In the last few years, the independent video game scene has taken off exponentially. Following the success of titles such as Braid and Super Meat Boy, interest in indie games has taken off, garnering massive amounts of attention both critically and from the gaming world at large, ultimately culminating with both Microsoft and Sony placing a gigantic focus on the indie scene for their new consoles.
At this year’s E3, Microsoft showed off two of their most promising looking indie titles. Part of the [email protected] program, the first game showcased during Microsoft’s gameplay presentation was Nero, an truly unique and remarkable title from Storm in a Teacup.
The first thing that can be said about Nero is that it is a game that truly focuses on amazing visual presentation. Nero instantly will draw parallels to Avatar in terms of its starkly beautiful landscape, awash in a sea of azure tones.
Nero is presented in a first-person view and is a hugely story-driven game. Storm in a Teacup described Nero as something like a ‘next-gen’ visual novel when discussing the game, alluding to Nero’s memorable visuals and emphasis on narrative.
The main gameplay mechanic of Nero involves summoning a sphere of light in order solve puzzles. The light sphere is summoned into the main characters right hand and can be thrown at obelisks scattered about Nero’s world. Interestingly enough, seeing this mechanic play out was reminiscent of the Yevon Temple segments of Final Fantasy X in terms of the sphere/obelisk-related puzzles to solve.
Players can expect to encounter an impressive amount of puzzles in Nero, all of which will require thought and effort in order to solve them. Storm in a Teacup stated that players will often find themselves exploring the game’s various maps in order to uncover different hints and solutions to puzzles, all of which will never be fully clear in Nero. The necessity to traverse the game’s world in order to solve puzzles plays into the semi-open structure of Nero’s intriguing landscapes. While it is by no means an open-world title, players will be able to move roam about the game’s area at their own leisure, where clues and puzzles are scattered about.
The puzzles that will be encountered in Nero offer a robust selection. One specific puzzle highlighted during the E3 demo involved interesting uses of pressure plates that the player had to step on in a specific order to advance. Nero is also host to numerous environmental puzzles. Similar to the aforementioned pressure plate puzzle, another puzzle encountered required the player to navigate about a massive tree in order to find a way to send it toppling down, thus clearing their path.
While much of Nero’s finer plot details are being kept under wraps, Storm in a Teacup did shed some light into the game’s story, stating that their unofficial mantra for the game was ‘what are you willing to sacrifice for your love?’
Nero is currently set to launch in 2015’s first quarter.
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Raymond Porreca using meeting notes taken by Matt Heywood
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