Laika has been dead for more than half a century, but that won't stop her from gnawing through Stalin's plans for world domination like so many old tennis shoes.
On November 3, 1957, scientists from the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. On board the vehicle was a single passenger, a stray dog plucked from the streets of Moscow and known to her handlers as "Laika." Unfortunately for our plucky canine hero, the USSR had yet to develop the technology to land a spacecraft after blasting it into space, so poor little Laika died in the icy void that surrounds our planet. Since that time the pup has become something of a folk hero for space geeks and dog lovers alike, and now, thanks to Minicore Studios, Laika has her very own videogame.
Described as an episodic, "2D action platformer," Laika Believes: The Sun At Night pits Laika against the Soviet war machine. As historically inaccurate as that sounds, things get even more hilariously histrionic in the game's official plot description. To wit:
The tide of Soviet power washing across the face of the Earth could possibly have been turned back at various stages of history. But the new energy sources they discovered lit a fire under the Russian war machine. So when Stalin rolled into Paris, the resulting flare-up of global conflict left little more than smoking ash heaps where America and Great Britain had been.
Now, Stalin is dead. Though resistance movements have emerged, the Soviets still stand supreme as rulers of the globe. Only a force from beyond the earth could possibly tip the balance.
Abram Krupin, leader of a resistance cell, knows this. When he sees a dog fall from the stars, then, he takes it as an omen. This dog speaks, wears silver armor, and has an arsenal of mysterious weapons. Abram calls her Laika.
Laika believes that, despite all odds, she can protect the countless lives crushed by the Soviets.
Alternate history? Adorable space dog protagonist? Retro-style artwork with modern action-platforming accoutrements? We're sold on that alone, but the game's features list also looks promising:
Laika Believes is a 2D action platformer to be released in three parts. Expect the first episode, The Sun at Night, in 2013. All episodes will feature:
- Massive, nonlinear levels that model the layouts of real locations in a way not yet seen in other platformers
- Large, choice-rich skill trees that let players approach the game the way they want to
- A novel defensive mechanic that lets players turn the firepower of Laika's enemies against them
- Smoothly flowing, fast-paced shooting action
- A story of struggle and hope, full of twists and revelations
- Rich, evocative art depicting a world dominated by a technologically ascendant Soviet empire
- Secrets and rewards hidden in every corner for the determined player
Yup, totally sold on this idea.
Expect Laika Believes to debut on "multiple platforms" at some point later this year. Here's hoping Minicore Studios can find an audience for a game featuring a cute, long-dead puppy throwing down against Joseph Stalin - somehow that doesn't seem too difficult.