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Indie Roundup, 5.16.16 – Lynn and the Spirits of Inao, Colored, and YIIK

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Here we are again, fair reader. You. Me. And a trio of fantastic and promising indie titles to tantalize your finely honed gaming tastes.

This week’s main course features a healthy helping of Lynn and the Spirits of Inao, a Metroidvania platformer with a unique day/night mechanic that draws heavy inspiration from the visual style of Hayato Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli fame; Colored, a similarly dualistic title that has you switching between a black-and-white world and a colored world to traverse the game’s clever puzzles; and YIIK, a “post-modern” JRPG that…pretty much defies description. You’ll just have to check it below out to find out more.

As always, check out these exciting projects and give those that are worthy of it your support. And be sure to follow Only Single Player on Facebook and Twitter (@Official_OnlySP) for more of that single player goodness you love.

Lynn and the Spirits of Inao (Bloomylight Studio)

Webpage / Kickstarter / Twitter

If you pay much attention to indie games, you see a lot of games that draw from older, beloved titles as their inspiration. On Indie Roundup, we’ve seen plenty of these titles. But it’s rare you see one that draws its inspiration from modern cinema. In the case of Lynn and the Spirits of Inao, that inspiration is quite clearly Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, best known for titles like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. And that inspiration can be seen quite clearly, even in the game’s early screenshots.

Lynn and the Spirits of Inao is a 2D Metroidvania title where you take on the role of Lynn, the apprentice to your village’s high priestess, as you go on an adventure accompanied by Aku, a “demon-like spirit” in order to unravel the mysteries of your home.

One of the central mechanics of Lynn and the Spirits of Inao is the day/night cycle of the island. At first, day and night will progress naturally, but as you get further in the game, Lynn will be able to progress from day to night and back again in order to access different areas of the island.

This divine power will offer you two different points of view on the world in perpetual motion around you, as some enemies or elements of the decor react differently by day and by night, and you will have to use this power with ingenuity if you do not want to miss anything.

While Lynn will also face enemies along the way, the game’s creators stress that the goal of the game isn’t to destroy these wayward spirits but to help them find peace. However, depending on the enemy in question, you will have to figure out how exactly that feat is accomplished.

During your adventure, you will have to face a wide range of enemies with various styles. You will be able to appease some by jumping on them, and later, by striking them with your powerful spectral blade or by throwing bombs at them. However, some enemies will require particular methods and it will be your task to discover which ones at your own risk! You might even be left with no other choice than to avoid some of them…

The game also features your standard assortment of platforming, puzzles, and clever boss monsters that will truly challenge your wits, all within the beautiful hand-drawn world of Inao, which comes alive with colorful characters and a dynamic weather system.

Every background is like a “living picture” with its elements being in perpetual motion, and this, by day as well as by night. You will get the chance to quench your thirst for exploration in those backgrounds inspired by Asia through the open-world system. At times, you may even have to retrace your steps in order to unblock new zones you could not access until then, by using newly acquired items. The world of Lynn is also filled with hidden places and treasures, such as caves, cellars or sanctuaries, which the most passionate explorers will look forward to discovering.

Lynn and the Spirits of Inao has raised almost $43,000 of its goal of $60,774 with 17 days left to go.

Colored (Team Polychrome)

Webpage / Facebook / Twitter

Colored is a platformer with a unique premise that invites you to “explore mystical puzzles in two intertwined worlds.”

Colored is a 2D puzzle game about travelling between colored and monochrome dimensions. There are 5 worlds in the game, each with its own dimension-switching mechanic that allows the player to explore “What if…?”

The premise of the game revolves around being able to switch between “two interconnected worlds” with their own individual mechanics that you will have to take advantage of in order to solve the game’s platforming puzzles. The story of the game is told without any words, so you won’t be ejected from the gameplay experience by having to read any long-winded exposition.

Each puzzle has its own idea and is unique – there is no arbitrary filler content. Colored does everything it can to give a pure and interesting experience.

The game features beautiful, hand-drawn backgrounds and insidiously clever puzzles that take full advantage of the game’s dual-world mechanics.

Keep an eye open for Colored this year – the website says the release date is “when it’s done” but lists a possible 2016(ish) goal – for Windows, Mac and Linux.

YIIK (Ackk Studios)

Webpage / Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

YIIK is a game like no other. Selling itself as a “post-modern RPG” (for those of you who don’t know, “post-modern” is usually a pretty good synonym for “weird”…for a great read about how the game taps into post-modern influences, check out this post) with inspirations in post-modern literature like The Wind Up Bird ChronicleYIIk is a JRPG – sort of – in that it focuses on a set narrative over letting you tell your own story. But the similarities between YIIK and other games ends there.

YIIK is a Colorful 3D JRPG set in the 1990s, about eight strangers, a mysterious woman who vanishes in an elevator, and weaponized Panda plushies.

When recent college graduate Alex Eggleston returns home from college, he finds adult life to be filled with mystery, strange friends from the internet, and other worlds that exist just out of sight. In YIIK, journey across an expansive flat-shaded wonderland, rife with with intricate puzzles, fast paced turn based 8 party-member battles, cat tossing, panda dropping, ladder throwing action. *Batteries not included* 

While being a traditional JRPG in many ways, the game has a turn-based, active battle component much like those found in Super Mario RPG and its derivatives in which every character and weapon has unique timing for their attacks.

Complete with trippy, colorful visuals that look like something that usually comes accompanied with a dime bag of some questionable mind-altering substances, the first thing that comes to mind when I see YIIK is Earthbound, another game that dared to go so far from the beaten path that the path might as well not even exist. But the thing about games like Earthbound and its ilk is that they’re all so weird that they’re usually nothing alike. But it’s safe to say that if you liked the wacky weirdness of that classic JRPG, YIIK will probably be right up your alley.

The game is planning for a launch on PC, Linux, Mac, PS4, Wii U and PS Vita. It originally shot for a late 2015 release, but it has since been pushed back to this summer.

“There is something a little unusual going on here…”

Writer, journalist, teacher, pedant. Reid's done just about anything and everything involving words and now he's hoping to use them for something he's passionate about: video games. He's been gaming since the onset of the NES era and has never looked back.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019

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Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server.

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