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Found 166 results

  1. From humble beginnings as a Kickstarter project to becoming one of the biggest indie darlings of 2016, Hyper Light Drifter has quite the history of defying expectations. Gorgeous pixel art animations and vistas, dialogue-less storytelling, and a fantastic soundtrack by Disasterpeace came together to tell a gripping tale about a lone wanderer in a sci-fi apocalypse. While all of the pieces come together for a solid game, do they gel well enough to create something considered one of the best games of all-time? 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: A Link to the Past 'Chamber of the Goddess' by Disasterpeace (http://ocremix.org/album/33/25yearlegend-a-legend-of-zelda-indie-game-composer-tribute) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  2. From humble beginnings as a Kickstarter project to becoming one of the biggest indie darlings of 2016, Hyper Light Drifter has quite the history of defying expectations. Gorgeous pixel art animations and vistas, dialogue-less storytelling, and a fantastic soundtrack by Disasterpeace came together to tell a gripping tale about a lone wanderer in a sci-fi apocalypse. While all of the pieces come together for a solid game, do they gel well enough to create something considered one of the best games of all-time? 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: A Link to the Past 'Chamber of the Goddess' by Disasterpeace (http://ocremix.org/album/33/25yearlegend-a-legend-of-zelda-indie-game-composer-tribute) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well! 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  3. Survival? In my zombie game? Wha- wha- whaaaaaaat? That's right, this week we are tackling State of Decay! Released in 2013 for the Xbox 360 and since released on PC and Xbox One, State of Decay garnered a cult following over the years. Developer Undead Labs' created its first game with the goal of carving out a niche in the saturated zombie game market by adding permadeath, individual survival elements, and larger, group-oriented goals. How well did they succeed at doing this? And does the game as a whole stand as one of the best games of all-time? Take a listen and share your thoughts! 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: Undeadline 'Marching Towards Roshufa's Spirit' by Jorito (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03475) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  4. Survival? In my zombie game? Wha- wha- whaaaaaaat? That's right, this week we are tackling State of Decay! Released in 2013 for the Xbox 360 and since released on PC and Xbox One, State of Decay garnered a cult following over the years. Developer Undead Labs' created its first game with the goal of carving out a niche in the saturated zombie game market by adding permadeath, individual survival elements, and larger, group-oriented goals. How well did they succeed at doing this? And does the game as a whole stand as one of the best games of all-time? Take a listen and share your thoughts! 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: Undeadline 'Marching Towards Roshufa's Spirit' by Jorito (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03475) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  5. If Dan Smith isn't a name you know in video games, you should fix that mistake as soon as possible. At 18 years old, Smith won a BAFTA in 2016 for his work on a game called SPECTRUM, a solo project he had been working on since age 15. Ripstone Games saw the potential in Smith's game and offered him the backing necessary to fully flesh out the title that earned him such a prestigious award. Now, two years later, SPECTRUM has been renamed The Spectrum Retreat, fleshed out with puzzles, and given a more concrete narrative. With an impending release in a matter of weeks, I sat down with Smith to talk about and play his first commercial video game. The Spectrum Retreat has something of an odd story premise. Without giving too much away, players wake up in the spacious and immaculately ordered Penrose Hotel. Slowly explore the surrounding area reveals that it's a vast complex, empty save for a number of very polite robots that handle the day-to-day maintenance of the facility. However, no matter what you do, the robotic refuse to let you leave the hotel. As this reality begins to sink in, someone contacts you over the phone, a woman who seems to know that something is going on, something bad. She begins giving instructions on how to escape. Unfortunately, the easy way out becomes impassable and she guides you to a restricted area blocked off by color coded force fields. It's here that the puzzle-solving truly begins. The core conceit of The Spectrum Retreat, based on the mechanics from SPECTRUM, revolves around color. Players are able to absorb a color and use it to walk through barriers of that color and then swap it out for a different color. It's a simple mechanic, Smith even said it was one of the first puzzle concepts he learned when he dove into programming, but it's one that has fascinated him enough to build an entire game around the complex puzzles that can be constructed with it in mind. I saw the color swapping create bridges over chasms, walls, and can easily imagine that the uses only become more complicated as crazier geometry and gating mechanisms combine in future puzzles. The opening levels slowly introduce new twists in how space and the color mechanics can be used to create more elaborate scenarios in a slow, accessible way. The goal, according to Smith, was to make a tutorial that didn't feel like a tutorial, with players discovering how to proceed on their own. This approach certainly worked for me; I enjoyed the dopamine tickle across