Boxing Apocalypse

Put Your Dukes Up And Take On Alien Hordes In The Latest VR Experience, Boxing Apocalypse

PlayStation VR is winding up for another pummeling release allowing players to brawl against combat savvy aliens in the upcoming boxing game from Gotham City Films, Boxing Apocalypse.

Check out the punch-packing trailer showing off the alien boxer below:

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble

For all of those looking to take out waves of alien fighters and online friends via fisticuffs, there are a few unique features to be found in Boxing Apocalypse:

  • Players are transported to an isolated alien prison where your sole goal is to brawl your way through alien hordes one after another. Complete all 5 levels and take on the final boss to claim your victory over the entire prison.
  • The VR experience is designed with responsive and instinctual controls for a fluid approach to swinging your fists effectively against your opponents.
  • Players can unlock and equip weapons for a more devastating approach to combat, counter attacks utilizing energy shields, as well as switching out armour upgrades and new gauntlets to give you an advantage when striking down your foes.
  • Taking on alien AI isn’t the only method of boxing mayhem, as players can compete in online matches or tournaments for an all-out, quick-acting, fist-flying brawl.

Square up and prepare for a lively VR boxing experience as Boxing Apocalypse is set to release on the PSVR on December 11th, 2018.

Backworlds – 9 Years In The Making

A lot can change in 9 years; I mean, 9 years ago I would have been 20 years old. I was a university student, playing Halo 3 online, being intoxicated 80% of the week and I was a smoker.

Now I have a job, rarely play an online game – unless its souls/borne or Titanfall 2, I’m lucky to be intoxicated 10% in a single month and I haven’t smoked in at least 3 years. I think of the person I was back then to the person I am now, and the pass self is unrecognizable; a mere fictious entity created by palpable imagination.

Therefore, when I had the chance to speak with Juha Kangas one of the two developers of the indie title Backworlds, I took the chance. You see beautiful reader, Backworlds has been in development for 9 years… 9 Years!

…I smoked 9 years ago.

Backworlds is a puzzle platformer where you play as this cat-like animal traversing luscious landscapes. To navigate the areas, you paint onto the world that reveals another dimension. This other universe will either exhibit hidden platforms or objects, alter the physics within the area or uncloak hidden pathways.

The game manages to adapt both lateral thinking puzzles with the unique painted dimension mechanic compliment each other, making both feel like one and the same. It’s credit to the game design, as complex as the mechanic sounds the game telegraphs the puzzles perfectly to you; never enough to hold your hand but never enough for you to feel lost, instead it gives you a wink.

Speaking with Juha regarding the concept of mechanics and puzzles he went on to say:

“We were in a game jam, it was about 8 years ago, where we got some art and based it on that. We wanted to do something with painting. We would try different concepts like drawing platforms yourself and stuff like that, and then we came up with this thing where you were drawing a mask to show a parallel world”.

Juha went on further to say:

“Other games came out during the making of the game that caused some big changes, for example the game use to be linear at one point but (games) like Fez and stuff like that came out and we was like ok we should make it more open, and now you can skip puzzles just by walking past them”.

But it’s not only the gameplay mechanic and puzzles that stand out. Backworlds art style is simplistic yet beautiful – in addition, it captures the imagination and essence of the game. Talking to Juha about the distinctive art direction, he told me:

“Early inspiration for us was an Irish movie called ‘The Secret of Kells’, an animated movie and that was a big inspiration for us. Then we looked some other things, like ‘Samurai Jack’ and these things that have, like a flat art style that purposefully don’t have a lot of depth to them and we adapted that to our own style”.

Juha also hinted that there may be more to the art style than we think:

“There is no explicit narrative, but there is something at the end of it, that will make you think about the game a bit more – after you’ve played it your like, maybe the art of the game had some more meaning to it”.

After my time with Backworlds you can’t help but think this could – and should – be one of the indie darlings. Those select few indie games that tear through the fabric and gain access to the collective conscious of the everyday gamer.

After a brief time with the game, you quickly realise: this isn’t just one of the best indie games made, it’s one of the best games ever made and I am most certain upon its release many will share the same thought.

I hit many eureka moments within the demo and I am sure there will be many more to come when the full game comes out. An excellently crafted game with a unique idea that is executed perfectly; an absolute sublime work of art.

You can listen to the full interview here and check out Jack’s podcast Drinking Games Podcast.

Rival Megagun Pits Players Against Each Other In Maddening Shmup Mayhem, Releasing On Consoles/PC

Take on split-screen or online shoot em’ up action in the upcoming competitive gunner, Rival Megagun, released by the one-man indie developer, Degica Games.

