Technology

6 made-in-S'pore games: From grappling with zoo ethics to being a sci-fi Chinatown detective


SINGAPORE – Here are six games launched this year or very soon that were made in Singapore or had Singapore leading their development.

Starlight: Eye Of The Storm

Platform: Steam
Price: $9 for early version, full version slated for $9.99
Launch date: Full release expected end-October 2021

Starlight is a 2D shoot-’em-up inspired by classic arcade shooters like Raptor: Call Of The Shadows and Giga Wing, as well as “bullet hell” titles with enemy ships that fire curtain-like swarms of bullets.

Players have different ships to choose from and unlock, with some able to withstand more bullet hits before blowing up but move slower, as they contend with waves of opposing craft and bigger “boss” ships over 10 stages.

Each playable ship has a unique ability that, when activated, makes it immune to damage for a short time while executing moves such as copying a nearby enemy attack to fire back at foes.

Using an “auto-aim” feature called drift, players can rotate their ships and fire bullets in the direction of an enemy for a limited time.

Players can design the look of their own ships as well as reposition upgradable weapons.

Three players can play cooperatively or against one another on the same gaming system.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: The Siege Of Paris

Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4/5, Epic Games Store, Ubisoft Store
Price: $32.90
Launch date: Aug 12, 2021


The Siege Of Paris is Ubisoft’s first Singapore-led expansion for a AAA game. PHOTO: UBISOFT

The Siege Of Paris is Ubisoft’s first Singapore-led expansion for a AAA game. It is the second and final planned expansion for its flagship Assassin’s Creed Valhalla title.

The new story campaign takes protagonist Eivor to Francia (the precursor kingdom to modern-day France) to take part in a historical viking raid of Paris in 885 and 886.

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New weapons like scythes, armour sets and abilities have been added to the game as part of the expansion, along with a new enemy type, the horse-mounted heavy cavalry units.

There is also a new mechanic in the form of swarms of plague rats that players will have to avoid or chase away in certain areas of Paris. Players can also unlock an ability to use the rats against their enemies.

Several new mission types have also been added, including the open-ended Infiltration Missions which can be completed in multiple ways, and Rebel Missions which offer a new currency that can be spent on upgrades, gear and cosmetics.

The Signal State


Developer Reckoner Industries plans to release an update that will allow players to design their own puzzles for others to solve. PHOTO: RECKONER INDUSTRIES

Platform: Steam
Price: $19.99
Launch date: Sept 23, 2021

In a post-apocalyptic future, players in The Signal State take on the task of rebuilding an abandoned farm by repairing its machines to bring old technology back to life.

Gamers accomplish this by solving logic puzzles. Along the way, they may also pick up a thing or two about electronic engineering, synthesizers and programming.

But instead of having to write code, players fiddle with electronic components and rewire machines, such as by dragging and dropping modules, clicking on connection points, and turning knobs to adjust the strength of a signal.

Players are scored based on things like how long they take to solve a puzzle, how many components they employ and how many cables are used.

A leaderboard helps keep track of high scores for those looking to compete with others.

There are more than 30 puzzles to crack and multiple solutions are possible with a number of the brain teasers.

Developer Reckoner Industries plans to release an update that will allow players to design their own puzzles for others to solve.

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Let’s Build A Zoo


Besides breeding, players can also choose to import animals from other zoos and rescue abused animals. PHOTO: SPRINGLOADED

Platform: Steam
Price: To be confirmed
Launch date: Nov 5, 2021

Giant elephant fountain? Check. Enclosure for cute jumping boars? Check. Black market dealer to buy exotic animals? Check. Splicing animal DNA to create new park attractions like a panda-owl hybrid?

These are some of the choices and ethical dilemmas presented to players in Let’s Build A Zoo, a cutesy zoo simulation game with consequences for players’ actions.

There are 500 different animals in the game players can have in their zoos and, thanks to genetic splicing, over 300,000 chimeric animal combinations are possible.

Besides breeding, players can also choose to import animals from other zoos and rescue abused animals. How animals are acquired affects how visitors view the zoo.

Beyond bioethics, players will grapple with moral issues such as whether to report black market dealers to the police.

Other zoo management tasks thrust on players include decorating their parks, and hiring staff like zookeepers.

Players can build shops and eateries to keep visitors happy, and decide on things such as using expensive meat in food or less palatable stuff to cut costs.

Chinatown Detective Agency


In Chinatown Detective Agency, players will step into Amira’s shoes as she uncovers a global conspiracy set in a “cybernoir” world. PHOTO: GENERAL INTERACTIVE CO

Platform: Steam
Price: To be confirmed
Launch date: Late 2021

The year is 2032. Amira Darma, a former police officer, takes on her first case as a newly minted private investigator in a neon-lit dystopian version of Singapore.

In Chinatown Detective Agency, players will step into Amira’s shoes as she uncovers a global conspiracy set in a “cybernoir” world inspired by Blade Runner, The Da Vinci Code and Black Mirror.

The single player point-and-click adventure game by Singapore-based indie game developer General Interactive Co features retro-style pixel art, voiced dialogue performed by locals and gameplay reminiscent of the classic Carmen Sandiego series.

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Players will visit various locations in search of clues, ranging from the Civic District and residential blocks in Bedok to the Botanic Gardens and Geylang nightclubs. There are also overseas locations in cities like London, Osaka and Kuala Lumpur.

Some cases may require players to do online research in real life or decipher codes to progress.

When players are not chasing down leads, they can manage the agency and interact with its staff or get local food like laksa and chicken rice at a hawker centre.

Rumble Jungle


Rumble Jungle is a multi-player mobile game akin to the classic tennis-like game Pong, but with four players. PHOTO: TEAM RICOCHET

Platforms: Google Play, Apple App Store
Price: To be confirmed
Launch date: Beta test expected in November or December

Rumble Jungle is a multi-player mobile game akin to the classic tennis-like game Pong, but with four players.

Gamers compete in a circular arena divided into four zones for each player.

The aim is to get a ball to strike an opponent’s zone. The last person standing wins.

To defend against and deflect an incoming ball, each player controls a paddle he can move within the perimeter of his zone.

There are four different arena maps to choose from, with different obstacles in the way that can hinder or help players.

For instance, one map has whirlwinds and aiming a ball into one causes the ball to be sucked in momentarily before being shot out in a different direction.

Each of the cute animals that gamers choose to play as has special skills to give it an edge over opponents. These include shooting out extra balls at other players or obscuring their view.





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