Every once in a while, an idea comes along that makes you ask "How has this never been done before?" Though the idea of bullet-hell combined with a 'polarity' system was very successfully implemented in the cult hit Ikaruga, the idea was hardly heard from again, until Outland.
Entries in housemarque (4)
Don't tell me you've forgotten about Outland already, have you? Housemarque's visually stimulating, projectile-laden platformer is due out soon. The last week of April in fact! Get yourself reaqcuainted with Outland via the following trailer, which spotlights cooperative play elements.
There's really not much to go by, so it's not known how intricate the co-op system will be. However, it looks like a worthy purchase even as a single player affair, so the addition of multiplayer is gravy baby. I came away from PAX East impressed with how Outland looked under player control. Smooth, sexy animation is a great compliment to lovely visuals, unique style, and the omnipresent hell of bullets, wouldn't you say?
Mark it on your calendars, April 26 on PSN ($9.99), April 27 on XBLA (800 MSP).
What do you get when you combine classic side-scrolling action with elements of cult shooter Ikaruga? An orgasm. What else? Outland, a beautiful bash of genres that features killer gameplay and an intriguing story. Developer Housemarque has done well to keep information about Outland under wraps, but what little we know thus far sounds like good stuff.
Set in Mexico City, Outland's protagonist is experiencing nightmarish visions that have impacting his ability to function in daily life. When traditional forms of therapy and medicine fail, out hero seeks help from a shaman who lies deep within the forests of the Yucatan. From here, you find out you're involved in something bigger than nightmares, you get a sword, and you slash the life out of enemies five times your size, all while platforming, switching polarities, and avoiding 'bullet hell' death traps. Or in other words, Saturday night.
This game is gonna be big. Don't believe me? Watch the video. Aside from the narrator's terrible voice acting, good things all around, I'm sure you'll agree.
In what, to me, looked like one of the most intriguing titles to come out of PAX '10, Outland has landed on people's radars in a big way. The Ubisoft published XBLA and PSN downloadable features a side-scrolling, platforming world populated by beam saber wielding silhouettes, Shadow of the Colossus styled bosses, and vibrant colors.
The real surprise here, is that Outland borrows it's main gameplay concept from the cult shoot'em up classic, Ikaruga. To sum up the mechanic, I paraphrase Wikipedia's Ikaruga page:
Only attacks of an opposite polarity can kill the player. Same-colored attacks are absorbed. Switching the character's polarity also changes his color, and attacking an enemy using the opposite-polarity is the primary method of inflicting damage.
That about sums it up, loosely. While I'm sure there will be plenty of differences and added complexities, Outland looks pretty much like a side-scrolling Ikaruga, and I ain't mad about that. Developers Housemarque have confirmed that we'll have moments of bullet hell, where projectiles of different colors infest every piece of glorious HD screen space, leaving the player with no option but to color shift, dodge, and man the fuck up.
As what could be the greatest testament to gaming hand-eye coordination, shoot 'em ups have never really had mainstream popularity. Though for those of us that have a dirty little secret love for the underutilized genre, Outland looks to keep us content with it's wonderful shoot 'em up heart and it's sexy side-scrolling body.