Pathologic 2 Comes To PS4: The Only Time “Going Viral” Is A Good Thing

Pathologic 2 Now

Grim, the understatement of GIF explanations.

I still haven’t played Ice-Pick Lodge’s rather unsettling survival horror game Pathologic 2 other than a demo from a few years back, but I want to eventually. The first game was quite good, but woefully depressing as its three playable characters each with their own aims, tried to figure out the dealing with the deadly plague that had taken over a small town with only 12 days to find some sort of resolution. That the game initially came out in 2005 makes it suddenly timely in some respects, but if you’re going to go pick it up on PC, don’t expect to be much of a “feel good” experience.

The stylized visuals and very methodical gameplay featured a mechanic where quests disappeared once a day was complete, so fast work was required in some areas lest a character integral to the overall plot expire. The interesting thing was it seemed impossible to do everything that was tasked, so the replay value was in maximizing one’s efforts and trying the figure the most efficient means to work through problems that arose. The tensions that arose from doing certain tasks while the Sand Plague crept inexorably forward made the game compelling, especially when one didn’t use any walkthroughs and took each day as a challenging survival puzzle of sorts.

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Busload of Horror II: Time to Kill? Sure, Why Not?

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Back for more, are we? Well, then. Let’s amp things up a notch with some scary stuff that has you killing or being killed in gratuitous or thoughtfully gratuitous means. Or something like that. I guess what’s here is kinda NSFW unless you work at some place like your friendly neighborhood abbatoir, morgue, or cemetery and/or have a morbid sense of humor, hee-ho!

 

unloved-headerUNLOVED: Yikes. So, you want to run around in the dark (perhaps with up to three others) equipped with a handgun and flashlight looking for better weapons, armor, and colored keys while trying not to to get keelhauled by some fast-moving, ugly as sin monsters? Good. This game’s got your name, number and full address stamped all over it.

Nope, it’s not 1993 all over again, but UNLOVED sure rocks it like it is. Paul Schneider took his original Doom II mod and completely remade it using Unreal 4 to great, gory effect. As a solo or multiplayer experience, the game is wickedly fast, controls as expected (yes you can have at it with k+m or a controller if you like) and definitely not for the squeamish or easily startled. Or perhaps it IS, as it’ll surely prepare you for anything jumping out at you in the real world.

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There’s an interesting rewards system at play as well where you can sell off gathered trinkets for assorted useful goodies. That said, a bit more character customization would be nice, as other than outfit color, EVERY player model is some generic white guy with sunglasses, making playing with others look like a Falco video with assorted guns set in a carnival horror house. But even if you just come for the scares and enjoy the ride (and dying a lot), this is quite a rush worth the $14.99 cost.

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Review: Road to Ballhalla

Too perfect in it’s design to train and tremendously frustrate lesser-skilled players, Road to Ballhalla excels as a reflex, stress, and bragging rights test for all ages. Impatient controller tossers need to go collect stamps or something else a good deal more relaxing. 

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Platform: PC
Developer: Torched Hill
Publisher: tinyBuild Games
# of Players: 1
Release Date: 8/6/2016
MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Site
Score: A- (90%) BUY IT!

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Oh, Road to Ballhalla, I love you, I hate you. You’re a cross between Marble Madness as redesigned by The Joker, and a holiday-visiting drunk uncle dressed like The Joker (but on Thanksgiving or Christmas, yikes!) except without the people dying from Smilex gas or other nasty tricks stuff. Yes, it’s an absolutely fantastic game and double yes, you should buy and play it. But if you’re a temper-tantrum inclined sort prone to personal property destruction, go let someone else play while you watch, preferably strapped to a comfy couch.

It doesn’t help (but it really does) that the game goads you at every turn with lousy, hilarious puns whether you succeed or fail. Failure, by the way, is this game’s trump card and it’s worth failing getting your ball to the goal a few times just to experience uncontrollable rage and uncontrollable laughter simultaneously. Well, provided you have a sense of humor after the tenth or so time watching your ball shatter thanks to that onnnne spot giving you grief. Okay, more than one spot if you’re like me, gyaaaaah.

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Road to Ballhalla Hands-On: More-Ball Madness

If you make it this far without losing a ball, you sir (or madam) are officially some sort of deity to be bowed down to.

If you make it this far without losing a ball, you sir (or madam) are officially some sort of deity to be bowed down to.

 

tinyBuild Games decided to unleash a little surprise last week and allow some 3000 random Steam account holders to play a six stage Alpha version of Torched Hill‘s upcoming Road to Ballhalla, a game that’s a tiny bit hard to categorize. While it has a few similarities to Marble Madness and the 1998 PlayStation game Kula World (or Roll Away here in the states), Road to Ballhalla is more of a wall-less maze game where reaching the end of each level requires players changing their gameplay focus on a dime often within the same level. I guess you could all it a “puzzle” game if you like based on the simple visual style and rather cool music in that trailer below.


In case you didn’t watch the trailer and that previous sentence connotes “casual” to some of you core gamers who’d normally ignore something like this, you’re in for a big surprise. You can consider Road to Ballhalla the Dark Souls of indie puzzle games (or something *sexy* like that).
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Dungelot: Shattered Lands – A Cuter, Stabbier Minesweeper

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Dungelot 0Another of tinyBuild Games‘ upcoming titles is Dungelot: Shattered Lands from Red Winter, a two man studio based in Russia. Shattered Lands is their third game, but unlike the much maligned Dungelot 2 (which got lots of guff for its micro-transaction heavy gameplay), it’s available on iOS now and coming to Steam later this year as a single player game worth keeping an eye peeled for.

