What’s Cookin’?: (Almost) Everything in Moderation…


 

Yep, I’m still alive. My brain has been percolating a lot these past two weeks on stuff galore, so it’s been tough to focus on being too entertained. That said, I do like what Nintendo is up to on a few fronts despite me not even being interested in Super Mario Run because I don’t own an Apple device (yuk!), have zero plans to buy it on Android and even it it rears its cute run ‘n jump head on Switch, it’ll be a “meh!” as far as making a dent on my playlist. While a decent platformer gets played here and there by yours truly, I just don’t get that same thrill I used to back in the arcade to 32-bit era. A new Mario game gets the same sigh and pass as a AAA first-person shooter from me, Miyamoto magic or not.

Yeah, it’s cool and all, but I just can’t. The good here (it’s only ten bucks! – take THAT, $99.99 mobile game DLC!) is counterbalanced with the need for an always online connection to play. But given that ALL mobile games need to connect online at some point during play and Nintendo’s strict requirement is to prevent piracy and cheating, it comes off as a necessary evil more than a draconian law being laid down.

Well, to me at least.

On the other hand… The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Yep, sold. I’ve even gone and bought a few Amiibo to use in order to take advantage of the freebies that drop if you’re smart enough to have a few lying around. Hell, I was Amiibo-resistant until Hyrule Warriors revealed you can get five random gifts per day just by tapping figures on the Gamepad.

Anyway, let me close here for now and get back to cooking my actual dinner. My mind clears up a lot when I cook, so this post is a result of a meat sauce with ground turkey playing the part of beef. That’s going with some linguini that…(taste!) just turned al dente. Back in a bit, a trip to planet Nom awaits.

-GW

Advertisements

World of Darkness Wants You to Enjoy Some Earplay For Halloween

light-desktop-wwearplay-logo-ww-bgBefore horror books and movies, the spoken word was where it was at when you needed your spine chilled but good. The just announced partnership between Earplay and White Wolf Publishing to bring World of Darkness to iOS and Alexa enabled devices (such has Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot) sounds like a very cool interactive endeavor horror fiction fans may want to take a peek at and a listen to soon.

So, exactly what is this and why should you keep an ear peeled for it? Well, you have some reading to do, sir or madam. You like to read, right? Good. Here you go: Um, well… below the jump. Hey, I didn’t lie! Go look!

Continue reading

Review: Ember

N-Fusion’s nostalgic, gorgeous love letter to classic CRPGs hits most of its notes perfectly and is one of the nicest surprises this year in terms of value for the money and how well the team has pulled off much of what it intended. 

Ember-752x430 Platform: PC (also on iOS)
Developer: N-Fusion Interactive
Publisher: 505 Games
# of Players: 1
Release Date: 9/9/2016
MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site
Score: A (90%) BUY IT!

 

ember-angel 

Back in the earliest days, there was no sun and the world was dark. The heavens opened up and stars fell like beacons into the pitch black world, and they were known as “Embers”. Powerful and wise druids of a primordial race, “the Lightbringers,” roamed the land searching for this luminous matter. They performed a ritual of awakening to call the “Embers” out of their deep sleep. Suddenly the world became bright, and the veil of darkness was lifted. The Embers were the embodiment of magical flame, light, and life, but as word spread about the sheer power of the Embers, they came to be hunted and captured…and so the War for Ember began…

 

Given this site’s moniker I’m probably the last person who should be reviewing Ember, as I fell head over heels for the game after first seeing it just over two years ago at a 505 Games media event. Back then, it was an iOS exclusive and after spending time chatting with N-Fusion’s Jeff Birns and seeing the game in action, I was all set to drop my non-Apple stance and throw good money into taking the iPlunge. Fortunately, my brain started slapping itself in the face, which got me to ask if the game was coming to other platforms. Flash forward to the game hitting Steam first, followed by iOS a few days later and yours truly sinking a few dozen hours into the PC version, loving every nostalgic minute.

You play as a freshly revived Lightbringer, brought back to life after a lengthy period of interment in order to save a pretty troubled land called Domus from destruction. Yes, the game deliberately checks off a long list of CRPG tropes with slight amnesia, bantering siblings, a bad pirate gone good and others swirling through the plot. But this is exactly the sort of game that’s been made by a team who knows what it’s doing and it’s been done so well that everything’s more than acceptable once you get it. Or get over it, if you’re one of the wags who goes into every game expecting “innovation” from everything you touch. That said, the game works excellently as a casual to hardcore play because you get to control how easy to difficult your own experience will be.