my brain as I discovered new ways to overcome each challenge. A large part of what makes The Spectrum Retreat so interesting is how the color mechanic works with the non-euclidean space of its world, an unnerving aspect of the hotel that carries over into the puzzles. Sometimes dropping down a hole will bring you back to the beginning of a level, but it could also bring you to an almost identical version of the level with a story hint or clue to the puzzle. Certain hallways repeat endlessly, but how sure can you be that its not part of the puzzle when you turn back and find yourself in a new location? Combine this uncertainty with more concrete areas that feature maze-like layouts and the potential for some truly stimulating scenarios becomes apparent. After the demo areas were completed, my character had to return to the hotel to "keep up appearances." However, Smith told me that as the game progresses, the comforting art deco world of the Penrose Hotel will begin to merge with the strange, sterile puzzle rooms, creating an unnerving sense of dislocation. He said that the overall theme of the game would be one that grapples with the downsides of escapism, how we can run so far away from our problems that the methods used to run can actually create far more issues with which we eventually need to grapple. The Spectrum Retreat launches on July 10 for the PlayStation 4 and on July 13 for Xbox One and PC. A version for the Nintendo Switch will launch later this summer. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  6. The Binding of Isaac has released in several different versions across a staggering number of gaming devices over the years. Now, it is making the leap from digital to physical with The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls. Edmund McMillen, the developer behind The Binding of Isaac, launched the project on Kickstarter with the help of Studio 71. The game found itself fully funded in only an hour and a half. It currently sits at about $865,000, more than 17 times the base cost of creating the game. It seems like Four Souls plays somewhat like a darker, more competitive version of Munchkin. Up to four players take turns fighting monsters and gaining treasure. Occasionally, boss monsters will be pulled and players who defeat them will harvest their soul. The first player to reach four souls wins the game. Of course, other players can help or hinder the defeat of a monster, so while cooperation might dominate the early game, the final soul will be a truly tricky prize to obtain. Optional rules add in bonus souls for players who are able to save up enough money or horde enough items. McMillen stated that the game ideas came to him and to an extent some of the cards and systems are still in flux. He's been trying as best he can to translate the varied mechanics from The Binding of Isaac into a card game, no small task for a game that has seen expansion after expansion that have kept fans coming back over the past seven years. "It was really fun to take a well known item or monster from the game and think up ways to convey stuff like, How could I show that the carrion queen takes damage when you hit her butt?" said McMillen, "Or how could I represent the rng aspects of cursed floors or troll bombs only using a deck of cards?" At least part of the answer to that question seems to have involved creating a large number of cards to represent the various monsters and mechanics of the digital game. The Four Souls comes with several hundred cards, with additional character and ability cards unlocking as reward tiers are passed and backer challenges are completed. One of the most recent challenges involves nine people finishing the first boss on camera while blindfolded. Those who back the game at $35 or higher can receive an expansion pack bonus of 68 cards, pushing the number of cards close to 400. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  7. The Binding of Isaac has released in several different versions across a staggering number of gaming devices over the years. Now, it is making the leap from digital to physical with The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls. Edmund McMillen, the developer behind The Binding of Isaac, launched the project on Kickstarter with the help of Studio 71. The game found itself fully funded in only an hour and a half. It currently sits at about $865,000, more than 17 times the base cost of creating the game. It seems like Four Souls plays somewhat like a darker, more competitive version of Munchkin. Up to four players take turns fighting monsters and gaining treasure. Occasionally, boss monsters will be pulled and players who defeat them will harvest their soul. The first player to reach four souls wins the game. Of course, other players can help or hinder the defeat of a monster, so while cooperation might dominate the early game, the final soul will be a truly tricky prize to obtain. Optional rules add in bonus souls for players who are able to save up enough money or horde enough items. McMillen stated that the game ideas came to him and to an extent some of the cards and systems are still in flux. He's been trying as best he can to translate the varied mechanics from The Binding of Isaac into a card game, no small task for a game that has seen expansion after expansion that have kept fans coming back over the past seven years. "It was really fun to take a well known item or monster from the game and think up ways to convey stuff like, How could I show that the carrion queen takes damage when you hit her butt?" said McMillen, "Or how could I represent the rng aspects of cursed floors or troll bombs only using a deck of cards?" At least part of the answer to that question seems to have involved creating a large number of cards to represent the various monsters and mechanics of the digital game. The Four Souls comes with several hundred cards, with additional character and ability cards unlocking as reward tiers are passed and backer challenges are completed. One of the most recent challenges involves nine people finishing the first boss on camera while blindfolded. Those who back the game at $35 or higher can receive an expansion pack bonus of 68 cards, pushing the number of cards close to 400. