It’s a big month for big AAA releases, but that won’t stop us from checking out the smaller games that are coming out in February. Today we’re checking out 35MM from Sometimes You and Space Robinson and Dr. Oil from ChiliDog Interactive, all of which are getting console releases.
We’ve gotten to know Sometimes You as a porting powerhouse over the past few years – first through their work on the PlayStation Vita, but across most platforms with their recent releases. The latest port is 35MM, which originally launched on Steam way back in 2016 and is now available on consoles.
While definitely an indie title in terms of production values, 35MM has echoes of games like STALKER and Metro 2033, painting a bleak post-apocalyptic world where you’re trying to get home over the course of a four hour adventure. The references aren’t just in relation to gameplay and narrative either, as 35MM takes place in Russia and comes with a visual style that is reminiscent of those other games as well.
It’s hard to pin the game down to a single genre, because what starts out as a walking simulator does remain rather linear and almost on rails for the majority of the game, but the gameplay styles jump from walking simulator to survival horror to action adventure. With a story to tell, it’s definitely an ambitious title, and if you look past the rough edges it’s an interesting one as well. It’s a story of a grey reality, but also one of hope and perseverance.
While the individual gameplay elements have all been done better elsewhere, 35MM is very effective at creating a strong and unique sense of atmosphere. And for a story about the aftermath of a global pandemic, it couldn’t have been timed better.
Originally released on Steam by Luxorix Games through Alawar (of Beholder fame), Space Robinson has now arrived on PlayStation thanks to ChiliDog Entertainment. If you enjoy games like Hades, this could be a great budget-friendly choice for you.
As you probably inferred from the title, Space Robinson has a sci-fi theme to it, and casts you as an engineer sent to a faraway planet, only to end up in a crash after which you find out the planet is far more hostile than you had anticipated. And there you are, armed with nothing but your trusty wrench and a service pistol.
That’s how you start, at least, because this is a rogue-like title where progression is near-constant, with an addictive gameplay loop that pushes you ever closer to finding out what happened to the people of this deep space colony. That’s rarely your biggest driving force though – you’re mostly just trying to stay alive, and for that you want the next upgrade or unlock that seems just out of reach.
As with Hades, each (randomly generated) level ends with a choice between three different perks – which you’ll lose upon death when you get cloned. You’ll retain your experience and crystals though, the latter of which you’ll need to open doors to future upgrades. It’s an addictive cycle, and perfectly suited for that “just another run” feeling.
But where Hades is great at using narrative as a mechanic to keep you pushing forward, Space Robinson doles out its progression rather slowly and doesn’t grab you by the neck with its story. Instead, it relies on its gameplay loop – combining melee (wrench) combat with guns seamlessly and dishing out upgrades and new weapons all the time. There’s a wealth of potential upgrades that even extends to having buddies tag along and help you, and everything (from level design to enemy placement to upgrades) is so randomized that every run feels fresh. Sure, you’ve played this before and maybe you even player a better version of it, but if you enjoy rogue-likes then we’re certain you’ll spend hours playing this one as well.
ChiliDog’s latest porting/publishing project for consoles is Dr. Oil, which was developed by Antena. It’s the next entry in the very crowded challenging platformer genre, and it comes with an insane backstory about a boy who was bitten by a seagull and turned into Captain Seagull, as well as a Doctor who’s taking it upon himself to go out and kill Captain Seagull. This isn’t a narrative-driven game at all, but the setup is so bizarre that it’s almost a shame this is just another hardcore platformer.
Unsurprisingly, you can jump, dash and expect to die quite a lot before you get through the game’s 75 levels – though if you are stuck there’s a built in cheat code (U-U-D-D-U-U-R-L-L-R followed by Square or X, depending on your platform) that lets you do things like skip levels. We imagine the game will be popular among trophy hunters because of it, but if you play it the normal way then Dr. Oil should provide an hour or two of hardcore platforming action. It’s not groundbreaking in terms of gameplay, but some of the levels certainly are wacky with their rotating platforming. A fitting setting for its crazy plot, in an otherwise generic hardcore platformer geared towards true enthusiasts and trophy hunters.