Steam Early Access can be confusing. Not because there's anything inherently wrong with the system—that's a debate for another time and place—but because everyone has different expectations, and the potential for disappointment is high. Yet Jean-Francois Major of Tribute Games, the developer of Mercenary Kings, says that despite the many difficulties involved with the process, it's a net positive in the long run.
From the looks of it, Curses 'N Chaos is essentially horde mode demade into a 2D, 8-bit-styled supernatural beat-'em-up, and those are some words that look very good together indeed. It's a wave-based survival game for one or two players, featuring cromulent pixel art, an equally cromulent chiptune soundtrack, and hopefully cromulent action that revolves around battering skeletons, ghosts, frogs and, well, pretty much anything that appears on screen. You'll find a bewitching video of Curses 'N Chaos beneath the break.
Does Mercenary Kings look familiar to you? Besides the whole 2D-indie-sidescroller thing, I mean. What if I told you to envision the above scene, but with the addition of a girl with quirkily-colored hair and her seventeen hundred evil ex-boyfriends? Yep—this is the next thing to come out of the developers who did Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and that signature style has definitely carried over. What's more, it's now also playable in a beta state over on Steam.
It's fairly audacious to declare yourself a mercenary 'king', particularly with the depose-happy cast of Jagged Alliance 2 lurking psychotically off the coast of Arulco, but the pixellated gungineers at the heart of this shooty platformer appear to be pulling it off. As with Metal Slug or Contra, Mercenary Kings is a game with co-op, lots and lots of guns and some exquisite pixel art, though it aims to delve a little deeper with the ability to craft your own firearms as well. It's coming to Steam Early Access on July 22nd – you can also pre-order it for a regal $15.
Now that the blinding glare of every major publisher simultaneously projecting marketing at us has dimmed, we have a clearer picture of what E3 2013 revealed, what's important to us, and what we expect to be playing on PC within the next couple years. And here it all is.