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  2. Jason Clement

    Review: A Knight's Quest

    Developer: Sky 9 Games Publisher: Curve Digital Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (via Epic Games Store) Release Date: October 10, 2019 ESRB: T for Teen Note: This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game It’s always a bit surprising to me that we don’t see more games use 3D Zelda titles as a base, given the series’ immense popularity. Sky 9 Games' A Knight’s Quest is one of the first indie titles I’ve seen recently that attempts this and actually gets much closer to replicating the experience (especially the adventure aspect) than most other games have. Unfortunately, there are also a number of aspects that hinder it from living up to its potential. In A Knight’s Quest, you play as Rusty – a clumsy adventurer who unwittingly unleashes an unknown, presumably malevolent force that has been sealed away. In order to fight this evil, Rusty is tasked with seeking out four spirit heroes and their powers, which in turn means going on a journey to find each one in their own dungeon. The story isn’t necessarily the most original ever, but it works for setting the game in motion. Likewise, the dialogue often aims for funny and nonsensical, but is hit and miss. This is mostly due to just about every character being written with a combination of snarky/sarcastic wit and internet meme culture; kind of like that awkward friend who tries to be funny by repeating outdated internet memes and jokes. In the end, the character dialogue comes off as more of a first draft and could use a bit more refinement. The game takes a good half hour to really get going, but once it does, its world shows off impressive potential. Though it isn’t the open-ended, interconnected wilderness featured in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it’s apparent the developers took a lot of inspiration from it. There are many large, detailed areas for you to explore with treasure chests and other loot off the beaten path, skeletons at campfires, different enemies littering the landscape, and sidequests you can undertake from certain characters you come across in your travels. In fact, the design of the world and its various areas is perhaps the most impressive and compelling aspect of the game. Not only is it appealing from a visual standpoint, many of the areas are massive in size and can take 20+ minutes or more to traverse for first-time players, adding to the feeling that you’re on a long journey. There is also an oddly satisfying ‘Zelda meets Mario’ aspect to the gameplay, where it incorporates a lot of 3D platforming and vertical exploration in certain areas, giving the game a bit more of a unique flavor in contrast to typical adventure games. Likewise, the soundtrack composed by Will Bedford is excellent and evokes a real sense of adventure and wonder. The overworld theme has a heroic melody reminiscent of the Hyrule Field theme from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and the Desert Proving Grounds theme is a real symphonic highlight, featuring an eclectic mix of strings, horns, flutes, and different kinds of unique percussion (such as bells). Unfortunately, that’s just about where the games’ good qualities stop. While the world is expansive and looks great, the actual characters look rather bland and mediocre. The enemy design is much more miss than hit, consisting of such things as generic, one-eyed snake creatures, generic skeletons with swords, scorpions, and other creatures that just aren’t that original or interesting. Making matters even worse is that they all use the same two or three sound effects, making them even more irritating. Perhaps the biggest issue of all is the combat and controls. For the most part, combat works just enough that you can get through the game, but it’s uneven and loose at best. Where it gets a bit dicey is when you face multiple enemies at once. There’s at least one major instance in the story where you’ll be faced with this scenario; however, you’ll realize that the battle system is largely designed around you fighting one enemy at a time. So while you’re attacking one, the rest are still doing (sometimes major) damage to you, and it’s impossible to dodge every attack. There are certain items (such as bombs) designed to attack large groups, but they’re not terribly effective, and the few multi-enemy attacks you have are not super viable because of how long they take to perform (you must wait and charge a few seconds before unleashing them). The flow of battle also simply isn’t fast enough for you to fight large groups of enemies evenly, leading Rusty to slowly fight one enemy and clumsily move to the next. Beyond that, a number of standard quality of life features that are generally present in games like this are either simply missing in this one, or not implemented as effectively as they should be. One major issue is there are no maps of each area beyond a simple, illustrated overworld map in your sub-menu. There’s a compass at the top of the screen that will show you which direction your objective is in, but it’s not 100% foolproof and can sometimes misguide you. Also, fast travel is something that’s implemented fairly early on in many games, yet you don’t even get access to it in the first half of this game even though you pass by many fast-travel stations (that you can't yet access) in your travels, forcing you to sometimes retrace your steps through long, winding areas. There’s also no way to sell off any loot you acquire early on, as well as no meaningful way to buy items (especially health-recovering ones) until the second major area you get to. This leads to another issue in that you simply don’t have enough inventory storage slots in the beginning, and thus no way to store some of the more valuable items you come across when you run out of room. And last but not least, there were a number of clipping issues I faced. In one area, my character simply stopped responding to any control input and I had to restart the game entirely to continue, and in yet other areas I would clip through the wall or floor and die instantly. Despite the negatives, I still had fun throughout the game, and there’s a lot to admire about A Knight’s Quest. Its world is one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen created by an indie team. The soundtrack is also exceptional and could easily be mistaken for a AAA title's score. Even much of the gameplay (especially dungeons) and main quest itself is pretty fun and compelling. There’s arguably a good game beneath a rough exterior here; if the game had another half a year or more of polish, I might’ve been able to call this a pretty good game. As it currently is, the negative aspects drag a good experience down to just a decent one at best. Pros + Large, impressive world with lots of sidequests and ripe for exploration + Soundtrack is great + Dungeons are surprisingly fun and capture a bit of the Zelda magic Cons - Issues with the fluidity of combat; fighting large groups is incredibly difficult and not really fair for players - Lack of standard quality of life features (especially early on) that would make the game much better and a lot more pleasant to play - Character and enemy models are a bit bland in design - Infrequent clipping issues at various points Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent An impressive world (both visually and in design) and epic musical score are undermined by a number of issues plaguing gameplay as well as a lack of standard quality of life features, causing this Zelda-like title to be just a decent adventure at best for those brave enough to overcome its problems. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Switch code provided by the publisher.
  3. If you thought you were done with Wargroove after playing through its campaign, think again. Chucklefish announced today that its upcoming DLC, titled Wargroove: Double Trouble, is coming soon and will bring a heap of new features along with it, including a new campaign, all for the low, low price of absolutely free. The new story campaign focuses on the Outlaws faction and introduces new commanders such as the mighty Wulfar; two troublesome twins known as Errol and Orla; and the whip-wielding Vesper -- all of whom will participate in a heist after an unexpected kidnapping and some severe ransom demands. Other things in the new DLC include: 2 new units: Thieves and Riflemen New Arcade missions Competitive online Quick Play maps Public and Private Multiplayer Lobbies – you can now also play custom campaigns online! New Volcano map theme and more updates to the custom Editor tools Outlaw music tracks, composed by Phonetic Hero Editor tool updates Check out Wargroove's website to see updates on the latest balance changes and what the editor tool updates entail. Last but not least, Wargroove: Deluxe Edition (for Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One) will be heading physically to stores on October 29. It will include a physical disc/cart of the game, a downloadable copy of the OST, a commander sprite sticker sheet, a poster map of Aurania (Outlaw version), a mini strategy guide with tips and stats on all in-game units, and a reversible cover sheet. As for the Wargroove: Double Trouble DLC, no release date has been announced yet but Chucklefish says it will be coming soon. Source: Chucklefish
  4. Dragon Quest fans are about to get another dose of the franchise soon as Square Enix announced today that the first three Dragon Quest titles will be making its way to Nintendo Switch later this month. These include Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest II: Luminaries of the Legendary Line, and Dragon Quest III: The Seeds of Salvation -- all three of which make up what is known as the Erdrick Trilogy. Dragon Quest III in particular is largely considered to be one of the best in the series, so be sure to put that one on your radar if you haven't played any of these previously. The three Dragon Quest titles will cost $4.99, $6.49, and $12.49, respectively, and will be available to buy digitally on Nintendo Switch on September 27. Not coincidentally, Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age also releases that day; it's a good time to be a Dragon Quest fan! Source: Press Release
  5. Jason Clement

