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Found 8 results

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. You can scour the land for a century or more, but you’ll never find a better place to get your hands on amazing indie games than at PAX. Between the appropriately titled Indie Megabooth and the PAX 10, there are enough titles to choke a large chocobo. These are the most awesome indie games from PAX West 2016. Echo Platforms: PS4, PC Release Date: Q1 2017 Stare long enough into a void of mystery, and it might start looking back at you. Echo tells the story of En, a woman attempting to revive someone through the mysterious powers of a seemingly sentient palace. All goes well enough until the palace, activating its own defenses, begins to create violent and aggressive clones of En. The kicker? The palace only learns as much as you’re willing to teach it. En’s unwanted copies are ultimately a benign obstacle until she’s forced to adapt, opening doors, launching over barriers, and utilizing weapons. The clones slowly but surely adapt to every new maneuver you employ, dramatically increasing the likelihood of detection and death. Employing a sort of rapid “day and night” cycle to indicate when the clones will begin to employ your own tactics, Echo quickly becomes an exercise in risk versus reward and stealth versus desperation. Knowing that your own mistake is about to make things even worse is powerful, and allows players to choose their own play style. The team at developer Ultra Ultra might be commanding their corner of the Indie Megabooth, but the game stands as a technical and visual marvel in its own right, right alongside anything more highly funded. Old Man’s Journey Platform: Android, iOS Release Date: 2017 Fun fact: Roughly a quarter of all gamers are over the age of 50. So yes, you should keep trying to get your old man to play American Truck Simulator, even if it kills you. But if he’s not jonesed about a trip down spreadsheet lane, then perhaps the more serene Old Man’s Journey will be his cup of tea. Old Man’s Journey, developed by studio Broken Rules, captures the lengthy, meditative travels of an old sailor, on a mission of unknown intent, stopping only occasionally to enjoy Austria-inspired scenery. Gentle rolling hills turn into cobblestone roads. An old woman badgers you from her second floor window. A sly cat leads you along the path, and all the while the aura of a small town whispers through the streets. It’s every bit as peaceful as it is artsy, evoking a painterly style that’s both warm and embracing. Thankfully, gameplay seems to maintain a similar level of approachability. On mobile, players bend and layer the environment to line up with the area they want to reach, gently rearranging the landscape. Each segment is capped off with an impeccably illustrated still frame, capturing a moment in time of the protagonist’s storied life: A chance meeting with a girl, a gentle kiss to his pregnant bride at the summer harbor. At an estimated 90 minutes of playtime, you have no excuse not to find time for this game. Dog Sled Saga Platform: PC, Android, iOS Release Date: September 22, 2016 (full game, early access currently available) The onslaught of overly charming 2D “retro” indie games is inescapable. Many retro-inspired games seem to take the framework of a more recognizable era of gaming, but forget to put their own modernized twist on the end product. I don’t know with what else I’d compare Dog Sled Saga, because while its visual style invokes an entirely retro aesthetic (developer Trichotomy Games even rigged their demo to play on an NES controller), its gameplay comes across as both oddly personal and challenging at all times. After making the drastic decision to start a new life in the frozen Alaskan wilderness, the player finds themselves managing a rotating crew of sled dogs, qualifying for tournaments and maintaining their wellbeing over a season. It reads more like the back of a Football Coach Simulator 2016 box than any personal narrative, but each victory and failure along the way is an intensely intimate and earned one. You’ll need to precisely throw rations to your dogs in order to maintain their energy, while also ensuring they don’t injure themselves in tangled sleigh lines or due to lack of rest. The journey becomes just as much yours as it is theirs, and within a tight ten minute window I was already drawing a connection to my loyal steeds. Dog lovers need not miss this. Thimbleweed Park Platform: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Release Date: January 2017 LucasFilm’s 1987 hit Maniac Mansion set the bar for all future point-and-click games, establishing more than just a simple control scheme, but also the very nature of a video game narrative. Gone were the ultra-linear paths and obfuscated motivations for saving a block-shaped princess, replaced with a full cast of characters and player choice. Almost 30 years later, Maniac Mansion co-creators Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, David Fox, and their team are returning to the roots of what makes a great point-and-click narrative with Thimbleweed Park. Sardonic wit, whacky yet engaging characters, and inventive puzzles that play out across the entire cast all come together to craft an engaging mystery. Ignore the obvious parallels to The X-Files. Gilbert and Fox say they didn’t even realize it until the first playtesters made a mention of it. It’s just a good old fashioned murder mystery with clashing FBI agents – until it isn’t and the amateur game programmer/factory heiress and depressed clown show up. Battle Chef Brigade Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux Release Date: 2016 If you have even the slightest interest in the indie scene, you've more than likely heard of Battle Chef Brigade, and for excellent reason. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and three years in development, the cooking action puzzler is shaping up like few other games of its kind. Merging side-scrolling platforming and combat with Bejeweled-esque culinary puzzles, Battlechef Brigade challenges players to whip up the best darn dish in a fantasy world inhabited by your unusual assortment of heroes and devilishly handsome orcs. Wrapping it all up is an art style evocative of famed Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, or the more recent Mamoru Hosoda, but with enough of its own unique flair as to be entirely unique. With a wonderfully colorful cast and cooking competitions that would make Top Chef look like Julia Child, Battlechef Brigade is a dish best served on every gamer's plate. If there's one thing all PAX attendees can agree on, it's that the number of games at PAX is far too vast to play all of them. Make sure to check out the rest at both the Indie Megabooth and PAX 10 web pages and beyond, and to let us know what your favorite game from PAX West was. View full article
