Jack Gardner

Indie developer The Molasses Flood is bringing the charming, country rogue-like the Flame in the Flood to the Switch's eShop later this month. The bleak, beautiful game has players scrambling to survive in a hostile wilderness as they traverse the currents of a procedurally generated river. Camping spots to scavenge for supplies and contend with beasts of all kinds offer both safe havens and danger. Accompanied by your dog, Aesop, players must try to make their way down the river to find peace. 
The Flame in the Flood released last year to generally positive reviews that praised the challenge of its survival elements, while also acknowledging flaws like a less than compelling narrative and a clunky menu system. The gameplay seems to have been what captured the attention of many, which isn't surprising since The Molasses Flood's ranks are composed of developers who worked on titles like BioShock and Halo 2. 
Perhaps one of the biggest hooks for The Flame in the Flood remains it soundtrack. Composed and performed by Chuck Ragan, it perfectly captures the rambling, serene, and intense feeling The Flame and the Flood provokes in players. Give it a listen if you're the kind of person who enjoys good music.  
“The natural rhythm of The Flame In The Flood—sailing from island to island, gathering resources and hunting wild animals—is a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch,” said Forrest Dowling, lead designer of The Flame in the Flood. “Like Scout’s journey of survival, players will be able to shape their story wherever they see fit, be it on the couch, the bus, or even on a boat gently meandering down the Mississippi river.”
The Flame in the Flood will release on the Nintendo Switch eShop October 12.

Jack Gardner

The stealth, action RPG Seven: The Days Long Gone has come a long way since it was announced last year. Its developer, Fool's Theory, has revealed the upcoming release date along side the various versions of the game headed to digital storefronts and a new trailer. 
Seven: The Days Long Gone adapts the 3D isometric perspective popular in games like Divinity Original Sin to fit stealth-action RPG gameplay. Players take on the role of Teriel, a master thief bent on making his way in a "beyond post-apocalyptic" world ruled by the Vetrall Empire. His life becomes complicated when he finds himself possessed by an ancient daemon and sent off on a mission to the prison isle of Peh. Teriel is able to use his thieving skills to climb objects and buildings in an environment littered with mysterious technology, ancient legends, and more. Each mission offers multiple paths to completion in this adventure made by a team of ex-CD Projekt Red developers.
Seven: The Days Long Gone launches for PC on December 1. Customers who pre-order the game can get the exclusive Shadowhand armor set. There's also a collector's edition that comes with the Shadowhand armor, a digital artbook that contains every sketch and piece of artwork from the development process, the soundtrack by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt composer Marcin Przybyłowicz, a map of the island of Peh, and a guidebook for the world of Seven. 

Jack Gardner

Earth has been destroyed. The century following the apocalypse saw to a massive shift in the planet's ecosystem as the world grew cold and dark. What remained of humanity entered into a new ice age known as the Great Freeze. To survive, humans retreated to the narrow equatorial band around the planet and set up remote colonies over highly valuable resources outside of the habitable zone. 
ARKTIKA.1 focuses on a mercenary sent to defend one of those colonies in the ruins of old Russia. Known as ARKTIKA.1, the colony finds itself besieged by raiders, robots, and horrifying creatures that have adapted to the harsh climate. Players must use tactics, quick reflexes, and an array of customizable weaponry to combat those threats and discover what happened to ARKTIKA.1. 
This VR title comes to us courtesy of 4A Games, the developers of the Metro series. They've developed a new engine for use with VR tech that they tout will have "some of the most impressive visuals ever seen in VR." They've taken steps into the VR world while also working on the upcoming Metro Exodus slated for release next year. 
ARKTIKA.1 releases on October 10 for the Oculus Touch. It will be accompanied by a simultaneously released ebook titled ARKTIKA.1: My Name is Viktoria.

Jack Gardner

Extinction made a definite impression when it appeared at this year's E3. Players take on the role of Avil, the last Sentinel of his world, as he fights to prevent humanity's annihilation at the hands of an army of towering ogres. The Attack on Titan-like size disparity between the ogres and Avil leads to really interesting logistical problems - how do you best climb an angry skyscraper bent on killing you? The new gameplay trailer from Iron Galaxy showcases the different ogres, a lore tease, and some of Avil's handy acrobatic moves. 
Extinction is separated into multiple levels where Avil must defend his city against waves of ogre invaders. These ogres are able to completely destroy the environment - if Avil sits back to do nothing, the city could be completely leveled. In order to fight them, Avil will need to dash through city streets, climb towers, and use whatever the environment can provide to take down the ogres.
Ogres come in all kinds of different variations. Some are heavily armored, others have light armor, but massive weapons. The gameplay trailer alludes to numerous other types of ogres that haven't yet been revealed, but we see hulking red brutes and ogres with barbed wire and bones around their piece of armor, hinting that what we have seen so far is only the tip of the ogre-sized iceberg. 
Extinction will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC early 2018. 

