Tag Archives: Demo

Freja and the False Prophecy – Kickstarter Spotlight

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1769906085/freja-and-the-false-prophecy-norse-platforming-gam/description

Mythology, Greek, Norse, you name it, is truly underrepresented in the video game market. Recent titles like the God of War reboot and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, have shown us very successful modern attempts at bringing the rich lore to life. Freja and the False Prophecy aims to bring a dose of Norse mythology to the metroidvania scene. The Kickstarter campaign is quite well realized with a playable demo and plenty of information to let backers know what to expect. Unfortunately, with only 15 hours remaining, the development team Unsigned Double Collective is about $2,000 shy of their $22,000 goal. From my time reviewing the campaign and demo, these devs have a high quality product on their hands that any fan of 2D side-scrolling adventure games should reach out to and support.
FrejaAndTheFalse Prophecy - OpeningScene
Boasting beautiful hand drawn graphics and well designed animations, Freja and the False Prophecy has a very striking look to both it’s backgrounds and character design. The art style is not unlike that of another quality metroidvania, Guacamelee, just grittier and much less light hearted. Complementing the design and flow of gameplay, the South African inspired soundtrack is quite impressive and doesn’t just complement, but enhances the pace of platforming and combat encounters of the game. Each track included in the demo offers great combinations of instruments and plenty of percussion. The composer Martinique du Toit is quite talented and a huge asset  to the project.
FrejaAndTheFalse Prophecy - Treetops
Freja and the False Prophecy offers players surprisingly tight platforming mechanics, with a mixture of melee combat and several useful spells. Movement and platforming feels incredibly natural and the developers should be applauded for it. I’m always appreciative of when character movement is so well polished that it isn’t even noticed during gameplay.
FrejaAndTheFalse Prophecy - ArialCombat
Combat leverages the mixture of cooldown locked magic abilities and stamina restricted melee abilities. Unfortunately melee combat just doesn’t feel impactful in the demo. Without any real sense of feedback during encounters, the combat simply isn’t as visceral or rewarding as it should be. This could easily be fixed in the final game, but it can’t be understated how important of an improvement it would be to the overall package.
FrejaAndTheFalse Prophecy - OgreFight
On the other hand, the magic system is very well realized. Three spells were obtainable in the demo and each was just as useful as the last. Shortly after the opening, Freja will receive a simple healing spell. Healing a moderate amount of health and sitting on a decently long cooldown, this spell is the only way for the player to regain health and intelligent use is mandatory for success.
FrejaAndTheFalse Prophecy - BossPart3SlowTime
The remaining two spells are more combat focused and allow for a powerful electric strike, and a powerful time manipulation spell that slows everything around Freja. It seems like many of these spells may also be powerful navigation tools. The time manipulation spell also allows the player to traverse otherwise invisible platforms during the demo. Hopefully there will be a large assortment of interesting abilities that can be outfit for various combat styles.
FrejaAndTheFalse Prophecy - BossPart1

While the demo was short, I did thoroughly enjoy my time with it, even playing through twice to take in the visuals and soundtrack again and to make certain I didn’t miss any secrets. The developers well created campaign also mentions many additional features for the full release. These include a character skill tree, a cinematics mode, and descriptions of the nine diverse worlds to be explored.

FrejaAndTheFalse Prophecy - Conversation

Slated for release on PC if initial funding goals are met, Freja and the False Prophecy is a unique take on the Metroidvania that should not be ignored.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1769906085/freja-and-the-false-prophecy-norse-platforming-gam/description

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Beyond Human – Kickstarter Spotlight

With less then 48 hours left in the Kickstarter campaign, Beyond Human is a superbly polished and insanely fun metroidvania title that needs some help from the community to hit it’s funding goal. Beyond-Human’s initial release will be available for Windows, Mac, PS4, and PS Vita. The PC release will be distributed on Steam as well as GOG.com. It’s been depressing to see quality titles like Necrocosmos not hit their funding goals recently and I’d hate to add Beyond Human to the list.

BeyondHuman-Gunplay2

With a well designed campaign and an excellent demo, its bewildering that the development team behind Beyond Human has only raised 60% of the $30,000 budget. With only 2 hours remaining in the campaign, Beyond Human could use your help.

BeyondHuman-SwordPlay2

Melding classic Metroid atmosphere and gameplay, with speedy sword fighting and a touch of character customization, Beyond human deserves to be on any gamers radar. Exploring the demo’s gloomy space station for enemies to decapitate and power-ups to horde was satisfying not only because of great level layout and a creepy sense of hostility around every corner, but also due to how seamlessly the platforming and high octane action brought the whole package together.

BeyondHuman-Keycard

By the end of the demo the main character is transformed into a complete cybernetic bad ass, able to swap between slicing, dicing, and dashing between enemies, even throwing in a hail of bullets to eliminate ranged assailants. Flashbacks of the first time I played Devil May Cry. Powerful attacks are not unlimited though and the player must manage a simple to understand energy system that allows for consecutive special moves, but must be recharged over time. Players familiar with the stamina system in Guacamelee should have a firm grasp of  the concept.

