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

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HUNTDOWN Gallery: Enter the Three the Hard Way Blade Running Mad Warriors to the Max

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Well, well. What do we have here? A game called HUNTDOWN by a studio with a temporary name ‘Huntdown HB (Handelsbolag)’ initially set for a mobile only release (where it would have no doubt blown gamers away who think ALL mobile games are awful tapper timesinks or cutesy kid games), now headed to mobile, PC and (hopefully) console? Let’s take a look and some screens, art and even a few GIFs now shall we?

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There’s a nice, striking image, no? Oh, just wait until you see what’s below the jump…

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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

HoloGrid: A Few Days Left to Get This AR Card Game Funded

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Up until recently, I didn’t think I’d be a big supporter of Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality, but a bunch of hands-on sessions have me convinced that these are great ways to keep entertained and both are worthy of attention depending on what you’re looking for. AR is a far more affordable and less setup-based solution that’s also (in my opinion) more immersive as a real world thing because you play without your head enclosed in a pair of pricey goggles that require some major horsepower to run out of the box. You can also take an AR experience with you and share it with anyone without lugging around a ton of equipment. One excellent example would be HoloGrid: Monster Battle, from Phil Tippett and developer Happy Giant, now in its final days on Kickstarter. I took the plunge after a demo and if you’re into collectible cards, monsters, stop motion and an all-in-one game package that DOESN’T rely on microtransactons, you probably need this game. I’ll shut up here and let you do some required reading and clicking…

Star Wars VFX Legend Discusses Future of AR for Gaming & Film
Phil Tippett & HoloGrid Designer discuss next gen AR & HoloGrid as a Platform

 

steadfastWith only THREE days left, the HoloGrid: Monster Battle Kickstarter Campaign is going strong and has nearly reached it’s funding goal. In a recent conversation with Phil Tippett and HappyGiant President and Lead Designer Mike Levine, the two discussed ambitions for the new game, and the future of AR gaming and film.

“This is just the beginning for HoloGrid, and AR Gaming” said Levine. “We’d love to not only bring other IP into it, like Yu-Gi-Oh, Star Wars, Starship Troopers, and others, but our goal is to have it be one of the first next gen AR games available, as new systems roll out.”

 

“It’s the Wild West”, Tippett added, “Tippett Studio is excited about the endless possibilities working with augmented reality. We love to play, and this gives us new, fertile ground to play in with HappyGiant.”

 

“We envision using all the capabilities coming with next gen AR systems”, said Levine. “From 3D motion tracking and depth sensing, hand and eye tracking, and more – the creatures don’t have to just be holograms on a board game-like experience on your table, they can be all across your living room, on bookshelves and counter tops … underneath your desk!”

 

As new AR tech comes to market (Cast AR, HoloLens and more) HappyGiant hopes to bring the game to new platforms. It was built from the ground up to play today on mobile devices, and to be portable to next-gen AR systems as they emerge.

Below the jump are 5 more things you should know about this game!

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Cursed West: Arcade Western Looks to Corral Some OK Funding

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While the character animation could be more fluid and that environment draw-in during the 3D horse riding sequences needs a bit of cloud cover, the nostalgic look and overall atmosphere found in Goex Games’ (Roberto Montesano) still in-development Cursed West looks interesting and old school enough to warrant a closer inspection. My eye is set on this project that’s currently up on indiegogo for about the next two months with a somewhat modest goal of $3500. It’ll only cost less than a small lunch to get yourself a code or a bunch of lunches if you want a more personalized experience. The game also has a Steam Greenlight concept page as well as a a facebook page that could use a few more fans and perhaps a seasoned game developer popping in to let Roberto know he’s on the right track.

For a first game, this looks quite promising and it’ll be interesting to see or even play an in-progress build as it comes together and report on it at some point. Hopefully this indie western (straight out of San Luis, Argentina) would be tightened up to a fine shine and laid out on a few console platforms in addition to the already planned PC and Android releases. But we’ll see what happens as the game heads closer down the long road to completion. Hmmm… I wonder if Ennio Morricone is not too busy these days and if not, would he do an indie game soundtrack for not a ton of money? Now, THAT would be a pretty cool stretch goal, I’d say.

