And the other new development I’ve had in store for this week: introducing Slayers, a new multiplayer (or single-player vs. AI!) game set in the God of Blades universe that creators White Whale Games have released as a free PC/Mac download, in partnership with Venus Patrol.
As you can see on the new Slayers site, White Whale describe the game as the love-child of Robert E. Howard, football, and Bushido Blade, where two players take the role of God of Blades‘ enemy Champions, sending out a stock of foot-soldiers in to do battle “on a desolate bridge for the favor of their blasphemous gods.”
With subtle hints of Nidhogg, Slayers is a deadly tug-of-war to reach your opponent’s side of the bridge — when you do, you can immediately call out your opponent’s Champion (negating any remaining foot-soldier stock), or defeat all of their soldiers to do the same — and face-off, Champion to Champion, for victory.
Even better, when you successfully complete the game, Slayers generates an amazing 70s pulp-fantasty-esque magazine cover, showcasing your victory. We’ve run tournaments of the game both at an earlier meeting of JUEGOS RANCHEROS, and at the most recent Fantastic Arcade, and it’s always gone over amazingly with the crowd, both players and spectators.
The release of Slayers not coincidentally coincides with an update to the original iOS God of Blades, where you’ll find new player-customization features, as well as a new asynchronous multiplayer mode that sees you challenging your friends’ heroes through Game Center. White Whale’s also just set the game at an all-time low 99 cents, so now’s the best time to step into their epic pulp-fantasy-inspired world (as you may have spotted in this earlier Venus Patrol feature).
This is the first, but definitely not the last, partnership of this kind to release games to Venus Patrol’s members and readers — I’ve got a couple more surprises like this lined up through the new year. I look forward to you, as readers, letting us know what you think, and, as developers, if there’s a game you’d like to partner with the site to release like this, drop me a line and we can talk about it more!
Every month, as part of the regular monthly meetings of the Austin, TX independent game community JUEGOS RANCHEROS, we do a very casual & chatty rundown of the ten or so games from the previous month for the audience, to give people — especially those curious onlookers from outside the indie community itself — a look at what they may have missed. The featured games are both local and global, and both indie and, on occasion, a bit-bigger-budget — what binds them together is simply that they’re all amazing.
In keeping with the tongue-in-tobacco-packed-cheek tone, we call these run-downs A Fistful of Indies, which are presented here on Venus Patrol for your reference, each fully-annotated, -linked, and off-the-cuff blurbed, in addition to their home on the JUEGOS RANCHEROS site.
Developer: Exotworking | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“… a brief and clever little short story of a game from Exotworking, a group that includes a guy who’s currently interning at Double Fine, which should give you a hint about the sense of humor you can expect. I won’t go into too much detail & spoil the fun, so let’s just say it’s an exploration of the ethics of the traditional retro platform game & leave it at that.”
“… just recently landed on the 3DS — which is my new favorite way to play it — it’s a serene bedtime story of a game from a Swedish indie called Nifflas, who’s sort of the resident master of quiet, ambient platformers, which is exactly what you should expect from this.”
Developer: The Catamites | Platform: PC/Mac | Get it: Here
“… a 3D dungeon crawler from the same developer of the amazing game Murder Dog. If you’ve played that, you’ll feel right at home with the sort of anarchist punk vibe happening here. If you haven’t, you’ll basically be wolloped across the face by how bizarre and brutalist it is, but underneath the sort of terrifying severity, there is actually a lengthy adventure here.”
Mark of the Ninja
“… a super polished stealth platformer from Klei, and is maybe most remarkable for the fact that it’s the first game that’s given me the choice between pacifism and genocide and I’ve not just chosen but almost like lusted to kill every single person — it’s an incredibly satisfying game all around.”
Developer: Colin Northway | Platform: PC/Mac/Linux | Get it: Here
“… the new game from our friend Colin Northway, best known as the guy with the big mutton chops and a blue safari hat in Spelunky. Like most of his games, this is a heavily physics-based game where you construct your own characters, here by adding limbs & muscles to give them life and solve puzzles. It’s insanely beautiful & super satisfying.”
God of Blades
Developer: White Whale | Platform: iPhone/iPad | Get it: App Store
“This has been featured at a previous JUEGOS, but if this is your first time hearing about it, it’s a pulp fantasy inspired swordfighting game for iPhone & iPad from our own White Whale Games that’s got a ton of soul, and is just about to get a big new dose of content in the next couple weeks.”
Developer: Twinbeard | Platform: Web | Play it: Here
“…basically impossible to describe without ruining it, except to say that I know that based on this screenshot you’re not going to believe me that it’s not just one of the funniest and absurd games to come out in recent memory, but one that basically has the most ideas crammed into one experience. You’ll see what I mean.”
Developer: Honeyslug & Dick Hogg | Platform: PlayStation Vita | Get it: PSN
“… a minigame collection that teaches you about all of the hardware features of the Vita, and also a super funny, absurdist, irreverent game with a ton of unbelievably amazing guest artists. If you’ve got a Vita, you need this game.”
The Unfinished Swan
Developer: Giant Sparrow | Platform: PlayStation 3 | Get it: PSN
“… if you’ve only seen screenshots like this, where you splatter black paint on a fully-white world to explore more deeply, you haven’t seen anything yet. As a sort of magical children’s storybook of a game, it’s just unbelievably completely delightful. ”
Developer: Dennaton | Platform: PC | Get it: Steam
“…an extremely violent and blood-soaked action game that also manages to be both fantastically stylish and awesomely thoughtful in how it handles its violence. Also worth noting is that this screenshot here will be part of an update to the game that should be ready by the time you read this, which lets you play a special level that takes place right here in the Highball.”
If you’ve seen White Whale’s iPhone adventure game God of Blades mentioned anywhere — including here — over the past several weeks since its debut, you’ve no doubt seen it mentioned in the same breath as the pulp fantasy that inspired it, and to which it pays deep, reverent respect.
Names like Roger Dean & Michael Moorcock frequently bubble up to the surface in any discussion of the game, and, not having been immersed as deeply in the fantasy world as the White Whales clearly were, I thought I’d give the team an opportunity to go into greater detail about the place God of Blades was born, as much for my education as anyone’s.
Below the fold, then, artist Jason Rosenstock (above, right) and designer & writer George Royer (above, left) list their five top visual and literary inspirations for the game, which you can learn more about at the White Whales’ site, or find on the App Store here, in advance of its imminent PC/Mac debut.
Local Austin indies White Whale are set to release their debut game God of Blades to iPhone & iPad this Thursday, and have marked the occasion with the amazing trailer above, which takes you from their direct inspiration — pulp sci-fi and fantasy novels of the 1960s and ’70s — straight through into the game world itself.
With its fantastic aesthetic all-too-rare in games (at least, not-much-seen since Roger Dean’s phenomenal work on early Psygnosis covers), its rhythmic-slashing spin on swordplay, and its Foursquare integration (which rewards you for delving into long-forgotten stories by visiting your local library), we’ve seen the game evolve over the past year into something super special.
Expect more on the game post-release, which you can get further geared up for by taking a longer look into the strange history of Blades book-series at the God of Blades Shrine, a website which itself appears to have emerged from a parallel past… [via White Whale Games]