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  8. If Dan Smith isn't a name you know in video games, you should fix that mistake as soon as possible. At 18 years old, Smith won a BAFTA in 2016 for his work on a game called SPECTRUM, a solo project he had been working on since age 15. Ripstone Games saw the potential in Smith's game and offered him the backing necessary to fully flesh out the title that earned him such a prestigious award. Now, two years later, SPECTRUM has been renamed The Spectrum Retreat, fleshed out with puzzles, and given a more concrete narrative. With an impending release in a matter of weeks, I sat down with Smith to talk about and play his first commercial video game. The Spectrum Retreat has something of an odd story premise. Without giving too much away, players wake up in the spacious and immaculately ordered Penrose Hotel. Slowly explore the surrounding area reveals that it's a vast complex, empty save for a number of very polite robots that handle the day-to-day maintenance of the facility. However, no matter what you do, the robotic refuse to let you leave the hotel. As this reality begins to sink in, someone contacts you over the phone, a woman who seems to know that something is going on, something bad. She begins giving instructions on how to escape. Unfortunately, the easy way out becomes impassable and she guides you to a restricted area blocked off by color coded force fields. It's here that the puzzle-solving truly begins. The core conceit of The Spectrum Retreat, based on the mechanics from SPECTRUM, revolves around color. Players are able to absorb a color and use it to walk through barriers of that color and then swap it out for a different color. It's a simple mechanic, Smith even said it was one of the first puzzle concepts he learned when he dove into programming, but it's one that has fascinated him enough to build an entire game around the complex puzzles that can be constructed with it in mind. I saw the color swapping create bridges over chasms, walls, and can easily imagine that the uses only become more complicated as crazier geometry and gating mechanisms combine in future puzzles. The opening levels slowly introduce new twists in how space and the color mechanics can be used to create more elaborate scenarios in a slow, accessible way. The goal, according to Smith, was to make a tutorial that didn't feel like a tutorial, with players discovering how to proceed on their own. This approach certainly worked for me; I enjoyed the dopamine tickle across my brain as I discovered new ways to overcome each challenge. A large part of what makes The Spectrum Retreat so interesting is how the color mechanic works with the non-euclidean space of its world, an unnerving aspect of the hotel that carries over into the puzzles. Sometimes dropping down a hole will bring you back to the beginning of a level, but it could also bring you to an almost identical version of the level with a story hint or clue to the puzzle. Certain hallways repeat endlessly, but how sure can you be that its not part of the puzzle when you turn back and find yourself in a new location? Combine this uncertainty with more concrete areas that feature maze-like layouts and the potential for some truly stimulating scenarios becomes apparent. After the demo areas were completed, my character had to return to the hotel to "keep up appearances." However, Smith told me that as the game progresses, the comforting art deco world of the Penrose Hotel will begin to merge with the strange, sterile puzzle rooms, creating an unnerving sense of dislocation. He said that the overall theme of the game would be one that grapples with the downsides of escapism, how we can run so far away from our problems that the methods used to run can actually create far more issues with which we eventually need to grapple. The Spectrum Retreat launches on July 10 for the PlayStation 4 and on July 13 for Xbox One and PC. A version for the Nintendo Switch will launch later this summer. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  9. EA has made a habit of including a few smaller scale indie projects in its E3 press events over the last few years. This year they highlighted both Unravel Two and a completely unknown game from Berlin-based studio Jo-Mei. The studio's creative director, Cornelia Geppart took to EA's stage to announce Sea of Solitude, or SoS for short. "When humans get lonely they turn into monsters - this is the core of everything you will see, hear, and feel in SoS," said Geppart as footage of Sea of Solitude rolled in the background. Alternating between cheery scenery of a flooded town and a world of shadow inhabited by horrifically mutated humanoids, SoS seems like a combination of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and I Am Alive (a gritty indie disaster game set after a natural apocalypse that released in 2012 - maybe this comparison wasn't great since not many people played it). The story focuses on Kay, a young woman who has begun turning into one of the monsters that surrounds her. Why is this happening to everyone? How can she reverse the process? Players will have to brave the open seas and scavenge for supplies among monster infested towns to uncover the answers. Expect to see Sea of Solitude ship out in early 2019 for PC and consoles.
