Bevontule Update: Going Greenlight (With Some Help From You)

So, yep. Bevontule is still going strong as a work in progress and as you can see above, looking even better than before. Thanks to feedback on the multiple demo builds they’ve posted for about a year as well as a wealth of general improvements made over time, Multithreaded Games LLC (or the dynamic duo of Derek Bradley and Andy Fenton) is on target to make quite a memorable first game certain to garner a loyal fan base. Nitpick time! If you want to get really picky, calling it a “JRPG” is a *tiny* bit misleading. Both Derek and Andy hail from Portsmouth, Ohio here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Still, as the game does take some of its inspiration from a few classic turn-based strategy JRPGs, I’ll gracefully let them slide on that. The new typeface, even more polished visuals and what’s so far tighter gameplay makes this one a game to keep an eye on and hope it gets enough attention to get ported to consoles at some point.

(Cue Derek and Andy screaming in unison and calling up a local hit man to get me for wishing port work on them before the PC version of game is actually completed… Heh, sorry, guys!)

What’s clear about the outstanding visuals (that draw distance is amazing, isn’t it?) is the boys know how to make the Unity engine sing. Of course, the usual “Unity sucks!” naysayers will never be convinced, but I think Multithreaded isn’t listening to those know-littles (none of whom knows how to make a game, I’d wager). One of the more amusing things about the game going Greenlight is the comments section on the Greenlight page.  It would seem (in proper internet commentary fashion) that SOME so-called gamers don’t even know the game has not one, not two, not three, not four… but FIVE different demo builds to try out, all from different periods in development and all worth a play. You’d think someone would go as far as to post those links in something like a blog post so people can take the older builds for a spin, but noooooo… (heh).

Oh, that video above is me sneaking up on some hapless cranky Steam user on the way home to NOT play a game, but negatively comment on games they’ll never play because they’d rather be THAT guy stinking up an otherwise decent community with stinky s#!tposting galore. What happens next? Well… you’ve got those links above, correct? Go find out, you (all those builds are FREE, by the way!). Bevontule isn’t due until sometime in 2018, so you have PLENTY of time to see what’s what. That said, go vote it up on Greenlight while you’re waiting, please.

 

-GW

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Switch-ing: With Reservations (And Some Ironing), Yes.

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Not surprisingly, actually getting out and about to lay eyes on and try out something for oneself is a hell of a lot better than sitting on one’s rump in front of a computing device babbling nonsense about what one thinks they know about something they haven’t touched yet. Be it food, books, movies, or in this case, Nintendo’s upcoming Switch game system, you really aren’t doing anything other than heavy guessing and heavier petting of your own negativity until you try the darn thing out.

Spending about three hours with the system and way too many games for one event revealed at its recent NYC showcase reveals it’s a solid bit of kit with a few big to little issues around things like software/peripheral pricing and a to be announced (imperfect) online service that sounds as if will need some major tweaking if it’s going to compete with the (less imperfect) services Sony and Microsoft offer for their game hardware.

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Let’s get the first point out of the way: that live press conference from Japan was somewhat awful if judged by western perspectives. The droning English narration, the greatness of Goichi Suda trying to work the room off-script and failing spectacularly as he revealed work not yet started on the return of Travis Touchdown, the too-sedate responses to every announcement – none of these made for good optics.

Couple that with too many YouTubers and a few games journalists putting out quickie bash pieces so quickly that by the time a bunch of post-conference trailers that weren’t shown dropped online, many complaints about the small software lineup were rendered invalid and worse, the short attention span theater antics didn’t take into consideration that early announcements change into more concrete plans that make better sense as launch windows open.

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But let’s talk games from this point onward until I get to the problem stuff I see that needs ironing out. Continue reading

Gravity Cat: A Royal Wedding of Tech As Advertisment


 

Yep. Japan still has the coolest game promos. This one’s for Gravity Daze 2, aka Gravity Rush 2 here in the US, which is set to land on the PS4 on January 20. You don’t see TV ads this lengthy for games in North America at all outside of trade shows and media events. But I’d take a few of these fun promo clips any day over another garbage infomercial or medicine ad selling snake oil with deadly side effects followed by a legal ad asking if you’ve taken one of those drugs and suffered from side effects, ugh.

