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Found 9 results

  1. Jason Clement

    Review: Luftrausers

    Developer: Vlambeer Publisher: Devolver Digital Platform: PSN (PS3, PS Vita), PC, Mac, Linux, Release Date: March 18, 2014 ESRB: E for Everyone This review is based on the PS3 version of the game It starts out unassuming enough—your small, pixelated air craft is launched into the sky to take on an army of enemy naval ships, airplanes, submarines and more. A squadron of enemy aircraft approach from behind, but you're able to shake them off and take them down. While that's happening, a few small gunships start firing on you from the waters below. Dodging their fire, you swoop down, opening fire and blowing both to smithereens before realizing that an even larger fleet of enemy planes has descended upon your position. The sky is darkened and filled with endless amounts of machine gun firing every which way. A few guided missiles scream past in all of the confusion and narrowly miss grazing your aircraft by inches. And to add to all that, you face a barrage of incoming cannon fire from a massive battleship below. But despite everything, you avoid almost every shot... that is, until an ace pilot comes out of nowhere and blows you right out of the sky—your plane erupting in a blaze of glory amidst explosions everywhere. Welcome to Luftrausers. What was just described is what you can expect out of an average session of the game, if you can expect to survive even that long. If you're a seasoned pilot, you may get to see multiple battleships, submarines, and even a blimp or two in addition to all of that, making for some truly chaotic gameplay. At the heart of Luftrausers lies an aerial arcade shoot 'em up that, like many similar action-oriented titles, revels in its willful destruction. There's a certain similarity to Geometry Wars where, in that game, skill is rewarded in part with brilliant displays of beautiful fireworks-like explosions. And yet the thrill of explosions and chaotic action that results is only one aspect of Luftrausers. The central mechanic lies in building up your score by use of chained combos which result from shooting down other air- and naval-craft. Shooting down five planes quickly and consecutively, for example, will give you a 5x multiplier (which will eventually max out once you reach 20x). You'll then have just a few seconds to keep that combo going by shooting down or destroying something else, otherwise the combo breaks. But if you manage to keep it going? You'll be rewarded with potentially thousands and, if you're good enough, tens of thousands of points that will possibly land you at the top of the worldwide leaderboards. One of the best things about Luftrausers is how it exceeds at being easy to get into, yet being difficult to master; just about anyone could pick it up and start playing and know exactly what to do in just a few short seconds thanks to the simple controls and mechanics. In fact, when you first start the game, you simple press the up button and you're taken immediately into the gameplay. There's no drawn out narrative or exposition either; all you're given are a series of three short missions (of which there are 100 in all) each time you launch your craft, and they range from taking down certain enemy craft to score-based challenges and even ones with special conditions (i.e. taking down 10 enemy fighters while on fire). Completing these missions yield additional vehicle bodies, engines, and weapons that provide different bonuses or effects. For example, one body type is so sharp that it can cut through other ships with ease when you run into them and yet another type will drop bombs automatically as you fly. One weapon turns your gun into a single, deadly cannon shot while another gives you a wide spread shot of five bullets. Being able to mix and match different combinations is crucial to completing certain types of missions and it's a lot of fun to find out which combo works best for you. The game's 8-bit pixelated aesthetic lends to its charm and would look right at home on something like the NES, though the pixel art of the different military personnel on the option screens have already caused some controversy. They are intentionally designed to appear as fascist so as to evoke a feeling of the era from the 1900s to 1980s where military intelligence were able to ascertain that the opposing forces were studying and designing "secret weapons" though not quite knowing what they were. In light of this, Luftrausers' character designs have garnered much criticism for their supposed similarity to Nazi symbolism; Vlambleer claims in an apology on their site that they did not design the pilot (or anyone else) with that in mind, however. For what it's worth, I do agree that it's an unfortunate oversight on Vlambeer's part, but the designs are generic enough (perhaps except for the style of uniform; no swastikas, though, thankfully) that I didn't have any particular problem with it. That minor controversy aside, Luftrausers is quite the experience. Its fast, aerial dogfighting and increasingly complex naval battlefield during gameplay make for one of the most thrilling experiences I've played through this year. It might not make a huge splash for the first few minutes, but once you really start to get into racking up points through combos and attempting to take down some of the harder enemy crafts and such, the real fun starts and it becomes incredibly addicting. Too many times I would have a play session that would be extended by another 5-, 10-, 15-, 30-minutes or even an hour just because I had to give it one more try to finish the mission or reach x amount of points. If you love arcade-style gameplay and acquiring high scores and such, you owe it to yourself to play this game; its a complete blast. Now if you excuse me, I have a blimp to take down. Pros + Fast, addictive, aerial dogfighting action + Simple to learn, control, but difficulty steadily increases in-game the longer you survive + Music is pretty catchy, especially after long sessions of play + Leaderboards and plenty of missions offer lots of replay value Cons - Fascist art-style might be offputting to some - May only appeal to fans of arcade shmups and score attacks Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic Luftrausers is one of the best aerial arcade shoot 'em ups to arrive in recent history. If arcade games and going after high scores is your thing, grab your helmet and get ready to take off, because this game is a blast. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  2. Marcus Estrada

