The Sonic Spectrum – Indie vs AAA (2)

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To be frank, Sonic has had it pretty rough in the past decade or so. Ever since his massive success on the Sega Genesis in three massively beloved titles, he has been the victim of some very bad luck. While many would attest that it all began with Sonic the Hedgehog on the Xbox 360 (commonly referred to as Sonic ‘06), it actually started further back than that. Sonic ‘06 is just when it really became noticeable. Going back and forth in quality from the decent success of Sonic Generations to the abysmal failure of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, the Sega Mascot has had a dual failure/success rate of gigantic proportions.

One clear example of this is the very recent fanmade super game headed by Christian Whitehead, Sonic Mania. One could say that Sonic Mania is the most success the little blue hedgehog has seen in literally over a decade. That’s not to say there aren’t good recent Sonic games by major developers, but Sonic Mania has seen success that is unparalleled by the likes of Sonic’s most recent game, Sonic Forces. Talk about a quality difference of day and night, Sonic Mania has enjoyed the highest ratings, even by some of the most sceptical gaming reviewers, while Sonic Forces has been left in it’s super speeding dust.

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Even with the dream game mechanic of original character creation, Sonic Forces had very little else to offer. With poor level design, questionable controls, and the fact that you play as Sonic through most of the game anyway, onlookers were scratching their heads asking “Why create a character in the first place??” Sonic Mania blew all of it out of the water and turned that nostalgia dial to eleven. We were gifted with familiar gameplay and level design with a nice little twist here and there to brighten it up for the new generation of gamers, while leaving plenty for older gamers to ogle. Even the seemingly outdated graphics are updated and beautiful in a way that does not impede on the old-style 16-bit look.

The overall outlook is starting to become pretty clear on what Sonic games should have been doing the entire time. There have been successful titles that go outside the fast-running platforming of his original games, but those have been so few and far in between. Now we have two that are mapped out and marketed very near one another for a comparison that paints a very clear picture. Sonic fans are now hoping and praying that Nintendo takes some serious notes of this outcome because it’s clear that even true blue Sonic fans are getting fed up with the treatment that he has been getting as of late.

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It was a one-hit knockout. This contrast really goes to show you that innovation and imagination can create some serious greatness compared to just throwing money at a problem in hopes that it improves. AAA Gaming has been under some serious fire for lack of ideas in the ways of Sonic franchise fatigue, cash grab titles, and using nostalgia as a way to lure old school gamers into spending their money for games that have little to no effort put into them. This fan game may have been distributed by Sega, but let’s face it, it’s an indie game through and through. Now Sonic fans are hoping that the Sonic Team can learn from this experience, but at the same time, given his very questionable past treatment, there is really no telling what they have in store for our blue radical dude. All we can really do is stay tuned and drink water.

Check out part one of this series, here! In part one, we introduce the series as well as take a look at a horror concept that both Indie and AAA developers had no clue how to implement.

If you’re enjoying this series, why not check out how can support us, here?

Dead in Space – Space Pirates and Zombies 2 Review

If there’s ever a game that delivers exactly what it says on the tin, it’s Space Pirates and Zombies 2. You’ve got your pirates, and you’ve got your zombies. Dozens of each. And they whizz around space blowing holes in each other until one wins.

It almost seems like it could be the result of a crazy drunken conversation, like the answer to who’d win in a fight – a caveman or an astronaut? Space pirates or zombies?

But once you get past the initial incongruous premise, there’s a surprising amount of depth that the apparently silly name belies. The unfortunately abbreviated SPAZ2 delivers a persistent galaxy containing 200 unique space captains, each with their own ship and equipment, who can all do exactly what you can as the protagonist.

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This ranges from simply flying around the galaxy map, picking fights and evading stronger rivals, to building starbases and harvesting resources. You can issue bounties, gather allies, and eventually defeat the zombie threat that rears its ugly head again.

I say again, because of course Space Pirates and Zombies 2, as the number at the end there signifies, is a sequel. Not being familiar with the first title, I occasionally got a bit lost with the cast of characters that kept reappearing, and past events being alluded to.

