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Found 109 results

  1. Kickstarter has seen many gaming-based successes launch from its platform. One such game was The Banner Saga which was funded 700% over the $100,000 requirement. This turn-based RPG with hand-drawn visuals drew in many fans in March and April of last year, when the campaign ran. Now, the team have released The Banner Saga: Factions on Steam. This requires a bit of clarification though. The full game that Kickstarter funded is a single player experience with an apparently mature narrative. What then is Factions? It is a free-to-play multiplayer only game which uses the same combat engine as The Banner Saga. As it's free to play, no one should feel ripped off as the team continues to work on their main single player game. What is the point of this if not tons more money? As this project features the current SRPG gameplay in full it should work as an open beta would. Players will experience turn-based gameplay and work out what parts should probably be fixed or otherwise tweaked. The Banner Saga (not Factions) still has no release date.
  2. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Kentucky Route Zero - Act 1

    Developer: Cardboard Computer Publisher: Cardboard Computer Platform: PC, Mac (Web) Release Date: January 7, 2013 ESRB: N/A (T suggested) Kentucky Route Zero - Act 1 is, at its core, an adventure game. Although the genre has seen some revitalization lately with the likes of The Walking Dead, it still remains fairly niche territory. Still, this title has managed to gain a wide audience so near to its release that it is astounding. What has caused the game to be so popular? Is it really worth the time investment to play or is it just a passing fad? First off, what is Kentucky Route Zero? Upon first hearing the name, it sounded like a weird mishmash of words. The game takes place in Kentucky and features a man, his truck, and an old hound dog. The protagonist knows little of the area and simply wants to find the way to highway route “Zero” to deliver his goods. This turns out to be harder than he imagines, though, as he comes across a cast of unusual people and strange occurrences. Although the story is done in quite an interesting fashion, that“s not what players are going to notice first. No, it is the visuals which immediately steal the show. Colors are boldly dark and shapes are angular. The stylization looks so good and unlike most games before it. Certainly no other adventure games have this look going on, instead all trying to mimic the magic of LucasArts and Sierra masterpieces. Alongside the visuals, the camera pans and zooms in ways to benefit the visuals further. It may be a little hard to explain, but suffice to say, the graphics are definitely one of the many high points for this package. Now let“s return to discussion of the story. If you are someone who always needs to know exactly what is going on then you“ll hate this game. Much of what is said is veiled and mysterious. People may never say what they mean or even talk about things that make any sense (on a first playthrough). It feels at times like characters are trying to purposefully obfuscate the importance of their words. This all leads the game to feeling very otherworldly. The visuals certainly aid this but even without them, the game would still be undeniably odd. When speaking with characters, you will have to choose dialog options. However, you are never really capable of saying the wrong thing. All that will change is the knowledge received, and therefore, your perception of the game. Similarly, puzzles relating to choice are not hard. The game was not designed to be difficult like the standard point and click adventure. As long as you“re playing, you“ll eventually work your way through it without having to make sense of convoluted clues. Of course, beating it doesn“t mean you still won“t be confused at the end. Between talking to characters, you“ll find yourself on the road. There are a great deal of pathways to travel. Although you can simply go from point A to point B and beat the game in half an hour, the true joy comes from taking time to explore the full breadth of the game world. When you first look at your map and see the many winding roads to travel, realize that they all have something of note to find on them. Areas are simply waiting to be found to expand the story a bit, or at least offer up something new to see. It“s in this portion of the game where it bravely takes on the veil of a text adventure game. For example, some areas have no visuals. You are simply presented with descriptive text and options for where to go in the area or what to do. However, it doesn“t really feel archaic while playing at all. It was only after finishing the title that I realized that those segments were basically text adventures while the rest of the game takes on a point-and-click adventure style. Overall, it is quite a neat part of the game, although a shame that some will easily miss it in order to simply complete the storyline. However, just beating Kentucky Route Zero - Act 1 does not mean you“ve seen it all. As the name implies, this is just the beginning of a five part episodic series. Only the first part is available right now, which just leaves everyone who plays it more time to scratch their collective heads in confusion. It remains to be seen if the next acts will be able to keep up this quality, but hopefully they shall. It must be worth remembering that this all began as a Kickstarter project, so seeing this high quality so far is quite promising. If there“s anything wrong with this game, it lies with the “ending”. I am unaware if this was intentional or not, but upon getting to the final scene of the game, it simply closes. There is no title card saying the episode is over or even just showing the name. Instead, after a little scene, the game window closes itself down. This behavior has led many to worry that their game crashed. While the end is sufficient, it does no good to the player to have them fussing over a possible crash instead of mulling over the story they just experienced. With such a small complaint, it“s easy to recommend this game to many. Kentucky Route Zero - Act 1 oozes excellent aesthetics, both visual and narrative, and gameplay which is incredibly easy to comprehend. There is very little challenge and that leaves players to simply focus on the world. Because the game has started off so well, we can only hope that the other four acts will continue in its footsteps. Until we know how those turn out, all that can be said is that Kentucky Route Zero is off to a very good start. Pros: + Excellent visual design + Cast of unusual characters + Writing which leaves you hungry to discover more Cons: - Game closing itself leads to confusion on player“s part - Simplicity of puzzles, while necessary, may bother core adventure fans Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Excellent Kentucky Route Zero - Act 1 is an adventure game that manages to distinguish itself from the pack with a very specific and strange experience.
  3. Marcus Estrada