  10. EA has made a habit of including a few smaller scale indie projects in its E3 press events over the last few years. This year they highlighted both Unravel Two and a completely unknown game from Berlin-based studio Jo-Mei. The studio's creative director, Cornelia Geppart took to EA's stage to announce Sea of Solitude, or SoS for short. "When humans get lonely they turn into monsters - this is the core of everything you will see, hear, and feel in SoS," said Geppart as footage of Sea of Solitude rolled in the background. Alternating between cheery scenery of a flooded town and a world of shadow inhabited by horrifically mutated humanoids, SoS seems like a combination of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and I Am Alive (a gritty indie disaster game set after a natural apocalypse that released in 2012 - maybe this comparison wasn't great since not many people played it). The story focuses on Kay, a young woman who has begun turning into one of the monsters that surrounds her. Why is this happening to everyone? How can she reverse the process? Players will have to brave the open seas and scavenge for supplies among monster infested towns to uncover the answers. Expect to see Sea of Solitude ship out in early 2019 for PC and consoles. View full article
  11. Let's go back to the game that kickstarted the trend of weighty indie games relying on small kids in big, scary worlds. Limbo thrilled, chilled, and grilled players around the world when it launched. As a nameless young boy in a world weaved together of monochrome shadows and a vintage filter, players embark on a journey filled with death and symbolism. Playdead's indie darling received massive praise when it released in 2010, but has that charm remained intact over time? 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: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 'Mysterious Gold Edition' by Rukunetsu, Anton Corazza, and Yusef Kelliebrew (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03738) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  12. Jack Gardner

    The Best Games Period - Episode 101 - Limbo

    Let's go back to the game that kickstarted the trend of weighty indie games relying on small kids in big, scary worlds. Limbo thrilled, chilled, and grilled players around the world when it launched. As a nameless young boy in a world weaved together of monochrome shadows and a vintage filter, players embark on a journey filled with death and symbolism. Playdead's indie darling received massive praise when it released in 2010, but has that charm remained intact over time? 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: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening 'Mysterious Gold Edition' by Rukunetsu, Anton Corazza, and Yusef Kelliebrew (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03738) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  13. Take a journey with us back to the ye olden days of 2009 when the war between casual and hardcore gamers raged. While it would take many years for the conflict to settle to a low simmer, one game seemed to unite the two sides in harmony; a tower defense game with retro roots, a sunny disposition, and a quirky sense of humor. Plants vs. Zombies catapulted developer PopCap Games to indie stardom and became their fastest selling game to date, leveraging a position in the then-curated Steam store to appeal to the hardcore crowd and its inherent lightheartedness to bring in the more casually oriented gamers. Almost ten years later, should Plants vs. Zombies be considered one of the best games of all-time? 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: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 'Fushigina Forest' by Laura Shigihara (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02329) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  14. Take a journey with us back to the ye olden days of 2009 when the war between casual and hardcore gamers raged. While it would take many years for the conflict to settle to a low simmer, one game seemed to unite the two sides in harmony; a tower defense game with retro roots, a sunny disposition, and a quirky sense of humor. Plants vs. Zombies catapulted developer PopCap Games to indie stardom and became their fastest selling game to date, leveraging a position in the then-curated Steam store to appeal to the hardcore crowd and its inherent lightheartedness to bring in the more casually oriented gamers. Almost ten years later, should Plants vs. Zombies be considered one of the best games of all-time? 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: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 'Fushigina Forest' by Laura Shigihara (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02329) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is 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 Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  15. Jack Gardner

    Super Cat Tales 2 Looks Fur-nomenal

