Sunday, May 29, 2016

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 5/28

Title: AiK
Developer: Christian Arnold
Aik is a journey. It is about discovering a 2D open world setting and the more you understand and observe the environments, behaviours and creatures in this world, the more you understand how to interact and make your way through it
Title: Gunnhildr
Developer: RatDog Games
Gunnhildr is a Dark Souls meets Binding of Isaac style Rogue-like FPS. Taking place on the Norse world of Niflheim you are Gunnhildr, the only warrior to ever achieve the honor of becoming an ancient.
Title: Aya Blaze
Developer: Bastian
Aya Blaze is a high-speed, low gravity arcade racer with focus on a fluid racing experience and energizing, uplifting vibes
Title: Aye Captain!
Developer: Aye Captain team
Aye Captain! is a rogue-like tactical pirate game. Sail through the waves, kill enemies, steal ships and become The King of The Seas! FTL in a pirate world
Title: SOUL
A VR relaxation game, a digital home away from home

IOS Review #119: RYB

Title: RYB
Developer: FLEB LLC
Platforms: iOS Universal
Price: $0.99
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Puzzle games come in all shapes and forms, from the sprawling island and panels of The Witness to the charming snowy sokoban of A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build. One of more minimalist indie successes of recent years was Matthew Brown's Hexcells series, a mix of Picross and Minesweeper where every puzzle could be solved through logic alone. Fans of Hexcells will feel at home with the abstract RYB, a similarly logically-driven puzzler that eschew numbers and text for colors, symbols, and oddly-shaped geometric stages.
RYB stands out from the start through its vibrant colors and shaped levels that maks each stage look more like abstract art projects than levels in a puzzle game. Squares, triangle, hexagons, and other shapes interlock to form odd levels that games designed around uniform grids and tiles never could (ie Hexcells' hexagons or Picross's grids).

Despite the myriad shapes and colors across levels, the core challenge remains the same: correctly color in each shape using clues and logic. Accomplishing that goal is what makes RYB such a wonderful gem of a puzzler. Figuring out the rules of the game, what the colors and markings within the shapes indicate, gives the games a playful charm, a sense of experimentation as you figure out the logic of the puzzles and then begin to understand how to solve the more tricky challenges.
The game gradually guides your hand, offering simple text and basic puzzles to introduce each mechanic and rule but letting the gameplay itself work to ingrain those ideas into your head. Slowly but surely, levels evolve from a group of shapes and colors into a visual language you can decode and decipher, that those colored circles in this formation within that shape means these other shapes must be this color. Through its visual learning and satisfying challenge, RYB stands out as a must-play puzzler for players looking for a game where logic and learning ensures success over trial and error.
RYB is available for $0.99 on iPad and iPhone.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Watchlist: Saurian

Title: Saurian
Developer: Urvogel Games
Platforms: PC, Mac
Releasing 2017
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Live as a dinosaur in a dynamic open world through intense, survival-based gameplay
Dinosaurs tend to show up in two forms in games: the monstrous enemies of Ark, Tomb Raiders, and Turok, or a playable faction in games like Dino D-day, Primal Carnage, and Orion. But Saurian is taking a different approach, doing what no game has done before: present dinosaurs through a completely realistic, scientifically-accurate lenses and let you survive as one in that world.

Informed by some of the field's leading paleontologists and most current discoveries, Saurian promises an accurate recreation of Dakota's Hell Creek 66 million years ago. This is a world in some ways familiar, thick with swamps and woodlands, and others ways alien to us, from the continent-spanning Interior Seaway and of course the thunderous footsteps of dinosaurs.
Saurian lets you play as a several different species, from the heavy-skulled Pachycephalosaurus and frilled Triceratops to everyone's favorite Tyrannosaurus. These aren't your movie monsters or even the big reptiles popularized by Jurassic Park, but feathered creatures living in a dynamic ecosystem, with movement based off the dev team's own emu.

Choosing a dinosaur drops you into a sprawling wilderness as a young hatchling in a world filled with hungry predators and elusive prey. As you survive, through maintaining your health and feeding, your dinosaur will grow into adult, find a mate, and breed. With age comes new challenges: a young tyrannosaurus may need to avoid the jaws of older males, but as an grown adult, you'll be able to act as the hunter. Each species will have unique skills, such as the sickle-clawed Dakotaraptor's ability to climb trees and pounce from above.
Saurian has been in development since 2013, and is expected to release in 2017, currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. Depending on stretch goals, future plans will include environmental dangers such as wildfires and floods, additional playable species, multiplayer, and a special mode that challenges you to survive after the fateful impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Saurian can be found on Kickstarter, and more details are available on the game's site.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 5/21

Title: Operetta
Developer: Brian Crick
A space opera game that combines 4x strategy and arcade-style shooters
Title: Solitairica
Developer: Righteous Hammer Games
Solitairica takes RPG combat and challenging roguelike progression to a fresh new place—the world of solitaire! Using a variety of magical items and powerful spells, battle your way through a horde of ever-changing enemies and defeat the horrible Emperor Stuck.
Title: City Climber
Developer: Ondrej Angelovic
City Climber is a dynamic climbing game situated in city environment. You are the one in control of the climber`s arms and your task is to climb wide variety of structures as fast as possible. But it is not so simple. There are always some obstacles in your way. You can run into moving pistons, ladders wooden barricades that you need to break and much more.
Title: Starborne
Developer: Solid Cloud Games
Starborne is a take on the grand-strategy 4X genre with the added powerful impact of being a multiplayer game played in real-time. In Starborne, each game will last six months culminating in a decisive endgame. You start with a fledgling station and as you invest in its infrastructure you will see it take shape and its borders grow, bringing unclaimed territories under your sovereignty.

