The Onus Helm: A Rogue-Like Meets Zelda With Procedurally Generated Levels

By Tim Youngblood

 

In the Onus Helm, you play as a guy who wakes up with a magical helmet on his head that he can’t remove. He goes into a labyrinth to solve the Onus Helm’s mysteries and hopefully remove the helmet.

 

 

As for the gameplay, we can confront the elephant in the room… this game is very similar to the old Legend of Zelda games. Your health is displayed in hearts, rooms don’t open until you defeat all the enemies or solve a puzzle, and there is an assortment of not so original items such as the sword, bow and arrow, bombs, a boomerang… you get the picture. That being said, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I love the old-school Zelda games and would love to see more games with that classic style come out. Especially with Breath of the Wild being rumored to be the last Legend of Zelda game.

What The Onus Helm has that Legend of Zelda doesn’t, is procedurally generated levels for replayability. Often, when replaying classic games for SNES or Sega Genesis, there isn’t much to gain in terms of skills or entertainment because the fights are always scripted the same with no variation. This makes the games more of a test of memory than skills. Having procedurally generated levels allows players to have new experiences playing still playing in the same engine.

 

That’s so Zelda!

 

The Onus Helm’s Kickstarter Campaign

Unfortunately, the team at B-Cubed Labs is unlikely to meet their funding goal on Kickstarter. As far as their campaign and promotion they did a lot of things right. They set a modest goal of $5,500, had a playable demo, and made lots of cool gifs. The game was covered by a lot of big websites too. There are a few things that might have helped them reach their goal, although, running a Kickstarter campaign and failing is still good for promoting a game.

I think that a press kit would have helped them out a lot. I scoured the internet to find a decent featured image (Around 600x 400 pixels) and ended up having to resize an image anyway. This could have turned off a lot of media outlets from covering the game. I also would have liked to learn more about the story. Normally, I would advise not going too deep into lore on a Kickstarter campaign, but I wanted to learn more about. All you can really glean from the campaign is “Guy gets helmet stuck on his head and has to do Zelda stuff to remove it”. Lastly, I would have liked to see a longer demo. It didn’t take me long to beat the level, and although I enjoyed the gameplay, I had seen all there was to do in less than 10 minutes. Comparatively, I spent hours playing the demo for Broken Reality.

Fortunately, with crowdfunding, you can always run a new campaign later! I love the concept of the game and I think their stretch goal of making the game multiplayer will make it a unique gaming experience and distance The Onus Helm from stereotypes of being a lazy Zelda clone. If you check out B-Cubed Labs on Twitter and itch.io, you’ll see that there are actually a lot of cool fight mechanics a very fast gameplay style. Unfortunately, I don’t think the demo does what B-Cubed Labs is trying to build justice.

 

Learn More About B-Cubed Labs and The Onus Helm

 

 

 

 

CastleBound: A Harvest Moon Meets Metroid 2D Platformer

By Zac Jackson

As a solo developer myself, I grew a soft spot in my heart for CastleBound the moment I laid eyes on it. Developed by Scott Reid, CastleBound is a 2D Action Platformer with some of the simulation aspects of everyday life (like Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon) and the action/platform adventure gameplay of Super Metroid.

You can head out into the world and engage in combat against monsters, discover treasure and explore dungeons. Alternatively, you could build yourself a house, raise some cattle, and farm up some veggies in your spare time, it’s up to you!

 

 

You start the game off as a young noble who has finally returned home have been sent away as a child. Your character quickly learns that his home is now overrun with the undead and other creatures, which an evil wizard is responsible for.

 

 

What I love about this game is that it takes the art style of early RPG’s, but also features modern twists on older systems. You are able to constantly discover new abilities that will help you uncover hidden areas (which means more treasure!), as well as use a bunch of different melee weapons like swords, axes, spears and more. You can also craft weapons, armor, and other things from the items you find while you are adventuring,

There is a multitude of levels ranging from forests and castles to haunted woods and deep mines filled with traps, hazardous weather, dungeon bosses, and more.

What if the dungeon crawl isn’t fully for you? You can romance one of many characters and eventually get married instead!

 

 

All in all this game has several features that I can’t wait to try, but before I can do that, it needs to get funded.

A featured Kickstarter project, Castlebound is at ~$1800 of its $5000 goal (36% funded). Not to worry though, as there are 6 days left to go on the campaign. For only $10 you can get a digital DRM-Free copy of CastleBound on release. If the game gets on Steam, you also get a key.

 

 

Scott is determined to make this game a success even if it doesn’t get a lot of funding, which is great to hear! What do you think of this game?