    Left 4 Dead 2 Sees a Handful of Updates

    Fans of Left 4 Dead 2 have probably already heard about this but the L4D-curious or players who just have the game installed might want to launch it again soon. This is because Valve has just finished up a series of tweaks. First, the game is now to be converted to SteamPipe. Players initiate this by launching the game and then waiting through the somewhat long process. Once that has been done though you don't have to ever do it again for L4D2. It basically improves download speed for updates and is also meant to reduce the size of future downloads. A more interesting update is the Extended Mutation System (EMS). This is a modding tool to allow users to more easily create new mutation modes. These should now all be uploaded to L4D2's Steam Workshop. Modes include one where the survivors fight against teeny tiny infected that swarm at their feet.
  3. Marcus Estrada

    Steam on Linux Gaining Traction

    The Linux version of Steam has been around since at least September of last year when they started allowing some into the closed beta. Near November, they finally began an open beta, and more recently finally launched the program for real. Valve even celebrated the occasion with a big sale on all Linux-compatible games. Although Steam for Linux hasn't been around for entirely too long, it is already climbing in use. According to the latest Steam Hardware & Software Survey we can see that Linux use is currently at 2.28% of all operating systems. Now, this isn't very large overall, but it is a quicker climb than Steam on Mac has seen. Mac OSes are currently at 3.07% despite Steam arriving on the platform in 2010. Similarly, Linux platforms have almost all seen pure increase in use from before. We shouldn't expect to see Linux owners overtaking the Steam charts anytime soon, but it's nice to see that they are adopting the service, meaning Valve's efforts were not entirely in vain.
  4. After much preparation, Steam for Linux has finally come out of beta and is now open for all. To help commemorate the launch, Steam is holding a sale on tons of games. In fact, every game with Linux support has been discounted and will remain that way until the 21st. Even if you don't have Linux, you can still buy any of these games for their sale prices. Many of the usual games are on sale, such as Amnesia and Killing Floor. There are also a great deal of indie games available, including popular titles Anomaly Warzone Earth, Eversion, FTL, and Magical Diary. Overall, there's about 50 games on sale so chances are there's at least one thing worth purchasing. In order to run Steam for Linux you have to be running the latest distribution of Ubuntu. If you're planning on installing, or already have it running, then you may want to boot up a game of Team Fortress 2. Everyone who plays TF2 on Linux from now to March 1st will get a free Tux in-game item.
  5. Marcus Estrada

    Steam for Linux Now in Open Beta

    Did you miss out on joining the closed beta for Steam on Linux back in October? If so, then now is your chance to get in on it. It hasn't been too long since the beta was accepting applicants but things must be proceeding well for it to now be open to all. Interested parties simply have to grab the .deb file from the download page. If you're a Linux user, you still have to be running the the popular Ubuntu distribution. Ubuntu users should also make sure they are running version 12.04 LTS as well, since that is the suggested one to be running on for Steam on Linux. Once installed, you should be ready to play a bunch of games via Linux. What games are currently supported? The list is continuously expanding but all current titles are listed here. Some big name games tagged as working are Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Killing Floor, and Team Fortress 2. There is also an official community section for Steam on Linux if you want to interact with other users and get the latest updates.
  6. Marcus Estrada