IOS Review #118: Imbroglio

Title: Imbroglio
Developer: Michael Brough
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $3.99
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Between his titles like Zaga-33, Corrypt, and 868-Hack, Michael Brough is known for delivering odd abstract roguelikes and puzzlers that seem simple on the surface but gradually reveal a wealth of hidden depth and complexity. His newest work Imbroglio is no different, blending roguelike, RPG card game, and board game into  one challenging and engaging game
In some ways, 868-Hack veterans will feel at home with Imbroglio. The two share some similar elements and mechanics, such as randomly spawning enemies, the level layout shifting when you achieve a certain goal, enemies moving when you move and swiping towards them to attack, and so on. But while both share a similar skeleton, Imbroglio is its own beast. Choosing from a selection of different classes, each with their own unique abilities and deck limitations, your goal is to collect stars to increase your high score, evading or destroying enemies along the way.

Every star collected is another point to your score, but also alters the level layout and refills part of your health and mana bars; this aspect adds a risk-vs-reward element to increasing your score: how long can you use the level to your advantage, before needing to grab a star to balance out your health and mana. The two act as more of a resource to be managed, since certain weapons also draw from those meters to attack.
Yes, weapons. Imbroglio isn't your usual card game. After a certain score threshold is reached, you can build your deck of weapon tiles, ranging from swords that teleport you to a random spot or stun nearby enemies to ranged crossbows, and then use those tiles to construct the level floor. Standing over a weapon lets you use its properties, and killing enemies levels up that individual tile, unlocking new effects and buffs.

This complex interconnected web of class and tiles and board layout turn Imbroglio into a simple-to-play, but deep strategic roguelike. Finding synergies between different weapons, choosing the most opportune moment to gather a star, deciding which tile to use and when, Each class offers new strategies to master, due to the tiles they can or can't use. Every movement counts, as it can mean another enemy appearing or you being cornered. Every tile counts, as upgrading certain weapons can be more useful against different enemies. Every placement of those tiles count, as some can level up adjacent weapons or work in tandem against enemies.

Imbroglio is available for $3.99 on iPad and iPhone.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

PC Review #145: Exanima

Title: Exanima
Developer: Bare Mettle Entertainment
Platforms: PC
Price: $14.99
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I've been watching Game of Thrones recently, and one of the many things the show does so well is nailing that brutal, heavy, messy medieval combat. Not many games do, but Exanima isn't like many other games. A low-fantasy dungeon crawler, it uses the wonders of physics to turn melee combat into a gorgeous slugfest of glancing blows, crushing strikes, and smart positioning.
Exanima is in an interesting position, being both a full-fledged game on its own while also being a kind of proof of concept for the developer's much larger RPG Sui Generis. Divided between a linear dungeon crawler and combat-focused arena mode, Exanima revolves around its innovative physics-driven combat system that adds heft and weight to every swing.

Using the mouse, you control the angle and speed of your swings, feints, and parries. A fast step forward can add extra power to your attack or evade an enemy's blow to open them up for a counter. With the double-click of the left mouse, you can bring your weapon down in a devastating downward strike that could end a fight in seconds, while the Alt key performs a piercing thrust. Every animation is defined by physics and momentum and your own movement, from careful jabs to whistling hammer swings that can knock your foe to the ground.
All of that combines to deliver combat unlike any other. The clang of blade and blade, the scrape of a steel sword against stone when you miss a swing, the thuds of heavy blows against shields, the physicality of armored foes pushing and striking at each other, the screams and wet impacts when you rend flesh. Strategies such as closing the distance so your long sword-wielding enemy doesn't have the distance to swing effectively, or staying to the side of an enemy so you can slash at the unshielded part of his body.

Glancing blows, stumbles, weapons rebounding off shields and walls, and other physics-driven maneuvers makes Exanima's clashes feel messy and unpredictable and desperate, less like trading attacks in a fighting game and more like steel-edged street fight. You can hone your skills in the arena mode, hiring NPC combatants, engaging in fist fights and multi-enemy elimination rounds, and gaining money to buy better weapons and armor. Or you can embark into the dim torch-lit dungeons and face skeletons and hulking beasts lurking behind closed doors and dark shadows.
Exanima is still in Early Access, and recently received an update that added a massive new area to the dungeon crawler section and improved movement, animations, and other gameplay aspects. Future plans include dual wielding, outdoors regions, a more extensive skill system, among other additions.

Exanima is available on Steam and GOG,

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Quick Fix: Screenshot Saturday 5/14

Title: Event[0]
Developer: Ocelot Society
In a world where the humankind has embraced artificial intelligence, you are stranded on an abandoned spaceship.
Title: Keel-Haul
Developer: Summa Games
Keel-Haul is an asymmetrical multiplayer action game that pits the greatest pirate captains from across the seven seas against deadly sea monsters, in a battle for gold and glory. The game currently features local versus multiplayer, with 3 deadly pirate ships and a crafty Kraken.
Title: Heat Guardian
Developer: Denis Rudoy
Support the fire to survive a cold and dark world full of dangers and mysteries
Title: Hacktag
Developer: Piece of Cake Studio
A 2 players co-op stealth videogame with asymmetric gameplay