Sunday, July 13, 2014

Iron Brigade, Towerfall, State of Decay: Lifeline, Hellraid: The Escape, and Plundernauts!  


Links: Up first tonight, we had a whole slew of content go up at @Gamecritics over the last week. In case you missed any of it, they're right here for your convenience! Handy, yes?

Go! Go! Nippon! By @KayinAmoh

1001 Spikes by me!

Monster Monpiece (Second Opinion) by me!

Final Fantasy X/X-2 by @Gelles22

Also, for those who listen, we just recorded a new episode of the GC podcast last night. Sorry to keep you waiting for so long, but it's coming soon! Promise!!


Games: It's been a bit scattershot lately… Between work and hanging out with the kids this summer, there hasn't been a lot of dedicated game time. I thought I'd be able to start blowing through some of my backlog, but that hasn't exactly happened. Still, I've been playing a bit, for sure.

Since my oldest has been here for the summer, I've been looking for good co-op games to play with him that are also appropriate when my 5yo is looking over our shoulders, and I randomly remembered that I downloaded a demo for Double Fine's Iron Brigade (360) back in 2011 and never actually tried it. 

I'm not the biggest fan of Double Fine (you might even say that I don't care for their work) which is probably why I never started the demo, but I figured "hey, it's got robots and we can play together, so why not?" To my immediate surprise, it's pretty freaking fantastic. It doesn't feel at all like the rest of their recent works, and in this case, that's a great thing.

Basically, the player takes control of a big walking gun platform in a quasi-World War II-ish setting where the enemies aren't Nazis, but crazed television monsters created by a guy who hears signals coming from somewhere. The customization of these mechs is quite deep, the graphics and style are totally on-point, and I've been playing co-op the entire campaign and it's been a hell of a lot of fun. I couldn't be more surprised – it's a really, really big thumbs up.

On PS4, my son and I got in some local-co-op with Towerfall, formerly of Ouya fame. It's not something I would've ever paid for but it was free on PS Plus, so it was no skin off my nose to DL it.

As a local game cooperatively, it's pretty fun. Basically, each screen is one whole level, and if a player falls down a pit, they simply circle around and reappear at the top. The same goes for moving left to right. Players fire arrows at enemies, but the hook is that you need to go and actually get the arrow after you fire it, so it becomes a bit of a balancing act between how much you want to fire and how defensive you need to be. Players can also catch arrows (which is important because you can shoot each other) and the action gets very, very hectic.

We're a bit stalled out on the final level of the game since it's pure chaos and we need to practice a bit more. In terms of the versus, we haven't tried it and I have to say that I don't have any interest. It's chaotic enough as it is, and going head-to-head with my own family members rarely ends well.

When the little one's in bed, I've been putting some time into the new expansion for the 360's State of Decay, titled Lifeline. It's an add-on so it's essentiallly the same game, but there are some really awesome improvements like the ability to load multiple pieces of gear into a car, and ordering teammates to accompany you at any time is a huge plus. It's also set in a whole new map, and the story of a group of soldiers trying to hold it down is solid.

On the other hand, there are still a few things that need tweaking, and the inability to give someone orders (Stay here! Carry that bag!) still seems like a really big thing that needs to be added. Also, I'm finding it to be pretty freaking hard – although to be fair, after talking with @GC_Danny, I think I've been taking the wrong approach. Rather than going with the quiet sneaky-sneak of the core game, he suggests going balls-out assault at all times. It's hard to break the habit of being ultra-conserative in a survival-horror-ish game like SoD, but he may have a point. Gonna restart and see what happens.

Mobile-wise... Well, look, I'm not going to lie. I'm still putting quite a bit of time into Marvel Puzzle Quest

The mechanics are constantly improving, new content keeps coming, and it's great to get 5 or 10 minutes here and there. However, I have been dabbling in other things on the go.

Firstly, my spider senses have been tingling about Hellraid from Techland, which is coming to PS4, XBO, etc. later this year or perhaps 2015. On the surface it doesn't seem particularly special, but there's just something about it… I have a feeling it's going to be a good one. As such, I was pretty interested in the new quasi-prequel that just hit iOS titled Hellraid: The Escape.

It's got totally different gameplay (it's a point and clicker, not a real-time dungeon-crawl hack-n'-slash) but apparently it takes place in the same setting as the main game, so I thought it was worth a look. I'm really early, but from what I can gather, your character is killed in the first scene and is reincarnated as a corpse. He's trying to make his way out of a dungeon where the sorcerer in charge saps everyone's soul energy to feed his own desires, so it's in your interest to GTFO. The graphics are great and it runs pretty nicely on my iPhone 4S, although I compared it on my wife's iPad, and it looks pretty fantastic there.

In other iOS news, I took a quick stab at Plundernauts. It's a small ship-to-ship space combat game where the player is after a pirate treasure IN SPACE, and must fight in tons of ship-to-ship battles along the way. 

Each craft has little hardpoints where guns and different accessories can be swapped in and out, and the real-time combat using a fingertip to trace flightpaths is actually pretty good. I'm not sure this one has enough substance for me to stick with it for the distance, but I've been enjoying it in quick bursts here and there.


Deconstructeam and Devolver Digital announced that upcoming indie thriller 
Gods Will Be Watching will arrive on July 24 for PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam, Humble, and GOG. The breakout debut game from the pensive minds at Deconstructeam is now available for pre-order through both a standard edition ($9.99) and a collector’s edition ($19.99) that includes the original soundtrack, a digital art book, and a digital comic that serves as the prologue to the haunting events ofGods Will Be Watching ( and Will Be Watching is a minimalistic “point and click thriller” centered on despair, commitment, and sacrifice as players face intriguing puzzles and tough decisions that will affect their entire crew’s wellbeing. Set against the backdrop of an interstellar struggle, Gods Will Be Watching follows Sgt. Burden and his crew in six tense chapters that examine a multitude of mature themes ranging from hostage situations and wilderness survival to biological weapon prevention and agonizing torture scenarios. Players are faced with incredibly difficult ethical and moral choices as their mental fortitude and personal limits are tested in every scenario. Each decision is crucial and players will need to choose between the lives of their team and the saving the world from genocide.

