UPCOMING 2D GAMES!
2D RADAR is a list of all of the promising new 2D games that are in development right now. We will continue to provide updates with new blips as they appear.
In our dire and medically dangerous love for 2D games, we tend to keep a lot of lists. Among these is a list of every in-development game that looks like it might be something our readers would enjoy. Some of these games will eventually have full overviews written for our Upcoming 2D section.
But then we thought: why keep this list to ourselves? Wouldn’t our readers like to put saddles on our brains and ride them around for a while, perusing the ethereal stables of not-yet-released 2D video games, while speaking entirely in inappropriate and incomprehensible horse metaphors? The answer to that question is ABSOLUTELY!
So here it is, unlocked for everyone to see, the 8 Bit Horse 2D RADAR:
8-Bit Boy | PC via download, Wii U via eShop, and possibly other consoles | 2013
Developer Awesome Blade Software is working on a retro throwback called 8-Bit Boy, focusing on a depressed out-of-work guy who gets sucked into an 8-bit world where he must overcome his feelings of inadequacy. The game appears to be a fairly traditional platformer, drawing inspiration from Super Mario Bros. and other such titles, with coin collection, enemies to be bopped, and even question blocks. The game takes place across 5 worlds, with pastoral green beginnings, followed by themed levels in the desert/Egyptian, ice, sci-fi, and dungeon varieties.
Aban Hawkins & the 1,001 Spikes | Wii U and 3DS via eShop | 2013
“Now, a dreadful adventure begins… again!” proclaims 8bits Fanatics, creators of The Tempura of the Dead and the original Aban Hawkins and the 1,000 Spikes. 1,001 Spikes is an enhanced remake of the original, with updated graphics and sound, some new levels, and the addition of 4P local multiplayer (which should be pretty crazy given the brutal difficulty of the single-player experience) which introduces several new characters. Players will once again raid trap-laden dungeons hunting the exit key and avoiding dozens of bloody spikes jutting up from every corner. For more details on the overall gameplay, be sure to check out our feature on the original game.
Aces Wild | Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Indie Games, PC via download | 2013
Developer Tyler Doak of Culture Riot Studio describes Aces Wild as Manic Brawling Action (exclamation point!). The player takes control of Ace, a rather enthusiastic brawler who loves kicking the crap out of ninjas with a bevvy of martial arts punchy-kickery. Action is fast-paced and puts the player up against large numbers of enemies, stringing combos together as he juggles his foes and moves from one to the next. As Ace delivers his trademark high-speed beatdowns, a “Wild” meter fills, allowing him to unleash more powerful attacks. Fight your way through high-flying ninjas, muscle-bound fighters, cybernetically-enhanced baddies, and some giant creatures, like a rocket-firing robotic beast. The game also promises local and online co-op fighting action.
Apotheon | PC via Steam | 2013
Alientrap, the developers behind Capsized are working on a new title that mixes platforming and action-RPG genres in Apotheon. In this tale, Hera has overthrown her husband Zeus and assumed the role of God of Gods. She’s none too impressed with the people of the mortal world, so she figures the place would be much better off without them. You take the role of a champion who seeks to save the world from Hera’s wrath, working your way from the depths of Hades to the doors of Mount Olympus itself. The single player experience features a large open world where the player must defeat the old gods and take their powers for himself, and online multiplayer battles are planned as well.
A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda EX | Xbox 360 via XBLA | Q3 2013
A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda was originally released on PC in 2010 by Thai development house Extend Interactive. Origo Games and publisher Aksys Games are working to deliver an expanded EX version with higher production values, remixed levels, a new playable character, and entirely new weapons, enemies, and bosses. As before, you play a robot named Ares who must save the planet from extinction. As you destroy your robotic enemies, you collect their parts to upgrade your weapons, and replenish ammo and health. With independent aim and movement, you run and jump through a number of robot-inhabited environments, transforming everything you see from metal into exploded metal. The game features 2D characters and enemies with 3D objects and backgrounds.
Axiom Verge | Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Indie Games, PC via download | Q3 2013
Axiom Verge has been a labor of love for Tom Happ since he began the project in 2010. He has been working on the game as its programmer, artist, and composer, whilst otherwise employed at Petroglyph Games. This is a Metroidvania title with obvious influences pulled from the 8- and 16-bitters of yore, with Metroid-style exploration, Turrican-style gunplay, and some decidedly Abadox-style gore. Despite the on-the-side nature of the game’s development, the final product is expected to offer 8 hours of gameplay, with a large world to explore, more than 20 upgradeable weapons, and over 60 items and powerups to be found by players who opt to probe every dark corner of the grotesque game world. And of course, no such game would be complete without some pulse-pounding battles against hideous boss creatures.
Bad Bots | PC and Mac via Steam, iOS, Android | May 17, 2013
Developer Vanni de Moral is creating a game about blasting bad robots into oblivion in Bad Bots. As the last remaining crew member on a Titan Hauler, you awaken from cryo-sleep to find that the rest of the crew has been annihilated and the huge spacecraft is falling out of orbit around Earth. You must fight your way through hordes of mechanical baddies to save yourself and the ship. Thousands of colorful robots await the delivery of hot steel as you jump and shoot your way through the 170-room ship with 8 different weapons, and face off against huge robot bosses as well. Independent aiming and shooting allows you to jump over pitfalls and dodge spinning saw blades while still delivering the hurty pain to your potential robot overlords.
BattleBlock Theater | Xbox 360 via XBLA | JUST RELEASED!!
The Behemoth was at the forefront of the 2D resurgence with their release of Alien Hominid in 2004, which they followed up with Castle Crashers. Their third game is an even weirder (apparently, yes, this is possible) 2D platformer with the trademark Behemoth art style, animation, humor, and zany multiplayer… and deadly stage performances.
Beatbuddy | PC via Steam, other platforms TBD | Q3 2013
Developer Threaks has been working away at Beatbuddy since 2009 and has already garnered some attention, winning the Best Art and Best Sound awards at the Intel Level Up Rewards, and an honorable mention in the 14th Annual IGF Awards. Beatbuddy is a music-based action adventure game starring the titular character as he navigates the world solving environmental puzzles, defeating enemies, and generating beats to accompany the music along the way. Everything in the environment creates some sort of sound, from the pulsating bass beats of the game’s bulbous flora, to the rumble of enemy projectiles, to the clap that comes from popping bubbles. In addition to the aural sensation, most of the environmental objects have some sort of gameplay purpose, such as using the heavy bass beats to send yourself flying into a wall to crush it, or popping bubbles to open a door. As you explore various environments, you’ll discover different types of sounds, which can be collected and used to access new areas. There are even ship-based areas where you move along the environment, one “beat” at a time, dodging obstacles that also move in a similar fashion.
Blood of the Werewolf | PC, Mac, and Linux via download, Wii U via eShop, PS3 via PSN, Xbox 360 via XBLA | June 2013
Scientifically Proven Entertainment hopes to deliver a challenging action platformer experience with Blood of the Werewolf, featuring a werewolf woman on the hunt to find her kidnapped child and avenge the death of her husband. Through the game’s 15 levels, you will face off against a more than 30 classic monsters, including Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Along the way, you’ll dodge fireballs and spikes, kill your way through the creatures of hell, and upgrade your weapons and wolfy powers. You’ll also encounter no small number of platforms and various shiny collectibles along the way.
Brave Earth | PC via download | 2013
Brave Earth is under development by Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, the guy behind the freeware hit I Wanna Be the Guy. Brave Earth is a Castlevania-esque action-RPG with a deliberate pace, gothic art style, and pickups that can be grabbed by breaking hanging lanterns. The player faces off against bats, wolves, spiders, armored knights, and various magical creatures. There are 3 playable characters, each with his or her own stats, story line and boss encounters, and each equipped with a primary weapon and a number of magic and secondary attacks available that can be picked up along the way, sometimes in hidden areas.
