Sunday, July 31, 2011

One More Hour *Times Up*

One more hour until the 100th Post Contest ends, so get your submissions in if you haven't already. We will be posting the results tomorrow, most likely sometime between 2-8 pm PST. We were hoping for more of a turnout on this competition, but thank you everyone who has shown interest and taken the time to participate. Good luck to everyone. Any questions or comments may be left here or facebook/twitter. Also, if you get in your post a little after 8pm tonight (also PST), don't worry, we aren't going to be nazi's. On a random note, expect two more articles tonight.

*Update. Contest is officially over, thanks everyone.

The Best Browser Games

They are always prevalent and there if you got some spare minutes on the internet. My favorites are Armor Games and Kongregate, but there are several other good ones as well. Browser games are always a good distraction, especially if you are on a computer that has no games. There are quite a few really addicting and fun arcade games right now. Here's a list, with information, of a few of my favorites.

Kingdom Rush
by Ironhide Game Studio
Yup a tower defense game. I know it's not a surprise to TD games for browser and arcade, but this is really high polish one with some great qualities. Some of which are; it has a lot of tower customization and variety, you use ground units and towers to defend, enemies are plentiful and interesting, there different game modes for every level and the graphical style is very attractive and charming. You should try this game if you like TD games at all, this is by far one of the best that I've played in a year or two. You never see this kind of quality, length and art style for a arcade or browser game. I also must not forget to mention that the level design is great; they add in new elements to each level, while also trying to keep it familiar. If this was a XBLA or PSN game I think it would probably do pretty well, I would probably pay something for it. Took a few screenshots of this one, check it out.


by Rete
This game reminded me a bit of Anomaly: Warzone Earth, except way less complex. It is a reverse tower defense where you are the bad guys. You get control of orcs, evil wizard, giant golems and all kinds of monsters. The way you use your minions is very similar to Anomaly: Warzone Earth; you choose how to place your evil minions in their line and you base that on how the enemy tower layout looks. This isn't the most attractive looking game, it has a old familiar TD look, but it has plenty of customization and length of play. It's fairly addicting, but I will stick to Kingdom Rush myself.


The Last Stand- Union City
by Con Artist Games
A zombie game! A very special and well done zombie game. It plays like a action game, but it is ultimately a zombie rpg. You get experience, you get quests, you have inventory and you have a character sheet with attributes and perks. It is the third Last Stand game, the other two were unique games themselves, but they were shooters where you defended a barricade for a specific amount of time. Con Artist Games also made the Warfare games, 1917 and 1944. These are all popular games because they are really addictive, fairly unique and really well made. Just with the Last Stand's alone they have roughly thirty million plays.
Union City isn't the longest game ever, but it is fairly randomized. The way in which you must travel is pretty linear, but the zombies that you fight and a lot of the items you find are random. You choose a character in the beginning with all kinds of standard rpg options, like face customization, perks, name and sex. Upon starting the game you get to choose survival mode or run and game. Me, I'm a fan of survival mode; it makes me feel like the old Resident Evils, the one's where you had very limited ammo. In survival mode you have to sleep and eat food, but in run & gun mode you don't have to and ammo is plentiful. When you level up you get to choose from a fairly wide variety of skills, all of which are pretty useful on their own. There is a security skill which makes it easier to lock pick, yes there's a lock pick minigame, and there is also a search skill that lets you find rare items when searching. Those are just two of the skills there are plenty more. Take a look at the character sheet.
We all know I'm sucker for zombie games, but this is great one. It took the singular developer at Con Artist Games 18 months to make this game, so lend some support.


Honourable Mentions
(all hyperlinks)
Engage-A tactical space game that has really mixed reviews, but it's pretty fun.
Cat God vs Sun King- A funny game where you are trying your best to stop the slaves from building their pyramids.
Cursed Treasure- Another tower defense game that takes after Gem Craft. Still pretty solid and fun, but a little too slow for more me.
Monster Slayers- A game where you have soldiers, that level and rank up, that you use on little missions to hunt down monsters or escort people. Pretty unique and addicting.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet XBLA

I've never played Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, but I would like to and I did get to watch it at E3. It is made by two people, Michel Gagne and Joe Olson, who have made a excitingly dark exploration game with a side-scrolling old Metroid look to it. The game also looks a lot like Outland, another XBLA Game, except you are a spaceship. They both have bleak, yet beautiful background environments, and they both have the same kind of dark world. You are an alien in a spaceship that is flying to the shadow planet, which is attacking your world, to try to stop the infestation. All of the art, music, graphics and animation seem to be really well done for this game, at least from the thirty to forty minutes of gameplay I've seen. Your spaceship get's upgrades, like Metroid or Outland, which make you stronger by giving you new tools or abilities.
I've seen a few things that I really like about ITSP; one is this tool that let's you scan any item or enemy (like Metroid Prime, awesome!); the second is that you can move and interact with the world with your claw tool; the third is that the there seems to be a lot of secrets and items to find. To see a little inkling of what has got me excited about this game, check out this ten minute video from Michel Gagne, one of the developers.

PAX East Gameplay Footage-March 2011

On top of the really enjoyable looking singleplayer, there is also a four player cooperative multiplayer. It was announced and shown off at comic-con, so you may have seen some information on this already. It is described as an unending race, with a side-scrolling feel. All the players, still in space ships, are chased by a huge monster that shoots out tentacles in order to try to snatch the and devour the players. The race offers a bunch of different challenges. The players have to keep ahead of the monster while also clearing the way ahead of them. At times the race stops and the screen is filled with enemies that must be defeated before they can move on. The whole time each player is carrying a lantern that they must protect and once all the lanterns are lost then game over. In cooperative mode you can die and respawn infinitely, but the lanterns are what matters. The game I keep referencing, Outland, also had an interesting cooperative mode but it was something that had to be unlocked through exploration in the singleplayer game. It also didn't help that no one ever played cooperative mode for Outland, so I hope ITSP does not suffer from that same fate.
The singleplayer game is stated to last 6-8 hours. With that and the cooperative mode it's looking like a good buy for anyone who likes a good side scrolling exploration/adventure game. It comes out on August 3, for Xbox Live Arcade, and it is the normal 1200 points ($15). Let the summer of arcade keep on rolling, so far it hasn't let me down at all between some great games like Bastion, Trenched and From Dust.

