MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death Gallery

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Be careful what you wish for, especially when you wish for something saucy like “anime gals in a DUNGEON… with mecha!, Mwa-ha-ha-haaaaa!” and you’re not very specific beyond that. *POOF* Your wish is Idea Factory International‘s command (*whipcrack!*) with the upcoming Vita game MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, coming to PlayStation Vita September 13 (North America) and the 16th in Europe.

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IF, Compile Heart, and Makaiichibankan’s deviously deep dungeon crawler looks to captivate and challenge JRPG fans with its cute cast and no doubt challenging turn-based combat that should please those who liked similar gal-centric JRPGs or even mixed party titles. Here’s a gallery full of game trailers and screens to ogle along with some info about what to expect continuing right below the jump.

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SHINESS: The Lightning Kingdom Gallery

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French developer Enigami has been hard at work on its Action/RPG SHINESS: The Lightning Kingdom for about three years now and with publisher Focus Home Interactive set to bring the game to eager PC, PS4 and Xbox One owners later this year, it’s time to take a look at it in one big video and image gallery. Here’s the most recent gameplay trailer, or more precisely, a story trailer presented at Gamescom 2016:


 

More action abounds in this earlier gameplay trailer:


 

But, wait… there’s more! Continue reading

Axiom Verge Wii U: September 1 Is The Day It Comes “Home”

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Excellent. I’m literally buried in stuff to-day (one shelf of games fell over earlier!) but you all go and read THIS post by Tom Happ and then smile a lot if you haven’t seen or played Axiom Verge yet. Excellent. Back in a bit – I’m up to my nose hairs in work (and have a pile of games to get back up, to boot!)

-GW

Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom Gamescom 2016 Trailer: The Boy’s A Beast (Well, A Few Of Them)

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Well, wow. The Game Atelier has been busy and quiet for a bit, but there’s the reason why above. Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom is looking even more phenomenal and according to publisher FDG Entertainment, will be coming to PS4 and Xbox One first, followed by PC and possibly, a Nintendo console (according to NintendoLife). No speculation here on that latter point, but at least two versions of this one will be played here at DAF HQ.

-GW

VALLEY Narrative Trailer: Turning Over A New L.E.A.F. Soon


 

With Blue Isle Studios‘ upcoming action/exploration game VALLEY under two weeks away, the strategy of the developer revealing their new game within a short time before it’s available could work for it quite well. Getting gamers to hold out a bit on a day one buy and wait for reviews might pay off in making this an “evergreen” title in the long run, particularly the jaded types out thee who follow games for years and complain about anything and everything as much as possible.

What I’ve seen so far intrigues the hell out of me. But by not getting every drip of development info or wasting time poking around on message boards in Jadedgamerville, I’m more likely to be pleasantly surprised by the end result. Now, will that surprise be good or bad? I’m not telling (well, I have NO clue, kids!), but I can say it’s going to at least be positive on the visuals and constructive critically on the gameplay if there are issues. We shall see. For now, all is right in this game world as far as I can see. VALLEY lands on PC, PS4, and Xbox One August 24, 2016.


 

-GW

PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 Hands-On: PAC-ing Plenty of Heat, And Soon


 

Pac-Man CE2_game-boxBandai Namco has kept Pac-Man relevant for decades in all sorts of games, but that speedy yellow dot-gobbler is always best when things are simplest. PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 does an excellent job at blending old and new gameplay elements that allow classic fans to dive in and play while giving newbies an actual fighting chance to keep up on the scoring front.

Some hands-on time at the company’s recent NYC event revealed a game that’s faster and more frantic than the first installment, adding new modes, fixing up a few things and overall, making for a guaranteed thrill ride experience that’s going to be hard to put down.

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Releasing digitally on Sept. 13th for $12.99 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC (via Steam), the game will “PAC”-in several modes for solo or competitive play, all featuring flashy, energetic visuals that riff on the classic arcade game flawlessly. During my ten minute session and plenty of minutes watching people dive in and play with the same “no way!” grins on their faces on a PS4 build, it was clear as a bell that the game would be a total smash when it drops next month. The non-stop action handles like a dream using the PS4 pad, so you don’t need to fret that the game needs an arcade stick. In fact, the game handles so well that I’d bet a nickel all those moms or dads who were PAC-MAN players that don’t play many modern games, but have a console or PC in the house for the kids just might get a bit scared their kids can now keep up with them in a competitive game.

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Time Attack and Adventure Mode offer up their own sets of challenges, and the while the very idea of tutorial stages to play a PAC-MAN game may seem horrifying to some stalwarts, what’s here works exceptionally well in getting everyone up to speed. New maze types and some massive boss battles in Adventure mode plus the crazy train Ghost Train stuff in the main mode will keep this one in play stacks even when the inevitable third installment arrives at some point. All I know is some of us will be taking a sick day or hoping for a rainy weekend after the game launches so we can have an excuse for staying home in our PJ’s grooving on a bit of CE2 action. Er, I’m speaking in CLEARLY hypothetical terms, of course.

Review: Assault Suit Leynos (PS4)

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Platform: PlayStation 4 (via PSN)

Developer: Dracue Software

Publisher: Rising Star Games
# of Players: 1

MSRP: $19.99

ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

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As someone who fondly remembers Target Earth/Assault Suit Leynos on the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive, reading online about two years back that the game was being remade was quite a surprise. Dracue Software (Armored Hunter Gunhound EX) has brought the game back for the PS4 in fine form indeed, although Assault Suit Leynos isn’t without a few flaws. For fans of the classic or those gamers who want a taste of old-school gaming as an education in patience and learning how to play over more guided game experiences, this storied shooter will keep you busy from the beginning and coming back for more.