    Neutronized might not be a huge name in the gaming industry, but they've been steadily working on quirky, interesting projects since 2010 from their Italy-based studio. In 2016, they released a cat-focused platformer called Super Cat Tales for iOS (or Super Cat Bros. on Android). Super Cat Tales drew heavily from the heyday of 90s platformers with many people drawing parallels between the mobile title and the high points of that generation like Super Mario World and Kirby's Dream Land 3. Professional reviews, like those from Touch Arcade, gave the game perfect scores with headlines like "Don't Paws, Play This Nya-ow." Super Cat Tales was about Alex the cat on an adventure to reunite with his siblings. The sequel stars Alex and company taking on the evil Lord Iridium and his army of tin soldiers that have attacked Neko Land with a fleet of clockwork airships. The robotic forces of Lord Iridium seek a special metal hidden within the feline's planet and is rumored to be the power that holds the entire world together. Using the different powers and abilities of the various cats that join Alex in his fight, players must traverse the world and thwart Iridium's plans before the invasion destroys everything. Is it really any surprise that the bigger, richer sequel to a highly praised title would be even more impressive? The team at Neutronized have upped their game visually and the trailer really showcases that change. As players progress through an overworld filled with stages from various lands, they'll encounter a variety of new mechanics and situations. At one point, the trailer shows the grizzled cat Sergeant McMeow piloting a clockwork tank through a robotic factory. Overall, Super Cat Tales 2 just looks like a really good time, and you should keep an eye on it. Super Cat Tales 2 will release sometime in 2018 for iOS and Android.
  16. Neutronized might not be a huge name in the gaming industry, but they've been steadily working on quirky, interesting projects since 2010 from their Italy-based studio. In 2016, they released a cat-focused platformer called Super Cat Tales for iOS (or Super Cat Bros. on Android). Super Cat Tales drew heavily from the heyday of 90s platformers with many people drawing parallels between the mobile title and the high points of that generation like Super Mario World and Kirby's Dream Land 3. Professional reviews, like those from Touch Arcade, gave the game perfect scores with headlines like "Don't Paws, Play This Nya-ow." Super Cat Tales was about Alex the cat on an adventure to reunite with his siblings. The sequel stars Alex and company taking on the evil Lord Iridium and his army of tin soldiers that have attacked Neko Land with a fleet of clockwork airships. The robotic forces of Lord Iridium seek a special metal hidden within the feline's planet and is rumored to be the power that holds the entire world together. Using the different powers and abilities of the various cats that join Alex in his fight, players must traverse the world and thwart Iridium's plans before the invasion destroys everything. Is it really any surprise that the bigger, richer sequel to a highly praised title would be even more impressive? The team at Neutronized have upped their game visually and the trailer really showcases that change. As players progress through an overworld filled with stages from various lands, they'll encounter a variety of new mechanics and situations. At one point, the trailer shows the grizzled cat Sergeant McMeow piloting a clockwork tank through a robotic factory. Overall, Super Cat Tales 2 just looks like a really good time, and you should keep an eye on it. Super Cat Tales 2 will release sometime in 2018 for iOS and Android. View full article
  17. Ninja Theory's epic descent into mythology and psychosis has made its way to Xbox One after having limited exclusivity on PlayStation 4. Players take on the role of the Pict warrior Senua as she journeys to a strange land filled with shadows, giants, and monsters to save the soul of a man named Dillon. It focuses on Senua's struggles with her curse, a chorus of voices that speak doubts and encouragement to her and sometimes directly to the player, too. Because of the game's heavy emphasis on Senua's curse, her struggles with psychosis and the social stigma associated with it, Ninja Theory worked heavily with mental health experts and facilities to better understand their hero. Through those learning experiences and encounters, the team was able to shape the game into something that resonated with many players. It also led the team to use the game as a platform to help dispel some of the stigma that still clings to mental health. To that end, Ninja Theory donated all profit from the sale of Hellblade on World Mental Health Day in 2017 to the organization Rethink Mental Illness. With the Xbox One release, Ninja Theory wants to continue that spirit of giving. If they can sell 50,000 copies of the game by April 18, they have pledged to donate $25,000 to Mental Health America. If they manage to hit 100,000 sales of Senua's Sacrifice, they will donate up to $50,000. So far, they've manage to sell roughly 12,000 copies. If you want a really unique game that tackles interesting subject matter in a thoughtful and mesmerizing way, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a great choice and could contribute to helping those who need mental healthcare. That's a pretty neat deal.