Side Note: 4 more hours till the 100th Post Contest ends, good luck everyone. I hope to read some more reviews before the day ends.

-Written by Sean Cargle

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Runespell: Overture Review

I just finished Runespell: Overture, by Mystic Box, and I am uncertain of my feelings towards it. I'm going to do a quick summation of the game and if you want a little more explanation check out my preview from earlier this month; it's a card game with spell/ability cards (sort of like Magic the Gathering) and a solitaire/poker mix at its core. The damage you do to a enemy is based on what kind of card set up you make, royal flush (10-J-Q-K-A in a row and all the same suit) being the strongest set you can make. The system they made for this is called the mythic poker system. The system works well and it is unique, but it is quite repetitive and slow. That being said, every other aspect of the game is very attractive and well done. The environments, animations, world map and music are all very impressive for a small title like this. The length of this game is also pretty descent and it also comes with a new game+ mode, in which you can continue the game once you beat it and you retain all of your cards. Enough of the drudgery of summarizing the basics, let's get into it a bit.

Mythic Poker System
Steal my cards will you! Yes, yes you will. Stealing cards is a important part of part of this system. I am aware that you cannot steal cards in solitaire or poker, it's a new implementation. It works out pretty well and adds a layer to the strategy of the card game. You now always must watch and plan ahead with your opponents hand, as well as your own. You must anticipate him stealing your cards, just as much as you watching for matches among their cards. In this system the deck has no limit. Although, it may run out in a round, but it will replenish that spot immediately the next round. There is a handy information panel that shows all possible combinations and how much damage they will, very useful for people who are fairly unfamiliar with anything beyond three of a kind.
So I said this system was slow and it is; you only get three moves per round (not counting special cards that increase that), which means you can not make a set in one turn, since a set consists of five cards. By the time you get to round two you will probably have one set, usually a full house (does fifteen damage) and with that you can slightly dent the enemies health. Even in the beginning the enemies still have one hundred plus health, so if it takes two rounds to do fifteen damage, twenty if your lucky, then that means it takes at least ten rounds to take down a enemy of one hundred health. That's not including any abilities they have and if you are lucky enough to be able to find good matches all the time. Of course, you may get very lucky and do forty or fifty damage with a set (royal flush), but that is a pain when the enemy can steal your cards. The matches can run quite long, especially the matches towards the end of the game.

System, AI, Cards
The AI is quite good at stealing your cards and murdering you at an alarming rate. They tend to pick the best abilities to aid them and injure you, because they also have abilities/power cards that they can use against you. Everyone in the game has RP that they build up by doing damage and also by receiving damage, but you get double the RP for dishing out the damage, so they encourage aggressive tactics. You use the RP for abilities/power cards, which range from supportive cards, like healing or defense, or destructive, like a lightning storm or fireball. The cards aren't that simple though thanks to allies. Allies are special cards that cost a lot of RP, but have really special and powerful abilities. You have to earn all the allies through the story, it never seemed to be an option I always had to get them for some quest, but it only makes you stronger having them.

Some short segments I took

Normal cards have uses and you can get more uses by buying them from a trader, who exists in several areas on the world map, from defeating enemies and also from chest challenges during a fight. Ally cards are really awesome because they don't have uses, so you never need to worry about replenishing or wasting money on them. Some notes on chest challenges, they are unpleasant in so many ways. First off, they often give lower rank cards. Secondly, they require you to get a specific pair to open the chest (which is perfectly acceptable), but they never required any pair other than one pair, meaning I had to waste three cards and use one of the lowest damage sets in order to get this possibly crap card. I assume, on other difficulties they would give you something other than one pair, but that is quite difficult to do just because it's such an useless set to make.

Final Remarks
I have to say once more that the graphics, environment and animations in this game are all top notch, so while it may sound like I don't like this game that's not entirely true; it's a lot of fun despite the card system not offering the most addictive or attractive gameplay. You may notice that I have not mentioned the story, well that's because it's the least important element of this game. It does exist and it is full of slightly historical characters, also mythical characters, most of which seem to be based off of Norse Mythology. The story in the end leaves you with a cliff hanger, but it didn't leave any kind of impression on me. I neither hated or loved it. The card system has flaws, but it is a interesting mix of solitaire and poker. I really like the idea of the card system, but by the end it's repetitiveness wore me thin. This game is pretty hard, even on normal. I lost many battles and there isn't a negative to losing battles other than all the time lost. When you get a winning streak going in this game then it is easy to feel the addictive qualities of this game, but once you lose a battle or two it is just as easy to feel disheartened. I can recommend this game to anyone who likes poker or solitaire and would love to see it mixed into a fantasy setting. This game advertises itself as a RPG, but other than collecting cards, and HP/RP, there isn't much truth to that claim. I've said this before, but the only real downfall for this game is the couple flaws of the Mythic Poker System. The other aspects of the game make up for it and make the experience quite enjoyable. In the end, it was worth the adventure, but it's not a adventure I would like to repeat too many times, except maybe to stare at the snow falling down upon the mountains.

Violent Score: 8

Tomorrow ends our 100th Post Contest, get your submissions in if you haven't already. Thanks for reading and check back tomorrow for more gaming news.

-Written by Sean Cargle

Friday, July 29, 2011

From Dust Impressions Xbox 360

It does actually look like this

Anyone who ever looks at our site has surely heard of this game. It was/is the main game of our 100th Post Contest and we've done previews of it as well, but if you have missed all that then let me attempt to sum up the overall idea of this game. It is a godlike game, seemingly similar to the old godlike PC games like Black and White or the Populous series, but it's not really much like either of those. I've played through half of the Xbox 360 version and I would have to say that it's not much like anything I've played before. Each level offers a challenge of some kind and they all require you to use abilities, terraforming and quick thinking to get your tiny little villagers all over the map. You are the Breath, the villagers god and protector. For example, one of the later levels involves fire plants and to explain why those suck I will need to explain villages, but first let's do some basic info.

