Tag Archives: demo

Black Ice – Cyberpunk FPS, Hacking, RPG begins a journey

Retro inspired games have a unique market, generally delivering 2D sprite based environments as a throwback to the early days of gaming. Black Ice goes in a different direction, instead focusing on the neon glow that haunted the 80’s with a dash of Tron inspired computer environments in a 3D world. It’s a game of hack and dash with RPG elements as players have to tackle difficult hacks to obtain crucial tech to advance and eventually take down the master system.

While it sounds potentially easy, it’s a mind boggling mess, shooting speed and ammo are based on available RAM (within the game world) cycle speed and other factors are crucial for survival. While it seems like a given to just beef up your memory and hacking  speed it’s not that easy, Black Ice provides an array of enemies including reaaally annoying spiders that slowly eat away at your soul / health. Normally I don’t care about insects of any level, suddenly I do and I can thank this game for that.

It’s not all trauma, the weapons are brilliant when you have the right stats, using a plasma cutter to mow through everything (yes everything) is magically rewarding given how swarms bite and chip away so often.

While words could go on forever about Black Ice in it’s early stages of development, I’ll leave it to the two current videos recorded to demonstrate what there is within. If you’d like to try Black Ice for yourself, head over to the website and grab the latest demo.

Preview – PAWS (Prime Alien Watch Squad)

Some days something just drops in your lap that you take a second look at, PAWS is one of those games, the cute and simple looking hex battle game allowing animals to go head to head against alien invaders with a minimalist battle system.

We’re using a demo build of where the game is at while they kick off their Kickstarter campaign. Needless to say it’s an easy game to get used to, it’s also an easy one to lose all your points on. Medals for behavior act as currency to summon extra hit points, satellite lasers and a full bombing run from aerial support, how they have the ability to do all this? I have no idea, in fact I would prefer not to know just so I can keep thinking that Squirrel is just a harmless fellow addicted to nuts.

The attack system is point and click with units holding certain class balances. Warriors / melee attackers have a wider net to reach across the board, although their damage points vary and critical strikes can fall short when you need them most. Range attackers have lower HP but they have a steady damage average. You also get the wildcard (turtle) who can hit multiple opponents as a melee but tends to ride on the low end of the HP scale.

It’s a game of balance and budgeting these cute animals, it’s easy to spam the bombing commands the lasers and juice up early in the game only to realize later the crucial moment of “oh… that’s why I had so many points to start with” as the aliens just reign hell by ganging up on your team.

Currently each map and opponent group are randomly selected while your team varies with its own challenges. Having double or triple medics seems great until you have to generate enough damage while keeping everyone alive to avoid a complete loss. It’s an interesting title that shows forethought into the generated levels and balance of the characters. While some later areas might initially feel impossible it’s just a situation where it requires players to apply themselves a little more.

PAWS is still in development and if this Beta is an indication of what to continue expecting then I’d say it’s a worthwhile Kickstarter project to check out and consider.

Preview – Project Bliss

“Follow your Bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”

Project Bliss appeared under a month ago on Kickstarter, with a  goal of $150,000 the Enlightened Games team in Chicago envisioned a large budget but as ambitious of a project to match. Bliss strives to explore a world in need of healing although, the first segments of the available demo deliver a message closer to a personal discovery and development. As a pre-alpha it’s not possible to dig into the message as much as one might want, the focus is more on the general mood of each area.

The design elements of Bliss bring in a mixed pairing of animated despair, whimsy and chaos. The journey itself begins in darkness, the avatar locked in a cold dismal hollow, surviving by a flicker with an ominous red glow at the exit, intimidation of the unknown haunting the zone. Camera placement alters each scene, from top view, side pans and rear positioning, each adding their own dramatic effect.

Stepping outside the world is so vivid and pronounced, the colors drop one easily into a Zelda-esque environment. Taking on its own form of flat shading and design, Bliss operates on another level, harnessing the power of a world free from conventional design, embracing a world that defines itself simply by potential instead of a fixed factor. The first play of Bliss was fast, I jumped through the world in a moment, when I came through to explore and feel the world I realized I missed an entire interactive section of the game. The nature of the design masks some paths available but it lives up to the inspiration that Bliss will open doors, I genuinely missed an entire floating section of islands.

The demo closes on a darker note, the Bull delivers a chaotic outlook, red paints the world, our avatar’s stature changes again, no longer embracing a free motion and instead afraid to make that next step. A roar settles through the atmosphere and we’re whisked back into the start.

Bliss offers a potential that feels fresh, the world is up to the player, the experience has an air of innocence to it, there’s no story to the avatar and that blank canvas adds to the appeal and the sense of wonder. Being lost in the inner world, facing challenges within oneself and having so little guidance to what is a proper resolution.

Enlightened Games has a large challenge on their plate, while Bliss is closing in on their goal, their pledge to find a way to publish is a strong reassurance. The world is beautiful, the mechanics are rough but it’s clear this isn’t the end-product or anything near it. With the option to pan the camera I would have an array of beautiful scenic desktop wallpapers to rotate through. Until then I’ll makeshift my collection together.