Captain Jameson | PC via download | Release Date TBD
Captain Jameson is an extension of the universe introduced in Captain Forever, a series of Flash-based arena shooters from Farbs that focused on ship construction as a means of progression. When enemy ships were destroyed, their components were left behind and could be collected by the player, adding to his ship’s abilities, such as overall firepower, and reducing the ship’s abilities as components were destroyed. Captain Jameson, on the other hand, takes place in a persistent exploration-based world over a large area. The player begins the game in a desolate area, with a series of nearby space stations that are all offline. As the player visits each station – which can be interacted with via an old-school text-based interface to ping servers and communicate – he can leave people behind to run the stations and bring them back online. Each station serves a purpose and allows the player to expand his reach into the larger game world and activate other stations. For instance, stations may provide oxygen-generation capabilities, or show a map of the surrounding area. Of course, ship construction is still a core part of the experience, and destroyed ships can be stripped of parts and added to your own.
Cast of the Seven Godsends | Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Indie Games, Windows Phone 7 | 2013
Cast of the Seven Godsends is under development by Italian developer Raven Travel Studios. The title offers itself as a throwback to 80’s fantasy action games, with obvious influences taken from Ghosts ‘n Goblins, particularly in the way your character moves and overhand-throws projectiles. Thankfully, they haven’t stuck completely with the GnG style, as your character is free to change directions in midair. The game does offer up the same dark tone with nasty demonic creatures to fight with a number of different weapons and magic spells. You can also collect “Godsends” during your adventure which can be summoned to physically transform your character and provide elemental-based enhancements to your weapons.
Castle in the Darkness | PC and iOS via download | 2013
Castle in the Darkness, from developer Matt Kap, is a retro-style action platformer inspired by classic NES titles. You hop over spike pits, stab bad guys with your sword, and collect the gold coins that spew forth from your slain foes. This game is meant for those players who enjoy chunky graphics and simple animations, combined with fast action.
Charlie Murder | Xbox 360 via XBLA | Release Date TBD
This is the next game from James Silva's Ska Studios label. You may recall Silva's previous sidescrolling action games, Dishwasher: Dead Samurai and Dishwasher: Vampire Smile on XBLA, and he's also the man behind Xbox Live Indie favorite I MAED A GAM3 W1TH ZOMBIES 1N IN IT!!1. Charlie Murder is a 4P co-op brawler which puts you in the shoes of the 4 members of a (fictional) punk band called Charlie Murder. Each of the band members has his own fighting style and specials based on their musical instruments. The band fights off hordes of zombies, ninjas, and other enemies on a quest to get their frontman's girlfriend back from a rival band.
Chasm | PC, Mac, and Linux via download | Q4 2013
Discord Games, the developers behind Xbox Live Indie Games titles Take Arms and 48 Chambers, returns with an action-RPG that mixes roguelike and Metroidvania elements. Chasm focuses on exploration through a procedurally generated cave system as you fight your way through enemies and bosses, grab loot, hunt for secrets, and hopefully return home alive. Players are able to equip weapons and spells, along with armor and passive buffs, as they fight enemies to gain experience points and level up, similar to the neo-Castlevania titles. As is typical of rogelikes, the dangers increase as you descend further into the depths of the mine, but you may return to the surface to do things like purchase weapon upgrades from the local blacksmith before heading back into the fray.
CJR | Flash | Release Date TBD
Developer 2BAM is developing an over-the-top Metal Slug-esque action game with a muscle-bound hero who uses major firepower to blast his way through alien hordes, leaving sprays of blood and entrails in his wake. Players who have enjoyed any shooting game from Contra forward will be right at home here, with running, jumping, 8-way fire, and weapon types including the ever-popular 3-way spread gun. A bit of adventuring is in place as well, with players hopping over spike pits, double jumping, and grabbing keycards to open locked doors. The difficulty level his high, as is the gore, but checkpoints are frequent and your firepower is heavy.
Cloudberry Kingdom | Wii U via eShop, Xbox 360 via XBLA, Vita via PSN, PC via Steam | Q3 2013
Pwnee Studios has been working on Cloudberry Kingdom for a long time now. This ridiculously-hard platformer has procedurally generated levels that test the limits of human endurance and sanity… but they’re all physically possible to complete.
Delver’s Drop | PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and OUYA via download, Wii U and/or 3DS via eShop | 2014
Developer Pixelscopic is creating a game that combines the dungeon-based stylings of A Link to the Past with roguelike permadeath, loot hunting, and randomized environments. Delver’s Drop features a poor fellow named Delver who must descend into “The Drop” to secure his freedom… or fail and become one of the monstrous Undelver Wights. These Undelver Wights become your enemies the next time you enter The Drop, possessing the items and skills you had at the time of your death. The game features physics-based logic puzzles, boss battles, and cooperative play, and allows the player to grow his character and upgrade character classes, which include fighters, magic users, and rogues.
Don’t Starve | PC via Steam | JUST RELEASED!!
Klei Entertainment, the studio who brought you Shank and Mark of the Ninja, is back with Don’t Starve, a game about exploration and survival. You play the part of Wilson, a man who has been exiled to the wilderness by a demon. Wilson must overcome the creatures of the forest, while using his surroundings to his advantage to fight, build, and keep from starving to death. Wilson can chop down trees, gather vegetables, collect rocks, and even pick up piles of poo for use in crafting tools and weapons to aid him in his quest during his long days and dangerous nights in the forest. Oh, and he can grow a manly beard.
Dragon’s Crown | Playstation 3 and Vita via retail and PSN | August 6, 2013
If you’re a fan of 2D games (and we’re guessing you are, since you’re here), then you’ve been keeping an eye on VanillaWare since the very first Odin Sphere trailer was released and you saw a glimpse into a world where the Sega Saturn won its console war and 3D games were dismissed as a fad. In this parallel universe, impossibly detailed and beautiful 2D action-RPG’s began spilling forth. And now we’re getting an HD 2D game from the studio, an even that could cause the universe to collapse in on itself as the gaming world as a whole seems to be launching itself headlong into the realm of 3D. The new game, Dragon’s Crown, is also an action-RPG, featuring both single-player gameplay and 4-player online co-op across an enormous fantasy world. Players may choose between a number of character classes – covering the standard fantasy classes such as fighter, wizard, and thief – and then head out on a quest to uncover the secret behind an ancient dragon that threatens it.
DuckTales Remastered | Wii U via eShop, PS3 via PSN, Xbox 360 via XBLA | Q3 2013
WayForward Technologies is bringing Capcom’s classic NES platformer back in DuckTales Remastered. Rather than a simple increase in resolution, the game offers new story elements and cutscenes, and the original voice actors from the cartoon series will be playing their parts in the new game. While the game features 2D characters and objects, a number of the platforms and other interactables are in 3D. You can look forward to pogo-hopping your way through each of the visually and aurally upgraded worlds with your trusty cane, hunting for treasure, fighting duck mummies, riding mine carts, going to the moon, and even swimming around in Scrooge’s huge tower of money.
Dusty Raging Fist | Wii U via eShop | Q4 2013
Singapore-based developer PD Design Studio is working on a couple of games that feature Dusty the rabbit: Dusty Revenge and Dusty Raging Fist. Dusty Revenge is the first game slated for release, and Dusty Raging Fist is a prequel, taking place before Dusty meets his allies. Instead, other characters will take the supporting roles, and these characters are available for player control for a bit of cooperative gameplay. Dusty Raging Fist takes its inspiration from sidescrolling beat-em-ups like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage as well as hack-and-slash games.