Basic Information
Genre: Terraforming God Game
Developer: Ubisoft
DRM?: Yes (for PC)
Platform: PC and Xbox 360
Release Dates: July 27th (Xbox 360), August 17th (PC)
Price: $15

We have two videos, the first of which is the second level of the game and the sound is almost non existant, sorry. Each map has totems across the landscape and you usually start with 5-10 villagers. You move your little tribe to a totem in order to create a village. There is a tunnel, it is the goal of map, and it always requires your little villagers to populate all of the totems in order to make it open. Between each totem are challenges of some kind and it can be anything from merely water to a volcano. When a village is populated, on all maps except Desert, vegetation will grow and start spreading across all dirt/soil areas. Does that stuff burn? YES! It does look pretty fantastic to watch it all burn, but once those flames get to your village and people start screaming then you need get a hold of your self and douse those burning villagers with water (which isn't as easy as it sounds, you may save the villagers but not the village).

Second Level (Seven Minutes Long)

The challenge of the level I was referencing earlier had to do with fire plants. Fire plants shoot out flames in a full circle every minute or two, but they have to be near vegetation or it has no effect. When you are on a normal map, not desert, the vegetation will grow naturally from soil to soil, only being stopped by water and rock. So, the vegetation will grow right up to those fire plants, yeah! Mission success. No, failure, sadness, devastation. The first time I played this level I got halfway through it, only to find a fire raging from the beginning area of the map and it spread all the way down towards my second village and killed off my villagers. You have these water plants to help protect your villages, but they have to be replenish with water in order to keep them stable. The water plants shoot out about half of their supply when fire approaches, usually dousing all of it, but if it's a big open area then you must have many water plants. It creates a fairly annoying micromanaging scenario. It may sound fun, but when you are trying to protect three villages all from different sources of fire, then it gets painful, but it just strives you to work harder and faster. If you can make it to that the end of that level you get an ability that lets you relocate the fire plants, so you can essentially put them all in some corner of the map. It's a worthy reward for dealing with the constant threat of multiple brush fires. It was the kind of level that I hated, but by the end I was pretty happy with overcoming the challenge and moving on.
Each level has a challenge and the challenges that are the most awesome, so far, are all the ones that have to do with terraforming. Diverting a major river in order to make a area for your villagers to pass safely is really satisfying, especially since the water works away at your wall overtime (like it should), so you have to keep your eye on it. The way in which water flows, and all the other physics, is really impressive. It looks good, feels right and is essential to the gameplay. Like I mentioned before, for maybe half a sentence, you do have abilities that help you deal with everything. My favorite ability is jellify water, which lets you be like Moses in the Black Sea. You can take water, for sixty seconds, and turn it solid, which you can use to allow your villagers to pass through a riverbed quickly before the sixty seconds run out. You can also use jellify water to make walls of water to block flames, it works pretty well if you can act fast enough. To quickly mention some of the other abilities, there are abilities that stop all flames from spreading, one that increases the amount of soil/water/lava you can pick up, one that allows you to pick up a unlimited amount of material and one lowers the level of all the water on a map; all of which for a short period of time only.
I could keep talking about this, but this seems rather long already. The graphics for From Dust are pretty damn gorgeous, everything about it looks great, even when you zoom up on the little villagers. The maps are definitely a little odd, since they are a specific size and you can see where they end, but it's a very small negative. I haven't run into one bug yet. Every aspect of the game seems smooth and polished. To make a whole map changeable is no small task I'm sure. There are also collectibles that you earn, all of which are just information about the game world, still nice though. That's all for now, will be back later as soon as I get through the other half of the game. I'm excited to get through the rest and see what new challenges there are.

Our E3 Video

On a unrelated note, three more days to enter our 100th Post Contest, don't miss out PC Gamers.

-Written by Sean Cargle

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nuclear Dawn Is Finally Coming

That's right, it's been 5 years, but Nuclear Dawn finally has a release date of September 2011. If you are unfamiliar with Nuclear Dawn don't be surprised, it used to be in magazines and all over gamer's radars, but then it got pushed back for a very long time. I am happy to say that it looks pretty great, especially since they have been fine toning everything for so long. The game is a first person shooter and an real time strategy game mixed into one. Back when it was first being developed, RTS/FPS was a unique and new game genre, but now there has been a few other games that have attempted the mix, although none have done it all that well. Nuclear Dawn uses the source engine and it started out as a modification for Half Life 2, but it turned into a full fledged game. It is being developed by Interwave Studios, who is responsible for the Stargate: The Last Stand total conversion for Half Life 2.They have quite a lot of background information on the world of Nuclear Dawn, if you care to check it out head on over here. First off, watch one of their trailers for it so you can get a taste for what this game offers.
Official Trailer HD

Here is some of their information on the game, relating to mechanics and gameplay info.

Two Factions to play: The Empire and the Consortium, both of which have their own unique base-building setups and structures.

A Commander per team: The commander handles research, producing structures, bringing crippling strikes to the enemy (artillery?) and of course leading your team to victory.

Classes: Each team has four classes, each of which has various load outs. All together, between all four classes, there are over three dozen weapons available.

Squads: Squad based 32 player battles.

Six Maps: Apparently, they are very large maps and that they are some of the most detailed maps ever for the source engine. I have seen a bit of this game and I can say that the maps are very detailed and impressive looking so far.

Stats and Unlocks: 60 ranks, 12 unlocks for each weapon, achievements, gizmos and more.

Steam Powered: Available for Mac and PC through Steamplay, plus cloud support.

*all info taken from Nuclear Dawn website. Reference here

Media Preview

They have been working on this game for five years, so I doubt any of that is exaggerated. If you a even more detailed version of all that information, go here to their fact sheet. It looks pretty fun and we really hope to get some time with the game in order to give a hands on preview. It comes out in September, on steam, and it is $24.99, which looks to be a great deal, but time will tell. I am pretty thrilled to see a FPS/RTS mix that looks to be getting it right, on top of that the shooting mechanics looks pretty solid and reminds me of a mix between Dystopia and Battlefield (with the weapon upgrades and unlocks).

