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Monday, November 24, 2014

Never Alone: Impressions

Never Alone to put it simply is a puzzle platformer, but the game is a whole lot more than that. It's an interactive tribute piece to the indigenous people of Alaska. Every thing about this game is distinctly of that culture. The environments, the integration of traditional art into the game's mechanics, even down to the anatomy of the characters involved. The game is not only an enjoyable platformer, but also educational and inspiring.

The game's story is based off of a folk tale from the culture that it's based on and the narrative is certainly one that is heartfelt. The relationship between the little girl and the fox is one that will resonate with all people, going into themes of friendship, survival, and even lost of loved ones. To go with the story, the game also features a fantastic mini-documentary that details the indigenous Alaskan's heritage and culture. As you unlock these videos, the details from the video will often manifest itself into the environment and gameplay. A great way to add some context to the game's mechanics and narrative.

Visually and audio wise, this game got it in spades. It's a beautiful game, that has been expertly rendered into a truly unique and awe inspiring piece, art as games exemplified if you will. It takes ques from the traditions of the people in the story, and overall, I would argue it's visual and design quality could rival those of Pixar.

Though with out a doubt I can tell you that Never Alone is of a high caliber in quality, it's not with out it's flaws. Though the AI controlled character does a mostly good job at doing what it suppose to, there will be times where the AI is simply not smart enough which will lead to some frustrations when playing solo. This issue of course can be marginalized when played with another player. Another issue is that the game does have some bugs. They don't occur often, and if it does there is a reset to last check point in the menu to help you if said issue comes up. These were minor issues that I was able to get over during play, but still things that are worth noting.

Overall Never Alone is a fantastic experience that fans of this genre, or those who are interested in the culture presented in the game, should not miss out on!

Pros:
- Beautiful aesthetic and design
- A true tribute to the people depicted in the game
- Inspiring, educational, and it's fun to boot!
- A great narrative experience
- Wonderful mini-documentary as a special feature

Cons:
- The AI partner though mostly good, can be frustrating during the times that it's bad
- Some minor bugs present



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Steam Store page for Never Alone
http://store.steampowered.com/app/295790/

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We have a new look


If you have been on our site or any of our social media over the past several days you will have noticed there have been some changes in our brand in an attempt to standardize and make our brand more recognizable.  We just wanted to draw some more attention to it as well as ask your thoughts of any changes or improvements we could make to improve your experience.

Kings of War - 2nd Edition





If you are into tabletop gaming, or would like to get into it, now is a good time to to check out Mantic Games Kings of War(KoW).  Mantic are Kickstarting their new 2nd edition rulebook and are giving away some awesome stretch goals for a pretty reasonable pledge amount.  I am a fan of Mantic as you may know from other posts I have done here and I think KoW is a solid tabletop with its current FREE rulebook.  It is also pretty awesome that you can get everything for two people to have a game for $150 with their Kickstarter campaign, including some pretty cool extras.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Daedalus No Escape: Quick Look

Daedalus does a fantastic job at translating the visceral game play of twitch shooters such as Unreal Tournament or Quake, into a top town perspective. You'll find the same skill ceiling, frantic precision, and chaotic battlefields you would in the previously mentioned games. I would say Daedalus has room to be competitive, and is probably one of the deeper top down shooters I've played.

Daedalus does almost every thing right, but does have one glaring flaw from my experience. Spawn camping. This isn't an issue in many game modes, but particularly in death match, spawn camping is a huge issue. The spawns points aren't randomized, rather they are in set locations, and those points aren't even gated off in any way. Even bots spawn camp in certain game modes. Another thing to note is that Daedalus is a smaller game, and with many smaller games, it'll usually have a smaller community. There will most likely be times of the day where you won't find many, or any players online. Luckily the game comes with servers filled with bots to play with while waiting for human players to get online.

Overall Daedalus does an incredible job at emulating twitch based FPS game play in a top down shooter. Fast, deep, and competitive, if you are a UT or Quake fan, this game is a no brainer.

