Review: TRI: Friendship and Madness

TRIAllLevelsPlatform: PC

Developer: Rat King Games

Publisher: Rising Star Games

# of Players 1

ESRB Rating: N/A

Official Site

Score: A (95%)

It’s very hard to believe two people (Jana Reinhardt and Friedrich Hanisch) programmed the stellar TRI: Friendship and Madness, but that’s what it says on the official site and in the game credits. This family-friendly first person puzzle game plays like a hybrid child of Portal and a very well made Minecraft mod where you soon find the only limitations to solving the increasingly challenging levels are your imagination and sense of exploration. The game starts off small as a simple, somewhat straightforward Point A to Point B “find the keys to clear the level” experience, but once you get to drawing triangular platforms that can send you almost anywhere on a map, the game opens up into pure brain expanding territory.

Despite the often high level of challenge in reaching some really out of the way items, once you get the hang of things, the game is always a joy to play, particularly when you’re making your own route around the expansive and often gravity defying maps that have you moving around at seemingly impossible angles… Continue reading

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TRI Hands-On: Rat King Games Wants You to Go After the Fox…


Okay, my preview for TRI is a bit late (the game drops onto Steam this Tuesday), but this is one of those wonderful indie gems that NEEDS to be played and enjoyed. Developer Rat King Games has made a fun and very challenging first-person puzzle/platformer that’s got influences from Portal and Okami to even a teeny-tiny bit of Minecraft. The build I spent some time with offered up some fine and challenging large levels that grew progressively trickier and from that simple tutorial, opened up into a game that’s going to surprise fans of quirky visuals and complex gameplay that keeps you hooked in. Come meet the Odd Gods and stay for a while – you’ve got a fox to catch (if you can)…

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Pathologic Update: 17 Days To Go. Getting To Its Goal, Body By Body…

Slowly but surely, this remake of the 2005 sleeper PC game Pathologic is getting funded via Kickstarter, so hop in and splash around those plague-riddled ponds if you want to see this come to fruition. I love the unsettling vibe this gives off, that slow-loading pistol (and if you didn’t squeak a tiny bit when the camera dipped up and that bird-suited thing was standing there, you’re a better person than I am) and the overall air of gloom that makes this one special. Then again, if this real life ebola thing gets into the country, we’ll all be doing that dance those quirky rejects from Mummenschanz are soon enough. Man, I hate it when reality intrudes on my gaming life. Hopefully this gets funded and finished before the planet goes all 12 Monkeys, ha and ha… *gulp!*

Catequesis: Your Word of the Day & Retro Survival Horror Game of the…

SH Catequesis 

Hey, I didn’t PLAN on running three horror-related posts in a row! I just go through my inbox and start typing away about stuff I see that piques my interest. Anyway, Survival Horror Story: Catequesis has been in development for over two years and has a nicely nostalgic look to it while absolutely not being for the squeamish types out there. Developers Baroque Decay and Curved Cat games are looking to wrap this up and get it out on PC, Mac and Linux sometime in 2015, so if you like your horror games somewhat pixelated and “cute”, yet unsettling enough to make you maybe want to keep that security blankie on your lap as you play, well… here you go. If that three minutes of gameplay didn’t get your spine all chilly, this teaser might work on cooling you down some:

More on this one when my inbox gets another pointy news arrow from the dev team (ouch!)- stay tuned.

Pathologic Reborn: Ice-Pick Lodge Remakes Its Flawed Classic As A Crowd-Funded Next-Gen Game


Pathologic BirdWhile it had its share of problems, 2005′s first-person adventure/role-playing hybrid Pathologic was one of those “creep under your skin” game experiences that made quite an impression. Sure the graphics weren’t exactly “state of the art” for the time, but the surreal nature of the art style, interesting map layouts and unique character designs helped carry developer Ice-Pick Lodge’s vision of a strange world in the grasp of a deadly plague. While the game didn’t do all that well outside its native Russia, enough of a loyal fan base picked it up over the years to gain it a cult following and of course, these days that means there HAS to be a remake or sequel. Thankfully, I-PL has decided to reboot their original game idea and expand greatly upon it to include content planned for the original that was scrapped as well as create all-new content that’s guaranteed to get the game a second life as a more richly rewarding experience… Continue reading

Hive Jump, Huh? Hmmm… Color Me Highly Interested!

Twang Bar KingNope, despite that idyllic GIF above (twang, twang!), Graphite Lab’s upcoming PC/Mac/Linux and Wii U (yay!) game Hive Jump isn’t about some space cowboys sittin’ around a blazing campfire strumming a gitbox and singing bean-related songs (although that might make a fun mini-game now that I think about it). In fact, this in progress Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight game is the exact opposite of low key and gassy. One to four player alien blasting action reminiscent of X-Com, a bit of Slime World, Spelunky and Contra is the name of the game here (EDIT: Hey! I thought this was called Hive Jump?!) and based on that Kickstarter video, thing certainly look pretty thrilling.


See? Now THAT’S more like it, huh?

