Cadence of Hyrule on Switch

Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt Of The NecroDancer Is Out Now

The Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer featuring The Legend of Zelda, yes, that’s the full title, is out now.

Developed by Brace Yourself Games, the indie roguelike combines the rhythm-based movement and fighting mechanics with gameplay elements of earlier titles in the Zelda series.

Members of the Sonic Mania art team developed the pixel art style:

The first Crypt of the NecroDancer was both brutal and addictive. The sequel will be aiming to provide that again with the boosted appeal of Zelda.

It’s available from the eShop for £22.49.

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Five Anticipated Indie Titles From Kinda Funny Game’s 2019 Showcase

Alisa Hail takes a look at some intriguing indies showcased at E3 —

Indie games are becoming a more important part of the gaming industry, certainly, as AAA titles become ever more expensive to make, and as studios have had to trim down staff, and therefore, the number of top tier titles they produce in a given cycle.

E3 has always been a stronghold for the powerhouse players in the industry, with little room for independent developers simply due to the cost of a booth on the show floor.

However, thanks to content creators and presenters such as Kinda Funny Games, indie developers have started breaking into gaming’s biggest and most anticipated show over the past couple of years.

This year Kinda Funny showcased 60 games during their online showcase, with some selected for demonstration on the showroom floor.

You can watch the showcase in its entirety by clicking on the video at the bottom of this article. But here are five we personally anticipate.

UnderMine

Everyone knows the best parts of any action adventure, Zelda-like game is making your way through the dungeons. UnderMine is a roguelike that lets you delve deeper and deeper into the mysteries of the mines all while gathering gold, unlocking secrets, and maybe even meeting a few friends along the way.

You will discover potions, curses, and other relics to assist you in making the perfect run and finally defeating the boss. UnderMine is slated for release this summer on PC and is currently in Steam Early Access.

Stone Shard

Stone Shard is a procedurally-generated turn-based RPG with modern RPG elements. You can combine your hero’s skills to create your individual play style. Align yourself with powerful factions to decide the fate of the kingdom, or gain a god’s favour and with it some of their divine power. Of course, as a leader, you aren’t the only person for which you will be responsible.

Protect yourself and your selected caravan from disease and even the onset of insanity. In the medieval landscapes of Iron Shard, death comes easily. But, no matter. You simply build a new hero and carry on. Stone Shard is slated for release this year for Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and will arrive soon in Steam Early Access.

Lucifer Within Us

As humans spend more and more time in the digital world, one has to question what might happen if the human soul and technology were ever to actually become intertwined. Lucifer Within Us by Kitfox posits this very premise, presenting a tale of A.I. daemons and digital exorcism all housed within an alternative existence wherein the technological is smoothly incorporated into a religious worldview.

As a digital exorcist, it is your job to interview suspects and discover their past or psychological state. Only then can you uncover what form of malicious A.I. is currently sharing their body so it can be cast out. Lucifer Within Us is slated for release this year for PC. You can find out more on the official site.

Superliminal

Nothing is ever as it seems, or so the saying goes. While that certainly applies to many things it life, it is apt advice for playing though developer Pillow Castle’s puzzle game Superliminal. Each challenge will test your perception using optical illusions to create fascinating brainteasers. Check out the video to see exactly what we mean.

Superliminal is slated to launch soon. You can sign up for the mailing list for more info.

Lost Ember

Have you ever imaged finding yourself in a forgotten world wherein you have the freedom to wander as you please learning about its past and taking in all the beauty of its sights and sounds?

Lost Ember allows you to take the form of different animals as you embark on a journey guided by a former resident of the culture that inhabited a now fallen civilization. Uncover the mystery behind the downfall and how your guide played into that unhappy piece of history.

Lost Ember will release on July 19, 2019, on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One.

Kinda Funny Games shined the limelight on several exciting and unique titles making it difficult to pick only a few.

You can find everything from gravity-defying puzzle platformers like Etherborn to games like After Party wherein you must out drink the devil to escape from Hell. From Metroidvania types to multiplayer battles, you can find something in the showcase for you. This is why we love indie games and why we look forward to seeing more at E3 next year.

