Discovered! Fancy Skulls: Roguelike-FPS in Abstrakt


 Im riesigen Indie-Heuhaufen gibt's einiges zu finden; unter dem Tag "Discovered!" sollen künftig Titel vorgestellt werden, die ins Rampenlicht gehören.

Es gibt Paarungen, die sind erst dann logisch, wenn sie da sind: Dass das FPS sich gut mit Rogue-likes-likes verträgt, ist etwa eine neue Erkenntnis. Einen Fund will ich euch, vor einem umfangreicheren Bericht, aus diesem unentdeckten Land schon jetzt nicht vorenthalten: Fancy Skulls ist schon jetzt, in Alpha, ein fantastisches Stück Unterhaltung mit Style. Das ist er, der Shooter, den Wassily Kandinsky gespielt hätte. 

Das ist er, der Shooter, den Wassily Kandinsky gespielt hätte.

Im unnachahmlich stylischen abstrakten Look gehalten, versteckt sich unter der trügerisch simplen Oberfläche des grandiosen Fancy Skulls (Alpha, ca. 5 Euro) ein wunderbar fordernder Shooter mit Wiederspielgarantie. Mit Minimap und sammelbaren Waffen recht nahe am Rogue-like-Konzept, überrascht das Spiel aus St. Petersburg mit grundsolidem und zugleich angenehm knackigen Shooter-Erlebnis.

Weniger ist mehr: In offensichtlich streng an The Binding of Isaac geschulter räumlicher Effizienz - wir bewegen uns von Raum zu Raum und erledigen die dort herumspukenden Monster - ergeben sich aus wenigen, aber dafür sich stark voneinander unterscheidenden Gegnern, Waffen und Gegenständen immer wieder fordernde Runs mit Ablaufdatum - dank Oldschool-Härte und Permadeath dauern die ersten Versuche nämlich wahrlich nicht lang. Es gilt: Skill is king.

 Ich habe dem Macher des Unity-Spiels per Mail ein paar Fragen gestellt.


First, please tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Alexander, I'm 27 years old, currently I reside in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. I started developing games in 2009, you can see games that I made here. Before that I liked to draw pictures, make cool interactive things like ones you can find here and here. And I think that helped me with my gamedev adventures.

What are your influences in game design - in Rogue-like-likes as well as in FPS? Which games influenced Fancy Skulls the most?

Nethack - the first roguelike I played, for all the variation and system interaction and being surprising. Spelunky - one of my favourite games. Binding of Isaac as an example of very solid game design. Bioshock for mixing guns and powers. Team Fortress 2 - masterfully crafted game, and as an inspiration where visual design was made with consideration of game mechanics.


Fancy Skulls features an extraordinary art style, reminiscent of the great Russian abstract painters, for instance Wassily Kandinsky. Why did you choose this abstract, but very extraordinary look?

Thank you! I was inspired by abstractionism, among other things like modern and avant-garde, and by some contemporary illustration as well. I just like when something looks simple but at the same time it is expressive. And I have experience in working in that style in 2d with vector graphics, so when I got interested in 3d I got really into low-poly modeling, and, well, this is the result. Also I try to make things readable and clear, so items and enemies look distinct.

With Tower of Guns and Paranautical Activity, there are quite a few similar games coming. Have you tried them? What sets Fancy Skulls apart from the competition?
I think those games are interesting in they own way. And we communicate with developers on Twitter, and try to support and help each other when we can. That's why indie community is great. While there are similarities, I think that our games have enough differences in atmosphere, style, mechanics and pacing. I try to focus on variety of upgrades and items so they are mostly non linear, create a sense of wonder and mystery, as well as make it possible to master a game by using the tools that you get by chance, and with skill. WIth both, you can overcome the obstacles that the game presents before you.
What features do you still have planned until the final release? When do you plan to finish the game?
The next update will be focused on environment visual design, player's progression, like unlocks, challenges, and balance of the game. In the future I want to expand the game, add some more areas, secrets, and just slowly add and tweak content. I hope to work on it even after it will be "done", but I can't really say when it will happen.
Do you plan on porting your game to different platforms? Where do you want to go as a developer?

As for now I want to make it a successful game on PC/Mac/Linux (Thanks to Unity it's quite easy to deploy to those three), then maybe I will look into other platforms.

Fancy Skulls ist als Alpha zum Schnäppchenpreis von momentan ca. 5 Euro direkt bei Alexander erhältlich.