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Found 194 results

  1. A Kickstarter that succeeded in 2015 will be paying off later this year when Shape of the World releases on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One - and now the Nintendo Switch, too. "I’m thrilled to officially announced that Shape of the World is coming to Nintendo Switch this year," said Hollow Tree Games' founder Stu Maxwell, "nobody on the team expected the game to look so nice on the Switch, we’re really happy with it… We can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks." Maxwell also works as a senior VFX artist at The Coalition, the studio behind Gears of War 4. Part first-person exploration and part surreal art piece, Shape of the World places players in a technicolor world filled with psychedelic flora and fauna. That world expands and grows as players progress through it. Waterfalls, mountains, mysterious monoliths, and more procedurally sprout from the surrounding terrain, making each foray into the world. Shape of the World is intended as a relaxing, stress-free experience. There won't be any enemies or challenges beyond the thrill of evergreen exploration. Players can interact with animals, plants, and the various ruins that dot the world to uncover its secrets. Hollow Tree Games has also included a soundtrack that follows progress through the procedurally generated world. Shape of the World will launch on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One in the next few months. View full article
  2. A Kickstarter that succeeded in 2015 will be paying off later this year when Shape of the World releases on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One - and now the Nintendo Switch, too. "I’m thrilled to officially announced that Shape of the World is coming to Nintendo Switch this year," said Hollow Tree Games' founder Stu Maxwell, "nobody on the team expected the game to look so nice on the Switch, we’re really happy with it… We can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks." Maxwell also works as a senior VFX artist at The Coalition, the studio behind Gears of War 4. Part first-person exploration and part surreal art piece, Shape of the World places players in a technicolor world filled with psychedelic flora and fauna. That world expands and grows as players progress through it. Waterfalls, mountains, mysterious monoliths, and more procedurally sprout from the surrounding terrain, making each foray into the world. Shape of the World is intended as a relaxing, stress-free experience. There won't be any enemies or challenges beyond the thrill of evergreen exploration. Players can interact with animals, plants, and the various ruins that dot the world to uncover its secrets. Hollow Tree Games has also included a soundtrack that follows progress through the procedurally generated world. Shape of the World will launch on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One in the next few months.
  3. Jack Gardner

    Feature: Review: Into the Breach

    Subset Games really knows how to design a solid game. FTL: Faster Than Light demonstrated that the team possesses the chops to create a game capable of sucking people in for dozens of hours with engaging strategy that often asks players to make tough decisions. Those tough decisions, the kind upon which hang life or death, form the central thesis of Into the Breach. Into the Breach takes place in a far flung future where Earth has flooded, reducing its landmass down to a handful of islands and unleashing the Vek, a collection of horrific kaiju from deep underground. Humanity created fleets of giant robots capable of fighting the Vek to defend the last cities on the planet, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Overwhelmed and on the brink of total annihilation, one last, desperate plan was conceived: Send one experienced mech pilot back through time armed with the knowledge to prevent humanity's doom and win the war against the Vek. The scenario, penned by Chris Avellone, the creative mind behind Baldur's Gate and Fallout: New Vegas, sets the stage for the roguelike elements of Into the Breach. When players manage to defeat the Vek, they are able to send a pilot of their choice to another timeline to continue the fight. Death, on the other hand, results in the last pilot to die engaging an emergency jump to a different timeline. That pilot brings all of the skills and experience they have acquired to the new timeline, giving future playthroughs an edge over the previous ones. It's a helpful feature, as players will need every tactical advantage they can get to make it through Into the Breach. While the decision making in FTL largely centered around preparing for battle, Into the Breach puts almost every decision into the turn-based tactics battles themselves. Each conflict with the kaiju takes five rounds. After those five rounds, the towering monstrosities retreat back into the dark depths from which they came. Players have two basic things to do during those precious few turns: Keep their mechs alive and prevent the kaiju from damaging cities. If a mech's health drops to zero, the pilot dies permanently. If a building takes damage, the power grid takes damage, too. Players lose the entire timeline if the power grid drops to zero hit points. These simple goals quickly become complicated by bonus objectives and map conditions. Each mission can grant reputation, which can be spent on various upgrades after completing an island, or power to replenish and reinforce the power grid's health and defenses. This leads to the player approaching each mission as potentially game-ending. Sure, perhaps using a rocket punch to kill that kaiju might accomplish an objective for reputation or save a friendly mech, but it will likely also damage the power grid bringing the timeline that much closer to failure. However, maybe that loss is worth it if you can get enough reputation to later purchase more power for the grid or maybe complete a bonus objective that provides more power. Each mech in the three machine team possesses different abilities that often do more than just straight damage. These abilities can push enemies, pull them, create a defensive shield, launch barriers, distribute damage in unique patterns, and much, much more. This leads to a delicate balancing act in battle, where every tool at the player's disposal must be employed to move enemies into positions where their attacks miss or hit one another in an effort to minimize damage to the power grid. One aspect unique to Into the Breach is that enemies move and prepare attacks before the player's turn. The game presents all information to players upfront. All attacks hit and do full damage. This allows players to sit back and plan their moves carefully while knowing what the outcome of their actions will be. Of course, that can lead players to make mistakes; something that can lead to absolute disaster in the space of a single turn. Subset included the option to reset a turn once per battle to give players some degree of leniency. While the tactical elements of Into the Breach outshine the