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Aurion photo

African-developed Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan looking for funds on Kickstarter

Developers are from Cameroon
Oct 08
// Joe Parlock
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is an incredibly interesting game. It’s billed as an “African-fantasy action-RPG,” putting a lot of emphasis on combos and combat while also having a setting based on African...

Review: Armikrog

Oct 06 // Caitlin Cooke
Armikrog (PC)Developer: Pencil Test StudiosPublisher: Versus EvilReleased: September 30, 2015MSRP: $29.99 The game opens with a spectacular bang, showcasing an animated sequence of our hero Tommynaut and his sidekick Beak Beak crash landing into Armikrog, a strange complex on planet Spiro 5. Within its walls there are puzzles to explore, secrets to unlock, and history to discover as Tommy and Beak Beak make their way through the desolate alien buildings full of various oddities to find a way home. From the onset Armikrog contains the charming, silly humor you’d expect from a TenNapel game, and of course throwback themes that reference The Neverhood. Gameplay rests on your ability to explore and figure things out on your own, moving from room to room collecting items that will come into play later. The age-old point-and-click rule of thumb “click on literally everything” especially rings true as each area contains various puzzles which you (hopefully) put together to make it through to the next building in the complex. There’s not much life to Armikrog save for a few adorable fuzzy blocks, raptor-like creatures on wheels, and alien octopi who speak in a strange tongue – but it’s up to you to figure out why. A statue of a wise-looking man appears in different rooms from time to time and talks to you in a whimsical manner imparting general advice, but that’s about the most interaction you’ll have besides chatting with Beak Beak. Just like being in The Neverhood, for the most part, you’re on your own. At any given time you can switch between controlling Tommy and Beak Beak with a simple click. Beak Beak’s abilities allow him to fit into small doors and occasionally fly around which prove useful when finding various items, however that’s generally the extent of the dual-character system. Tommy doesn’t really have any special abilities going for him (besides being the protagonist, if that counts). It’s fairly obvious when you need to use Tommy vs. Beak Beak, like when a button needs to be pressed or stood on, but the tricky part is understanding the order of when these things need to happen as contextual clues are virtually non-existent. The gameplay mechanics are quite simple since there’s not much to the action besides clicking on things and moving from room to room, however it’s the complication of the controls which may throw players off. Old-school game logic is very much prevalent – I often took an extremely long time to figure something out only to realize I wasn’t in the exact spot for it to trigger. There were also moments when the opposite was true, and actions were far too fluid – like a traveling cart that can send you flying in various directions if you’re not careful. Puzzles range from straightforward to insanely obtuse, and there were a few interesting ones in between that hit the sweet spot. I particularly enjoyed a music-based puzzle that popped up from time to time which had me placing little adorable nursery toys in a certain order. For the most part, puzzles rely on your ability to keep track of certain themes and recall various symbols and patterns throughout your journey. Unless you want to rely on GameFAQs, keeping a notebook and pen handy are pretty much key. Armikrog didn’t hold my hand and indicate what I’d done right or wrong, so blindly guessing and forging through by clicking around was a common strategy. I found myself backtracking through rooms multiple times to see if I had missed anything, but more often than not I just had a general misunderstanding or difficulty navigating puzzles. Some puzzles have a distinct or unclear order to them that won't register if done incorrectly. I also had trouble with certain color-specific puzzles – some feature yellow and orange, or blue and purple pieces that I found to be nearly indistinguishable from each other. Those who have a hard time with colors may have difficulty getting through these puzzles as well. The lack of an inventory, although a callback to The Neverhood, was still something sorely needed. After picking up an item, Tommy puts it into his stomach, and it’s never to be seen again save for when you click on the correct place on the screen. I would often forget which items were on hand, making it hard to connect the dots when the time came. There were also a few outdated choices in terms of the interface – the manual save/load function is ancient, the cursor is plain without indicating what can be interacted with and how, to name a few. I believe Armikrog aimed to be specifically old school in this sense, but it was a tad frustrating. Whether these choices were intentionally nostalgic or not, it got in the way of actual gameplay. Armikrog could use a bit more tightening in general. Subtitles were inaccurate to the point that it was fun for me just to turn them on and see what dialogue was meant to be in the game originally. However, the biggest offender was the bugginess around puzzles. At some points, they wouldn’t trigger correctly – for example after feeding a bug to Beak Beak (which is meant to trigger his flying abilities), he just sat there staring at me instead. There was also one point when he became stuck in his flying state, unable to move or trigger anything. Saving often is necessary to prevent situations like this. On the brighter side, the environments are stunning and truly make the game come to life in a way that was hard to achieve back in The Neverhood days. Graphics are crisp and vibrant, animations are smooth, and the environment is full of quirky textures like fuzz and moss that make it pop. The clay is of course the hallmark style of the game, and sometimes I found myself getting lost looking thinking how long it took someone to mold that particular scene. Music by Terry Scott Taylor was wonderfully quirky, but I wish there were more of it throughout. It was especially noticeable when working on a puzzle for a long time, as a single song would play and stop for a long period of time, then pick back up again later at a random interval. Similarly, despite the voice acting being top notch, I also noticed that sound clips would fade in and out when Tommy or Beak Beak were meant to speak – subtitles would appear but nothing would come out of their mouths. Armikrog’s story is simple and charming, even though the pacing is a tad rushed for my tastes. Besides the opening sequence, there’s not much to the plot until the very end. I was hoping for more substance, or even more silly vignettes to keep me company – but perhaps I’m being selfish considering how long it takes to animate one of those sequences. Overall, I appreciated the atmosphere and especially one of the very last puzzles, which I felt was one of the more creative things I’d ever experienced in a game. Armikrog does not surpass The Neverhood, but just like a successor to any celebrated piece of media, that would have been an impossible task. However, it does contain a unique charm in its own right which fans of The Neverhood or other old-school point-and-click adventures will especially appreciate. Those followers will likely forgive its faults for a taste of nostalgia, but others new to this realm may find it too outdated and unpolished.
Armikrog review photo
Claymation heaven
I still have my original copy of The Neverhood, bestowed upon me when my family bought our first Gateway computer in the mid-'90s. I was in complete awe over the challengingly silly puzzles, phenomenal claymation, and the ecl...

