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Found 751 results

  1. Jason Clement

    Review: Xeodrifter

    Developer: Renegade Kid Publisher: Renegade Kid Platforms: 3DS eShop, PC (Steam) Release Date: December 11, 2014 ESRB: E for Everyone Note: This review is based on the 3DS version of the game When playing a game, you can usually tell early on if the developer had a lot of passion for the project or not. A game that feels soulless often is because the developer never quite believed in it enough to make it the best they could before releasing it. On the flipside, one that is brimming with passion will shine through right away. That said, I could tell Renegade Kid was the latter example while playing through Xeodrifter, their latest 2D action-platformer, and it becomes even more evident if you read up on the history of how it came about. Essentially, lead designer Jools Watsham dove into development on the game out of a passion for the Metroidvania genre (as well as science fiction in general) and what resulted in the end is a fitting tribute to a dear classic—Super Metroid. The plot in Xeodrifter is relatively simple—you play as an unnamed, spacefaring explorer whose ship is damaged by a rogue asteroid. As it turns out, the ship's warp core is damaged, and you'll have to explore four nearby planets in order to find enough material to produce a new warp core. Interestingly enough, the game leaves everything to you right at the outset; there is no hand-holding or even a tutorial (though one could easily look at the digital manual if they needed help with controls). The game assumes you are smart enough to figure things out on your own, which is largely a good thing as everyone should be able to figure out the basic controls (i.e. run, jump, shoot), though I am surprised it assumes that the player knows to press B + Down to fall through thin platforms. However, it does leave you in a precarious situation at the outset—which planet do you go to first? Given that you can go to any of the four available planets, it initially appears that the design is non-linear, though a quick tour of the playable area in each will reveal that this is not the case as there are clearly barriers set to prevent you from progressing out of order and areas that appear to be out of reach. There is a set, linear path you're intended to take, but you're supposed to find out where to start on your own. It doesn't take too long to find out which is the correct first planet to visit, but it did feel strange that it doesn't at least start you on the right path instead of having you play through trial-and-error first. In typical Metroidvania fashion, you'll explore an area of a planet, fight a mini-boss, and then gain a new ability. Then you'll go to another world, find areas that were previously inaccessible, use your new ability to proceed further, and repeat the process. In this sense, Renegade Kid does a remarkable job of replicating the Metroid formula here; it doesn't come off as tired or uninspired. There are a number of different enemies on each planet that you'll encounter, each with their own attack patterns, and there are different environments you'll need to traverse, such as water/liquid and moving over lava, or flying upwards with a rocket boost. Everything mentioned thus far is pretty standard Metroidvania fare, but the main thing that separates Xeodrifter from the rest is its inclusion of the concept of jumping between the foreground and background to progress—a mechanic that originated in previous Renegade Kid title, Mutant Mudds. In the latter mentioned title, you would traverse both planes in order to proceed through levels, but it's a bit more cleverly implemented in Xeodrifter as it actively plays a part in some action-puzzle segments. For example, you may need to speed boost across molten terrain but also jump between the foreground and background when you reach dead ends in both, or you may have to do the same while using the super jump move (similar to the Metroid series' Shinespark jump). There's only one type of boss throughout the game (with different color variants), which is slightly disappointing, but it's used in an interesting way. Each time you come across it, the creature will have learned at least one new attack method. It's similar in a way to Mega Man bosses where you need to nail down the attack patterns before you can beat them, but in Xeodrifter it actually trains the player to learn these patterns over each new encounter while at the same time making each fight more and more complex by consecutively adding more attack patterns. These boss fights are difficult, for sure, but they never feel unfair; you simply have to be on the ball with memorizing everything to succeed. One of the most charming aspects of the game by far is its 8-bit-inspired visuals, which fits the world and environments to a "T"; In many ways, it's almost like a cuter, more family-friendly Metroid, with the short chibi-esque spacefarer protagonist wearing a spacesuit that almost looks like a red hazmat suit (the boss character has a pretty adorable design as well). And while the soundtrack isn't quite as good as Mutant Mudd's, there are a few tracks that I really enjoyed; it's mostly upbeat fare, so it's in keeping with the game's lighter atmosphere. In the end, I completed the game in just over three and a half hours, which included extra backtracking to hunt down many of the remaining items, meaning the actual campaign from start to finish comes in at around two and a half to three hours. It's definitely on the shorter side, though the pacing is excellent and never leaves you feeling as if it's overstayed its welcome, making it feel like it's just the right length. That aside, Xeodrifter is a lot of fun and a Metroid surrogate worthy of your time. Pros + Great use of the Metroidvania formula, backtracking + Game feels like an ode to certain games, but is original enough to be its own thing + Mutant Mudds-esque visuals work well with the environment and atmosphere Cons - May be a bit short for some people - Use of the same boss over and over is a bit disappointing Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Xeodrifter is the Metroid title we wanted but never got from Nintendo, and though it's a bit short, it's a rollicking good time while it lasts. Disclosure: This review is based on a 3DS eShop downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  2. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Dying Light

