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Escapists photo

Retro Walking Dead adventure game is arriving this month on PC and Xbox One

Sep 24
// Chris Carter
Next week, you'll be able to play the mashup between The Escapists, a pretty cool little adventure game, and The Walking Dead. On September 30, it will hit the PC and Xbox One platforms, and will see developer Team17 collabor...
Binary solo photo
Binary solo

P.A.M.E.L.A. looks like a beautiful yet depressing robotic future

Mass Effect + BioShock + Ex Machina
Sep 23
// Jed Whitaker
P.A.M.E.L.A. is the hot new indie game taking Steam Greenlight charts by storm, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. Surprisingly the game has a grand total of six artists working on it, according to this in-depth intervie...
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...
The Witness photo
The Witness

Almost none of you could 100% The Witness according to Jonathan Blow

Some really darn tough puzzles
Sep 23
// Laura Kate Dale
Do you like your puzzle games tough? Well, Jonathan Blow has laid down the gauntlet and challenged you. According to an interview with the EU Playstation Blog, Blow has included a puzzle in The Witness which is so fiendishly ...
Documentary photo

Upcoming film explores Japan's indie scene

Branching Paths
Sep 22
// Jordan Devore
I'm always searching for new documentaries, preferably ones that cover subjects, stories, or processes I don't yet know much about. As of last night, I have my eye on Branching Paths. It examines the growing independent video...

Review: Aerannis

Sep 22 // Jed Whitaker
Aerannis (PC)Developer: ektomarch Publisher: ektomarch Released: September 15, 2015MSRP: $9.99Rig: Intel Core i7-3930K @ 3.2 GHz, 32GB DDR3 RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, Windows 10 64-bit, Intel 750 SSD After receiving an email from one of the developers stating you play as a transgender character, I couldn't help but give Aerannis a chance. I was rather surprised how well the Kickstarted game was able to mesh the adventure genre with a stealthy metroidvania. Traversing different parts of the cyberpunk world to find and complete missions -- mostly consisting of either stealthy sneaking, hits, or investigating -- was pretty satisfying and never felt dull.  The formula is overall pretty simple: Talk to your robot buddy / boss / NPC and receive a mission with directions, follow the directions till you find an arrow in front of described building, do the mission, rinse and repeat. The world isn't exactly huge, but save stations allow you to fast travel between them, thankfully cutting down on dull backtracking that many games in the same genre suffer from.  Missions are all relatively similar even if the goal at the end can be a bit different: Going from point A to point B while hiding or blasting enemies until you reach the goal. But thankfully new mechanics, weapons, and enemies are introduced along the way to keep things interesting, such as the abilities to hang from ledges, jump off walls, and drop varying types of bombs. In a few levels you'll also be tasked with taking down giant boss monsters, which are always satisfying and unique.  [embed]311778:60469:0[/embed] As someone who typically hates stealth sections in games, I actually found the stealth missions fairly enjoyable as they are a bit more action-oriented than games like Hitman. I found myself never having to wait more than a few seconds for an enemy to mill about allowing me to either sneak by or grab them from behind with the decision of instantly killing them or taking them hostage, with any option being equally satisfying.  Politics: this game has them and we have to talk about them. Seeing as you play as a transgender female in a world where men don't exist because... well... the game doesn't really ever explain this, nor does it explain how trans females exists with no males. Are babies born male and forced to be female? How are babies born? I feel like the developers had some kind of agenda with the game's story but never truly make it 100% clear one way or another, which is probably intentional. I imagine that players of every belief will be able to feel like Aerannis story falls into what they think if they wanted.  For instance, one section has you enter a part of the city known as TERF Turf, where radical feminists are in control and rally against "snowflakes" as they call them, a shortened version of the pejorative "special snowflakes" which is often used to slur transgender people. TERF is an acronym for "Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists" by the way, so it makes sense that the sign outside their part of town says "you must be this cis to enter" with a picture of a tampon. The game treats TERFs as the main villains even going as far as referring to them as Nazis, though without directly saying the word. So many people will take this as meaning "excluding trans people is bad" while others will surely interrupt it as "all feminists are bad," a distinction that is never directly made. My biggest gripe with the game is it never really says anything. Sure it talks about feminism, transgender people, and diversity, but what is the message it is trying to convey? In the end the whole thing kind of feels like the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist who finds the most radical outlier of a group and makes an example of them for what a said group must be like, when that isn't necessarily true. I have a hunch the developers' intentions was to try to hide a wolf in sheep's clothing or apply gotcha tactics by having players play as a transgender character while preaching to them about the dangers of feminism -- insert laughter here -- and it really just never works, mostly because the writing is less than great and the message isn't clear. For a game having two endings, neither really had much to say or made sense to the context of the rest of the game. One ending has the main character reveal a secret twist they had been keeping the entire game, which would be fine if their internal dialogue wasn't presented at times, which made the ending feel jarring and disconnected from the rest of the experience. The other ending just goes completely off the rails that had me audibly exclaim "What the fuck!?" Maybe that is part of the beauty of Aerannis -- aside from its crisp pixel art, matching soundtrack and solid gameplay -- is that it is like staring into the abyss of the mind of a conspiracy theorist, or any random internet hive-mind; it might not make much sense, it might be completely off kilter with the real world, and it might be the complete opposite of what I believe, but it was still good for a laugh. Aerannis is a beautiful, diverse metroidvania with solid mechanics mixed in with some tin-foil hat madness, and regardless of your political views you should give it a shot; you might just enjoy it, I know I did. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Review: Aerannis photo
Transgender Feminist Illuminati Blues
In a cyberpunk future where men cease to exist, a trans woman and for-hire assassin is fighting the feminist Illuminati that runs the government. Along the way she encounters shape shifting monsters that often are shaped like...