    Steam Summer Sale 2017

    Pretty sure that's a bot you're responding to, DC. It's hard keeping up with all of the new ones that keep popping up here nowadays. But on the flipside, it's cool that you're still keeping an eye on this place! How've you been? Feels like forever since we've last talked. xD
  6. Charlespip

    Game Podunk Suggestion Thread

    Sign-up thread for another game, lets see if the villagers can redeem themselves I think Ste said the optimum number of people for a game was 27 so well cap it at that for now. Outline of the rules again:
  7. DarkCobra86

    Steam Summer Sale 2017

    I think you should be able to.
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  9. barrel

    Review: Katana Zero

    Developer: Askiisoft Publisher: Devolver Digital Platform: Switch and PC Release Date: April 18, 2019 ESRB: M for Mature One of the most iconic titles in the indie space during recent memory is in no doubt Hotline Miami. From its psychedelic pixelated visuals, catchy soundtrack, to the quick and ruthless gameplay it is little surprise that it garnered such a cult following. So inspiring was it that developer Askiisoft took nearly six years to realize their own take on some of its spiritual tenants in the form of Katana Zero. With so many clear influences from another title does Katana Zero cleave its own worthy impression? While the obvious inspiration intent was never hidden even prior to its completion it really can not be overstated just how much that Katana Zero is dripping with an intense Hotline Miami vibe. Despite a distinctly different choice in primary weaponry as well as a sidescrolling camera perspective Katana Zero is an audio/visual sensory assault right away. Be it the pixelated aesthetic with VHS-esque motifs permeating both menus to mid-level flourishes, the pulsating electronic musical score, or the quick-witted ruthless violence it most certainly nails the presentation. Conversely, any comparison to the recent Sekiro would be tenuous at best beyond, well, dude with sword and challenging gameplay. But a particularly memorable quote from that game, that being "hesitation is defeat", could not be more applicable to the moment to moment gameplay of Katana Zero. Even a split second of hesitation during a sword swing or dodge roll can easily spell the difference between a clean level run to an unceremonious death. And to be quite honest, death is a very common occurrence. Thankfully, Katana Zero often avoids much inherent frustration by its snappy re-spawns upon death and often bite-sized level portions with some generous checkpoints appearing even mid-boss at times. Where the title begins to falter is its inherent gameplay simplicity. While initially a strength due to responsive controls that encourages quick mastery of sword swing timing to dismember foes or even deflect bullets it rarely evolves beyond that. If anything, the game sort of just constantly reminds players to do the same thing over and over, with the occasional crutch use of the slow motion mechanic, but simply in more difficult circumstances. This rarely deviates aside from one or two unique instances like a certain motorcycle segment that directly transfers the player's skillset. Which, for as cool as certain setpiece moments may be, like intense boss fights and intriguing story sequences, it really feels like most of the game could've perhaps used either one more new compelling system mechanic or just simply more moment to moment gameplay variety. Weirdly enough, both the most compelling and disappointing aspect of Katana Zero comes from a place one likely would not expect from a title that evokes simple mindless violence at a quick glance. This surprising strength being actually its main storytelling. At first it starts off with the main character being a contract assassin who visits a sort of questionable psychiatric figure between missions. But, where the daily murderous routine vary are through the various dialogue choices with character interactions that change how certain scenes play out. This also includes a creatively implemented interrupt dialogue option that is used to great effect, to even go as far as to unlock a certain crazy unlockable optional boss fight, and it often creates a strong illusion of choice. And honesty, most of the storytelling is surprisingly engaging from both a writing and visual flourish perspective. Such as the humorous situation of trying to explain the blood on your clothing by perhaps saying you are a cosplayer of some obscure anime to some really dark moments that effectively convey just how menacing the enemies the player is up against. Most of this is likely the lead driving force for the player in contrast to the simplistic gameplay until, well, it ends on an odd cliffhanger that leaves many important story elements and characters (several being prime material for cool fights) clearly unresolved. With no word on a potential sequel, or story chapter dlc, it unfortunately puts a damper ending note for an otherwise brief experience that, while generally enjoyable, felt often underutilized. Katana Zero struggles to find a satisfying balance between snappy almost speedrun-like gameplay and its dark story beats. While often enjoyable in the moment, particularly from a presentational standpoint with catchy tracks and slick pixelated flourishes, it leaves the player with the distinct longing due to a clearly incomplete experience. With not quite enough gameplay variety to stand on its own, and literally not enough story to be resolved in its oddly timed cliffhanger despite being fairly intriguing otherwise, it hinders a title that often looks and feels like it is on the cusp of genuine greatness but by the end swings just short of following through. Pros + Swift, electrifying combat that makes it is easy to jump right back in despite many unceremonious deaths + Intriguing storytelling that also creatively leans into its distorted pixelated visuals and VHS motif + Poppin' soundtrack Cons - Outside of some slick boss fights the general simplistic gameplay doesn't really evolve all that much from start to finish - Ends on an odd cliffhanger with several clearly unresolved story elements (hopefully upcoming free dlc or maybe even a sequel will remedy that?) Overall Score: 7.0 (out of 10) Good While usually enjoyable in the heat of the moment Katana Zero falls just short of capitalizing on either its snappy gameplay or surprisingly intriguing storytelling to be confidently recommended on either front Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Switch code provided by the publisher.
