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A Hands-On Look At Press Play’s Newly Unveiled Game, Project Totem

Press Play is best known for its puzzle/platformers Max and
the Magic Marker and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, but the studio is letting
Max take a breather to experiment with its latest platformer, Project Totem. We
had hands-on time with Project Totem at GDC and got a glimpse into how it will
test our focus and twitch skills.

Project Totem started out as just a creative outlet for
brothers Asger and Bo Strandby while they were working on Max: The Curse of
Brotherhood
. The two were having fun with the small prototype and so they
decided show it off at a party, just to see people's thoughts and reactions. As
soon as others saw it, they wanted to see more and as Asger and Bo continued work on the game, they realized it needed to be their next project.

Your goal is simple: A totem pole has been destroyed and you
must put all the pieces back together by visiting three different worlds,
complete with both single-player and local co-op campaigns. Project Totem takes
inspiration from classic platformers, but lets you control two totems at once
with a single input. That means if one totem jumps, they both do, and the same
goes for any other movement.

In our hands-on time, the levels progressed quickly, first
testing our reflexes, then adding gravity and ice obstacles to the equation.
One thing remained consistent: Levels challenge your ability to stay focused
and react quickly. During each level, color barriers exist, and you must match
the totem color to them. For instance, you can't go through any green areas
with a purple totem and vice versa. With a tap of a button, you can swap your
totems positions on the top and bottom platforms.

At first you're merely shifting the totems around, but it
quickly becomes a frantic mind game. The speed escalates, giving your brain
mere moments to make the right swap as you track both totems as the colors
change. In one level, both totems were
dropped down a sea of alternating colors. I tripped up more than once; it's
easy to get distracted when you have two different totems and colors changing
at different intervals. Plus, it's easy to swap so fast that you miscalculate
your next move due to the frenzy. 

Enemies and collectibles also litter the map. You can't jump
on enemies Mario-style and must instead avoid making contact with them. Also,
the collector in you will find it hard to resist bigger challenges to grab all
the aqua pickups. The amount of pickups you collect and your death count
determine how flashy your totem will be. For instance, objects like sunglasses
and wings are awarded for higher scores.

Navigating the campaign by yourself isn't the only option;
there's also a unique co-op campaign. Because you must coordinate your actions
with another player, Press Play opted for couch co-op. The experience is
somewhat different from playing solo, because you're not responsible for both
totems. However, it still adheres to the same rules: Matching the right colors
with the totems is still required. A lot of the puzzles I encountered required
me to time my jumps with my partner to succeed and using my partner as a height
boost to reach ledges and items.

Project Totem kept me engaged during my hands-on time; the
way it challenged me to get past some of the color barriers made me determined
to get to the end of the levels. Additionally, playing in front of a group is
bound to get laughs and cheers as you try to keep your focus through tough
obstacles. Trust me: Trying to make a hard jump or make sure you're landing
your totems on the right color is hard enough, but then you get a new element
like ice and things get even trickier.

 Project Totem is
coming to both Xbox One and 360. Press Play is targeting fall for launch.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Catlateral Damage signed as Fire Hose Games’ first accelerator project

Kittymari Demolishy simulator Catlateral Damage is the first game announced as part of Fire Hose Games’ accelerator/incubation program.

Catlateral Damage sailed through the Steam Greenlight process and won the People’s Choice and Indie Prototype…
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Uncharted Creative Director Amy Hennig To Lead Star Wars Project At Visceral Games

EA has announced the hiring of former Naughty Dog writer and creative director Amy Hennig. Hennig joins Dead Space studio Visceral Games as creative director on that studios Star Wars project.

“As both a colleague and friend, I’ve always admired her approach to creative development – focusing on nailing down the soul of a game first, and then making sure the writing, the gameplay, the design and the art comes together to form a unified, interactive experience for the player,” writes Visceral general manager Steve Papoutsis. He goes on to say that Star Wars was one of things that got Hennig to say “yes” to EA and Visceral.

Hennig departed Naughty Dog suddenly last month. For more on her career, check out a piece written by senior features editor Matt Helgeson.

[Source: EA]

 

Our Take
Hennig’s hiring at Visceral makes me excited for that studio’s new Star Wars game. I’ve long been a fan of hers, and having her work on the franchise considered to be the geek Holy Grail is an exciting prospect indeed.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Project CARS gets a little noisy in latest trailer

A new trailer has been released for Slightly Mad Studios’ Project CARS, showcasing the game’s car engine sounds.

Although the sound of tires screeching isn’t really audible (maybe even non-existent), the engine sounds are absolutely phenomenal so far. The video lets you hear the rumbling engines of sports cars like the McLaren F1, BAC Mono, and Pagani Zonda R. Give them a listen yourself. Earphones recommended.

Project CARS is slated for release in November 2014 for the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U.


That VideoGame Blog

Project Cars will launch as one of the PS4′s first Morpheus games

Slightly Mad Studios’ crowdfunded racing game, codenamed Project Cars, will launch as one of the first PlayStation 4 games to support Sony’s Project Morpheus virtual reality hardware, the developer announced this week.

“Virtual reality is a perfect…
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Video: Watch Sony’s Yoshida unveil Project Morpheus at GDC 2014

The full GDC 2014 developer presentation for Sony’s Project Morpheus VR headset, featuring Shuhei Yoshida, Richard Marks and Antonio Mikhailov, is now online and worth watching. …


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Oculus founder: Rift is open, Sony’s Project Morpheus is not

Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey highlighted the differences between his company’s Oculus Rift headset technology and Sony’s recently announced Project Morpheus in an interview with GamesBeat, predicting that the majority of Rift software would…
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Legends of Persia RPG starts Kickstarter project to fund its last leg

Independent developer Sourena Game Studio launched a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to get its new PC game, Legends of Persia, over a few last hurdles before release this summer.  Persia is already greenlit on Steam, and was even voted as #2 in the top five upcoming indie games last year.

Legends of Persia is an action/adventure RPG developed in the style of the Diablo franchise.  The game offers more than 8 hours of single-player content, with 3 heroes to choose from as well as vast customization options for your armor, weapons, and spells.  You will also find a rich crafting system, many different types of enemies, tough boss battles, and of course lots of treasure.

Legends of Persia is set for a June 2014 release for PC, but the developer needs a little help with the licensing costs for the game.  The Kickstarter campaign is only asking for $ 3000 total, and pledging a minimum of $ 15 will automatically get you a digital copy of the game once it is released.  Other rewards include beta access ($ 20), the game’s artwork/soundtrack ($ 30), and even the chance to have a game character named after you ($ 100).  The campaign is set to run now until May 4.  For more information, check out the Legends of Persia site, or head over to their page on Steam for announcements there as well.


That VideoGame Blog

Linkin Park’s ‘remixable’ music video created in Project Spark

Musical group Linkin Park is now one step closer to the world of video games thanks to Project Spark developer Team Dakota. The developer created a “remixable” music video for Linkin Park’s “Guilty All The Same” in Project Spark, which includes an…
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Super Joystiq Podcast 089: GDC 2014, Sony Project Morpheus VR, Alien Isolation

This week’s Super Joystiq Podcast can’t get enough of bindle-related jokes.

The 2014 Game Developers Conference is under way in San Francisco, and the on-site crew managed to find some time to check in with thoughts from the show. Tune in as Ludwig,…
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