LE-GO LE-GO LE-GO LE-GO LE-GO LE-GO LE-GO LE-GO Batmaaaan! Sorry, '60s Batman TV theme-tune references are the last thing the brooding, super-serious Bruce Wayne of Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham needs, especially when confronted by a DC cast more concerned by his shiny new spacesuit. The next game starring the plastic protector takes his vigilante justice to outer space, and, as such, he's come dressed for the occasion.
Every Sunday, Tyler Wilde publishes a classic PC Gamer review from the '90s or early 2000s, with his context and commentary followed by the full, original text from the archived issue. This week, the original Rayman is reviewed in the June 1996 issue of PC Gamer US. More classic reviews here.
In 1989, Prince of Persia on the Apple II made Super Mario Bros' animations look downright primitive, and got me obsessed with the dream of playing as a real cartoon character. Before I ever thought polygonal heroes were a good idea, I sought out the phrase "cartoon-quality animations" and hoped (though I wouldn't have been able to tell you their names at the time) for games to take after Chuck Jones and Tex Avery cartoons instead of ReBoot, that '90s CG-animated cartoon about low-poly computer people.
It’s amazing how far games like Braid and Limbo have been able to push the boundaries of the 2D platforming genre. It seems like at least a couple of games a year manage to make the decades-old tropes feel relevant again with just a slight tweaking to the rules or change of setting. Never Alone, a platformer featuring an Alaskan Native girl and her Arctic fox, looks like it might accomplish that this year.
There was a time, long ago, when Blizzard made other games besides StarCraft, World of Warcraft, and Diablo. Blackthorne, which Blizzard released for free via Battle.net in November is a perfect example. The Prince of Persia meets shotgun side-scroller is not that bad if you’re willing to forgive its age, but when it was released for free what we really hoped for is that a free release of The Lost Vikings will follow. Today, it finally did.
It's hard to know the extent to which this "cinematic" Monochroma teaser reflects the final game—especially as its claimed the finished thing will contain no cut-scenes. Nevertheless, I am smitten with the animation, which is what I imagine South Park would look like had it been made in Arstotzka. And the regular art style is no less striking, showing a grey and red world for the story's two brothers to puzzle-platform across.
Someone must have asciid for an expansive roguelikey JRPG rendered entirely in textart, as we've received one in the form of the delightful SanctuaryRPG. It's a streamlined and grind-free take on Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest and early Ultima and Things Like That, and if I were to hand out badges in this column it would win the coveted Best RPG Featuring Ascii Slimes award (sponsored by that Ghostbusters ectoplasm I used to love when I was a kid). Elsewhere this week: a serene, freeform farming lifesim appeared, along with two very different platformers at opposite ends of the minimalism/maximalism spectrum. Enjoy!
I was a bit concerned about Schrodinger's famous cat for a while there - being both alive and dead can't be particularly healthy - but he's turned up in the land of the living in Italic Pig's colourful puzzle-platformer Schrodinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark. The reveal trailer, below, doesn't give much away, but we can expect "a wacky action-adventure-platformer-puzzler that blazes irreverently through the wild wonders of the Standard Model, combining lateral-thinking multi-solution logic puzzles with Fists-of-Feynman kickass combat action". All of which sounds pretty good to me. Theses puzzles will involve words like 'quantum' and 'quarks' and oh dear my brain has melted already.
Patches of altered reality drift in bubbles and waves across Concursion's environments, and each reality offers you a window into a different game. One moment you're a space-suited adventurer in a sidescrolling blaster, the next you can fall down a pit into a top-down Zelda-esque adventure. Moments later you might find yourself playing a space shooter, or as a ninja in a forest full of enemies.
My thoughts on Analgesic's Anodyne (which taken out of context sounds like some sort of Victorian miracle cure) were neatly summarised in the form of this review, which used words like "tapestry" and "sentient shrubs" before awarding the enigmatic Zelda-a-like a big fat 84%. You can bet that I'm intrigued by their follow-up, Even the Ocean, a sidescrolling "contemplation of balance" (read: platformer) comprised of two seemingly intermingling halves. A "motion demo" of the in-development game was released a little while ago, a boxy and prototypical build showing off Even the Ocean's unique mechanics without venturing into content found in the actual game. You can find it here.