  10. Developer: Spike Chunsoft/Lancarse Publisher: Spike Chunsoft Platform: PS4 and PC Release Date: April 9, 2019 ESRB: M for Mature After the many memorable twists and turns of the iconic Danganronpa series one would guess that the next project by many of its former key staff would strike at a similar gaming vein. And yet, that sort of assumption could not have been further off the mark. Spike Chunsoft's newest title, Zanki Zero: Last Beginning, explores and experiments with much more uncharted territory by combining first-person dungeon crawling gameplay, survival systems, and the perpetual death and rebirth of its lead cast. To say it is a departure from their previous visual novel work would honestly be putting it lightly. As cliche as this turn of phrase likely winds up being it is still more than tempting to say there is not really anything quite like Zanki Zero: Last Beginning as a game. Or, at the very least, it is the most unique first-person dungeon crawler in recent memory within a world where it is all too easy to compare to the highly-acclaimed Etrian Odyssey series, for better or for worse. The most immediate way Zanki Zero establishes its distinct take on the subgenre is through its inherent story/premise. Despite its initial Danganronpa-esque setup, in which several adults find themselves with trapped on an abandoned island (with clear gaps in the memory in how they got there), the title quickly veers into much stranger territory. After the prologue sequence the lead cast of characters not only learns that they can be revived after even the goriest of deaths via an arcade-like "extend machine" to a literal child-like state once more, but also that they are all clones that age an accelerated rate to the point where they will die of old age in roughly two weeks time. This odd narrative pretense is creatively implemented into nearly every facet of the game. Story scenes vary based on each character's current physical age, down to appearance and voice pitch, leading to many odd interactions throughout between the cast throughout as they try and figure out their current bizarre predicament. On a gameplay front, however, the aging mechanic becomes very much a variable to take into account as it directly affects combat prowess such as how quickly characters can attack to the ever-present worry of when one of them may simply die of old age while exploring. Perhaps more morbid than frequently dying of old age as a gameplay mechanic (if one can even live that long) is that dying in different ways, known in-game as "Shigabane", is highly encouraged as it is the primary means of strengthening your characters. For example, dying while being poisoned permanently increases one's resistance to toxin, and kicking the bucket as an old geezer permanently slows down the aging process entirely, and biting the dust while over encumbered permanently increases how much a character can carry at any one time. It is an intriguing system but admittedly becomes somewhat annoying on higher difficulties because so many enemies and environmental obstacles can more or less one-hit KO characters if one does not deliberately grind for different Shigabane in advance, despite being negligible on the lowest difficulties otherwise. While a good majority of Zanki Zero's gameplay mechanics are in its addictive dungeon expeditions (and some creative environmental puzzles) in each story chapter, there are a few noteworthy systems outside of it. For instance, in the main island, hub players can build new facilities such as crafting benches for equipable gear, housing (which has a whole affinity system if certain characters share rooms enough), or even a creating working toilet. Still, it is a shame that, either due to wildly varying drop rates between the different difficulties or item information being obfuscated altogether at times (how was I supposed to know that "monkey adhesive" does not actually drop from the monkey enemies?), a lot of it is unlikely to be underutilized by the end. Regardless, the most disappointing aspects of the entire game are simply the gameplay or story elements that get underdeveloped in spite of the often engaging dungeon crawling. Like, players eventually get access to parasitic implants called "Cilione" that give characters unique skills for healing, attacking, or the ability to open new parts of the terrain, but are never really encouraged to be used that much due to the harsh penalty they inflict on overuse. It is a similar deal with a lot of other gameplay mechanics such as targeting/breaking enemy limbs or keeping up with aspects like the hunger/bladder meters as the necessity of either are nearly entirely decided upon if one is playing on the highest difficulties or not (which thankfully can be toggled between mid-playthrough). Yet, the storytelling itself has even more unrealized potential. Despite having some intriguing character-focused vignettes each chapter that delve into some rather dark subject matter, the main story itself almost serves to contrast by unfortunately meandering a lot. Every other story chapter forces some shallow attempt at shock value and play upon the seven deadly sins motif, but is easily undermined by the fact the characters are, well, clones that can be revived upon death. Plus, it really does not help that even the interesting flashbacks are setup by some truly awful mascot characters that put showcase's the games writing at its absolute worst with juvenile and tone deaf potty humor that thinks it is amusing. It is a shame that, regardless of the developer's Danganronpa pedigree, the storytelling of Zanki Zero is barely a noteworthy footnote in stark contrast to the much more engaging dungeon crawling. Zanki Zero: Last Beginning frequently bounces between both refreshingly unique to incredibly flawed all in the same breath. It plays with a lot of different gameplay systems going from surprisingly addictive dungeon crawling and level puzzles to survival mechanics that do not quite stand out as much as the game wants them to be. If anything, the title should be played