    Nicalis Nabs The 90's Arcade Racer

    Kickstarter is the home of so many project that it's often hard to keep track. Just recently the GameStick was unveiled, as well as the episodic future of Dreamfall. This month also saw the launch of a project simply titled The 90's Arcade Racer which looked to be a tribute to the 3D racing games of the past. The goal was set at a fairly low (for Kickstarter) amount of £10,000 which translates to about $15,600. Still, with five days left on the project it didn't manage to amass huge amounts over its goal like some, instead currently having £12,220 pledged. Of course, what matters most on Kickstarter is that a project is funded at all, not the excess that accrues. Developer Nicalis, best known for Cave Story, has joined the project. Before this announcement, The 90's Arcade Racer was simply being developed by one person. Nicalis will aid this project by programming in Unity as well as helping to produce it. Why was Nicalis interested in joining this effort? Simply put, Tyrone Rodriguez of Nicalis, Inc. loved Virtua Racing, Daytona, and all the rest back in the day. Thanks to this partnership the project will hopefully come out in a more expedient timeframe, although Nicalis doesn't have the best history for that. With their help it is also said that the game will be brought to Wii U via the eShop too.
  4. It's been a few months since the initial announcement about The Longest Journey getting a new game in the series, but things are finally starting to get rolling! A Kickstarter project for Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey has begun, with a $850,000 goal and already over $200,000 pledged. No doubt that the project will definitely reach its goal in no time, and fly miles past it! And here's the part that everyone is most interested in... Rewards! These include: Exclusive forum badges on the official Dreamfall Chapters forums Packs of wallpapers Digital and physical copies of the game Journeys: Birth (a collection of short stories) PDF and hardcover versions of The Art of Dreamfall Chapters PDF and printed versions of The Tome of Balance (a book of The Longest Journey lore and other goodies) Making-of video and behind-the-scenes footage Journeys graphic novel Digital and physical versions of the official soundtrack 16GB Dreamfall Chapters USB key with game, soundtrack, and supplementary materials And more! Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey is anticipated to be completed by November 2014. Will you be backing the Dreamfall Chapters Kickstarter project?
  5. Earlier today CEO of Ouya Julie Uhrman discussed her system for the DICE audience. Afterwards, she was interviewed by Engadget where she revealed info not discussed during her presentation. The new information is that she expects a new Ouya model every year. It's in this way that the system is obviously divergent from standard video game consoles which have a long lifespan. If it sounds like a business model you see often in mobile phone companies then you'd be right. Uhrman herself said their plan is "very similar to the mobile strategy." Here are some exerpts of what Uhrman told Engadget: "There will be a new OUYA every year. There will be an OUYA 2 and an OUYA 3. We'll take advantage of faster, better processors, take advantage of prices falling. So if we can get more than 8GB of Flash in our box, we will." Again, just like we see in the smartphone market, the Ouya is intended to be updated incrementally. There won't be massive changes to the system like we've seen beteween a PS2 and PS3, but it is still a creative decision to make in the current market. The question now is will gamers accept a console that has a mobile strategy or will they stick with their first run Ouyas for a while?
  6. If you're familiar with Sid Meier's Civilization V, you may also be familiar with the game's lead designer Jon Shafer. Well, it appears that this same man has just announced the creation of his own Michigan-based independent game studio Conifer Games. The company's first title is known as "Jon Shafer's At the Gates," and is currently trying to gain $40,000 on Kickstarter by March 8. Much like the game he worked on before, At the Gates is a turn-based strategy game. The game is set during the final days of the Roman Empire, and players will play the role of a barbarian leader as they lead their tribe in an attempt to seize power. But not only will players be fighting whole nations, but the environment itself is also an obstacle to overcome. Shafer said in his Kickstarter video, "I really believe that At the Gates is pretty important for the future of strategy gaming. Not because it's going to be a humongous title that sells millions of copies, but because it shows that smaller titles can still have the same amount of depth as much bigger and more expensive games." Conifer Games will release At the Gates on PC sometime next year, given that the Kickstarter can raise its $40,000 milestone by March 8. Does this game sound interesting? Why not help out? Did you play Civilization V? Are you interested in playing At the Gates? Source: GameSpot
  7. Police Quest was a Sierra series that never quite had the same following as their other games. King's Quest, Space Quest, and even Leisure Suit Larry had large followings while Police Quest attracted a different brand of player. When the series began in 1987, it was part police simulation wrapped up in an adventure gaming package. Later, the series transitioned into SWAT which was more strategic, and eventually a tactical shooter with the release of SWAT 4. However, only the first 3 Police Quest titles were produced by Jim Walls. Former officer Walls infused each game with a dose of reality that other games couldn't come close to. Now it seems that Walls has the itch to create a game again. In an interview with the Two Guys from Andromeda, he spoke about Kickstarter and his plans to release a Police Quest project on the site this year. The Two Guys from Andromeda are themselves from Sierra's heyday and recently funded their SpaceVenture project. It seems that many are attempting to revive past Sierra franchises to the chagrin of that era's adventure game fans. Hopefully when Walls posts his project it will see similar success to his contemporaries such as Al Lowe and Josh Mandel who had their Leisure Suit Larry reboot fully funded.
  8. Some big names have taken to the stage of DICE 2013 in its opening day. Gabe Newell, J.J. Abrams, and David Cage have already had their say on various topics. Alongside those juggernauts was Julie Uhrman who you may recognize as the Ouya CEO. She had her own time to shine as she revealed some new big names that are on board to support the upcoming system. She announced that Double Fine Productions is on board to bring some of their games to the Android-based platform. Recently released The Cave will see release on it, but more interestingly, so too will Double Fine Adventure. This game, currently going under the name Reds, is the one which took Kickstarter by storm last year. It was a massive success reaching far beyond its goals and helped catapult Kickstarter as the place to go for crowd funding projects. What's so special about the release of Reds on Ouya? Well, it will be the only console to receive the game during its launch window. It is still set to come to PC, of course, but those hoping for immediate XBLA or PSN launch will be disappointed. This doesn't rule out the game hitting systems later, but there is still some degree of exclusivity. Is Ouya on track to be a positive influence in the gaming world or does it need more games to make it stand out?
  9. Marcus Estrada

