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Found 11 results

  1. Jason Clement

    Review: SteamWorld Heist

    Developer: Image & Form Publisher: Image & Form Platform: 3DS eShop Release Date: December 10, 2015 ESRB: E 10+ Two summers ago, nobody knew who developer Image & Form was. And almost overnight, they became an indie sensation. SteamWorld Dig put the Dutch team in the spotlight big time, winning huge acclaim from critics and fans everywhere for its unique, cartoon-like spin on the Steampunk genre and addictive gameplay. Subsequently, any other developer probably would've followed up such a hit game with an obvious sequel, but Image & Form boldly went in a different direction this time around. Enter SteamWorld Heist, a strategy action game based on boarding spaceships, shooting up rascally scoundrel Scrappers, and plundering all of the resources on board. But hold on just a second -- how did we get from digging down into the Earth all the way to plundering spaceships? Well, that's a tale for another time, according to Image & Form. What you will find out is that some pretty severe things have happened to SteamWorld since we last left Rusty. A catastrophe of sorts destroyed the planet, forcing the Steambots into outer space to live amongst the stars. At the outset, we learn that there are three distinct factions of Steambots now: The Cowbots, who mine for ore and water; Scrappers, who are pirates and thieves that scavenge and pillage other ships; and Royalists, an oppressive regime that rules the sector and enforces strict taxes on the Steambots. You play as Captain Piper Faraday, a headstrong female Steambot who runs a crew of smugglers that steal and plunder from Scrappers in order to help the Cowbots. When the game starts, you discover that Faraday had lost most of her former crew in a raid, and thus must rebuild it with new recruits over the course of the game. You'll encounter more Steambots throughout the course of the game and will be able to recruit them into your party by either paying their asking price (which is paid in water), having enough reputation points (which you get by completing missions), or a combination of the two. Each Steambot also has their own class and skills -- one might be able to use general handguns and pistols while another may act as a sniper, and yet another will be skilled at using heavy weaponry. As mentioned earlier, the core gameplay revolves around raiding ships, taking out enemy Scrappers and Royalists aboard, and grabbing any loot you come across. You'll make use of a branching space map in order to guide Piper's ship to different locations. Once you've boarded a ship, each level generally has a certain goal you must reach before you can hightail it out of there, whether it be grabbing a certain amount of loot, destroying x amount of Scrappers, or something else. The loot you acquire at the end of each mission can then be used to fortify your crew with new weapons and other equipment. In fact, the game has an amazing system of progression. Every Steambot that survives through the mission will gain experience, which in turn will lead them to level up and acquire new skills that will enhance their adeptness during battle. While you can't personalize each member of your crew's skills, it still is a lot of fun and exciting to unlock new ones, and you really get the sense that each crewmember is becoming better and more useful for every mission. There are a wide variety of weapons to acquire and buy as well, which help keep things diverse and interesting. Each mission will have Faraday and one or more of her crew infiltrating another ship, and the layout is all in 2D, similar to how SteamWorld Dig looked. However, being a strategy game and not a platformer, each of your crewmembers will have their own turn to move a limited amount of spaces and perform an action, whether it's taking a shot at enemies or using an assist item like a health pack to restore HP. Every ship will generally have a different layout of rooms and such, but the way each room is laid out in function will be the same. You'll have multiple levels of platforms to work with, ladders, and barrels and other objects to use as cover. It's simple in concept, but there's a world of depth to it when you really dig into the meat of the game. What really makes Heist's gameplay tick is its great use of gunplay. It doesn't just boil down to aiming your gun at an enemy and firing. Thank goodness too, because that would get old real fast. No, you'll be making use of angled shots to help hit certain foes. For example, your character and an enemy might both be using an object as cover, but -- given the right circumstances and position -- you can angle a shot so that it ricochets off the ceiling, then the wall behind the enemy before finally hitting them. Combined with the different ship layouts and enemy types, this mechanic gives the game a ton of flair and depth. However, It isn't just the gameplay that makes SteamWorld Heist special. Everything about the game shows that Image & Form put in a ton of effort to make this a truly quality game. The visuals show off a level of detail and polish that is rare to see outside of AAA games, and all of the animations are smooth as butter. Seriously, this is easily one of the best looking 2D 3DS games ever made. One can only imagine what it'll look like in HD when brought to PC, Vita, and other consoles. Even the music and soundtrack are extremely well done. The main theme that plays when you're raiding ships once again has a catchy old-western ambience to it (like in SteamWorld Dig), and I was blown away to find out that Image & Form produced entire songs with actual sung lyrics that play in the bars that you'll occasionally stop at. And if you listen in the back of Piper's ship, you can hear the sound of a large steam engine roaring to keep the ship running. Simply incredible. All I can say is Image & Form has done it again. SteamWorld Heist is a near-masterpiece of an experience and proves that SteamWorld Dig was clearly not a fluke. Even though the game is a complete 180 from Dig in terms of gameplay, it's a gamble that paid off in the end because it's a ton of fun and has loads of depth for players of all types. I can't say it enough -- SteamWorld Heist is fantastic, and it's the one 3DS game I would recommend above all others this year. Pros + Fantastic 2D visuals + Deep strategic gameplay + Multiple difficulties that are changeable at any time + Charming writing and cast of characters Cons - Customizable skillsets would be nice (I'm really reaching to nitpick here) Overall Score: 9.5 (out of 10) Fantastic SteamWorld Heist is an incredibly thrilling strategy game, and Image & Form's best title to date. The amount of polish is unbelievable for a 3DS game and the depth of its gameplay will have you playing over and over again. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a downloadable code provided by the publisher
  2. Jason Clement

