As ‘press’ we often get emails asking if we would be interested in looking at new games. It is part of the genetic make up of the industry and it entirely reliant on people picking up the emails and responding positively. We pride ourselves on not focussing on AAA titles too much, and when the email dropped from Makin Games regarding Raging Justice we were immediately interested because it is a love letter to the days of stacking ten pence coins on a battered arcade cabinet and tackling a brawler with a friend.
In essence Raging Justice is the unholy offspring of a one night dalliance between Final Fight and Streets of Rage (while The Simpsons Arcade Game sat in the corner diddling itself senseless). It is all about big burly folk kicking seven shades out of other big burly folk. Only the folk doing the kicking are HEROES and the other folk are VILLAINS! So don’t feel guilty when mowing people down with a tractor.
No, really, you can run people down with a tractor.
I mean look at that! Not since the days of Streets of Rage 3 have I witnessed such glorious excitement, and that had a kangaroo.
Now when we got to EGX we booked an interview with Nick Makin (of Makin Games) to discuss his motivations and plans. We were wise to book as well, as over the course of the show we saw the game become embraced lovingly by the crowd, and Nick got to demo it up on the stages as well.
In summary the motivation to design and bring Raging Justice to market was simple, Nick missed the games that he loved. We’ve all been there, but not all of us have the chops to actually do much about it. Instead we sit flicking through Kickstarter hoping that we can find someone bold enough to declare that they want to make a sequel to Ballz 3D.
In terms of design it was vital that RJ captured the ‘feel’ of those older games – games that have held up against the test of time incredibly well in many senses – but without being reliant on rose-tinted glasses, because no matter how good you *think* [insert game of choice here] or how well it stands up, to say it would compete in today’s hostile and crowded market would be foolish. Nick is not making that mistake, and instead has been careful to ensure that the elements of gameplay that worked, and worked well are in the game, and anything that didn’t, was flushed away like that rat in the Aardman film.
Playing the game on the demo version provided I was able to jump into the fray with Rob and we did OK. The game isn’t an easy ride, and as we progressed it was clear that the game has one element we hadn’t seen in many other side scrolling brawlers, namely an XP progression system that unlocked abilities. Now this is an interesting development choice as a game that relies heavily on re-playability needs careful balance. If you get stronger as the game progresses but that progress is saved, then the challenge is compromised. That said, I didn’t worry too much as I was unlocking new moves much as I did in Castle Crashers, and soon enough I interrupted the interview mid flow with a burst of laughter…
“Sorry… Sorry… Erm… Sorry. I just threw a bin at a dog!”
You see the environment is littered with items that can be used as a weapon, be it traffic cone, bin or (potentially but we’ve not heard any evidence to suggest it exists) an umbrella. At the point at which I laughed I had worked out how to pick up an object and threw it directly into the face of an attacking hound. Hilarity ensued as I realised that all those times that my girlfriend’s dog had gotten the upper hand over me could be repayed. I was about to dispense justice, RAGING JUSTICE!
The more I played of the game the more I wanted to own it. No, that’s not accurate. I NEED this game in my collection as soon as is possible. Sadly Nick informed us that Spring 2016 is the planned release date on Xbox One, with other platforms to follow. Spring cannot come quickly enough. Our cameraman Mark was able to have a go at a later level, involving the carnage tractor shenanigans and he walked away chuckling to himself. He is American. He didn’t have a gun, but was satisfied. Something makes me think that perhaps there’s something we can all learn from this… The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a vintage Massey Ferguson tractor. Obviously.
It’s also worth mentioning that Nick’s confidence seemed to really pick up over the course of the weekend. He had explained that the point at which he came to EGX he wasn’t entirely sure how things would go, and this was something we heard time and time again. It’s not easy being an indie developer, but what Nick has crafted is worthy of show floor space, and it is most certainly worthy of hard drive space.
We also want to mention that we had a quick bash on the mobile version of the game, which while not as slick as the console iteration was still a fun little diversion. Considering the obvious limitations of hand held we were pleased to hear that it supports controllers, which should make the experience a whole lot more satisfying.
To find out more about Raging Justice follow Nick’s Twitter account or visit: http://www.makingames.com/