Taxi Driver Turns 40: “A Real Rain” Returns to Theaters Internationally in August

(thanks, Park Circus!)
 

This is beautiful news. That said, I hope that “international” re-release means we’ll see this here in North America. This is one of those films I’ve wanted to see on the big screen in a nicer print than I’ve previously seen and this trailer sure looks spectacular. We shall see. In my opinion, this is a film that needs to be bucket listed if one considers him or herself a movie lover.

Review: ABZÛ

ABZU school

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.

 

ABZU_8

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.

ABZU_3

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.

Continue reading

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

Pathologic Logo
 

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?


 

Pathologic Artwork
 

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)…

Continue reading

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

DOGOS OPQAM
 

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:

Continue reading

Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure 3D: Join Thursday’s Twitter Chat!

gurumin-logo
 

Hey! Got some burning questions about the Nintendo 3DS version of Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure, coming soon to the handheld? Well, join the Gurumin 3D Live Twitter Chat this Thursday (3-5pm Pacific Time, or 6-8pm here in NYC) on the game’s Twitter page! If you’re asking “What’s Gurumin?”, well, thank me now for removing that stone off your head and getting you into the daylight!

Here you go:


 

While you’re cooking up those tasty questions for tomorrow, check out this blog post on the Gurumin Rocks site to find out a few cool nuggets on how the game’s battle system evolved during development. I’ll be sitting on this session at some point, but don’t mind me – I’ll just be taking a break from a really insane backlog, chilling with a cold drink watching the questions roll in.


 

And if you need to get Gurumin and don’t own a 3DS, you’re still in luck! If you own a PSP, Vita, or PS TV, or have an active Steam account, well… you know what to do, right?

Review: MilitAnt (PC)

Release Trailer MilitAnt thumbnail

Platform: PC/(PS4/Vita)

Developer/Publisher: Xibalba Studios

# of Players: 1 MSRP: $9.99

Official Site

Verdict: BUY IT (but expect this bug to bite hard!)

#militant

Do you consider yourself a game master? Do classic series such as Battletoads, Contra, Mega Man, and other vintage to modern platform toughies barely make you flinch when you speed-run them blindfolded playing with that controller in between your teeth? Well, you should be pleased to know MilitAnt has your name stamped on it in big neon letters. Xibablba Studios’ new PC and PS4 game (also headed to the Vita soon) is one of the hardest games of the year and it deserves a tip of the cap and old college try by the best of the best who should appreciate the gorgeously detailed visuals and non-stop challenge right from the start. Even on the lowest difficulty setting, the whopping amount of stuff trying to kill your little ant warrior is no joke. This commendable decision gives the game longevity and plenty of replay value, but may scare of casual gamers expecting a hand-holding mobile-like experience.

 


 

You play a nameless ant warrior who’s part of a massive ant army gone to war against termites, wasps and other bugs big to small, but you’ll more than likely than not care more about surviving the levels than following the story. The game is billed as being “2.5D”, but what that really means is this is a side-scroller with a second plane enemies will attack you from every chance they get. Controls, movement and animation are solid, with an Xbox 360 or other game controller your best bet for survival. Keyboard and mouse do function extremely well, if you choose to go that route, but this is a game meant to be more fully enjoyed with a two stick analog. You can carry up to four different weapons of any type (once you unlock them) into battle, so choose wisely. The dozen weapons are excellent for the most part, but you’ll need to be careful as they all have a reload/cool down period. Knowing when to swap guns or use melee attacks is key, as enemies appear in large enough numbers to overwhelm even the most prepared player.

Continue reading

Assault Suit Leynos Now on PSN: Summer Just Got Much Hotter For PS4 Owners

BEWM:

 

Your question and answer for the day if you’re a PS4 owner watching that trailer above and wondering “Should I get this?” Well… YES. A paltry $19.99 digitally via PSN. If you can hold out until September, want a gift for that game-collecting friend or have a gaming PC and only play on that setup, A physical disc version of the PS4 game is coming with a PC download via Steam shortly thereafter. I’ll let you go hit PSN now so you can go buy this and have it all ready to download so you can get to blasting some aliens later once you’re home from work or wherever. Over and out!

The Technomancer Launch Trailer: Get Your Ass To Mars on PC & Consoles

With the risky and expensive on a few fronts potential of sending humans to Mars (on a one-way trip, yet!) being a big deal over the past couple of years, it’s clear that entertainment focused on the Angry Red Planet is going to be hot for a while. Fresh from veteran developer Spiders and publisher Focus Home Interactive comes The Technomancer, an action/RPG for PC, PS4, and Xbox One out tomorrow. A prequel to MARS: War Logs, the game looks to add to the lore Spiders set forth in that game while introducing new characters, environments and gameplay to players who buy their ticket to the stars.

I’ve been bonked on the noggin with a review code, so I’m going to be off-planet for a bit. Back with some impressions shortly. Oh, by the way: MARS: War Logs is on SALE on Steam for 75% off. Check it out if your curiosity is piqued. It’s got a few rough edges, but makes for a pretty decent diversion that makes The Technomancer all the more intriguing as a prequel. If the new game is even better, will Spiders go forward or back in the timeline they’ve created? That’s a question for sales figures to partially answer, I’d bet.

The Last Guardian: Finally Dated, The Wait Gets Less When-ish


 

TLG
 

the-last-guardian-imageblock-02-us-15jun15Okay. I’m back. Sort of. Got a LOT of stuff going on up this way I’ll yak about in a separate post, but let’s all just watch this gorgeous trailer for the long delayed and finally has a release date soon to be instant classic The Last Guardian. Fumeto Ueda and his team’s game will indeed be worth the wait and in my mind, it’s one of the reasons I play videogames. For me, ICO and Shadow of the Colossus were and still are two of the best game experiences from the past 20 years, and seeing this final game appear means I can stop worrying about whether or not it will be good. I trust the creator and his vision and that’s all one needs in this case.

The Last Guardian hits retail and digital October 25, 2016. Yes, that collector’s edition below looks mighty nice, doesn’t it? Yep.

TLG CE

Valley Update: Deeper We Go (And Things Look Even Better)

Lev7_Temple_BiggerSun_002Blue Isle Studios‘ upcoming first-person action/adventure/exploration platformer Valley is coming along very nicely indeed as you can see in these new screens. As noted earlier, the developer is not slapping together a new Slender game just to cash in on the still percolating jump-scare horror craze.  The richer Unity-powered visuals and more open game world beg to be explored and the intriguing L.E.A.F. Suit’s yin/yang powers of death dealing and life giving should make this quite the interesting game experience.

AncientRuinsSS2_001I have the feeling that this is going to be one of those summer games that gets people to stop and hop in for a slice of thrills they don’t expect coming, but as usual, we shall see. Valley‘s Steam page is beckoning you to wishlist the game, so you go on ahead and do that. Well, after you finish ogling those screens below.

ValleyScreenShotDeer_GiveLife1920x1080_02 


 

And don’t forget, PS4 and Xbox One versions are on the way. Blue Isle isn’t letting those console owners have a slow summer either. Back with more on this one soon.

Lev1_RunJump_001 Lev2_RunJump_001 Lev7_SomaSwarmCombat