Raiders of the Broken Planet Beta Hands-On

season1_big-2I’ll admit straight off that I’ve been a big geek for MercurySteam‘s games ever since I got a review copy of American McGee Presents: Scrapland way back in 2005. Their attention for detail grabbed my eye and I’ve followed each game they’re released always looking forwards to what the team can cook up. Currently, they’ve two big games out or on the way, Metroid: Samus Returns (Nintendo 3DS) and Raiders of the Broken Planet, currently in beta on PC, PS4 and Xbox One with a release date set for its first of  four campaigns September 22.

As I’d been slowly killing off my MMO/online gaming phase (not enough time, too many me-too game, no way to enjoy them offline), I initially planned to ignore this one until I found out it had a solo campaign mode as well as a unique “4 vs 1 counter-operative campaign” that lets you play both sides of the conflict if you so choose or team up with friends to tackle some challenging missions against really pesky AI opponents. While the beta had a few matchmaking issues online (hey, it happens!), the gameplay is quite fun and very challenging in terms of solo play.

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Switch-ing: With Reservations (And Some Ironing), Yes.

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Not surprisingly, actually getting out and about to lay eyes on and try out something for oneself is a hell of a lot better than sitting on one’s rump in front of a computing device babbling nonsense about what one thinks they know about something they haven’t touched yet. Be it food, books, movies, or in this case, Nintendo’s upcoming Switch game system, you really aren’t doing anything other than heavy guessing and heavier petting of your own negativity until you try the darn thing out.

Spending about three hours with the system and way too many games for one event revealed at its recent NYC showcase reveals it’s a solid bit of kit with a few big to little issues around things like software/peripheral pricing and a to be announced (imperfect) online service that sounds as if will need some major tweaking if it’s going to compete with the (less imperfect) services Sony and Microsoft offer for their game hardware.

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Let’s get the first point out of the way: that live press conference from Japan was somewhat awful if judged by western perspectives. The droning English narration, the greatness of Goichi Suda trying to work the room off-script and failing spectacularly as he revealed work not yet started on the return of Travis Touchdown, the too-sedate responses to every announcement – none of these made for good optics.

Couple that with too many YouTubers and a few games journalists putting out quickie bash pieces so quickly that by the time a bunch of post-conference trailers that weren’t shown dropped online, many complaints about the small software lineup were rendered invalid and worse, the short attention span theater antics didn’t take into consideration that early announcements change into more concrete plans that make better sense as launch windows open.

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But let’s talk games from this point onward until I get to the problem stuff I see that needs ironing out. Continue reading

Imprint-X Hands-On: A-Hacking We Will Go In Morgondag’s Latest Trippy Indie


 

Vendela and Kim over at Morgondag have been busy getting their next game up on Steam and if you love quirky puzzle games, Imprint-X will be right up your alley. A few minutes spent with a build of this unique hacker clicker puzzler reveal it’s quite engaging in its wordless presentation that opens gameplay up to anyone. Actually, all you need to know is in the description on the game page:

A robotic virus is raging! Nano Bots called Wardens are enslaving people! You are one of the hacker clones, saving intellects by hacking into infected brains and defeating the mysterious Wardens; figuring out their correct button sequences.

 

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There’s both a smart simplicity and hefty challenge awaiting you puzzle masters as the game goes from simple switch clicking to more advanced patter memorization and faster clicking needed to ‘catch’ moving parts of some puzzles. As with Morgondag’s stellar, strange Rymd Resa, the visual style is clean yet beautifully stylized with an intriguing soundtrack that adds to the atmosphere. I’ve only sunk a solid half hour into this so far, but my brain is getting a workout already. As reviews are embargoed until the 26th anyway (the game’s release date), you’ll all have to hold your collective breath until then. Back in a bit.

-GW

Zelda: Breath of the Wild Site Is A Breath of Fresh Air Today

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Yep. While the disappointment of the release slipping possibly into next summer is a bit annoying, the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild now has an official site chock full of too much info is a really good thing. Go poke around, please. Especially if you’re a big, cranky skeptic who didn’t get the chance to play the demo this past June and think an open world Zelda is somehow a bad idea despite the series being chock full of open world goodness from the very first entry.

-GW

Be Chairman of the Board This Cyber Monday With A Few Cool Card Games

So. Need a few gift ideas today but you don’t want to move too many muscles treading over the bones of last week’s defeated? I guess that’s why they call this Cyber Monday, huh? Anyway, if you like board and card games or maybe both mashed together, well, good:

wwg-cyber-mondayJust click on that lovely art above, buy what you like, sit back and wait until your box of stuff arrives, then wrap and place under tree or in back of closet or wherever if you aren’t an indoor tree-hugger.

If on the other hand, you’re feeling REALLY creative, have a great color printer and are very, very good with cutting things carefully and maybe even using a glue stick and a load of acid-free board to mount stuff on, the extremely aptly titled and incredibly fun 5-Minute Dungeon has a hugely successful Kickstarter with a budget reward for those of you who can’t wait ’til 2017 to play this great family game.

5mindungks5mindungeonbossesWhile you can (and should!) get a retail copy of the game (set to ship in 2017), a $5 pledge will get you a print-and-play copy of the game in December. That’s where your printing and cutting skills will come in handy. Of course, if you’re terminally lazy, have no scissors or sharp crafting blades and own a crappy dot matrix printer or a Rexograph machine, this reward will be as useful as a whistle on a plow. In that case, just go pay for the big deal boxed version and go take a nap until next May.