    Ouya Coming to GameStop, Amazon, and More

    The Ouya Android-based system excited a lot of people when it launched on Kickstarter last year. The project generated so much cash and interest that even the likes of Square Enix took a look at it. Although much of that initial excitement has passed, there is still a bustling fan community around the device. What of people who missed out on ordering it during the Kickstarter period? Well, for a while now, people have been able to order an Ouya through the official website. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal however, Julie Uhrman announced that the system will even be coming to the retail space. After March, which is when backers get their units, the system will hit a variety of storefronts in June. Then, those looking for an Ouya will only have to visit their local Best Buy, GameStop, or Target. Those not interested in picking up the console that way will still have the option of buying straight through Amazon. As previously announced with the Kickstarter campaign, an Ouya system will cost $100 which comes with one controller. Controllers themselves sell for $50. Might you be willing to pick up an Ouya if you see it on store shelves?
  10. With Ouya dev kits out and about, Android game developers have had a chance to get their hands on the little kick-started console. What do they think about it? Well, the controller could be better, and these devs have a few suggestions for the creator to take into account before releasing the final product to the world. These creator's did take these devs' suggestions into account and have resulted in a cross-shaped D-pad replacing the original circular pad, as well as the analog sticks becoming rubberized on top, allowing for better grip. The sensitivity of the touch pad has also been improved and the triggers have been placed closer to the controller's body. Lastly, the security of the battery's compartment has been improved. Ouya is expected to hit the market in April, so you can see these improvements, as well as any others they make until then, for yourself. But Ouya isn't the only Android-powered console getting a controller redesign, as it looks like PlayJam's GameStick will also be doing so. The difference between the GameStick and Ouya, of course, is the fact that Ouya is a home console and the GameStick is merely a controller and a flash drive. Needless to say, a perfected controller for the GameStick is kind of important, since that's most of what it is. And unlike Ouya, this controller redesign is in picture form: PlayJam CEO Jasper Smith posted this image in a Kickstarter update, where he mentioned, "our aim was to create a controller that was not intimidating for a casual gamer and great to use for an experienced player." He went on to say that "not all of you liked our initial concept, but the feedback was very constructive, detailed, and really useful." The GameStick's controller redesign is a result of feedback from its Kickstarter backers. Some of its changes include the analog sticks being raised for more precise tilting, the controller's edges becoming curved at every corner, and pretty much cutting back on its NES-inspired design in favor of better grip. As for its HDMI dongle, the position of the storage slot has changed and now resides at the top of the controller. Furthermore, a charging docking attachment has been added to allow the GameStick to support new peripherals such as a keyboard. It's nice to see these developers taking user feedback into account with their consoles' controller layouts. This can only mean good things once we can finally hold these things in our hands. Which Android-powered console are you most excited about?
  11. Jordan Haygood

