Indies of Note (Part Two Billion!)

I can’t even begin to tell you how many small publishers contact me asking to check out their games in assorted forms of completion. No complaints at all on this as one thing I love is seeing how games come together. That said, I’m a wee bit backed up in codes thanks to all the medical stuff I’ve got going on, but I’ve been playing and compiling lists over the last few months on a few games you may want to take for a spin if you’ve a Steam or console account. Some of these are also on gog.com, gamejolt or itch.io, three of many other very awesome spots to get indie games you absolutely should check out even if you want to browse and be amazed at the variety on display. Actually, you can and should support indie games outright by at least playing demos where applicable and/or buying titles you like outright.

 

 

Mercenary Kings_PSMercenary Kings Reloaded Edition (PS4/PS3/Vita, Xbox One, Switch, PC) – Merry, merry, quite Contra-ry, what do we have here? A pretty damn awesome side-scrolling run ‘n gun from Montreal based independent game studio Tribute Games (Flinthook, Curses ‘N Chaos). Actually, it’s more like Metal Slug with a hefty crafting system and a more diverse cast of characters.

If you’ve played this previously, you’ll find the Reloaded edition adds a bunch of improvements that make this a great deal more accessible without lowering the difficulty. In addition to the stellar pixel art and animation, Tribute’s packed this one with tons of fun and challenge throughout, making a game that’s highly replayable and an excellent arcade experience that’s a must-buy no matter what you play it on. Now, if only Tribute would get Wizorb out on PS4, Vita and Switch, I’d be an even happier guy.

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Review: Spintires: MudRunner

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Spintires_MudRunner_Pack2D_PS4Taking the wheel from original developer Oovee Game Studios, the talented team at Saber Interactive has brought an expanded and even better SPINTIRES experience to consoles and PC with an excellent, highly challenging, and quite rewarding driving game that’s going to baffle some gamers while it pleases a certain bunch of folks who love to play in the mud.

Interestingly enough, Spintires: MudRunner (or MudRunner: A Spintires Game) also works supremely well as a hybrid driving/puzzle game where the environment is your worst and sole enemy as you attempt to simply drive from Point A to Point B or just try to enjoy exploring the massive, gorgeously detailed maps. This isn’t a game about speed at all, folks. It’s more about control and the ensuing chaos when that control is lost.

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MudRunner adds a new (shorter) tutorial, a new sandbox map, a Challenge mode and ups the truck count from 6 to 19. While it has a “casual” mode, this clearly isn’t a game for those who want to hop in and get blazing down a dirt road taking corners with powerslides. Here, you’ll rarely get above 20mph, the paved roads aren’t the widest you’ll drive on, and that mud? It’s practically got a life of its own thanks to an amazing physics engine that’s been tweaked even more from the PC original.

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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: Less Is More Or Less Better For Overall Overkill

I’ve been pretty quiet on Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus for a good reason. I’m ignoring the off-balance people with zero (or less) sense of actual history (not to mention actual videogame history) hating on Machine Games and publisher Bethesda Softworks (it’s all white noise to me, pun mostly intended) while also not poking around the internet for every bit of information because I like my games relatively unspoiled. One of the problems with modern game “journalism” is the need (that’s not needed) to ruin a game too early because some can’t not reveal spoilers or keep an embargo correctly.

Me, I want to go in ice cold with the windows open (brrrrr!) and be thrilled and surprised at what’s been cooked up. Nope, I’m not going to tell you that you should go out and grab yourself a copy of the game and a console or high-end PC to play this on (although you probably should if you have that disposable income and want to support the developer and publisher in this crazy year of too many solid games and not enough time to play them all). As always, it’s your move, folks.

-GW

Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom Gamescom 2016 Trailer: The Boy’s A Beast (Well, A Few Of Them)

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Well, wow. The Game Atelier has been busy and quiet for a bit, but there’s the reason why above. Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom is looking even more phenomenal and according to publisher FDG Entertainment, will be coming to PS4 and Xbox One first, followed by PC and possibly, a Nintendo console (according to NintendoLife). No speculation here on that latter point, but at least two versions of this one will be played here at DAF HQ.

-GW

SLAIN: Back From Hell- Rebirth = More Death (And This Is Good)

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20160801114534_1When last we left Wolfbrew Games‘ crowdfunded bloody heavy metal baby back in March, it was curled up in a fetal position after being excoriated in some fair to unfair critical and player reviews that beat it every which way to Sunday. While some of the complaints were valid, the piggybacking negativity freight train that hit the game got a wee bit out of hand in my opinion. Some who “expected” a 2D Dark Souls meets Castlevania clone when the developer was going for something less derivative let out a few too many howls at the moon. But such are the days where popular games get used as benchmarks for almost any other game that dares have a dark theme and a whiff of gore.

Fortunately, the last few months have gone into polishing up the game, adding many new elements and fixing issues that kept it from being all it needed to be while keeping the core of the game intact.

In other words, folks… it’s BACK:


I’ve just sunk about a half hour into Slain: Back From Hell and it’s absolutely a better game experience so far. The developer has even done something awesome for those players who bought the game back when it was initially released, offering up an extra game code FREE of charge that can be gifted to a non-Slain owning friend. Talk about customer service at its finest! I’m in the middle of a ton of stuff this week, but this will get reviewed ASAP. I just hope my well-aged Xbox 360 controller survives while I’m trying to appease that Metal God.

