Necrosphere, a Brutal Homage to Platformers with only Two Keys
Brazilian developer Caio Lopez, of Cat Nigiri Games, was at Gamescom 2017 showing off his latest title Necrosphere. It’s an unforgiving platformer which follows a lot of Metroidvania conventions while also including a -frankly cunning- control mechanic. For, you see, Necrosphere only has two inputs; a button which moves you left, and a button which moves you right.
That’s not to say that the game is simple, although most would need to be forgiven for assuming so what with the stylised pixel art style and simple inputs, it’s very much a platformer which requires delicate timing, however that platforming (until you get the jetpack later on) is a case of using environmental objects like moving platforms and bubble jumps to dodge obstacles and pass through objectives.
As I said, there’s a Jetpack later in the game, that and a dash option too. These are activated by pressing both buttons at the same time, or by double-tapping a single direction. The game has a steady difficulty curve, which is useful because by the end of it you’ll need to do crazy jetpack-dash-jetpack combos in order to clear certain challenge areas.
Caio explained that the game was borne from a plan to answer to the absence of deep platformers on mobile platforms — the simple controls intended to evade most mobile device’s restrictive control options. However, as the game became longer and longer the plan changed. As a matter of fact, the idea now is to get the game onto consoles once everything has calmed down from its release at the start of the month. The current plan is a PS4 release, however the real dream is a launch on a Nintendo platform; as with many developers, Mario was a major influence. “It’d be like I’m Miyamoto!” Caio exclaimed to me as we talked about other platforms.
The game wears many of its influences on its sleeves, the two most obvious ones given tribute in the name of the main character — Terry (Cavanagh) (Dale) Cooper. Cavanagh’s VVVVV’s influences are obvious in the simple controls and level design, although there’s no gravity flipping or action button in Necrosphere. The Cooper reference, Twin Peaks, alludes to the limbo-like plane the character is caught up in, somewhere which you receive more and more detail on as you read optional notes throughout the game world.
Nintendo might be the dream, but it’s an issue for Cat Nagiri Games as the industry pillar has long exited the Braziillian marketplace, leaving Caio with two options – an intermediary, or a business venture in the US, neither a smooth ride.
Despite this, Caio is confident. Already talking about porting the game to another engine to ease up the pressures from the journey to consoles, and with the steps for that —a dedicated coder joining the team— already falling into place.
Necrosphere released on September 1st on PC, Mac and Linux for $4.99. A Deluxe version comes with an additional ultra-hard level and soundtrack for $7.99. PS4, Xbox One, iOS and Android versions will release later in Q4 2017.
Those interested in playing the game before buying should most definitely check out the demo [HERE]