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June 24, 2016

Full Mojo Rampage: Meet the Loa Part 2

Launch day is almost upon us! Before the weekend we wanted to talk a bit more about the Loa in the game!

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Previously we introduced you to Baron Samedi, Maman Brigitte, Loko, and Ghede – four of the parent Loa that you can enlist to customize your character’s play style in Full Mojo Rampage. Each one brings something different to the table in terms of both abilities and personality, but those are only half of the Loa in the game. Here are the other four!

Erzulie: The flirtatious Erzulie is the Loa of love and beauty, but she also draws strength from tragedy. As your parent Loa, she’ll grant abilities suitable for both support and attack, including an anger field that slows enemies, and boomerang-like tear projectiles that cause damage both coming and going.

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Erzulie’s tear attack will leave enemies crying.

Ogoun: The Loa of war and fire, as well as the patron saint of blacksmiths, Ogoun supports a risky but aggressive play style. With Ogoun as your parent Loa, your attack spells will consume your health, but killing enemies can also restore it, as well as grant bonuses to some other stats.

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If you’re willing to sacrifice your health, Ogoun can unleash some deadly spells.

Lenglensou: Lenglensou is a righteous, wild Loa known for drinking bulls’ blood and having an obsession with sharp objects. He grants enhanced resistance capabilities, including a shield, and you can unleash a swirl of fire. Max out your rampage meter and you’ll transform into a giant, invulnerable bruiser for a limited time.

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Lenglensou is the most defense-focused Loa in the game.

Agaou: A violent force of nature, Agaou is the Loa of thunder, lightning, storms, and earthquakes. Though he’s probably the most powerful Loa, he’s also the riskiest to use. If you choose him as your parent Loa, your health and rampage meters will be one and the same, and though you’ll have a lot of power and increased chance of landing critical hits, doing so is the only way you can only restore health, and the meter drains when you’re not attacking. You can also create a decoy of yourself to confuse enemies.

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Agaou is incredibly strong, but very risky to use.

By the way, early in development we had plans to include nine Loa, but we decided that the initial eight offered a good balance and lots of variety, so we never got around to finishing the last one. Hopefully the descriptions of these eight over have left you eager to try them out and decide which one suits you best once the game hits PS4 and Xbox One.

June 23, 2016

Full Mojo Rampage: Console Enhancements

Greetings! This is Rob from Over the Top once again, and this time I’d like to address the differences between the upcoming PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Full Mojo Rampage and the previously released PC Steam version.

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All of the content of the Steam version of Full Mojo Rampage will be in the PS4/Xbox One version, plus it’ll run at 60 FPS in 1080p.

First off, what all is making the jump from the PC version to the console version? Pretty much everything. All the campaign missions, all the parent Loa, all the mojos, single player, multiplayer…it’s all here, fully intact. And better yet, we made sure that it runs at 60 FPS in 1080p on both consoles. It took a little bit of work, but we got it working, so expect the smoothest Full Mojo Rampage experience you can get.

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Sorry, Ogoun, but you won’t be able to become OP in the console version.

Also, since the PC version has been a round for a bit, we’ve ben able to take player feedback into account and make tweaks to the game so it will be more balanced from the start. Because of the random nature of FMR, it was very hard to test out every possible situation, so in the PC version, you might be able to “break” the game using certain combinations of Loa and pins and mojos. For example, if you chose Ogoun as your parent Loa, and you found some certain special items, you’d basically be able to heal forever and dish out high damage constantly without being hurt. It wasn’t something we noticed while we were testing the PC version, but after a player pointed it out, we were able to ensure that didn’t happen in the console version. And that’s just one example of many, many tweaks we made based on user comments.


The big new addition: Endless mode! How long will you be able to survive?

The biggest difference between the console and Steam versions, however, is the new addition of Endless mode. After you’ve finished the game, you’ll be able to play through this new, never-ending quest to see how far you can get. As you get further into endless mode, the levels will become harder and harder, of course, and this mode will have its own leaderboards to see how far players can get. We already had a lot of replay value due to the randomization and extra difficulties in Full Mojo Rampage, but I’d say that Endless mode really adds a lot of gameplay and you can spend many, many hours trying to see how far you can go. I might be a little biased, but I think it’s a really fun new addition!

