RymdResa: Restful Random Roguelike Inbound August 20

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“We didn’t want to create yet another space-shooter, with laser-beams and exploding aliens. In RymdResa the game play is peaceful, passive and relaxing.”

 

That’s a nice, bold statement from Stockholm, Sweden-based Morgondag, a pair of developers (Vendela Carlberg Larson and Kim Gunnarsson) whose upcoming game RymdResa sure fulfills on that quote quite well. With the space simulation sub-genre packed to the gills with demanding 4X and real-time strategy games focused on deep exploration and and blowing fleets of ships into space dust, RymdResa is a mellower mood trip that’s a laid back welcome from all that blasting. That’s not to say you won’t get blasted by something if you’re careless, mind you.


 

As you’ll see in the videos above and below, the game’s retro scan line look and lovely sound mix (by Tom Croke and Pat Jacobs) are blended quite well and there’s even a computer-y voice (Eric Reed) that talks to you as you slip through the stars like a more friendly (but abstract) HAL 9000. The gameplay in the build so far is interesting, mixing arcade-like controls that are easy to pick up with a (so far) intentionally languid mission structure that has you collecting resources and “spacepoints” and avoiding trouble while trying not to run out of said resources. There are nods to Computer Space, Asteroids, and other classics, but the game’s mix of poetic quotes as you drift about and discover are quite interesting.


 

Thanks to a busy set of things to do this past week, I’ve only spent about a half hour or so with the game so far. But I’ll be going back in to this deep space delight for more because what I’ve played so far has been quite compelling. That half hour got me close to two years in space, two levels and a near destroyed ship when I floated too close to the sun after dinging off a stray asteroid. Memo to self (and other players): RED outlines and highlights around objects mean stay away or else. While currently Steam-bound on August 20, 2015, the game is also set to land on Xbox One, Wii U, iPad and Linux at some point in the future. I’ll be wanting to check out the Wii U version just because that console is getting a load of cool indie love but people seem to be ignoring those games for some reason.

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I’ll run a big 40+ screenshot gallery over the weekend. I’d do it NOW, but I need to tackle some personal stuff. I’d do it sooner than the weekend, but I think I’ll be spending a lot of time in space before that with a nice little indie game you absolutely need to play. Back with more in a bit.

A “B” I Need to See: Les Raisins de la Mort

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Poster courtesy Horrorpedia.com- GO SUBSCRIBE!


 

I’ve never seen Jean Rollin’s 1978 horror flick Les Raisins de la Mort (The Grapes of Death), but I do vaguely recall discussing the film with a friend a few years back in a conversation about foreign horror movies. I’d forgotten all about it until YouTube user Sleaze-O-Rama posted the trailer below:

(thanks, Sleaze-O-Rama!)

And now, the hunt begins for a DVD as I prefer to borrow or outright own my movies and not stream or steal them. It’s not an urgent “get” at all. But if I see this one in my travels and it’s affordable, I’ll be adding it to the library when I can.

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir: This Remake’s Not Plain Vanillaware At All


 

Atlus and Vanillaware are teaming up to bring a very beefed-up HD version of 2007’s PlayStation 2 classic action game/RPG hybrid Odin Sphere out for the PS4, PS3 and Vita sometime in 2016. Take a gander at this gorgeous key art and set those calendars for whenever the game ships out next year:

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Atlus has even made this upcoming release an educational experience in at least one way. Leifthrasir is pronounced “LAYV-thra-sheer,” and that weird-looking “d” in the poster above isn’t a “d” at all, but a thorn þ, meaning you’ve learned something useful and Nordic today! Hmmm. hopefully that weird letter turns out alright in the actual post.

Change the Fate of the World When the End of Days Draws Near in Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

The Perfected HD Project from ATLUS and Vanillaware Remakes the 2007 Original

IRVINE, Calif. – July 23, 2015 – Vanillaware, the team behind the hit side-scrolling title Dragon’s Crown is working on a new authentic HD project with ATLUS to recreate and perfect Odin Sphere – the 2D action RPG with Norse Mythology roots. Told in five tales from the perspectives of five unique protagonists, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir expresses the original game with glorious HD graphics in Vanillaware’s renowned style, expanded worlds with new monsters, fully voiced story scenes, and a fine-tuned refreshing combat and RPG system to perfect the gameplay. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir will be available as a physical and digital release for the PlayStation®4, PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita in 2016 in North America.