However, the plot is structured in a way that playing the first title isn’t necessary. And there’s a great lore system that lets you unlock historical facts about the background of the franchise and familiarise yourself.

But enough about idling on the galaxy map and the historical facts – the real star of the show in Space Pirates and Zombies 2 is the combat system, paired with a rich and diverse catalogue of parts to customise your perfect mothership.

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There are several types of part – cores, wings, noses, weapons, knees and toes…maybe not the last two. But each part provides different bonuses to shield strength, armour, turn speed, acceleration, and other factors. Weapons operate in a similar way, but different types causing various damage types to enemy ships.

All of these different modules make for an extremely robust and varied system to construct the perfect ship for your playing style. Personally, I opted for a speedy little number that could close in to point-blank range, quickly blast the opponents’ shields away with front-mounted shotguns, and then ram their hull into oblivion.

But equally valid would be a long-range sniper, an artillery ship, a carrier fielding dozens of smaller craft…the variations are extremely diverse. Combat is really fun, and put me in mind of Rebel Galaxy, with the added benefit of being able to skip all of the long haul journeys by switching back to the galaxy map after combat is over.

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Even better is that there’s an arena system that lets you try out pre-configured ships with different styles. And of course the other 199 captains in the galaxy can each upgrade their own ships.

The result is a constantly evolving mass of faction politics, betrayals, and sectors changing hands from one group to another as combat rages across the galaxy. And that’s even before we throw the zombies into the mix.

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The undead menace in Space Pirates and Zombies 2 are presented as a mutation of flesh and technology, but essentially, whenever the zombies beat another captain, they join their ranks as per the classic rule of the dead rising again with a hunger for flesh; or biomatter and technology, in this case.

They can be healed by spending a large amount of the game’s sparse and precious fuel source, Rez, or repeatedly battled. Fortunately for the captains of the galaxy of SPAZ2, being defeated doesn’t necessarily mean death; as a last resort, an escape pod takes you to the nearest starbase, or for their vanquished undead counterparts, a spore pod.

The main story will take about 15-20 hours to complete, and there’s a sandbox mode to extend the fun indefinitely. Space Pirates and Zombies 2 is a fun game that balances humour and peril adeptly; it’s pretty to look at, and offers a rich and diverse combat system. You could definitely do a lot worse with a name like Space Pirates and Zombies 2!

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Top 10 Indie Games to Look Out for in 2018

Another year alive on this Earth equates to nothing but another year of gooey, gaming goodness. 2017 brought us Dead Cells, Getting Over It, Oxygen Not Included, Cuphead–too much succulent indie epicness to cram into a single paragraph in some internet article. But with the new year comes a new batch o’ games, and the creatives of the indie world just will not quit. Here are 10 upcoming titles to keep a careful watch for in 2018.

 

10. Light Fall

A fast-paced platformer with an even faster, zippity player character–Light Fall is a game that’ll have you jumping, bouncing across walls, activating cool, space-themed objects, and dodging obstacles to progress.

Already gathering praise and critical acclaim from several other indie articles and groups, Light Fall and its intergalactic art style is a surefire bet for games that’ll impress in the following year.

 

9. Below

A myriad of intricate sound design and a dark atmosphere, Below is set to be one of the indie gaming world’s many artistic masterpieces.

With RPG-inspired mechanics, each progressive level sees the main character exploring underground environs and combating colorful foes as he moves down, down, and down ever deeper–trying ever so hard to show the player what lies at the lowest recesses of the screen.

8. Death’s Gambit

“Dark Souls in 2D.” That’s the description most people will use to describe it… and they’re far from being wrong. Adult Swim is back at it again, and they certainly don’t intend to disappoint.

A dark fantasy setting, hulking foes that stand twice, sometimes triple your height, a brutal challenge that’ll send the casuals into a fit of ragequitting, and the devoted into a satisfactory light of glory–Death’s Gambit will not be a game to miss come next year.

