Synopsis: “Boiling Bolt is a 2D scrolling shooter with 3D graphics, stunning PopcornFx effects and deep narrative action content. The main purpose of this shooter is to make players use weapons, each with unique gameplay features like spacewarp or offensive shield. There is also a Passive Skill system that allows the player to equip various types of bonuses. The idea behind the game is to make players experiment with different strategy or to simply find what suits them the most.”
Despite an impressive outward appearance, Boiling Bolt‘s gameplay is unfortunately a garbled mess at the moment. You take control of a little drone that you can move along a path that’ll see you twisting and turning here and there. Along the way you shoot mechanised baddies with a selection of different weaponry that boil down to a generic laser beam, a lightning beam that imparted damage to a number of enemies at once and some sort of black hole gun. Truth be told, I only used the lightning gun as it was the only weapon I felt confident with. The other two were either tricky to use, or downright impossible to figure out – I will never understand how the black hole gun was meant to work. The controls are okay, but I felt they lacked the intuitiveness of say Splashers or Crazy Pixel Streaker. The difficulty was also a little too punishing, as one hit from anything caused you to explode instantly, whilst a boss fight would have proved an insurmountable task had I not been granted infinite lives for the demo build.
One cool feature was the ability to slow down time, turning the screen grey and the background into a distorted, space-timey, cracked glass, Quantum Break-esque ordeal. It gave me time to breathe and slay some foes in a rather epic fashion. But this feature alone isn’t enough to save it from my wrath – Boiling Bolt as a whole needs work and a great deal of polish for it to succeed.
Pankapu: The Dreamkeeper
Synopsis: “Pankapu: The Dreamkeeper is a platform/action game, which is narrative and episodic. Discover the dreamlike world of Omnia. You control Pankapu, a tiny being created by the God of dreams, Iketomi, in order to defeat the hordes of nightmares that try to infiltrate his world. During his quest he will meet many characters, like the magic spider Chii that will guide him through the meander of Dream Land. He will therefore discover the mystery behind this invasion and will lift the veil on this ancestral secret.”
We played a slice of the first episode of Pankapu: The Dreamkeeper, and it’s got some nice bright visuals and a very anime soundtrack. We met magical spider Chii, who was meant to guide us through our journey, but unfortunately he was mute at the time due to his demo state – talk soon pal. The gameplay is pretty simple: you’ve got the jumping and the sword slashing. You’re also equipped with a shield that’s great for blocking projectiles or stunning enemies if you raise it in time to catch them in the noggin. Blocking spells causes your “mana” bar to rise, and in turn you’ll be granted the ability to lob a boomerang that does some pretty hefty damage.
Pankapu was fun, and at times quite challenging, but it remains to be seen if it goes from good to great. To me, it was basic gameplay that didn’t do anything to set itself apart from the plethora of titles out there. Maybe I’m being harsh, as we only played a small section, and I’m sure there’s a few more mechanics and exciting sections we’d missed out on. But all in all, I can’t help but feel that it hasn’t got enough spark to propel itself past the competition and into the spotlight.
Platform: PC and consoles
Estimated release date: Summer 2016 (later on consoles)
Estimated price: $15/£10