Anyway, the recent demo was great overall – check out my somewhat rushed play through below:


 

-GW

Imprint-X Hands-On: A-Hacking We Will Go In Morgondag’s Latest Trippy Indie


 

Vendela and Kim over at Morgondag have been busy getting their next game up on Steam and if you love quirky puzzle games, Imprint-X will be right up your alley. A few minutes spent with a build of this unique hacker clicker puzzler reveal it’s quite engaging in its wordless presentation that opens gameplay up to anyone. Actually, all you need to know is in the description on the game page:

A robotic virus is raging! Nano Bots called Wardens are enslaving people! You are one of the hacker clones, saving intellects by hacking into infected brains and defeating the mysterious Wardens; figuring out their correct button sequences.

 

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There’s both a smart simplicity and hefty challenge awaiting you puzzle masters as the game goes from simple switch clicking to more advanced patter memorization and faster clicking needed to ‘catch’ moving parts of some puzzles. As with Morgondag’s stellar, strange Rymd Resa, the visual style is clean yet beautifully stylized with an intriguing soundtrack that adds to the atmosphere. I’ve only sunk a solid half hour into this so far, but my brain is getting a workout already. As reviews are embargoed until the 26th anyway (the game’s release date), you’ll all have to hold your collective breath until then. Back in a bit.

-GW

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Site Is A Breath of Fresh Air Today

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Yep. While the disappointment of the release slipping possibly into next summer is a bit annoying, the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild now has an official site chock full of too much info is a really good thing. Go poke around, please. Especially if you’re a big, cranky skeptic who didn’t get the chance to play the demo this past June and think an open world Zelda is somehow a bad idea despite the series being chock full of open world goodness from the very first entry.

-GW

BEVONTULE Hands-On: Liminal Effort = Maximum Results

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So, what’s a BEVONTULE, you ask? Well, first of all… you’ve very likely pronounced it wrong, so let’s go get that sorted. It’s Bay-von-chu-lay, and you quick thinking speed reading link clickers already know it’s an in-progress Unity 3D engine tactical RPG by a very dedicated team of two Portsmouth, OH natives, Derek Bradley and Andy Fenton. The Unity-powered game has been in development for a while and the recent demo kept me quite busy for a few hours. “Wait, a few HOURS?” you ask? Yep. As no save system was implemented and the gameplay was pretty solid, I kept at it and kept my laptop humming away for about four hours or so.

Granted, the demo can be completed in less time if you’re good at leveling up properly and can survive a pretty nasty boss battle. But my play style leaned heavily on hoofing it all the way back to a village you might not discover when playing the demo unless you turn around and make a beeline for it before you venture too far into danger. The spot has a few shops, an inn to heal up at and some nice treasures to find that help the cross-map journey considerably. You’ll also be able to pick up and turn in a few item fetch quests that make hoofing it back to worthwhile. Finally, heading to town resets the enemies outside, which means you can choose to fight or flee from them.

Yep, more often then not I chose to fight. Hey, a guy’s gotta level up, right?

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Seraph: Demons Die Faster On A Lead Diet

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Pretty much what would happen if a side-scrolling version of Diablo had its way with The Matrix. This is, yes, a good thing.

Two things almost stopped me from trying out developer Dreadbit’s super fun and challenging Seraph ($12.99). One was the claim of not needing to aim in a side-scrolling shooter (What?!), and the other was the use of the words ‘Gun Fu’ (Geshundheit!) in the game description.

As in:

Seraph is a super-slick, skill-based, acrobatic shooter. Take the role of an angel who’s mastered the art of ‘Gun Fu’ as she battles her way through hordes of twisted demons.

