ADR1FT Could Be The Best PR For VR

With Virtual Reality slowly but surely making its way (once again, but new and improved – “this time for sure, presto!”) to gaming and other entertainment experiences, it’ll be the early games that will be the ones that make or break the format. Granted, common sense says new experiences aren’t going to be flawless and in terms of games, technical bumps and grinds are commonplace for first wave software. That said, VR needs to be as flawless as possible so any complaints are rendered mostly moot and allow developers to strut their stuff from the get-go as they start off with good games and make them better as time marches on.


Three One Zero Games’ ADR1FT is looking like it’ll be not only a go-to game for those dipping a toe into the VR pool, but also an experience non-VR using gamers looking for something impressive to play and show off should dive into. Since my last time with the both VR and non-VR enabled versions of the game way back in March, the dev team has made some major changes to the visuals and tightened up the gameplay even more. Thanks to Unreal Engine 4 and some mighty programming skills, the level of detail here is even more astounding. This is especially noticeable in the PC version, where using an Oculus Rift headset I spent about half an hour floating around and checking out as much of the destroyed space station as I could while keeping as close to air canisters and air supply points as possible.
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The Guest Hands-On: Quiet Hell Hotel Holds Soviet Science Hostage


teamgotham_blackMadrid-based Team Gotham is a four-person studio that’s cooking up an unsettling Unity-powered first-person adventure game called The Guest that’s headed to PC at some point next year via Steam thanks to publisher 505 Games. Set in 1986, you’ll step into the shoes of Dr. Evgueni Leonov, a Russian scientist who wakes up in a strange Massachusetts hotel room that seemingly has no way out. In true adventure game fashion, searching for clues and items to combine and use come heavily into play as Leonov needs to problem solve his way through a number of scenarios as he uncovers what’s going on. Locked doors, batteries, scraps of paper, coat hangers, assorted tools and more could be studied and collected with everything you can carry having some use at some point during the game.


The time period The Guest is set in means there are no handy cell phones to use to ring for help (and no cliched “I can’t get a signal!” moments either) or other modern tech on hand. All the good Doctor has are his frazzled wits and anything you find while scouring the rooms you explore. The demo at 505 Games’ NYC event was a short enough teaser to be extremely intriguing as it showed off some initially simple but extremely well done puzzles and a wild bit of business that sort of resembled a panic attack Leonov has when he accidentally locks himself in a bathroom. The resulting freak-out made for a nice jolt and the only way to get it to stop was to find and use some pills stored in the bathroom’s first aid cabinet. How Leonov got to that hotel is explained during the demo, but you definitely don’t find out what the heck is up with his room being as weird as it is.

Team Gotham’s use of Unity here is quite stellar for such a small team. The game has a nice realistic look yet shouldn’t be at all demanding on some lower-end gaming rigs. Other than some newspaper and magazine clippings, objects can be rotated and examined to simply read their labels or to uncover additional clues. Yes, items need to be combined in order to succeed, so be prepared to turn one of the aforementioned coat hangers into a handier lock pick at some point. While not a “horror” game at all (at least as far as I was able to see), the mixture of waking up in a half-trashed hotel room, the need to medicate Leonov on occasion and the cryptic news clipping and other clues he finds give The Guest a nice psychological vibe. While the game should have appeal to anyone looking for a finely crafted first-person game that’s not all about shooting up monsters (or anything else for that matter) fans of hidden object games who want something more cerebral should also take interest in this one as well.

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So far, this one’s PC only but it’s easy to see at least one of the big three wanting to add this game to their lineup. Given that The Guest is planned to be Oculus Rift capable at some point, it’s a no-brainer for Sony to want to add this to their Morpheus games lineup. Or at least that’s what I’d be angling for if I were picking potential indie hits at SCEA. While they only have a handful of titles on the way 505 Games is on a roll with a very strong lineup. With The Guest, ADR1FT, How To Survive 2, and Indivisible coming, it’s going to be a good selection of titles for gamers who want variety in their experiences.

Pocky & Rocky With Becky On Virtual Console: Bust Up Cute Baddies, Not Your Wallet


Given that complete used copies of the low production run Game Boy Advance title Pocky & Rocky With Becky can fetch over $200 and new/sealed ones over $300, Natsume finally getting the game out on the Wii U Virtual Console is a great thing for those who missed out on the game and don’t have hundreds to drop on a copy these days.


