Link Dump Friday №314
There might be a lot of creeping crawling horror in this week's Link Dump Friday, proving that apparently enough of us are twisted to the point where it's Halloween year 'round, but there's more than enough to counteract that too. From a heroic mouse searching for something unknown on an island beset by bipedal rats, to a huge update to one of the year's best indie games, a sneak peek at genetically twisted kittens, and even the sequel to one of the most engrossing visual novels of 2012.
News and Previews
Just Get Right Into It Runic Games' stellar indie action RPG Torchlight 2 is one of those games you sort of live in perpetual fear of someone mentioning, because you know as soon as they do, you're going to go spend another twelve hours grinding away at it and love every second. Well, it's about to get a whole lot more addictive, because the Torchlight 2 editor GUTS has finally been released. But even if modding isn't your thing, this recent update still has a lot to get excited about, from new monsters and pets (like the Headcrab!) to new endgame content, so get updating and get playing!
Do You Always Hurt the Ones You Love? There's really no reason not to be familiar with fantastic writer Christine Love's work, since she's released some really spectacular free work, but her last pay visual novel, Analogue: A Hate Story was particularly engrossing for a lot of reasons. Soon, you're going to take another trip with AIs Mute and Hyun-ae as you discover the truth behind the strange events on the starship Mugunghwa that lead to the events in Analogue. Hate Plus: ~Mute's Golden Days~ is the upcoming direct sequel that will take players deeper into the story than ever before, and will read off your save data, allowing you to continue the narrative in a way that expands on whatever ending you got. In addition to new art and music, the game promises you'll have to investigate yourself instead of just reading the files your companion gives to you, and you'll find out more about Mute than you ever expected. Look for it this summer and make sure your saves are ready in the meantime!
Weird, But Still Cute We're excited for Edmund McMillen's upcoming "crazy cat lady simulator Mew-Genics!, which will allow you to cross-breed and genetically manipulate a variety of cats for a multitude of purposes, and so all news is good news. Especially this most recent update, which talks more extensively about kittens, how the way they look influences their statistics, and even how they grow into adults. Mew-Genics! is rapidly shaping up into one of those games that could have endless replay value and the potential to really just decimate your spare time, so look forward to it with equal parts apprehension and excitement!
Alone, Vulnerable, Unarmed Some horror games have toyed with making their protagonists vulnerable in different ways, like the original Silent Hill explaining away Harry Mason's general awfulness at combat as him being an unskilled writer, or Amnesia: The Dark Descent's dwindling sanity and general weak squishiness. Red Barrels Games' upcoming action adventure Outlast will take that a step further by planting you, an ordinary unarmed human, in an asylum where you're chased from something very dangerous you'll have to hide from and outwit in order to survive. Planned only for PC release later this year, it's looking like a terrifying but impressive project, with the trailer consisting only of in-game footage that looks, to put it bluntly, both gorgeous and horrifying. Comparisons with Frictional Games' Amnesia and Penumbra games seem inevitable, but given the quality on display here, it's also equally likely this game is going to have more than enough to offer in its own right.
Even Ghosts Can Be Buggy When we first reviewed the free action/strategy game The Haunting of Magnolia Manor, where you played a ghost trying to scare a lot of unwelcome fleshbags out, it had a few nasty bugs playing poltergeist. Not anymore! The game has finally been updated, and should be perfectly playable now, which is something you might want to do if you're a fan of silly spooky retro games that play like that game. You know the one. Right? That game where you're the kid who has the haunt the family, and you had green goop, and it was on Sega Gensis, and... man I'm old.
Bits of Fright Pakarico Games and Curved Cat Games are going to prove horror can come in the tiniest of packages with their upcoming survival horror adventure Catequesis. Looking a bit like what you might get if you asked NimbleBit to design something for the oldest consoles, the game follows Daniel, who discovers after meeting his girlfriend's parents for the first time that her father is supposedly dying, and she believes only a strange religious rite performed by her neighbour can cure him. Things go predictably from bad to worse as the building comes under siege by horrors from beyond the veil, and Daniel finds himself lost and alone in a dangerous situation he'll have to fight his way out of. The style for this one looks fantastic, and it promises to deliver an immersive story on top of classic 90s gameplay. With a planned release this fall for PC, Mac, Linux, and Android, this is definitely one that could deliver the creeps in an unexpected package.
Walking Through Horror The free indie horror adventure Ib was updated last week with new content and endings... and now so is our walkthrough! If you've been wanting to see the new stuff but weren't sure how to go about it, we've got you covered. And if this is your first time playing your way through this supremely freaky and engaging tale, we've got you covered too! So make time in your weekend for Ib and her friends... and whatever you do, don't take your eyes off them...
Terrifying No Matter Where You're From With so many horror concepts centered in either the West or Japan, it's easy to forget just how rich a tradition and mythology can be in other countries rarely examined by foreigners. Digital Happiness wants to change all that with their horror adventure DreadOut, which takes place in Indonesia and draws from the legends that make up its culture. The game, planned DRM-Free for PC, Mac, and Linux, has you control a lost young girl whose only source of light and protection is a mobile phone with a camera. Comparisons with the classic series Fatal Frame seem inevitable, yet DeadOn's cultural setting and rich history could provide a drastically different experience, and that trailer looks absolutely harrowing as well as incredibly well done. Plus, if you're playing on PC, there's a demo you can download and play right now, so make sure to check this one out!
Mice, Not Men You don't need to be big to be a hero, and you don't even need to be human either in the upcoming action-adventure Ghost of a Tale, which puts you in the paws of a tiny mouse in a medieval world populated by animals as you arrive on an island overwhelmed by dead rats. What you're looking for is up to you to discover as you journey and fight your way to puzzles and exploration. To say it's cute is a bit of an understatement, but it's also more than a little beautiful, and could be just the sort of whimsical adventure you've been looking for. Though currently only planned as a DRM-Free PC release, and small in scope given its one-man development team, Ghost of a Tale is shaping up to be something really impressive that could stand out big-time given the chance.
Pixels for a Pittance If you've been wanting to play Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka's retro indie action adventure Anodyne, the Retro Groupee sale might be a great choice to pick it up for a low price along with some other fantastic old-school games. For a minimum price of $3.00USD, you get a whopping nine games, including Anodyne, and that's a great deal no matter how you package it!
Do you know an upcoming indie project or some community gaming related news you think deserves some attention? Send me an e-mail with LINK DUMP FRIDAY in the subject line at dora AT casualgameplay DOT com with the info, and we'll judge it with the all-seeing glare of our own self-importance for inclusion in a future Link Dump Friday article!
Sad, I just bought Anodyne for $7 in the Steam sale. Do you think any of the other games in that bundle are noteworthy?
Unfortunately, I haven't personally played any of those other games myself so I can't comment. :)
While Outlast may well be great, aside from the Amnesia derivation, there's a troubling blurb on the website.
"Q. Is the trailer a pre-rendered cutscene?
A. The trailer is a real-time sequence done in the Unreal Engine. It is highly scripted to better showcase what the final game will be."
In other words: "It is artificially unlike the real game, in order to better showcase what the real game will be."