Empyreal Nocturne

When Vectors Dream

Free Download
System Requirements:
Windows/ 2.4GHz CPU/ 512MB RAM/ 128MB VRAM w/ Shader 2.0
Chad Taylor & Reed Gonsalves

Empyreal Nocture is a surrealistic blend of a 3D Gradius and Shadow Of The Collosus. It's the student project of just two guys, up in the IGF Student Showcase, and shows both considerably unique aesthetic as well as keen innovation. You control an arrow as it flies through the clouds, accompanied by a flock of little arrow, and stalk down huge hydras made of interconnected orbs.

You change direction with the arrow or WASD keys. You go into defense mode with the E key, causing all your little birds to wrap around you in a force field. The Q key puts your birds on attack mode, and you can then mouse over and click on the glowing blue orbs to clamp down on the hydra's vulnerability. The RMB causes some of your birds to be temporarily spent healing you. The use of your flock over time is a careful balancing act that, coupled with the dance of dodging bullets, makes the gameplay deep enough to grab you.

There's a lot of potential here; a Wii interface could make the whole process much more intuitive. Additionally, there's real potential for content expansion, which could go in one of two directions. Either they could keep it abstract and play with a lot of procedural content, or they could re-imagine the avatar entity as something more human and put the task of flying down hydras in a context that could be explored with a lot of content. Obviously the prior is a lot more feasible, and I hope the boys have a good GDC in that regard!


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This game would be a thousand times better if I could customize the controls. The Y-axis for movement needs to be inverted. The functions of the W and S buttons need to be switched. At least give me the option!

I even played the game for several minutes attempting to adapt to the backwards controls. In any 3D game in which I am piloting a flying vehicle, the Y axis must be inverted. It is too deeply ingrained in my reflex memory to overcome it.


You can invert the Y axis in the game options.