competition, it stumbles when it comes to narrative. FTL: Faster Than Light allowed players to name their crews and contained numerous side stories and scenarios that tickled the imagination. Those decisions invested like a much larger game. Subset Games' sophomore outing ditches much of that. This leads Into the Breach to feel more sterile and empty with a world where the stakes aren't terribly dramatic. The cast of characters is composed of a handful of pilots and the four administrators of the remaining pockets of humanity. The pilots mostly speak in reaction to what's happening in battle with one-liners, remarking about how the battle went, or to give a final word to the player as they die. The administrators give comments at the close of every mission. None of that feels intimate; by the time the credits roll, the player does not know any of the characters beyond what stats they can give a mech. That's a shame, because one could imagine a version of Into the Breach where pilots have downtime together between battles to interact with one another and the administrators to show character development outside of their statistics. Chris Avellone is a great writer, one that I think excels at that kind of interaction, so the dearth of narrative outside of the overall scenario baffles me. Perhaps miscellaneous content wound up being cut to reduce development time or it created too much of a barrier between the player and the pitch-perfect strategy of the battles. Whatever the reason, the loss of that storytelling aspect hurts. Returning composer Ben Prunty hits a high note with his work in Into the Breach. The music manages to convey mood and tone quite effectively, adding an ever escalating sense of urgency without becoming too overbearing. Prunty strikes a balance that allows players to focus and plan while also encouraging decision-making with an encouraging forward momentum. It's great stuff to listen to if you want to make progress on a task and avoid distractions. Conclusion: Into the Breach combines the colossal conflicts of Godzilla and Pacific Rim with the turn-based tactics of Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. However, the unique spin on the formula that sets it apart from its gaming brethren put it in a class all its own. Instead of killing, the systems in the game have players employing tactics that create Rube Goldberg-like chain reactions to save the civilians of a doomed world. The satisfaction at achieving a flawless victory or pulling through to the end and successfully defeating the Vek cannot really be overstated. Into the Breach stands as a high point in strategy gaming that should be pulled out in game design classrooms for years to come. That being said, it's hard not to see the possibility for it to have been more. The lack of a compelling narrative beyond the minute-to-minute gameplay experience feels like a missed opportunity. Perhaps a future update or sequel could add something along those lines to bolster the perfect mechanics. If you have any regard for turn-based tactical games, Into the Breach is absolutely a must play game for you. Into the Breach is available now on PC. View full article
  4. Jack Gardner

    Review: Into the Breach

    Subset Games really knows how to design a solid game. FTL: Faster Than Light demonstrated that the team possesses the chops to create a game capable of sucking people in for dozens of hours with engaging strategy that often asks players to make tough decisions. Those tough decisions, the kind upon which hang life or death, form the central thesis of Into the Breach. Into the Breach takes place in a far flung future where Earth has flooded, reducing its landmass down to a handful of islands and unleashing the Vek, a collection of horrific kaiju from deep underground. Humanity created fleets of giant robots capable of fighting the Vek to defend the last cities on the planet, but it doesn't seem to be enough. Overwhelmed and on the brink of total annihilation, one last, desperate plan was conceived: Send one experienced mech pilot back through time armed with the knowledge to prevent humanity's doom and win the war against the Vek. The scenario, penned by Chris Avellone, the creative mind behind Baldur's Gate and Fallout: New Vegas, sets the stage for the roguelike elements of Into the Breach. When players manage to defeat the Vek, they are able to send a pilot of their choice to another timeline to continue the fight. Death, on the other hand, results in the last pilot to die engaging an emergency jump to a different timeline. That pilot brings all of the skills and experience they have acquired to the new timeline, giving future playthroughs an edge over the previous ones. It's a helpful feature, as players will need every tactical advantage they can get to make it through Into the Breach. While the decision making in FTL largely centered around preparing for battle, Into the Breach puts almost every decision into the turn-based tactics battles themselves. Each conflict with the kaiju takes five rounds. After those five rounds, the towering monstrosities retreat back into the dark depths from which they came. Players have two basic things to do during those precious few turns: Keep their mechs alive and prevent the kaiju from damaging cities. If a mech's health drops to zero, the pilot dies permanently. If a building takes damage, the power grid takes damage, too. Players lose the entire timeline if the power grid drops to zero hit points. These simple goals quickly become complicated by bonus objectives and map conditions. Each mission can grant reputation, which can be spent on various upgrades after completing an island, or power to replenish and reinforce the power grid's health and defenses. This leads to the player approaching each mission as potentially game-ending. Sure, perhaps using a rocket punch to kill that kaiju might accomplish an objective for reputation or save a friendly mech, but it will likely also damage the power grid bringing the timeline that much closer to failure. However, maybe that loss is worth it if you can get enough reputation to later purchase more power for the grid or maybe complete a bonus objective that provides more power. Each mech in the three machine team possesses different abilities that often do more than just straight damage. These abilities can push enemies, pull them, create a defensive shield, launch barriers, distribute damage in unique patterns, and much, much more. This leads to a delicate balancing act in battle, where every tool at the player's disposal must be employed to move enemies into positions where their attacks miss or hit one another in an effort to minimize damage to the power grid. One aspect unique to Into the Breach is that enemies move and prepare attacks before the player's turn. The game presents all information to players upfront. All attacks hit and do full damage. This allows players to sit back and plan their moves carefully while knowing what the outcome of their actions will be. Of course, that can lead players to make mistakes; something that can lead to absolute disaster in the space of a single