For a fraction off those ridiculous auction prices (and yes, the Japanese versions of that cart run a lot more) you can get all the deceptive cuteness the game delivers along with harder than you may have thought gameplay. Well, the game isn’t really that difficult. It’s just that one hit from any enemy will knock Pocky, Rocky or Becky out of action and if you lose all your lives, you’re restarting from the beginning of one of the seven stages. Anyway, that’s your heads up for this one. Natsume has been on a nice roll of getting a few GBA titles onto the eShop such as this one, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and the great, under appreciated RPG, Car Battler Joe (which also comes highly recommended).


Other Natsume GBA games headed to the eShop are Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town along with the two Medabots games, Medabots Rokushu and Metabots Metabee. All three should be popping up in the eShop in North America later this year. Alrighty then, let me let you get yours. Off and away with you now – you’ve got some cool (and now cheaper) games to buy and play.

Blu-Ray Review: Stray Cat Rock: The Collection

Stray Cat Rock_AV008As a slice of Japanese cinema of the early 1970’s, the five films that make up Arrow Video’s Stray Cat Rock Collection make for quite a quintuplet of quickly made flicks influenced by American biker films of the previous decade. Directed by Yasuharu Hasebe and Toshiya Fujita, the films feature the same cast members but are actually mostly unrelated other than in their thematic elements.

“Youth gone wild!” and “Crime Doesn’t Pay!” seem to be the orders of the day here as the series was created by Nikkatsu to compete with rival Toei’s popular Delinquent Boss films. So there’s male and female gangs, exploitative violence, not as much sex or nudity as you’d think (but it’s certainly there), a bit of slapstick, a random concert and more. While there’s plenty of seedy and salacious content, some of the trailers included advertise the films partially as comedies, which is amusing in and of itself. In other words, some viewers will need to approach this set with a wide open mind because what constitutes “comedy” here might seem a bit humorless or just plain strange outside of its home country. This is a good thing at the end of the day as expanding one’s cinematic horizons is a core reason to watch films you’ve never seen previously.

The overall tone of the films will probably seem scattershot to some viewers used to movies that stick to a certain predictable style from start to finish. For all the raging delinquency, drug use, wild dancing, sex and violence on display there’s also a lot of karmic retribution and negative actions leading to more and worse reactions for some characters. This makes the collection a really intriguing set of films that, warts and all make for some pretty cool “B” movie bliss. As usual, some excellent transfers and nice bonus material round out this Arrow Video release and make it a must for collectors. Continue reading

IndieGala Every Monday Bundle: Sentimental, Strategic, Puzzling, Violent


IndieGala EMB 10052015Six indie games for $1.89 and this time all of them look worth diving into. No backlog hoarding in this week’s set thanks to the brevity of the paradoxically languidly paced Home is Where One Starts clocking in at under an hour. It’s a sweetly sentimental short game about making memories, something some see as just posting pictures of food, babies and whatever animal of the day video hits their inbox. This short interactive tale might make a few of those folks dwell longer in their own memory well if they give it a go.


The other interesting game here on a more cerebral level would be The Logomancer, a game made in RPG Maker with a “combat” system that’s a lot more interesting than your garden variety JRPG-inspired (yet completely original) indie. Conflict negotiation and talking one’s way out of trouble is the order of the day for your party members, and those stylized visuals only add to the game’s uniqueness. A nicely done original soundtrack rounds out the fun here.

The other games are a formerly mobile gone PC puzzle game called One More Line, the two Braveland turn-based strategy RPGs, and finally, the hyper-violent but ridiculously funny Mayhem Triple (which may have you seeing angry alien cartoon rabbits falling from the sky when you’re in dreamland later tonight). Ah, variety… I guess. Anyway, under two bucks gets you some cool indies you’ll enjoy. All you need after that is time to play them.

