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Browsing Posts tagged early access

Killsquad is a twin stick shooter mixed with elements from a variety of genre’s from novarama, and while the game at it’s core remains true to the twin stick shooter experience adding levelling elements similar to moba’s unique to each mission along with the variety in both the level and enemy design as well as the variations in the way all of the heroes play make this a highly polished experience and a game that stands out above others in the genre. Offering a choice of single player or online multiplayer up to 4 player co-op action without throwing overwhelming waves of enemies at you whilst keeping it fun and challenging.

The game has been released today in early access with a roadmap ahead for future plans and expansions, but they wish to see what the community would like and build the game towards what players would like to see as well as fix those elements which don’t work for players and this is a good way of designing the game going forward to ensure the community get the experience they would like from the game. Even saying this the game as it stands seems a very polished experience and while there are a couple of bugs like breaking animations or causing enemies to lose agro if you do specific things (and really actively refuse to fight you) these bugs are expected in early access and bringing them up helps ensure they won’t be an issue going forward.

At present there are 3 main area’s in the game each with their own feel and experience all being very different, and although the enemies are varients of bigger waves of enemies coming in for melee combat and differing long range enemies as well as a few special ones unique to each area the way they do things does feel different enough, and they all look like they belong in their zones where many other games of the genre would simply throw the same enemy at you in each area rather than having the unique variants designed to fit the area.

The zones themselves offer a significant degree of variety beyond simply aesthetics with the factory area offering zones which traverse between rooms rather than simply being sidescrolling as well as incorporating mazelike stairway sections, and it is inhabited by a variety of mechanised enemies who feel like they belong in the factory zone, where the open world zones have fleshy inhabitants that look like they belong in those zones, with cave spiders inhabiting a crystalline landscape full of crevasses and bridges along with natural disasters occurring in the zone and the final zone currently in early access being a deserted wasteland with flying prawns and other wildlife.

There are a number of touches which have been given to the game which normally get neglected such as background elements making the world feel alive from flocks of birds flying by, to machinery working along in the factory area’s. This along with the level of detail put into the animations and mechanics for all of the skills which do vary greatly from each individual character to make sure that they play very differently to each other despite being two shooting and two melee classes they all feel and play very differently to each other.

Many games of this nature would often have a purely cosmetic difference between characters, but you can see the effort made to ensure the heroes play differently, starting with one of the shooting characters having a selection of skills and upgrades which revolve around marking the enemies with your primary weapon to trigger skills on them later, which plays very differently to the other projectile character who fires a ghostbusters style laser beam and fires huge plasma balls as well as providing health kits on demand for any character to use to heal. The two melee classes also play very differently due to one being very fragile with skills designed for dodging and avoiding enemies, whilst the other gains armour for hitting enemies and rewards remaining up close in the combat as well as having an option for an ultimate which provides momentarily invulnerability for the team.

Every run is different starting fresh with a basic hero and levelling up in a mobaesque fashion from a choice of options to tailor the run to what you require for that specific level based upon your team and the dangers you are facing. Providing a variety of choices for level up progression from synergies that will be unique to your hero or skills that may benefit a larger team, it’s down to you to create a build that works for you in that current moment, and as missions are fairly short levelling and progression happens quite rapidly. The choice comes to whether to explore for more enemies and more experience to make the boss easy or rush down the objective to get the rewards quicker.

A roadmap for expansions has been set out showing that new area’s are planned and being designed as well as extra playable characters, and new factions which may be new enemy types or even lead to further levels and layouts designed around them and this along with the fact that they are planning on expanding based on feedback from players as the game develops shows that they are putting a lot of effort into this game to ensure that it is a very good experience. Even as it stands with only a few worlds it’s very obvious that a lot of care and effort has been put in to ensure the game doesn’t feel stagnant and all the heroes, completion tasks and area’s all feel very unique and offer a variety to keep the gameplay fresh which all adds up to the game being a very polished experience and worth the asking price.

I look forward to seeing how the game progresses and what further developments will be coming out, and it would be really cool if they manage to have a huge roster of playable characters all feeling very unique in their styles and skills though I can understand this would be asking a lot especially as you can also change weapons and items on the characters for the missions, and perhaps further skill tree options would be fantastic to allow even greater customisation for runs though the game really doesn’t require any of this to be a very fun and playable experience worth the asking price.

Get killsquad for yourself over on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/910490/Killsquad/ Currently in early access.

Also curated over at https://store.steampowered.com/curator/6860437/

Perpetual night is a retro style puzzle platform game where the lighting offers more than simply enhancing the pretty artwork, instead the light in the game actually effects your character as you transform between human form and demon form in order to solve the puzzles, beware also of the red light which will destroy your body and force you to begin from the last checkpoint.

The alpha demo introduces a few story aspects which will obviously be further developed as the main game progresses, with robots using ghosts to run electronics and commenting on the “trapped ghost inside the meat shell” before you fall below, and the eyes in the darkness in the wall tutorialising a little along with explaining some of the story as to how you came to be in the castle seeking your missing brother.

