Today’s Freak-Out, Courtesy of DreadOut

Seriously twisted and interactive to boot, this icky video from talented Indonesian developer Digital Happiness wants to mess with your day in a big way. This VR-enabled teaser for DreadEye almost makes me want to try a VR horror game, but I don’t want to be found dead on the couch with those damn goggles strapped to my head. That would be somewhat expensive and embarrassing, right? Right.

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Oh, by the way… DreadOut is on sale until November 1 for a mere $2.99. Get it, I say.

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DreadOut Launch Trailer: You’re Now Under The Table Without A Single Drink, Right?

On May 15, a bunch of you will be sitting in darkened rooms, headphones on and hunched over playing Digital Happiness’ scary new game, DreadOut. I’m gathering there will be some squealing and flat out screaming involved on that day, particularly among those of you who do something dumb like play with the door to your room open and your back to that door. You KNOW that’s not a good ting, especially when someone else in your house or that pet running around decides to pop in and check up on you. Yeah, I’d expect those headphones to pop right off when you leave your seat and hit the ceiling, unless they’re wireless headphones. in which case you’ll want to have a pair with a NICE padded top, as ceilings can be quite hard when you fly up to them too quickly. Ouch. Turn off that ceiling fan while you’re at it, as it’ll keep your head from hitting the floor before the rest of you comes down. The police will have a hard time figuring out what happened until some deft detective sits down in front of that monitor, puts those headphones on and the scenario is repeated… Ouch.

DreadOut Teaser Trailer II: It Ain’t Over Until The Lady In Red Sings…

 
When we last left DreadOut, this Indonesian-made horror game was scaring the pants off of a few folks with YouTube channels who make a living pretending to be scared or perhaps being actually scared but somehow make it look canned when they jump and squeal in their seats like clubbed dog toys. Anyway, that video above is the latest “update” for the game just to let you know it’s coming out on Steam in May. Below is the previous teaser that shows and tells you what you’re in for next month: good old school horror in the Fatal Frame manner.

 
Digital Happiness will certainly bring some Digital Scariness to horror game fans with this one, as the demo from last year certainly had its moments. Well, prepare to sit in the dark and keep looking behind you every few minutes soon enough…

Unconventional Games of the Year Choice #2: Wii, U? Get Over Here!

windwaker art 
Nope, I haven’t yet picked up The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, but it gets an automatic kick onto my non-list for a few reasons. One: the GameCube original was pretty darn awesome and that wonderful art style made an impression on me as soon as I saw screenshots and others were griping that Nintendo had “lost its mind” by making Link and company look like something out of an old cartoon. As a friend ran out and snapped up a Wii U recently just for this game (he got that fine bundle package with the fancy Zelda-themed GamePad art), I got to see a few hours of the game running (and even played a a little) and can vouch for the buffed up HD visuals as being better than the original game… mostly.

There’s an odd muting of the palette in a few areas and while the use of depth of field is super cool, it tended to make some areas force my eyes to automatically squint until I got used to the effect (but that’s probably just me). Otherwise, the game is just as fun, funny and almost as tricky as ever. From what I’ve heard, Nintendo hasn’t adding any new areas, but tweaked the gameplay, adding some easier and harder means of playing the game for new and old players alike. The annoying Tingle portions are apparently less so, but if the game is also a straight up enhanced port, I’m gathering that long and pesky quest that makes up a chunk of the latter portion of the game is still intact. Oh well, but the good thing about a LoZ game is once you’re past a certain point, you’re committed to completing the adventure, so that’s not much of a big deal.

I’ll most likely go with the physical version over the eShop download just because I really, REALLY want that case and manual. My GameCube Wind Waker is signed by Mr. Miyamoto and I’d love to get the Wii U game signed as well. Hey, I may not have the biggest collection on the planet or be the super-fan Nintendo wants me to be, but I do know having the chance to meet one man I respect for what he’s done for the medium is one other thing worth holding out for…

Random Indie Game of the Week: Last-Last-Last-Last-Last-Gen Isn’t Dead: EPIC ELF 2 Is Out!

EE2_battleLittle in-joke there, but yeah! Spirit Young is BACK with the sequel to his ridiculously amusing RPG parody/satire/whatever he wants to call it that got improved with an update he did later, Epic Elf, a RPG Maker 2003 game that I liked because it made me laugh a wee bit too much. I’ve only put about a half hour into EE2, but it gets the grins going early (specifically if you’re a fan of old school JRPGs) and it looks as if they’ll keep coming for as long as the game is. Oh yeah, the PlayStation 4 came out today. I don’t have one (yet), but it’ll get here eventually. Heck, if SCEA puts in a RPGMaker.net channel on PSN, I’ll get one sooner than later. Anyway, check this game out if you recall the days of 8 and 16-bit RPGs eating up your weekends and free time like a termite nest taking out a cheap Ikea table.

