Gates of Horn and Ivory – What If…

What would your life be like if you ended up in a coma right now? Would your family be the same, or would they be changed? Gates of Horn and Ivory is a simple game that takes you through Jack’s immerse experience in his comatose state after a car accident driving his wife and daughter to the hospital. Jack ends up in a dream-like world where he runs around searching for sparks of light to guide him out of his state. If he collects all the sparks of a specific color, he can gain new abilities which are needed to wake him from this nightmare. Meanwhile, his family still lives on, and he knows because he finds items that are scattered around the world, small clips of his wife talking to him, explaining to him highlights of important events. 

The game is filled with numerous puzzles which can only be solved through working out riddles and finding hidden clues throughout the world. Some problems are much more difficult than others, and some are simple enough that you don’t even need to find the solution to beat them. These puzzles unlock new areas and allow you to see more flashes of light which will, in turn, unlock more mysteries.

The beauty of this game is it isn’t just limited to the story. The artwork is impressive; awe-inspiring can only describe the background. The fluid movements of the dangling chains and moving steps work perfectly in time with the rhythm of the music as well, very light and peaceful, that can also have moments of suspense mixed randomly in.

Gates of Horn and Ivory is a beautiful game that teaches a valuable lesson about life and how we seem to always forget about how magical it is. Also, the devs have decided to have a small contest with the game’s release. There will be a speedrun competition starting on September 7th until the 30th, during this time the game will be on for a 30~% Discount and you can submit runs to speedrun.com to enter the contest. The best run on each category will receive a key for the game to give to a friend, and anyone who participates will receive 50~% off of their next game, TBA this year.

Descend into Dungeons – UnExplored

Descend into the depths of the Dungeon of Doom and complete your quest: steal the Amulet of Yendor from the fearsome dragon and make it out alive. Make your way deeper into the dungeon while fighting off the monsters and creeps that live there. Gather jewels and artifacts son your way to become a wealthy adventurer upon success, or to become a treasure trove for the next adventurer who stumbles upon your corpse. UnExplored is a roguelike game that makes good use of the term, with the minimal armor and slight movements, you truly feel like your life’s on the line in every room.

Right from the start you are given different options on game mode, anything from the basic easy/medium/hard, to a gold rush, a creature killing, and a timed mode. The games different modes all have high score boards which show the farthest you’ve gone each time and ranking how much gold you’ve returned with. Once you start the game, you are greeted by a shop menu, I recommend buying a couple items here, you’ll have slightly less gold coming out of the dungeon, but while inside it will help tremendously.

Once inside the dungeon the only ways out are to survive or to die, preferably the former. You will have to explore large caverns in order to find exits leading down and items to help you later on. Some of these items are weapons, others could be mysterious scrolls and potions that will not reveal themselves until you use one, some are good, like magic mapping which reveals the entire map, some are not good, like pain, which can deal enough damage to kill you twice over.

The enemies you will come across are not going to be easy, although most will go down with just a single hit, some, like the ogre, will be a brutal battle where you need to move in to strike and then retreat so as not to get hit by its enormous club.

The game has a good story to follow through the books you can collect and read throughout the dungeon, but it also has some very interesting special modes which enrich the story even more. In the timed mode, you are tasked with bringing down an evil cult and you must do it before they summon an ancient demon, your time starts as soon as you spawn and then it’s a race to find the exits and defeat the evils below.

Aside from gameplay, the graphics are very good and fit the theme of the game well, they are very simple and allow for a lot of imagination on what certain things can be. The music in the game is also very peaceful, it is soft but can pick up very quickly when enemies are nearby.

Unexplored is an amazing game and I highly recommend picking it up on the switch with a link placed below, it is also available on steam, which I will also link below. However, this review has been done for the switch version, if there are any differences between the switch and the steam versions I do not know about them.

 

 

Nintendo Store

Steam

Burying the Dead – Graveyard Keeper

Ever wonder what it would be like to be in complete control of a graveyard? How it would feel to have to prepare the bodies and to eat chunks of their remains? Not the last part? Well with Graveyard Keeper you can do all of the above! Graveyard Keeper is a management sim game where you are the person in charge of running and taking care of a medieval kingdom, but it isn’t by choice. Your character was on his way home one night when he was struck by a car and killed, when he awoke he was in a medieval land and was told he would be in charge of the graveyard. After that it delves into how to maintain your graveyard, how the bishop will be ranking your graveyard, and the town nearby where you can have new shovels made, or get a drink at the bar.