    GameStick Redesign

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © PlayJam

  12. Just last November, the Kickstarter funding for a game called Strike Suit Zero was successful. Raising over $100,000, developers Born Ready Games were ready to finish their game. As they had already put work into the title, backers weren't forced to wait over a year to get a taste of the game. Today, a day before its own launch date, Strike Suit Zero has landed on Steam. The game is of the space combat genre which is fairly neglected these days. It also happens to feature some impressive polygonal visuals for indie naysayers tired of pixel-looking worlds. Beyond that, there are also extras added thanks to surpassing their initial Kickstarter goal such as mod tools and an eventual release for Mac and Linux machines. Oculus Rift support is also on the table whenever that item is available. The game is currently 20% off on Steam during its debut week. If you don't want it on Steam then it is also on Green Man Gaming and GamersGate (neither is discounted though). GOG will be getting the game as well shortly. Those who need to take a look at the game before plopping down some funds should view the release trailer here:
  13. The next project for American McGee and Spicy Horse is already in the books, but the developers are seeking more direct funding through Kickstarter. Akaneiro: Demon Hunters is currently tagged as a free-to-play action RPG inspired by the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale and sits in a rather nice position on Steam Greenlight. The game“s art design is reminiscent of Okami which also utilizes traditional ink, woodblock and watercolors in an art style known as Ukiyo-e. The developers began working on Akaneiro in 2011 and placed the game in closed beta in November, which should be changed to an open beta this month. The game is deep into its development cycle, so where will the Kickstarter funding be applied? This project“s goal of $200,000 will be utilized to help the game reach its full potential with tablet ports, community support, cooperative multiplayer and an equipment crafting system. The overwhelming success of other established companies like Double Fine are likely to have prompted Spicy Horse to provide some rather lofty stretch goals like two expansions and PvP arena. The reward tiers are pretty much what is to be expected, mostly filled with digital goodies. Do you have $10,000 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, you could net a fully paid trip to Shanghai for a studio tour, design a mini-boss and enjoy a dinner with American McGee in San Fransisco. Is this a project you would consider backing?
  14. Sure, the Ouya Android-based home console may have just begun shipping out to developers, but that doesn't mean they're the only game in town. If you had looked at Kickstarter before, there were Android dongles which offered most of the same features minus a proprietary new controller and games outside of the Android's marketplace. Still, the Ouya resonated as being something completely different and the massive amounts of funding it received make this pretty apparent. Today, the GameStick has launched and it is being touted as "the most portable TV games console ever created" (by the team themselves). Why is it worth comparing to Ouya? First off, the device states that it is "open" as the very first fact. Yes, the Ouya was adored for being hacker friendly and it feels GameStick has decided to run with that mindset as well. Secondly, it comes with a proprietary controller too. It seems to take on more of a NES style than the oddly-shaped Xbox controller of Ouya. Beyond that it is also implied that the Android marketplace of apps will be accessible through it by default, which is unfortunately not true of Ouya. Apparently they have also been working on the project for over a year. If that's the case though they are probably pretty displeased they didn't get their product page online before the Ouya obsession phase. Beyond that though, it appears to be more of the same sort of Android dongle that is already on the market (and Kickstarter). However, any project like this that gets attention must now bear the comparison. Ouya units were effectively pre-ordered for $95/99, but will cost a little over that if any people want to buy them later. In comparison, the first purchase tier of the GameStick is $69 (but that tier has already sold out). Their standard price will be $79. The difference in price between the two systems is probably determined by the one main change, which is their processors. Ouya ships with Tegra3 quad-core, while the GameStick is currently using the dual-core Amlogic 8726-MX. Do you think this project will succeed? If there are too many, will people eventually stop caring about Android TV devices?
  15. You may have seen a Kickstarter to create a convention tailored to LGBT gamers. You may also have heard about it running into some legal issues over its name. The fundraising itself was a great success, reaching over three times its goal amount. However, the legal issues were real and have finally been settled. You see, someone out there owns the term "Gaymer" and wasn't exactly willing to let a convention run with the name GaymerCon. That doesn't mean he was opposed to the term being used at all though. After everything has been worked out, the convention is now known as Gaymer X. Although this seems a more confusing name than the first, fans will still recognize what it is. They have also launched a social networking site called GaymerConnect, which is meant to get gamers of all gender identities and sexualities befriending each other over the games they play. Of course, it still retains the term "Gaymer" which has been a hot button issue within the community due to not reflecting the wide spectrum of LGBT people. Regardless, with legal fiascos avoided, Gaymer X is set to go for August 3-4th in San Francisco.
  16. Marcus Estrada

