Oh, Deer! In the Headlights, Sideways, Somewhat Allegorically

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Oh, Deer! is apt enough and more than fast enough for these testy times that I can recommend it even though I’ve yet to actually play it. Scoreless swerving past or through lines of poor digital deer is an odd metaphor for the daily careening many of us do while glued to a news source, real or “alternative facts” based, eyes wider than usual. While this may not seem all that deep, developer Necrosoft Games is proudly stating this is indeed a beta that will end up as a more fully polished product. Initially released as a 49-cent PlayStation Mobile game (I missed it on the Vita? Noooooo!), it got bumped up to subscription-only freebie beta build for Humble Monthly subscribers where it caught fire and careened into a game a lot of folks want to see get completed.

So, yeah. Get this if you’re cracking up or something. Amusingly priced at an apocalyptic $6.66, that entry fee also gets you whatever ends up being the final version of the game whenever the fine folks at Necrosoft get to completing it. Hey, the world may end before that happens or it may not. No matter what, you’ll be able to swerve past or slam sideways into all the deer you choose without guilt or incurring and insurance fee increases.

-GW

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The Silver Case Demo Hands-On: Dread, Delusion, And A Little Death

The Silver Case
 

With its October 7 release date right around the corner, Grasshopper Manufacture has released a new demo and trailer for the remastered version of The Silver Case, set to hit PC as a digital download on Playism, Steam, and the Humble Store for $19.99 (Standard Edition) or $29.99 (Deluxe Edition with a digital art book, soundtrack and comic). The new demo features two slices from the game starting with the harrowing opening chapter “lunatics”.

As I proudly still own the 1999 PlayStation import, seeing and playing this chapter all over again with enhanced visuals (and yes, in English) that still echo the original but with more detail brought a smile to my face despite the grin proceedings taking place. I won’t spoil a thing (you can and *SHOULD* give the demo a test drive) other than to say the mix of tried and true adventure gaming, unique interface and graphic novel meets cinematic presentation elements combined with a mature script will have you engrossed and enthused to play the final version. As with his other mature titles, Goichi Suda’s style is evident in the deadly manner in which some events play out, plenty of vernacular usage (hey, we’re all adults here, right?), and offbeat, welcome humor to break up the tension… or add it in cases where someone might not live.

tsc_lunatics For those of you craving physical product, you’d best move like a bullet. The fine folks at Limited Run Games are doing a fantastic (and yes, LIMITED) boxed retail version ($49.99) available for pre-order ONLY on their site until midnight, October 20. Yes, my eyeballs needed to be retrieved from under the couch after I saw this blissful box of beauty.

Inside are the following items:

  • DRM-free game disc with installer
  • Soundtrack CD
  • Artbook
  • 22-page manga
  • Two-piece manual set
  • Individually numbered box – numbers will be issued by order of purchase. The box is 7.75″ x 9.5″ x 1.75″ – the same box dimensions as many classic PC games from the 80s and 90s.
  • Game download on Steam

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Of course, broke-ass me will have to settle for a standard digital code, but I can live with that. Getting to finally play this and fully grasp the plot is well worth the long wait. Or short wait, if you’re new to the game and are holding your breath for the next 48 hours. Also, if you’re only buying the game digitally and want to do a double-take of sorts, go with the Playism version, I say. That purchase gets you a DRM-Free download as well as a Steam key, meaning you can choose to get gifty with it if you like. Hopefully the game does well enough to get console ports down the road, as it’s quite a ride and deserves to be played by as many as possible.

As usual, we shall see.

-GW

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Featherpunk Prime Hands-On: Plink Flamingoes Surprise With Skill

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SuperHatchGames_Logo1If you told me I’d be gushing endlessly over an old-school run ‘n gun with a modern look that just so happened to star a cybernetic FLAMINGO, I’d probably ask you what YOU were smoking. But, here I am extolling the joys of Featherpunk Prime, one hell of an indie action/platform shooter from two guys with a ton of talent.

Stephen Payne and Dan Jeffery make up Super Hatch games and their baby is headed to Steam and the Humble Store September 1st. BUY IT, I say. The game is a total blast to play, it looks phenomenal, packs in a great soundtrack from Wingcap Audio (buy it!) and from my brief stretch with a recent build, it just might be one of the better arcade-style shooters this year.

FeatherpunkPrime_CyberFlamingoOnce you get over the oddball choice of a lead character, dive in and see how tight the game is, any preconceived notions will be vaporized. The game’s gaudy neon color scheme, catchy music and excellent re-mappable controls suck you in and keep things bouncing along as the level of challenge blow you around in your seat.

