Murasaki Baby
Gamescom 2013: PSN Indie Round-Up - Something a Little Different
Written Tuesday, August 27, 2013 By Richard Walker
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Sony brought out its indie big guns in full force during Gamescom this year, making a bold commitment to PlayStation's bulging stable of downloadable titles that refuse to fall under the umbrella of conventionality.

These games are about breaking the mould and pushing the envelope, where the triple-A blockbuster games flex their muscles and fire bullets every which way. Possessing a spirit of creativity and experimentation, Sony's XDEV programme enables developers to make whatever they want, making PSN a hotbed of indie variety.

We played as many of Sony's indie games as we possibly could within our allotted time, and came away with a very real feeling that PlayStation is truly making an irresistible case for the power of indie gaming on PSN. Here's our full indie round-up with hands-on impressions:

Contrast (PS3, PS4 (version played) | Compulsion Games) – An interesting third-person puzzler, with a challenging platforming aspect, Contrast is shaping up to be one to watch. Its unique gameplay mechanic sees slinky protagonist Dawn able to leap into brightly lit surfaces to run and jump along the shadows.

Our PS4 demo took place in the confines of a smoky speakeasy club, moving spotlights into position to form shadowy jazz musicians that act as walkways to the club's upper balconies. Activating the final spotlight initiated a mysterious cut-scene starring a well-endowed silhouette of a femme fatale. We're not sure what it meant, but it looked good.

Leaving the club, the second part of the hands-on took us out onto a cobbled street with a carousel in the centre. Using collectible 'luminaries', you're able to switch the carousel on, and use the shadows of the revolving horses to climb to the top, activating the light on top to project shadows to a hot-air balloon in the distance. An incredibly short demo, it was enough to convince us that Contrast's ideas and its eye-catching, noirish art-deco world could be one well worth visiting.

Resogun (PS4 | Housemarque) – A neon-drenched shmup from the makers of Super Stardust HD, Resogun is a side-scrolling shooter with a difference. The action takes place around a cylindrical plane, and you're able to change direction at any time.

Enemies pour on to the screen thick and fast, and the retina-searing pyrotechnics aren't in short supply. Resogun also ups the explosion quotient considerably (you could practically warm your hands by the screen, there are so many things blowing up in flaming orange balls), as the bullet hell intensifies, your score multiplier steadily rises and the challenge ramps up.

Resogun looks the part as Super Stardust HD and Super Stardust Delta's spiritual successor, with a level of stylised destruction as the environment breaks into its component blocky pieces, and the task of rescuing humans among the chaos proves increasingly tough, yet rewarding. As a fresh take on the shmup, Resogun looks sure to fit the bill on PS4.

Hohokum (PS3, PS4 (version played), PS Vita | Honeyslug) – Hohokum is something of an oddity, yet inarguably beautiful. A genre-defying indie curio, you control the serpentine 'long mover' picking up characters who jump aboard for the ride.

Playing on the Kite Village level, we used our passengers to pick up seeds, which we then planted at the top of the stage and watched them bloom into colourful kites that soared on the breeze. Though there are few tasks like these to complete, simply gliding through Hohokum and soaking up Richard Hogg's distinctive art, while watching the world react to your presence, is a wonderfully soothing experience.

Refusing to fall into a specific traditional gaming category, Hohokum practically defines Sony's commitment to indie games on PlayStation. It's enigmatic and hard to define, but it's a visual and aural journey of exploration that you'll want to take nonetheless.

Rain (PS3 | Sony Japan Studio) – Strangely haunting, Rain is imbued with an all-pervading sense of sadness, as you guide a young boy who is only visible when drenched in the wet stuff, through rain-slicked streets.

Following the trail of a young girl, your mysterious rain boy can disappear beneath shelter, leading to some interesting stealth mechanics. Though short, our demo gave us a good impression of what to expect, with death but a single touch away. Hounded by spectral demon dogs prowling through the puddles, you'll need to lure them into breaking down scaffolds to open up thoroughfares, while avoiding their instantaneous death-dealing touches.

Rain's story unfolds entirely beneath the veil of the eponymous precipitation, lending it an ethereal dreamlike, intangible beauty that's hard to grasp. An indie title that we hope doesn't get lost like tears in rain.

Helldivers (PS3 (version played), PS4, PS Vita | Arrowhead Studios) – From the makers of PC hit Magicka comes another 4-player co-op title, a twin-stick shooter that's hard to the core. You play as the Helldivers squad, a band of caped super soldiers armed to the teeth with guns and stratagems like airstrikes, deployable turrets and rocket launchers, fighting the good fight across procedurally-generated environments.