Cloudbuilt succeeds where Sonic The Hedgehog has failed for almost two decades. It’s a 3D platformer that challenges you to speed through levels, jumping, wall-running, and shooting enemies along the way. It’s a little ugly, but its short, devious levels are so much fun to beat, I fear for my wrists.
Cellar Door, the developer behind the excellent Rogue Legacy, has already started working on its next project. The team's not ready to say anything concrete about it yet, but it's notoriously against working within the same genre twice. Does that mean we won't see a Rogue Legacy 2? A recent interview indicates that the game's creators might just make an exception.
The new BattleBlock Theater trailer makes use of a novel and eye-catching innovation: lies. Through these tall-tales, we learn how The Behemoth's action platformer supports a 1,000,000,000p resolution and has won every award for everything ever. Of all the "information" contained in the two minutes of outlandish claims, there is one piece that is verified fact. The game is coming to Steam.
Spelunky, that addictive roguelike that stole our hearts to win our Game of the Year last year, is getting a bit of a facelift. A new update will include an option to enable a smaller, more streamlined user interface, as well as various tweaks and bug fixes. The update is available as of today for download on Steam.
While it's not quite the winner of the award for prettiest gifs on a Kickstarter page (that's Hyper Light Drifter), Rain World is undoubtedly one of the more striking 2D platformers that you'll see. That distinctive visual style has so far been rewarded with $44,782 in pledges, a significant increase on the original $25,000 goal. With eight days to go and a stretch goal to achieve, its creators have released a new video showing their slugcat in action.
For a game still fresh into a beta launch, Starbound already rivals AAA releases with all the stuff you can do in it. It has aliens you can befriend or blow up. It has a grappling hook. It sold over a million copies in just a month. Developer Chucklefish is keeping its starry success going with frequent updates and content additions, but in a post today on the official website, creator Finn "Tiy" Brice outlines Chucklefish's broader plans to transition Starbound into a full release with more diverse progression pathways and an endgame focused on PVP and group activities.
It's no secret that 2D platformers often turn to the past for inspiration. A followup to the famously difficult original, La-Mulana 2 is looking to embrace its own history as well as the "Metroidvania" tag as it hunts down support through a recently announced Kickstarter project. That the first game is sometimes called a 2D Dark Souls should also give us a clue about what to expect from the sequel.
After three years of development, indie platformer Rain World hit Kickstarter this week, seeking additional funding to finalize the game. Set in a 16-bit industrial hellscape, you play as an unnamed slugcat, trying to hibernate your way through life. When you get hungry, you’re forced to get out, stalk, and pounce on things to eat while other, larger animals try to do the same to you.
As if harder bosses were a thing that Rogue Legacy needed. That's the problem with roguelikes: they turn us all into masochists. Someone should chart the number of people who, having experienced the roguelike boom of the last couple of years, now spend their weekends in seedy industrial clubs getting spanked for pleasure. Alternatively, read on to learn of the less literal spanking the 2D dungeon-crawling roguelike will be administering in the next few days.
Apotheon is the game that looks a bit like a Grecian urn - yes it is a bit weird comparing games to pottery - and now a new trailer has been released to remind us that it totally still exists. More than that, it's still one of the most striking indie games on the horizon, and one that looks faintly stunning in motion too. We don't learn a lot from the following trailer, but we do see a bunch of new, neatly colour-themed environments and lots of very 2D, physics-based combat. The open world action platformer (with multiplayer modes) is still on track for an early 2014 release.
Things were so much easier in the days of DOS. Actually, no, they were quite a bit more fiddly, but there is something pure and exciting about giving your computer typed commands, rather than wrestling with a Bill Gates-approved interface. Muri - "a simple DOS-like platform shooter inspired by Duke Nukem and Commander Keen" - takes us back to those halycon days. There's no XP system, no Twitter integration, no micro-transactions. In their place: a Samus-esque main character who looks a bit like a rabbit, an "optional turbo mode", and music that will be stuck in my head all day. Catch the lovely announcement trailer after the break.