Ultimate Chicken Horse is a party platformer being developed by Clever Endeavour Games and will be available for purchase on Steam, but will also have later Xbox One and PS4 releases. In Ultimate Chicken Horse players can build and play through platforming levels by themselves or alongside their friends as cute animals. You will want to make the level as difficult as you can imagine so that you’re enemies can’t reach the end, but you can! If you’ve got a strategical mind and some serious platforming skills, Ultimate Chicken Horse is yours to master!
Unique Game Flow: Players will need to master switching between placing blocks and platforming with their animal all so that they can beat the competition to the end of the level.
Large Block Library: Learn how to use different types of blocks and traps to your advantage in a variety of ways.
Multiplayer Madness: Play against your friends and try to stop them from reaching the end of the level, but don’t forget to get yourself to the end of the level as well!
RollerCoaster Tycoon World is the latest installment of the RCT franchise developed by Nvizzio Creations and is available on PC and SteamOS + Linux. In RollerCoaster Tycoon World you can build the theme park of your very dreams in a stunning 3D environment, complete with gorgeous scenery, exciting rides, and guests eager to experience your creations! Although the game is primarily focused on creating awesome rides, don’t forget about your shops either. You will need to install bathrooms and different types of vendors to keep your guests happy and around to experience even more of your them park! RollerCoaster Tycoon World will allow you to experience all of your favorite RCT features, along with some new ones that will help you truly become a theme park tycoon!
3D Track Editor: Use the new 3D track editor to completely manipulate coaster tracks to your heart’s content.
Themed Zones: Create themed zones within your park to please guests with particular preferences and increase their happiness even more!
Social Integration: Use the Steam Workshop so other players can try out your creations and use sharing options that are integrated into the game to share your creations with your friends.
Advanced Physics: Enjoy some of the most advanced physics offered in a RollerCoaster Tycoon game, allowing you to build RollerCoasters that will ride the lining between thrilling ride or complete deathtrap!
We’re all used to Perfect World Entertainment as a publisher of free to play MMOs here in the West, but it isn’t all the company is good for. The publisher’s pairing with outside developers has resulted in them bringing Torchlight and Blacklight Retribution, and now, Tuque’s Livelock. I met with PWE and Tuque at PAX South to get a hands on demo of the game and learn more.
Livelock will be Tuque’s first published game, and is a top down action RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world. All life has been annihilated on Earth, but three humans have survived through an upload of their consciousness. Now, those three humans are being redeployed through linking their consciousness to human-like war machines in order to uncover what has happened to the world and perhaps reclaim a new hope for humanity. The first of these characters is Hex, the game’s marksman. He relies on powerful ranged weapons and actively mobile skills to fight enemies. The second and third characters have yet to be revealed, but will include a melee-type and support-type character.
The team first demo’d Hex running solo in a mission across a barren landscape – well, barren if we’re talking about the lack of plant life, at least. As Hex sprinted across the map, more and more enemies began to swarm him. Each enemy, the team explained, has its own unique AI and attacks, often several attacks depending on their range to the player. Constant swarms of metallic bugs would try to close the distance to Hex and, if not stopped, would climb on him and slow his movement. Another enemy which harvests algae would set off a secondary explosion after death, allowing Hex to set off a chain reaction to damage his enemies. I could see how each enemy acted independently but intelligently, making it clear that skill, not brute force, was necessary to take down foes. But that’s not all Hex has to offer.
Each character has its own customizable loadout. At the beginning of each mission, players can choose between two primary weapons, two specialty weapons, and two launchers. Primary weapons can fire endlessly, but the character’s other two weapons are capable of overheating and must be used wisely. Characters also can bring three skills with them into battle. The first two skill slots are open to the player’s choice (perhaps choosing stealth over a dash), while the third “ultimate” ability remains static. As players gain experience and resources, they can add additional power-ups to these skills that can add further tactical advantages. Loadouts can’t be changed during missions, but players can swap between missions.
One thing that Tuque emphasized is that they wanted the game to be more reliant on skill than grinding. As a result, there is no character progression. Instead, players will find progression in enhancing their weapons and skills. Power gaps are essentially non-existent: the only difference between players is their skill level and understanding of how to battle each enemy. There will also be no sort of matchmaking system for the game’s co-op mode. The goal is to make a game that’s not only fun solo, but that offers an enjoyable co-op experience without requiring level grinds to catch up with friends or find others to play with.
