#egmr » Adam http://egmr.net Let's Talk Games — Videogame News, Reviews & Opinions Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:29:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Kill Zombies Mafia Style With Guns, Gore & Cannoli http://egmr.net/2014/10/kill-zombies-mafia-style-guns-gore-cannoli/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/kill-zombies-mafia-style-guns-gore-cannoli/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:30:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=161256 Guns, Gore & Cannoli is an over-the-top 2D action sidescrolling shooter in the tradition of Metal Slug that has you annihilating hordes of zombies as a gangster from the 1920s. […]

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Guns, Gore & Cannoli is an over-the-top 2D action sidescrolling shooter in the tradition of Metal Slug that has you annihilating hordes of zombies as a gangster from the 1920s. The game which is in development by Crazy Monkey Studios is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter.

Gameplay is comical and fast-paced with plenty of beautiful hand drawn visuals. In Guns, Gore & Cannoli, you play as Vinnie Cannoli, a gangster who comes to Thugtown, to find a “goodfella” who has gone missing. Essentially you have to find out what has happened and persuade local gangsters to help you, with a Tommy gun and double barrel shotgun in hand. There’s only one thing in your way and that’s the horde of zombies that have decided to make Thugtown their home, and stand in Vinnie’s path.

The game will also feature a co-op mode so you can partner up with friends and duke it out against the undead. Guns, Gore & Cannoli is being primed for early launch in 2015 with sights set on releases for Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, PC, Mac and Linux.

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rAge 2014: We Chat To The Various Indie Devs At rAge http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-indie-interviews-rage/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-indie-interviews-rage/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:30:09 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160190 At rAge 2014, we managed to get some time to sit down and talk to local indie developers and representatives from the home_coded stand about their games, successes and everything […]

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At rAge 2014, we managed to get some time to sit down and talk to local indie developers and representatives from the home_coded stand about their games, successes and everything revolving around the indie scene at large. We got together some fantastic indie interviews which provide greater depth on what goes on behind the scenes.
 

zX – Hyperblast

We caught up with Julian Pritchard of retroFuture, unfortunately without Michael de Jager, and talked about what was new with zX – Hyperblast. The game is a shoot em’ up with a difference with a flexible dual-type hybrid gun attached to your ship and a great deal of melee combat.
 

Stasis

At rAge, we got some time to talk to Christopher Bischoff and Nicolas Bischoff, of The Brotherhood, about their ever popular isometric horror adventure game Stasis. They told us about the how Stasis become such a big success story and where they are heading in the future.
 

Montez

We managed to chat with Kobus Vd Walt and Travis Bulford, of Celestial Games, to talk about their collaboration on the indie game Montez. The game is a psychological platformer puzzle game in which you take control of two characters simultaneously.

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Experience Points: Execution Trumps Innovation In Shadow Of Mordor http://egmr.net/2014/10/experience-points-execution-trumps-shadow-of-mordor/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/experience-points-execution-trumps-shadow-of-mordor/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:00:28 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=160236 In the current gaming context, gamers are always concerned with resolutions, fps and the promise of innovation in the next big game title. However, we often forget the importance of […]

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In the current gaming context, gamers are always concerned with resolutions, fps and the promise of innovation in the next big game title. However, we often forget the importance of execution in a game’s design. One of the best current examples of excellent execution in gameplay design has to be Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor which brings together so many different gameplay elements into one cohesive package.

I’ve seen many criticisms attached to the game such as it being a direct rip-off of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, and stealing a great deal from the Batman Arkham games. But I think Shadow Of Mordor takes the best gameplay elements of those franchises, refines them somewhat and streamlines them into an experience which never falters in the execution department. I’ve never once felt when playing Shadow Of Mordor that the game is trying to be those franchises. Rather it borrows elements and effortlessly combines them in a game which has not once bored me for any length of time. Monotony is the enemy of open world games and Shadow Of Mordor never suffers that fate, from my experience.

The experience never feels jarring at all, everything effortlessly flows into the next portion of gameplay and mechanics operate well together. Of course, the free roaming aspect of Shadow Of Mordor reminds me of the last Assassin’s Creed game Black Flag because you are given the lee-way to approach a target, mainly Orcs, or situation from whichever vantage point or method you so choose. You can stealthily approach an Orc and stealth kill them and even kill the target Orc by creating diversions. If you want to you can outright cause a commotion and have every Orc in Mordor chasing after you, until you are precariously stuck on top of some ruins devising your next plan of attack from then on out.

The combat is of course influenced heavily by the Batman Arkham series of games and you can pull of combos, deflect attacks from Orcs, use the momentum of your enemies against them and generally dodge incoming attacks like a boss. The combat is lifted exceptionally well from the Arkham games, but it’s never a case of not gelling with the Assassin’s Creed elements of Shadow Of Mordor. Combat finishers are also quite cool in Shadow Of Mordor and make the combat that more lively, in my opinion.

That’s not to say that there’s no innovation in Shadow Of Mordor. There is the nemesis system where lower ranking Orcs who defeat you in battle can become War Chiefs, and make their way up the ranks of the Uruk army. All these Orcs battle it out and being careful with how you approach enemy Orcs becomes a necessity because you don’t want to die all the time as a result. I just appreciate how well polished the game is and how it focuses on excellent gameplay design and execution rather than trying to re-define the genre of Action Adventure games. We need more games like this. Not every game has to typify its genre.

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rAge 2014: Indie @ rAge http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-local-indie-games-home_coded/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-local-indie-games-home_coded/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 07:30:17 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=159949 This year at rAge 2014, we managed to frequent the local indie game stand aptly named home_coded, a NAG initiative, in association with Make Games SA, sponsored by Celestial Games […]

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This year at rAge 2014, we managed to frequent the local indie game stand aptly named home_coded, a NAG initiative, in association with Make Games SA, sponsored by Celestial Games and Learn3D. We got our hands on plenty of locally made indie games, some which are quite well-known now within the indie scene and others which are slowly gaining momentum. The games that were at the home_coded stand are as listed, in no particular order:

The home_coded stand was a great mix of established indie games such as Broforce, Stasis and the upcoming indie games Montez, zX: Hyperblast, Dead Run, Alien Lobotomy, Unseen and Cadence. What was noteworthy was the variety of genres present within the stand that culminated where nearly any type of gamer was catered to. Showcasing the diversity of the South African indie scene is a difficult feat and I think this year it was definitely a good effort to try and represent all different types of developers and games.

Some of our favourites from home_coded include Cadence, an open-ended puzzle game in which players can create musical loops by solving ever challenging puzzles. As the developers, Made With Monster Love, say:

The game is built on connections between logical nodes that create loops of music. Puzzles demand careful thought and can be solved in multiple ways, generating unique melodies from real-time synthesisers.

Really this is a game that will translate well on many touch-screen devices and is an experience that many different types of gamers will appreciate. We also thoroughly enjoyed the stealth exploits of Clockwork Acorn’s Agent Unseen, a top-down stealth game with heaps of potential and it was definitely an enjoyable game.

Another game Montez is shaping up to be a great indie title too, and Kobus Vd Walt (at 17 years old) has teamed up with an established studio like Celestial Games shows that things are differently changing in the South African indie scene. Dead Run, by Twoplus Games, was a title which frustrated us to no end and kept us occupied like nobody’s business with its elegant zombie killing simplicity in endless runner form.

Overall, home_coded was a brilliant experience and was one of the better stands at rAge 2014 where local talent had the chance to shine. If you would like to know more about the South African indie scene then please check out Make Games SA where you can learn more. We will be releasing our interviews with some of the indie developers from the stand very soon.

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rAge 2014: The Order: 1886 Is An Arsonist’s Dream http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-order-1886-arsonists-dream/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/rage-2014-order-1886-arsonists-dream/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 06:00:01 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158826 rAge 2014 was a blast as it always is and we had the chance to play a ton of upcoming games, especially console exclusives. I managed to get my mitts […]

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rAge 2014 was a blast as it always is and we had the chance to play a ton of upcoming games, especially console exclusives. I managed to get my mitts on The Order: 1886, a PS4 exclusive, which is currently in development by Ready At Dawn and Sony Santa Monica Studios. It was interesting to see what the two God Of War teams could pull off and with The Order. You definitely have a game with pretty visuals with The Order.

The Order: 1886 is a singe-player third-person cover-based shooter which seems to be Sony’s answer to the Gears Of War franchise. You have an interesting take in the game on an alternate version of London set within the wondrous industrial age. You are part of an elite squad of “Knights” who are tasked with dealing with the threat of half-human half-animal hybrids.

There are also rumblings from the lower class and in the demo code I played you fight humans. It would have been great to have taken on some werewolves though. You are shoved right into battle following a custscene and it seems like The Order is definitely going for a cinematic experience over solid gameplay mechanics with transitions between gameplay and cutscenes being as seamless as an abandoned textile factory. The gameplay itself is stock-standard cover-based shooting in the style of Gears Of War and is serviceable at best.

You are equipped with a rifle that fires Thermite rounds at enemies, which you can follow by dowsing the target with flames. You can also pull out a pistol and get some headshots in at the endlessly spawning enemies. Ultimately, you are still stuck behind chest high walls and movement is very limited.

However, it must be stated that the game is visually brilliant. The world is well detailed and the character designs are impeccable. Using the Thermite rifle is an arsonist’s dream, and its quite funny to dowse enemies in flames over the course of the demo, that I had the chance to play at rAge. However, I’m not entirely sold on the mechanics just yet. They are not up to scratch in comparison to the visuals and the game feels quite shallow as a result.

There are good ideas here and there is potential for a great story with great gameplay. At present, The Order: 1886 needs to show a lot more in order to set itself apart as more than just a pretty face.

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Experience Points: The Potential Of Steam Curation http://egmr.net/2014/10/experience-points-potential-steam-curation/ http://egmr.net/2014/10/experience-points-potential-steam-curation/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 09:00:35 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=158034 With the latest Steam Discovery Update, PC gamers are getting many options now for how their Steam storefront will look. But what exactly is Steam Curation? Well, I’ll endeavour to […]

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With the latest Steam Discovery Update, PC gamers are getting many options now for how their Steam storefront will look. But what exactly is Steam Curation? Well, I’ll endeavour to explain what it is and what are the implications of its implementation.

Steam Curation entails individuals facilitating recommendations on Steam for followers. You follow Steam Curators who you deem interesting in terms of their game recommendations, and what they have to say about each game they recommend, with some links to YouTube videos and reviews offsite which is indeed quite helpful for the ill informed. The crux of the matter is summed pretty simply by Valve themselves:

With Steam Curators, anyone can become a tastemaker to help others discover those unique, fun, overlooked, or just plain awesome games.

For me, this is a breath of fresh air for the Steam indie section particularly when faced with onslaught of Greenlight titles that have made their way through the floodgates. Quality control has been a pretty harsh problem with Steam Greenlight and curation of some kind was a necessary evil. I’ve spoken in the past about the issues surrounding Steam Greenlight and quality control is now a prime issue with the titles making their way to the store front.

Essentially how Steam Curation will work is you’ll be able to follow Steam Curators and after following them their recommendations will appear on your home page when loading Steam. So it directly informs the games that appear on Steam when you log on. You can search through the list of Steam Curators to pick ones that suit your tastes and game preferences. From there, you can generate your own list of curators to look to for your next purchase. The point of this exercise is to whittle down the game selection to a range of games which may very well be what you are searching for in your next purchase.

What’s great about Steam Curation is that it’s very flexible and anyone can be a Steam Curator. All you need to do is create a new Steam Community group or use an existing group you are an officer or moderator of to make recommendations. You then just select the Curator tab, enter a tagline and can start to make recommendations. However, what is the actual impact of Steam Curation? One can only speculate at this point, but developer Mike Bithell of Thomas Was Alone fames makes some interesting points in an article published on Gamastura. Bithell notes that the norm prior to only having Steam Greenlight is now conflated with the introduction of Steam Curation, as he states:

It applies influence to your front page…you are effectively subscribing to have third parties influence what shows up to you when browsing. This is interesting because it conflates the external voices of youtubers and press with the sheer volume of traffic hitting the front page.