Surround yourself in the action and have a look at the intense trailer below showing how players not only fend off waves of incoming enemies but compete against one another player, as well:

An Intense Competitive Experience

Check out all of the details regarding the competitive shmup indie title below:

  • Two players compete in either local or online play attempting to knock out the opposing player by rifling away at the incoming waves of enemies in hectic shoot em’ up action.
  • Players can choose between multiple playable characters which help diversify the combat with unique special weapons, as well as transforming in a mega boss form for intense one-on-one action.
  • Unlock new pieces of equipment and enhanced gear as you play your way through the single-player arcade and customize your ship to your liking.

Rival Megagun is set to release on the PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch on November 29th, 2018.

Best Buy To Sell Physical Copies Of Select Limited Run Titles

Could be a turning point for indie games…

Best Buy will begin to carry select Limited Run Games in physical stores and online. According to a press release, Best Buy initially reached out to Limited Run to show interest in selling Yooka Laylee.

This led to the beginning of a partnership that not only includes Yooka Laylee but also Golf Story and a title yet to be announced. These copies will come from the same limited print count that LRG uses for each release.

All three titles are being released for the Nintendo Switch and will sport a variant cover different from those sold on the LRG website. It was announced that some stores may only see 1 or 2 copies. When they are sold, they will not be restocked.

Limited Run Best Buy 2

Depending on the success of this partnership, this could be a turning point for indie games. With the help of a mass retailer like Best Buy, this could bring indie games toward a larger audience. This is also a remedy for those who prefer to have a physical game in their hands. I often read about the dreaded error pages and timeout screens that LRG customers can sometimes endure.

I for one am intrigued to see how this all plays out. As long as developers can make a decent profit from a partnership like this, I think that more publishers will begin to follow suit. As a gamer who grew up in the brick and mortar days, I am more than happy to hop on this train.

Both Yooka Laylee and Golf Story are up for pre-order on the Best Buy website. You can check them out here.

Experience The Ridiculous In The Upcoming Unusual Platformer, Escape Doodland; Arriving On PC And Switch

Some games tend to take themselves too seriously, but the hand-drawn platformer Escape Doodland represents the exact opposite and it’s due to arrive on the Switch and PC by the end of November.

Before we jump into the official details of the two-person indie project, the overly eccentric trailer for Escape Doodland should help paint a clear picture of what to expect:

After a successful Kickstarter campaign from the two indie developers, Veronika Harkavenko and Piotr Karski, Escape Doodland will finally land in the hands of supporters and fans everywhere.

Escape Doodland Details

There seems to be a lot going on with this idiosyncratic side-scroller, much of which we’ll try to clarify in the details below:

  • In this 2D side-scrolling platformer, players will outrun deadly threats, including the Doodler-eating Omnomus monster, as they try to escape their looming fate in Doodland.
  • As the screen continuously scrolls players must utilize quick reflexes by running, leaping, climbing, bouncing and dodging a number of obstacles as they disrupt your path to freedom.
  • The hand-drawn visuals bring a rather unique atmosphere to the quirky platformer displaying obscene character and monster designs across various themed levels, such as burning towns, western wastelands, underwater areas and even the inside of a mouth.
  • Challenge after challenge will thrust themselves at your Doodler providing non-stop action across the grotesquely absurd campaign.

Let your flatulence loose and leap across the disturbing world of Doodland as the Switch and PC see Escape Doodland on November 30th, 2018.

Exquisite, Beautifully Casual Platformer, Gris, Release Date Announced For Switch And PC

Step inside a gorgeous handcrafted world as a sombre, lost young girl searching for answers in the surreal adventure game from Devolver Digital and Nomada Studio, Gris.

If this is your first time hearing about the whimsical journey of Gris, check out the reveal trailer from a few months back showing off the serene platformer:

What You’ll Find In The Emotional Journey

Here’s everything you will discover along the emotionally charging journey:

  • This casual approach to platforming will have players exploring a delicately designed world unhampered by frustrating moments and other rage-quit inducing dangers.
  • Along with the fantasy adventure comes subtle instances of platforming, light puzzles and a strong narrative of a depressed young girl guided along by an original musical score.
  • Through the young girl’s dress players are guided along the awe-inspiring adventure. The dress is granted wondrous new abilities as the journey unfolds through the depths of her sorrow.
  • New pathways will appear by using unlocked abilities as Gris grows further pushing her to see her surroundings differently than before.