  18. Ninja Theory's epic descent into mythology and psychosis has made its way to Xbox One after having limited exclusivity on PlayStation 4. Players take on the role of the Pict warrior Senua as she journeys to a strange land filled with shadows, giants, and monsters to save the soul of a man named Dillon. It focuses on Senua's struggles with her curse, a chorus of voices that speak doubts and encouragement to her and sometimes directly to the player, too. Because of the game's heavy emphasis on Senua's curse, her struggles with psychosis and the social stigma associated with it, Ninja Theory worked heavily with mental health experts and facilities to better understand their hero. Through those learning experiences and encounters, the team was able to shape the game into something that resonated with many players. It also led the team to use the game as a platform to help dispel some of the stigma that still clings to mental health. To that end, Ninja Theory donated all profit from the sale of Hellblade on World Mental Health Day in 2017 to the organization Rethink Mental Illness. With the Xbox One release, Ninja Theory wants to continue that spirit of giving. If they can sell 50,000 copies of the game by April 18, they have pledged to donate $25,000 to Mental Health America. If they manage to hit 100,000 sales of Senua's Sacrifice, they will donate up to $50,000. So far, they've manage to sell roughly 12,000 copies. If you want a really unique game that tackles interesting subject matter in a thoughtful and mesmerizing way, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a great choice and could contribute to helping those who need mental healthcare. That's a pretty neat deal. View full article
  19. 3Mind Games might not be a developer many have heard of before now, but that could change in the near future. The studio has just announced their first game titled The Protagonist, a narrative-oriented RPG that offers turn-based tactics and divergent story paths in an original sci-fi universe. The team at 3Mind describes the gameplay as a mix between XCOM and Divinity: Original Sin. If that's not enough to get your attention, I don't know what will. The Protagonist stars a galactic special agent who operates under the codename ANGEL. The military force of Terra has come into conflict with the KL-T, a mysterious fleet of robotic ships and soldiers. On a mission to infiltrate and destroy a major space station claimed by the invading KL-T, ANGEL finds herself knocked unconscious and awakens in the space station's infirmary at the heart of the space station with no memory of what has happened. With the station in full lockdown and hostiles around every corner, players have to decide how to escape from the heart of this imposing enemy stronghold while piecing together what happened. Along the way, players can recruit allies who may or may not be loyal to ANGEL's mission. How you treat party members and other NPCs can either benefit you in the long run or hinder your progress or unlock new routes and opportunities. Those who aren't attentive during conversations could be in for some nasty surprises. The Protagonist uses a combat system called Martial Arts Combat System (MACS). This system allows players to customize their hand-to-hand combat abilities. The customization is intended to be so deep that players will be able to create new combos and then share them online with other players. 3Mind Games formed out of development veterans from major studios in the industry like EA and Ubisoft. They're hoping to capture the spirit of Mass Effect inside an indie game package that could roll over into a long-running series. The first trailer for The Protagonist shows ANGEL in action alongside her companion RADICAL, an explosives specialist. The Protagonist will release for PC sometime in 2019.