    Developer: Techland Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Steam) ESRB: M for Mature Release Date: January 27, 2014 Note: This review is based on the PS4 version of the game When Dead Island was about to launch in 2011 I was quite excited. It looked like the next zombie game which would differentiate itself from the pack. In the end, I ended up being severely let down by what turned out to be a capable but clunky experience. Fast forward a few years and now we have Dying Light. Although the name avoids painting it as a sequel to Dead Island, it feels so much like one. As sequels are meant to do, it improves on nearly every aspect of the existing zombie formula and manages to create something unique. Although it may not be a rousing success either, it“s certainly a step in the right direction. Dying Light introduces us to the story of Kyle Crane, a sort of undercover agent who has gone to the fictional location of Harran in order to liberate some information. Unfortunately, right out of the gate he screws up and attracts the attention of survivors—and zombies. He“s saved by a band of survivors, which of course means he now owes them his life. It also happens to provide an “in” for him to gather intel and hopefully discover where the target resides. Of course, the story falls into a predictable pattern where Kyle isn“t sure where his allegiances lie, and it never quite transcends that samey storyline. Luckily, the game doesn“t live or die based on its storyline. Instead, most of the player“s focus will be continually pointed at gameplay itself. At zillions of points during your playthrough you must traverse Hassan in order to collect items, search an area, or talk to NPCs. This also happens to be a huge, sprawling landscape. Without a convenient method of fast travel (although a zipcord does help once unlocked) you“ve got to trust that Kyle“s arms and legs can get you from one side of the map to the other. He“s got some pretty great freerunning (or parkour) skills to make it through alive. This movement mechanic is handled surprisingly well. Although not all ledges can be climbed, if you see something that looks ripe for grabbing onto it“s usually possible. Instead of dealing with hordes of zombies on the street you can simply take to the roofs and push lone zombies off them. When a situation gets too hot there“s usually an option to sprint off and make your way to a safer location. At least, that“s true during the day. At night a special kind of zombie lurks and is best avoided until getting leveled up a fair bit. These creatures lurking in the darkness can kill you in one hit! Oh, and nighttime itself is also outrageously dark which lends itself to unexpected deaths for unprepared players. When you choose to engage in combat (or more likely, are forced to as part of a mission) things feel a bit too similar to Dead Island. Melee attacks are slow and deliberate, which lends itself to a more strategic sort of play—but that“s hard to do with zombies piling up from all directions. Although there are guns to be found, there aren“t many. The real killing blow in early stages of Dying Light is that weapons break quickly. You“ll have to scrounge about through drawers, enemy corpses, and locked chests to collect items to fix weapons a limited amount of times. Destructible weapons is usually an annoying design choice as proves to be the case here. There are some lovely aspects to be found while playing. The world is gorgeous (if slightly less pristine on PS4 compared to PC), there“s a ton of side missions, large variety of weapons to find or craft, and a well-oiled freerunning mechanic. However, these strides don“t fully overstep the shadow of Dead Island. Techland has still provided less than optimal combat and an average storyline. With that said, most of the time my experience with Dying Light was enjoyable. After shutting off the critical side of my brain and leveling up a bit, the game brings a satisfying zombie romp to current generation platforms. Pros: + Vast location full of freerunning promise + Tons of weapons to choose from + Multitude of ways to level up Kyle Cons: - Uninspiring, predictable story - Clunky fight mechanics - Slow progression from zero to hero Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent Dying Light has tons of promise but Techland ended up falling back on existing design decisions rather than fully embracing change. Disclosure: This review is based on downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  3. Stardock is synonymous with some of the best real-time strategy games in the business (including such hits as the Galactic Civilization and Sins of a Solar Empire series), and now they're looking to change things up further with the genre by introducing an economic-based RTS title. Enter Offworld Trading Company, where money is your best weapon and defense. The plot sees Earth being tapped out of resources by megacorporations, thus humankind turns its attention to Mars as a lucrative new frontier. You'll buy and sell resources, food, water and more as you attempt to outplay competitors and stay alive, and even make use of market manipulation tactics such as hacking, black-market pirate raids and more. If that isn't interesting enough for you, the project is being helmed by Mohawk Games, an indie developer being headed up by Chris Sorensen (the lead designer on Civilization IV), who is also joined by Dorian Newcomb (the art director on Civilization IV). Offworld Trading Company makes its debut on Steam Early Access today, so if you like economics and RTS games, you can check it out here. Also, check out the announcement trailer below. Source: Press Release Will you be checking out Offworld Trading Company?
  4. It's been a few months since I did a proper giveaway (tossing unused bundle keys at you doesn't count) since I haven't really had the means, but I'm back with something akin to a vengeance and offering up the chance for one lucky Podunker to win the game JumpJet Rex on Steam! JumpJet Rex is a fun and challenging sidescroller developed and published by TreeFortress Games, where you guide a "T-Rex with freakin' jet boots!" (their quote, but it's the perfect description) through a handful of levels collecting coins and passing through rings to unlock the level's exit. It's in Early Access right now so it's not totally finished, but the gameplay mechanics are sound and the levels on display are a lot of fun, so if the game looks like something you'd like to play (check it out on the Steam store in the link at the beginning of this paragraph) then keep reading to find out how to enter! HOW TO ENTER See, told you you'd find out how. Anyway, to enter yourself in this here drawing, simply post in this thread and tell me what your favorite game with dinosaurs in it is. It doesn't have to be a game that focuses solely on dinosaurs, just one in which they happen to appear in some form (so yes, Chrono Trigger counts) even if it's not a major part of the game. If you can't think of any, your favorite game with dragons will also be acceptable. But of course, before you go make that post, have a look at the next section... IMPORTANT THINGS/TIMING/ETC. -Contest is for one (1) copy of the game on Steam. -The contest will be closed to new entries on Monday, February 2 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time. Any entries made after that time won't be counted. I should be around to pick a winner shortly after that time, and the winner will be notified by PM on the forums. (I'll also post the winner here, of course.) -I'll need to add the winner on Steam (if we're not already friends) since the game is in my inventory. I don't suspect that'll be an issue for anyone, but I'm putting it here anyway. -The contest is open to everyone (including staff members, obviously), however, if you are a new member, you must have made an introduction thread in the New Members forum before posting in this thread. If you post your intro after entering here or don't post one at all, your entry won't be counted. At least pretend you're not just here to get a free game, 'kay? -Not that this is really that big a deal, but for the sake of thoroughness, it should be noted this contest is in no way conducted or endorsed by Game Podunk or TreeFortress Games. And...I think that's it! If I remember anything else important, I'll make a big, easy to notice post detailing the change, but everything should be covered. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, otherwise, start getting those entries in, and good luck!
  5. Marcus Estrada

