Blacksad: Under the Skin: “All the Animals Come Out At Night”, Indeed (2)

Blacksad logo

Blacksad

Already out on Steam, Microids, Pendulo Studios and YS Interactive’s Blacksad: Under the Skin will release on December 10 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Here’s a look at the launch trailer and some screens of this action/adventure game with an all-animal cast set in the 1950’s:

I’d posted about this one previously here, so this is a reminder to me to get to reviewing it soon as a console release. More on the plot and such below the jump.

Continue reading

Blacksad: Under the Skin Story Trailer: Or, I Need to Get Out More (Or Stay Inside and Read More)

Well, this looks pretty cool. I’d never heard of this game or comic character before, but as a fan of adventure games for a while, this looks really fun and noir-ish is right on up my alley and then some. Microids, Pendulo Studios & YS Interactive are the folks behind this, so I’m going to be doing some digging to see If a review code can be located. I think I have at least one PR contact at Microids, so that’s a good sign. If this one’s as good as it looks, being aboard the train will turn out to be a fine thing indeed. Especially for those of us who haven’t yet read the comic stories yet.

Blacksad LE

Well. looky here, bonuses if you want them!

 

The game will be available in retail and digital formats in either standard or Limited Editions (PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One and Switch) on November 19th, 2019.

-GW

Review: Golf Peaks (Nintendo Switch)

gp switchThe great thing about Golf Peaks ($4.99) is you don’t have to even like golf or miniature golf to enjoy this game immensely. Indie dev Afterburn Games has taken the popular sport, melded it with a card-based putting system and wrapped it all up neatly in an art style that recalls Marble Madness, a teeny bit of M.C. Escher, and an isometric perspective that has (a much more colorful) De Stijil vibe. Oh, and the pleasant music from Rafal Samborski is as appropriately stress-free as it gets. Eh, don’t worry too much about my brain making those references you may or may not get – the more important thing is how much fun this one is to play.

What’s great about the game is its deceptive initial simplicity from dipping a toe into those initial levels where you’ll learn basic shots and make par without fail until the game slides a tricky level or three under your nose that requires some creative thought in your shot decisions. On each map you get a set of cards that have a number or series of numbers and an arrow or arrows that denote the direction(s) the ball will travel when the card is used. As the maps get more complex, you’ll need to think outside the box and pull off a few shots that might seem impossible because you haven’t figured out that sometimes an obvious looking shot is an incorrect one.

Continue reading

Super Phantom Cat: Or, Meow-Rio World, Switch Bound

SPC

 

 

Currently available on Steam, and in the App Store, Veewo’s colorful, super-cute Super Phantom Cat will make the big leap to Nintendo Switch around March 21. This retro-inspired platformer with is super-colorful visuals seems geared for more casual play, but this isn’t a bad thing at all given the more or less “Try and die!” fervor some of these old school themed games go for on a regular basis.

Now, there’s nothing really wrong with these more difficult experiences that hearken to those days when checkpoints and auto-saves weren’t a thing and you had to replay maps from the start each time you lost a life. On the flip side, both kids and adults who aren’t as fast on the jump buttons these days deserve games they don’t need a walkthrough for because they’re nigh on impossible to complete sans some sort of online assistance. Granted, there are indeed walkthroughs for this game out there, but I think most of you who want to can complete this gem of a game with no help at all. This is a good thing, I say.

-GW

Capsule Reviews: Get Me Reroute! (Or: Part 2)

Heh, oops. I had a little router issue not long after posting yesterday that had me a bit flummoxed after several restarts and too much waiting around, but we’re back on the boat and headed somewhat upstream, whee. Anyway, back to more of what you should be playing or at least looking at with a thoughtful gaze:

 

 

forgotton anne boxForgotton Anne (PS4/Switch/PC/Mac, $19.99): No matter what you get this one on, it needs to be bought, played and thoroughly enjoyed. If the words “playable anime” get your ears perked up, you’ll be pleased to know that developer ThroughLine Games has created exactly that, as well as a love letter to the works of Studio Ghibli. A beautiful hybrid of adventure, platform and puzzle game with a bit of detective story for good measure, it’s also (in my opinion) hands down, the absolute best game to date to come out of the Square Enix Collective program which focuses on getting more indie games out to the masses. Go download and play the PC or Switch demo (the latter is on the eShop) and you’ll see this one’s an instant classic.

