Shortest Trip to Earth: Early Access Sim’s a Tough, Tasty Nut to Crack Into

(Thanks, Iceberg Interactive!)

I tend to sway between not playing too many Early Access games and playing too many at once, but while a bit of a daft thing to do in practice, in theory, the best games rise above that “Oh, it’s ANOTHER incomplete beta” to “Hey, hey… this one’s pretty darn solid!” Into the latter category goes Shortest Trip to Earth, developer Interactive Fate and publisher Iceberg Interactive’s new game now available on Steam Early Access for $19.99. Described as “a roguelike spaceship simulator focused on exploration, ship management and tactical battles”, it’s indeed all that as well as providing a decent level of challenge, some unusual ship designs and what’s looking to be plenty of replay value.

Shortest Trip to Earth

Pick one… and try not to break it this time, pal!

The opening tutorial is fairly simple as you learn the ins and outs of your starter ship. This isn’t an easy game if you attempt to play outside the tight rule set you’re given, so paying attention and following directions as closely as possible. From putting together the propulsion system, firing up the engines and right down to picking the proper crew members to man the weapons, pilot the ship and other tasks, the game packs in a ton of pre-exploration setup that’s going to appeal primarily to simulation fans. I guess you can call it a somewhat more fussy version of a Star Trek episode if you like. But I don’t think you’ll be Kirk-ing green skinned alien babes much here unless that situation pops up in one of the procedural maps.

Shortest Trip 01

“Um… B-7…” HIT! Well, it’s a lot more complex than Battleship, so expect the enemies here to always fight the good fight.

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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: The Last Crown: Midnight Horror

TLC_MC header
 

Platform: PC
Developer: Darkling Room
Publisher: Iceberg interactive
MSRP: $4.99
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: B+ 85%

As adventure games go, The Last Crown: Midnight Horror works exceptionally well as both an entry level point & click game for those new to the genre as well as a game fans of ghost hunters Nigel Danvers and Lucy Reubans’ previous (The Lost Crown) and future (The Last Crown: Blackenrock) exploits. The tone is lighter and the humor ranges from sly to flat out intentionally corny, but it all works quite well in this short taste of Halloween-themed horror. Even better, it’s only five dollars and worth every cent you’ll pay and then some. Continue reading

The Last Crown: Midnight Horror – Iceberg’s Happier Halloween Adventure Looks Like A Winner

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You should SEE my backlog, ladies and germs. It’s huge and scary like a mountain and just as hard to move. That said, Darkling Room‘s new game The Last Crown: Midnight Horror looks really fun. I’d never even heard of the developer until I got an email about this one and how it’s a lighter fright game that’s also an in-between chapter of The Lost Crown and the still in development The Last Crown: Blackenrock, two adventure games I now need to also play at some point. No experience with the first game is needed here as the game’s Halloween theme makes it a standalone “between cases” experience.

Take a gander at the trailer and screens below the jump and if you like what you see, you can grab the game on Steam for a mere $4.49, 50 cents of the normal price of $4.99 (a total BARGAIN for such a cool-looking throwback). Continue reading

Bundles Up, It’s Games Outside!

Batman Arkham Complete Bundle Stars

Well, I’ve been busy working on stuff and hoping I don’t blow a gasket because of the sloppy job going on this week in the kitchen. Anyway, here are some AMAZING game bundle deals for you bargain hounds out there. Let’s just say the first three games in the Batman: Arkham series for ten bucks over at Bundle Stars is SUCH a steal that you better not be at all surprised when Batman himself pops into a window and knocks you out for getting those games so cheap.

Humble Weekly Bundle Iceberg Games

Meanwhile, the Humble Weekly Sale features a nice mix of Iceberg Interactive games for a low price. Pay what you want for four games, make it $3.60 or more for seven games, and if you’re feeling generous, $25 gets you eight games including a few mighty and massive space simulations that will take you forever (and a day) to complete. All that and the Humble Store is blowing out a ton of games for low, low prices in its Humble Store Winter Sale. Remember, you’re not only filling up your hard drive, you’re helping out assorted charities in the process. Get busy so you can get busy, I say!

Review: Gas Guzzlers Extreme

GGE_BoxPlatform: PC

Developer: Gamempires

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive

# of Players: 1 – 8

ESRB Rating:

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

 

If Gas Guzzlers Extreme was running on a console or three about a year or two ago, it would probably be getting a great deal of playtime and raves for its pick up and play car combat action, extensive customization elements, decent visuals and sense of speed, 50 tracks and more. But on PC with plenty of fickle rig-building gamers demanding every game be a graphics showpiece for whatever configuration every single person can build, this one’s not getting the respect it truly deserves. GGE is a great throwback to the days of Twisted Metal, Interstate ’76/Vigilante 8, FlatOut and other destruction-heavy games where all sense of realism flies out the window in favor of all-out car carnage with a side of tinkering. This one’s a keeper whether you play it solo or online with up to eight friends who will soon be enemies on the wild roadways this game lets you have at it on… Continue reading