Jack Gardner

Video games are wonderfully weird. We all know it, but sometimes it just needs to be said. That weirdness tends to surface in the indie world more than anywhere else. One of the games coming to IndieCade later this week really delves into that strangeness. The Black Window comes courtesy of Flux, an interactive story-telling studio that has worked on various narrative projects since 1999, often far outside the mainstream and with unique approaches to creating their experiences.
In the late 1800s, Louisa Collins received a conviction for the murders of her two husbands in 1887 and 1888. She was hanged for her crimes... but was she truly guilty? Players are tasked with uncovering the truth by physically interacting with a custom made wooden spirit board controller to communicate with Collins' in the afterlife. She responds to a wide variety of questions as players delve deeper in their lines of questioning. 
It's certainly a unique take on mystery solving, but it's unclear if the game will see a wider release. People interested in fringe indie experiments can play The Black Widow for themselves during IndieCade this coming weekend, October 6-8 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. 
You can learn more about The Black Widow on Flux's website.

Jack Gardner

UNTS UNTS UNTS. The beat of the music gets under your skin. UNTS UNTS UNTS. And rhythmic action seems to fit. Indie studio MythicOwl has revealed their upcoming arcade-music title Trancelation. With trance music blazing in the background, neon colors, and psychedelic shapes draped over unique-looking arcade mechanics, they are hoping to catch the attention of the criminally under-served music and rhythm gaming community. Oh, and it does all of that while attempting to teach the player new languages. 
“I love arcade games a lot – you dive into the flow, the rhythm, a kind of a trance really, which is maximized by the music and the lightning effects. And if you lose, you immediately hit 'retry' – involuntarily even,” said Piotr Korgul, Trancelation’s lead designer. “I wanted to make a game that would be enjoyable for those reasons. I’ve merged that idea with language learning, and I think no one has done something like this before – and turns out that those both elements fit together perfectly. Neon, trance, electronic music, languages… I know it sounds like a crazy idea, but who doesn’t like crazy ideas?”

The core gameplay involves moving a lightning ball by putting together words from various languages. Other game modes task players with picking up glowing dots scattered across the maps. Players will need to navigate around enemies and obstacles or face the loss of a life. To help players have a good time, MythicOwl has included bombs, shields, extra lives, and points for every correct word pairing. Trancelation might not teach you the ins and outs of an entire language, but it might just be able to teach players enough to communicate with others, which would be very cool to see!
No official release date has been announced, but Trancelation will be releasing on PC in the near future.

Hello Extra Lifers!
This September, Extra Life continued to grow bigger and better than ever! Between PAX West, Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend and the #CheerForKids campaign with Twitch, our community continued to amaze us! Now that Child Health Day is right around the corner, we’re hoping to raise the bar this October as we continue to support our local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. 
Twitch and #CheerForKids

September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and we partnered with Twitch to raise money for sick and injured kids with Bits and Cheers! For every 1,000 Bits cheered with #charity, Twitch donated $2! Over 32,000 Twitch users cheered, resulting in over $110,000 donated!  
Extra Life @ PAX West

The Seattle Extra Life Guild absolutely ROCKED it at PAX West earlier this month. They talked with thousands of attendees, signing 600+ people up to participate in Extra Life 2017. Those new members of the community will contribute their support to 68 of our 170 member hospitals. A big thank you to the Seattle Guild, and welcome to all of our new Extra Life participants!
Tabletop Appreciation Weekend

We love our tabletop gamers! Over 400 people registered and $25,000 raised for Extra Life over the course of Tabletop Appreciation Weekend this September. Miss out on the tabletop action? You can still join a tabletop-focused team! Check out the Wizards of the Coast Super Team or the Paizo Super Team.   #CommitForTheKids for Child Health Day

Every minute, 62 kids enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. On Child Health Day this October 2nd, we aim to raise funds and awareness for our 170 member hospitals to help those kids. We could use your help! We are asking gamers everywhere to #CommitForTheKids by making a donation or registering for Extra Life.
The Extra Life community is on fire with new registrations and raising money for sick and injured kids. Help us show the world what makes Extra Life so great, whether that’s by getting a group of friends to play tabletop games or by surpassing your fundraising goal and gunning for more. Keep that energy going by pushing forward for fun, fellowship, and – as always….   For The Kids,
Mike, Liz, Lou & Jeromy
Team Extra Life
Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

Jack Gardner

Back in 1995 Nintendo decided that it wanted to expand Mario into the realm of RPGs. Who better to work with than the premier RPG developer of the time, Square? The two companies pooled their knowledge and the project was developed mostly by Square with oversight of Shigeru Miyamoto himself... however, 1996's Super Mario RPG isn't really a game that Nintendo would ever consider releasing today. The content ranges from laugh-out-loud slapstick and wordplay to some surprising moments of innuendo - all within the universe of Mario.
Does this singular, niche RPG deserve to be called one of the best games period? 
Chevy Ray Johnston, the developer of the upcoming indie RPG Ikenfell, joins us to help answer that question! You can find Chevy on Twitter, @ChevyRay, and learn more about Ikenfell on its website: Ikenfell.com
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.