22 Indie Games Are Launching On Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft pulled out all the stops during their E3 2019 Press Conference showcasing a total of 60 games.

Twenty-two of those games are indie titles, all of which will be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch.

A handful of the games really stood out to me. Which? Well, Blair Witch, Blazing Chrome, Riverbond, Star Renegades and AfterParty which I covered a while back here on Nitchigamer.

The full list can be found below:

ID@XBOX Games Shown at E3 2019

  • Dead Static Drive
  • Star Renegades
  • Afterparty
  • Way to the Woods
  • Creature in the Well
  • Killer Queen Black
  • Undermine
  • Pathologic 2
  • Lord of the Rings: Living Card Game
  • The Good Life
  • Blazing Chrome
  • Spiritfarer
  • TABS: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
  • Secret Neighbor
  • Supermarket Shriek
  • Blair Witch
  • Unto the End
  • Night Call
  • Riverbond
  • Felix the Reaper
  • Ikenfell
  • Totem Teller

It is important to note that both Riverbond and Supermarket Shriek are available on Game Pass right now! The other titles are set to release later this year.

As a Game Pass subscriber, I will add more than a few of these to my library. I hope you do too!

Next up, of course, is Nintendo’s E3 Direct. We’re hoping to see some rather unique games on show there.

Atom RPG Review

Atom RPG Review [PC] – Welcome To The Soviet Wastelands

Welcome to the Wastelands. No, no. We aren’t talking about Las Vegas or West Virginia. Welcome to the post-nuclear fallout badlands of Russia.

Set in 2005, Atom RPG places you directly in the boots of a Soviet special forces cadet tasked with assisting in the restoration of the Soviet Union after the Cold War ends in mutual nuclear destruction in 1986.

Made by indie developer AtomTeam in the style of Wasteland and Fallout 1 and 2, Atom RPG promises the best of classic RPGs, but is this adventure worth the time?

Much of the game operates similar to your standard classic RPG, and this is not a knock. Though nothing groundbreaking, everything from combat to character creation and the subsequent effect on the gameplay is well-designed.

Combat is grid-based with movement and attacks dictated by how many action points you possess. You will have two forms of attack costing more or less AP depending on which you choose. This can either be bare hand and feet attacks, long or short range weapons, or some combo of either. Thankfully, you will generally have more attack points to begin with than your early opponents.

Unfortunately, as I will explain shortly, you will discover rather quickly just how ill-equipped you are for the realities of the wastes almost immediately.

The best-laid plans of mutants and men often go awry in the wastelands. The skills and stats you choose during character creation will heavily affect your game, especially in the early stages. You can choose from the usual range of stats such as strength, endurance, and intelligence.

Your skill sets include weapons specialties such as Martial Arts for bare-handed knuckle-busting, long and short range weapons, gambling, survival, and lock picking. You also have the option to choose a “Distinction” which will auto-allocate your skill and stats points to create a very specified type of character for you.

These can be both a blessing and a curse. In fact, the downsides that come along with the “perks” of these distinctions might be worth avoiding altogether unless you already have a set strategy for the game.

For instance, you can choose to be a “Savage Hunter” which will drastically increase your damage to animals. However, no one will like you (you lose Personality points) and you will have trouble carrying all those animal skins with a significantly reduced carry weight. Some Distinctions like “Diplomat” which heavily focus on Speechcraft might not be a bad choice, but you have to make certain you deal with the fact your weapons skills will suffer significantly.

I chose to bypass the “Distinctions” and ended up making three separate characters throughout my time with Atom RPG. My third character was lower in Speechcraft and personality than the two previous, and I noticed how helpful being able to smooth talk my way through the world was from the get-go.

People easily volunteered additional information, and in one instance I was allowed through without proper papers. My other two characters were given a much harder time of things. Lockpicking came into handy right off the bat as well. It is amazing just how many locked containers I came across early on. But, I suppose that makes sense in a savage post-apocalyptic landscape.

Intelligence and mechanical skills will also come in handy during the first hour or so.

