Film Review: Alien Outpost

AlienOutpost_posterSet in the near future and packing quite a punch, Alien Outpost (Outpost 37) is a sci-fi action film genre fans will absolutely want to check out in theaters or on VOD. Directed by Jabbar Raisani, the film’s pseudo-documentary style does a decent job of setting up a not too far in the future world (2021) decimated by an alien invasion turned into a years-long standoff. Pitting a small yet dedicated group of soldiers against a weakened but still overwhelming force in a small, deadly area between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the men of Outpost 37 will face hazards and horrors from the aliens who have begun to use some of the locals to their advantage.

The film works well on a visceral level because despite some humorous banter flitting in and out between the soldiers, the tone is dead serious and believable to a good extent. It would have been nice to see more of the main enemy, though. Other than a short bit at the camp, those Heavies are only viewed briefly during action sequences and mostly at a distance. However, from the brief but impressive CG footage that opens the film and assorted “news” clips of destruction worldwide, we can see that they came, saw and almost conquered the planet. Troops around the world initially sent out to combat the Heavies end up stuck where they are thanks to the war dragging on so long that it’s become an underfunded albatross of a conflict. Yes, the movie can be seen as a heavy handed allegory, but it’s an entertaining heavy-handed allegory provided you’re not expecting epic battles and don’t mind the mirror the film holds up to current events.

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IndieGala’s Friday Bundle: Too Many Games for Not A Lot of Money (Again!)

 

Holy Cats. Fourteen, no wait… FIFTEEN Steam games for $1.99 over at IndieGala for the next 24 hours ONLY? Insane, but it’s got BUY ME written all over it, folks. You’ll get a nice mix of genres from roguelike RPG to fast-paced action, a slice or three of horror and even the unique photo album game Retention about a guy who has a bike accident and is flipping through the pages of his memory as he lies on the ground awaiting help. Well, I guess that’s better than slipping in the shower as far as accidents go. Ouch. This one’s worth a play because the developers say it only takes about eleven minutes to play. Eight endings give it replay value, so I guess that’s about 90 minutes total if you go for all four good and bad endings, correct?

Anyway, go get your deal and shut yourself in for the weekend. It’s going to be terrifyingly cold in some spots from what I’m seeing…

Funko Hikari Friday: Greedo, For The One Who Shoots First!

HIkari Premium logo 

This week, Funko is giving ONE lucky winner a chance to win a really cool new Hikari Premium Vinyl figure. If you’re looking at that picture below and grinning, that’s even better because you’re a fan of the original unadulterated version of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and know that Greedo didn’t shoot first. Han put a hole-sized hole in him (Her? It?) before he got blasted and no amount of wonky CG reediting will change that. Yeah, we like our space rogues more rogue-like, grrr! Anyway, behold Original Greedo Hikari Premium Sofubi Figure (# 1 of 2000, no laser hole):

Original Greedo Hikari Premium Sofubi Figure

 

As usual, entering to win is a snap. Hit up one or all of Funko’s social media sites:

Facebook!
Twitter
Instagram

Follow the rules (they’re simple!), enter and hold your breath for a week until you’re as blue as that alien collectible you’re trying to win. If you’re still breathing next week around Thursday or so, check your inbox and if you win, exhale and thank yourself for having some fantastic lung capacity. Good luck and make sure to pop back in for next week’s giveaway!

MVD Visual & Arrow Films Make For A Perfect Pairing For Genre Fans

MVD Arrow Films Trio 

All you UK movie collectors can now cease with the bragging about Arrow Films and their wonderful collection of cult favorites because MVD Visual is teaming up with them to distribute at least some of those films in North America. The first three out of the game will be Day of Anger [I Giorni dell’ira, aka Gunlaw], Blind Woman’s Curse and Mark of the Devil, all restored to their original cinematic glory. Each Blu-Ray/DVD will retail for 39.99, but as you know, shopping online will get you a lower price (as in follow those links above and save ten bucks, folks!)

I have memories of seeing two out of three of these flicks, but I’ll save my impressions for review time. Color me thrilled at the prospect of expanding my film library as well as some of your horizons in the not too distant future…

Goetia Hands-On: Spirit in the Material World Needs A Helping Hand

 

Haunting my inbox was an invite from Agnieszka Szostak to check out a brief demo of Goetia, a point and click mystery adventure game from French indie developer Sushee. The game is currently half funded on Kickstarter with about 21 days to go, a good sign for a game of this type. The demo clocks in at about an hour of play and shows off a game well worth keeping an eye on.

