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  • Spellspire

      10 Tons LTD is known for releasing quirky physics based puzzle games such as Tennis in the Face, Baseball Riot, and King Oddball.  But their newest release, while a bit quirky, relies more on a vast vocabulary than a knowledge of angles and velocity.  Spellspire is word game with RPG elements that will test your brain and your reflexes.

      You play the part of a wizard that must make their way up 100 floors of a tower, defeating progressively harder enemies as you go. To attack enemies, you must form words from the 10-letter pool you are given at the start of each floor.  Words increase in damage the more letters you use.  So, a 3-letter word inflicts the minimum amount while using all 10 letters will cause a devastating blow.  This means that you will want to save the longer words for the more powerful enemies on the stage.

      Game play is simple – form words, attack monsters, clear the floor and earn gold.  You can then use that gold to buy new gear and upgrade it in the shop.  Robes, hats, wands as well as basic health and attack.  These upgrades will help you defeat the more powerful enemies and the bosses that reside on each 10th floor.  Wands can also be imbued with special abilities such as poison, ice, etc which will have different effects on enemies, so make sure to check out their weaknesses in the Monsterpedia.  The health comes into play because if you don’t destroy a foe before the onscreen timer runs out, they will attack you.

      As straight forward as the game is, the controls on consoles can get in the way of themselves very easily.  You use the right stick to move the cursor over the letter you want, then click on it with the A button.  Once you have formed your word, you use the right trigger to attack.  The word will flash if you have formed a usable word, so you don’t have to waste time worrying if you have input a bad word.  There are also about 111,000 words in the dictionary – including many swear and slang words, so you have a lot of material to work with.  But when you are rushing against the clock it is very easy to click the wrong tile.  The game was originally a mobile title, and the tile selection was done with tapping the screen, so there would be less chance of mistakes.

      There is a fair amount of content in this game if you are into word games.  Each time you play a floor, the letter pool is changed, so you get a new experience.  Also, once you beat a floor it is changed to a challenge level.  The monsters become faster and you must complete it while maintaining set criteria.  If you complete the challenge you will earn a star.  Clearing floors, as well as earning stars will unlock new equipment for you to buy in the store with the gold you have earned.

      The graphics are cartoony, which is fine for this type of game.  The enemies are well varied and interesting to look at, even though you will be spending most of your time focusing on the lower right hand corner of the screen where the letter tiles are.  The music is upbeat and fits well with the genre.  Long gaming sessions may find you lowering the volume, but your brain will probably start to yell at you for missing easy 3-letter words first and you will want to take a break.

    No matter what platform you play on, you should be able to find Spellspire.  You can grab it on iOS and Android for free – in app purchases may apply - so you can play on the go, or grab it on XB1, PS4, or Steam for $ 9.99.
                                              7/10

    Tango Fiesta

    As a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's I think I was exposed to some of the greatest movies and games that were ever released.  The proof I have of that is that today Hollywood is remaking most of the films, and the game industry is paying homage to the games and the movies on a regular basis.  The latest title to do this is Tango Fiesta by Spilt Milk Studio, a top down twin stick shooter that recalls the days of Smash TV and the co-op play of Gauntlet.

      The game is set in a world where the events of almost every 80's adventure movie actually happened to a man named John Strong, it is up to you to prevail against the forces of evil.  Commando, Predator, Die Hard, Robo Cop, Running Man, and more are referenced.  You even get to play as characters modeled after the heroes of those iconic flicks.  There are 6 different characters to choose from as you start out your adventure.

      There are 2 seperate game modes to pick from Arcade and Story Mode, each playable with up to 4 players local co-op.  The modes are basically thee same, Story takes you through the 5 worlds in order while Arcade mixes things up a bit.  Each world consists of 3 different levels and a boss.  In each of the levels you must complete a specific objective - either destroy some buildings, helicopters or shut down communications towers.  The other main difference is that in Story mode you are able to pick a primary, secondary and throwable weapon - arcade you are limited to primary and throwable ( your secondary is automatically chosen for you ).

      The weapons locker in the game is a bit limited at the start of play, but as you play through the game you will unlock a more powerful arsenal.  Using each hero, getting a specific number of kills, killing off bosses will all increase your fire power.  But this increased popwer doesn't come cheap.  Each new weapon will have to be purchased with gold that is recovered from enemies that are killed in game.  With several weapons costing over $100k, and only getting $200 for most kills, there is a bit of grinding involved on getting some of the best guns.

