Games I Need to Play 3: The Beast Inside

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I’ll admit at first I thought it was a game about the wonderfully awful movie The Beast Within until I saw screenshots.

Well, what have we here? A photo-realistic horror themed mystery/adventure game that’s got a strange, sort of time travel thing going for it along with some amazing visuals and a lot of falling off stuff, for good measure. Oh, and it’s coming to PS4 and Xbox One at some point, which is good, as I hate upgrading my PC so frequently to play these games. Here’s a gallery and one of many trailers. You can see more on the Steam page where yes, you can buy the game and/or try the demo out.

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Developer Illusion Ray Studio and publisher Movie Games have quite the pair of fitting names, no? I’ve downloaded the demo, but haven’t gotten to try it yet thanks to a review backlog I’m sifting through, but this one will get some playtime soon, as it certainly had my attention as soon as I heard of it and looked it up. Here’s a look at a trailer (it’s all gameplay footage, too):

Alright, then. I guess I’ll get to that demo sooner or later (well, before the game hits consoles, at least).

-GW

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Neo Cab Preview: A “Survival” Game I Want to Play

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“Some day, a real rain wi…” no, wait, oops, wrong Taxi Driver reference!

Well, this is different. I’ve downloaded the free Neo Cab demo onto my Switch (there’s a PC demo for STEAM users here) and will say I’m more than impressed with what’s here so far. The art style is pleasant to look at, the writing is fine and there are elements to the gameplay that just simply work really well. As Lina, one of the last human drivers-for-hire on the streets of Los Ojos, you’ll find yourself caught up in a friend’s disappearance after she takes what’s supposed to be a short detour. Developer ChanceAgency has a few things going on here, all of which gel into a memorable game so far.

Trapped in the city she hates for a few reasons, Lina is forced to keep driving in order to keep her Star rating up and her sanity up, as she more or less has to love in her ride thanks to having to more or less live in her car until she finds out what happened pt her missing roommate. The demo is enough of a solid tease to make me stop here and let the developer tale the floor for a bit: Well, after the trailer and below the jump.

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Valfaris: Soon to be Everywhere, Rock Incoming

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Nice. Coming soon, a dose of hard metal for your daily supply, courtesy of Big Sugar and Steel Mantis Games (which, as Black Wolf Games bought the world SLAIN: Back from Hell for PC and consoles a few short years ago.

Welcome to Valfaris:

I played the PC demo on STEAM a while back and came away very impressed indeed. Now, it’s about ready for retail and digital in more polished form. When? Well, look out below, folks.

Valfaris launch dates

If the demo is any indication, this one’s going to be fun, tough side-scroller for the ages. See you down on the planet – I’ll be the one hiding out, but easy for enemies to spot.

-GW

Solasta: Crown of the Magister Has My Attention

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Prepare to think about monsters appearing at all angles and prepare to chuckle at the funny writing on display.

I’ve been silently following Solasta: Crown of the Magister for a while and this gorgeous looking turn-based and packed with nice lighting and physics tactical RPG has been so far, shaping up to be a fine entry in the genre. The recent addition of official Wizards of the Coast-approved Dungeons and Dragons rules more than seals the deal for me even though the game was already looking and playing fine (a demo can be downloaded for PC users here). It’s certainly a load of steps above the sometimes wacky goings-on in the online-only Neverwinter in terms of accuracy is all I’ll say.

Anyway, I finally took a tiny plunge and supported the Kickstarter because it’s so close to being funded with about a week to go and that demo is fun stuff indeed. You can (and should) pot a few bucks down on this if you’re a fan of what you see (and play). While PC-only, one would hope we’ll eventually see a console port, even though it’s kind of a niche game when all is said and done.

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Do drop in and say “Hi!”. You can choose to attack enemies from above, or take the fight right to them.

Yep. This one looks like a winner to me.

-GW

The Red Solstice 2: Survivors Comes A-Calling For Volunteers

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Nice. Volunteers are needed to test out this great-looking real time tactical action game. You can sign up here. That’s a link to the currently PC-only version. Just keep those fingers crossed that a console port is in the works.

A tiny bit about the game is below as is the teaser trailer.