    2014 Steam Holiday Sale is Now Upon Us

    It's that time of the year again! Although there was recently a weeklong Steam sale, that was not the sale which whips people up into a fury. That honor belongs to the Steam Holiday Sale. It's live from right now until January 2nd and offers discounts on thousands of games. As always, there's also a collection of highlighted deals each day. Here's the first round of Featured Deals: Dark Souls II - $14.79 Euro Truck Simulator 2 - $3.74 Civilization Beyond Earth - $29.99 Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes - $13.39 Rocksmith 2014 Edition - $20.99 Sniper Elite III - $24.99 Space Engineers - $9.99 State of Decay - $4.99 Total War Rome II: Emperor Edition - $14.98 Every 24 hours there will be a new Community's Choice game, and voting rewards you with a Holiday Trading Card. Finally, the front page also houses Flash Deals which last for 12 hours each. Expect to find that browsing or purchasing on Steam will be quite slow/broken until people start to calm down. Are there any games you hope to see discounted during the sale?
  6. So...you all know the drill by now. I have Steam keys I don't want or need, and you're gonna help me get rid of them. By taking them! For free! But before I get everyone too excited, let me back up for a minute and put this here: RULES -To ask for a Steam key you need to have made 10+ posts anywhere on the forum, including an introduction post in the New Members area. For those who might just be joining, take a look around! You'll probably find that you'll end up making more than 10 posts by the time you're done exploring. -On that note, if a staff member finds your posts to be too spammy, they won't count. -Just so there's no confusion, staff members are eligible! Don't be shy! And...I think that's all I wanted to do as far as rules. Now on to the gamez! GAMES If you see a "(x2)" by something it just means I have two keys for it. It's just so there's less confusion if someone has asked for a game and then you see it's still on the list, it means I had more than one. [check back later!] As usual, just post here and ask for something!
  7. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Holiday Auction is Valve's Wacky New Event

    Are you raring to nab some games on Steam but unwilling to wait for the upcoming Steam sale? Well, perhaps the Steam Holiday Auction is just what you need. This intriguing event, which just launched this afternoon, allows Steam users to get rid of their mostly useless backgrounds, emotes, and Trading Cards to turn them into gems. What do gems do? They act as a new fake form of currency which you then use to place bids on one of 200,000 game auctions. These auctions are live right now and you can bid until the 15th at 7:45 AM PST. At that point the winning bidders will receive their game and new auctions will continue to turn over every 45 minutes. It's an interesting concept, but it's already seeing many high gem bids placed which cuts out the fun for most average users. However, at this time there's still a lot of cheap auctions so keep an eye out! You can also spend gems on the Booster Pack Creator if that's more up your alley.
  8. Marcus Estrada

    Review: The Marvellous Miss Take

    Developer: Wonderstruck Publisher: Rising Star Games Platform: PC (Steam) ESRB: N/A (T suggested) Release Date: November 20, 2014 Stealing is bad. Like, seriously, you shouldn“t derive joy from it. Luckily, in The Marvellous Miss Take you“re not actually stealing! The story quickly explains that you, Miss Sophia Take, are the rightful owner of a museum full of paintings. However, due to some terrible circumstances all your painting possessions were taken from you! Miss Take doesn“t just let people work her over. Instead she dons her Carmen Sandiego-esque hat and slinks around to take her collection back. As you might expect, The Marvellous Miss Take is a stealth game. The ideas about what stealth games actually are have become conflicted over time, so let“s detail what it means in regards to this title. You are not allowed to fight guards that patrol museums after hours. It“s also a terrible idea to even be seen by a guard, dog, or surveillance camera. Although it is possible to escape detection you“ll avoid more failures if you can simply stick out of sight. This is much easier said than done. Each heist is broken up into its own level. Every level takes place on one to multiple floors of a rival museum. Your goal is, of course, to pluck your paintings off their walls and high-tail it out of there. It“s just a matter of avoiding drawing attention to yourself. Guard views are shown via a triangle fanning out from the direction they face. Simply stay out of that shape to stay undetected - with a few caveats. It“s actually possible to purposefully get their attention by whistling, quickly passing through their vision, and the like. You“ll want to use these tricks when a guard is blocking access to a painting or exit. There“s much more to watch out for than just guards. As stated earlier, there are also guard dogs which patrol many levels. Dogs act differently from guards in that they don“t have a line of sight so much as a circle of smell. They are encircled by a colored sphere. If you enter into it they will sniff you and follow after that scent for a while. Between dogs and guards, the dogs are far easier to outsmart. Security cameras also cling to many walls. Get in their sight for more than a second and an alarm will sound. Your best bet is to avoid detection from them completely but that“s often difficult. All of this is modified when two other characters join Miss Take“s team. Once you“ve got a crew you“ll have to go through some previous stages again in order to collect other, special paintings. Paintings are used to unlock later sections so you do need to use everyone. These other characters offer their own skillset and change up strategies. For example, one character simply can“t run at all - making each move even more deliberate. However, he“s got access to a great gadget which draws attention away. In all, each character brings something new to the table and doesn“t feel tacked on. It“s impossible to discuss The Marvellous Miss Take without taking some time to admire the presentation. The high isometric viewpoint gives you the best lay of museums possible with some gorgeous flair. Colors are bright, characters are cartoony, and animation is smooth. Everything just “pops” in a way that makes each new level an enjoyable romp. The same holds true for the music which is a step above the typical video game soundtrack. Jazzy tunes somehow make the perfect accompaniment to thievery. The game is quite challenging, but thanks to its charm you don“t tend to rage over failures. Instead, you“re invited to learn each character“s skill set, figure out the best ways to avoid enemy encounters, and become the ultimate quasi thief ever. Each level feels different and as such is exciting to finally conquer. If a stylish stealth game sounds like a blast then definitely snag a copy of The Marvellous Miss Take. Pros: + A wealth of distinct stages + Great audio and visual presentation + Three completely different characters to play as Cons: - Problematic pathfinding on occasion - Gated access to later stages Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Stealth fans should certainly join up with Miss Sophia Take on her quest to steal back a vast collection of paintings. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Steam code provided by the publisher.
  9. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Exploration Sale Goes Live