    Ouya Units Shipping to Developers

    Just as was announced earlier, Ouya systems are being sent out to everyone who pledged to the Kickstarter's developer tier. Some 1,2000 systems have just been shipped via air mail and will begin arriving on excited developer doorsteps soon. Some doubted they would make it to this moment, but soon enough people will be able to experiment with the systems. These first run Ouyas are special for a few reasons. For one, they have a limited edition black color but they will also be different from the final versions shipping to everyone else. The current Ouya build will be one that still needs to undergo changes to the controller, as well as the system itself to fix bugs. Julie Uhrman said this in her latest post: "They“re a work in progress, so we want your feedback. (Yes, we know the D-pad and triggers on the controller still need work — the final version will be different.) There will also be plenty of bugs…help us find them so we can fix ”em!" The D-pad design is one which has been an issue since it was first shown, but it seems there is still more work to go with it. Those who pledged to lower tiers are set to get their consoles in March, as predicted.
  17. If you didn't know who Austin Wintory was before, you probably have come to realize who he is by now. The composer was nominated for a Grammy and more recently won a VGA award for his work on the Journey soundtrack. Before all this excitement came to pass though he was signing the contract to score another game. However, those expecting him to only work on other artful games would be wrong. Today it was officially announced that Wintory will be providing the soundtrack for Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards Reloaded. This news came via the game's Kickstarter page, probably due to Wintory himself spilling the beans in an interview last night. In reality, the plan had been in the work for months before these announcements. Wintory was contacted by Replay Games first and was receptive due to it being a sort of fantasy project for him. So now we know the soundtrack for this Leisure Suit Larry remake is going to be good stuff. However, we still all have to wait for the game to be completed. Currently, the time frame sets the game at a launch of sometime next year.
  18. Marcus Estrada

    Ouya Dev Kits Set to Ship on Time

    Do you remember the Ouya? It's that "hacker friendly" game console which had an amazingly successful Kickstarter campaign. Not only did it reach its funding goal within the first day, it managed to make over 900% of its goal. During the fundraising period, it saw many updates and forged agreements with various game companies. After finishing, things became pretty quiet. Today, Ouya founder Julie Uhrman made a post to the official Ouya blog letting everyone know the state of things. For those developers who paid a higher price to secure an early development kit - you'll be getting a system on time. Initially they were promised to come around December and now we've got confirmation that they will make that time frame. The systems will ship off on December 28th and reach eager developer's doorsteps soon afterward. Only those who paid for the higher, developer tier of Ouya will get their systems early. However, if you want one too then check out a contest which was also unveiled today. From December 10th to 20th, they will be giving away a system a day. Check the contest link to find out how to get a chance at scoring a free Ouya. Do you think the Ouya will be a big hit? Has it lost its hype?
  19. Marcus Estrada

    Kickstarter Game Haunts Hits Trouble

    As we all know, Kickstarter is a very fun service to browse through. At times, many even will pledge funds to projects that seem especially good. Double Fine Adventure started the big wave of popularity and others have also made big money since then, such as Ouya or Project Eternity. However, most projects end up with much less funding, and although it is their goal, doesn't secure the game's future. Yesterday, Mob Rules Games had to post a sad update on their Kickstarter page. Their game Haunts: The Manse Macabre was fully funded back at the start of July but since ran into issues. At first, there was only one programmer. Once he started to get busy with other projects, they hired another. Paying their salaries was taking a lot of money (probably more than they estimated) and now both programmers have left the project. Their money from Kickstarter and a funder has already been spent and they're left with an unfinished game. Could these things have been avoided? Possibly, but it would have taken a lot more forethought, and possibly better contracts. Despite the massive setback, Mob Rules Games is now trying to pitch their idea to another game company. If the game does get picked up by them and completed, Kickstarter rewards of download games will still be honored. For now though no one knows what will happen with the project. Does this mean that we should all assume panic mode for Kickstarter? No, although it is a good reminder that just because a game succeeds on the site doesn't mean it will come to fruition. Were you interested in Haunts? Are there any Kickstarters you are worried about failing?
  20. We first heard of Gambitious way back in April and now they've finally launched. The service is most easily understood as Kickstarter if Kickstarter were only for promoting game projects. Although they are currently based in Europe, and posting requires some EU-specific requirements, they are hoping to expand their service to the US soon. Earlier this month Kickstarter shared how much games generated for the site so they may not take kindly to a newcomer. Why was Gambitious launched?: "Gambitious is the first professional crowdfunding platform exclusively dedicated to the games industry. We are here to help independent game developers and even publishers reach the widest audience with their proposals and to attract the funding they need to complete the project and to bring it to market." It will probably help them in the long run to be dedicated solely to games, but it may take a while before people find it a viable alternative. Everyone still knows the name Kickstarter thanks to massively successful projects like Double Fine's. Right now there are a handful of game projects running. The spotlighted title is Mushroom Men: Truffle Trouble which is currently 1.3% funded. Is a game-specific crowdfunding source something you might use?
  21. Marcus Estrada