Indivisible: Lab Zero’s Beautiful ARPG Makes My Monday

Lab Zero logo 

In case you were wondering what Lab Zero (the team behind Skullgirls) has been up to, well click on over to the Indivisible game site and check out their incredible looking and still in early development stages Action/RPG that just so happens to also be an Indiegogo campaign you can participate in. The currently PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only game set to be published by 505 Games once it’s all completed sure looks like a winner in the early video below. If you want a bit more incentive to whip out that wallet, there’s a free downloadable prototype demo you should try out as soon as possible.


In addition to the gorgeous artwork, animation and fun gameplay reminiscent of titles such as Prince of Persia, Valkyire Profile, Metroid and other influences, gamers who love great music can expect a solid soundtrack from renowned composer/producer Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana, Koudelka, and Sōkaigi among other works). That prototype certainly brightened up my Monday considerably and it looks as if the game’s seemingly somewhat hefty (but reasonable considering it’s coming to PC, consoles, Mac and Linux) funding goal of $1.5 million won’t be a pipe dream for the dev team or publisher.

Indivisible DLPnow 

Anyway, go give that demo a try and if you find your boat floated, let your fingers do the walking and drop a pledge into that fun(d) bucket.

Review: Persona 4: Dancing All Night

P4_DAN_coverPlatform: PlayStation Vita

Developer: Atlus

Publisher: Atlus USA

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

MSRP: $39.99 (Standard Edition), $79.99 (Disco Fever Edition)

Score: B(80%)

Kanamin (24) 

Sure, the premise is supremely goofy and practically guaranteed to make some of the more obstinate old-school fans of the long running Shin Megami Tensei and Persona franchises get a bit cringe-y. But Persona 4: Dancing All Night manages to shake off most any negative vibes thanks to it not only being a pretty decent rhythm game, but a really well-made spin-off to the Persona 4: Golden (that’s also gotten a pretty darn good 2D fighter with an even better follow up). Keeping the surviving characters and situations from P4 intact and working them into the game’s plot was an inspired touch that’s hopefully going to sell those gamers who are only buying this for music and gameplay into picking up P4:G at some point if they’ve yet to.

On the other hand, if you go into P4: DAN with skeptical intent, don’t expect to be knocked off your feet by the game’s premise, how some characters act and the overall gameplay that may not be your cup of tea. Fully enjoying this one means throwing caution to the wind, diving in feet or face first and letting the music and atmosphere wash over you like a sudden summer rain shower. Continue reading

Albino Lullaby: Horror Minus Most Of The Expected Is Still Somewhat Frightening

Albino Lullaby logo 

Ape Law’s oddball psychological horror game Albino Lullaby has no blood and gore splattering anything and not a single jump scare to rattle your cage as you explore its bizarre, stylized maps. What it does deliver is a downright creepy vibe, some room-twisting shenanigans and those weird creatures called “Grandchildren” that may or may not freak you out whenever you encounter them. Okay, they will freak you out if the sight of what looks like a man-sized finger with the face of what looks like a zombie version of one of Team 17’s Worms games is something you find scary. And yep, you can even buy stuff with those faces on it that include throw pillows and a travel coffee mug.


Currently available on Steam, this episodic first person adventure released back in September is timed perfectly for the season, what with the weather getting chillier and Halloween haunting just around the corner. Playing as an accident victim who wakes up in a very weird town, part of the game is discovering where you are and how the hell you’re going to get out. The game’s bold use of Unreal 4 in such a stylized manner has the surreal, gaudy Victorian meets scratchy modernist environment look like a bad dream come to life. Continue reading

October Surprise, Indeed

(thanks, Kévin Aze!)

Ha. Welcome to October where nothing is working as it should, whee! I do need to change that banner and background and update the site with a few posts and such. But it seems that the internet here is chuggy and slower than a dead coyote trying to catch that pesky Road Runner that’s sent him off a cliff for the last time. Thanks to the awful connection speed today it actually took me longer to make this post than it did to write up one of the reviews I’m about done with. Anyway, this test post aside (which BETTER go through when I hit “Publish”, grrr!), I’ll see what else I can get done and up later this evening. Or at worst, tomorrow. Yeah,even if there’s a hurricane or whatever zooming through here, there’s still work to be done.

Yeah, blow, wind… blow. You can’t stop me. Nor you, sideways rain. You’re nothing but an overly damp punk.