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Does Not Commute photo
Does Not Commute

Does Not Commute turns a Sunday drive into a traffic jam


You only have yourself to blame
Apr 23
// Darren Nakamura
Okay, this is neat. It's strange, because I sort of hated the levels in The Adventures of Shuggy where I had to play through, then rewind time and go through again without touching my past selves. Does Not Commute looks like...

Review: Lost Within

Apr 23 // Chris Carter
Lost Within (Android FireOS [reviewed on a Kindle Fire HD], iOS)Developer: Amazon Game Studios, Human Head StudiosPublisher: Amazon Game StudiosReleased: April 17, 2015MSRP: $6.99 The setting of this spooky affair is the old Weatherby Asylum -- an abandoned relic of the past, set to be demolished in one day's time. Of course, your stupid idiot police officer avatar winds up "checking it out" one last time to see if there are any stragglers, and you get sucked into a hellish underworld of scary fun. It's a setup you've seen a million times before, but Lost Within has a level of polish rarely seen from the genre, not to mention that it's a mobile-only affair. Using touch-style controls you'll navigate the labyrinthine tunnels of horror, and they are surprisingly responsive. All you have to do is touch an area to get there, double-tap to run, swipe to turn, tap to use defensive items, and you can even use your device to lean around corners with an optional gyro setting. Mobile games have really come a long way, and co-developers Amazon Game Studios and Human Head should be commended. That polish extends to the visual style as well, which is stunning on an Amazon Fire HD tablet. The crazy writing on the wall that you'd expect out of an asylum is clear and concise, and every environment looks like there was a lot of work put into it. Screenshots don't really do it justice, as the framerate and smooth engine are the strongest aspects of Lost Within. [embed]290846:58289:0[/embed] This is a jump-scare game under-the-skin though, and it won't really offer up a lot that you haven't seen or rolled your eyes at before. I really like the literature that narrates the history of the asylum and its inhabitants, as it strays from the typical "diary" setup often with things like newspaper clippings, but once you're done reading up, it's back to a corridor simulator with "scary" monsters. In case you couldn't pick up on that obvious sarcasm, those creatures aren't really all that threatening, or nearly as interesting as the lore bits. Said corridors are often fun to roam through thanks to the mechanics, and freaky flashbacks are a constant source of entertainment beyond running and outwitting the baddies in the "real" world. What Lost Within really thrives on is the ability to tell a compelling story in an easily-digestible way throughout the experience. In-between the jumps and frights I had a burning desire to unravel the game's various mysteries, and press on to the next area. Amazon Game Studios only has a few games under its belt, but it's already making a name for itself in the industry. With a little more creativity Lost Within could be a full-blown retail game, which could be where the publisher is heading with the acquisition of Double Helix and a few other talented developers. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Lost Within review photo
Warning: it's another asylum game
Jump-scare horror games, or "YouTube Bait" as they're often now called, are a dime-a-dozen. Especially ones based in an asylum. Lost Within is a jump-scare horror game that takes place in an asylum (cue the laugh track). Thankfully, it has a handful of redeeming qualities that elevate it above the competition.

Hearthstone on phones photo
Hearthstone on phones

Hearthstone's availability on smartphones is bad for my health


Custom deck building at red traffic lights
Apr 22
// Chris Carter
When Hearthstone made its way to the iPad, I may or may not have played it for two weeks straight. My wife and I would sit down by the fire (or hearth, if you will) with our iPad and laptop in-hand and play for hours whi...
Desktop Dungeons photo
Desktop Dungeons

Desktop Dungeons gets new free content, mobile versions incoming


New classes, new quests, and a daily challenge
Apr 20
// Darren Nakamura
Reminder that Desktop Dungeons exists is not what I needed right now. Last time I played I got really into it, to the point where I needed to quit cold turkey in order to enjoy other aspects of life, like eating solid food o...
Steam photo
Steam

