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  • Crawl

    As a teen I used to spend hours in the arcade pumping quarters into Guantlet.  This was an amazing 4 player co-op dungeon crawler where you had to battle enemies and share supplies.  It always made the game more interesting when someone joined the game and would grab all the health potions and food - even if they didn't need it.  That type of game play is directly reflected in the new game from Powerhoof.  Crawl pits "co-op" players against each other for honor, money, glory, and the chance to escape but there is a hitch - only one player is actually alive.

      You start the game in a room with all four players alive - either you and 3 friends, or you and computer controlled bots - where you must battle to the death.  The suvivor will continue the quest to defeat the main boss.  Those that met an early death need not dispair, you are not out of the game yet. You become a spirit capable of possessing traps and summoning monsters to kill the hero.  If you are able to kill the hero, you regain your humanity, become the hero and try to complete the quest.  The last hero takes your place as a spirit and the cycle comtinues.  While in hero form you will have access to a blacksmith where you can buy weapons, potions and new moves provided you have the gold.  The ghosts can earn wrath, which is used in between floors to upgrade the monsters you summon.  The monsters will evolve and take on more powerful forms as you progress.

      To get to the final boss, the hero must be level 10 to open the portal.  You only gain XP when you are playing as the hero.  If you reach the portal and are not level 10 you will have to find stairs to the next level.  If you are level 10 and decide to go after the boss, the 3 spirits can posess the boss to impeade your progress.  If you fail against the boss, you will be transported back into the dungeon.  You have a total of 3 tries against the boss before the game will end automatically.  

      The controls scheme is fairly simple.  No matter which form you are in you have 2 attacks, so there isn't a difficulty curve to learn.  One nice thing they have built in is that your character will get tired if you constantly attack, so you can't spam the attack button to win all your fights.  You will have to move around during battles to avoid getting killed by your 3 foes.  

      Graphics for the game are 100% old school.  When you first fire up the game you are greeted with a screen that tells you to Insert Coin.  Do not let the look of the game deter you from playing, there is a lot of fun to be had in this title.  The background music is a mix of upbeat adventuring tunes and creepy music that sets the tone for the dungeon.

      This game can be played solo.  You start out as the hero and you face off against 3 computer controlled bots.  When you starrt out you can even select their difficulties.  So you can play against a team of easy opponents, hard foes, or even mix it up to vary the experience.  Where this game really shines is when you have 3 othere friends jump in with you to play.  The trash talking and competition is off the charts.  Unfortunately the game only supports local multiplayer, so if your friends aren't close by you, theree is a chance you will miss out on some of the best gameplay the title has to offer.
      Crawl is available now on XB1, PS4, and Steam.  You can pic it up on the platform of your choice for $14.99.

    The Crow's Eye!

    Set against a backdrop of psychological terror, The Crow’s Eye is a first-person puzzle adventure in which you will use your wits to escape the abandoned Medical University of Crowswood, while investigating the mysterious disappearances of students and faculty 20 years earlier.
    Developer: 3D2 Entertainment 
    Publisher: Nkidu Games
    So while the wife and kid were taking a nap, I decided it was time to try out this horror game that I picked up the other day! At first glance I expected a game that was going to make me wake up the family with my childlike screaming and heavy breathing through dark and damp hallways. While this was the case in a few instances, overall the game did not have that scare factor that I had expected. (This is noted on the description of the game, that if you are looking for the surprise jumps and scares, you may be in the wrong place)
    I believe that I had roughly 2 instances of being actually startled by something in the game. One was when I was nonchalantly grabbing a key and a work jumped on my screen(in game of course) and the other when an ominous tone came into my speakers randomly. 
    Unfortunately this game, while interesting and somewhat addictive (until you get too frustrated to continue) does leave something to be desired. The storyline is a bit hard to follow with the addition of multiple characters over time, and the random creepy guy who seems like he is from the past, but is talking to me as I am playing. I would have loved at least a few scary things around some of the vents and corners, but I can't ask for that if that is not what they intended. 
    The quest line, while somewhat linear, does bring into play a bit of guesswork, and not in a good way. This guesswork created a very frustrating 10-15 minutes of sitting there wondering what I missed and where I have been on my very basic map. 
    Overall, I would recommend this game to someone who enjoys mysteries, doesn't harp too much on the quality of graphics, and the person who wants to play a horror game without really being terrified. 
    The Crow's Eye is available as a Steam Download! Check it out here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/449510/