Goetia_Blacwood_Manor_Outside In the game, you’ll play as Abigail Blackwood,or more precisely, the ghost of Abigail Blackwood. She rises from her grave one gloomy evening and after realizing she’s no longer among the living, also discovers that there’s a mystery to be solved at her family’s seemingly abandoned manor nearby. While the demo takes place entirely in the mansion and it’s grounds, Sushee says the final build will have a lot more ground to cover.  The cool thing is, it’s entirely up to players as to how to proceed thanks to Abby’s ghostly, spherical form. As a ghost, she can travel through some walls and floors as well as interact with and manipulate objects in order to solve puzzles and progress through an even deeper mystery.

Goetia_Blacwood_Manor_Interior Some areas are blocked off by mysterious runes that require knowledge of how to dispel, so Abby will need to scour every nook and cranny for clues. The object manipulation is actually really cool, as it allow Abby to “be” an item for as long as you wish to float it around the screen. Solving some puzzles involves multiple steps of manipulation, but the interface only has three icon-based actions to deal with.

Abby can look, use or inhabit certain items and combining these skills (plus some careful reading of found documents) is key to success. The game is also reminiscent of the hugely popular “hidden object” genre that has far too many titles to count. Goetia requires a bit more grey matter activation, as there’s a nice layer of complexity to figuring some things out. Combine that with an open environment and you have the makings of an instant genre classic.

Goetia_Abbey_Ruins Visually, the game is quite lovely in a simple non-system hog manner reminiscent of classic side-scrolling PC point and click games from the 90’s. That said, the use of lighting and parallax scrolling are brilliantly implemented, giving the game a nice sense of realism. As Abby is just a sphere-shaped spirit, you’re not going to be seeing her girlish figure animating anything but the objects she possesses. So, if you’re looking at this for the potential of playing as a hidden statue, candlestick or other otherwise inanimate object, go on ahead and dive into that demo with relish.

If you’re still rocking a system that runs Windows XP, fear not. There’s a 32-bit demo you can play that’s exactly the same. This is a smart move by Sushee because believe it or not, plenty of people still use that well-aged OS. I’m also sure part of the target audience for a game like this skews older enough to not be spending rent money on keeping up with the latest gaming rig setups.

Goetia_Aviary_Closet Goetia_Blackwood_Manor_Dark_Corridor Goetia_Blacwood_Manor_Entrance_Hall Goetia_Eldwitch_Forest Goetia_Underground_Archives

All kidding aside, Goetia’s story is compelling in the manner it rolls out, enveloping you in a multi-layered mystery that so far, makes for a game worth funding and/or buying outright once it’s completed. Here’s what to expect in the final version:

  • A 2D world of Victorian mystery.
  • Over 90 rooms to explore.
  • Five vast and diverse areas to discover – Blackwood Manor is surrounded by ruins, woods, caves and an abandoned village.
  • A progressive-rock and ambient-inspired soundtrack.
  • Use your ability to walk through walls in order to reach secret rooms and areas.
  • Possess objects like a poltergeist to lift them, use them, combine them, make them float in the air, pile them up… well, you’re a ghost after all, behave like one!
  • Solve puzzles in more than one way by discovering hidden rooms and special features, such as new ghostly powers.
  • Delve into Blackwood’s story: 40 years have passed, and many things have changed since Abigail’s death.
  • Feel free to explore! You can travel through the world of Goetia however you like – and if you get stuck, simply backtrack and explore another area.

Goetia is set for an October release on PC and Mac. As for other platforms, let’s just say “who knows”, but the controls certainly make it seem like it’s going to be a very mobile-friendly port for those of you who prefer your games a bit more portable.

Little Orbit Wants Your Character In The New Adventure Time Game!

Adventure Time_CharactersAre you a BIG Adventure Time fan with an artistic bent? Well, Little Orbit wants you! Or more precisely, they want your artwork! The publisher is running a contest where one lucky winner will have his or her character design used in the next Adventure Time videogame coming to consoles and PC. When? Well, I dunno, but the contest only runs for a short time (as in NOW until February 17, 2015).

