Indie Game Spotlight: Unreal Engine
Contrast and Outlast
Shoshana Kessock posted a blog this morning at Tor.com that should be of interest to potential developers. At the PAX East expo, two indie games built on the Unreal Engine stood out from the others. Contrastby Compulsion Games and Outlast from Red Barrel.
These two titles feature outstanding storytelling and game design, unique play styles, and just plain fun, that lets them stand up to AAA games.
Contrast is a puzzle game, set in a pseudo ’20s French village, in which you play the imaginary friend of a child. You jump in between shadows to advance through the levels, helping Didi face her near-destitute family. The puzzle game forces you to think multi-spatially in order to move from three dimensions to a shadowy projection on surfaces. Using a specially-designed lighting system, you control the lights to keep the shadows from blocking your progress.
As noted on the blog:
Contrast will make you think outside of your normal spatial problem-solving box in a very Portal-like way. After a few minutes of play, you start to wonder at how many ways you can traverse the environment through the shadows and how to manipulate the light sources to give you more room to explore. Shadows move to cut you off or carry you from place to place.
Outlast may look like a typical horror game at first glance, but the storytelling, action, and suspense raise it from the ranks. At PAX East, players were given a chance to experience it firsthand, in enclosed booths with headsets to add to their isolation. After coming out, shaking and pale, they compared the game to AAA titles like Silent Hill and contemporaries like Slender and Amnesia.
Outlast is everything terrifying wrapped up in one gory, blood-dipped first-person nightmare. Set in an insane asylum, you play as a writer out to get the story about the weird events that have gone on there. Armed with only your night vision camera with it’s rapidly depleting battery, you try to navigate the wrecked halls—and you are definitely not alone. The powerful part about Outlast is that your character is completely unarmed!
The article warps up with:
Though so very different, Outcast and Contrast are examples of the amazing work coming out of indie game companies in recent years and truly highlight what small teams can do to create a stellar product.
It is great to see bloggers focusing on these indie games, and these are two that I will have to watch out for. They also showcase the power and versatility of the Unreal Engine.
Take a look at the full blog post, and the followup discussion on Tor Books’ website.