Who doesn’t like a game with a bit of atmosphere? Deadeus (pronounced “deddyoos”) is an indie horror title for the original Game Boy – or its emulators – and it has it in spades. The game has been available for some time as a download at your price, but it’s about to get physical release on a suitably jet black cartridge, pre-orders for which close next monday. If you are a fan of retro games or the genre, you should definitely play, and if you have the right gear, it should fit perfectly into any large collection.
Don’t be fooled by DeadeusPokémon-like graphics and playstyle. This game has dark undertones and makes it all the more delicious. The contrast between ’90s Nintendo trees and picket fences with the themes of worship, ritual, and murder couldn’t be more stark, but it feels entirely appropriate. You wouldn’t know it by playing it, but most of the game was created by one person and is a great showcase for Chris Maltby. GB Studio development tool.
As most good horror stories do, Deadeus begins with a nightmare. An angry god comes to our protagonist in the night with a hunger for flesh. Satisfy that hunger, and he might spare the village, but there’s a catch – you only have three days to figure out how, and with 11 endings on offer, every decision counts.
“The idea for the game came mainly from a comic book that I’ve always written, I had this little piece that I could call a story and put in this Game Boy game. […] it’s all taken from that, all the art is mine and, and it’s all based on this story. Adam Birch, Deadeus‘the designer told Engadget.
It makes a lot more sense when you know that Birch is an artist by trade. He works in UI design for UK game developer Coatsink and does his own pretty gruesome designs on the side. A sound scan original parts is all you need to know that any game he made will always have dark touches – the cutscenes, in particular, pull you out of the warm RPG vibe and into the putrid belly of any weirdness that’s going on. in this abandoned city. to live.
About this city; this is where you will spend all your time. That is, it’s not a sprawling landscape with warp stations and rival villages. You can navigate the play area very quickly, but it doesn’t seem too limited. Deadeus“The mechanics of time means that each new day brings new things to find and discover and also adds a layer of strategy depending on the narrative you are following. No spoilers here, but there are definitely things you may miss on day one that will prevent you from finding some of these 11 endings.
Birch admits that while the mechanism of time allows the relatively small world to expand in other ways, it also introduced some challenges. GB Studio makes game development much easier, with almost no code, but with a project like Deadeus, it also introduces the potential for a lot of bugs – characters appearing on day two who shouldn’t be around, for example. These were all resolved of course, but added some unexpected challenges.
Of course, there are much bigger limitations when building something for a decades-old rig. Especially if art is your thing. “With a Game Boy screen, there is a limit to the number of unique eight-by-eight tiles you can place on the screen. You can’t just draw a full picture, whatever you want. So it was almost like a puzzle to piece it all together, ”Birch added. You can see below how some of his designs had to be scaled down to work on the itty bitty display.
Birch’s decision to use GB Studio also helped him find a partner for the physical release. A few publishers had contacted him to produce cartridge versions of Deadeus, but it was Spacebot that he ultimately chose. The team had already made a name for themselves with Dragonborne, an RPG also made with GB Studio.
But why go to the effort of releasing a game on a cartridge that requires special hardware to play? Especially if that same game is actually available for free? “I just wanted to put what I did there for people to play, and with the smallest barrier to entry. So it’s free. Birch said. “I wanted anyone to be able to play it, and that was pretty important to me.” But a physical release was always something he envisioned, “it was one of the things that always bothered me a little bit, I just didn’t know how it would turn out.” Spacebot was the answer.
The development of indie games, especially in the retro realm, is easy to see as an oddity. But its appeal is also easy to explain. The limits of the platforms make it more manageable for individuals and small teams. In addition, the back catalog of titles to draw inspiration from is vast and varied. And, of course, there’s the alluring allure of nostalgia – even decades later, seeing a game you’ve played on a real Game Boy (or modern physical emulation hardware) still feels magical.
Back in our village steeped in nightmares, things soon start to get weird. Townspeople are starting to hint that this isn’t the first time an angry deity has threatened the town. People close to you confide that strange things have happened and that they have also experienced the same nightmare. Like gender, unimportant statements often hide vital clues. Sometimes, however, these are just irrelevant statements. The fun is guessing who is what.
Don’t expect endless hours of play. Even with 11 endings to discover, you can reach a full ending in under two hours. By this point, you should have enough clues to go back and find the other stories with relative ease. But you’ll enjoy doing it, and at least one scenario is sophisticated enough to really get you thinking about timing and strategy to avoid a very easy dead end. This one, in particular, I haven’t finished yet.
For Birch, he says he still feels a bit of a stranger to the whole indie game developer thing, but is already working on his follow-up title, which looks even more elaborate. “My favorite Game Boy game is probably Super Mario Land 2. And it’s like, some kind of bigger inspiration [for it], ”But of course, Birch wants to add her own cadaverous touches to it. “How about we do that but like, a lot darker and a little more story based?” Super Mario Land 2 with the Metroidvania aspects and the gloomy atmosphere globes? Sign me up.