Monday, August 8, 2011

Indie Cred: The kitty who became an axe murderer. The axe murderer who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor.

Swords clang, men cry, and the sounds of battle resonate across the landscape. The cacophony of war and strife saturates the earth as the gods themselves weep at the destruction and death of their people. A lone warrior rises from the devastation to reconcile the destruction, pursuant to a quest and the collection of many mystical sacred items. And a big gun.

Hey! It's A Game with a Kitty 3! So cute!
Be glad that I linked you the site to play the flash version of the game, because the downloadable, while convenient, is eye-numbingly tiny. Developed as a cell phone game (which android users should retrieve from the store POST HASTE), AGWAK 3 is a platformer with that special charm that burrows aggressively into your heart and leaves you dead within seconds from all the giggles and fuzziness, and then resuscitates you only to break your arm and leave you feeling like it's all your fault.
It's got a sweet style and excellent presentation coupled with simple controls and loads of content. Plus, it's at the unbeatable value of free.
Speaking of broken limbs and dead bodies
Last week, I posted an interview I had with Paul Hubans, aspiring Corporate Jefe, about his life and times, his dashing good looks, and his impeccable style. During the course of that fascinating conversation, he kept interrupting my flow with this talk about video games and developing stuff and coding and all this boring stuff that nobody wants to hear. And he kept saying "Madhouse." Madhouse. MADHOUSE. MADHOUSE! So in order to just shut him up for good I checked it out.
Man, I'm sure glad I did.
It's with great fascination that I dive into a lot of these games, and it's with great satisfaction that I often report back. But once in awhile, things just like blow up and my mind kind of loses its framing. I mean, sometimes things just kind of BLOW MY MIND. Madhouse gets pretty close. Hubans doesn't discuss it too deeply in the interview (because I'm a terrible interviewer and email sucks for interviewing), but it's a refreshingly substantial game. Chris Hecker ranted about the rampant incompletion that seems to plague indie development and how it's sad and possibly setting a bad example for indies. Madhouse is not one of those games.
And that's why I love Paul Hubans.

And now for something completely different
I think someone said once that Greek mythology is a default go-to place for stories and premises for video games because it's so rich with narrative and fantastical stories of betrayal and sexy sex. I also think that person is wrong and this game proves it.
Greek mythologies aren't great because they have good stories about sexy sex and giant lizards coming out of the sea and men with solid gold ding-dongs. It's because the Greeks looked awesome and everything based off of them is awesome because they had no sense of limits. They weren't about conservation or compartmentalization or easier access to healthcare or cleaning out the lint in your pocket. It's because the common Greek concern was avoiding getting raped by geese who could be gods or being raped by men who could be goats (a concern equally important for both sexes). It's because the gods controlled things like lightning, flooding, and brain-bursting boils-disease, not pansy crap like morality, altruism, and corn.
Not since the era of Hokuto no Ken games have I had this much satisfaction in killing dudes.
Arvoesine may not explicitly talk about these things, but subtle touches, like the spontaneous combustion of enemies great and insignificant, the ubiquity of spiked traps, and the presence of killer scorpions remind you that you are not in any way safe. You may be raped by a goose who is a god at any moment.
And here's some candy, you good boy, you
These are some screenshots from a work-in-progress by Adam Prack. I've been helping him playtest for a bit, but the demo is not public yet. I just...am in love with the art in this game.
The screens don't really do it justice, but luckily there's a gameplay video:


It's on kickstarter right now, looking for funding. Personally, I hope he gets it so he has a chance to realize this amazing piece of work.
Godspeed, Adam Prack.