7. Fight Knight

Of all the games on this list, this one’s sure to pack a punch. Several, in fact. Playing in the first person–and hearkening back to the days of The Elder Scrolls: ArenaFight Knight is a game that’d make Rocky proud.

A dungeon crawler at its heart, this game humorously has the player activating every NPC and killing every monster with fists and fists alone. Abandon your spells. Your swords. Your bows. Embrace the only weapon man was ever meant to wield.

6. The Last Night

Never before have we seen a title embrace the words “dynamic” and “cinematic” quite like The Last Night does. Set to the backdrop of a cyberpunk world, The Last Night is technically a platformer, but that doesn’t really describe the experience so well.

With a camera that floats and hovers just about as frequently as the characters’ expressive animations change, The Last Night was cited as one of the best looking games at E3 by far.

5. Fe

Glide through the air, climb up trees, dig your way across, or simply frolic through the dark, crystalline Nordic forest that’s brought to the table in Fe.

With a focus on its ecosystem, Fe is a strictly 3D game that presents us with a life-like world filled with soul. Discover that ecosystems many secrets, solve its side quests, and make contact with brilliant, mystical creatures–playing as one such being of your own.

4. Ashen

Are you one who craves expansive, open worlds? Is your childhood filled with memories of exemplifications of freedom like The Elder ScrollsFallout, Grand Theft Auto, and Minecraft? Look no further, for Ashen has just the cure to soothe your weary bones, traveler.

With stamina-based combat, a drop in, drop out multiplayer mechanic, and a world that doesn’t bind you down with its chains, Ashen is a roleplay-friendly title that’s just begging for you to get immersed.

3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

A game that looks so good, it’s literally too hard to believe at times, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a popular sequel to the critically-acclaimed Ori and the Blind Forest.

A metroidvania action platformer, this game doesn’t just stun you, it dazzles you with its ever-changing atmosphere, creative foes, and visual storytelling-based narrative. Backed by Microsoft, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is sure to be an interesting title indeed.

2. Praey for the Gods

Enjoyed battling the pantagruelian titans we saw in Shadow of the Colossus? If so, Praey for the Gods is just the game to look out for in 2018. As a member of a winter-y, wasting world, your job is to journey through this snowbound realm and uncover just what lies at the source of its slow, inevitable death.

A survival-based action-adventure game, you start with nothing but the clothes on your back. A lone wanderer in this dangerous abyss, your only hope of staying alive is to smite the very deities that you worship.

1. Kingdom Come: Deliverance

To all those who cried for a realism-based, historically-accurate, story-driven, medieval RPG, cry no more–for Kingdom Come: Deliverance is here to answer the call!

Cemented within the once real-world setting of the feudalism-based Holy Roman Empire, Kingdom Come: Deliverance has had medieval martial artists and historians alike drooling with its effective portrayal of life in these olden days. Gone are magic and spells; this is an age of smiths and swords!

Stay tuned as we tackle these games and many more! Check out our top 10 picks for best indie games in 2017!

Top 10 Indie Games of 2017 – Best Indie Games

2017 was a truly fantastic year for the indie genre. We’re wrapping up the remarkable year with our 10 favorite 2017 Indie Games! These are not only games that have been able to break through the mold and ascended to gamer-fame across all communities, but titles that have flown under the radar, only gifting a few with great experiences. After tons of discussion, we’ve narrowed it down to these top 10. If your favorite game didn’t make the list, don’t worry! It’s definitely a top contender. Without further ado, let’s hop right into it!

10. Getting Over It With Bennet Foddy

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Although probably the most recent indie game on this list, Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy is already a major success, and it isn’t hard to see why. The game creates a perfect storm of rage with it’s nonchalant, intelligent narration besides fiercely difficult obstacles and mechanics. It’s already blown up on YouTube, as content-creators throw chairs and smash monitors in rage.

Using your mouse to control your hammer, guide yourself onward traversing difficult terrains almost certain to make you lose your temper. Don’t worry though, (Sarcastic) Bennett Foddy’s soothing narration will be with you every step of the way.