BeyondHuman-SavePoint&Upgrades

Along with health power-ups and your standard fair of other collectibles, player should be on the lookout for any new weapons or mods they can find. Only an assault rifle and plasma sword were available to test. The plasma sword won me over instantly with flashy visuals and an ever evolving move set. Currency found by putting down the occupants of the space station can be invested into learning new moves for certain weapons. Gaining the abilities to perform dash attacks, uppercuts and body splitting dropping attacks was always satisfying and stringing them together on helpless enemies, even more so.

BeyondHuman-Boss1

Mods allow for a bit of customization and extra options during each combat encounter. I only ran across two during my time with the demo, but I see a lot of possibility. Up to three can be equipped at any one time and can be used by holding down the left trigger. I didn’t get much use out of the ones available, but the shotgun blast and bullet deflector could no doubt be powerful abilities in more capable hands. These abilities are also linked to your energy meter and cannot be spammed. Careful combination of weapons and mods will be a must in the final game and if nothing else will promote varied play styles.

BeyondHuman-EquipmentScreen

My time with Beyond Human was a treat and it sounds like the development team won’t give up on the project if funding doesn’t meet expectations, but I implore anyone interested in 2D action adventure, sci-fi, and/or the Metroid franchise to take some time to support Beyond Human, spread the word, and hopefully get this title funded within the next few hours.

List of Beyond Human’s features upon initial release:

• Metroidvania Style Progression
• Environmental Storytelling
• 6 Locations to Explore
• 6 Boss Battles
• 6 Unlockable Main Weapons
• 12+ Mini-Boss Battles
• 20+ Unlockable Weapon Mods

 

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Bloodstained E3 2017 Demo Gameplay Analysis

 

Thanks to Gematsu’s Youtube channel the community has access to 12 minutes of gameplay from this year’s playable demo at E3. There’s a lot to take in, but it looks like the development team has brought back many more staple weapons and abilities that should make fans feel right at home.

Bloodstained E3 2017 Trailer - New Environment

As mentioned in my previous post on the E3 Trailer, the level on showcase for the demo is a combination of a church and clock tower. Much of the platforming is far more vertically focused than last year’s demo and is the perfect environment to empower players with a double jump.

Bloodstained E3 2017 Trailer - Church Gameplay

A handful of new skills were seen in action, including a familiar  and some old favorites. Miriam can be seen leveraging returning staples such as bones and spears from range, as well as summoning speedy canine and hopping ape companions. These abilities are by no means game-changers, but they certainly provide interesting additions to a player’s toolkit.

Bloodstained E3 2017 Trailer - Clock Tower and Familiar

The most interesting was the unveiling of the first summon-able familiar, the Dullahammer Head. A common enemy found throughout the church, the Dullahammer Head doesn’t operate too differently then your average Medusa Head, but if the player is lucky they can bring one along on their journey. Familiars have existed in the Castlevania series since Symphony of the Night, but haven’t seen much use since as they are rarely powerful enough to consider. From the gameplay we can see that this might still be the case, as Miriam’s new friend rarely attacks and dishes out fairly poor numbers.

Bloodstained E3 2017 Trailer - Underground Cave Environment

This bothered me at first, but there are a couple of things to consider. Outside of Symphony of the Night, familiars always took up the slot of a potentially more useful skill, but in Bloodstained they have their own dedicated slot. One could simply just consider them a bit of free extra damage and cosmetic flair. The developers also haven’t stated whether skills will be able to be powered up via farming or experience gain. If so, familiars may have the opportunity to evolve and become more aggressive and provide unique boons to the player. Time will tell, but they are certainly one of the features of Bloodstained that has me most curious.

Bloodstained E3 2017 Trailer - Leather Whip

All of the new weapons showcased in the E3 trailer had me excited enough, but there are several others that didn’t make the cut. Obviously the leather whip stole the show and appeared to have some of the best range, speed, and attack area of all the weapons. The remaining weapons seem to act much like you would expect. The claymore is slow, but powerful  and can attack enemies directly above Miriam. Spears provide superior range and the rapier provides quick, close range bursts of damage. The demo does a great job at balancing the weapons so that players are encouraged to try them all out as apposed to replacing previously attained armaments quickly.

Bloodstained E3 2017 Trailer - Harpy  and Summoned Dog Skill

(Confirmed weapons thus far)

  • Shortsword
  • Kung Fu Shoes
  • Leather Whip
  • Katana
  • Rapier
  • Claymore
  • Spear
  • Knife

Bloodstained E3 2017 Trailer - Bloodless Boss

The final boss, Bloodless, challenges Miriam as she rudely interrupts bath time. Bloodless has a plethora of blood based magical attack at her disposal along with the telekinetic control of two umbrellas that dance around the room.The combination of the two give the player plenty to consider while trying to get in a few hits after each casting. Of most interest is her ability to evoke a blood rain that covers half the room and deals heavy damage to the player if they are unwise enough to stick around and enjoy the drizzle. Vacating the area is one option, but the more noteworthy strategy is to take cover under an umbrella and get in a few free strikes in the process. This battle is more technically challenging on the player then the sea monster from last year’s demo and is a fitting testing ground for all that the player has learned.

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It’s safe to say that I can’t wait to get my hands on this demo and more fully explore all it has to offer, assuming the studio provides this to backers of the project after E3 has finished. A release date can’t come soon enough, but I’m willing to wait for a game that hopefully surpasses even the best that Castlevania had to offer in its prime. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter get to get updates on the status of development throughout E3 and up till release.