This article was first published on the Bare Knuckle Development Blog on 9th September 2015 and is written by Tony Leavy, director, writer and designer at Bare Knuckle Development currently working on their epic sidescrolling RPG adventure indie game, The Flawless: Arts Tale.
Feast your eyes on this pair; a horror puzzle game The 13th Doll by Attic Door Productions, and a hack and slash rogue-like adventure game Below by indie game veterans Capybara. It’s always nice to take a break and check out what’s out there on the indie scene. Especially since we’ve been pretty busy this week; that fighting system is a tough cookie but we’re are getting there. These games are looking pretty swish so we just have to tell you about them!
The 13th Doll
Attic Door Productions have recently completed their successful Kickstarter campaign, however, this game has been a long time in the making. In 2004 a group of FMV puzzle game fans got together (online) and came up with a grand plan of bringing back the genre. With a shared liking of the retro game The 7th Guest they decided to set out on a journey to make a fan game to complement the series and become the franchises’ 3rd game. Being a fan game, The 13th Doll is set in the same world as The 7th Guest and aims to entice you with mind warping puzzles and an eerie spine-chilling atmosphere. Some of the classic scenes from the Stauf Mansion will undoubtedly fill you with nostalgia but we are excited to see the new plot twists and whether we will ever be free of Henry Stauf.
A puzzle from the game
The 7th Guest was a big deal back in 1993, boosting CD-ROM sales and making use of live action footage as a main component of the game. The 7th Guest in many ways pushed the boundaries of video games, not only with its demand on the hardware at the time but with its blending of genres, was it a horror? Was it a puzzle? Or was a form of interactive story-telling never seen before? Who cares?! It was cool as! Although critics at the time gave The 7th Guest mixed reviews, it resonated with the Attic Door Team and undoubtedly has a cult following.
I wonder what happened in this bathroom?
Well after a nerve wracking KickStarter which raised over $60,000 and enabled them to aquire the IP from The 7th Guest’s creator, what can we expect from this instalment of creepy puzzle fun? For starters, according to Attic Door’s website, the return of the Stauf, in the form of Robert Hirschboeck (the original Stauf) will be back. Most of all I’m excited to experience a bloody gory horror show! We can see from their screen shots that there will be baths of blood and padded rooms for the mentally deranged. With the return of familiar tortured souls, Tad, and fresh blood in the form of an innocent Doctor there is bound to be some gruesome antics in this cursed Mansion. Whooo getting chills already! Essentially what separates the 13th Doll and its predecessors is that technology has enabled the scope of this franchise to be realised. Attic Door Productions aim to develop the 13th Doll for the Oculus Rift to allow the player to truly experience the unnerving atmosphere of Stauf’s mansion. Although I hope that The 13th Doll does not suffer the same identity crisis as The 7th Guest. I hope to see the three elements of live action, puzzles and horror genre blended perfectly, but Attic Door do clearly state that this game is “by fans for fans” so expect to be spooked and bamboozled in this homage to a PC classic.
If you fancy some scary puzzles give The 13th Doll a follow on Twitter.
Below got some major recognition in this year’s PAX Prime, yeah no brainer just check out some of the artwork. Below is a top down action adventure with a sombre art style; some describe it as a “2D Dark Souls”. It reminds me of Super Brothers: Swords and Sworcery EP in terms of its atmosphere and its pallet, which comes as no surprise as two thirds of the Swords and Sworcery team have come together again to deliver this sweet looking game. Award winning Jim Guthrie, of Swords and Sworcery, has done himself proud by creating some fantastic soundtrack which has the potential to outshine the actual game. That’s not to say that Capybara aren’t making a good game it’s just that the soundtrack is striking.
The little hero fighting some dangerous folk
The Capybara team are very experienced in this indie game Ferris wheel; they recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. They’ve got some names under their belt with previous titles, Might and Magic, Super TIME Force and other games coming out on PlayStation, Nintendo, IOS. Below is set to be released on Xbox One with a release date yet to be confirmed. Coming from Capybara games, I have high expectations for this game and from what I’ve seen so far the outlook is good.
The little hero at a camp fire
In the trailer there is a little guy, in a hooded cape yielding a sword, who has parked up his boat on a sparse island. He makes his way across the small grass plain and heads into an ominous looking cave. The little hero delves deeper into the depths of the cave fighting along the way as he comes across little camp fires. It’s understandable why the Dark Souls comparison has been thrown out there; it has a similar atmosphere, with the earthy tones, combat focus, and camp fires. It is rumoured that the game play is as harsh too, so if you die… you die, you do not pass go or collect your 200 quid, straight back to the beginning and if you die your corpse remains along with your lost items, and it’s up to the new you to rediscover your old self a la Dark Souls. Below has procedurally generated levels so exploring this world will be different for each play-through meaning the possibilities are almost endless. If Below continues along its current path it is undoubtedly destined for success, Capybara have got the track record and the knowhow and this is a great looking game and I really look forward to hacking my way through it.
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