After seeing the game’s basic systems in action, I hopped in game with the team in the game’s co-op mode. Our chosen mission was to push across a bridge along with NPC troops. The high sensitivity of the controls took a short amount of time to get used to, but allowed for excellently precise aiming. As a twin-stick shooter with a big difficulty curve, Livelock benefits from this highly responsive control system. The current controls were also very intuitive: left and right sticks controlled movement and aiming respectively, right trigger acts as a shoot, left trigger activates the ultimate ability, and the remainder of the controller buttons allow for activating special skills and changing weapons.
Moving across the bridge together, the waves of enemies continued to get stronger, but I was also getting the hang of the controls. Knowing how to use Hex’s dash to move out of enemy fire, or close a gap to help an ally, was one key skill I had to pick up. Another was learning how to aim Hex’s ultimate, which appears about 15 feet in front of the character and takes a few seconds to deploy before blasting a mega orbital laser that destroys just about anything in its path. Hex also has a useful armor piercing round for when enemies are coming in hot and can be funneled though a choke point.
The end boss of the area was a massive turret-like creation that spanned the width of the bridge, blocking our passing. With a machine gun head larger than a car, it was a menacing sight to see. Thankfully the boss telegraphed its attacks and moved slowly enough that we could keep out of its range of fire as we unleashed our own energy barrage. On its defeat, the boss dropped a couple of pieces of loot, both cosmetic items. The game’s loot system is very minimalistic, but cosmetic items are the key rewards, letting players change colors, wear capes, and flaunt their personal style without affecting gameplay.
We finished the mission successfully with only one death (my own sloppy failure to retreat), but then again, that was just normal difficulty. Livelock will have multiple difficulty levels, and will have both a story-based campaign mode and a mode featuring procedurally generated levels for endless replayability. I was pleased to find out that in addition to the overarching story, each character will have its own backstory to uncover as the game progresses. Not only that, but unlike some co-op games where player #1’s story takes center stage, Livelock’s character stories will be revealed personally, meaning that players will see and hear dialogue and audiologs relevant only to their active character.
While there wasn’t much of it to see in the PAX South demo build, Livelock will also feature a lot of co-op synergy. A large part of this is the game’s bonus to positional attacks, meaning enemies take more damage from the back than the front. Teams can use this to their advantage by coordinating one team member to draw aggro while the other two move behind to take out high priority targets. With two characters yet to be revealed, there’s promises of more ways that characters can work together tactically to take down enemies.
Livelock isn’t just an exciting project for Tuque; it’s another new step forward for Perfect World as well. True, Livelock is one of the very few buy-to-play games to be published under the Arc-brella. It’s also the first title that PWE will be launching across Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC simultaneously as it’s ready to hit all three platforms out of the box. Alex Monney, Communications Manager from Perfect World, added that Perfect World’s focus is more about bringing quality, fun games to gamers than just publishing the next hot fad on the market.
PWE has worked closely with Tuque to fine tune Livelock into something incredibly fun. It’s a little like Dead Nation or Helldivers, with insane amounts of enemies and skill challenges that will make progression more personal and achievements more satisfying. With a very polished demo build already, the teams are looking for a 2016 release date, and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product.
With a name like Ultimate Chicken Horse, how could you go wrong? This curious title from Clever Endeavour offers players a unique party game that challenges you to reach the goal. Sounds simple? Oh, did I forget the part where everyone chooses an obstacle or platform every round to make this goal easier or harder? Sorry about that. I guess reaching that goal isn’t going to be as easy as it first sounds.
With the game launch about a month away, the Clever Endeavour team was showcasing their little gem for people to play. MissyS and I got to compete against two complete strangers in the game’s Pyramid level, and while it started out quite whimsical and fun, it quickly turned quite strategic as each of us sought to undermine the others with our placement of objects. If you took the classic arcade game Rampart, gave it a dose of Little Big Planet, and threw in some Speedrunners, you can start to understand how this game works a little better.