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The game is energy based, meaning any action you do will cost you energy, but the good news is that you can regain the energy fairly easily. All you need to do to regain energy is cook some food, once the food is cooked and eaten you can get back to burying corpses. How you corpse part works is a little odd though, you are brought a corpse to bury, but first you have to bring it to the morgue and do simple surgery on it (remove parts of the flesh) and only then can you bury it in a grave. The bishop will visit you from time to time and give you a “style rating” on the graveyard, your style rating determines the types of graves and decorations you can have in your graveyard, which in turn raises the style rating even more.

The games tutorial is somewhat lacking in information, it gives you all the knowledge you should need to play the game, but doesn’t go very in depth on how to apply that knowledge. But aside from that there should be no trouble with learning how to play the game with no understanding of how management sims actually work. The music and sound effects in the game are also very good, they fit the theme and are quite appealing to listen to. As for the graphics, they chose to use a type of pixelated graphics, not so far as to be 8-bit, but not a stunning realism. That works out for it though as it allows for you to focus more on the matters happening in the game as oppose to the graphics accompanied by them.

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All in all the game is fun to play and it has a good feel to it. I hope to see a lot of excitement following this game release.

Get the game here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/599140/Graveyard_Keeper/

Marie’s Room – A Tale of Two Friends

Have you ever walked into a room and been immediately hit with a memory of a past event taking place in that very spot? Was it a good memory? A happy one? Or maybe a dark, and horrific one? The game Marie’s Room takes your character, Kelsey, through a memory trip twenty years into the past. A time when her only fear was her friend’s feelings. This title is a first-person game that takes place entirely in one house, or more specifically, one room. The room belonged to your best friend, Marie. Your goal was to locate an old journal but the nostalgia brings you back in time with eloquent visions. You begin to see her room as it was 20 years ago on the night of a disturbing occurrence.

As you walk around the stunningly created room interactable items start to make themselves known. Each item contains its own part to the grand-story and will help you better understand the troubles that Marie and Kelsey went through. The game creates a very deep depth to the story, giving even the most indistinct of objects meaning, something that we, as a society, don’t really do. As the plot progresses you can tell that something isn’t quite right. Masterfully created, the story starts to build with small hints that keep you on the edge of your seat while fitting pieces together in your head.

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Overall, the game only takes about a half-hour to complete. It’s a very short, but very compelling game that grasps you in right from the start and keeps hold of you until the very end. Aside from the story, there are many smaller details that were put into the game to further deepen and enrichen the story. Some examples being the empty bottle on the windowsill or even the random book on the table. Marie’s Room urges you to seek out those small, inconspicuous items.

Marie’s Room was created by a team of seven people, which is a spectacular feat. The story feels genuine and the characters are relatable. The graphics in the game are proportionate to the story-type. The items that can be interacted with blend in, which was a design choice that I found perfect for building the world. You can even hear faint noises between dialogue. Small things you would hear from a person shuffling through a room. This game is perfect for anyone who loves indie games and is ready for an amazing, heart-tugging story.

You can get this game free here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/648390/Maries_Room/

You can also check out the development process here:
https://www.kennyguillaume.com/blog/

 

Fortnite – Marvel Infinity War Crossover LTM

As a lot of you have probably heard by now, Fortnite has released a limited time mode which is a mash-up between the normal Fortnite Battle Royale, and Marvel’s main villain from Infinity War, Thanos.
The game mode is an amazing amount of fun for the amount of time I’ve put into it and it is by far my favorite limited time event they have released so far. The idea of the game is that you drop in an already closing circle and once the battle bus disappears the Infinity Gauntlet will drop from the sky as a meteor and strike a random spot in the circle.
After that, it’s free game to whoever can pick up the gauntlet to wield the mighty power of Thanos. Now you won’t see Thanos just running around with a gold scar, he has his own ability set which sets him apart from the other players:

Power Stone – Thanos uses the Power Stone as his main weapon for range by unleashing a line of power towards his enemies. This attack is a beam that you can follow the enemy with for a short amount of time dealing 15 damage for every hit.

Time Stone – The Time Stone is used in an odd way for this event, as it is Thanos’ Melee weapon. He uses the time stone to “Send them to a different time zone” as the kill feed will say. The melee attack is a straight lunge and destroys breakable objects around it.