Gods Will Be Watching Collector’s Edition includes:

• Gods Will Be Watching Official Soundtrack – More than 20 mesmerizing tracks by composer Fingerspit in high-quality MP3 files.
• Digital Art Book – 50-page of concept art, digital paintings, and design illustrations from the production and development of Gods Will Be Watching.
• Digital Comic Book – 40-page comic from Dayjob Studio that serves as a prologue to events of Gods Will Be Watching detailing the backstory of Sgt. Burden and Xenolifer.
Gods Will Be Watching is now available for pre-order with a 10% off discount on the standard game and the Collector’s Edition. For more information on Gods Will Be Watching or to try the original prototype, visit

Following last month's release on Wii U™, The Game Bakers' popular SQUIDS franchise is now on Nintendo 3DS™ in SQUIDS Odyssey, a tactical RPG available for download in the Nintendo eShop. Designed specifically for handheld devices, SQUIDS Odyssey has casual combat with quick levels that can easily be enjoyed on the go, alongside an epic adventure storyline reminiscent of old-school JRPGs.

When a mysterious black ooze seeps into the sea and disturbs the Squids' peaceful kingdom, a scrappy shoal of heroes must fight back. During turn-based combat against ooze-infected crab and shrimp, the Squids' springy tentacles become their best weapons: stretch them with your finger or the stylus, aim, and release to shoot your Squid toward its target. Four hero classes, stat-boosting helmets, and power-ups add a strategic element to the role-playing gameplay.

SQUIDS Odyssey for Nintendo 3DS includes all the same content as on Wii U, with gorgeous artwork thanks to a 3D-layered effect that shows off the Squids' lush kingdom like never before. Game features include:
  • Build your party from 15 different Squids in four classes -- shooters, scouts, troopers, and healers
  • Win turn-based battles with strategy and skill, using the environment and your party's strengths to your advantage
  • Lose yourself in an epic story across four exotic underwater kingdoms
  • Engage in 90+ missions for more than 15 hours of gameplay in the main storyline, plus an expert Pro Mode that doubles the game length and provides extra challenge
  • Boost your heroes' abilities with 65+ fun and funky-looking helmets
In their positive review of the Wii U version, The Official Nintendo Magazine called SQUIDS Odyssey "difficult, but charming ... a fun and unique, turn-based action game that's worth spending a few squid on." NintendoLife praised its "beautiful world and a good sense of humour," and Nintendo World Report concluded, "In terms of Nintendo eShop titles, you won't find many others that offer the long hours of gameplay that SQUIDS Odyssey provides."

The Game Bakers' SQUIDS games have had more than two million downloads since their 2011 debut on mobile. As the franchise's first appearance on consoles, SQUIDS Odyssey is the ultimate SQUIDS compilation that includes all content previously released, with tons of improvement and tweaks. Content exclusive to SQUIDS Odyssey includes a new campaign that continues the adventure in the never-before-seen kingdom of Wakame, a new Squid warrior named Oktoku, and four new helmets.

SQUIDS Odyssey can be downloaded for 12.99€ / $14.99 (or equivalent in local currency) from the Nintendo eShop. For more game details, visit:

Just days after their successful launch on Android, White Wizard Games LLC, the company created by Magic: The Gathering Hall of Famers Darwin Kastle and Rob Dougherty (developer and co-founder of the Ascension deckbuilding game), today announced that they will be releasing the explosively popular 
Star Realms Deckbuilding Game on iOS, with PC and Mac version to follow shortly.

The base game including a tutorial, unlimited solo play and a six mission campaign is FREE. With a $5 in app purchase, players can unlock harder AIs, nine additional campaign missions, pass and play, online play and more.


Defiant Development sees days of gaming in the cards for action RPG and collectible card game fans, as the Kickstarter-funded title Hand of Fate is now available on Steam Early Access. The finished game will be coming to PS4 in Q4 2014 and PS Vita in Q1 2015. 

In Hand of Fate, players collect equipment, items, artifacts and enemies as in-game collectible cards in a card based RPG; then play their deck, bringing to video game life a beautiful 3D world in which gamers make difficult decisions.  Sometimes their choices have unexpected consequences and players must crush their foes utilizing a third person action-adventure combat system. The more bosses a player defeats, the more cards they obtain. 

Players must tread with caution as Hand of Fate incorporates rogue-like elements.  If a gamer dies before defeating a level's boss the player must start from the beginning of that stage in their next play through.  Each subsequent play through is unique as levels are procedurally generated via luck of the dealer's draw. Inspired by tarot cards and fantasy games, Defiant Development seamlessly blends tabletop card gaming with their favorite videogame genres.

"Hand of Fate combines the furious fast-paced action of button mashers with fantasy and role-playing elements that anyone who has ever picked up a 20 sided die will recognize," Morgan Jaffit, Director, Defiant Development, explains.  "Anyone who falls in the cross section of PC gamer and board or card game enthusiast will have more fun playing
Hand of Fate than a Game of Thrones fan reading the manuscripts of the two unreleased books."  

The Early Access build of Hand of Fate is now available for PC, Mac and Linux on Steam at a discounted price of $25 USD, with the final release planned for Q4.   


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