The Red Solstice 2: Survivors blends real-time tactical action with in-depth strategy and planning in a world where humanity’s last survivors are beset on every front. Join with your friends for up to 8-player co-op sessions in a tense struggle for survival in a squad-based shooter that mixes the action of Helldivers with the thoughtful strategy of games like X-COM.

There’s a nifty Space Hulk meets ALIENS vibe from this trailer that certainly has me intrigued. If you’re too busy to test but like what you see so far, feel free to wishlist the game on STEAM here. The developer notes it’ll be done when it’s done, so you might have enough free time to test it after all while you’re waiting.

-GW

Review: Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets (Switch)

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Yeah, and here’s Rule #1: NEVER take a job as an intern for a scientist collecting cute and deadly as hell animals to sell to the highest bidder.

lupo switchBefore you fire up BeautiFun’s challenging and amusingly droll puzzle/adventure Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets ($14.99), do yourself a big favor and let the game run a few minutes on the title screen without touching any buttons. Why? Well, you’ll get a really cool bit of fun narrative text that adds to the game’s plot, a really nice touch you’ll miss out on if you just start the game when prompted.That text actually changes when you go to continue a game, so make sure to see those bits as well when you pop back in after quitting for the day. This is the sort of thing I really like where you see that little bit of extra care that goes into some games which makes them overall a lot more enjoyable.

That same care went into the control options although in my opinion, using the Switch’s touch screen is going to be the best way to play this, followed by a Pro Controller or similar wireless or wired pad. Using the Joy-Cons (particularly ones that aren’t exactly new) is a bit of tricky business what with their tendency to sometimes drift up or down sporadically, which will mean certain death in a game where precision is key to survival. That’s not BeautiFun’s fault at all, mind you  they just had to cater to every possible control scheme and for the most part, it works. I ended up switching between touchscreen and my Ematic controllers and he touchscreen, settling for the tap and move option because it made for less dying overall.

So does the story here, by the way. That Professor Lupo is holding an illegal auction aboard his space station where a number of deadly aliens are up for bid for potential use as biological weapons when the ship is attacked by a justice-minded organization who want to shut him down but good. Unfortunately, your character, simply named “Intern” gets caught up in the chaos and yep, needs to escape over 100 levels of increasing difficulty courtesy of some very excellently designed puzzles. There’s actually a lot of plot under the hood here and it’s in interesting journey our too-generically named hero takes, to say the least. Most assuredly, that Intern will expire quite a lot (in a splash of G-rated green goo) as you seek to survive and discover a few truths. Interestingly enough, with a few tweaks to the plot (and  a bit of M-rated gore), this could be a ALIEN game or that Jurassic Park sequel I only caught part of on cable where deadly dinos were up for bid and things went south once those creatures were set free.

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“It followed me home, can I keep it?” Well, NO. It’ll eat your face off as soon as you go to sleep, pal.

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Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets Trailer: Ticks, and Flees

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Well, this sure looks like a ton of fuzzy/scaly/puzzle-y fun. Indie developer BeautiFun Games’ upcoming Professor Lupo and his Terrible Pets is set to land on Nintendo Switch and Steam July 11. There’s a free demo on both the eShop and Steam to try out and even better for Switch owners. pre-orders for that version are currently 15% off until the game’s release date. Here’s a trailer to ogle and maybe pet (be gentle!):

As the Professor’s personal Intern, players are set to deal with the ferocity of his collection of so-called horrible pets: deceiving alien creatures with a double nature, looking adorable while unbothered, but turning into hungry monsters when they sense their prey. When a series of catastrophes cause them to run amok across the Aurora Space Station, it’s every Intern for themselves.

Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets is an adventure game with 100 levels that delivers clever puzzle gameplay mechanics, a heavy dose of humor in a suspenseful plot, and original art with traditional 2D animations. Embracing the Nintendo Switch philosophy, the game supports every configuration the console provides, including portable, tabletop and TV modes. Players can use the Joy-Cons, gamepads, and touch screen to play through the story however and wherever they want. On Steam, players can choose between point and click mode, keyboard controls or the Steam controller, which the game is fully compatible with.

