More thought than ever is going into how combat is portrayed in games. After all, violence isn’t cool, kids.
There are plenty of games out there that feature absolutely zero combat. There are also plenty that have both a combative and a non-combative option; for example, Undertale is perhaps one of the most notable indie games that offers violence as a choice rather than an integral feature, with the ending of the game depending on whether you play it as a pacifist, a genocidal maniac, or somewhere in-between.
Ooblets is the latest indie game to to replace their fighting system with something way cooler – dance battles.
If you don’t know Ooblets yet, it’s a monster-raising, farm-cultivating, life-simulation game from indie developer Glumberland, which is due for a late 2018 release. Oh, and it’s adorable.
Their E3 trailer this year revealed the new dance battle mechanic in action, replacing the more traditional turn-based monster battle which had been seen in earlier demos.
In their devlog unveiling the feature, the team behind Ooblets discussed why they made the switch to dance-offs:
“People can suspend their disbelief a bit and be okay with their creatures fighting, but the idea that you’re throwing your tiny friends into the equivalent of dogfights doesn’t really fit the tone of Ooblets where everything is cute and friendly.”
It’s a move that definitely makes sense for the game. Who wants to grow and nurture adorable little creatures, only to have them punch each other’s lights out? The Ooblets team say that they had tried to adapt the traditional fighting system to fit their cutesy style, but that an eventual switch-out for something completely new worked better.
As the game progresses in development, we are learning more about how the dance-off system is going to play. In their most recent devlog, Glumberland described it as card-based battle, with different dance moves and special actions represented as cards that you can collect throughout the game.
However, it’s likely to be a bit more complex than your classic Top Trumps situation, with the great variety of Ooblets, accessories, and randomised buffs. So far, we know that traditional ‘hitpoints’ will be replaced with ‘Ego’; ‘Crash’ is a random event that represents a missed move; and ‘Fresh’ is a random event that represents a critical hit. Sweet.
Ooblets is a game with it’s own unique personality, and it’s already highly-anticipated. This new feature is set to be a defining element of possibly the goofiest indie game of the year. Now, go forth and BUST A MOVE!
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