Gallery: Thea: The Awakening


cover_art_thea (Custom)Described as “a strategic survival game steeped in Slavic myth and monstrosity”, developer MuHa Games’ formerly Early Access turn-based strategy game, Thea: The Awakening is nor available for purchase on Steam. As this is the first I’m hearing of it, I’ll just say that the nice visual style and music caught my eye and ear respectively and that’s why you’re reading about the game here.

The game also features procedural map generation as well as a non-linear story, which means no two players should experience exactly the same game twice. Check out the art and screens below and if you like what you like what you see, you know what to do, right? You’re welcome.


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Vendetta: Curse of Raven’s Cry: Arr, Yeah – It’s Not Dead In The Water

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News3Remember a game called Raven’s Cry that was supposed to pop up a while back on PC and consoles? Well, it sort of did (on PC) but didn’t survive the harsh critical waters thanks to a number of issues. Reality Pump Studios moon-walked off the plank it was on, went back to the drawing board and has polished up their open world pirate RPG to what looks like a tasty finish.

The newly titled Vendetta: Curse of Ravens Cry has a release date of November 20 (hey, tomorrow!) looms on the horizon for Mac, Linux and SteamOS in both Standard and Digital Deluxe Editions for users who want their games in that particular format. Console and packaged retail versions of the game will arrive sometime during Q1 2016, but don’t expect to see this on the PS3 or Xbox 360 at all as those “old” systems have of late been consigned to Davey Jones’ locker when it comes to getting new releases, arrrr!

Five screens below and publisher TopWare Interactive has just put up a nice interactive map of the places you’ll go on your ship with your not so jolly crew. As far as I can tell, there are no whales to deal with in the game, but as you can see, Here There Be Tygers… er, leopards. That screen is kind of amusing because it looks as if both that feline and that pirate are thinking of that new coat they’re going to be wearing when the smoke clears.


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As to the seaworthiness of Vendetta, it’s probably safe to say that Reality Pump has set the ship righter that it’s previusly been, but the proof will be in the parrot pudding starting tomorrow.

Review: The Last Crown: Midnight Horror

TLC_MC header

Platform: PC
Developer: Darkling Room
Publisher: Iceberg interactive
MSRP: $4.99
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: B+ 85%

As adventure games go, The Last Crown: Midnight Horror works exceptionally well as both an entry level point & click game for those new to the genre as well as a game fans of ghost hunters Nigel Danvers and Lucy Reubans’ previous (The Lost Crown) and future (The Last Crown: Blackenrock) exploits. The tone is lighter and the humor ranges from sly to flat out intentionally corny, but it all works quite well in this short taste of Halloween-themed horror. Even better, it’s only five dollars and worth every cent you’ll pay and then some. Continue reading

Land Of A Thousand Gransys: Today Is For The Birds

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Ouch. HOT. So, it turns out griffins absolutely hate fire. At least in the land of Gransys, that is. While Kentucky Fried Griffin may sound like a tasty meal, you may want to put down those 17 herbs and spices and pick up the phone and call for some takeout from somewhere in Gran Soren. It seems that griffin meat is pretty tough, tendon-packed and somewhat rancid before its cooked and very much like cheap supermarket fowl, is better stewed for a few (dozen) hours in lots of wine and plenty of vegetables in a gigantic kettle. Coating it in batter and frying it would just give you a nice crispy outer shell that wouldn’t taste all that good and unless you’re cooking outdoors (the smell alone would scare anything human or animal away), you’d probably set your home ablaze from the inevitable grease fire.

Yes, this is not so secretly a plug for the PC version of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, headed to PC in January 2016. It was the game that kept giving on consoles and it should do the same and more for PC gamers who dive in feet first. Anyway, I’m still working on some stuff here while dealing with a sluggish network and cranky computer, so today has been an off day as far as getting things done. Back tomorrow with some fun stuff as among other things, I got a new cookbook to read in the post and it’s quite fantastic.

