So...I certainly didn't expect to have two articles today. After publishing a long overdue article on Pac-Man's Pixel Bash, Halo: Fireteam Raven, House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn, and Jurassic World VR Expedition, I figured I was finished for the day.Then Ryan Davis sent me a press release.
Yes, that title is 100 percent correct. Rejoice, my children, for the indie arcade title Rashlander is now available for purchase. The best part? I am totally flipping stoked. With the release finally here, I figured I'd throw together a comprehensive overview to run through the deets. Why don't y'all come along for the journey?
The Game Itself
Developed by RyGuyGames and published by Griffin Aerotech for the JAMMA-based Airframe Arcade Operating System, Rashlander is a lander-style arcade game focused on avoiding asteroids and managing low fuel. If you don’t recall, Airframe is the 2015 arcade hardware designed specifically with indie developers in mind. Skycurser was the first game to grace the platform. The Rashlander Airframe kit opened up for preorders back in November 2017, but now, any arcade can purchase it right away in multiple form factors.
The Rashlander story, according to the official website, goes like this: “Your terraforming research team is on the run. GovCorp agents are closing in. An assortment of interns and postdocs scramble aboard the escape rocket and start flipping switches–without a pilot. Finally, the botanist locates the ignition, but without a navigator aboard, the warp station pads seem impossibly out of reach. ‘LOW FUEL’ begins flashing on every holodisplay across the ship. What a foolish plan. ‘Become a scientist,’ the guidance counselor had told you. ‘You might save the planet,’” she had smiled.” So maybe the story’s a little silly. At least they’re trying to give the gameplay some underlying purpose, right? That’s not something we see to much in arcade games, heh-heh.
The title is a single-player experience that features five stages and tons of secret content. Apparently, there are some kickin’ tunes, too. That’s nice.
But with that overview out of the way, how about we run through the developer statements?
The Official Press Release
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RASHLANDER, an unyielding lander-style arcade title about slinging by asteroids and managing low fuel, is launching today!
“RASHLANDER is a lander-roguelike that feels like sliding slowly across an icy parking lot while dodging every SUV and Smart Car before settling miraculously into a perfect parallel park. Except in space. And everything is exploding.
Independent developer Ryan Davis and Griffin Aerotech have teamed up to release RASHLANDER worldwide for the modern arcade. Ryan takes inspiration from classics like Lunar Lander and Asteroids as well as modern indie hits like Downwell and Spelunky to create a neo-retro experience with classic limits and modern design. Running on Griffin Aerotech’s Airframe hardware, RASHLANDER is available in Software, Pro, Deluxe, and Dedicated Cabinet Packages. It is available for your home or business today.
“Go to https://www.griffinaerotech.com/rashlander/ to order yours. Packages range from $599.99 to $3499.99
RASHLANDER is about landing safely under extraordinarily adverse conditions. Players must navigate from one end of the level to the other without crashing or running out of fuel. Each level has new challenges and secrets, and while players will die frequently, they often do so saying “Wait, what was that? How do I get that?” before dropping in another credit. Players begin just trying to stay alive, and end up discovering a dense network of upgrade systems, secret paths, game-altering time travel, and an impossibly high skill ceiling.
“[What Players Think]
Businesses and Players alike give RASHLANDER high praise:
“’A neo-retro game NOT for the faint of heart. Let Rashlander’s gravity pull you by your nostalgic heart strings.’ - Adrian Bledsoe, Manager at Tappers Arcade Bar in Indianapolis, IN
"’Buckle your space pants for an unforgettable adventure into the world of RASHLANDER, where you will experience real space physics, big ole explosions, and gorgeous visuals.’ - Austin Smith, NASA Aerospace Engineer
“’Thanks for making one of the best games I have played in 2018!’ -mmKALLL, Finnish Smash Bros. Champion, Speedrunner
Easy to understand, difficult to master
Modern gameplay that “makes sense” next to Classic titles
Designed with Speedrunners and High Score Chasers in mind
Operator Menu with Freeplay options and Difficulty Settings
Overall and Daily High Score tables
Thumping original soundtrack by Fat Bard, the prolific musical duo whose magic touch appears in work for Disney, WB Games, and Butterscotch Shenanigans
Discover SO MANY SECRETS
“Get yours today: https://www.griffinaerotech.com/rashlander/”
The Availability Information
Rashlander is available in four packages: Software Kit, Pro Kit, Deluxe Kit, and Dedicated Cabinet. Below, I’ve compiled all the pertinent information for each kit from the Griffin Aerotech website.
The Software Kit is for arcade operators that already have Airframe hardware and are looking for the absolute essentials to convert a cab to Rashlander. The kit includes the game software (via USB stick) and the A4 poster and movestrip artwork. The Software Kit is available for $599.99.
The Pro Kit is for arcade operators looking for the absolute essentials. The kit includes the game software, the Airframe Arcade Operating System hardware, a Wi-Fi adapter, and the A4 poster and movestrip artwork. The Pro Kit is available for $899.99.
The Deluxe Kit is for arcade operators looking to perform a complete conversion. This kit is ready to work with many American-style cabs. However, it’s perfect for a Dynamo HS-5. The kit includes the game software; the Airframe hardware; full-color vinyl art for the side art, kick plate, marquee, and control panel overlay; and a Wi-Fi adapter. The Deluxe Kit is available for $1,199.99.
The Deluxe Cabinet is an option on the Griffin Aerotech website, but for whatever reason, it can't be clicked on. Perhaps that variant isn't available for purchase yet. (However, when the Deluxe Cabinet is available, it will be $3,499.99.)
Like Skycurser before it, Rashlander seems to be keen on giving operators options. That is something I can get behind.
Quick Thoughts on Rashlander and the Future of Airframe
When I first saw Rashlander back in November, I was pretty enamored by it. (Well, I’m enamored by all indie arcade games, but you know what I’m saying.) I was super intrigued by the challenge around it—the promise of tough-as-nails gameplay. And now, I still totally dig it. All these ship-landing, gravity-based mechanics sound fascinating.
There are two things that I’m particularly excited about that may seem a little odd. First of all, I’m excited to see another indie arcade game placing strong emphasis on good music. Many of the major developers (particularly Raw Thrills) have lost touch of the importance of a killer soundtrack, choosing to commission music studios as opposed to hiring in-house composers. This is fine and all, but great music can really refine the presentation.
Secondly (and not surprisingly), I support the space-conscious, cost-effective nature of the Airframe hardware and cabinet. I was concerned for the longest time that Airframe had gone dark because, after all, we hadn’t heard about Rashlander (or even much about Skycurser) for seven or so months. Now, however, we’ve finally got another game to add to the Airframe library, and it’s a darned good one. I’m looking forward to the future of Airframe. Founding Force (an American Revolution-themed beat-em-up) and a Windjammers-esque basketball game are hopefully still on their way. I’m hyped.
What I’m super curious to see is how Airframe will stack up next to the Exa-Arcadia hardware once it drops later this year. Exa-Arcadia is similarly cost-effective and supportive of indie developers, but it’s got a little more going for it. Most notably, Exa can run four games at once. Plus, it’s got beefier specs, Twitch streaming, card and phone support, and more—it’s a bit of a leg up. Even so, I think there’s still a place for Airframe. It’s slightly cheaper, and it feels like the most “home-grown” indie option. It’s got personality; it’s got a story. I can’t wait to see how the industry responds to two incredible kit systems.
But yeah, I guess that’s it. Rashlander is on its way to arcades—starting right now! Tell me your thoughts in the comments below, and share this post to give indie arcade efforts the exposure they deserve.
See ya ‘round, kiddos.