Sounds like a plan for puzzle fans, I’d say. Since I happen to be one, I’ll take that review code I got for a spin and report back if my character survives the experience. That space rabies is no joke, I hear.

Back in a bit.

Review: Warhammer Chaosbane – Magnus Edition (PS4)

WHC_PS4While not without its minor flaws (which can be patched in future updates), Warhammer Chaosbane ($59.99) is a solid and worthy ARPG genre fans should absolutely take for a spin. EKO Studios has cooked up a pretty addictive game that, once you’re hooked into it, delivers exactly what it intends and does it well enough that some if its issues can be overlooked thanks to the core gameplay, which works even better in co-op if you’ve a few friends to play with.

As a solo experience, it’s also quite entertaining, with a sort of Dungeons & Dragons Heroes vibe (as in longish levels and plenty of tough foes to vanquish when you go it alone). Okay, so it’s more or less a Warhammer version of the original Diablo, but this ends up being an excellent thing overall thanks to ten difficulty levels that mean you’ll never get to say this game is too easy if you’re at all serious. With the extra modes (Expedition, Boss Rush, Relic Hunt) and the developer planning more free and paid content in the future including at least one additional chapter expansion pack and a load of bonuses, this one’s going to be an evergreen game for ARPG fans who want more of what it delivers.

I noted Diablo over Diablo III because to me, EKO seems to have wisely went back to the grimmer version of Blizzard’s classic over the more colorful (yet still quite grim) third installment. Despite the repetition in layouts and static level art, there’s a gritty, nasty vibe in the first two chapters that feature either gloomy sewer maps or a ravaged village packed with kill-crazy demons of a few varieties. The third chapter’s outdoor map, a forest area full of deadly creatures, almost looks too clean, but the somewhat linear library maps with their menacing vibe more than make up for that flaw. That said, the fourth chapter knocks it out of the park with what I’ll describe as the world’s richest kid’s brand-spanking *new* dungeon play set, Deluxe Version. in other words, I love this map, folks:

Where the other maps tend to have a static look to them despite a few destructible barrels and such, Here you get a sort of Castle Grayskull maze dungeon on steroids with stone, shiny metal of a few types and gracefully writhing tentacles all vying for attention with the fiercest enemies in the game outside the main bosses. Although the game ends up reusing one re-lit familiar setting for that final push to the end boss, that final fight is set in a wildly ornate (albeit tiny) arena where you’ll need to be fast and determined to take down a pretty dangerous foe (Protip: don’t die!).

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Dying during a boss fight allows you to start from the beginning, which is a better alternative that quitting and replaying a map. Interestingly enough, on my first play, the game crashed during the last boss fight after I died twice, but when I fired up the game again, I was surprised that I was able to continue from the beginning of the battle with no penalty.  The hilarious thing was I did beat the boss on that last try with a measly 12 HP left. I thought I was a goner as the boss was about to lay down a hit, but it died and I nearly died myself from thinking I’d made it that far only to have to try again.

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Warhammer: Chaosbane Endgame Plans – Big News For Those Wanting More

I’m currently playing through the PS4 version of Warhammer: Chaosbane for review and yes indeed, developer EKO Studios and publisher Bigben Interactive have big plans for even more content for the upcoming ARPG in terms of free and paid additions. Check out the video above for the roadmap and go get your controllers warmed up for the game’s release date(s) of May 31st, 2019 for the Digital Deluxe and Magnus Editions (pre-purchasers get early access to the game) and June 4 for the Standard Edition.

-GW

Warhammer Chaosbane Story Trailer: Tales, Neatly Bundled, Please

Those who pre-ordered Warhammer: Chaosbane will be getting an early tasting when the game rolls out and beginning May 31st for PC and console pre-purchasers of the Magnus Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition, while others will need to hold out for the Standard Editions for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC that will be available on June 4th, 2019. Those who played that beta will see that this story trailer slightly resembles the one each of the playable characters gets when their respective stories are started and this ties the overall experience together nicely, I’d say.

A week or so may not seem like a long time, but it sure is an eternity when you’re lurking in front of your mailbox for a physical copy or lurking around on a digital store for a pre-load to kick in. Go do something else if that’s your particular case, as the game won’t at all mind you getting distracted by stuff before it launches.

-GW