The game is wonderfully balanced and (to me), plays like a Bizarro World version of Contra meets Midnight Resistance with a CYBER FLAMINGO as the hero. I’m sure a few Treasure games also influenced Super Hatch, but the important thing here is the game they’ve made manages to stand out on its own as original thanks to tat heroic metal bird and how the game makes you adore it so damn much. It’s not a “cute!” shooter at all, folks. But then animation on that metal bird is so damn priceless you’ll crack up at the genius absurdity of it all.

I’ll shut up here before this turns into a full-on review (that’s coming!). For now, head below the jump for more…
Continue reading

System Shock: Night Dive Studios Shows How EVERY Game Needs to Be Crowdfunded


 

In dropping an amazing early demo for its System Shock remake on Kickstarter, you can very safely say Night Dive Studios also just dropped the mic on how every videogame developer from this point onward NEEDS to introduce their product should they take the crowdfunding route. Giving potential backers a taste of what’s to come at no cost save for the time it takes to download and play that sample makes a hell of a lot more sense than automatically thinking gamers love gambling blindly on an IP’s popularity, names of famous creators, insane stretch goals and other promises that have popped up with a bunch of other past to current games. As a few high to lower profile games that didn’t meet expectations or that failed to materialize post-campaign have shown, gamers feel the burn from these bad apples and take their anger out on whatever pops up next as a big deal project.

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Yes, some of those games got backer-only demos for certain mid-to high tier contributors (boo!). But to me, the idea of paying to play a demo build is a bit lame, no matter how great the pedigree of the team making a game. Although I’ve played some decent ones, Early Access games fall under the same category because there are some that have died on the vine after that demo drops and gets paid for. Granted, crowdfunding sites aren’t “stores” at all and your pledge is just that until the project meets or exceeds its goal and your money is gently lifted from your bank account. Anyway, if you remember System Shock and want to check it out even if you have no plans to fnd this remake, hit up the Kickstarter page and go get that demo on Steam, through the Humble Store or DRM-free over at gog.com.

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

Humble NEOGEO Bundle: Instant Arcade For Your PC? Yeah, That’s a Buy

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If you just got a nice and nostalgic heart flutter when you ogled that logo above, go pop an aspirin (drink a nice big glass of water with that!) and have a seat. Humble Bundle and SNK/Playmore are teaming up to bring you (at least) 21 NEOGEO arcade games for less than what you’d drop in an arcade during the 90’s on a gaming binge. Seriously. Ten bucks (and you should pay MORE, frankly) gets you those 21 DRM-free games pictured on the page, some excellent game soundtracks you can listen to as you bop down the street or drive around in your vehicle of choice, and the promise of MORE games dropping into your Steam account in a week. $167 worth of games for a tenner is pretty fantastic, but it gets better if you happen to use Firefox or Chrome as your browser. Why? Well, you can sample all but one of the games in the bundle for FREE, that’s why!

Once you’ve had your fill, whip out that wallet and get to the buying and supporting charity part. Humble appreciates the business and you need a ton of fun classics for that backlog you’re growing, right? Yeah, I thought so. If you’re REALLY feeling generous, you can pay $40 or more for all of those games (and games to come) and get an NEOGEO 25th Anniversary Limited Edition METAL SLUG SV-001 T-Shirt sent to you in the mail. Pick your poison and then pick some time out to play with your new games library. Whatever you do, pick quickly as this sale is only running for the next dozen days.

Review: The Park (PC)

THE PARK bannerPlatform: PC
Developer/Publisher: Funcom
MSRP: $9.99
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site
Score: B (80%)

Although it’s set in The Secret World universe, no previous experience with that MMO is needed to get a jolt or two from The Park, Funcom’s short psychological horror adventure that’s both a nice looking and eventually haunting game experience. It’s not without flaws that make parts a lot less immersive than they should have been and as an experiment in storytelling it relies on too much inner dialogue from the main character that makes her sound more like a writer working on a short story in her head more than a worried parent. That said, if you’re in the right mood on the right dark night, the game will eventually get its creepy points across and right under your skin.