    Game of the Year 2015: Jason's Picks

    2015 will forever live on in my memory as a year of gaming regrets. Not because it was a terrible year or anything, but because there were so many great games I didn't get to play due to a lack of time. There's no doubt in my mind that if I had been able to play games such as Grow Home, Axiom Verge, Tales of the Borderlands, and Yoshi's Woolly World, they would all probably share a place on this list. But alas, we can't play everything at once! There are also a number of games I'd like to give honorable mentions to. BoxBoy! is a fantastic, smart puzzle game and an extreme value. Stretchmo is also one of the best puzzle games in recent history. Airscape: The Fall of Gravity is a wonderfully whimsical physics-based platformer that was woefully underlooked. Pokemon Shuffle is an evil, evil -- but super addicting -- free-to-play game. And Etrian Mystery Dungeon nearly made the list for successfully infusing the roguelike with Etrian's fantastic quest-driven formula. In any case, the games I did play and love were still quite memorable indeed. So without further ado, here are my top 10 games of 2015. 10. Star Wars Battlefront Haters gonna hate. The truth is, I don't know what all the fuss is about with people being angry and upset with Battlefront. And frankly, I don't really care either, because Battlefront delivers on the most important point -- it's a fantastic visual representation of Star Wars and pretty dang fun to boot as well. Although I haven't put in nearly as much time with it as I would have liked before making this list, I had a blast taking down AT-AT's, playing capture the flag mode (or whatever its equivalent is called), and generally just being enveloped in the Star Wars universe. Battlefront probably doesn't come anywhere close to being a Call of Duty killer, but as an authentic Star Wars experience, it exceeds on every level and then some. 9. Super Mario Maker When it was first announced, Super Mario Maker didn't excite me much. It was an intriguing idea, but would making your own levels actually be as much fun as people think? Could anyone even approach the type of game design Nintendo came up with, anyhow? Surprisingly, the answer was 'yes.' Don't get me wrong; there are swaths of user-created levels that are absolute garbage, but the great ones really make the experience all worth it, and playing through your own deviously- and meticulously-created levels is one of the best feelings ever. 8. Evoland 2 Many games have attempted to incorporate the natural progression of video game visuals into their story without much success, but Evoland 2 is the first I've played that uses it in a unique way and succeeds. The base game is Zelda-like and the story is fairly generic at first, but the plot quickly evolves and is revealed to be something much larger and -- dare I say it -- approaches Chrono Trigger quantities of plot twists thanks to its time travel story. With four different visual styles to represent each age (Game Boy, NES, SNES/PlayStation, and PS2-era), Evoland 2 also successfully pays homage to most major game genres out there while remaining fresh and original at the same time. 7. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. This title might've been an epic sales flop, but Intelligent Systems made a legit game that borrows some of the best elements from X-Com and Valkyria Chronicles and creates some high tension, strategic shootouts. And though the overall alien invasion plot isn't anything to write home about, the Steampunk world within is actually a pretty neat one. There's just something unbelievably cool about an Abraham Lincoln that not only leads his own Men In Black-esque taskforce, but also pilots a giant mecha called A.B.E. that's modeled after himself as well. Seriously, please buy this so there's an inkling of hope that we might get a sequel at some point. 6. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D "Wait... where's Xenoblade Chronicles X?" is probably your first reaction to this. While X looks to be an amazing game, I only got to spend a few hours with it so far, which just isn't enough time to land it definitively on this list. However, I did play Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and had a blast with it, especially since I was able to play about 95% of the way through this time before getting stuck on a boss at the end (I'll go back and beat it at some point). Sure, it doesn't look quite as good as the Wii version does, but the ability to play this game on a handheld does all the favors in the world for it and is actually part of the reason why I was able to make real progress this time around. Really though, Xenoblade's story is fantastic and one of those few JRPGs that really get to you with all of its moments throughout. While I do