Apocalyptic Virtual Mystery
HIGH Each VR tape introduces a whimsical and trippy scene to explore.
LOW The point-and-click play becomes stale after a few levels.
WTF Magnetizing a VR tape to make its environment psychedelic.
You probably haven’t played one of the most important games of the year yet.
Released quietly this past summer, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday documents the violent and tumultuous Iranian revolution of that year. It’s a game that is as much a documentary of record as it is an entertaining narrative experience. Ink Stories founder Navid Khonsari says the indie developer is trying to invent a new genre with 1979, one that combines the thoughtful research of documentary film with the interactive possibilities that video games offer. By all accounts, they have succeeded.
Based out of Colorado, Serenity Forge is an indie developer-turned-publisher. The company developers its own games but also publishers the indie games of other studios, including the recent Four Sided Fantasy, a puzzle-platformer centered around screen-wrap and locking the game camera in order to overcome environmental challenges.
Founder and CEO of Serenity Forge, Zhenghua Yang, or Z, as he prefers to be called, was onsite at IndieCade 2016 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in order to help promote the recent launch of Four Sided Fantasy.
I talked with him about Serenity Forge and the state of indie development and publishing today.
Four Sided Fantasy was developed by Seattle-based indie developer Ludo Land, a studio that consists primarily of graduates from the DigiPen Institute of Technology. In the Digital Selects tent at IndieCade 2016, held this year at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, I was able to chat with Four Sided Fantasy’s lead designer and programmer Logan Fieth. With the game already out, our conversation instead focused on Ludo Land’s origins at DigiPen and why indie developers might decide to partner with small indie-focused publishers.
HIGH Nailing a long combo and glorying in well-earned gems.
LOW Getting overwhelmed with enemies and dying incredibly quickly.
WTF Why are we going down this well anyway? The park bench was lovely.
For every player tired of climbing a dark tower or scaling an impossible peak, Downwell provides an easier alternative: jump down a hole and let gravity do the rest. Downwell combines retro aesthetics, procedural level design, and the contemporary fad of roguelike games to create a enjoyably tight (and punishing!) game that demands precision and skill.