Editorial

Indie Highlight Reel – June 25, 2017

Android Hunter A

With E3 and AAA news dominating the web-waves, OnlySP’s Indie Highlight Reel has been away for a couple of weeks, but the round-up of games from the indie sector is back with a new crop of games. This time, the five games making the list run the gamut from historical to futuristic settings and realistic 2D combat to fast-paced 3D action.

ANDROID HUNTER A

On Kickstarter for the second time (following an abortive first attempt back in 2014), Android Hunter A is a sidescrolling action-platformer that owes an enormous debt to the classic Mega Man games.

As with Capcom’s venerated series, players take the role of an android tasked with putting down a rebel group of robots known as the Android Force, which aims to overthrow humanity. Few other details about the game’s story are available at present, though the developers at DigiPlox promise that answers about the main character, A, and the world will be revealed as the player moves through the various levels.

Progression will follow in the footsteps of the Mega Man X series, with fourteen levels to play through, each of which will contain secrets and culminate in a boss battle. Overcoming the bosses will grant A new abilities that can later be upgraded depending on the rank attained at the end of each level. With plenty of additional upgrade and customisation options, Android Hunter A aims to build on and better a classic formula.

Unfortunately, following the lacklustre reception to Mighty No. 9, Android Hunter A is a questionable proposition for even die-hard fans of the genre, though the lengthy development process suggests that the team is serious in its intention to deliver on its promises. Android Hunter A is seeking $150,000 on Kickstarter, with a little under 10% of that goal funded with 25 days remaining.

THE INITIAL

The Initial was a last-minute entry to Steam’s Greenlight program, which has since been accepted and is expected to release on July 10.

Light on story but big on gameplay, The Initial most resembles a Platinum Games project, with a focus on flashy, fast-paced action that is hopefully matched by an equal level of challenge and responsiveness. Gameplay will consist primarily of arena-based melee battles against enemies that have a similar skillset to the player’s.

As for the story, the synopsis states that players will be able to choose from a range of super-powered schoolgirls to do battle against an evil corporation endeavouring to create an ultimate weapon.

The Initial received considerable praise during its Greenlight campaign, and will release next month.

A RIP IN TIME

Another Steam Greenlight hold-over, A Rip in Time has players solving platforming-based puzzles to move through time.

Developed with Unreal Engine 4, A Rip in Time is a first-person adventure game in which players are dragged through time by the will of the antagonist. Each new time frame will present a new puzzle that needs to be overcome through a variety of parkour-based traversal mechanics, which make the title resemble Mirror’s Edge in action. However, the ascetic futuristic aesthetic of DICE’s series is replaced here by a grimy take on timeframes that range from the early 1900s to a truly bizarre future world filled with floating platforms.

Although platforming challenges will comprise the bulk of gameplay, the debut trailer provides a glimpse at other minor puzzles and impediments to progression.

A Rip in Time has been accepted to Steam Direct and is expected to release in summer 2017 on PC and Mac.

BANNERMAN

As with Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Bannerman promises to offer a realistic interpretation of medieval combat, as the player character traverses a war-torn land.

Unlike Bohemia Interactive’s ambitious RPG, however, Bannerman is a 2D sidescroller that makes use of rotoscoped animation to give life to its gritty world. Throughout the journey, players will be able to make use of a variety of fighting techniques, ranging from stabs and parries to punches and kicks, though success in battle will rely on both timing and skill. In addition, the character will gain access to a growing range of abilities throughout the quest.

Bannerman’s story is simple. Players assume the role of a soldier left for dead after falling in battle. When he wakes, he discovers that his lord’s banner has been taken and sets off in pursuit. The developers at Armitage Games promises a sinister tone, matched by the dark-hued 16-bit visuals and oddly menacing acoustic score.

Bannerman is scheduled for release on PC on August 31, 2017.

BANNERMEN

Not to be confused with Bannerman (above), Bannermen is a medieval-themed RTS that follows in the footsteps of Age of Empires, but moves the action to a “semi-fantasy medieval world,” rather than the historical settings of the aforementioned series.

Bannermen hews closely to the well-worn mechanics of the RTS genre, focusing on the three core tenets of base building, resource management, and tactical combat. Although the game adopts a fantasy setting, the visual style and unit design adheres to historical norms, with catapults, archers, and infantry all present in the current build. The setting, however, gives scope for the developers to create a vast kingdom that allows for considerable environmental diversity.

While most games use the environment merely as flavouring, however, Bannermen promises to use of the battle backgrounds in more innovative ways, through the inclusion of “dynamic level events.” These events are similar to the “levolution” bandied about in the marketing for Battlefield 4, and will see maps affected by a variety of natural factors, including avalanches, lightning strikes, and the melting of ice, all of which will require players to adapt their strategy on-the-fly.

Bannermen will have a story-based campaign, following a recently-deposed lord attempting to reclaim his former standing among the nobility.

The game is currently targeting a PC release in spring 2018.

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