Among the Sleep photo
Among the Sleep

Among the Sleep is dropping VR support

'Feels horrible in VR'
Sep 22
// Laura Kate Dale
Among the Sleep is one of those video games I love in theory, even if not in execution. A first person horror game where you play a small infant exploring a spooky house with a living teddy bear, the game was creepy in all th...

Review: Extreme Exorcism

Sep 22 // Jed Whitaker
Extreme Exorcism (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Golden Ruby Games Publisher: RipstoneRelease Date: September 23, 2015MSRP: $12.99 If you've played one of the many indie couch competitive games that have become popular in the past year or two, you know the drill here: gather three of your friends together and fight to the death. The gimmick in Extreme Exorcism is that winning a round causes a ghost to replay your previous actions, including firing weapons that can kill your enemies, or even yourself depending on the various customizable settings. By default each player can carry up to three weapons at a time, which spawn in predetermined places around each of over 45 stages. Weapons range from basic punches and kicks to rocket launchers, boomerangs, and magical staffs. While the variety of weapons is nice, nothing really feels original, though familiarity makes the game very pick-up-and-play friendly.  Matches are fast and furious, especially when playing with the maximum of four players. Each time someone wins a round, a ghost will spawn of their previous win, and ghosts stay on screen until exorcised via the purple wings weapon that spawns from time to time. The fact that you can potentially have ghosts from four different players running around the screen firing off rocks and kung-fu kicks in every direction makes for some hectic games.  [embed]311776:60466:0[/embed] For those of you without friends in real life, there is an arcade mode and the challenge mode. Arcade mode is a series of matches in each level of the game where you're required to kill so many of your previous ghosts to unlock each level. The first ghost is spawned by killing a possessed chair, which is super simple as the AI isn't anything special, as it doesn't need to be since you're fighting your ghosts. Arcade mode is simple enough to be enjoyable alone, but can be played with up to four players as well, working together towards an enjoyable fight with a boss in the final level.  Challenge mode, however, is for one player only. In 50 different challenges you'll be tasked with completing different goals such as killing 100 chairs with three lives, or completing five rounds only using a boomerang. The challenge mode lives up to its name. It is easily the most challenging part of Extreme Exorcism and will test even the most seasoned players. I was able to unlock every challenge, but completing them is a different story, though I didn't really feel pressed to complete them given that there is no real reward other than feeling accomplished, and achievements if you care about those.  If anything, Extreme Exorcism is a game for those who have tried TowerFall and Samurai Gunn at their parties and want something even more hectic, and bustin' makes them feel good; otherwise players new to the genre may feel a bit overwhelmed with the amount of on-screen action. As for me, I'll stick to the classics for my get-togethers. Simplicity is what appeals to me when I'm trashed and I'd rather not projectile vomit from my eyes trying to keep up with all those ghosts. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Review: Extreme Exorcism photo
No head spinning here
Four teenagers enter a haunted house and get killed by each other until ghosts show up. No, it isn't the plot to House on Haunted Hill but the mechanics of Extreme Exorcism, the new couch competitive game from Golden Rub...

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’...
SpyParty update photo
SpyParty update

Watch SpyParty transform before your very eyes

Except Toby
Sep 21
// Patrick Hancock
SpyParty, the only game to make me wish I was a computer, has once again made a pretty big step forward. The basic map, the ballroom, has always been the first thing that new players see. It's very basic, with plenty of ...

