There is something about Australian game development that distinguishes it from the rest of the world. Perhaps it is the fact the industry isn't quite hitting its peak yet- there may be plenty of gamers, but the development offices/houses here are relatively low in numbers. This basically means the commercialistic aspects of game development (e.g. rushed code for early release) aren't present, because on a local scale, names and reputations of independent developers are yet to be made, and essentially the industry itself has yet to be established.
With that said, lets introduce our latest game in the preview spotlight, Tito the Bouncing Alien. Put away your Ratzpad gaming mouse, your fancy Geforce4's and egotistical trigger itchy fingers, because from here on in your kicking it up old school platform style!
The Platform genre was seeing its peak back in the glory days of console gaming, with Crash Bandicoot, Croc, Sonic3D etc, the game that every cool kid was talking about would usually be platform based. It sparked loads of interest mainly from the younger generation of gamers, although it still proved as a blast for the more seasoned gamers. Tito the Bouncing Alien is targeted at this same primary and secondary audience, although it has obvious appeal for the younger gamer who enjoys comical style humor, there is plenty of room for an experienced gamer to have a crack and enjoy it while he/she is as it.
Although the preview code supplied to us was far from completion, the presence of traditional platform traits were apparent. An interesting storyline to get you started on your adventure is the first hurdle for platform games to introduce, to which TtBA (Tito the Bouncing Alien) established rather well, even in the early stages it is in. Tito, the alien, is being released from the 'galactic empires correction facility' and to celebrate, his colourful cast of friends are holding a surprise party. To his amazement, in a magic trick gone horribly wrong, all Tito's friends are cast away into magical lands corresponding to their dress up party outfit (e.g. Pirate, Dinosaur, Cowbot etc). It is Tito's job to go into these magical lands and save his friends, oh and probably win the heart of a certain alien chick on the way (usually how it goes :)).
The controls, another important aspect of successful platform execution, are easily defined and accessed TtBA. In fact Tito himself is inside a bubble bouncing on his own, in which you guide direction wise. This could be considered unique when compared to the previous games in the genre, where compared to this we see somewhat unimaginative movement.
Finally, the last aspect of a platform game which I believe is important would have to be the setting. Although it relates to the storyline heavily, the setting can usually be an aspect that makes or brakes a platform game - what use is easy controls and intriguing storylines when you have a lacking environment to harness them in. Tito initially features on an extended pirate ship area, but will be forced to travel in multiple varied environments including the Wild West, Space, Dinosaur world, Circus world and Medical world. Now if that isn't a versatile level structure I don't know what is.
Technically speaking, Tito isn't going to impress the tech savvy gamers out there - and naturally it has no intention to. Although it is in 3D the style of gameplay has no need for fancy 3D effects and enhancements. Even if, along the development line, TtBA did feature such improvements it would have little affect on the gameplay, as opposed to many other genres, platform is usually somewhat fantasy based and the level to which graphical detail is realistic isn't defined by the real world, after all we are talking magic tricks and aliens here. The visuals of the game are perfect for the style of play and personally I believe it should remain that way. Oh and just as a note, there were no stability issues whatsoever experienced, a nice change from some other beta games out there.
If the platform genre were to rekindle its dominant presence in the gaming market, then you could safely say games like this will do it. Tito the bouncing alien may not feature Direct X 8.1 shaders, environmental bump mapping with optimisation for Pentium 4 processors, but it sure as well offers a damn fun time. Lets just hope the guys at Dimsdale & Kreozot can get an interested party in the publishing of this title, because I would guarantee the majority of gamers will have fun with this.
Make sure to check out the Dimsdale & Kreozot website for more info on Tito. We will be keeping note of the progress of this title here at 3DA, so stay tuned!