tinyBuild started as a developer with No Time To Explain and SpeedRunners, but shortly after in 2013 began publishing titles of other indie developers developers. Of those, one of my absolute favorites was Lovely Planet, a speedrunning twitch shooter with a harsh difficulty curve, contrasted by charming visuals and a matching Original Soundtrack by Calum Bowen. Read my full review on Steam. And with that said, I’m extremely pleased to see that we’re getting a continuation in Lovely Planet Arcade, along with a few other interesting and presumably high-quality indie titles from tinyBuild.
Dubbed The tinyBuild Four-nification Week, over the past two days they’ve announced two new titles, with Lovely Planet Arcade today, and a final game to follow tomorrow. By order of their unveiling, the new titles are:
A 2D shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world. First watching the trailer my mind instantly jumped to the combination of Gunpoint + Deadlight + Snowpiercer. You travel by train and stop along the way at various stations to collect fuel, supplies, and survivors… or not. From the early information and footage, I’m unsure of the overall structure. They’ve shown a railway map, a HUD for what looks like locomotive upgrades and/or power management, and one line states “survive as long as you can”, making me assuming roguelike permadeath. I’ll be interested to see if there’s any sort of narrative in play, and whether there’s actually a “final station”. The 2D platforming and shooting mechanics appear solid with mouse pointer-based aiming, and the pixel art aesthetic is simple but sharp and stylish.
- A post-apocalyptic survival game in a similar vein to “This War of Mine”
- Survive for as long as you can by riding the rails, and finding fuel along the way
- Infected are ready to stop your progress whenever you exit the train to look for supplies
- Pick up survivors along the way, gaining perks (and hindrances) for your troubles
A 2D marble-rolling puzzle game with rhythm-driven hazards. It’s stated to included a level editor (which I would assume uses the Steam Workshop for sharing?), “extra-hard secret areas” that reward you with skins/colors/effects for your ball, with a focus on providing diverse and unique levels as opposed to a bunch of filler/padding, which I greatly appreciate. Built using Unreal Engine 4, the game seems to utilize a number of particle and light effects to enhance its simple geometry. This title has existed previously and was greenlit on Steam under the name “Roll Playing Game”, and it even has a FREE Alpha Demo Build (first 5 levels) available from late September 2015.
- Rhythm-driven Gameplay – Move with the music and learn trap patterns to overcome even the most difficult hazards, like rotating laser beams and huge antagonistic red glowing balls trying to crush you!
- Dynamic Music and SFX – The dynamic music by award-nominated composer Nicholas Singer is tailored to the rhythm and style of each level, with sound effects to match the level’s music.
- Community Features – Create your own challenges with the level editor or test your skills in those of other players by beating their highscores.
- Secrets and Rewards – Find and solve extra-hard secret areas and be rewarded with awesome bonus contents like new skins, colors and effects for your ball.
- Focus on Diversity – Rather than increasing the game’s length with filler material, each level has its purpose and unique gameplay elements to provide a compact and diverse experience.
The trailer explains very little, but it seems to be most of what I wanted, more of the original with new stages and mechanics in play. The aesthetic looks like it has been altered ever so slightly with a new shading style and cast shadows on certain objects; each element appearing more defined and tactile than before, at least in line with the construction paper aesthetic. Among the bullet points are a new “Original Soundtrack by Calum Bowen“, unlockable modifiers like “Mirror” and “Fast” modes for each stage (adding more play variety beyond the 3 star completion system), hidden secrets and a mystery to uncover (the original had something similar), and over a hundred levels across another 4 worlds. My single gripe with the original was the lack of FOV adjustment, so hopefully that is remedied this time around. I’m unsure of how far along the project is, as the trailer only consisted of pans through a still diorama, but I’m beyond excited to see more and eventually play it sometime this summer. However, I am worried about a statement made in October of last year stating that the y-axis would be stripped away to emulate the original first-person shooters, as hinted by in the bullet points below and the “Arcade” portion of the new name. Like taking away the Y-axis to change a plane into a car, it’s a fundamentally different movement set, and this new title might not feel the same. That said I am confident this idea can be done well with scenarios and environments tailored to it. We’ll see…
- The original First Person Shooter experience, a game of jumping and shooting
- Test your skills with a hundred plus levels to solve over four unique worlds
- Push yourself further with unlockable modifiers, play any level in Mirror or Fast mode
- Collect evidence and uncover the mysteries of the Arcade
- Craft your own obstacle course with the in-built Level editor and share it with your friends
- Original soundtrack by Calum Bowen
Right away I love the colorful take on a PS1-era aesthetic. It reminds me a lot of what has been done with Pokemon 3D, a recently revealed recreation of Undertale, and a handful of indie titles like Delver. However there is little indication of what the core gameplay will be like. Touting itself as an anti-adventure game, a term that I’ve never even heard of and can find no references to, I’m not totally sure what to expect… You play a janitor stuck on an alien planet, and are tasked simply with cleaning up the spaceport. A quick glimpse of the UI shows Drop/Keep/Eat/Incinerate as item interaction options, and there are hints towards a curse, a mystery or lore of some sort to uncover, sewer dungeons beneath the city, a currency system with shops and your own apartment, with the eventual goal of escaping the planet. Games with abstract objectives and locations can often be fun to dive in and explore, I just hope this one has enough depth to have some sort of impact or payoff by the end. I’m certainly intrigued by the possibility of there being something surprising beneath the surface. The game appeared mid 2015 on the developers media channels and a few forums, and today was the announcement that tinyBuild has picked up the game for publishing. You can currently sign up for the Beta, though there’s no indication of when or what that will entail.
- Explore the spaceport!
- Eat perception-altering hallucinogenic eyeballs!
- Clean up the spaceport with your trusty Incinitron!
- Suffer through an ancient curse placed upon you by a mysterious, screaming skull!
- Discover unique and flavorful pieces of trash that reveal the adventurous culture of the planet you’re stuck on…
- …and, if you’re lucky, a way off it.
Sundae Month has been involved with a handful of other games, seemingly all of which have been free. Two exceptions being Dad Quest, which met it’s $8,000 goal on Kickstarter late last year, and of course Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor.