Back at EGX Rezzed 2016, I met artist Angus Dick and programmer Mike Robinson, two developers who were showing off an early build of their least accurate pool simulator ever, Pool Panic. I was rather fond of the game – it had a sort of darkly comical, surrealist atmosphere about it – and as a result, Angus and I developed a blossoming Twitter friendship.

In our occasional conversations, Angus will send me little projects he’s been involved in with a small studio called Acid Nerve, developers of Titan Souls, comprised of Mark Foster (pictured above, middle) on programming and design, and David Fenn (pictured above, right) on sound and music, collaborating with artists, like Andrew Gleeson, who produced the art for Titan Souls, and Angus himself (pictured above, left). Time and time again, I promised to write about them, either here or on my personal website, to no avail. They were just… so very, very beautiful, that I found myself unable to record into words how I felt about them. Until today, that is. So, rather than dedicate a whole piece to each game, I’ve decided to compile them all into this feature of sorts. A feature showcasing Angus’ unique flavour of art, in order of my own discovery.

 

Head Home

Head Home was developed for Jamchester, a 40-hour game jam in Manchester, UK, using the theme: “you’ve already won.” You are a brave hero marching through a parade in your name through the city, carrying the severed head of a cruel monster as the trophy of your accomplished quest. Alas, your rabid fans are out of control, stampeding towards you, threatening the destruction of your trophy and the halt of the parade.

To avoid this anticlimactic end, you must dash and dodge your fans, casting the monster’s severed head into the air as a means of boosting your speed, and rushing to catch it again before it squashes into the ground. It’s bloody hard, but buckets of humorous fun, and, like these other games, is free to play and download on itch.io.

 

Face Man

Acid Nerve once again united at Ludum Dare 37, to create Face Man. You are Faceman, an individual who has grown greedy, craving the faces of the regurgitations of a mysterious figure known as Mother Denise. You run about her living room, defeating an onslaught of these regurgitations, and collecting their faces to increase your power and gain access to the unique attacks afforded by each mask.

The platforming is rather slick for a game jam project, and as always, Angus brings his charming and colourful artwork to the table. The music matches the aesthetic rather wonderfully, with satisfying and comical sound effects to boot. The collection of faces is a rather unique and quirky mechanic that I’m quite a fan of. It’s free to download on itch.io, but there is an option to add a donation along with your download.

 

Fruit Wolf

For Ludum Dare 34’s theme of “growing,” Acid Nerve made Fruit Wolf, wherein you, a wolf called Fruitwolf, cooperates with small, bitey, anthropomorphic fruits called Fruitfellas that you amass an army of throughout your journey, aiding your progress in the game’s world by eating walls of mushroom and other fungal foes that obstruct your path home, where you intend on eating your supper.

The art is quite minimalist in colour compared to the previous two games in this list, and when paired up with the somewhat mysterious soundtrack, creates an almost spooky atmosphere. It’s a perfect balance of cute and creepy, and is also available on itch.io.

 

Although there have not been public updates as of late regarding Pool Panic, Angus has assured me that I’ll be informed of any as soon as they’re available. I have high hopes for the game; the build I experienced at Rezzed already felt polished and was thoroughly entertaining, and with programming from the aforementioned Mike Robinson, gameplay programmer for Hohokum and former head of tech for Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz project, they’re high hopes that I feel will be justified.

About The Author

El Presidente (EIC)

George is the equivalent of Lenin if Indie Haven were the Bolshevik Party. But it's not, so they're just the Editor-in-Chief. When they're not mashing Communism into video games and writing about how it makes sense on their personal website, they're manning the ship here. Be nice, they're new to this.

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  • The first is available to play in the browser! Unfortunately it’s hard to justify playing these pure-games when the link doesn’t take you to a playable game. We live in the age of YouTube. Developers gotta understand that these games have to be immediately accessible. (It’s already hard for adults to justify playing with toys even for a minute. Don’t make it even harder for them.)

    • MM

      Strange, I thought I saw an option an itch.io to allow this.

      That is, “hosting” the thing. (simple html and js, dead simple, perhaps they’re worried of not having enough resources, mainly time and know how, to assure there is no xss or other bad actors, and become an even worse “steam”, where the shit can actually damage, materially/financially, the user)

      • Densely pales
        • MM

          Nice!
          So Unity did follow on Unreal Engine foot steps and is getting into the browser.. heh, I may learn unity after all, specially if their Javascript is the real thing. (lol, never thought I’d say that but.. the stuff got lambdas)
          Thank you ‘Densely pales’ : )

          • I think the browser version of Unity is discontinued. The problem with it is it’s plugin based and browsers don’t want to allow that for security reasons that are very understandable. I am frankly always surprised how long video games have carried on being executable files instead of media files like a movie or song; it’s a big challenge for independent developers, because we can’t trust corporations these days, much less strangers on the WWW.

        • THESE LINKS TOTALLY SHOULD BE IN THE MAIN ARTICLE.