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Though I prefer a character more heavily skilled in the gift of gab, I gave my final character a heavy focus on Strength and Martial Arts. This is because of how high the difficulty can be during random encounters.

When you leave a specific area such as a town or a bunker, you will appear on the world map. Using map scrolling with WASD you will locate a destination and then click on it, sending your character on their way.

During your journey, you will encounter events that range from meeting a friendly caravan to running into bandits. Even as prepared as you are regarding attack power and resistance to enemy attacks, running into four bandits, two of which are armed, within the first 30 minutes of the game almost guarantees your death. At one point, I admittedly only made it to a nearby bunker on luck. Instead of running into armed bandits that could kill me in a few shots, I ran into some giant ants instead. Giant ants are much more easily dealt with, largely because they cannot carry guns.

The game seems to be designed to push the player to heavily allocate points to only a couple of skills and stats, slowing down later progress in others.

For example, though you get a few guns early on, unless you heavily allocate skill points to their use from the beginning, they won’t do you much good. On my first run, I gave my character high personality and Speechcraft skills, allocating an average or below average amount of points to most of the other skills and stats save for intelligence. Lockpicking, and technology. All was going fairly well until the one time I could not talk my way out of a bandit encounter and then I was dead.

In fact, even with my reasonably high Speechcraft, I didn’t succeed in talking my way out of very many bandit encounters early on, thus leading me to a frustrating familiarity with the death screen.

The storyline might be your standard post-apocalyptic RPG fair, but being in another country is an exciting change. I found the writing to be enjoyable. Though you will have many standard interactions with NPCs in towns and cities and other areas, you will also run into some interesting characters.

I appreciated that the creators did attempt to create unique personalities for the people that populate the world, and you will see that come through, sometimes in fairly amusing ways.

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Aside from the high difficulty, particularly in the beginning where it seems nigh on unfair, Atom RPG is very well designed. Though punishing, it feels satisfying to know your character design choices do make a significant impact on your progress and that playing the game again with different stats and skill selections will significantly change your gameplay experience, even if it does not have a huge impact on the overall story.

Atom RPG demonstrates well precisely why classic RPGs maintain a healthy audience even to this day.

Indie Games Switch Spring

New Indie Games Coming To Switch Spring 2019

To tie in with the Game Developers Conference 2019, Nintendo put on a spring showcase for some exciting indie games coming over to the Switch.

But what were the key announcements from the showcase?

Indie Games On Switch Spring 2019

You can find all of the indie games shown at the presentation below along with their expected release dates:

  • Cuphead – April 18th
  • Overland – Fall
  • My Friend Pedro – June
  • Neo Cab – Summer
  • The Red Lantern – 2019
  • Darkwood – May
  • Katana ZERO – April 18th
  • RAD – Summer
  • Creature in the Well – Summer
  • Bloodroots – Summer
  • Pine – August
  • Super Crate Box –  April
  • Nuclear Throne – Out now
  • Ultra Bugs – 2019
  • Swimsanity! – Summer
  • Blaster Master Zero II – Out now
  • Stranger Things 3 The Game – July 4th
  • Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the Necrodancer – Spring

It wasn’t that long ago, January in fact, that we had a dedicated ‘Indie Highlights’ presentation from Nintendo (they need to stick to one name with these, surely?), so it’s another presentation from the company that wasn’t entirely expected.

Key announcements like Cadence of Hyrule – Crypt of the Necrodancer and Cuphead are more than welcome, while Blaster Master Zero II, My Friend Pedro, Overland, and The Red Lantern prove that the Switch is becoming a place for more than just a smattering of indie games.

It’s worth mentioning that Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, a refreshing take on XCOM which released last year, was also announced separately for Switch and is due out June 25th — that’s as well as Castle Crashers Remastered, coming to both Switch and PS4.

We’re also going to see a set of Konami classics heading to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch too. And yes, Castlevania is in there.

Indie Title Disco Elysium – Deprived Fun

Jack Boyles takes a look at indie game Disco Elysium…

“When did it all change? When did we become so deprived? So feral? I see these streets, these deteriorating streets in denial with itself, desperately holding onto a more prolific time. And its citizens have all aged with it. Staring with their vacant eyes, expressionless, lost in their own refutation. But then there is me, I. What is I? Where do I fit? After all, I am no different from these inhabitants, dumbfounded and alone in an age of irrationality”.

