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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/12] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/12]
by Steven Hansen

[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]

It's my birthday today. What did you get me?

Here's last week's recap. Let's begin anew.

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Astebreed is a bullet hell shooter where you fight aliens as a janitor photo
Astebreed is a bullet hell shooter where you fight aliens as a janitor
by Brett Makedonski

There's no shortage of weird and unique game concepts at PAX East's Indie Megabooth. That's par for the course, though; show after show it goes that exact same way. Whereas some titles rely solely on their strangeness to make a name for themselves, others pair it with solid gameplay to strengthen their hand. Edelweiss' Astebreed falls into this latter category.

First and foremost, Astebreed is a bullet hell shooter, and it doesn't skimp on this aspect. At all times, the screen is full of imminent threats while you reciprocate. The arsenal at your disposal consists of two sets of ranged attacks each with a focused subset such as a conical strike, as well as a melee ability. Enemies constantly keep coming as the scene presented kind of twists and winds along in a "2.5D" way.

The most important aspect that Astebreed gets right is that while everything on-screen is completely hectic, the reference point always stays fixed enough so that you're in control of the character. Often times games like this will move in unpredictable directions, causing a frustrating sensation like it's resisting you. That's not the case here, as it all controls well.

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Below is a hardcore game that you'll want to take your time with photo
Below is a hardcore game that you'll want to take your time with
by Brett Makedonski

Ever since Below was teased at Microsoft's E3 press briefing last year, it's been one of the titles that I've been most intrigued by. The art style and the fact that Capy Games was the developer were the two main reasons for my interest. Okay, those were the only reasons, because pretty much nothing else about Below has been revealed.

Capy's finally showing Below off at PAX East, and it is nothing like I expected it to be. That aside, my excitement remains completely intact.

When I see an artistic indie title, I subconsciously assume that it's an inviting game. It might not necessarily be easy, but something that anyone can eventually get the hang of. Below doesn't look to be like that, as it's a procedurally-generated rogue-like that's meant to appeal to the hardcore demographic.

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The Evil Within isn't looking very evil so far photo
The Evil Within isn't looking very evil so far
by Dale North

A behind-closed-doors play session for upcoming survival horror game The Evil Within wasn't as evil as I hoped it would be. I still have high hopes for the next game from Resident Evil vet Shinji Mikami and his new studio, Tango Gameworks, but the two gameplay sessions I saw today at PAX East seemed to draw a bit too much on his past works, and not enough on the freaky stuff.

Some of the imagery from the new trailer had my hopes up, but we didn't see much of that in our demo today.

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Hyper Light Drifter's co-op mode will have you dying over and over photo
Hyper Light Drifter's co-op mode will have you dying over and over
by Brett Makedonski

Hyper Light Drifter is on the top of a lot of people's lists of most anticipated games. For good reason, too. The quick-paced, action-RPG with a retro aesthetic looks like it's going to be an absolute pleasure to play. If you're not familiar with it, Alessandro wrote a preview of the build we saw at GDC.

Heart Machine has a new experience to show off for PAX East. Hyper Light Drifter has a cooperative mode that we hadn't gotten to try before. It's basically a horde mode with endlessly spawning enemies. However, unlike most co-op endeavors, your partner could very well be more trouble than he's worth.

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I almost collected a half dollar in Woah Dave! and that's pretty good photo
I almost collected a half dollar in Woah Dave! and that's pretty good
by Brett Makedonski

Fifty cents doesn't sound like much, right? You could lose fifty cents in the couch cushion and not think twice about it. Well, I earned -- that's right earned -- almost that much in Robotube Games'Woah Dave!, and I was pretty damn proud of it.

Part of the reason for this seeming like such an accomplishment is because Woah Dave! doesn't just give away money. It's frugal. It makes you squeeze every cent out of it. But, most importantly, the gameplay makes it satisfying and rewarding to earn anything at all.

Woah Dave! is structured simply and familiarly. Set in arenas that are reminiscent of Mario Bros., the player (Dave?) runs around four tiers of broken platforms as enemies slowly swarm. It's the way that everything is a threat that makes Woah Dave! unique.

The items that can be interacted with in Woah Dave! are eggs and skulls. Eggs, after a few seconds on the screen, hatch into monsters. Skulls can be picked up and thrown at the eggs (or monsters) to defeat them, but they'll explode after a bit of time (there's a blinking pattern to forewarn this) making them also dangerous.

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A head in the poles: Project Totem is platforming fun photo
A head in the poles: Project Totem is platforming fun
by Steven Hansen

Press Play proved it can make a platformer with Max and the Curse of Brotherhood, but it wasn't meant to test your muscle memory and invite speed running. It was a colorful adventure with some charm and plenty of stopping for to draw with the magic marker.

With it's newest project, Press Play is dialing up the pure platforming with a minimalist design and some nasty platforming hazards. Nasty meaning cool. The point is I got into a heck of a comfortable groove with Project Totem and maybe you should too when it comes out.

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Impressions: Broforce photo
Impressions: Broforce
by Alasdair Duncan

Whether it's the smartass name or the numerous references to action stars, there's nothing subtle about Broforce. Then there's the seemingly never-ending barrage of explosions and showers of pixelated blood that make the stage look like a particularly frustrating Super Meat Boy level.

Broforce is now on Steam's Early Access service, and whilst there's plenty of features on offer in its current state, there's still some work needed to just nail that core gameplay. 

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Gauntlet is a lot like you remember, just upgraded photo
Gauntlet is a lot like you remember, just upgraded
by Brett Makedonski

Do you remember Gauntlet? It holds a special place in arcade gaming history, but at the same time, it's almost 30 years old. It seems like the perfect time for a remake, doesn't it? Magicka maker Arrowhead Games has the opportunity to give people that remember it a chance to play it again, while introducing the younger audience to an all-time classic.