Feeling bulletproof: Steam authentication available now on Android


Is it safe to go outside yet?
Apr 15
// Robert Summa
Little known fact: My Steam account has been locked for a few months now because someone from China or Russia attempted to get into my account. Sadly, they keep trying, so I've kept the thing on lock while I focus on my conso...
Samorost 3 photo
Samorost 3

Samorost 3 looks like the surreal point-and-click adventure of my dreams


That world design is something else
Apr 15
// Jordan Devore
The last time I wrote about Samorost 3, I expressed surprise and delight that Amanita Design was making another one of these charming point-and-click adventure games. Today, a year and a half later, I could do the same -- I ...
SEXY LAYTON photo
SEXY LAYTON

Sexy Layton and Sexy Luke react to going mobile


But what about the 3DS?
Apr 15
// Kyle MacGregor
The Japanese mobile game market is booming and studios are climbing aboard the money train. Take Level-5, for example. The next installments in the Professor Layton and Fantasy Life series are abandoning their homes on Ninte...
Hearthstone photo
Hearthstone

No escape: Hearthstone is now playable on phones


iPhone 4S and newer
Apr 14
// Jordan Devore
Blizzard's digital collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (that's harthstone, not herthstone) will be available as a free download on iPhone and Android phones beginning today. If you mispronounce the name, Kyle will break into your home, drop your phone in the toilet, and steal all of your rice. He told me that and whispered while saying it so he means business here.
Lara Croft: Relic Run photo
Lara Croft: Relic Run

Lara Croft's in a new mobile runner \_(ツ)_/


The Lara you used to know and love
Apr 13
// Brett Makedonski
Crystal Dynamics has announced a new mobile runner titled Lara Croft: Relic Run. The name's fittingly nebulous. Is Lara running after relics? Or, is the old-school Lara the running relic, a classic character hearkening back t...
DuckTales photo
DuckTales

In case you missed it, DuckTales Remastered is on iOS and Android


With controller support
Apr 13
// Chris Carter
DuckTales Remastered was released in 2013, and despite a few nagging issues, it was a fantastic platformer. Now thanks to WayForward you can play it on iOS and Android for $9.99, and it's actually not half bad. The key is to...
Deals photo
Deals

First episode of Telltale's Game of Thrones free on Android


Timely
Apr 13
// Jordan Devore
$4.99 is the usual asking price for episodes of Telltale's Game of Thrones series, but not today, valued Android user. The debut episode, Iron From Ice, is free if you download through Amazon. In his review, Darren said the g...
The Snack World photo
The Snack World

Level-5's new IP, The Snack World, coming to 3DS


...and also smartphones
Apr 07
// Ben Davis
Along with its Yo-Kai Watch and Fantasy Life announcements, Level-5 also revealed a new IP known as The Snack World. It's going to be another mixed media project with manga, anime, and games being developed for 3DS and smart...
Fantasy Life 2 photo
Fantasy Life 2

Level-5 announces Fantasy Life 2... for smartphones


Coming to Japan this summer
Apr 07
// Kyle MacGregor
It's a dreadful time to be a Level-5 fan. Or maybe a great one. Dunno. I suppose that all depends on where you exist on this Venn diagram: Level-5 announced Fantasy Life 2 for smartphones today, which probably disp...
Professor Layton 7 photo
Professor Layton 7

Professor Layton 7 is coming to smartphones, maybe not the 3DS


A vampire whodunit
Apr 07
// Chris Carter
Back in 2013, Layton 7, the newest game in the series at the time, was announced for iOS, Android, and 3DS. Now it seems like the latter platform has been cut out entirely, as developer Level-5 unveiled its work so far on the...
Dual iOS impressions photo
Dual iOS impressions