Gris is nearing its debut on the PC and Switch coming this December 13th, 2018.

What Type Of Gamer Are You?

You could be a console warrior.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A study carried out by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR) sheds some light into how research companies classify gamers. Their 2018 Gamer Segmentation Survey gives interesting information on gaming trends and habits.

EEDAR was founded in 2006 and holds a Guinness World Record for the largest collection of video game facts and information. Today they are a part of NPD Group which is one of the largest research companies in the world.

What intrigued me most about this report is how they chose to classify gamers based on their behaviours. It is worth noting that this study is based on US gamers only and may not be representative of habits in other countries.

Gamers Were Split Into Six Categories:

Super Gamers (13% of gamers) – Gamers that are super invested and super engaged. This audience reflects the broadest and deepest gamers on the market.

Console Warriors (14% of gamers) – These gamers keep up with the latest gaming trends and enjoy action-packed multiplayer experiences.

Transitionals (11% of gamers) – These are the invested adult gamers whose stage of like means shifting from HD-centric gaming to more flexible mobile gaming.

Easy Accessors (17% of gamers) – Younger gamers whose choice of platform is constrained by access, leading them to play primarily on mobile.

Daily Dabbers (19% of gamers) – Older gamers who regularly set aside time to play familiar games on PC and/or mobile.

Incidental Players (26% of gamers) – Non-gamers who play mobile games because they are convenient and provide another way to use their device.

After reading over the report, it made me think about how we see ourselves as gamers in this more niche space. Are we “console warriors” or maybe we are transitioning into a “transitional”? One thing is for sure, games are more accessible than they have ever been.

You can download a free copy of the report here. There is useful information on current gaming trends. Where do you fit in?

Vintage Coated RPG Game, Unleashed, Brings A Story Of Sins And Virtues, Available On Steam

Introducing a classic take on traditional RPG mechanics and attaching a few modern twists, Unleashed is a brand-new indie game from French developers, Yozamu.

Set in a world taken hostage by a vile curse, players will embark on a journey to save their dear mother from the primordial sins performed by the infected citizens.

With the recent release of Unleashed to PC, a launch trailer shows off the many different mechanics rooted within the lavish formula:

Sin Or Virtue? Unleashed Details

This old-school inspired role-playing game is absolutely loaded with features offering various tastes of different gaming elements, such as:

  • Players fight as Mercy, a female survivor unaffected by the ongoing curse who’s searching for her mother in a vast world ripe with exploration.
  • In a theme focusing heavily on sins and virtues, Mercy will utilize pieces of her pure soul to summon up to 10 spiritual creatures known as Achivara to fight for her in a traditional turn-based combat system.
  • Mercy may summon up to three Achivara in combat at once, allowing for a strategic method of creature swapping to pinpoint enemy weaknesses. Utilize powers of either sin or virtue to cast damage upon your foe, be it devilish monster or curse-riddled citizen.
  • Outside of combat players will explore the completely unlocked world of Mysteria, forage for randomly spawned valuable resources, craft items to be sold or repair houses for useful storage spaces.

You can try out Unleashed available on Steam today, or check out the official website for more in-depth details and images from the game.

Multiplayer Mech Shooter, Blazing Core – Knights Of The Future, Moves Into Early Access Phase

Suit up and hop into the latest mech destroying, tactical shooter from Octobox Interactive, Blazing Core – Knights of the Future.

Check out what you’ll be getting yourself into in the alpha gameplay footage shown below:

Blazing Core offers players a variety of gameplay elements in a strategic 3v3 or 6v6 competition. Customize your deadly mech suit with a wide array of weapons and equipment, enhance your experience with unique abilities and take on one of the many roles offered in battle.

An Updated Blazing Core Experience

Here’s everything new you can expect in the latest build of the game:

  • Tear the environment apart in the completely reworked Maya map offering destroyable objects, reworked lighting effects and new locations like shelters and unique lore opportunities.
  • A brand-new quest system has been added offering players the chance to earn special rewards for completing daily and weekly jobs.
  • Modified rewards system which allows players to earn greater rewards the better they play.
  • Knights no longer bear their own banner as they enter battle, now utilizing the newly added banner-bearing drone to escort you in combat.

You can sign up for the Early Access phase which will last for a total of six months by purchasing a copy of the game for £13.99 / €17.99 / $17.99.

Head on over to Blazing Core’s Steam page and get started in the mech crushing, tactical shooting mayhem.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season PS4 Review

The Walking Dead: The Final Season “Suffer The Children” Review [PS4] – Abandon Hope?