    It's the moment you've all been waiting for... a Steam sale! No longer named after a season or holiday, the Steam Exploration Sale is offering a host of featured game sales alongside many other unadvertised discounts. Every few days the featured sales will shuffle around, too. Here's a look at the very first featured deals: Age of Mythology: Extended Edition - $7.49 Battleblock Theater - $1.49 Civilization Beyond Earth - $34.99 Company of Heroes 2 - $9.99 Counter Strike: Global Offensive - $7.49 Crypt of the NecroDancer - $8.99 Dead Island - $4.99 Don't Starve - $3.74 The Evil Within - $20.39 FTL - $2.99 Goat Simulator - $4.99 Injustice: Gods Among Us - $4.99 The Long Dark - $9.99 Lords of the Fallen - $29.99 Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion - $9.99 The Stanley Parable - $4.49 Watch Dogs - $29.99 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter - $11.99 The Wolf Among Us - $8.49 Curious to see the over 5000 other games on sale? Here's a link! The Steam Exploration Sale lasts from now until December 2nd at 10 AM PST.
  10. Marcus Estrada

    Valve Updates Early Access Rules and Guidelines

    The concept for Steam Early Access is quite cool. It's a way for teams to get their beta versions of games into the hands of players directly through Steam. Of course, certain developers have tarnished the system's reputation by abandoning development or releasing a completely unfinished product to get gamers off their backs over the "Early Access" tag. Although it has seemed as such for over a year now, Valve was apparently taking notes. This week they revealed an updated list of rules and guidelines for all Early Access developers to keep in mind, lest they lose the ability to sell their product on Steam. Some of the more interesting rules and guidelines are as follows: "Do not make specific promises about future events." "Don't overcharge Steam customers." "Don“t launch in Early Access if you can“t afford to develop with very few or no sales." "Don't launch in Early Access without a playable game." "Don't launch in Early Access if you are done with development." These are definitely a great start as long as Valve ensures that everyone is following their policies. Of course, some of these statements could easily be sidestepped by a conflict of opinions. One developer may not feel they are "overcharging" customers, while customers believe it to be the case. Similarly, a "playable" game is hard to nail down. Does this mean the game has to be playable as intended or is okay if you have a blank avatar that can move around a barren field? With that said, these updates are better than Valve remaining entirely silent on the matter. What do you think of the new rules and guidelines for Early Access? Do you play Early Access titles?
  11. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is in a bit of an odd spot - it's a licensed game, which usually means trouble, but the show it's based on is itself based on an established gaming icon. Does it overcome the stigma of licensed games to earn a spot in the collection of every Pac-Maniac, or is this ghostly adventure haunted by its status as a tie-in product? Read on to find out! Developer: Bandai Namco Games, Monkey Bar Games Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Platform(s): Wii U, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PC via Steam Release Date: October 25, 2013 ESRB: E10+ Review is based on the PC/Steam version Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a 3D platformer based on the DisneyXD television show of the same name. In the game, Betrayus, whose name pretty much tells you everything you need to know, is up to his old tricks and aims to take over Pac-World and turn all its residents into ghosts! Only Pac-Man and his friends can stop him, but you already knew that. This time around, Pac-Man must traverse various dangerous worlds looking for stone tablets that, once deciphered, may hold the key to stopping Betrayus' villainy once and for all! Of course, if you're like me and have never seen an episode of the show, none of that will really matter. The characters (besides Pac-Man, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde) were all new to me, and some references to events from the show went over my head. If you are a fan of the show, you'll certainly get a kick out of these, but if not, then you'll be left wondering what they're talking about - thankfully, other than the winks and nods, the story is self-contained enough that anyone could follow it regardless of prior knowledge. Story cutscenes are also generally few and far between and really only serve to fill in the gaps between levels, so the real focus will be on the hopping and chomping you'll be doing. Ghostly Adventures takes you through different worlds as you run, jump, chomp enemies, and gather collectibles as well as the ever-present pellets and fruit the series is known for. You'll also come across various power-ups ranging from the ability to throw fireballs to puffing up Pac-Man like a balloon to float through windy areas and reach new heights. The power-ups play into the levels by requiring you to use them to traverse certain areas or defeat certain enemies, and you'll often use more than one powerup in a single level (or even in a single area of a level) which keeps the gameplay from getting too stale over the rather short course of the campaign. You'll also need them for the majority of the boss fights, which pop up in different levels rather than always at the end of a world, so they'll keep you on your toes. When not partaking in perilous platforming and performing powered-up poundings on poltergeists (try saying that five times fast) there's a hub world to play around in the form of Pac-Man's school, where you can converse with characters and play a few arcade-style games that you'll unlock over time, none of which, for some reason, are the original Pac-Man. While the game works fine as a 3D platformer - which makes sense because it's not even new ground for Pac-Man - it also falls prey to some of the pitfalls of the genre, notably a finicky camera that sometimes struggles to show you where you're going. Thankfully, the controls work well enough that you can often recover before plummeting to your doom, and if not, the game is generous with extra lives, which can be picked up in the levels or obtained after defeating enough enemies. You won't really need them that much, though, because most of your deaths will come by accident rather than from the enemies, since, as a game based on a children's show, it doesn't offer up a whole lot of challenge. Some of the later levels can get a little hectic, but you'll never see anything on the same scale as, say, a late-game level in one of the 3D Super Mario games. Also, in comparison to Super Mario, the game's physics, level layouts, and general gameplay all have their own feel to set Ghostly Adventures apart from the competition, so fortunately you're not likely to suffer from déjà vu during your playtime. Aside from the campaign, there's also a multiplayer mode, but it's local-only so I was unable to try it out. From a visual standpoint, the game is generally bright and colorful, which is typical of 3D platformers but welcome nonetheless in today's gaming climate. Each area also has its own distinct look, and there's a good bit of set dressing to really give each world its own personality. While the game isn't a graphical powerhouse - and indeed, barely looks the part of a seventh-generation console game - it doesn't really need to be one, either, so it's not likely to bother even older players. SInce the show is done in CGI, the game is able to simply emulate the same three-dimensional look, which helps tie the game to its source material. On the audio side of things, the game features a fun, bouncy soundtrack that incorporates some tunes from Pac-Man's past as well as the show itself, a nice touch for fans of both. The sound effects in the game are mostly pulled from the arcade game as well, though there are a few new ones that work just fine too. The game also features full voice acting, though soundalikes were used in place of the show's original cast. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun and colorful platformer with a laid-back attitude, with all the key elements of the genre coming together to form an enjoyable romp through Pac-World. However, a couple of things hold it back from true greatness - foremost is the game's length, which clocks in around 5 hours. The other is that, while the game is certainly distinct from other 3D platformers and stands on its own, it still doesn't do anything new or particularly interesting with the genre. Add to the fact that this game is mostly aimed at the younger crowd, and you've got a recipe for a good rental, but not necessarily a good purchase. There's certainly a lot of fun to be had, but there's just not enough to the game to really chomp into, leaving a ghostly trace that will haunt players with a hunger for more. Score: 7/10 TL;DR version - Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun platformer that manages to stand apart from the likes of Mario, and also manages to escape from the general awfulness of licensed games. There's a lot to like for fans of the show and even those who haven't watched it may still find the game enjoyable, however, the game's short length and lack of true challenge for hardcore gamers keeps it from being a truly significant experience. It might be worth a rental if you're hankering for a 3D platformer that doesn't star a portly plumber, but I honestly can't recommend a purchase.
  12. Marcus Estrada