    Boost Your Gamerscore Quickly with No Skill

      I will admit that for the first few years I was playing on Xbox I didn't pay attention to those achievements that popped up on the bottom of my screen.  Sure, I knew they meant I just completed some task, but I wasn't out chasing that little ding and trying to get every game I played to 100%.  But then a few people I gamed with commented about my low gamerscore, so I decided to see what I could do to improve it.
      It turns out if you have the time, and a little extra money, you can jump your gamerscore by about 20,000 points in a single weekend.  You read that right, 20 K, and the best part is you don't even have to be that good of a player to do it.  I have completed all the titles within, and many can attest to my mediocre gaming skill set.
      In order for you to get the maximum score in the shortest amount of time it will help if you have an Xbox One and an Xbox 360, or at least access to one.  You can grab most of the 360 titles used on disc with some searching brick and mortar stores, or just order them from the internet.  Once you are done with them you can add them to your collection, trade them back in, resell them to other achievement hunters, or trade them to a friend who needs a boost.  The Xbox One games are available digitally, and once you buy them, they are yours forever, so you will want to check the weekly Xbox sales for these titles as you will probably only play the game once.
      Also before you start playing, if you are going to try and boost your score quickly, you should also check out achievement hunting websites like TrueAchievements.com or XboxAchievements.com - these sites will show you what achievements are in each game, and how to grab them quickly.  

      Now for the Xbox 360 Titles : 10 K, about 18 hours
     Avatar - The Last Airbender : 5 - 10 minutes to complete
     Backyard Football 2010 : 2 hours to complete
     Backyard Sports - Rookie Rush : 2 hours to complete
     Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons : 2-3 hours to complete
     College Hoops 2K6 : 2 hours to complete
     Contrast : 2 hours to complete
     Forza Horizon 2 - The Fast & the Furious : 2 hours to complete
     Major Legue Baseball 2K6 : 2 hours to complete 
     NBA 2K6 : 2 hours to complete
     NHL 2K6 : 2 hours to complete

     Xbox One Games : 13 K, about 21 hours
     #IDARB : 2 hours to complete
     Another World - 20th Anniversary Edition : Under 1 hour to complete
     Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons : 2-3 hours to complete
     Contrast : 2 hours to complete
     Cubot : under 1 hour to complete
     Contrast : 2 hours to complete
     Energy Cycle : under 1 hour to complete
     Forza Horizon 2 - The Fast & the Furious : 2 hours to complete
     NBA 2K17 - The Prelude : 1 hour to complete
     Pneuma - Breath of Life : 2-3 hours to complete 
     The Bunker : 2 hours to complete
     The Little Acre : 2 hours to complete
     Three Fourths Home : 2 hours to complete
      This is by no means a complete list of easy achievement games, but it does contain many of the quickest ones.  As an added bonus, the games that are on the list also have good stories, are fun to play, and don't require a lot of grinding.  You can also complete each title in one sitting without much difficulty.  If you are looking for games that you can complete easily but will take up a bit more time, I can add a list of those as well.

    Downward Spiral: Prologue First Thoughts

    Downward Spiral: Prologue 
    Downward Spiral is a VR Specific Game which can be purchased from Steam and found at http://store.steampowered.com/app/574940/ Developed and Published by 3rd Eye Studios Oy LTD. 
    ABOUT THIS GAME (Direct information from Steam Game Link)
    Downward Spiral: Prologue is inspired by 70’s sci-fi movies and modern TV series; it’s the most immersive journey in VR, has distinct style, intense deathmatch, gunpowder smelling action in zero gravity and mystery you have never experienced before. It’s the first game released using new innovative way of moving freely in VR space without players suffering from motion sickness. Built by award winning industry veterans. 
    -3 game modes: Solo, Co-Op and Deathmatch
    -Intense Deathmatch in zero gravity for up to 8 players
    -15-30 minutes long Journey mode, the most immersive journey ever, especially in online in co-op
    -New Innovative way to move freely in VR without suffering motion sickness
    -Play with or without room-scale
    -Music by lead singer and composer of HIM, Ville Valo.
    Downward Spiral: Prologue is the first installment of very ambitious Downward Spiral Anthology Series. Every game will have different main characters, story and setting but are knitted together with the unsettling backstory which will open episode after episode.

