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Headup Games has released a new adventure, puzzle, platformer that will have you chasing after bad guys and searching for your friends. Toby - The Secret Mine tells the story of young Toby, one of the last remaining residents of his village. He must venture out into the dark, unforgiving world and rescue his 26 friends. You set out across the bleak landscape in search of your friends trapped in cages. Along the way you will have to solve puzzles to alter the landscape to allow you to pass and disarm deadly traps. But not all of your friends are sitting out in the open. You will have to poke into the darkness to try and see in the enemies have hidden any of the village residents there. The puzzles will make you rely on most of your senses. Besides the typical reflexes, you will have to have a keen eye to spy triggers for deadly traps, and be listening for strange creaking noises that might mean a loose floor board that can be broken. As you progress through the levels you will have to build on the the skills you have learned to solve more complex problems. Game graphics are, for the most part, dark and eerie. They convey the sense that you are on an overwhelming quest, that you are under prepared for in trying to save the village residents. Tihe stark palette really helps set the tone. The 1st half of the game most of the foreground is all black, so you get very accustomed to it, but suddenly you get thrust into a snow world that is blindingly white and it takes a little bit to adjust. The game music helps add to the spooky atmosphere. This game is a puzzle platformer at heart. For the most it is not really difficult, it will just take some trial and error. And those errors, while frustrating, will rack up a pretty impressive death count for most players. To be honest I wandered into several traps just to watch poor Toby bite the dust. But then again, Toby went into the beyond many times just because of my lack of skills at times. Death has little impact on your game progress. If you die you are transported back to the start of the last puzzle you have not completed. This makes it easier to push through the puzzles until you finally figure them out. Toby - The Secret Mine is out now on XB1, PS4, Wii U and Steam for $9.99. You can even grab it on Android or iOS.
Pocket Kingdom is a charmingly retro puzzle-platformer that creates a deep and mystical world concerning sky habitats and slumbering gods, then fills that intriguing world with a variety of frustrating puzzles and lasers. Thanks a lot, slumbering Gods. In any retro-style game, the music is an absolute essential and needs to be considered first. It is obviously in the 8-bit, nostalgia fueled style of so many other games of its kind, but the overall tone is not one of easy-going adventure, but perhaps instead a dark, somewhat confusing journey. There are upbeat moments, crescendos that build towards relief, yet are then quickly replaced by the slightly claustrophobic tones that seem to subtly tell the player that he is trapped. And trapped he is; you are completely shipwrecked on a mysterious island created by a slumbering God. Others have crashed here and given up, seemingly making whatever life for themselves they can. The importance of the people other than as tutorial advice or guides is insignificant at best, but their presence helps to curtail the feeling of loneliness; without them, it’d be you, a strange Mario-man with a bunch of tools and a ubiquitous Wizard who seems to always get to a level before you. The puzzles are inventive; obviously, any game of this genre that wishes to stand out needs to possess this quality. However, they are a cut above other platformer puzzle games I’ve experienced. There’s the standard mechanic of using blocks to block lasers that inhibit your passage, but there’s also a surprising mechanic of using inverted gravity. In one puzzle, I had to reverse my gravity and then the gravity of one of a multitude of boxes, no less than 5 times to be able to solve the puzzle. The main character also possesses a Rocket Launcher to shove blocks and a Hookshot to… hook blocks. This allows you to manipulate the blocks and do some really interesting solutions to the puzzles. The entire experience feels this way, innovative and very interesting, but the limited application of these cool ideas starts to frustrate the player. That’s the key problem with Pocket Kingdom - it is incredibly frustrating. The puzzles are fun and they are engaging but, when the difficulty ramps up, it’s just too hard. I repeated one level about 40 times before I figured out the solution – there was very little satisfaction, only a crushing realization of the last hour wasted. Too many times I would finally discover the solution, yet be left with an incredibly disappointing feeling that the solution I found wasn’t right. It honestly felt like I had broken the game somehow; my solving the puzzle didn’t seem tied to a systematic application of learned knowledge and skills, but more a random variety of actions attempted in desperation until, finally, one of them solves the puzzle and I can get that