    Five Nights at Freddy's 2 Springs Onto Steam

    Last month developer Scott Cawthon announced Five Nights at Freddy's 2 for release via a Steam Greenlight page. The Freddy fandom was hyped despite not knowing when exactly the game might arrive. Well, it's out this week! Cawthon initially intended to post a demo on November 11th, but decided to just release the game in full. After being quite confused, fans have quickly taken to enjoying this second helping of Five Nights at Freddy's goodness. The game is available with no launch week discount on Steam for $7.99.
  13. Marcus Estrada

    The Talos Principle Public Test Now Open for Players

    The Talos Principle seems like a very odd title to be coming to us from Croteam (developers of Serious Sam). But hey, why not? The upcoming puzzle exploration game will be out next month and cost $36. Would you rather try it out now to see if it's to your tastes? The Talos Principle Public Test launched this week so you can do exactly that. Available only for a limited time, Steam users will be able to install and play through four levels right now. You can also run a benchmarking test. If you'd like to give The Talos Principle a spin head over to the Steam page and download away. This is not a typical "demo" and will disappear sometime before the game's launch on December 11th.
  14. Venom

    Review: Rock Zombie

    Rock Zombie recently shambled onto the WiiU eShop, just in time for Halloween. But how does this rockin' undead beat 'em up compare with the games of old that it claims to take inspiration from? Grab your zombie survival kit and read along as I tell you the tale of...The Rock Zombie Review! Developer: Quaternion Studio Publisher: EnjoyUp Games Platform: Wii U via eShop (version reviewed), Steam (coming in late 2014) Release Date: October 30, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen Rock Zombie tells you most of what you need to know right there in the title - there's gonna be rock, and there's gonna be zombies. The name of the game is also the name of its trio of stars, Zoe, Crystal, and Sasha, who have formed an all-girl band called Rock Zombie. While rocking out at one of their shows though, things go a bit south when a green mist seeps into the venue and turns their screaming fans into moaning zombies. Now the girls have to fight their way across the stage and across town in search of answers. What is this green mist? Where did it come from? Whose face do they have to melt to find out? The game promises an intriguing story, which is told entirely through static comic pages between certain levels. While there is certainly more story than your average beat 'em up, it's also a bit of a moot point when most players aren't going into a brawler for the story in the first place. It also doesn't help that the writing in the comics isn't particularly engaging or even grammatically correct at some points. Thankfully, regardless of if you care about why you're doing it or not, the game delivers plenty of opportunity to bash in some undead brains. Rock Zombie is a pretty typical beat 'em up that doesn't try to change too much about the genre. You've got a regular attack, a strong attack, two magic attacks - because the characters are also witches, you see - and the ability to block and evade. The magic attacks are tied to a bar that fills as you take out enemies, and serve as great projectile attacks to keep enemies from getting too close. Your standard melee attacks do the job of killing zombies just as well though, so there's not a lot of incentive to mix things up. You can create combos out of certain moves, but they don't string together well enough to be any different than just performing each attack separately. As you might guess, you'll mostly be fending off zombies, which come in regular, flaming, and acid spewing varieties but there are a few non-zombie enemies in the game, like giant spiders. Naturally, you'll be seeing the zombies more often than anything, and you'll also face off against a few bosses over the course of your 4-5 hour journey, some of which provide more challenge than others. And when I say "you" I unfortunately mean just you - the game lacks any multiplayer whatsoever. It's a baffling decision for a game that claims to have learned from the knee of its elders (like Golden Axe) to leave out one of the things that made those games so popular in the first place. The game was clearly designed with single-player in mind as well, as some of the areas would be too cramped for two players to move around easily, and there are a couple of atrocious vehicle segments that wouldn't work with two players. Most of the game isn't so challenging that you'd need an extra hand, but it would certainly make things more entertaining to bring a friend along. If you do soldier through the game alone, you'll find that there's lots of bonus goodies in the Zombie Museum to unlock with coins you gather through the game, as well as achievements to unlock that will require more than one playthrough to obtain them all. Beyond the gameplay, Rock Zombie doesn't really have much in the way of distinct visual or audio flair. While the environments look good and there's some variety between most of the levels, there's just not anything that really stands out either. You'll see sewers, city streets, warehouses, and other places that look exactly like your typical video game sewers, streets, warehouses, and so on. The character models for the enemies don't look too bad, though the player character models appear as if they're made out of plastic, like dolls with shiny hair and painted-on clothes. The audio, meanwhile should be one of the standout features - after all, it's right there in the name. While there's plenty