Outro music: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars 'Honkytonk Town' by Wiesty and XPERTNovice (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03535)
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday

Daniel Jones

Review: Slime-San

By Daniel Jones, in Features,

Indie retro platformers are a dime a dozen in 2017. Since the success of Super Meat Boy in 2010, the independent scene has become cluttered with also-ran, ultra-challenging, quirky platformers of the 8-bit variety. As an ultra-challenging, quirky platformer of the 8-bit variety, Slime-San, from developer Fabraz and publisher Headup Games, will likely fall squarely into that also-ran category, to no fault of its own.
Slime-San’s titular protagonist finds himself trapped inside a worm. The reasons are unknown, but probably have something to do with the fact that it’s… ya know, a slime. Inside the worm, an entire community of slimes has developed, with NPC’s offering up quirky flavor text and gameplay modifications. Everyone seems to have resigned themselves to their fate, eternally trapped inside this volatile invertebrate, but not Slime-San. He’s going to get out, and he’s going to free everyone else in the process. Slime-San’s amusing story, but silly story made me laugh more than a handful of times.
Slime-San is a fine example of what has made the platformer genre so enduring even three decades after Mario first bounced off a goomba’s head. The platforming presents an intense dance of thumbs and reflexes as each level tests your ability to flip back and forth between the numerous pitfalls and traps in each stage. Those obstacles range from enemies that chase you around the level, to lasers that rise and fall in tandem, to an ever-present red slime that acts as a timer lending some more tension to each stage. The environments inside the giant worm in which Slime-San is trapped, mainly consist of green and red surfaces. You can bounce and climb up green surfaces, while red surfaces will kill your gungy, little protagonist. You can slow time to pass through green surfaces or perform a quick forward dash to more easily maneuver through the game’s many obstacles. These abilities are key to Slime-San’s mobility, which feels tight and joyful, always keeping you on your toes without becoming too frustrating. This is greatly aided by the game’s generous checkpoint system. Death in Slime-San serves as a lesson in how to avoid it on the next run through a level, rather than a frustrating penalty.

That’s not to say Slime-San avoids frustration altogether. As the game progresses, new concepts and obstacles are introduced at a steady drip. While some effectively enhance the challenge, others detract from what Slime-San does well. There are a number of puzzle levels that, when combined with the game’s already perplexing platforming sequences, serve to slow things down and create a repetitive loop that often tested my patience to its breaking point. In addition, underwater levels show up more often that they should, which is to say they should’ve been nixed completely. The underwater stages simply don’t play to Slime-San’s strengths, slowing Slime-San’s movement speed to a crawl and evoking the feeling of swimming through a bowl of Jell-O rather than zipping around tightly designed corridors. At times like this, Slime-San’s creativity undermines its tight, smooth game design.
Slime-San’s best moments are challenges that require unimpeachable control, precise timing, and speed. Slime-San is designed for forward momentum, and each one-screen stage lays out where you need to go right from the beginning, so all you need to do is figure out how to get there and the quickest route to take. Boss fights break up the challenges nicely, allowing you to experiment with different techniques to take down each beast. These fights test your skills to the max, but they’re also a lot of fun. I only wish there were more of them.
My biggest issue with Slime-San relates directly to the platform I played it on. The Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers were not designed well for someone with large hands, and playing Slime-San exasperates that problem. The game demands precise timing and thumb-work, but the Joy-Cons can’t accommodate that for someone like myself. Whereas I find that minimalist, chill games like Death Squared seem perfectly suited to the Switch, games like Slime-San and, similarly, Super Meat Boy (which also recently released on Switch) are hindered by the console’s standard input controllers. I have never wished I had a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller more than after some of the more harrowing sections of Slime-San. The lack of a real d-pad and the close proximity of the face buttons and the shoulder buttons on the Joy-Cons force my hands into a claw position that aches for about ten minutes afterwards.
Listen, I know that not everyone will have this problem. Maybe I’m just old, or maybe I just have big hands, or god forbid, maybe I’m developing carpal tunnel or early stage arthritis, but playing Slime-San on Switch made me feel like my hands were falling apart. It’s a shame, because this is the kind of game that can ensnare you for hours on end as you try “just one more level” over and over until your thumbs go numb.