    THQ Now Considering Linux Ports

    Earlier this month, Humble Bundle hosted a THQ bundle. Many people were bothered by this lack of an actual "indie" bundle, but many more purchased it. Despite negative press, the bundle managed to help increase the stock of THQ during it. By the end, it sold nearly 900 thousand bundles and generated $5 million. One issue that was brought up time and time again about the THQ bundle was that it had no support for alternate OSes such as Linux. Because of this, THQ President Jason Rubin has been thinking about the possibility. Here is a comment he made in regards to supporting Linux: "There are vibrant communities of gamers using other operating systems besides the dominant ones, and a company like THQ should not overlook them." Does this mean we should expect to see their entire catalog on Linux soon? Not necessarily, but apparently it took the massive audience of the Humble Bundle (and financial trouble) to get THQ even thinking about porting their games to other OSes. Even if they did, it probably would not change the opinions of some soured by the THQ bundle.
  7. Marcus Estrada

    Linux Steam Beta Accepting Applicants

    Back in September, Valve finally announced that a closed beta of their Steam client would be usable by a small amount of people in October. Over the weekend, they opened up a new page which invites interested users to apply. Who are they looking for? The Valve Linux Beta Survey page says that they are "looking for Linux gamers to install and test our new Steam for Linux client. We are primarily interested in experienced Linux users." So, in order to give it a shot you don't have to be a Linux developer or anything, but you should have some knowledge of the Operating System. Signing up for the survey itself just requires you already have a Steam ID and once submitted will put you in the pool of possible beta testers. Although Linux does have a thriving homebrew game community, as well as ways to play Windows-based games, we should expect that a great deal of users will quickly flood the Steam Linux beta (if they haven't already). As such, if you're interested in this at all then it would probably be best to submit your own application soon.
  8. Marshall Henderson

    Linux to See Steam Beta for 1000 in October

    It's been a while since we've heard anything about Steam's Linux plans, but things have been chugging along. In fact, beta testing is starting next week. Not for everyone, of course. On their blog, Valve's Linux team posted that the internal beta would be underway next week, and a private external beta would begin in October. It's fairly limited, though, with only 1,000 users being allowed into it. That's a pretty narrow window there! The beta will include the Steam platform itself, obviously, and one Valve game. Word on the street is that this is Left 4 Dead 2, but the team has confirmed that ownership of Left 4 Dead 2 wouldn't affect the applicant's eligibility into the beta. The beta supports Ubuntu 12.04 and above, so keep that in mind when signing up. Valve believes this beta to be good for checking out what Steam will be like on Linux, but warns that Linux newbies might want to steer clear until a more stable experience is available. Sign-ups aren't available yet, but will be in a future post on Valve's Linux blog itself. Are you a Linux-user? Would you be interested in this?
  9. Marcus Estrada

    Steam Finally Moving Toward Linux Support

    For some time now Steam has made mention about Linux every so often. Even as far back as when the Mac client was launched there was talk about eventually getting onto Linux. Still, things have been mostly quiet on Valve's end until a brand new blog debuted today. It's a post by the Valve Linux Team and they have shared a little about their existence and what they're working on. Earlier this year news got out that Valve had gotten Left 4 Dead 2 running stably on Ubuntu, but not much else came after it. Now the team is speaking and saying they want to get Left 4 Dead 2 running as well as it does for Windows OSes. Not only that, but they want the Steam client ported over and to retain all functionality. As you might expect, they're also hoping to get other games running too. Their biggest goal is simply getting Steam to run with all its features on Ubuntu 12.04. So far they've done well, and eventually, want to bring it to other Linux distributions too. It might not be the most exciting news but it's a start.
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