  20. 3Mind Games might not be a developer many have heard of before now, but that could change in the near future. The studio has just announced their first game titled The Protagonist, a narrative-oriented RPG that offers turn-based tactics and divergent story paths in an original sci-fi universe. The team at 3Mind describes the gameplay as a mix between XCOM and Divinity: Original Sin. If that's not enough to get your attention, I don't know what will. The Protagonist stars a galactic special agent who operates under the codename ANGEL. The military force of Terra has come into conflict with the KL-T, a mysterious fleet of robotic ships and soldiers. On a mission to infiltrate and destroy a major space station claimed by the invading KL-T, ANGEL finds herself knocked unconscious and awakens in the space station's infirmary at the heart of the space station with no memory of what has happened. With the station in full lockdown and hostiles around every corner, players have to decide how to escape from the heart of this imposing enemy stronghold while piecing together what happened. Along the way, players can recruit allies who may or may not be loyal to ANGEL's mission. How you treat party members and other NPCs can either benefit you in the long run or hinder your progress or unlock new routes and opportunities. Those who aren't attentive during conversations could be in for some nasty surprises. The Protagonist uses a combat system called Martial Arts Combat System (MACS). This system allows players to customize their hand-to-hand combat abilities. The customization is intended to be so deep that players will be able to create new combos and then share them online with other players. 3Mind Games formed out of development veterans from major studios in the industry like EA and Ubisoft. They're hoping to capture the spirit of Mass Effect inside an indie game package that could roll over into a long-running series. The first trailer for The Protagonist shows ANGEL in action alongside her companion RADICAL, an explosives specialist. The Protagonist will release for PC sometime in 2019. View full article
  21. You're on the run and every move counts. A shadow follows in your exact movements and pausing for too long to figure out a puzzle could prove deadly in the minimalist cat-and-mouse game Echoplex. Awarded Most Innovative Game and Best Art Direction at Lisboa Games Week IndieDome 2017, Echoplex offers players a set of 27 levels that weave their way through an FMV storyline full of mystery, intrigue, and horror. Since that showing last year, Output Games has revamped the user interface, added new puzzle mechanics, and tightened the gameplay. Echoplex puts players into the role of an engineer at the Clonochem Corporation manufacturing the strange and mysterious product Continuum. After calling a phone number he finds on a severed arm, he finds himself trapped in a simulation that continually loops and soon begins to fill with more versions of himself - until one of them begins to chase the original. That chase sits as the fundamental building block of Echoplex. Run over a switch that shuts a door? You might have to wait for the shadow following in your exact footsteps to trigger the switch again to move on. The founder and director at Output Games, Tyron van Vuuren had this to say about the unique FMV approach to storytelling: With Echoplex, we were looking for new ways to create a fully-realized world that carries emotional weight – something that only real actors can bring to a story. The game doesn’t come to a halt during cutscenes; instead, Echoplex allows players to get involved in the storytelling process – building their own interpretation of events as they piece things together. And although the cutscenes may look expensive, we had a very tight budget. Kudos to the visual effects team who worked hard to achieve those results. Echoplex is available beginning today for PC. View full article
  22. You're on the run and every move counts. A shadow follows in your exact movements and pausing for too long to figure out a puzzle could prove deadly in the minimalist cat-and-mouse game Echoplex. Awarded Most Innovative Game and Best Art Direction at Lisboa Games Week IndieDome 2017, Echoplex offers players a set of 27 levels that weave their way through an FMV storyline full of mystery, intrigue, and horror. Since that showing last year, Output Games has revamped the user interface, added new puzzle mechanics, and tightened the gameplay. Echoplex puts players into the role of an engineer at the Clonochem Corporation manufacturing the strange and mysterious product Continuum. After calling a phone number he finds on a severed arm, he finds himself trapped in a simulation that continually loops and soon begins to fill with more versions of himself - until one of them begins to chase the original. That chase sits as the fundamental building block of Echoplex. Run over a switch that shuts a door? You might have to wait for the shadow following in your exact footsteps to trigger the switch again to move on. The founder and director at Output Games, Tyron van Vuuren had this to say about the unique FMV approach to storytelling: With Echoplex, we were looking for new ways to create a fully-realized world that carries emotional weight – something that only real actors can bring to a story. The game doesn’t come to a halt during cutscenes; instead, Echoplex allows players to get involved in the storytelling process – building their own interpretation of events as they piece things together. And although the cutscenes may look expensive, we had a very tight budget. Kudos to the visual effects team who worked hard to achieve those results. Echoplex is available beginning today for PC.
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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
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