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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.
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