Dusty Revenge | PC and Mac via download, Playstation 3 and Vita via PSN | Q2 2013 (PC/Mac), 2013 (PSN)
Singapore-based developer PD Design Studio is working on a couple of games that feature Dusty the rabbit: Dusty Revenge and Dusty Raging Fist. Dusty Revenge is a 2D action game featuring a rabbit on a quest for revenge when the love of his life, Daisy, is killed. Dusty teams up with a couple of allies each with their own reasons to involve themselves in his quest: a bear named Rondel can be called in to unleash heavy artillery to kill enemies and destroy objects (well, he does have the right to bear arms…) and a dog named McCoy who uses his sniper rifle to take out bad guys from a distance. The high definition graphics, melee and gun-based combat, gigantic bosses and western motif give the game a feeling along the lines of Shank.
element4l | PC and Mac via download | Q2 2013
Developer I-Illusions is working to create a dreamlike world with element4l, a game that focuses on physics-based gameplay and shape-changing in a world driven by the 4 elements (thus the rejection of the letter “a” in the title). The player is able to shift between ice, fire, stone, and air to navigate the world and solve environmental puzzles. The result is a very non-traditional movement system that eschews typical directional controls and forces the player to consider how each of the forms is used. For instance, moving forward from a standing position requires that you transform into air to float upward, transform again into fire to propel yourself forward, and then transform into a block of ice to fall and slide along the ground. From there, you can boost along with a quick transformation into fire mode, or roll down hills by turning into a stone. You will also interact with a number of other elements in the environment, so touching lava will cause your ice block to melt, which can be used to squeeze into tight spaces, whereas touching lava as a fireball will cause you to bounce.
Environmental Station Alpha | PC via download | 2013
Environmental Station Alpha, from Arvi “Hempuli” Teikari, is a heavily Metroid-influenced title, featuring nonlinear exploration through a number of lo-fi pixelated environments. The player takes on the role of a robot who must explore Environmental Station Alpha, a station used to house natural environments and unique species as a means of preservation, but which was abandoned decades prior. A number of dangerous mechanisms and creatures await you, as well as no small number of bosses. Abilities include grappling, underwater travel, and weapon upgrades.
Escape Goat 2 | PC via download | 2013
MagicalTimeBean goes back to the goat in this sequel to 2011’s clever puzzle platformer Escape Goat, starring a purple goat who has been accused of witchcraft, and his mouse companion who has a magical teleportation hat, as they move through a number of single-screen puzzle-based environments. The graphical style is changing for the sequel, doing away with the chunky retro sprites of the original in favor of higher-definition artwork.
FEIST | PC, Mac | 2013
FEIST’s silhouette style may remind you of Limbo at first, particularly with the floaty jumps. Not too much has been revealed about the game during its years of development, but it does have a strong sense of style and atmosphere, and the visual design has already won it some recognition.
Fist Puncher | Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Indie Games | 2013
Developer Team2Bit brings back the traditional scrolling fighter with Fist Puncher, presented with chunky sprites and a style reminiscent of River City Ransom and Double Dragon. Players can select from one of several characters, each with his own sordid past, and there are hidden characters available as well. Players can go it alone or team up in 4P co-op, as they fight their way through street thugs and bosses with punches, kicks, special attacks, and various weapons.
Flightless | PC and Mac via download | Release Date TBD
Nitrome is a developer known for its detailed sprite art across a number of freeware releases, although Flightless will be a commercially-released title. Flightless is a puzzle-platformer featuring drop-in drop-out 2P co-op, where players take control of ducks who have been caught stealing and had their wings clipped… thus making the birds flightless. In order to pay restitution, you must travel through a number of dungeons and use your magical ladder to collect gems. In addition to being unable to fly, you also can’t jump, so you must use ladders to reach higher areas, but you can also send them upward to kill enemies and grab gems. Complex puzzles will see you using the ladder on moving platforms, or hitting objects to make the ladder turn at 90 degree angles. In 2P co-op, players can team up and work together, or split up and explore different parts of the environment.
The Floor is Jelly | Flash | June 2013
One-man Flash developer Ian Snyder has been creating games for many years, and his most recent game, The Floor is Jelly was an honorable mention at the 2012 Independent Games Festival Student Showcase (Ian is a student at the Kansas City Art Institute). The game is based on a very simple question, namely “What if the floor was made of jelly?” The result is a platformer with a physics system that can only be described as “moderately bonkers”. Bouncing around the environment causes it to respond in kind, jiggling wildly and sending you flying through the air while trees and houses on stilts wobble like mad. The game fulfills your childhood fantasies of filling a swimming pool full of name-brand gelatin product, or at running around a house lined entirely in bedsprings.
Foul Play | Xbox 360 via XBLA | 2013
Mediatonic Games, the developers behind Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess, promise Victorian-era antics in Foul Play, a vaudevillian brawler. The game focuses on Baron Dashforth, as he recounts the tale of his epic life, as played out in a romping stage show with numerous fight scenes. An audience sits in the foreground and various set pieces are arranged on stage to help tell the story, while defeated “enemies” eventually get up and run off the stage, keeping with the overall stage show presentation. The bemonacled and tophatted Dashforth bashes his stagemates with his cane, and success lies in entertaining the audience with big attacks, juggles, and combos. Do well, and the audience will shout various supportive Britishisms; fail and you will be booed off the stage. A rhythm-action style meter at the top of the screen shows how well you are doing.
Freedom Planet (working title) | PC via download | 2013
Galaxy Trail Games is working to bring the lighthearted character and speed-based designs of the 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games forward into the current generation. Freedom Planet offers high speed movement, running up walls and around corkscrews, and bouncing from springs, but there are some differences from the core Sonic series that set it apart. For instance, the lead character – a young purple-haired girl named Lilac – has melee abilities to deal with her enemies (and large boss creatures), and some of the standard Sonic movements such as the spin dash are restricted until an energy meter is filled, which is done by traveling at high speeds and collecting gems scattered around the environment. Planned additions are secret portals to bonus minigames and a shop system where gems can be spent to purchase upgrades and other unlockables.
Gero Blaster | 3DS via eShop, iOS | May 2013 (iOS), Release Date TBD (3DS)
You may be familiar with a developer known as Daisuke Amaya, better known as Pixel, for his 5-year labor of love, Cave Story. When the game was originally released in 2004 (as freeware, no less), it stood as a shining example of what could be accomplished by a lone developer, while heralding back to the glory days of 16-bit platforming adventures. The game was later refreshed and re-released by Nicalis on multiple platforms, bringing Pixel and his games into the mainstream. This eventually led to one of Pixel’s earlier titles, Ikachan being re-released on 3DS by Nicalis. Now, Nicalis is working with Pixel once again on an entirely new game called Gero Blaster, a game starring a gun-wielding frog named Kaeru who sets out to rescue his girlfriend. The game features Pixel’s trademark art style and music as the frog hero shoots his way through a number of cutesy creatures with a variety of weapons, while diminished hit point values rise up from their heads.
Glorkbot’s Mini Adventure | PC, Mac, and Linux via download | 2013
This pixel lover’s delight is in development by PixelJam, the studio behind Dino Run and Gamma Bros, in collaboration with comic book artist James Kochalka (Super F*ckers). In Glorkbot’s Mini Adventure, you help a tiny glorkbot explore caves and pick up treasure by hopping on platforms, grabbing ledges, rolling along curved surfaces, and dodging fire. In addition to the platforming, the game mixes in Galaga-style shooting, as the glorkbot discovers areas where enemies cross above him in patterns and move into formation while he fires away at them with his upward-facing 3-way blaster.
Grapple Buggy | Xbox 360 via XBLA or Xbox Live Indie Games | Release Date TBD
Grapple Buggy is a high-flying, grapple-swinging action adventure game with a dynamic branching story and multiple endings. It is under development by Mommy’s Best Games, which also brought you Weapon of Choice, Shoot 1UP, and Explosionade, all critically acclaimed titles on the Xbox Live Indie Games channel.
Guacamelee | Playstation 3 and Vita via PSN, PC via download | JUST RELEASED!!
