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Found 10 results

  1. For the last 4 years I have taken my vacation to Boston to go to Pax East – Penny Arcade Expo – an amazing video game show open to the public, featuring triple A titles and Indie titles alike. One of my favorite parts of Pax is getting to play all the Indie Games that are still in development, months and sometimes years before they are released. One of these games that I got to play this year was Unbox : Newbie’s Adventure from Merge Games LTD. Unbox : Newbie’s Adventure is a one of a kind physics platformer that transforms you into the newest member of the Global Postal Service. The GPS is made up of self-delivering packages, but unfortunately a group of evil boxes known as The Wild Cards have made it their mission to stop you. You must rescue trapped packages, collect rolls of golden tape, beat challenges, collect stamps and defeat world bosses. There is A LOT to do in this game, and the mechanics are very easy to learn. The left stick is used to control the direction of your box. To jump all you have to do is press the right trigger. You can also “unbox” by pressing the left trigger – this gives you an extra jump. You have 6 of these without having to grab any health crates. They come in handy when trying to cross great expanses of water or climb great heights. The campaign features 3 different worlds, each containing a different boss. There also 18 stamps, 200 Golden Tape Rolls, and trapped comrades to rescue. If that isn’t enough for you to do, there is also couch co-op modes. You and up to 3 friends can battle in 5 different game modes, or mix them up and play a tournament. Race, collect gold tape, have the most coins, battle with weapons, or capture the odd box. Each game mode offers a unique way to play with your friends and will provide hours of enjoyment. The graphics of the game are bright and colorful. All of the characters are well designed and some are really cute. For the record – my 14 year old son wants a Hop figure. The music is amazing. The first major area that you are in is an island and you are treated to a soundtrack straight out of the Caribbean. Steel drums transport you to the sunny beach. The next level takes place in the mountains, and the soundtrack takes you to the ski lodge nestled among those snow-covered peaks. Unbox hits many of the right chords for a platformer – lots of game play, solid controls, different and inventive story and of course fun. But it also has a few pitfalls. There are a few occasions when the camera angle can get in the way of platforming. You can control the camera with the right thumb stick, but twisting it can confuse the issue more. The other issue I found was the boss fights don’t always seem to go as scripted. You can quickly figure out how to defeat the boss, but out of nowhere the boss will get hurt some other way, and before you know it, you have won. This isn’t really a huge problem, but I felt a bit cheated not stomping him myself. Unbox : Newbie’s Adventure is available July 26th for XB1 and PS4. It is already available on PC if that is your platform of choice. If you own a Switch, don’t fret – the title is confirmed for sometime 2017.
  2. Occasionally, I see a game that looks really cool and I think “Hey that will be a fun game to review”, even if I am not 100% sure how the game will work. SUPERBEAT : XONiC by PM Studios, INC is the latest game to catch my eye and say play me. It is a rhythm game that utilizes the basic controller instead of a plastic guitar or a dance mat – and when I say it uses your controller, I mean it uses almost every button on there. You play the part of a DJ and it is up to you to add in key sounds to each song and keep the beat. As the notes come toward the screen, you have to try and match where it lands with the correct button, control stick or D-pad input. String enough notes together and you will be racking up the points with a huge combo. Miss a note and your combo drops to 0 and your score will suffer. When you first fire up the game you will go through a short tutorial that explains all the controls. Once completed, you will move on to the easiest of the difficulties 4 Trax. This denotes that the incoming notes can only land in 4 spots – 2 on each side. Once you complete that playlist you will unlock 6 Trax, then 6 Trax FX. 6 Trax adds another area on each side, and 6 Trax FX adds even more notes to hit. There is even a Freestyle mode if you want to just take it easy for a while. There are dozens of songs for you to play. And the music is really the star of this game. Songs bridge every genre that you can think of, but most seem to be Japanese artists, so don’t expect any Top 40 tunes on the play lists. One thing that I found a bit disappointing was that the beat you provide for the songs doesn’t seem to fit in well with the music. You start with a snare drum, but as you progress through the game you earn new key sounds like a dog barking and other odd tones. This tends to detract from the music. The graphics can be very mesmerizing. The backgrounds are psychedelic and will have you wondering if someone slipped something into your drink when you weren’t looking. You will delight in the varying waves of color that fill the screen behind the waves of notes that you have to grab. This is not a game for casual gamers. It takes some serious hand – eye co-ordination to get the high level combos needed for good rankings. While you can control the speed of the notes, juggling the controls and trying to hit notes that are flying at you on both sides of the screen. Luckily, the more you play the easier it gets, but the beginning frustration may turn some players off. SUPERBEAT : XONiC is out now on XB1 and will fill the void in your collection for rhythm games. You can add it to your games for $39.99. 6/10
