1930s-style animation game Cuphead won’t arrive until 2017 now

Cuphead creator Studio MDHR was trying to get its game out exactly 80 years from 1936—the year when a Japanese cup-headed character in a short propaganda film turned into a tank to defeat a bunch of evil Mickeys. Now, however, Cuphead will be released 81 years after Cuphead’s grandpa was introduced to the world. Studio MDHR announced this week that Cuphead will be released for Xbox One, Windows 10, and Steam in mid-2017 now. And this isn’t bad news; it means Studio MDHR won’t have to cut content from the game to make a tight deadline. “It would have meant releasing with fewer bosses, less platforming levels, as well as…

Honey Rose

Honey Rose is the most relatable schoolgirl luchador out there

I relate a lot to Honey Rose. Or, at least I did back when I was a scrappy university student. While Honey moonlights as a masked luchador fighter in addition to being a college student by day, I juggled school, a job to pay the bills, and a far more time-consuming job that paid zero bills (campus publication editor gigs will do that to you). Like Honey, not everything went right. Sometimes I did poorly on tests because a deadline was approaching for the magazine I was art director for. Other times I’d slack off in one of those two,…


Aww, a game about lonely robots evokes the best children’s animation

A young boy, seen through a viewfinder, discusses the ocean with his mom. The screen buzzes; the boy disappears; two eyes blink open. They belong to a little metal carapace that scrambles around an empty room, tugging at switches and saying, “Hello?” The boy is nowhere to be found, but the bot keeps looking, earnest and determined. This is Abi, a new story-focused puzzle game from Grant&Bert Studios. It resembles WALL-E (2008) in its story, which similarly follows a pair of robots wandering around the remnants of Earth after human beings’ mass exodus. You play as two droids that used…

Harold Halibut

Harold Halibut’s handmade world is a celebration of vintage animation

Like so many of the best ideas in history, the idea for Harold Halibut came from a dinner table  conversation. Onat Hekimoglu and others were discussing their love of old stop-motion films. Films like Jason and The Argonauts (1963) and The Valley of The Gwangi (1969). Hekimoglu, the lead writer, designer and composer, explained to me that the origins of his upcoming adventure game Harold Halibut are found in those films of the past. In an era before complex computer graphics, these films used stop-motion photography to create large-scale fights with skeletons, or to wow audiences with massive dinosaurs. Now stop-motion…

Ghost of a Tale

Go on a mousey adventure brought to life by a DreamWorks animator

There’s something classically European about animal heroes. It’s why Ghost of a Tale looks and feels classical in the first place. From Aesop’s Fables to the golden age of Disney animation, cute and brave animals have been at the center of heroic adventure stories. Ghost of a Tale asks the player to become that animal hero. “It’s a dangerous world out there for a little mouse…” begins the game’s trailer. The third-person adventure game has the player navigating a dangerous medieval island as Tilo the mouse, who has been imprisoned there by the rats. The shadowy atmosphere is a purposeful…

it aint over

Play with words in a videogame about weird idioms

English is a curious language. It’s deceptively easy to pick up, oversimplified and left bare by our lack of gendered nouns and relatively easy cases, but as anyone with a different mother tongue will tell you, mastering it is incredibly hard. It’s a carefree language that pays little heed to convention or regulation, preferring to wander and expound and run-on and twist itself in knots, all while remaining within the bounds of “correct” grammatical structure. We constantly ignore our standard sounds while stealing words from other languages and mangling theirs, too. And if that wasn’t enough, if the transgressions made…


Let a low-rez world of flesh and metal overwhelm you

You should probably take a seat before you watch Mattis Dovier‘s Inside. Just get your head straight, y’know, couple of deep breaths, because Dovier’s animated short is a hugely discomfiting, bleak take on the relationship between people and technology. It spreads like a plague: our monotone narrator guides us through a future where, just beneath a pliable film of flesh, lies a gleaming mechanical skeleton. He dreams of cables sluicing below his skin and bursting from his mouth; a burn on his hand dries and cracks wide to reveal cold metal within. His doctor diagnoses him with “severe hypochondria,” but he knows there’s…


Learn how to rotoscope with Paint of Persia, a new animation tool

Before motion capture was a thing, there was rotoscoping. Sure, it’s wasn’t quite as entertaining as strapping middle-aged actors into black bodysuits studded with various balls and gizmos, but it was a versatile technique that’s been used in everything from Disney movies to the music video for “Yellow Submarine.” Invented by Max Fleischer and put to use largely in his 1940s Superman serials, the technique involves filming live-action footage and then tracing over it to create animated characters with realistic movement. It was originally a bit of a painstaking process, with artists having to project live-action scenes onto a frozen glass panel…


Get a load of the fluid, feminine power of Gris

As of right now, there’s not a lot of information about Gris. We know it’s a 2D game. We know it has “zones.” We know it stars a woman clad in a flowing cloak reminiscent of the main character in Journey (2012). We know it takes place in a surreal environment largely dominated by a Mars-like red, and we know it’s being worked on by a team from both Barcelona and Tokyo. More than anything, though, we know it’s beautiful as all get out. We know this because what has been revealed about the game, mostly through its social media accounts on…