In case your mind is having difficulty parsing Guacamelee into its representative parts, it’s a mashup of guacamole and melee. Canadian developer DrinkBox Studios, known for Tales from Space: About a Blob, has packed everything they know about Mexico into a single game. You play as a masked wrestler named Juan Aguacate who uses wrestling moves to take down sombrero-wearing banditos in a world that draws inspiration from Mexican culture and folklore (according to the developers). Hey, watch out for those chickens and Mayan pyramids! As he learns new moves, he can more easily dispatch enemies and open up new areas in the environment Metroidvania-style. But he also has the mysterious ability to transfer between alternate realities at will, allowing him to progress through the environment in altered versions of the same level. If you have an amigo, you can share your salsa in same screen 2P co-op as well (and no, we don’t intend for that to be as dirty as it sounds).
Gunpoint | PC via Steam | Release Date TBD
Gunpoint is a Game Maker-based game developed by Tom Francis, featuring a well-gadgeted freelance spy who must infiltrate a variety of secure facilities. The agent is equipped with some unusual clothing, including a pair of special “Projectile Trousers” that let him launch himself into the air and reach some pretty unreasonable jump heights. Fortunately, his special trench coat keeps him from dying from long falls, and his sticky gloves let him climb up walls. Earning money from missions allows you to purchase a number of oddball item that will help you on future missions, such as a belt that repels bullets, “anti-door” boots, booby traps, and a number of items that will assist you in hacking and overcoming electrical systems. Chief among his tools is an item called the Crosslink which allows the player to rewire circuits, making a previously impenetrable security door easily opened by simply flicking a nearby light switch… or waiting for a hapless security guard to do it for you. Practically any electrical device can be routed to any other, and multiple connections can be made. So, using an elevator can simultaneously shut off the floor’s security cameras while turning out the lights elsewhere in the building, which will cause a nearby guard to flip try the switch, which can be rigged to something else… There are usually several possible solutions to any given level, although the patrolling guards can make your life tough and will shoot you on site. Fortunately, you have the option of launching yourself at them to send the both of you flying out of a window (guards don’t have special high-fall trench coats), by throwing open doors Bonanza Bros.-style, by dropping down from the ceiling above them… or simply by sneaking past unnoticed.
Hammerwatch | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam| 2013
Hammerwatch, which is being created by Jochum Skoglund and Niklas Myrberg, is a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler that allows up to 4 players (via online play) to kill enemies, solve puzzles, avoid traps, and unlock secrets. The game is heavily inspired by Gauntlet, featuring action-focused gameplay with 4 different character classes, including a knight, mage, and archer, each with their own skillset, with a skill tree in place to unlock additional skills. The game takes place in 12 levels across 4 unique environments, each culminating in a boss encounter. The game will ship with a level editor.
Here Comes Launchman | PC, Mac, and Linux via download | 2013
The Layabouts proudly present the newest 2D gaming hero, Launchman, as he makes his debut in Here Comes Launchman. When a wealthy businessman purchases a planet, he is surprised to find that it is filled with numerous traps, so he hires Launchman to take care of them and to keep any treasure he finds along the way. Launchman gets his name from his primary ability, which allows him to fling himself through the air at high speeds, a skill that he uses to explore various monochromatic environments. Fortunately, he also has a high-powered air brake, which he uses to avoid sending himself headlong into walls of spikes and other bits of nastiness. In addition to flinging himself around the environment, Launchman can also move objects telekinetically, which is required to move objects, activate switches, and solve the game’s many physics-based puzzles. Despite the game’s puzzle-centric nature, the player has a great deal of freedom and speed when it comes to getting around each of the areas.
Hotline Miami 2 | PC via download, PS3 and Vita via PSN | 2013
Dennaton returns with a sequel to their brutal, disturbing, amazing 80’s murder extravaganza Hotline Miami, a game that was never meant to be a big hit. The sequel takes place a few years after the events of the first game, set in the early 90’s, and features different playable characters, although “Jacket” from the original game will make a brief appearance. Some of the musical artists that set the tone of the original game will be returning for the soundtrack, joined by a few new groups. This game is meant to end the story of Hotline Miami with no additional sequels planned.
Humans Must Answer | PC via download | 2013
Ukraine-based developer Sumom Games is made up of ex-S.T.A.L.K.E.R. developers who have come together to create a horizontal shmup called Humans Must Answer. A band of sentient space chickens pilot a ship called The Golden Eagle, and they are met with hostility when attempting to establish contact with humans, and so they decide to retaliate. Ship upgrades can be gained by collecting eggs throughout each of the explosion-filled environments. Weapons range from straightforward fast-firing variety, to shotgun style, to expanding wave formations, and you can drop stationary turrets to provide support fire.
Ibb and Obb | Playstation 3 via PSN | May 2013
Ibb and Obb is a cooperative platformer from developer Sparpweed. The game features two worlds, one on the top side of a line, and one on the bottom, and gravity is reversed on either side of the line. In the lower world, the player falls upward, and in the upper world, players fall downward. Unlike other games that use this sort of reversed gravity mechanic (such as Divergent Shift), players are often free to switch from one side of the line to the other, retaining and falling momentum as they enter the other side of the screen. Players must assist each other to make it through each of the levels, which can be done by moving from one side of the line to the other, standing on the other player’s head to reach a higher platform, or by helping the other player eliminate enemies or obstacles. The world of Ibb and Obb is full of globulous characters, stark edges, and gradient colors. The game won an award for Design Innovation in the 2008 IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games.
The Iconoclasts | PC via download | Release Date TBD
This game has a full-length overview in our Upcoming 2D section. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
The Iconoclasts is a colorful action adventure title starring a girl named Robin who is a mechanic in a world where her particular craft is considered to be illegal. As is typical of this developer, the game is set in a beautifully crafted world filled with gorgeous sprites, detailed animations, and loads of character and humor. More than just an aesthetically appealing title, the mechanics are solid as well, with precision platforming, varied gameplay, and a compelling Metroidvania structure.
Beneath the beautiful and colorful world, dark forces are at work, and it is up to Robin to set things right by upsetting the status quo and upending the power structure of the oppressors who have made such activities as excavation, mapping, and mechanics illegal. Unsponsored archaeology, cartography, or mechanical work are considered to be sins against the gods, and are punishable by death. According to the imposed law and religion of the land, holy agents of the gods are meant to control the world and ensure that it remains unaltered by earthly hands, which includes strict provisions surrounding the use of a rare fuel source known as ivory. And if that’s not enough, the moon is slowly breaking apart and pieces are falling to earth. Read more >>
In the Dark | PC, Mac, Linux via download | Release Date TBD
In the world of In the Dark, developer Escapement Studios explains why monsters hate the light. For a monster, light is a solid object, and getting caught in direct light traps them and eventually causes them to disappear. However, one monster, a cat/bunny-like creature named Bump, makes use of this quality to navigate the environments and defeat other monsters. As Bump shoves objects around, beams of light can be blocked or broken, allowing him to make progress. He can even run along beams of light as if they were solid surfaces, allowing him to reach new areas while avoiding dangers like swinging lamps and light sources that turn on and off intermittently.
Ittle Dew | PC via download| 2013
Ittle Dew is a game from Swedish developer Ludosity, known for the physics-based action-puzzler Bob Came in Pieces (PC, Mac). Ittle Dew is a throwback to overhead action-adventure games, with The Legend of Zelda series being the most obvious influence what with the colorful overworld environments, puzzle-based dungeons, crystal switches, pushing blocks, a shop system, and using torches to light sticks on fire to melt ice, set off bombs, etc. But it offers some unique gameplay, such as a wand that casts a spell that leaves a glob of jelly behind. Hit an enemy – or even yourself – with a second blast from the wand, and they will be teleported to the jelly’s location. It can be used to dispatch enemies and solve puzzles. A second wand allows you to freeze enemies and push them around like blocks, or hit them again to crumble them to pieces. Of course, there is also a sword which allows for straightforward attacks. The developers plan to release the game in multiple individual episodes.