 

The game’s Arcade Mode expands the story of the original game, adding subtitled Japanese voice-overs and “cinematic” camera cuts to approaching danger to the mix. Even on the lowest difficulty setting, the game provides a hefty challenge. That Assault Suit is a heavy beast with an increasingly growing arsenal of weapons and while not the most nimble mech out there, it gets the job done. As in the original game, a regenerating life meter is your main buffer from an early demise, but it’s not any sort of invincibility guarantee. Enemies come at you pulling no punches in many forms from armor suited troops to gigantic spacecraft firing death from multiple weapons. The game’s levels vary in scale, but you’ll generally be attempting a few tasks from straight up blasting, escort missions, and yes, big boss battles. While unlimited continues make it possible to complete the game in a relatively short time, the true fans of this one KNOW this isn’t a game to play through ONCE and never touch again.

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Review: ABZÛ

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Platform: PC (Steam) / Playstation 4 (PSN)

Developer: Giant Squid Studios

Publisher: 505 Games

# of Players: 1

MSRP: $19.99

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Official Site

ABZU logoWith so many indie games flooding the market these days worth checking out, a few of them have either dropped off my radar, are already on it but not out yet, or never landed there in the first place because keeping track of them all is a Herculean task with me as Sisyphus filling in for the duration. Giant Squid’s absolutely stunning ABZÛ fell into the first category partially thanks to me seeing who was behind it last year and thinking “Eh, it’s in good hands, so it doesn’t need me pushing it at all.”

Amusingly enough, that intentional ignorance worked out in my favor when I finally got to play the game last week when 505 Games bought it to NYC. I went in with no expectations other than thinking I’d get maybe an hour’s playtime in and enough impressions to write up a dandy hands-on post. A few hours later, I had to *force* myself to stop playing the game and make a graceful exit with my head filled with too many gorgeous images and a desire to see what the final two levels I’d left untouched held in store. Echoes of that Ecco the Dolphin on the Dreamcast and the underappreciated PS1 and PS3 Aquanaut’s Holiday games floated in my brain all the way back home, lasting until I got an email with review codes. Then, it was time to take a trip back under the sea and dream out loud again.

 

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An incredibly beautiful, masterfully crafted and about as great as it gets game experience, ABZÛ soars to some impressive visual and aural heights as it takes you to deep places you’d never thought you’d go outside watching a nature program. You can call it a “spiritual successor” to thatgamecompany’s Journey if you like, but the single player focus and grander sense of scale makes this even more personal. This ‘Voyage to the Bottom of the “See”‘ has to me, a more grounded and pure emotional impact because of its blend of realism and fantastic elements grab you right from the start as the game takes you on a thrilling yet paradoxically mostly relaxing ride that changes in tone a few times before it ends.

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As with Journey, it’s also a game that’s just great to watch someone play. Controls are simple, fluid and intuitive enough for anyone that can hold a controller (or use a keyboard and mouse on PC) can hop in and fully enjoy the entire game from start to finish. The replay value is also more than there as this is one of those games where you can hop into a map and actually have your character meditate serenely as assorted sea life does its circle of life thing all around you.

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Pathologic: Ice-Pick Lodge’s Re-Invention Looks Mysteriously Magnificent

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Back in 2005, Russian developer Ice-Pick Lodge released Pathologic, an unsettling horror/adventure/RPG hybrid that garnered excellent reviews at home, decent to fair reviews in the west, and gathered somewhat of a “cult” following for its unusual, creative art direction, extreme difficulty and distinctly bleak tone. The game’s fan base grew with its gog.com release and subsequent 2012 HD remastering (both of which come with the purchase of the HD Classic version). With a successful Kickstarter to re-imagine the game in 2015 for PC (and possibly consoles) Pathologic’s new path has added even more fans to this weird game’s potential player base. Ahead of Gamescom, IPL has released a nice set of screenshots that show off some lovely, haunting images from the new version.

Let’s take a look now, shall we?


 

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While gameplay videos have yet to surface, this 2014 Kickstarter video should give you an idea of what to expect. As the game has no set release date, the waiting period between information drops will no doubt keep fans begging for more. It’s a good thing there’s a board game coming to make that wait less frustrating.

Speaking of more, click below the jump for more about the game (in handy cut/paste/corrected form)…

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DOGOS: OPQAM’s Root Grows Into A Mighty Shmup Oak

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dogos_02 Developer OPQAM’s first game, Project Root was and is a pretty solid modern take on the top down arcade shooter that slowed the pace down and opened up its maps to allow for near total freedom to fly and blast enemies through some fairly lengthy missions. That game really felt like a modern take on Thunder Force II‘s top-down sections, but some critics and gamers didn’t “get” the game’s seemingly languid pacing at all, opting to call it “boring” when this wasn’t the case. To each his or her own, I suppose… but this guy thinks a lot of people got it wrong.


 

Still, it seems OPQAM took the brickbats to heart in creating DOGOS, its upcoming PC, PS4, and Xbox One follow up, set to land soon as another digital-only release. It’s been Greenlit on Steam and looks as if it’ll be a big hit for the Recent hands-on time with a three-mission build shows the developer has hit on a great combination of classic shmup gameplay set in an more structured open map that almost gives the game the feeling of a dungeon crawler. There’s a story here to follow about Desmond Phoenix, a lone pilot tasked with some heavy duty mission work on an enemy-packed planet, but I’ll save that for the full review later. What you need to know is the game controls like a dream so far and the go-anywhere aspect coupled with the ship maneuverability really stand out. Yes, there are bosses and mini-boss ships to face off against with players needing to shoot aerial and ground targets as they fly around each large level. While the camera is generally top-down, OPQAM notes a few cool features in the final product:

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