For the past 25 years, ARTE has firmly established their organization as a public European TV and digital network primarily focused on creation and innovation. Having co-produced several major interactive works over the last decade, the network has now entered the gaming space by playing significant roles in titles like Type: Rider, Californium, SENS VR and Bury me, my Love.
During GDC 2018, I had the opportunity to check out two impressive upcoming mobile titles that are currently being published by ARTE. Vandals is a clever puzzle game that pays homage to street art and graffiti culture while Homo Machina brilliantly explores the human body in a thrilling and mechanical way. Here are more of my thoughts on why both games are fascinating and worth looking into further.
Full Title: Vandals
Platforms: iOS, Android, PC, Mac (Steam)
Release Date: April 12th
Vandals is a turn-based puzzle game created by French Independent Developer Cosmografik. Players take on the role of a graffiti artist and are given the ability to create their own artwork across five different cities including Paris, New York, Berlin, Tokyo and São Paulo all while evading police officers, cameras, and dogs.
Each city is deeply rooted in street art culture and players will get to experience these locations during the memorable renaissance periods of time. There’s a total of 60 puzzles to solve, 40 backgrounders on the evolution of street art, bonus unlockables and a painting tool that allows you to save your artwork and display it on social media at a later time.
After spending hands-on time with Vandals, I walked away impressed by how easy it was to pick up and play while taking into account the history behind this expressive art form. The art style is very simple yet captivating and the minimal use of stealth and objects to distract officers is very well executed. Players also have an extra incentive to make the experience more challenging by trying to acquire collectibles in addition to escaping and overcoming obstacles. This extra layer of gameplay adds a considerable amount of replay value for those interested in mastering each and every puzzle.
Vandals will launch on April 12th for iOS, Android, PC, and Mac. During my appointment, the team did express interest in potentially bringing this game to the Nintendo Switch in the future but that isn’t the main focus at this time. I personally think Switch owners would love this game as it already has intuitive controls and can be played on the go, two popular features that people enjoy most about Nintendo’s hybrid console right now.
Full Title: Homo Machina
Developer: Darjeeling Production
Platforms: iOS and Android
Release Date: Spring 2018
Homo Machina is a 2D puzzle narrative exploration game created by Darjeeling Production. The art style is heavily inspired by famous German physician Fritz Kahn and his breathtaking medical illustrations. Players are tasked with traveling throughout the human body all day and operating main functions as the undisclosed host prepares for a date later that evening.
By adapting Kahn’s work into a video game, Darjeeling Production is hoping to offer players or all age groups and skill levels a fun overview of how science works while educating audiences on the basics on human anatomy. Homo Machina will have 20 gameplay levels and an intriguing storyline from start to finish.
While growing up during the 80’s, I’ve had the opportunity to watch several cartoons, TV shows, and movies that explored the inside of the human body and its functions. While these visual interpretations were all great in their own right, none of them can compete with Kahn’s highly detailed and impressive illustrations. The graphical detail only makes the overall experience even more exhilarating when you see how actions are played out by solving puzzles and interacting with your smartphone or tablet screen.
The concept behind this game truly is nothing short of remarkable and hopefully the end product can remain a valuable educational tool for all who decide to check it out. Homo Machina will launch this Spring on iOS and Android. Much like with Vandals, I’ll be very curious to see if this title ever makes it’s way to the Nintendo Switch as there surely is an audience there who would invest in it.