In this early version of the game light transforms you between human and demon form, where the human can interact with levers, pull objects and essentially interact with anything that involves thought whereas the demon form is quicker, can run faster and jump higher as well as climb mossy walls which a human could not traverse but lacks the intelligence to pull a simple lever. This is where the puzzle aspects begin as transformative lights need to be manipulated to allow you to progress through the rooms and progress through the game.

There are secrets even in this early aspect of development which are an essential feature of games such as this to stand out from a simple platformer, other essential aspects do tend to be optional paths with risk and reward, and there does seem to be a collectible feature with diamonds throughout the levels, however this is an early demo and doesn’t give away too much but shows just enough to get you interested in the main game, obviously there is a rich storyline behind the game also which will be unveiled, and choices seem to be permanent as opposed to some games where you can leave and come back and everyone has amnesia you have one chance to talk to npc’s and give a good impression much like in real life.

The mechanics feel good, no slippy platforming which would be the death of a game like this, you feel in control and able to traverse the environments perfectly fine, there are times you may fall through floors with clipping issues, but this is something with moving platforms and you have to remember this is still early in development so these wouldn’t be an issue in full release, and the main mechanics are sured up and allow you to enjoy the experience.

If you are looking for a 90′s style platformer this is exactly what you are looking for and reminds me of early 2d prince of persia games, and I would expect the full release to have further puzzle aspects and more light forms and transformations, perhaps some even being secret and hard to obtain, others perhaps being necessary to open paths in a traditional metroidvania style. (I know I don’t like using that, but for lack of a better name for games where new power’s allow you to open new area’s of the game and the fact that it is now industry wide standard for the term)

If you like what you see go greenlight the game and follow the progress.

Vote for perpetual night on steam greenlight now https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=660278735

Rive is the latest game from Two tribes games usually known for puzzle oriented games, and more recently an open world sequel to toki tori in which they spent several years perfecting the code and game in order to provide an open world exploration puzzle experience where you don’t gain new powers but gain knowledge throughout your exploration on how you can interact with the world and cause things to happen around you. It was a very good and well designed game which unfortunately wasn’t recieved as well as it deserved to, partially due to a steam sale release date and getting lost amongst that, but also partially because of confused loyalty offers via a prior humble sale.

This aside the code behind toki tori 2 has been adapted, so it keeps all of the visual aspects such as multi layered elements and great exploration, but instead of being puzzle based this is a platform shooter action game, promising to be very open world but with obvious progress gates with elements you can only gain from exploration and defeating bosses for new upgrades.

Also being built on the toki tori 2 engine means that there will be the inclusion of the level editor in a very simple graphical format allowing the basic user to create thier own levels, or even full seperate adventures, and with the steam community sharing system these additional levels will also be online available for anyone to download to expand thier playtime potentially infinately beyond the main game.

No word on a price point or length of the game at present, but with such expansion possibility and such a smooth and playable game at such an early stage I believe two tribes are on to another winner with this one, hopefully it will be planned for a better release date which won’t get lost in the draft of sales and usual seasonal steam related hijinks, and get the audience it deserves.

You will have to excuse the lack of sound on the video, problems with my recording software, and also footage freezes and unsmooth frames, these aren’t issues when playing, and you can also turn down settings to lock to 30fps and create a more smooth experience, and also a good base for lower powered machines to still be able to play and enjoy the game.

I will hopefully bring you a better video closer to release when more content is available and a full review can be made on the final copy of the game, but definately looking forward to seeing progress.


I spotted blade symphony and new immediately that this game had potential to go far based purely on viewing the video alone, and after getting my hands on the game I can see that this still rings true.

What is Blade Symphony?

Blade symphony is a game made by puny human games, an independant game company who just by reading the disclaimer at the bottom of the page you can see have a sense of humour as obtaining copyright permission to publish this video involved hunting down a custard filled mouse using leg booster, which is no easy task I can inform you.  I however managed to succed and I am glad I took on such an epic quest.

The game itself is a 3d fighting game, sure there are a lot of those about but this is more about skill and execution rather than mashing the buttons to win, as gameplay rewards timing and using the right move to counter the enemy.  And the combat itself can range from 2 – 32 players in one combat arena (correct at time of print, and 16 of these can be AI bots) which could result in some hectic and frantic battles, especially if there happened to be an epic movie hero style mode where one has all the power and everyone piles into him as lesser minions attempting to take him down.