In addition to a memorable lead character and well-told story, the game’s visuals, voice acting and soundtrack are all phenomenal. The addition of multiple dialog choices makes the game quite replayable because the manner in which you interact with characters or solve problems alters a few plot points or closes off some paths. This isn’t a game about fighting tons of enemies, leveling up or the usual stuff you may expect. It’s a story-driven game where you’ll appreciate the quality of the finished work as you’re drawn into the plot and memorable characters for as long as the experience lasts.  I’ll go as far as to say this one is one of my favorite indies of 2018 and it should be one of yours as well.

FA_Garden

Everywhere you look, there’s something to see that catches your eye in this game.

This is a game I’d even highly recommend non-gamers have a go at, as there’s neither a life bar to worry about nor a true Game Over state. That and with a controller, even the slightly tricky longer jumps that need to be made aren’t a total pain. Just watching Anne’s animation as she gets around is a joy, and yes, the different Forgotlings are equally impressive. While this game probably won’t get a sequel, if ThroughLine wants to do another Ghibli-inspired game, I certainly won’t stop them. Hell, I’ll be cheering them on and hoping it’s as good as or even better than this is.

Also, if this ever gets a physical edition at some point down the road, I say get it just for anything art-related that comes as part of the package. Well, the game, too, but yeah, seeing more of this gorgeousness is a thing that’s necessary in a more physical over digital manner.

FA Wings

To paraphrase ZZ Top: “She’s got wings… and she knows how to use them…”

Score: A (95%)

Continue reading

What’s Cookin’?: (Almost) Everything in Moderation…


 

Yep, I’m still alive. My brain has been percolating a lot these past two weeks on stuff galore, so it’s been tough to focus on being too entertained. That said, I do like what Nintendo is up to on a few fronts despite me not even being interested in Super Mario Run because I don’t own an Apple device (yuk!), have zero plans to buy it on Android and even it it rears its cute run ‘n jump head on Switch, it’ll be a “meh!” as far as making a dent on my playlist. While a decent platformer gets played here and there by yours truly, I just don’t get that same thrill I used to back in the arcade to 32-bit era. A new Mario game gets the same sigh and pass as a AAA first-person shooter from me, Miyamoto magic or not.

Yeah, it’s cool and all, but I just can’t. The good here (it’s only ten bucks! – take THAT, $99.99 mobile game DLC!) is counterbalanced with the need for an always online connection to play. But given that ALL mobile games need to connect online at some point during play and Nintendo’s strict requirement is to prevent piracy and cheating, it comes off as a necessary evil more than a draconian law being laid down.

Well, to me at least.

On the other hand… The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Yep, sold. I’ve even gone and bought a few Amiibo to use in order to take advantage of the freebies that drop if you’re smart enough to have a few lying around. Hell, I was Amiibo-resistant until Hyrule Warriors revealed you can get five random gifts per day just by tapping figures on the Gamepad.

Anyway, let me close here for now and get back to cooking my actual dinner. My mind clears up a lot when I cook, so this post is a result of a meat sauce with ground turkey playing the part of beef. That’s going with some linguini that…(taste!) just turned al dente. Back in a bit, a trip to planet Nom awaits.

-GW

The Elder Scrolls Online Goes Free Temporarily

tes_online-free 

Well. As an Elder Scrolls purist, I’ve resisted the lure of paying for this online only experience for a few core reasons. But thanks to Bethsoft and Zenimax Online’s plans to reel more of us in, I’m going to finally put a few days in and see if I like what’s here. This free trial lasts until 11/20 and is open to PC, Mac and PS4 users. Even more tempting: until 11/29, the cost of the full game drops 67% to $9.89, so it seems this plan may work for both companies after all. Still, my backlog is massive and my time is limited, so I don’t expect to do much over this trial period other than create a character and kick a few tires. We shall see. You Xbox One users griping, fear not. Your very own free weekend is coming soon.

