Here at SSR, we talk about gaming all the time. And we are not blind to the fact that traditional gaming is in a slump right now. Innovation is at an all-time low, with the big studios too scared to sink millions of dollars into a title that doesn’t have a proven record of success with consumers.
As such, the independently developed games that have found a safe haven on iOS and Android are the most exciting games currently being released. Detractors commonly lob several complaints at these games, such as them being too simple, not long enough, graphically inferior, or, in some other way, just “not real games.”
Well, I’ve decided to showcase two upcoming titles which I believe will help tear down this ideology. One game you might already be familiar with, but the other will most likely be new to you. So, without further ado, let’s get to it:
First up is Infinity Blade: Dungeons.
As I said, chances are you’ve probably heard of this series of games before. The first two Infinity Blade games are two of the best-reviewed and best-selling titles available on iOS. This third game, however, is the one I think will really push the series into the stratosphere.
Unlike the first two titles, Dungeons will allow players to move freely around the environment instead of the on-rails experience that fans have come to know and love thus far. What’s incredible is that this will be achieved with an even more advanced graphical engine than that found in the first two, and will also offer players a far longer game to hack and slash their way through.
Check out the trailer below:
Now, I won’t try to say that Epic hasn’t been clearly influenced by a certain hugely-popular (and profitable) third installment in another series (hint: it rhymes with “Ree-Fa-Blo”), but still, be honest: keeping in mind that this is an iOS-exclusive title, how great does that look?
Awesome visuals, gameplay that’s custom-built from the ground up for touch controls (no on-screen control stick nonsense to be found here), an attempt at actual storytelling- this one seems to have all the bases covered, folks. But perhaps even more exciting is the stuff you won’t see listed on the App Store page when it comes time to buy Dungeons: what this game means to the mobile world.
Epic, if you’re not aware, is the same studio that makes the Gears of War games, among others. This is a first-rate studio putting time, money, and effort into a game that’s not going to cost you $60, that’s not a rehash or retro release, and on a platform that many “experts” once thought would never even challenge traditional home console and PC gaming. Think how EA treats the App Store: 80% of their games are things you’ve played thousands of times, like Pac-Man, Tetris, and Space Invaders. While I’m glad those titles are available for purchase in mobile markets, it’s not exactly back-breakingly innovative (and in EA’s case, they usually overprice them, too). I’m also interested to see how much money Epic will throw at advertising Dungeons come release time, because that’s another sign of things to come. This is exciting stuff, as far as I’m concerned.
Dungeons has “triple-A smash hit” written all over it. Where the first two Infinity Blade games turned some people off with their repetitive gameplay styles and on-rail movement systems, Dungeons will please everyone. But more exciting than anything the game itself will offer (for me, at least), is the fact that it will be available for purchase in a marketplace that will allow games designed and released by two-man teams based out of basements to be right next to it. The fact that huge games like this can coexist with the little guys is what makes me so energized over mobile gaming.
Check out this all-gameplay preview before we move on:
I’ve saved the more exciting of the two for last. Let me tell you a little bit about République.
I think République is one of the most original ideas I’ve ever heard of in gaming. The idea behind it is simple: players are not, as is always the case in games, the character you’ll see on screen, but rather themselves, helping the main character “Hope” escape from a totalitarian state by hacking computers & security cameras and diverting guards & other forces from seeing and catching her. You’ll do this through a variety of means, most of which haven’t been revealed by the developers, Camouflaj and Logan Games.
Hope is a woman who’s been raised in this (unnamed) totalitarian state, mostly within a massive fortress named “Metamorphosis.” You meet her when she finds a way to contact you, illegally, for help as she tries to escape her captors. There are other characters, too, including a dead revolutionary and someone named “The Mentor.” Both of these characters’ motives and how they will fit into the game have not fully been revealed yet, as is the case with most of this game’s content (something I like, a lot).
You will have no direct means of controlling Hope, only ways of manipulating security cameras and other terminals around her as she tries to make her escape. Instead, Hope will be entirely AI-controlled, and her success will be entirely dependent on your efficiency as a hacker and saboteur.
Developer Camouflaj has cited Orwell’s 1984 as a massive influence, as well as Metal Gear, Demon’s Souls, and Resident Evil. The gameplay will mirror that of early Resident Evil games, with a fixed-perspective camera wherein Hope and the enemies searching for and/or attacking her will move around freely. According to Camouflaj, this will allow for extremely high quality visuals. But hey, don’t let me be the one to tell you. See for yourself:
Pretty intriguing, huh?
République is being marketed as a survival horror game first and foremost, with “elements of stealth action and Metroidvania-style exploration,” according to it’s website. But if Camouflaj and Logan totally pull this game off, and it turns out to be everything it can be, République will be a lot more than just a survival horror game.
It will prove, even to the most doubtful of detractors, that iOS is the place to be if you’re interested in creative game design. Android too, but to a slightly lesser degree (both of the games I’ve just profiled here will not be available in the Google Play store, unfortunately). If you ask me, this is already obvious, but there are still many people out there who refuse to admit that traditional console and PC gaming are in an all-consuming slump at the moment.
That’s what I wanted to say with this article, really. iOS and Android are godsends for gamers. If you’re one of those “hardcore gamers” who stays up late for the midnight release of every new Call of Duty game, and who still says dumb things like “I’ve never had the same type of experience on an iPhone or Evo or iPad that I have on my Xbox,” then you’re looking at the issue in the wrong way.
Smart mobile gaming isn’t about offering the same experience you can get at home- why do something at all if it’s the exact same as something that’s already been done? Mobile gaming is the next step, the new kid on the block. It took a few years, but developers are really starting to understand what works and what doesn’t, and the dividends are beginning to pile up.
It’s a wonderful market. Finally, creativity is the only barrier to entry. It will only lead to better games when the big guys are put up right next to the small, indie guys. Digital distribution is going to do wonderful things for this industry, and the really exciting part about all of this is that mobile markets like iOS and Android and just getting started. It’s crazy to think how much faster they’re moving than consoles did back in the day. I’m just happy to be around for it all.
So if you’re still unsure: jump in. Buy into the hype. I’ve had more fun with games on iOS in the past 3 months than I have with console games- it’s not even close. I’ve also spent more money in the App Store than I have on consoles, and been happier for it. Now, I don’t mean to say that I’m not still excited for upcoming games like Bioshock: Infinite, The Last of Us, and The Last Guardian (not to mention news concerning the next generation of consoles- any time now, Sony/Microsoft), but I can’t deny that I’m playing and enjoying mobile games much more than consoles nowadays.
And as Martha Stewart would say, it’s a good thing.