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Artifex Mundi, the company that has been bringing their hidden object PC games to consoles, has released another one of their titles to the XB1. Lost Grimoires - Stolen Kingdom, is the latest of their catalogue to make the migration to the console world, and it is a title in a series that has not yet been seen there. The story starts out with you returning home after being away for many years. Your father disappeared, your mother passed away, and you were raised by a family friend, the kingdoms alchemist. He trained you as his apprentice for years so that one day you may take his place in helping out the kingdom. But once you return home you quickly realize that the kingdom is not the peaceful place it was when you left. The gameplay is similar to the previous titles from the developer. You must find objects in hidden object puzzles and complete mini games to advance the story. One thing that sets this title apart from others is your alchemy abilities. You will have to find objects and transmute them to create spells. To transmute items you will have to play a mini game where you place the elements in the proper position of a ring puzzle. But this game is lacking a few items that we have seen in previous titles. Stolen Kingdom features a main story that can be played in either casual or expert mode. Missing this time around is an epilogue. There is also no alternative to the hidden object puzzles. This cuts down on the variety and the re-play value. Since there is no change in the hidden object items or placement, when you play through on the higher difficulty, you can breeze through it fairly quickly. This means that you can get throughboth difficulties in under 4 hours. The graphics are beautiful. There are multiple locations that show you all different aspects of the kingdom from the simple town square to the opulent throne room. The music plays well with the scenery and helps to heighten the suspense where needed in the story. Lost Grimoires - Stolen Kingdom is out now on XB1 and has been available on PC for a while. You can pick it up on your prefered platform for $9.99. 7/10
  6. As a teen I used to spend hours in the arcade pumping quarters into Gauntlet. 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. 8/10
  7. 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. 8/10
  8. Indie game developer SigTrap Games has released a new flying shooter along with game publisher Merge Games LTD. Sublevel Zero Redux puts you in the shoes of the last pilot standing as you take control of a lone gunship and try to save the world. As you take over the last gunship, you will pilot your way through procedurally generated levels. The pressure is on for you to destroy the enemies, collect parts and nanites to craft more powerful weapons, and of course destroy the reactor at the end of each level and move on. Which guns, missles and hull will you pair together to make your ultimate death machine? The object of the game is fairly simple - destroy your enemies while you fly through tunnels of a large spaceship. The execution is where the game stands out from the other games in the genre. Not only are you able to fly forward, backwards, left and right, but using the d-pad will allow you to increase or decrease you altitude. Tap left or right on the pad and you will roll 45 degrees in that direction. You have full range of motion in this shooter and you will need it. Dodging fast charging enemies will require you to learn how to deftly move your ship. And since the weapons you start with are not the most accurate, you will have to try and get in close to make sure your bullets find their mark. Having 6 degrees of freedom also means that you will be using almost every button and trigger on your controller to make the most of the control scheme. The graphics in the game may seem a bit simple at first, but as you progress through the levels the simple tunnels you are flying through give way to beautiful caverns. Since the game is procedurally generated, there are no save points or extra lives, each play through is very unique. It also gives the game a high replay value. Don't think if you complete the 4 levels that you see listed that you are done, that is just the start of this adventure. Sublevel Zero Redux is out now on XB1, PS4 and Steam for $19.99. There is also a limited edition physical copy available on PS4 if you like to have the disc in your collection. 7/10 Review originally posted here