You probably want some screenshots to ogle that feature some of that new HD art, correct? Well then, here you go:

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Lovely. I now have at least ONE game I can look forward to at some point in 2016 and thankfully it’s supporting old and newer Sony consoles.

Onechanbara Z2 Chaos Now On Sale: Let’s Get Physical (But Digital Is Okay, Too)


 

Onechanbara Z2 Chaos screenLet’s get this out of the way. You’re NOT buying Onechanbara Z2 Chaos because it’s anything close to AAA quality “Game of the Year” material. Nope, you’re buying because you’re a guy or gal who really like SUPER offbeat action games from Japan featuring under-dressed but overpowered ladies slicing and dicing hordes of undead creatures and creeps. That and the game is also pretty darn hilarious because it’s so intentionally over the top while being extremely accessible to about anyone who picks up a controller and wants to take it for a spin. XSEED Games has two versions of the game out today; a digital download for $39.99 that includes the game and rather sassy “Strawberries and Banana” DLC “costumes”.

Onechanbara Z2 Chaos BS LE
 

Hey, both fruit are quite tasty and VERY good for you! Lots of vitamins and minerals and other good stuff like that there. So that LE has some nutritional and educational value. Get two!

If you want something to touch and show off (fear not, Aya, Saki and the other gals won’t chop your sweaty hands off), run like the wind to your nearest game emporium with $49.99 and get the yummy limited “Banana Split” edition shown above. That set nets you a soundtrack CD packed with almost 80 minutes of music from both this game and its Japan-only predecessor Onechanbara Z: Kagura, an 80-page softcover “Behind the Bikini” book loaded with artwork and back story from both games, and a code to download that aforementioned “Strawberries & Banana” premium DLC costume. Let’s see now: so far, Onechanbara Z2 Chaos is (according to me) nutritious, educational, “sassy”, and a few other things. That sounds like a buy to me. And probably XSEED Games as well.

Skyhill: Elevator Inaction In A Descent Through High-Rise Hell


 

Skyhill intrigues me greatly because I missed out on the Indiegogo hype train for it last year when it was a rougher project that showed some major promise and got a lot of attention thanks to a few folks writing it up as a must-play experience. Naturally, Steam came a-calling and after going through the Greenlight process, that old build has since been scrapped and completely redone in Unity with the results seen above. Russian developers Mandragora have made their game a nicer-looking and more polished experience that’s destined to gain even more fans once it’s completed. To me, this looks like the arcade classic Elevator Action meets Silent Hill and Fallout… um, without the elevators, of course.

“What’s it all about?”, you ask. Well, let the official site tell you a bit (with a little rewrite assistance from yours truly):

Three months have passed since the end of World War III. Three months from the end of the world. One of the survivors, hiding in the penthouse in most expensive hotel of the city from from the scourge of biological weapons outside needs to find his way down to salvation. He must search for food and water to survive; find and use better weapons to fight mad mutants and more in the randomly generated world of Skyhill, where each walk-through is unique.

Yep, that sounds like a fine old time to me. In real life, of course. I’d just eat a big meal of whatever is left from that last room service trip, roll over and take a long nap. In Skyhill, you’re in survival mode as soon as you step outside that pricey penthouse. Anyway, this one’s going to be watched here until it’s ready for prime time. In the meantime, I guess it’s a lot of Knitted Deer while I’m waiting. That game needs to come to Steam as well.

Blu-Ray Review: The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Miss Osbourne

MVD7208BR Jekyll_OsbourneWalerian Borowczyk’s The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Miss Osbourne is a straight up shot of arty nightmare fuel that will seep into your pores and haunt you for a while after viewing. The director takes the classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale and like the perverse Jekyll and Hyde here (played here by Udo Kier and Gérard Zalcberg), has his way with the it and creates a pretty stunning and memorable piece of work. This isn’t your garden variety horror flick of the week and nope, it’s not for the kids or easily disturbed at all.