'Dual' is a really cool mobile shoot 'em up that functions over two devices


With a fair 'one person buys' setup
Apr 06
// Chris Carter
The other day I ran across a newly released shooter for iOS and Android called Dual. The whole gimmick is that it uses two devices to function, with a screen that spans between them. By forming a tenuous Voltron-esque link you can play two modes, versus and co-op. Although it is a free download, thankfully, only one person needs to buy the premium version ($1.99) to play the latter mode.
Final Fantasy costume photo
Final Fantasy costume

Fan complaints could bring back 'too sexy' Final Fantasy costume


They toned it down, but are willing to sex things back up
Apr 03
// Steven Hansen
Square Enix recently held a lengthy presentation (starts around 7:30) for its upcoming Mevius Final Fantasy. One of the things revealed during the presentation is a new design for lead character Wal that covers up quite a bi...

Review: Attack the Light: Steven Universe

Apr 02 // Ben Davis
Attack the Light: Steven Universe (iOS, Android [reviewed])Developer: Grumpyface StudiosPublisher: Cartoon Network GamesReleased: April 2, 2015MSRP: $2.99 Attack the Light's story could easily have been its own episode in the television show. The game takes the Crystal Gems on an adventure to bring down an army of light creatures, which Steven accidentally created by touching a prismatic gem artifact. Pretty standard for a Steven Universe episode, and it works really well as a videogame with each color of light being represented by a different world. The game never strays from the established canon of the Steven Universe universe (heh). There's plenty of references which only the fans of the show will understand, but the story itself is simple enough that players new to the franchise won't be too confused. Many of the items, attacks, and locations are taken directly from the show, such as the Cookie Cat items for healing, Amethyst's Purple Puma attack, and the strawberry field where an ancient gem battle took place. I loved how they even managed to naturally work in references for some of the more "videogame-y" aspects, like the loading screens which take place inside the warp streams. [embed]289907:58032:0[/embed] Attack the Light is an RPG featuring turn-based combat and light puzzle-solving segments. It takes a lot of inspiration from games like Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario. Things like timed hits and badges should sound very familiar to people who have played the Mario RPGs, and these are the main mechanics which make the combat in Attack the Light so interesting. Timed hits, or action commands, are crucial to winning a battle. While attacking or defending, a star will briefly appear around the enemy or character, indicating when the player should tap the screen. Tapping at the right moment will allow the Crystal Gems to follow up with an additional attack, or take significantly less damage from an enemy's attack. There are also certain moves which require special actions to perform, like pulling back and aiming Pearl's spear or tapping as many times as possible to charge up Amethyst's rolling attack. Stuff like this should be all too familiar to Paper Mario fans, and it works particularly well for an RPG on mobile devices. The actions taken during the player's turn are determined by the amount of star points available. Each turn grants five star points, which can go towards Crystal Gem attacks or Steven actions. Players can distribute these points any way they want; for example, a turn can consist entirely of Garnet's attacks, or be spread evenly between each of the Crystal Gems so that every character takes an action that turn. Players can also end their turns whenever they choose, and unused star points will be carried over into their next turn. Additional star points can also be obtained by using items or defeating enemies. While Steven himself can't actually attack, he still holds a very important role on the team as a healer-type character. He can give the Crystal Gems some words of encouragement to heal them, use his shield bubbles to block attacks, play songs on his ukulele to provide stat bonuses, and he also has access to a plethora of items hidden inside his hamburger backpack. He is the backbone of the team, so it's wise to take advantage of his abilities often. Leveling up grants the Crystal Gems new abilities and stronger stats. Each of the Crystal Gems starts at level 9000, except for