It's the end of the week which means that it's time for another episode of Reviews in Review. This week a TON of games came out, so if you missed any of our reviews just check out the video for a quick recap.
Seriously, what else are you going to do for four minutes? This week I use some really bad accents.
"Reviews in Review" is a new show that releases every week where I will go over the reviews published this week on Destructoid, as well as give a score to the week in general. This week I talked about the reviews for Steins;Gate, Half Minute Hero 2, and Putty Squad.
Otherwise, check out the recap of all the reviews that ran this past week on Destructoid below. Make sure to stay until the end of the video too for a DESTRUCTOID EXCLUSIVE interview.
Amazon has finally announced its long-rumored media device and it's available for purchase as of today. The $99 Amazon Fire TV supports expected streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Prime Instant Video, and Pandora, but games also have a presence on the box which sports an Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of memory, and a quad-core processor.
There a over a hundred games supported including Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Asphalt 8, and Amazon Game Studios' exclusive third-person shooter Sev Zero, with "thousands more coming soon." According to Amazon, many of these games are free and "the average price of paid games is just $1.85." Of course, that less-than-ideal gamepad is being sold separately for $39.99.
There are a few interesting gimmicks, but the one that sounds most intriguing to me is ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), a feature which predicts movies or television episodes you'll want to watch and prepares them for playback ahead of time to avoid buffering. I'm not really in the market for the Fire TV as a Roku owner -- and Amazon has a long way to go before it can pull me in with its gaming initiative -- but this looks like a nice little box. Maybe someday.
Anyone can gain access to Unreal Engine 4 now with a new subscription plan, priced at $19.99 a month. This was announced this morning in a GDC press conference by Epic co-founder Tim Sweeney.
With this new plan, users can deploy to four platforms: PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Developers will pay 5 percent of revenues for full access to Unreal Engine 4. This fee gets you the tools, access to full C++ source code (via GitHub), documentation, and forum support access. This new plan is available today, letting new developers download tools and get started right now (or in a few minutes -- the site is down right now).
Sweeney calls today the start of something new for Epic Games. He said that they’ve been working quietly behind the scene on new technology for awhile now. The future of the engine is inspired by a lot of changes in the game industry. The assumption was that bigger and better was going to be the continual goal for the future of gaming, but things have changed since, with mobile and VR entering the scene in a big way.
The newest form of Unreal Engine 4 was built to be highly usable for developers of all sizes. Sweeney says that even if you don’t know how to program, you could build a game in Unreal Engine 4. He confident enough about its ease of use that noted that the engine could potentially be a new outlet for the motivated Minecraft player.
It used to cost many millions of dollars and lots of licensing paperwork for AAA developers to use UE4 to make games. Sweeney admits that this is an outdated plan now. They’re shooting for practicability and accessibility with their new business mode; every developer on earth will have access to all the tools Epic has when they develop their AAA games now. For $20, cancelable at any time. How great is that?
As an example, they showed off a game they made with the tools, called Tappy Chicken. It was developed in two days with Blueprint in UE4, with no programming. Other examples of the tools were shown -- more on these later today.
January has come and gone, but that doesn't mean there weren't some great games to play. Just look at all the amazing "indie" games that hit the PC this month.
We had the fruition of two KickStarter campaigns finally see the light of day -- The Banner Saga and the first act of Double Fine's Broken Age -- the quirky Octodad, and the totally rad OlliOlii on PS Vita.
There was definitely some great stuff to keep us busy this month, and February is looking just as smooth. I can't even tell you how much I can't wait to get my thumbs on Bravely Default on the 3DS. Well... I guess I just did.
[Disclosure: Nvidia has provided Destructoid with a number of computers for PC game review purposes in the past. If you feel that may make our reviews of any of their products "biased" or "paid off," you are welcome to.]
The number of handheld devices hitting the market are becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of, a situation made all the more overwhelming by the continued erosion of the boundary between smartphones, tablets, gaming devices, and machines built solely for the purposes of showing your friends that "Blurred Lines" video.
Several oddities have cropped up in this maelstrom of technology, one of which is the Nvidia Shield. Joining the Razer Edge in the "almost shockingly niche" category, this Android-powered, Steam-streaming, undoubtedly powerful system is heavy, expensive, and focused on a unique brand of gamer -- a cocktail of concerns that has led to many a cynical attitude toward it.
I was cynical. Hopeful, as I am for all new gadgets, but cynical nonetheless. Having spent a good deal of time with the Nvidia Shield, however, I absolutely love the thing. It's still heavy, it's still expensive, and it's certainly going to appeal to a select few. Those few, however, will adore it.
The Ouya is on sale today, and I've spent a few days with the final retail unit. For $99, you can get your hands on a cute little cube that runs a selection of Android games, a handful of apps, and is designed for amateur developers to create from home to their heart's content.
It all sounds very promising, and Ouya is nothing if not promising. It is, in fact, full of all sorts of potential. Just be warned, however, that if you spend $99 today, that's what you're getting. Potential.
May was largely a quiet month for new game releases. Despite what felt like a slower schedule, especially coming off of a rather absurd April, here on Destructoid we did have a pair of 10s with the portable Donkey Kong Country Returns 3Dand captivating, clay-fueled puzzler The Swapper. Quantity isn't everything!
One thing is for sure, May presented us with an eclectic group of titles. Take a look at some of the genres represented in this breakdown of everything we covered.
When the OUYA was first revealed on Kickstarter last July, my curiosity was instantly piqued. Being the kind of gamer who values sheer fun and general style and aesthetic over pure graphical processing power, the more I read about OUYA, the more infatuated I became with the idea of a cheap, open-ended console that would allow independent developers to unleash their crazy ideas upon the world.
This is perhaps why at approximately 3:00 in the morning of August 29 I decided, "What the hell?" and threw down the requisite cold hard cash to become a part of gaming history, even though the OUYA creators were well beyond their initial goal of just under a million bucks -- already breaking that amount eight times over and then some.
Fast forward to early May, two months beyond the promised date for when early backers would receive their console, and the small, admittedly sleek device sits among all of my other much larger and more intimidating consoles, waiting for its day in the sun.
And if I'm to be perfectly honest, that little Android go-getter is probably going to be facing a long wait.
This review recap is brought to you by Daft Punk's Alive 2007, which fueled the incessant copying and pasting efforts needed to put one of these together. I don't feel like I've blinked since I started working on this, but it's worth it!
April was notable in that most of what we covered was smaller-scale and released through digital channels rather than at retail. We had Dead Island Riptide, sure, but there was also the likes of Don't Starveand Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Speaking of which, did you notice that video reviews are back? There's going to be plenty more of those on the way.
Which games released in April, if any, decimated your free time?
Not content with taking the Doodle Jump formula and simply placing Sonic in it with Sonic Jump, Sega has tapped a new mobile avenue, the 3D endless runner. Surprisingly, this sub-genre is the one that actually suits Sonic the most -- perhaps more than any IP ever could.
But as you can imagine, with the problematic and pushy nature of in-app-purchasing, Sega's handling of the franchise in general, and some developer's inability to translate quality into the mobile arena, a whole heap of things could go wrong.