Lovely. Now, let’s take this pinball history back even further, I say. Lots of excellent tables deserve this treatment.
Nice. Here I was, wondering if I should buy up those import PS4 pinball collections that have gone out of print and *ding!*Zen Studios ends up with the Bally/Williams license. The developer has just published four tables available NOW on PC, (via Steam as well) Mac, PS4, Xbox One and Switch, with the classic 1992 table Fish Tales available for free across all platforms. I recall that one as being a high scorer with even beginners able to rack up tens of millions of points on three balls. The table also had flippers slightly smaller than standard ones, so it was actually easier to lose balls thanks to the super fast action.
Bravo, Santa Ragione and Brava, Lella! This driving sim/adventure hybrid’s a definite Game of the Year contender that will make those who “get” it want to crack open a few books and do some heavy reading and/or thinking.
Platform: PC (also on Mac/Linux/PS4/Xbox One)
Developer: Santa Ragione
Publisher: Santa Ragione
Release Date: 9/20/2016
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: N/A Official Site Score: A (95%) BUY IT!
Calling Santa Ragione’s outstanding Wheels of Aurelia a simple “driving simulation” is REALLY selling it short. This brilliantly conceived hybrid game is more of a mature “choose your own path conversation-based adventure that just so happens to take place in a almost constantly moving car” with 16 possible outcomes and more than that many ways to reach them. From the beautiful stylized simplicity of the art, the great soundtrack (buy it!) that captures the spirit of late 70’s Italian radio tracks, and the mature script that may rankle a few overly sensitive types while striking others as flat out fantastic and thought-provoking.
Save for the ride you choose, the game’s opening is exactly the same each time. In 1978, Lella and Olga, two young Italian ladies who met the previous evening at a disco, set out on a road trip to France on the Via Aurelia along the western coast of Italy. Along the way, the pair talk about life, pick up a hitchhiker or two (or none – it’s up to you) and based on the path both the conversation and car takes, the game reaches a conclusion in all of 15 minutes or so. 16 endings at 15 minutes each ends up at 4 hours total playtime IF you’re silly enough to think you’ll see every conversation and character variant possible. The combination of period-era history, frankly spoken dialogue and some VERY interesting hitchhikers make this very replayable as well as a great exercise in storytelling.
With indie and AAA horror games being a dime a dozen these days, it’s going to take something really different to get some gamers jumping out of their seats and diving under their beds. Unfold Games has taken up the scare you halfway to death challenge with DARQ, their upcoming PC/Mac/Linux game that as you can see, certainly seems to have it going on in terms of delivering the frights.
So, what’s this stylistic and creepy psychological horror game about, you ask? Well, here’s what the official site says:
DARQ tells the story of Lloyd, a boy who becomes aware of the fact that he is dreaming. To Lloyd’s misfortune, the dream quickly turns into a nightmare and all attempts to wake up end in failure. While exploring the darkest corners of his subconscious, Lloyd learns how to survive the nightmare by bending the laws of physics and manipulating the fluid fabric of the dream world.
In DARQ, sound plays a very important role. There are sections of the game that take place in absolute darkness and in order to navigate the environment, Lloyd has to rely on the location of sounds.
Yep. If you’ve ever had those nightmares where you know you’re sleeping, but wake up all sweaty looking around the room only to have something bizarre take place as you realize you’re having a nightmare inside that nightmare, DARQ will be right up that dark alley you don’t want to travel through. Of course, you’ll be going thataway because that thing chasing you is keeping you from going backward. Oops.
Some imagery to keep you awake nights. As if that trailer didn’t get all crawly under your skin enough:
While the game is still in development and doesn’t yet have a set release date other than TBA 2016, it sure is worth keeping an eyeballed peeled for. Let that image stick with you for the day (eww!). I’d say “have a good night”, but it’s early on a Friday morning. Still, you have to go home and sleep at some point, correct? My work here is done, then.
As a longtime fan of Zen Pinball 2’s creative digital tables, I’m always surprised when I see a new board that tops what I thought was their best work. This brief teaser for the upcoming Aliens vs. Pinball: Aliens Pinball made me grin way too much (in a good way) because it looks as if it’ll be a fun skill shot paradise for silver ball fanatics.
And yes, that art above, logo to the left and screenshots below reveal the other two tables in the pack. Alien Isolation was a terrifying game in its own right, but I’m betting the pinball version will be somewhat less scary (but still a blast to play) just because Zen makes its tables for a wider age range. As for that AvP table? It should be a lot better than the films (sorry, Fox!) if it avoids them entirely and is closer to what the old Dark Horse comics were.
As usual, we shall see soon enough. Aliens vs. Pinball will be out April 26, 2016 (ALIEN Day!) for PS4, PS3, Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Steam, Windows 10, Mac, as well as in-app purchases for Zen Pinball and as a standalone app on iOS and Android devices.
