The touch based motion and interaction with the world was smooth and simple, featuring the option of co-op. You touch the character you want to move and then slide your finger and pull them in the direction you want them to move. You draw/pull them up or diagonally if they need to climb up or down from different levels, and if they need to move into obstacles you pull them to the entrances and they will auto interact. You have to swap between the two characters at various times to complete the maps and to interact with the world in a co-operative way, think Little Big Planet. It is used very effectively. Some puzzles being a little more challenging and requiring a good amount of thought to figure out (as one would assume would be the case). Altogether, I am told the game should take roughly 8 hours to complete, which I must say surprised me. The amount of game play for a mobile game, on a new system and with a new publisher is very promising. This is the kind of game that will result in people missing their stops while riding the bus, metro, train, whatever public transport is your choice. If public transportation isn't your cup of tea, then it will result in people missing turns as their navigators ignore them watching E flop around the screens.
These are the developers that are responsible for Zoo Tycoon, Lost Winds, and Wallace and Gromit, so they have a good history in a wide variety of aspects of game making. The game came about through their weekly game pitch activity as something the dev's would love to do. It incorporated 25 devs total 10 of which were for the animation alone. Some of you may have already heard of this the title. It has been on the Amazon app store for a short while, and also has a tie in comic book to flush out some more of the backstory of the main characters E and the robot Casi. It is the tale of E and Casi as they try to defeat the plans of the evil doer Meek.
After seeing the game in person, I will say it looks amazing. You can tell the amount of effort the animation team put into it. The background is impressive. The little touches that occur in the background such as having characters talking to each other in very animated ways, helps flush out the environment. It can suck you in when added to the layering of the environment. It feels like it has true depth to the world. It is reminiscent of things such as street fighter 2 (and on) in that way, but done on a whole different level. The animation of E and Casi are expressive despite neither having a visible mouth. Their emotional state is clear and at times comical and is reminiscent of the style of animation they used for Wallace and Gromit.
The second game I was shown was a preview of "Lost Within" by Human Head Studios, the same studio that did Prey and Batman: Arkham Origins. They have been working on this project for a year and a half with twenty five people, half of which were artists. This is a Horror/survival game, think a blend of "Outlast" and "7 Days to Die" with a hint of "Last of us". You play as someone who must survive being in a haunted asylum amongst monsters and possibly a killer as they stalk you in the dark. As you play, you must explore the building and find resources, that you can then craft into other items to help you survive. At times, fighting is not the right answer, and you must stealth around creatures, or hide from those stalking you. The crafting was reminiscent of the mechanism in Last of Us, and the usage of the crafts are similar. The movement mechanism and environmental interaction of tapping to areas like Diablo, was easy to get used to and very effective. The hit box for the taps is fairly generous, but tight enough that you can get to where you need to get, even when in a panic. The development team obviously have been taking their time putting this game together to take full advantage of everything the devices could handle. The game is also take advantage of the front cameras by tracking your head movements. While hiding, if you move your head up or to the side, you can basically go on your toes and peek out, or to the side which is a nice mechanic if you are trying to watch if it is safe to come out. It also uses the accelerometer which is in all of today's tablets.
You can tell this is the studio that did Arkham Origins. The environment looks amazing. I honestly would not have been surprised if I suddenly interacted with a door, for it to open and there is Batman sneaking running around kicking bad guys around. When it was projected onto the TV that was in the room, it still looked amazing. I would not have guessed a tablet was the system running the game. while looking around in game, the camera movement and interacting with environment was smooth. Considering how intense the load looked, I expected some stutter, and I am happy to report that was not the case. The lighting effects really helped set the mood and pulls you in making you feel the sense of dread and tension. The audio gives the environment a lot of weight. Hearing your footfalls starts to make you realize, just how much noise you make as you move around. After a while, I recognized that while running they are louder. and I was just making it easier for creatures to notice me. At times, flashbacks are triggered. These flashbacks are completely immersive and explorable. Certain ghosts at times are completely interactive as they think that they are still in the time before their death. Throughout the building you will see graffiti scrawled on the walls. Think Left for dead. It feels like a fully fleshed out game you would find on today's consoles, but on a tablet. It runs in the Unity 4.63 engine and runs at 30fps. This is not the type of game you'll see me playing in the dark with headphones on while getting ready for bed. I wouldn't be able to sleep afterwards with all the adrenalin pumping. This is the game for those who like the tension and terror of a good horror game. If you are playing this game while another person is in the same room, you may want to give them the heads up you may startle them. You may find that you go completely silent for some intense minutes of trying not to attract attention, only to jump the next moment. This game should be available by or around this summer.