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The game features you, a… well… naked man, in a cauldron, using a sledgehammer, to climb a mountain. The game was based on Jazzuo’s 2002 B-Game classic, Sexy Hiking where a very similar concept was used. The anger-inducing game creates a unique range of obstacles to conquer. Fling yourself upwards, sideways, off cliffs and over houses. Don’t fall through! You most likely won’t enjoy the climb a second or third time.

9. Oxygen Not Included

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Are you a builder? Are sandbox games your thing? I think it’s time for you to check out Oxygen Not Included. Travel to a secluded land with a team of three to colonize, create, and survive. Build an infrastructure of wiring, pipes, containers, pumps, and so much more.

Control and guide your small team, outlasting the harsh environments in space. Be a true leader, managing everything from water pollution to oxygen rates. Oxygen Not Included truly offers a new-world experience for anyone trying to colonize space.

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Although the game is still in early access, Oxygen Not Included already holds more features than many popular indie games. Traverse your very own universe and follow through on your space dreams.

8. Dead Cells

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When summing up Dead Cells it’s rather hard to make it not sounds like a traditional experience. It’s a pixel-art, hack and slash, Metroidvania game set in dungeons and distant lands. It contains many roguelike features as well, but we’ve seen a lot of those too in recent games. Despite all of this, Dead Cells somehow feels refreshing! And that’s because it approaches all of these elements a little bit differently.

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The pixel art is generated from regular animation so it feels extremely smooth. Players are not locked in a certain route but can choose from diverging paths with each their own difficulty and scaled rewards. But above all, it’s just really well executed. Items are impactful, weapons are diverse and the difficulty is expertly tweaked. A real risk-versus-reward kind of game, both vibrantly beautiful and ghastly challenging. It is a true joy to play.

7. The First Tree

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The First Tree offers an experience unlike any other game on this list, and that experience is the story of loss. Follow both a fox determined to save her young from a hungry wolf in masterful conjunction with a touching story about a son’s attempt to cope with the loss of his father in this heartfelt adventure.

With some of the best design we’ve seen all year, The First Tree offers a reality known much too well to some: The regret of not handling situations better, only to not be able to make amends. Travel as a worried fox across a vast landscape, spanning mountains, forests, and snowy terrains.

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If you’re someone like me, who craves beautiful games, then this game is for you. If you seek meaningful games, this game is for you. If you have something to cope with, this game is for you.

I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say that I was having a very hard time holding back my tears. You can check out a full review of the game in the description below.

6. Night in the Woods

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Sometimes you buy a game after months of deliberation. Other times you buy a game on a whim because a screenshot looked charming. That might turn into a disappointment or a nice gaming experience. But on a few rare occasions, it turns into one of the best, most deep and well told narrative gaming experiences you ever had all year!

Night in The Woods flew under the radar for many but blew lucky players away. Through a cast of colourful anthropomorphic animals, the game tells a story that is both touching and heartfelt. Few saw the amazing experience coming because the game toyed with everyone’s expectations. When you first start up the game you meet a myriad of colourful creatures and you’ll be instantly enthralled. Rightly so! Colours are bright, animation is bouncy, and the catgirl you play as is quirky. But then you learn that characters have a darker side. Kids practice knife fights in the woods, get drunk at parties while the parents face the consequences of economic depression, and so much more.

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The game masterfully displays a misconception. People are a lot deeper than meet the eye, and this colourful cast has a lot of skeletons in their closet. A stab at modern reality. One of the best narrative games of 2017, unexpected and magical.

5. Absolver

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One of the most classic gaming genres is ‘fighting games’. Going all the way back to arcade-era games such as Street Fighter, the genre invokes much nostalgia. Despite the categories popularity, recent fighting games haven’t produced a lot of innovation.

But along came Absolver, an open world fighting game where you learn new fighting moves by blocking and dodging both NPC enemies and players that reside on the other side of your screen. Once you learn these moves you add them to your fighting deck and create your very own fighting style! This game really makes YOU the fighter, not some preset character. Test your skills in PVP or PVE, maybe even start your own fighting school for others to join. Technically still in early access, but a lot of fun to play!

