4cr Indie Corner – August 1st 2014
Welcome to a new feature at 4cr! With all the support from indie studios on Wii U and 3DS, we decided to create a special kind of post that allows us to cover even more releases than usual so that you can get to know more about the games available on Nintendo’s consoles. There’s a lot of opinions out there when it comes to indies these days, so let us know in the comments if you’ve played any of these games and what you thought about them!
First up for today’s feature is Super Toy Cars from Spanish developer Eclipse Game, a tabletop racing game that features toy cars that race around on tracks made from other toys or objects from our daily life, with access to some crazy powerups to attack your opponents (like a giant Magic Eight-Ball!), and the more time you spend flying around each track, the faster you’ll fill the boost bar to speed past the competition.
Cars are unlocked with the money you collect from each race, and they can be upgraded with better parts that increase their potential. Tracks are limited but feature different sets of rules unique to each event. The better you do on each event, the faster you’ll unlock the next “season” of content.
All in all, Super Toy Cars includes 16 cars and 12 tracks to play for a $7.99 price, which is far, but since you WILL be racing several times on each track, some people might not like the way things are setup for the game. One factor that saves the game is splitscreen multiplayer where up to four people can participate for some local mayhem.
As you can tell from the screens, the look and feel of the game is great for a download release, making this a very polished indie release that is a console exclusive on Wii U (it’s PC as well).
For our second indie, we’ll turn our attention to Japanese company Collavier, who have released dozens of games for Sony and Nintendo consoles and portables, but have been focusing on the 3DS lately. So much so in fact, that I’m going to talk about two of their games: Mysterious Stars and Comic Workshop.
Mysterious Stars is a series of DSiware (yes, DSiware!) releases that all feature the same core gameplay mechanic and rules. You play as an assistant of the God of the Stars who is trying to help out several people that have fallen on hard times. By connecting the stars in the sky to form the outline of items that will magically materialize in their room you make their poor lives a little brighter.
There are two game modes available. Normal mode, in which you get points based on how straight your lines are. Timed attack mode presents the same puzzle as in normal mode, but you are required to complete it within a time limit to get two stars, or with “zero time” for the maximum three stars. In order to get the zero time finish, you have to do combos by chaining the lines you draw. For each line you chain, one second is deducted from the main timer. The more lines you complete during a combo, the more seconds you can shave of the main timer.
If you want to 100% the game, you need to obtain a score of five stars for every level. Since you can potentially earn as many as six stars (even though only five will be displayed for your score), odds are on your side. One or two stars will let you unlock the main item for the level so that you can move on, but a three or four star score will unlock a fancier item to decorate the room. If you get five stars you unlock a deluxe item that ties into part of the lore of the story, and decorating the entire room with deluxe items is what you’re aiming for.
With the gameplay and basics out of the way, let’s talk a bit about the theme for each of the games. There are currently three Mysterious Stars releases, and each one features a different look, a different story and different puzzles. Mysterious Stars: A Fairy Tale is set in the middle ages in Europe and the story tends toward the fantastic. Mysterious Stars: The Samurai focuses on the Edo period in Japan and is the story of a wandering Samurai, living alone and without work. Mysterious Stars: The Singer is a Showa period piece set in Japan in which a young couple who doesn’t talk very much about their past are trying to get by without much money. In each release the items are customized to the period and range from Hansel and Gretel style candy fireplaces, to rare samurai swords and alien paraphernalia.
Each of these games takes about 3-4 hours to complete (with a 5 star rating for all puzzles) and costs $4.99. And yeah, the concept is a bit out there, but I had fun completing the images in each game to see how crazy the items could get.
Our final game in the roundup, Comic Workshop does good on its name since it provides you with the tools to create comics and manga. You can set the thickness and color of each line, the shape, size and placement of every panel, where speech bubbles are placed, and other custom factors to define your comic. To speed up the process, you can also use patterns for shading and coloring, and you can also work on layers and even import photos or images to work on your creations.
To be honest, I suck at drawing (used to draw waaaay back in the day, but as is the case for any skill, without practice, it is lost), so I was happy to see that Comic Workshop allowed even me to create some simple (and not so simple) comics by using every trick it has to offer.
By selecting one of the available page templates with a preexisting panel layout and doing some rough (and ugly) sketches of what I wanted to draw I could zoom on the panels to clean things up so it actually made sense. From there I was able to color my art and use stamps to make things look better than they should. I even added some blur and patterns to make it look all pro and stuff.
The “game” does a great job of teaching you all it can do at a nice pace with several lessons available from the main screen when you click on tutorial, so be sure to check that as soon as Comic Workshop has finished downloading .
To check the work of people that are way more capable than me, you can click right here to check the official gallery for Comic Workshop.
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