On Tuesday 29th April, I attended a Curve Studios press event to preview their upcoming games along with a Cevyn Scott from the Codec Moments team. We were joined by other lucky members of the gaming community who were keen to see what Curve had in store for the PlayStation 3, 4 and Vita in the upcoming months. Following on from titles such as Lone Survivor Directors Cut and Thomas was Alone, we all wanted to see what was in the pipeline. Held at offices in London, we had the chance to play three upcoming releases: Titan Attacks, The Swapper and MouseCraft, and the developers were on hand to discuss the games and assist when stuck – which for me was often on Mousecraft!
Titan Attacks PS4, PS3, PS Vita (Cross-buy)
6th May 2014 US, 7th May 2014 EU
Titan Attacks felt very now, which is strange as the first incarnation of the game was developed 8 years ago. It’s evolved since then and is similar to Resogun in some of its features and effects. That isn’t to say it’s a bad thing as when you sample a few levels i’s clear it has its own gameplay and style, which is in essence a modern day Space Invaders.
You chase money rewards to enable you to kit out your ship with things like smart bombs (my fave) and shields amongst other trinkets. I can see this being a bragging rights classic with top scores being an important part of the game. Apparently, some levels have the backdrop of Basingstoke according to its creator, and it’s not because he likes the place!
The Swapper PS4, PS3, PS Vita (Cross-buy)
24th June 2014 US, 25th June EU
The Swapper was introduced by Olli Harjola in a darkened room that added to the atmospheric intensity of The Swapper, which leaps out of the TV. Already with critical acclaim when launched last year on PC, it looks to have all the same ingredients for success on the various PlayStation platforms. The game itself originally took 4 years to develop, and in the words of the Curve team:
It’s a bit difficult to describe in one line!
I will try though… it is a slick puzzle platformer where you take control of a mysterious spaceman-type character who has a cloning device to help navigate through a creepy, baron world. The game looks great and once you have mastered the controls, and what you can do and when, it plays very well. It looks great on both the PS4 and looses nothing on the Vita, with the touchscreen being a nice bonus. Rear touch on the Vita has been ignored again (as it is by many developers), which is not bad thing. Speaker function on the PS4 controller is not unitised, which for me would have added to the experience.
MouseCraft PS3, PS4, PS Vita (Crossbuy), PC (and Crunching Koalas are publishing themselves)
8th July 2014 US, 9th July EU
MouseCraft is described by one event goer as ‘Lemmings crossed with Tetris’, which Tom the developer of MouseCraft agreed with. It goes a little further than both Lemmings and Tetris as you try and steer your trio of mice to the cheese reward. The early levels ease you in gently and it’s not overly tricky to select the right shape block to help get your mice up or over an obstacle.
The levels get progressively harder with different features such as exploding blocks and TNT being added for extra difficulty. It is a PEGI 3 rated game and the cartoon looks will appeal to children, and the levels will help flex their young problem solving minds. Adults will be suitably perplexed in later levels to be hooked too!
Indie games on the PlayStation platform are becoming more and more popular, many will say they have arrived already and are mainstream enough to go toe to toe with games from bigger, cash rich studios. I asked about how the PS Vita platform has helped and was told:
The Vita is a great device and for dev’s it is an un-crowded platform where we can create some great things, it’s powerful and we get the support we need.
What was evident from the event is the clear unrelenting enthusiasm for creating games that people enjoy, and that they want to play. There are so many ideas buzzing round the minds of these developers that sound so intriguing and awesome that I want them to develop them now. The limiting factor is money and that current games need to be a success for future projects to be developed. Sony has certainly helped by embracing the indie culture and long may it continue. The times are exciting at Curve and I wish them well and thanks for a great night.
The event was by invite only at the Curve Studios offices, and the Codec Moments team paid for their own travel and expenses, but accepted a couple of nice refreshing beers that they swear affected their ability to be able to play games well…
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