For the first time in a very long time, I don’t know how to start a review. Do I continue as usual? Do I start with explaining what happened? I guess pretty much everyone knows by now.

Telltale Games went bankrupt. I don’t think you could’ve missed it. Some grabbed the opportunity to yell out “I told you so!”, some responded with anger for them not being able to finish one project before jumping onto another, and some responded with sadness and apathy.

I didn’t really realise just how much these news upset me when I first read about it. But the fact is, I am truly upset about it. To me, Telltale Games wasn’t just a game company. It’s someone I have followed from the beginning, someone who inspired me to pursue my passion for games. And to see them basically vaporise like that was…. bizarre, to say the least. But it’s not a new phenomenon.

Fear not, my friends. Ask, and ye shall receive. The creator of The Walking Dead universe Robert Kirkman’s game company Skybound announced that they will be picking up the pieces left by the ruins of Telltale, to see The Final Season through to the end. Even though this is beyond great news, I’ll personally believe the series will have an end when I see it in front of me on my TV-screen.

Like these two, I’ll be waiting.

If you look away from the business and economic aspect of the video game industry, Suffer The Children is all-in-all a very good episode. I will, like the review of the last episode, try and create a spoiler-free review as much as possible.

Episode 2 takes us back to the school and the group of teens we met in the previous episode. There can never be enough drama in one episode, so needless to say there are some things Clementine and AJ have to take responsibility for. As a consequence, they are thrown out of their safe haven.

Unfortunately, they don’t get very far before a group of raiders catch them. This is where we meet a familiar character whose face we haven’t seen since season one. However, this face wasn’t friendly then, and is sure isn’t friendly now, either. This person has become the leader of this horrific group, and they don’t hesitate to threaten Clementine as they give a clear message of what they want; the children at the school.

We learn that there is a small war going on; there is a feud between two groups of people, and the group that catches Clementine and AJ is kidnapping (or as they call it, “recruiting”) children to make them fight for them. Yep, that’s messed up.

However, hope is never lost; with the help of a kind stranger, we manage to make our great escape. If the series would go on, I’m sure we would form an even stronger friendship with this character at some point. The kindness of this stranger teaches us about strengthening the right bonds, and we learn that most people react a certain way for a certain reason, and by learning that reason we understand what makes them tick. 

walking dead episode 2 review clem-noscale.jpg
It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

Technically speaking, I noticed that the loading screens could, at times, be incredibly long. In addition, the controls felt a little off sometimes. The combat system was very unforgiving, and the game’s own tutorials kept feeding me the wrong controls. Yet, an analysis of the controls in this episode feels like missing the bigger picture.

All things considered, the ending of this approximately 2 ½ hours long episode feels like the biggest cliffhanger ever. When I finished the episode the news of Skybound taking over hadn’t come out yet, and I felt betrayed. Now, there might be hope. Some light at the end of the tunnel. We are in the middle of a story, and the threads are starting to unfold.

I thought I was ending this review feeling sad and frustrated. Even though Telltale as a company may be over, the talented people behind the name are still out there. And some of them will most probably be joining Skybound and create a proper ending to the series, completing an important chapter in video game narrative history.

In the meantime, I’ll be waiting. Patiently.

GRIP: Combat Racing Review [PS4] – Defying Gravity With A Blast From The Past

Going back to some of our favourite games sometimes yields a nice, cool shot of nostalgia. Other times, it reminds us just how far we have come as an industry over even just the last 20 years.

When Rollcage released in 1999 its unique physics made it stand out from the crowd of other racing titles. Drive fast enough and you can defy the laws of gravity by speeding up walls and upside-down snake-like tunnels. GRIP: Combat Racing is a spiritual successor to Rollcage that attempts to revive that original thrill.

In some ways, GRIP does an excellent job of recreating everything that made Rollcage a standout. In other ways, at least on the PS4 version I played, it reminded me how far we have come in the racing genre and why we rarely look back.

GRIP: Combat Racing has a good variety of over 20 tracks ranging from futuristic cities to snow-covered wastelands.

GRIP offers a nice array of over 20 tracks covering a wide variety of landscapes ranging from futuristic cities to snow-covered mountains, and desolate wastelands. Tracks spiral and wind as players fly through at break-neck speeds. When executed well, it feels far more like being jettisoned down a warp tunnel as you spiral over and under the terrain and passageways, blasting your opponents with rockets and other weapons along the way.