think it goes slightly off the rails near the end, everything up to that point is pretty fantastic and it'll definitely remain on my top RPGs list for some time to come. 5. Splatoon Splatoon was definitely that zeitgeist game of the year, in addition to that other indie one (you know which one I'm talking about, *wink*); you were either in on the fun, or you didn't play it and were wondering what the fuss was all about. A number of things really make the game stand out, not the least bit being the whimsically weird Inklings and sea creature-inspired cast, but it's the addictive gameplay that really ties it all together. Playing multiplayer with friends was the icing on the cake to what is a great new IP. 4. Undertale Speaking of zeitgeists, here's a funny story for you: I actually haven't finished Undertale yet (this year is killing me, I'm tell you!), but the two hours I have played are something else. And much like Journey, Undertale is quite literally unlike anything I've experienced before. The only other game I've played that has this much heart is probably Mother 3, but even then, that game didn't let you choose to be a pacifist at every turn. Pacifism aside, though, the game is amazingly well-designed and well-written; I don't laugh out loud a whole lot when playing games, but there are some great moments in comedy here. I even admit to laughing at some of the skeleton puns (hey, don't judge). Since I can only reference half the game with any real authority here, what really struck me during my experience playing was Toriel (the goat mom). The kindness and motherliness she shows right from the beginning in taking your hand and getting you through the tutorial area is pretty touching. But what really got me is when you get to her house and she's basically resigned herself on the spot to taking care of you from now on, even going so far as to give you your own bedroom and DEVELOP A SCHOOL CURRICULUM FOR YOUR EDUCATION. WHAT. I know it's "just a game" but deep down I actually felt something at that point that no other game had made me feel before. Bravo, Undertale. 3. Fast Racing Neo I can't say I've loved every game Shin'en Multimedia has developed, but more often than not they are fairly good. That said, Fast Racing Neo is the first game they've completely knocked out of the park. Are you sick and tired of waiting for a new F-Zero? Boom, you've got it; Shin'en went out and did what Nintendo wouldn't in the last 10 years. All I can say is that this game fires on all cylinders; it's visually stunning, sounds great, and is ridiculously fast and fun. If we never get another F-Zero game ever again, I might just be okay with that, because now we have the Fast Racing series. 2. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void Ever since the end of Heart of the Swarm's campaign, I thought Legacy of the Void would probably play out to be a pretty predictable ending. Instead, LotV goes out with a bang, and a few surprises to boot. The Protoss and their culture, traditions, and different sects are really explored like never before here, and several great new characters are introduced as well. What really stuck with me the most was that, as great as the gameplay was, the story and themes it developed inbetween missions were equally as fantastic, if not better. This is StarCraft's finest hour, and I can't wait to see what's next for the series. 1. SteamWorld Heist Official GP Review There was a moment in SteamWorld Heist where it suddenly "clicked" for me as to just how good it actually was. My entire crew of steam-powered robots was being gunned down one by one. I only had two left to work with, and we were completely surrounded by enemies who were rapidly closing in on our position. And wouldn't you know it, through a series of amazingly calculated shots and pure luck, I managed to take out multiple enemies at once and turn the tide. If a strategy game can take you to the brink of destruction and despair, only for you to come back and win it all through sheer strategy, that's a great game, my friends. Interestingly enough, I had a similar moment with Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., so what makes this better? Not only is Heist the more original game between the two (in regards to its setting, characters, and even the plot), but it's a much more expansive game as well, giving you extensive options when it comes to assembling your crew, choosing a loadout for each Steambot, and exploring branching paths that lead to new missions and more. SteamWorld Heist has it all, and Image & Form didn't skimp on anything. It looks, plays, and sounds fantastic, and the fact that it's on 3DS (at least to start) still completely blows me away. For all of these reasons and more, SteamWorld Heist is my Game of the Year for 2015.
  3. Jason Clement