JForce: Unstoppable | Xbox 360, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, WP7, via download | Release Date TBD
There are a lot of top-down shooters on the market these days, but not many that fall into the action-adventure category. JForce Games’ JForce: Unstoppable is packed to the brim with weapons – over 40 in all – ranging from short- and long-range melee weapons, to machine guns, bombs, glaives, lasers, rocket launchers, and all sorts of non-traditional death dealing instruments of destruction. Environmental navigation tools include a hookshot-style grappling device and a Portal-style teleportation gun. The game is presented in a cartoon style with bright-colored environments and fluid character animations, and even some humorous fully-animated cutscenes. The game is also planned to include cooperative and competitive multiplayer and a level editor.
Kung Fu Rabbit | Wii U via eShop | JUST RELEASED!! (Europe), May 2013 (US)
Neko Entertainment, known for their action-puzzler Puddle has returned with Kung Fu Rabbit, an action platformer that adds yet another bunny to the starring role in a video game. The leaping lepus must run through a number of platformy worlds to search for his disciples who have been kidnapped by the bunny-hungry Universal Evil. The game was originally released as a mobile title in 2012, but the console version will allow for more moves and tighter controls. In typical kung fu style, you will find yourself wall jumping, wall sliding, sneaking up on enemies to exploit their weak points, and tearing baddies apart as you traverse the game’s 80 levels. The collectible carrots spread throughout the environment act as currency, allowing you to purchase costumes and upgrades.
Legend of Dungeon | PC, Mac and Linux vis Steam, OUYA, Android | 2013
Developer Robot Loves Kitty (or Robot <3 Kitty) is developing Legend of Dungeon, a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler for up to 4 players. Players descend through a 26-level dungeon filled with enemies and treasure, along with roguelike permadeath and randomized content generation. Graphically, the game stands out due to its elaborate lighting and shadow effects overlaid onto 2D pixel art.
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime | PC and Mac via download | 2013
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, from developer Asteroid Base, is an odd little 2P co-op experience that places players in a pink space station facing off against an onslaught of invaders. Players run around the inside of the station, manning various control panels to operate turrets and lasers to destroy the attacking ships, using shields to defend the station, and activating thrusters to push it away from danger, frantically dashing from one control panel to the next as the situation outside the station changes.
Luftrausers | Playstation 3 and Vita via PSN; PC, Mac, and Linux via download | Q2 2013
Luftrausers is being developed by Vlambeer, best known for Super Crate Box, as well as the development of Serious Sam: The Random Encounter (part of the Serious Sam indie series, along with Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack and Serious Sam: Double D). This release is an expanded update to Vlambeer’s original Flash-based pixelly dogfighter called Luftrauser. The game steps things up a bit with customizable and upgradeable aircraft, loads of new enemies, and new gameplay modes. As with the original game, Luftrausers will feature amazing and technically impossible aerial acrobatics as you spin, dead drop, and thrust your way to victory against numerous enemy aircraft and ships. Oh, and there will be boss battles this time around. And explosions. Lots of explosions.
Luminesca | PC and Mac via download | 2013
Luminesca is an underwater exploration game from developer Matt Glanville. The player controls a small creature called Lum through various dark and shadowy environments, using light to solve puzzles and open up new pathways.
Mercenary Kings |Platforms TBD | 2013
Tribute Games, the studio behind the wonderfully pixelly Wizorb returns with another offering to the lovers of sprite art. Last time, they combined smashed the RPG and pinball genres together in a way that hadn’t been attempted since Pinball Quest. This time, the RPG meteor crashes its way into a Metal Slug-esque world of highly animated run-and-gun action. After running and shooting, players can pick up loot dropped by enemies and bring them back to base to use in a robust weapon crafting system, and then head back out into the fray with these increased armaments. The action recipe has a heapin’ helpin’ of humor as well, with silly characters, crazy death animations, and some of the weirdest bosses you’ve ever seen. Pixel art is pretty, but you seriously need to see the game in action to appreciate Paul Robertson’s beautiful animations, so we dropped the trailer in below.
Mighty Switch Force 2 | 3DS via eShop | Q2 2013
WayForward Technologies returns with a sequel to Mighty Switch Force. The original game focused on the exploits of police officer Patricia Wagon (Patty Wagon… get it?). As in the original game, our heroine can switch between two planes of existence, allowing her to pass through blocks as they move from solid to transparent and back. In Mighty Switch Force 2, instead of arresting escaped criminals, Patty is instead working as a firefighter, which introduces fire to the action-puzzle environment. And rather than arresting the Hooligan Sisters, you are instead rescuing them, as well as a number of “Ugly Secret Babies”.
Mort The Intern | PC, Mac, and Linux via download, Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Indie Games | 2013
Polymath Games brings grappling hooks back into fashion (why isn’t everyone doing this!?) with Mort The Intern. Poor Mort is an intern in Hell, and he has found himself working for a company responsible for the delivery of souls. His adventure begins when an unfortunate clerical error causes a number of souls to be diverted into Hell when they should have gone the other way, and Mort must set out to find them in this nonlinear action-adventure title. Being a grapple-focused experience, the game offers smooth grapple mechanics, as well as grapple points that offer temporary enhancements, such as wings that allow Mort to double jump, and some grapple points act as switches. Mort is no platforming slouch either, as he can move quickly, jump, wall jump, and wall slide. Much of the game’s challenge centers on environmental navigation which requires Super Meat Boy-level precision to make jumps, avoid spikes, dodge projectiles, and generally keep yourself from exploding in a pile of bones.
Muramasa Rebirth | Vita | June 25, 2013
Developer Vanillaware is bringing 2009’s Muramasa: The Demon Blade back to gamers in the form of Muramasa Rebirth, adding new story elements and 4 new characters to the original Wii-exclusive release, along with an entirely new English localization. The game is an action-RPG with detailed character and background artwork, per the Vanillaware pedigree, and filled with swordplay and magic. Players hack and slash their way through colorful worlds, defeating mighty bosses to unlock swords, and crafting new swords – with over 100 in total – each with their own stats and magic.
NEO XYX (Neo Zaikusu ネオ ザイクス) | Neo Geo MVS, Dreamcast | April (Neo Geo), June (Dreamcast)
NG Dev Team, the developer behind the Turrican-esque actioner GunLord on the Neo Geo and Dreamcast, are back to deliver buckets of pink bullets to Toaplan shmup fans. NEO XYX is a bit faster-paced than is typical of the genre, and rather than populating the landscape with lumbering bullet-sprayers, this game tests the player’s core skills and reflexes with fewer bullets but faster-moving enemies. Grabbing powerups and keeping your tiny hitbox out of danger are still the order of the day as you take down wave after wave of mechanized enemies and segmented bosses.
Nightmare Busters | SNES | 2013
Super Fighter Team is working on an upcoming Super Nintendo release… That’s right, a new release for the good old SNES. The game will ship on a SNES cart supporting both NTSC and PAL based systems. The game will also ship with a full-color box and instruction manual, so it will fit right in with the rest of your collection… You know, if you happen to have complete copies of all your SNES games. Offering an actual physical SNES game (as opposed to a download) obviously appeals to a very niche audience, but the studio is no stranger to that. In 2006, they released Beggar Prince on the Sega Genesis / Megadrive in the same fashion, and they’ve worked on other physical titles as well. Nightmare Busters was originally developed years ago, but it was set to arrive late in the SNES lifecycle and was not able to find a publisher willing to drop the game into a diminishing market. Super Fighter Team picked up the rights and now they’re unleashing some old-fashioned platforming action into the modern world. In this 1P or 2P game, you play the part of a short pointy-eared magician who tosses playing cards as his primary weapon and uses them to fight his way through a variety of ugly critters. In addition the player has a number of magic powers at his disposal which allow him to harm onscreen enemies or power up his projectiles. Old school difficulty and big boss battles are the order of the day, just like you remember from the SNES.
