If you haven’t played the eXcellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you should. However, now there is a caveat to that. You should play it, but you should probably wait until November 12 to do so because that’s when the Enem...
When I first saw the adorable Castle Story at PAX East earlier this year, it immediately grabbed my attention. Its simplistic brick stacking and mining are very enjoyable and addicting, and the animations are a joy to watch.
The game is out now on Steam Early Access, and I have had a chance to dive into it some more to check out the survival and sandbox modes. There is multiplayer available in this build, but I haven't had a chance to play around with it yet since it requires you to manually connect to another user's IP at this point. It's still a little rough around the edges, but the core gameplay is good enough to have me hooked.
Garages are passé now, it seems. Where once indie game developers would steal precious space from cars, lawnmowers, and bikes, they can now be found living up in a tree or, in the case of Danish developer BetaDwarf, squatting in a classroom.
"Fuck it, we're going to skip [our] apartments and literally live at university," Steffen Kabbelgaard and his team decided during development of their colorful co-op arena game, Forced. Risk, sacrifice, and no small amount of good fortune characterize the story of Forced's birth, a story that's nearing its end as the team gears up for an October 24 launch.
Gravity Ghost was on display at the recent Arizona Indie Game Showcase at the Phoenix Art Museum, and I spent a bit of time hopping between planets, collecting space flowers, and manipulating physics in an effort to achieve perfect orbit.
That description of Scale may invoke thoughts of Portal or Quantum Conundrum, and those comparisons wouldn't be completely off base, but after some time with the game, I couldn't shake the feeling that it is more like Super Mario 64 than anything else. At least, it's like Super Mario 64, except you have a gun that can grow and shrink objects in the environment at will.
I'd be convinced Jazzpunk was made by some actually-talented, alternate universe me, for me, if I didn't meet and chat with one half of its creative team, Necrophone Games' Luis Hernandez, for myself.
It's a first-person joke box riffing on some of my favorite themes. An-Airplane styled goof that delivers its jokes with both panache and clinical deadpan. It's smart, clever, and zany, but not above putting a whoopee cushion on your chair. Literally.
Even in the games I've seen that have managed humor well, few as there are, I'm not sure I've ever played anything quite like this. It's hard to codify my feelings on the game because I have so many different feelings on so many disparate elements of it, albeit all of them resolutely positive. The colorful, cartoonish cyberpunk affair is the weirdest amalgam of some of my favorite things: noir, jazz, Blade Runner. The over-arching spy theme feels appropriately like secret agent parody Get Smart, given the comedic parallels between Jazzpunk and the indelible Mel Brooks.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number picks up after the events of the original game and focuses on two different groups of people you'll be playing as. While both groups are very different from one another, they both happen to be dealing with the same subject matter: Hero worship. The "hero" in this case being Jacket from the Hotline Miami, who has made waves after going on his killing spree against the Russian mob.
A new story, but that original brutal satisfying gameplay is very much intact. You'll be smashing, slashing, shooting, and slamming people's bodies into bloody pulps all to the cool tunes of the '80s-inspired music once again, and that's a good thing.
Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded - Land of the Lounge Lizards -- my, that's a big title -- threw some nostalgia my way immediately. Just as in the original '87 version of the game and its '91 VGA remake, Reloaded begins with a series of questions designed to prove the player's age. It's a throwback from an era when most assumed that all games were for kids, and even a nine-year-old could walk out of a shop with a softporn adventure. Al Lowe designed the questions believing that no child would know the answers.
He was right, because back in the '90s I needed a cheat sheet. The now out of date questions have been updated with more appropriately modern ones, emphasizing the fact that we've entered remake territory. Likewise, the original MIDI soundtrack kicks in before being transformed into a modern interpretation of the theme.
Reloaded is still very much an LSL game, complete with the lewd humor and the awful, but somehow still lovable protagonist, Larry Laffer -- but it's chock-full of changes and additions.
Over the last year and -- almost -- a half, Crusader Kings IIhas grown considerably. What started of as a vast grand strategy game where players could take the reins of a Christian noble dynasty now contains playable Islamic dynasties and merchant republics, a fictional Aztec invasion, and the ability to carve out empires, and that's all great. But what I really wanted, right from the beginning, was to troll medieval Europe with a fleet of Viking longships.