  4. Joseph Knoop

    The Best Indie Games of PAX West

    You can scour the land for a century or more, but you’ll never find a better place to get your hands on amazing indie games than at PAX. Between the appropriately titled Indie Megabooth and the PAX 10, there are enough titles to choke a large chocobo. These are the most awesome indie games from PAX West 2016. Echo Platforms: PS4, PC Release Date: Q1 2017 Stare long enough into a void of mystery, and it might start looking back at you. Echo tells the story of En, a woman attempting to revive someone through the mysterious powers of a seemingly sentient palace. All goes well enough until the palace, activating its own defenses, begins to create violent and aggressive clones of En. The kicker? The palace only learns as much as you’re willing to teach it. En’s unwanted copies are ultimately a benign obstacle until she’s forced to adapt, opening doors, launching over barriers, and utilizing weapons. The clones slowly but surely adapt to every new maneuver you employ, dramatically increasing the likelihood of detection and death. Employing a sort of rapid “day and night” cycle to indicate when the clones will begin to employ your own tactics, Echo quickly becomes an exercise in risk versus reward and stealth versus desperation. Knowing that your own mistake is about to make things even worse is powerful, and allows players to choose their own play style. The team at developer Ultra Ultra might be commanding their corner of the Indie Megabooth, but the game stands as a technical and visual marvel in its own right, right alongside anything more highly funded. Old Man’s Journey Platform: Android, iOS Release Date: 2017 Fun fact: Roughly a quarter of all gamers are over the age of 50. So yes, you should keep trying to get your old man to play American Truck Simulator, even if it kills you. But if he’s not jonesed about a trip down spreadsheet lane, then perhaps the more serene Old Man’s Journey will be his cup of tea. Old Man’s Journey, developed by studio Broken Rules, captures the lengthy, meditative travels of an old sailor, on a mission of unknown intent, stopping only occasionally to enjoy Austria-inspired scenery. Gentle rolling hills turn into cobblestone roads. An old woman badgers you from her second floor window. A sly cat leads you along the path, and all the while the aura of a small town whispers through the streets. It’s every bit as peaceful as it is artsy, evoking a painterly style that’s both warm and embracing. Thankfully, gameplay seems to maintain a similar level of approachability. On mobile, players bend and layer the environment to line up with the area they want to reach, gently rearranging the landscape. Each segment is capped off with an impeccably illustrated still frame, capturing a moment in time of the protagonist’s storied life: A chance meeting with a girl, a gentle kiss to his pregnant bride at the summer harbor. At an estimated 90 minutes of playtime, you have no excuse not to find time for this game. Dog Sled Saga Platform: PC, Android, iOS Release Date: September 22, 2016 (full game, early access currently available) The onslaught of overly charming 2D “retro” indie games is inescapable. Many retro-inspired games seem to take the framework of a more recognizable era of gaming, but forget to put their own modernized twist on the end product. I don’t know with what else I’d compare Dog Sled Saga, because while its visual style invokes an entirely retro aesthetic (developer Trichotomy Games even rigged their demo to play on an NES controller), its gameplay comes across as both oddly personal and challenging at all times. After making the drastic decision to start a new life in the frozen Alaskan wilderness, the player finds themselves managing a rotating crew of sled dogs, qualifying for tournaments and maintaining their wellbeing over a season. It reads more like the back of a Football Coach Simulator 2016 box than any personal narrative, but each victory and failure along the way is an intensely intimate and earned one. You’ll need to precisely throw rations to your dogs in order to maintain their energy, while also ensuring they don’t injure themselves in tangled sleigh lines or due to lack of rest. The journey becomes just as much yours as it is theirs, and within a tight ten minute window I was already drawing a connection to my loyal steeds. Dog lovers need not miss this. Thimbleweed Park Platform: PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Release Date: January 2017 LucasFilm’s 1987 hit Maniac Mansion set the bar for all future point-and-click games, establishing more than just a simple control scheme, but also the very nature of a video game narrative. Gone were the ultra-linear paths and obfuscated motivations for saving a block-shaped princess, replaced with a full cast of characters and player choice. Almost 30 years later, Maniac Mansion co-creators Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, David Fox, and their team are returning to the roots of what makes a great point-and-click narrative with Thimbleweed Park. Sardonic wit, whacky yet engaging characters, and inventive puzzles that play out across the entire cast all come together to craft an engaging mystery. Ignore the obvious parallels to The X-Files. Gilbert and Fox say they didn’t even realize it until the first playtesters made a mention of it. It’s just a good old fashioned murder mystery with clashing FBI agents – until it isn’t and the amateur game programmer/factory heiress and depressed clown show up. Battle Chef Brigade Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux Release Date: 2016 If you have even the slightest interest in the indie scene, you've more than likely heard of Battle Chef Brigade, and for excellent reason. After a successful Kickstarter campaign and three years in development, the cooking action puzzler is shaping up like few other games of its kind. Merging side-scrolling platforming and combat with Bejeweled-esque culinary puzzles, Battlechef Brigade challenges players to whip up the best darn dish in a fantasy world inhabited by your unusual assortment of heroes and devilishly handsome orcs. Wrapping it all up is an art style evocative of famed Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, or the more recent Mamoru Hosoda, but with enough of its own unique flair as to be entirely unique. With a wonderfully colorful cast and cooking competitions that would make Top Chef look like Julia Child, Battlechef Brigade is a dish best served on every gamer's plate. If there's one thing all PAX attendees can agree on, it's that the number of games at PAX is far too vast to play all of them. Make sure to check out the rest at both the Indie Megabooth and PAX 10 web pages and beyond, and to let us know what your favorite game from PAX West was.