    SteamWorld Heist

    From the album: Editor's Gallery

  4. Jordan Haygood

    Game of the Year 2015: Jordan's Picks

    It“s that time of the year again, kiddos! That“s right, time for my annual eye exam. But while I await my appointment, I“ve got something else on my mind… Video games. They“re what this great Podunk of ours is named after. Every year we see a countless number of the things make their way onto store shelves, whether actual store shelves or the digital kind. Some are outright terrible. Others are so good that ya just gotta make a “best of†list at the end of the year to showcase the ones you“ve enjoyed the most. Hey, that“s not a bad idea… You know what? Forget the original idea I had for this article. Instead, allow me to share with you my picks for the 2015 games of the year. The Game Most Like EarthBound Undertale When I first heard about Undertale, I was told that it was a lot like EarthBound. Needless to say, I was immediately interested in trying it out. And boy am I glad I did. Undertale is not just similar to EarthBound, even though its similarities are huge pluses in my book, but in general it“s just a fantastic game. It doesn“t take all that long to get through, but with various different endings that depend on the choices you make throughout, you will likely end up playing over and over again until you“ve seen them all. I know I did. The Steampunkiest Strategy Game SteamWorld Heist Official GP Review If you“ve played SteamWorld Dig, you“ll know just how awesome it is. Because it is. No objections. So naturally, the next game set in the SteamWorld universe is also awesome. In fact, SteamWorld Heist might even be better. Especially since Steam Powered Giraffe did the music (and even make a cameo). Hey, I like steampunk stuff, alright? Can we move on now? SteamWorld Heist is a completely different game than SteamWorld Dig, being a strategy game and all, so don“t expect it to be a straight-up sequel. They“re both great, though, and totally worth playing. The Woolliest Platformer Yoshi's Woolly World Official GP Review I freaking adored the incredibly clever Wii game Kirby“s Epic Yarn. Wait, did I use past tense? Silly me. I still adore it. I also adore the latest craft-based Good-Feel title – Yoshi“s Woolly World. Not only is it a quality Yoshi game, and the first home console game featuring the lovable dinosaur we“ve been given in a very, very long time (the last one was Yoshi“s Story, which was released waaaaaaaaaay back in 1997), but it also has perhaps the coolest aesthetics I“ve seen since, well, Kirby“s Epic Yarn. And just like Epic Yarn, Woolly World“s yarn focus also allows for some really clever mechanics. And that“s not even all I love about this game. Like I said, I adore it. The PS4 Exclusive Bloodborne There weren“t exactly a whole lot of PS4 exclusives released in 2015, when you think about it. But who really needs a lot when you have Bloodborne? Not only is it arguably the best PlayStation 4 exclusive to come out of 2015, but it“s also one of the best games to be released for the console thus far. It“s also a new IP, and one that I hope has a pretty long future ahead of it. It“s a bit like the games in the Souls series and has a big H.P. Lovecraft inspiration behind it, which in my opinion is a rather awesome combination. If you have a PS4, buy this game. The Most Ink-redible Shooter Splatoon I“m gonna refrain from making the usual Splatoon joke. You know the one. Instead, I“m just going to praise this Wii U shooter for the awesome game that it is. Nintendo“s newest IP is a lot of fun, whether you“re playing online or enjoying the story in single-player mode. It“s such a creative and enjoyable experience that you can just tell that it“ll go down in history among the ranks of such iconic Nintendo franchises as Mario and Zelda. Or at least, it totally should. I usually don“t enjoy shooters as much as some people, but Splatoon is a blast (of ink). The "Dude, It's Fallout 4" Award Fallout 4 I was waiting for Fallout 4 for quite some time. I know I“m not alone. I mean, as good as Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are, it“s only natural that I“d be a little impatient. But was it worth the wait? Is…that a serious question? Oh wait, I“m the one who wrote that question… Anyway, Fallout 4 is fantastic. It“s not without its problems, but many of those problems are bound to be fixed via patches, if history repeats itself. I have plenty of hours sunk into this game, and I“ll be sinking plenty more hours after this article. The "Going Out with a Bang" Award Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain In light of the recent dispute between developer and publisher, Hideo Kojima“s final game with the, erm, nice folks over at Konami was quite possibly his best game so far – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And really, while I would have loved it if Kojima could stay with the company and make even more Metal Gear Solid games (and perhaps a certain Silent Hill title), it“s nice to be able to go out with a bang. Seriously, The Phantom Pain is so good that all I can really say about it is GO PLAY IT. Check out the review scores if you don“t believe me. Thank you for making such an amazing game, Kojima-san, and good luck with your new company. The Best Level Creation Tool Super Mario Maker Anyone who knows me knows that I love to create stuff. And ever since I played my first (and possibly still my favorite) Mario game, Super Mario World, I“ve entertained the thought of creating my own Mario levels. Especially after seeing ROM hacks upon being introduced to this little thing called “the internet.†But I honestly wasn“t sure if that would ever happen without learning the art of ROM hacking myself or creating a fan game or whatever. Anyway, Super Mario Maker exists now, and I much prefer that option. It“s a pretty in-depth level creation tool that also allows you to play other people“s levels worldwide. Whether you like playing Mario games or like the idea of making your own levels for others to play, Super Mario Maker is a must-have. The Game with the Wildest Hunts The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Official GP Review With so much awesomeness packed into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, it“s no wonder so many people have it on their game of the year lists. Obviously, I“m one of those people. If you haven“t played it yet because you“ve never played the first two, then… Well, play ”em. They“re all great games, so it“s not like it“ll be a chore to play them. But while The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings are both fantastic, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is hands down the best entry into the series. The story, the gameplay, extra stuff you can do; pretty much everything about this game is just another reason to play it. And hopefully one day they'll make another one. Game of the Year X Xenoblade Chronicles X I“ve enjoyed quite a few games in 2015, but none quite as much as Monolith Soft“s newest game – Xenoblade Chronicles X. If you recall, I really, REALLY enjoyed the first Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii (I even gave it a 9.5 out of 10 in my review and named it Game of the Year for 2012). I“m not sure yet if I like X better, but it“s certainly a close call. Once I eventually beat the game, I“ll know for sure. On that note, I really am not that far in Xenoblade Chronicles X, even though I“m almost at a 40-hour playtime. Simply put, this game is freaking massive. Not only is the world of Mira massive, but the number of missions you can get addicted to completing can really make you lose track of time. I haven“t even gotten into a Skell yet, though I am really looking forward to it. In any case, while I still have a ways to go, I am already quite confident that Xenoblade Chronicles X is my favorite game to come out of 2015. If you disagree with my choice, or any other choice on this list, there is a complaint box up front. Just write your complaint and I will be sure to not read it. Cheers~ Do you agree with any of the games in this list? What games are you thankful for this year?
  5. WildCardCorsair