more so due to its zany take on dungeon crawling RPGs than going in with preconceived notions of expecting something similar at all story-wise to the developer's prior work in Danganronpa, and that is perfectly fine. Pros + Genuinely unique take on the DRPG mold that is a welcome contrast from the developer's previous work + Varied level motifs and puzzles prevent it from getting tedious like many in the subgenre + Aging mechanic helps present both cutscenes as well as the dungeon crawling in an intriguing light + Quirky overall personality and characters that have twisted backstories Cons - Those expecting it to be particularly similar to Danganronpa, or only care about the main storytelling, are likely to be disappointed - Frequent inventory management or attempting to get different "Shigabane" can get tedious on higher difficulties - Really juvenile writing at times that is especially annoying when the two mascot characters are on-screen (which is too often) - Some underutilized gameplay systems like the base building or Cilione abilities Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is a refreshingly unique take on dungeon crawlers that is only really held back by it not going quite far enough with certain gameplay systems or, more disappointing, its underutilized storytelling Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS4 code provided by the publisher.
  11. Knights and Bikes, London-based Foam Sword Games' first game, has officially gone gold and is coming to a PlayStation 4 or PC near you soon. Dubbed a "Goonies-inspired adventure," Knights and Bikes is a co-op, story-based adventure game that centers on two girls who are searching for the legendary cursed treasure of Penfurzy Island. Across the course of six days you'll explore the island, solve puzzles, talk to different people, and fight off the ancient curse that protects the treasure using such items as frisbees, water balloons, toilet plungers, a game gauntlet, and more. Also central to the gameplay are bikes, which you'll need to upgrade in order to visit certain areas of the island. If the game's painterly, cartoon-like aesthetic seems familiar to you, there's good reason for it: the game's central creators, Rex Crowle and Moo Yu, previously worked at Media Molecule on award-winning games such as LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway. Further bolstering the pedigree on the title is Kenny Young, another Media Molecule alum who also most recently worked on 2018's breakout VR hit Astro Bot Rescue Mission; and Daniel Pemberton, who composed much of the music for LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2, and was the composer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Originally launching as a successful Kickstarter project in 2016, it's been a long ride for Knights and Bikes through its 3+ year development but you'll finally be able to play this whimsical adventure when it comes digitally to PlayStation 4 and PC on August 7. Check out the game's E3 2018 trailer below. Source: Foam Sword Games
  12. Hello Games has been gradually teasing No Man Sky's next update, Beyond, over the last year, but today they've finally announced when you can expect to play through the upcoming content: August 14. Beyond is described as 'three updates in one, and like prior updates, this one will also be free. Chief among the new inclusions is the inclusion of a 'radically new multiplayer and social experience' as well as support for VR, letting you become more immersed in the vastness of space and alien planets as you experience it first-hand. It's still a bit vague as to what the update entails in full but Hello Games will be trickling out information leading up to Beyond's release in a few weeks. Source: Hello Games
  13. Developer: âge Publisher: PQube Platform: PS Vita and PC Release Date: June 12, 2018 ESRB: M for Mature It is hardly an overstatement to say that the success of Muv-Luv's Kickstarter is a testament to just how much people adore Muv-Luv Alternative. Being the final act of a visual novel trilogy, Muv-Luv Alternative firmly plays upon the expectations of its once lighthearted roots in the original Muv-Luv to present a far more mature sci-fi tale in which the stakes have never been higher. Does it provide an exciting, satisfying conclusion or will it leave the player traumatized by the end of the whole ordeal? ...That was a trick question, actually, because Muv-Luv Alternative has no shortage of excitement and trauma. As the the trilogy finale, Muv-Luv Alternative expects a strong familiarity of the original Muv-Luv because it takes nearly every route, character, and story element from them into account. Because of this, some amount of narrative spoilers of the previous titles are pretty much unavoidable when talking about Alternative to any serious degree even though there will be an effort to minimize them. With that disclaimer out of the way, Muv-Luv Alternative brings players back in the past, quite literally, as the lead character Takeru Shirogane's consciousness returns to an all too familiar October date yet again in a Groundhog Day fashion. After witnessing the end of mankind during its last ditch effort plan called "Alternative V" within Muv-Luv Unlimited's finale, Takeru is now driven to do whatever it takes to steer mankind's chance at survival back on its course and prevent it from happening once again. With this pretense, Alternative has the really intriguing setup of both the player and lead character being on the page regarding events of games past. As such, most of the in-game dialogue choices have the player/Takeru armed with the knowledge they should not have at this point, yet also the anxiety of the consequences when attempting to change too much to the point where he can not predict events going forward. It is by playing upon this expectation that the storytelling is quite willing to teach players that change may not necessarily be for the better. The previous title, Muv-Luv Unlimited, frequently tip-toed around its darker story elements yet rarely committed to anything to a frustrating degree. Muv-Luv Alternative, however, has an immense sense of foreboding throughout and one can not really overstate just how grim the narrative can shift at any time. For instance, there was certain gut punch sequence in particular that left me so