Mind Stone – The Mind Stone is used by Thanos to jump exceptionally high. Thanos does not have a normal jump, but instead a jump that will charge up and allow for him to jump almost as high as the top of a mountain. This ability is useful for trying to get out of combat or to combo with the melee attack which I will describe below.

Mind/Time Stone Combo – If Thanos jumps into the air and then uses a melee attack, he will dive into the ground and create a small crater where he lands. This attack deals a lot of damage and can in most instances one-hit if the enemy is under you. But, it can also be used to destroy buildings quickly, because that the ability will go straight through any breakable objects.

Now, all of these abilities make it seem like Thanos is an all-powerful god who is unkillable (as he should be), but there is a couple of other things you should note.
– Although Thanos has 700 health and 300 shield, he cannot regain any health, and only regains shield through killing other players
– Thanos is visible to all other players on the map, minimap, and radar throughout the entire game.
– Thanos cannot build.
Once we take all of that into account, it really isn’t that difficult to kill Thanos, you just need to have a little bit of skill. And, once Thanos dies, the Gauntlet drops as an item for anyone else to pick up and wield.
I’m not sure how long this limited time mode is here for, but I hope that this opens the door to more amazing crossovers like this one.

A World in Need of Power – Plug Me

In a city run off of battery power, an evil man named Doc. Oxyde wishes to destroy it all by unplugging all of the power supplies. But thankfully, our hero Plugman is able to use his plug-like head to stop the draining of power and re stabilize the city. Plugman journeys through a series of five worlds each consisting of nine normal levels and one boss level. On each level there are battery packs which you can try to collect if you’re up for a real challenge.
Plug Me is a simple concept platformer game, but it brings it up a notch with the timer aspect. Each leveled is timed to just a couple of seconds to complete, and the timer is in the center of the screen. The gimmick is that the timer is also a platform that can be used in the game, so as the timer runs out, the platform will disappear along with it, so you need to reach the end before time runs out, or the city will start to lose its power. Each level brings in new difficult obstacles as well, like spikes, spinning spikes, and even falling bricks to block your escape.     The game seems short having only 52 levels in it, but once those levels are beaten you will unlock “hard mode” this is a mode where everything is made more difficult for the people who enjoy a challenge. I’m not sure if you just need to beat all of the levels though, or if you also need to get all of the plugs scattered throughout the levels too.
The music in the game is good music for a game, it has an upbeat tone to it while trying to keep a peaceful aspect, but it also changes. If you die five times in a row on a level, it will change to a faster music, and it will stay that way until you complete the level. All your death streaks also appear on the screen as they happen in sets of five, as if the game is reminding you how difficult it truly is. Also, if you end up with 10 deaths in a row, your pal Evinrude will help you out by eliminating an obstacle of the level.
I personally am not that great at platformer games, and this one is no different. I tried to beat the first couple of worlds and I got stuck about halfway through world two. The game has a small following of people who really enjoy it and I’ve talked with them about the game a little bit as well, most of them say that they had a bit of trouble their first few times playing the levels, but now they feel like the levels are much easier for them to complete knowing where to go.
I enjoyed the game and will definitely go back to it and try again to beat the levels I missed, a very good game that deserves a try from anyone willing to.

The Lost Gardens

Forgotten and lost to time, a mysterious entity known as The One has awoken you; an ancient robot known as The Caretaker. You are tasked with reclaiming the world from a being known only as Fear before he finishes draining the world of life. This is what the story of The Lost Gardens is suppose to be about. But frankly, I don’t see it. From my experience with The Lost Gardens, the game is barely playable.

While attempting to complete the first area, I managed to lose most of my health to jumping incorrectly as a result of the poor control mechanics. In a normal game this would not be a problem, however with The Lost Gardens if you die you return to your last save point. Now, the save will reload, erasing any progress you had made and returning you to the previous save health and all. Because that this is how their deaths work, I ended up stuck in an infinite loop of death to minions who spawned near the save spot I used and defeated me in one hit due to my low health.

But enough about the combat, let’s move on to the story, or should I say “lack thereof”. The story of The Lost Gardens is suppose to be that you are a robotic caretaker who has been awoken to defeat an evil known as “the Fear” but as far as I progressed I noticed no story development whatsoever. You are just told to wander around until something happens, so if you end up taking a wrong turn or don’t notice a jump you could be making, there is no progression to be made. The story doesn’t even give a proper introduction or tutorial. It explains that WASD allows you to move and that SPACE is jump, but then it throws you in and lets you figure the rest out on your own.