With The Old Gods expansion, I've finally been able to do exactly this. Not merely a Viking expansion, however, The Old Gods introduces playable pagan dynasties all over the map and a slew of tweaks, improvements and new additions. It's been difficult to tear myself away, and it might very well be Crusader Kings II's best expansion yet -- it's certainly the largest.
There're few things quite as enjoyable as spending a rainy afternoon indoors, playing a fantastical adventure game. I recently got my grubby mitts on a preview code for prolific adventure game studio Daedalic's upcoming magical romp, The Night of the Rabbit, and sought sanctuary from the gloomy Scottish spring inside Mousewood.
Outside of my flat it might have been wet and cold, with people scurrying about under umbrellas, but inside I was chatting away with eccentric mice, defending an adorable owl chick from a malevolent crow, and learning how to be a magician in a gorgeous, sun-dappled forest. It's a hard life.
The challenge in creating a platformer is figuring out what you could do differently from everyone else. While the same could be said about any genre, you have to admit that it's especially challenging for plaformers, a genre that is so simple at its core. Cloudberry Kingdom's answer is in its AI level creator, which switches up the design of every level you play, every time you play it.
Originally a Kickstarter-funded project, Cloudberry Kingdom was developed by a core team of four -- including around 12 contractors -- at Pwnee Studios. "When we did the Kickstarter thing, we had distribution deals on Wii U, PSN, and Steam, but Microsoft just really wasn't playing ball with us," said Pwnee Studios' Jordan Fisher.
In need of a major publishers backing to get on the restrictive XBLA, Pwnee started shopping around, eventually finding a partner in Ubisoft. "We actually met Ubisoft at E3, and they liked the game a lot, and they could get us onto XBLA." On the previously mentioned publishing deals, Fisher continues: "That was sort of the trade-off. We would let them have a slice of wherever it was published in exchange for them getting us on XBLA. It's definitely been worth it though, since they've been getting us marketing and all sorts of support."
When the co-founder of Ragtag Studio, Chris Cobb, told me that Ray's the Dead was Pikmin with zombies, I was just about ready to hand over my wallet. I'm not even a huge fan of Pikmin, but for whatever reason this idea perked my ears up. What if instead of commanding cute little plants to fix a spaceship I was working with zombies to understand why and when I became a zombie? The premise certainly was interesting.
Perhaps the best thing about Ray's the Dead is its light-hearted humor. These aren't gritty Walking Dead zombies with entrails hanging out and blood everywhere -- the art style is way more cartoony and adorable. For the undead, think less DayZ and more Plants vs. Zombies. The gameplay is indeed reminiscent of Pikmin, but with a lot of mission variety.
I love games like League of Legends and Dota 2, but their matches can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. SmashMuck Champions is looking to give us a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) with faster matches and game modes that are easy to get into.
The game plays like a standard MOBA for the most part, but it's a little bit more action-focused and easier to get into. It's different enough from other games to make worth checking out.
After more than doubling its modest Kickstarter goal of $6,000, AckkStudios has been hard at work on Two Brothers. The team's perseverance shines in the demo that's on display at PAX East, as its crowdfunded project shows signs of being something truly special.
If the style seems familiar, that's because it is. The developers enthusiastically admit that the game's heavily influenced by Link's Awakening, Pokemon, and Legend of Mana. While it borrows from past works, Two Brothers has a premise that's wholly its own.
Pioneers was chosen as IndieDB's "best indie of 2012," and after spending some time playing it, I can see why. The classic graphics are inspired by old-school Apple or Atari, and while they only use four colors, it still looks great. The gameplay is basically a turn-based role-playing game where you create a party of characters who have stats that determine how good they are at certain skills. The game is also a good mix of Oregon Trail, Pirates!, and Dwarf Fortress.
The goal is to create a party of adventurers to explore and map new lands, meet the natives, get rich from trading, and trying to survive while you complete quests. It's strongly reminiscent of older games from the Atari and Commodore era, but the gameplay is also very rich with a modern twist.
Don't know about you, but I have a real soft spot for supernatural tales set during the frontier times in North America. The mixture of exploring a new world mixed with the superstitions and myths of the time is heady stuff. Sang-Froid - A Tale of Werewolves has just that sort of story with gameplay that combines third-person combat and tower-defense-esque strategy.
Greenlit by the Steam Community, Sang-Froid is currently in a closed beta for those who have pre-purchased the game. Despite having some interesting ideas, it's still quite rough round the edges.