Imagine being an early-twenties college drop-out. Imagine moving back to your small, dying home town, a place that hasn’t really changed, but has also changed enough to be strange. Imagine struggling to understand the futility of life.
Now imagine you are also a cat.
This is Night In The Woods, an adventure game/kind-of-Western-visual-novel that stars a humanoid(ish) cat named Mae Borowski. It’s a game I fell in love with the moment I first saw a trailer, and continue to love now that it’s over. As per usual with Teacups, this is less a review and more a discussion. Therefore, expect some spoilers; maybe save reading this until you’ve played through the game.
Welcome once more to Teacups & 1UPs, a fortnightly-ish column in which I talk about games and pair them with tea. This post should be one about multiplayer games, but because I’m an idiot and managed to miss a game from my VR multipack last time, we’re getting a short mini special this week: Symphony of the Machine, developed by Stirfire Studios. Call this the PAX Aus multipack 2.5.
Yet another virtual reality game I picked up at PAX Australia, Symphony is a puzzle game about reviving a dead world. You find yourself before a tower in a lifeless desert, and upon entering the tower you discover that it has the power to control the weather. With only a little robot as a companion and guide, it’s up to you to restore balance to the world through weather manipulation.
Welcome once more to Teacups & 1UPs, a fortnightly-ish column in which I talk about games and pair them with tea. Last intallment was the first of my three-part special, where I talked about single player games at PAX Australia, and now it’s time for part two, which is all about games in a medium I’m particularly excited about: virtual reality.
I first tried VR last year at PAX Aus with the breathtaking Earthlight (which I returned to this year) and it was love at first sight. There’s something so special about stepping into another world and experiencing a narrative that encompasses your environment. So, of course, I jumped at every opportunity I was given to try out the VR games being shown at PAX this year.
Welcome back to Teacups & 1UPs, a somewhat-regular column in which I talk about games and pair them with tea. Today is going to be a little bit different from usual, as it’s going to be the first of a three-part PAX Aus special, all about the indie games I picked up and tried out while in Melbourne. Each part will briefly look at a bunch of games I tried and liked, rather than examining one in-depth.
First up: single player games, followed by virtual reality and finally, local multiplayer—because there’s not much I love more than kicking my friends’ asses in ridiculous indie games. Of course, there will also be tea.
So, single player. Leave your friends at home, because it’s time for an adventure.
Welcome back to Teacups & 1UPs, a column in which I lovingly pick apart games and pair them with tea. I hope you’re ready for some more Opinions About Games, because I’ve sure got some, and this time I’m talking Oxenfree.
“But Saf,” you groan, “are you ever not talking about Oxenfree?”
Probably not, but now I have a whole however-many-word-I-want to talk about it even more. Buckle up, kids, we’re going ghost hunting. Warnings for very light potential spoilers.
Almost everyone has someone they can point to that has helped positively shape them into the person they are today. A sibling, a parent, a close friend; for Florian Veltman, game developer, that person is his grandmother, someone who means so much to him that he made a game as an ode to her.
Short and endlessly sweet, Lieve Oma is a character-driven game that is, at its core, a loveletter to Florian’s grandmother. This is a game you play less for the gameplay, and more for the characters and the feeling. From the Lieve Oma description:
Lieve Oma is a top-down 3D game where you go for a stroll with your grandmother through a forest. You can pick mushrooms when you find them, but the real reason you’re here is to have a discussion with your grandmother about the issues you encounter, coping with going to a new school, among other things.
The character designs are very cute and simple, and the child is especially cute when running.
There was one game that completely caught my attention in the lead-up to Melbourne’s massive gaming convention, PAX Australia: Hollow Knight, a gorgeously atmospheric action-adventure platformer with a healthy dose of challenge.
Hollow Knight is being developed by Team Cherry, an indie company based in Adelaide made up of Ari Gibson, William Pellen, and David Kazi, with a release planned for the first half of 2016.
Set in a bug-infested cavern system below an eerily silent village, Hollow Knight is filled with all kinds of strange creatures and wonderful sights. I’ve always been a sucker for platformers with fascinating worldbuilding that you can explore for hours, and from what I’ve played of the Hollow Knight beta, it seems to be shaping up to be exactly that. Though the gameplay can be difficult, it never feels punishing.
I had the opportunity at PAX Aus to interview Willaim Pellen and ask him a few questions about Hollow Knight, influences, Kickstarter, and taking the leap to full time game dev.