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Archive for the ‘Art Style’ Category

Actually I found out a few weeks ago but forgot to post it here.

For those who don’t remember, Oink Games is the mysterious co-developer who turned up in the credits of  Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder. Well I contacted them on Twitter for more info and they were nice enough to reply. It turns out some of the staff were formerly programmer at Skip and previously worked on the bitGenerations and ArtStyle series, including Orbient, Aquario, Boxlife and PentaTentacles.

So that’s pretty cool! Anyone who’s kept an eye on Skip’s infrequently updated site will have noticed that their in-house staff have certainly dwindled over the past few years but it’s cool that Skip can contract them back in on a project-by-project basis. So there’s hope for another game with the size and scope of Captain Rainbow again… Right?

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In amongst the chaos and excitement of E3, I’ve been combing through all the news to see if there have been any Lovedelic-related announcements. Alas, the current financial state of the games industry, leading to the near collapse of publishers like Marvelous, and the fact Lovedelic-style games hardly ever get announced at a big tradeshow, means that there was nothing to report. I’d almost given up hope and then a bunch of little tidbits arrived at once. Here’s a round-up…

  • Tiny Cartridge has a nice little news piece about the fortunes of struggling developer Audio Inc, claiming that Sakura Note came close to being localised by Ignition, only to be denied release after some consideration, and that Akira Ueda believes Space Agency would work extremely well on the Nintendo 3DS.
  • Toni, the English editor for the Captain Rainbow fan translation has posted in our comments section to say that he believes the project will be complete in around 3 months! I’m very excited about this one. 🙂
  • Route24’s latest game, Followars, has been released for iPad. I played it today and have to say that I’m not that impressed. It’s a 2-player only battle game that uses stats generated from those you choose to “follow” on Twitter. There’s no interaction beyond which people you choose for your party and the whole thing comes across as a modern version of Barcode Battler. It could be rather novel as a free download but as a game there are much better things to spend £1.79 on.
  • Skip’s latest game has also been released today. Previously available in Europe as Art Style: Penta Tentacles, it’s now up on the US WiiWare store as Art Style: Rotozoa. I haven’t had chance to play it, since I’m currently broke, but it sure does look fun.

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Art Style: Light Trax was released last Monday and I have to say that it’s quite excellent. Don’t take my word for it though. Take my review for it.

Also: Nintendaan is reporting that Europe gets Art Style: Penta Tentacles tomorrow morning. I just can’t keep up!

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I’m super busy as usual and haven’t had chance to update the blog as much as I’d like. Thank Jesus for creating the big Easter break, so I can finally get stuff done. 🙂 Here’s everything of interest that I can recall happening.

  • CING, the co-developer of Little King’s Story, has filed for bankruptcy.
    What can I say? I’m really sorry to see such a talented developer go under, but then I’m not really surprised either. LKS aside, CING’s output has been a little one note. I loved Another Code when it was first released, but Hotel Dusk and Another Code R didn’t really do anything to evolve on the concept. Even though CING is now gone, we still have two more of their games to look forward to in the recently released Again: Eye Of Providence and Hotel Dusk sequel Last Window. I’ll be picking both up out of curiosity but I’m not holding my breath for either to be a swansong.
  • Punchline’s website disappeared
    I’m certain that Punchline was abandoned a couple of years ago, but the official website did stick around for a while until it finally went kaput at the beginning of this year. Incidentally, I recently picked up a copy of Chulip on eBay. It’s a wonderful little game, full of Yoshiro Kimura’s unique brand of humour and with a ‘go there, fetch that, please this guy’ gameplay that reminds me of Lovedelic and Skip’s best adventure games. The disc is widely and cheaply available on eBay so I strongly suggest you get a copy if you don’t have one already.
  • Route24 has some new games in the works
    Marvelous Entertainment is set to publish Route24’s first iPad exclusive game, Followars – a multiplayer RPG that will pull data from your Twitter account in order to generate stats. Marvelous got in touch with me a few days ago and asked if we could pass on a message from Kenichi Nishi. Here it is: “Hi to all Twitter and iPad’s fans! And even if you are not, hi to you too! To be honest, I don’t have any clue why you fight in Followars, I really wanted to create a fun game.
    Right now, I’m still really busy trying to brush it up, see what works or adding new stuff but I’m confident that Followars will be a great social game so please give it a try!”
    . Personally I’m not that interested in Followars, as I don’t have a Twitter account and don’t intend to get one. Nor am I that bothered about Geotrion, another Nishi project currently in the works for iPhone and iPod Touch, since it seems to rely heavily on GPS functionality – another bit of tech I don’t use. If you feel differently then why not get involved in the limited beta test? Nishi does seem committed to the app store space, and I look forward to seeing what other unusual ideas he has planned – I just wish they were more character/story based, just because of my personal tastes.
  • Nintendo released video of the new Art Style games
    There’s still no release date for Skip’s latest experimental creations but we do have video! Check out Rotozoa here and Light Trax here. I’d originally written of the latter as a simple remake of bit Generations: Dot Stream, but the new 3D visuals definitely seem to give it that extra something. Speaking of Art Style, and 3D, surely Skip can cook up something really special and unique for Nintendo’s accidentally announced ‘3DS’ handheld? I look forward to being proved right.
  • Space Agency development seems to be progressing
    Akira Ueda at Audio Inc recently updated his blog with a pretty detailed look at Space Agency. I’m not sure if this project has acquired a publisher yet but I really hope it does. I’ve always loved the idea of a space exploration RPG but rarely find a game that can get the tone exactly as I want it. Star Control II and Puzzle Quest Galactrix are just about the only games in the sub-genre I’ve ever warmed to and, just recently, I was looking forward to Platinum’s Infinite Space only to find that it’s extreeeeeeeemly dull. Here’s hoping that Space Agency can get things right. I certainly seems to be good fun.

