Observatorium is a game currently developed by Jonathan McEnroe, Clive Lawrence and Peter Satera, knows as the Observatorium Team. Part of its gameplay will requires to create constellation and to somehow link them to with the rest of the environment: merge space with nature, as the website says. The player moves the boat using the keyboard, while the mouse connects stars into a constellation and catches fish. Despite the game has been showcased at Dare to be Digital 2015, very little is known at this point. Yet, Observatorium looks amazing and I honestly can’t wait to play it.
When I was a kid, I used to play Theme Hospital for hours. I’m pretty sure I was terrible at it, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying its lovely animations. I had to wait 18 many years to experience that same feeling again. Big Pharma is one of the most polished games you’ll see this year. Developed by Tim Wicksteed, it’s an intriguing RTS game which explores the sick world of the pharmaceutical industry. Every detail of Big Pharma has been crafted to perfection. The animations, created by the incredibly talented Rob Wicksteed, are simply beautiful and perfectly match the clean aesthetic of the game. The game has also a dark aspect, which you’ll eventually experience after the realisation that the focus of this industry is not on the patients, but on the profit. As a developer, it saddens me to know the final players won’t be able to see the incredible amount of work Tim has put into the making of this game. During its development, Big Pharma has changed so many times: it’s interface, it’s graphics and even it’s gameplay. I think many developers should learn from Twice Circles that changes, even if scary, can make the difference between an average game and an awesome one.
It’s not uncommon for games to have a visual style which is not directly related to their gameplay. In these three games, instead, graphics and gameplay entangles to create beautiful, aesthetic driven experiences.
If there’s a game which is pushing the concept of aesthetic to the limit, that’s for sure Memory of a Broken Dimension. The game seems coming out of a corrupted VHS tape, with compression artefacts are all around you. So much effort has been channel into the making of this game that it’s not hard to understand why it was one of the IGF finalists for Excellence in Visual Arts. On top of that, Memory of a Broken Dimension cleverly mixes 3D environments with DOS-like shells. While at GDC, I met Ezra and player the game for few minutes. It’s not just visually stunning: it’s also very innovative. Part of the game plays on the concept of perspective. Is hard to tell more about Memory of a Broken Dimension because not much has been revealed. While waiting for the game to come out, you can play a prototype version on itch.io.
The first time I played Dream was at the BAFTA Inside Games 2014, where I also had the chance to try Monument Valley. After more than one year, Dream has finally been released and it has really exceed my expectations. Made by a very small team, it has a graphics and a level of content which is comparable to many high-profile games. Dream brings you inside the dream of a man, allowing the player to explore a variety of bizarre and diverse environments. Physics and Logic don’t always make sense in dreams, and HyperSloth is building clever mechanics out of this. Dream has been released this week; even if you’re not into puzzles, its dreamy and relaxing locations make it one of the perfect exploration games so far. And if that’s not enough, Dream features some of the best music you can hear in a game.