-GW

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Crowdfunding of Note 1: November Brings a Number Of Early Winners

For those of you fans of crowdfunding, this month has some pretty awesome products you can pledge towards and add to your future gift list even if you’re investing solely for that gift for yourself. Here are some surefire picks from yours truly you should look into:

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The Spontaneous Pop-Up Display (SPUD): Alex Wesley is a genius, period. His invention, currently on Kickstarter has blown past its funding target on the first day and still has 44 days to go. SPUD is about to shake up the the words “portable entertainment” in such a big way that Wesley is pretty much assured a place on a few tech award lists for coming up with a portable multi-purpose screen solution. I only saw this a few days ago in a Skype presentation and was absolutely floored that it worked so well.

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A 24″ screen that weighs less than two pounds and folds down to book size to fit in a backpack or carry-on bag with a screen made of material that not only provides a sharp image, it doesn’t wrinkle up like you’d expect AND is useful for way too many applications? SOLD. Set to ship next summer, I’m predicting SPUD shows up in a few interesting places as a must-have product including TV and a few movies because it’s a perfect representation of the future as NOW (or sooner than you think).

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Busload of Horror VI: The Neverending Gory…

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I’d be lying if I said this series wasn’t fun to do, so I’m going to do something even more fun and continue delivering a busload of horror or horror related games on a weekly or bi-weekly basis based on my workload. This particular series will close for now on a few scary-ish notes starting with one of the best (and hardest) games I’ve played all year which just so happens to win the “Most Improved Via Patching” crown. Okay, I don’t have a crown for that. But you know what I’m talking about.

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SLAIN: Back from Hell: Brutally savaged upon its initial release by critics and gamers (many of the latter who never played the game, but merely hopped on the flaming hate wagon because that what the Internet does to people who need to feel as if they’re part of a “thing”), SLAIN seemed destined to die on the vine before it got a fair shake. Thankfully, developer Wolfbrew Games (Andrew Gilmour) picked himself up, shook off the ashes and like Dr. Frankenstein after a few fresh pots of coffee, a ton of classic metal music and a few too many monster movies, set to reviving his baby and making it a better experience overall. Did he succeed? Take a look for yourself:


 

Yep. It’s not only back, it’s brilliant, visually rich and chock full of so many tweaks that it’s definitely worth buying even if you have to pay someone with better reflexes to finish it for you. The game isn’t easy at all, but it’s hard to stop playing thanks to the visuals dropping in something fantastic to look at in every stage. The old school stuff (knockback deaths, enemies spawning at the wrong time, many deathtraps, cheap bosses) may tick off casual gamers or those who never “got Gud” at classic 8 and 16-bit games something fierce. But for those who like it rough, Slain says “Welcome home, now go die!” and you’ll keep coming back for more. Oh, and it’s on PS4 and Xbox One, so you have no excuse not to play this if you own either console.

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Happy Halloween From Robo Pixel & Gunnihilation!

 

The fine and dandy run ‘n gun meets bullet hell arcade shooter Gunnihilation is easily making my “best of 2016” list and it’s not even 100% done yet. The completely fun, completely chaotic, completely “shut up and PLAY IT” Early Access game has gotten some excellent and FREE Halloween-themed content called Witches and Boomsticks that adds, well, witches and boomsticks (and more, oh my!) to the game.

The first major update for Gunnihilation called “Witches and Boomsticks”, is out on Steam for FREE and has more content that you can shake an angry skeleton at.

Included in this release;
– More levels (a whole new mission comprised of three full and a handful of new Survival levels)
– New enemies (including LASERBATS)
– Spooky overhaul of all the levels for Halloween
– A new weapon (why should the Green Goblin have all the fun?)
– Achievements
– Trading cards
– Balances and fixes

And as if that wasn’t enough, we’re not going to leave you like the classic skeleton at the disco (with no body to go with) and strip your spoopy content from you after release. All the content we’re putting into Witches and Boomsticks will stay in the game after Halloween is over, accessible from a menu in the game level hub.

Today’s jury duty craziness has me a bit worn out, but I say go grab this game and that free update, get a few friends to come over (you’ll need a controller for each) and go have a blast!

-GW

5-Minute Dungeon: Success Is In The Cards For This Great Hybrid Game

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Get ready for one of the most fun games you’ll ever play, folks…

 

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You know a card or board game is going to be a big hit when the only non-gamer who shows up to play wants it as a prize for being the one who “had the MOST fun”. That was one of the hilarious results of my evening with Connor Reid’s wonderfully fun 5-Minute Dungeon, an upcoming Kickstarter project from Ontario, Canada-based game company and two-time Mensa Award winner Wiggles3D scheduled to launch November 1st.

If you’re into any sort of RPG, board games, card games, family fun, and/or friendly all-out mayhem happening on game night (or any night and hey, who said you HAVE to play at night?), keep an eye peeled for this and yep, go drop some cash on your own copy.

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Made for 2-5 players and yes, you can (and NEED to) complete a match in five minutes, 5MD can get pretty frantic as players cooperate to blaze though a dungeon to defeat enemies and take down a boss before time expires. No waiting for turns means each match is a speed-run of attempted coordination as enemies and obstacles are taken down on the way to that big, bad boss waiting at the end.

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Gunnihilation: Yeah, It’s A Blast

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The ONLY thing “wrong” with Robo Pixel Games‘ brilliant bullet hell on steroids Gunnihilation is there’s no online play, and this is coming from a guy who dislikes online play in most of his games. The “shut up and play it!” Early Access game is so much fun as a local co-op experience that it BEGS to be shared with as many friends as possible, which in this era of “friends” meaning “many people you and I solely know through social circles” is a bit impossible. But that also leads me to believe Robo Pixel is smarter than I am because that simply means MORE of you who should play this need to just buy it ASAP.

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