turn. Subset included the option to reset a turn once per battle to give players some degree of leniency. While the tactical elements of Into the Breach outshine the competition, it stumbles when it comes to narrative. FTL: Faster Than Light allowed players to name their crews and contained numerous side stories and scenarios that tickled the imagination. Those decisions invested like a much larger game. Subset Games' sophomore outing ditches much of that. This leads Into the Breach to feel more sterile and empty with a world where the stakes aren't terribly dramatic. The cast of characters is composed of a handful of pilots and the four administrators of the remaining pockets of humanity. The pilots mostly speak in reaction to what's happening in battle with one-liners, remarking about how the battle went, or to give a final word to the player as they die. The administrators give comments at the close of every mission. None of that feels intimate; by the time the credits roll, the player does not know any of the characters beyond what stats they can give a mech. That's a shame, because one could imagine a version of Into the Breach where pilots have downtime together between battles to interact with one another and the administrators to show character development outside of their statistics. Chris Avellone is a great writer, one that I think excels at that kind of interaction, so the dearth of narrative outside of the overall scenario baffles me. Perhaps miscellaneous content wound up being cut to reduce development time or it created too much of a barrier between the player and the pitch-perfect strategy of the battles. Whatever the reason, the loss of that storytelling aspect hurts. Returning composer Ben Prunty hits a high note with his work in Into the Breach. The music manages to convey mood and tone quite effectively, adding an ever escalating sense of urgency without becoming too overbearing. Prunty strikes a balance that allows players to focus and plan while also encouraging decision-making with an encouraging forward momentum. It's great stuff to listen to if you want to make progress on a task and avoid distractions. Conclusion: Into the Breach combines the colossal conflicts of Godzilla and Pacific Rim with the turn-based tactics of Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. However, the unique spin on the formula that sets it apart from its gaming brethren put it in a class all its own. Instead of killing, the systems in the game have players employing tactics that create Rube Goldberg-like chain reactions to save the civilians of a doomed world. The satisfaction at achieving a flawless victory or pulling through to the end and successfully defeating the Vek cannot really be overstated. Into the Breach stands as a high point in strategy gaming that should be pulled out in game design classrooms for years to come. That being said, it's hard not to see the possibility for it to have been more. The lack of a compelling narrative beyond the minute-to-minute gameplay experience feels like a missed opportunity. Perhaps a future update or sequel could add something along those lines to bolster the perfect mechanics. If you have any regard for turn-based tactical games, Into the Breach is absolutely a must play game for you. Into the Breach is available now on PC.
  5. If Dandara hasn't been on your indie game radar, it's time to fix that. Long Hat House has developed an action-packed, gravity-bending Metroidvania title that stars Dandara, a leaping heroine who awakens to battle an oppressive force subjugating her homeland. While Dandara can't walk from right to left, she can leap at lightning speed onto any surface and alter her trajectory with a projectile weapon. It's a really stylish, cool, and original mechanic that the rest of the game builds upon. It's a satisfyingly kinetic experience. Then Long Hat House put that foundation into a sprawling, mesmerizing Metroidvania world that offers players a new way to approach sidescrollers. On top of all of that, Dandara might be the most stylish game of 2018 so far. The design of Dandara is amazing with her iconic long scarf flapping behind her as she leaps around a world made up of truly impressive pieces of pixel art. The soundtrack emphasizes the energy of the game itself, offering a staccato pace that urges the player to use Dandara's speed to execute ever more elaborate maneuvers. Based in Brazil, Long Hat House drew on a great deal of their homeland to create Dandara. In fact, Dandara herself is based on a freedom fighter who lived in the mid-17th century who used martial arts and strategy to defend the fugitive slave community of Palmares from slavers and attempts to subjugate the region. This isn't a story I was familiar with at all until searching for more information on the game; it's really fantastic to learn more about the heroines and heroes in other places around the world. Long Hat House also used locations from around Belo Horizonte, their base of operations, as inspiration for in-game locales. That will explain the various pieces of Brazilian architecture found throughout Dandara. Dandara releases on February 6 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and mobile. View full article
  6. If Dandara hasn't been on your indie game radar, it's time to fix that. Long Hat House has developed an action-packed, gravity-bending Metroidvania title that stars Dandara, a leaping heroine who awakens to battle an oppressive force subjugating her homeland. While Dandara can't walk from right to left, she can leap at lightning speed onto any surface and alter her trajectory with a projectile weapon. It's a really stylish, cool, and original mechanic that the rest of the game builds upon. It's a satisfyingly kinetic experience. Then Long Hat House put that foundation into a sprawling, mesmerizing Metroidvania world that offers players a new way to approach sidescrollers. On top of all of that, Dandara might be the most stylish game of 2018 so far. The design of Dandara is amazing with her iconic long scarf flapping behind her as she leaps around a world made up of truly impressive pieces of pixel art. The soundtrack emphasizes the energy of the game itself, offering a staccato pace that urges the player to use Dandara's speed to execute ever more elaborate maneuvers. Based in Brazil, Long Hat House drew on a great deal of their homeland to create Dandara. In fact, Dandara herself is based on a freedom fighter who lived in the mid-17th century who used martial arts and strategy to defend the fugitive slave community of Palmares from slavers and attempts to subjugate the region. This isn't a story I was familiar with at all until searching for more information on the game; it's really fantastic to learn more about the heroines and heroes in other places around the world. Long Hat House also used locations from around Belo Horizonte, their base of operations, as inspiration for in-game locales. That will explain the various pieces of Brazilian architecture found throughout Dandara. Dandara releases on February 6 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, and mobile.
