Aztez – A Game of Conquest and Brutality

Aztez Build April 25th, 2012

Now that the game has been in official production for two months, awesome progress is being made on all fronts. So I'm just dropping this here to give you a taste of where the combat has come in the last 4 to 6 weeks. But know this! This will probably be the last public build I release here on the site for any 'ol person to play. I'm going to have to get more selective and careful about who sees the game now that we will be selling this experience down the road.

-Play It In Full Resolution Here-

*Press the "I" key on the keyboard to switch the control scheme between Windows 360 Controller, Mac 360 controller, and keyboard. You can confirm which scheme is active with the admittedly difficult-to-read text in the upper left hand corner of the game screen.

Note that it begins in Windows 360 controller mode and if you want to switch it to keyboard just press space as soon as the game starts.

How To Play:

  • Use the left analog stick to run left and right (keyboard = left and right arrow).
  • Use the A button to jump (keyboard = up arrow).
  • Press the X button to "Strike". You can perform a 5 hit combo with the Strike button on both the ground and in the air (keyboard = z).
    • Press Up + Strike to blast an enemy into the air. This can also be done in the air.
    • Press Down + Strike to sweep an enemy off their feet. In the air, the character will quickly bring their sword down to the ground, hitting any enemies it touches.
  • Press the Y button to "Slam". You can perform a 5 hit combo with the Slam button on both the ground and in the air. You can also create a custom 5 hit combo by alternating between strike and slam however you like (keyboard = x).
    • Press Up + Slam to blast an enemy up and back. This can also be done in the air.
    • Press Down + Slam to bounce a downed enemy off the ground. In the air, the character will blast the enemy straight down.
  • Press the Bumpers to dash. LB will always dash you left and RB will always dash you right. All attacks can be cancelled with dashes. Dashes can be performed in the air as well. Note that all combinations of Up/Down + Strike/Slam will work when during a dash (keyboard = a, s).
    • Press Strike during a dash to blast an enemy backwards. This can also be done during an air dash.
    • Press Slam during a dash to spin an enemy in place for a couple seconds. This can also be done during an air dash.

Current Rules:

At the moment, enemies have 20-25 health (every attack inflicts 1 damage) and once an enemy's health has been reduced to 0 they will "break"; the next time they would normally stand up and start their routine again they will now be dizzy. Once dizzy, you have approximately 3 seconds to hit them with an attack (which will kill them) or they will die on their own. Note that broken enemies can continue to be struck as long as you can prevent them from falling down and standing up into their dizzy state. Once all enemies die, you must refresh your browser to restart the scene and kill again.

Please keep in mind that the game is still ways off from being complete and is NOT representative of the finished product we intend to give you. It's buggy and loose and silly but it feels good in the 'ol hands so please enjoy yourself for a few minutes. :)

  • Tyler

    Preface: I am not a beat-em up player. I’ve never been a fan of the genre, so some of the usual expectations for the genre may not exist for me.
    I love the aesthetic and theme. I have no complaints regarding it, but would love to see some levels in a more “aztec jungle” theme. Also, lots of fog.
    Starting on the controller as default took me a moment to realize, I would expect the majority of testers will start with keyboard.
    After I switched to keyboard, I was already getting pummeled by three enemies pretty constantly. It took me ~10 second to break the cycle of their attacks by jumping away, and was frustrating
    I feel like I expect down arrow and an attack button to do a downward strike when I am in the air. I found myself disappointed when it did not occur in such a way. (Down Arrow + X). The same goes for Down+Left/Right and Z
    I also found it very difficult to get an enemy airborn.
    At one point, I was able to attack 5 enemies when they were on the same side as me. They all grouped into a single location, looking like it was only one enemy. It became very easy to continue to pummel them as a whole, without much challenge. Perhaps when they fall/recoil, it could occur with a slight variable to the distance so they occasionally break from this trend?

    • Thanks so much! For your own information:

      -There are a huge variety of environments in the actual game; the one in all of these builds is just my combat playground environment. But just so you know, the Aztecs weren’t actually in the jungle. The Mayans were. The Aztecs were based on the plains of central Mexico. ;)
      -Ahh I see what happened. Sorry about that! I added a note to the post that you can push space to switch it quickly to keyboard mode.
      -It is VERY difficult to get an enemy airborne on the keyboard because of the way we have it bound. That will be fixed.
      -Enemy grouping and attack order will definitely be fixed.

