Described as a retro arcade twitch style game, Wave Wave features a touch and release mechanic that makes the game easy to play, but hard to master. Wave Wave, a vast departure from developer Thomas Janson’s previous project, has been in development for twelve months, and delivers both psychedelic visuals and pumping disco music. Players control a savage beam of energy that must thread through twisted worlds without bumping into any walls. Crashing means an instant game over, but skill itself isn’t the only factor determining how well players perform in Wave Wave. There are five difficulties to choose from, catering to both new and experienced players, and for the curious out there, the game features a secret ending cinematic. For Janson, the most rewarding aspect of the development process for Wave Wave was bringing the game together, which was an incredible challenge that came with the ultimate reward of seeing players’ faces light up with enjoyment. Janson’s advice for those interested in making their own games is to analyze and understand the creative process behind game design, and to be aware of how people may interpret your game.
Physics-based puzzle game Particulars tells the quirky story of an ordinary young girl named Alison who has been transformed into a quark. The game has been in development for two years, starting as a flash game in 2010 and growing into a full-fledged particle-based heaven delivered by publishers Surprise Attack Games. It combines arcade action and puzzle gameplay into one, and promises to be a unique subatomic particle adventure set in the great big universe. Throughout the game, snippets of Alison’s troubled past flash on screen in the form of cryptic quotes, building intrigue and encouraging players to delve deeper into the strange and mysterious space world Alison has found herself in. Particulars conveys the message that while we may all sometimes feel small and insignificant, even a single down quark in space has its purpose.
Particulars will be available starting November 19 (November 20 for Australia) on PC, Mac, and Linux. For those who are keen on testing out the Early Access version, you can buy it on Steam for $9.99 today.
Never Alone, or Kisima Ingitchuna, is an atmospheric puzzle platforming game that celebrates and preserves Alaskan culture. Developed and published via the collaboration of E-Line Media and Upper One games, Never Alone invites players to experience a journey of relentless cold through the eyes of a young Iñupiat girl named Nuna, who fearlessly sets out to save her people from an endless winter. Along the way, Nuna teams up with a gorgeous white fox who assists her on her dangerous yet noble quest. Never Alone game designer Brandon Anderson reveals that the many different visual themes used in Never Alone were specifically designed to keep both players engaged, and create an immersive, collaborative experience that emphasizes traditional Alaskan values such as interdependence. The narrative of Never Alone is closely interwoven with the tale of Kunuuksaayuka, which is outlined on the development blog with beautiful accompanying illustrations.
With an official release date set for November 18 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, it isn’t too long before players get to experience the magic and wonder of Never Alone for themselves. Both a single player option (in which the player alternates between Nuna and fox) and a two-player option is available, however the joy of sharing the Never Alone experience with another person – in my case, with my sister – is something that I can’t recommend enough. In the mean time, you can visit the official website for artwork, interviews, and more, and be sure to follow the game on Twitter for breaking news.
Under The Sun
Under The Sun first made its mark on the space-time continuum of IGM not long ago, when we first heard of the ‘time wasting game about not wasting time’. After an 18 month development period, players can expect an early release for the game on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Developer Stegabyte (comprised of Alex Tulloh and Tim Glew) reports that the most enjoyable part of the design process of Under The Sun was the sheer freedom in being able to create a game that was, paradoxically, not heavily imposed by time restrictions. The main focus was to make a game that appealed to players of all ages, by giving them the chance to sit back and unwind, on the train, on the bus, or even at home. Rather than punishing players for their mistakes, Under The Sun’s ambient and orchestral soundtrack coupled with the gentle audio of crashing waves invites players to puzzle solve their way through a series of levels, and help out a lost sailor. For more news on Under The Sun, be sure to follow the dev team on Twitter.
Women in Video Games: Improving Things for Everyone
One of the most attended seminars at PAX Aus was Women in Games, which discussed the theme of games as equality. The issue of under-representation of female protagonists in games is one that is voiced frequently, in addition to the relative scarcity of female game developers in the games industry. The Women in Games panel, attended by James Dominguez, Leigh Harris, Mary King, Nicole Stark, Tara Brannigan and Rebecca Fernandez attempted to address some of the reasons behind the gender inequality, and to focus on potential solutions to problems women in the games industry face.
Considering the small number of women in the games industry, the question of how to reverse this trend and encourage a more gender-balanced workforce was raised. Suggestions on how to improve the gap included hiring a ‘wider net’ of people, and valuing each employee based on individual merit. Another point of discussion revolved around women who feel that in order to be in the games industry, they must by default surrender their femininity-something which was heavily debated by panelists. They pointed out that in an industry that is typically heavily male dominated, there is a distinct lack of female role models for women to aspire and look up to.
The discussions of women in games, they said, tends to revolve around persistent negative attitudes instead of the positive aspects women can contribute to games, their skills, and the benefit of having a diverse and inclusive work force. For those interested in hearing the talk in more depth, you can watch the first part here.
If you don’t see it, you can’t be it
The news that PAX will be held in Melbourne for the next five years will no doubt bring a smile to the faces of many Melburnians. And if this year’s expo was anything to go by, the future of the Australian and International indie scenes and independent games as a whole is looking very bright indeed. Game on. Did you enjoy PAX Aus this year? What were your favorite parts of the show?