      Game play is pretty straight forward.  At the start of each level you are shown the objectives you need to clear before you are dropped into the level.  It is then up to you if you want to just run to them, clear them out and move on, or spend time destroying lots of enemies that will keep re-spawning.  For the most part you won't have to worry about health or ammunition, as you will see certain enemies with little flags above them saying that they will drop the different resources.  But unfortunately they don't always drop what you need, or anything at all.  This doesn't usually present a problem until the later worlds when you start to become swamped with enemies.

      Tango Fiesta can be played solo, but it is exponentially better the more friends you have playing with you.  Not only does it make it easier to clear the higher worlds, but it is just a lot more fun slaying throngs of foes with your buddies.  But bringing friends along for the ride will present a few problems as well.  Friendly fire is on, so you have to make sure you knkow where you are shooting at all times.  Not only that, but you all play on the same screen, so if someone falls behind, they will fall off the screen.  This can be a bit disorienting for them, so you will have to make sure that everyone keeps up.  And with some characters markedly slower than others, this can take a little extra team work.  Unfortunately you will have to gather your friends in your game room to play because the title lacks online multiplayer support.

      No matter if you are looking for a game to play with your friends for a while, or something to pick up to relive the glory days of 80's action flicks, Tango Fiesta will scratch that itch.  It is available now on XB1, PS4, and Steam.  The title has a sticker price of $9.99.
        7/10

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3

    C I Games recently released the 3rd game in their Sniper Ghost Warrior series, aptly named Sniper Ghost Warrior 3.  Now before I get too deep into this review I have to lay a few cards on the table.  The first is that I have not played either of the first two games in the series.  The second is that I was taught to shoot by a Marine Corps Sniper who served in Vietnam, then rotated back to the states to become a Scout Sniper instructor.  While I am not a complete expert on ballistics, I do know my way around a weapon.  So with that out of the way - let's begin.

      The game begins with a prologue mission, which serves to set up some back story for our main character, John North and act as a basic tutorial.  You are introduced to different types of movement, weapons, attacks, ammunition, and the equipment you have at your disposal.  The mission centers on John and his brother Robert, another sniper, when they are sent on a classified mission to scout and clear an enemy base.  But things don't always go as planned.

       Fast forward a bit and our story continues.  John is now in Georgia - the country, not the state - and he is on assignment to help out the locals and destabalize the seperatists.  This assignment takes on a lot of different roles.  Your missions will vary from intellegence gathering, hostage rescue, termination of most wanted targets, and creating general chaos.

      The regions that you operate in also contain dozens of points of interest for you to explore.  These points contain different smaller missions for you to complete.  Some may require you to save civilians, some have you track down needed supplies, while others simply serve as fast travel points around the area.  Regardless, they add some depth and more time that you can spend in the world.  These side missions will also help you increase your skill, gather supplies so that you can craft resources and help you explore the landscapes.

      Most of your traveling is designed to be done in your car.  Your exit your safe house, hop in your ride, drive to your mission, park and go through the objectives.  Once complete, you exfiltrate the area, return to your vehicle and drive back to the safe house to get your next set of orders.  Unfortunately, things tend to go pear shaped when you really don't want them too.  Many times once you complete a mission and return to where you stashed your ride it has vanished.  This means you are left to run back to a fast travel location or in some cases all the way back to your safehouse since you are not able to grab any of the other cars that are in the world.
     
      You can work straight through the story and be done with the game or take your time doing the optional side missions and hunting the most wanted targets as you like.  This offers a bit of variety in the flow of the game.  It will also allow you to travel between the different regions of the game, explore more, earn and find more of the weapons of the trade.

      One of the most crucial aspects of the game is the shooting mechanics.  It is after all a sniping game.  Most of the weapons you use you will have to take distance, elevation and wind speed into account prior to your shot.  Only a few high powered / high tech sniper rifles are immune from these factors.  You will also have to take enemy armor into your calculations.  At 100 yards you may be able to get away with a headshot against an enemy wearing a helmet, but at 400 + yards that same shot will require armor piercing rounds to ensure a killshot.  It is  nice to see kinectics and ballistics taken into account.  The other interesting aspect is that each round fired through a silenced weapon will degrade the attached silencer until it is destroyed.  The only way to counter this is to repair it in between missions when you are at your safe house, or carry repair kits with you.
     
      The amount of noise you make can influence if the enemy hears you, but this seems to vary a lot.  I have been crouched and had an enemy on the far side of an objective take notice of me and one that was less than half his distance to me pay no attention to me.  I have also been able to run full speed up to enemies over 30-40 meters and they didn't bat an eye before I was able to "stealth" kill them.  If you are spotted, you can usually go prone and simply vanish.  If things do go sideways with your mission and a fire fight breaks out, if you are able to move your position, and don't return fire for a minute or so the AI figures you have bugged out and they continue their regular patrol patterns.