Indivisible photo

Skullgirls dev's metroidvania RPG Indivisible is looking pretty dang good

Up on Indiegogo, with a playable demo
Oct 05
// Darren Nakamura
Back in July we got a barebones announcement that Skullgirls developer Lab Zero Games has been working on a role-playing game called Indivisible and that it would begin a crowdfunding campaign for it late in September. It's ...
Home Free photo
Home Free

Dog RPG Home Free funded in five days

Kicks Arfer
Oct 05
// Darren Nakamura
Things have been looking kind of sad over on Kickstarter lately. Aside from the huge names making games like Mighty No. 9, Yooka-Laylee, Bloodstained, and Shenmue 3, it seems like the ratio of successes to failures has i...
Shenmue 3 photo
Shenmue 3

$6M isn't enough to make Shenmue 3 'gorgeous visually'

'I could do with a bit more money'
Oct 05
// Vikki Blake
$6.3 million isn't enough for Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki. Talking to Eurogamer, Suzuki said that while the game will be crafted in line with the funds available to it, the game "doesn't have to be gorgeous visually."
Home Free Kickstarter photo
Home Free Kickstarter

Control an abandoned dog in the city in action-RPG Home Free

Control your tears watching the video
Sep 30
// Darren Nakamura
The first few moments of the Kickstarter trailer for Home Free bring up sad memories of the Futurama episode "Jurassic Bark," which I apparently cannot even read the Wikipedia entry for without getting misty-eyed. Dogs, man. ...
BattleTech photo

BattleTech Kickstarter begins, immediately secures funding for 'stage 1'

Turn-based stompy robots live again
Sep 29
// Nic Rowen
[Correction: Contrary to what I reported earlier, Harebrained Schemes did not fund the initial $250K goal of basic funding on its Kickstarter. All of those funds came from backers. Harebrained has invested $1 million into the...
Jinko photo