Steven who starts at level 1 (this doesn't actually mean anything in regards to gameplay, but I thought it was funny). The Gems can gain experience through fights and also through dialogue. At certain points, Steven will be given dialogue options, and each choice will give a certain Gem an experience boost, depending on who was the most pleased with Steven's words. In addition to leveling up, badges can also be equipped to increase the Crystal Gems' stats or give them other bonuses, like immunity to status effects or bonus defense against specific enemy types. Overall, I felt the combat in Attack the Light was very well implemented. It provides just the right amount of challenge and variety. Skill with the action commands is necessary for success, different tactics will need to be employed for different enemy types, and each character has their own unique qualities to add to the team. Garnet is the powerhouse who breaks defenses and dishes out damage, Amethyst is great at dealing damage to multiple targets, Pearl is best at focused attacks usually aimed at single enemies, and of course, Steven provides the backup. The combat offers complexity without being confusing, and I feel any type of gamer, whether casual or hardcore, will be comfortable with it. Outside of battle, the team will be navigating short maps. Players swipe left, right, up, or down to move to the next section of the map, where they might encounter enemies, find treasure chests, or run into a puzzle. The puzzles are all very simple; usually they involve finding a key to continue forward, or tapping a string of symbols in the correct order to open a door, with clues scattered around the map. Hidden rooms can also be discovered by swiping in the direction of special walls, which will shimmer slightly to alert players of a possible secret. Map exploration is straightforward, so levels can be completed relatively quickly. Being on mobile devices, I think this works in the game's favor. Players should be able to easily complete a level in a short period of time, making it perfect for quick play sessions while you're riding the bus or waiting in the lobby, and it's easy to pick back up again where you left off. The problems I encountered were very few, and most may have been due to my phone. Certain touch screen movements were a little difficult to get right at times. In particular, the swipe motion for Pearl's spear-throwing attack often took a while to register, and once it registered, it would sometimes be difficult to aim it correctly without moving my finger off of the phone itself. (I used this attack frequently, since I found it to be quite powerful, so this one stood out to me the most.) I also found it slightly annoying when all of the characters would clump together on the map, mostly because this made it difficult to select the right character to give healing items to without moving to a new section of the map, which could trigger an enemy attack. It would have been preferable if they automatically spread out. But aside from these few small issues, I didn't notice anything major. For the most part, controls were very accurate and responsive. Attack the Light's strongest quality is its personality. Part of this comes from the voice cast, featuring the same actors from the show, and part of it comes from the writing. The Crystal Gems behave in their usual ways, with Pearl being the voice of reason, Amethyst goofing off and getting pumped, and Garnet remaining mysterious yet reassuring. Steven, in particular, is great in this game. His unwavering optimism is truly infectious; hearing him encourage the Crystal Gems and express his excitement about their adventure brings a smile to my face. He's just so nice and happy all the time! There's no doubt in my mind that fans of Steven Universe will be pleased with Attack the Light. It stays true to the show and gives players a chance to explore and fight alongside these great characters, all while offering a fun, if at times simple, gameplay experience. Even for non-fans, it's still a solid mobile RPG. And if you're not a fan of Steven Universe yet, then I bet you will be after playing Attack the Light.   [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Attack the Light review photo
Neato burrito!
Videogames based on television shows can be pretty hit or miss, but usually they miss. The same can also be said for mobile games in general. This makes something like Attack the Light, a mobile game based on the popular cart...