  7. Space is a pretty dangerous place. One wrong button press, one miscalculated trajectory and you could find yourself floating home. Sleepless Clinic's Symmetry wants to explore that bone-chilling scenario. Players manage a crew of space scientists as they struggle to survive after a catastrophic crash-landing on a distant planet. The end goal of the game is to escape the planet and return home. However, that goal becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as characters begin to suffer the effects of their situation. Hunger will begin to plague the crew eventually. Mental trauma from the crash will slowly seep in. Tasks will need to be completed that these researchers were never trained to accomplish. Players will have to balance all of the needs of individuals against the needs of the group as a whole. All of this set on a remote world with a hostile atmosphere. And all of that isn't even taking into account the deadly supernatural terrors that exist on the planet. Symmetry releases on February 20 for PC. View full article
  8. Space is a pretty dangerous place. One wrong button press, one miscalculated trajectory and you could find yourself floating home. Sleepless Clinic's Symmetry wants to explore that bone-chilling scenario. Players manage a crew of space scientists as they struggle to survive after a catastrophic crash-landing on a distant planet. The end goal of the game is to escape the planet and return home. However, that goal becomes increasingly difficult to achieve as characters begin to suffer the effects of their situation. Hunger will begin to plague the crew eventually. Mental trauma from the crash will slowly seep in. Tasks will need to be completed that these researchers were never trained to accomplish. Players will have to balance all of the needs of individuals against the needs of the group as a whole. All of this set on a remote world with a hostile atmosphere. And all of that isn't even taking into account the deadly supernatural terrors that exist on the planet. Symmetry releases on February 20 for PC.
  9. The Onus Helm made its debut in a humble Kickstarter campaign that looks to secure $5,500 to finish development. The roguelike dungeon crawler stars an enigmatic character who awakens to find themselves in a mysterious, seemingly endless labyrinth with a burdensome, irremovable helmet placed on their head. To uncover the secrets of the helm and find freedom, players will have to navigate the dangers of the deadly maze and defeat the evils that have taken up residence in its ever shifting halls. The demo put out by developer B-Cubed Labs puts a full level on display. It takes the randomly generated room approach found in The Binding of Isaac and puts its own unique spin on the formula, something that could certainly intrigue fans in the retro-indie community. Players make their way through the dungeon room by room. Each room can hold enemies, secrets, items, or upgrades. Players will need to explore as much as possible to be prepared for the boss, a maniacal shadow that can summon floating swords. Each trip through the demo proves to be different. On one occasion, I was able to find a room in which an NPC played a flute on a tree stump. On another, I found a thief-like creature who gave me more insight into the surreal world of The Onus Helm where every character has been cursed with a similar helmet that they can't remove. Should you fall in battle, the next playthrough mixes up the dungeon, shifting the rooms in new and interesting ways. A small array of weapons can drastically how one approaches the enemies in-game. Players start out with a sword and an infinite ammo slingshot. However, there are many other treasures to be found or bought that can help the player survive. A larger sword upgrade can be obtained that makes melee combat much easier, a powerful bow with limited ammo or a boomerang can replace the slingshot, and bombs prove to be a necessity for both secrets and strategic combat. Potions, health upgrades, and other non-weapons can be uncovered, too. The look of B-Cubed Labs indie project is certainly arresting. Mixed with a more retro throwback aesthetic, a lot of influence from the original Legend of Zelda appears readily apparent. It manages to straddle the line between homage and novelty really well in a way that feels both familiar and different. The final version of The Onus Helm is planned to include simply more stuff than is in the demo. More rooms, enemies, items, weapons, NPCs, and bosses will offer a more fully rounded experience. The planned PC release will offer both keyboard and controller support and a built-in speedrun clock for those who feel the need for speed. The core game has been mostly finished so even if the Kickstarter fails The Onus Helm will likely see the light of day. The Kickstarter seems to be for funding additional assets and mechanics with stretch goals for even more stuff like more music, co-op, a console release, and a larger development team to add even more stuff into the roguelike generation system B-Cubed has set up. Overall, my impression of The Onus Helm was that it's a game worthy of time and attention. I hope it meets its goal in the next nine days and I encourage everyone to check out the Kickstarter and demo. It should release sometime later this year. View full article
  10. The Onus Helm made its debut in a humble Kickstarter campaign that looks to secure $5,500 to finish development. The roguelike dungeon crawler stars an enigmatic character who awakens to find themselves in a mysterious, seemingly endless labyrinth with a burdensome, irremovable helmet placed on their head. To uncover the secrets of the helm and find freedom, players will have to navigate the dangers of the deadly maze and defeat the evils that have taken up residence in its ever shifting halls. The demo put out by developer B-Cubed Labs puts a full level on display. It takes the randomly generated room approach found in The Binding of Isaac and puts its own unique spin on the formula, something that could certainly intrigue fans in the retro-indie community. Players make their way through the dungeon room by room. Each room can hold enemies, secrets, items, or upgrades. Players will need to explore as much as possible to be prepared for the boss, a maniacal shadow that can summon floating swords. Each trip through the demo proves to be different. On one occasion, I was able to find a room in which an NPC played a flute on a tree stump. On another, I found a thief-like creature who gave me more insight into the surreal world of The Onus Helm where every character has been cursed with a similar helmet that they can't remove. Should you fall in battle, the next playthrough mixes up the dungeon, shifting the rooms in new and interesting ways. A small array of weapons can drastically how one approaches the enemies in-game. Players start out with a sword and an infinite ammo slingshot. However, there are many other treasures to be found or bought that can help the player survive. A larger sword upgrade can be obtained that makes melee combat much easier, a powerful bow with limited ammo or a boomerang can replace the slingshot, and bombs prove to be a necessity for both secrets and strategic combat. Potions, health upgrades, and other non-weapons can be uncovered, too. The look of B-Cubed Labs indie project is certainly arresting. Mixed with a more retro throwback aesthetic, a lot of influence from the original Legend of Zelda appears readily apparent. It manages to straddle the line between homage and novelty really well in a way that feels both familiar and different. The final version of The Onus Helm is planned to include simply more stuff than is in the demo. More rooms, enemies, items, weapons, NPCs, and bosses will offer a more fully rounded experience. The planned PC release will offer both keyboard and controller support and a built-in speedrun clock for those who feel the need for speed. The core game has been mostly finished so even if the Kickstarter fails The Onus Helm will likely see the light of day. The Kickstarter seems to be for funding additional assets and mechanics with stretch goals for even more stuff like more music, co-op, a console release, and a larger development team to add even more stuff into the roguelike generation system B-Cubed has set up. Overall, my impression of The Onus Helm was that it's a game worthy of time and attention. I hope it meets its goal in the next nine days and I encourage everyone to check out the Kickstarter and demo. It should release sometime later this year.