  5. Jack Gardner

    Jack Gardner’s Top Ten Games of 2014

    That time of year when many of the people who write about video games make their lists of the ten best games released over the past year has swung around once again. Along with that time of year, the bandwagon that I hop onto has arrived. 2014, a year awash in a sea of AAA titles full of explosions, robots, and sci-fi concepts. I should have loved it; a year that seemed to cater to things I typically love in video games. But I didn’t love it. Oh, I certainly liked the robots in Titanfall. I enjoyed Destiny’s gunplay. A Call of Duty with Kevin Spacey came out. Tens of millions of development and advertising dollars were thrown squarely at gamers like me. Despite all of that money and effort, the games that most appealed to me the most were generally the smaller indie titles and AAA the exception rather than the rule. Jack Gardner's Top Ten Games of 2014 10. Nidhogg Oh, Nidhogg. How can anyone find it in themselves to dislike a brutally competitive, 8-bit fencing game where players duel to the death for the honor of being horribly devoured by a flying dragon monster? It takes a bit of time to get accustomed to the learning curve and the controls, but overcoming that difficulty rewards players with a game that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Every bout is a tense exercise in reflexes and snap judgments. It makes for a rollercoaster of an experience that can be enjoyed alone, but is even better with friends. 9. The Banner Saga One of the first games I played this year, The Banner Saga managed to fix itself in my mind as one of my favorite experiences in 2014. Many people had mixed feelings about the gameplay’s pacing, but I’m a sucker for turn-based combat with a heavy narrative bent. The Banner Saga manages to deliver a deep combat system while weaving a tale of humans and hulking Varl working together to survive the impending apocalypse. Players lead groups of soldiers and refugees and are forced to make decisions that often have no clear right or wrong, but each choice might lead to either good fortune or disaster. The journey constantly feels balanced on the edge of a knife, where the consequences for slipping are often the death of family and friends. It works as a great introduction to the grim fantasy world Stoic wants to create and explore in future installments. 8. Legend of Grimrock 2 Imagine my surprise when the second Grimrock adventure left me floored. Sure, I enjoyed the original Legend of Grimrock, but I had gripes with its repetitive halls, monsters, and somewhat unintuitive combat. I just didn’t expect developer Almost Human to absolutely nail the sequel. Almost every problem that I had with the first game was fixed in the second. Exploring the diverse areas of Grimrock really feels like discovering a long lost civilization. Monsters rarely feel overly used and often present a fresh challenge. The combat remains a bit oblique, but the introduction makes for a smoother tutorial. Almost Human has really shown what life there can still be in the older styles of game design. 7. Dragon Age: Inquisition I closed out my review of Inquisition by saying, “Do yourself a favor and play Dragon Age: Inquisition. Any missteps it makes pale in comparison to the enjoyable experience it can offer.” I stand by that statement. It is an amazing adventure through a fantasy world struggling with global, societal, and personal problems. Every nook and cranny begs to be investigated and explored. A completionist could easily spend hundreds of hours in Inquisition before reaching the conclusion. Progressive and entertaining writing embody some of the finest I’ve come across in video games. Several of the characters will be remembered for their originality and for breaking new ground. It is huge, gorgeous, and you can practically feel Bioware’s creative freedom down to the game’s bones. 6. Child of Light One of the high points of 2014 was experiencing Child of Light. It was like hearing one of your favorite fairytales for the very first time. An air of ethereal reality permeates everything from the incredible soundtrack by Coeur de pirate right down to the lightness of environment traversal. The ensemble cast are simple characters, but I mean that in a complimentary way. They are simple in the same way the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion are simple characters in the Wizard of Oz. They might be simple, but they’ve still got personality and they’ll stick in your memory. The baddies are scary and bad and the characters are straightforward, which is exactly what all the design decisions call for in the narrative. All the different parts work together to create something bigger than what almost anyone expected from such a small game. 5. Sunset Overdrive It seems like it has been ages since I’ve seen a game that so fully embraces the concept of play. Everything about Sunset Overdrive is focused on being fun and playful. Moving around its open world feels like an awesome co-opting of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 while the gunplay and the guns themselves were stolen from Ratchet and Clank and then pumped full of cocaine. Sunset Overdrive feels like a continuous explosion set to a punk rock soundtrack (how is that for a pull quote?). It’s breathtaking. The top notch humor had me laugh out loud more than a few times. The story and characters are barely more than functional, but the gameplay refuses to be anything other than a loud, obnoxious, and glorious ride into the sunset that leaves nothing but awesome moments and good vibes in its wake. 4. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter One of the most satisfying things to me as a video game critic is when a developer clearly understands how to tell a story in an interactive medium. From the way they gently lead the player through a world both real and illusory, carefully hiding the confines of their game’s structure, to the final, revelatory gut punch it is clear to me that The Astronauts know their business. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter plays with how we perceive game worlds as both player and protagonist. Many might be quick to dismiss it as “just another walking simulator,” but that would be a mistake. I will say that it’s certainly a slow burn. However, those with patience, curiosity, and a spark of creativity will be able to see the value in Ethan Carter and understand why it placed so highly on my list. 3. Threes! Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that this game seems like a strange pick for the first of my top three games of 2014. For starters, it is a mobile game. There was a trend not too long ago where many gamers decided that mobile games were somehow “lesser” games because… phones? Or because they tended to be easier and presented a lower barrier to entry than, say, Gears of War or Super Mario Galaxy. The fact is that mobile games can be as deep and engaging as video games of the stationary variety. Threes proves that fact beyond any doubt. The concept is simple: Make the number three and then match similar numbers together on a sliding grid. What initially seems simple becomes more and more complicated as larger numbers are reached. I think the simplest way to convey the idea is to say that Threes is like someone mixed Tetris with a Sudoku puzzle. I’ve lost many hours to Threes and I’m likely to lose more. Its simplicity is ingenious. Threes is absolutely perfect for what it is and what it tries to do. 2. The Walking Dead: Season Two While I found the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead to be one heck of a narrative ride, I don’t think I really clicked with it until their second season. The second season focuses on a young girl struggling to grow up in a world overrun with zombies and collapsing social structures. Characters enter and exit the story, sometimes in a heart-achingly abrupt fashion. Almost everyone manage to make an impression, and by the time the final episode rolls around, both the young girl and the player have seen some really bad things go down. Then an awful, awful choice is presented to the player; a choice that pulls no punches. With only a handful of seconds in which we can make our choice, loyalties, affection, everything that has been built over the course of five or six hours is put to the test. It’s an agonizing moment, but the dramatic payoff of the time spent in this game world is an amazing achievement. Even remembering that choice makes me tense up all over. Regardless of what the player decides, each of the endings is an amazing conclusion for the storyline that began in Season One. Just writing about Telltale’s narrative prowess make me want to play The Walking Dead: Season Two again. 1. Transistor One of the finest soundtracks of the year created by Darren Korb. Incredibly beautiful art direction by Jen Zee. Fantastic design and writing by Greg Kasavin. Transistor has all of this and more. It is a true masterpiece of video game design and artistry. It takes a certain kind of boldness to release a game that is completely and unabashedly itself. Transistor doesn’t fear being misunderstood or that it might be found confusing. It jut is what it is and leaves players on their own to try and piece the story together. Experimenting with the ever growing number of abilities, playing the game, unlocks pieces of the narrative that inform character motivations and tell us about Cloudbank, the world in which they all live. It is a world that shares many similarities with our own world, a place where technology is beginning to infuse every aspect of daily life. Its silent protagonist exists not for convention’s sake, but to make a larger point when paired with the Transistor, a voice without a body. That speechlessness deepens the mystery. Why does she do what she does? I’m a big proponent of having a reason behind ever design decision in a game. There should be a reason characters act a certain way; there should be a reason that the aesthetic looks this way; there should be a reason that the narrative turn comes at the beginning rather than the end. Transistor has meaning. It has weight. It is an astoundingly beautiful accomplishment. What about you? What were your top games of 2014? Let us know in the comments!
  6. That time of year when many of the people who write about video games make their lists of the ten best games released over the past year has swung around once again. Along with that time of year, the bandwagon that I hop onto has arrived. 2014, a year awash in a sea of AAA titles full of explosions, robots, and sci-fi concepts. I should have loved it; a year that seemed to cater to things I typically love in video games. But I didn’t love it. Oh, I certainly liked the robots in Titanfall. I enjoyed Destiny’s gunplay. A Call of Duty with Kevin Spacey came out. Tens of millions of development and advertising dollars were thrown squarely at gamers like me. Despite all of that money and effort, the games that most appealed to me the most were generally the smaller indie titles and AAA the exception rather than the rule. Jack Gardner's Top Ten Games of 2014 10. Nidhogg Oh, Nidhogg. How can anyone find it in themselves to dislike a brutally competitive, 8-bit fencing game where players duel to the death for the honor of being horribly devoured by a flying dragon monster? It takes a bit of time to get accustomed to the learning curve and the controls, but overcoming that difficulty rewards players with a game that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Every bout is a tense exercise in reflexes and snap judgments. It makes for a rollercoaster of an experience that can be enjoyed alone, but is even better with friends. 9. The Banner Saga One of the first games I played this year, The Banner Saga managed to fix itself in my mind as one of my favorite experiences in 2014. Many people had mixed feelings about the gameplay’s pacing, but I’m a sucker for turn-based combat with a heavy narrative bent. The Banner Saga manages to deliver a deep combat system while weaving a tale of humans and hulking Varl working together to survive the impending apocalypse. Players lead groups of soldiers and refugees and are forced to make decisions that often have no clear right or wrong, but each choice might lead to either good fortune or disaster. The journey constantly feels balanced on the edge of a knife, where the consequences for slipping are often the death of family and friends. It works as a great introduction to the grim fantasy world Stoic wants to create and explore in future installments. 8. Legend of Grimrock 2 Imagine my surprise when the second Grimrock adventure left me floored. Sure, I enjoyed the original Legend of Grimrock, but I had gripes with its repetitive halls, monsters, and somewhat unintuitive combat. I just didn’t expect developer Almost Human to absolutely nail the sequel. Almost every problem that I had with the first game was fixed in the second. Exploring the diverse areas of Grimrock really feels like discovering a long lost civilization. Monsters rarely feel overly used and often present a fresh challenge. The combat remains a bit oblique, but the introduction makes for a smoother tutorial. Almost Human has really shown what life there can still be in the older styles of game design. 7. Dragon Age: Inquisition I closed out my review of Inquisition by saying, “Do yourself a favor and play Dragon Age: Inquisition. Any missteps it makes pale in comparison to the enjoyable experience it can offer.” I stand by that statement. It is an amazing adventure through a fantasy world struggling with global, societal, and personal problems. Every nook and cranny begs to be investigated and explored. A completionist could easily spend hundreds of hours in Inquisition before reaching the conclusion. Progressive and entertaining writing embody some of the finest I’ve come across in video games. Several of the characters will be remembered for their originality and for breaking new ground. It is huge, gorgeous, and you can practically feel Bioware’s creative freedom down to the game’s bones. 