Owlboy | Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Indie Games, PC | 2013
This game has a full-length overview in our Upcoming 2D section. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
Owlboy is a game about a student owl named Otus who wears a cloak that allows him to fly. The world in which he lives is made up of a series of floating islands, which has recently come under attack by sky pirates. Otus has set out on a quest to stop the sky pirates and save his home village of Vellie. But in order to do this, he will need some help.
Otus is a more-than-capable platforming hero – especially given the fact that he can fly freely – but he is lacking in offensive abilities. He has a spin attack that knocks enemies back, and he can pick up items such as rocks and toss them at the baddies, but he has no projectiles of his own. To assist him in this department are a number of gunners that can be carried through the environment, and the player is able to use them to aim and fire in any direction.
At first, the player will have access to only a single gunner, a somewhat meek friend named Geddy, who has the advantage of firing at a high rate of speed. Throughout your journey, you are able to recruit new gunners, and switch between them at will, giving you a number of different offensive options. Each gunner has different projectile types and firing rates. Read more >>
PixelJunk Inc. | PC via Steam, followed by Mac and Linux | 2013
Q-Games, the studio headed by StarFoxian Dylan Cuthbert (who we interviewed recently), is working away on yet another game in their PixelJunk series, this time featuring loads and loads of robots and soup manufacturing. The game started as a side project at the studio in 2011, with a small number of developers working in the evenings and on weekends before the project was eventually picked up as a full-blown release. The game has a focus on exploration, along with a variety of vehicles that are each constructed with a specific purpose, including flying machines and those built for drilling and digging. Players can scout for resources, dig them up, and haul them back for research purposes, allowing the construction of new vehicles and upgrades to existing ones. Players must also be ready for combat as they collect and defend their goods – along with other players in co-op – and grind up various space creatures for the creation of delicious soup!
Platformines | Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Indie Games, PC via download | Release Date TBD
Magiko Gaming, the developer who brought us PLATFORMANCE: Castle Pain and PLATFORMANCE: Temple Death has a new game in development. Platformines features customizable caricatured soldiers fighting their way through fog-of-war platforming environments fraught with numerous types of obstacles and traps, as well as enemy soldiers. The player is on a hunt for treasure which will allow him to make purchases from the large-breasted merchant at his home base. Finding certain minerals hidden around the environment allows for the creation of new types of weapons, which range from handguns to shotguns to rocket launchers. The player is free to explore the environment, grab as much treasure as he can carry, and make his way back to the base. He can also place teleporters at any point on the map that has been previously explored, allowing him to bypass previously-completed areas and make quick runs for more treasure.
Rayman Legends | Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3 | September 3, 2013
After Rayman’s excellent and gorgeous return to 2D with Rayman Origins, Ubisoft brings a sequel entitled Rayman Legends, which once again emphasizes the co-op experience. The game introduces a new character named Murphy who can assist Rayman in a variety of ways as he makes his way through the environment. One player controls Murphy via the Wii U touch screen and gyroscope to do things like manipulate platforms, distract enemies, and help Rayman access new areas, while Rayman navigates the world in his typical combat platformer manner. Up to 5 players can engage in simultaneous play using a combination of the Wii U touch pad and standard Wii remotes. The new technology allows for some unique collaborations, including a series of music-based challenges where one player engages in a rhythm-style game on the touch screen which impacts the environment for player(s) on the main screen as they run through the level.
Seasons After Fall | PC, Mac, Linux | Release Date TBD
Seasons After Fall is being developed by a new France-based indie studio called Swing Swing Submarine, founded by ex-Ubisoft employees. In addition to the various computer formats, the game is also planned for as-yet-undetermined consoles via download. The game features a wild fox that is traveling across the landscape, exploring, platforming, and interacting with other animals. The key to progressing is the player’s ability to change between any of the 4 seasons at will, and doing so may have dramatic effects on the environment. For instance, if your path is blocked by water, you may change the season to winter, causing it to freeze and allowing you to pass. If you cannot reach a high ledge, you may plant a seedling, which will sprout into a full-sized tree before your eyes as you change to the proper season, allowing you to climb up.
Secrets of Grindea | PC via download | 2013
Over the years, many budding developers have sought to capture the essence of the original The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, mimicking their structure and mechanics, while sometimes lifting creatures, weapons, and puzzle solutions directly from the originals. Others have created new works simply inspired by the game, but with completely different gameplay, such as Konjak’s Legend of Princess. Secrets of Grindea definitely falls into the former category, but rarely has a game borrowed so heavily from The Legend of Zelda formula with so much style. The structure should be familiar to Zelda fans, as the lead character walks through town, chatting it up with NPC’s, hacking hedgerows with a sword, and even scaring off the local chickens. But where Grindea makes its departure from the legacy is in its gameplay focus and character customization. The goal of the hero (or heroine, if you choose) is to become the world’s greatest Collector as he sets off on a quest to collect as many rare and valuable items as he can. There’s also a robust character creation and skill system that allows you to level up and apply points to a number of different attributes, allowing the player to craft a character to his liking. And, the entire game can be played in single player or with up to 4 players in co-op mode. The artwork is notable as well, featuring detailed spritework and animations, and even showing equipment changes on the main character.
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse | 3DS via eShop | 2013
The Shantae series has continues its handheld life with Shantae and the Pirate's Curse on 3DS, a direct sequel to Shantae: Risky's Revenge on DSiWare, which was originally planned as a 3-part episodic release. This game picks up immediately after the events of the last where SPOILER ALERT Shantae was stripped of her genie powers. Shantae’s old arch nemesis, Risky Boots, split her powers into 30 parts and bonded them with her minions… only to be summarily overthrown as her minions go off to resurrect Risky’s old mentor, the Pirate Master, who is even more evil than she is. As such, Shantae and Risky must team up to defeat the 30 minions and keep them from resurrecting the Pirate Master. Unlockable abilities allow Shantae and her partner to reach new areas without her genie powers, using grappling hooks and several dual-purpose weapons in a nonlinear Metroidvania-style adventure (there’s even a minimap). In typical WayForward style, there are gorgeous sprites aplenty, and the game world is larger and more detailed than that of any of the previous Shantae releases.
Shovel Knight | PC, Mac and Linux via Steam, Wii U and 3DS via eShop | September 2013
Yacht Club Games is a studio made up of a number of developers formerly under the employ of WayForward Technologies, with team members having worked on such titles as A Boy and His Blob and Contra 4. Shovel Knight is inspired by classic NES-era video action platformers – and Zelda 2’s swordplay in particular – with chunky graphics, a low color count, and simple catchy music. The player controls the Shovel Knight, so named because of his ShovelBlade weapon that allows him to attack enemies, fling objects, and dig through dirt to open passages and discover treasure. Another key move is a downward thrust where the knight leaps into the air and aims the shovel downward, allowing him to dig downward through dirt, get the drop on enemies, and even bounce on certain enemies and objects to send himself flying into the air, DuckTales-style. The player travels through a number of themed worlds, facing off against 8 evil knights as boss battles, and eventually fighting The Enchantress who rules them all.
Soundodger | PC and Mac via download, Browser | Q3 2013
Studio Bean invites players to “dodge the music” with their latest title, Soundodger. Each level is comprised of one song, and the action in the level is choreographed to follow the music, creating patterns and shapes that become projectiles that you must dodge. You play as a white circle in the center of a circular arena, which spins and sends projectiles inward on your position while you move about within a confined area. The game will feature a number of unique music tracks created by more than a dozen artists.
