Montreal Comiccon: Creator’s Night Indie Games
Montreal Comiccon 2016 is here. We hit the show and have lots to report. This year it’s full-on gaming from many independent studios showing their upcoming and recently released games in the indie game corner to the big players like Warner Bros with their Lego Dimensions and Playstation with their regular and Playstation VR selections. Live demos throughout the event for For Honor and Deus Ex were the big draws but there were tons of indie games debuting as well. On top of that, Red Barrel Games dropped by with an Outlast II live demo and also gave players a chance to try it out, complete with dark curtains for that total immersive feel. Our recap on that and some other indie highlights are coming soon. But enough talk. Let’s get to it.
“Creator’s Night” wrapped up Friday’s events and although it had some technical issues during set-up, there was a wide range of games that were showcased and definitely had us curious. Starting with:
DEVELOPER: Gingear Studios
Gingear Studios started the night with their mobile game Open Bar which is already available on iOS and Android. Open Bar is a puzzle game with a cocktail theme. It’s all about short puzzles, most averaging 5 minutes or under. It’s a slick little game where you place tiles with patterns into the correct slot to close the puzzle. Each has a maximum of three pieces that need to be placed on the board to complete the designs, made of colored lines. Once those lines are complete they disappear. As the game progresses, the player can shift pieces, which will then be automatically filled in with the puzzle on the bottom. The gameplay demo above shows the basics. The cocktail theme kicks in as the player solves more puzzles, unlocking other cocktail themes with increases in difficulty and changes in the color scheme. With slick animation and an upbeat soundtrack in the background, Open Bar promises a simple, quick and fun experience. We played it and a review is coming.
DEVELOPER: Urubu Studio
Feudal Feud is an online mobile strategy conquest game recently released on beta testing and can be requested through a valid Google Play account or on their website. It focuses on building alliances, conquering territories and acquiring vassals. In the presentation, Urubu Studios claims that most games put their story in the background, Feudal Feud makes it part of the gameplay. How? One of the unique points of Feudal Feud is that the map itself is permanent while its players will change because they will expire so no one player will dominate forever. However, when a player ceases to exist, they will be rewarded gems and experience as perks for their next game which will be matched with similar level players in another map. Although, the option to go back to the same map twice does exist but with a cost. You’re given a different name to start over so that perhaps the player can have their revenge for their death or betray the same person twice. Delicious fun. Another feature is that on the maps, the player can click on their enemy territories to see their perspective and then decide who their enemies are so that they can make them allies to help in taking down that enemy. Ah, the spoils of war.
DEVELOPER: Simon-Albert Boudreault
Next up was a one-man show. Simon-Albert Boudreault’s new game, Fleeing Forward is in early development with only a simple gameplay demo video without any textures and using his own voiceover. Fleeing Forward is a ultra-personal experience from Simon-Albert Boudreault’s feelings and devastation after a recent break-up. No video is currently available but the stream is available for re-watch. The link to the entire Creator’s Night is at the bottom. While the developer hasn’t figured out what genre of game he is aiming at or a clearer foundation of how to approach it, his concept is in place. He aims to have it released on PC and probably on itch.io when the project is ready. However, currently he is looking for artists to collaborate with him on this project.
sU and the Quest for Meaning
DEVELOPER: Guillaume Bouckaert
sU is also from a one-man developer. sU and the Quest for Meaning is an endless platformer where the player controls a little creature that jumps from one platform to the next. The platform they land on will start dropping so its crucial to move to the next one while others will reappear on the map. As the little creature jumps around, the platforms may have gems to collect and some with glyphs as well. These glyphs collected will solve puzzles. There is a story in place for sU however it is purely visual. It’s expecting a release in October on Steam.
DEVELOPER: Double Stallion Games
Double Stallion Games focuses on fighting games with two games already on the market: Big Action Mega Fight and Ok K.O.! Lakewood Plaza Turbo. Their upcoming game is called Speed Brawl, which is set in an dystopian 19th century London and a game they describe as Sonic the Hedgehog meets Street Fighter. Its goal is to beat up everyone on screen before the time runs out. It can be played solo with a variety of imaginative characters to choose from or as a team with up to four players to complete the mission. As the fighting continues, its main focus is to maintain the momentum, build speed and at times, utilize its environment to do complete missions. Speed Brawl is currently in pre-alpha build and has influences from their team with TV and movies backgrounds for their art style. They expect to launch on Steam early access by the end of the year and remain in that phase for six to eight months. Again, no images or video, but check out the Twitch feed at the bottom of this post.