of rocking and rolling, most of the music and sound effects are so generic that you'll hardly give them a second thought. It's a bit of a shame, since one would expect a game that lists the varied soundtrack as one of its features to make sure that the soundtrack is actually memorable. Perhaps more pressing, there were some glitches on both ends. The graphical glitches weren't too bad, and mostly consisted of the camera sometimes getting confused during perspective shifts and switching rapidly between different views, and just some oddities with enemy corpses and the blood that forms around them being wonky. There was also a pretty severe audio glitch around halfway through the game that caused the music and most of the sound effects to cut out completely, and the only fix was to quit back to the WiiU menu and restart the game. Overall the game definitely lacks technical polish, but fortunately there weren't any game-breaking bugs - everything works, it just doesn't all work particularly well sometimes. Given that it's mostly the work of a single person though, that's pretty understandable. When it comes down to it, Rock Zombie is a schlocky B-game with a schlocky B-movie premise, and it makes no apologies or excuses for it. Even if you're into that sort of thing, though, it would be difficult to actually recommend this game. It's certainly possible that players might get some mindless fun out of it, and, at $6.99, it's pretty cheap - worse games have cost more money. Unfortunately, there's just no stand-out aspects of this game that make it something everyone should experience. If, however, reading this review has gotten you interested in playing it, go for it - just know that not everyone is going to enjoy rocking to this game's tune. Score: 5.0/10 TL;DR version - Rock Zombie is a beat 'em up containing plenty of rock and plenty of zombies, with a storyline that delves into far more detail than most brawlers. While bashing in zombie heads over the course of the 5-ish hour campaign might offer some cathartic thrills, the lack of technical polish, of multiplayer, and of stand-out gameplay features means it's probably best to keep shambling past this title in search of something more engaging. Still, if you like B-movies, you might get a kick out of it, but you should probably still wait for a sale if you decide to try it.
  15. Marcus Estrada

    Five Nights at Freddy's 2 Announced

    Five Nights at Freddy's is a horror game about taking on the night shift at a Chuck E. Cheese style establishment. Some people might be frightened enough by anamatronic animals as is, but in this game they came to life. After its immense success on Steam the developer has begun work on a sequel. Five Nights at Freddy's 2 brings you back to Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, which appears to have undergone a bit of a redesign. You're the newest night-shift employee tasked with keeping an eye on all anamatronics. This time around there are no doors to lock yourself into a room with, though. So how can you survive meandering robots? Apparently players can don a Freddy head to make them think you're just another machine. It remains to be seen if the Fight Night at Freddy's fandom will stick around until 2015, but if they do they'll be able to get their hands on Five Night at Freddy's 2. Here's a link to the Greenlight campaign if you want to see the game on Steam.
  16. Contest is closed! Winner has been announced! I can do giveaways too. So, Abyss Odyssey is on Midweek Madness on Steam this week, but 50% may not be a big enough discount for some people. No, some people may be waiting for 75% off. But what if you could get it for 100% off? Here's your chance! So how do you enter for this wonderful chance at winningness? Keep reading! HOW TO ENTER: Since Abyss Odyssey has a pretty distinct art style, I thought it would make sense to keep to that topic. So, for an entry into the contest, simply post and tell us what game's art/visual style you like the most, and why! You can be as detailed as you want, really, but the point is, just tell us a game that you thought looked pretty darn neat and why it spoke to you. And now for the fun part... QUALIFICATIONS, TIMING, AND SO FORTH: -Contest is for one (1) copy of the game on Steam -You must have made an introduction thread in the New Members forum. -The giveaway will be open until Saturday, October 18 at 11:59 PM EST, and I'll pick the winner on Sunday! -the winner will need to PM me his/her Steam name or e-mail address so I can send them the gift, as it's in my Steam inventory. -Assuming we're not already friends on Steam. And...that's pretty much it for that section. But wait, there's more! Since I'm such a nice person (according to myself!) no one is a not-winner in this giveaway! After I announce the winner of the grand prize of Abyss Odyssey, I'll post a list of games I have extra Steam keys for in the spoiler below, and anyone who entered the contest is eligible to ask for one (1) of those games! What games will I give out? You'll have to wait and see! Heck, some of them might even be better than the grand prize, but that's a matter of opinion. Games for not-winners are in this post because if I have the list in two places I'll inevitably forget to update one of them. So remember, even if you don't win Abyss Odyssey, you'll still get a consolation prize! So what are you waiting for? Get to talking about your favorite art styles in games and get your entry in before Saturday night! And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Good luck! -Disclaimer: This contest is in no way conducted or endorsed by GamePodunk.com, it's just me, Venom, doing my thing, so any issues should be taken up with me.
  17. Marcus Estrada

