Jeremy Nation

@ETH_Nation

Day 3 At GDC

As the GDC event continues, I’m bringing continuing coverage of indie games that stand out for everyone who can’t make it to the event. Today I was able to check out an awesome platforming puzzler, try my hand at a game that felt like a fusion between Metroid and Mega Man, and see some amazing technology that makes it possible for anyone to make their own games and then burn them to cartridges that work with any NES gaming system and much more!

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

Within The Inmost Shadows

Inmost is a puzzling platformer created by artist Alexey Testov and programmer Andriy Vinchkovskiset set in a bleak universe, featuring a memory and flashback driven storyline. As the plot thickens you must avoid enemies (one hit will kill you), falling damage (fall too far and you die), and traps in the terrain (spikes are as deadly as heights). The controls are solid, and once you get a feel for sliding around, crouching, and timing jumps just right to avoid falling into a deadly trap or enemy, you find yourself easily traversing the wonderfully dark landscape. Astonishing use of lighting, and smooth animations coalesce with a lurching ominous presence as the shadows themselves seek to rend you limb from limb while you unlock the secrets lurking around every corner of this abandoned castle. Collect the shards of light, expose the truth, and escape without being detected. Expected to debut sometime in 2019 I look forward to this one.

A Taste Of Metroidvania

Another platformer that caught my eye was a space thriller developed by Steve Copeland, and Jeff Spoonhower, The Distant Light. As I said above, I felt as if I was transported back to Super Metroid as I jumped around solved puzzles, and used the equipment and weaponry I found scattered throughout the different zones to best enemies. After awakening from a cryostasis pod and staggering to a console where your character is fitted with an exosuit, you quickly realize something has gone awry once you notice the station opposite yours appears to have been torn apart, smeared with blood and the words “come find me” sinisterly scrawled across the broken machinery. The game scales in difficulty well, introducing a number of enemies that force you to use various equipment, such as a shotgun, or a shield, or a jetpack to traverse the terrain towards your goals. There are also some insane vehicles you can pilot, such as a giant mech, or a quad with lock-on missiles. Unlock unique equipment, mow down enemies, and find your lost comrade!

Build Your Own Game Without Coding It

What would you say if I told you that it’s possible to make your own hardware NES cartridge, and never have to actually write a single line of code? Well that’s exactly what Joe Ganato showed me is possible with the NES Maker from The New 8 Bit Heroes team. The idea behind this project is to take a complicated game, and turn it into a customizable 8 bit version compatible with any NES. The tools within the software allow you to create your own objects, customize their hitboxes, and animate sprites for your own characters. The creative choices are up to you, so while this NES Maker does the hard work of generating an engine and logic for the physics therein, you’re still going to need to make the big decisions about how gameplay ultimately manifests. The coolest thing about this project by far is the fact that when everything is said and done, and your game is finished, you can burn it to a cartridge, pop it in an NES, and play that sucker just like it was Mario Bros. Kudos to these guys.

Additional Shout Outs!

There are some awesome indie developers that deserve love and attention for their original projects! I got the chance to meet with quite a few awesome people, and some of their projects deserve a shout out.

Kitten Cup Studio is working on a fun game called Pekoe, where you serve various cats tea and learn more about their personalities, hopes, and dreams. Think of a sort of casual style food service gameplay meshing with Harvest Moon character growth dynamics. I can’t wait to see what these fine people have to show for us!

Mercenary Leto, developed by Summer at DragonGlitch games, is available on Steam early access. With your faithful pronghorn dragon companion, you’ll fly across a surreal landscape, and forge friendships across the realm. I’m excited to see more from this talented pixel artist.

I can’t wait to check back in at the event tomorrow and find even more amazing indie games to show you guys. I’ll leave you with Colin Creitz of Facebook and his amazing YoYo talent, proving that handheld games need not be digital to be fun.

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