There are currently seven different animal characters to choose from, differing only in appearance. Each round you select an object from the Party Box, which can range from simple platforms to devious traps. Each item can only be grabbed by one player, leading to a madhouse grab for the best (and worst) looking objects first. Next up you have a chance to place that object on the stage pretty much anywhere. You can rotate the object, stack it on another object, or in some cases, use it to make an existing object more dangerous (like adding barbed wire traps or ice traps). The whole idea is to make a map that keeps your competition from reaching the goal – while you can still get past it.
In fact, you get points for completing the stage, and bonus points for finishing first, finishing solo, for each trap you’ve placed that eliminates a player; even collecting a cleverly placed coin in the stage will lead to rewards. The person that reaches the end of the score bar after each round is the winner of the match (which was me; Raccoon game too stronk).
UCH has a nice handful of levels currently, and quite a few tricks and traps to play with. Each level really is as easy or difficult as you all make it. Make it easy enough that everyone reaches the goal, however, and no one gets points. Not getting defeated by your own traps, though, is also a challenge, especially in later rounds when crossbows are firing and a black hole looms right over the goal.
The team also explained their vision for the future of Ultimate Chicken Horse, with a desire for Mario Maker style levels that people can build and challenge their friends to complete. The idea is that these stages can be shared and offer a base challenge on which players continue to add obstacles and traps as they would on a normal stage. If you’re thinking Rube Goldberg device, so was I. With this added ambition, Ultimate Chicken Horse is a solid party game that’s sure to provide some hilarious outtakes.
You know what’s popular these days? Party games. Oh, and battle arenas. Stealth games are on the rise too, especially after Metal Gear Solid V. So why not mash them together into a single-screen game and let the mayhem begin?
That’s the premise behind Invisigun Heroes, one of the games showcased at the PAX Rising booth where a select few indie games are showcased with direct developer face-time. I met with Shadi Muklashy to learn more about this creative title.
An advanced game of peek-a-boo.
Featuring 2-4 players with optional AI bots to fill in the gaps, Invisigun Heroes drops the players into a single-screen arena filled symmetrically with environmental obstacles. And, with only a second to see where your feet have landed, you’re gone, cloaked in invisibility – along with the rest of the players in the arena. You will have to pay attention to sounds, the grid-based map, and small tells in order to not only locate your enemies, but also to be aware of your own surroundings.
Players are uncovered in a few ways, some of which depend on the environment. If you bump into an object, it’ll turn the same color as your character, giving away your location. In a snowy map, footsteps will be left behind in the snow as you move. Sentries and special skills can also reveal players on the map. Of course, using a skill or taking a shot at your enemy will also expose you, so every moment and action you make has to count. Each character has its own special skill, and eight heroes are already planned.
While describing the game mechanics makes the game seem slow, in reality games play out very quickly as players scramble to kill each other before they’re spotted. In a few rounds I watched on the floor, usually the first few rounds would be indecisive, followed by a clear victor emerging as they adapted to the gameplay and their environment. This is only enhanced by the game’s audio (not very distinct on a busy PAX show floor), but which is carefully crafted to give away each step.
Currently the game features 5 planets with ten maps each, giving players a full variety of 50 maps to play on. Some environmental objects are destructible while others remain more permanently. Shadi revealed that he has a lot of additional ideas for the game’s map systems, including special tiles like ice that slide the player, The big goal however is to be expected: a map editor that will allow players to create and submit their own playable maps to the community.
Invisigun Heroes also has several game modes already built in, from the direct “last man standing” of Survival to kill-count based Hunter. The Carrier mode offers an interesting twist, as the player to carry the relic the longest wins, but is visible while carrying and can’t fire. Currently all modes are versus with no team-based play, although Shadi remains open to the possibility if it can be created and balanced properly. In fact, we shot ideas back and forth for a while, and it’s clear that the developer has an upbeat and open attitude toward developing the game to be fun and fair.
Currently Invisigun Heroes is on Kickstarter, and the project runs until February 20. I’ve got to add here that I’m impressed by the Kickstarter campaign. It has a modest base goal ($32,000), an impressively rewarding tier system – starting with the ability to add a custom taunt into the game just for backing the game at any amount over one dollar. Already about halfway through its funding goal, Invisigun Heroes looks like promising fun for both couch and online competitive play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see it being a popular YouTube and Twitch game after its launch.
