A chance encounter with some young game developers from the Netherlands (detailed, among other DreamHack adventures, here) introduced me to their awesome, full-of-fun, first person arena shooter Da Invincible, and also the showcase wherein I stumbled across One Hand Clapping, an outstanding indie with one of the most innovative mechanics I’ve seen in years. We’ll discuss Da Invincible in the first part of this two part series and Bad Dream Games’ One Hand Clapping will have the spotlight very soon in part two. We’ll also include links so you can find, download, and play these incredible games!
Part I: Da Invincible
Imagine the coliseum we all know and love. Now imagine it filled will 15th century construction going on: pulleys, stone structures erected but unfinished, scaffolding, more and more scaffolding— something you might see in Netflix’s Medici: Masters of Florence. Add simple, fast, clean traversal mechanics and you’ve got a sweet playground. Now, throw in some automatons trying to kill you and a plethora of wildly creative, Da Vinci inspired weapons with which to destroy the robots and that’s Da Invincible. It pays homage to the old school FPS (no fall damage, your weapons can’t hurt you, no ammo count, swarming enemies you might mistakenly underestimate) and mixes in modernized movement not too dissimilar from Titanfall, and a progression system that ensures variety. Loot crates fall from the sky one at a time, each one containing a small health boost but also a randomized weapon. Despite there being no ammo count, you can’t just find a weapon you love and stick with it if you want to progress; your score is equal to the number of crates you pick up— a clever design choice that necessitates variance and adaptability in each attempt. The weapons are so wild and fun that a large part of the excitement for me was seeing what crazy weapon would come next— the rifle with alternating/rotating barrels, the quad-crossbow fiery shotgun, the rocket launcher? And really, that part of the experience is exemplary of the game as a whole in my opinion. It’s just a whole lot of wild, creative, exciting fun. It doesn’t necessarily reinvent any wheels, it doesn’t totally subvert the conventions of gaming, or have some incredibly emotional narrative, but it knows exactly what it is trying to be (a solid FPS and a great time), it accepts that wholeheartedly, and it brings with it a hell of a lot of fun.
Oh, and I forgot to mention: it was made in eight weeks. By less than 20 students. And it’s free to download.
Yeah, for real.
On their website the Da Invincible team gives us some context I left out at the beginning, “Da InVincible was an 8 week project created by a group of 16 IGAD students at the NHTV University of Applied Science. The objective of the game was to create a First Person Shooter experience with inspiration drawn from games such as DOOM and Super Crate Box.”
I had the privilege of speaking with Stefano, Dave, and Max, a designer and two programmers respectively, about Da Invincible and hearing them talk so passionately about their game made me extremely hopeful for the future of the industry. If a fraction of the industry’s newcomers are as galvanized and creative as the team behind Da Invincible and if a group of students can create something this fun in eight weeks, we better brace ourselves for what comes next from this generation of game creators... Because it’s pretty clear they know what it’s all about.
Go check out this awesome game using this link below and then give a comment and tell us what you think!