When it comes to Kickstarter funded spiritual successors, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a prime example of one done right. The campaign hit all its goals with ease, raking in a massive $5.5 million in the process. The screenshots and trailers made the game look amazing, with its gameplay being everything a Castlevania fan could want from a follow up.
And unlike Mighty No 9 and Yooka-Laylee, there hasn’t been a single controversy dragging the thing down. It’s just been done professionally in general.
Which is only supported even more by this fantastic new trailer released for this year’s E3! Here it is:
As you can tell, it’s everything you could want from such a game. You’ve got some good graphics and catchy music. The gameplay looks as solid as ever (and as close to Castlevania as is legally possible). Really, it just looks as good as you’d expect it to be.
What more can you say?
Admit it. When you hear that a old school video game franchise is making a comeback, what kind of series do you expect it to be?
Something like Crash Bandicoot or Banjo-Kazooie, a classic that everyone knows and loves?
Maybe a lesser known NES era title like Mach Rider (to go with Punch Out and Kid Icarus before it)?
Yeah, that seems reasonable to us too. But whatever you choose, it’s pretty likely Bubsy isn’t it. After all, the series wasn’t exactly held in high regard to begin with. The games got mediocre reviews, people considered the character annoying, and any attempt at moving into other mediums kind of fell rather flat (like the infamous cartoon pilot).
But it seems the series is coming back anyway. Yes, Bubsy: The Woolies Return has just been announced for PS4 and PC, and you can watch the first trailer for yourself right here:
As you can see, it looks okay so far. Not quite amazing, but better than the old school Bubsy games none the less. It’s also got quite a good developer behind it too, with Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams dev Black Forest Games being the company behind this Bubsy Revival.
However, regardless of quality, the game still raises a few key questions. Namely, who exactly is this title aimed at?
Longtime Bubsy fans will presumably like it, and a certain percentage of retro gamers will buy it for nostalgia’s sake. But… who exactly in the mainstream was desperate for this guy to return?
We’re not sure really. Add the stiff competition its against this year (Super Mario Odyssey, Sonic Mania and Forces, Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy), and it’ll be interesting to see quite how it performs. Will it find an audience? Or will the popular platformers just completely overshadow this one?
Either way though, Bubsy is back. And his game might actually be quite good this time around!
When Yooka-Laylee was released back in April, it got a… somewhat mixed reception. On the bright side, people generally quite like the characters, the core gameplay and the aesthetics, with reviews usually stating that the game followed Banjo’s lead pretty well in that respect.
On the negative side though… well the complaints were pretty widespread. You had talk about dodgy camera controls, harking back to an issue the genre has had to deal with for decades. There were comments about random gameplay mechanics and elements that didn’t quite work (like mini games, butterfly collectables and minecart sections). Even the minor stuff got criticism here. Like the voice clips many reviewers considered grating.
Fortunately though, it seems Playtonic Games has been listening! That’s because as the article title suggests, they’re patching up many of Yooka-Laylee’s faults with their next update.
For example, the notoriously finicky minecarts and arcade games have received control improvements and design tweaks respectively. Which should improve two notoriously weak elements of the game.
The Rampo boss fight has received improvements too. Again, it’s been a common target of criticism here, with comments about the sliding mechanics and their awkwardness being legion online. So Playtonic have made improvements to it too. Hopefully in a way that makes sliding back down the ramp less of a chore.
Camera changes are included in the patch as well. For example, there are now ‘less scripted cameras’ and door cam changes here. This hopefully means it won’t change angle at a whim. Or say, wildly switch views mid jump like it sometimes does in the existing game.
And for those who disliked the weird speech… well that’s been taken care of too. With both an option for shorter voice sound FX and a speech volume option. No more having to deal with annoying voices here!
Add a few other changes too (like diagrams showing attack controls in the menu and cutscenes being skippable with the Y button), and you’ve got quite a few useful quality of life improvements for the game.
But that still leaves one common question unanswered. Namely:
“What happened to the Nintendo Switch version?”
Rest assured, Playtonic answers that in their post too. Indeed, they’re apparently near the ‘Nintendo Switch specific testing’ stage, with a final release coming shortly after. So assuming it goes well… You shouldn’t be waiting much longer for Yooka-Laylee.
Here’s a picture if you want to see it for yourself:
As you can see, it looks good!
Just like the rest of the game really. It had a rough start, but it seems Playtonic is improving it significantly with the update here. So yeah, Yooka-Laylee is getting better. Let’s hope the updated game turns out to be the fantastic 3D platformer everyone was originally anticipating!