  • TvZ

    This game will rock. That being said, that is the main reason why I’ve been fighting the urges to get the playable builds. I want this brutal game in its full and final glory.

    • Thanks so much! I’m glad you dig it!

  • Ty


    – Besides the different functionality for air combat, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between slam and strike. Typically, when I play a brawler (which is not often, as I’ve told you many a time), I’m used to one attack being substantially heavier than the other, and it makes inventing my own combos a more intuitive experience; I can more quickly and easily judge on the fly whether I’d like to go for power or speed as I perform each attack in the chain. As is, it doesn’t really seem to matter, both essentially perform the same basic task.

    -The transition from ground to air combat and back again feels kind of shitty. I’m not sure what I mean by this. It’s just… loose, and floaty, and I’m not thinking to myself ‘man, I can’t wait to master this mechanic I don’t yet fully understand’ so much as I’m thinking ‘this feels fundamentally broken. That’s a shame.’

    – Speaking of loose and floaty, basic running and jumping feels like I’m some sort of hovercraft. The run speed is bafflingly fast – I found myself almost wishing I was moving more slowly. As for jumping, I think as soon as you add sound effects for landing and whatnot, it’ll be fine.

    – The hits are so satisfying I could cry.

    – I wish the first layer of background elements were a hair lighter, for contrast’s sake. Not much, but, like… I feel the ground plane your character is walking on should be the shade you have, and then the scenery immediately behind that should be turned up juuuuust a little bit. Make the characters pop some more.

    – Let’s talk colours. You’ve got a good thing going with the black/white/red colour scheme. It’s impossible to fuck that up, it always looks good. And that’s just the thing: it’s an extremely ‘safe’ colour scheme. We’ve seen it before. What I’D like to see is you sexing it up a bit, and getting risky – without changing a thing.
    For instance, the blood. Firetruck red is traditionally the most eye-catching colour, for sure. But it’s boring. It would look way sexier if you made it a bit deeper. Not burgundy, but just deep enough to give it a ‘sophistication’ that out-of-the-tube red just can’t provide. It would go a long way on its own.
    As for the black/white, have you considered maybe playing with the temperature? You might find that warming all the grey tones could lead to a MUCH thicker, moodier atmosphere, as opposed to leaving them purely neutral.

    Food for thought. I probably have more thoughts about the visuals. Spit and polish is my bag. Maybe I’ll do a mockup screenshot in a bit, show y’all how I see it in my head. In any event, this build only makes me ever-more pumped for the real deal. Ben, you are Of Kings. XXOO

  • Dude, Ty, I fucking love you. Thanks for dropping this on me, seriously! Now, in order;

    -I love that you noticed the difference between what I’ve done and what the typical brawler does, and I totally know what you’re saying. Eventually there will be a system in place that makes this style of combo much more meaningful. Can’t wait to see how you feel about it since this concern of yours is legit.

    -It totally does! Coming up next is the building of some under-the-hood character tech that I can finally use to tighten the movement minutia WAY the fuck up. It’s coming!

    -Interesting! I definitely intended to make the character faster than the typical beat ’em up character for the sake of pacing but I didn’t think it would feel icky to anyone. Once that previously mentioned tech is in place I will do another round of tweaking with the speed for sure. Just for you!

    -Thank you so much, I’m so happy you think that; I’ve worked so god damn hard making sure hits feel good!

    -Word! This particular stage is a little heavy on that first layer of grey background elements. I’m gonna show you a couple different stages I’ve made to see if those make more sense to your eyeballs…

    -Awesome! Especially the warmth idea. I will most DEFINITELY play with both of those things cuz now I’m super curious. Good call, I’m so glad you put that out there.

    Much love, I’m glad you’re in my corner. :)

  • I agree with pretty much everything that Ty said. Here are my other thoughts:

    It doesn’t seem like there is any dash invulnerability. Am I wrong about that? Are you planning to do any invulnerability frames for dashing? I’m a fan of that being possible, especially if the frames are tight so it can’t be spammed.