South Park: The Stick of Truth | Playstation 3 via PSN, Xbox 360 via XBLA, PC via download | Q2 2013
There’s a new kid in South Park, namely you. In Obsidian Entertainment’s South Park: The Stick of Truth, you take the role of the new kid – whom you can name and customize in the standard South Park art style – as you embark on a quest to save South Park in an RPG. Things start out small, as you meet up with the kids in Cartman’s backyard in a scaled-down 4th grade fantasy world that is taking place largely in the kids’ imaginations. But after a while, you’ll find yourself going up against vampire kids, hippies, and other ne’er-do-wells that are out to vex the children. The game is absolutely steeped in South Park-dom, with the script being written and voiced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, featuring the major characters and locations from the show.
Splot | Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS via download | 2013
Frozenbyte, the developer behind the Trine series, is working on a 2D platformer with physics-based puzzles. You play the part of a one-eyed blue creature named Splot who must travel through a number of environments collecting stars that have fallen out of the sky so that you may return them to their home. Players will run and jump, avoid spikes, and perform wall jumps and wall slides as they move through each of the themed worlds, as well as solving mouse-driven environmental puzzles such as repositioning blocks and activating switches.
Starbound | PC, Mac, and Linux via download | 2013
Developer Chucklefish is working on a Terraria-style action adventure game called Starbound, which focuses on exploration and crafting in an open world… or more specifically, an open universe. The player starts out in a gigantic space station after his ship is shot down by an unknown foe. During your journey, you find materials that will allow you to repair the station, upgrade it, and eventually set out to explore the universe. A procedurally generated universe allows for the exploration of a wide variety of planets, each with their own flora and fauna, terrain, materials, and weather systems. You can even lay claim to an entire planet of your own (you know, just a little place to call home) that you can modify and populate to your needs.
Stealer | Windows via download| Release Date TBD
Stealer, also known by its internetty name 5734L3R, is under development by a group of guys in Russia (whose programmer left the team in March of 2013, so the project could be in limbo for a while). Stealer has a strong art style, focusing on detailed robotic creations and atmospheric blue-grey cityscapes bulging with wires and other equipment. The game is an exploration-based action-platformer in a world made up of only robots.
SteamWorld Dig | 3DS via eShop | Q3 2013
Developer Image & Form is a Swedish development house that focuses on handheld and mobile gaming. SteamWorld Dig is another in the ever-popular mining genre of action-platformers, featuring a mining robot named Rusty who must dig for treasure to help save a mining town, while dealing with the creatures that live beneath the surface. Despite its Old West appearance, the game actually takes place far in the future, and part of your exploration will uncover the remnants of humanity, which is now made up of pale underdwellers with a love for alcohol and dynamite (OK, so maybe it’s not that far into the future).
Sturmwind | Dreamcast | JUST RELEASED!!
The Dreamcast continues to live on, primarily as a platform for homebrew shmups, as its open architecture allows anyone with a bit of programming knowhow to create a bootable Dreamcast disc. Developer Duranik has been working on Sturmwind for a couple of years but now has a slated release date with publisher redspotgames. Sturmwind is a traditional horizontal shmup featuring highly detailed 2D artwork with some 3D background elements and enemies. The game features 16 levels, more than 20 huge bosses, dozens of unique enemies, and a number of selectable weapon loadouts. Score junkies can also look forward to time attack modes, multiple difficulty levels, and a place to post your high scores online.
Super Comboman | PC via download, and planned for PSN and XBLA | Release Date TBD
Interabang Entertainment certainly isn’t shy about tossing a bunch of different ideas into the mix with their Super Comboman title. The game features white-outlined sticker people in platformer-based environments with brawler-based combat. The game stars a young mulletted islander by the name of Struggles who is obsessed with his favorite comic book character, Super Comboman. As you might expect from the title, combat is heavily focused on stringing together combos to cause more damage, and you can unlock new combos as you progress by finding packs of stickers. You’ll also do a bit of puzzle solving and perform some wreckage of numerous destructible environments along the way.
Super Cyborg | PC via download | Release Date TBD
Contra fans should pay attention to the latest from Russian Studio Artur Games. Super Cyborg takes the runny and gunny from Contra and tosses in the robotic characters from Probotector (the European version of Contra on the NES). Everything from the spritework to sound effects to weapons is a throwback to the NES versions of Contra and Super C. You’ll find the traditional machine gun, fireball weapon, laser, and the world-famous spread gun, unleashed by shooting floating pods that move across the screen in a wave formation. Somersault and 8-way shoot your way through hordes of alien critters and huge disgusting end-level bosses… just be careful of those one-hit kills.
Super Time Force | Xbox 360 via XBLA | 2013
Super Time Force, previously known as Super T.I.M.E. Force, is the latest from Capy Games, the developers behind the intriguing adventure title Sword and Sworcery. In STF, the player takes control of “an elite squad of time-travelling badasses” as Capy states, known as Temporal Inevitability Manipulation Experts (T.I.M.E.). This team goes back in time to correct all of God’s horrible mistakes by killing all kinds of bad guys who never should have existed in the first place. Players may select between 3 character classes with proclivities toward destruction, precision, or defense, and when a character dies, time is rewound and the player gets to head back into battle (selecting a new class if desired). All of the previously-killed characters perform their previous actions, fighting enemies (and dying) as they go, and generally filling up the screen with extra mayhem as potentially dozens of your past playthroughs are replayed at once. The game focuses on huge weapons, ludicrous action, and deadly flame-spewing robots and is presented Capy’s trademark chunky retro art style, but this time with a distinctly sci-fi bent.
Super Ubie Land | Wii U via eShop, PC, Mac, and Linux via download | 2013
Note: Ubisoft has asked that the title of this game be changed, and a new name is pending.
Super Ubie Land (formerly known as Super Ubi Land before Ubisoft stepped in and asked them to change the title) is a lighthearted platformer from Notion Games. As is typical of the genre, the player will be bopping enemies on their heads and collecting coins spread throughout the game’s five themed worlds, each ending in a boss battle. The player character can run and jump, and has a balloon that allows him to slow his descent. Some of the more challenging areas involve running from a charging whale-like creature, using your balloon to fall slowly through spike-lined passageways, and bopping on enemies to reach out-of-the-way doors and secret areas.
The Swapper | PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam | May 30, 2013 (PC), 2013 (Mac, Linux)
Facepalm is a small studio based in Helsinki, Finland and they are developing what appears to be one of the most peculiar and somber games on the horizon this year. The Swapper centers around a cosmonaut who has found himself stranded on a space station and soon discovers a device that allows him to clone himself and transfer his consciousness between bodies. From a mechanical standpoint, this is used primarily for puzzle solving purposes, as you can teleport yourself to different areas and make copies of yourself to activate switches and such, with colored lights impacting your abilities in different ways. While several games have offered teleportation/copy mechanics, the presentation here seems to suggest that your copies are actually other versions of yourself, begging the moral questions that come with sacrificing one of your “selves” for the purposes of progression. The developers created the visuals of the game world using photographs of clay models, which – when combined with the lighting effects and music – enforce the feeling of being alone and abandoned on a dark and mysterious world.
Tiny Barbarian DX | Platforms TBD | Release Date TBD
The original Tiny Barbarian was a freeware game developed by StarQuail Games, the developers behind the 2010 Xbox Live Indie Games title Astroman. The short action-platformer was inspired by “The Frost Giant’s Daughter”, a Conan tale from R. E. Howard. The DX edition is built upon the Astroman engine and features new environments, a more brightly-colored world, and loads more references that Conan fans are sure to enjoy. The game stars a… tiny barbarian… who hacks and slashes his way through loads of snake-worshipping bad guys, performs platforming acrobatics to avoid dangers, rides some sort of deadly fanged cat snake thing, and occasionally finds himself tied to a tree surrounded by vultures.
