The Greenlight Fantastic: Volume 1
In this ongoing article series, The Greenlight Fantastic, Splitkick focuses on some of the most intriguing games currently vying for your vote on Steam Greenlight. Find something that interests you? Head over to the game’s Greenlight page and give them a thumbs-up. Valve will be announcing the next 10 games to make the cut on October 15th, so make your voice heard soon!
Compulsion Games – Vote on Steam Greenlight
Genre: Puzzle-Platformer, Puzzle-Adventure, Indie, Casual, Mystery
The Pitch: Experience a surreal 1920s dreamscape in which you can shift freely in and out of shadow. Tasked with helping a young girl named Didi, you will unravel the mysteries behind her troubled family and the dark secrets that must be exposed to re-shape her future.
Contrast seems poised to be a darling of the indie scene. Beyond the art deco style that conjures up memories of Bioshock and the Lost in Shadow-style platforming, it’s the focus on story that has me most intrigued. In the intro video, narrative director Alex Epstein describes the team’s desire to step outside of traditional tropes and tell a more intimate character story.
“We wanted to do something that was emotionally deeper and personal to us. So it’s a story where secrets are literally shadows that you shed light on as you help this little girl, Didi, uncover the mysteries of her family. And through that the game explores the theme of fatherhood, which is something we really hadn’t seen too much in games before.”
The videos produced so far show a game that, while still in need of polish, obviously sets a mood both visually and aurally. The music of the initial trailer is both childlike and eerie, in both aspects a perfect fit. There is only the briefest hint on the quality of the voiced dialogue, but none of what’s shown raises a red flag. If the mechanics of rearranging objects and light sources to alter shadows manages to provide the right level of challenge, it might be all that’s necessary to serve as a vehicle for the story Contrast is looking to tell.
Young Horses – Vote on Steam Greenlight
Genre: Action, Adventure
The Pitch: Octodad: Dadliest Catch is the sequel to the splash hit, octodad! This time, our cephaloprotagonist has gotten himself in a bind between his wife’s mounting mistrust, and a disastrous trip to the local aquarium! Are you dad enough to control the titular octopus father as he strives to hide his nautical nature from his family while keeping his tangled tentacles intact?
Anyone who played the original Octodad would say it was just that: original. Through the titular character, players are tasked with the simplest of household duties. Well, simple for any human. The intentionally confounding controls gave us the slightest glimpse into how very frustrating it would be for an octopus pretending to be a family man.
At the base level, Octodad is a developer fully embracing the comedic potential of their physics engine. The riotous slapstick fun hinted at in the Dadliest Catch trailer is best experienced for yourself. Go ahead and play through the first game, as the full game is still free on the offical website.
Cakebread – Vote on Steam Greenlight
Genre: Action, Adventure, Casual, Simulation
The Pitch: This is the remake/sequel/expansion to The Stanley Parable, a Source mod released in 2011. The game is an experiment in video game storytelling, or the point of it might be that there’s actually no story at all, or maybe the point is that there’s no game. It’s about choice and freedom, possibly, but actually it might be about something else. You will make a decision that means nothing, you will walk a path that goes nowhere, and if you REEEEEEEEALLY look hard enough, none of it will make sense.
The Stanley Parable was one of my favorite experiences of 2012. As much a game as it isn’t, the mod defied explanation. In fact, it could actually be completely devastated through the very act of explanation. After so deftly toying with what it means to be a game, I can’t wait to see how Cakebread, a.k.a. Davey Wreden, handles the concept of a remake.
The biggest hurdle to the success of The Stanley Parable: HD Remix may be in the pricing. The original mod was free, and though no pricing details have been released, it’s tough to imagine Wreden isn’t looking to earn back a little of his investment in Stanley at this point. But how do you sell a game without explaining it? How does word of mouth work when everyone’s lips are sealed?