For this installment of the Linux Crowd, I’m checking out a video game. I’ve long been an avid gamer and I couldn’t be happier with the deluge of Linux games that have hit our hungry desktops. To see more and more games get funded on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that support GNU/Linux is truly heartening. Aside from the usual gadget fare over in crowdfunding land, I thought I’d take some time and cover one that crossed my desk (er…screen).
The game is called Death Story. True to its title, you play a cute avatar of Death (from the Major Arcana in tarot) in this side-scrolling action-adventure platformer with “rogue-like and rpg influences” with some bullet hell thrown in for good measure.
This is the debut title of Team Neko, the developer on Death Story. It is also a Steam Green Light game. Green Light has been a mixture of success, failure, and colossal failure over the years, so we’ll see if the game meets muster upon release. Personally, I hope it does. The more successful Linux games out there in gameland, the better.
From the kickstarter project’s website: “This tale follows centuries of struggle and strife between mortal men and a group known as the Major Arcana. You are Death, a young girl who inherits the Death Arcana’s power, allowing her to slice ‘n dice anything in her way through an epic metroidvania that combines modern mechanics with timeless gameplay.”
The videos showing off game play look promising, with a wide variety of environments and monsters to fight through. The design on the bosses looks pretty cool. I was particularly impressed with the 3D skull-sphere climbing with multiple skeletal hands up through a chasm of death.
Aside from the general look, what sets this game apart from all of the other platformers is the ability to stop time and slice enemies to ribbons, only to watch their sad, fragmented bodies fall from the sky. Time stopping has been a welcome and fun addition to platformers: any time one can actually stop the game to see what the hell is going on, it’s a godsend; being able to kick the hell out of enemies in this state is a bonus.
Another intriguing feature of the game is that the entire world is procedurally-generated. The dungeons, world-map, and towns are all randomized. Now, this might be a good thing or a bad thing. Procedural generation is all the rage right now in “vid-game land.” And it is absolutely fascinating, since randomization can create some unexpected results that are surprising and fresh. But oftentimes, procedural generation misses the mark. Nothing can beat the handcrafted work of a clever (sadistic?) developer/designer who knows their tools and knows how to leverage them in the creation of a good level. I fear that while procedural generation can be interesting and is supposed to inspire replay-ability with an infinite array of maps, it can often become redundant in its randomness and therefore stale.
If you couldn’t guess from the developer’s company name, the art style is heavily influenced by Japanese anime. Since I’m an old time anime junkie, this suits me just fine. However, if you happen to, for some ungodly reason or rare strain of insanity that runs in the family, not like anime, then the aesthetic might not be appealing to you (seriously, you need to see a therapist—cute, expressive eyes attached to power that can often level a city block is something to be admired.)
I reached out to the developer, but sadly they didn’t have a working demo I could try. So, as such, I am unable to vouch for gameplay, Linux compatibility, controls, or overall general quality of game. Invest at your own risk. (But hell, for the price of a couple of cheap beers you’re not risking a whole lot, eh?)
As of write up, the project is at $4,711 with 15 days to go. They’re looking to meet a goal of $12,666 (cute). If you think the game is something you’d like to bang your steam controller against, throw em’ a few ducats here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/teamneko/death-story-0.
The Linux Crowd
About this column: The Linux Crowd attempts to locate interesting crowdfunded projects and bring them to your attention, the GNU/Linux enthusiast. These projects are curated from the usual crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter.com, Indiegogo.com, and Crowdsupply.org., in order to find those that look particularly noteworthy, but ones specifically that use GNU/Linux as a major component. Some of these projects are ongoing and could use your support, while others might have finished (successfully) in which case you can still contribute to purchase an item. If you have any comments or questions hit me up at: FreedomPenguinBrad@gmail.com