This means that dynamics are altered as developers will have to get their games in front of Steam Curators, popular ones at that, to find success. Online press will also be quite influential because even though they serve smaller niche audiences, the niche they attract may contain some important and influential curators who now have a direct impact on gamers’ Steam storefronts. Really we’re now moving into a stage of tastemakers in the form of Steam Curators having a direct impact on game visibility on Steam. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the future.

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Is Your Xbox One Noisy? No, It’s Not Normal http://egmr.net/2014/09/xbox-one-noisy-normal/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/xbox-one-noisy-normal/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 10:30:15 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=157611 Every new console has hardware issues and the Xbox One it seems is also a victim of such trifles. I went this past Tuesday to purchase an Xbox One bundle without […]

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Every new console has hardware issues and the Xbox One it seems is also a victim of such trifles. I went this past Tuesday to purchase an Xbox One bundle without a Kinect from a local South African retailer. This bundle came with download tokens for both FIFA 2015 and Forza Motorsport 5. I was very excited to finally get my hands on the console as I own an Xbox 360, and I am a fan of the 360. When I finally brought the console home and had set it up, I turned it on. To my dismay, the console solidly started emitting a worrisome noise. The noise to be specific was a buzzing static noise that distinctly reminded me of coil whine which I have experienced with certain PC components. The noise would consistently occur until I inserted a game disc and finally the noise would cease. The sound is exactly as experienced in this video below:

Following my experience, I did some basic Google searches and came across many articles referring to this issue. The greatest sources of information so far have been a NeoGAF thread which directly addresses possible causes of the issue, an official Xbox One forum thread with gamers from across Europe sharing the same issue, a local South African forum thread found on SA Gamer and an article from Lazygamer.

Initially it was speculated that the noise issue was caused by the latest Xbox One firmware update. However, more user experiences pinpoint this as a hardware issue. The noise issue has been happening with many consoles prior to downloading the latest firmware update. The most obvious culprit is obviously a hardware issue. Mainly people have argued that this is indeed coil whine because in many of the cases the noise has ceased when a game disc is inserted into the Xbox One, where there is a change in power states. The argument is that coil whine emanates from the power regulation circuitry whereby different power load states, from idle to load on the console, causes the change in the noise emitted. This has further been evidenced by users saying that once a Kinect is attached to Kinect-less versions of the Xbox One the sound stops because more power is drawn from the console.

Furthermore, the noise issue has been noted by Microsoft who will be replacing newly bought consoles with the problem. In South Africa, if you are experiencing the issue you can return your console to the retailer you purchased it from and can get an exchange. Alternatively, you can contact Xbox support directly and relay your issue.

My only gripe with doing an exchange is that you may get another console with the same issue. I returned my Xbox One and the retailer suggested we test the new unit in the shop before I took it home. The new unit had the same exact problem as the unit I had just returned. This new unit was of course the same bundle, without the Kinect, that I had previously purchased. Luckily, I managed to receive a full refund, but others may not be so lucky. Possibly this can just be a bad batch of consoles that have shipped to South Africa. You may have to go through a couple of returns before you have a console which operates normally. In that way, this feels like a luck of the draw more than anything else. Hopefully this issue can be rectified and gamers can receive consoles with no issues.

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Experience Points: Growing Up With Games http://egmr.net/2014/09/experience-points-growing-games/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/experience-points-growing-games/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 09:00:16 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=156994 The other day I was asked the question: what was your first piece of technology? I thought long and hard about this question. Your first interactions with technology growing up […]

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The other day I was asked the question: what was your first piece of technology? I thought long and hard about this question. Your first interactions with technology growing up can leave great impressions and can inform your tastes, and what you enjoy in the larger scheme of things. My answer was a Sega Mega Drive (or a Genesis for those in North America). Funnily enough, I clearly remember videogame consoles above anything else. In South Africa, during the late 80s and going into the early 90s we grew up with a closed off market because of Apartheid.

As a result, we never had a proper release of the wonderful 8-bit console which was the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), or even the Sega Master System. What we had was known as the Golden China, a clone  system of the NES. Many South Africans fondly refer to these clone consoles as “TV Games”. I remember the Golden China quite well, and it was a straight up copy of the Japanese version of the NES, the Famicom. Except it was made in China and was of an inferior quality when it came down to it. Even South African stores like Reggies released their own version of the NES, aptly called the Reggie’s Entertainment System, to great popularity. You can watch the video below to get an idea of what we played as children in South Africa:

So I grew up with a pirated 8-bit system that was pretty much my gaming experience until I was introduced to my first actual videogames console that I have the most clear memories about. Of course, that was the Sega Mega Drive as I mentioned earlier. On this console, I played games like Sonic 2, Mortal Kombat 2, The Lion King, Aladdin, Earthworm Jim and a whole bunch of other Mega Drive games. This really cemented my love for videogames growing up and made me appreciate early on different types of videogames. But this was further enhanced when I finally moved to the original Sony PlayStation, or the PS1.

With the PS1, I was introduced to JRPGs like Final Fantasy 7, Breath of Fire 3 and Grandia which got me interested in RPGs in general, and from there I branched off into RPGs like Baldur’s Gate and Diablo on my first gaming PC. But I was a mainstay on consoles for most of my gaming life growing up. It was just accessible to me and it was only later on in my life that I properly entered the realm of PC gaming. With every console generation my tastes matured, but I still appreciated fun 2D platformers and violent fighting games because they reminded of my gaming past.

Eventually I moved to the PS2 when it was released and at that stage I was transitioning into PC gaming with Half-Life, Counter Strike and Diablo 2 building my interest there. My experience with the PS2 was primarily many JRPGs like Final Fantasy X, Dark Cloud, Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, and many others. The console had great library of JRPGs and I thoroughly enjoyed many of them. But at the same time, I was appreciating PC games quite a bit and started enjoying first-person shooters a great deal. Finally, I made the move to being primarily a PC gamer, but when I started university I began playing console games once more, and bought a PS3 and an Xbox 360 to play exclusives.

Now I am back to playing a greater segment of my games on consoles like the PS4, and soon the Xbox One. I feel like my gaming life has sort of been a cycle, and I’m back at another point. I can recall so many memories like playing Half-Life 2 and the Orange Box. My first time playing through Fallout 3 was another great memory and with the new generation of gaming consoles here it feels as if my gaming life is heading somewhere new. I find this to be extremely exciting and I look forward to it with optimism.

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Experience Points: What Has Happened? The State Of Gaming http://egmr.net/2014/09/experience-points-the-state-of-gaming/ http://egmr.net/2014/09/experience-points-the-state-of-gaming/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:00:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=155752 Yesterday, I read a particularly noteworthy piece on #GamerGate which eloquently deals with the disparaging sentiments between the gaming press and gamers, as of late. I think perspective is needed […]

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Yesterday, I read a particularly noteworthy piece on #GamerGate which eloquently deals with the disparaging sentiments between the gaming press and gamers, as of late. I think perspective is needed when looking at the current state of things. There are resentments on both sides of this battlefield, but I argue that we’re forgetting the actual importance of gaming. Everyone is so concerned with attacks on their identities as gamers, the gaming press wanting to ascend into the realm of serious and art-level critics as well as cover signs of corruption. Nearly all of these developments feel as if they are heading to such extremes.

I’m not dismissing the importance of talking about gender issues in games, the treatment of female gamers and developers, the ethical hypocrisy of some game journalists and the lack of impartiality in coverage. I know corruption exists and that there are issues that many gamers and the gaming press are unwilling to tackle for whatever reasons, be it a fear that it may in someway impact their lives directly or create a space that is uncomfortable. I believe that many people have become embittered with gaming and by relation game coverage. Commentary and feedback has become anal and pedantic. We are in a period of time of gaming where 60fps and 1080p resolution are the determinants and criteria for a credible quality game. It all is a bit antagonising.

I do understand why people become so invested in gaming and discussions around videogames. We take this to be something more than just a passtime. For many of us, it’s a lifestyle choice and an important part of our own sense of identity. I sometimes wonder if I could separate myself from my favourite activity because it means so much to me. When discussions online take something personal down to a technical level or gamers are faced with something that doesn’t sit well. Much can go wrong and we find ourselves in this particular chaotic mess which brings out the worst from both sides of the gaming equation.

Many people self-identify as gamers. I have defined myself as  gamer for the longest time. I have no problems, issues or negatives attached to the label. But we are a community of a cultural identity defined by association. So just because I may feel the label of “gamer” to be positive may not mean everyone is of a similar persuasion.

I play games and that’s what I ideally love to do in my spare time. However, all we seem to be talking about are more so issues and intolerance than actual beneficial discussions about videogames. We might be raising some points but it all appears to remain at the level of pure rhetoric. Of course, the issues and discussions have been made thoroughly apparent. But within this framework of current gaming there is seemingly no place for mediation and facilitation of progressive discussion online. That in itself is the detriment of gaming at this moment in time.

I find that there is no balance, and perhaps it will never happen because the industry and the audience who consume videogames are in a constant state of flux. The experience is like treading through an indeterminable middle ground in a wasteland.  Your favourite activity, hobby, lifestyle or whatever gaming means to you as an individual, is a no man’s land.

What it means to be a gamer is no longer one thing. I in no way decry the gamer to be dead and gone. We are all gamers, and because of cultural imposition and self-identification we all have varying understandings and perspectives of what we deem gamers to be. Yet what remains consistent throughout is the realisation that we all still play games for a variety of reasons. This is why we all clamour to talk about games online, and we need to remember that we have commonalities. We are all passionate about gaming and videogames.

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Wait, There’s An Indie Game Anthem? http://egmr.net/2014/08/wait-theres-indie-game-anthem/ http://egmr.net/2014/08/wait-theres-indie-game-anthem/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:30:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=155348 Since it’s a Friday, why don’t we take a seat, put our feet up and relax. With all this serious talk about indie game developers, ethics and journalistic integrity perhaps […]

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Since it’s a Friday, why don’t we take a seat, put our feet up and relax. With all this serious talk about indie game developers, ethics and journalistic integrity perhaps we need some lighthearted humour to make this Friday all the more bearable.

After watching a couple of YouTube videos, I came across this hilarious indie game related anthem of sorts, that sums up much of the indie game scene at the moment. Whilst there is  a lot to laugh at here, I do find that there is a great deal of truth presented in the video.

Although some of it may be generalisations, we all know the joy of Steam sales, the plethora of indie games available, and the consistent retro-fying trend that is vogue in indie game design at the moment. Also the parody of a classic Macklemore track is hilarious in its own right, and slightly overdone. But it’s a good effort nonetheless.

Anyway, we need more videos like this. Maybe someone will produce an ode to Phil Fish or a lyrical interpretive dance of Zoe Quinn’s “Quinnspiracy”. We could probably have some comedy gold in the making, or not. Give the video a watch, and leave your thoughts in the comments below if you have any amazing ideas.

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The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter Promises A Lot More Than Just Hauntingly Beautiful Visuals http://egmr.net/2014/08/preview-vanishing-ethan-carter/ http://egmr.net/2014/08/preview-vanishing-ethan-carter/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:30:09 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=155130 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person mystery adventure game with a strong focus on exploration and discovery, but no combat whatsoever. The game combines the world of detective […]

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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a first-person mystery adventure game with a strong focus on exploration and discovery, but no combat whatsoever. The game combines the world of detective mysteries, with Lovecraftian horror and adventure galore. But does it all add up?