I've never seen a horror game quite like Noct

Sep 21 // Jordan Devore
Noct photo
Creepy thermal imaging
I've heard of Noct. Looked at it. Read about it. But, somehow, I didn't realize until today that it's built for multiplayer. Publisher Devolver Digital even describes it as "a 2D top-down multiplayer survival horror game." Wh...

Naked Showers photo
Naked Showers

It's unsettlingly fun to scrub naked dudes in Rinse and Repeat

Touch that wet man body
Sep 21
// Laura Kate Dale
If you know one thing about me, it's probably that I really enjoy weird indie games about touching up hot dudes. It's a thing I have an almost academic level of interest in. The way important life experiences can be tackled u...
Hohokum photo

Hohokum dev Honeyslug disbands after 7 years

Co-founders now pursuing solo careers
Sep 20
// Kyle MacGregor
After seven years in business, Hohokum studio Honeyslug is splitting up, with co-founders Ricky Haggett, Nat Marco and Mark Inman going their separate ways to pursue solo careers. In addition to Hohokum, the team is responsib...
ATLUS photo

Atlus picks up indie RPG Cryamore

Indie RPG also changing platforms
Sep 17
// Kyle MacGregor
Atlus will now be publishing Cryamore, the Kickstarter-funded RPG from indie team Nostalgico. The Shin Megami Tensei publisher has apparently been courting the studio for some time, offering the development team help to finis...
Penarium photo

Release date confirmed for 'sadistic' circus game Penarium

Leave 'em begging for more!
Sep 17
// Vikki Blake
"Sadistic" 2D arena arcade Penarium is coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 22, 2015. Willy (snigger) is trapped in a "sinister circus," and the only hope of seeing his family again is to "run and jump his wa...
Lost in Harmony photo
Lost in Harmony

Valiant Hearts creator teams up with Wyclef for Lost in Harmony

'Mystical and brave'
Sep 16
// Darren Nakamura
Valiant Hearts' director Yoan Fanise worked at Ubisoft for 14 years before leaving earlier this year to form his own studio, Digixart Entertainment . Today at Tokyo Game Show, the fledgling company revealed its firs...

Review: Leo's Fortune

Sep 16 // Darren Nakamura
Leo's Fortune (Android, iOS, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Windows Phone, Xbox One)Developer: 1337 & SenriPublisher: Tilting PointRelease: April 23, 2014 (mobile), September 8, 2015 (Mac, PC, PS4), September 11, 2015 (Xbox One)MSRP: $4.99 (mobile), $6.99 (non-mobile) Originally released on mobile last year, Leo's Fortune is now playable with a controller elsewhere. It's equal parts precision platformer, speed platformer, and puzzle platformer, alternating between the three to keep the experience fresh throughout. Leopold is a slippery guy, which aids in the speed sections. Certain areas have ramps and curves built in, giving Leo a playground to jump, inflate, and dive toward the exit quickly. Of the three styles of platforming present, this is the most exciting. The other two styles slow Leo down considerably. With his inflate ability, he can not only jump and launch off walls, but he can also slow his descent, giving himself greater control in spiky sections. Here, Leopold's slipperiness can get him into trouble; he will sometimes maintain momentum from a speed section straight into a trap. It can be difficult to make the small adjustments necessary for the precision segments, because pressing in one direction for more than a split second will send him careening in that direction. The puzzles are a welcome change of pace, though they never really tax the brain. For the most part, they are the same kinds of physics-based puzzles we've seen elsewhere. They're certainly not bad, but they're never mindblowing either. [embed]310626:60351:0[/embed] All of this is tied together by an after school special-esque story. Though the specifics of the big twist aren't exactly predictable, it's clear throughout that Leopold is barking up the wrong trees and stands to learn a life lesson. It's almost like one of Aesop's fables; it comes with the moral of appreciating people over possessions, which is a great message to teach children, but feels trite to those who have heard it before. In that way, the story mirrors the puzzle sections. It's totally serviceable, but I'm not particularly impressed by it. Where Leo's Fortune excels is in the presentation. Leopold's fuzz and a lot of the environmental effects are fantastically animated. Leo slides as he moves, meaning he doesn't have any walking or rolling animation, but despite that he exudes personality, particularly through facial expressions. I love the look he gives when he inflates. So what we have in all is a beautiful platformer with ups and downs (literally and figuratively), a mundane narrative with a good message, and some real difficulty toward the end. The whole game probably only takes about an hour or two to finish (with full game speedruns clocking in at about 45 minutes. It's not a must-buy, not even for platformer fans, but it's a cute little game that most people can find some fun with. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Leo's Fortune review photo
Favors the bold
Coins. Plenty of games have them scattered around to collect, but few explain why they're there in the first place. If they're so valuable, why did somebody just leave them there? Leo's Fortune gives a reason. The titular mus...