  9. Deck 13 has released a new platformer for XB1 that shows that size does matter. Shift Happens is the story of 2 blobs that must make there way through challenging environments in order to survive. You can take on this challenge solo, controlling both characters yourself - one at a time - or have a friend hop on the couch with you and tackle them together. In Shift Happens - be careful when saying the title fast, people may stare at you - you control Bismo and Plom, 2 blob like creatures that have the ability to change size. When you start out, they can shift size independently of each other, but a strange lab accident soon links their transformations. This means that you will have to coordinate their size to clear puzzles and advance through the levels. There are 49 levels spread out among 4 very unique areas, plus several Bonus Levels for you to conquer. In each level you will not only have to reach the end, but you will have to try and collect all 75 coins that are strewn about. Most are in plain sight, but some will require you to solve extra puzzles or find hidden areas. Some levels also contain a bonus item that you must work together with your teammate to return to its proper location. If all of this isn't enough to keep you busy for a while, they have also tossed in Timed versions of the levels for you to try your hand at. The graphics are bright, sharp and fun. Bismo and Plom are strangely cute characters that will remind you of a less defined, liquid, gingerbread man. Switching their sizes is a fun animation to watch, and one that you will see a lot in the game as you progress through the levels. The levels are very well designed and a nice mix between platforming and puzzle solving. You will really have to have the characters work as a team in order to complete each level. While this is a fun game to work through on your own, the title really shines once you hook up that 2nd controller and play with a friend. Trying to work together, figuring out who will be what size and how to progress adds another level to this game. Solo, you can figure it out - but when you have to have 2 brains working together, in sync, there will surely be a battle for control. It is like a video game version of the 3 legged race - only those that get a rhythm down will win. Shift Happens is out now for XB1 and you can add it to your collection for $14.99. This is a fun game to play and really shows its greatness when you play locally with a friend. It can tax your mind and your friendship with the puzzles it holds. 8/10 Original Post : Here
  10. Lienzo has released a new game in the adventure, platformer, Metrovania genre. Hunter's Legacy is the story of Ikki, the greatest huntress of Un'amak. Her village lives in peace and harmony with nature until one day when and evil warlock steals the Fang of Alliance. This sets your world into turmoil and you must retrieve it. Armed with your dual swords and bow you must journey through the land in search of your treasure. Ikki must battle to find the warlock in hopes of bringing balance back to your world. As you search for your foe, you will have to fight mini bosses, collect new attacks, upgrade your weapons and health. Each new attack will allow you to open up new areas to further your adventure. Power up to destroy once impenaturable obstacles, and jump to new heights. The game follows the basic formula of many adventure games. Chase the big bad, he escapes and you have to scour the land, battle smaller bosses so you can gather the tools to continue your original chase. Gameplay is also very typical - even though you are the Worlds Greatest Huntress, you are very unequipped for your battle. Unfortunately the quest to power up is underwhelming. Even though you travel through multiple areas, most feel very similar. You will encounter the same enemies across several areas. One of the most interesting areas is the Snowy Volcano. Here you will encounter ice that you will slide on, and will freeze you if you spend to long on it. You will not freeze to the point of not beinig able to move, but you will start taking environmental damage. Not far away you will encounter hot zones that will raise your temp until you start taking heat damage. You must make sure that you have enough health to traverse these areas and take care of the enemies you encounter. Most parts of the game are not that difficult, but these environmental hazards ratchet up the difficulty. The mini bosses also drastically up the ante, but this isn't because of their attack or health, it's because of game design. The first mini boss you encounter will briefly hang from the ceiling and you must shoot it's support with your bow. Once it falls you can temporarily damage it. The first few attacks are easy because you have a tower to climb that gets you close to the enemy. Once they are destroyed you must shoot from ground level and this is where things get dicey. You have to be at the precise angle in order to hit your target, but to do that the enemy is almost entirely off screen. This makes for an extended battle that really shouldn't be that hard. The graphics in the game bring back memories of older adventure games in the genre. Enemies are well designed and look sharp across the game. The soundtrack contains whimsical tracks of pan flute music to accompany you on your journey. There are a few tracks that include a rhymic clicking that made me try and figure out why my clock was so loud. Hunter's Legacy is out now for XB1, and can be added to your collection for $6.99. If you pine for old school MetroidVania games, this is a good title to keep you busy for a few hours.
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