Sorry again that it’s been a while, but it’s tough to show works-in-progress before we feel they’re ready. This time though we have a brand new environment type to show! In the future, we plan to use the secret development board on our forums much more to give sneak peaks to this stuff instead of dumping it on you all at once, so if you want to see what we’re doing before everyone else does, be sure to subscribe to the forum to get notifications on those! (If you qualified for the secret forum access from the Kickstarter and you never used it, send us an email and we’ll hook you up!)
Before we get to the goods, here’s some info on what’s been going on behind the scenes. As some of you with good memories may recall, we originally listed October 2015 as the estimated delivery date for everything on the Kickstarter page. If you couldn’t guess, seeing as it’s currently October, that’s not quuuite gonna happen… But the game’s in good shape, and we’re making a lot of progress. We spent a lot of time since the Kickstarter ended polishing the game up and making sure the core gameplay was in a really good place — and now it is! So now we’re shifting gears and focusing on cranking out more worlds. The new one below for example only took a few weeks, so if all goes well we’ll have regular updates of this size from here on out. It was tough to do consistent updates when most of our work was in the small details and polish that aren’t very exciting to look at, but this is the big stuff that’s very easy to show off!
As for our new estimated release date: we’re hoping for early 2016, maybe in the March-April zone. The Wii U version will most likely have to be a little later — even if both versions are complete at the same time, we still have to wait for the game to get through Nintendo’s approval processes, which takes time. We’ll have a better idea of that as we get closer to finishing the game, so more on that later!
Now with all that out of the way… here’s your first look at Chapter 4 of Sneaky Ninja:
The Mines are the host of an extensive mining operation underway by the Samurai, as they extract a valuable source of energy and money in the form of glowing crystals for nefarious purposes. You’ll see Miner Samurai all over the place, pickaxes in hand as they work tirelessly for more.
Just look at him go!
The Mines make for a very different setting than the Forest of Chapter 1, leading to a whole bunch of new fun gameplay mechanics. For example:
Stalagtites hanging down from the cave’s ceiling function similarly to bamboo from the forest, with some very important changes. Firstly, you can actually use them as cover — it’ll be more obvious once our Miner Samurais have fully functioning headlamps that can show you their vision precisely, but the stalagtites here are actually blocking the enemies’ view of the player when you stay on the other side of them. This lets you take cover but in a way that doesn’t keep you safe from all sides — you still need to be wary of your surroundings!
In addition to that, stalagtites aren’t the most stable of structures… A few hits from projectiles, either from you or from enemies, and they’ll come crashing down, taking out one of your environmental options but also taking out any enemy it lands on!
What would a mine level be without minecarts? This gameplay staple comes in a few forms, each with its own use. The ones sitting next to Samurai as they mine crystals can be used as a hiding place if no one sees you sneak in, giving you a chance for a stealth takedown on anyone nearby like bushes in the forest.
Then there are the ones being transported through the mines, offering you a leisurely ride past unsuspecting enemies:
Those are cool and certainly useful, but you can’t control their movements as they roll automatically at a steady pace. If you find a minecart that isn’t weighed down by any crystals, however, get ready for some fun! Those ones are fully controllable, giving you the familiar rollercoaster minecart madness we all know and love:
Gusts of wind created deep underground from volcanic activity or some other science mumbo-jumbo, strong enough to lift you up and give you wings! Windshafts let you maneuver through levels in interesting ways, allowing you to float up and down to grab coins, avoid enemies, or reach places a sad grounded ninja never could.
And of course, they don’t just work on ninjas — anything that moves can be given a lift in windshafts, from a well-placed bomb to a high-flying minecart!
Most worlds will have a few things remain constant, having equivalents in every single environment: where the Forest had grass to hide behind, bushes to hide in, and torches to extinguish, the Mines have rocks to hide behind, piles of dirt to hide in, and lanterns to extinguish. These are pretty central to the core gameplay, so you’ll find some variant of these in every environment.
There’s at least two other major mechanics we’re making for the Mines, but they’re not ready to be shown yet. We can leave you with a major hint, though… Anyone played SteamWorld Dig? Pretty fun game.
That’s it for now!
As always, thank you for your patience! Like we said earlier, we should be having big updates like these more frequently from now on as we change our focus to creating as much content as we can. Let us know what you think of the Mines!
(We’ll have another update soon to discuss the community stream rewards… The only reason we haven’t done them already is the amount of people who never got back to us, so unfortunately we’ll have to put a strict deadline on that and move forward with everyone who’s available. More on that soon!)