As we know from my previous articles such as Pixel Noir (my first article for Nitchigamer) I’m a big fan of film noir. The pessimistic world view is something I can relate too. Being a working-class male brought up in a town ravaged by pit closures, not evolving and just lying there stagnated. So, to my pleasure, I got my hands on a new detective game that fits nicely in that world view, Disco Elysium.

Disco Elysium is an isometric RPG that is heavily inspired by tabletop RPG’s using a dice/luck mechanic to see if you are successful in your decision and dialogue. Developed by Zaum Studio and published by Humble Bundle, it markets itself as a hardboiled show in a fantasy setting.

You play as Revachol West, a shamed lieutenant detective of a shore town where misfeasance lays around every corner. You must keep your character’s sanity in check while trying to solve cases, interrogate suspects or explore the streets. The game features many open-ended cases leaving player expression to address them.

Glancing at the game, you are instantly drawn in by the visuals. The game looks beautiful, yet it still manages to have this sense of grit. A painted aesthetic gives a very expressionistic feeling to it, how it uses colour and shade to add detail to the environments instead of having each little detailed applied to them. However, this allows the developers to make the settings more nuanced; for example, a rug with a corner overturned or segments of the tiled flooring wear and tear. This is an excellent example of how strong rendered graphics are and how they can add so much personality into environments. Even the skill cards have the Francis Bacon look of body-distorted imagery. It’s these artistic choices that make Disco Elysium standout from most other indie games as well as showing the quality of the game and focus on encapsulating the mood of the world.

If the visuals weren’t enough for you, the gameplay follows suit with its same level of quality. As I previously stated, this game takes the tabletop formula of dice roll/chance gameplay. You’ll be given certain dialogue trees depending on your stats, though you will have a certain chance of this dialogue being successful which is represented by a dice roll. It’s no different to chance/stat based choices in RPG games such as the early Fallout games. Though it’s that dice roll that makes it more engaging and impactful; like the ball spinning on a roulette wheel, it reminds you that odds are just odds. Furthermore, the dialogue options are plentiful, sometimes hitting around seven choices and specialist choices appearing due to your stats; this game has the potential for many watercooler chatting moments.

Though it’s the skill system in Disco Elysium that surprises yet again, instead of going for your typical speech, charism skills; Disco Elysium goes with a more psychological skill base. You have four tiers of skills: Psyche, Intelligence, Physique and Motoric, all with there own attributes such as Empathy, Conceptualization and Composure to name a few. It’s here you craft what type of detective you are but not by the skills they have but by their personality, doubts and instincts.

The demo starts me with choosing a character type. I went with the alcoholic detective because that’s the type of detective I am. The intro had this inner monologue/debate my character was having with himself, the empathy side and the damn crazed one; me keeping them both in check.

Waking up in my apartment with a smashed window, it’s here you start to realise that as much of an RPG the game is, it’s also a point and click adventure game. Collecting and inspecting your environment and items to put in your inventory and/or for clues. Staring into a mirror, you once again have an internal monologue — to which I made my mess of a detective be that delirious he thought he was handsome (like I said, my kind of detective) which then displayed a character icon at the bottom of my screen of a crazed delirious man… Genius.

It’s from your inventory menu you can select items of clothing, and I refused to find my lost shoe, resulting in a detective walking around with one shoe on… Genius.

From here I spoke with many NPC characters to find out what happened and who I am (because of his drunk ways). I tried to hit on my neighbour. I spoke with the landlord who wasn’t my biggest fan and a colleague who I pretended to know what he was going on about. These characters were top notch and believable due to the excellent writing; I expect to see many memorable characters when the full game is released.

I loved this game and from speaking with other people (the lads at Special Moves Podcast when I bumped into them) are also enjoying this game. It’s just brimming with quality from top to bottom, in all aspects of the game – especially the writing; it’s really impressive. The level of choices you get, I walked away from the demo knowing that’s my detective, the alcoholic, one shoe wearing delirious man and because of those choices, it was my story.

