Hands-on with PS Vita Indies - Big Sky Infinity, Knytt Underground and Panic!

  • Posted September 10th, 2012 at 07:57 EDT by PSU Staff

(continued from previous page) ...Underground is a platform adventure set in an strange alien world where players have to escape by searching for pieces of a crashed spaceship. Though many platformers are linear in nature, Knytt Underground has a heavy focus on adventure and exploration with a huge gameworld that puts freedom right into the hands of players.

In our hands-on time with Knytt Underground we were lost and absorbed within its beautiful hand-drawn world which shows-off Nifflas' expertise and passion for level design, as well as Nygren's skills as an artist. Our brief bout of gameplay showcased some traditional platforming mechanics, such as swinging, running and jumping as we navigated its maze-like caverns and mysterious passageways in the hunt for collectibles and quests.

              

Splashes of colour light up the dark backdrops to create a visually engaging experience complimented by its ambient soundtrack and smooth platform-hopping. Environment-based puzzle solving comes into play and we spent some of our time switching between human form and a ball to bounce around and access new areas. There’s a story to tell too and Nifflas promises that quests will provide focus between bouts of exploration, though we found it particularly hard to focus on following any sort of linear path when there’s so much freedom at hand.

The hand-drawn art style and music adds to the atmosphere. No room we entered was the same and there was a real feeling of unpredictability as we explored every nook and cranny. The basic platfoming mechanics make it intuitive to control, yet level design ensures there’s many challenging moments on the long road ahead.

The Knytt series is a perfect fit for Vita and Nifflas has already created quite a fanbase following its previous games. Knytt Underground is really an extension of everything Nygren has done before; a world that should be absorbing to explore and many secrets yet to be discovered.

Panic! – by Nicolas Marinus, Thumbs Up Games
Panic! is a top-down, pick-up-and-play action puzzler that will be a launch title for PlayStation Mobile, which will be compatible with a range of smartphones and PlayStation Vita.

The concept of Panic! is totally unique as players are challenged to defend a city from a monster by creating blockades and destroying the attacker as it rampages through the streets. This alien entity manifests as green slime that flows through the streets causing panic among its residents. If the slime comes into contact with a civilian then the level is over and has to be replayed.

We played Panic! on Vita, tilting the handheld vertically. Gameplay consists of a number of short levels that gain in challenge and require fast reflexes and quick thinking to complete. As slime flows down the screen through the streets and around houses, we were challenged to swipe our fingers across the touchscreen to create blockades, causing the slime to re-route and avoid citizens. We could also crush houses with a tap of the finger to let the slime flow across the remaining debris, creating both pathways through the town and blockades in order to keep the people safe.

           

As players progress through the levels, the action gets more frantic and you have to react quickly to the slime’s movements. While the gameplay starts off relatively simple, levels gain in complexity and pace creating a fun pick-up-and-play challenge that we found both amusing and entertaining. New moves come into play, such as being able to unleash air-strikes and throw buoys to citizens to save them from being swallowed by the slime, and it’s clear it’s going to be one hell of a challenge to complete all the levels.

Panic! is shaping up to be an addictive bite-sized offering on Vita and PlayStation Mobile. Thumbs Up's motto is: "If a game isn't fun, it's not worth playing. If it isn't meaningful, it's not worth remembering." Panic! is most certainly fun to play and should cater nicely for all those looking for an entertaining puzzle game to play on the move when it launches later this year.

For more on Big Sky Infinity, Knytt Underground and Panic! visit Ripstone.

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