    Review: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

    Developer: The Astronauts Publisher: The Astronauts Platform: PC - Steam Release Date: September 25, 2014 ESRB: N/A (M suggested) Few narratively-focused games begin quite like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Most will talk your ear off or attempt to set some mood, but here, you“re dropped right into a forested area. All you get to know is that you“re a psychic detective named Paul Prospero hot on the trail of the “Ethan Carter” case. With that minute-long introduction out of the way players are free to explore as they see fit. It“s rare to see modern adventure games actually provide a sense of “adventure” when most railroad players down a specific path. In The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, you“ve given the freedom to explore Red Creek Valley in its gorgeous entirety. Areas such as an old mine, church, and dam are visited during a playthrough. Sure, no one seems to be around, but that lends to the supernatural/creepy atmosphere. Those who have a powerful enough computer to run the game at high settings are in for one hell of a visual treat. The world simply looks incredible. Whether you“re deep in a lush wooded area or crossing a bridge, it“s hard to not stop and admire everything. The game“s painterly style is still present at lower settings but won“t cause nearly as powerful of a response. It“s thanks to the attractive visuals that the main gameplay mechanics - searching and walking a lot - don“t drain on players as much as they otherwise might. With that said, although the scope at first seems immense, you eventually realize a lot is due to smart design tricks. See a heavy bunch of foliage near the end of a path? Yep, that“s an “invisible wall” so there“s no straying too far off the path. Once you look beyond graphics, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter quickly boils down to a simple series of puzzles. As Paul explores, he comes across a variety of objects in the world which can be interacted with. In fact, almost all items you mess with are those necessary for solving puzzles. After uncovering each object connected to a crime in the area, you“ll then be able to “sense” and play back what occurred there. This requires players to place four to five segments of said event in proper order, but usually this isn“t that tough. Luckily, there“s no restriction on how many times you can retry if it gets set up improperly. In a way, it“s a bit disappointing that the game offers little else beyond such simple mechanics. With such an inviting landscape it would make sense to expect more locational puzzles, similar to Myst. Instead they just rinse and repeat the same exact gameplay concept a handful of times over. With that said, this is a great way to invite players who aren“t especially skilled with ”typical“ adventure game puzzles. I certainly appreciated rarely having to wrack my brain to make it through the three to five hour experience. Perhaps the strangest aspect of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is its mystery storyline. No, I“m not going to delve into spoilers or anything, but the whole thing is pretty offbeat. By the end I was still not sure what had happened, what it all meant, and why certain things had occurred, but it was still a neat romp. It doesn“t really appear there“s a need to replay it, either. Considering the short playtime, perhaps it“s worth another playthrough just to get a handle on its story. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter does not overstay its welcome. It deserves credit for offering a large, incredibly pretty landscape to ogle while you explore, too. However, when you get down to the nitty gritty there“s a very samey approach taking to nearly every puzzle in the game. Once you understand the formula you rarely have to worry about exploring too much and getting lost in the process. Now, that doesn“t make this a bad game - not at all. It would have just been nice to see a bit more challenge. Heck, some more non-required objects to interact with would help make the world seem more alive too. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter provides incredibly polished visuals and one unique storyline aside gameplay that doesn“t quite stack up. Pros: + Beautiful scenery + Wide area to explore + Unusual storyline/storytelling mechanics Cons: - Incredibly formulaic puzzle setup - Most puzzles should prove no challenge Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good The Vanishing of Ethan Carter may be one of the most visually stunning adventure games available today; it“s just not the “smartest.” Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Steam code provided by the publisher.
  18. Marcus Estrada