6. Child of Light One of the high points of 2014 was experiencing Child of Light. It was like hearing one of your favorite fairytales for the very first time. An air of ethereal reality permeates everything from the incredible soundtrack by Coeur de pirate right down to the lightness of environment traversal. The ensemble cast are simple characters, but I mean that in a complimentary way. They are simple in the same way the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion are simple characters in the Wizard of Oz. They might be simple, but they’ve still got personality and they’ll stick in your memory. The baddies are scary and bad and the characters are straightforward, which is exactly what all the design decisions call for in the narrative. All the different parts work together to create something bigger than what almost anyone expected from such a small game. 5. Sunset Overdrive It seems like it has been ages since I’ve seen a game that so fully embraces the concept of play. Everything about Sunset Overdrive is focused on being fun and playful. Moving around its open world feels like an awesome co-opting of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 while the gunplay and the guns themselves were stolen from Ratchet and Clank and then pumped full of cocaine. Sunset Overdrive feels like a continuous explosion set to a punk rock soundtrack (how is that for a pull quote?). It’s breathtaking. The top notch humor had me laugh out loud more than a few times. The story and characters are barely more than functional, but the gameplay refuses to be anything other than a loud, obnoxious, and glorious ride into the sunset that leaves nothing but awesome moments and good vibes in its wake. 4. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter One of the most satisfying things to me as a video game critic is when a developer clearly understands how to tell a story in an interactive medium. From the way they gently lead the player through a world both real and illusory, carefully hiding the confines of their game’s structure, to the final, revelatory gut punch it is clear to me that The Astronauts know their business. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter plays with how we perceive game worlds as both player and protagonist. Many might be quick to dismiss it as “just another walking simulator,” but that would be a mistake. I will say that it’s certainly a slow burn. However, those with patience, curiosity, and a spark of creativity will be able to see the value in Ethan Carter and understand why it placed so highly on my list. 3. Threes! Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that this game seems like a strange pick for the first of my top three games of 2014. For starters, it is a mobile game. There was a trend not too long ago where many gamers decided that mobile games were somehow “lesser” games because… phones? Or because they tended to be easier and presented a lower barrier to entry than, say, Gears of War or Super Mario Galaxy. The fact is that mobile games can be as deep and engaging as video games of the stationary variety. Threes proves that fact beyond any doubt. The concept is simple: Make the number three and then match similar numbers together on a sliding grid. What initially seems simple becomes more and more complicated as larger numbers are reached. I think the simplest way to convey the idea is to say that Threes is like someone mixed Tetris with a Sudoku puzzle. I’ve lost many hours to Threes and I’m likely to lose more. Its simplicity is ingenious. Threes is absolutely perfect for what it is and what it tries to do. 2. The Walking Dead: Season Two While I found the first season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead to be one heck of a narrative ride, I don’t think I really clicked with it until their second season. The second season focuses on a young girl struggling to grow up in a world overrun with zombies and collapsing social structures. Characters enter and exit the story, sometimes in a heart-achingly abrupt fashion. Almost everyone manage to make an impression, and by the time the final episode rolls around, both the young girl and the player have seen some really bad things go down. Then an awful, awful choice is presented to the player; a choice that pulls no punches. With only a handful of seconds in which we can make our choice, loyalties, affection, everything that has been built over the course of five or six hours is put to the test. It’s an agonizing moment, but the dramatic payoff of the time spent in this game world is an amazing achievement. Even remembering that choice makes me tense up all over. Regardless of what the player decides, each of the endings is an amazing conclusion for the storyline that began in Season One. Just writing about Telltale’s narrative prowess make me want to play The Walking Dead: Season Two again. 1. Transistor One of the finest soundtracks of the year created by Darren Korb. Incredibly beautiful art direction by Jen Zee. Fantastic design and writing by Greg Kasavin. Transistor has all of this and more. It is a true masterpiece of video game design and artistry. It takes a certain kind of boldness to release a game that is completely and unabashedly itself. Transistor doesn’t fear being misunderstood or that it might be found confusing. It jut is what it is and leaves players on their own to try and piece the story together. Experimenting with the ever growing number of abilities, playing the game, unlocks pieces of the narrative that inform character motivations and tell us about Cloudbank, the world in which they all live. It is a world that shares many similarities with our own world, a place where technology is beginning to infuse every aspect of daily life. Its silent protagonist exists not for convention’s sake, but to make a larger point when paired with the Transistor, a voice without a body. That speechlessness deepens the mystery. Why does she do what she does? I’m a big proponent of having a reason behind ever design decision in a game. There should be a reason characters act a certain way; there should be a reason that the aesthetic looks this way; there should be a reason that the narrative turn comes at the beginning rather than the end. Transistor has meaning. It has weight. It is an astoundingly beautiful accomplishment. What about you? What were your top games of 2014? Let us know in the comments! View full article
  7. Jack Gardner

    10 Kickstarter Games Worth Your Time

    Every now and then I go through the numerous gaming Kickstarters to see if there are any interesting projects worth talking about. It turns out that there are a fair number of intriguing projects looking for public funding at the moment and I thought I'd share a bunch that might be worth your attention. Age of Grit For those of you who have never played Skies of Arcadia, it was a fantastic RPG that dealt with sky pirates and while most of the battles took place between the main characters and various enemies on foot, it also featured exciting battles between airships. Age of Grit seems to be trying to tap into that same veing of airship-on-airship combat. Players take on the role of a airship captain in an alternate reality where the world is a cross between the Wild West and the most imaginative of steampunk fantasies. Gameplay revolves around managing the amount of steam required to operate the various systems and weapons equipped to the player's airship. The story centers on the struggles of the crew of said airship trying to keep it flying for as long as possible through honest (and sometimes not-so-honest) means. It reminds me a lot of Firefly, one of my favorite television shows. With 8 days left in its campaign and less than $200 away from its $12,000 goal, it is very likely to hit its base funding target. Band Saga Billed as a musical action Rogue-like, Band Saga follows the adventures of two friends who set out to become superstars, but are quickly wrapped up in an intergalactic struggle for their very lives. As players progress through the game, each new city performed in will create a new level for players to blast their way through and each level