In short, the console version of Full Mojo Rampage will have everything that the Steam release had and then some, so I hope you look forward to checking it out!

June 22, 2016

Creepy Castle: Let’s Battle!

Hey, guys! This is Zach here once again to tell you about Creepy Castle. In some of my previous posts I’ve alluded to the game’s unique, action-oriented battle system, but I figure it’s time to go in-depth on this subject, since it’s one of Creepy Castle’s defining features. If you followed our Kickstarter campaign then you already know a lot about the battle system, but if not, this should give you a good grasp of how combat works.

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As you’re exploring the castle (as I discussed last time), you’ll frequently cross paths with stationary enemies blocking the way. How do you get past? beat them, of course. Nothing happens from just touching an enemy, so it’s up to you to initiate combat by moving the cursor to the sword icon and attacking. Sometimes, you’ll simply strike the enemy, causing them to strike back, basically trading blows until someone, preferably the bad guy, is defeated. (If the enemy has only 1 HP, you’ll defeat them before they get a chance to retaliate.)

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Select the sword icon to lay the smack down on your foes.

But most of the time, striking an enemy will cause a duel to take place – essentially a minigame that you could say is inspired by the Bros Items in the Mario & Luigi games, or maybe you could attribute them to the minigames in Mario Party. No matter which way you think about it, it’s a quick, reflex-based form of combat. If you do well on the minigame and earn a perfect, you’ll damage the enemy; if you merely do OK or fight the enemy to a standstill, both you and the enemy will take damage; and if you mess up, you’ll earn a failure and only you will take damage. If the enemy is still standing after the duel, you’ll have the opportunity to attack, and likely duel, once again.

There are nine types of duels in all, and the type you play depends on the type of enemy you’re fighting. (Some enemies only offer one type of duel; others, like bosses, have several.) Here are some of the duels you’ll encounter:

Quick-Draw: This is the first, and the simplest, duel that you’ll come across. It’s a pure battle of reflexes: when the indicator appears on screen, you must press the button to unleash an attack on your opponent. If you’re fast enough, you’ll score the hit without taking any damage. Don’t get antsy, though – if you press the button too early, you’ll fail the encounter. This was the only type of duel featured in the original Creepy Castle prototype, but the addition of eight more duel types brings some much-needed diversity.

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You need fast reflexes to win the Quick-Draw duel.

Struggle: Struggle occurs when an enemy tries to grab you, choke you, or otherwise get a little too close for comfort. When this happens, you’ll have to quickly alternately press left and right to fill up a meter in an attempt to break free. If you fill up your meter before your opponent can, you’ll earn a “perfect.” If the enemy fills up its meter first, don’t give up; your meter will drop a little, but you still have a chance at earning an “OK.”

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Mash buttons with all your might to break free!

Pursuit: This duel takes place on a three-by-three grid, where an icon representing the enemy moves from spot to spot. You must move your cursor to overlap the enemy image, then press the confirmation button to nail him! Hit him three times to emerge victorious, but miss three times and it’s over. There’s also a time limit on this one, so you’ll need to be fast! Fun fact: This duel was mildly inspired by the shooting sequences in the classic Sega CD game Snatcher!

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Don’t let the enemy get away…but try not to miss, either.

That should give you some idea of how combat works in Creepy Castle, but there are still more duel types to tell you about. I’ll explain more about them in my next post!

June 20, 2016

Full Mojo Rampage: Creating a Roguelike

One of the big goals we set for ourselves with Full Mojo Rampage was to ensure that players never had the exact same experience twice. Personally, I love being able to launch a game – especially one that I made – and not know what’s going to happen. We wanted something new and different every time you play, so we designed FMR as a roguelike, with proceduraly generated levels.

As it turns out, making randomly generated levels that are still fun to play can be a bit difficulty, and requires some trial and error. Early on, we constructed large chunks of levels – big rooms, an entire edge of a level, etc. – and had an algorithm to place those pieces randomly to form a square. There were a lot of corridors and narrow passages, too. But we decided this approach just wasn’t working. The square layout just wasn’t interesting to wander around and explore, and the narrow areas didn’t really work well with the abilities that we wanted players to use. So we scrapped that method and went in a different direction.