Tropes vs Women photo
Tropes vs Women

New Tropes vs Women series Positive Female Characters debuts


Checkmate, Link!
Mar 31
// Jed Whitaker
Everyone's favorite feminist Anita Sarkeesian is back and this time with a new sub-series of Tropes vs Women in Gaming called Positive Female Characters. In the debut episode Anita takes a look at the main character fro...
Forgotten Memories photo
Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories iOS debut on April 23, watch the launch trailer now!


Wii U, Vita, Android, and PC will have to wait an ickle bit longer
Mar 30
// Stephen Turner
As you may recall, Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities came out of near-nowhere with its Silent Hill 2 cast additions, after several years off the development grid. If you're still wondering what Guy Cihi's delightf...

Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is out today, and it kicks the crap out of All the Bravest

Mar 26 // Chris Carter
Unlike Bravest's soulless narrative, Record Keeper's setup is actually kind of cute. Individuals in a mysterious realm are charged with protecting the records of countless lands, literally framed within various paintings. After an evil darkness descends upon the world the records have been seemingly lost, leaving it to you, a titular record keeper, to bring them back. Under normal circumstances, only a master would be allowed to tinker with said records, but a top Mog in the order grants you permission to save the day. Like I said, cute. So let's get right to it -- the game is free-to-play, but follows a much different strategy than the aforementioned disaster of a game. There is an energy system (stamina), and items can be purchased by way of microtransactions (IAP), but you can completely enjoy the game without having to resort to buying anything. The core of Record Keeper's success is that stamina refills at a pretty respectable rate, which keeps you playing more often than most titles with the same mechanic. Additionally, the premium currency can be earned in-game through normal play by doing well, and the story doesn't feel gated to goad you into paying to win. The experience itself is fanservice at its finest. You'll dive into various classic Final Fantasy titles, reliving key moments like the bombing of the Mako Reactor, leveling up, and acquiring new party members (like Cloud) and equipment. Keeper's active-time-based combat isn't just a swipe fest, as you can use magic and abilities, as well as defend and use limit breaks of sorts called Soul Breaks. Although it doesn't get as involved as the core series there's a bit of strategic depth to it with mechanics such as elemental weaknesses, and the tap-based controls are precise. [embed]289548:57917:0[/embed] The best part about the combat system is that it doesn't really feel unfair, to the point where if you play smart, you should be able to overcome most of the tasks placed in front of you. Square Enix could have easily sleazed this bit to get you to cough up some cash, but at least with this collaboration with DeNA (yep, that DeNA), it seems to have learned from its mistakes. The reward loop is generous for a free game, which should encourage players to want to spend money. It may not make as much cash as All the Bravest as a result, but it feels a lot less criminal. You can find Final Fantasy: Record Keeper on iOS and Android today if you want to give it a shot.
FF: Record Keeper photo
Great in short bursts
Final Fantasy: All the Bravest was a travesty. It played itself, it was pretty abrasive in its pandering, and the microtransactions were so pushy that it was hard to enjoy it without feeling like you were constantly being sold something. Final Fantasy: Record Keeper is another free-to-play game in the same vein, but it's a much better effort that doesn't feel straight-up insulting to fans.

Review: Jump'N'Shoot Attack

Mar 26 // Tony Ponce
Jump'N'Shoot Attack (Android, iOS [reviewed], Windows Phone)Developer: FreakZone GamesPublisher: ScrewAttack GamesReleased: March 26, 2015 (Android, iOS) / TBA (Windows Phone)MSRP: $2.59 You are Louise Lightfoot. The President has been captured by mutants. In order to save him, you must follow these specific instructions: Jump. Shoot. Every so often, jump and shoot at the same time. So... Mega Man? Yeah, kinda! Only the commands are more explicit here, since the only two actions at your disposal are jumping and shooting. Jump'N'Shoot Attack is an auto-runner, only less Canabalt and more Rayman Jungle Run and Fiesta Run. There are four worlds split into four stages apiece, and Louise will hoof through each without a care. To jump, tap anywhere on the left half of the screen; to shoot, tap anywhere on the right half. Simple and responsive! [embed]289538:57919:0[/embed] Your gun can be upgraded twice by collecting power-ups -- the first upgrade grants a double shot, while the second bestows the mighty spread shot. Raising the stakes even further is a jetpack item found in certain stages which transforms the action into a deadlier version of Jetpack Joyride. The 16 stages are rather short, so to compensate, they've been packed with enough enemies and obstacles to give your thumbs a proper workout. Between adjusting the height of your jumps to cross narrow platforms and hammering the trigger because your gun is not rapid-fire, you'll be feeling the burn before long! One small mercy is that Louise stops running if she hits a wall, so use the break to regain composure before hopping over and storming onward. For completionists, three gems can be found in each level. As expected, collecting these gems often requires you to skirt closer to death than you'd prefer. Case in point, you may reach a fork in the path, with one branch leading to a gem and the other to a power-up that would make the rest of the level less stressful. As concentrated as the challenge is, however, the overall length is still on the tragically low end -- on my first run, collecting the gems in all but two levels, I finished in just over an hour. There's even an achievement for clearing the game in under 10 minutes! Unless you are a serious achievement or high-score hunter, it's unlikely that you'll return to Jump'N'Shoot Attack once the credits roll. There's a solid foundation that I hope FreakZone will expand upon. Rayman Jungle Run got a free update that added more levels, so perhaps that's a possibility here as well. Could we maybe get some boss battles too? It's a shame to have a game that so clearly draws inspiration from Mega Man and Contra but skimps out on the meaty encounters that highlight those series. So will Jump'N'Shoot Attack spark a mobile renaissance and win over the hardcore masses? Probably not. Is it a solid runner that delivers a tough but responsive platforming experience as promised? Absolutely. Gold star for effort.
Jump'N'Shoot Attack photo
Something, something, Egoraptor reference
Four Christmases ago, I joined the smartphone brigade when I found an iPhone 4S nestled under the tree. Oh boy! I thought. Now I can grab all those iOS games that people can't shut up about! And for a couple of years, I was a...

