Obelus is an intense arcade combat sidescroller with a thought provoking narrative. You are Dave, an interplanetary insurance salesman, travelling and fighting aggressive fauna across the galaxy with no one but your trusty corporation approved mech AI for company.
The game questions the place of AI and big data in the world around us, and what implications it has for our species as we continue to evolve in an increasingly technologically driven world.
As you visit the furthest reaches of space to find the last few uninsured members of humanity, you realize the AI seems to be a little too... manipulative. Is the AI really there to help you? Or just maximizing your potential for the corporation you work for?
- Carefully crafted pixel art, created by a pair of dedicated artists who have devoted their entire careers to all things pixel.
- A set of deeply rewarding combat mechanics that combine meaningful strategic choices with fast paced hardcore twin-stick action. Simple controls, deep rewarding frenetic gameplay.
- A story with branching paths and conversation options. Build the relationship between you and your AI companion, and discover the dark secrets locked within the AI's synthetic neural network.
- A game rooted in the feeling of solitude, with the splendor of the universe engulfing the screen, you are nothing but an insignificant atom in the galactic consciousness.
- Explore the galaxy, on your quest to sell insurance to the last uninsured members of humanity spread across the universe.
- A soundtrack that stands alone, inspired by the soundscapes of Brian Eno, Vangelis (Bladerunner) and John Carpenter.
Obelus is best described as a tactical twin-stick shooter. You have multiple weapons at your disposal, and you have to manage your mech on the fly while swapping between different configurations that include speed, defense or power.
Use the most effective mode to deal with an enemy!
Speed config: The mech can move quickly. This is the default config for exploring a vast world.
Defense config: The mech armors up, but firepower and movement speed lowers. This configuration can take the most punishing of attacks and live to fight another day.
Power config: Trades speed for power. Movement speed is almost zero but the cannons are unlocked. Maximum firepower!
The mech has limited air time. It's all about timing!
Damaged: The mech is heavily damaged and shuts down temporarily for emergency auto- repairs. Dave must take enemies down by himself the good ol' fashioned way - shotgun!
Enemies and Strategies
The aggressive native fauna of each planet stands in your way. But watch out, you'll want to think twice about picking the right attacks.
Fly to avoid the charging bullhog while shooting as it runs underneath you!
Set up the Grenade, then detonate it as the Bullhog runs over it.
The Dragger knocks bullets away while coming closer to destroy you.
1. Wait for the Dragger to fire its cannon, which then renders itself vulnerable. Fly to avoid its attack while shooting.
2. Set up a Grenade, blow up his leg. Finish him before he grows new legs.
Switch to Medium Heavy, use shot gun style attack, and then hold block for temp shield.
At Springloaded we have a team of 2 Pixel artists, who live, breath and sleep their craft. Every day we look at the greatest examples of pixel art we can find, and use it to inspire the team to push themselves to new levels of creative accomplishment.
While Obelus is set on an Alien world, the theme of the art focuses around scale: giant environments and natural monuments dwarf the player’s character, reinforcing the feeling of insignificance. This feeling is of core importance to the game, seeing as the player should feel helpless against the unstoppable manipulative powers of the AI that they share their adventure with.
We are looking at various classic science fiction artwork and movies to help keep the art from becoming stale, while trying to break away from certain stereotypes that will enables us to develop a look of our own.
I want to take a potentially innovative approach to the game, incorporating cuts between scenes and locations similar to those seen in movies.
While we will use different perspectives to help show off the scale and beauty of the world, we also want to use sound and music to help engulf the player in the atmosphere of Obelus.
Music in games is often dynamic, for example enemies will appear and new instruments will be introduced to help highlight the increased intensity. However, I want to combine this with the less traditional notion of the music driving the experience.
For example, the player might be walking through a dark forest, the moon will dramatically rise in time with a certain beat of the score, giving the opportunity to combine world events with music that is perfectly choreographed rather than forced to match a players actions.
This can only be achieved by dynamically creating certain sections of environment so that they can evolve with the music.
For the score I am taking influence from classic 1980’s synth soundtracks such as Bladerunner and some of John Carpenters work. Other influences range from artists like Boards of Canada, and Geoff Barrows, for me the music is as much apart of the game as the visuals you see on the screen.
The aim is to uniquely score the entire game, just as a movie would be, so tracks rarely repeat and every event has an appropriate audio accompaniment. Not many games (if any) have attempted this before, so it’s sure to not be without challenges! The main thing is that I have set a very high bar for myself with the audio for the game and am excited to see what can be achieved
James: I started Springloaded to create games that could connect with people emotionally and inspire them to think about concepts and principles beyond the scope of the experiences we make. However, various factors such as reliance on predictable revenue sources along with expenses like salaries and office space have led to our studio having to become slightly risk averse. Obelus is a passion project that I strongly believe in, and represents the kind of game that I have wanted to make since I started in this industry almost 20 years ago. In order for us to ensure that this game won’t result in unpaid bills, we decided to turn to Fig to help share the burden and expand our capacity to invest time into the game. Without support from backers and investors, the game will most probably remain just as an idea.
Possible other platforms:
We have experience on Nintendo Switch development with our previous games, like Ultra Hyperball, which was released earlier this year. We have also released games for PC on Steam such as Hiragana Pixel Party.
We've also been developing games on the PS4 and XBox and we would love for Obelus to make it to those platforms too!
In the 4 years we have existed, we have shipped multiple games on various platforms. We have been fairly prolific for a company our size, having built 10 games which have shipped across 25 SKUs.
Our mobile games have been downloaded over 7 million times, with “The Last Vikings” being picked as a “best indie game of 2016” by Google, while our RPG “Tiny Dice Dungeon” also earned several awards from the media in 2015. We have taken steps into console and PC having shipped 2 games on 3DS and Steam, and our first game on the Nintendo Switch. We are a self-funded company who have remained financially independent without having to take loans or resort to work for hire.