disheartened that I literally could not play the game the following day. Not because I was not engaged I while playing it, but because of how effective the game was at delivering its narrative cruelty. Little did I know that I was not even halfway through the game yet and had so much more (gripping) heartbreak in store. To say that Muv-Luv Alternative is an emotional roller-coaster is putting it lightly, but there is a slow introductory ramp before reaching those immense narratives highs. It is not exactly due to its deliberate Groundhog Day nature of seeing familiar events in a different light either but mostly because of how Takeru himself has a few too many redundant flashbacks and goofy anime antics that it makes the early narrative pacing move to a near crawl in addition to revisiting what should be familiar events. Plus, well, the game itself is massive for visual novel standards and will easily take fifty hours for slower readers to get through. So it is quite demanding to ask players to trudge through noticeably less compelling initial story instances when it goes on for more than a few hours. But still, in spite of its pacing issues, Muv Luv Alternative wisely utilizes a lot of it to work towards some straight up expertly-handled character development for its lead protagonist in particular. Frankly speaking, Takeru was rather obnoxious in the previous games (heck, the start of this game too) to the point it was difficult to believe that any woman would fall head over heels for him in games past and to see him evolve so thoroughly as a person in a very believable way is nothing short of impressive. The many key heroines do certainly have their time in the limelight as well too, of course, like the incredibly strong-willed Meiya to the fascinating yet also so very morally ambiguous scientist Yuuko, but few of them see nearly as much change as Takeru does during Alternative's tale. Going back to the main story, however, in addition to it being very emotionally charged it also far more complex from a world-building perspective than prior Muv-Luv titles.Themes that were vaguely touched upon in Unlimited this game more than delves into like from a political intrigue standpoint, to the inner-workings of their mech suits as well as battle tactics, and, for better or worse, the true horrors of war from both a human perspective and also a very not human one when the alien race called the BETA makes it abundantly clear why mankind is on the brink of extinction in this timeline. It is a highly involved grand finale and after seeing first hand just the lengths it goes to tell it there is no doubt in my mind it is regarded as a classic for a reason. It is easy to put an unreasonable level of expectations upon Muv-Luv Alternative. It demands so much out out of the player upfront with two basically mandatory visual novel predecessors, as well as to be able to put up with Alternative's own fairly plodding early goings from a time-commitment perspective to fully appreciate its massive narrative. But, that is just it, while there are most certainly a few glaring shortcomings Muv-Luv Alternative's narrative high points are incredibly high. Whether it be through the course of its grim but compelling sci-fi tale to its phenomenal lead character development it is easy to see why the fandom is so passionate towards this trilogy finale. Those that are in-fact patient enough to go through the demanding legwork will likely confidently see why Muv-Luv Alternative earns its title as a classic among visual novels. Pros + Stellar character development + Immensely grim, but very compelling storytelling Cons - A few too many flashback moments (and silly anime antics) lead to some really slow early exposition in particular - Context from the previous two Muv-Luv games is basically required Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great By being just as grim as it is poignant Muv-Luv Alternative ends up being a thrilling conclusion to the trilogy for those patient enough to put up with its many slower early pacing moments Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher.
  14. PQube's and JoySteak Studio's Songbird Symphony is out on digital shops this week, and it stars a cute little bird named 'Birb' that sets off on an adventure to discover his heritage. As Birb, you'll move the environment around you by tapping in sync with background beats, solve different puzzles to add new sound queues to the background music, collect feathers to learn more about different birds, and explore interconnected levels with many different passages. Oh, and you'll participate in rhythm battles as well, and with its combination of platforming, rhythm, and puzzles, it definitely looks to be one of the more unique indie titles out this year. If that all sounds good to you, you can check out Songbird Symphony on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC (via Steam) for $16.99. And be sure to check out the trailer below! Source: Press Release
  15. Team17 is no stranger to games based on cooking thanks to publishing Ghost Town Game's mega smash Overcooked! series in recent years, and this week they're introducing a new game from Hermes Interactive that puts a bit of a different spin on the genre called Automachef. Instead of directly controlling the chefs like in the Overcooked! games, Automachef is all about automating the process via machinery. Essentially, it's one part puzzle game and one part resource management, in which you create the ideal layout for your culinary creations. There are three modes to play through: Campaign, Contracts, and Sandbox. Campaign focuses on having the player create efficient kitchens while keeping in mind spatial, energy, and resource management challenges. Contracts mode puts you in the role of a business owner in which you'll manage funds and expand your business. Lastly, Sandbox mode is exactly what it sounds like, letting you roam free and experiment with creating any type of kitchen you'd like. Oh, and if you play the game on PC, you'll have the option to use Steam Workshop to create your own recipes, ingredients, and levels. Automachef is available to buy digitally right now on Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam for £10.99/14,99€/$14.99. Check out the launch trailer for the game below! Source: Press Release
  16. Bizarre Monkey