I wish I could stop there, but there is another major problem I found with the game and that is the mapping in itself. There were quite a few times where I would jump into a corner and be lifted above the map with no means of getting down aside from jumping into the water and killing myself to reset my save. The map has many glitched areas like that, as well as spots where you can sneak past walls in order to get to unreachable areas, like where secrets could be hidden, but in reality it is just death waiting for you.

As much as I would love to support the developers of this game by telling everyone to grab it for a good time, I found the game was far too buggy and a lot of the combat/mapping issues should be resolved before moving on. If there is an update put out on the game I will most likely try it again, but for now, I feel the game is just too unplayable and it will have to be left in my library for another time.

Interview with Patrick Hickey Jr.: Voice of The Padre

Hello Pat, are you ready for the interview?

Yep!

Perfect, I thought I will start by asking how you met up with the people at ShotgunWithGlitters?

I own and run a website called ReviewFix.com, where I cover everything entertainment, but a lot of pro wrestling and video games. I search Twitter quite often for cool indie projects and I came across a screenshot of the game. I asked the developers for an interview for the site. After they said yes, they asked me if I wanted to play the game. When I did I noticed the dialogue needed some tightening. I’m also an English professor at the City University of New York, Kingsborough. I offered my services and was brought in to join the dev team. A few weeks later, our voice actor left and we needed someone to step up. I’ve been doing voices my entire life, but didn’t know how to get involved. This was MY opportunity. I took it and ran with it.

Did you have any experience with voice acting before you became a member of the team?

Not on a professional level, but I’ve sung in choirs, bands, made thousands of prank phone calls and I’ve always been told this was something I had to try and do. After my daughter was born and I wrote my book, I was looking to cross more things off my bucket list and I jumped into this with a ton of passion, vigor and hopes. Since this game however, I’ve landed another role for sure, as the P05 robot in the upcoming TR.1.S game, which I am also writing the story for. The team is an amazing one consisting of AAA devs including Pete Paquette (Bioshock: Infinite, Madden NFL 18, Overwatch), Jeff Paquette (Reality Zombies) Pete Anderson (Sunset Overdrive, Bioshock: Infinite), Ron Pucherelli (God of War, How to Train Your Dragon 2) and Kim Timbone. I’m also talking to a few other developers about roles. It’s an exciting time. And it all started with The Padre. I can never thank those guys enough for the opportunity that they gave me.

How many times do you repeat the lines you are reading before recording the perfect one?

When Bence and Balazs send me lines, it’s always my objective to get them back as quickly as possible. I’ve been sick, my daughter or wife have been sick, I’ve been tired, busy, doesn’t matter- I always turn back the work within 24 hours. However, I’ll read the lines over several times, make sure I’m hydrated and relaxed and then get to work. Before I even record, I’ve said each line at least a dozen times. I want to seize the moment, like I’m there. Once I start recording, I’m pretty comfortable and I record each line in a few different ways so they have some options.

Is it straining to create a voice like The Padres?

Not at all, I can actually speak like The Padre all day if I chose to, but my wife would kill me. I take good care of my voice and even though, it’s a deep, gruff voice and quite different from my normal register, I’m totally comfortable doing it. Like I said before, I feel like I’ve been born to do this.

I also hear that you recently published a book?

Yes, The Minds behind the Games.

What is the book about?

Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including popular games the likes of Deus Ex, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam, as well as a ton of cult and indie titles, it gives a behind-the-scenes look at their creation, straight from the developers. I spend countless hours allowing these devs to recount endless hours of painstaking development, as well as the challenges of working with mega publishers and the uncertainties of public reception. Throughout the book, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced gaming’s classic titles. It’s all about them. It’s not about review scores or stuff you read on wikipedia. If you want to get involved in the industry, this is the type of book that’ll prepare you for so many of the triumphs and sacrifices.

When did you decide to write this book?

When I realized that my daughter was going to be born in a few months and I had so many things I had to do in order for me to be the man she deserved to have raise her.

And about how long did it take you to write the book?

About seven months, but that was because I was working about 6-8 hours a day on it.

Any last words you would like to say about the book?

It’s an honest and fun take on 36 incredibly important video games. If you like games, you’ll love this book. If you love games, it’s almost required reading. Most of these stories have never been told and all of these developers are great people and love the industry. Allowing their stories to be passed on is what journalism and video game preservation should be all about.

