Iceman is a cancelled puzzle game that was in development for GameCube, Xbox and Playstation 2 by forgotten studio Datura, formed in 2003 by former Infogrames developers. Up to 4 players could compete together in small arenas, but it’s not exactly clear how it would be played. By looking at available screenshots it seems you could collect crystals and possibly moving blocks / parts of the scenario.
Unfortunately Datura never found a publisher interested in Iceman: in the end they had to close down and cancel development of their game.
Orb is a cancelled puzzle game that was in development by Blitz Games Studios for Playstation 2. Gameplay would have been similar to Kororinpa, Marble Madness, and the Super Monkey Ball series: you had to move a ball around strange mazes, while pressing switches to open doors and resolving other environmental hazards to reach the goal.
The team created a playable prototype but in the end Orb was never completed. We can speculate they did not find a publisher interested in funding the project so it had to be canned to switch resources to other PS2 titles such as Taz: Wanted, The Fairly OddParents!: Breakin’ da Rules and Bad Boys: Miami Takedown.
Eagle Summoner is a cancelled puzzle – RPG hybrid similar to Puzzle Quest, that was in development by Sensory Sweep Studios around 2008. Following Puzzle Quest’s progression, in Eagle Summoner players would move their character around the world while encountering enemies to fight in puzzle-battles to gain experience and acquire treasures.
“After the successful completion of My Spanish/French Coach, two coworkers, Peter Anderson and Niel Westover, began development of the prototype to this game. Upon completion of the prototype I involved myself in the creative process and began exploring puzzle designs and game play concepts. The prototype was shown to the company committee who received it favorably and green lit its development. While the game’s primary focus was always on puzzles, various other features, such as minigames and RPG elements, were explored for game play purposes. These additional features fell in and out of favor of project management at various stages of development.”
“Each puzzle has a set number of Eagles placed on a grid against a dragon of certain power. The goal of the game is to combine a number of eagles until their power equals the power of the dragon. The catch is that all the eagles move together at once, thus if an eagle is moved to the right, they all move to the right simultaneously. Players must be careful to not touch a fireball or a powerful dragon before their eagle is of equal strength or the Eagle dies and the puzzle must be restarted. To line up two eagles together, a player must push their eagles against a neutral object, such as a cloud. If an eagle pushes against a cloud, it will not move. A player must use this mechanic to safely maneuver his eagles to combine their strength. Hundreds of puzzles each with a different twist will challenge players as they try to save the world.”
“Upon selecting adventure mode players will be taken to an over world map of the kingdom of Earth on the bottom screen. This map will contain the locations of the major cities and areas that they will visit on their adventure.
NPC interaction will be represented by houses or other icons, pertaining to the situation. When selected dialogue boxes will pop showing a detailed image of the characters in one box and an image of the NPC in another. Basic information can be gained this way as well as story progression and side quests. Players can choose to do optional quests for rewards such as items or to increase their gold token count to unlock story progression.”
The game was cancelled when Sensory Sweep finally closed for bankruptcy, with employees working without being paid for months. As we can read on Mobygames:
“The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2005, but kept all projects going with two name changes (including Fooptube). In early 2008 the employees stopped receiving contributions, even though their paychecks were still deducted for the next few pay periods. Soon after that the paychecks bounced and Sensory Sweep lost Brash Entertainment as a big client when it folded at the end of 2008.”
Some images are preserved in the gallery below to remember the existence of this lost game.
The 16-bit era is often mentioned as the Golden Age of Gaming. A graced period that gave us hundreds of awesome classic games. It was a time when 2D game development was maturing and lots of ideas from the 8-bit generation would be revamped with new technology and graphics. Some old concepts and gameplay would still do pretty well in 16-bit, others had to be reworked and adapted, while still using similar and already successful mechanics. The latter is the case for Dwagons, our featured game.
In Pengo the player must navigate through a maze and push ice blocks to defeat every enemy on screen in the shortest time possible. In Sokoban a more strategic approach is needed: the player have to move and fit blocks into specific areas to open the next level. Both had very simple but very successful formula for the 1980’s gaming market.
Dwagons would add a little more depth into the “static-screen block pushing” type of game in “a combination of adventure, strategy and arcade“. It would feature multiple-themed levels, co-operative multiplayer, multi-layered puzzles and a lot of secrets to uncover, everything wrapped in a cartoon-like medieval fantasy theme.
Developers even thought about other gameplay elements like magic spells, teleporting blocks, rafts to move through water places and trap doors that could make the player backtrack. By that time, gameplay variety was a central idea among gamers and developers and core mechanics for puzzle games were evolving (see Capcom’s Goof Troop for the SNES for example).
We don’t know how close Dwagons was from completion or how much of the game had actually been made, but judging from screenshots and detailed previews it seems it was already in a pretty advanced stage. It even had a whole scenario and a plot of its own. Two dragons (Dwagons) named Snort and Snail set on a quest to retrieve the Magic Talisman of Power and rescue their brother, Snarf, captured by the evil Lord Flame.
Imagitec was responsible for a variety of arcade game ports released mostly on Atari and Amiga platforms. They worked with other companies such as Atari Corporation, Gremlin Graphics, and Electronic Arts until early 1997 when Imagitec was purchased by Gremlin and renamed Gremlin Interactive Studios.”
Thanks to Marçal Mora Cantallops and Grzegorz for the scans!
In 2005 the Katamari series was on a roll (pun intended), and speculations about the series hitting Nintendo consoles started to emerge. In March 2005Nintendo Power listed the game as in development for the DS. On the same month that year IGN approached Namco to ask about the possible title to which they simply replied “At this point we haven’t made any announcement for the future development of this franchise.”.
Unfortunately that was the last note regarding the title before disappearing.
Some say that this game ended up being dropped in favor of the PSP Katamari gameMe & My Katamari which was released on December 2005. Sadly, Nintendo consoles still haven’t managed to get a Katamari game of their own aside from the DSiWare spinoff Korogashi Puzzle Katamari Damacy.
In 2016 the franchise came back from it’s 5 years hiatus with Tap My Katamari for iOS and Android so maybe the future might hold something for Nintendo platforms after all.