Best April Fool’s Game Gags: One Almost Works, Two Are Too Good to Be True…

Look, PR people: I’ve been around since 1972 as a gamer, so no game-related April Fool’s joke can pass by me without my eyebrow sailing up into the air over a vaporware or other intentionally hokey product/project announcement. THAT said, this year three jokes really made me crack up and all were from indie publishers:

banana_WM

The first was Watermelon Team’s Magical Game Factory’s name and focus change to a SOCIAL games developer called Banana Games (Yikes!), which actually ALMOST got me for about a minute until I reread the press release and realized that the line “Forget about retro consoles, they’re too old (and complicated to program to, so freaking time consuming! Yuck!), and enjoy a universe of magic and fun for ONLY $19.99/month!” was a total stab in the eyeball at Facebook and other social/digital only sites that glom onto your wallet with their “free” to play products (that really aren’t).

Endless Space WOF Logo Endless Space WOF

The second was so unbelievable I laughed for a good minute because the idea is spectacular, but the proposed console? Yeah, OK. Iceberg Interactive and Amplitude Studios’ fan-favorite 4X space sim, Endless Space, called Endless Space: Wings of Freedom, coming to the NEOGEO X Gold as an arcade shooter? Well, those screenshots below SURE look real, and it’s an idea that would make X owners like me run around the room squeeealing like a chased pig. But it’s not gonna happen (too bad!). THAT said, doing something like this for the Vita and 3DS? Get on it, Amplitude! Seriously.

retromator4K

The third thing? well, GOG.com didn’t get me at all, but I just KNOW people on that awesome site full of DRM-free gaming goodness of the classic to current variety would LOVE to have a RetroMator 4000 running in their PC’s or Macs (or ha ha, Linuxes). This one was pretty cool because I don’t think ANYONE on the site was fooled for one bit, but there have been some amusing screenshots cooked up by some users…

Better luck next year, folks. I’ll be waiting…

Tiny Troopers Zombie PC/Mac Patch Adds Hordes of Undead, New Weapons

For those of you with retail or digital copies of Tiny Troopers, Iceberg Interactive and Kukouri Mobile Entertainment have gifted you with a lovely Halloween surprise in the form of some cool zombie-related DLC. This 46MB content pack for PC and Mac players adds a Survival mode, special weapon crate drops, the ability ti use your favorite troopers from the main game and yes, LOTS of undead to blast with all those wonderful toys. Go grab this FREE add-on from one of the four sites hosting the file, update your game and enjoy the extra fun!

OK, Kukouri – get crackin’ on that Vita version of TT and I’ll be even happier!

Review: Tiny Troopers (PC/Mac)

Platform: PC/Mac

Developer: Kukouri Mobile Entertainment

Publisher: Iceberg Interactive

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

Tiny Troopers is a really fun blend of action and light strategic elements reminiscent of the classic PC game Cannon Fodder with a tiny bit of Taito’s ancient arcade game, Front Line for good measure. Ported from the mobile version by developer Kukouri Mobile Entertainment, TT is a great little budget game that packs in 30 increasingly challenging missions, a nice selection of unlockable gear and upgrades and even a small set of Achievements for gamers who feel the urge to milk every penny of the ten dollars the game costs. Some may gripe about the lack of an actual story, no online play, some occasionally wonky pathfinding and a handful of other things. But overall, you’re absolutely getting your money’s worth here in a game with a decent amount of mission and map variety.

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WIN FREE STUFF! Two Tiny Troopers Steam Codes Up For Grabs!

 UPDATE: CONTEST CLOSED!  WINNERS PICKED!  CODES SENT!  WHEE!
Hey! You look like you could use a game break, so here’s a quick giveaway for two lucky readers. Tiny Troopers for PC is a fun action/real-time strategy hybrid from Kukouri Mobile Entertainment and Iceberg Interactive that’s been getting some pretty solid reviews for the iOS and Android versions.

Now, lucky PC and Mac gamers can give this enhanced version of the game a shot through Valve’s always rockin’ Steam download service, where the game is normally $9.99, but is on sale until September 7, 2012 through the Steam store for 20% off. That, by the way, is what they call a STEAL in this day and age.

Here’s a peek at the game (and of course, gameplay) for you:

Looks pretty cool, huh?  I say go make yourself and the developer happy and buy this game.  Or, you could luck out and be one of two winners here simply by being the first two folks to post a note below. Don’t get too giddy now and put your email address in that note, now – I know how to track you down without it.  Anyway, RULES: you DO need a Steam account to enter, the game is PC and Mac compatible and there’s only ONE code per winner, so don’t get grabby, now!  Winners will be emailed their codes, so yes, having an actual email address will help as well. Also, even if you don’t win, the game is a good enough deal at either the full or reduced price to make a great purchase for yourself or someone else.

Anyway, if you’ve read this far and haven’t replied, you might not be a winner, so get cracking!