Fancy a game by the art director of The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Sep 25
// Vikki Blake
If you're a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas (and why wouldn't you be -- Jack Skellington is adorable), keep an eye on upcoming game, Jinko. Deane Taylor, art director for The Nightmare Before Christmas (and 400 hours o...
Spaceteam card game photo
Spaceteam card game

'Cooperative shouting game' Spaceteam getting a card version

Up now on Kickstarter
Sep 23
// Darren Nakamura
Back when we interviewed Spaceteam developer Henry Smith about the free cooperative mobile game, he mentions the real-time board game Space Alert as an influence. Now things come full circle, with Mathew Sisson taking the tab...
Shenmue 3 photo
Shenmue 3

Shenmue 3's 'Slacker Backer' doesn't currently offer the PC version

It will 'soon', but we don't know when
Sep 22
// Joe Parlock
Shenmue 3, buddy, listen to me. There are so many people excited for you. You managed to break crowdfunding records and everything. Because of that, you need to stop being so damn vague and confusing with how you take people&...
Them's Fightin' Herds photo
Them's Fightin' Herds

Them's Fightin' Herds has the best name ever, and is also on IndieGoGo

I forgot to rein in the horse puns
Sep 22
// Joe Parlock
Lauren Faust, creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic who also worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, has taken to IndieGoGo to help make the game Them’s Fightin’...
Harmonix and Fig photo
Harmonix and Fig

Harmonix will need your help (again) to make its next game

Sometime this fall
Sep 03
// Brett Makedonski
Harmonix is going back to the crowdfunding well after its successful Amplitude campaign, but it's not going the Kickstarter route. It's going with something far more trendy right now. The music game developer plans ...
Tabletopia Kickstarter photo
Tabletopia Kickstarter

Tabletopia wants to be the premier digital board game platform

A magical world made of tables
Aug 24
// Darren Nakamura
So we already have Tabletop Simulator, but a new challenger approaches. Tabletopia aims to bring board games into the digital space in a similar manner, and it has taken to Kickstarter for its last push in funding. It works b...
Dino Run photo
Dino Run

Dino Run devs create their own crowdfunding system

To fix the ills of Kickstarter culture
Aug 23
// Jonathan Holmes
Dino Run 2 had a well-run Kickstarter. The campaign was as updated multiple times a week, and the game looked fully featured and fun. As a result, it gained a lot of support from a very passionate fan base. Still, the g...
Well, he would know photo
Well, he would know

Former Double Fine COO launches games-only crowdfunding platform where backers can make money

Kickstarter? I hardly even know her!
Aug 18
// Steven Hansen
Former Double Fine COO has just launched Fig, a curated, games-only alternative to sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. It's only for games and only for games approved by the advisory board, which consists of the like of Do...
Red Ash photo
Red Ash

Red Ash returns to crowdfunding for more cash

Studio 4℃ wants to make the anime longer
Aug 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Mega Man Legends wannabe Red Ash needs more money. No, not the game. Keiji Inafune and company already secured a publisher prior to the project failing to meet its lofty Kickstarter goal. Animation group Studio 4°C i...
Super Mario Poi photo
Super Mario Poi

Poi looks like all the best 3D Mario games combined into one

Now on Kickstarter
Aug 15
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: Added some gameplay videos below] We have written about Poi prior to now, but somehow it flew under my radar. Poi looks like all the best parts of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy&n...
Mooncrest photo

Mooncrest's Kickstarter cancelled due to lack of support

It'll return with gameplay footage
Aug 12
// Joe Parlock
A few weeks ago, a group of former BioWare developers took to Kickstarter with the idea for Mooncrest: a single-player RPG with real-time Dark Souls inspired combat, a “cinematic” conversation system, and environm...
Eco photo