It’s the grey choices that make these types of RPGs enthralling and the team at Zaum Studios know this. The choices I made didn’t feel like good or bad, they felt like choices that could go either way; making my decisions are more impactful because I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be. Likewise, the chance mechanic, sometimes that choice might fall flat on its bottom. They are mixing the adventure game genre with RPG elements with stats based on emotions and personality traits. You can see this game going into interesting territory and with the buzz already surrounding this game; so can everyone else.

Disco Elysium is one of the most original, unique and fun RPGs that diehard fans of the genre have been waiting for; this is one game that is going to be a highlight of the indie game scene.

Hit The Slopes In Snowboarding The Next Phase

The developers at Session Games have teamed up with Red Bull to bring Snowboarding The Next Phase to the Nintendo Switch.

The game was created by developers that previously worked on SSX and Skate on past consoles. This marks the first snowboarding game to release for the hybrid console. And to top it all off, it’s available right now.

Across the game’s 11 locations, you beat missions while earning equipment and gear from your sponsors. The game is backed by Red Bull so expect product placement.

You complete tricks and push for high scores on your way to becoming the best snowboarder in the world. Game modes include arcade mode, career mode, split-screen multiplayer and photo challenge.

If you’re a fan of classic snowboarding titles like SSX and 1080° Snowboarding, you should consider Snowboarding The Next Phase.

Check out the trailer below and get ready to hit the slopes:

Indie Title Eldest Souls – Beware Of The Gods

Happy New Year everyone.

The gods have dealt their hand and the message is understood, they don’t want humanity to succeed any more. Such a futile and archaic notion that the gods think they can prosper without humanity. Who would be there to serve them? Who would be there to pray to them? It is man that gives them power in exchange for hope; now they give us disparity. What the god’s fail to understand is, that man together provides hope, man together provides power. Fear not gods, it will be the hands of a man that will end your tyranny.

Jack Boyles discusses Eldest Souls…

The Souls-like genre (I know, I hate the name too) has been a genre that has exploded the past few years due to the success of Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. As such, we’ve seen games like ‘Salt and Sanctuary’, ‘The Surge’ and ‘Elex’ arrive with challenging yet rewarding gameplay; Souls games are slower paced, there’s more strategy and more thinking required than your typical action adventure game. Though it’s not just the gameplay that make the Souls games great, it’s the world building, lore and atmosphere; some of the examples above have these elements within their games yet they never feel a cohesive whole.

Eldest Souls is an independent game made by Italian Studio ‘Fallen Flag’. Pitched as a Pixel-art Souls-like RPG, as you can tell from the title, it proudly wears its influence on its sleeve.

Humanity has been thriving with kingdoms blossoming on the once forsaken temples which imprison the old god. In retaliation, the old gods have unleashed a great desolation on the world as crops turn to barren wastelands. It’s your job as a lone warrior to slay the old gods ending the great desolation.

Firstly, the pixel art is nothing but outstanding. It manages to evoke so much atmosphere and it really captures the true art of using pixels. Little details of vines hanging from a tree, swords sticking into the ground from fallen warriors all elicit this sense of deprivation using limited visual fidelity.

Then you have the enemy designs, these giant creatures visually show their experience of battle, standing there panting and looking haggard. Everything looks aged and windswept as you travel through the forsaken land. It’s an impressive feat to achieve that sense of foreboding using pixel art, yet it’s that restriction in quality that enhances the atmosphere.

To my surprise the sound design didn’t follow suit with the retro aesthetic, instead, choosing to go with more grounded and realistic sounds. However, it works and works very well. If anything, it supplements the art direction and atmosphere using realistic sounds to strength the sense of danger. It reminds you this world matters and doesn’t care about you.

Sounds are an indicator to the player, as certain roars of enemies let the player know what attack is coming; here that is more important as enemies can’t really indicate attacks by animation as clearly. Furthermore, we have the soundtrack, like Dark Souls, it is very silent allowing the ambience to lure you into this world but when the time comes erupts to heighten your senses; it keeps you alert and to add gravitas to boss battles.