Name: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Genre: Now you don’t
Players: 1
Multiplayer: N/A
Platforms: PC, PS4
Developers: The Astronauts
Publishers: The Astronauts, Nordic Games
Release Date: 25 September 2014 (PC), TBA 2015 (Playstation 4)
Price: $19,99 (PC)

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In The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, you play as Paul Prospero, an occult detective who receives a frightening letter from a boy named Ethan Carter seeking Paul’s help. After realising that the boy may be in deep danger, Paul sets on a journey to Ethan’s home town of Red Creek Valley. Strange things are going on in Red Creek Valley, and they appear to be of the supernatural variety. Obviously. Ethan has vanished, as per the title of the game, following a horrendous murder which leads Paul on a search for the missing boy.

The game which is in development by indie studio The Astronauts, a team consisting of staff from People Can Fly who developed Painkiller and Bulletstorm to name a few. The Vanishing of Ethan Cater is inspired by strange fiction and tales of the macabre, with a strong Lovecraftian influence present. Other sources of inspiration come from the early Twentieth Century. The aim of the game for the developers is to evolve immersive storytelling in games. Essentially The Astronauts hope that the game is a narrative experience you can submerge yourself in. The developers argue that the game is not puzzle-ridden and they say:

“Our focus is on atmosphere, mood, and the essential humanity of our characters.”

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This is quite an interesting sentiment regarding the game’s design and from the gameplay commentary video (which is available above in case you hadn’t noticed). You can see that the game is indeed going to focus on atmosphere, mood and characters with a strong direction towards exploration, and solving the mysteries surrounding certain deaths you come across. This of its own accord makes The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter an interesting proposition in the current gaming space.

The game’s design is also facilitated by Paul’s unique supernatural abilities which adds new dimensions to the exploration and discovery aspects of the game. You will need to use Paul’s supernatural skills to peek into past events by recreating a crime scene in order to communicate with the dead. Of course you have to be observant of your surroundings and discover the mystery behind all the deaths you encounter. All of this appears to be tied with a dark ancient force, Cthulhu and The Old Ones perhaps, as well as the mystery around the vanishing of Ethan Carter himself.

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The game allows you to explore the beautiful and creepy open world of Red Creek Valley which was created through the use of photogrammetry technology which has aided in the development of the photorealistic environments you see in the game. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter feels visually fresh and the character design is impeccable, on top of the jaw dropping rendered environments where not artificial barriers are present. So you are free to explore to your heart’s content. A more interesting part of the game is that you’ll be able to communicate with the dead, as mentioned above. You’ll be able to put together the sequence of events that led to a character’s death, which will all depend on the clues you collect and how observant you are of your surroundings.

Suspected Selling Points
  • The game offers a unique detective story and interesting gameplay dynamics that may set it apart from similar games like the recent Murdered: Soul Suspect.
  • With beautiful photorealistic visuals, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a true sight to behold, particularly considering that this is an indie game.
  • The game is heavily influenced by early twentieth century literature with a strong horror influence. This already has our interest piqued for where The Vanishing of Ethan Carter could be heading.
Potential Pitfalls
  • The gameplay mechanics and clue system may be far too simplistic to appeal to of this niche genre.
  • The game may prove to be far too ambitious with all its promises, especially in regards to its open world.
  • Little is known about the story and the horror elements don’t seem all that terrifying at first glance.

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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter promises an experience which will be delivered in a non-linear fashion in which the story will follow suit with the works of Stefan Grabinski, Raymond Chandler, Algernon Blackwood and H. P. Lovecraft, as previously referred to. The game features no combat whatsoever and promises to be quite the ride with an interesting premise and beautiful visuals. Whether the game will live up to all its promise is something that can only be ascertained upon the game’s release. Unfortunately we are not clairvoyant so while The Vanishing of Ethan Carter looks mighty promising, it could very easily be a let down. We recommend waiting for reviews to decide whether this game is worth picking up.

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Experience Points: Ethics Are Dead In Games Journalism http://egmr.net/2014/08/experience-points-ethics-dead-games-journalism/ http://egmr.net/2014/08/experience-points-ethics-dead-games-journalism/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:00:44 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=154820 In 2012, I wrote a column that argued games journalism to be problematic ascertaining that truth and ethics in games journalism were all but dead. I had come to the […]

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In 2012, I wrote a column that argued games journalism to be problematic ascertaining that truth and ethics in games journalism were all but dead. I had come to the conclusion that many gaming journalists were nothing more than vehicles for PR and the money of publishers. However, I was highly naive and somewhat blinded as an individual who appreciated the indie scene to see that manipulation and deceitful behaviour lurked in the indie development community. I think this needs to be discussed and deliberated upon, because as it stands the professional separation between the creators of games and those who write about games has by all means broken down over the past few years.

Much of what I’m talking about stems from the latest Zoe Quinn (the developer of Depression Quest) scandal which I think represents a turning point about how we view the relationships between the gaming press and developers. What this whole incident highlights is the necessity of the professional separation between the gaming press and developers. This has been a continuing trend where lines between the gaming press and developers have been crossed on many occasions.

From what I’ve seen, a number of “journalists” and indie developers want to be more than professional acquaintances. It can be a mutual benefits kind of deal between a developer and a member of the press. Of course, journalists may in some instances get exclusive coverage, and developers get both coverage and potential sales with good PR. Many indie developers understand the essential importance of PR, be it positive or negative. With the likes of Zoe Quinn and Phil Fish it has been predominately negative. Phil Fish has been decried as the one-hit-wonder with an out-of-control ego, and Zoe Quinn has become the darling of feminists and Social Justice Warriors across the internet. Lines have been crossed and we now find ourselves in the precarious situation where much of the gaming press are no longer impartial when it comes to coverage, and this has been notable with the indie scene. Close ties between indie developers and members of the gaming press has led to instances of unbalanced coverage and ultimately positive reviews for games that don’t cut the grade.

It makes you wonder if there are writers or gaming journalists left with professional dignity. I would never truly consider myself a professional nor the most well informed writer on the face of the Earth. But I do feel strongly that when you’re writing about a game, especially reviews, maintaining a level of neutrality and separation is key. If one of your good friends is an indie developer and you’re writing a review of their game, there is definitely a conflict of interests. One shouldn’t be writing about a game where direct benefits lie in wake, be it monetary or any other kind of physical benefit. Yes, I understand that this may be an unattainable goal because it by its very essence is ideal, and the assertion that ethics in games journalism should be a necessity is probably falling on death ears.

Truthfully, it is disheartening to see the respectability of the gaming press be reduced to the point of non-existence. Many of us who write about games from small websites do this because we love games, and when developers and the press are in bed with one another it leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth. When writing about developers and their games the gaming press should attempt to be impartial, especially when it comes to reviews. We shouldn’t alienate our audience for the sake of Twitter friendships, positive social media engagement and some physical benefits.

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Gamescom 2014: Microsoft ID@Xbox Showcase Ups The Indie http://egmr.net/2014/08/gamescom-2014-idxbox-indie-showcase/ http://egmr.net/2014/08/gamescom-2014-idxbox-indie-showcase/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:30:24 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=154232 Microsoft has been facing a great deal of adversity from indies, especially when it comes to the parity clause which determined that a dev would have to release their game […]

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Microsoft has been facing a great deal of adversity from indies, especially when it comes to the parity clause which determined that a dev would have to release their game on the Xbox One at the same time as other platforms. A move which irked many in the indie community. But it’s not all bad as this year at Gamescom Microsoft showcased a massive array of indie titles with their ID@Xbox showcase, which followed with a great video montage filled with indie goodness.

Microsoft has solidly been trying to drive indie devs to the Xbox One, under the guidance of Phil Spencer which is a win-win for indie gamers. Below we’ll be taking a look at our highlights from ID@Xbox’s line-up for Gamescom.

The first game that truly interested us is called Ghost of a Tale by SeithCG which is a third-person action adventure game set within a medieval world run by only animals. The game’s story follows the quest of a mouse named Tilo, a minstrel, who is searching for his lost family. With beautiful visuals, Ghost of a Tale seems like it will be a huge adventure.

Nero is pretty difficult to define and not much was given away in the trailer. The game is in development by a Studio called Storm in a Teacup and this is what they had to say about the game:

NERO is a wonderful journey in a world of incredible beauty where a kid is the key to all locks and the night is not as frightening as we all could think. NERO is about love. NERO is about faith. NERO is about feelings. NERO is about questions that need to be answered.

The game is a story driven first-person game with puzzles and “intuitive controls”, where you play as a kid followed by a cloaked companion who make their journey through a magical world.

Space Engineers is a space sandbox game by Keen Software House Ltd. The game is all about engineering, the construction and maintenance of space works. You can build space ships, space stations, and even can conduct asteroid mining if you so choose. There are so many possibilities with Space Engineers.

SUPERHOT in development by team SUPERHOT, like most of the other games here is not only on Xbox One but also on PC, but this game is fantastic nonetheless. SUPERHOT is a first-person shooter where time only progresses when you move. You’ll be shooting many bullets as enemies slow down in time and you plan their demise. You have the time, just use it wisely for optimal destruction.

The Escapists which is being developed by Team 17, the original creators of Worms, is a time management prison escape game. In this game, you have the freedom to carry out your days as a prisoner but no one knows that you’re plotting an escape. The game looks to be a load of fun and is a rather interesting departure for Team 17. We’re looking forward to it.

These were our highlights from Microsoft’s ID@Xbox showcase. There are indeed many interesting indie games making their way to Xbox One, which is a great as both the PS4 and Xbox One will have ample indie libraries in the future.

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Experience Points: My Hopes For Fallout 4 http://egmr.net/2014/08/experience-points-hopes-fallout-4/ http://egmr.net/2014/08/experience-points-hopes-fallout-4/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 09:00:33 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=153623 With the announcement of the new Doom, I have been left a tad disappointed that there is no news about a new Fallout game. I am a big fan of […]

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With the announcement of the new Doom, I have been left a tad disappointed that there is no news about a new Fallout game. I am a big fan of Fallout 3, a game which piqued my interest in writing about games and is still one of my favourite games to this very day. Yesterday on Twitter, I was tweeted that a release date for Fallout 4 had finally surfaced and that some form of news had come out of Bethesda’s mouth. For a second I was excited, but I soon realised that this was just another rumour from the rumour mill. Especially when it comes to Fallout 4, rumours abound across the internet and you have to be very weary. Unlike others, I don’t find rumours particularly for Fallout 4 to be totally useless. I think with speculation we can find some decent discussion for what we hope Fallout 4 to be.

Rumours bring with them some interesting speculation about where the Fallout franchise may be heading in future instalments. Some of the popular rumours entertain some interesting tidbits of speculation. Most interestingly suggestions are heading to the setting of the next game in the series being Boston. There is an inkling that the next game may be more futuristic in terms of the architecture, which to me may not fit into the whole post-apocalyptic nuclear fallout look that the games had previously gone for in terms of the aesthetics across the previous titles in the series. There is also quite a bit of discussion about androids being new characters, that may feature heavily in Fallout 4. With speculation tending towards the notion that androids may be used as a workforce for humans in Fallout 4

I think having androids as characters and as a plot device in the Fallout universe may prove to be quite an interesting choice. But I’m not too clued up on the Fallout universe in terms of the two original games to know if such suggestions hold any possible credence for Fallout 4. But what I would love to see in Fallout 4 is an evolution of what we experienced in Fallout 3. One of the most unique features I enjoyed in Fallout 3 was V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) which allowed real-time combat to essentially be paused allowing you time to assess an enemy’s weak points and the likelihood of where you can attack for increased damage. This combined both turn-based and real-time combat in an unusual way.

I also liked that you could attack certain parts of an enemy’s body. All of which cost action points. Whilst it did break you away from the first-person aspect of Fallout 3, it was enjoyable nonetheless and from my experience made the game much more fun. From my perspective, I would love to see V.A.T.S. present in Fallout 4.