    Game of the Year 2015: WildCardCorsair's Picks

    2015 certainly surprised me. For starters, I was almost certain that Batman: Arkham Knight would be on this list, but I guess things don“t always work out the way you think. That“s not to say there were only bad surprises this year; in fact, I“d like to think that many of the games on my list were pleasant surprises. Games I didn“t expect to love or respect as much as I do. Heck, there are even a couple I probably would never have played if friends hadn“t motivated (read: forced) me to try them. Oh, and spoiler alert -- Undertale ain“t here so don“t go looking for it! A side note: Where“s Fallout 4? Don“t get me wrong, I love the game. It“s a great game. But it“s not really that much different from Fallout 3 or New Vegas. Sure, plenty of things work much better in Fallout 4, but there“s very little that“s actually new. For a game that had so much time pass between it and it“s previous franchise installment, I expected more. I dunno, call me crazy. So Fallout 4 gets my honorable mention, but alas, nothing more this year. 10. BOXBOY! Official GP Review A quirky, fun little title from Kirby“s developers, Hal Labs, BoxBoy has become a very unlikely favorite of mine this year. Initially, the visual presentation really turned me off, but due to the (incessant) insistence of Jon I gave it a whirl. Puzzle platforming with a simple premise, but very quickly becoming a test of box management, for the lack of a better word. The further you go, the more creative you have to get if you want to complete each level, even more so to collect all those crowns! Thanks, Jon. 9. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D While Majora“s Mask has always been one of my favorite Zelda titles, Grezzo“s 3DS port takes it a step further, allowing players all the benefits of the original, with some of the enhancements that made Ocarina of Time 3D better, and new ones that make the game more accessible for newcomers (those wussies!). The town of Termina and the people who live in it are really the stars of this off-kilter Zelda title, which each side quest bringing you closer to the people in Link“s world than ever before. 8. Persona 4: Dancing All Night Official GP Review A surprisingly good follow up to Persona 4 Golden... set in a rhythm game? Well, as it turns out that“s exactly what this is. Solid as a rhythm game in general, Dancing All Night impressed me further with it“s highly-uncharacteristic-for-the-genre fully scripted plot that acts as a commentary on idol/pop star culture. The songs are a mix of great ditties from Persona 4 and remixes that are just as amazing in their own right. Visually, the game is near-seizure inducing, with full 3D models inside of a 3D environment and the ability to even watch a “choreography mode” that will show you just the character without all the fancy camera angles so you too can drop it like it“s hot (or whatever it is the kids are dancing to these days). 7. Yoshi's Woolly World Official GP Review I got this a bit late, but the wife and I were looking for something to play together. The cute, crafty world of Kirby“s Epic Yarn had been one of our favorite co-op experiences on the Wii, so naturally this Good-Feel game and spiritual successor was a no brainer. We were not disappointed. This game has a tad more challenge in the level design, plenty of amiibo support, collectathon goodness, great co-op, and best of all, an extreme dedication to the crocheted theme. The way the ground crinkles like fabric, unweaving parts of the stage to find hidden paths, even the slight fraying of the yarn the yoshis and other stuff in the game are made out of screams massive attention to detail that does not go unnoticed. I promise you, this much cuteness is nearly lethal. 6. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate It“s strange to say this now, but I wasn't always a fan of Monster Hunter. I used to complain about the tank controls, complicated control scheme, and hard-for-the-sake-of-hard boss fights that make up the vast majority of the game. And even though I still do, playing with friends has allowed me to see the good things that make those criticisms far less severe. There's an intricacy to the controls that allows for some seriously complex player tactics. The weapon variety is impressive. Online play is surprisingly stable. And MH4U in particular has a variety of Nintendo and other publisher crossover DLC, all of which that has been entirely free and updated regularly. Thanks Char! 5. Xenoblade Chronicles X Not without its problems, sure, but Monolith Soft has done something right when the world of Mira is more interesting than most other open world games 2015 has offered us. The game“s passive online elements, along with the 4-person online quests definitely offer what other open world games have not… the feeling of never being alone. Xenoblade Chronicles X asks a lot of people who would explore it, but it rewards in kind with a rich battle system and seemingly endless treasures to seek out. Oh, and who else hasn“t wanted to pilot a huge transforming mech and beat the snot out of a monster that is 10-stories tall? Surely no one. 4. SteamWorld Heist Official GP Review Image & Form made this game called SteamWorld Dig a while ago, which was cool. It was like a Steampunk western version of Dig Dug -- you know, the thing you never knew you needed. So when they turned their attention to making a new game in the same world, but this time with turn-based strategy RPG gameplay -- well, you could say I was instantly on board. The game revolves around the very Firefly-esque crew of Captain Piper Faraday and their no-good (but somehow still good) pirating of robo-jerks at the edge of space. I mean really, what more do you need in a game? 3. Stretchmo I“ve been a fan of this series since the original Pushmo game dropped early in the 3DS“s lifespan. The calming atmosphere and clever puzzle mechanics have earned it a spot in the upper echelon of modern puzzle games in my opinion, but Stretchmo in particular really stands out among them. Of course, the 3D puzzles are fun, but the multitude of added puzzle elements and even the structure of this game“s free-to-start model are all incredibly well-thought out. I guess you could say that this game stretches your dollar pretty far... I“ll see myself out. 2. Splatoon Are you a kid, or are you a squid? This is a question that has kept me up late at night as my ink-stained clothes messed up my sheets in a way that would even make Billy Mays cringe. An primarily online competitive shooter game from Nintendo. A shooter. Let that sink in. Or don“t, 'cause the stain will set. Ok, I“ll stop, I promise. The game is worth it by itself, but the immense list of post-release (free!) DLC and regular Splatfest competitions have helped the game stay fresh. No, that was not a Squid Sisters pun. Well, okay... I guess now it is. 1. Destiny: The Taken King I started playing Destiny pretty late into its first year, but early enough to understand people“s criticisms of it. The Taken King aimed to change those and I believe it succeeded on almost every point. Crafting more interesting stories, with the use of their you-never-knew-just-how-interesting-they-actually-are characters, improved loot systems, fewer complicated item level increasing sidequests, better PVP, better quest and bounty systems, more content crammed into existing areas, and impressive new areas with loads to do. Sure, it“s just a shooter, but one that rewards players for their time spent fighting the darkness (alone or with friends!), impressive boss design, and plenty of cool new dance emotes too. Yup. It“s a dance off bro.
  6. Jason Clement