completed will unlock a new musician for the band. Every playthrough will have a randomly generated soundtrack that will be available for download within the game. The official soundtrack has already been released for streaming and download. The soundtrack also includes a 22 page comic detailing the events leading up to the game illustrated by Gina Chacón. <a href="http://rekcahdam.bandcamp.com/album/band-saga-lp" data-mce-href="http://rekcahdam.bandcamp.com/album/band-saga-lp">Band Saga LP by Rekcahdam</a> The project has 14 days remaining and around $19,000 until it reaches its minimum fundraising goal. Broken World Set several generations after large-scale nuclear war, Broken World is a tabletop RPG that aims to tackle the end of the world with a bit more levity than most other games. According to James Claus-Nesbitt, the game's creator, "there should always be a silver lining of humor, no matter how bleak a situation may seem." Broken World places an emphasis on freeform creative problem solving rather traditionally rule heavy turn-based combat. With numerous player classes, mutations, and irradiated horrors/wonders awaiting in the wastelands of the apocalypse, Broken World certainly has my attention. Also, Claus-Nesbitt is a professional illustrator and that means the rule book will contain numerous pieces of artwork to lend the game world a bit of extra flavor. With 15 days left in its campaign, Broken World has already exceeded its $3,000 initial goal and has begun to take on stretch goals. Currently enough money has been raised for additional illustrations for the Drifter's animal companions, an fully illustrated chapter of boss creatures, an editable .pdf version of character sheets to facilitate online/digital play, over 200 more mutation moves on top of the 100 previous skills, triple the amount of items with more illustrations, and a bunch more extra stuff. The next funding tier will add several pre-made adventuress to ease beginners into the game's system. Extrasolar: Season 2 The first season of Extrasolar is available for free if you want a better idea of what the second season has in store. However, as you might guess, a free game doesn't really cover development costs for additional seasons, so the team turned to Kickstarter to help them realize their dream. Extrasolar is a game about uncovering mysteries and conspiracies while controlling a robotic rover that has arrived on an alien planet. The rover can take pictures that players can then mark for analysis. The messages and information players receive serve to draw them deeper into the mysteries surrounding the planet of Epsilon Prime. Extrasolar can be played from any browser enabled device, meaning players can access it on their phones, tablets, or computers. The team behind Extrasolar, Lazy 8 Studios, might be recognized from their indie hit Cogs or from their big budget tie-in BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution. Perhaps the neatest thing about Extrasolar is that it is built to be a close to scientifically accurate as possible. The team even collaborates with scientists. For example, biologist Jane Van Susteren worked with the team to present the scientific elements of their game to as close to reality as possible. Extrasolar has 21 days left in its campaign and is a little under $70,000 away from meeting its targeted funding goal. Flagship Combining a first-person perspective with large scale, real-time strategy combat, Flagship puts players in command of an admiral aboard the flagship of a fleet of spaceships. Players will need to be able to manage their fleet, colonize worlds, provide for their people, and expand their influence throughout the galaxy. Flagship explores a bleak future where humanity has been driven from Earth and entirely exists aboard their space faring-vessels. Space holds many different planets, nebulae, stars, and black holes to investigate and colonize, as well as hostile alien races seeking to annihilate humanity. Capturing planets, researching new technologies, and using experience to level up your ships will be key to surviving. Also, Oculus Rift support has been included from the ground up. Even though the footage of Flagship is pre-alpha and clearly has a long way to go before it is finished, it already looks pretty great and the concept is definitely intriguing. Flagship has 28 days left before its Kickstarter comes to a close. It seems to have a long way to go before it meets its funding goal as well, with roughly £11,600 of its £95,000 goal raised so far (that's roughly $19,000 of their $155,000 goal). Judged The concept of Judged is pretty simple: Players take on the role of a trial-lawyer who has recently become a judge and desires to be appointed to the State Supreme Court Justice. Players are then tasked with discerning the truth in the cases that are presented to them and delivering verdicts that won't be overturned down the line. An overturned ruling will hurt the judge's chances at realizing their dream of becoming a State Supreme Court Justice. In a pleasant change of pace, the game itself seems to be finished already and the Kickstarter is merely to cover the costs of bringing in pixel artists to redo the placeholder artwork, cover Kickstarter fees, and hiring a programmer to port the game to mobile platforms. With 16 days remaining, Judged has already exceeded its modest $2,000 funding goal and first stretch goal, which will allow players to customize their judge. The next stretch goal will introduce Jury Trials into the mix. Moon Hunters "How will you be remembered?" asks the team at Kitfox Games in the opening moments of Moon Hunter's Kickstarter promo. Moon Hunters is about building your character's mythology with every decision determining how your character will be remembered by their tribe. Players take on the role of an adventurer trying to solve the mystery of the missing moon in an ancient world full of gods, magic, and monsters. Players can adventure through the world solo or with up to three friends. Moon Hunters will require multiple playthroughs to fully discover the mysteries that surround the missing moon. While normally this would mean starting from scratch each time the game begins, Moon Hunters keeps players previous playthroughs alive by carrying on the myths generated by previous characters. It's a cool concept. Furthermore, it is a cool concept backed by fantastic in-game artwork. To better understand how Moon Hunters will function, you can check out Dungeons of Fayte, a free local co-op action RPG with town-management elements. Similar gameplay and design has been used in Moon Hunters. Moon Hunters has already raised nearly three times its funding goal and has gone on to meet eight stretch goals that have added new in-game factions, characters, a cooking system, online multiplayer, and a PlayStation 4 version. The next stretch goal is to port the single player to the PlayStation Vita. With 8 days left for the Kickstarter, the Vita version is likely to become a reality. Noct If wandering a grim, future version of Earth that has been covered in darkness and monsters sounds like fun to you, Noct might be right up your alley. Noct is a top-down multiplayer survival horror shooter with some light RPG elements and permadeath. Dying in Noct means you begin from the beginning. As you explore the wastes, random world events will pop up that can either be beneficial, like a weapons cache, or detrimental, like