-Written by Sean Cargle

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Trailer

We don't know report on small news like this, but this is a Cinematic for Warhammer 40k: Space Marine, which we played and reported on at E3. Check out our preview of it from E3. We both liked it quite a bit, but we weren't sold on it. We both really enjoy the 40k Universe, but the game seems like a high polished third person shooter that doesn't offer anything significantly new or different than others of the genre. Although, if you love Warhammer 40k, especially Space Marines, then it makes this game a lot more enjoyable. My favorite aspect of the game was the melee; it had brutal melee moves that were very fitting and made you feel the power behind your chainsword as it drove down through the skull of a Ork. There is also a gameplay movie in our preview that shows off a few of those moves melee executions.

Cinematic Trailer!

The Trailer isn't long, but it gives off a 40k feel; the planet is doomed, Orks everywhere and you must attempt to save it, sounds about right. It's certainly a fun third person FPS, but it's going to need to do something special (looking at you cooperative multiplayer) in order to make it worth the price of a full retail game. It should be coming out in September for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Check back later for more gaming news, also there will be a From Dust preview (for 360) later today.

-Written by Sean Cargle

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Catherine Xbox 360 Hands On

I was really excited about this game when I reported my first impressions of the demo and I am happy to say I still am excited after playing the first several hours of the retail game. It came out today on 7/26/11 for Xbox 360 and PS3, it is developed by Atlus. The gameplay does seem to be a bit repetitive, but if you can get past that then the story has a lot to offer. The gameplay also has quite a bit of depth, but so far it hasn't been too tricky. Although, I can see how it is going to get difficult. So far, each stage ,of which there are three parts (at least at this point in the game), has a new type of block added to it. There are several block types already that are mixed into the run and scramble of climbing the tower; one is a trap block, the other is heavy block and the third is decaying block. Even with those three the tower/climbing mini-game has become increasingly difficult. You get medals based on how well you do and so far I have gotten bronze (the lowest rank) on all parts except for the first stage. You may have no idea what I am referring to if you have not seen or played the game before, check out my demo impressions for some detail on the basic aspects of the game and story.

What I didn't get to see in the demo was a couple segments of story, along with some free roaming areas. There are landings in between each part of a stage; the landings are safe areas that have other "sheep" that you can talk to, learn techniques from, buy items and encourage. There is also the bar in the real world that acts in a similar fashion to the landings, except that it has a arcade machine, a bar to talk to people at and pass time, beer to drink, a cell phone to explore and a lot of moral choices. The arcade game in the bar is pretty much the same mini-game as the climbing mini-game from the nightmare/story segments. Another new thing, from the demo, is other sheep. During the climbing mini-game there are now other sheep to get in your way and some of which are aggressive and will try to do anything they can to get to the top, even if it means getting you or others killed. Of course, you may also play the game just like these other frantic sheep and step on anything and anyone in your way.
I'm only a few hours in but the game keeps introducing new mechanics and gameplay options. I hope that the game is balanced and that there is an continuous flow of new things to keep everything feeling fresh. The story has done a good job of involving the player, by making you make choices in regards to Vincent, the main character, at many different moments throughout the game. The choices you make are supposed to add up to something significant later on, but I have yet to see anything on that yet. I can't wait to dive into this game some more and figure out all of it's secrets. The story has been keeping me interested, but it's always hard when you start to hate the main character a little. Like I mentioned in my demo impressions, the artistic style is probably off putting to many, so make sure you are okay with the anime style cutscenes, because they do not relent and they are plentiful. Will report back later with more on this intriguing game that deals with one night stands and marriage in a dark way.

First 9 Minutes recorded by me (awful sound though, I apologize)

Don't forget to check out our 100th Post Contest! Also, From Dust comes out tomorrow, for xbox360, so I will try to bring some impressions on that as soon as I can. Thanks for reading.

-Written by Sean Cargle

Infamous 2 Impressions

Infamous 2, for PS3 and developed by Sucker Punch Productions, is really long game; even without doing a playthrough for each of the two alignment choices I have managed to rack up about 20 hours. Unfortunately, there is no time log on your save games or anything so I'm just guessing on that one. It is still the same format at Infamous 1; an open world RPG. You get experience, you do quests and you use that experience to purchase new powers. I loaded up my previous data from Infamous 1 when I started the game, so I got a big bonus to experience and good karma points right off the bat (my Infamous 1 character was maxed out "good" alignment). I really liked that immediately upon entering the game there are many ties to Infamous 1, it made the transition easier, despite that Cole's voice is changed. I thought that I was going to complain about how the old Cole's voice was so much better, but I'm not too certain anymore after playing through about 70% of the game. One of the major changes right off the bat, is melee. Right after the introductory mission, Zeke makes a large metal dual pipe for you to channel your electricity through. This thing is powerful and can be upgraded several times through the game. The more you hit an enemy with it, the more your melee gauge fills and when that thing goes to the top you can do a very powerful finisher move.

One surprise is that you start the game in Empire City, but 99.9% of the game is spent in New Marias. It is a town that heavily resembles New Orleans in many ways, but it doesn't seem to be following the actual topography of the area too closely. New Marias, the first area, is a huge change from Empire City. It is full of intact buildings, power, citizens, cars and life. Despite that, as you progress through the story the city does constantly turn into a warzone; similar to Infamous 1. There are factions constantly fighting each other all over the city, three-four factions in the area I'm at, and of course plenty of random patrols and encounters. Right from the beginning everything about Infamous 2 feels so close to Infamous 1, but you quickly will find differences in every aspect of the gameplay and the world.

They are very similar to Infamous 1, except they are far less repetitive than the plentiful amounts of repeating quests that were in the original. Like previously stated, I am about 70% through the game, side quests and all, so there should be some truth behind my opinion that the quests are far more diverse than they were in Infamous 1. I would say that I've done each type of side quest 2-3 times so far. They also present the quests in much more interesting ways, they are never that simple anymore, now they are often multi-part quests that end in significant ways. I love how many of these *small* sidequests can be just as long as story quests and can actually have some story involved other than hey go kill these guys or hey go retrieve these supplies. That is not to say that they are all horribly exciting and fun, there are still quests that are filled with boring tasks, but they do their best to make them more engaging and have made them pretty painless. They now have the UGC (User-Created Missions) that is entirely optional and provides plenty of questionable experiences. Why questionable? Well, it doesn't help that most of the best missions are created by Sucker Punch and many of the actual user-created missions are far inferior. I can say that I've played a couple really fun missions made by other players, but it's offset by the amount of mediocre and atrocious ones that I've waded through.