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The overall shape of each level is determined by a special algorithm.

Instead, we decided to create level shapes that were much more organic. We chose to use a procedure that generates noise on a texture, optimizes the texture, and then results in a shape that’s something like a splash of water on a surface. From there, algorithms are applied to make sure there aren’t places in the level that are unreachable for your character, and also to determine where enemies are placed.

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 Every level is randomly generated but has specific ranges for walls, subdivisions, corridor widths, and dozens of other settings.

But beyond the overall shape, there are dozens of different parameters that can be adjusted or toggled on and off to give a level its character. We can set X and Y ranges to determine if the overall dimensions are rectangular or more square-shaped. How wide should the passages be? Do we want doors that lead to shrines or treasure rooms? How many, and how close to one another should they be? What’s the environment style? Will the level have subdivisions with special parameters? Should the level include lots of walls or should it be wide open? We can also create levels that are mirrored on the left and right sides – great for competitive multiplayer – and set up special areas for boss encounters. There are more than 110 parameters for each level, and we kept testing and experimenting with different ranges for settings and combinations of settings to make sure that levels would be random yet fun, and also distinct from other levels you may come across.

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In roguelike fashion, you’ll lose all your mojos (and your quest progress) if you die, so use them while you can!

As for other ways that we wanted to make FMR roguelike, well, there’s the fact when you die, your quest is over – it’s back to square one as far as your progress goes, and all of your useable items – your mojos – are gone. In some regards, though, we didn’t stick to true roguelike convention. You keep your character level and accumulated experience points when you die, and you keep your pins as well. Even if you fail, it’s not a total loss, because next time you’ll be able to come back even stronger. It’s all of the fun of a roguelike without the most frustrating aspects, and hopefully it means you’ll want to keep coming back for more.

May 27, 2016

Full Mojo Rampage: Why Voodoo?

Greetings! This is Rob again from Over the Top Games, here to tell you more about the creation of Full Mojo Rampage. One of the unique things about Full Mojo Rampage is its voodoo theme, but it wasn’t always necessarily going to be that way. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve always been a huge fan of The Legend of Zelda, so early in development we were considering making an action-adventure game in the same vein.

Our early prototype was in 2D, and it featured a lot of square rooms that were all connected, Zelda-style. The hero had a sword and other weapons like a bow and arrow, and we may have even borrowed a few 8-bit Zelda sprites to create the initial concept. As development continued, though, the visuals transitioned into 3D, and the rectangular environments evolved into something more organic. Around the same time, we decided that, as much as we love the dungeon-and-fantasy motif, it’s something that’s been done a lot of times by a lot of game developers, so that might not be the way to go. So we got the team all together, ordered some pizza, and began brainstorming what direction we should go.

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The NES classic Legend of Zelda was an early inspiration for what would eventually become Full Mojo Rampage.

We considered doing a Greek mythology theme, but we already did that with NyxQuest. It was my brother, Juan, who eventually suggested doing something based on brujeria or voodoo – something a little dark, something different from what we’d done previously. And we all thought about it for a second, and it seemed like the perfect idea. It’s not something that many developers have used in video games, or that’s very frequently represented in pop culture at all.

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Here’s some of the concept art we came up with when we began exploring using a voodoo theme for our game.

We began researching deeper into voodoo and started coming up with concept art, and we ended up turning our focus specifically toward New Orleans voodoo (also called Louisiana voodoo). Voodoo isn’t just one thing; there are several types of voodoo – Haitian, South American, African – and each one is different, but we tried to draw from New Orleans voodoo as much as we could, since that’s the one we were already most familiar with. (Juan was already pretty knowledgable, since he’s pretty obsessed with history and religion.)

The more we learned about voodoo, the more it made sense for a game. The Loa, which are basically spirit gods of voodoo, aren’t just powerful beings; they have a lot of personality, too. They like to drink, they like to smoke, and they like to party, which makes things much more interesting as elements of a game. Baron Samedi, the Loa of the dead and sort of our central character, is an especially notorious partier, so we made him kind of goofy. His wife is Maman Brigitte, another of our Loa, and she’s tired of his debauchery and womanizing. We tried to work as much of that into the game as we could.