However, as fun as GRIP can be, it suffers from some rather unintuitive track design. Especially in the beginning before you learn the tracks, you will likely find yourself slipping and sliding into an unexpected barrier or falling off the stage. While there are signs designating directions, some of the stages are just open enough to be confusing, especially when driving at high rates of speed. Multiple times I missed an indicator and found myself travelling down what I thought might be a path only for the game to reset me back on the track, thus costing me several seconds. Sure, this will dissipate with time and familiarization, but it makes getting into the game a bit of a frustration for first-time players. It also instantly kills the otherwise smooth action.

GRIP has only a small array of cars, but each handled fairly well. Controls were smooth and the cars maintained a solid hold on the track along turns for the most part. The only time I had my frustration with the controls is when airborne.

Blasing your opponents out of your way, particularly when playing with friends, is always glorious.

You will, whether from being blasted by an opponent, slipping off the side of the road, or making an unfortunate collision with a barrier, at some point find yourself helplessly tossed into the air where you will notice you lose any real control over your vehicle. Sure, this might be more realistic, but not being able to adjust your direction means you will either just have to watch while you barely miss the side of the track, or end up back on the track facing the wrong direction.

In a combat racing game where being flung about is a major part of the experience, having no control over your direction when airborne seems like a rather unfortunate oversight. Not to mention GRIP’s difficulty levels fluctuate quite a bit and so while falling off the track might not cost you too much in one race, landing the wrong direction just one time might move you from first to fifth almost instantly in another.

The tracks, though varied, lack the lustre and sheen one might have expected from a 2018 racing title. Textures can often look muddy and aside from the neon signs demarcating turns and barriers, the tracks and surrounding areas feel sparse and surprisingly dreary. That is not to say GRIP needs the cartoonishly bright colours of Mario Kart or the ultra-realism of Forza. But, the game’s visual design often looks too much like a throwback and less like a modern-day homage.

Speaking of Mario Kart, three out of four of GRIP’s race modes operate basically like Nintendo’s top racer with a twist or two, including choosing whether winning means reaching the finish line first, or whoever has the fastest trigger finger. You pick up weapons as you drive that you can use to blast your opponents out of your way, along with using green panels on the ground to increase your speed. There is also an arena battle mode that pits you against your friends or online opponents within a limited area.

When at its best GRIP offers an invigorating battle for victory that feels more like flying than driving.

Though uneven difficulty and unintuitive track design can cause difficulty for players just getting into the game, part of GRIP’s call-back to it’s older inspiration is a solid focus on the individual player’s ability to compete against themselves. The individual campaign mode is appropriately story-free, leaving you to quickly run through three multi-tiered tournaments. The “Carkour” mode allows players to practice their tricks, turns and other aerial acrobatics.

Of course, online leaderboards for race modes add that extra level of motivation. But, I found whether playing with a friend locally or strangers online, GRIP was just as fun and just as challenging.

Though GRIP isn’t as polished as it might have been, and new players will find themselves faced with a steep learning curve, it’s gravity-defying action is both a nice slice of nostalgia and something a little different than your standard racer. It is also always satisfying to watch the car in front of you explode in a bright and brilliant billow of fire, or hammering your opponent with a wave of tiny rockets.

GRIP: Combat Racing is now available on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Retro Inspired Roguelite/Shop Management Game, Moonlighter, Finds Its Way To The Switch

Digital Sun’s hit adventure/shop management sim reaches to a new fanbase with Moonlighter’s official Switch release.

Along with the recent reveal of the stellar indie game opening up shop on Nintendo’s hybrid system comes a new Moonlighter Switch trailer:

The Award Winning Moonlighter

Moonlighter has looked like one of the top games in the indie game scene for 2018, including an impressive award of Best Indie Game of 2018 from the Game Developers Conference.

If you missed the bandwagon that has tailed the inspiring gem since its initial release back in May, check out the details below:

  • Explore a handful of dangerous procedurally generated dungeons each with their own unique theme of enemies and resources.
  • Collect as many materials as you can fit into your limited storage space as you venture into the dungeons and bring them back to your shop to sell to customers during the day.
  • Run your Moonlighter shop during the day in a strategic, price estimating management sim and explore dungeons in a classic Zelda style adventure at night creating a deep and engaging experience.
  • Help build up both your Moonlighter shop and the small town it rests in with discovered materials and hard-earned money. Use materials to upgrade weapons and armour or make a hefty profit by putting your findings up for sale – the choice is yours.

You can grab the highly rated, highly addictive indie game, Moonlighter, for the Nintendo Switch right now.