  11. Stardew Valley's developer, Eric Barone, has long promised a multiplayer mode for the popular farming/life sim. Chucklefish, the game's publisher, pushed back the release to the nebulous time period of "early 2018" stating that the multiplayer functionality needed more polish. On Sunday, Barone gave an update on the status of co-op, tweeting a screenshot of four people playing Stardew Valley. When it does launch later this year, some features of the multiplayer addition have been confirmed. First, the update will not require players to create a new farm and existing saves will be open to co-op. Though the tweet references LAN gameplay, co-op will also be available via online play. Given that the LAN connection is currently functional, we might reasonably expect to see Stardew Valley co-op sooner rather than later. View full article
  12. Stardew Valley's developer, Eric Barone, has long promised a multiplayer mode for the popular farming/life sim. Chucklefish, the game's publisher, pushed back the release to the nebulous time period of "early 2018" stating that the multiplayer functionality needed more polish. On Sunday, Barone gave an update on the status of co-op, tweeting a screenshot of four people playing Stardew Valley. When it does launch later this year, some features of the multiplayer addition have been confirmed. First, the update will not require players to create a new farm and existing saves will be open to co-op. Though the tweet references LAN gameplay, co-op will also be available via online play. Given that the LAN connection is currently functional, we might reasonably expect to see Stardew Valley co-op sooner rather than later.
  13. Celeste Mountain looms over a tantalizing mystery, one that Madeline, our young protagonist, determines to uncover. Using Madeline's reservoir of stamina, players must navigate the treacherous terrain and dangers to discover new characters and locations. Mastering her mid-air dash will be crucial to making progress. For people who are more invested in the story than the challenging gameplay, developer Matt Makes Games has included an assist mode. Assist mode allows players to tweak difficulty to find the most enjoyable way to play through Celeste. Options range from slowing down time to pure invincibility. Celeste also caters to the hardcore gaming crowd with a unique challenge mode for the most skilled players called The B-Side Chapters. Nintendo will launch Celeste as a digital title for the Nintendo Switch on January 25. View full article
  14. Celeste Mountain looms over a tantalizing mystery, one that Madeline, our young protagonist, determines to uncover. Using Madeline's reservoir of stamina, players must navigate the treacherous terrain and dangers to discover new characters and locations. Mastering her mid-air dash will be crucial to making progress. For people who are more invested in the story than the challenging gameplay, developer Matt Makes Games has included an assist mode. Assist mode allows players to tweak difficulty to find the most enjoyable way to play through Celeste. Options range from slowing down time to pure invincibility. Celeste also caters to the hardcore gaming crowd with a unique challenge mode for the most skilled players called The B-Side Chapters. Nintendo will launch Celeste as a digital title for the Nintendo Switch on January 25.
  15. We've all lost someone along the way to the here and now. It's always tragic, always painful, and always hard to process. For Emery offers itself as a tribute to the people who are going through loss by presenting a story about searching for life after death. For Emery was developed by Sanud Games and bills itself as a point-and-click interactive novel inspired by the ancient Sumerian text the Epic of Gilgamesh. The story focuses on Germaine, a circus performer who refuses to accept the death of his friend and colleague Emery. On his quest, Germaine progresses through the five stages of grief to uncover the truth behind death itself. The game itself seems to come from a pretty personal place as the listing for the game concludes, "Isabelle, your classmates and loved ones still miss you. Linda Farkas, your inspiration bled beyond your fiery artform." Hopefully For Emery can help both developers and players find some measure of peace. So far the early access version of For Emery has only been released on Game Jolt for both PC and Mac. A free demo is available on both Game Jolt and itch.io that allows players to progress up to Act 1, Scene 2.