On top of this, I thought the character progression in Fallout 3 was quite varied. Being able to set your primary attributes: Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck from the beginning of the game, and have a set of skills determined by these picks helped to inform your character development throughout the game. This was not something entirely unique to Fallout 3, but it was executed effectively and informed much of the game’s design. In Fallout 3, you had to be very selective with how you developed your character in the Capital Wasteland. Particular skills for example like lockpicking became so vital when you were building your character, and you really had a sense that there were many ways to survive in the Wasteland. That is an element of the game’s design that I think should have a place in the next instalment.

Overall, what I truly appreciated in Fallout 3 were the wide range of side missions and stories that you could stumble upon in the Wasteland. There was something about encountering the Republic Of Dave that I sill remember to this very day. This is the strength of many Bethesda games, but in comparison to Skyrim I will say that I enjoyed the main story of Fallout 3 far more. However, this is following the eventual patches for Fallout 3 and the addition of the DLC, which introduced Liberty Prime as an awesome part of the ending to Fallout 3. I will say that I do love the setting of the Fallout universe.

Of course, I’m not pining for the exact same experience I had with Fallout 3, yet I would love there to be some common trends that follow on from what I enjoyed in Fallout 3. These are just some of my suggestions that I feel would be great to see back in action in the next Fallout game. I still remain highly optimistic about Fallout 4, but it seems like Bethesda is now working with Valve time so I suppose I’ll be awaiting news of the next Fallout for quite awhile. What are your hopes for the next Fallout game?

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Not Every Indie Game Is A Godsend http://egmr.net/2014/08/every-indie-game-godsend/ http://egmr.net/2014/08/every-indie-game-godsend/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:30:21 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=152931 The indie games market like any market is hitting its awkward phase, or some would say a phase where the potential for self-implosion may be reaching critical mass. We are […]

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The indie games market like any market is hitting its awkward phase, or some would say a phase where the potential for self-implosion may be reaching critical mass. We are currently in a space with indie games where quality control issues and extensive surplus have become mainstays of this once insular and smaller industry, within the larger games industry. Some would say we are heading towards a crash. Others would say that we’re going to see a mass slaughter of smaller indie studios in the wake of the popularity of other indie studios, with much more prominent indie studios taking a larger segment of the games market in the coming years.

These are all pretty valid assumptions about the future of indie games, indie studios and the industry at large. There has been a lot of chatter about this current indie bubble popping and we are slowly now realising that not every single indie game is a quality title. The likes of Steam Greenlight have made it clear that the indie scene is becoming more expansive than initially speculated in earlier years. With an overwhelming abundance of indie games at our fingertips choosing what exactly to play can be a pretty solid gamble without a game having effective PR and a positive reception online.

We’re at a stage now where we are literally flooded by a plethora of indie games, and in many cases clones of the same exact game. Just take a look at the simulator craze at the moment where developers are releasing terrible simulator games that parody other better games. There’s a whole subgenre of indie games flourishing where bad game design choices are meant to signify another level of meta humour and in kind we give general what-the-hell expressions to a game’s weirdness. You know what it’s tiring, having to wade through indie games that should never been on the Steam front page, or even in digital stores for that matter. It makes it far more difficult to find the quality games among the rubbish.

In some ways, we are coming to terms with the reality that not all indie games are a godsend. Much of this disillusionment has to do with how developers are developing their games, interacting with communities online, filing copyright claims against gamers and YouTube personalities. What this displays is the underhandedness present within some of the indie games hitting the market. But not all indie games follow this practice. However, it is still a trend that needs to be noted and taken into consideration.

Truthfully curation is something sorely lacking with indie game releases, most notably on popular indie platforms like Steam where it seems like the worst of the indie scene are propagating with poorly made games. Many of these games are categorised as Early Access titles and charge you a high price for an sub-par gaming experience. It seems no one can be held liable for the crap-factor and false promises of some Early Access games. Assessing what can be deemed as a “quality” indie game is a tough call and how you exactly go about doing such curation is filled with many issues. Yet for indie games to prosper and the scene to stay afloat quality control really needs to be incorporated in some form because at this rate we may see a negative outcome.

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Fight Norse Giants In Jotun http://egmr.net/2014/07/fight-norse-giants-jotun/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/fight-norse-giants-jotun/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:30:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=152761 Jotun in development by Thunder Lotus Games is an action-exploration game that leads you on a journey through Viking purgatory. In the game, you play as Thora a Norse warrior […]

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Jotun in development by Thunder Lotus Games is an action-exploration game that leads you on a journey through Viking purgatory. In the game, you play as Thora a Norse warrior who has died disgracefully in battle and didn’t make it to Valhalla. So she must make her own way through Viking purgatory.

In order to reach Valhalla, Thora will need to do a great deal of fighting. Thora carries around a huge battleaxe which she uses to fight, and she collects runes which are used to summon giant elemental Norse giants called Jotun. In Jotun, levels will be procedurally generated, and combat is described as fast-paced and brutal in nature. Each Jotun will require a different strategy to defeat and these Norse giants are huge requiring you to zoom out at times. It in many ways is reminiscent of Shadow Of The Colossus.

Jotun also has an incredible 2D art style that is a wonder to behold. If you would like to support the game you can check out the Steam Greenlight page, Kickstarter page and dev blog as well. Jotun will hopefully be released for PC later this year in September. The game will probably be heading to Macs too.

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Solve The Mystery In Jenny LeClue http://egmr.net/2014/07/solve-mystery-jenny-leclue/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/solve-mystery-jenny-leclue/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:00:49 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=152683 Jenny LeClue: Detectivu is a detective adventure game in development by indie team MOGRAFI, and is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter. In this new adventure game, you play as the […]

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Jenny LeClue: Detectivu is a detective adventure game in development by indie team MOGRAFI, and is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter. In this new adventure game, you play as the main character Jenny LeClue who is trying to prove her mother’s innocence in a murder case. Jenny LeClue takes on the task at hand with no issue at all.

The gameplay design is focused on exploration based on choosing your own adventure, combined with a strong story focus, character development and a massive mystery throughout the whole game. Choices are the game’s core focus, as the developers themselves say:

This is a game about your choices and how they permanently affect the story. We want to deliver a rich narrative experience about relationships with delightful surprises and interactions. The story also deals with mature themes, complex characters, and an epic tangled mystery. We want you to help guide the direction of Jenny’s journey, within the game itself.

Jenny LeClue is 2D with beautiful handmade art. In the game, everything will be interactive. You will be able to explore the game’s world of Arthurton, exploring dark corners and uncovering secrets, suspicious characters and cracking cases. The game will be supported initially on PC, Mac and Linux with plans for other platforms in the future.

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Fight For Your Hotel Room In Check-in, Knock-out! http://egmr.net/2014/07/fight-hotel-room-check-knock/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/fight-hotel-room-check-knock/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:30:53 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=152473 Check-in, Knock-out is a multiplayer brawler by Lionade Games. In the game, you and other guests have been double booked for a room in a hotel. To decide who is […]

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Check-in, Knock-out is a multiplayer brawler by Lionade Games. In the game, you and other guests have been double booked for a room in a hotel. To decide who is to have the room all involved have an old school brawl.

In Check-in, Knock-out you can pick up anything in your hotel room and throw it a friends to knock them out. Each playable character has a unique special ability which gives them a specific playstyle. The game is fast to pick up but has enough depth for any player to master the advanced forms of techniques for each playable character.

Each level has you throwing items at one another from within the environment. As time progresses the level gradually starts getting smaller and shrinks. This forces any remaining players to fight it out on small platforms so they can win the vacant hotel room by the final round. You can read more about the game on its official website.

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Experience Points: Finding Time To Play Games http://egmr.net/2014/07/experience-points-finding-time-play-games/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/experience-points-finding-time-play-games/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:00:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=152357 Of recent, I’ve been struggling to find time to play games. So much so that the actual time I have to game is normally limited to weekends. I remember the […]

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Of recent, I’ve been struggling to find time to play games. So much so that the actual time I have to game is normally limited to weekends. I remember the good old days when I had plenty of time during the week to play games in the evening. But it’s funny how when your life changes so too do your gaming habits. What you play and how you play are also changed for better or for worse.

Most of the time I only have free time on the weekends to play the games I want to, and even then anything else I need to do, or want to do, falls into the timeframe during the weekend. Actually getting through games and completing them is becoming more and more difficult, because it always seems like there is something else around the corner that needs attention or somewhere where you are needed as a person.

On the rare occasion when I actually have free time to play games it is a rare godsend and is something I value the most. But it never feels like it lasts long and again I find myself closing in on Sunday and no longer having any time to finish that game. What I guess it comes down to is the games you choose to play in that select period of time, whatever you have available to you.

The time and dedication needed for open world games and longer JRPGs may not be available to me anymore, and it’s sad but it is a reality of life in some ways. I love games but at the same time I need to move forward, and striking that balance between yourself and a gamer, and the rest of your life is always difficult to achieve.

I am envious of gamers who can strike that balance so effortlessly while others struggle, like myself in finding time to play games. I wish I could play everything under the sun but now I have to be particular with what I play. It’s sad because most of the games I enjoy are time sinks and time sinks are just not for me at this moment in time.

I’m always up for suggestions from other gamers regarding games they think are great experiences with a decent playtime. If you have any ideas or suggestions why not share them in the comments section below, so I can get an idea of what games could fit into my schedule. I appreciate all the help.

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The Tale Of Depri-Horst: The Miserable Mailman http://egmr.net/2014/07/tale-depri-horst-miserable-mailman/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/tale-depri-horst-miserable-mailman/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:30:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=152384 So do you want to play through the depressing life of a mailman? Well then, Depri-Horst: The Miserable Mailman is for you. Depri-Horst is a mobile game, for Android, iOS […]

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So do you want to play through the depressing life of a mailman? Well then, Depri-Horst: The Miserable Mailman is for you. Depri-Horst is a mobile game, for Android, iOS and Windows phones, developed by one Steffen Wittig.

Wittig claims that this is the best mailman simulator ever made. He has this to say about the game:

Depri-Horst – The Miserable Mailman will bring tears of joy to your tiny little mailman-eyes while you desperately try to make out what is going on. Then you die and have to start from the last checkpoint.

The game features a story mode with seven levels, a survival mode and a main menu (such a brilliant feature). There are three possible actions you can use as the mailman and from what I can see you dodge feral cats (or deranged cats) and probably other pets in order to deliver letters, whilst making your way through various obstacles. There is also a multiplayer mode available with Depri-Horst. All I can say is the game is quite interesting.

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Third Eye Crime Makes A Stealthy Appearance On Steam http://egmr.net/2014/07/third-eye-crime-makes-stealthy-appearance-steam/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/third-eye-crime-makes-stealthy-appearance-steam/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 07:30:38 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=152253 A new stealth game called Third Eye Crime, created by Moonshot Games, has finally made its way to Steam. Originally a mobile game, Third Eye Crime is a stealth game […]

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A new stealth game called Third Eye Crime, created by Moonshot Games, has finally made its way to Steam. Originally a mobile game, Third Eye Crime is a stealth game where the protagonist named Rothko can read minds and can predict enemy movements, making him a perfect criminal for crimes requiring stealth.

In comparison to the mobile release, on iOS, this version supports high-resolutions and does not contain any in-app purchases, which is a real blessing. The game sells for roughly $4.99. Third Eye Crime features a cool jazz soundtrack paired with very distinctive noir graphic novel styled visuals.

Rothko can sneak around various stages with his unique ability, predicting the guard’s patrol paths and can effectively avoid them. On top of this, Rothko can misdirect and distract enemies to make an effective escape in order to get the goods out safely, and complete a request in no time at all. In total, Third Eye Crime has three acts, with eight environments and has around 120 levels for you to explore and exploit as Rothko. The game is truly something different from the rest of the crowd, and you should definitely check it out.