Review: Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game Series: The Sword in the Darkness

Mar 25 // Darren Nakamura
Game of Thrones - A Telltale Game Series: The Sword in the Darkness (Android, iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: March 24, 2015MSRP: $4.99 (episode), $29.99 (season)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit [Editor's note: there will be no major spoilers present for the episode reviewed here, but events in previous episodes may be discussed.] Like the previous episode, The Sword in the Darkness opens with Asher across the Narrow Sea. Hothead that he is, his sections always seem to be more action-oriented than the others. As an introduction to the episode it sets an energetic tone, though most of the other sections follow the more subdued light exploration and dialogue trees Telltale is known for. Asher is presented with a major this-or-that decision early on, and it comes during such a panicked situation that I was actually caught off guard by it, despite knowing what to expect by now. The scene does a good job of getting the adrenaline pumping and then presenting players with an impossible decision. I think I shouted some profanity at my monitor when it showed up. Well played, Telltale. Though Asher is charming and fun, Mira's tribulations in King's Landing continue to be the most interesting. Cersei, Tyrion, and Margaery all show up, and each wants something from the eldest Forrester daughter. Though the audience with Cersei in episode one was nerve-wracking, the politicking here provided the most sustained tenseness in the series. [embed]289414:57887:0[/embed] Cersei doesn't want Mira associating with Tyrion, Margaery wants her marriage into the Lannister family to go smoothly, Tyrion wants to team up with Mira to make some money, and Mira wants to give her family the best chance at survival by manipulating relationships in King's Landing. Keeping everyone happy while still achieving Mira's objective requires delicate balance, and there are very real consequences presented for crossing any of the major players. Mira's navigation of nobility politics feels more like Game of Thrones than any previous encounter. Previously, Gared hadn't been too important in the overall story of House Forrester, but now his purpose is made clear. The North Grove plot point introduced in episode one and ignored in episode two is revisited, and it sets a more tangible goal for future episodes. Where before it seemed like Gared being sent to The Wall was just an excuse to show scenes with Jon Snow, now it seems like a carefully calculated decision, both in-universe by Duncan and outside by Telltale. I'm much more interested to see where Gared's story goes now than I was coming into episode three. The most focus is placed on the events at Ironrath, where the Whitehill soldiers are becoming increasingly unruly. There are a couple of different approaches to take, but even if the player decides to go down one path, there are a number of scenes that test resolve. The smart choice for the long run is rarely the one that feels right in the moment. It's a strange situation, because Ironrath's state by the end of The Sword in the Darkness is obstensively worse than it was at the end of The Lost Lords, but I feel more optimistic about the future. As Rodrik, I made choices for the greater good that I thought might let other characters down, but the team all appeared to be on the same page. For the first time in the series, I don't feel like I have made all of the wrong choices. For sure, sacrifices had to be made. Not everybody ended up happy. By some metrics, each of the playable characters is worse off than before. But as a whole, the group finally has direction. Where the first two episodes took their time setting up the narrative machine, The Sword in the Darkness finally puts that machine into motion. Telltale's initial promise that each character's actions will ripple out and affect the others is coming to fruition. I only expect to see that even more with the next episode. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Game of Thrones review photo
The wheels are in motion
Telltale seems to be getting into the swing of things with Game of Thrones, in more ways than one. For starters, it only took seven weeks since the last episode for this one to come out. If Telltale can keep up that pace, the...