The force is strong with this one, but not overpoweringly so. Just like the first one, if you liked it in the first Infamous, the comic-ish cut scenes are pretty attractive and the story works its way through them strongly. The story also presents moral path choices continuously throughout the whole game, always giving you a chance to change your ways, if you wish to. Just like in the first, your powers will reflect your moral choices and main story choices. When you spend a lot of time going through all the side missions and collecting blast shards then the main story often gets a little forgotten, but every so often I get caught up in and just blast through a couple main story missions in a row. When you let it and don't worry about all the other parts of the game, the story gets into you and makes you care about Cole and the fate of New Marias.

Last Comments
I do plan to review this sometime soon, but between this and Catherine, both of which are long games, I don't know how speedily I can finish it. It also doesn't help at all that I spend a lot of time doing every possible side quest and wandering the streets exploring, but hey it’s an open world game, let me explore. If you are interested in Infamous 2, you probably already have it, but if you don't there is a pretty long demo on PSN and you should check it out. It gives you a taste of several portions of the game. Also, if you haven't yet check out our 100th Post Contest and contemplate entering. Thanks for reading.

-Written By Sean Cargle

Monday, July 25, 2011

100th Post Contest Update

It seems one of the games from our list of prizes has been delayed. Unfortunately, it's the most exciting one on the list, at least to me. From Dust has been delayed to August 27th, it's not 100% that it is delayed, but it does look like to be incredibly likely. Ubisoft hasn't been the nicest company to PC Gamers, ever, and this just shows how they like to operate; delaying a game at the last minute and only delaying it for PC. So, we are going to investigate and try to find a possible alternatives, but feel free to suggest games people would like and nothing over $20 bucks please. Also, if you still want From Dust for PC we can certainly just wait and award the winner/winners it when it does come out. Check out the article on From Dust being delayed over at Rock Paper Shotgun. If you have xbox360 and really want From Dust for that instead we may be able to send you Microsoft Points, since you cannot gift on xbox360 without codes from the developer. Apologies everyone. We will update this post with possible new games later on today.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Runespell: Overture Hands On

This is a game that at first looked a lot like Magic the Gathering, then I looked into further and saw many Puzzle Quest elements, then I played it and realized that it's not much of a mix of either. It combines portions of solitaire and poker with power ups, rpg elements and collectible cards. I wasn't very interested in this game when I first saw it on one of steams daily sales not long ago, but I'm really glad I tried the demo. You must like poker and card games to really enjoy this game, but it has a lot of attractive and fun rpg qualities. The game is developed by Mystic Box, who are two guys that formed the company and this is their first game.
The story of this game is a bit silly at the first, but I must confess that I really enjoy the art and graphics; it's art style really reminds me of the character design and world from Puzzle Quest 2. The story takes place in a fantasy past history. Let me explain that, it takes place in a past England and they speak of real places, but the world is filled with magic, monsters and mystical forces. The dialogue and conversations in the first chunk of the game won't blow you away, nor are they filled with heavy text or descriptions, but they do a great job of keeping you moving and fighting enemies. On top of that, they add story to all of the enemies you are fighting, creating reason for every battle.

The mechanics of the game are very similar to poker, but you are able to steal the other players cards. I appreciate that the game has a chart of all the possible hands you can make, especially since I do not know half of them by memory. Instead of having a hand like poker, your cards are instead laid out like solitaire. They don't try to create anything super new or complex and I thank them for that. So many card game/puzzle card games out there try to go all out in making their own thing and don't use solid mechanics to base their game off of, but Runespell does.
It doesn't seem like the best game out there, but it is a small indie game with a lot of polish and some really enjoyable qualities. It was on sale the other day for $4.99, but now it's up to $8.99. I think I will take a stab it and see if it keeps surprising and pleasing me. Check out the demo on steam if it sounds interesting to you at all. It takes about thirty minutes to a hour to go through and seems to present a decent representation of the game. If you want to watch a good chunk of the demo, check out the video below.

100th Post Contest *Updated 7/31/11*

100th Post Contest has officially ended, thank you everyone who entered. We are hoping to do another contest at the end of Summer.
We have not been around too long, only since October 2010, but we thank you all for all the support we have gotten. We are at our 100th post and also around 10,000 views, a momentous occasion for some small time guys like us. We really wanted to gift some Bastion's to people as a thank you for the support, but Xbox Live does not allow gifting, so no dice there folks. What we can offer though is either From Dust (for PC), Terraria, Space Chem, Runespell: Overture, Anomaly: Warzone Earth or Jamestown; all of which through Steam. How to get this you may be wondering, well you may have to slightly work for it fellow gamers. Most importantly though, you will need a steam account.

100th Post Contest Rules

We want you to write your own video game review! Pick any game you want and write a review of it. The rules are as follows:

  • You must be 18 years or older to enter and have a Steam account.
  • You can choose any game of your choice to review and either write or create a video of your review. You may not copy reviews from other game sites. We will be monitoring submissions and check the authenticity of review submitted to us.

  • The review should be no longer than 1000 words.

  • You may only submit one review, so make it your best one (if you try multiple ones).
  • You must submit your work by 8 pm PST on July 31st, you may submit anytime before. All work should be submitted to
  • Please use the subject "100th post contest" when submitting your e-mail. Attachments are ok.
  • In the email please provide your steam user name and e-mail linked to the account. We will send you an e-mail if you are the winner.
  • There will be two winners, both of which will receive a game of their choosing from the list. You may tell us your which game you would like in your submission, or you may tell us afterwards once you win.

    Want some info on the games we are offering to the winners, then check out our links. For Jamestown and Spacechem we do not have any articles or previews, but I will link to useful sites nevertheless. From Dust has been delayed so refer to our update article for information and to help us find a new substitution.

    Anomaly:Warzone Earth Review-

    Runespell:Overture Preview-

    Spacechem- (Steam Page)

    Jamestown- (RPS Article)

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Bastion Review

    The "Summer of Arcade" kicks off with Bastion, and man did Xbox come out with guns blazing!  When I first saw the game at E3 I didn't think much of it at the time.  It had a very colorful environment and an epic narrator that comments on just about everything you do, but it was nothing to rave about at the time.  Now that I have put the hours into playing Bastion, it's easily one of the best downloadable arcade games I have ever played.