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Aegis Defenders Is A Miyazaki Influenced Hybrid Platformer http://egmr.net/2014/07/aegis-defenders-miyazaki-influenced-platformer/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/aegis-defenders-miyazaki-influenced-platformer/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:30:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=152159 Aegis Defenders is a 2D platformer which combines Metroidvania combat with tower defense elements. The game has been in development by Studio Guts, and was a project originally born from […]

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Aegis Defenders is a 2D platformer which combines Metroidvania combat with tower defense elements. The game has been in development by Studio Guts, and was a project originally born from the University of Southern California’s Intermediate Game class.

Aegis Defenders is quite beautiful and it is clear that the game has been visually influenced by the works of Hayao Miyazaki, with a similar artistic sensibility that can be seen throughout the whole trailer above. The story follows the adventures of Bart and his granddaughter Clu.

They live in a world where the control over lost technologies is a source of power. Bart and Clu explore ancient ruins in search of something that can save their village from an ever expanding empire. Simply they are searching for an ancient weapon known as Aegis.

Aegis Defenders is strongly influenced by games from the 16-bit era, especially games like Metroid and other similar adventure titles. The game has platforming elements which it combines with tower defense elements where you can create turrets and traps to ward off different waves of enemies. Combat itself features a great deal of time where you’ll be setting up defenses after an enemy wave and gather resources.

Studio Guts will be running a Kickstarter campaign for Aegis Defenders on July 30th. So do look out for that one.

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Experience Surreal Sleepwalking With Back To Bed http://egmr.net/2014/07/experience-surreal-sleepwalking-back-to-bed/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/experience-surreal-sleepwalking-back-to-bed/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 07:30:29 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=151960 Back To Bed in development by Bedtime Digital Games is a 3D isometric puzzle platformer where you guide sleepwalker Bob from his “sleep inducing” office to the safety of his […]

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Back To Bed in development by Bedtime Digital Games is a 3D isometric puzzle platformer where you guide sleepwalker Bob from his “sleep inducing” office to the safety of his bed, all the while he is in dream land. You control Bob’s subconscious with Subob, who guides and protects Bob in this state.

The pair of Bob and Subob will travel through a brilliantly surreal painting-like landscape where the boundaries between the dream world and reality have converged. In turn, there are now real world dangers which threaten Bob’s very life as you help to traverse through the dream world, as both are blending into the other. As Subob, you’ll help Bob make his way through all the obstacles and challenges without a scratch.

Back To Bed will feature a unique and surreal game universe, full 3D isometric puzzles, the ability to influence two characters in unison and a beautiful visual style. The game will be made available for iOS, Android and PC, and is scheduled for an August release date.

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Ascend Into The Heavens With Wings Of Vi http://egmr.net/2014/07/ascend-heavens-wings-of-vi/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/ascend-heavens-wings-of-vi/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 07:30:29 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=151749 Wings Of Vi in development by Grynsoft is an angelic platformer where you assume the role of an angel named Vi who must defeat the demon hordes, and ultimately face […]

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Wings Of Vi in development by Grynsoft is an angelic platformer where you assume the role of an angel named Vi who must defeat the demon hordes, and ultimately face Jeh’oul, lord of the underworld. The developer Grynsoft has been working on the game for roughly two years.

Visually Wings Of Vi sets itself apart from other indie action platformers with a unique art style. From the trailer, one can see that the game will be quite challenging and some could even argue masochistic in nature. Vi has a mission which is as follows, and it’s an arduous one:

On her adventure she has to find the entrance to the demon lair, the place Jeh’Oul and his minions reside; as well as defeat the hordes of demons unleashed upon the world.

The game itself looks to have an array of challenging aerial obstacles and enemies for Vi to overcome. Wings Of Vi also looks to have large boss battles, where you can dodge enemy attacks and will have to learn enemy patterns. It will be released some time in October, with no specific date yet detailed.

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Enjoy The Tasty Platformer Bacon Man http://egmr.net/2014/07/enjoy-tasty-platformer-bacon-man/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/enjoy-tasty-platformer-bacon-man/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 07:30:42 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=151640 Bacon Man: An Adventure is a platformer in development by Skymap Games who are currently seeking funding via Kickstarter, and support through Steam Greenlight. Bacon Man is a 3D side […]

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Bacon Man: An Adventure is a platformer in development by Skymap Games who are currently seeking funding via Kickstarter, and support through Steam Greenlight. Bacon Man is a 3D side scrolling action platformer that combines, fighting, shooting and physics based abilities. All of which helps to create a challenging experience.

The world of Bacon Man is beautifully rendered and inspired by all the food groups we eat. The game is greatly influenced by titles such as Earthworm Jim, Mega Man X and Rayman. The story for the game follows like so:

There’s a conspiracy brewing in the world of Nomround. Old King Roast Beef has been brutally murdered, and his obviously innocent grandson Bacon Man has been framed by the Food Kings. Escape the clutches of evil, gather allies, and help Bacon Man restore his rightful place on the Meat Throne.

Besides platforming the Bacon Man will feature fluid combat with fighting taking place on land or in air. You can combine platforming, shooting and fighting moves to pull off awesome combos. You can use well timed attacks and moves to increase your mobility and help you make your way across certain parts of levels in Bacon Man. The game will also have some RPG elements for levelling up and such. Bacon Man is definitely a game to be looking forward to.

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Ninja Pizza Girl Is A Fun Ride http://egmr.net/2014/07/ninja-pizza-girl-fun-ride/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/ninja-pizza-girl-fun-ride/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 07:30:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=151504 Ninja Pizza Girl is a sliding tale about being a teenage girl, a ninja, delivering pizzas and fighting off peer pressure, and the tribulations of being a teenager at the […]

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Ninja Pizza Girl is a sliding tale about being a teenage girl, a ninja, delivering pizzas and fighting off peer pressure, and the tribulations of being a teenager at the same time. The game is in development by Disparity Games, a family-run indie studio, who are now seeking funding via Kickstarter, and support on Steam Greenlight.

Ninja Pizza Girl is a level-based platformer that draws influence from games like Mirror’s Edge and Sonic The Hedgehog. It follows a story with strong themes centred around bullying, emotional strength and other themes of real relevance to teenagers. Disparity games have tried to make the game as accommodating as possible for new players and fans of platformers alike. The point is that Ninja Pizza Girl isn’t a masochistic exercise but rather a game that is enjoyable to play. As Disparity Games say, it is “tough to master”.

The game has a lovely art style that is complemented by flowing gameplay design, where you slide your way through multi-layered levels, and if you miss a jump or section of the level you’ll land on path that is slower with slower scoring. Ninja Pizza Girl appears to have a nice ebb and flow to it, and feels quite different from other platformers out there. If you’re interested why not check out the demo here.

 

 

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Experience The Aftermath Of Death In Fragments Of Him http://egmr.net/2014/07/aftermath-death-fragments-of-him/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/aftermath-death-fragments-of-him/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:15:44 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=151417 Fragments Of Him in development by SassBot Studio was originally a prototype for Ludum Dare 26. The game follows the story of a young man dying suddenly with his friends […]

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Fragments Of Him in development by SassBot Studio was originally a prototype for Ludum Dare 26. The game follows the story of a young man dying suddenly with his friends and family left in the aftermath. Fragments Of Him explores the many questions left unanswered like:

What were his last thoughts, what were the moments in which he changed their lives, and how will their lives be without him?

The game focuses on the trying period surrounding death and what that feels like. Fragments Of Him is a first-person interactive experience following the story of Will where you control the spirit of characters centred around the tragic accident, which influenced their lives. The game will touch on all aspects of the tragedy putting you in the shoes of the victims with each of your choices advancing the story, bringing you past the climax of the accident and into the aftereffects.

You can read more about Fragments Of Him on the official website.

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Get All Hack-And-Slash With Rampage Knights http://egmr.net/2014/07/get-hack-slash-rampage-knights/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/get-hack-slash-rampage-knights/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 08:15:57 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=151325 Rampage Knights is a co-op hack-and-slash game in development by Rake In Grass Games who are seeking support and funding through Indiegogo and Steam Greenlight. Rampage Knights has drawn many […]

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Rampage Knights is a co-op hack-and-slash game in development by Rake In Grass Games who are seeking support and funding through Indiegogo and Steam Greenlight. Rampage Knights has drawn many comparisons to Castle Crashers, which is not a bad thing as the game does look to be quite the fun adventure.

The game much like Castle Crashers is a beat-em-up at heart and mixes this quite nicely with randomised dungeon crawling, and exploration. The story follows quite simply as such:

You play as a hero trapped by a spell in a magical forest. All paths lead to a nearby ruined castle, where the source of the black magic covering the land is dwelling.

Rampage Knights attempts to combine the roguelike elements of Binding of Isaac with the melee combat and beat-em-up goodness of games like Golden Axe. Each run in the game has you starting off with a bare hero with the goal being getting as far as possible through the dungeon. You do so through bloody combat, randomised items, spells, traps and encounters with creatures. Your character will evolve by finding weapons, items, magic powers which will help you to fight harder enemies.

Rampage Knights is definitely one for fans of beat-em-ups and hack-and-slash games. We can’t wait to see more from this game.

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Bulb Boy Is A Delightful Horror Adventure http://egmr.net/2014/07/bulb-boy-delightful-horror-adventure/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/bulb-boy-delightful-horror-adventure/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:30:16 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=151236 Bulb Boy is a cute horror adventure game, in development by a small team consisting of Artur Mikołajczyk, Szymon Łukasik and Bartosz Gajdarski who are currently seeking funding through Kickstarter. […]

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Bulb Boy is a cute horror adventure game, in development by a small team consisting of Artur Mikołajczyk, Szymon Łukasik and Bartosz Gajdarski who are currently seeking funding through Kickstarter. So what is Bulb Boy you may ask? Well, it is a 2D point-and-click horror adventure about a “boy with a glowing head”. The game is strongly influenced by Machinarium and Gobliiins.

Gameplay will focus on solving puzzles, taking on various monsters in the dark and learning new abilities along the way. What Bulb can do is not only use his head as a light, but he can use it to emit heat and send out electrical shocks. His head can also be unscrewed for use in puzzles and other areas of the world. In the game, you’ll be able to explore Bulb’s house which has been overrun by dark forces. Through your journey you will aim to bring back the light, and the game will feature playable flashbacks revealing more about the story and characters.

Bulb Boy has a distinct visual style and aesthetic that makes it quite different from the rest of the pack. The game is still in essence a point-and-click adventure and wears its old school mechanics proudly. You will have to find, collect and use different items to solve puzzles. A nice addition is that Bulb will be able to learn new skills that can unlock different approaches and solutions to puzzles and problems in the game.

The game will be released on Mac, PC, Linux and eventually will head to iOS and Android. You can get a glimpse of the game by playing the demo available here.

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Experience Points: Objectivity In Gaming Is Dead http://egmr.net/2014/07/experience-points-objectivity-in-gaming-dead/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/experience-points-objectivity-in-gaming-dead/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 09:00:40 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=151250 When we write about games, gaming and the industry at large we’re not tied to concerns about objective truth. I’ve spoken about this before, but many of us are tethered […]

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When we write about games, gaming and the industry at large we’re not tied to concerns about objective truth. I’ve spoken about this before, but many of us are tethered to this notion that writing should be balanced, nuanced with facts supported by a logical standpoint that weighs the pros and cons of a game, an issue at hand and the happenings within this very industry.