While I’m not a big Minesweeper fan in general, it’s the super cute art style and familiar rogue-like RPG aspects that have my interest piqued. Hey, who doesn’t like loot drops and increasing difficulty? Well, that and it’s got a rather large and unholy cow as a beefy boss that needs to be taken down:

dungelot-shattered-lands-gif Moo! Of course, that means that Cow from Hell above is udderly a female fiend (last time I checked, bulls are udderless), but hey – equality goes as good for evil as it does for good when all is said and done. If that sentence made no sense it’s because I’m still zonked out from the snowstorm we had two days ago. I could use some hot milk right about now, so that bovine behemoth-ess (MOO!) is looking mighty attractive about now.

But I digress. Go pick up the game if you have an iOs whatever to play it on or slap it on your Steam watchlist and go hide in a corner until it appears in that store at some point down the road. Here are some screens to ogle below while I nap through the rest of this post:

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Lovely Planet Arcade: The Unknown Known Gets A Fast Followup


 

LPA_headerI’ve heard about, but actually NEVER played Lovely Planet (*gasp!*), so I guess I now need to, thanks to developer QUICKTEQUILA and publisher tinyBuild Games announcing this maybe it’s a sequel? return to the colorful pastel world of the first game. If the zippy and amusing videos of the first game are any indication as to what’s in the second, players can expect a load of challenge and even more good times when the game jumps out of the developer’s talented hands and lands on Steam later this year. Hey, don’t trust me on that last sentence at all – just go read about the game using on of the links above.

I think by the time LPA is released I’ll have played the first game. I hope. My backlog is a mountain of code that needs to be scaled and the clock is always ticking…

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Road to Ballhalla: Brains of Steel Required in This Humorous Hybrid


 

tinyBuild is at it again with another upcoming game bound to entertain and get you out of the casual funk into something far funkier. Road to Ballhalla is coming around the middle of 2016 and if that trailer bove is any indication, it will make a mockery of your gaming skills while teaching you a few things about proper reading comprehension. This will lead to you ignoring real world stuff like speed limit signs or proper parking procedures, which in turn will lead to you having to fight tickets of all sorts by explaining how this game taught you not to trust everything you read. Aha. tinyBuild wants you to disobey rules and orders just so you’re super cautious but still make ridiculous mistakes because you’re silly enough to take what a game it teaching you about IT and try to use those rules in the real world.

tinyBuild, you are EVIL. I still want to play all your games, though (so you’re not so evil after all).

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The Final Station: A Hell of a Commute Coming Your Way


What the heck is going on over at tinyBuild Games these days? All they seem to do is make games, and damn good ones at that. That’s not supposed to happen at all, folks. Where are the crowdfunded failures, the whiny employees griping about long hours as they spend too much time hanging out on message boards responding to the slightest complaint about an Early Access game that didn’t work or ate someone’s save files? Nope, I don’t see that here. Just more games that want me to play them when they’re out. Stupid indie developer!

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All kidding aside, tinyBuild’s upcoming The Final Station looks really fantastic. Take one part survival horror, one part train simulator and you get innovation wrapped up in yummy, excellently animated pixel visuals that end up more lifelike than some big buck AAA release that has every map bumped and requires you to upgrade your 3D card. Anyway, go add this one to your Steam wishlist (it’s set for a summer 2016 launch) and be prepared for more, as this week the developer has been introducing a new upcoming title for the last three days with a fourth and final one to get an announcement tomorrow. I’ll do a post on each as soon as I un-bury myself from a little backlog I’m staring at.

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Divide By Sheep: It’s The New Math, Kids!

(thanks, tinyBuildGAMES!)
 

If they taught math this way back when I was in grade school I’d bet a heck of a lot of kids would probably be a lot smarter. And probably vegetarian or vegan not to mention not afraid of death at all. Anyway, great and prolific indie developer tinyBuildGAMES does it again with another hilarious slice of pure fun with a twist. Divide By Sheep is a math puzzle game that combines Death, loneliness, sacrifice and too cute to chop up sheep in a game where every move counts. Okay, it’s nowhere as grim as that last sentence sounds at all although a sense of humor is going to be needed in order to get full enjoyment from this one.

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If you feel like counting sheep now and getting Death some new wooly pals to play chess with, the game is available on Steam and iOS NOW. Even better (well, if you’re an iOS user), you can get tinyBuild’s Spoiler Alert for FREE and Fearless Fantasy for a mere 99 cents. Those are both hard to pass up deals, I’d say.

tinyBuild’s PAX South Booth Setup Makes For Quite A Teaching Tool


 

Want to know how tough it is to set up a trade show booth? Well, let busy as heck indie developer tinyBuild Games show you how it’s done (sort of). Their PAX South booth setup video is pretty amusing stuff for cheering up a chilly Monday. I most likely won’t be at the show at all (too much work here to do plus there’s some more apartment maintenance coming – boo!), but as a veteran of many behind the scenes setup routines from circus tents to game demo stations, I can safely say that you’re getting an education of sorts here. Now that you’re just that little bit smarter, I say you should pop on over to tinyBuild’s site and perhaps check out some of their fun games.