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.

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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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Brandish: The Dark Revenant – Whip Out That PSP One More Time!

Brandish TDR logoI was going to use the word “Brandish” twice in that title, but my brain is all fried up from today’s rather mind-boggling “finale” to the kitchen repair job that still has me reeling. They’re done… but NOT done. I give up! Well, not quite yet, but man… am I wiped out from all this nonsense.

Anyway, next week (January 13) sees Nihon Falcom’s remake of its classic Super Nintendo RPG Brandish land on PSN for the PSP and Vita rechristened as Brandish: The Dark Renevant. I need something nostalgic like this to keep me sane, so it looks as if it’s going in the queue. Xseed Games deserves props one more for keeping the PSP alive after all these years,but as noted, the game will also run perfectly on the Vita as well as PlayStation TV if you’ve committed some money to that newer device/service. $19.99 is the MSRP and the game promises some old school challenge just like the original (but harder!).

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As for what the game is all about, a peek below the jump should satisfy your curiosity… Continue reading

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

Unmechanical Extended Edition: Get A (nother) Grip Games Goodie in 2015!

Unmechnaical EE banner 

Grip Games is at it again with a cool enhanced update to one of its popular titles. Unmechanical Extended Edition is coming in 2015 for PS3,PS4, Xbox One courtesy of Grip and developers Teotl Studios and Talawa Games. Given that the original game was a critical success on multiple mobile platforms and PC, a console version with a bit more content was pretty much a no-brainer. Exclusive to the console versions is a new chapter that allows playing of the puzzle/adventure/platormer hybrid as a new character. Grip has also announced the Vita version of the game has been canceled, at least for the time being. The press release notes this, however:

While it is possible that this version will eventually be released, it definitely won’t be simultaneously with other versions.

Ouch. If speculation must be made, I’d imagine that getting Unreal to play nice on the Vita is probably trickier than expected. That or there are other issues keeping this one from its Vita debut. In any event, if Grip and company manage to work things out and get the game up and running, an update will be posted as soon as any news arrives in the inbox here. In the meantime, here are five screens to check out.

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Right now, sometime in January 2015 looks like when we’ll see Unmechanical Extended Edition land safely on home consoles. Stay tuned for more on this one…

Review: Alphadia Genesis (Wii U)

Alphadia Genesis_MainArtPlatform: Wii U

Developer: EXE-Create

Publisher: Natsume

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating:

Official Site

Score: B+ (85%)

As surprising as it is that there’s been a lack of original Japanese RPGs on the Wii U, it’s an equal surprise that Alphadia Genesis manages to be a pretty solid port of a mobile game and for those who only own console, the only true JRPG currently available for the system. Released for iOS and Android earlier this year by Kemco, developer EXE-Create has cooked up a game full of familiar tropes that works hard at delivering the nostalgic goods. For the most part it succeeds, thanks to nice 2D visuals, speedy combat and a fairly lengthy quest. However, veteran JRPG fans will wish the developer had gone the extra mile in a few spots that would have made the game even more impressive… Continue reading

Review: The Marvellous Miss Take (PC)

The Marvellous Miss Take PosterPlatform: PC/Mac

Developer: Wonderstruck Games

Publisher: Rising Star Games

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: N/A

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

Miss Take 1 The fun thing about having such a huge backlog of games to go through is it’s genuinely surprising to finally stumble across stuff in the digital stack that’s worth taking time to fully explore. Granted, this sometimes means later than usual reviews. But hey, at least they get done. Wonderstruck’s fantastic sneak and steal game, The Marvellous Miss Take is one of those excellent indie surprises you can’t gauge solely from ogling screenshots and movies at all. It’s a game that needs to be played even if you’re a stealth game veteran who thinks you’ve seen it all. Quirky visuals, snappy writing and mostly tight gameplay are all here for your enjoyment and the game excels at making you smile as you stylishly sneak back your stolen inheritance… Continue reading

The Great Story of a Mighty Hero Trailer: Dean Forge Makes a Laugh & Slash You Need to Try


 

TGSoaMH LogoWell, this one’s a nice surprise. I was thinking we’d see a new chapter in the horror-themed Lumber Island saga from developer Dean Forge (the original and its sequel come highly recommended), but it turns out his next game is a total departure from the horror genre. The Great Story of a Mighty Hero is certainly one of the most generic-sounding game titles I’ve heard in a while, but it’s intentional, as is the game’s lovely polygon cartoon art style and tried and true hack & slash gameplay. If that’s Unity being used here, it’s certainly getting a nice looking game as you can see below:

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Now, the game is supposed to be up and ready to go according to Forge’s site, but Desura hasn’t gotten around to getting it live and ready to try out yet. Boo! Oh well. I can wait a few more days just because I’m a big fan of this type of game (serious to silly) and I want to see how all that hard work turned out. If anything, getting this for the weekend would be sweet, as it would take my mind off the coming ceiling and wall repairs this Friday and all the noise, dust and daily super-cleaning of the apartment needed. Fun diversions such as this are great for helping save one’s sanity, that’s for sure…

Flyhunter Origins: Bugging Off, In The Most Fun Way Possible…

Flyhunter Origins logo_nobackground 


 

Zak_Pose4Busy mobile-plus publisher Ripstone is at it again with the fun old-school games, so I have to chime in with a grin at Steel Wool Games‘ upcoming platformer Flyhunter Origins, is headed to PC, PS Vita, Mac, Android and Tegra-powered devices this December. Sure, it’s not anything revolutionary at all and don’t expect “evolutionary” if you look to every new game you’re interested in as “innovative.”

What you see is what you get with this one: a solid and engaging platformer that plays like a mix of old and new genre classics. For an old goat like me, I’ll take fun and engaging over all-out trying to be the best new kid on the block any day of the week with a title like this. Now, that doesn’t mean I despise developers who break out of the box with surprising new games that do it all differently. Far from it, folks. I love seeing studios stretch their wings and fly like the breeze with new and cool ideas.

zak-home-1 There’s just something to be said for honest to goodness reliability and no-nonsense plop down your money and play enjoyment. Especially in a game such as this where you know you’re getting what you pay for and can show it off to others who appreciate the same thing. Flyhunter Origins is going to land on a device near you soon. Don’t reach for that Raid or comically over-sized swatter, kids – you’ve got some buggy buddies to rescue!

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The Shadow Sun: Ossian Studios Makes a Mobile RPG Monster…

The Shadow Sun 

I think Ossian Studios must be full of very powerful wizards who just so happen to stay out of trouble magic users get into by making some really wonderful games. The developer, well known by western RPG fans for two excellent expansion adventure packs for BioWare’s Neverwinter Nights 2 (Mysteries of Westgate and Darkness over Daggerford) has a new mobile RPG that’s going to maybe make some PC-only players jealous. Available for Android and iOS platforms, The Shadow Sun is a Unity engine RPG with about 10 hours of content, some really pretty visuals and what looks like fine gameplay in action.

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The Shadow Sun is packed with features you’d normally see in high-quality PC and console role-playing games. However, given the developer is made up of veterans with experience on Neverwinter Nights and The Witcher, what’s here is just the team showing off their work for all the (mobile) world to see and enjoy. Check out the gallery, game features and teaser trailer below the jump, if you please:

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