The Bard and the Shepherd
DEVELOPER: Outcaster Studios
The Bard and the Shepherd is very early in development with yet another one man creator. Under the name Outcaster Studios, he brought a snippet of an animated piece to show a little of the story. The Bard and the Shepherd is going to be a strategic role-playing game, aiming for this to be “the spiritual successor of Final Fantasy Tactics.” The story will be full of mythology and fantasy in the story along with a slightly different combat system with a 2D retro feeling. However, Outcaster Studios is run by a man who is both an artist and writer but seeking a programmer who can help make this project happen. Check out the video above and find his contacts in the description if you are interested. Maybe a future in gaming starts here.
DEVELOPER: Artifact 5
Inspired by games such as Gone Home, Artifact 5’s Anamorphine is a surreal first-person exploration game. A walking simulator. We play as a character called Tyler who has gone through unknown traumatic events and is in denial. As we walk through his house, we collect his memories and store them in a memory mental palace. Anamorphine had their demo on the show floor, different from the trailer above. We will talk further about out impressions in an upcoming post. In the demo, the space is not huge but it takes one memory of Tyler. We walk into a memory of his cellist wife that is rather abstract, embracing a feeling of the beauty of listening to her music that also emphasizes the style of Anamorphine. In the end, Anamorphine is expected to be a heavy game touching on depression and other mental issues. However, don’t expect a narrative. Artifact 5 said this one is purely a visual and sound experience. In fact, it doesn’t even have an action button. Anamorphine is expecting an early 2017 release on all consoles and PC, most probably even VR.
Neonable presented their upcoming game Bootleg Systems which is a retro sci-fi first-person shooter and puzzle platformer set in the twenty third century in a world of cloning. The main character is Logan Blake who fits right into this neon world. A cool feature is how the soundtrack can change at certain parts as Blake gets new cassette tapes to put into ghetto blasters strewn about the levels. He can also walk around, scan anything and make as many clones as he sees fit to complete a puzzle or a mission. While the gameplay at the presentation was a very retro pink and turquoise mix, further levels will be color themed. Another fun little feature for Bootleg Systems is that at the end of the level there are stats that can be shared on social media so that bragging rights and level details can be posts on Twitter and Facebook. Bootleg Systems will have the pre-alpha demo available soon. They expect to have their game available on PC.
DEVELOPER: 4AM Games
4AM Games was the next on stage with an anecdote about the game, Peasant Knight and how they were approached to put it on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, which indeed is going to have its release on those two handheld consoles before hitting mobile. Peasant Knight is a puzzle platformer featuring a knight that has to navigate a map full of dangers to the portal that takes him to the next level in the fastest way possible. The game is simple to learn with simply the function to move forward, stop and thrust the shield. however, also proves to be hard to master as the host was given the controls and was having trouble reacting fast to the situations on screen, especially stopping in time to avoid the stream of fire bursting out of the ground. There are currently suggestions on features to add to the game including a death count meter and perhaps an endless mode. The game is still in development.
God of Arrows
DEVELOPER: Reactor Entertainment
Next studio to come to the stage is Reactor Entertainment. They had a bit of difficulty setting up in the beginning as they are the only studio presenting a VR game. Their VR game is called God of Arrows. The game is a bow and arrow shooter where the player is at the top of the tower with four different types of arrows (like fire and thunder, for example) protecting the entrance as a variety of enemies attack, from little skull-headed creatures to big gas bloated creatures. All this was shown in the live demo. It’s combat in waves and programmed to take different paths each time to make it more challenging as the waves progress. God of Arrows is scheduled to go on Steam Greenlight very soon.
Special Presentation: Holobunnies
Q-bit entered the stage with a theatrical show and a little video. However, as the game was hugely popular, we weren’t able to give it a go. But enjoy the gameplay video.
For the complete Creator’s Night presentation, watch the Twitch Feed