      Graphics in the game are really good.  There is a good diversity of enemy types and they are rendered well.  Environments are set up beautifully, and there are a few very interesting destinations used as set pieces.  The slow motion kill shots are well done, but can get a bit repeatative if you are only going for head shots, and let's face it - we are all trying to pop them like ripe melons for the extra points.  The music is upbeat, regional tunes that go well with the setting.  The sound effects also help to enhance the game astetic whether it is the howling of the wind, or the howling of the wolves, you will begin to feel like a lone sniper on a mission where survival is solely up to your skills.
     
      As fun and interesting as this title is, it does suffer a few setbacks.  The 1st is one that you will see right off.  Really long load times when you start up the game - like start up the game and go make a sandwich long.  These usually only happen at the start of each session, but they are very frustrating.  Next, as I mentioned, there is a good chance your vechile will not be where you left it.  Also multiple times as I played I encountered the same bug.  I would shoot someone, the game would go into the slow motion kill shot and stop just before bullet impact and I was taken back to the moment right before I pulled the trigger.  This means you have to re-adjust and try the same shot 3 to 4 times.  You can also clear objectives, get an in game notification they are cleared and then get shot my a random enemy that has been re-spawned.  The story is interesting, if not predictable, but will give you many hours of engaging gameplay.
     
      Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is out now on XB1, PS4, PC, and Wii U.  You can pick it up now with a season pass that includes extra content for $59.99.  I reviewed the game on XB1.
     
                                 7/10

    Sniper Ghost Warrior 3: A Review

    If there’s one thing I love about video games, it is the storytelling. Almost all games that I play or have played involve it in some way or another. Whether it is the massive story arches and connectivity of the Mass Effect series, or the small side quests that lead to relatively nothing in the Elder Scrolls, I love the quest for quests. And when given this game, I can tell you, I was excited. A Far Cry style open world FPS-RPG from a sniper’s perspective, what an awesome sounding game!
     (CI Games)
    And what an awesome let down.
    After a 40GB install, I expected the game to load and run smoothly, yet it surprisingly took multiple minutes(close to 7 min. every time) to load. And then, it still wasn’t at full quality I expected of a 2017 release, even at Ultra settings. Disappointing, but they may fix this in future patches.
    (reddit)
    The story line of the game is lackluster as well, about an inconceivable mission gone awry when two Marine snipers(who are brothers) are sent to a mission alone(which, as a writer for a military based site-this notion bothered me),  and predictably, one brother is kidnapped and made rogue by a terrorist group, from which you must rescue him. Sniping up the terrorist chain of command until you can find him.
    A saving grace of the game is the customization aspects and their effect on gameplay. Manufacture ammo, and customize your weapons, and see how they change the way you maneuver and where you take your shots. I noticed, with one rifle, I would take much more conservative shots, and with another I’d play a lot more aggressive. It depended on what rifle and attachments I used.
    (n4g.com)
    My final opinion of the game is that, as a FPS, this game is pretty good, the sniping mechanics of wind and distance, as well as the ability to customize and manufacture weapons, ammo, and add-ons is very enjoyable. Yet, the story and the graphics could be better. They left too much for my mind to criticize while playing the game.
    I would recommend this to a person who likes sniping and/or open world games, and doesn’t really care about it being a cookie-cutter story.
     
     

    Deformers

    Last year GameStop announced that they were going to enter the game publishing arena.  They were doing this through GameTrust - a PR firm that would help developers get their titles to market.  The newest title to roll out under this label is Deformers, a game that was developed by Ready at Dawn.

      It is hard to put Deformers into a category, because the game contains 2 different genres.  There is a soccer game ( Form Ball ), so it could be placed in sports - but it also has Death Match and Team Death Match modes, so it can also be added to action.  For ease we will put it under the broader category of party games.  

      In the game you play as a blob and will pick one of several skill sets.  They will increase your speed, endurance, shooting skill, etc. Unfortunately there is very little diffence in preformance no matter which skill you pick.  So it is down to the game mode you decide on.  Form Ball is effectively soccer.  You and your teammates try to outscore the other team by getting more goals.  Youo can rush into the ball and "kick" it, or you can pick it up and carry it to the enemy goal.  You can also just ignore the ball and take out your opponents to gain extra XP and make it a bit easier to score.  Team Death Match and Death Match just remove the ball and place you on different maps where the only objective is to vanquish the enemy.  They do add in special attacks that you can grab if you are quicker than your foe.

      As you complete games you level up, earn XP, earn coins and gain the ability to purchase new Deformers and accessories.  These "upgrades" are purely cosmetic.  You can buy new skins for your blob, but that will not improve their skills, the only thing that will do that is to play the game and improve your skills at the game.  But you will have to deal will some frustrating hurdles along the way.