There's no easy mode in Helldivers. Presenting you with Challenging, Hard or Helldiver difficulty, every bullet counts, friendly fire isn't remotely friendly and enemies will back you into a corner and eat you for breakfast given half a chance. The result? A potential laugh riot with friends and a powder keg of shooty action that's totally unforgiving, and all the better for it. Dropping in ammo supplies, resurrected allies, nuclear strikes and stratagems via pods, the number of times you'll get squashed proves hilarious.

During our hands-on, we fought endless legions of bugs, but the full game will throw other enemies at you, like robots for instance. Helldivers pulls no punches, with a loss during the campaign setting your overall galactic conflict back, while small touches like having to initiate your own reloads, avoid fire from your own turrets and buddies, while dealing with an onslaught of unrelenting foes, makes Helldivers one of the most brilliantly hardcore shooters we've played. You can also play it across your PS3, PS4 and PS Vita, picking up where you left off. Sweet.

Murasaki Baby (PS Vita | Ovosonico) – A nightmarish journey in which you have to take Baby by the hand and guide her through a multitude of hazards and monsters, Murasaki Baby (or Purple Baby, to give it its translated title) is the kind of game David Lynch might make.

With an art style inspired by American author and illustrator Edward Gorey, Murasaki Baby's world is inhabited by childhood fears and freakish creatures intent on bursting Baby's pink balloon, which represents her life force. Once the balloon pops, it's game over. You can use the Vita's rear touchpad to change the environment and affect Baby's mood, while lighting the way by hanging up lights, dealing with monsters by bursting their red balloons and helping baby jump pits with a swipe of the front screen.

While problems with the game's frame rate in the alpha build we were shown made Murasaki Baby difficult to get to grips with and lacking in fluidity, there's no doubt that Ovosonico's Vita game showed potential to be something distinctive and special for Sony's handheld, and another string to add to the platform-holder's increasingly stringy bow.

Stuff we didn't get time to play:

  • Doki-Doki Universe (a game that's described as an RPG/Simulation/Interactive Story game by its creator, Greg Johnson, the man who also brought ToeJam & Earl into the world).
  • CounterSpy (a 2D stealth game, with stylish visuals and Flashback-esque platforming).
  • Octodad: Dadliest Catch (try to fit in with a human family as an octopus dressed in a suit. We loved the freeware version, so the follow-up ought to be funny as hell too).

Stuff that wasn't available to play:

  • Rime (an ICO-esque adventure with a gorgeous painterly art style).
  • Shadow of the Beast (a re-imagining of the 1989 Amiga classic, with all of the original game's inexplicable weirdness intact).


User Comments
Forum Posts: 40
Comment #1 by OdioTotale
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 05:22:58 AM
They all seem good and interesting...with the exception of Hohokum.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #2 by Pyromaniac
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 06:04:20 AM

You sir, are a moron and a neanderthal with an uninspiring tasteless attitude to life AND has obviously never played Frobisher Says! which was created by the game developer Honeyslug and shares the same artistic styles of Richard Hogg as does Hohokum..
Please retreat back into your primitive cave of FPS...

Forum Posts: 522
Comment #3 by Dai060588
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 06:28:44 AM
some realy cool looking games in there !

Forum Posts: 23
Comment #4 by Tapps
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 06:48:47 AM
Rime is the game I am most interested in.

Forum Posts: 267
Comment #5 by MetalHead84
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 06:52:54 AM
@2 why don't you respect his taste ? And how do you know he only love FPS ? And if he really like FPS, why will it make him a moron ?
I like any game, from FPS to RPG to RTS to Sports game, and Hohokum doesn't seems appealing to me.
You probably don't like some games, does that make you a moron if someone else is liking it ?

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #6 by OdioTotale
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 07:57:09 AM

You are very funny :-)

Forum Posts: 421
Comment #7 by ziggy78900
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 09:24:03 AM
i whant rain and Murasaki Baby

Forum Posts: 3553
Comment #8 by vikebone
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 09:49:43 AM
Thanks for keeping us informed of some of the great indie games that are on the way. Some of these I might pick up later if they're on sale and get decent reviews. I love trying out new types of games.

Forum Posts: 873
Comment #9 by Fragpuss
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 10:06:43 AM
i think #2 might be totalbiscuit in disguise!

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #10 by ANK4000
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 @ 12:34:53 PM
I hope shadow of the beast is as good as I remember. I had some great times playing it on my amiga 500 back in the day.

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Game Info


US September 16, 2014
Europe September 17, 2014

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