Blowfish Studios is something of a nexus of indie game creativity, publishing numerous titles every year for the past few years. Amongst its much-loved titles are Storm Boy: The Game, Morphite, and Whipseey and the Lost Atlas.
We had the opportunity to check out a couple of their newly released and upcoming games at PAX Aus 2019 and to have a chat with producer Samuel McCully.
Projection First Light
Projection First Light is a puzzle platformer by Shadowplay Studios. It immediately reminded me of fellow platformers Limbo and Inside, but turned out to be very unique indeed.
You step into the shoes of Greta, a little shadow puppet girl embarking on a journey of self-enlightenment through diverse cultures and their myths and legends. Controlling a ball of light, you are able to create shadows and manipulate the light in order to navigate your way through the cultures represented. Along the way, you’ll learn about the history, culture, and even the physics of shadow puppetry.
I knew all about First Light Projection‘s emphasis on shadow puppetry and light manipulation before I had a play of the demo at PAX Aus, but I was utterly delighted when Samuel demonstrated the ball of light and its uses for me.
You know that “OHHHHhhh!” feeling when you discover a new game mechanic, and your brain practically overloads with all the new possibilities this discovery unlocks?
That’s exactly what it was like for me.
Of course, I still had to tackle the rest of the level, but I was on my way!
The artwork in Projection First Light is stunning. Beautiful vistas unfold exquisitely, and the movements of Greta suit her shadow puppet status. The light and shadows and their shadows reflect real-life physics and are a completely unique mechanic to anything I’ve ever played in a platformer before.
However, I particularly enjoy the synergy of the themes of enlightenment and the culture of shadow puppetry that head developer Michael Chu has baked into Projection First Light.
He clearly put a lot of time and care into researching this history, consulting with famed Australian shadow puppeteer and historian Richard Bradshaw to ensure each culture shown in the game was accurately and respectfully represented.
You can play Projection First Light now on Apple Arcade. If (like me) you aren’t a part of Team Apple, you’ll have to wait a little longer—but it certainly looks as though it will be worth the wait!
KungFu Kickball was quite a change of pace!
Developed by WhaleFood Games, KungFu Kickball struck me as a kind of Dragonball meets soccer kind of a deal. As odd as that seemed, I was so very there for it.
KungFu Kickball sees players facing off against each other in 1v1 or 2v2 teams via local or online multiplayer. The aim is to achieve the most amount of goals against your rivals as in traditional soccer games. However, in a decidedly untraditional twist, players can use kicks, punches, slides, and more magical abilities to make these goals happen.
And it is a hoot.
I was joined in a match with a group of kind—and long-suffering—strangers. I can’t honestly say that my teammate and I ‘won’ in the traditional sense of the word, but at the end of the day, as they say: it’s not about winning or losing.
It’s about the friends we made along the way, etc.
I can say that because I lost. (And isn’t it easier to make friends if you immediately lose a game to them?)
However, I had a fabulous time carrying out that loss! There’s a real Rocket League-like maneuverability to timing a punch or kick to just the right moment in a jump at the ball, and a real glee to managing to get the ball flying over your opponents’ head towards their goal.
In spite of the high skill level that KungFu Kickball allows for, it was super easy to pick up and jump right into, which bodes really well for families with kids and adults of various ages. Delightfully, own-goals exist and resulted in quite a few laughs for me and my new besties.
Samuel told me that each character has different abilities. For example, some can jump higher, some can run faster, some can punch their opponents farther. There will be more playable characters in the final release than were on display during PAX Aus, and a single-player campaign against AI will be included.
Coming out early in 2020, it’s certainly one to keep an eye on. I’m keen to pick it up to play against my daughter. And crush her.
Projection First Light is currently available to play on Apple Arcade, and is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC early in 2020.
KungFu Kickball is coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam for Windows PC and Mac in Q1 of 2020.
With many thanks to the Blowfish Studios team—particularly Samuel McCully—for taking the time to talk with us during PAX Aus 2019.