    Initial Thoughts From RealHorsePlay!
    Downward Spiral: Prologue is an anti-gravity VR experience.  This game does a great job at making you feel like you're in space with both it's design, and the way you have to get around.  
    It's different having to control yourself by pushing off of walls/rails around you, but I enjoy it.  Being able to explore an abandoned space station, finding very little here and there, left me curious.
     I wanted to keep playing and to discover what it was that had happened.
     Overall, I had a great time with what I was able to play and would go deeper into the game if I could!  My only personal issue is that my body is not used to the movement that you have to do in this game.  When your brain knows it's standing, but the eyes make it think that it's moving, can feel a little weird at first.  I think this is a great game!
    Check out RealHorsePlay on Social Media 
    YT - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjwryqmZtOCVHDXjTidBYYw
    Twitter - https://twitter.com/RealHorsePlay
    Once again - You can find this awesome game over at http://store.steampowered.com/app/574940/ 
    If you have a VR Set - We recommend this game as one you should own! 
    Be sure to check out the developer's website over at http://www.3rdeyestudios.fi/ for any up dates or new releases! 

    Air Guitar Warrior for Kinect

    Like some Xbox players, I have been trying to find a reason to really love my Kinect.  When I first got my 360 I was thinking it was going to be great, but more and more I was disappointed by the games that utilized it.  It was a gimmick for than anything.  And the system integration has been sketchy at best.  It has become more of a quicker way to turn my system off as I am cleaning up for the night, than a gaming tool.  I will occassionally use it record some of my semi-par game play, but that is about it.

      Very few companies even pay attention to the Kinect these days, which is why I keep an eye out for new releases from Virtual Air Guitar Company.  Their games draw you into the game with camera and allow you control the action with the motion sensors.  Their newest release is no different.  Air Guitar Warrior for Kinect lets you live out your rock god fantasies while never leaving the comfort of your home.

      As the title suggests you will pick up you invisible axe and battle waves of enemies.  Your skill and technique will directly impact your performance, but don't fret, you don't have to actually be able to play to do well.  There are four distinctly different attacks that depend on your hand placement on the neck of the "guitar" and how fast you strum.  Hand placement decides on if you are playing lead or rhythm and your strumming speed will vary between fast and slow.  The catch is that each part has a limited amount of ammo, so you can't just constantly use strong attacks, or attacks that are weaker but have a larger damage radius.  You will have to vary your attacks if you want to clear levels with 100% efficency and your health in tact.

      The game is at heart a side scrolling shooter.  You will mount anything from a dinosaur to a viking ship or and eagle and enemies start to attack as the hard rocking original soundtrack plays in the background.  You will play along and shoot foes down before they have a chance to get close enough to attack you.  You don't earn points through out each level, but at the end of the level you are shown the number of each type of enemy you dispatched and give you a level completion percentage.  You will also gain XP which levels up you character.

      The game is divided into albums, each of which has 5 tracks.  There are 4 levels and one final album boss.  Once you complete all 10 albums, you can replay them on a higher difficulty.  As you progress through the campaign you will also unlock new guitars that have different firing abilities.  Some are tied to the albums that you playing, others just look really cool.  Either way, the new weapons add to the replay value of the game as you can try to best all the levels with each one.

      The kinect integration into the game is pretty much seemless.  You will appear on screen in all of your rocking glory.  The strumming and hand positions are picked up without an issue.  Navigating the menu between albums can be a little clunky at times, but works with the kinect or you can just flick your controller once or twice.  Also since you are playing guitar and not moving around, the kinect only really needs to pick up your upper torso so the game doesn't require you to have a large space cleared.  An added bonus of this game is that if you wear any sort of fitness tracking device on the wrist of your strumming hand you will rack up a nice little workout when you play.

      Air Guitar Warrior for Kinect is a fun game for all of those that like to rock out on their imaginary guitars when nobody is looking.  It can also double as a light exercise program.  You can grab it at the Xbox store for $19.99.  The title is a little pricey, but I have to admit that it is a fun game to just pick up and play for 5 - 10 minutes when you need to unwind.  But you may also find yourself jamming out for an hour and stopping only when your body says you need to take a break.
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