Another incentive to play if you’re over 18 and have a valid passport is this awesome contest with some great travel prizes. granted, you don’t have to play in order to enter. But I’m sure that gesture would be appreciated.

-GW

World of Darkness Wants You to Enjoy Some Earplay For Halloween

light-desktop-wwearplay-logo-ww-bgBefore horror books and movies, the spoken word was where it was at when you needed your spine chilled but good. The just announced partnership between Earplay and White Wolf Publishing to bring World of Darkness to iOS and Alexa enabled devices (such has Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot) sounds like a very cool interactive endeavor horror fiction fans may want to take a peek at and a listen to soon.

So, exactly what is this and why should you keep an ear peeled for it? Well, you have some reading to do, sir or madam. You like to read, right? Good. Here you go: Um, well… below the jump. Hey, I didn’t lie! Go look!

Continue reading

Review: Ember

N-Fusion’s nostalgic, gorgeous love letter to classic CRPGs hits most of its notes perfectly and is one of the nicest surprises this year in terms of value for the money and how well the team has pulled off much of what it intended. 

Ember-752x430 Platform: PC (also on iOS)
Developer: N-Fusion Interactive
Publisher: 505 Games
# of Players: 1
Release Date: 9/9/2016
MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site
Score: A (90%) BUY IT!

 

ember-angel 

Back in the earliest days, there was no sun and the world was dark. The heavens opened up and stars fell like beacons into the pitch black world, and they were known as “Embers”. Powerful and wise druids of a primordial race, “the Lightbringers,” roamed the land searching for this luminous matter. They performed a ritual of awakening to call the “Embers” out of their deep sleep. Suddenly the world became bright, and the veil of darkness was lifted. The Embers were the embodiment of magical flame, light, and life, but as word spread about the sheer power of the Embers, they came to be hunted and captured…and so the War for Ember began…

 

Given this site’s moniker I’m probably the last person who should be reviewing Ember, as I fell head over heels for the game after first seeing it just over two years ago at a 505 Games media event. Back then, it was an iOS exclusive and after spending time chatting with N-Fusion’s Jeff Birns and seeing the game in action, I was all set to drop my non-Apple stance and throw good money into taking the iPlunge. Fortunately, my brain started slapping itself in the face, which got me to ask if the game was coming to other platforms. Flash forward to the game hitting Steam first, followed by iOS a few days later and yours truly sinking a few dozen hours into the PC version, loving every nostalgic minute.

You play as a freshly revived Lightbringer, brought back to life after a lengthy period of interment in order to save a pretty troubled land called Domus from destruction. Yes, the game deliberately checks off a long list of CRPG tropes with slight amnesia, bantering siblings, a bad pirate gone good and others swirling through the plot. But this is exactly the sort of game that’s been made by a team who knows what it’s doing and it’s been done so well that everything’s more than acceptable once you get it. Or get over it, if you’re one of the wags who goes into every game expecting “innovation” from everything you touch. That said, the game works excellently as a casual to hardcore play because you get to control how easy to difficult your own experience will be.

Continue reading

Cathedral: Decemberborn’s 8-Bit Take, An Instant Classic In The Making

cathedral-logo-large
 

In the works since 2014, Cathedral instantly evokes the look, sounds and gameplay of classic Nintendo Entertainment System games to the point that you’d almost think someone went and discovered a hitherto unseen prototype circa 1987 or so. That title screen below looks exactly as it should and I’m betting a nickel you’re all smiling as that music from the talented Aron Kramer plays out.


 

Helsingborg, Sweden-based Decemberborn Interactive (lead by Lead Programmer Eric Lavesson) has been hard at work making sure their baby arrives on Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX based computers in as perfect form as can be. But it’s also a hopeful note from this writer that the game reaches consoles at some point. More specifically, anything with the Nintendo brand stamped across it. That would probably big a huge honor for a team striving to recreate a classic style of game and doing such a stellar job at it. Oh, you’d love to see some GAMEPLAY? Okay, that’s covered:


 

Yeah, that hit the spot, huh? More below the jump, so… JUMP!
Continue reading