15 years in the game development business is a long enough time to do a lot of different things and Two Tribes has indeed done just that and then some. The indie developer has decided to pack it (at least as far as making new games) in after a decade and a half of console and PC titles with what looks like a dangerously fun arcade-style romp called RIVE. The game has the look and feel of a classic Treasure game but with that even more notorious European difficulty scale that makes for a supremely challenging and highly replayable slice of nostalgia. If there’s a ‘Metal Wrecking, Robot Hacking Shooter’ sub-genre, my money is on RIVE being among the best of the best.
These guys at TT are going to be missed, but at least RIVE is coming out on multiple platforms so console and computer gamers who need their big meal bang-boom-boom fix can get in on the fun at a glorious 60fps soon-ish. PC/Mac/Linux (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Wii U and Xbox One are all supported here, but I’m betting Vita owners are hoping for some Cross Play action because this looks as if would be perfect on the road. Then again, the game also looks as if one would need to have at least one extra controller handy just in case one “accidentally” busted their main gamepad. Hard walls and game controllers are a poor mix. Padded walls on the other hand – those get the DAF seal of approval every single time.
So, I’m hitting myself in the cranium with a day old baguette (ow!) because I’ve been ignoring Devolver Digital and all those great games they’ve been putting out for some time. Let’s see if we can remedy that with a nice post on Enter the Gungeon, which is set to land on Steam and (so far, one) selected console at some point this year. “April” seems like logical time frame if you watch the entirety of that rather amusing gameplay video below. PC, PS4, Mac, SteamOS, and Linux (sorry other platforms, although a Vita version would have been REALLY appreciated. By me, at least).
Anyway, the game takes the lovely pixel graphic dungeon crawler I’m a huge fan of, adds 2000% more guns, couch co-op fun and so far, looks like yet another crowd pleaser from those guys I should have bugged a while ago about getting preview code (bats eyelashes at Devolver Digital). Developer Dodge Roll Games (or is it Dodgeroll Games? It’s hard to tell on the internet how things are properly spelled, isn’t it?) has got a winner here that’s guaranteed to eat up even more of your free time and yep, you probably need this game in your library just because it will keep you indoors and out of trouble.
Of course, if you’re getting into THAT kind of trouble, you probably shouldn’t be playing many video games. The other kind of trouble? That’s okay. Another one for the want list? Yes indeed.
Developer: Delve Interactive
Publisher: Rising Star Games
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone) Official Site
Score: B+ (85%)
With pixel-packed “retro” games showing no signs of stopping, it’s great to see Delve Interactive shake up the scene with Poncho, a game that’s both new and nostalgic with a side of super challenging for good measure. The open world side-scrolling platformer features multiple layers of parallax scrolling to hop in and out of in order to progress and this is both excellent and a tiny bit frustrating until you get your sea legs. The game’s depth also extends to the minimalist but somewhat deep story of Poncho, a cute little robot who finds himself going where no man has gone before because there aren’t any humans left in the world the game takes place in.
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.
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):
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).
In case you were wondering what Lab Zero (the team behind Skullgirls) has been up to, well click on over to the Indivisible game site and check out their incredible looking and still in early development stages Action/RPG that just so happens to also be an Indiegogo campaign you can participate in. The currently PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only game set to be published by 505 Games once it’s all completed sure looks like a winner in the early video below. If you want a bit more incentive to whip out that wallet, there’s a free downloadable prototype demo you should try out as soon as possible.
In addition to the gorgeous artwork, animation and fun gameplay reminiscent of titles such as Prince of Persia, Valkyire Profile, Metroid and other influences, gamers who love great music can expect a solid soundtrack from renowned composer/producer Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana, Koudelka, and Sōkaigi among other works). That prototype certainly brightened up my Monday considerably and it looks as if the game’s seemingly somewhat hefty (but reasonable considering it’s coming to PC, consoles, Mac and Linux) funding goal of $1.5 million won’t be a pipe dream for the dev team or publisher.
Anyway, go give that demo a try and if you find your boat floated, let your fingers do the walking and drop a pledge into that fun(d) bucket.
If you remember way back when games didn’t hold your hand at all or you’re a newer gamer who wants a game that’s going to test your skills while teaching you some patience, welcome to Pixel Lantern’s Bard’s Gold. Available NOW on Steam, this retro platformer is neither another “Metroidvania” retread nor some speed-runner’s dream frenzy of the week. The game is a deliberately slower-paced side-scroller with an extreme difficulty that the developer (or at least the PR guy working for them) claims it’s the “hardest game on Steam”.
Now, I can’t say whether or not this is true, but that trailer below sure doesn’t make it look anything close to “casual” at all.
Anyway, color me sold on this one. A request for a Steam code has been made, so we’ll see how tough this one is. Given the comments I’ve scanned so far, I’m expecting to be needing a new controller at some point.