During an engagement party for Jekyll and Fanny Osbourne (Marina Pierro), sexual violence and assorted murders take place over the course of one terrifying evening. Initially, women are targeted but no one is safe from the clutches of Hyde’s perversions. Despite the mansion’s visitors and staff being whittled down every few minutes, none of the well-heeled guests has a clue as to who’s the culprit. As the debauchery continues, Miss Osbourne gets a clue as she’s looking for a hiding spot and spies Jekyll going through his transformation in a can’t take your eyes off the screen scene. Does she flee the mansion and try to find help or at least attempt to escape with her life? Let’s just say Fanny is repulsed on one hand, curiously compelled on the other and the combination makes her want to take a dip into that bathtub full of chemicals. Continue reading

#TBT Retro Freak: Cyber Gadget’s Time Machine Console May Be Your New Best Buddy

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I’d heard of the Retro Freak console a little while back but paid it little mind thanks to all the hype over Hyperkin’s RetroN 5 as well as the fact that there are too many other hybrid consoles out there vying for your retro gaming dollars. Now that I’ve read a bit more about it thanks to an email alert from Play-Asia, my eyebrow is up in a very good way. I think I want one of these at some point because I have a ton of games here for nearly every console it can play. The RF isn’t inexpensive at all, but that’s a good thing provided it does everything it’s supposed to.

Releasing in September are two models, Standard and Premium with the latter coming with a controller adapter that allows for Famicom, Super Famicom, Sega Genesis, and TurboGrafx controllers to be used. The big draw for many will be not only the 11 consoles the RF plays games for (Famicom, Super Famicom/SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, PC Engine, TurboGrafx-16, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, and Supergrafx), but the fact that the unit can rip and install all games from cartridges onto the console via SD card. In addition there’s an HDMI output, 720p upscaling, instant saving and even cheat codes for certain games.

I’d imagine those who can afford this will be snapping them up via pre-orders anywhere they’re going to be sold. Some will wait until the thing gets a few positive reviews though, but it’s all good at the end of the day for those with big collections who don’t want to keep too many consoles around their TV’s.

Yakuza 5: No Controversy Here, Just Sega Pleasing Some Fans


 

Almost lost in all this noise on Shenmue III and its somewhat controversial (to some) Kickstarter campaign was the fact that Sega of America itself was going to be publishing Yakuza 5 in North America this fall. General Director Toshihiro Nagoshi, Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama and their talented dev team are clearly showing that the PlayStation 3 isn’t “dead” yet as a viable console and the game certainly looks like their best work yet. Even better, it’s an exclusive to Sony’s console so you can wave your system under the noses of any friend with a competing console who may be a bit jealous. However, expect that console to be used to gently bash you over the head with if you’re too braggy.

Unfortunately for you physical media collectors out there the game is only getting a digital release via the PlayStation Network. So you’ll either need to bite that bullet and download this one or take the harder road, learn Japanese and import that version from a nice import retailer like Play-Asia. Of course, by the time you’re through with those crash courses in the language the game will be out here in English. So yeah, go support Sega of America with a purchase because they don’t make a penny on anything you get directly from Japan or anywhere outside the U.S. of A., folks.

Yeah!

@E3, Sometimes The Treehouse Hides All The Cool Stuff

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If you had the time and bandwidth this week you could have spend the better part of a few days watching Nintendo employees play a bunch of upcoming games at E3 that were part of their big puppet show press event. You also could have gotten to see at least one game not part of that family-friendly briefing that NEEDED to be given some mention outside the Treehouse Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is coming this year, but you’d never know this if you only watched the main event. Anyway, the trailer is above and some 25 minutes of gameplay from the Treehouse trio is below. Listen for the warnings about the game’s content and prepare to chuckle a bit as the gameplay is a bit over-described yet is still unsettling. “Wetness Gauge” and all the uses of the word “creepy” made me crack up, but the game looks nice and scary where it counts and it’s absolutely not for the kids.


 

Nintendo @E3: In Between Glory Days, Some Sparks Still There


 

Okay, the puppets were cute and some of the lineup is really looking fun. But anyone going into this year’s Nintendo Direct at E3 expecting something mind-blowing was probably disappointed. Unless you’re part of that rabid and supremely loyal fan base that gloms onto every announcement as “epic” news, this year’s list of games was and is solid but not really that spectacular. Granted, seeing Star Fox return, that Mario Maker game for the Wii U, Xenoblade Chronicles X, that load of indie games (or “nindie” games) and a few other titles made me smile quite a lot.


 

On the other hand I also know that 2016 will be the big year of surprises and fun reveals as the company rolls out a new system that’s not going to “replace” the Wii U as much as add some new means of enjoying the games coming for it and perhaps some of Nintendo’s older titles. As usual, we shall see…