    Share your last beaten games here!

    Basically Astroneer is epic, a nice casual very immersive experience where you play a funny little spaceman and civilize planets in space. The only gripe i have is that one you make a base on all four planets and have built everything there is to build there's not much point to play it again. Also it's one of the few games where the single player is better than multiplayer because as a single player game it is SO immersive and easy to lose yourself in that being on voice chat breaks the suspension of belief and its ultimately less enjoyable.
  17. Bizarre Monkey

    heyo, not new just taking a swing by

    And I am not! So HMHMHMHM good news friendos I may have a really epic game demo for you to try around september hopefully! Making a lot of epic progress on the Fantasia game so here's a quick showing of one of the crazy cool bossfights to placeholder music. I could post more but I think this video says enough??
  18. Over the weekend, Bandai Namco announced at Anime Expo that a pair of Digimon titles would be heading to the Nintendo Switch later this year -- namely, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, and its sequel, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth -- Hacker's Memory. Both will be included in one collection called Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition. The announcement comes as good news for fans of the series since the PlayStation 4 version of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (the English version of which originally released in 2016) is now out of print physically and was removed from the PlayStation Store in December 2018. While Bandai Namco's official response as to why it was removed is a bit cagey, it's largely assumed that it was due to the license (which Saban currently owns) ending for that particular title. In any case, fans can look forward to playing Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition when it lands on Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam later this year on October 18. Source: Press Release
  19. Developer: WindThunder Publisher: Winking Entertainment Corp. Platform: Switch, PS4, PC, iOS Release Date: May 23, 2019 ESRB: T Note: This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game The episodic game format is not without its risks. While it can potentially ease the cost of development in creating smaller games released in sequence over a span of time, a lot hinges on the ability to keep the player’s interest for the duration of the full series. If the first episode doesn’t hook the player, they’re not likely to return for the rest. Such is one of the hurdles faced by the action RPG, Heroine Anthem Zero. Heroine Anthem Zero: Episode 1, or Heroine Anthem Zero: Sacrifice, is the first chapter of a prequel to the original Heroine Anthem: The Elect of Wassernixe and Heroine Anthem II: The Angel of Sarem, which released back in 2002 and 2003, respectively. As both of those games are rather old and obscure, it’s fortunate that Heroine Anthem Zero is set thousands of years prior, and thus requires no knowledge of the originals. Episode 1 features the story of Wanin, a young warrior of the Norse-inspired Uzato tribe that works as a Forest Keeper, patrolling the forest near his hometown for danger. He’s accompanied for the duration of the game by the fairy, Mormolia, who assists him in his duties. Most of the game follows the perspective of this pair, who are entertaining, if simplistic, in their writing. Wanin is a brave, capable warrior that cares for his sister, Naire, who has been chosen to serve as the maiden of an important ceremony in a neighboring land, though he’s also somewhat oblivious and foolhardy. The more perceptive Mormolia, on the other hand, is quick to anger, often insults Wanin for his obliviousness, and loves to drink. Unfortunately, there’s not much else to say about the story, as the main plot beats serve as apparent set-up for what comes, I presume, in Episode 2. And despite the short length, it does not feel particularly well-paced. Large amounts of story and exposition take precedence in the first few hours before turning the focus almost exclusively to gameplay broken up with smaller, lighter story beats for the remainder of the experience. To its credit, the game has some interesting lore. Story sequences are enhanced with great character art, as well as painterly illustrations put on display when characters speak of the myths, legends, and history of their land. The characters are all voiced in Japanese, and their acting boosts the experience as well. The bigger faults with Heroine Anthem Zero lie with its gameplay. As a side-scrolling action RPG, it generally controls well. Wanin can swing his sword in a basic combo as well as dash, double-jump, and scale vertical walls. But the combat overall is very basic and generally lacking in challenge, even on the standard difficulty. There are some enemies that can only be damaged by charging Wanin’s sword attack, and enemies can be stunned by sending Mormolia at them. Even the final boss, the most challenging encounter in the game, was little more than a battle of attrition. In fact, I didn’t die to any of the bosses in the game. What killed me far more often, and with far more frustration, was the game’s platforming. Relatively early on, the game introduces spiked vines that stretch across sections of the ground, walls, and ceilings. At that point, these vines are the single most damaging thing in the game and will knock off huge chunks of life every time you collide with one. The game also features instant-death bottomless pits, and