    Bastion is set in a world that has just been ravaged by something called the "Great Calamity".  You awake up from a deep sleep and make your way to the safe haven known as the Bastion.  When "The Kid" arrives he finds the Bastion has suffered the same fate and must set out in a dangerous world and collect core shards to restore the Bastion.  Doesn't sound too different from any other RPG right?  Well the story isn't what keeps bringing you back.

    The real star of Bastion is its game play.  While your hacking and slashing through each level, you are given a ton of customizable load out options.  Everything from your arsenal of weapons, elixirs that will give you bonus' and even selecting idols that will make your game even more challenging.  Though the levels are short, they are vastly different from each other and each give a unique challenge to overcome.  If you get bored with moving through the levels, there are also weapon challenges and a wave attack mode that will test your skills and reward you for your efforts. 

    For an arcade game, Bastion is deep.  It gives you a lot of options and always has something different to offer.  With all the customizing it gives a very addictive quality that will keep bringing you back.  This isn't a one and done game, you will want to keep playing this over and over, not only for the second ending but also for all the different styles you can play.  The game is beautiful, the narration is epic and it will keep you busy.  I would definitely recommend this game to everyone out there.

    Violent Score: 9 (out of 10)

    Orcs Must Die!: Traps and Orcs

    It's been a short while since we have touched up on this game, but it should be coming out in the following two months so here is some detailed information on the games Orcs and Traps. If you do not recall our previous preview of Orcs Must Die, then click on the hyperlink and check it out. In short, it's an action game mixed with tower defense that relies on your wit, foresight and speed. You control a man that you may fight with, sword and bow, but most importantly you may place all kinds of various traps to hinder and mutilate your enemies; the Orcs. The Orcs main goal is to get to your rift and destroy it, much like Sanctum and many other tower defense games. On to the new information! We shall start with Orcs.

    The Orcs
    Orc Warrior- They die easily, they come in high numbers and they are determined to get to your rift and destroy it. They start out really easy, but when they are mixed with crossbow orcs they become very troublesome, especially if you are trying to fight them head on.
    Crossbow Orc- They possess good aim and are more dangerous than orc warriors, but like orc warriors they need to die and die quickly. They make it even harder to go head on at the orcs, you make a good target.
    Gnoll Hunter- Not a orc! but it is going to try to kill you and it is going to try to kill all of your friends. Unlike the the orcs, the Gnoll Hunter does not care about Rifts and is mainly out to murder you and your helpers.
    Gnoll Hunter Reveal

    So far, they have no other information on the other types of enemies, but they do have information on one of your helpers.

    Elven Archer-Really good ranged stationary allies. They are technically traps, but they fire at enemies on their own and are revived, when a wave ends, if they are killed.
    There are also other allies/helpers, like paladins and some kind of mages, but no real information on them, at least not yet. We did get to see archers and paladins at E3 and they are pretty useful. They both help a lot with thinning out giant hordes of orcs that otherwise feel a tad bit overwhelming. Onto traps. Most traps do have videos from Robot Entertainment, so I will include them if they exist.

    Floor Spikes- When they are set up well in conjunction with other traps then they can do a great deal of damage to enemy horde, especially when combined with slow traps.

    Arrow Wall- If you can place these deadly traps at the end of a corridor then you may continuously barrage enemies as they approach. These and floor spikes are some of the cheapest traps, but they are very useful when combined with other traps.
    Arrow Wall
    Boom Barrel- Great in small corridors, or any choke points. All it takes it a crossbow bolt to blow up one of these, but if you time it right you can send a hefty chunk of orcs to their graves. Cheap, but only one use.

    Boom Barrel

    Wind Belt- Pushes orcs into whatever direction you please. You can use it for all kinds of purposes. One of the most enjoyable is pushing orcs off cliffs or into a very devastating trap.

    Wind Belt

    Spring Trap- The name kind of speaks for itself. Flinging orcs through the air into lava or into acid is always fun. This trap and the wind belt cost a bit more than the earlier traps, and are more advanced, but they can be used to set up some great combos.

    Spring Trap

    Fire Bracers- This is a magical item that your character uses. It takes mana and it can be used to shoot fireballs at enemies or create firewalls along the ground. It is a nice complement to the crossbow if you want something else ranged to shoot at your enemies.

    Fire Bracers

    Steam Trap- Launches enemies straight up, and also slows them by continuously disrupting their movement. Similar to a spring trap, but only launches them up. Seems useful just for disrupting enemies, but also for launching them up into the air into other traps.

    Steam Trap

    The Pounder- This guy is basically a ceiling spike trap. If you can manage to fill a hallway with these then goodbye orcs. Of course, you need a ceiling and a low ceiling at that. This is also one of the more advanced traps, meaning you don't have it on the earlier levels.

    The Pounder

    The Lightning Ring- Like the firebracers, this is a item that you use. It shoots out lighting blasts, that seem to be area of effect hits that do a lot of damage. It does take mana and it has a lightning cloud ability as well as a lightning ball. I cannot imagine this being anything but one of the advanced weapons in the game.

    Lightning Ring

    Summing it all up
    These don't seem to be all the traps either. Especially since I've seen a paladin , some kind of spike ball trap and a rolling spiked log. I can assume there are even more traps than that, but only time will tell. I know for certain that there are more enemies than the ones they have revealed and that there are also many traps that are built into the environment of a level. This game seems simple, but it looks to be a dream for tower defense gamers, especially the kind that like TD games like Sanctum and Monday Night Combat. The only negative that I know about the game is that it will have no coop or mp at release, they are just focusing on getting a great singleplayer out there first. They are planning to release it on consoles and PC, so good news to all. Will bring you more news on this exciting looking game when we get it. Thanks for reading.
    -Written by Sean Cargle

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Bastion Impressions

    I was hoping to review this game by tomorrow, but I unfortunately have to drive back to my home town this weekend and will not have my xbox360 or a tv. Although, Adam is very excited to review Bastion, by Supergiant Games, sometime this weekend, so watch out for that. I have thankfully gotten many hours, probably about 4 or 5 hours, with Bastion today already and I am loving it so far. So Bastion is about a world that was hit by the calamity. It is not our world, or anything like it, and the calamity is something fairly hard to fathom. Their world was destroyed by the calamity, randomly, and only few knew it was coming or what it even is. There are survivors, few, and you are heading out there to find them and restore some of the old world. While restoring the world you find unique items, skills and weapons. There are also quite a few buildings to create and challenges to conquer. This game is an adventure game for XBLA and it also has rpg elements like crafting, leveling and stats.

