Feature of the week

A SIT-DOWN WITH NICK ROBALIK OF PIXELMETAL

After trying the preview build for Sombrero by Pixel metal, I decided to have a conversation with creator Nick Robalik about the project.

Sombrero is a game by Pixelmetal Games, the name that Nick chose to give his solo operation. The only things that are not being handled by Nick are the music — which is being done by Nathaniel Chambers of Bubblepipe Media — and his public relations guy Scott Meaney. The game is going to be a “competitive local multiplayer plat former” with a spaghetti western theme, which he describes as similar to Super Smash Bros. From a game play perspective, it seems to be fairly similar to titles like Towerfall and Samurai Gun. All of these games are local multiplayer games in which the main mechanic is chaos. However, Nick prefers to not describe his game like that because it is faster paced, has bigger levels and has a different animation style. He specifically pointed out that his game has a hand drawn style of animation instead of a pixel art aesthetic.

In Sombrero, you will be able to choose to play as one of two-dozen characters. The characters are comedic versions of characters that would normally appear in a Spaghetti Western movie or game, ranging from the bandito “El Jefe” to the bizarre squid man “Jim from Cleveland”. There will also be characters from other indie games that will be featured. “Cheese Wedge” from Organic Panic, “Rad Raygun” from Super Rad Raygun, and “Peep” from Treasure Adventure World.

In the build that I played, there were three levels: Clampett’s Hideaway, Jones Hill Cemetery and The Southern Ruins. The stages each have different amounts of explosives as well as different amounts of surfaces that bullets ricochet off of, forcing the players to adopt different strategies for each stage. Ricocheting bullets will turn red and become lethal to anybody, meaning that you can try to set up trick shots which run the risk of killing you too. This is meant to add to the chaos that is normally found in games like Super Smash Bros. The final build is going to have a total of five levels.

Nick mentioned that to improve level design, he talked to some of his friends who are cartoonists and asked for criticism. He said that the main criticism that he got was the amount of detail that he put into the background, saying that he had to simplify his background and pick up on color theory in order to improve his plat forming.

There will be a total of five or six game modes in Sombrero: Loot, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Tag and another mode that he will add as free DLC if he decides to make it.

Sombrero has a release date of Spring of 2015 for Windows PC, Mac and Linux. He said that the game is almost complete and that he’s bug-fixing a stage at the moment.