    SteamWorld Heist

    From the album: Editor's Gallery

  7. Jonathan Higgins

    E3 2015 Hands-On: SteamWorld Heist

    Following up a successful game probably feels intimidating most of the time, especially if you“re a small development team like Image & Form. If you“ve played and enjoyed SteamWorld Dig, you“re probably expecting me to use certain key words and phrases when describing SteamWorld Heist, like “it“s more of what you love about the first game” and "the gameplay is very similar." I invite you to toss all those precognitions out the window. SteamWorld Heist isn“t an exploration-based platformer at all, but rather a turn-based strategy game mixed with elements of an action game. I got a chance to sit down with Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson at E3 and spent a good thirty minutes immersing myself in a whole new world, and a new gameplay style that couldn“t be more different from the game that came before it. SteamWorld Heist opens with Captain Piper, who needs to save her small squad of space pirates who have been captured. My immediate instincts were to use the control stick to move my character, but I noticed it caused the camera to move instead. So I guess the first thing I can say about SteamWorld Heist is that you have a full view of the level around you to carefully time your movements, and that“s a very good thing. Character movement is limited, and you can see a line indicating a path where you can walk. SteamWorld Heist is a lot like Codename S.T.E.A.M. in that respect. You can only move your character(s) so far before your turn is up, so if you see an enemy--take cover or shoot it down. Thankfully, Image & Form are very fair with how they“ve implemented their system. Things you can do (such as picking up an item, taking cover) are clearly marked by appropriate symbols that you see as you plan your path forward. And all enemy combat is halted while you plan your attack; you won“t have to worry about being accidentally shot or feeling rushed to plan the best move. Speaking of planning the best move — when you go to take a shot at an enemy, you“re shown the full path the bullet will take. Your shots can ricochet off walls to hit enemies, sometimes affect the environment around you (such as shooting a wire to make an area burst into flames), and more! One of the fun, small things you“ll be able to do with SteamWorld Heist is find wacky ways to take out enemies. Whether you blast an enemy in one shot by aiming for their head, or take a few tries at them, how they die is pretty satisfying. This isn“t a game that just lets enemies fade away or disappear. This is the kind of game that lets your robotic foes kind of burst into a million pieces. They even leave their hat behind if you knock their head clean off their shoulders! And speaking of hats — there“s a hat compendium in the game, as well as extra characters, items and other stuff to collect. With that in mind, I“d say this game is just as much about enjoying the levels around you and trying to collect everything as it is about reaching the end. The attention to detail is consistent with SteamWorld Dig. If one of the things you liked about Dig was its charm and aesthetic, that“s one thing you can count on. I never would have expected SteamWorld Heist to be what it is — a turn-based strategy action-game. But I“m happy with the direction that Image & Form have taken with their next game. Even if the strategy genre intimidates you, I think that Heist has a fair enough take on the genre to feel welcoming towards everyone. Image & Form are bound to be looking at another success story here. If you“re looking for more information, you should check out the game“s website. It“s still planned for a 2015 release on all current gen platforms.
  8. Image & Form struck gold last year with the surprise indie hit, SteamWorld Dig—a game starring a steam-powered robot in an Old West setting that digs his way through the Earth, collecting various rare ore and discovering the secrets that lie below. Next year, the company is looking to do it again with their newest project: SteamWorld Heist. Despite being set in the same universe, SteamWorld Heist is not a direct sequel to Dig, though it does take place some time after the events of the latter. In this game's timeline, the robot population has fled into space aboard steam-powered ships due to a cataclysmic event that shattered the planet. Things are even more desperate here, and with resources coming in short form, heisting other ships and bases is the only way to stay functioning. You'll recruit a team of robots to explore and scavenge the remains of the destroyed world as well as take the fight to enemy ships to take their resources as well, and you'll be doing so through turn-based strategy; another shift in gameplay from Dig's more action platforming-oriented design. So why make a brand new game instead of pursuing a sequel to SteamWorld Dig after its great success? "Partly because we really wanted to make a turn-based strategy game, but also because it felt like a clever move," Image & Form CEO Brjann Sigurgeirsson mentioned. "The obvious follow-up would“ve been Dig 2; we wanted to surprise instead." And surprise they certainly have. SteamWorld Heist is set for release in Spring 2015, though platforms, price, and release schedules are yet to be determined. For now, be sure to check out the first look at the game below. Source: Press Release Are you looking forward to SteamWorld Heist?
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