[Update: the Systole Kickstarter is now live!]
So late last week, Jorge Veloso from Collective Consciousness emailed us here at DBB asking us to try out the prototype demo for their new side scrolling platformer, Systole. As it turns out, the demo is freely available via the Systole Greenlight page on Steam, so all of you can give it a try as well. Our own Simokon tried it out and whipped up a short gameplay video for you to check out below. I also tried the Systole prototype demo, and if you are the reading type let me give you the skinny on the game.
First of all, the Systole prototype doesn’t have any narration with its cut scenes. Whether that is by design or simply due to the prototype nature I can’t tell, but in any case the story has a real WALL-E kind of vibe going for it. You control a small hovering robot that has two magnets for hands, with each magnet representing a blue and red polarity. As you progress through the maps, our little hero can use his (or perhaps her, I can’t tell) magnets to either grab onto or repel from certain blue or red surfaces. Your blue polarity will stick to red surfaces and repel from blue surfaces, and vice versa for your red polarity.
What this creates is an interesting and often tricky mechanic for moving around, super jumping, and generally avoiding obstacles. The game world has plenty of hazards that you need to avoid by properly timing sticking and repelling from surfaces. It can be a bit difficult at first but with practice it gets easier.
Given that this is merely a prototype we can’t really critique it too harshly, and it is easy to see the type of gameplay that Collective Consciousness are going for. However, if I can emphasize one thing that would make the game much better would be the inclusion of a free look camera. The camera is controlled by the game, and many times you simply can’t see ahead or below even though you have to time jumps around unseen obstacles to progress. This can quickly lead to frustration due to a lot of unnecessary trial and error. A simple fix to this would be to have the mouse be used to free look around in your immediate vicinity. The mouse buttons could then also be used to control the blue and red polarities rather than the keyboard keys. If you are using a controller (which I didn’t try) then one of the sticks could fill in for this function. [Update: the Collective Consciousness have informed me that this feature is indeed in the works!]
But that aside, the Systole prototype demo is a fun little look at what Collective Consciousness are going for, and the visuals are quite nice to boot. They mentioned to us that the final game will have a lot more mechanics and world elements, such as enemies that you have to deal with, so please keep in mind that this demo is purely to show us the concept of the game. If you don’t want to try the demo yourself, you can watch Simokon make his way through a few minutes of the game in the video below.
The Systole Kickstarter will be launching shortly as well, so this demo will give you a chance to try out the game’s concept before backing the game. You can find the Windows and Mac download links via the Systole Greenlight page. Enjoy!
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