Indie Incoming – ‘Slain!’ and ‘Death’s Gambit’ two side scrollers to watch for

I’m going to highlight two indie side scrollers that have me feeling the want – ‘Slain!’ and ‘Death’s Gambit’

Both technically fall into very similar categories of pixely action side scrollers with swords, but that’s like saying Metallica and Hanson are the same because they both use guitars (neither game is Hanson in this simile). No, these two games have similarities, but each scratches an itch in very different places.

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I happened upon Andrew Gilmour while perusing #screenshotsaturday. He was showing his work for some game called Slain (@SlainWBG). I was immediately mesmerized/disgusted/hooked.

The pixelart is simply astonishing. The level of detail in all aspects is amazing. Characters, backgrounds, weapons, scenery, blood/the color red are all on point.

To my eye, this is what the advancement of the 16 bit era pixelart would have become way back when if polygons hadn’t become the de facto graphics style during the N64/PS1 era for AAA titles. The Saturn seemed to be the platform to go to for that look, and we know how that story ended.

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And this was just from the twitter gifs. Now take a look and listen to the gameplay video.

That soundtrack. It’s too perfect. I’m not heavy metal, but this game makes me wish I was.

Slain! is on track to release towards the end of 2015, so keep a close eye out.

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So you may have seen the video with Dan P interviewing the developer of Death’s Gambit, Jean Canellas (@JeanCanellas) at PAX (if you haven’t, here you go).

First thing that smashes you in the face when you look the game’s way – the slightly dark yet vibrant color palette. It has a Transistor quality to it (which is a compliment) and the color contrast is striking. Animations are smooooth – the characters, the bosses, and the environments that rush past with a parallax effect all contribute to a beautiful view. The attention to detail is obvious, but an even bigger deal might be the game’s mechanics.

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The need to respect the enemy’s range and capabilities and use the appropriate moves at the right time in order to survive. There’s nothing like well timed blocks and counters in an action game.

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The biggest thing I took away from the interview was the influences Jean notes and just how prevalent they are once you realize they’re there. You can see the Shadow of the Colossus influence in the boss that has to be scaled to fight. You can also see how influential Dark Souls games are based on the cadence during battles with the shield block and roll. The best part is that the influence isn’t heavy handed nor is it a rip off – you may not even notice if you weren’t told about them.

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

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Here is the official trailer below – keep an eye out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Again, two games in a similar vein, but totally different execution. Two games I can’t wait to own.