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With three classes to utilize and a fourth hidden one, there is a lot of replayability. With the capacity of switching in and out moves, and having a secondary sword moveset, we can see ourselves playing this game for a long time to come.

4. Opus Magnum

Opus Magnum surprised us late this year by providing an excellent puzzle game where the answer didn’t matter as much as the way you personally solved the puzzle. Rewarding creativity, this game has you create elaborate machines to create alchemical compounds within a steampunk setting, but instead of scoring you on time, it gives a graph showing you how many other people got close to your score in effectiveness, space used or speed, with the systems having no preference in score over one another.

By allowing you to succeed in solving the puzzles in your own personal way, Zachtronics created a game that rewards creativity over brainpower and has you optimizing and improving your contraptions for months to come. It gives some spectacular results to boot!

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Coming from a line of Zachtronic games, you would think there’d be a high entry level, but Opus Magnum ended up being the most accessible game yet! As a beginner, it will be very easy to make that explosive phial compound. Fancy yourself an expert? Make that bad boy in under 40 cycles. Just make sure to send us a gif of it.

3. Gang Beasts

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Number 3 is one of our favorite games released this year. Ever since it took the Youtube gaming community by storm, we’ve been in love with its minimalistic designs and hilarious physics.

Fight your friends, throwing gelatinous punches with the goal of knocking them off the map (or grinding them to a pulp). The ragdoll-like physics allow you to pick up, hurl, and knock out your enemies. Wacky maps aid your brawlers in sending your enemies to their doom.

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Play as an adorable looking blob attacking your friends, trying to get any advantage on them possible. Catch them off guard and shove them in front of a train… or a truck… or out of an elevator… or into a meat grinder… or into an incinerator… You get the point. This game is hands down one worth getting to play with friends!

2. Little Nightmares

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Remember all those terrifying dreams we had of massive monsters coming to get us? Morphed creatures hidden in shadow, under your bed and in the closet. Well, take that, multiply it by 100, and you have Little Nightmares. The story itself is ingenious, and with its latest DLC released last month, the horror can last for solid play time.

This disturbing story allows you to control a little girl in a yellow raincoat named Six. Six, a girl perceived as the size of mice, is a mere nine years old. Surrounded by an ominous scenery, complete puzzles and avoid massive, grotesque monsters.

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Between the long string-arm “Janitor” whose face is peeled from the top like a banana and the glutinous twin chefs that inhabit the kitchen, there are tons of terrible enemies to evade.

Not only is the game a great play, but it offers a story equally as engrossing. Learn the history of Six as she attempts to escape the massive ship “Maw” alive. Encounter new foes, get out alive and try not to wet yourself

  1. Cuphead

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It would come to no surprise that our top pick for 2017 indie games would be the duck and dodging, finger shooting, cup spilling, cartoon busting, award-winning old school retro game, Cuphead.

Cuphead and Mugman found their way into the Devil’s Casino to win their sought for fortune. Greed overtook Cuphead, and without a second thought, he bet away their souls. Mugman attempted to stop him, but it was too late, as Cuphead had already lost the gamble. The Devil, being the compassionate man he is, offered a deal. Cuphead and Mugman must travel the land and collect the souls of runaway debtors. If they are successful than they may reclaim their precious souls.

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While winning multiple awards within the three months of release, Cuphead proves that you do not need modern graphics to be successful. Cuphead brings us back to the 1930’s, offering us old school art, and wacky characters that seem to have escaped Walt Disneys drawing book. Travel the map either solo or with a friend, and battle unique and challenging bosses. From a tag team of frogs to a seed shooting sunflower, you will never know what bosses will come from the world of Cuphead.

While you will have to dish out $20 to purchase Cuphead, We can ensure that it will not be a waste. With holidays approaching, Cuphead is sure to make the top of every kids Christmas list, and will be waiting under the tree in many homes.