Relativity photo

So long Relativity, hello Manifold Garden

Name change alert
Sep 16
// Jordan Devore
I like one-word names, a lot, but Manifold Garden is far more memorable than Relativity. According to designer William Chyr, among other things, the title "didn't fit the direction the game was going." So, there we go: when y...
Wii U Indie photo
Wii U Indie

Human Resource Machine heading to Wii U

New game from the Little Inferno devs
Sep 16
// Laura Kate Dale
I was a huge fan of Little Inferno when it launched on the Wii U a couple of years ago. A twisted narrative about rampant consumerism, microtransactions, and the beauty of starting fires, it is one of those game I come back t...
Undertale photo

Undertale is half EarthBound, half WarioWare, and nobody has to die

Date a skeleton? At least five dogs?
Sep 15
// Jed Whitaker
What if I told you there was a game that looked similar to EarthBound where you could befriend enemies instead of killing them, and combat is a mixture of turn-based and a WarioWare-like mini-game. Would you believe me? That...
1979 Revolution photo
1979 Revolution

1979 Revolution is a game about the Iranian Revolution

Look at this animated prologue
Sep 15
// Joe Parlock
In 1979, Iran overthrew its monarchy, and replaced them with an Islamic republic in what is now known as the Iran Revolution. One important day in the revolution is known as Black Friday, where martial law was declared. Shot...
Afterbirth pre-order sale photo
Afterbirth pre-order sale

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth's pre-order discount is perfect

The price point of the beast
Sep 14
// Nic Rowen
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth is now available for pre-order on Steam with a hefty 40% discount that brings the price down to an entirely appropriate $6.66. Normally I don't advise pre-ordering anything, but given how much...
Lionhead photo

Lionhead creative director leaves to form new indie studio

Gary Carr leaves after 12 years
Sep 14
// Laura Kate Dale
After 12 years at Lionhead Studios, it seems creative director Gary Carr has left the UK studio to take the leap into independent game development. In a statement made to GameSpot, it was confirmed that Carr, who had been ove...
Sup Holmes photo
Sup Holmes

Sup Holmes gets punchy with Poncho dev Danny Hayes

Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Sep 13
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] [Update: Thanks for watchi...
Battle Chasers photo
Battle Chasers

Darksiders creator returns to games with Battle Chasers

He's also going to finish the comic
Sep 13
// Jonathan Holmes
Joe Madureira first hit it big drawing X-Men and Spider-Man for Marvel comics in the '90s. He quickly became one of the most influential artists in the field, thanks to a style that melded lessons learned from other American...
Rick and Morty photo
Rick and Morty

What would you want in a Rick and Morty game?

If it happens, and it's gonna happen
Sep 13
// Jonathan Holmes
[Image by Ko Takeuchi, artist for the Rhythm Heaven series.] Co-created by Justin Roiland, probably best known for voicing Lemongrab on Adventure Time, the comic book and animated television series Rick and Morty fe...
Cave Story photo
Cave Story

Cave Story creator's Pink Heaven out for free today

A spinoff to Pink Hour
Sep 11
// Chris Carter
As of today, you'll be able to nab a game from the creator of Cave Story for free. It's a spinoff to Pink Hour, titled Pink Heaven, and it follows the same storyline as Kero Blaster, in the same 2D platforming format. I...
N++ photo

N++ is even bigger and more difficult than we thought

For wizards only
Sep 10
// Darren Nakamura
N++ released back in July with a bold claim: "No way anyone 100%s it." Given its enormous level select screen featuring more than a thousand levels and the brutal difficulty the series is known for, it seemed fair enough to m...
Dankest Dropsy Beats photo
Dankest Dropsy Beats

Get a damp hug from a dank clown in Dropsy's launch trailer

Sing-a-long, even if the notes are wrong
Sep 10
// Jed Whitaker
The surreal point-and-click adventure game Dropsy is available now on PCs everywhere and to celebrate the occasion Devolver has released this hot new sing-a-long trailer that provides some insight into his damp world. Appare...
Gmod photo

Garry's Mod is getting a virtual reality-focused sequel

Not called Garry's Mod 2
Sep 10
// Joe Parlock
Garry’s Mod is getting a sequel after almost ten years. In an interview with PCGamesN, Facepunch founder Garry Newman said a follow-up was in the works, with the intention of it making use of VR technology: …I m...

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