a gargantuan Eldritch horror. The entire game is viewed as if from a thermal imaging satellite, which lends Noct its signature black and white aesthetic. The project has met its goal with 7 days to go in its campaign. Pathologic Pathologic isn't actually a new game. It is a remake of Ice-Pick Lodge's first game from back in 2005 which, while it garnered no small degree of acclaim, was unfortunately only available in Russian. The team has since decided to revisit that earlier title and make it available to a wider audience in English while applying their experience from the last nine years in game design to improve their original work. In Pathologic, players are trapped in a town that is in the process of being infected by a mysterious plague of unknown origins. The disease is highly infectious and deadly, crippling victims both physically and mentally. As one of three doctors, players have twelve days to explore the town, divine its history and the relationships of its denizens, and defeat the plague. One of the core aspects of Pathologic is that players will never be able to save everybody. There simply isn't enough time to save every person from the plague and time quickly becomes the most valuable resource available. While trying to save the villagers, it is also important to take your character's susceptibility to the plague into account. Is it worth saving a life if the doctor, who could save others, is also put in jeopardy? With 19 days remaining in its Kickstarter and $210,000 out of its $250,000 goal raised it seems likely that the project will be fully funded. Phoenix Dawn In Phoenix Dawn, players take on the role of a young sorceress named Phoenix in an RPG adventure. The low poly artistic style of Phoenix Dawn contributes to its truly breathtaking paper mache aesthetic. The gameplay relies on mastering fifteen different spells and combining them in unique and interesting ways to obtain more powerful spells. these powerful spells are important to understand as they will be indispensable in battle against the forces of the White Witch and the and demon, Lazarus. Every dungeon found throughout Phoenix Dawn will be randomized for a unique experience every time it is played. Using tools like Metal, Test Flight, and Unity 5, Phoenix Dawn will be playable on iOS devices as well as PC and Mac computers. Phoenix Dawn has raised $17,640 our of its $33,000 goal and has 11 days remaining. That leaves it in a bit of a precarious position regarding its prospects of achieving full funding, However, it is still worth checking out, since its creator, Eric Trowbridge, claims that he will make the game even if it isn't funded by Kickstarter; it will just take him a longer time to do so. What do you think of the Kickstarters that are going on right now? Any others that you think deserve some attention? Let us know in the comments!
  8. Every now and then I go through the numerous gaming Kickstarters to see if there are any interesting projects worth talking about. It turns out that there are a fair number of intriguing projects looking for public funding at the moment and I thought I'd share a bunch that might be worth your attention. Age of Grit For those of you who have never played Skies of Arcadia, it was a fantastic RPG that dealt with sky pirates and while most of the battles took place between the main characters and various enemies on foot, it also featured exciting battles between airships. Age of Grit seems to be trying to tap into that same veing of airship-on-airship combat. Players take on the role of a airship captain in an alternate reality where the world is a cross between the Wild West and the most imaginative of steampunk fantasies. Gameplay revolves around managing the amount of steam required to operate the various systems and weapons equipped to the player's airship. The story centers on the struggles of the crew of said airship trying to keep it flying for as long as possible through honest (and sometimes not-so-honest) means. It reminds me a lot of Firefly, one of my favorite television shows. With 8 days left in its campaign and less than $200 away from its $12,000 goal, it is very likely to hit its base funding target. Band Saga Billed as a musical action Rogue-like, Band Saga follows the adventures of two friends who set out to become superstars, but are quickly wrapped up in an intergalactic struggle for their very lives. As players progress through the game, each new city performed in will create a new level for players to blast their way through and each level completed will unlock a new musician for the band. Every playthrough will have a randomly generated soundtrack that will be available for download within the game. The official soundtrack has already been released for streaming and download. The soundtrack also includes a 22 page comic detailing the events leading up to the game illustrated by Gina Chacón. <a href="http://rekcahdam.bandcamp.com/album/band-saga-lp" data-mce-href="http://rekcahdam.bandcamp.com/album/band-saga-lp">Band Saga LP by Rekcahdam</a> The project has 14 days remaining and around $19,000 until it reaches its minimum fundraising goal. Broken World Set several generations after large-scale nuclear war, Broken World is a tabletop RPG that aims to tackle the end of the world with a bit more levity than most other games. According to James Claus-Nesbitt, the game's creator, "there should always be a silver lining of humor, no matter how bleak a situation may seem." Broken World places an emphasis on freeform creative problem solving rather traditionally rule heavy turn-based combat. With numerous player classes, mutations, and irradiated horrors/wonders awaiting in the wastelands of the apocalypse, Broken World certainly has my attention. Also, Claus-Nesbitt is a professional illustrator and that means the rule book will contain numerous pieces of artwork to lend the game world a bit of extra flavor. With 15 days left in its campaign, Broken World has already exceeded its $3,000 initial goal and has begun to take on stretch goals. Currently enough money has been raised for additional illustrations for the Drifter's animal companions, an fully illustrated chapter of boss creatures, an editable .pdf version of character sheets to facilitate online/digital play, over 200 more mutation moves on top of the 100 previous skills, triple the amount of items with more illustrations, and a bunch more extra stuff. The next funding tier will add several pre-made adventuress to ease beginners into the game's system. Extrasolar: Season 2 The first season of Extrasolar is available for free if you want a better idea of what the second season has in store. However, as you might guess, a free game doesn't really cover development costs for additional seasons, so the team turned to Kickstarter to help them realize their dream. Extrasolar is a game about uncovering mysteries and conspiracies while controlling a robotic rover that has arrived on an alien planet. The rover can take pictures that players can then mark for analysis. The messages and information players receive serve to draw them deeper into the mysteries surrounding the planet of Epsilon Prime. Extrasolar can be played from any browser enabled device, meaning players can access it on their phones, tablets, or computers. The team behind Extrasolar, Lazy 8 Studios, might be recognized from their indie hit Cogs or from their big budget tie-in BioShock Infinite: Industrial