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When her child, Callum, goes missing during a trip to a shuttered amusement park with his single mother, Lorraine, she heads into the gloomy, deserted venue in order to track him down. That’s the simplistic way of telling the story without spoiling much because the game experience is actually fairly short, clocking in at about two hours if you take your time and do as much as possible. As Lorraine makes her way around the park calling out her son’s name, she ends up making the rounds of the few rides and attractions while talking to herself (internally and externally), finding newspaper clippings and other notes that detail the park’s not so safe past history. Continue reading

BUY IT! Dragon Fin Soup Looks Like A Tasty Bowl Of Pain


 

Dragon Fin SoupBased on the absolutely gorgeous artwork by Randis Albion alone, Grimm Bros. first game, Dragon Fin Soup is worth a buy. The game is, according to the developers: “half story-driven tactical RPG and half high-stakes roguelike, with a pinch of crass humor and a heaping helping of murder & madness set in a procedural generated fantasy world.”, which is right up my alley lurking with a +2 Club of Timesink waiting to konk me on the noggin.

Even better, the game is now available on PC via Steam or the Humble Store as well as a cross-buy for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in North America and Europe at not much more than the PC version costs. If you happen to be a PS Plus member, guess what? DFS is a FREE download this month! Gorgeous, hard as hell and somewhat inexpensive (or FREE if you’re lucky) is a fine and dandy way to spend a lousy weekend. Or any weekend, for that matter.

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THE PARK: Fear Rides The Fairway in Funcom’s New Horror Quickie

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A trip to the amusement park really goes off the rails in Funcom’s new short first-person psychological horror experience, THE PARK, now available for PC on digital platforms Steam, Humble Store, NVIDIA GeForce Now Store, Green Man Gaming, and GamersGate for $9.99, a 23% savings on the game’s $12.99 MSRP. If you’re like me and thinking “Hey, doesn’t Funcom only make big-budget MMO experiences these days?” Well, you’re not 100% wrong there. And you’re not 100% correct, either. Funcom wants you to know they’re not all about those expensive to produce and addictive online time-sinks these days:

“Thanks to similar games in the narrative space, such as ‘Gone Home’, ‘Dear Esther’ and ‘The Stanley Parable’, we are confident that there is a place in the gaming industry for shorter, intense experiences,” says Funcom creative director Joel Bylos. “Technically, it explores the limits of what is possible for a team to achieve with a small budget, short deadline and a strong focus.”

 

Aha. Well, short and horrific seem to be selling well these days, Funcom does have the talent to make it work and hey, at ten bucks… that’s less than a movie ticket and you don’t just get to sit there and get scared while choking on your popcorn. THE PARK seems like a game that while brief, is going to get people talking. Or in this era of social video site streaming, sitting down in front of their monitors watching someone play and freak out. Hmmmm. You can probably have someone feed you popcorn while you play this one. Just don’t be surprised at all if that a piece of that slimy “buttered” junk ends up shoved into a nostril at some point because Fatima peeled out of the room in fear an stuck that corn in the first orifice he or she could reach.

Sometimes, it’s best to experience certain types of horror alone. Or at least after you have your popcorn.

Some Late Bundles For Your Sleepy Saturday

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Yeah, yeah… it’s Saturday and I’m posting this IndieGala Friday Special Bundle now. I had a little computer hiccup yesterday before I could get to this deal, so it’s a bit late. Anyway, get three games for a buck or a dozen for $2.99 this time. Flip a coin and choose the latter if you need a hint. There’s a nice set of stuff here from a Match-3 puzzle game, a few adventure games and even a couple of retro platformers with some shooters tossed in for good measure.

Also, if you poke around the IndieGala Store and actually buy something there, you get a free gift just in time for Easter:

Free Fist of Jesus IndieGala 

Yup, it’s a real game! You can also get another freebie just for stopping by in the form of Space Hack, a single player action/RPG set aboard a spaceship besieged by tons of bug-like aliens. It’s old, but quite addictive once you get into it.

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Over at the Humble Bundle, you can scoop up six really hard games in the Humble Weekly Bundle: ARGGGHHH!! These games are hard! Bundle. I’ve only played three of them, but can confirm that you will indeed want to toss a controller or keyboard at something if you’re the impatient sort. The Humble Store has a crazy sale on Deep Silver titles all weekend, so check out that link for a nice assortment of titles from a few genres.

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Finally, Bundle Stars has the awesome Vortex Bundle, a total STEAL at $2.99 just for the Alien Breed Trilogy. If you’re not into shooting xenomorphs while being scared half to death, there are a bunch of other titles in that bundle bound to please. And don’t forget to check out the Bundle Stars Store for MORE great deals on single games. Hmmmm. I think that’s it, but I’ll let you know. Oh, right – check out Indie Royale, Desuragog.com, and of course, gog.com for even MORE deals!