If you ever wanted superpowers (and a super-skimpy outfit to go with them), you might want to take a look at Core of Innocence, an upcoming adventure platformer for the PC from Pudding Hat Games. Sprout wings, turn into a cat, save the world from imminent destruction – all the classic elements are there, along with a fairly charitable dose of fanservice.
Say “hello” to Lila Ashford, a young woman born into a family of archaeologists. For years she has searched in vain for her mother, who mysteriously vanished during an excavation in the Balanceran mines. One day, Lila’s grandfather contacts her with news of a discovery at the mines – a new energetic mineral dubbed Electrum, which could be linked to her mother’s disappearance. But once Lila arrives on-site, a dark force reveals itself, launching her into a dangerous quest to uncover the truth about her mother, her family’s legacy, and her own identity.
While the overarching goal is obviously to defeat the big bad guy and find out what happened to Lila’s mother, even the current version already includes a plethora of optional undertakings and secret locations in addition to the main plot. It seems like every other person in the mines has some random chore they’ve been dying to dump on the new girl. “Could you find my bracelet for me?” “If you see this random laundry-list of items just lying around on the floor, bring them on over, would you?” “Did you find my favorite pair of underwear yet?” (Yes, seriously.) Luckily, Lila doesn’t have to do anything you don’t want her to – except, of course, for the whole main quest thing. That one’s kind of a big deal. But for all you completionists out there, Core of Innocence looks like it could be one heck of a scavenger hunt.
Taking cues from the classics, the game looks to be chock-full of everything fans of the genre could want. Power-ups, collectible weaponry, equipment upgrades, side-quests, magic portals to (eight) other worlds, supernatural legions of evil forces bent on bringing about the advent of hell on earth – you name it, it’s probably there. Highlights include double-jumping, which causes Lila to sprout a rather snazzy pair of black wings in order to grab some extra air, and transforming into a wall-crawling, travel-sized feline.
Personally, I prefer cat-Lila. My natural bias towards felines aside, the potential for fanservice is greatly reduced when your character has neither breasts to animate nor, for that matter, a female human body to show off. And yes, there is a pretty decent amount of fanservice in the game so far, which is probably the main reason why it is stated to be intended for a mature audience.
Lila initially shows up dressed in a conservative pair of overalls and a t-shirt, but once her secret awesomeness kicks in, she immediately changes into a black bikini top and a teeny-tiny miniskirt. Practical? Not exactly, but at least she’s got a top at all, which is more than some of the racier varieties of enemies can say. There are other options in her inventory, but at the current stage equipping these only affects Lila’s stats, not her appearance. With any luck, however, this will be changed in some future update – some of her alternate ensembles, like Witch Hunter, actually look pretty darn cool. Dressing her up as Heather Mason could be fun, too.
Core of Innocence is determined to be an exciting, challenging game of sword and sorcery, and with all the content the developers are packing into it, it definitely has a fighting chance. No official release date is set yet, but according to the Pudding Hat Games blog, a full release shouldn’t be too far away. The final version will be DRM-free, and free to download with a “pay what you want” donation option.