Ugh. That reminded me of sitting through the 2002 action flick Equilibrium, one of those movies where you have to throw both your suspension of disbelief (some of those plot points!) and sense of wonder (the film’s dreary tone overwhelms the solid stunts) under a truck before buying a ticket. Thankfully, unlike that Bale-jumping flick, Seraph has style to spare, the screens and trailers showed tons of promise and yes, the game does deliver the goods every chance it gets.

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You play as the titular female angel, a death-dealer trapped in two places: a demon-packed prison and the fragile frame of a human. If that body perishes, so does our agile heroine. Equipped with Olympic-style acrobatic moves and two different weapons from an increasingly powerful selection, the game task players with surviving some pretty hellish enemy types who want that angel pushing up daisies.

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PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 Hands-On: PAC-ing Plenty of Heat, And Soon


 

Pac-Man CE2_game-boxBandai Namco has kept Pac-Man relevant for decades in all sorts of games, but that speedy yellow dot-gobbler is always best when things are simplest. PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 does an excellent job at blending old and new gameplay elements that allow classic fans to dive in and play while giving newbies an actual fighting chance to keep up on the scoring front.

Some hands-on time at the company’s recent NYC event revealed a game that’s faster and more frantic than the first installment, adding new modes, fixing up a few things and overall, making for a guaranteed thrill ride experience that’s going to be hard to put down.

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Releasing digitally on Sept. 13th for $12.99 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC (via Steam), the game will “PAC”-in several modes for solo or competitive play, all featuring flashy, energetic visuals that riff on the classic arcade game flawlessly. During my ten minute session and plenty of minutes watching people dive in and play with the same “no way!” grins on their faces on a PS4 build, it was clear as a bell that the game would be a total smash when it drops next month. The non-stop action handles like a dream using the PS4 pad, so you don’t need to fret that the game needs an arcade stick. In fact, the game handles so well that I’d bet a nickel all those moms or dads who were PAC-MAN players that don’t play many modern games, but have a console or PC in the house for the kids just might get a bit scared their kids can now keep up with them in a competitive game.

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Time Attack and Adventure Mode offer up their own sets of challenges, and the while the very idea of tutorial stages to play a PAC-MAN game may seem horrifying to some stalwarts, what’s here works exceptionally well in getting everyone up to speed. New maze types and some massive boss battles in Adventure mode plus the crazy train Ghost Train stuff in the main mode will keep this one in play stacks even when the inevitable third installment arrives at some point. All I know is some of us will be taking a sick day or hoping for a rainy weekend after the game launches so we can have an excuse for staying home in our PJ’s grooving on a bit of CE2 action. Er, I’m speaking in CLEARLY hypothetical terms, of course.

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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DOGOS: OPQAM’s Root Grows Into A Mighty Shmup Oak

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dogos_02 Developer OPQAM’s first game, Project Root was and is a pretty solid modern take on the top down arcade shooter that slowed the pace down and opened up its maps to allow for near total freedom to fly and blast enemies through some fairly lengthy missions. That game really felt like a modern take on Thunder Force II‘s top-down sections, but some critics and gamers didn’t “get” the game’s seemingly languid pacing at all, opting to call it “boring” when this wasn’t the case. To each his or her own, I suppose… but this guy thinks a lot of people got it wrong.


 

Still, it seems OPQAM took the brickbats to heart in creating DOGOS, its upcoming PC, PS4, and Xbox One follow up, set to land soon as another digital-only release. It’s been Greenlit on Steam and looks as if it’ll be a big hit for the Recent hands-on time with a three-mission build shows the developer has hit on a great combination of classic shmup gameplay set in an more structured open map that almost gives the game the feeling of a dungeon crawler. There’s a story here to follow about Desmond Phoenix, a lone pilot tasked with some heavy duty mission work on an enemy-packed planet, but I’ll save that for the full review later. What you need to know is the game controls like a dream so far and the go-anywhere aspect coupled with the ship maneuverability really stand out. Yes, there are bosses and mini-boss ships to face off against with players needing to shoot aerial and ground targets as they fly around each large level. While the camera is generally top-down, OPQAM notes a few cool features in the final product:

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