The Tear-Jerking Story that Helped a Man Understand Death – The First Tree Review

We’ve all been through the rebellious teenage years of our lives. The times where you would much rather be out with friends. The times where your home life matters little to you. The times where you refuse to notice the sacrifices made by mom and dad. Your thoughts… your actions… all things you regret and wish you could take back in your adolescent years. If this has any meaning to you, then you are not alone. Follow both a fox determined to save her young from a hungry wolf and the touching story about a son’s attempt to cope with the loss of his father in the relaxing adventure, The First Tree.

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You begin your journey in the eyes of a fox. Your children have gone missing and it is your job to find and save the poor innocent creatures from the threats that lie in the wilderness. Within the first few minutes of this visually astonishing story, you see a flock of birds fly off from a corpse on the ground. That ate-out rotted body is sadly one of your young. You sit in sorrow but have no time to grieve since your mission still stands. One more child is in jeopardy, and he will not suffer the same fate as the last. Without haste, you begin your journey in locating and saving your only other beloved child.

As you wander the beautiful verdant forest and pass the scurrying bunnies and birds, you will find beacons of light in the distant. Make your way to those and you will find the true story behind The First Tree. You can interact with the foot of these beacons to dig up an artifact that has a specific meaning to a certain someone named Joseph. Joseph is the unfortunate individual who has recently lost his father. Whether this fox digs up a wooden train or a toy car, each item has a meaning and a story. Joseph is narrating these experiences to his wife, Racheal. At the start, the stories seem mundane. Ones about a show and tell, and gifts from dad. I found The First Tree tiring, spending three minutes running from one beacon to the next, just to hear a common school tale. I simply found the game… boring for the first ten minutes, but then the story starts to get interesting. Each story begins to tie with the next and leaves you in suspense until you find your path to the next beacon. I soon found myself hooked and engaged with Josephs sorrow.

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There are no complex controls in The First Tree, but with the few the game offers, I found the movement buggy and some obstacles that should be resized. You can only run and jump, but if needed, an extra jump is granted while airborne to carry you further. If you use your second jump late, then you will travel a great distance, but a low height. If you rapidly use both jumps, then you can achieve a great height, but risk losing the distance. The choice is yours depending on the obstacles present. The only problem is that I found a couple vertical walls difficult to scale normally. I had to find unconventional paths or angles to achieve the height needed. While it may have been an issue on my understanding of the controls, I found myself in unnatural places attempting to hop a wall.

While some walls may have stood out of reach, most of the others where scalable through power-ups. Actually, I should rephrase. The one and only power-up in the game… butterflies! Yep, you heard me, colorful butterflies. Along the course of your journey, you are bound to cross paths with a circle of purple butterflies. Walk through this circle and the butterflies will follow you as you walk. Once you take that leap of faith, you will rise in the air higher than you ever could with the standard double jump. Using these butterflies will be essential at some points to progress further in the story

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During your adventure in The First Tree, you will encounter light enhanced orbs. These can be collected and presented in a counter displayed on your screen. While me revealing the use of these orbs will spoil a piece of the ending, I will say to collect as much as you can find. What you do with these orbs makes the game so much more special and unique to not only you but other players that choose to tackle the game.

While the controls felt unnatural and buggy at times, it should not undermine the heartfelt story and beautiful graphics of The First Tree. The land is vast, and the mountains are wide. The world is yours to travel and uncover the meaning of understanding death. You may come to find that Joseph and the fox are not so different after all, and the more you play, the more you will understand the true purpose of The First Tree.

EnomView Score: 8.5 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/555150/The_First_Tree/

 

Help a Dwarf in His Time of Need! – Ruggnar

Ruggnar feels like an old game. One that you’d find on your emulator and say “Oh, wow! I remember this game,” then sit there for an hour trying to beat it again. Composed of mysterious yet inspiring music, Ruggnar, which I assume is the name of the main character, features a bearded dwarf harboring a candle on his head. His sole objective is to collect golden coins and keys to escape the dungeon. The game has three chapters for story mode and two miscellaneous modes: random dungeons and daily dungeons, both of which require the player to complete Chapter 1 of the story mode to unlock. Join Ruggnar and help light up his path to victory!