It’s hard to believe how fast Vainglory has rocketed into eSports success. At last year’s inaugural PAX South, I talked with the game’s developer and publisher, Super Evil Megacorp, about the budding possibility of eSports for the handcrafted mobile MOBA. At the time, Vainglory lacked a spectator mode and hadn’t yet launched on Android. A year later, Vainglory’s wrapped up its first seasonal tournament and awarded $350,000 in prize money. With new announcements about Vainglory’s expanding eSports presence, along with its upcoming Lunar New Year patch, I sat down with Heini Vesander, Marketing & Communications Director at Super Evil Megacorp, to catch up.
Part of Vainglory’s continued push into the eSports arena is the hiring of Vaingloryleague founders Tomek “bluberryz” Borowka and Jonathan “DonJon” Sakoucky. Vaingloryleague (VGL), the biggest Vainglory eSports community, has been around since the game’s beta in Singapore. Tomek and Jon are being brought on to help expand Vainglory’s eSports programs into new territories, including South America, Korea, and Southeast Asia. In Korea, Vainglory is partnering with OGN. In Japan, a special cage match style tournament is being organized. While some of these international events may be less frequent as the NA/EU season, it’s a huge headway for Vainglory.
Another sign of health for Vainglory’s eSports is Media Pixel eSport’s acquisition by Team Secret, one of the top Dota 2 eSports teams. Media Pixel eSport was the French team that won the European Autumn Championship. This marks the first non-PC title for Team Secret to include in its eSports roster, and marks a significant recognition for mobile eSports in a PC-dominated market.
Why has Vainglory gotten so popular? I’m sure that one of the key factors is its accessibility, something we praised at our meeting last year. With mobile phones so widely used, Vainglory opens up a competitive scene to a massive market. There’s no need for an expensive PC setup worth thousands of dollars in order to compete.
Another key factor is in Vainglory’s design, built from scratch with mobile in mind. Many mobile MOBAs feature large and intrusive UIs, traditional three-lane maps that are difficult to navigate on a small screen, and awkward swipe and gesture controls. Vainglory, on the other hand, considered the challenges of mobile design from the beginning, crafting a minimalistic UI, new single-lane map design, and familiar but adapted MOBA mechanics that are better suited to the tap-and-act playstyle of mobile.
With Vainglory’s recent launch of the Winter Season patch, another round of competition is about to go underway. Over 800 teams have registered for this season internationally, and dates and venues have been announced for the North American and European competitions. Winter Championships will take place in Santa Ana, California from March 11-13; European Championships will be held at the Gfinity Arena in London from March 18-20. Tickets are available now on Eventbrite.
Outside of the eSports arena, Vainglory is also preparing to launch Update 1.14 within the coming weeks. This patch celebrates the Lunar New Year with a limited map skin, a limited edition Lunar New Year skin for Koshka, a new Rona skin, and a new hero: Ozo.
The Lunar New Year map features traditional Chinese red lanterns, along with fireworks in the background, setting a festive atmosphere. While it’s not something you may notice during the heat of a match, looking over the edge to watch a distant explosion of fireworks is a lovely touch from the game’s environmental artist.
As this year marks the Year of the Monkey, Ozo himself is a monkey-like character with a ringed blade. Designed with the mobility of a jungler in mind, Ozo’s weapon path offers him a damage focus while crystal will gear him more towards being a tank. Ozo’s first ability is a three-in-one (the first of its kind in Vainglory), a chain combo that’s activated manually. The first attack is a direct strike, while the second attack closes distance with a short dash, and the third runs through and past the opponent entirely, putting Ozo on the opposite side. His second ability is a bounce attack. His ultimate, which only works on enemy heroes, sends Ozo jumping in and throwing the enemy over his shoulders.
It’s shaping up to be another exciting and expanding year for Vainglory. There’s no more ignoring Vainglory’s force as a leader in the mobile eSports market, especially given their incredibly fast rise to fame. With its expanding market into serious global arenas in only a year’s time, Vainglory is a real star. I can only imagine where it will be in another year’s time.