Summer is a time for feeling guilty about not venturing into the sunshine whilst you catch up on some of your gaming backlog. Well, unless the weather outside is British. Personally, I’m sitting at home enjoying some guilt-free Vagrant Story and experiencing a Groundhog Day-esque ebay experience trying to acquire a Sega Master System. Seriously, stop outbidding me. Jerk.
Still, it’s not all catching up on old games in anticipation of the big hitters of quarter four. Summer is a great time for Indie projects to break cover, and the last fortnight has seen some pretty big ones make themselves known. The big scoop for us has been Chris’ preview of Gratuitous Tank Battles and an insightful interview with creator, Cliff Harris. But here are some others to get all hot and bothered about:
Mistakingly reported as a lifetime exclusive for X-Box Live Arcade, it appears that Playdead games actually had a multi-platform release of black and white platformer Limbo on the cards all along. A beautiful and intelligent puzzle platformer in the same vein as Braid, PC and PS3 users will be thankful this one followed its arty forebear from the walled citadel of the arcade, even if it has taken a while. The PS3 version hits July 19th in the US, July 20th in Europe. A Steam version will be available from August 2nd, with versions on other download platforms due sometime in the future. Get it.
The Binding of Isaac
With Super Meat Boy established as pretty much the definitive tribute to early hardcore platforming, colour me excited now that Edmund McMillen is turning his attention to a mishmash of genres. Specifically, The Binding of Isaac is described as ‘a Roguelike Shooter’ that controls like Smash TV, has dungeons in the vein of the original Legend of Zelda and the RPG and randomly generated form of the typical Roguelike. Whether it’ll distil these unashamedly hardcore genres into the same kind of universally accessible form that Super Meat Boy managed will be interesting to watch. But McMillen is promising a reasonable price when the game is released straight to Steam sometime in August. (Oh, and a ‘proper’ Team Meat release has also entered development too).
One of gaming’s most heart-warming success stories last year had to be the release of Japanese Action RPG Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale. Even though some voices in the community did a heroic job of championing the thing, I think most expected a backlash against its anime presentation and console RPG gameplay that (thankfully) never materialised. 100,000 sales later, and Carpe Fulgur are moving on to localisation efforts for at least three other games.
Chantelise, an action adventure from Recettear’s Japanese developer EasyGameStation (that also happens to be a portmanteau of its main characters names) was revealed to be the second project. This week, we learnt that Project Three would be Fortune Summoners: Secret of the Elemental Stone, another cute looking Lizsoft game that resurrects (or rather, resurrected – in 2008), the side-scrolling platformer style of certain 8-Bit RPGs. Think Wonderboy (beyond the first installment) or Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Already 90% complete, expect this one before the end of the year.