Let’s Play “I’d Rather Fight A Hydra Than…”

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Let’s see now: if I small world this little game and not think of current events beyond my control, “…deal with more dopey computer issues!” is the first thing that comes to my mind. Yep, still having some issues with a few things. But not for long. While that hydra above (courtesy of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen which is finally making its way to PC in January 2016, thank you much Capcom!) is confident it will win because it’s been reading old issues of Strange Tales for those Nick Fury stories (“Hail Hydra! Cut off one head and two more will take its place!”), it’s going down for the count so one of those heads can get transported to Gran Soren as a gift for the somewhat unbalanced Duke who resides in the castle there.

I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something, but I need to pop up this post before my laptop craps out and blue screens me again. It’s down to twice a day, though… so that’s “good”. I guess. Back in a bit or sooner as my backlog is lightening somewhat, but I do need to tackle posting a bunch of stuff with my fingers crossed that it gets up without any rebooting needed.

Review: Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations

Adventure Time Finn & Jake Wii UPlatform: Wii U (also on PS3/PS4, Xbox 360/Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS)

Developer: Vicious Cycle

Publisher: Little Orbit

MSRP: $39.99 (PS4/Xbox One, $49.99, 3DS $29.99)

ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 & up)

Official Site

Score: B (80%) 

As someone who likes all the console and handheld Adventure Time games, it’s good to see a new one arriving so soon that’s even more of a throwback than the more action oriented titles that have come before. Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations is a fine homage to old school classic point and click adventures with some nifty combat portions to keep your fingers limber. While the game isn’t all that difficult to complete (particularly if you use the hint highlight system to find clickable objects and locations), it’s a great diversion for a rainy weekend as well fun enough to warrant additional installments. It’s also the first Adventure Time game with rendered 3D characters and environments with developer Vicious Cycle doing a mostly excellent job in making Finn and company look great in polygonal form.

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The game is set up as a series of “graybles” as (re)told by the alien Cuber (voiced by Emo Phillips) from his space station. While it’s not quite Game of the Year material, the story is pure Adventure Time: pretty darn amusing and as usual, chock full of goofiness and tossed off references fans will knowingly nod and grin at. Fans of the show new to this style of game will find that it’s easy to get into and play, but experts at pointy and clicky stuff new to the show may find the game lacks a certain level of challenge save fora few puzzles that require knowing how certain episodes play out. Then again, unless you’re really bad at following prompts and using a tiny bit of deductive reasoning, you can do a bit of trial and error with not a failure state in sight.

There are five “cases” to tackle in the Land of Ooo that have Finn and Jake meeting up with the usual suspects from the show and everyone is voiced perfectly as you’d expect. In terms of gameplay, most of the game relies on a simple menu system that allows you to choose Finn to do most of the investigative work while Jake assists in getting him in and out of trouble or to seemingly inaccessible spots in the environment. Talking to everyone if you’re stuck will get you some clues that range from mostly direct to somewhat obscure (yes, like the show), but you can solve bits of some cases before you’d think if you have just enough info and accidentally or intentionally talk to someone who starts giving you a short quiz about evidence you’ve gathered.

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At certain points during play, “Combat Time” sequences become available, adding a bit of button jamming action to things. These sections are short and easy to beat, offering simple rewards in the form of collectibles Finn and Jake can use to decorate their fancy over-sized tree house. The game probably would have been fine without the swordplay and special attacks, but someone generally gets some sort of beat down at some point on the show, so you get to dish out the digital pain on a few folks who probably deserve it. Then again, without these smack laying down parts, the game might be less amusing and fun to play to some fans who expect a knockout or three (or more) before all is said and done.

While the game isn’t all that lengthy (as noted, it’s a rainy weekend special), it’s well done enough to warrant a sequel or two in the same style or at least more Adventure Time games down the road. Actually, it would also be really interesting to see if Vicious Cycle can handle the crazy and contagious energy of a more recent Cartoon Network smash hit, Steven Universe. It’s a completely different look and vibe on that show, but so far, every tie-in from the comic to the sole mobile game Attack the Light has been very well received. As usual, we shall see. In the meantime, you may as well support Little Orbit and Cartoon Network by taking Finn & Jake on a few Investigations, I say.