    -Distillery : Each level you get to choose a *spirit* to use. A spirit, as in a drink, that enhances you in someway. There are many spirits to find and collect and by the time you are level 10 (max level seemingly) you can have 10 spirits active.
    -Temple : These are challenges. Similar to skulls from Halo 3, these challenges increase the difficulty in some way, but also increase your experience intake and rewards. There are many and you only start with one, the rest must be found.

    -Arsenal : The Arsenal let's you outfit your weapons and skills. You can have a melee weapon, a ranged weapon and one skill.

    -Forge : The forge is where you upgrade all your weapons. I have only unlocked five at this point, but according to the slots in the forge there seems to be thirteen weapons. All weapons have two upgrade options and may be upgraded three times. You need a specific material in order to upgrade each weapon.

    -Lost and Found : At the Lost and Found shop you can buy crafting materials, a limited amount, and some of the spirits for the distillery. So far the best spirits I've found where from this shop.

    -Memorial : The memorial houses weapon, skill and area challenges. For instance, doing 70 damage to one foe with the Cael Hammer will earn you five hundred currency.

    -Cael Hammer : Your first melee weapon; can be upgraded to do huge critical hits, overall damage or speed.

    -Breaker's Bow : Your first ranged weapon; can be upgraded to bleed enemies, do more overall damage, quicker shots or strong penetration.

    -War Machete : The opposite of the Cael Hammer. It does really quick fast hits and it can be thrown. It can be upgraded to do bleeding damage, more overall damage or more blades thrown.

    -Scrap Musket : This is pretty much a shotgun. It can be upgraded for damage, but it also has range/spread upgrades, meaning you can make it go farther but it will have less spread and vice versa.

    -Fang Repeater : This gun would be your sub machine gun. It is quick and does relatively low damage, but it has long range and can be upgraded to do a lot of damage. It can also be upgraded to do bleeding damage, hold more bolts, faster reloading and quicker overall shooting.

    I cannot really say I have a favorite weapon so far, all the weapons are pretty damn fun to use. Smashing through big enemies with the hammer is great, but slicing so quick that the enemy is dead before you in moments is also pretty fantastic. There are proving grounds for weapons, I'm not sure if all weapons do though, but at this point in the game all five do have proving grounds. Proving grounds are challenge areas that reward you with crafting items, currency or skills. They are pretty difficult, especially with a non-upgraded weapon, but you can see how what they require and upgrade a weapon accordingly. Once you get a weapon up to two or three upgrades then you can usually ace the proving grounds.
    This game has a lot to do, find, create and restore. My town feels big already at this point, with 5 buildings, but it's going to get at least one more building larger, at least. On top of buildings there are also animals and survivors that you can find. Also, there is a pipe that you find and if you smoke it you fall into a 20 wave challenge. It is about the "kids", the main characters past and as you fight through waves it gets harder and the narrator divulges more information about him. There seems to be plenty of other secrets like this and also a new game + option, so expect plenty of length from this devilishly fun game. There is so much I like about this game, whether it be all the customization options, strong story and narration, interesting environment and world, challenging gameplay, diverse weapons, secrets to unlock or challenges to beat. I cannot wait to see Adam's review on this game and also to get back into it once I get back. If anyone is even slightly interested, at the very least check out the trial. I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes adventure rpgs. Took thirteen minutes of footage earlier, about 2 or 3 hours into playing, and got some video for anyone interesting in seeing the game in action. Turned it into five minutes, check it out. Thanks for reading, go check out Bastion.

    Bastion Gameplay
    -Written by Sean Cargle

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Catherine Impressions

    I am impressed. This crazy damn game is so odd and unique that I really want it. Atlus has always been known for doing odd and unique games, like the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series, but rarely have they been so fun and intriguing. Catherine, for PS3 and 360, comes out July 26th. The game is about a man who has started having nightmares, very real nightmares, about running from someone. The running sequence is one of the mini-games of the game and it is the first thing you see and play. You have to move blocks, collect money and pillows (lives), and escape to the top of a tower of blocks; all the while someone gigantic is chasing you and trying to kill you.
    In the real world, the main character is dealing with his girlfriend, Katherine, wanting to get married and you get to choose how he goes about their interactions. It get's even more interesting once Catherine, a blonde attractive young woman, shows up in his bed one morning and causes a rift in his world. You get to choose how to react to each of these women and you get several choices for each choice. That sounds cryptic. Here is an example; In the beginning, you get a text message from Katherine and you get to respond to her text message with a text. The text has 4 lines, the initial one does at least, and each line has 3 or 4 options on how to respond. You can combine all the lines in various ways and react however you see fit. Based upon how you react, with text messages and other situations later, the mans relationship with Katherine changes. There are also moments like this later with many other characters, according to reviews I've seen, videos and previews. They also are also many other mini-games, hopefully as fun as the first one.
    The world is presented in a familiar style for an Atlus game, but the anime scenes are not. I am a fan of Anime, not cutesy Anime though, and I am thrilled that they are using a plethora of high quality Anime cutscenes to display much of the story. The voice acting, uses some anime voice actors as well, good voice actors. All of the sound seem's pretty top notch, maybe overtop for some, but in the demo it was very fitting. I will most likely be getting this game, if I can afford it. I never thought it was interesting at all, till I tried the demo. I even didn't care about it at E3, although we did have Catherine sponsored badges, but it's worth a playthrough for anyone looking for something unique, weird and interesting. It also has a very adult tone to the story and gameplay. It attempts to deal with relationships, marriage and cheating in a familiar yet intriguing way. It is a hard game, but it is forgiving and fun. Check back later for more on this game and of course other gaming news.