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The Loa of voodoo lent themselves well to a unique and interesting video game.

In the end, I think we were able to come with something that was fun and different and a bit dark, and that works really well as a thematic complement to the kind of game that we wanted to create. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back next time when I discuss the Loa you can use in the game!

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May 25, 2016

Full Mojo Rampage: Meet the Loa Part 1

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One of the fun aspects of Full Mojo Rampage is that you aren’t limited to just one play style. There are eight parent Loa (voodoo gods) in the game that you can pick from to customize your character, and although there’s only one available at the beginning, you’ll be able to unlock the others by collecting medals. You can think of them as character classes; each one has his or her own unique spells and passive abilities to augment your standard projectile attacks, some of which are great for solo play, and some that are best used in multiplayer mode. Here’s a look at four of the parent Loa you can choose from.
Baron Samedi: Baron Samedi is the only Loa available when you start the game. He is a mighty Loa of death and resurrection, but he’s also a known partier and womanizer who loves to drink rum and tell dirty jokes. He offers an evasive dodge and a voodoo bomb, making him a well-rounded choice for your parent Loa. When you fill up your rampage meter, you can summon Baron Samedi himself to join you on the battlefield.

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Baron Samedi’s mix of offensive and defensive moves make him a solid all-around choice.
Maman Brigitte: Like her husband Baron Samedi, Maman Brigitte is a Loa of the dead and could be considered the keeper of the cemetery. She’s an extremely powerful loa, and she sometimes turns that power toward her husband for his affairs and unfaithfulness. Her attacks are fire-based; she lets you surround yourself with flame, shoot out a wave of fire, and protect yourself using bombs.

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Powerful Maman Brigitte has an affinity for fire.
Loko: Loko is the Loa of healing and vegetation, and one of the founders of the voodoo priesthood. He has a strong sprit of justice, and is ready to quickly punish evildoers. Though his health and damage-dealing capabilities aren’t the best, he lets you fire bombs that hurt enemies while healing allies, plus you can bless the earth to gain quicker attacks. His abilities make him a great ally in co-op mode.

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Loko specializes in healing and comes in very handy for co-op play.
Ghede: Ghede is another Loa of death (and also fertility, FYI). He’s a mischievous sort who likes to confuse humans with his mind-control powers. If you choose him as your parent Loa, you’ll use spells to place totems on the ground to either shoot at enemies or provide protection for you and your allies. Placing totems costs points from your rampage meter, but Ghede’s meter generates faster than those of other parent Loa.

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Choose Ghede as you Loa to take advantage of totems.

These four are only half of the Loa that you’ll be able to use in the game. Next time, I’ll give you the rundown on the remaining four: Erzulie, Ogoun, Lenglensou, and the super-destructive Agaou.

May 24, 2016

Ittle Dew 2: Improving Upon the Original

Hey! This is Joel from Ludosity again! Today I wanted to talk about the thought process behind making a sequel…and by that, I mean Ittle Dew 2, of course. Naturally, when you make a sequel, you want to take everything that people loved about the original and make more of it, cut out or fix things that didn’t work, and hopefully add something new so you aren’t just offering the same old thing.

With Ittle Dew 2, we had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to go, and we got some valid critiques of the original game, as well. With the first Ittle Dew, we knew we had made a very good puzzle game, and everybody seemed to like the puzzles. And there’s a very good reason for that – Ittle Dew was originally conceived as a very dense puzzle game, but as we worked on it, it grew and expanded to become an adventure game, complete with combat.

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Fighting is going to be a lot more fluid and varied this time out!

Still, some people have thought that the adventure parts were unfulfilling, or that there was no real need for combat – that those elements felt tacked on. Those are both things that we wanted to address from the beginning with Ittle Dew 2. We updated the visuals from 2D to 3D (more on that in a later post) so we could allow for smoother, 360-degree character movement that would lead to better combat, plus we added an evasive roll that would add more depth to the combat and permit us to include more aggressive enemies.