  16. We've all lost someone along the way to the here and now. It's always tragic, always painful, and always hard to process. For Emery offers itself as a tribute to the people who are going through loss by presenting a story about searching for life after death. For Emery was developed by Sanud Games and bills itself as a point-and-click interactive novel inspired by the ancient Sumerian text the Epic of Gilgamesh. The story focuses on Germaine, a circus performer who refuses to accept the death of his friend and colleague Emery. On his quest, Germaine progresses through the five stages of grief to uncover the truth behind death itself. The game itself seems to come from a pretty personal place as the listing for the game concludes, "Isabelle, your classmates and loved ones still miss you. Linda Farkas, your inspiration bled beyond your fiery artform." Hopefully For Emery can help both developers and players find some measure of peace. So far the early access version of For Emery has only been released on Game Jolt for both PC and Mac. A free demo is available on both Game Jolt and itch.io that allows players to progress up to Act 1, Scene 2. View full article
  17. An intriguing indie adventure game has appeared on the horizon. Today, french indie studio Big Bad Wolf revealed The Council, an episodic adventure game set to launch this February. The new entry in the genre offers players the opportunity to make difficult choices that will have "permanent, long-lasting consequences." Aside from being a narrative adventure game in the same vein as Telltale's work, what exactly is The Council? Set in 1793, players become Louis de Richet who journeys to the private island estate of Lord Mortimer after receiving a cryptic invitation. Gentlemen and women from across the world seem to have been invited, as well. George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte count themselves among Lord Mortimer's guests. Those who operate the levers of power in the world have all assembled for a mysterious purpose... and suddenly a murder interrupts the gathering. Everyone seems to have their own schemes and plots, but the players will have to uncover the mysteries of the island and guests while discovering the true nature of The Council. Big Bad Wolf has developed a new system for navigating conversations that they're promising will be unique. The Social Influence system relies on players to use skill and various resources to come out on top and achieve ideal outcomes. Those resources will be gathered during exploration segments that also provide opportunities for players to learn the weaknesses of the other island guests. Should an encounter be failed, there's no game over screen in The Council. Instead, player choices are permanent and can result in physical disfigurement, mental trauma, or (rarely) boons that will hinder or help players for the rest of the game. As players proceed, they will have opportunities for Richet to hone his skills. Perhaps the diplomatic approach appeals to you? Maybe history or science would make worthy allies? Or could it be that detective skills are what will make the difference? Over 15 skills are available, adding an almost RPG-like dimension to The Council. These skills will allow players to explore the island their own way, uncovering dark secrets as they progress into Lord Mortimer's abode. The Council’s first of five episodes, titled 'The Mad Ones,' arrives on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February, 2018.
  18. An intriguing indie adventure game has appeared on the horizon. Today, french indie studio Big Bad Wolf revealed The Council, an episodic adventure game set to launch this February. The new entry in the genre offers players the opportunity to make difficult choices that will have "permanent, long-lasting consequences." Aside from being a narrative adventure game in the same vein as Telltale's work, what exactly is The Council? Set in 1793, players become Louis de Richet who journeys to the private island estate of Lord Mortimer after receiving a cryptic invitation. Gentlemen and women from across the world seem to have been invited, as well. George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte count themselves among Lord Mortimer's guests. Those who operate the levers of power in the world have all assembled for a mysterious purpose... and suddenly a murder interrupts the gathering. Everyone seems to have their own schemes and plots, but the players will have to uncover the mysteries of the island and guests while discovering the true nature of The Council. Big Bad Wolf has developed a new system for navigating conversations that they're promising will be unique. The Social Influence system relies on players to use skill and various resources to come out on top and achieve ideal outcomes. Those resources will be gathered during exploration segments that also provide opportunities for players to learn the weaknesses of the other island guests. Should an encounter be failed, there's no game over screen in The Council. Instead, player choices are permanent and can result in physical disfigurement, mental trauma, or (rarely) boons that will hinder or help players for the rest of the game. As players proceed, they will have opportunities for Richet to hone his skills. Perhaps the diplomatic approach appeals to you? Maybe history or science would make worthy allies? Or could it be that detective skills are what will make the difference? Over 15 skills are available, adding an almost RPG-like dimension to The Council. These skills will allow players to explore the island their own way, uncovering dark secrets as they progress into Lord Mortimer's abode. The Council’s first of five episodes, titled 'The Mad Ones,' arrives on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in February, 2018. View full article
  19. The fine folks at Robot Loves Kitty found themselves in a bit of a bind recently. For the past few years, they'd been working on a game called Upsilon Circuit, a crazy mixture of game show, RPG, and online multiplayer. The studio consists of the self-taught indie duo Alix Stolzer and Calvin Goble. The scope of Upsilon Circuit and grew to the extent that it required more members on the team than Stolzer and Goble, so the team hired additional staff. Unfortunately, the funding source that they tapped into to hire those team members pulled out before the game was ready to be done. As part of the cancellation announcement, Robot Loves Kitty put out a statement saying, “We just wanted to make this game we were both so passionate about, and we were sacrificing so much to do it. When things fell apart it left both of us feeling overwhelmingly sad, angry, ashamed, and depressed.” The lack of funding brought the entire project to a screeching halt. As of right now, the quirky indie dream that was Upsilon Circuit is no more and the gaming landscape is poorer of the loss. That being said, Robot Loves Kitty has a new project on the horizon called Super Tony Land! The indie game thumbs its nose at the Super Mario Bros. series in an adventure starring Tony, a plumber from Brooklyn who finds himself in the world of video games. Players can build their own levels, share them via Steam Workshop, and even create entire story lines! The tool set being used to give players the power of creation is called Tronics, a visual programming language that can be used to make functional robots, ships, clockwork contraptions, or even dialogue trees. It opens up some really interesting possibilities that allow for never before seen mechanics, stories, and characters. Players will also be able to make use of power-ups and a character creator to really bring their world to life. Super Tony Land should be available on PC Spring 2018.