damn key. The path of the game is also slightly confusing – it is clear that there is an end goal in mind, but the map that allows you to explore and go to each puzzle is quite open – it at first seems as though there are innumerable options and ways to win the game, but time and time again I kept coming up against an arbitrary barrier. “Oh, you need THIS tool to pass, check a few rooms west” or, after working my way through 3 rooms and finding a giant red demon who seems will help me, he says I need to buy him a key. He opens a portal to… the shop… that just has the key lying there. I go to buy it, turns out I need 3 coins. “Coins? What Coins? There’s currency?” I say to myself in confusion. Yup, guess I need to go to the rooms on my map that look… kind of like coins? Oh yeah, look, I did it, I get a coin! Guess I do this two more times until the red demon will open my arbitrary barrier. While I understand the desire to deviate from the ever-present linear puzzle path - solving one puzzle, then on to the next until finally the ending - but this somewhat pseudo-open worldness just seems half-baked. While Pocket Kingdom is absolutely gorgeous, sounds amazing and utilizes some really interesting mechanics, at the end of the day I am left feeling frustrated and confused. + Beautiful sound design and retro feel. + Innovative and interesting game mechanics designed to challenge the player. - Too much frustration, rather than real challenge. - The non-linear world feels forced and confusing.
When it comes to advertisement the video game industry seems to be leading in terms of garnering hype for certain AAA titles that are undeserving. In the last few years though there has been a trend where the hype train is so powerful that you are convinced that this game being advertised is the greatest game that has ever been made. I know what you're thinking, how could that be a bad thing? How many times have you gotten that game and played it and felt utterly disappointed? There are a few games that stand out that I won't name *cough* No Man's Sky *cough* that has all the makings of a standout hit. An outstanding reveal at a major video game conference, the backing of a major publisher, stunning visuals (in the demo), and a story that seems to be expertly written. What happens when the game comes out and you play it for the first time? The honeymoon phase is something that we have all experienced when it comes to a hyped game. You get it and you start playing and your excitement for the game overshadows any bugs or problems you initially encounter. You are convinced though everything that you have read about the game that it is the best game you have ever played. Once that wears off you start to nitpick certain things about the game then you come to the realization that this is not what was promised. This is not what was advertised and more importantly you realize that you have been fooled. The problem is that the marketing is so well done, the conference presentations so perfect that we all rush to pre order and line up for midnight releases with the thought that we will get our hands on something incredible. By the time we realize what has happened we have already spent our money and the developers have turned a profit. Sure there have been class action lawsuits in the past but this trend doesn't seem to be slowing down or stopping. Have developers and publishers let us down in order to make money on false promises? Is this something that they willing and intentionally do?
Idiot Machine posted an article in General NewsGood News Everyone! This weekend if you download Elite: Dangerous Arena from Steam or the Frontier store you can get it for free! The best part? Once you download it, its yours forever! This version of Elite: Dangerous features just the CQC Arena portion of the game where you test your skills against other Commanders in space combat. Four agile, combat-honed space ships. Choose from the fast and aggressive Federal and Imperial Fighters, the damage-dealing Eagle or the heavyweight Sidewinder. Multiple tactical options with custom loadouts unlocked by ranking up. Four Arenas: Elevate’s towering view, Cluster Compound’s mining facility, Asteria Point’s cavernous space station and Ice Field’s frozen asteroid belt. Eight-player Free for All, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag game modes. Realistic, agile starship handling powered by Elite Dangerous’ advanced simulation technology.
Idiot Machine posted an article in General NewsAttention Rocket League Players! Psyonix has announced that two classic vehicles from the original Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle-Cars are coming to Rocket League as DLC on Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam PC. Aftershock and Marauder will be available as a timed exclusive if you purchase the Rocket League Collector's Edition which will release on June 24 in Europe and July 5 in North America. Both vehicles will have their original look but with updated graphics and will also come with six decals. They will be released for everyone else on July 18. Both cars can be purchased individually for $1.99 USD after that time.