    Review: FTL: Faster Than Light

    Developer: Subset Games Publisher: Subset Games Platform: PC (GOG, Steam, Web) ESRB: N/R (E10+ suggested) Release Date: Out now Have you ever wanted to play a real-time strategy/roguelike title with a space theme? If you“ve got such oddly specific tastes, then a new indie game has just arrived to fulfill that need. It“s called FTL: Faster Than Light, and it is an RTS and roguelike hybrid. It gives you control of a spaceship which must travel from one side of the galaxy to the other in order to stop some invading aliens. It“s also pretty hard - but is it too hard to be good? Many of us consider ourselves fans of RPGs, but how many are also interested in the subgenre of roguelikes? A roguelike has various hallmarks of your standard RPG but then enforces rules like permanent death for characters. Sure, it“s one thing to play a hard game - but to play one where you“ve only got one life? It“s pretty tough, but also a lot of fun if you“re into it. In FTL you“ve definitely got that one life to deal with and that makes every second that much more tense. Every decision is more calculated. Some gamers just won“t find the roguelike elements enjoyable, but for the rest of us it“s an incredibly thrilling game. Once you do die, which you will, you“re able to restart with your same ship or just return back to the dock to start a brand new journey. Of course, either way you“re going to have your ship back to its basic components and levels. Thankfully each journey has a score attached to it so even when you die you might find that you“ve made a brand new high score. Enough about death though, let“s discuss how the game itself plays. Once you“ve selected your ship you head out into the galaxy. There are a handful of sectors and different paths you may take through your journey. The map marks which sectors are friendly, neutral, and hostile. Each sector mostly fits in with those statements although you“ll still come across rogue pirates and distress signals in each. No matter what, you“re never likely to stay in one sector for too long as ships are coming to track you down. If you“re lazing around for too long they will catch up to you and make your trip a whole lot more dangerous. Exploring is useful as it helps you find distress signals, stores, and friendly people who are apt to give you items. Distress calls may find you fixing a broken ship component, sharing fuel, or fending off a hostile ship. Regardless of what you do there“s a tendency to be rewarded for exploring. This isn“t always the case though as sometimes you may answer a distress signal, pry open an old ship, and find that the angry alien inside has jumped into your ship to wreak havoc. The unpredictability is fun, although sometimes unfair. The real meat of FTL comes from battles. These are typically stumbled upon, and can sometimes even be avoided. Regardless, once you“ve initiated a battle, it“s probably a good idea to go through with it. In order to fight, you“ve got to make use of the ship“s various weapons as well as manage power. Your ship has an upgradeable power supply and each bit of power is used to keep weapons systems (also upgradeable) online. At the start of the game you“ll probably be able to keep all your ship“s components powered up, but after buying new weapons or upgrades you“ll have to do more. Either way, once your weapons are ready you target where on the opponent“s ship to strike. Both ships have rooms that house the shield, weapons, drones, oxygen, and other systems. By targeting specific systems you can cause all kinds of trouble, such as targeting the oxygen system to make their shipmates run out of breathable air. There“s a fair bit of strategizing involved. Of course, enemy ships can also target your systems right back. When an enemy breaks through your own shield, they will be able to shoot at specific things or simply shoot beams out to set fire to various rooms. Once you“ve been hit, you“ll find yourself scrambling to send the crew to repair items or clear out enemies and fire. Oftentimes it“s too hectic to take care of your own ship while trying to shoot the enemy in different ways, which is why there“s a handy pause function. While in pause mode you can still set orders but without the worry of something happening while you“re thinking. It“s so important to have a crew to help you because they are the main way you“ll fix your ship parts. It“s possible to have augmentations to your ship or drones to take care of specific things, but the crew is often a big help. If your weapons system is targeted and gets hit, then you won“t even be able to use all your vast weaponry until it“s patched up. Similarly, if there are cracks in your ship from being hit, they will slowly