    Ign Preview Video
    -Written by Sean Cargle

    Lords of Uberdark

    First off, thanks to Rock Paper Shotgun for doing an article on this game. Lords of the Uberdark is a Minecraft/Terraria type of game except you have full control of terraforming the environment. Both Notch and the guys at Terraria have already said they are excited about this game. The developer, Aaron Bishop, claims it will be a 3d mining and building game. He says it is in pre alpha and by the footage it certainly looks that way. I am excited about it because it already looks to have really impressive terraforming tools. Also, the plans Aaron has for the game are very enticing to me. Check out what he has planned (directly from his website). Click on the title of this post for a direct link to the games website.
    -Better collision detection & resolution
    -Grappling hook object
    -Material hardness
    -Skeletal physics
    -Multiplayer support
    -Tree object
    -Better fluid simulation
    -Better torch object
    -Furnace object
    -Anvil object
    -Item making system
    -Ships & Cannons
    -Other fun stuff

    Check out this gameplay video

    His main plan is make the game a team-based game that is dorfs versus goblins, with resources gathering and base building. All of which is first person with first person combat. This could be a game that fizzles into nothing, but I sure hope it doesn't. Keep your eyes peeled people, will update more on this exciting game as soon as there is more on it.

    -Written by Sean Cargle

    Casual Gameplay Design Competition #6

    The Casual Gameplay Design Competition is a competition, for PC, that is held quite often for individual developers to create a game based on a specific goal. The one that I am speaking of is the 6th competition, out of what looks like 10. The winner of this competition was a very interesting game that I thought was worth mentioning to you all. It is called Small Worlds and it is a pixel art exploring game. You have 4 worlds to explore, little story to figure out, and just the w-a-s-d controls to move your little pixel person. The music by Kevin Macleod is very impressive and adds a lot to this game and without it the game would be far less enthralling. The game itself is written by David Shute. In the competition the game won First Place, Armor Games Award and the Audience Award. To check out the main website for this competition click on the title of this post and it will take you there.
    The game only takes 5-10 minutes to play through entirely, but if you are an avid explorer like myself then you will probably double that time. It isn't anything huge, but if you like exploring, pixel graphics and some fantastic music then this is worth your time. Check on it out at

    -Written by Sean Cargle

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Anomaly: Warzone Earth Review

    At first glance this attractive pc game may look like a typical tower defense indie game, but it is really a reverse tower defense game. You are out there to take down their towers and lead your convoy to a glorious victory. You control one man, a leader, with a special suit that can support your men and also bring destruction to your alien adversaries. It is for PC/Mac only and it is developed by 11 bit Studios. Your hero, leader, commander that you directly control is used primarily for scouting out enemy positions and using power-ups to protect your convoy. The graphics are fantastic for a tower defense type of game, especially for a indie game. There is also a level of polish that is rarely seen among any game. For instance, I never ran into a single bug throughout a playthrough of the entire game and it's two extra modes. That's pretty spectacular no? To get your bearings on this game check out our video of the first Tokyo mission. We also have a video of the two missions after the first Tokyo one on our YouTube channel.

    Tokyo Mission 1

    The first interesting thing about this game is that you are destroying their "tower defenses". The game also starts out in Baghdad, with British troops and modern looking apcs, hmm. I don't know if they meant to play off a recent war, but the warzone they created in Baghdad seemed very fitting. Micromanaging between scouting for your convoy, protecting them and plotting their course does get very difficult in the last couple of levels (on normal difficulty that is, I can't image on the hardest difficulty), but your skill as a commander and how you manage your resources is what will overcome the difficulties. You get combo's based on your convoys success, you also have points and medals to earn. So, they effectively play upon the tower defense formula and add a achievement and point system to complement it.
    The story of the game revolves around two alien forces who have invaded Tokyo and Baghdad. One of them is unknown and non-violent, while the other is constantly trying to destroy humans and the other non-violent aliens. You start in Baghdad with few options for troops and few power ups, but by the end of Baghdad you have many options and combinations. Once Baghdad is over you head on over to Tokyo to search for more of the non-violent aliens. There is plenty of voice acting and two or three main characters throughout the story. Nothing about the story feels too cheesy or overused, thank god. The story isn't strong and doesn't really make you feel anything for the characters or world, but the it works well for the world they are presenting and it has a high level of polish.
    Power-ups, troop combinations and planning are the meat of this game. Power-ups come in several forms: smoke screen (makes it so enemy towers cannot see your troops and they fire randomly into the smoke, sometimes still hitting your troops), repair tool (a small repair bubble you can place that lasts a short while), airstrike and decoy. To successfully guide your convoy through the mess of the alien infested landscape, you must use these tools in conjunction with one another. For instance, there are towers that do area damage and the only way to stop them from decimating your vehicles is with the decoy ability; often at the same time you will have other towers hitting your troops. So you may need to run across the map place a decoy to deter the area of effect towers then bolt back to your convoy and throw up a smoke screen while also repairing the damage. Your convoy cannot take a lot of hits (in normal difficulty) so you have to be on your feet and aware of all possible routes and enemies in advance. You have a tactical map that you may use to plan your route and you can usually see all the enemy towers in advance, but there are surprises here and there. For the convoy you have the option of tanks (good damage and armor, but expensive), dragons (flamerthrower tanks), rocket vehicles (weak, but do a lot of damage), apcs (middle ground everything) and shield projecting vehicles. You have six spots to arrange these vehicles all of which cost money and may be upgraded for more money. You earn money through destroying towers and collecting alien caches that are scattered across each map. The caches add more options to your route. You may often want to divert from the easier and quicker route in order to pick up some caches along the way, the caches give you much more money than destroying towers.

    Polish- 10 (no bugs, no crashes, no problems)

    Graphics- 9 (environments look great and well made, graphical style is attractive)

    Sound- 8 (battle sounds, music and voices all fit the world well, but don't stick with you)

    Gameplay-8 (enjoyable take on tower defense that feels fresh. Controls are annoying at the start, but once you get used to them then it flows pretty well)

    Length of Play- 7 (story is only 5 hours long, but there is two extra play modes, three difficulties and medals to earn)

    Violent Score: 8.5

    This is a new and enjoyable take on tower defense with fantastic graphics and polish. If you enjoy the genre at all I suggest you indulge a little next time this one goes on sale. It is currently $9.99, but it was just on sale on steam for $4.99. If you can get it for $5 then it is an excellent deal.

    -Written by Sean Cargle