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-GW

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Lumo: Brilliant Iso Platformer’s One of The Year’s Best Surprises

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Lumo is out now on Steam, gog.com, the Humble Store (PC/Mac/Linux), and PlayStation 4 now and that $20 price tag may actually be too little for such a gorgeous and brain-twisting platform/adventure game hybrid. Created by Triple Eh! (Gareth Noyce) and published by Rising Star Games, there’s so much packed into this isometric wonder that most gamers under a certain age with no sense of game history outside their own short memories will spin themselves silly trying to keep up with the seemingly endless references to games they’ve never seen or played. North American gamers with some experience will note the Solstice and Equinox homages along with nods to Donkey Kong, Marble Madness, and a few other classic arcade and console games while they jump through around and in many cases, OVER levels to locate some very-well hidden secrets.

This isn’t a proper “review” (yet) as I’m basing my wordy noise here on the preview code I received and finally got around to this past weekend. Think of this as a fine and dandy heads-up if you’re on the hunt for a lengthy, challenging blend of old and new schools that’s cute enough to be a kid’s game, but tricky enough to get the most seasoned player checking out every nook and cranny for hidden stuff. As you play, you’ll discover Noyce is indeed a very, very talented guy with an elephantine memory and deep knowledge about his favorite games and a willingness to share that with anyone who picks up a controller. 400 rooms in a beautifully rendered Easter Egg farm where fast movement is necessary, yet paying attention to visual cues makes for truly rewarding play sessions. The sense of discovery in Lumo is fairly remarkable because you’ll be doing things both inside and outside the box. See some crates stacked by a wall or what looks like a curious means of reaching the top of a wall? With a bit of effort poking around in nearby room or a bit of backtracking to other curious spots, you’ll be up and over those walls and into new territory. Continue reading

The Only April Fool’s Day Joke That Made Me Laugh Today


 

Thank you, CD Projekt RED for *magically* getting water to shoot out my nose earlier today. It’s a definite April Fool’s gag, but I’d more than gladly pay that five bucks for talking horse DLC just for the chance to have an option to have Roach talk in a Mr. Ed voice. Okay, back to work here – I’m up to my wet nostril hairs in stuff to do.

GRIM DAWN Now on gog.com: Sunlight? What’s Sunlight?


 

While Crate Entertainment’s completed release version of its ARPG GRIM DAWN has been officially out on Steam since February 25, it’s just arrived on gog.com at a slight discount off the already low $24.99 price. The game has been in development for a while and while I’ve been tracking its progress from the shadows, I didn’t participate in the pre-release playable versions because I wanted to wait until the game was actually done and ready to buy. Some of the handful of folks on the dev team also worked on the great Titan Quest, so it was a no-brainer that GD would be flat out superb. Well, the problem now is if I buy it NOW, when the heck will I find time to PLAY it? My backlog is pretty massive as it is and I still need to pick up Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen for PC because I want to see how well it runs at 60fps and it was absolutely one of my favorite games of the previous console cycle.

Hmmm. Time for a coin toss, it seems. If it lands as it should, I may never see the light of day again. Well, for a few months at least.

System Shock (Finally) Now On GOG.com: That Showdown With SHODAN, Now Enhanced

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File this one under “it’s about time!” and then go buy it, NOW. Thanks to Night Dive Studios, the classic System Shock has finally made it to gog.com as System Shock Enhanced Edition, which features not only a version of the game for higher resolution monitors, but also adds mouselook functionality, remappable keys and a few other tweaks. You’ll also get the original game as a bonus if you want to play it as originally intended. Those new bits do make the game a lot more fun if you’re a newer player looking for a more modern control scheme.

Even better, the game is on sale for a limited time for $5.99, 40% off the $9.99 price point. For those new to the experience, System Shock is a hybrid of first-person shooting, role-playing, sci-fi and horror elements as well as (still) one of the best games ever made (well, at least I think so). Yeah, yeah. Some of you out here think six bucks for a game is way too much. But given the reputation of this classic plus the fact that it’s quite replayable (don’t use a walk-through and it has even more replay value), I’d bet some of the more skeptical out there will find this gem right up there with their own favorites.

Time For A Few Classics, Cheaply: Bundles And Sales Galore This Weekend

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Yeah, yeah. I’ve been a bit busy with some oddball real world occurrences recently, so I’ve been a bit behind in these bundle posts. Of course, that means there are a LOT of new-ish bundles and sales out there begging for your attention. Here are a few must-buys that have popped into my inbox over the last week:

Retro Legends Bundle ($2.49): Bundle Stars does it again with this excellent mix of a whopping 17 titles for under three bucks. There’s SO much classic gaming in this instant backlog that you’ll need to invent a time machine so you can play everything and then rewind the date back to before you got into everything here. There’s a megaton of Duke Nukem content, two classic Wizardry titles, the FPS/RPG hybrid Strife and many more games that should get fans of the old school grinning. You may also want to peek at the other bundles on the site as this past week there have been some incredible daily bundle and single game deals listed.

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