Cat game photo
Cat game

Japan gets the best games again: Neko Atsume is the cutest shit


Cat game
Mar 25
// Steven Hansen
I've been seeing a few people posting screenshots of this adorably drawn cat game all over Twitter lately and I've had no idea what it was. Thanks to this helpful blog, however, I am now learned. The game is Neko Atsume, an i...
Hearthstone world record photo
Hearthstone world record

Someone rigged their Hearthstone turn to take over 40 hours


Live now
Mar 23
// Steven Hansen
Hearthstone player Mamytwink is going for a world record: longest turn taken. Setting up a match against a friend, Mamytwink has rigged Blizzard's card game to do a 40+ hour turn, which is slightly longer than the typical 90 ...
Game of Thrones trailer photo
Game of Thrones trailer

Trailer for Telltale's Game of Thrones Episode 3 unfolds some earlier plot points


Spoilers for Episode 2 in the video
Mar 23
// Darren Nakamura
Well, this one snuck up on me. I thought I had been following most of Telltale's releases pretty closely, but it turns out that Game of Thrones Episode 3: The Sword in the Darkness is coming out tomorrow. Who knew? In the tr...
Deals photo
Deals

34 free apps on Amazon including Five Nights at Freddy's 2 and Kingdom Rush Origins


Offer ends tomorrow
Mar 20
// Jordan Devore
Amazon is giving away 34 Android apps today, and some of them aren't crap. Take a look! Consider nabbing Kingdom Rush Origins if you're into tower defense, and Five Nights at Freddy's 2 if you're curious about the animatronic jump-scare craze. Familiar titles like Cut the Rope and World of Goo are in here too, as is the largely unknown but lovable-as-heck Deep Under the Sky.
Final Fantasy XI photo
Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI shutting down on PS2 and Xbox 360, mobile version and spinoff coming


Final Fantasy Grandmasters and Final Fantasy XI Mobile
Mar 19
// Steven Hansen
Final Fantasy XI is 13 years old. As is the case with 13-year-olds, Square Enix is getting a bit sick of dealing with it.  The PS2 and Xbox 360 versions of the MMO will shut down in March of 2016. Final Fantasy XI's main...
Nintendo mobile photo
Nintendo mobile

Nintendo talks NX, mobile game pricing, DeNA partnership


'Nintendo will continue its [console] business with even stronger passion'
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo is finally entering the mobile game space through a collaboration with DeNA. Why now? As CEO Satoru Iwata explained to TIME, "We have come to the stage where we can say that we will be able to develop and operate so...
Borderlands screenshots photo
Borderlands screenshots

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 screenshots, we got 'em


Over 100 Atlas Mugged screenshots
Mar 17
// Darren Nakamura
Another Telltale episode, another excessively large set of screenshots taken as I played through with an Xbox 360 controller while keeping my pinky finger on the F12 key. Tales from the Borderlands still looks great despite t...

Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged

Mar 17 // Darren Nakamura
Tales from the Borderlands: Atlas Mugged (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: March 17, 2015 (Mac, PC)MSRP: $4.99, $24.99 (Season Pass)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit [Editor's note: there will be no major spoilers present for the episode reviewed here, but events in previous episodes may be discussed.] To its credit, Telltale owns up to the long wait between episodes. The opening line is Marcus commenting on how long it has been since the last part of the story. Then he goes into a recap of the main events from Zer0 Sum, leading into the beginning of Atlas Mugged. Hyperion executive Rhys and Pandoran con artist Fiona have stumbled onto some unknown but hopefully valuable Atlas technology, just in time for a digital reconstruction of Borderlands 2 antagonist Handsome Jack to load into Rhys's mind. Jack comes and goes over the course of the episode, typically when Rhys suffers head trauma, and he often offers his brand of morally bankrupt help. Though he only appears during certain scenes, Handsome Jack sort of steals the show. Rhys, Fiona, and the rest of the gang have some good lines, but Telltale's treatment of Jack is on point. He is simultaneously deplorable and hilarious, which serves the concept of Telltale adventure games well. In Borderlands 2 he was a likable villain; in The Pre-Sequel he was a detestable hero. Here, he can be either, allowing the player to choose whether to heed his more outlandish suggestions or to risk progressing without his aid. [embed]288757:57654:0[/embed] Episode 2 has the two protagonists separating and reuniting again and it still works great as a narrative device. Seeing the what from one perspective and then the why from the other gives extra insight to events, though Atlas Mugged lacks some of the punchier revelatory moments that Zer0 Sum had. There are still some secrets set up for later, like the function of the Gortys Project or the identity of the paddy hat-clad character. Fiona gets an upgrade to her single-shot pistol in this episode, allowing it to deal an elemental damage of her choice among incendiary, shock, and corrosive. Knowledge of the shooters in the series seems to help with knowing which element to use in which situation. Another kink thrown in is in addition to having limited ammunition, each element appears to be usable only once, so players may be locked out of one they want for the future. It's the kind of inter-episode mechanic that may or may not pay off intellectually until later. Neither of the established characters who made cameos in the first episode show up again here, but a few new ones do. Scooter and Athena are among those who make an appearance, and I hope for the narrative's sake that this isn't the last we see of them. Given her background with the Atlas corporation (see: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx) Athena plays a particularly interesting role that brings up questions I hope to see answered. From a gameplay perspective, this runs by the standard of modern Telltale titles. It includes the unique Borderlands hooks like Rhys's bionic eye and Fiona's management of money, but they are less emphasized than in the previous episode. Tales still feels like a Borderlands game, but slightly less so now than before. Though puzzles have basically been expunged from Telltale's modus operandi -- and I have come to terms with it -- there is one section where it still stings a little to think about. In it, Rhys has to restore power to an electronic system and it skirts the edge of requiring just a touch of critical thinking, but it ends up being a simple exploration exercise. The setup almost begged for some sort of puzzle; it was disappointing that the solution was so mundane. Past that, the main gameplay is exactly what we all expect from Telltale. Dialogue trees, quick-time events, and the occasional big choice to make. Keeping consistent with the first episode, the writing is sharp, the jokes are plentiful, the plot is intriguing, and the action is over-the-top. What it lacks is easily forgiven because what it contains is really good. Visually, Tales from the Borderlands is as great as ever. The bright colors and hard edges still work well with Telltale's engine, and they juxtapose against the dark comedic themes in a way that never seems to get old. I did experience a couple of minor graphical glitches, but 99% of it ran like a dream. In the end, Atlas Mugged is not quite as good as Zer0 Sum. It had me chuckling five minutes in, but there were fewer laugh-out-loud moments. It maintained high intensity in its action sequences, though none quite compared to the earlier death race. It used the unique Borderlands mechanics just a bit less. Its narrative lacked any jaw-dropping twists or powerful moments of clarity, but it still remained engaging throughout. Though it is slightly less than excellent, it is still great, and I can hardly wait to see where it goes next. Telltale, please don't make me wait so long before Episode 3. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Borderlands review photo
It's here Atlas
[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, who consulted on the story for Tales from the Borderlands, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.] Tales ...


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