Busload of Horror VI: The Neverending Gory…

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I’d be lying if I said this series wasn’t fun to do, so I’m going to do something even more fun and continue delivering a busload of horror or horror related games on a weekly or bi-weekly basis based on my workload. This particular series will close for now on a few scary-ish notes starting with one of the best (and hardest) games I’ve played all year which just so happens to win the “Most Improved Via Patching” crown. Okay, I don’t have a crown for that. But you know what I’m talking about.

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SLAIN: Back from Hell: Brutally savaged upon its initial release by critics and gamers (many of the latter who never played the game, but merely hopped on the flaming hate wagon because that what the Internet does to people who need to feel as if they’re part of a “thing”), SLAIN seemed destined to die on the vine before it got a fair shake. Thankfully, developer Wolfbrew Games (Andrew Gilmour) picked himself up, shook off the ashes and like Dr. Frankenstein after a few fresh pots of coffee, a ton of classic metal music and a few too many monster movies, set to reviving his baby and making it a better experience overall. Did he succeed? Take a look for yourself:


 

Yep. It’s not only back, it’s brilliant, visually rich and chock full of so many tweaks that it’s definitely worth buying even if you have to pay someone with better reflexes to finish it for you. The game isn’t easy at all, but it’s hard to stop playing thanks to the visuals dropping in something fantastic to look at in every stage. The old school stuff (knockback deaths, enemies spawning at the wrong time, many deathtraps, cheap bosses) may tick off casual gamers or those who never “got Gud” at classic 8 and 16-bit games something fierce. But for those who like it rough, Slain says “Welcome home, now go die!” and you’ll keep coming back for more. Oh, and it’s on PS4 and Xbox One, so you have no excuse not to play this if you own either console.

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Portal Knights Goes BIG So You Can Go Home

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…and stay inside playing a lot longer. 505 Games and developer Keen Games have announced a huge new update to their popular family friendly crafting/action/RPG, Portal Knights that includes many requested features such as voice and text chat for online play, remappable controls, and a ton of tweaks and fixes. The new larger islands make the overall game world even more fun to run around in, and my logging in to check out the changes also revealed the game’s visuals have gotten nicely upgraded as well. 

Check out the new trailer and screenshot slideshow below.


 


 

-GW

PC Review: Portal Knights

Portal_Knights_LogoHDPlatform: PC

PK_cropDeveloper: Keen Games
Publisher: 505 Games
# of Players: 1 – ?
MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Official Site
Score: A- 90%

Even though it’s still in Early Access on Steam, Portal Knights has become something of a phenomenon among its growing user base. According to 505 Games, to date players have:

– Looted more than 232 million items

– Mined more than 103 million blocks

– Killed more than 23 million enemies

– Crafted more than 19 million items

and yes indeed, I’m one of those players having a blast with the title. While it does start out a wee bit slowly, some literal digging around in that first (and later, every) area will have you soon seeing that there’s a great deal under the pretty surface that really goes a long way in making things even more entertaining. While geared towards younger players (note that E10+ rating above), the RPG elements, often challenging combat, crafting and exploration elements have a very wide appeal for novices as well as hardcore gamers looking for the next big deal.


 

Things kick of simply enough with a character creation screen where you choose your gender and select one of three classes (Warrior, Archer, Mage) before warping into the first randomly generated world. There’s a set of basic tutorial pop-ups that cover a few things and Minecraft fans will probably get wise to what to do a wee bit faster than anyone who’s not played that game. That said, there are enough differences from that game (and the side-scrolling Terraria) that set it apart. For one thing, other than the simplistic character faces and baggy starter outfits, the visuals (which run at a zippy 60fps) are much more appealing and lively here. Rich colors and nifty visual effects abound in each area, making exploration always fun when you make it to new worlds. Monster types are nicely varied as well, changing at night to deadlier varieties once you unlock your first portal. Continue reading

Portal Knights Early Access: Fun As Heck (But Fixable)


 

While I’ve only sunk about an hour in so far to the Early Access Steam build, Portal Knights is so far, pretty darn good. It’s not quite the Minecraft-like game some think (which is a good thing), but a pretty new action/RPG with (so far) smallish worlds and a light crafting element that doesn’t get in the way of players who just want to whack as wee beasties and level their avatar up. Again, I haven’t played enough to write up a decent review or even and solid impressions other than most everything works quite well. My archer seems to have an issue dodging when I hit the correct keys, but she hasn’t died a horrible death by slime or other low-level monster just yet. The game looks and sounds great so far, but it would have been nice to have a few more character customization options out of the gate.

Still, it’s early and bugs will be squashed, feedback will be listened to and when it’s really ready to shine, I’m predicting Portal Knights will be the go-to game for players looking to try something new and hopefully get few friends to give it a go as well. Okay, stopping here for now. I think I hear a level up calling me.

Portal Knights: Mine and Craft Your Way Through This Keen-Looking ARPG

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PortalKnights_AnnounceScreens_35_Knight505 Games and veteran developer Keen Games have something cool cooking up that’s going to probably be pretty hot soon. Portal Knights is headed to PC via Steam Early Access on February 25 and based on the trailer and screens, should make fans of games like Minecraft and Fight the Dragon quite giddy.

Confession time: other than watching a few friends play and taking over for one when he had to take a phone call (I got to beat up on some Creepers and do a bit of building for maybe half an hour), I haven’t really played enough of Minecraft to have a decent impression of what it’s all about (whaaaaat?!). But I’ve sunk too many hours into many of  Fight the Dragon’s short user-created maps and appreciate much of what that game has brought to the table in terms of customization and how easy it is to get into while being incredibly challenging and rewarding.

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Portal Knights looks like a ton of fun based on the trailer alone that shows it’s got a bit of backstory to it. The art style is slicker and more appealing than the two aforementioned games, but as usual, graphics are subjective and gameplay is absolute. So it’s in the “What happens when I pick up a controller or mouse and keyboard” stuff where my main interest lies. An adjustable camera view is hopefully in the options mix, as the trailer’s combat sequences are a tad too close in for my tastes. Okay, I hate getting jumped by off screen enemies or not knowing how much room I have to run away screaming when trouble gets too close. Your mileage may vary, as usual.

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Mining and crafting aside, if the fantasy elements of the game can grab players from the outset and keep them hooked in for the long haul while getting regular content updates and fixes, Portal Knights could be a contender to the throne. We’ll see soon enough, though.