Slime-San isn’t perfect, but it is charming, and provides a challenging good time for any fan of the genre. I’m glad it released on Switch, so that it’s now on all of the major platforms; PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and Steam. It’s the kind of game that fits nicely on Switch (provided you have a pro controller, or the joy-cons fit your hands perfectly), and especially benefits from the new Nintendo system’s less-congested marketplace. It’s a great game, but it doesn’t stand out from the pack of indie platformers on offer. Heck, it’s not even the most recognizable slime-themed game this year. While never quite reaching the heights of some of its predecessors, Slime-San makes for an enjoyable, but imperfect little platforming adventure.

How to Create a Team
Creating a team is a great way to work together towards an incredible goal; helping sick and injured kids! When you initially sign up for Extra Life, you have the option to create your team alongside your individual registration! That's definitely the easiest way to get your team created. However, if you've already joined Extra Life and you've decided to create a team, we can help!
As a team, you’ll be able to see the direct impact your team makes on sick and injured kids by tracking the number of people you recruit and how much your teammates have raised. Each team will receive a team page and the team captain will be able to set the team goal. Keep in mind that since teams are made up of individual Extra Lifers, it’s possible that a team will benefit different hospitals. 
Head to the Dashboard
Log into your Extra Life account and head to the "Dashboard" > "Change Team Membership"

Create (or Join) a Team
From the dropdown menu, select "Create a new Team". 

Add the details of your team
Fill out the "Team Name" and "Team Fundraising" goal. Your team donation total is an aggregates your individual team member donations. Also, since each individual can select different hospitals, your team might represent Children's Miracle Network Hospitals from across the US, Canada or Puerto Rico!
Add a team goal, make it challenge but reasonable! For "Team Type" select "Extra Life Team". 

You're the Captain now...
Now that you have your team, you'll want to head over and learn the basics for being the best Extra Life Captain you can be. Lead your team to victory, #ForTheKids!

Tell people you're playing #ForTheKids
Connect with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to let them know what you're doing! Surround yourself with people who believe in you and share your excitement about playing games and fundraising for Extra Life. Show them your serious! Consider telling grandma to donate to your Extra Life campaign instead of a birthday card! Tell your Aunt to skip the present and to help out local sick and injured kids with a donation. 
Have an Extra Life Party!
Invite friends over for a game night. You cover the drinks and snacks and then ask your pals to donate to your Extra Life page to "pitch in" #ForTheKids! Encourage your friends to join Extra Life and host THEIR own Extra Life parties too! 
Use Social Media
Share what you're doing for Extra Life on social media! We even have a Facebook application that can post for you periodically to your friends, letting them know how close you are to your goal and how they can donate!
Stream to Twitch (or Mixer, Facebook, YouTube...)
If you have the basics to live stream your video games via PC or console, then join thousands of other gamers as the stream #ForTheKids! need some help getting started? Check out our Streaming 101 guide!
Go Old School with a Craft Fair, Bake Sale or Auction!
Put your crafty-ness to work and make some cool crafts, bake an awesome pie or auction off your unused collectibles, all for donations! Yard sales are also a great way to give your campaign a bump. 
Engage with Local Businesses to Get Involved
Visit your favorite eateries and bars to engage them with opportunity to not only join Extra Life but to contribute a portion of the nights proceeds to your campaign. Karaoke, trivia nights, painting & cocktails events are all great ways to have fun, raise money and spread the word about Extra Life. 
*BONUS TIP: Go Mobile!
Manage your Extra Life campaign with our mobile app! Monitor fundraising, send messages and fundraising emails, schedule Facebook posts, and thank your supporters, all in one place! Grab it now for iOS and Android. 
Share your favorite fundraising tactics in the comments below! Need more ideas? Head over to Doc's "How to Actually Ask for Donations" article!

Jack Gardner

Telltale Games has revealed the release date and trailer for the upcoming part two of Batman: The Enemy Within. Titled 'The Pact,' the second episode of the five episode series focuses on the aftermath of a mysterious assassin's latest handiwork. Explosions across Gotham shake the city to its very core. Batman attempts to track down the culprits behind these misdeeds, but finds himself up against a foe that might even stump the Dark Knight himself. Meanwhile, John Doe traps Bruce Wayne in a complicated scheme - and the only way out is to follow it through. 
Beginning with episode two, Telltale will be launching all episodes on all platforms simultaneously. We reached out to Telltale for clarification on whether that simultaneous release schedule will extend to other Telltale game series or if it is limited to The Enemy Within. We will update with an answer.
Episode Two 'The Pact' launches October 3 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac. In addition, the first two episodes of the series will become available on iOS and Android-based devices that same day. The boxed version, which Telltale has taken to calling the 'Season Pass Disc,' will also release in stores on October 3. The disc unlocks all previous episodes as well as all future episodes as they release.