There is no need to worry though, Eldest Souls is a satisfying game to play. Never did I once feel like the character was doing something I didn’t want him to do nor was there any latency. He dashed when I wanted him to dash and he swung his sword when I wanted him to, which is precisely what you want with an game such as Eldest Souls; you would forget the demo I played is still in Alpha.

The introduction of Eldest Souls is surprisingly slow. You wander through the land looking at what has failed before you. Along the way, there are hazards like a strong wind gushing parts of a rickety bridge apart and a spike trap you must avoid. Though these are minor, it does create a small amount of tension and lets the player know that they shouldn’t get comfortable. But most of all it really establishes the sense of isolation; a long hollow walk into an unknown land.

It’s here the game acts as a tutorial, setting up various situations to get to know the controls like smashing down a wooden wall or dashing through the spike traps. Stamina works slightly different to other Souls games, as you have three little bars. A dash will use one bar, upon using all three bars you’ll only be able to dash once a bar is fully filled.

Arriving at the boss you quickly grasp that the combat is more offensive like Bloodborne. As a first boss, I’ll admit it I got slapped about a few times. Unlike those games where you can use what stamina you have as soon as it builds, Eldest Souls lets you wait until the bar fills, meaning any wrong movement has a detrimental effect on you. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to spend with the game, albeit what I played I enjoyed.

Eldest Souls captures the spirit of its obvious inspiration. It may not do much to change the formula but what it does offer is a refined gaming experience. With From Software leaving the Souls brand, as well as the stamina bar in Sekiro; this may be the right game for that core Souls audience.

As polished as Eldest Souls is already, my only concern for the game is the amount of Souls-Borne games we’ve seen; will this game stand up to the already saturated market?

Only time will tell.

Hello Neighbor: Hide And Seek Review

Hello Neighbor: Hide And Seek Review [Switch] – A Welcome Visit

Alisa Hail reviews Hello Neighbor: Hide And Seek on Nintendo Switch.

The premise of Dynamic Pixels’ original Hello Neighbor played on our curiosity. Who hasn’t, at least in passing, considered how tempting it would be to sneak into your creepy neighbor’s house and find out what sort of sinister deeds he’s been hiding behind his walls?

Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek serves as a prequel to the original story, explaining how our neighbor, Mr Theodore Peterson, came to be the way he is. It is also an improvement on its predecessor, even though it fails to escape a few shortcomings of its own.

The story opens on a pleasant, sunny morning with Mr Peterson’s son and daughter playing a friendly game of hide-and-seek. You take over the role of the little girl, trying to outwit her brother. Through the lens of her imagination, the familiar home transforms into an Alice in Wonderland-like domain. Furniture stretches to preposterous proportions. The ceiling and walls now absurdly high above and the ground now taking on the look of a wild grassland. Each level has a unique look, adding a childlike whimsy to the already surreal art style of the game.

Each stage comes with a set of objectives that need to be fulfilled before moving on to the next. For example, the first level requires you to retrieve several stuffed animals scattered about by your brother and delivering them to a certain location. Achieving these objectives requires solving environmental puzzles or using items you will find scattered around the stage. All the while, your brother is roaming about and if he catches you, he sends you back to the start of the level.

Hello Neighbor: Hide And Seek Review

Hello Neighbor suffered from two major flaws: a glitchy gameplay experience and puzzles that were so out-of-the-box as to defy reason. Dynamic Pixels, clearly having learned from criticisms of their original title, did a worthy job of avoiding both of these shortcomings in Hide and Seek. The game played smoothly enough and I did not notice or come across any particular glitches during my play. There is also a handy feature that allows you to warp back to the starting point if you get stuck somewhere, like say perhaps within a giant bucket you hopped in without any clear plans as to how to get back out.

The game did carry over two issues that Dynamic Pixels has left untouched. Jumping frequently feels too airy and imprecise. Though the jump controls are certainly workable, I had hoped the developer would have tightened the controls as it does require platforming quite often. I also wish stackable objects clicked together when stacked to avoid the issue of objects falling over if you land on them incorrectly or accidentally get too close.