The game stands in an early access format through steam at present, which is a good thing, as currently there is a great deal of polish to the visuals, moves and the game itself.  On top of that early access gameplay means the developers would like to hear from you, anything you feel can be added to make the game better, or suggestions for new move sets, or game modes, they will listen and try to incorporate them into the finished product (provided they fit the game and aren’t just ridiculous or impossible to programme)

Another big feature of the game, apart from the ability to perform skilled close combat fighting is the fact that every aspect is fully customisable, not only with the swords, masks and clothes available in game, but with steam workshop you could create, or choose someone elses creation to have a truly unique character, perhaps fighting with a giant dripping cod whilst wearing a robotic bunny suit like donny darko’s imaginary best friend.  That would be pretty cool, oh and you can also play as a break dancing yakuza

Elements in the level appear to be destructable and interactive, although gates are clear level edges as opposed to somewhere you can bypass so it would be good if there was some way of visibly noticing this like a huge rusted lock of some form, and there are occasional boundry issues where it appears you should be able to traverse the environment but hit an invisible wall but this is early access so this is acceptable but something to polish for the finished product.

How is the Gameplay?

The gameplay is very polished even in this early access state, particle physics and water reflections do not slow down the game even with recording software running, there are a few minor issues of invisible walls and situations where you can find yourself floating in the air if you jump some places on the map, and on one level there is a circular stair case that is just a phantom, but these are minor things you expect in alpha/beta phases of a game.

The game engine itself is based on a 3 tier combat system, where you switch between balanced to either fast or heavy attacks depending on your situation and your opponent to chain together the best combo from a selection of 40+ moves, with special wall running and other abilities available this can make combat difficult to master but rewarding for those who do, and allow combat to be dictated by whoever is the most skilled not whoever picks the player who can chain button mash silly kick move that doesn’t allow you to stand up after you’ve been floored once.

This should allow for a more rewarding and more enjoyable combat experience, and although there isn’t the realism of bushido blade’s cutting of limbs to disable your opponent the gameplay is still focused around realism and allowing true mastery of the blade itself to be the primary gameplay mechanic, it is even in the title itself as achieving the syphony of your blade and your body will allow you to win.

Key Features

  • Steam early access, so the devs can incorporate features to create the best game possible
  • £11.99 Early access price 2 and 4 packs have been mentioned as something the devs would consider (which would come with discounts, and let you get your friends in for some heated battles)
  • Skilled combat, where the weapon choice and timing influences the gameplay result, not the biggest button masher
  • Purely cosmetic unlockables, all moves and weapons are available to begin with so outcomes will result on skill and not who has unlocked the best gear.
  • 5+ characters with 3 fighting stances and over 40 move combinations each.
  • Very Detailed and Varied maps

What would I like to see added?

In its current form bots aren’t present and this would be something to add, and I note that there is a training mode which will allow for people to practise thier game style against a training dummy of some form in order to master combat and timings (maybe some distopian machanoid training dummy that is static but can hit back etc would fit in with the developers humour style)  also if there were easter eggs to see in maps this would be something minor but really cool, bring it to life a little with maybe a custard filled mouse hiding in a corner that if you catch it and kill it explodes in custardy goodness?

I have been thinking before I noticed this game that I would like to see a modern version of battle arena toshinden, bushido blade or another fighting game of this style because they had some particular elements I enjoyed in a gameplay stance that aren’t around today.  So rather than just copying those games or seeing sequels I would suggest those particular features could be added into this easily.

The first feature is the side rolling as seen in battle arena toshinden, sure there is side rolling in this game but its linear to your character, I would like the circle dodge around that takes you slightly closer to the enemy and is a good way of dodging but keeps you in the combat range ready for the next flurry of attacks rather than it taking you out of combat, although both types of roll can remain as a forward side roll could initiate this while a simple side roll is the evasive version to get away, leaving the player questioning which type you are performing adding the the skill ceiling to master

The next feature that would be good in this game would be to add the ability to dash, and also the maps are so detailed and so good it would be nice to see some form of exploration between levels, for example you could escape into a different arena if you run away enough, or you can knock back the enemy through a part of the scenery to go to the next area in a fully traversable multi environment location.

The ability to lay traps would be a very ninja trope, and any additional skills of the sort, they do have the ability to wall run stated, maybe there could be area’s you could hang on the cieling or from the scenery to get the jump on your target.

One very special feature I would think would make this game jump from being a £12 game to a £30-40 premium title is if the single player story had something last sceen in ergheiz or tobal no1 which was the dungeon crawler style fighting game, with the bots and generic enemies to combat on your way down to meet the inevitible finish.  If done right this could make it an immensely brilliant title and something that stands out from the modern fighting game in every aspect.

Challenge features, if there was the ability to challenge a specific player to a duel while in free for all, maybe as a special feature when someone is particularly dominating you to earn respect points or bow out as a forfeit this would be a fitting honour based feature to go with this game, but also in the traditional sense there could be challenge maps where you have to perform specific tasks in order to proceed and earn some extra in game bucks for cosmetic unlocks (and steam achievements)

Okay so how do I get the game?

Blade symphony is available on steam early access for £11.99 at http://store.steampowered.com/app/225600/  I would advise you watch thier video as well to see much more skilled gameplay and moves that I could not perform at my current skill level, and also to see how the game progresses.

I welcome challenges from new players so I can play against some equally unskilled combatants, and we can learn together how to achieve blade syphony.