      When you start up the game for the first time, you are greeted with the game choices, there is no tutorial, no local multiplayer mode where you can learn the controls.  You have to jump into an online game to even see how the game plays, let alone figure out the controls.  The 2nd hurdle is finding an online game.  The title gives you the choice of searching for a game of a specific type or just any Deformers game.  Even searching for any game it can take 10 - 15 minutes to find a match depending on the day and time.  Even then there may only be 1 or 2 other people in the lobby.  I played on the XB1, so things may be different on other platforms.

      The graphics in Deformers are good.  The arenas are well rendered and vary well between areas.  If you play several games back to back you will probably end up playing the same map as there is not a large library.  The skins for the blobs are cute and really make the game interesting.  There is a wide variety of goofy animals to unlock, and accessories to add on to them.  The graphics do take an odd turn if you play online splitscreen.  The screen is split horizontally 50/50, but if you play 2 players, each screen takes up about 70% of the top or bottom of the screen (1st player top left, 2nd player bottom right) . This means that the screens overlap a little in the middle and there are black bars in opposite corners.  It makes for a very awkward playing experience. The music goes well with the game, but doesn't stand out.

    Deformers is out now on XB1, PS4, and Steam.  You can pick it up for $29.99.
     
           5/10

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    • will be doing a bts of how one of my strategy guide is made videos tomorrow on a charity live stream at 7pm est on the @team_warfleetz twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/team_warfleetz
    • Hello FTG! We're having the development team for the military-style, 50v50 shooter game called Squad on the podcast soon, but in the meantime I want to get another rendition of 20 Questions with them! Post anything you'd like to ask about the team, its members, their inspiration, hobbies...etc. Best 20 Questions will make it into the article! 
    • Welcome to the community Madd_Jakk.  Look forward to speaking with you and working with you in the future.  Feel free to ass me on Steam at MisterE911 or Twitch at the same name.
    • What's up, my name is Alex but my gaming handle is Coward. You can call me by either, I don't mind.  I'm a 23 y/o History student with a passion for music and gaming as well. My brother is @RobocoxTV and he is the one who got me hooked on gaming as hobby.  I DJ at a few nightclubs and venues in my home city and have performed with a bunch of major DJs like NGHTMRE, Herobust, 12th Planet, Baauer, Borgore, and more. I also produce on the side and will be streaming live production on twitch as well as a few of my live DJ sets during shows via Periscope(twitch would shut it down due to some songs being copyrighted).  I love Open World games and storytelling, but FPS games are a ton of fun and I really started gaming and being interested in eSports via CoD, but lost interest and switched to PC, and CSGO is basically my new FPS heaven. Holler at me in you want someone to play a game with, I'm always down to game.
    • well someone didn't notice it's 1v1
    • Good evening everyone as it is 1830 hours here at home! My name is Madd Jakk, and I am excited to working and playing with all of you. Definitely looking forward to the opportunity to support fellow veterans all around! I'm a 39 year old Active Duty US Army Soldier currently based out of California. I have now served both the Regular Army and now the Army National Guard as an Active Guard Reservist (AGR) for nearly 21 years come this August. I have trained in three career fields or MOS', Infantry, Combat Engineer, and Recruiter. I currently work as an Operations NCO for a Battalion S3, and have certifications as a Small Group Instructor and Battle Staff. Beyond the military I am a husband of almost 4 years now, and a Father to a brilliant young 15 year old who just discovered a knack for his High School Wrestling Team. I am blessed to have a supporting family that also shares a love of my service, and my love of gaming as we're all gamers in the house! Gaming has been a huge part of my life ever since the old CalicoVision.....good grief that was a long time ago! I have only recently been introduced to streaming on Twitch since this past December. I am currently a part of a couple other Streaming Teams such as TwitchStarsTV led by CMDRHughMann, Streamers Connected headed by LTZonda, and just right now the Mil-Spec Team! I am also a member of a gaming community called the Privateer's Alliance which mainly plays Elite: Dangerous, however we're expanding to many games as we speak. Lately I have streamed on Twitch mostly Elite: Dangerous, however I enjoy playing SWTOR, Ghost Recon Wildlands, For Honor, Witcher 3, Fallout 4, and many more. generally I stream on weeknights at 730 PM to 1030 PM Pacific, and on weekends it's a bit up in the air as I spend time with the Fam Bam. Sometimes when I have leave from the office, I may have special daytime streams. I'm currently on Twitter as @Madd_JakkGaming. Twitch username is Madd_Jakk See you all very soon! o7 (salute) Madd Jakk 
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