while some are clearly obvious, such as when hopping across a rickety bridge stretched across a chasm, others very much aren’t. More than once, I hopped down a hole, thinking it might lead down to an underground cave, only to be met with the 'Game Over' screen. And if you die, you’re forced to retry from the last save point you accessed. Another issue comes from the game’s map and fast travel system. The map itself is of little use and does nothing to illustrate the actual landscapes. It simply indicates how sections in the zone you’re currently in are linked together. Once fast travel is unlocked, most save points will feature a character that will freely take you to most any other save point, but only within the same zone that you’re currently in. This means, for example, that it’s not possible to jump straight back to town from the western woods. But even then, there’s no real incentive to actually make use of the fast travel, as the fast travel character also doubles as the shop with all the best healing items and weapons necessary to beat the game. Possibly the most annoying moment in the game came during a dungeon that serves as the home of the few simplistic-but-required puzzles. In a large chamber, there are four switches that need to be pressed in order to open the way forward. Each of these switches are in turn blocked by gates that open via other switches, and these timed gates will close after a few seconds. After clearing all four gates, hitting the switches, and opening the door ahead, I backtracked to the previous chamber and used the save point, only to find on my return that the switches had all reset and the door ahead had closed, forcing me to redo the entire sequence. Having only played the game on the Switch, I have no idea how its technical performance compares to that of other platforms. Originally released in 2016, Episode 1 was published on the PC, PS4, and iOS before it made its way to Nintendo’s console this year. Aspects of some of the game’s menus feel tuned more for touch, though playing on a TV is just fine. The only real hiccup comes in the equipment menu, where there’s a strangely long, noticeable lag while scrolling through weapons or clothing in the inventory. The game also occasionally encounters odd hitches during cutscenes, and even during the end credits as different images are swapped in and out. For the most part, these graphic hitches aren’t that bothersome, but on rarer occasions, I’ve had similar hitching occur during gameplay. I’ve had to abort more than a couple of jump attempts because of an odd pause in the animation, though I can’t blame any of my deaths on this. On a more positive note, the music in Heroine Anthem Zero is a genuine highlight. The soundtrack, composed by Joe Chou, is comprised of some great music that fits the tone of the world and characters. Tonally, it reminded me at points of games like Valkyrie Profile, and even in the game’s most annoying moments, the music was one element that I always appreciated. Heroine Anthem Zero: Episode 1 feels like a mixed bag. I like the characters, the music, the world, and the general sense of the gameplay. But the pacing, platforming, and technical oddities frequently pulled me out of the experience. I can’t say that I didn’t have any fun, but had there been more polish and fewer annoyances, I could have had a lot more. Based on my experience, I wouldn’t rule out playing Episode 2, but I’d hope that it’s an improvement. Pros + Fun artwork and interesting, if simple characters + Great music and entertaining voice acting + Attractive and colorful artwork and graphics + Combat is in general lightweight and not stressful Cons + Odd pacing of story and gameplay + Annoying platforming with high-damage hazards and instant-death pits + Lack of responsiveness in some menus, and the map is near useless + Odd animation hitches occur every once in a while that can throw timing off while platforming Overall Score: 5 (out of 10) Average Heroine Anthem Zero: Episode 1 is a mixed bag with likeable characters, music, world, and general gameplay but is brought down by its pacing, platforming, and technical oddities. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  20. There once was a time when the only type of Pokémon storage was a series of boxes within a PC in whichever game you were playing. When you put the game down for good, your Pokémon were doomed to remain in their boxes ‘til the end of time. With the release of the Nintendo DS came a way to migrate Pokémon from the Game Boy Advance games to the DS iterations. And then came Pokémon Bank, which supplied a way to store Pokémon from the DS and 3DS games and move them around between any of the 3DS titles. Times have changed once again. Now that we have the highly popular mobile app that is Pokémon GO, the Nintendo Switch titles Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, and the upcoming Switch titles Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, a new storage method has been born – a cloud-based mobile app called Pokémon Home. Announced at the 2019 Pokémon Press Conference, the app is basically a ‘home’ for any Pokémon you have, housing creatures from GO, Bank, and any of the Switch titles. As the creators themselves explain it, it’s “a place where all Pokémon gather.” Storing and transferring your Pokémon aren’t the only things you can do with Pokémon Home, however. You will also be able to trade with friends, strangers nearby, or people in other parts of the world. They need the Pokémon Home app, too, of course. Pokémon Home will be available in early 2020, so stay tuned. Source: YouTube
  21. Jordan Haygood