    Interesting note: you can sometimes run over the bodies which puts you in an airborne state allowing you to do the downward thrust only inches off the ground. This looks a little glitchy, but could actually be interesting if it is cleaned up.

    I played with a 360 controller AND a PS3 Madcatz TE stick. Both worked pretty well.

    Unrelated: Enjoyed your rant at GDC. I tried to find you later, but anytime I saw you I was running off to a meeting or another session.

    • You are correct! I’ve been on the fence about dash invulnerability because the dash was not intended to be the defense mechanic (there will be a defense mechanic it just hasn’t been implemented yet). But if people end up really wanting to use it that way then the invulnerability ends up making a lot of sense.

      You’re definitely not supposed to be able to walk over the enemies like that; it’s an artifact of loosely implemented ragdolls. That will get tightened cuz I think it looks and feels crappy. But yeah, I’ve noticed it puts you in air state which is interesting!

      Good to know that Madcatz TE Stick works too! And glad you enjoyed the rant. ;)

  • A few quick thoughts:

    – I found the zoom in/jitter on impact a bit jarring. Maybe reserve it for specials, or zoom in slower/less often.

    – Love the builtin support for 360 controller on Mac, although for some reason when I went back to try it and my controller was unplugged, I didn’t switch me to keyboard.

    – Agree with Ty on experimenting more with color, either in warming the temp to go with the hot desert atmosphere, or adding more colors into the mix to contrast the sharp blacks in the foreground. I think the main obstacle if adding color is to make sure it doesn’t look too much like Outland.

    – I’d love to see more texture added. The sharp black and white seems too crisp and clean for such a brutal/ancient environment. A bit of grit might set it apart from other similarly silhouetted games.

  • RevolverSly

    Oh Man! Where a I do start? First of all the game looks great. I always been curious about how the macahuitl perform in battle, I mean I know it’s just a game, but is good to see one of these exotic tools of dead on action.

    It will be nice if in the release version you can get a variety of weapons, shields, armors and upgrades; and if you can get some historical advising will be great.

    The flying action looks with a lot of potential, actually reminds me the fast pace of Capcom’s X-Men vs Street Fighter, where the characters seems to float, dash and perform double jumps in order to get the longest combo.

  • Socapex

    Hello good sir knight,

    Great stuff you got there! This is really coming along well. I have a few thoughts but they’re mainly controls stuff, and since I’m playing on keyboard it seems some keypresses are harder than on a controller (upward attacks).

    – Is it intentional you can’t do downward attacks while holding down+forward? I thought it was counter-intuitive.

    – As someone else mentioned, double-tapping forward for a dash would be great IMHO. But a single button would work out really well too if it took under consideration the direction your moving in (it’s kind of weird to run left and dash right if you press the wrong button).

    – The cooldown after a dash seemed pretty long if I missed the combo… Just a thought.

    That’s pretty much it, I had a ton of fun playing this build. Throwing enemies in the air and just keeping them there is so much fun (and a challenge in itself). As Ty said, GOD DOES THE IMPACTS FEEL ARRGGHHH!!! I think I’m going to go break stuff… lol

    Keep it up!

    • Hey man! Thanks!

      -You technically can, but only past a certain angle. This isn’t something we’ve really tuned yet, but we will eventually.

      -When it’s all said and done, I’d like there to be config options that let the player set up the dash however they’d like.


      Glad you you dug it and thanks a lot for dropping the feedback!

  • Ryan

    Ben, even this early build is great. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that the games industry has become stale and boring. I stare at my games library and try to find something I havent played the balls out of because nothing that’s coming out has been able to hold my attention for more than a few days. Most notably, D3 was great…until it wasn’t. It’s pure, distilled grind. Keep up the good work, looking forward to this game!

  • Glowyrm

    Great job! I wish the slam would be moved to the C button that way you could have your fingers on all three attack moves in a more comfortable manner, but I know unity lets you customize the input buttons anyway so it can get fixed easily once you release a full build.

    Plus I would so prefer to play on a console controller, but I can’t since I’m playing right now at work :D

  • Love it, keep up the great work and i hope to see this game on Xbox soon.