The truth is the state of gaming is strongly influenced by impact-driven opinions that lay bare strong feelings and thoughts about an issue that may not be of the popular persuasion. If you take a read of a certain article about the upcoming Bungie game Destiny, you’ll catch my drift. Many writers try to asses the movement towards total subjectivity in games writing and games journalism as new games journalism, most notably Kieron Gillen. The central nugget that can be take from Gillen’s initial introspection is that when you or someone else writes about game we are talking about our subjective experience, about the “real reasons” for us why a game affects us in a certain way. This subjectivity facilitates us following through with a certain perspective or train of thought.

That is not to say that objectivity is not present to a degree within some articles you may come across. Many of us still write about the technical aspects of games which can be objectively assessed. Writing about mechanics shouldn’t be frowned upon. The general assumption is that we should always be writing for the “mainstream audience” because as we all know the gamer audience landscape has shifted demographics and games criticism and journalism should tend towards a focus on this “audience”. But this depends on who you feel you are writing for. I say throw in all the jargon you want if it makes you feel better.

From my perspective, when writing I’m not focusing on the “ideal audience”. I’m writing for myself and trying to share how I see things in gaming and across the industry. Of course, some writers are driven to constructing articles which can be considered click bait. Although in other ways some writers are trying for the sake of a point to demonstrate opposition to the mainstream point of view and general acceptance of how things are, the status-quo.

However, to be perfectly honest the status-quo is boring. Being fair and objective is monotonous. Flame wars are exciting. Internet warriors battling it out in comment threads about their favourite games, PS4, Xbox One, resolutions and labelling every person with a different viewpoint as an “Xbot” or a “$ony Pauper” is the current space. You know what let us share our opinions may the run forth about the internet landscape in a kaleidoscope of colours, rage-inducing and ego-bruising to boot. Because what lies within many turds of comments is a “nugget” of good discussion, and in rare instances you can see a good discussion blossoming and growing. That my friends is where we can find the objectivity that so many gamers seek.

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Go Back To The 1920s With A Golden Wake http://egmr.net/2014/07/go-back-1920s-a-golden-wake/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/go-back-1920s-a-golden-wake/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 08:15:56 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150979 A Golden Wake in development by Grundislav Games is a new adventure game which explores the 1920s and the prospect of prohibition (the banning of alcohol) in the USA. All […]

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A Golden Wake in development by Grundislav Games is a new adventure game which explores the 1920s and the prospect of prohibition (the banning of alcohol) in the USA. All of this occurred during The Great Depression, so it is quite the backdrop.

A Golden Wake is all about the age of Jazz and the Roaring Twenties, and stars Alfie Banks a young real estate salesman from New York who is relocated to Miami, Florida. The game follows Banks’ descent into greed and corruption, and a journey of self-redemption. There will be real life locations to explore and historical figures to interact with.

You must guide Alfie on his journey dealing with shady characters and find yourself in many of the historical events of the period. A Golden Wake will feature a great deal of historical fiction where Banks will encounter seedy situations, with puzzling and meaningful conversations taking centre stage. A Golden Wake does indeed look promising and will be coming to us in Fall of this year.

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Become One With The Deer In The Deer God http://egmr.net/2014/07/become-one-deer-deer-god/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/become-one-deer-deer-god/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 08:15:58 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150872 The Deer God, in development by Crescent Moon Games, is a 3D pixel art game about survival, reincarnation, karma set within a beautifully rendered world. In the game, a hunter […]

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The Deer God, in development by Crescent Moon Games, is a 3D pixel art game about survival, reincarnation, karma set within a beautifully rendered world. In the game, a hunter has an unexpected experience following a hunting incident. The hunter becomes the hunted, and finds himself in the body of a deer.

The game promises to be a visual marvel with gorgeous lighting, a day and night system and beautiful water reflections. The Deer God in terms of gameplay is inspired by games like Metroid, Blaster Master and Ecco The Dolphin. The game itself is an atmospheric survival platformer, with a randomly generated world. As a deer you get to explore this glorious landscape. You can run, jump and dash, and even user special powers you obtain through exploration. You also have to solve environmental puzzles using your intellect and powers gained throughout the game to delve deeper into the world of The Deer God.

Throughout the game you’ll encounter different types of deer, enemies such as hunters, foxes and mountain lions all of which you have to deal with as a deer. The Deer God is definitely something unique within the indie scene at the moment and stands out from the crowd in many ways. The game is currently on Kickstarter where you can show your support. The goal for the game’s release is January 2015. We are looking forward to it.

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IndieFix: No Man’s Sky http://egmr.net/2014/07/indiefix-no-mans-sky/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/indiefix-no-mans-sky/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150798 Welcome to the latest episode of IndieFix. In IndieFix, I offer an analysis of a topic related to the indie scene, indie development and indie games industry. This week’s episode […]

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Welcome to the latest episode of IndieFix. In IndieFix, I offer an analysis of a topic related to the indie scene, indie development and indie games industry. This week’s episode focuses on the indie game No Man’s Sky. Enjoy!

In this week’s episode:

Subscribe for more videos and fun times: http://YouTube.com/eGamerZA
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Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdamFullMetalZA

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Wayward Manor Is Neil Gaiman’s Latest Project http://egmr.net/2014/07/wayward-manor-neil-gaimans-latest-project/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/wayward-manor-neil-gaimans-latest-project/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:00:41 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150579 Neil Gaiman’s latest gaming-related project is Wayward Manor which is a creepy horror puzzle adventure game in development by The Odd Gentlemen and mobile game publishers Moonshark, with Gaiman at […]

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Neil Gaiman’s latest gaming-related project is Wayward Manor which is a creepy horror puzzle adventure game in development by The Odd Gentlemen and mobile game publishers Moonshark, with Gaiman at the helm. Wayward Manor looks like something Tim Burton would come up with and it has a charm all its own.

The game is a thriller set in the 1920s revolving around a ghost who dwells in a Victorian Gothic estate. In Wayward Manor, you play as the ghost who has the job of scaring away intruders who attempt to invade the estate. Gameplay is more squarely focused on player actions and is all about increasing player enjoyment. The ghost you play as must find inventive ways to scare the intruders away. As you make your way through the game, you will discover more about the cast of characters, and learn about the ghost’s own death. Perhaps you’ll come to know more about the danger that lurks?

Wayward Manor appears to be a proper mystery and the game itself is based on a tale written by Neil Gaiman, so it may be very worthwhile. The game will be coming to PC, Mac and tablets on 15 July. It is also available via Steam.

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Help Uncover The Mystery In The Wild Wild Pixel http://egmr.net/2014/07/help-uncover-mystery-wild-wild-pixel/ http://egmr.net/2014/07/help-uncover-mystery-wild-wild-pixel/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:00:20 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150474 The Wild Wild Pixel an upcoming point-and-click adventure game is currently in development by Fabraz, and the game is seeking funding through Kickstarter and support via Steam Greenlight. The game […]

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The Wild Wild Pixel an upcoming point-and-click adventure game is currently in development by Fabraz, and the game is seeking funding through Kickstarter and support via Steam Greenlight. The game follows the story of Jacques who is the unwilling resident of The Valley for his whole life. The Valley is named for its massive cliff walls with empty deserts within.

Jacques attempts to escape countless times and explore the world beyond, but is always met with failure. No one else seems to feel the same way as Jacques and in The Wild Wild Pixel we join Jacques on the eve of another attempted escape. The question is: what will Jacques discover beyond the walls? The game itself will be an “expansive” point-and-click adventure, with a clear homage to its past and influences. Of course, there will be modern game mechanics with a user-friendly and intuitive UI. The Wild Wild Pixel’s structure will follow as such:

The game’s story unfolds over the span of four to five chapters, with each chapter providing roughly five hours of game play. We’re all about immersion and having your actions matter in the long run, no matter how small. You see a stray dog? Find him an owner. A girl’s being bullied? Save her from her bullies. You did both? The girl ends up playing with the dog outside of town, happy and content.

There are 26 days left on the project’s Kickstarter, so why not have a look and perhaps give the game a bit of support. The game also has a fully voiced cast of characters and a unique pixel art style that really make this stick out from the crowd.

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Temporus Is All The Sci-Fi 2D Adventure You Need http://egmr.net/2014/06/temporus-sci-fi-2d-adventure-need/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/temporus-sci-fi-2d-adventure-need/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150391 Temporus, in development by Firebelly Studios, is 2D Adventure game that spans a variety of genres from platformers, side-scrolling shooters, to RPGs. The game is currently on Kickstarter and has […]

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Temporus, in development by Firebelly Studios, is 2D Adventure game that spans a variety of genres from platformers, side-scrolling shooters, to RPGs. The game is currently on Kickstarter and has the main premise of time travel, with lasers, missiles and jellyfish included in the mix.

This is what the game is all about:

As you advance through the game, you’ll begin to peel back the layers of the rich history surrounding this digital universe. You’ll discover ancient artifacts, see flashbacks of forgotten battles, and learn about primitive technology that could help you save the universe from complete destruction.

In Temporus, the backstory of the game is influenced by space novellas such as Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica. In the game, you play as the protagonist a mine worker who receives a warning that his home planet is under attack. You and your crew rush back to your home planet called Temporus, to find it decimated and barren. You don’t know what happened and seek the truth as you set out on your current mission with your crew.

Temporus will be broken up into various levels, each with their own mission and style of gameplay. Although time travel is an essential part of the game, item collection will be important as well. Collecting items will help you along the way and help you out in terms of tactical decisions. Temporus will be out some time this year for PC, Mac, and Linux, with possibilities for PS4, PS Vita, and Xbox One.

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Ex-Last Guardian Developers Form New Studio http://egmr.net/2014/06/ex-last-guardian-developers-form-new-studio/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/ex-last-guardian-developers-form-new-studio/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 08:00:02 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150318 A new studio called Friend & Foe, consisting of several former developers with some involved in The Last Guardian, has formed. The former AAA developers, who have worked on games […]

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A new studio called Friend & Foe, consisting of several former developers with some involved in The Last Guardian, has formed. The former AAA developers, who have worked on games such as Battlefield, Bionic Commando and Killzone, have revealed that they have two projects in the works. Both of these games are vastly different entities from one another.

One of their games is called Dangerous Men which will be an iOS-only game for the meanwhile. The game itself is an action shooter inspired by good old 80s buddy cop movies, when Mel Gibson still had a reputation and Eddie Murphy was funny. In Dangerous Men, you attempt to clear a city of a Punk gang with your partner who joins you in a battle against enemies.

The second game called Vane will be a PC exclusive (with possibilities for other platforms). Here is a description of the game from Friend & Foe’s website:

A child with an odd ability stuck in a strange land. A dangerous natural environment inhabited by a strange civilization. Vane is an open-world adventure game based on mystery and exploration.

The game will focus on unraveling mysteries, exploring the expansive world, solving puzzles, all in a powerful and atmospheric setting. Vane does look to be very promising. There is no set release date for both games, as of yet.

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If You Like Zelda You’ll Love Midora http://egmr.net/2014/06/like-zelda-youll-love-midora/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/like-zelda-youll-love-midora/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150151 Midora, in development by Epic Minds, is a 2D action adventure game in the tradition and style of Legend Of Zelda and Secret Of Mana. The game has a charming […]

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Midora, in development by Epic Minds, is a 2D action adventure game in the tradition and style of Legend Of Zelda and Secret Of Mana. The game has a charming world to explore with many mechanics to learn and quests to fulfill.

Midora tells the story of a young heroine named Snow who finds herself in the midst of a conflict. The game contains plenty of content including alchemy, crafting, fishing, magic and the the game seems to a have heavy focus on loot and items. Snow will constantly have to use common items such as her sword and shield. There is no leveling system in the game, and as such swords and shields have their own attack and defense level.

There will be some stealth elements in Midora allowing you to sneak behind enemies and cause critical damage with Snow. There are 12 dungeons to explore with each dungeon having its own unique item. Some of these items are like the Wind Fan which is a boomerang-like weapon that can cut through bushes and set off explosive runes. Another weapon is the Vine Whip that can be used to push back certain enemies, and become attached to different objects.