To-Fu Fury was the next game I was shown. It is a sequel to a previous android/iOS game featuring a soy based hero. Developed by HotGen LTD. They already had a great product in To-Fu 2, and took advantage of the greater horsepower and functions available on today's tablets. Using the accelerometers in current tablets allows players to tilt the device and see what lies ahead before taking full action. This ability comes in very handy considering how large some of the levels can be, and what obstacles lay ahead. Kitty reprises her role as guide, and also the objective of each level. Players can collect orbs for completionists, however the main goal is always to get to Kitty as fast as one can. The graphics are before as really great to look at. The various facial expressions on To-Fu are clear and amusing. I was surprised at how expressive To-Fu could be.The levels are great to look at and have a really good sense of depth, The lighting is spot on for what you need and the various artifacts are clear so you know what you can and can not do.
Players have more variety of options in movement than previously. To-Fu can inch along by using 2 fingers and dragging him along surfaces to get better precision on starting points to Launch. I did have an occasional issue when trying to get To-Fu to walk along edges. The two finger mechanism used for the walking reduced the precision in inching up to corners and ledges. To-Fu can also stretch and push on objects using this mechanism. Launching/jumping is done by dragging in the direction you want to go, and the longer you hold a drag the stronger the jump. Players can now do arcing jumps by pulling down or backwards and aligning the arc height and distance. Levels are quick and fun, so easily digestible and yet addictive. This is the type of game that will result in legs falling asleep as you sit in the bathroom playing or as you sit on public transportation.
The last game I was able to preview was "Til Morning's light". It is being developed by WayForward. Til Morning's Light is a top down explorer. You play as Erica as she wanders through the mansion discovering hidden objects and information in order to make it out. The artwork is cartoonish and yet mature enough not to feel like it was meant for children. It has a level of depth and darkness that makes you feel how haunting the house can be and yet whimsical enough that you enjoy all the little humor and lighter moments of interactions and dialogue.
Wayforward is the developers of the popular remakes Double Dragon Neon as well as Ducktales Remastered. Both of which were lovingly recreated in today's graphics and extremely polished looking. It is a game that ties into another amazon's other strength of books. It is an interactive adventure telling the protagonist Erica as she explores a haunted mansion and needs to survive and escape by the next morning with her flashlight and various weapons she collects. The game also ties into her written journal which is available on audible.
The game itself feels like a blend of Diablo, Luigi's mansion, fruit ninja and elite beat . Much like Diablo, movement and interaction is done by clicking/touching various areas and having her move to that area or interacting with the object. Erica is armed with her flashlight at all times and is what is used to illuminate areas. The combat mechanism is very rhythmic and requires a blend of tapping to match beats, and swiping on the screen. As you explore, certain areas will cause spirits to appear as well as other actions such as her phone to ring. It is clear the developers thought through some aspects of the game from a player's perspective. Entering a room triggers a game save, so if you die, you do not lose a lot of progress and takes the worry out of having to manually save. Players can also skip through dialogue if so choose. To engross the players more, as time goes on, you can see the wear Erica experiences as her clothing and appearance becomes more haggard. The writer of the game admits that the story was the top priority in developing the game and took some time to completely flush out. You can see the thought that was put into the game as they wanted to explore her time in the mansion and ties into her personality. The graphics and game mechanics are good, but yo can tell they are the vehicle rather than the driving force of the product.This is a good game to play while just resting and wanting a good story line. I foresee people playing this before bed, and looking up to realize that it is an hour after you meant to fall asleep, much like one would with a book.