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Nintendo recently held a bunch of media summits all across the globe, unveiling its line-up for the months ahead. There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the announcement that both Metroid Other M and Super Mario Galaxy 2 will hit this summer. And I can’t blame anyone for that. The original Mario Galaxy is, in my opinion, the single finest game ever made – a title that was, for me, long held by Tetris for some 23 years before Galaxy came along.

Hidden among such monolithic announcements, however, was news that we can expect a couple more WiiWare Art Style games this year. Here’s the details, straight from Nintendo.

As the techno music pulses, Nintendo’s Art Style™: light trax™ puts players in charge of a white beam of light as it engages in a surreal race against other beams across a dark track. Players must keep away from obstacles, use items and look for power boosts if they want to finish first. Art Style: light trax launches this spring.

Swim and spin through the primordial ooze in Nintendo’s Art Style: Rotozoa™ as you absorb tiny organisms that match the colors of your tentacles. As you absorb more organisms, your tentacles grow. The challenge increases as additional tentacles are gained, but power-ups can help you survive and thrive. Art Style: Rotozoa launches this spring.

There’s no info on who the developer might be but we can safely assume that it’s Skip since Light Trax seems to be a 2.5D* remake of Bit Generations: Dotstream. Rotozoa, on the other hand, seems to be completely new, so that’s where my money will be going.

*2.5D, by the way, is a term I find utterly detestable since its meaning is so ill-defined. I take it to mean a game that has 3D visuals and 2D gameplay. But the term is thrown around so carelessly these days that it’s lost a lot of meaning and has become a lazy catchall phrase for a group of games that actually behave very differently when you look at them in detail. I almost wish I hadn’t used it in this post now that I’ve ranted on… But I guess I’m a lazy games pundit too.

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Skip discuss Art Style

Just a quick post to say that you really should get issue 89 of games™* this month. It features a 4-page article on the Art Style series, in which the first six DSiWare titles are reviewed and various members of Skip talk about the making of the series. It’s a short interview but it does have a couple of revelations, including the previously unknown fact that Skip was once working on a Motionplus sports game for the Wii.

Who would have believed that? Not me. Sports games are about as far away from Skip’s usual output as it’s possible to get. But then Art Style Cubello did start out as an FPS, so maybe they would have done something interesting with the genre.

In other Art Style news – the bit Generations title, Digidrive was recently released under the Art Style label, on DSi, as Intersect. I didn’t report on it at the time, since the game is made by Q Games, and not Skip, but I might as well mention it here for completion’s sake.

*Subscribers should have their copy now, while everyone else will be able to buy the issue from this Thursday onward.

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Well, folks. It’s been a hell of a long time since I last posted here and I really must apologise.

Sorry!

Where have I been? Well, I moved house back in the middle of July and didn’t manage to get the internet installed until this week. THANK YOU very much, Talk, Talk!

So what did this blog miss while I was away? A hell of a lot as it turns out. Here’s everything I can remember:

Welcome Home-Chibi Robo was released in Japan. I have my copy and I can confirm that it is a truly excellent game. It’s a lot like the GameCube version but with great touch controls and some lovely new gadgets. Sadly, I spoke to Nintendo a few weeks ago and they confirmed that there are no plans to release the game in the UK. Happily, however, it’s totally import friendly.

The new Tingle game – Color Changing Tingle’s Love Balloon Trip – was also released in Japan and has also been denied a UK release. My copy hasn’t arrived yet but, from what I’ve read, it seems to be quite a departure from the last game and is more akin to a point-and-click, consisting mostly of locked room puzzles.

Akira Ueda, longtime Lovedelic collaborator and creator of Contact, has announced a new DS game called Sakura Note. The official website has a few screens and some video footage that show off a rather unique art style, mixing 16-bit sprites with digitized photographic backgrounds. Hideo Minaba, who worked on Little King’s Story, is also developing Sakura Note.

Speaking of Little King’s Story. The rather brilliant Wii game has finally been released in the States and is about to be released in Japan, where it is being promoted in a typically wacky way.

Fans of the Art Style games should look forward to issue 89 of gamesTM, on sale at the end of October as, if everything goes to plan, it will feature an interview with several member of Skip about their popular DSiWare series.

And that’s about all I can remember. I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed but it’s been a busy couple of months. If I recall any other news then I’ll post it in the next few days.

In the meantime, I’d like to do something unusual and recommend a few non-Lovedelic games that I’ve been playing this summer. In the last two weeks I’ve been mostly playing Bionic Commando, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Professor Layton And The Diabolical Box, Blood Bowl, Wii Sports Resort, Machinarium, Tales Of Monkey Island and Space Invaders Infinity Gene.

If you have the chance to play any of these games then I suggest you do so. They’re all excellent in their own way.

Oh and look forward to Heavy Rain next year. I finally got a chance to play a little of it and I really do think it will change the way stories are told in games. Believe the hype, as they say.

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