, and grow up with. Prepare to raise the daughter you always wanted when Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator releases on February 21st for Switch and PC.

The Pedestrian; Indie Games Spotlight

The Pedestrian – Forge Your Own Path

The Pedestrian puts players in the shoes of the ever-recognizable stick figure plastered on public signs the world over. From within the world of the public sign system, players will have to use nodes to rearrange and connect signs to progress through buildings and the world at large.

The Pedestrian is a 2.5D side scrolling puzzle platformer, but the real draw here is the puzzle aspect. The core platforming mechanics are on the simpler side; players can jump and interact with different moving platforms, ladders, and the occasional bouncy surface. The possibilities of where this novel concept can go will all depend on how inventive the types of signs players can navigate will be. The character is also surprisingly charming; it’s inherently fun to guide the little pedestrian man through buildings and environments he wouldn’t normally find himself in.

Whether you’re a puzzle fan or simply appreciate the aesthetics, be sure to look out for the full journey when The Pedestrian launches on PC January 29th. Get an idea of what to expect by trying out the free demo too!

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