Tagged: Lantana Games

Hands on with Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty

I got to play a preview version of Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty over the weekend and recorded a few rounds while I tried to talk about it. There isn’t a lot in this build beyond the core gameplay but it’s still a nice little riff on Breakout with a lot of promise. I go over those promises in the video but you can also check out this post for a more thoughtfully worded version when I wasn’t distracted with 360-degree Breakout.

Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty is being developed by Lantana Games and will be out on Steam, itch.io, and IndieGameStand this August. I’ll most likely be back with more after it’s released.

Explore the Art History of Games with Mondrian

Lantana Games, the indie studio behind Children of Liberty – one of my long-running favorites from the IGF — have just announced another new game in a completely different genre. Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty is a block-breaking, Arkanoid-esque game which takes its name from the famous artist but doesn’t strictly adhere to his style. Think of the name as the inspiration rather than the definition of the game’s art style which traces the history of video game art itself.

Starting out in the 1970’s, the game mimics the technological limitations of video game hardware at the time, rendering the playfield in simpler, starker colors. As video games evolve, so does Mondrian’s style, stopping at the blacks and greens of ancient terminal displays, the pulsing reds of the Virtual Boy and so on through the 1990’s. Aside from the visual treatment there’s also a museum interface with 15 initial galleries featuring “works from acknowledged masters of the medium” making Mondrian a potential all-in-one video game art history lesson.

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It’s the art aspect that grabbed me but I’m happy to see they aren’t simply redressing Breakout. Mondrian may play like a classic block-breaker but it lets you revolve your paddle 360-degrees around the space, bouncing the ball all over the screen. Forty different power-ups, paddles, balls, and borders are also unlockable to keep things interesting and the brick layouts are dynamically generated from a pool of 40,000,000 possible combinations.

With the base game in place, Lantana will support Mondrian after release with free and paid content including stages only accessible if you own specific games. How they’ll verify previous purchases is unknown but it’s a clever ideal that cross-promotes indie games and lets those devs customize Mondrian to match their individual games. Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty will be released on Steam, itch.io, and IndieGameStand in August 2015 and I’m hoping to get access to a preview build soon.

Children of Liberty isn’t dead, louder than ever

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Following a game as it goes in and out of the IGF year after year is a funny thing. I have a hard time keeping up with the games and their developers in the intervening 11 months so I usually end up assuming the game has completely burnt out. And if it doesn’t run again the following year? Oh, forget it, total disaster; complete implosion.

That’s where I was at with Lantana Games’ Children of Liberty. After watching it grow over the course of two years I expected the worst when I didn’t see it entered again for the upcoming Independent Games Festival. So I was more than surprised to see the news yesterday announcing a slew of familiar actors lending their voices to the game’s up-til-now placeholder cast.

Ashly Burch (“Borderlands 2,” “Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’?”) as Sarah; Sarah Elmaleh (“Skulls of the Shogun,” “Gone Home”) as Ally, Margaret Gage, and others; Sean Chiplock (“Dust: An Elysian Tail,” “Freedom Planet”) as Doug and William Dawes; and Chris Rando (“Dance Central 3,” “Codename Cygnus”) as Joseph, the Lieutenant, and others.

In addition, the game includes Ed Mace (“Heroes of Newerth,” “Tiny Thief”) as Samuel Adams; Chris Ciulla (“Fallout: New Vegas,” “Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy”) as Benjamin Church and others; Cyrus Nemati (“Quest for Infamy”) as Royal Governor Thomas Gage; Billy Nichols (Structure Gaming) as Samuel Prescott; and Geoffrey Campbell (Captain of the New England Patriots Endzone Militia) as Paul Revere.

I admit, I don’t know many of them by name but those credits are mighty impressive. I’m also happy the game didn’t explode and even happier to hear that it’s coming to Steam (albeit in Early Access) this Spring. A quick primer on the game itself: it’s a 2D stealth adventure in a 3D world set in Colonial Boston just before the American Revolution. Ya know what, here, this probably requires some visual explanation.