    Pokémon Sleep Turns Snoozing Into Gaming

    For the past few years, millions have been enjoying the best excuse to get out of the house since a burning house, fittingly titled Pokémon GO. As the name implies, you play by...well, GOing places in the real world, doing all sorts of Pokémon-related activities, such as catching the creatures, battling with them, hatching eggs, and collecting items. It was a brilliant idea, to say the least. Now, it's time to take the idea a step further. No, we won't be playing in space or anything crazy like that. Instead, we'll be playing in our sleep. Nope, nothing crazy at all. Announced at the 2019 Pokémon Press Conference, we will be getting a brand new mobile app known as Pokémon Sleep, which will "turn sleep into entertainment." So basically, while Pokémon GO tracks movement to reward you for being active, Pokémon Sleep will track your sleeping habits and reward you for getting the sleep you need. In the end, the folks involved with these apps really want us to be as healthy as possible by using the Pokémon IP. And what better way, right? Coinciding with Pokémon Sleep will be a new gadget to play with. Remember Pokémon GO Plus? Maybe not. It's a little pokéball themed gadget that connects with GO to add a new and simple way of playing that didn't require looking at your phone. Well, get ready for a new version called Pokémon GO Plus+. No, you read that right. It's a bigger pokéball themed gadget (still small enough to stick in most pockets) that does what the original Plus did, only you can also put it next to your pillow when you sleep to use with Pokémon Sleep. Both Pokémon Sleep and Pokémon GO Plus+ will release sometime in 2020, so stay tuned. Source: YouTube
  22. Developer: Image & Form International AB Publisher: Thunderful Publishing AB Platform: Nintendo Switch Release Date: April 25, 2019 ESRB: E for Everyone At this point in Image & Form’s rapidly-expanding SteamWorld franchise we’ve had two incredible Metroidvania entries; an epic, space-faring tactical strategy title; and a lesser-known tower defense game for DSiware that started it all. According to studio head Brjann Sigurgeirsson, fans had been clamoring for the Swedish developer to give the RPG genre a go and it seems his team was all too happy to oblige. Thus, SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech was born. A departure from the sci-fi setting of previous games in the series, SteamWorld Quest features a storybook tale that unfolds in an era of knights, dragons, and magic, narrated by SteamWorld Heist’s Seabrass in a welcome cameo. The journey begins with two adolescent female steambots named Armilly and Copernica -- a wannabe knight and a novice alchemist, respectively – who find themselves caught up in a plot against a rising evil. Along the way, you’ll pick up a few more party members and discover some unsettling truths about what’s really happening, and maybe even experience a twist or two. Naturally, SteamWorld Quest is a bit heavier on the narrative than previous games due to being an RPG. However, the cast is wisely kept smaller and contained versus large and unwieldy, thus giving each character just enough focus and attention to keep them interesting. The writing is downright hilarious at times too, once again showing that Image & Form really does have one of the best localization teams on the indie side of the industry. And though the plot is a little formulaic (yet entirely self-aware), the writers do subvert a few typical story tropes – the two main leads are both female, for one -- and ultimately, there are fulfilling arcs for each of the characters by the time the credits roll. Unlike many other 2D RPGs where a top-down or isometric view is standard, the out-of-battle sequences in SteamWorld Quest take place in a side-scrolling manner where you’ll mostly move from left to right (and vice versa) and screen to screen, coming across the occasional treasure chest and/or puzzle, a shopkeeper, and scores of enemies. Touch an enemy (they’ll be alerted to your presence if you come too close) and you’ll initiate a battle, which is far and away the best part of this game. In fact, I’ve never played a card-based battle system that I enjoyed more than this one. The mechanics are kept surprisingly simple: at the beginning of each battle, you’re dealt eight “punch cards” randomly from your deck of 24 (which you can customize throughout the game), and you can play up to three cards each turn. Playing base cards (usually lower level attacks that have no number) will help you build up your steam power gauge, in turn allowing you to play even stronger cards that unleash powerful attacks, restore health, or cast buffs that help your team (or debuffs on your enemies). What really propels the gameplay in a big way are the variety of options at your disposal. Sure, you can play your cards as they’re dealt, but you can also strategically choose to pass on some in order to get the right combination to line up special combos that can, at times, save your bacon entirely. The battle system is also amazingly well-balanced. I played on the Normal difficulty, but the challenge remained consistent throughout, picking up toward the end. Image & Form did a great job making boss fights feel alive and engaging thanks to a number of different scenarios you’ll have to play through. For example, one boss poisons your characters every five turns, forcing you to constantly switch between damage control and going on the offense. Other bosses might have lackeys or pawns whose extra attacks and damage can add up over time unless you defeat them. Creative scenarios like this kept me looking forward to each and every battle, which is a rarity for me when it comes to RPGs. If there’s one thing that disappointed me, it’s the lack of activities and interaction with the world outside of battles. There’s little to no interaction with NPCs due to them being sparse, little to no side quests that you can carry out that either reward you with more loot or delves deeper into the game’s lore, no interesting minigames to shake things up, and no engaging puzzles aside from the ‘lite’ ones you come across (find a switch to open a gate, or rotate images a certain way to open a door, etc.). While the battle system is near perfect, the out-of-battle activities and exploration are the biggest aspects Image & Form could and should expand upon should they give the game a sequel (or create other RPGs like it). Still, the game has so much going for it that it’s easy to overlook this aspect this time around. The art, like in other recent SteamWorld games, is fantastic and draws on the strengths of Image & Form’s talented and creative team while the music keeps the story suspenseful and allows for some lighter moments as well. If you’ve played other SteamWorld titles, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that SteamWorld Quest is another great entry. And if you’re hesitant because you’re not sure what to make of the card-based battle system, be assured that this is easily one of the best battle systems I’ve ever played in an RPG; it’s both fun and engaging, as is the deck-building element. While the game still has some room to grow for next time (more out-of-battle activities, for example), SteamWorld Quest is a tremendous first step into the RPG genre for Image & Form’s ambitious franchise and more than lives up to the lofty expectations the studio has set with its prior games. Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great SteamWorld Quest is fun, zany, and boasts what is possibly the best card-based battle system in any game to date. Though not without room to improve, this is yet another genre Image & Form has shown considerable skill and expertise developing in, and I can't wait to see what's next. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Switch code provided by the publisher
  23. Just finished the Matrix Trilogy and boy that was amazing the second time around. Didn't get any of this the first time around. But I'm glad I saw it again. So much symbolism and biblical reference it is insane.
  24. I saw Minority Report recently and it was amazing. Great movie that will get you thinking when it is done. Just saw The Matrix again and boy it was so much better the second time. I was able to talk through all the messages in the movie with my best friend and it is just mind blown.
  25. I watched Glass and it was good. I saw a lot of people complaining about it saying it wasn't what they thought it would be. It's a movie continuing two other movies Unbreakable and Split so if you have not seen those you will be confused. I thought it was a pretty good sequel for those movies and makes me want to see more from this story.
  26. It seems Epic Games is on a warpath to dominate the video game market these days, from their recent inroads with the Epic Game Store and acquiring exclusive rights to game debuts to riding high with Fortnite -- currently the most popular game in the world. Now it has been announced that the publisher is acquiring Rocket League developer, Psyonix. The transaction was discussed in a new post on Psyonix's website today and revealed that nothing is changing for Rocket League due to the acquisition. Not much was revealed about what this means for the developer other than expanded resources and reach for their popular eSports title, but Psyonix does state that the game will be heading to the Epic Games Store in the long run. According to The Verge, Rocket League will no longer be available on Steam after that point. As for the acquisition itself, Psyonix and Epic Games expect the transaction to close around the end of May to early June 2019. Source: Psyonix, The Verge
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