Bard’s Gold: Throw Down The Gauntlet (And Your Controller) In This Instant Classic

Bard's Gold Logo 

If you remember way back when games didn’t hold your hand at all or you’re a newer gamer who wants a game that’s going to test your skills while teaching you some patience, welcome to Pixel Lantern’s Bard’s Gold. Available NOW on Steam, this retro platformer is neither another “Metroidvania” retread nor some speed-runner’s dream frenzy of the week. The game is a deliberately slower-paced side-scroller with an extreme difficulty that the developer (or at least the PR guy working for them) claims it’s the “hardest game on Steam”.

Bard's Gold 01 

Now, I can’t say whether or not this is true, but that trailer below sure doesn’t make it look anything close to “casual” at all.

Anyway, color me sold on this one. A request for a Steam code has been made, so we’ll see how tough this one is. Given the comments I’ve scanned so far, I’m expecting to be needing a new controller at some point.

Bard's Gold 03 Bard's Gold 4 Bard's Gold 05 Bard's Gold 06 Bard's Gold 02 Bard's Gold 07

Retro City Rampage REALLY Goes Retro: 486 – MS-DOS / Windows 3.1 Version Now Available


 

Vblank Entertainment’s head honcho Brian Provinciano is a truly mad genius in the best possible way. His single-minded obsession with his hilarious “retro” game Retro City Rampage has led to it being released on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS over a few short years. Now, he’s gone and reprogrammed the instant classic and has gotten the game onto a 3.5″ floppy disk for 486 computers along with a Windows 3.1 prototype as a free bonus. If you still have an old PC lying around with a floppy drive, you can (and should indeed) snap up one of the limited edition boxed versions (there were only 1000 total made) and prepare for a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a game that probably wouldn’t have existed back then and if it did, it would be hailed as a fine slice of comic genius or something like that.

Retro City Rampage 486
 

If you happen to own the more modern PC version of the game already and bought it from the developer directly, guess what? You should probably check your Steam account for a nice freebie surprise. Everyone else, run or click like the wind HERE and hope for the best. Like the PS4 and Vita retail editions, this will probably sell out ridiculously fast. Yes, the game will also run on DOSBOX if you have a newer PC. I almost forgot to mention this, so now you don’t need to hit up eBay looking for some aged system to run RCR 486 on.

Project CARS Full Rides List: Your Car Is Ready (Almost!)


 

As soon as I saw this list, I started rubbing my hands together a wee bit too much and eventually set fire to my laptop’s keyboard. Ouch. It’s a good thing I was drooling at the same time because that put the fire out. Memo to self: I need a new smoke alarm for the house. Well, better a new laptop needed than a new lap, as laps can’t be transplanted last I checked. Project CARS will be rolling into retail and digital in North America for PC on May 7, 2015 and for PS4/Xbox One on May 12. Steam OS and Wii U versions will arrive later this year.

Anyway, get ready to race soon in the following cars once the game is out: Continue reading

More Monday Bundles to Mix Things Up

indiegala EMB 462015
 

I must be psychic or something. I was recently telling a fellow horror game fan how I wished one of the indie bundle sites would do an all-horror game deal and *BOOM!* IndieGala Every Monday Bundle, anyone? $1.89 for seven Steam horror games today – the price jets up a bit on Tuesday. Well, that was fast and yeah, I’m looking over my shoulder for a sack of money to fly into my hands from somewhere. Okay, nope on that loot-fest? Damn. Hard work over get rich quick daydreaming it is!

humble mobile bundle 11 banner 

Meanwhile, over at the Humble Bundle site, this week’s deal is Humble Mobile Bundle 11, featuring seven games for an average of $4.29 with MORE titles to be added next week. These time-locked game deals are wonderful because while you don’t know what’s coming, they’re worth the money because the added free games are usually something cool you’ve never played previously. Here’s what in the deal so far:

humble mobile bundle 11 

Nice, huh? Anyway, go get yours out of the two deals or get both because you’re spending a little and getting quite a lot as usual. Now, all one (or all) of these bundle bargain sites need to do is add “create your own bundle” deals where buyers can choose from a long list of indies for a low price point and my psychic powers will be fully revealed (cue ominous music)…