Random Indie Game of the Week: Vampire Volleyball? Okay, I’ll Bite…

vv_iphone5_ungerWell, I was in quite an emo mood earlier, as things were quite bumpy on the whole me getting stuff I needed to get done DONE department. So thank goodness for Retro 64’s just released Vampire Volleyball for helping me kill some time with a smile rather than kill my laptop for freaking out for the better part of the day. It’s pretty simple to hop into and good silly fun for a while, those round-headed vamps and their fight to be champs against some foes who don’t all play clean. The nice thing is, the game is out for FREE on four of the six platforms it’s playable on (Windows, Mac, Linux, and Flash) while Android and iOS versions will set you back a mere 99 cents US. At that price (or FREE if you’re luckier to be a “low-tech” kinda guy or gal), it’s a definite must and you may find yourself calling on a friend to give you a fang, as the game supports two players.

Of course, SOME of you too strict sporty-sport fans will note that these globe-domed bloodsuckers and other creeps knock that ball around with their HEADS like it’s a soccer ball (or football in countries other than the US), but who’s going to stop a vampire from doing what it wants? YOU, Van Helsing? Well good luck with that, then. I’ll see you (or at least your head) in the game as the ball being butted over that net for the score, Spike…

Short Takes: What You Should Be Playing This Week (Randomly, of Course)

Skylanders SWAP Force Wii USkylanders SWAP Force: HD quality visuals, jumping and all new customizable figures all for the first time on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U make this latest entry in Activision’s supremely successful yearly cash cow a huge must. Wii and 3DS owners don’t get HD graphics (obviously), but the core game is the same deal. In SWAP Force, the gameplay is even more addictive than ever (and yes, some of you adults will be sneaking in time when the kids are asleep or at school), the story longer and more interesting (in part thanks to the enthusiastic voice acting all around) and overall, this makes for both a great entry into the series as well as the latest installment that will have your wallet making faces at you whenever you yank out that cash or card to buy more figures. $74.99, pretty much anywhere that sells video games.

VK3_coverValhalla Knights 3: This new PlayStation Vita exclusive from Xseed Games looks to bring Japanese developer K2’s niche grind-heavy RPG series to the masses with the best looking (and possibly, playing) installment to date. The Vita seems to be the prefect platform for this combat-heavy game that now includes an optional segment that features a bit of NSFW visits to a sort of love hotel where players can er, “score” additional playable characters and gear if they partake in a series of racy mini-games. Given that the other entries in the series have been given Teen ratings, that M VK3 is sporting must mean you’ll want to keep this away from the kiddies. That’s no problem here, as any kid that comes near my Vita is pulling back a stump… with a lollipop stuck in it (hey, I’m NICE mean old guy)… $39.99 (retail and digital).

F1_2013_tinyF1 2013: Longtime fans of the actual motorsport have been a bit disgruntled these past few seasons thanks to the juggernaut crushing all under his speedy wheels that is three-time champ Sebastian Vettel. However, Codemasters is giving them a chance to beat the man at his own game, provided you’re sitting at home on your couch or in front of a high-end gaming PC setup. This year’s installment is even more gorgeous than ever, has some solid improvements (you can now save between events!) and that adjustable difficulty means even total newbies can actually make it around the track with some effort. While it’s definitely NOT for the NASCAR crowd of those expecting power-up and arcade-style gameplay, it does a decent enough job at breaking down the F1 experience that the Codies really don’t need to do more next year. Well, except add MORE Classic cars and courses, as the small amount this year is VERY welcome, but made me want to see what they could do with a few dozen more rides from the 70’s to 90’s (or perhaps earlier). $59.99,

The Wolf Among Us 3The Wolf Among Us: I’ve not read any of the Vertigo comics this first installment is based on, so it’s pretty obvious that my excitement about this game is lower than those who have. On the other hand, given that it’s coming from Telltale Games and is modeled on the success of the company’s hugely successful multi-platform hit The Walking Dead, this one’s a no-brainer as far as the usual “should I play this?” stuff some of you go through. Given that this chapter is a slower-paced mystery with gameplay that’s heavily Quick Time Event focused and what looks to be a growing cast of really interesting fairytale characters updated and placed in an alternate New York City setting, it’s certainly right up my adventure alley and Telltale is actually offering up a really cool deal for that $24.99 (PC or Mac) price tag. Once all the chapters are complete, PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will hopefully get a retail version as well (like The Walking Dead did), but we’ll have to see if Wii U and Vita owners get as lucky…

GOG.com Brings You Two Takes On Survival (Featuring Bullets and Badgers!)…

If you’re big into DRM-free classic and indie games, you should already know by now that gog.com is the place to poke around for your content fix and yes, they continue to add some great old as well as new titles well worth checking out. Here’s a quick peek at two from this week’s batch:

The Chaos Engine was a fantastic Amiga game from The Bitmap Brothers that was so good it was ported to both the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo (and retitled Soldiers of Fortune in North America). It’s a top down shooter that’s not a simple run & gun at all, but a game that takes practice and patience (in large doses) in order to succeed. Nice 16-bit visuals with a steampunk vibe working away, challenging gameplay that keeps you on your toes, a cool soundtrack and plenty of surprises await in this solid little blast from the past. It’s ten bucks, supports co-op play (break out that second controller) and will most certainly test your skills at dealing with sudden alien surprises. And teleports that bring in MORE alien surprises. This game doesn’t play when it comes to making you sweat that small stuff.