The puzzles in this prequel do a much better job of walking the line between creative reasoning and tying together clearly logically connected elements. Part of the original’s success was the community element needed to solve many of the puzzles without either dumb luck or spending more time than most people have or want to use in order to find the solution.

The puzzles in Hide and Seek are challenging and leave the player with a sense of satisfaction for having solved them without the frustration of trying to figure out something that was clearly not built to be discovered through reasoning alone.

You will need to collect multiple items during each stage and carry them with you in order to solve some of the puzzles. However, you can only hold four items at a time. If you find a new item while travelling around and your stash is full, you have no way to house the new item or switch it out with the one you are already carrying — without simply throwing another item down and hoping you can find it later. While doable, this certainly isn’t the most efficient way to handle item storage and becomes an unnecessary hindrance to progress.

Hello Neighbor: Hide And Seek Review

Though the puzzle solving is fun, there is a downside to the central concept of Hide and Seek. While hiding from your neighbor in the original added an element to the game that gave it a sense of danger necessary for a stealth title, the heavy emphasis on puzzle solving and seek and find in the prequel can make having to stop what you are doing and run feel like more of a nuisance than anything else. It doesn’t help that your brother can see you from quite a distance.

Many times I thought I was in the clear and had lost myself in testing out a puzzle-solving hypothesis when I hear the telltale sound alerting me I am being pursued. I’d have to drop what I was doing and run to the nearest rock or something I can climb. This will often cause the brother’s AI to reset, forgetting where you are and you can watch him wander off into the distance before heading back to where you were. While the hide and seek component does sometimes add to the difficulty, it too often felt unnecessary given the more interesting puzzle element.

Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek is much tighter than the original in both gameplay and puzzle design. It is clear that Dynamic Pixels has learned from past experience and implemented that into their newest title. I found myself having much more fun with this newest iteration. The puzzle-solving is the most rewarding part of Hide and Seek and in a way, I wish the hide and seek element had been left out entirely. But, when it works well, it at least adds some tension.

It is not, perhaps, the best we will see from Dynamic Pixels, but it is fun and it gives me hope the quirky developer has more up their sleeves than we know.

Soundfall – Shooting To The Rhythm

An interview by Jack Boyles.

The rhythm game at one point was a profitable move. Drunkards playing guitar hero in pubs, Sing Stars own YouTube and Bongo playing fun; rhythm-based games were social gaming at its best.

Students in their dorms or families at Christmas were all jamming out on plastic peripherals. Like all gaming fads, rhythm games became oversaturated. People moved on and the peripherals found a new home in your local pawn shop or market. However, in the past few years, a resurgence in rhythm games has started brewing amongst a certain gaming crowd and one such game is brewing in a cauldron; that game is Soundfall.

Developers Drastic Games have set their ambitious busy minds on reinvigorating the rhythm genre. As Soundfall isn’t just a typical rhythm game, it’s a twin-stick shooting, dungeon crawler rhythm game where you blast enemies to the beat of the music. And it bloody well works.

In Soundfall, you must run around these Sci-fi/Fantasy procedurally generated landscapes, destroying enemies, staying alive and grabbing loot. Yet to get serious points, it’s all about blasting to the beat.

First, it all seems overwhelming; enemies chasing you, bullets flying everywhere and keeping to a beat seems like a lot to take in. Then composure settles in, you start to see the word ‘Good’ pop up, you get into the flow, now the word ‘Great’ and then before you know it, everything in its right place.

This was no easy feat, speaking with Nick Cooper, he and his partner Julian Trutmann had tough questions they had to answer themselves:

“In an action game like ours, there are a lot of things to manage. Like enemies spawning in, environmental hazards and exploration, and making everything smooth, and seamless by paying attention to that — and still paying attention to the music was a big challenge.

“How do we communicate that visually? How do we communicate that through sound? Also, a big challenge to communicate was ‘ohh, you hit your action onbeat not offbeat’, how do we make that clear and at the same time not making noise, in terms of both effects and sounds; not to see or hear what’s going on. To make that distinction whilst not being overwhelmed was a challenge”.