Revolution. Perhaps the neatest thing about Extrasolar is that it is built to be a close to scientifically accurate as possible. The team even collaborates with scientists. For example, biologist Jane Van Susteren worked with the team to present the scientific elements of their game to as close to reality as possible. Extrasolar has 21 days left in its campaign and is a little under $70,000 away from meeting its targeted funding goal. Flagship Combining a first-person perspective with large scale, real-time strategy combat, Flagship puts players in command of an admiral aboard the flagship of a fleet of spaceships. Players will need to be able to manage their fleet, colonize worlds, provide for their people, and expand their influence throughout the galaxy. Flagship explores a bleak future where humanity has been driven from Earth and entirely exists aboard their space faring-vessels. Space holds many different planets, nebulae, stars, and black holes to investigate and colonize, as well as hostile alien races seeking to annihilate humanity. Capturing planets, researching new technologies, and using experience to level up your ships will be key to surviving. Also, Oculus Rift support has been included from the ground up. Even though the footage of Flagship is pre-alpha and clearly has a long way to go before it is finished, it already looks pretty great and the concept is definitely intriguing. Flagship has 28 days left before its Kickstarter comes to a close. It seems to have a long way to go before it meets its funding goal as well, with roughly £11,600 of its £95,000 goal raised so far (that's roughly $19,000 of their $155,000 goal). Judged The concept of Judged is pretty simple: Players take on the role of a trial-lawyer who has recently become a judge and desires to be appointed to the State Supreme Court Justice. Players are then tasked with discerning the truth in the cases that are presented to them and delivering verdicts that won't be overturned down the line. An overturned ruling will hurt the judge's chances at realizing their dream of becoming a State Supreme Court Justice. In a pleasant change of pace, the game itself seems to be finished already and the Kickstarter is merely to cover the costs of bringing in pixel artists to redo the placeholder artwork, cover Kickstarter fees, and hiring a programmer to port the game to mobile platforms. With 16 days remaining, Judged has already exceeded its modest $2,000 funding goal and first stretch goal, which will allow players to customize their judge. The next stretch goal will introduce Jury Trials into the mix. Moon Hunters "How will you be remembered?" asks the team at Kitfox Games in the opening moments of Moon Hunter's Kickstarter promo. Moon Hunters is about building your character's mythology with every decision determining how your character will be remembered by their tribe. Players take on the role of an adventurer trying to solve the mystery of the missing moon in an ancient world full of gods, magic, and monsters. Players can adventure through the world solo or with up to three friends. Moon Hunters will require multiple playthroughs to fully discover the mysteries that surround the missing moon. While normally this would mean starting from scratch each time the game begins, Moon Hunters keeps players previous playthroughs alive by carrying on the myths generated by previous characters. It's a cool concept. Furthermore, it is a cool concept backed by fantastic in-game artwork. To better understand how Moon Hunters will function, you can check out Dungeons of Fayte, a free local co-op action RPG with town-management elements. Similar gameplay and design has been used in Moon Hunters. Moon Hunters has already raised nearly three times its funding goal and has gone on to meet eight stretch goals that have added new in-game factions, characters, a cooking system, online multiplayer, and a PlayStation 4 version. The next stretch goal is to port the single player to the PlayStation Vita. With 8 days left for the Kickstarter, the Vita version is likely to become a reality. Noct If wandering a grim, future version of Earth that has been covered in darkness and monsters sounds like fun to you, Noct might be right up your alley. Noct is a top-down multiplayer survival horror shooter with some light RPG elements and permadeath. Dying in Noct means you begin from the beginning. As you explore the wastes, random world events will pop up that can either be beneficial, like a weapons cache, or detrimental, like a gargantuan Eldritch horror. The entire game is viewed as if from a thermal imaging satellite, which lends Noct its signature black and white aesthetic. The project has met its goal with 7 days to go in its campaign. Pathologic Pathologic isn't actually a new game. It is a remake of Ice-Pick Lodge's first game from back in 2005 which, while it garnered no small degree of acclaim, was unfortunately only available in Russian. The team has since decided to revisit that earlier title and make it available to a wider audience in English while applying their experience from the last nine years in game design to improve their original work. In Pathologic, players are trapped in a town that is in the process of being infected by a mysterious plague of unknown origins. The disease is highly infectious and deadly, crippling victims both physically and mentally. As one of three doctors, players have twelve days to explore the town, divine its history and the relationships of its denizens, and defeat the plague. One of the core aspects of Pathologic is that players will never be able to save everybody. There simply isn't enough time to save every person from the plague and time quickly becomes the most valuable resource available. While trying to save the villagers, it is also important to take your character's susceptibility to the plague into account. Is it worth saving a life if the doctor, who could save others, is also put in jeopardy? With 19 days remaining in its Kickstarter and $210,000 out of its $250,000 goal raised it seems likely that the project will be fully funded. Phoenix Dawn In Phoenix Dawn, players take on the role of a young sorceress named Phoenix in an RPG adventure. The low poly artistic style of Phoenix Dawn contributes to its truly breathtaking paper mache aesthetic. The gameplay relies on mastering fifteen different spells and combining them in unique and interesting ways to obtain more powerful spells. these powerful spells are important to understand as they will be indispensable in battle against the forces of the White Witch and the and demon, Lazarus. Every dungeon found throughout Phoenix Dawn will be randomized for a unique experience every time it is played. Using tools like Metal, Test Flight, and Unity 5, Phoenix Dawn will be playable on iOS devices as well as PC and Mac computers. Phoenix Dawn has raised $17,640 our of its $33,000 goal and has 11 days remaining. That leaves it in a bit of a precarious position regarding its prospects of achieving full funding, However, it is still worth checking out, since its creator, Eric Trowbridge, claims that he will make the game even if it isn't funded by Kickstarter; it will just take him a longer time to do so. What do you think of the Kickstarters that are going on right now? Any others that you think deserve some attention? Let us know in the comments! View full article
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