FUND THIS! Toe Jam & Earl: Back in the Groove Kickstarter

Toe Jam and Earl BITG KSSix days to go and I wish I had about a half million bucks to throw at this Kickstarter project just so it could get onto the Wii U as a stretch goal. Still, with just about $70,000 left to go before it’s fully funded as a PC, Mac and Linux game, it’s worth helping get ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove made if you remember the original Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game and its somewhat under appreciated sequel, Panic on Funkotron. Here’s a peek at an early version of Back in the Groove from the game’s KIckstarter page:


 

In terms of the art style of the new game, I like it quite a lot, but the more colorful and distinct look Panic on Funkotron had made such a strong impression on me that I’m slightly sad to see it not make a complete comeback. That said, those “stacked” levels are awesome to see in that early footage. Also great is the return to the roguelike play of the original that featured randomized levels, enemies and presents. Couch co-op is back, but with four players instead of two and online play is on board for those friendless types who need to reach out and touch someone. Just kidding on that last sentence, but TJ & E was (and is, as I still have my Genesis copy that gets whipped out from time to time) a game that worked best with a buddy next to you on the couch to work with. Or elbow in the ribs at when they weren’t doing what they needed to do.


 

Anyway, if you like what you see, do what you need to do and tell some friends about this one. They need some old-school retro rap roguelike love in their lives too you know…

Saturday Night’s All Right for Bundles, Get a Little Action In!

the puzzle bundle 

Yes, it’s been so hectic here that I’ve missed out on a few bundle stories, but that doesn’t mean you need to go without some entertainment this weekend. Got a thing for wordplay and other light entertainment? Boogie on over to Bundle Stars and nab the Puzzle Bundle for $2.49. You get a ton of great word games, some hybrids and even a slot-machine simulator that will make you wish your PC or laptop could pay out when you win! Don’t blame me if you get hooked, though.

Humble Square Enix Bundle 2 

Humble Bundle has a few cool deals this cold weekend including the Humble Square Enix Bundle 2, a nice selection of mostly AAA titles you can have for $15 or less. I’d go for the $15, as more games will be added to the deal shortly and it’s already a great purchase.

Humble Weekly Bundle Coop 2 

Or you can grab a friend and get the Humble Weekly Bundle Co-op 2, where $10 gets you seven games designed for more than one player. Sure, you can play them by yourself if you like. But where’s the fun in that when it’s nicer to share the wealth. Especially if you make your friend pay for this deal. Then you’ll HAVE to share even if you’re just showing some non-gamer the ropes.

indiegala friday special bundle 

Meanwhile, over at IndieGala, the Friday Special Bundle offers up two deals that are hard to pass up. Get four Steam games for a buck or shell out $3.49 for ten more. The page is a tiny bit confusing, but even if you paid $4.49 for all 14 games there, it’s still a phenomenal deal you don’t want to miss.

IndieRoyale doesn’t want you to feel left out, as they have The Debut 24 Bundle up, currently at a mere $1.87 for nine titles. There’s a nice mixture here as well of stuff to play in complete to not so complete forms. Everything is good in this budget bundle, but if you’re into fantasy-themed games, it’s all about Witches,Heroes and Magic. WHAM is more or less an homage to the Might & Magic strategy series, but played as a fast-paced action game with loads more challenge. Ride big monsters, command troops and most of all, try not to let your character get killed, as perma-death is in the house here.

Okay, that’s it for now – feel free to poke around each site’s online shop, as there should be even MORE deals to be had and perhaps even a free game or two if you know where to look.

Star Wars Humble Bundle: WANTED By Bargain Bounty Hunters Across The Universe!

Star Wars Humble Bundle 

Holy cats. As I was hoping, the Humble Star Wars Bundle went from “Must Buy!” to “Oh, you’d BETTER Buy It NOW!” status. As you can see (well, once you pop your eyeballs back in from looking at the selection of games), the roster of titles got bumped up so that even if you pay the lowest possible price (a dollar a game), it’s a STEAL even a Corellian would pay for. Yow. Even if you skip that $12 tier and the three games that make up the deal, you’re getting enough games to keep you busy for months. As in you’ll probably still be playing by the time the new Star Wars movie hits theaters in December.