All in all, Midora looks to be very promising and is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter.

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Lose Your Head With Roguelike FranknJohn http://egmr.net/2014/06/lose-head-roguelike-franknjohn/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/lose-head-roguelike-franknjohn/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 08:00:59 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150063 FranknJohn is a roguelike smash-em-up, in development by bitSmith Games, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. FranknJohn is a roguelike which is set in a fun-house full of B-Movie horrors. You […]

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FranknJohn is a roguelike smash-em-up, in development by bitSmith Games, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. FranknJohn is a roguelike which is set in a fun-house full of B-Movie horrors. You play as young FranknJohn who is the failed experiment of a deranged scientist.

FranknJohn has no memory and finds that his head can only stay attached to his body by means of a chain. With this supposed weakness comes great strength as FranknJohn can use his chained head as a weapon and swing it at hordes of enemies he encounters. As shown in the video above, you can customise FranknJohn with various skullcaps you collect that alter the abilities and properties of FranknJohn’s head. There will also be swappable body parts which will allow you to change your stats and affect your play-style.

The game will feature a variety of uniquely themed levels with randomly generated elements, with items, collectibles and secrets. As FranknJohn is a roguelike, there will of course be perma-death, challenging enemies and powerful bosses to face. The game will be made available for PC, Linux and Mac upon its eventual release. There is no clear set release date for FranknJohn as of yet.

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IndieFix: Phil Fish, YouTube Revenue And Let’s Plays http://egmr.net/2014/06/indiefix-phil-fish-youtube-letsplays/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/indiefix-phil-fish-youtube-letsplays/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=150008 Welcome to the latest episode of IndieFix. In IndieFix, I offer an analysis of a topic related to the indie scene, indie development and indie games industry. This week’s episode […]

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Welcome to the latest episode of IndieFix. In IndieFix, I offer an analysis of a topic related to the indie scene, indie development and indie games industry. This week’s episode focuses on Phil Fish, YouTube and Let’s Players. Enjoy!

In this week’s episode:

Subscribe for more videos and fun times: http://YouTube.com/eGamerZA
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Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdamFullMetalZA

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Phil Fish Is A Concept http://egmr.net/2014/06/phil-fish-concept/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/phil-fish-concept/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149960 This week an in-depth video essay, created by Ian Danskin, was released on YouTube highlighting the ills and implications of fame. The video intelligently uses Phil Fish as an example […]

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This week an in-depth video essay, created by Ian Danskin, was released on YouTube highlighting the ills and implications of fame. The video intelligently uses Phil Fish as an example of the expectations we have of the people we make famous.

The video provides a great look at how Phil Fish was made famous and how we as media consumers have preconceived notions about the right type of fame and the bad type of fame. We reduce celebrities to the level of a concept. Essentially Phil Fish is argued to be a concept, an example anyone can point to as what is “wrong” with the indie scene.

Many gamers and members of the press alike have labelled Phil Fish as an “asshole”. This was none truer than in the incident that occurred between Fish and journalist Marcus Beer. Danskin’s video essay helps to shed light on our construction of fame, and Phil Fish proves to be a compelling example of one of the ways fame can go, with either extreme hate and extreme love on both ends of the spectrum. In many ways, the video can make you think about re-evaluating the whole Phil Fish fiasco.

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Studio Behind Bit.Trip Series Reveals Two New Games http://egmr.net/2014/06/studio-behind-bit-trip-series-reveals-two-new-games/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/studio-behind-bit-trip-series-reveals-two-new-games/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 07:00:20 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149899 Gaijin Games the studio behind the well-known Bit.Trip series of games announced recently that they will be rebranding their studio and taking on a new name, which is Choice Provisions. […]

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Gaijin Games the studio behind the well-known Bit.Trip series of games announced recently that they will be rebranding their studio and taking on a new name, which is Choice Provisions. The aim of the name change for the studio is to bring a new level of maturity and remove the stigma that is often associated with the term “gaijin” (a Japanese word for foreigner or outsider, with often negative connotations attached). However, the name will still live on with future releases within the Bit.Trip series of games.

Under the new name of Choice Provisions the studio has two new projects in the wings. The first game is Laserlife which can be defined as an exploration game with a strong focus on:

High-concept science fiction themes focused on the idea that human life is much more than the sum of its physical parts…Discover the experiences of a human life in this story of first contact.

The second game in the works is another science fiction based game called Tharsis which is named after the region of Mars. The game is a “realistic” perma-death turn-based strategy game, using dice, where players are placed into the first manned journey to Mars, when catastrophe strikes and you are hit by a huge asteroid. You have to make it to the surface of the planet and survive.

Both games are still early concept projects, but you can keep up-to-date with what’s going on at Choice Provisions by checking out their blog.

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Review: Murdered: Soul Suspect Is A Decent Mystery, But Suffers Elsewhere http://egmr.net/2014/06/review-murdered-soul-suspect-decent-mystery/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/review-murdered-soul-suspect-decent-mystery/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149739 Visit review on site for scoring. In Murdered: Soul Suspect, you play as Detective Ronan O’Connor, a criminal who became a detective and finally a ghost following his own death […]

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In Murdered: Soul Suspect, you play as Detective Ronan O’Connor, a criminal who became a detective and finally a ghost following his own death at the hands of a serial killer known as the Bell Killer. The game is set in Salem, Massachusetts the infamous site of the Salem witch trials. Ronan finds himself revived as a ghost, and desperately seeks the truth about his murder, but he just needs to find the right lead.

In the game, Ronan needs to solve his own murder in order to find peace and join his deceased wife in the afterlife. Thus he uses his newly acquired ghostly abilities to get the job done. Along the way, he encounters a host of characters including a teenage girl named Joy Foster who is looking for her mother Cassandra, a person of interest in solving the Bell Killer case. Joy is a medium and has the ability to communicate with ghosts and so she joins Ronan on his journey to solve the ultimate mystery of the Bell Killer. From this point on, the game’s narrative really drives home the mystery of the Bell Killer, which is further enhanced by the strong setting that is Salem, and the Salem Witch trials, which gives the game a tinge of the macabre.

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As a ghost, Ronan can explore the world of Salem which has deep ties to the supernatural, the world of the spiritual. The game has you following investigation after investigation utilising Ronan’s ghostly skills to solve cases, and get one step closer to the truth about the Bell Killer. Ronan uses ghostly skills which includes the ability to posses people, and cats, read minds, influence people’s thoughts, and see and hear what a person knows. You can make progress by walking through walls, opening doors and you can even teleport across short distances which helps to overcome various supernatural obstacles. Murdered: Soul Suspect also has a strong focus gameplay-wise on possessing people, which is pretty much how you collect leads for investigations.

Possession is a great way to make your way across demon-infested sections of a location and into consecrated ground, land which ghosts cannot normally make safe passage into. Especially since Ronan will encounter demons around every corner. Demonic spirits devour human souls and so as Ronan you need to use your ghostly abilities to evade demons before they tear you away from existence itself. This is where the stealth element of Murdered: Soul Suspect comes into play and you can teleport away to rid yourself of demons, or hide in the ghostly residue of other ghosts. However, when demons are alerted to your existence they will search through the various hiding places for Ronan. Yet you can easily switch between hiding places and distract demons, you can then execute demons if you so choose. But the stealth doesn’t work out too well, as it is quite easy to be detected and if by chance you make your way around demons there are instances where the game won’t load the next cutscene. In one example, in the church there were demons all around, I snuck successfully past the demons and by mistake alerted them at the last second, but I still managed to make it to the next area. The cutscene wouldn’t load for the next investigation, and all the demons had to be executed for the cutscene to successfully load.

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In terms of investigations, there are main story quests which involve investigations related to the Bell Killer case and sidequests which require Ronan to help lost souls make their way to the afterlife by solving cases related to the souls’ unfinished business. With sidequests, you help souls and learn more about Salem and your surroundings which increases your detective ranking. There are also collectibles to be found, as well as stories and facts which you can uncover across all the locations in Salem. In typical investigations, you search around the crime scene for clues and interact with the environment which brings up a screen with all the collected leads and clues which you have to piece together.

As a ghost, Ronan can collect clues by possessing people (and cats), and touching objects and people within his surroundings. This enables Ronan to collect a myriad of clues which help to ultimately to solve each case he comes across and brings him closer to the truth about the Bell Killer. Most of the time with clues, it is a guessing game where you connect the dots and you get a number of tries before your detective ranking goes down. But you can just keep trying by putting different clues and leads together, and you will close a case in no time. This becomes boring and monotonous in no time.

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With gameplay design, Murdered: Soul Suspect suffers the most as it feels poorly executed. The game travels down a dangerous path of repetitive and mundane elements which are not cohesive for the most part. It is pretty novel at the beginning of the game to be able to play as a ghost, but things turn pretty boring when the novelty wears off. The mechanic is interesting but is never fully realised. As Ronan, you can cause poltergeist activity to distract people and interact with the environment to reveal hidden memories, and you are able to interrogate the dead which leads to some interesting conversations and stories.

Fighting demons is cumbersome and the stealth isn’t all that great to begin with and loses its edge quickly. Dealing with demons and lost souls becomes quite the chore and the game suffers from a great deal of homogeneity. Murdered: Soul Suspect on a number of occasions recycles NPCs and the game can at times be a buggy experience. Investigations and collecting clues are clumsy to navigate and actually solving an investigation is merely trial and error. Side missions feel tacked on and don’t serve any true purpose in the grand scheme of things. The game’s narrative, locations, strong visual style and cast of characters are its saving grace.

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Murdered: Soul Suspect delivers a pleasing mystery and detective story with an enjoyable cast of characters. Voice acting is pretty good in the game and the story more than benefits from such strong casting. The story is full of twists and turns that would put M. Night Shyamalan to shame. But it does work out well and the story is engrossing to the point that if that was the sole focus of the game, instead of all the mess that was created with the gameplay design, Murdered: Soul Suspect would be better off. Especially if the game was more discerning with how the gameplay was implemented.

Locations across Salem are hauntingly beautiful and are fun to explore. You can travel through an old church, an asylum, a graveyard and the police station which Ronan once frequented when he was alive. The overarching influence and atmosphere created by the infamous Salem witch hunts helps to give Murdered: Soul Suspect a spooky feeling when playing. The game’s visual style is unique and brings that detective noir influence into the game. The stark comparison of the ghostly realm of the dead and that of the living creates an interesting contrast that works in the game’s favour, but the messy gameplay and execution of certain elements does muddle the experience to a degree. That said, Murdered: Soul Supect feels like a lost opportunity on many fronts, but the main story that drives the game is very compelling.

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Experience Points: Please Stop Glossy Console Design http://egmr.net/2014/06/experience-points-please-stop-glossy-console-design/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/experience-points-please-stop-glossy-console-design/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:00:00 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149601 This needs to be said. There is an an epidemic affecting the console industry and it is glossy plastic. This week has been all about E3, and now you might […]

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This needs to be said. There is an an epidemic affecting the console industry and it is glossy plastic. This week has been all about E3, and now you might be thinking of investing in one of the new consoles, be it a PS4 or Xbox One. But why do these consoles have to use glossy plastic in their design, and as part of their outer-shells.

I understand that the major console manufacturers have some unwritten law that because glossy plastic is trendy and used in all types of entertainment devices and appliances, that consoles should follow suit. It is quite obvious that we have a glossy console complex because of design choices which are affected by the philosophy that the latest consoles should fit seamlessly into our entertainment systems and set-ups. They should look like our Blu-ray players, SMART LED TVs, our PVR decoders and all the technology which satisfies our daily entertainment needs. But to be perfectly blunt I’m sick and tired of glossy consoles.