With its intentionally stylized chunky polygon visuals, Shelter may look like an old PlayStation era game buffed up a bit, but it’s a really cool indie title from indie developer Might and Delight that’s got a simple premise that should get non-gamers to want to try this out. You play as a mother badger who needs to try and keep her five cubs alive as long as possible during a series of linear levels where nature is your biggest enemy. Feeding them is key, but keeping an eye peeled for that hungry eagle while traveling through the forest adds a layer of tension, as does rainy weather, darkness and a few other elements you’ll soon see. Think of this as playing through an episode of Nature or some other PBS documentary and you sort of get the idea.

Replay value seems high here, as there’s going to be that time you lost ALL your cubs and you’ll want to do better the next time. That circle of life stuff can be a bitch, but I sort of wish humans needed to go through the same stuff these days, as whittling the pack down to the smartest over the strongest might make some things better off. Anyway, if your maternal urges are swelling right about now, you know what to do. No, not THAT (this is a family show!)… I meant go snap up some Shelter of your own for a mere $8.99 and keep your cubs out of harm’s way!

Random Indie Game of the Week: Invasodado – The Cube Invaders

InvasodadoA quickie description of Corundum Games’ first title Invasodado- The Cube Invaders would probably go something like this: Space Invaders marries a Match 3 puzzle game and like any couple, a good fight breaks out as the two halves battle it out over their differences. Of course, a winner is YOU thanks to the mix working so well. Anyway, this free open source download is a mighty fine way to kill a few too many hours and also wish for perfectly working time travel. Could you imagine the millions this tiny NYC (Go, hometown!) developer would have made back in the late 70’s and early 80’s if this one was an Atari cartridge? Or hell, what the size of the pile of loot they’d be sitting on if this was a NES and/or Game Boy pack-in?

Invasodado TrioYeah, Invasodado has that deceptively simple retro thing working for it BIG time. It’s really easy to play but of course, you get that side order of tough to master as any classic game should be. The visual familiarity brings an instant smile and makes wanting to try a few waves a total no-brainer. As in Space Invaders, blast down those pesky invaders before they reach your base ship at the bottom of the screen and you’re halfway there. However, you’ll also need to pay attention to the colors of the aliens you shoot so you can match and take out the colored blocks stacking up before they reach the top of the screen. You can also clear a column of colors by shooting down a special target that drifts across the screen at random intervals (a good thing if those blocks are stacking up too high).

You can play for a few minutes and get your fix in, but I’m betting a few of you who really appreciate this style of visual and vintage gaming bliss will be hooked in for wave after wave (which should make for some bizarre dreams later on, I’d bet). Anyway, let’s keep this short because you have a game to download (yes, it’s FREE!). I’d actually love to see this get enough of an audience so it can be ported over to the 3DS and Vita at some point (which will hopefully make Corundum some money), but I guess we’ll see what happens in the future. Hey, if anything, the game will prepare a whole new generation for alien defense tactics (er, provided those particular space invaders move in predictable back and forth patterns and come in bright colors making them easy to shoot down and those cubes they transform into or drop don’t hurt if they fall on your head). Anyway, stop reading this and go download already!

Random Indie Game of the Week: Mega Man Revolutions

(thanks, HowlingOneify!) 

OK, so that official site looks plainer than a matzoh viewed through a telescope at 500 yards, but Mega Man Revolutions is a really fine little surprise of an indie game that yet again proves that sometimes fans can make better games than the people who own the property. In development on and off for 11 years (!), Mike Crain and a handful of very dedicated Mega Man fanatics have whipped up a really fun and yes, REALLY challenging slice of retro gaming bliss. I could sit here and babble on about how cool it all is, how the classic visuals and soundtrack give off that familiar grin-giving (and grimace-giving in the hard parts) vibe and so forth and so on, but I actually need to complete the game myself. I’m only on the second stage, but poking around YouTube has revealed the game indeed has what it takes to be awesome:

So stop, drop and Roll yourself over to the MMR site, download and play this one. The single player mode is done, there’s some sort of co-op play in the works and if Capcom is smart, they’ll either start throwing out job offers or compile all these really great fan games into some sort of bundle at some point down the road to distribute as freebies on their own site. Wishful thinking, yes… but hard work like this deserves to be taken notice of and rewarded I say…