Star Wars Humble Bundle 

Yup, you know what you need to do, right? Force grab that wallet and force choke out that debit card, folks. Get enough games to zonk anyone into a digital coma and help charities in the process. You don’t need to be Yoda to realize this is a wise deal, Padawans. Now, get to it! You’ve got a galxy far, far away to save. or ruin, if that’s your thing. Anyway, this deal ONLY lasts until next Tuesday, so don’t wait (or pray that it’s altered any further, you cheapskates out there). Jump on this like it’s the last ship leaving Hoth or else you’ll regret it. Or at least your backlog will!

Buy This! Bundle Stars’ Abstract Bundle Makes The Odd Oddly Comfortable…


 

Bundle Stars, you rascals. Getting out another great deal on this cold and snowy day and me, too damn busy to play anything thanks to poring over CES news. I shake my press release filled fist at thee, then realize this deal goes on for two weeks. Oh, okay. Well, for the rest of you with time enough at last on hand, if you have $2.49 burning a hole in your digital wallet, you should get the Abstract Bundle not because it’s dirt cheap, but because of the nicely weird mix of games this time out. Me, I’d drop that loot just for the chance to play Vangers again after too many years. This 1998 open world driving/sci-fi RPG hybrid is just too offbeat to describe other than to say it’s like a cerebral version of Mad Max as re-imagined by some talented Russian developers who worked in a free-form style of storytelling and gameplay that’s still unique. Intentionally tough at the outset and vague if you’re not reading dialog and thinking about what was said, the game is strangely addictive and those voxel graphics give the game a strangeness that still works in its favor.


 

The other game well worth that money is Knights of Pen and Paper, a double throwback that references the good old days of Dungeons and Dragons plus some of the classic console RPGs from the 1990’s. This one’s less tricky to describe but still going to be weird to some new to the experience. I’ll let the game page description take over here:

Take on the roles of in-game players taking on the roles of their characters in a traditional pen and paper RPG session in the ultimate meta role playing experience.

Yeah, it’s that quirky, but quirky is good in this case. There are eight other fun games in the bundle from “old” reliable hits like the two PixelJunk games to more recent oddities that will bring a big grin to your face once they click with your smarter parts. Anyway, I’ll shut up now and post this so you can grab this deal and get your own game on. Play a little for me, please. I may not be coming up for air in a while…

Review: Elegy for a Dead World

Elegy For A Dead World CAPlatform: PC/Mac/Linux

Developer: Dejobaan Games

Publisher: Dejobaan Games

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: N/A

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

 

Whether or not you like to write, there’s an excellent chance that you love storytelling in one way or another. Dejobaan Games’ excellent Elegy for a Dead World is a game about writing that’s not just for writers and to some “gamers” out there, isn’t really a videogame in the traditional sense. There are no scores tallied, no bad guys to dispatch, and only three relatively small and short themed planets to explore. But it’s neither the journey nor the destination that’s the selling point here.

elegy_ks_gif The game encourages you to sit down, unhook your brain from its box and let your fingers do the talking as you write anything you wish. Yes, there are numerous writing prompts you can use and there’s great fun in pretending to speak in another voice as some of the prompts suggest. But for some players, the experience of free-styling their way through each world and sharing their stories with others will be the big draw… Continue reading

Elegy for a Dead World Out Now: Creative, Genius.


 

As I noted last week before I even got a review code, Dejobaan Games’ Elegy for a Dead World is probably a game that will get non-gamers to play it. After firing up the game last night and taking it for a brief spin, let’s just say that it’s everything I thought and then some. I’ll save the longer words and high praise for the full review, but this may be the surest cure for a case of “writer’s block” you’ll ever see. Just for kicks, here’s a list of the first writing prompts I saw when I chose a world to explore:

The Proud History of a Dead World
Freeform Writing
Grammar Workshop 101
Ozmandias by Percy Shelly
The Destroyer of Worlds
I Thought ___ But You ___
Ten Rhyming Couplets
Bad Poetry You Wrote on the Bus
The Diary of a Young Girl

Other than Freeform Writing, each prompt has a brief description of what’s required. I did a world and at the end, was prompted to edit or share my work. I chose not to share it, but was surprised to see a story from someone else to read waiting for me on a new screen. Nice. The game not only encourages you to write, but to read and rate other works submitted by players. Things are really going to get interesting now. I just hope I have time to read what’s looking like a growing library of short stories, poems and other writing exercises…

Back in a bit with a full review.