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Immediately after launching the game you are presented with a screen letting you know that a controller is recommended for playing this game. Getting my controller ready, I first made sure that I wouldn’t rather be using my mouse and keyboard. The menu screen is navigated using the arrow keys and with enter to select. The menu screen is simple and includes the title of the game, navigational buttons, and Ruggnar, who says “I need some help. Do you want to try?” After selecting play and the first chapter on story mode, I noticed something interesting. The game included its own online leaderboard with users and their times for completing the level. Even the tutorial had a number-one time at 14.112 seconds. I thought to myself “I could probably beat this”, but after 10 frustrating minutes I gave up with a personal best of sixteen seconds. I decided it was time to delve into the actual game.

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The game revolves around your candles, whether that be the one on top of your head or the multiple that you have at the start of each level. Parts of the dungeon that aren’t already lit up by chandeliers, lava or any other light source are darkened, restricting your vision and leaving you in the dark (literally). To light the area up and see what you’re doing you have two options: move to dark spaces and risk getting killed by something you can’t see, or throw your candles and watch as it lights up the area on which it falls. Although you only have a limited amount of candles to start with, you can pick up more around the dungeon. Beware as waterfalls can extinguish the flame on top of your head, requiring you to relight the candle using one of your own. Each dungeon contains traps to kill you. These include swinging axes, spikes, lava and much more. Checkpoints, which are shown as candelabras, are littered throughout the dungeon so you don’t pull your hair out trying to finish a level. I say that because unless you’re extremely patient, you will die many times.

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The main reason will be because of a lack of knowledge on where to go and how to complete the dungeon. When you die, you leave behind a tombstone with a candle on top, creating a handy light source. Another aspect of the game are the items that you can find and pick up around a dungeon. These include a feather, enabling you to jump much higher and run faster and a light which removes all the darkness in a level for a short period of time. The dungeons get more and more complex as you continue, often requiring some time to figure out a level before beating it. The biggest potential for this game is speedruns. I can already see that the developer has this in mind because of the leaderboards. I found myself wanting to speed through each level but failing as I didn’t know the layout of the map. More experienced players can definitely make this game known for its speed run capabilities by showing off their skills as they complete each level at record time.

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The use of candles throughout the game was an interesting mechanic, but one that I didn’t find much use out of. In my experience, running through the level and using trial and error was the quickest way to complete a dungeon. Perhaps it was my lack of patience that made me choose the speedrun method, however I can’t imagine many people using the candles for their actual purpose. They have a small area of effect and take a little too long to throw. Your tombstone provides a better source of light and even acts as a little reminder so know if you need to watch out for anything. Although the music consists of one looped soundtrack, I found it fitting the game perfectly. It was mysterious, yet encouraged you to continue the level to see what you could find. The old-fashioned artwork helped give the game a nostalgic feeling, enticing players who desire games that bring back memories.

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One thing to keep in mind throughout this review is that Ruggnar is still in Alpha. It’s in its early stages but I hope to see some new elements and improvements in the near future. The potential for speed-runs in this game is huge and could be its main attraction drawing players in. Overall the game offers challenging and solid puzzles to complete, a peaceful and mysterious soundtrack all accompanied by the compelling artwork.

Enomview Score: 7 out of 10

Ruggnar Early Access: https://sirill.itch.io/ruggnar

Countdown to Telltale’s Minecraft: Story Mode Season 2 Finale

Three days remain until Minecraft: Story Mode’s season two finale gets released. The extremely popular series by Telltale has become well known in the Minecraft community, attracting YouTubers and streamers alike. The point and click/choose your own path game focuses on a plot which is based on the ever so popular sandbox game, Minecraft. The player completes puzzles, decides where to go, and most importantly, chooses the dialogue between characters. Subsequently, the end-game depends on the path the player chooses to follow, not what the game forces you to. Many other popular games have taken this approach, a more popular one being The Walking Dead.

