Chris Mendle, Independent Game Developer, Rasputin Junior
A massive melee 2-d beard brawler inspired by Strider, Castlevania, Gunstar Heroes, Tetris, Russian history, the supernatural and Don Bluth's Anastasia.
The year is 1920. In a small shack in Siberia, a baby boy learns his destiny. A talking picture of his father, Grigori Rasputin, tells the baby to avenge the father's murder. The boy takes a lock cut from his father's beard and sticks it to his face. Rasputin Jr. begins.
Levels feature platform elements made of Tetris-like pieces, often building up multistory structures. Certain player attacks/combos or enemy actions can rearrange these structures (and cause enemies or the player to fall to their doom.) There is also a Tetris-like level editor.
Rasputin Jr.'s beard is his primary weapon and his source of power. The more enemies he hits with his beard, the longer it gets and the more powerful attacks and combos are possible. Like tiny Mario or Sonic with no rings, a hit to a beardless Rasputin Jr. kills him. On multistory platform levels, the beard can be used as a grappling hook. Combos release magic attacks that take out multiple enemies. A certain attack turns selected enemy grunts to Rasputin Jr.'s side. Another attack powers up his beard to take out platform pieces.
Control is via WASD plus mouse. WASD moves Rasputin Jr. and enables him to jump up and down, the mouse controls his beard. On consoles, the beard would be controlled by analog stick. On touschscreen devices, touch controls beard, gyro/accelerometer moves Rasputin Jr..
Rasputin Jr. must face many enemies on screen at once. Each level features enemies drawn from Russian and Soviet history. In one level he'd face Trotsky and the Red Army. In another, the ghosts of Napoleon's army. In others, Stalin, Lenin, etc. These enemies can also use their facial hair as weapons. Or Napoleon, his hat.
Co-op and versus modes introduce a twin brother, not an "evil twin" but just as bearded as the protagonist.
Stylistically, the game would use pixel art inspired by Russian posters and Russian BGM.