The princess is always in another cell.
This has got to be some kind of a first: Game Revolution, covering ‘mobile,’ or cell phone, gaming—dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria. True, Nokia’s forthcoming action-puzzle strategy game (formerly known under the work-in-progress codename ‘Project White Rock’) is cross-platform for both mobile and PC, so if you don’t have a compatible device, you’ll still be able to play it online. But the news is simply this: Here’s a mobile game that aims to truly be the equal of its PC counterpart, and one aimed even at gamers of an old-school, arcade-generation mindset. Concept Author/Designer Scott Foe calls them the ‘Reset Generation,’ hence the game’s title.
Nokia gave the dedicated-device thing a good shot with the original N-Gage phone/gaming device (and, later, the N-Gage QD); but it just didn’t ‘take off’ at the time. Pity, because it had some good games (High Seize, in particular—a pirate-themed turn-based battler much in the vein of Advance Wars, from Finnish developer RedLynx— was a critical success). Nowadays, “N-Gage” is an OS/game platform solution rather than a single device, and Reset Generation (also from RedLynx) is its premier upcoming multiplayer title. It’s a turn-based game that is, by its very nature and presentation, a ‘game about gaming,’ and old-school gaming in particular—plumbers, puzzle pieces, pipes, power-ups and, of course, princesses in need of rescue.
Reset Generation’s battleground is made of blocky, Tetris-style puzzle pieces that are randomly introduced each turn, color-coded to each of four possible players in any given battle; once placed, these pieces form the paths along which the players’ Hero can move and battle. The object of the game is to move and fight your way to the opposing player’s castle and make off with his princess—and of course, he’s simultaneously trying to do the same to you.
All the while, you’re using an arsenal of familiar (indeed, Classic) weapons and tools: Cannons to destroy the colored tile/blocks of the enemy’s pathways, brushes to paint in some new ones of your own color, springs to bounce across gaps and onto enemy Heroes, teleport pads, exit pipes a la Mario, magic wands (to temporarily turn your foes into frogs, of course), and even the coveted BFGP (“Biggest Frickin’ Gun Possible”) The game looks and sounds very cute, cartoonish and humorous, all right—but the resultant strategic mash-up of four players going at each other simultaneously is Serious Business.
If those weapons and power-ups seem strangely, fondly familiar, just wait until you get a load of the quirky, intentionally-iconic Heroes you can choose from: In one slightly distorted form or another, at least one of your Classic Gaming favorites is here, and they’re all the creations of popular artists from the communities of videogaming, animation, comics and motion pictures:
There’s the stealthy ninja (from Joy Ang—Sonic Chronicles and the Street Fighter comics), the heroic, can-do Plumber (Darrel Bowen—Pinky and the Brain, The Simpsons, Animaniacs); the sexy, possibly-lesbian Sci-Fi Knight (Christian Gossett—Lucasfilm Licensing), the disarmingly-cheery “Dr. Lovebomber,”(Owen Gieni—Last Blood), the Level 50 Elf whose name is actually “Level 50 Elf” (Woody Hearn—GU Comics), the cartoonish, Space-Invaders-esque Agressor (Scott Kurtz—PvP Online), the troublemaker-looking Hedgehog (Dan Paladin—Alien Hominid), the hottie Babe Gunner (Feng Zhu—Wing Commander, Star Wars Episode III), the spooky-looking Japanese schoolgirl Monster Trainer (Phil Saunders—The Journeyman Project, Myst II, the Iron Man movie) and, of course the big, stomping Cyborg (Ryan Church—concept work for War of the Worlds, Star Wars and J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek). Holy Famicom, what a crew.
Reset Generation will feature am 18-mission single player story mode, completely fleshed out with a full game tutorial, humorous cut-scenes, and over a thousand lines of voice dialog. Online multiplayer (PC/N-Gage cross-platform) will support global four-player online games with single-click matchmaking—and one really uber-cool community touch is the announcement that players will be able to watch the previously-played games of those highest on the leader boards…and even to scroll back through past matches. In addition, the game soundtrack comes courtesy of 8 Bit Weapon, the LA-based “chiptune band” that creates all its music using old-school videogame equipment. So yeah, it’s an ambitious project—and about as Nerdcore as it gets.
If you’d like to check your gamer-geek juju before throwing yourself into this online global furball, you can test yourself at www.fortheloveofgaming.com. Answer all the questions correctly in the time allotted, any way you can—cheat with Google in another browser window if you have to, whatever it takes, man—and you’ll reveal one of the Reset Generation Hero portraits on the right hand side of the screen (and you may never get that looping 8 Bit Weapon song out of your head. Beware.).
Reset Generation is slated to launch globally in seven languages simultaneously, and will offer all the assets—sounds, characters, graphics, all of it—to the player community (at which time users will be encouraged to create and upload their own Flash-based creations). Frankly, some of us here at GR have traditionally never given half a rat’s ass about most mobile gaming—you may have noticed the utter lack of that kind of coverage, up until now—but Reset Generation looks like it could change some of that. We’ll be back with the full story when the game launches this summer.