Lost in Vivo: The Walls, Close-in For Catastrophic Claustrophobia

(Thanks, Akuma Kira!)

 

Back in 2016, I pledged a few bucks to Akuma Kira’s Kickstarter for a new game he was working on called Lost in Vivo all because of the free and superbly devious Spooky’s Jump Scare Mansion (Formerly Spooky’s House of Jump Scares), a game I recommend to anyone into horror because it will creep up on them in a surprising manner. In other words, don’t let the initially quite stupidly cute visuals and the rather simplistic but twisty corridors found in the first chunk of floors lull you into a false sense of security. Things get quite bizarre and eventually quite horrific as you descend into the darker, more hellish maps.

Anyway, fast forward to earlier Saturday morning when I got a download link to he completed build of Lost in Vivo from the developer via Game Jolt (an excellent indie site I VERY highly recommend along with itch.io  (the game can be found here) if you love to pore over dozens and dozens of great indies of all genres, many free or quite affordable). You’ll also see this one pop up on Steam soon (well, November 5th, thanks to Steam’s verification process taking longer), but if you need this faster, feel free to grab it from one of the other sites noted above for a measly ten bucks.

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Review: WALDEN, a game (PS4)

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No, it’s not some new-age hipster ready-made, silly. Here’s where you start off the game. Now, get to getting those walls up before dark, buddy.

Walden, a game PS4Wait, what? Yes, there’s actually a game based on Henry David Thoreau’s autobiographical slice of life book and it’s pretty neat as well as quite educational on a few fronts. Developed by Tracy Fullerton and the USC Game Innovation Lab over a 10-year period, Walden, a game ($18.99, also on PC) rolls out events from Thoreau’s time spent up at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts in a tiny cabin he built and maintained. It’s an “open world” game with plenty to see and do, but it’s also an initially timed experience where you need to attempt to accomplish as much as possible during each day. That means you can choose to follow the flow of suggestions the letters Henry receives during the game or simply go off and explore at your leisure, discovering experiences as you go.

Actually, doing a combination of both is very highly recommended as this will maximize the overall experience while filling in chapters from the book as well as other events that affected Thoreau’s life.  While the game has a few performance quirks, if you’re a person who likes “walking simulators” (a term I dislike, mind you) or “survival” games (ditto on the dislike thing) without worrying about zombies or other creatures chomping at your heels, this is going to be right up your alley. Granted, I’m going to gather that market is slim among most of today’s gamers. Nevertheless, I’d still highly recommend this if you want something truly different and amusingly enough, something to show off to your kids (if you have them) as an honest to goodness learning experience. Yes, there’s also a great teaching aid for the game, as it’s meant to be used in schools as part of curriculum in tandem with the book.

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Your humble shopkeeper in the game. Basically, he’s Tom Nook with even more vintage stock. Or: you’ll pay through the nose for those much-needed goods.

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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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Just Feel: A Little Indie Action on Hump Day

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enjminlogoLet’s talk about s-e-x for a hot minute. Most popular videogames act like it doesn’t exist or it’s made essential to a story as a “relationship” deal where it’s mishandled like a giraffe trying to juggle watermelons while playing the bongos. Boo to most of the AAA game industry and it’s primarily clumsy pawing of a subject that should be gently approached and touched in just the right places.

Meanwhile, over in France (where the heck else?), seven first-year students at Le Cnam-Enjmin took three months to make Just Feel, a very short, FREE, and let’s just say “educational” game about…

Well, let’s just see what the game page says:

The goal of this project is to mention sensuality and the pleasure in a poetic and subtle way.

The idea is to show a form of sensual relation without taboo and vulgarity.

In this experience the player personifies a caress metaphor.

This project is focus on the flow feeling.

Relaxation and surprise.

This is a 10 minutes experience.

 

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While this one’s a bit too easy to describe how to play and the overall goal, you still kind of need to play it and see…er, feel for yourself what the deal is. In fact, BEFORE you play, watch the let’s play video for a bit of hilarity as the guy playing can’t quite figure out where he’s at on the figure. Some girls and guys will get a chuckle and “It figures…” head shake while watching. Hey, some of us need a lot of practice. Yeah, me included.

Anyway, you may blush a little before the game times out, but it’s tastefully done (quiet back there!) and abstract enough to indeed be called art. So, um. Go give it a try, I say.

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I guess I should score this, right? Okay, 1 point a minute makes this a perfect 10.

-GW

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Switch ‘N’ Shoot: One Button Masterpiece Well Worth Your Two Bucks

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BUY THIS GAME.


 

My inbox gets packed to the gills with requests to review games and with my current massive backlog it usually takes me a week to sift through a few days’ worth of pitches and press kits. However, that bug-eyed alien art from Matt Glanville’s awesome Switch ‘N’ Shoot jumped right out at me and as soon as I clicked on the link and watched that gameplay video above. My wallet was two bucks lighter. Although it’s still in beta, it’s completely playable and addictive as bacon-wrapped bacon with a side of bacon.

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Dirt simple and a great companion piece to Downwell (I guess you can call it Upwell? No? Hey, I tried!), the brilliantly simple gameplay packs a hilarious level of challenge. You get one ship, one button moves AND shoots, you can only move laterally. Have fun. Zen-like reflexes are needed to keep scoring points, but death comes so quickly that you’ll just jam on the button to restart until you get on that leaderboard. My paltry 17 points is up now, but not for long, I bet.


(Thanks, Awesome Movie Clips!)

Anyway, go grab this one on anything it’s on. If you hate DRM, go get it here. I say pay for it if you can – even as an Early Access title, it’s well worth the cost and then some.

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-GW