  20. The fine folks at Robot Loves Kitty found themselves in a bit of a bind recently. For the past few years, they'd been working on a game called Upsilon Circuit, a crazy mixture of game show, RPG, and online multiplayer. The studio consists of the self-taught indie duo Alix Stolzer and Calvin Goble. The scope of Upsilon Circuit and grew to the extent that it required more members on the team than Stolzer and Goble, so the team hired additional staff. Unfortunately, the funding source that they tapped into to hire those team members pulled out before the game was ready to be done. As part of the cancellation announcement, Robot Loves Kitty put out a statement saying, “We just wanted to make this game we were both so passionate about, and we were sacrificing so much to do it. When things fell apart it left both of us feeling overwhelmingly sad, angry, ashamed, and depressed.” The lack of funding brought the entire project to a screeching halt. As of right now, the quirky indie dream that was Upsilon Circuit is no more and the gaming landscape is poorer of the loss. That being said, Robot Loves Kitty has a new project on the horizon called Super Tony Land! The indie game thumbs its nose at the Super Mario Bros. series in an adventure starring Tony, a plumber from Brooklyn who finds himself in the world of video games. Players can build their own levels, share them via Steam Workshop, and even create entire story lines! The tool set being used to give players the power of creation is called Tronics, a visual programming language that can be used to make functional robots, ships, clockwork contraptions, or even dialogue trees. It opens up some really interesting possibilities that allow for never before seen mechanics, stories, and characters. Players will also be able to make use of power-ups and a character creator to really bring their world to life. Super Tony Land should be available on PC Spring 2018. View full article
  21. The indie title Mulaka has been gathering some buzz in recent months. The action-adventure game follows the shaman Sukurúame as he races to battle the otherworldly powers corrupting his homeland. Developer Lienzo created Mulaka in the hope that their game will be both enjoyable for players and also teach about the Tarahumara culture. Sukurúame and Mulaka are based largely on the Tarahumara, a people indigenous to northern Mexico. The Tarahumara were known for their stamina and ability to run vast distances in the sprawling landscape they called home, but they were far more than that. To help players better understand the beating cultural heart of Mulaka, Lienzo has launched the first episode of a three part educational series about the Tarahumara. Mulaka draws from the legends and myths passed down by the Tarahumara to create a visually unique world full of incredible demigods and magic - all grounded in real-world locations and beliefs. Lienzo hopes that giving the Tarahumara people a story within a modern game will help to shad some light on a culture many people might never have heard of otherwise. "Even though I didn't know the mythology, it is still part of the city I live in, and the state and the country I live in. So I really feel proud that we can get to share part of this amazing culture with the world," says Lienzo's lead developer Adolfo Rico. The next two videos will be coming soon. Expect to see them go up sometime before Mulaka's early 2018 release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
  22. The indie title Mulaka has been gathering some buzz in recent months. The action-adventure game follows the shaman Sukurúame as he races to battle the otherworldly powers corrupting his homeland. Developer Lienzo created Mulaka in the hope that their game will be both enjoyable for players and also teach about the Tarahumara culture. Sukurúame and Mulaka are based largely on the Tarahumara, a people indigenous to northern Mexico. The Tarahumara were known for their stamina and ability to run vast distances in the sprawling landscape they called home, but they were far more than that. To help players better understand the beating cultural heart of Mulaka, Lienzo has launched the first episode of a three part educational series about the Tarahumara. Mulaka draws from the legends and myths passed down by the Tarahumara to create a visually unique world full of incredible demigods and magic - all grounded in real-world locations and beliefs. Lienzo hopes that giving the Tarahumara people a story within a modern game will help to shad some light on a culture many people might never have heard of otherwise. "Even though I didn't know the mythology, it is still part of the city I live in, and the state and the country I live in. So I really feel proud that we can get to share part of this amazing culture with the world," says Lienzo's lead developer Adolfo Rico. The next two videos will be coming soon. Expect to see them go up sometime before Mulaka's early 2018 release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. View full article
  23. The creators of Rock Band have a new game available today called Super Beat Friends that has just released on the Nintendo Switch. The party game features a cartoonish collection of sports mini-games that weave frantic multiplayer action with some boppin' music. The relentlessly positive title offers engrossing co-op and competitive modes in a package that's designed to appeal to all ages. Games included in Super Beat Sports include: Rhythm Racket - Protect your own goal while gunning for your friends' in a more musical take on a classic game set up. Whacky Bat - Players must hit back pitches using bats while timing their swings along with the music to build combos and earn points. Net Ball - Similar to volleyball but played with hockey sticks, 1-2 players try to keep the volley over the net going for as long as possible against alien opponents. Buddy Ball - Bash balls with 1-4 buddies! Gobble Golf - The goal here is to feed aliens by grooving along with the music either solo or with a friend. Super Beat Friends supports HD Rumble in the Switch's Joy-Cons, which leads to Harmonix claiming that "each swing feels unique" throughout the game's 100+ levels. Also, Super Beat Friends maintains 60 frames per second across all of the Switch's modes of play. Super Beat Friends is available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop - maybe a good game to pull out on Game Day? View full article
  24. The creators of Rock Band have a new game available today called Super Beat Friends that has just released on the Nintendo Switch. The party game features a cartoonish collection of sports mini-games that weave frantic multiplayer action with some boppin' music. The relentlessly positive title offers engrossing co-op and competitive modes in a package that's designed to appeal to all ages. Games included in Super Beat Sports include: Rhythm Racket - Protect your own goal while gunning for your friends' in a more musical take on a classic game set up. Whacky Bat - Players must hit back pitches using bats while timing their swings along with the music to build combos and earn points. Net Ball - Similar to volleyball but played with hockey sticks, 1-2 players try to keep the volley over the net going for as long as possible against alien opponents. Buddy Ball - Bash balls with 1-4 buddies! Gobble Golf - The goal here is to feed aliens by grooving along with the music either solo or with a friend. Super Beat Friends supports HD Rumble in the Switch's Joy-Cons, which leads to Harmonix claiming that "each swing feels unique" throughout the game's 100+ levels. Also, Super Beat Friends maintains 60 frames per second across all of the Switch's modes of play. Super Beat Friends is available now on the Nintendo Switch eShop - maybe a good game to pull out on Game Day?