Toki Tori 2 | Wii U via eShop, PC and Mac via Steam | JUST RELEASED!! (Wii U), 2013 (PC/Mac)
Dutch developer Two Tribes released the original Toki Tori at the start of the WiiWare service, which served as a modern update to their original Game Boy Color title of the same name. The sequel offers more colorful puzzle-platforming action featuring the pudgy yellow bird. Our hero isn’t a particularly agile character; he can’t fly and he doesn’t go dashing through the environments at high speeds. Also, the tool/weapon system from the original titles has been eliminated to allow more freedom in exploration and puzzle solving, and requiring interaction with the local flora and fauna rather than use of specific inventory items. The player must use his head to figure out how to cross gaps and reach new areas as well as how to stun enemies, find creative ways around them, or use them to his advantage.
Tower of the Gorillion | PC, Mac, and Linux via download | 2013
Tower of the Gorillion, from developers Steven Circuiton and Colin Marjoram, is a puzzle platformer where you take control of 2 independent characters – similar to Treasure Treasure: Fortress Forage: Extra Edition, except that these characters operate on two separate planes, with one in the foreground and one in the background. The graphical style is modeled after the limited color palette of the original Game Boy, with darker tones marking the background layer and lighter tones marking the foreground. Many of the puzzles involve activating switches to open a path for the other character to traverse, or interacting with objects that impact both planes simultaneously. The objective is to navigate through each of the environments and get both characters safely to the exit, avoiding spikes and other dangers along the way. You can play the game as a single player switching between the two characters, or play it in 2P co-op.
TowerClimb | PC via download | Release Date TBD
Not unlike Spelunky, TowerClimb from Davioware is a procedurally generated platformer with roguelike elements, although it goes an extra step in the RPG direction by including permadeath and the ability to upgrade your character’s abilities. Your character has access to a wide range of abilities with which no navigate the ever-changing and deadly platforming worlds, including running, jumping, double jumping, ledge grabbing, wall climbing, swimming, and even the ability to fly and toss limited use projectiles. The player must venture ever-upward, avoiding enemies, pits of lava, and spikes while hunting down treasure chests and grabbing powerups that grant some of the aforementioned abilities. The player must also be careful to manage resources and not be wasteful, lest they warrant their own doom.
TowerFall | PC via download | Release Date TBD
Matt Thorson of Matt Makes Games is working on an archery based action platformer for 1-4 players, featuring cooperative and competitive modes. In Towerfall, archers traverse a number of single-screen environments with wraparound edges, hunting for powerups while destroying their enemies and dodging flying arrows. Each archer has a limited number of arrows, but spent projectiles remain in the environment, allowing others to remove them from the wall – and from corpses – to resupply their quivers. Treasure chests contain several varieties of arrows, including exploding bomb arrows and bouncing laser arrows, as well as other supporting upgrades such as bubble shields and wings.
Transistor | Platforms TBD | 2014
Supergiant Games, the developers behind Bastion, are back to deliver an entirely new action-RPG experience, this time focusing on a science fiction setting rather than post-apocalyptic fantasy. The story of Transistor focuses on a singer named Red who finds herself being hunted by assassins. She discovers a mysterious sword-like object called the Transistor that allows her to destroy objects and fight enemies with a wide array of short range, long range, and area effect attacks in real time. Players may also access an SRPG interface that allows them to pause the action and use movement and action points to strategically plan out attacks against multiple foes. Art, music, and narration once again play a huge role in the overall feel of the game, with the folks from the Bastion team returning to ply their talents once again, along with a handful of new folks.
Trash TV | PC via Steam | 2013
Trash TV is a puzzle platformer from British developer Lawrence Russell where the player takes control of anthropomorphic televisions named Signal and Static. The televisions must navigate a number of dangerous environments inside of a huge recycling plant, tripping laser sensors to open doors and setting off booby traps to allow yourself safe passage. Players may pick up boxes and carry them or toss them, lay them on switches, or even blow them up with heavy weaponry to trigger an effect in the environment. Available weapons include a pistol, shotgun, dual machine guns, a bow and arrow, explosives, and more. The opportunities for death are great and frequent as the player faces disappearing platforms, crumbling blocks, rising lava, and an ever-impending line of static that threatens to undo you.
Treasure Adventure World | PC via download | 2013
In 2011, Robit Studios released a freeware game called Treasure Adventure Game, an action adventure title with a large open world to explore, creatures to kill, puzzles to solve, and treasures to find. The game took Stephen Orlando about 3 years to create. Now, he’s working on an updated (non-freeware) HD version of the game called Treasure Adventure World which features new content, new music, and a new visual style. The player controls a boy who sets out with his parrot to traverse a number of islands – to which he sails in a magical shrinking/growing boat that fits in his pocket when not in use – speaking to NPCs and embarking on various quests, slowly opening up the world Metroidvania-style as new abilities and equipment are earned, such as digging down through piles of dirt that block certain passages.
Twisted Tower | PC via download | Release Date TBD
Twisted Tower is described by developer HitmanN as a marriage between Diablo and Castlevania. The title is a side-scrolling action RPG with randomly-generated dungeons. Players control a green-haired girl with cat ears and a tail as she raids dungeons, kills lots of enemies, gains experience, hunts for loot, and talks to NPC’s back in town. She can equip a variety of weapons from swords to maces and even long-rage weapons like a bow. The girl can also learn new combat abilities, get stat boosts, and learn spells along the way as well. Loads of fantasy- and horror-themed enemies presented as chunky animated sprites. Chapter 1 is planned as a freeware release with later chapters potentially being offered as commercial releases.
Two Brothers | Wii U via eShop, Xbox 360 via XBLA or XBLIG, PC, Mac, and Linux via download, iOS | 2013
Two Brothers from Ackk Studios is an action-RPG created in the style of classic Game Boy adventures, with a limited color palate but with a considerably higher resolution than the old brick was capable of producing. The presentation is part of the story as well, as the lead character becomes obsessed with discovering a new color after a near-death experience shows him a color-filled world. This obsession is what ultimately leads him on his quest which sends him out across the world, up against detailed enemies and bosses, and even into the afterlife. During your quest for color, you explore an overworld and dungeons, gain new equipment and weapons, speak to NPC’s, and eat the hearts of your fallen enemies.
Volgarr The Viking | PC via download | Release Date TBD
Crazy Viking Studios is working on Volgarr The Viking, a 2D action platformer featuring sword-based combat and pacing along the lines of Zelda 2, where you must take into account the enemy’s movement and shield position in order to strike them, while also avoiding their attacks. You can block enemy strikes and roll across the ground to get past them and attack them from behind. In addition, your arsenal includes spears that allow you to strike enemies from afar, and you can also use them to stick into walls to create makeshift platforms. You can gain powerups for your weapons and armor to help you fight the various skeletons, knights, and huge boss creatures you’ll face along the way.
Wyv and Keep: The Temple of The Lost Idol | Xbox 360 via XBLA, PC and Mac via download, Android, iPhone | 2013
This game has a full-length overview in our Upcoming 2D section. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
The primary gameplay in Wyv and Keep comes from manipulating the boxes in each level in order to provide walkways, block projectiles, and activate switches. And while platforming prowess is definitely essential to the player’s survival, proper box movement is the only way you’ll make it through each of the game’s 54 single-screen levels. As such, the game is primarily a puzzler. Attempting to rush through a level with your platforming prowess alone will quickly find you stuck and unable to continue; careful planning and strategy are ultimately required for success. Read more >>
zX | PC via download | Q3 2013
South African one-man developer retroFuture is taking the shmup into action-adventure territory with zX. Gone are forced scrolling environments, replaced with a series of large caverns that can be traversed at will with your small but heavily armed ship. As in many shmups, your ship’s projectiles can be upgraded, but you also have a melee attack in the form of a pair of blades that emerge from the front of your ship. These blades allow you to deflect enemy bullets while also powering up your special weapon, encouraging up-close attacks. In addition to exploration, players will still face the more traditional enemy waves and bullet sprays while they attempt to avoid lasers, lava, and other environmental hazards.
* Because these games are in various stages of development and represent in-progress work, certain elements could change prior to release, including the release date and platform.