The rules are simple (and below the jump) and if you win, you’ll be able to brag all over the internet and deal with people trying to bash your dreams into powdered atoms because that’s what they do these days. Yeah, well… just avoid the deathtrap spiral that comes from commenting to every dope who wants to rain on your day and you’ll do fine. Contest info and links below the jump. Go do some finger-stretches or whatever it is artists do before drawing, read on and go win big!

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Earth Defense Force 4.1 Update: No Lights, New Rides? It’s All Good!


 

EDF 4.1 PS4 Release DateAmusing “warning”: If you don’t speak Japanese, this video will seem somewhat baffling for about the first two minutes and fifty-three seconds. However, those of you who happen to be fans of Sandlot’s awesome Earth Defense Force series of games will get your jaws hitting your shoes hard before you burst out laughing and nodding in approval.

The upcoming PlayStation 4 game Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair is shaping up to be a must-have title thanks to the developer not only porting the main game over intact, but adding loads of new content, enemies and vehicles. That Depth Crawler you see at around 2:55 is the best thing to happen to the series because it allows for the ultimate in mobility in the game’s deadly tunnel missions AND it works excellently in outdoor maps.

EDF 4.1 Depth CrawlerAdditionally, longtime EDF fans will see that there’s no longer static lighting in those tunnels, meaning visibility will be practically zero without some sort of light source. Thankfully, that Depth Crawler has lights (and packs some nice firepower). Hopefully, this means going in on foot if one chooses will show your character or teammates all sporting lights on their armor. The game isn’t out until April 2, 2915 in Japan and no U.S. localization plans have been announced.

EDF 4.1 Depth Crawler 1That said, one would hope that some smart publisher who owns the rights would be on the case worldwide for this one. I smell a surprise hit that thanks to all the improvements and new content just might be one of the better games. New bosses, more missions, improved visuals, what’s looking like a more stable frame rate? Yup, all of those are making EDF 4.1 a must buy when it finally ships. The Japanese version is compatible with any PS4, although expect to be lurking around GameFaqs if you need help navigating the menus and learning some strategies if you’re new to the EDF experience.

Alien Outpost Final Trailer: That Invasion? It’s Coming Sooner Than You Think!


 

AlienOutpost_posterThanks to a too crazy month of stuff knocking me about, I’d almost forgotten that Alien Outpost was arriving in theaters and on VOD this Friday. IFC Midnight has been putting out a nicely varied mix of genre films for a while now and between this one, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (yes, I’ll have a review up for that awesome indie shortly) plus a few other flicks on the way, it’s clear that massive budgets and major stars aren’t at all required to make compelling entertainment.

The mix of “found footage” documentary and intense sci-fi action should appeal to you weekend warriors looking for a little cinematic diversion to spend a slice of time with. Back with a review and more shortly…

The Witcher 3 January Update: Some Hot Stuff To Kill the Chill…


 

You know something folks? I just absolutely love that I can fall asleep every night knowing that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is going to be one of 2015’s best games on anything it appears on. CD Projekt RED is going to get plenty of people hot under the collar and a few other places for all the right reasons when this game finally gets into the hands of eager gamers on May 19, 2015. In case you’ve been wondering why this one’s so late, the delay is so the dev team can squash any nasty bugs that would stop players from fully enjoying the experience. They could more than likely ship the game sooner and patch it up over time. However, given the troubles plaguing other AAA games from last year that did just that (you know who you are), I’m betting CDPR wants to avoid the wrath of fans complaining them to death on message boards worldwide. Good for them for wanting to get it all right, I say…

IndieGala Every Monday Bundle Offers a Nice Freebie For Wordy Folks…

IndieGala EMB 01262015
 

It’s a Monday, it’s freezing outside and there’s going to be a ton of snow on the ground in some spots that will keep you indoors wishing you had the whole rest of the week off and then some. What to do, what to do? Well, if IndieGala has their merry way with some of you, you’ll be sitting in front of a warm PC playing some cheap games. Or at least ONE cheap game, as Words for Evil from this week’s Every Monday Bundle is FREE as a bird. Check it out below:


 

The rest of the games in this weeks deal ($1.49 for six games!) are certainly eclectic as you’ll soon see. Also, if you poke at the IndieGala store page, you can get another free game just because they really want you to shop there at some point and find even more deals. Sounds like a plan, if you ask me. Alrighty then – go do what you need to do. Me, I’m going to build a fire somewhere warm and cook the first thing that crosses my path…