Review: Sound of Drop – fall into poison –

SOD title screenPlatform: PC
Developer: aeuio Kompany
Publisher: Sekai Project

MSRP: $12.99
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: A- 90% 

While it starts out somewhat slowly, Sound of Drop: – fall into poison – ends up a strong cup of horror thanks to some unsettling imagery and about 30 endings to uncover, most of them bad. When junior high schoolgirls Mayu and Himeno decide to find out if Manten Aquarium is indeed hiding a ghastly urban legend, they get more that they bargained for when they decide to investigate something fishy during a full moon. In true visual novel fashion, the plot is a few wordy hours of text packed to the gills with exposition and splashes of humor. Once it dives into horror, things take a successful turn for the weird and creepy, working quite well enough to keep you hooked in for the long haul.


Thankfully, the game shies away from some of the common trappings of many mature visual novels such as “romance” angles and gratuitous underwear shots. The game’s dive into horror comes off much better without those fan service distractions and with close to 30 bad endings and four “good” ones to discover, the replay value is off the scales. Even if you manage to get every possible ending, the experience of playing the story out and seeing all the horrific fates that befall poor Mayu and some of the people she meets will cling to your brain like an ancient barnacle. Continue reading

Review: Poncho (PC)

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Poncho Banner NewPlatform: PC/PS4/Mac/Linux
Developer: Delve Interactive
Publisher: Rising Star Games
MSRP: $14.99
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Official Site
Score: B+ (85%)

With pixel-packed “retro” games showing no signs of stopping, it’s great to see Delve Interactive shake up the scene with Poncho, a game that’s both new and nostalgic with a side of super challenging for good measure. The open world side-scrolling platformer features multiple layers of parallax scrolling to hop in and out of in order to progress and this is both excellent and a tiny bit frustrating until you get your sea legs. The game’s depth also extends to the minimalist but somewhat deep story of Poncho, a cute little robot who finds himself going where no man has gone before because there aren’t any humans left in the world the game takes place in.


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The Last Crown: Midnight Horror – Iceberg’s Happier Halloween Adventure Looks Like A Winner


You should SEE my backlog, ladies and germs. It’s huge and scary like a mountain and just as hard to move. That said, Darkling Room‘s new game The Last Crown: Midnight Horror looks really fun. I’d never even heard of the developer until I got an email about this one and how it’s a lighter fright game that’s also an in-between chapter of The Lost Crown and the still in development The Last Crown: Blackenrock, two adventure games I now need to also play at some point. No experience with the first game is needed here as the game’s Halloween theme makes it a standalone “between cases” experience.

Take a gander at the trailer and screens below the jump and if you like what you see, you can grab the game on Steam for a mere $4.49, 50 cents of the normal price of $4.99 (a total BARGAIN for such a cool-looking throwback). Continue reading

Review: Slender: The Arrival (Wii U)

Slender marqueePlatform: Wii U
Developer: Blue Isle/Parsec Productions
Publisher: Reverb Triple XP
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site
Score: B- (75%) 


Nowhere is safe in Slender: The Arrival, a somewhat polarizing first-person horror game that’s made the rounds on PC, PS3/PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One and has finally arrived on the Wii U in time for Halloween. As someone who’s avoided the game in its previous incarnations thanks to not being into the whole Slenderman myth (that some take way too seriously), I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that the game is actually more than a little frightening.

Or should I say unpleasantly surprised that I found myself backing out to the HOME screen on my Wii U after a few particularly well-placed random jump scares. At the right time (after midnight) and under the right conditions (big headphones on in a dark room, rainy and miserable outside), I found myself unable to push on during one part where that damn skinny suit-wearing freak kept popping up and making me squeal like a trapped piglet. Squeee! Squeeeee! Yipes. That’s the game doing its job quite well despite some flaws in the ointment. Continue reading