TinyBuild always has something interesting up their sleeve at E3, but this year they really nailed it. Their line up was incredibly strong. We got to check out three incredibly fun and simple to play games when Callum and I stopped by the JW Mariott in downtown LA to meet with their team.
The first of the bunch was Clustertruck, a very quick paced time attack jumping game in first-person, where the objective is to make it across to the other end of a path of road without touching the ground. The gist is that you’re constantly jumping from the top of speeding cargo trucks, all the while avoiding all sorts of obstacles and insane natural disasters and traps, like huge boulders and such. It’s all very ridiculous and positively hilarious, taking place in diverse environments that make use of a simple looking and extremely colorful graphics that make this game pop out visually.
Being that Clustertruck is a first-person game, the jumping aspect had me a little worried from the outset, given from badly platforming tends to be in these games, but Clustertruck really nails it. Sure, you’ll still mess up a lot as you’re getting used to the movement, but it’s incredibly tight and feels great to control. It also helps that you get some special powers along the way that you can buy using points given to you the better and faster you perform. Things like a jetpack and slowing down time are only a few of the unlocks you can get along the way, which really help vary up the gameplay, as well as add a flavor to the inherent speedrunning aspect of the game.
Clustertruck should be hitting Steam sometime in during the end of the year, and best of all, it’ll be completely free to play.
The second game we got to test out was The Final Station, a post-apocalyptic side-scrolling survival game that has you assuming the role of a survivor manning a train whose mission is to save as many souls as possible, all the while having to deal with a host of dangers and monsters. It’s a very cool premise set in an admittedly cliché videogame world, but even so, it managed to impress thoroughly. Its visuals also helped me get into it, with a cool mix of retro and more modern elements, like parallax scrolling, motion blur and well over the color limit of any old console from the past.
Its demo had us right at the early stages of the game, with little to no survivors riding along, as we stopped in a station in order to look for supplies. Soon after we arrived, upon inspecting the dark rooms of the station, we found out we weren’t along. Shadowy figures started coming out of the woodwork, which we promptly wasted with our gun, using up most of our precious and hard to find ammo. Still, that exchange afforded us some time to get health packs and medicine, which are just as or even more valuable than bullets, having their own special nook in the train for storage., all for the best, though, because we also ran into a survivor, one of the many randomly generated characters in the game, who came aboard as we left for the next adventure.
That adventure came soon enough. A call came in over chat, calling us for immediate rescue in a station far away. Travel wasn’t immediate, though, given we were in a train following a track, so you have to invest your time wisely if you hope to make it to your destination with enough time to save everyone. Sadly, in my case, even though I arrived, I was quickly killed because I had no bullets to defend myself with. The demo ended there, leaving me to think what wonderful conversations I could’ve had with them. Still, not all is lost – levels can be retried as many times as you want, so if you’re an utter failure at this game like I was, you can try it again and try different approaches.
The Final Station is also coming out on Steam and should be available in a month or two.
Last, but certainly not least, we checked out Mr. Shifty, a cartoony top down action game in the vein of Hotline Miami, where you’re a martial artist invading an office building, punching and kicking your way to the top. You only have one life. One hit and you’re it. Much like Miami, you can use doors as weapons and even metal pipes for longer reach, as well as a thing you can throw on unsuspecting foes. You know, throwing things is fun, and in that regard, Mr. Shifty succeeds brilliantly.
The demo took us through a couple of simpler levels that featured less enemies and left more room for leniency, but things escalated quickly, with sections chock full of machine gun totting fools ready to riddle you with bullets. To your advantage, Shifty can teleport a certain number of times before having to recharge, which not only helps when it comes to dodging shots, but also to quickly get through levels. As with a lot of TinyBuild’s games, Mr. Shifty feels like it’s tailored for speedrunning, smartly weaving enemies and level layouts to benefit players who are in it for the speed and precision. Even though the game is very early on in development, it’s already playing pretty dang well.
It’ll still take some time for us to play Mr. Shifty for real, though. TinyBuild promised us that it’ll be out at some point next year.