suck the oxygen out of the room. Fires, too, are a huge issue which are best put out by crew or by simply opening up doors to the outside to suck out the oxygen yourself - just make sure the doors get closed again afterward! For all the many ways a battle can go, it“s a shame that there aren“t more weapons and drones available to use. They are sometimes picked up while exploring or from a vendor, but overall there is only a handful. You“re also only able to equip a set amount depending on which ship you have. It would be cool to have the ability to load a ship to the brim with firepower, but this isn“t really a possibility. Although there are nine ships in all (and nine alternates), only one is unlocked at the start and there is no way to create your own from scratch. More weapon types are something that you“ll find yourself longing for after a bit of playing. Graphically, the game is pretty attractive although it could have more done with it. The graphics themselves are done in a retro pixel sort of way but it“s a clean art style. The ships have distinct looks and are cool but beyond that there“s little to see. There are times in the game that random events will occur, and they may talk about all sorts of things happening, but you won“t get to see them. You“re just presented purely with text of things like an alien horse race showing your crew to some items, or slicing a crew member in half, or any other number of things. The plus is that there are many events you“ll see over the course of playing but the con is they“re things you must imagine in your minds eye. It just doesn“t seem like it would be that much work to put in a bit more effort visually. Despite a lack of scope, FTL is a very fun game to play. It manages to be easy to understand but hard to win at. These are the kind of games that not everyone will love but some will find an addicting experience. It“s just so fun to try and complete the game over and over again. Death is only a small setback to starting fresh and getting further than before. If you are extremely lucky and skillful then the game can be beat in an hour. However, even if you do finish it, you“ll probably want to go back many more times over with new ships and strategies. If you“re someone who finds enjoyment with RTS or roguelike games, then this is worth trying out. For those who like both genres, it is an instant buy. For $10, it manages to offer infinite replayability despite being somewhat limited in scope. FTL: Faster Than Light could be better with the addition of more content, but as it stands the game is already massively fun. Pros: + Massive replay value due to randomized worlds and variety of ships + Blends RTS and roguelike mechanics well + Clean, pleasant graphics Cons: - Not enough weapon/drone type available - No ship customization from the ground up Overall Score: 8 (Out of 10) Great Faster Than Light is an addictive blend of the RTS and roguelike genres that is bound to please gamers.
  22. The spirit of the CRPG is alive and well at Obsidian, but apparently no one there wants to fund it. Instead, "Project Destiny" has taken its show on the road to Kickstarter. Obsidian has a new game in the works, currently under the project name of "Project Destiny," which draws its inspiration from classic CRPGs, such as Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Icewind Dale. Surely you've heard of them. Those inspirations aren't coming from nowhere; industry RPG vets Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, and Tim Cain are there. If the names don't sound familiar, you may be familiar with some games they've worked on, including the original Icewind Dale series, Fallout, its sequel, and New Vegas, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. Yeah, that's the pedigree we're talking. Of course, this will only come to fruition with some dough-re-mi backing it, and they say that traditional methods have failed, so we're back to where Kickstarter comes in. At more than $280,000 out of their $1.1 million goal, things are trucking along pretty well, especially since there are still 32 days to contribute. Some backer rewards include things like in-game items, a cloth map, digital and physical copies of the game, a hard-cover collector's book for the game, and some other stuff. What should we expect? Obsidian suggests that "Project Eternity will take the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur“s Gate, add in the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and tie it all together with the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment." If that sounds like your bag, hey, you can take part in making it happen. If anyone can create that game, they're probably the people to do it.
  23. Marcus Estrada