For those unfamiliar, Gauntlet is a four-person cooperative, dungeon-crawling, beat-'em-up. The original characters -- Warrior, Elf, Valkyrie, and Wizard -- all return for this iteration, and only one of each can be played at a time. Each class has a playstyle that defines them and that will dictate your actions on-screen. A Warrior isn't of much use out of the fray, and the archer-like Elf isn't too effective trying to melee everyone.

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Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes the shooter looter to the moon photo
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel takes the shooter looter to the moon
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is official. The latest entry in Gearbox's shooter looter takes place between the original Borderlands and Borderlands 2, hence the Pre-Sequel moniker. The new game is based on the Borderlands 2 engine as well, and will be sticking to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

You'll be able to play as one of four new -- yet familiar -- characters as you work for Handsome Jack during his rise to power. Oh, and a majority of the game takes place on Pandora's moon. And you get jet packs. And laser guns. And ice weapons. Oh my.

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Preview: Armello combines board games, trading card games, strategy RPG play photo
Preview: Armello combines board games, trading card games, strategy RPG play
by Dale North

I met League of Geeks' Trent Kusters at GDC a few weeks back. We just missed each other at Bitsummit just a week before, but I'm glad we were able to finally meet up as I would have missed seeing a really cool game. 

Kusters' elevator pitch: imagine a game that mixes Magic the Gathering and Final Fantasy Tactics...

I stopped him before he could finish and told him that this game sounds right up my alley. Like, right up my alley.

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An early look at the PC version of Dark Souls II photo
An early look at the PC version of Dark Souls II
by Alasdair Duncan

How many times have I died in Dark Souls II now? 12, 14... 16?

Truth is I've already lost count of how many times I've taken a blade to the chest or an arrow to the face. Whenever I think I'm making progress, something takes me by surprise and I'm back to square one but I have to persevere, I need to keep pushing on. I have to learn about the enemies, their patterns, their routines. 

I swear I'll make it out of the tutorial area at some point.

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Huge open world and endless customization define The Crew photo
Huge open world and endless customization define The Crew
by Casey Baker

The developers of The Crew have an unusual take on their new IP that features fast cars, deep customization, and miles and miles of the United States to traverse across and race within. Ivory Tower and Ubisoft Reflections insist that despite its trappings that would suggest an open world racing game in the same vein as the latest in the Need for Speed series or Forza Horizons, The Crew is actually an MMO RPG.

When first presented with this concept at a recent Ubisoft event, I was a little skeptical that a racing game could be classified as such, given that it doesn't necessarily involve giant monsters and upgradeable weapons, and certainly bears no fantastical setting. However, after getting an hour long hands-on with the new game and witnessing the number of ways that this separates itself from its ilk, I could definitely see how it could be deserving of this different classification.

In The Crew, your vastly upgradeable and customizable car is your weapon. The giant monster you perpetually battle is the road, in several different kinds of events and spanning a seemingly large storyline across five enormous regions of the United States.

And like all MMO RPG's, The Crew is so much better with friends.

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Azure Striker: Gunvolt opens up official English site photo
Azure Striker: Gunvolt opens up official English site
by Chris Carter

Keiji Inafune and his superstar development collective are hard at work with creating Mighty No. 9 for every platform under the sun -- but who knows when it's actually coming out. As confirmed to us at BitSummit 2014, we know for sure that Azure Striker Gunvolt, Inafune's other Mega Man game is hitting the 3DS this summer.

That's starting to become a bit more real, as Inti Creates has launched an English version of a Gunvolt site, complete with character bios and some information, as well as screenshots. The site has been having some traffic issues as of this morning, so stay tuned if it doesn't work for you at the moment.

Gunvolt [Gunvolt.com]

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The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/5] photo
The best stuff on Destructoid this week [4/5]
by Steven Hansen

[We post a lot of articles here at Destructoid. The endless, ouroboros news cycle has us burning the snake at both ends, which will ultimately push big news, thoughtful original pieces, and all sorts of other great content off of the front page. Check here every Saturday for my attempt to rectify that.]

Yes, I missed the last two weeks for various reasons, but the checks are in the mail and I'm trying to make it up. Please don't take my baby from me. She's all I have. This every other weekend thing is already depressing enough. I can tell she hates coming over, too, away from her friends and her regular everyday life, but what am I supposed to do? Give her up?

I'd rather be "every other weekend dad" than a yellowing Polaroid.

Here's the last recap. Let's all try to be just a little better, because the world ain't going to be a little better to us. Let's try to be a little better to each other. Let's begin anew.

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Grey Goo aspires to get to the roots of the real-time strategy genre photo
Grey Goo aspires to get to the roots of the real-time strategy genre
by Brett Makedonski

The real-time strategy genre has undergone quite the transformation throughout time. Seemingly gone are the days where games require that you focus on strategy, often replaced by experiences that reward combat ability and quick clicking. Petroglyph Games aims to right this with Grey Goo -- a title that will try to put the "S" back in RTS.

The way that Petroglyph intends to do this is by forging the most balanced game that it possibly can. Grey Goo will put equal parts emphasis on economic management, base-building, and strategic combat. Over-reliance upon any of these three facets won't necessarily result in sure victory; it could just as easily result in sure failure.

If that sounds complicated, that's because it might be. However, Grey Goo won't necessarily overencumber the player with weighty mechanics. Everything's relatively straightforward and basic as far as commands go, most of it mapped to the mouse and QWERT keys. Again, it's the actual strategic approach that's going to trip most people up.

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