We’ve gone through iterations of glossy console design with the Xbox 360 Slim which originally had a terrible glossy fingerprint prone finish and the original fat PS3, as well as the super slim PS3. In my opinion, the matte slim PS3 and matte Xbox 360 Slim are two great examples of aesthetically pleasing consoles, with great matte finishes that make cleaning and maintenance a breeze. Why do consoles need have areas with a glossy finish, or be covered in a glossy plastic?

The reality is pretty simple a glossy console may look great in marketing, advertising and photographs; however, when it comes to the actual experience of using such a console on a day-to-day basis maintenance may become a bit of an irritation. Let us take the PS4 as a prime example, the console has a glossy finish in the area covering the hard drive. The glossy finish on the PS4 is extremely quick in collecting dust, picking up fingerprints easily and even picking up scratches without little contact. The Xbox One also has a glossy section which I assume will share many of the problems that glossy finishes do when it comes to technology.

When you are using a console on a daily basis, a glossy finish means you’ll constantly be cleaning the damn thing. That’s of course if you’re concerned with the appearance of the console and also don’t enjoy your gaming-related peripherals and consoles gathering dust. I sure don’t enjoy my PS4 looking like it has been assaulted by a dust storm. Truly it just boggles my mind why such design choices were made, and if it comes down to aesthetics for console manufacturers, then they obviously don’t envision people actually playing their consoles.

I’ve seen many forum posts concerning the plight of gamers who have to deal with the abhorrent glossy finish present in current consoles, a trend which doesn’t seem to want to die out. Of course, one could argue that you could easily customise your console with a vinyl skin, but for me that would be an unnecessary step. Console manufacturers should just stop with the gloss. Matte is so much better and helps to keep the appearance of a console mint for a longer period of time. I don’t care if the console looks nice and shiny for marketing purposes with the gloss finish. I want it to look nice and shiny in my home.

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E3 2014: Dawngate Is A New Type Of MOBA http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-dawngate-new-type-moba/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-dawngate-new-type-moba/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 22:30:32 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149276 During EA’s E3 press conference a video was shown featuring the upcoming multiplayer online battle arena game Dawngate. Apparently the game will have a “massive” story which will give characters […]

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During EA’s E3 press conference a video was shown featuring the upcoming multiplayer online battle arena game Dawngate. Apparently the game will have a “massive” story which will give characters a reason to fight.

The game is being developed by Waystone Game. The video includes a peek at some of the characters you can play with in Dawngate. The gameplay on show featured two teams of five “Shapers”, two lanes and a jungle. There will be economy-based objectives including Spirit Wells which will help to create a strategic environment.

Players can get loot drops from their enemies and friends called Blessings, all of which are awarded for good teamwork. Dawngate does look quite intriguing and we can’t wait to hear more about it.

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E3 2014: Star Wars Battlefront Will Be Arriving In 2015 http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-star-wars-battlefront-will-arriving-2015/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-star-wars-battlefront-will-arriving-2015/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 22:10:41 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149250 EA opened their E3 press conference with with a video detailing the upcoming Star Wars-based multiplayer shooter, from DICE, Star Wars Battlefront. The game looks to be quite authentic to […]

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EA opened their E3 press conference with with a video detailing the upcoming Star Wars-based multiplayer shooter, from DICE, Star Wars Battlefront. The game looks to be quite authentic to the Star Wars universe.

In order to get Star Wars right DICE visited LucasArts archives and took photos in order to remodel classic Star Wars settings and characters for the Battlefront game. DICE also visited the original Stars Wars locations and managed to incorporate them in the game.

In terms of actual footage, we were given a sneak peek of a speederbike scene which showed off a bit of the vehicles present within Star Wars Battlefront, this time around. We will find out more in Spring 2015.

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E3 2014: Ori And The Blind Forest Coming To Xbox One http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-ori-blind-forest-coming-xbox-one/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-ori-blind-forest-coming-xbox-one/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 21:00:33 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149235 Indie studio Moon Studios is bringing Ori And The Blind Forest to Xbox One. This new game was revealed during Microsoft’s E3 press conference. From what we can see Ori […]

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Indie studio Moon Studios is bringing Ori And The Blind Forest to Xbox One. This new game was revealed during Microsoft’s E3 press conference. From what we can see Ori And The Blind Forest will be something of an action platformer set within beautiful hand painted environments. The game looks to be beauitful and the two main characters are quite cutesy indeed.

It of course reminded us of Dust: An Elysian Tail with a visually striking art style and well-executed action, and platforming to boot. We can’t wait to hear more about Ori And The Blind Forest. Moon Studios\ latest game is definitely on our radar.

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E3 2014: Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Including Halo 5 News http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-halo-master-chief-collection-including-halo-5-news/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-halo-master-chief-collection-including-halo-5-news/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 20:50:51 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149204 At Microsoft’s E3 press conference, we received a host of Halo news including news of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the multiplayer beta for Halo 5, heading to the […]

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At Microsoft’s E3 press conference, we received a host of Halo news including news of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and the multiplayer beta for Halo 5, heading to the Xbox One. The most noteworthy piece of news was indeed the Halo: Master Chief Collection which consists of high-definition optimised versions of the first four Halo games, which are Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4.

The collection will be all inclusive and will have every level, multiplayer map, gameplay mode and nuance present within the original games. 343 Studios has confirmed that dedicated servers will be powering the whole collection so you can experience Halo multiplayer in all its glory. The collection has been promised to run in 1080p at 60fps, with over 4000 gamerscore and achievements available to players in the collection. At the core of the collection will be Halo 2 which has a beautifully visually updated multiplayer experience for fans.

Above is also our first peek at what Halo 5 has to offer, and we now know that the Halo 5 multiplayer beta will be available through the collection this coming December.

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E3 2014: Microsoft Show Off Indie With ID@Xbox Montage http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-microsoft-show-indie-idxbox-montage/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/e3-2014-microsoft-show-indie-idxbox-montage/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 19:00:02 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149176 In their press conference Microsoft showed off their indie montage of indie games making their way through the ID@Xbox programme. The montage includes a list of indie games, ones which […]

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In their press conference Microsoft showed off their indie montage of indie games making their way through the ID@Xbox programme. The montage includes a list of indie games, ones which we saw last year and some new ones. Games included in the montage are:

  • Aztez
  • Below
  • Slash Dash
  • Fru
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
  • Mighty No. 9
  • Threes
  • Fenix Rage
  • IDARB
  • Hellraid
  • Knight squad
  • Plague, Inc.
  • White Night
  • Cuphead
  • Hyperlight Drifter
  • Lifeless Planet

The titles include games from veterans such as Comcept and also small teams made an impact with a  new game called Fenix Rage from Green Lava Studios. The montage gives an exciting glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes with games from ID@Xbox.

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Review: Pixel Boy Has Plenty Of Pixel Power With A Few Imbalances http://egmr.net/2014/06/review-pixel-boy-plenty-pixel-power/ http://egmr.net/2014/06/review-pixel-boy-plenty-pixel-power/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 07:00:11 +0000 http://egmr.net/?p=149078 Visit review on site for scoring. After getting a chance previously to interview the team behind Pixel Boy, it was great to finally be able to review the game. Pixel […]

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Visit review on site for scoring.

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After getting a chance previously to interview the team behind Pixel Boy, it was great to finally be able to review the game. Pixel Boy is a fun and challenging top-down dungeon crawler shoot-em-up hybrid, which fancies elements from the rogulike genre, and mixes them with the frantic pace and challenge of a bullet hell shooter.

In Pixel Boy and the Ever Expanding Dungeon, the titular character of Pixel Boy is granted pixel powers which give him the ability to shoot pixels at enemies he encounters. Pixel Boy makes his way to the town of Resolutia where he is tasked with the mission of making his way through the dungeon and clearing out all the monsters he comes across. The game consists of four acts in total with an epic boss at the end of each act. Every map in every dungeon is procedurally generated meaning that every time you die and have to re-enter the dungeon the layout and enemies spawning could be very different to your previous experience. In essence, your experience in Pixel Boy will be random every time. Every dungeon you make your way through is filled with dangerous enemies which you as Pixel Boy have to combat with powerups, your shield and the armour you can craft.

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There are of course various tools at your disposal including stackable powerups, or pixel powers, which effect the type of shot you shoot at enemies, the manner in which your shots are dispersed and various other stats of your shots including damage, range and the like. In dungeons, you can also collect coloured orbs and other powerups as enemy drops and from randomly generated treasure chests you come across. The coloured orbs can be combined in town to create a wide array of various armour types which can go up to different levels and have different stat boosts attached to them, such as increasing damage, speed, range and health. Depending on what orbs you combine the armour will be very different with abilities and effects dependent on the tier of armour, as well as orbs used to make the armour.

The same concept applies to powerups which can be combined in limitless combinations with as many powerups as you can handle creating super combo powerups that you can equip in one of Pixel Boy’s equipment slots. Equipping Pixel Boy with different powerups can help create devastating pixel shots which includes shots such as Spreadshot, Shields, Splitshot, Heat seekers, Critical Strike Modifiers and even Time Stoppers. Some of the more specialised pixel powers are for one-time use, but when combined can have devastating effects upon enemies. Ultimately there are over 6000 power combinatons which can be used. It must be noted that in Pixel Boy all of the pixel powers have limited shots which means you have to be strategic and decisive with how you use your ammunition throughout the dungeons you explore.

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When you first make your way through one of the dungeons you’ll see that Pixel Boy is challenging from the outset. As mentioned before, all the rooms and the maps themselves are randomly generated by the game and as such many of the rooms in Pixel Boy are unique. When entering a room you’ll have to be wary of traps, as triggering a trap could look you in a room spawning a significant amount of monsters which will doom you to death. When you die in Pixel Boy, you are returned to the town of Resolutia with all your coins and armour orbs, except you lose all of your pixel powers bringing a bit of a roguelike challenge to the game. Yet in this regard the game is quite fair as you can easily restock some pixel powers from one of the merchants in town and craft yourself some pretty decent armour. Exploring dungeons is of vital importance in Pixel Boy as you can easily come across unique pixel powers and treasure rooms if you do a bit of meandering. Also remember to collect keys because you might come across a number of treasure chests and you will need all the ammunition you can get because ammunition consists of limited quantities.

Pixel Boy is a challenging and at times difficult game which banks on very roguelike-inspired mechanics, without perma-death. As stated before, every time you die you respawn in town with your coins and armour orbs which means the game isn’t overly difficult to the point of absurdity, which is well appreciated. Pixel Boy also has challenging enemy types which makes the game even more enjoyable and shooting mechanics are extremely fun. Add to this, a brilliant visual style with beautiful particle physics and an interesting use of the top-down perspective, and Pixel Boy is indeed unique among its peers. Additionally, the audio design in the game marks Pixel Boy as a quality indie game. Especially with the exceptional electronic soundtrack composed by French artist Pyramid, and the hilarious narrator is an added bonus. However, the game is not without some issues.

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Pixel Boy can at times be quite repetitive with environments only slightly changing as you progress through the game. The randomly generated nature of maps means that you can never truly know your way around the dungeon, and so you die quite easily. But this is somewhat remedied by the fact that you keep the coins you collect and the armour orbs as well, once you die. Pixel Boy tussles between trying to appeal to casual fans of dungeon crawlers and roguelikes whilst pleasing more hardcore fans of these genres, and the game doesn’t really find a fine balance. It is for that reason that Pixel Boy is suited to seasoned fans of roguelikes and dungeon crawlers. The challenge at times can be somewhat overwhelming and this may not appeal to everyone’s tastes.

Yet for those interested in a challenging roguelike-inspired dungeon crawler, with a bit of bullet hell shooter mechanics thrown in the mix, Pixel Boy will be right up their alley.

The post Review: Pixel Boy Has Plenty Of Pixel Power With A Few Imbalances appeared first on #egmr.

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