Green and Purple Update (Playtonic Games
When it comes to Sonic Mania, we’ve seen a fair few levels already. There’s been a desert level, based on a scrapped zone in the classic trilogy. A new take on Green Hill Zone, which is basically law for the franchise now. A city level set on skyscrapers called Studiopolis Zone.
Basically, we know about a decent amount of the levels. But now it seems another one has been seen too!
Yes, as the title suggests, footage of a mysterious new Sonic Mania level has been spotted at the Vegas’ Licensing Expo. This was found by a user called BionicBuzz on Twitter, who forwarded it onto BlueParadox to share the news online.
So here’s the latter’s tweet on the subject:
Plus a cleared up version of the pic courtesy of Source Gaming’s Nirbion:
As you can see, it seems to be a sort of… castle type environment. This is unusual for the Sonic series (especially in 2D), and has led to some interesting speculation about what exactly it means. These possibilities for the level include:
- It being a hotel, based on the old fashioned décor and colour scheme
- Or a water palace/temple.
- Perhaps a laboratory of some kind, set in an old building. I mean, Eggman has certainly taken off lots of old structures like this before, hasn’t he?
Heck, I’ve even seen suggestions of it being a greenhouse or floating temple. Either way, it’s a unique zone concept, and one that wouldn’t fit too out of place in a Castlevania game. Like the one likely to be announced to go with the TV show!
But hey, what do you think? Does this mystery level interest you?
Post your thoughts on it here or on social media today!
In recent times, fan game development has become a bit more difficult than usual. It’s been under fire from lawyers and internet sites, with claims going around that it’s of questionable legality. It’s seen an increase in take downs from paranoid companies (like Nintendo and Konami). And with the recent track record of projects released to classics like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, many developers are now looking for an alternative.
And in most cases, that means turning to indie game development. Or just rebranding their projects so they’re not based on an existing IP.
So here are some examples of this. Here are some examples of fan game creators becoming professional game developers, starting with a small company you may not have heard about yet…
Despite actually knowing the fan games they’ve developed. Why? Because the folks at Fusion Gameworks were responsible for Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, Super Mario Fusion Revival and Mega Man Day in the Limelight. Yes, that Mushroom Kingdom Fusion:
The one where Mario (and a bunch of other characters) save the multiverse from the forces of evil in an absolutely gigantic mega crossover. That was these guys’ first (and most well known) project.
Since then though, they’ve slowly gotten tired of the fan game world, eventually culminating in their recent decision to stop making them altogether. That’s in part because of Nintendo’s recent fan project shut downs, and the team deciding Super Mario Fusion Revival (their most recent project) was too risky to continue in that form.
So they quit fan game development for the time being, and are working on a bunch of indie games with a similar gameplay style to their fan projects. I can’t say more than that yet, but they do look really good none the less.
And hey, talking of crossover fan game devs, they’re not the only ones to have moved to the indie scene…
Oh no, their ‘rivals’ in crossover fan game development are doing likewise. That’s because Exploding Rabbit are the creators of a game called Super Mario Bros Crossover, and they’ve also decided to move into the realm of indie games.
They’ve done this with a game called Glitch Strikers, a 2D platformer mixing various gameplay styles from the eight bit era. This project (previously titled Super Retro Squad) was announced back in 2012 and had a successful Kickstarter campaign to go with it, raising over $50,000 from more than 1,800 backers.
Unfortunately, that’s where the story kind of goes a bit wrong. Why? Because it turned out that $50,000 isn’t really all that much in the greater scheme of things, and the title’s development eventually collapsed on itself. This was not taken well by certain people online. Nor by certain gaming blogs, who accused them of ‘spending the money on a house’ or funding it with Super Mario Bros Crossover revenue.
Still, it’s back in development now, with a new trailer:
And more updates on their official site and YouTube channel. Hopefully this revitalised attempt at making the game will work out a bit better than their first one.
Either way, onto a slightly more experienced example of fan game dev turned pro now. Why more experienced?
Well, because they’ve actually made multiple games. Two full titles in a series called Last Legacy, and without having to raise any funding for either on Kickstarter.
But this wasn’t where they started off. Oh no, they started off with some fairly well known fan game projects beforehand, and those were what they build their name on. Said projects were a Super Mario 64 demake called Super Mario Sunshine 64:
Plus a more advanced one called Super Mario 63:
Both were damn impressive works in general, and their indie works were arguably just as good. So yeah, it seems making the move from fan games to indie games can be done successfully.