Concursion: What You Get When You Mash Five Games Together

Concursion: What You Get When You Mash Five Games Together

This upcoming indie title looks intriguing and bewildering all at once.

Most of us have probably had the "what would my dream game be like?" thought at some point.

It's an easy fantasy to get carried away with, and more often than not the actual practical results of all your favorite games being mashed together into a single experience would end up being messy and unfocused rather than the "dream game" you hoped it would be.

But what if... what if someone actually took a bunch of seemingly disparate types of game and then jammed them together to see what happened? What would that look like?

Well, as it happens, it would look something like this:

What you just saw was Concursion, the debut title from independent developer Puuba and a game that promises to take its hero "from the far reaches of the universe to dispatching samurai in feudal Japan," according to the developers.

Puuba is keen to stress that this isn't a simple compilation, where each level adopts a different playstyle but is completely separate from the others. No, as you'll see from the trailer, Concursion's main hook is the various tears in the game world that cause the play style to abruptly and temporarily shift into another format. Start a level as a platformer, jump into a hole in the sky and you might find yourself flying a spaceship for a few moments; drop down a hole and you may suddenly find yourself in a Pac-Man maze, running away from baddies while attempting to grab all the goodies for yourself.

Puuba promises five different play styles in the game. Judging from the trailer, these appear to include Mario-style side-scrolling platforming where you jump on enemies' heads; a zero-G environment in which you float up and down in a spacesuit; platform hack-and-slash sections; 2D horizontally scrolling shmup sequences; and the aforementioned top-down Pac-Man maze chases.

"What we've done is develop five whole games inspired by some of our favorite classics in their entirety and blended them together into one seamless gameplay experience," explains Puuba founder and "Thing-Doer-in-Chief" Danny Garfield. "Concursion is what happened when we couldn't decide which game to make, and ended up making them all."

This dev diary demonstrates Concursion's dynamic music system as players shift between different play styles.

Transforming between these different environments is a key part of both Concursion's gameplay and its audio-visual aesthetic. For instance, in a level, you might be running along, then jump into space, at which point you'll become a spaceship; break the surface of another world in your spaceship and you'll become the ninja from the hack-and-slash levels, who can then leap out of danger and escape the level. Garfield notes that both the enemies -- even bosses -- and the music (composed by Emmy-nominated composer Christopher Hoag of House M.D. fame) change along with the player, too: land in one of the Pac-Man style sections, for example, and the music will become more chiptuney in style; leap into space and the soundtrack will become more futuristic and electronic.

And it looks like there will be some interesting one-off setpieces, too; Garfield notes that throughout the game, you may be taking on bosses that don't match the hero you're currently in control of -- taking on a shoot 'em up boss with a ninja, for example, and even getting into more outlandish territory such as battling against a turn-based RPG party or a dancing game scenario. Anything that didn't work as a playable hero has apparently been worked into the game as a boss.

It's certainly an ambitious concept for a game and it remains to be seen whether it really works in the wild. Garfield and the team will need to ensure that the switching between play styles is central to the game rather than simply a gimmick for the experiment to be truly successful, and it won't be until we actually get to play the game for ourselves that we'll know how successful the team at Puuba have been in this regard. Still, for now it's an intriguing, creative curiosity worth keeping an eye on; to stay up to date with Garfield and the team's progress on the game, check out the official site.

Concursion will be available later this year on PC and Mac, and we'll have some more in-depth preview coverage of the game in the coming weeks.

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