Pros:
- Emulates frantic twitch FPS game play from a top down perspective perfectly
- Great visuals and audio
- High skill ceiling, perfect for it's target audience
- Easy to learn

Cons:
- Spawn camping can be an issue with some game modes
- This game needs a larger community

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Project Numbus: Early Impressions



Project Nimbus is a quick, action packed, and highly responsive mech flighter. You take control of one of many different mechs and dog fight in a variety of different scenarios. The game features easy to handle mech flight with some face pace air combat. The visuals are quite sleek and clean, with some of the best sky and atmosphere effects I've seen in any game! The clouds are ridiculously realistic, and so is the atmosphere effect.

Though the overall game as of this review is good with some very high caliber game play and presentation, it is early in it's early access phase, and the game really does feel incomplete at the moment. There's a lack of options in the options menu, the survival mode feels very incomplete and tacked on, and the campaign, though enjoyable, only features the first act.

Though the game does feel a little light on it's content currently, I highly recommend to at least keep an eye on Project Nimbus if you don't decide on the purchase. If you do end up buying the game, know that it is incomplete, but what is there, is very enjoyable. I see amazing things for this game in the future.

Pros:
- Great and realistic sky aesthetics
- Fast, and demanding game play
- Easy to learn
- Has a lot of potential

Cons:
- Feels incomplete currently
- Some features such as survival mode seems tacked on

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Devil's Dare: Quick Look


Devil's Dare wear it's inspirations on it's sleeves. The game does a great job at parodying and paying homage to the games that proceeded it. It takes notes from classic beat'm ups such as River City Ransom, Streets of Rage, Ninja Turtles, etc. If I was to nail one classic game it resembles the most, I would have to say River City Ransom.

The game features an interesting combo system, rewarding the player for higher hit counts and an interesting perma-death mechanic. Gold in this game is used to buy revives, with out enough gold you die, your save file is deleted, and a kitten some where probably died because of you. It's not an easy game to say the least. The game has enough challenge to keep hardcores around, while remaining easy enough to understand that most can get into.

Though I think it's obvious that I've enjoyed the game overall, it's not with out it's problems. There is no resolution option, and the game's default is rather low. There's also no auto detection for game pads, you must manuelly enter each command from the options menu. Not game breaking issues, but noticeable enough be mentioned. Besides some quality of life issues, the game is not the most responsive beat'm up I've ever played. It could be argued for the sake of game balance, but some times I get into situations where I have no options to avoid an incoming attack, even if I see it a mile away. As mentioned before, these long animation frames could be argued as game balances, but overall, it's more sluggish than most in the genre.

Though the game is not perfect, it has enough charm and challenge, to keep most nostalgia junkies happy. Devil's Dare is an enjoyable light romp, that will have you giggling at the many many references to your childhood.

Pros:
+ Excellent execution on it's style and humor
+ A must play for nostalgia fans
+ Fun and challenging combat
+ Easy to understand, tough to master

Cons:
- Quality of life issues (lack of resolution options, no game pad auto-detect)
- Attacks can feel sluggish at times
- No online multiplayer

Monday, September 8, 2014

Bravada: Quick Look

Bravada distills classic RPG elements to it's bare essentials. Since the gameplay design is simplified, this turn based RPG can some times feel almost real time. Through it's mechanical simplicity the game strikes a balance of depth and accessibility. The game is easy to learn and understand, but when you get into it, it presents some pretty in depth gameplay. Learning how to position your squad and using your turn efficiently will be key to your success in the game.

The aesthetics and sound quality is quite good. It has a charming cartoony look with humor to match, and a fantasy based sound design to compliment it.

Though I found the game quite enjoyable, it could prove too simple for more hardcore RPG fans. Though even if you are into more hardcore RPGs, I'd still suggest taking a look at Bravada, as it is a very unique experience for any RPG fan.

Pros:
- Simple and easy to understand mechanics
- Well designed with lots of depth
- Whimsical aesthetic design that helps promote the atmosphere
- Tons of variety and experimentation potential

Cons:
- Could be too simple for more hardened RPGers
- If you didn't play efficiently through the level, it's possible to be stuck at a boss with no viable possibility of winning. (potential balance issues)

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Get Bravada on Steam:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/315930/