    Game Bundle Roundup for Week of September 26th

    Are you tired of bundles yet? No? Well then you're a part of the diehard bundle audience that this article series is focused on. Sure, by now we've all got massive Steam libraries with games we can hardly remember (let alone play) but that doesn't stop the need for more bundles! As always, a massive amount of new ones cropped up this week. After a suggestion from Ciel, I'll also attempt highlighting games I find are quite good/worth a purchase with a green font. Bundle Bandits Greenlight Bundle #1 Price: $1 Advent Arkadianax (Desura) Downhill OMG 2 (Desura) Every Angle of Attack Realm of Perpetual Guilds SanctuaryRPG Zombie Poop 2K Bundle Stars FPS Redux Bundle Price: $3.99 3089 (Steam) Chrome (Steam) Chrome SpecForce (Steam) Dark Raid (Steam) Dead Effect (Steam) Depth Hunter 2: Deep Dive (Steam) Epigenesis (Steam) Iron Storm (Steam) Lovely Planet (Steam) S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (Steam) Bundle Stars Painkiller Bundle Price: $3.99 Painkiller: Black Edition (Steam) Painkiller: Overdose (Steam) Painkiller: Recurring Evil (Steam) Painkiller: Redemption (Steam) Painkiller: Resurrection (Steam) Daily Indie Game Super Bundle 10 Price: $1.49 CT Special Forces (Steam) EuroFighter Typhoon (Steam) Gun Metal (Steam) Hyper Fighters (Steam) Incoming Forces (Steam) Street Racing Syndicate (Steam) Green Man Gaming Weekly Bundle #4 Price: $4.97 Gravi (Steam) Little Racers STREET (Steam) Postal (Steam) Q.U.B.E. (Steam) Space Trader (Steam) Stellar Impact (Steam) Survivor Squad (Steam) Humble Bundle PC and Android 11 Price: $1 Bridge Constructor Playground (Steam) Cubemen (Steam) Cubemen 2 (Steam) Thomas Was Alone (Steam) Price: Beat the average Blackwell 1: Legacy (Steam) Blackwell 2: Unbound (Steam) Blackwell 3: Convergence (Steam) Small World 2 (Steam) Bonus games Price: $11 Anomaly Defenders (Steam) Surgeon Simulator (Steam) Humble Weekly Bundle: Leading Ladies Price: $1 The Cat Lady (Steam) Defender's Quest: Valley of the Forgotten (Steam) Lilly Looking Through (Steam) Ms. Splosion Man (Steam) Price: $6 Long Live the Queen (Steam) The Yawhg (Steam) Price: $10 Valdis Story: Abyssal City (Steam) Indie Gala Every Monday Bundle Price: $2.49 4PM (Steam) Bird Assassin (Steam) Echo of the Wilds (Steam) Gumboy Tournament (Steam) The Journey Down: Episode 1 (Steam) Triera (Desura) Indie Royale War Bundle Price: $2.70 AI War: Children of Neinzul (Steam, Desura) AI War: Fleet Command (Steam, Desura) AI War: Light of the Spire (Steam, Desura) AI War: The Zenith Remnant (Steam, Desura) Naval Warfare (Steam, Desura) Tower Wars (Steam) War of the Human Tanks (Steam, Desura) War on Folvos (Steam, Desura) World War II: Panzer Claws (Steam, Desura) World War 2: Time of Wrath (Steam, Desura) World War III: Black Gold (Steam, Desura) Kiss My Bundles the Capital Bundle Price: $4.79 Chernobyl Commando (Steam) Chip (Steam) Humanity Asset (Steam) Manhunter (Steam) Marine Sharpshooter (Steam) NPPD Rush: The Milk of Ultraviolet (Steam) Pester (Desura) Project Root (Steam) Kiss My Bundles Crazy Capers + Price: $2.29 Canyon Capers (Steam) Chompy Chomp Chomp (Steam) Lunar Panda Deluxe (Desura) NPPD Rush: The Milk of Ultraviolet (Steam) The Tribloos 2 (Steam) Playinjector Autumonium Price: $1 500 Years Act 1 (Desura) Blob from Space (Desura) Exit: Escape from the Bunker (Desura) Price: Beat the average Armies of Alamar (Desura) Cyberpunk 3776 (Desura) Space Slice (Desura) Super Cyborg (Desura) Price: $5.99 Pid (Steam) Here's a question for you bundle fanatics out there - Should we remove Kiss My Bundles from the listings? They continually seem to pull from the same pool of games for the majority of bundles. In any case, please share if you nabbed any cool games this week!
  19. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Hatoful Boyfriend

    Developer: Mediatonic, Hato Moa Publisher: Devolver Digital Platform: PC (GOG, Humble Store, Steam) ESRB: N/A (Teen suggested) Release Date: September 4, 2014 Visual novels are an astonishing genre for experiencing the likes epic adventure, space operas, and beautiful romance. Then, in 2011, developer Hato Moa explored brand new territory - bird“s love. Hatoful Boyfriend made a small splash a few years back (read our original review here), but the game itself was a pain to run on modern OSes. As such, many simply flew the coop before actually experiencing what the game had to offer. Fast forward to now when Medatonic took it upon themselves to cobble the game up in a new engine and present it to a massive audience on Steam and GOG. Now everyone can experience the splendor of Hatoful Boyfriend. But… what exactly is Hatoful Boyfriend? Well, put simply it“s a visual novel focused on a highschooler named Hiyoko who has just been accepted to the esteemed St. PigeoNation Institute. This is great, especially considering the fact the school overlooked her species during the application process. As such, she is the only human amidst a school of birds. Players guide Hiyoko through her time at school to improve her stats but also possibly find love with one of her feathered classmates. As far as visual novels are concerned, it“s not the weirdest thing that has ever happened (see PacaPlus) but still stands as an incredibly unique title based off concept alone. A visual novel tends to live or die by its writing - so how does Hatoful Boyfriend stack up in this department? The writing is a bit higher than average thanks to a witty, silly script. It is certainly not up to par with other big name visual novels but you“ll still find things to chuckle about while playing. Some typos and text alignment issues crop up now and again but it“s not a huge deal. The biggest surprise to me was that the text is basically left untouched from its earlier release. Honestly, any changes would have messed with the pure wackiness that was originally present. It takes about an hour or two to beat the game once depending on your reading speed. However, you could spend far more time playing if you seek out all 14 endings. Some are simple iterations on previous endings with an added scene, but are still worth looking into. Players will have to be incredibly devoted to seeing them all though as the built in options for skipping text are barebones. Fast forward doesn“t stop once you reach “new” text and seems to stop randomly on its own. So mostly you“re stuck fighting to fast forward enough past all you“ve seen but to stop once something new happens. As for other options that might be expected of a standard visual novel, well, they“re not included at all. Simple features such as displaying the CG alone during a scene are not available. You can check out all viewed art from the menu though. There is also no dialogue log. Most problematic to me was a lack of auto advance text function at all. You also are unable to check your romantic status with the various birds on the fly, although a sound cue plays when you do well with one of them. To be fair, that bit was never included with the original game either. All these other features would be super useful and I“d like to think they were possible with the given engine. The weirdest, and perhaps most hipster-ish complaint, is that this is effectively the same game that launched a few years ago. Yes, it runs on most people“s computers now but little was actually changed. There is a new non-protagonist ending scene, improved GUI, and such, but it“s still a port. With that said, the fact that more people can now experience Hatoful Boyfriend in all its odd glory is worth it. Sure, it“s a simple game that relies a bit too heavily on a joke, but it“s a mostly inoffensive, and surprisingly endearing, experience. Pros: + Incredibly unique dating aspect + Goofy writing + Surprising amount of endings Cons: - Lack of features expected from visual novels - Annoying skip button - Grammar and spelling issues apparently left untouched Overall score: 7 (out of 10) Good Hatoful Boyfriend is one of the most unusual games out there that is finally receiving the attention it deserves, although it“s a shame some basic visual novel functionality was ignored.
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