    Games are a Big Business on Kickstarter

    Yesterday Kickstarter shared a very interesting post on their site. According to their many numbers and charts, there have been eleven projects on the site which have passed the million dollar mark. Of the few, seven were games (or game related). This is a huge deal because this means games are the most pledged to projects so far this year. Games have generated some $50 million so far while the second biggest category, film, has garnered $42 million. Striking about this is that games have never been the head honcho of Kickstarter before. Way back in 2009 games only managed to pick up a little under $50 thousand. It took a while but now games are definitely a big part of the site. In fact, 23% of dollars pledged so far this year have been towards games. What caused such a big change? The post points to the Double Fine Adventure game, which makes sense considering many gamers discovered Kickstarter through it. Back in March this project was big news for reaching and far surpassing its goal in record time. More recently, the Ouya managed to fund nearly 1000% over what it asked. It seems games definitely have a place on the site and will continue to have a commanding lead in regards to funding for a while. Have you pledged to any Kickstarter projects? If so what were they? If not, why?
  24. Marcus Estrada

    New Broken Sword Lands on Kickstarter

    Ah yes, it's been a while since the focus on Kickstarter has been for any actual game. Today a Kickstarter popped up for the next entry in the Broken Sword series: Broken Sword - The Serpent's Curse. The goal is $400,000 and at this very moment they're well on their way to reaching $100,000 just by today's end. In case you're not familiar with the series, let's give it a little background. They're all point-and-click adventure games which were mostly critically acclaimed at the time of release. The first game was Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars and released back in 1996. So far there have been four games in the series with the last being Broken Sword: The Angel of Death in 2006. Two of the titles were done with 3D models but the earlier ones were all 2D art. The current Kickstarter project will return to its original 2D style. As usual, if you pledge $15 then you'll be paying for a download of the game (for Windows or Mac). Developer Revolution Software hopes to get those out by April of next year. Unfortunately if you're looking for a physical version then you're going to have to ante up $100 for the pledge level that includes a boxed copy. It looks like this latest Broken Sword is a return to form and that it will definitely meet its goal before 30 days are up. Have you played any Broken Sword games? Are you interested in trying one out?
  25. Since the OUYA console debuted on Kickstarter it has gotten a huge amount of attention. Both positive and negative comments have been spread about the device which has yet to start production and as it stands nobody knows how things will play out. Regardless, the OUYA will certainly be an interesting part of gaming's history in the future. So, let's just ignore the logistics of when and how the system will launch and instead assume that everything goes according to plan. Let's say that in March 2013 the console is just rolling out of factories and heading into the homes of some 80,000 people who paid to receive the system on Kickstarter. What then? Who will this device appeal to once it's available and for sale? Casuals There's one audience that those writing about are mostly ignoring. Instead of it, they speak of how the device is basically a tablet and that it will be unable to run games comparable to a PS3 or 360. Sure, that's true, but these systems didn't come out costing around $100 either. So, who might this appeal to? The casual market, of course! No doubt there are many folks out in the world who love those games they play on their smart devices. Sure, they're not interested in playing the next Bioshock but they enjoy spending some downtime with Angry Birds. If someone were to approach them with a way to play their portable games on their living room TV they might just jump for it. Some would no doubt have the same reaction as more core gamers about not wanting to play the games like that, but others might be quite pleased. Smartphone screens are pretty small and cramped, so why not have some fun with a "bigger" version of the games? The cost seems low enough to interest this group of consumers at least a little bit. However, they would probably ahve little to no knowledge about the whole "point" of the OUYA at all. That the system is a devkit or is made to push indie titles would fall on deaf ears. However, if the OUYA could harness the casual smartphone/tablet gaming market they probably wouldn't care much that their ideas go completely ignored by this audience. The question is, would this audience even be aware of the system? How would the OUYA team work to market to those who are wholly unaware of Kickstarter? Tech Savvy Collectors You probably know someone who fits into this category or maybe you are this person. You know the type, they like to have their hands on every new piece of technology as soon as it's available. Anyone who falls into this category probably looks at the OUYA with at least a bit of excitement. Although it's relatively easy to modify game consoles, smart TVs, and many other devices to bend to your will, this one at least touts that as an expressly allowed feature. The simple fact that a device announces it is friendly to the hacking community is mostly unheard of in consumer tech. Companies tend to do their hardest to keep it at bay. Since the OUYA is different it seems to get a lot of interest from the tech-obssessed crowd. Even if they don't care about indie development they care about being able to put things like emulators onto it or maybe hacking it into a simple media server. Why not? If there's one thing this group of people can't get enough of it's having loads of devices that have many of the same features. There's nothing wrong with it either, just as long as you have the money for it! Gamers Hoping It'll Make a Splash So many people are wound up by the OUYA. Although indie developers can easily publish their own games on the PC in many ways, or even get onto consoles with marketplaces like Xbox Live Indie Games, it still feels like a lot of games can't get visibility. It seems to be because of this that so many are funding this system. With the freedom for everyone to create it only means more and more games for the owner. The hope definitely seems to be that really great games will arrive and show everyone that you don't need a massive budget to make something special. Strangely, it seems that many people in this group are both excited by the prospect of new indie titles but also sending a different message to the OUYA developers. What do I mean? Well, there was recently a survey put to those interested in the system about what games they wanted to see most. What games ended up being the top dogs? Oh, titles like Minecraft, Torchlight, Limbo, and others. Sure, these games are indie titles but they are massive indie darlings. They are not the small games that desperately seek attention. Basically every title on the list (that was an indie game) is one that has had critical acclaim and success. Many gamers want an OUYA but are, like the casual audience, are not quite wanting it for the reasons that the development team hoped they would want it. Developers Of course small developers are part of the audience. If there's one person the OUYA is definitely marketed towards it is all these people. While a two person group probably wouldn't be able to buy some massively expensive development kit for an upcoming system, they would probably be able to pick up one of these. The appeal to make development more open is very appreciated, especially if developers know that there is already a built-in audience. The audience is of course the tons of people who have contributed to the Kickstarter. Sure, it's not as much of an audience as the PC world, but in a way that might be better. With a smaller install base there will be less content and it will all be right there for you to access, instead of on some random homepage somewhere. The appeal is already causing reactions. So far, over 500 developer special rewards have been pledged to. Interest is certainly there and so hopefully it will remain through development and eventual production of OUYA. While it is easy to imagine possible issues with a fully open game marketplace, there is still something to be said for it even being allowed in this gaming age. The appeal is strong and expect to see a few "bigger" indie names showing up if the device does well. At the end of the day it's impossible to predict who will be snapping up OUYA units but we already have hints. Some gamers are going gaga for the device while others are keeping it at arms length. Some developers have embraced it, such as Robotoki, but others are still not sure what to think. What do you think? Who will be around to welcome the OUYA once it is finally out in the world?
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