  25. Happy Halloween everyone! It's that wonderful time of the year when we grab a bowl of candy, kick back, and try to scare the pants off of ourselves. In the spirit of the holiday, we've put together a list of some effective horror games that will chill, thrill, and fill you with dread. Most of you are probably familiar with the Alien: Isolations, the Amnesias, the Outlasts, and more of the horror giants that dominate the genre, so this list will be made up of some of the lesser-known titles that still manage to hold some surprises. Without further ado, here's your definitive list of interesting indie horror games presented in no particular order! Duskers If there is one lesson that the movie Alien taught us it is that few things are as scary as average joes just trying to survive in space. Duskers takes that premise and runs with it in a gripping, survival horror roguelike. As a lone salvage operator using technology that would be right at home in a 70s sci-fi film, players must attempt to eek out a living by investigating wrecked ships. However, those ships can only be explored and salvaged using remote controlled drones. Players need to juggle the control of the drones with hacking into the wreck's systems and also avoiding the unknown terrors that lurk in the bowels of these seemingly abandoned vessels. As it progresses a mystery slowly unfolds in the form of corrupted ship logs and strange environments. Meanwhile, dangers threaten to kill off the drones, the only tools available to sustain the player. Drones must be controlled by typing and hopping between them can be an absorbing task. The tension and learning curve created by the purposefully clunky retro interface lends itself to the horror - it really does feel like you're watching as your drones are taken out one by one with hope fading as each one goes offline. Duskers is available on PC. The Last Door Are you a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos? Do you have a soft sport for the works of Edgar Allen Poe? The Last Door draws upon both of those giants in the realm of literature to create its own rich contribution to the horror genre. The Game Kitchen, the devs behind The Last Door, have actually created two seasons of this niche horror title, each consisting of four episodes. The first season follows the investigation of Jeremiah Devitt after he receives a letter from an old school friend and journeys to visit - only to find that an insidious force is at work and seems to be targeting his old associates. The second season serves as a direct sequel to the first, but to explain more would be to provide spoilers. While The Last Door certainly possesses some shortcomings commonly associated with retro adventure games, the journey and surprising effectiveness of its growing sense of dread are well worth the effort to overcome the game design obstacles that occasionally rear their heads. The Last Door Seasons 1 & 2 are available on Andorid, iOS, and PC, both as standalone collections and in-browser. Lone Survivor Lone Survivor released back in 2012 as a side-scrolling survival horror title. It attempts to walk the line between stealth and combat while painting a gruesome, engrossing world that constantly invites the player to question the sanity of the protagonist and the veracity of the world. The story centers on a nameless man in a surgical mask who must survive in a monster-filled apartment complex with no apparent logic to its construction. Players explore the world, encountering baffling characters and disturbing scenes. The game isn't so much a tour de force journey as it is a lengthy soak in madness. Its atmosphere has a darkly hypnotic effect that beckons players into Lone Survivor's twisted depths. It can take a little while to feel the title's hooks, but give it a chance in good faith and Lone Survivor will reward persistence. Lone Survivor is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, and Wii U. OverBlood We've talked about OverBlood before. To be honest, it probably doesn't belong on this list because it simply isn't that scary by today's standards. What it lacks in spine-tingling thrills, OverBlood more than makes up for in sheer entertainment value as a so-bad-its-good game. Admittedly, people who enjoy playing games that are so bad they transcend badness and come back around to being worth playing represent a very, very niche group. But, if that's the kind of thing that you're looking for - the Troll 2 of video games - OverBlood definitely possesses the hapless charm necessary for a great night of failed scares and amazing character moments. OverBlood tells the story of Raz Karcy, a man jettisoned from cryo containment only to find that he was never supposed to wake up. Mysteries unfold and friendships form as he begins to explore a seemingly abandoned research facility. OverBlood is available on the PlayStation One and PSN. The Forest While The Forest has been available for several years now, it is unique on this list in that it remains in Early Access on Steam. While many might be put off by the mere association of Early Access-ness, The Forest has both come a long way since its initial release and offers a unique horror experience. Players take on the role of a man who survives a plane crash on a remote island only to find that his son has been kidnapped by the cannibals that inhabit the island's underground caves and come out to hunt at night. A pretty straightforward set up, right? Things get complicated by the fact that The Forest is an open world crafting/survival game at heart. Players will need to survive in the wilderness, construct a base of operations, and learn to survive the hair-raising night attacks by the island's blood thirsty humans. The result plays like a fusion between Outlast and Minecraft. In fact, it's entirely possible to succumb to the island's ways and become a cannibal yourself and abandon the central rescue mission. I don't hear The Forest talked about much, but if you are put off by the fact that it remains in Early Access, keep an eye out for it to officially release sometime in the near future. The Forest is currently available in Early Access on PC and will be coming to PlayStation 4. View full article
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