HoloGrid: Monster Battle – Tippet-ting the Scales With A Cool VR/AR Game

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HoloGrid Monster Battle is coming soon from developer HappyGiant and Tippett Studio. Yep, that Phil Tippett. Here’s a teaser trailer to ogle and wonder about making some table space for. Your family game night just got a bit more interesting:

A “Hybrid” Board Game, Collectible Card Game (CCG), and Digital Game in one, it delivers to players a new type of gaming experience.

While this sort of thing has been attempted previously (most notably in Sony’s fun but somewhat unwieldy to set up Eye of Judgment for the PS3 back in 2007), the VR/AR aspects of this may make HoloGrid more acceptable as it can be played across a wider range of already available phones and tablets. Additionally, playing on a mobile device means the game may find an larger audience among casual to core gamers if it’s as cool as it looks (and that nostalgia factor kicks in for us older farts who love stop-motion animation). More info is on the way on this one, but it looks promising enough to be a “next big thing” even without the popular license. Of course, if Disney wants to throw a chunk of money at Tippett and HappyGiant, I’d think they wouldn’t turn it down flat. As usual, we shall see.

Second Death Hands-On: Survival of the Bit-test


 

It’s 1958, and Chicago cop David Harris made the tough choice to bring his mobster brother back from Cuba and deliver him to justice, but things get tougher when their home-bound plane crashes on a mysterious island. Now he must save his brother — and learn the truth behind his terrible crimes.

david_artThat mysterious island isn’t something out of a Jules Verne book at all, but a rather interesting PC, Mac, iOS and Android game called Second Death. Created by Evan Wagstaff (design, coding, script) using Game Maker Studio with a small team helping out with art, music and sounds, this retro style “noir Survival RPG” mixes early 16-bit looks, item crafting, JRPG-like combat, a barter system and two game modes (plus a tutorial) to take for a spin. While the game won’t be officially released until January 2016, the demo that’s currently available at that link above (and seems to be titled or subtitled Absolution) seems to be pretty much what the final version will look and play like. Continue reading

Humble Mobile Bundle Brings Kemco RPG’s Galore For Dirt Cheap

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If you’re into a bit of 90’s JRPG nostalgia, own an Android compatible device and have yet to try some of Kemco’s modern but retro games yet, this new Humble Mobile Bundle is going to be right up your alley.  Pay a buck to get three games, but beat the average price of $5.56 and get six titles with a seventh to unlock soon and up to three more games if the total sales reach goals of $100k, $150k, and $200k.

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Here’s a quick look at one of the games in this deal, The Legend of Ixtona, which is a turn-based strategy RPG:

Remember, the more you pay (or get friends in on the cheap deal), the more games come your way down the road. This sale lasts forabout two weeks, so jump on it and spread the good word while you’re at it.

Skyhill: Elevator Inaction In A Descent Through High-Rise Hell


 

Skyhill intrigues me greatly because I missed out on the Indiegogo hype train for it last year when it was a rougher project that showed some major promise and got a lot of attention thanks to a few folks writing it up as a must-play experience. Naturally, Steam came a-calling and after going through the Greenlight process, that old build has since been scrapped and completely redone in Unity with the results seen above. Russian developers Mandragora have made their game a nicer-looking and more polished experience that’s destined to gain even more fans once it’s completed. To me, this looks like the arcade classic Elevator Action meets Silent Hill and Fallout… um, without the elevators, of course.

“What’s it all about?”, you ask. Well, let the official site tell you a bit (with a little rewrite assistance from yours truly):

Three months have passed since the end of World War III. Three months from the end of the world. One of the survivors, hiding in the penthouse in most expensive hotel of the city from from the scourge of biological weapons outside needs to find his way down to salvation. He must search for food and water to survive; find and use better weapons to fight mad mutants and more in the randomly generated world of Skyhill, where each walk-through is unique.

Yep, that sounds like a fine old time to me. In real life, of course. I’d just eat a big meal of whatever is left from that last room service trip, roll over and take a long nap. In Skyhill, you’re in survival mode as soon as you step outside that pricey penthouse. Anyway, this one’s going to be watched here until it’s ready for prime time. In the meantime, I guess it’s a lot of Knitted Deer while I’m waiting. That game needs to come to Steam as well.

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…
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