On the adventure side of things, not only have we made the game world much bigger, but we’ve designed it with nonlinearity in mind, so you can tackle the game’s seven dungeons in any order. And secrets! This time we tried to pack in as many secrets as we could, so we could give you something really rewarding for exploring the island on which the game takes place.

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The game world is a lot bigger than before, which means a lot more to explore and discover!

Of course, there are some things that worked really well in the original, such as restricting ourselves to four active items, each of which is mapped to a face button on the controller. No mucking around in an inventory screen to switch tools and weapons – we wanted to keep things straightforward and focus on using the tools in creative ways rather than loading players up with extra clutter. Naturally, it’s not the same set of tools in Ittle Dew 2, but they’re still upgradable, and our philosophy of creative item use – which includes using items by themselves as well as in combination with one another – hasn’t changed.

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The puzzles and limited inventory were received well in the first Ittle Dew. Those elements will return with even more polish in the sequel!

Hopefully this extra emphasis on fighting and exploration will go a long way towards making Ittle Dew 2 address any issues people had with the original game, and the result will be a bigger, better adventure game that even more people will enjoy.

May 23, 2016

Creepy Castle: Exploring the Castle

Hey, it’s Zach again. If you’re going to have an exploration-heavy adventure-RPG like Creepy Castle, one of the things that you obviously want to get right is the level layout: you have to make a game world that’s fun and interesting to explore. In our case, though, we didn’t want to make things too complicated either. In the end, I’d like to think we found the right balance. scen2-tower climbing Butterfly can’t fly, but she’ll have to climb a lot to explore the Creepy Castle. Actually navigating the castle is kept fairly straightforward to begin with: Moth can move left and right, climb ladders (and chains and vines and whatnot), and plummet incredible distances to reach new areas. (Yes, even though he’s a moth, he can’t fly or even jump.) However, we’ve filled the castle with lots of branching paths to keep the game fun and involving, and there are plenty of goodies strewn about so you’ll want to check out every nook and cranny. Treasure chests contain pickups like keys, attack items, and delicious discarded foodstuffs to replenish your health, and you’ll want to go out of your way to find invaluable crosses that provide experience points so you can level up. You’ll also find bookshelves all over the castle containing lore that explains story details and fleshes out the game’s world and characters. They’re not essential and you can skip them if you want, but we hope you’ll have as much fun reading them as we did writing them! scen1-taunting vampire There’s lots to discover, both on and off the beaten path. As a nonlinear adventure, the game, naturally, contains lock-and-key puzzles – some of the literal type, the require you to search an area to find the appropriate number of keys before you can move on – and some that require special gear to move forward. Although there aren’t too many exploration-assisting items in Scenario 1, there are a few must-have pieces of equipment that you’ll need to reach new areas, including the Phaser, which lets you move through certain solid doors, and the Ice Rod, which freezes ice and lava so you can walk across them. (Later scenarios will introduce additional items.) scen1-unlocking doors   There are two types of locked doors: standard white ones, and red ones that lead to optional rooms. And, of course, Creepy Castle wouldn’t be very creepy without traps and enemies to get in the way, so there are loads of those, too. Since enemies are immobile, they sort of work like obstacles you need to get past, and then there are plentiful traditional hazards, too: collapsing ceilings, retractable spikes that require skillful timing, swinging balls on chains, fireballs that pop out of lava, and a giant boulder that will crush you instantly if it touches you (yes, it’s my homage to Indiana Jones). scen1-falling into second area and avoiding falling ceiling Honestly, the collapsing ceilings are the least of your troubles around here. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what you’ll encounter once you set foot in Creepy Castle – and all this is just in Scenario 1! I hope you look forward to experiencing it for yourself once the game is finished.

May 18, 2016

Creepy Castle: Creepy Origins

Zach from Dopterra here again! So, you might be wondering why I decided to make a retro-inspired adventure-RPG starring a giant anthropomorphic moth. Well, as for the moth thing, I’ve just always liked ’em. As for the rest, Creepy Castle started as an idea I cooked up for a 48-hour RPG competition back in 2009. Or was it a game jam? I can’t even remember anymore, but either way, that’s where the concept for the game took root: a retro-looking, side-view, nonlinear, exploration-focused RPG with an action-oriented battle system. I created this early version of Creepy Castle using GameMaker, and a lot of what’s featured in this prototype version will still be found in the final game, including a good chunk of the map design and the locations of enemies and bosses. In fact, some of the original code is still around, too!
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Behold, the original Creepy Castle! It got its start in a 48-hour RPG competition.