 

Pat’s book is available through multiple retail stores ans websites, but if you purchase it through his official site found here then you will receive a personalized book and a free bookmark

The Padre – Steam Update

Have you ever gotten the feeling someone or something is watching you? That creepy, eerie feeling that something could jump out at any second? That’s exactly how you will feel every second you play The Padre. The game is a horror point n’ click, where you, a troubled Catholic priest, attempts to solve puzzles within a flashback. Survive being hunted by the mysterious figures lurking in the dark. The enemies span from a wide array of creepy villains such as Zombies, Ghosts, Spiders and even the recurring Demons. There are also a lot of references to other games, such as the Half-Life series and even the Legend of Zelda game’s iconic “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this”.

If that last bit sounded familiar to you, that would be because I had written a review for the Padre before while it was still in its alpha phase, but now the game has been released on steam so it’s time for a small update. If you would like to read about how the game plays, I recommend checking out my previous review found here, because this is more of an update on the game.

When I initially played the game I refused to go too far because I didn’t want to play a lot of it before the game came out completely, it is still in early access now but they are rapidly moving it towards completion. There are a few points of the game which seem a little odd, things like missing voice lines, words not meeting up with their subtitles, and even a couple of times your character will get stuck trying to move. But that doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of the game.

I spoke with one of the people making the game and asked a couple of questions:

What changes do you enjoy the most about moving from the Alpha version to the Early Access version?

This is a hard one because it is a flow of issues to me, I have tested a lot of different versions. But I guess I was able to add to the story, that’s what matters the most.

What changes are you looking forward to coming out of Early Access?

In Early Access I would like to improve combat and overall flow of the game as well as create more lore to discover.

The gameplay felt a lot like the alpha did, but there were small updates to the dialog and they had changed the voice actor all together for it. The parts I had already played seemed the same, but from others I have talked to there are more changes later in the game.

There are still some minor bugs being found in the game, but the staff works flawlessly to fix these mistakes as quickly as possible as well as to produce more content for the game. Although this is only meant as a “chapter one” sort of game, it still brings out a long and rich story that leaves you wanting more.

The Light of Our World – OneShot

You awake in a strange bed, the doors are locked and you have no idea where you are. Your only escape is solving puzzles and unlocking the door to adventure. Once you leave your house, you’ll be thrown into a world of puzzle solving, storytelling, and most important of all, talking robots. In OneShot you journey as a “God” speaking to a character named Niko. Your goal is to get Niko to the top of a tower and rebirth the sun to bring light to the planet once more. The game is a story-driven puzzle game that requires you to complete multiple tasks while combining items in order to solve puzzles.

The game overall is pretty simple. The controls are easy to understand right away since it’s just the arrow keys and then a few buttons for operating your menu. The game gives you hints if you are stuck, but sometimes the hints aren’t exactly what you want. For example, in the first room, you get a message saying “it’s too dark in here” so you need to stand by the window to get more light.

The game is recommended to be played in a windowed format, but I personally would recommend playing it in full-screen, there are a few mechanics that take place that I feel are better experienced in full-screen mode. On the other hand, there are a few instances in the game where windowed may be needed (hint, hint). I would also recommend playing it with headphones, as the background music in the game sets the mood for the specific part you are at.

The game is a nice, deep puzzle game that really makes you have to think right from the start. It brings you in and makes it seem like you can’t leave until the job is done. It pulls you in right from the start and doesn’t want to let you go. But the game itself is intriguing enough to make you not want to leave either.

The graphics are a  beautiful pixelated look, but it plays it off well. You can tell that the creators wanted you to focus more on the story than the graphics. But they still could have used a little touching up, the area seems somewhat bland, even for the dark world they live in. Besides for the actual atmosphere, cute little-pixelated characters show up with text. For example, if Niko feels happy, you’ll see an adorable, happy Niko in the corner. For me, it really helped to connect with Niko. Especially since it allowed me to connect with him more, which is important in the game.

In my opinion, the game is amazing. It gives you a story that is well-driven, but also allows you to free-roam and discover things on your own. It could use a more direct approach to some of the puzzles given, but then I feel the game would be a bit too easy to complete. As for the rest of the game, there isn’t really much else I would, or feel should, be changed.

If you feel like picking this game up you need only understand one thing. You only have OneShot.

Pick up this fantastic game here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/420530/OneShot/