I also had a chance to speak with co-founder and director of Renegade Kid Jools Watsham about his upcoming 3DS eShop games Treasurenauts and Moon Chronicles (among other things.) And of course I got to play both of them as well.
Lots of comfy chairs to sit and play 3DS games in!
Let's start with Treasurenauts. The demo had three regular stages plus a boss fight stage to choose from. I played two of the stages and the boss.
The first stage that I played was a basic beach stage that helps introduce you to the gameplay. It's tough to put a finger on exactly what the game is... I suppose that it felt a bit like a mix between Mutant Mudds and Spelunky, tasking you with platforming, avoiding traps, combat with enemies, and of course, exploring stages to find treasure. There is even a tad bit of Sonic in the game, considering that your treasure acts a bit like your life bar as well; when you are hit you lose treasure, and if you lose all of it, you are knocked out of the stage and need to start over.
As for the treasure, there is certainly a plethora of it. True to its name, Treasurenauts focuses on collecting treasure, and treasure is everywhere. It's definitely a rewarding feeling opening a chest and having treasure fly all over the place, or quickly trying to gather it back up when you get hit by an enemy or a trap.
The second stage that I played, a sort of creepy haunted area, kicked things up a bit. I couldn't help but think “Spelunky” when a huge ghost started chasing me, and but the ghosts in Treasurenauts play a different role than they do in Spelunky in the sense that A. there are a lot more of them and B. they can actually be shaken off by running away from them. There were a lot more traps to avoid in this stage as well, including switches that, upon stepping on them, shoot arrows from the walls. This was a pretty challenging stage and I died a few times before completing it.
The boss fight, a giant crab, was pretty fun, although I really don't have too much to say about it. Study its patterns, avoid its attack, get in attacks of your own when you can. Nothing surprising.
This is most certainly the boss that I fought at PAX East.
One neat feature of Treasurenauts is that you can choose to approach each stage with either a sword, a gun, or bombs, and you have to tailor your strategies differently depending on which one that you choose. Jools seemed to suggest that some stages would require a certain weapon at a certain point, but most would allow you to pass them using any weapon that you wanted to.
As for characters, in addition to some newcomers, Treasurenauts will have playable characters from almost every Renegade Kid release, including Mutant Mudds (yes, both Max and Granny will be there), Moon, ATV Wild Ride, Bomb Monkey, “maybe” Cult County, and more. Sounds like a pretty packed roster!
Treasurenauts will have two play types, a casual mode where players can take their time and work through the stages in a relaxed manner, as well as a more hardcore mode where players have a set amount of time to collect as much loot as possible. Treasurenauts will also have local co-op through download play so that you and a friend can take on the stages together, which is a pretty awesome feature in my eyes. Jools suggested that co-op would allow for some sequence breaking as well, allowing for two players working together to pass obstacles that a single player might need to come back to later with a specific power-up.
And that's about all that I have for Treasurenauts. I'm a big fan of Mutant Mudds and Treasurenauts is definitely intriguing so far. The demo didn't blow me away or anything, but it did leave me optimistic.
Moon Chronicles definitely looks nicer than it did on the DS.
I don't have too much to say about Moon Chronicles, a remake of the DS horror title Moon, since I only got to play it for about 15 minutes. I was informed that it is pretty much the same game as the original Moon, but with upgraded graphics and broken up so it can be sold in episodes. The game seemed pretty solid from what I played, and the controls were tight enough, although the “corridor” style FPS always leave me wanting a bit more. The Moon fans out there can tell me if it opens up a bit more in later sections. I'm kind of on the fence with this one, though the episodic eShop release makes it a bit easier to want to jump in, so maybe I will finally give the game a shot?
The first episode of Moon Chronicles is set to release within the next few weeks, with Treasurenauts following soon after.
Incidentally, the conversation turned to Cult County, and although he couldn't commit to anything, Jools definitely seemed to understand the frustration of 3DS gamers and suggested that Renegade Kid would still very much like to do a 3DS version if possible. So cross your fingers and hope for the best!