After the 48-hour contest, my plan was to flesh out Creepy Castle and turn it into a full-fledged game that was worthy of being released to the public, but one thing led to another and I ended up putting it on the back burner for years until I finally got motivated to commit to the whole indie thing and put the project up on Kickstarter in September 2014. Was the gaming world ready for an RPG with active duels and a cartoony bug protagonist? Apparently it was, because not only did we meet the funding goal, but thanks to everyone’s support, we managed to hit a few stretch goals too! (Yay!)

The new incarnation of Creepy Castle is miles apart from the original version. Despite the fact that some of the aforementioned original content is carrying over, and that the game is still being built with GameMaker, there are tons of new additions, and a lot of what was originally there has been rebuilt with updated code. In the 48-hour version of the game, for instance, there was only one type of battle, but there will be nine in the final game, plus there are substantial new areas, as well as the addition of art for character portraits and cutscenes, and a whole lot more. The story has been rewritten, too, and it’s now presented in a different way – in the form of lore that you encounter as you explore the castle.

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The Fire Dungeon is just one of many, many enhancements made to Creepy Castle since it was first conceived.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is that the original Creepy Castle scenario is just the beginning. There are now four scenarios in all, some of which are bigger than the Creepy Castle portion of the game. The stories in all four scenarios are interconnected, too. And as you might have seen on our Kickstarter page, the game will even feature cameo appearances by some of your other favorite indie characters.

Creepy Castle Kick Starter

Creepy Castle wouldn’t be here without the support of our fans on Kickstarter.

For something made in 48 hours, I think the original prototype of Creepy Castle turned out pretty darn good, but it’s only a shadow of what the final game will be. Once it’s complete, Creepy Castle will be exponentially bigger and better in every way, and I’m hopeful you’ll agree that the time invested in all the enhancements has been well spent.

May 17, 2016

Ittle Dew 2: Meet Ittle and Tippsie

Say hello to the protagonists of Ittle Dew 2, Ittle and Tippsie. I guess you could say that Ittle is the true protagonist, given that it’s her name in the game title and all, and she’s the one that you’re controlling, but she probably wouldn’t be the same without her flying-critter sidekick, Tippsie. Or maybe she would. To be honest, we never really cooked up much of a backstory for this duo – they just love to go on adventures, crash onto islands, and beat the crap out of anybody that gets in their way. We wanted characters that were straightforward and not too complicated – this was just one of the ways that we wanted to “trim the fat” compared what you might find in other adventure games.

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One’s a big jerk and the other’s a cynic, but there’s no greater adventuring duo than Ittle and Tippsie!

To be blunt about it, Ittle is an unscrupulous jerk. She might not look like it, but she’s a dumb brute who doesn’t really think things through and is more than willing to resort to violence to get what she wants – and what she wants is to explore, loot the places she visits, and bash anyone who’s unfortunate enough to get in her way over the head. She pretty much wreaks havoc wherever she goes. (And, of course, she’s pretty good with tools like fire swords and force rods and ice rings and dynamite, but we’ll get to those in another post.)

Tippsie might not take as much action as Ittle, but her extreme cynicism makes her more than an match for her companion. Deep down inside she’s probably more good-hearted than Ittle, but you’d probably have to look pretty hard to find it. And if you’re wondering about her name, it’s actually pretty simple. As the thinker of the pair, Tippsie gives tips to help Ittle get through the tougher parts of the adventure. Of course, she may also be a little bit inebriated as well. Tippsie is constantly in need of “health potions,” if you know what I mean, although Ittle doesn’t always allow her to have them.

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Actions speak louder than words, but it’s nice to have a friend to talk to.

The selfish, brutish adventure-seeker and the super-cynical companion…they might not fit the mold of typical game heroes, but that’s the point, and we think you’ll learn to love ’em anyway. We’ll be telling you more about their adventures in Ittle Dew 2 in the near future!