Continue reading

Dungelot: Shattered Lands – A Cuter, Stabbier Minesweeper

Dungelot_Screenshot-2015-06-23-19.47.08 


 

Dungelot 0Another of tinyBuild Games‘ upcoming titles is Dungelot: Shattered Lands from Red Winter, a two man studio based in Russia. Shattered Lands is their third game, but unlike the much maligned Dungelot 2 (which got lots of guff for its micro-transaction heavy gameplay), it’s available on iOS now and coming to Steam later this year as a single player game worth keeping an eye peeled for.

While I’m not a big Minesweeper fan in general, it’s the super cute art style and familiar rogue-like RPG aspects that have my interest piqued. Hey, who doesn’t like loot drops and increasing difficulty? Well, that and it’s got a rather large and unholy cow as a beefy boss that needs to be taken down:

dungelot-shattered-lands-gif Moo! Of course, that means that Cow from Hell above is udderly a female fiend (last time I checked, bulls are udderless), but hey – equality goes as good for evil as it does for good when all is said and done. If that sentence made no sense it’s because I’m still zonked out from the snowstorm we had two days ago. I could use some hot milk right about now, so that bovine behemoth-ess (MOO!) is looking mighty attractive about now.

But I digress. Go pick up the game if you have an iOs whatever to play it on or slap it on your Steam watchlist and go hide in a corner until it appears in that store at some point down the road. Here are some screens to ogle below while I nap through the rest of this post:

Dungelot_1 

dungelot3 dungelot4 dungelot5 dungelot6 dungelot7 dungelot8 dungelot9 Dungelotcast2
 

Shadowgate on iOS: Castle of Doom Goes All Touchy-Feely

Shadowgate Dread Pumpkin 

Oh joy! Or should I say Zo-Joi! Shadowgate is now available on the iPad. $4.99 gets you this revamped classic that was a PC exclusive now on your tap and slide tablet of choice (well,if your tap and slide tablet of choice happens to be an iPad 3 or better). While not a “horror” game per se, exploring the gloomy deathtrap that is Castle Shadowgate can be a bit frightening at times. Hey, when you walk into a room filled with treasure and see that rather pissed off dragon eyeballing you, you’ll either get smart and get lost or get greedy and roasted up but good. Unless you have a certain item that can withstand a blast of fire or two. Yes, that was a free game tip.

dragon_lair 

The beautiful artwork in this remake alone is worth the five bucks you’ll spend. Fortunately, Zojoi has made the new version of their 1987 classic every bit as devious and challenging as the original with even more to do and some super-challenging difficulty options for you adventure game masters out there. As if this wasn’t a good enough deal, Zojoi has also gone and made iOS versions of its four original MacVenture Series games. For $1.99 each you can play the classic Shadowgate, The Uninvited, Deju Vu and Deja Vu II.

And yes indeed, The Uninvited IS a horror game (and a good one at that):

un_mac5 

I shall leave you with the lovely lady in red above (that’s blood, by the way… YOUR blood!)- go get some yourself cheap classics today and have yourself an adventure (or four).

Star Wars: Uprising: Shoot First In Kabam’s Upcoming Co-Op Game

(thanks, Kabam RPG!)
 

Hey, Kabam! You just made me want to play a Star Wars game. Reading up on Uncle George trying to rewrite movie history has of late almost put me off wanting to go near anything new owner Disney intends to do with the franchise. Any SW fan worth his salt knows Han shot first, grrrr! That said, I’m still not a 100 percent tablet, mobile or broswer-based MMO convert just yet…
Continue reading

Divide By Sheep: It’s The New Math, Kids!

(thanks, tinyBuildGAMES!)
 

If they taught math this way back when I was in grade school I’d bet a heck of a lot of kids would probably be a lot smarter. And probably vegetarian or vegan not to mention not afraid of death at all. Anyway, great and prolific indie developer tinyBuildGAMES does it again with another hilarious slice of pure fun with a twist. Divide By Sheep is a math puzzle game that combines Death, loneliness, sacrifice and too cute to chop up sheep in a game where every move counts. Okay, it’s nowhere as grim as that last sentence sounds at all although a sense of humor is going to be needed in order to get full enjoyment from this one.

divide by sheep art
 

If you feel like counting sheep now and getting Death some new wooly pals to play chess with, the game is available on Steam and iOS NOW. Even better (well, if you’re an iOS user), you can get tinyBuild’s Spoiler Alert for FREE and Fearless Fantasy for a mere 99 cents. Those are both hard to pass up deals, I’d say.