It’s that fine balance Drastic Games absolutely level. Looking at the game and playing is intense but you grasp it so suddenly that it just proves the talent of these two developers. Within a good minute, you’ll be running around blasting enemies away like some Colonel composing Moonlight Sonata with Navy Missile Launchers; basking in a sensory overload.

As ex-Epic employees who have worked on Fortnite and Gears of War; Drastic Games know the importance of quality and accessibility.

“[We want the game to be] easy to learn, difficult to master. We want to satisfy those hardcore players who want it to be crazy rhythm, bullet hell. But we also want to satisfy the player who want to pick up and jam out to their favorite tunes”.

Soundfall is a game beaming with life, from its use of colours, the environments, character and enemy design. This game art style is like a good fresh glass of juice; revitalizing. It’s tone perfectly complements the premises of the game. The main characters are instantly recognizable in their sci-fi body suits and giant swords. Enemies in the game dance towards you in a cute kind of way; it has the charisma of a Saturday morning cartoon.

Yet it’s how all of this works together that creates a sense of cohesion. Talking about these elements in the aesthetic, Nick said:

“How do we make it so everything in the world behaves in time with the music. We want enemies to act on the beat, we want trees in the background to dance on beat, we want other hazards to act on beat; we want everything to be all tied in with the sound”.

This pulsation in the design pumps you up — it helps you understand the beat. A small touch that’s nothing short of genius.

For demo purposes, only dance music was available, albeit a little inoffensive for me, it creates the perfect soundtrack to the concurrent presentation. It’s all energetic, capturing the essence of what Soundfall is, a pick up and play fun time.

When asking how they chose the music for Soundfall, Nick said:

“We found a bunch of up-and-coming artists we thought were a great fit for the game and art style. We plan on having a wide variety of music to play in Soundfall”.

The demo I played was nothing short of brilliant. I’m not much of a twin-stick shooter guy but here there is enough going on for me to want to play the game.

Soundfall is incredibly polished in every aspect. I found myself bopping along to the music and dispatching enemies as I went from segment to segment, zipping through lasers, collecting loot and beat-blasting enemies.

Above all, you can’t help but feel that this is something special and will be a hit among many a gamer. The title is already building some buzz, with YouTube videos of a family dancing to the trailer and people cosplaying the characters; a hit, I’m sure it will be.

To listen to the full interview click here.

Everspace: Stellar Edition Set To Launch On December 11th

The official Nintendo Switch release date for Everspace: Stellar Edtion has been set. The digital version of the game will release on December 11th 2018.

Rockfish games have also announced that a physical version of the game will release early next year. Both versions of the title will include the Encounters DLC, a soundtrack and an in-game art book. If you pre-order the game digitally, you save 20% off the full price.

Everspace is a single player space shooting adventure. The game is challenging, and part of its allure is that you need to die to succeed. Each death provides you with power-ups to upgrade your ship for the next playthrough. Can you uncover the story of your existence?

Check out the official Nintendo trailer for Everspace running on Unreal Engine 4 below:

Join A Creatively Rewarding VR Experience In Squishies, Available On PSVR

The VR tech just got a bit more imaginative with the recently released puzzle platform building PSVR title from Brainseed Factory, Squishies.

Take a look at the clever challenges you’ll find in Squishies in the gameplay trailer below:

Leap Into The Charming World Of Squishies

The puzzle solving adventure is ripe with plenty of features to keep VR players utterly engaged from start to finish.

  • Take on the enduring Story Mode, create your own labyrinth of puzzles in Creative Mode or play through community created levels and discover something fresh and new – there are plenty of inspiring options to explore in Squishies.
  • Real life movement is brought in through the perfect mapping of the PlayStation Move controllers, providing fluid and natural movements across your adventure.
  • Players utilize different elements to make their way through each level. Water, air, fire and ice all play their own part in allowing players to successfully traverse through the 3D puzzle game.
  • Using the environment, multiple power-ups and animated creatures populating the colourful world, players must use keen multitasking to find their way through the unique puzzle platformer.

As a dedicated VR only experience, the creative and challenging world of Squishies awaits for PSVR owners, available now.