However, with a mere 931 backers and only $27,030 pledged of their $50,000 goal and ONLY 11 days to go (Eeek!), it seems this game needs MORE people hopping on the bandwagon. Granted, I bet some of those non-pledgers own a Sony or Microsoft console and are wondering why Nintendo is getting the love and they aren’t. But hey, I love it when a developer picks the more under-appreciated console and gives it the old college try. The Wii U needs games like this to stand out, and if it does well across the board, who’s to say Sony and Microsoft won’t be calling them up and getting a few dev kits out via some speedy shipping method? As much as I’m wanting to grab this download on the Wii U next year, I’d actually LOVE to play this on the Vita just so I can take it on the road to show it off and convert a few skeptics into new fans.

I'd say there are a lot of bugs in this game (and that's a compliment.)

I’d say there are a lot of bugs in this game (and that’s a compliment.)

Anyway, internet? Go do what you do so well (no, not THAT complain about meaningless crap in the wrong places!) and FUND THIS GAME! I’m broke after paying a few bills, so I’ll be one of those picking it up once it’s all done. It sure looks like it’ll be a total winner no matter what it appears on. Anyway, stop throwing money AT the screen, as all that does is crack you monitor. You need to do a bit more than that (or: give ’til it hurts or you get hurt) if you want to see this one live to fight another day (and perhaps on other consoles?). You go do just that – I’ll be here, awaiting your progress report!

Gallery: Lumino City – State of Play’s Handmade Game Is Really Pretty Stuff…

Okay, I’d not heard of indie developer State of Play Games or their games until someone sent me a link to their site a while back and I was charmed by the look of Lume, a puzzle/adventure game (currently on sale on the Steam store) with sets made out of paper and cardboard with hand animated characters filmed against and around those lovely locations. While the game was short and some reviewers knocked it for this, the outstanding visual style and fact that everything was handmade made this one quite special. That and the game’s ending seemed to point to a potential follow up at some point.

Well, that follow up is coming and it’s called Lumino City. As you can see above and below, it’s a work in progress and looks gorgeous. The developers promise “a wondrous sprawling puzzle adventure game” and it looks as if they’re going to exceed expectations on a few fronts. Hopefully, those critics and players that beat up on Lume for its brevity will see the craft here and really appreciate all the work that is going into this new adventure. I know I’m eager to give it a go when it’s ready for some play time. It would also be cool to see this on consoles at some point, but I guess that’s up to the developer’s time and if someone gets them a few dev kits…

Lumino City – Teaser from State of Play on Vimeo.


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E3 2014: Two More Nintendo eShop Future Hits, Indie Style!

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is a game I’m looking forward to because I can play it on the Wii U at home on a big screen and not have to worry about missing my stop on the bus or subway, someone clubbing me over the head to steal a handheld or some kid with better skills than me yelling at me from my left or right to jump faster. I hate it when that happens. Darn kids. Anyway, Wayforward Technologies is doing this 2D action/platformer up right as rain and it’s making me grin to see it all coming together so well.

Shovel Knight is another eShop soon to be classic I’m REALLY looking forward to playing. That “retro” aesthetic is in full effect as you can see – the game looks like it’s straight from the late 80′s (and that’s a good thing). The game is still in development and available to pre-order for PC already, but I’m holding out for the Wii U version as again, I’d like to save my eyeballs a bit longer and prefer playing on a TV and not a tiny 3DS screen or too close to a computer monitor. Then again, as rusty as I am at these old-school platformers, I just may as well hire some kid to play them for me, ha and ha-ha…

DreadOut Launch Trailer: You’re Now Under The Table Without A Single Drink, Right?

On May 15, a bunch of you will be sitting in darkened rooms, headphones on and hunched over playing Digital Happiness’ scary new game, DreadOut. I’m gathering there will be some squealing and flat out screaming involved on that day, particularly among those of you who do something dumb like play with the door to your room open and your back to that door. You KNOW that’s not a good ting, especially when someone else in your house or that pet running around decides to pop in and check up on you. Yeah, I’d expect those headphones to pop right off when you leave your seat and hit the ceiling, unless they’re wireless headphones. in which case you’ll want to have a pair with a NICE padded top, as ceilings can be quite hard when you fly up to them too quickly. Ouch. Turn off that ceiling fan while you’re at it, as it’ll keep your head from hitting the floor before the rest of you comes down. The police will have a hard time figuring out what happened until some deft detective sits down in front of that monitor, puts those headphones on and the scenario is repeated… Ouch.

DreadOut Teaser Trailer II: It Ain’t Over Until The Lady In Red Sings…

When we last left DreadOut, this Indonesian-made horror game was scaring the pants off of a few folks with YouTube channels who make a living pretending to be scared or perhaps being actually scared but somehow make it look canned when they jump and squeal in their seats like clubbed dog toys. Anyway, that video above is the latest “update” for the game just to let you know it’s coming out on Steam in May. Below is the previous teaser that shows and tells you what you’re in for next month: good old school horror in the Fatal Frame manner.

Digital Happiness will certainly bring some Digital Scariness to horror game fans with this one, as the demo from last year certainly had its moments. Well, prepare to sit in the dark and keep looking behind you every few minutes soon enough…