DomiNations: Big Huge Games, Back With A Big Huge Game You Need To Play


 

If you do this writing about games stuff long enough, you tend to go into media events with low to no expectations. Not because you’re jaded, mind you. It’s more because going in blind works better at getting one’s surprise meter better tuned when something actually does blow one’s mind. That said, I knew as soon as I heard the names Big Huge Games and Tim Train, I knew I had to prepare to be surprised and thrilled at what they were going to show. DomiNations (published by Nexon) is the name of the company’s new game and it’s a free to play mobile game that just so happens to be a real-time strategy game with a light world history theme. Sure, there are plenty of mobile RTS titles out there from Clash of Clans to Game of War and so forth and so on with fantasy themes. DomiNations adds some familiar bits of PC classics Train and Brian Reynolds have worked on such as Civilization II and Rise of Nations while making sure to be entertaining enough that anyone can hop in and play within a few seconds. Continue reading

Marvel Mighty Heroes: DeNA’s Latest F2P Soon To Be Smash


 

Excelsior, True Believers! here comes DeNA with yet another addictive F2P game guaranteed to kill your free time deader than Deadpool with a sack full of grenades and too much coffee in his system. Marvel Mighty Heroes is a fun-looking isometric co-op brawler for iOS and Android devices that’s a step up for action fans who want more action than some of the hugely popular card battle games on the mobile market. The kid-friendly art style and fast-paced play are sure to draw in the younger crowd. But expect this to also be a big hit among Marvel fans of any age who try it out and get drawn in by the fast-paced gameplay.

While some criticize most free to play games for their monetizing shenanigans, there’s an EASY way to avoid paying money for most of these games if you spread out how often you play them. You don’t NEED to spend hours every day “grinding” for good stuff at all. Just play until you’re prompted for a payment option and quit for the day. Rinse and repeat for about two weeks or so and if the game has daily rewards for continued play, you end up raking in digital coins or whatever currency the game offers up frequent players and you’ll be shocked to find you haven’t spent a dime and have credits to buy stuff in the online shop.

Marvel2_BUILD_1280x800 

Or you could just go half to full super-fan and pay up front for a bunch of goodies or whatever starter packs you like. The beauty of GOOD free to play is having that option in the games you play and knowing it’s up to YOU to be in charge of what you spend if anything. That and you can always go read a book or step out for fresh air when that payment option pops up. There’s much more to life than gaming, you know. But when you DO get some game time in, make sure you enjoy 100 percent of that time.

Marvel2_BATTLE_1280x800 Marvel2_COMPETE_1280x800 Marvel2 UNLEASH 1280x800

Firefly Online: The “Little” MMO That’s Gonna

Even though I don’t play online games these days, Firefly Online has had me intrigued every since I heard there was an official game underway. Oddly enough, no one from any PR firm contacted me about covering it, so I assumed that was some sort of warning sign or worse, someone not wanting to do the hard work of getting the word out on something they thought was going to be too niche for its own good. Well, I was wrong on both counts as I found out when I bit the bullet and signed up for Firefly Online Cortex, the companion pre-game app currently available on Steam, Google Play and the App Store.

firefly online cortex 

There’s not much to do in Cortex other than collect digital trading cards and points playing mini-games on a map of The Verse or reading news updates. That said, the cards are cool, there’s a second series coming soon and you can also score some even better bonuses by ponying up five bucks to attain Big Damn Hero status. This status will get some some great perks for the main game when it launches this spring on Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android OS. What kind of perks? Well, exclusive gear for your crew mates, access to items non-BDH players won’t have and some other neat stuff. Hey, they got my five clams without hesitation. I’m not here to babble about anything you can read in the FAQ here other than to add I like where this is all going and if you ever were a Firefly fan at some point in the past, you may want to think about signing up yourself.

What I like about the game based on the descriptions and video above it that it’s NOT at all forced social interactivity. You can play along with your virtual crew as you rise up in the ranks, taking your customized ship into charted and uncharted territories for fun and profit. The game is in fact, a single-player experience that just so happens to have some social elements added in like the ability to create and share quests with others. As it’s also powered by Unity, this means there’s a slim chance it may end up on other platforms (as in consoles) if it does well enough on the initial platforms it launches on (and there’s enough demand for a port in every port, of course).

Right now, my own personal choice will be what to play this on when it does ship. I’ve been eyeballing a few inexpensive tablets recently (primarily for gaming purposes) as well as dinking around on devices owned by a few friends while I decide to make up my mind. I suppose I could just run the game on the laptop just fine. However, I want to keep it freed up to write and have something else dedicated entirely to FFO. So, it may be a mobile platform after all that’s bigger than a phone and smaller than a breadbox. We shall see, but whatever I choose, Firefly Online will be played. At my own pace, of course.