Eco is like Minecraft for environmentalists, and it's on Kickstarter now

Hug a tree while you saw it in half
Aug 11
// Joe Parlock
Survival sims have gained a bit of a bad reputation. When it’s not something that’s just fundamentally terrible like The Slaughtering Grounds, it’s yet another early access zombie-in-a-forest survival sim l...
The Banner Saga: Warbands photo
The Banner Saga: Warbands

The Banner Saga getting a cooperative tabletop miniature game

Jul 30
// Darren Nakamura
Stoic released The Banner Saga last year, and it was a great strategy role-playing game. It had characters on a square grid, drama, and lots of death. Basically, it was ripe for conversion to a board game. Today at GenCon, St...
Fan remake photo
Fan remake

Could Shenmue 3 end up looking something like this?

Fan remake: Original Shenmue in Unreal 4
Jul 21
// Steven Hansen
Korean modder Kid Nocon began his unofficial HD remake of the original Shenmue last year, before any of us knew that Shenmue 3 would burst onto the scene and become the most funded video game Kickstarter yet.  Nocon's o...
Shenmue 3 Kickstarter photo
Most funded video game in site's history
The crowdfunding campaign for Shenmue 3 has drawn to a close, raising a total of $6,333,295. That sum makes the project the most funded video game campaign in the history of Kickstarter, beating out the previous record holder...

Chime Sharp photo
Chime Sharp

Chime sequel Kickstarter has already hit its goal

Looking sharp
Jul 15
// Darren Nakamura
I mostly remember Chime as a game that had one super easy achievement worth 50 Gamerscore. It did a thing where proceeds went toward charity, so just buying the game was enough of an achievement, I guess. I was pretty bad at...
INFRAstructure photo

A spooky inside job is taking down buildings in INFRA

Jet fuel can't melt Stalburg beams!
Jul 10
// Jed Whitaker
INFRA is a first-person puzzle adventure game that has you playing as an inspector of a city's crumbling infrastructure. Sounds boring right? The spooky trailer above makes it sound like there is a mad millionaire plann...
Shenmue 3 photo
Shenmue 3

Uncharted 4 concept artist creates Shenmue print

Buy a print before July 17 to support the Kickstarter appeal
Jul 09
// Vikki Blake
Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us concept artist, John Sweeney, has produced an exclusive print to support the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter.  There are eight large prints (24H x 47W) and 100 smaller prints (16H x 31...
Consortium photo

Consortium: The Tower Prophecy gets a gameplay teaser

Everyone's still named after chess
Jul 06
// Joe Parlock
Now this is a pleasant surprise. Consortium was an absolutely fantastic game that I didn’t think got the attention it deserved. If you were good enough, the entire game could be beaten through dialogue and learning mor...
F-Zero's ghost photo
F-Zero's ghost

Zero Gravity AX hoped to be the spiritual successor to F-Zero

Gotta go fast!
Jul 05
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: Looks like the Kickstarter is being cancelled after the creator was sent a large amount of negative feedback.  "We are going to cancel the project. Duo(sic) to the big amount of negativ(sic) feedback and th...
Indivisible photo

Skullgirls dev making RPG with Mana composer

Indivisible announced at Anime Expo
Jul 02
// Kyle MacGregor
Tonight at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, Skullgirls developer Lab Zero Games announced Indivisible, a new action role-playing game inspired by the likes of Valkyrie Profile and Super Metroid. Secret of Mana composer H...
Renoir Kickstarter photo
Renoir Kickstarter

Noir puzzle platformer Renoir on Kickstarter

Now with gameplay footage
Jul 02
// Darren Nakamura
A few months back we got our first look at Renoir and I expressed some cautious optimism since the film noir genre is underused in games but the reveal trailer had no information on gameplay past the puzzle-platformer genre ...
Shenmue 3 photo
Shenmue 3

Give $1,000 to Shenmue 3 Kickstarter, get personal message from Ryo

'Let's get sweaty'
Jul 02
// Vikki Blake
The voice actor who played Ryo in the English versions of Shenmue 1 and 2, Corey Marshall, has been confirmed for Shenmue 3. "We would all like to thank Corey-san for coming back," says an announcement on the Shenmue 3 K...

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