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Season one of Minecraft story mode comprises of eight episodes, each a little more than an hour long. If playing more than eight hours of story mode doesn’t sound appealing, countless videos of people playing and completing the game are all on YouTube. I recommend getting your popcorn ready and clearing up three hours of your day as you’ll quickly get drawn in. You can buy the game for $25.99 on steam and play the first season for free for a limited time only. You better go quick, as the season finale is supposed to be mind boggling!

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Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/639170/Minecraft_Story_Mode__Season_Two/
Season 1 free demo: http://store.steampowered.com/app/376870/Minecraft_Story_Mode__A_Telltale_Games_Series/

Gang Beasts Out Now on the PlayStation Store

Boneloaf’s award-winning multiplayer beat ‘em up, Gang Beasts, thrashes its way onto the PlayStation Store today. The widely acclaimed game known for hilarious combat and ground-rolling laughter finally makes its way to the console world after over three years in early access.

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Fight your friends, hurling gelatinous punches with the goal of knocking them off the map (or grinding them to a pulp). The ragdoll-like physics allow you to pick up, hurl, and knock out your enemies. Wacky maps aid your brawlers in sending your enemies to their doom.

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Incapacitate enemies and hurl them into meat grinders or chuck them off the edge. Throw them in front of a train, knock them off suspended scaffolding, or let them fly off the top of a truck. Gang Beasts offers endless fun ways to beat your friends to blobby pulps! Quench your murderous side through this awesome minimalistic game!

Pick up your copy of the game on PS4: https://store.playstation.com/en-us/product/UP2154-CUSA04794_00-GANGBEASTSPS04NA

Pick up your copy on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/285900/Gang_Beasts/

Alto’s Adventure – The Perfect Harmony of Winter, Snowboarding, and Music on the Go

On its cover, Alto’s adventure is just a simple snowboarding game, but after enjoying it, you realise there’s more than meets the eye. When you boot up Alto’s adventure for the first time, you are greeted by a beautiful mountaintop and are thrown right into the game. The gameplay is basic, yet engaging.

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Outstanding visuals in minimalist format

The core structure of the game is snowboarding down a vast, serene mountain. You collect points by hi-fiving llamas (Yes, we said llamas), and collecting coins. By tapping the screen for various amounts of time, you can jump and execute flips, also collecting points that add to your overall score at your run’s end. With coins you can purchase a multitude of one-time use items such as revives, allowing you can continue your game after hitting an obstacle. Next to the transitory items, you can find the permanent upgrades. You can use your coins to buy power-ups that can be found while snowboarding. Those powerups, such as coin magnets, can be upgraded to last longer and appear more often. Although the game has only a few key obstacles to watch out for, when you do encounter them, you must take heed.

At one point of the game, you are being chased by “The Elder”, an enemy that snowboarding behind you. You must avoid him in order to progress. Other than that, the only other obstructions to watch out for are the rocks and your own self-error.

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Due to the simple, yet soothing gameplay, I wasn’t able to sustain gameplay for over a long period of time, but the aspects that keep me reminiscing are the stunning graphics visuals and soothing music. The game has a unique art style rarely found in the app store. Alto’s Adventure also includes time cycles, switching between day and night, complementing the snowy environment in amazing ways. Blending with the visuals perfectly is the soothing soundtrack. It keeps you calm and practically pacifies your heart rate.

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Alto’s adventure is still just a simple snowboarding game with simple mechanics and gameplay. It’s the charming visuals and beautiful music make the app greatly stand out from its peers. You can pick up this game on your respective app store for $4.99, which is a bargain for this caliber of game.

Enomview Score: 9 out of 10

Check out the game: http://altosadventure.com

Dungeon Rustlers – The Revival of Old-School Dungeon Crawlers

Remember the pleasure of the old-school 8-bit games you would attempt to master at the arcade after school. The enjoyment, yet simplicity, of slaying the visible pixels that stand before you. Dungeon Rustlers brings that nostalgia out of the arcade and into our homes. Choose between a Knight, Archer, or Mage to take on 50 levels, and the 7 unique and challenging enemies of this retro epic of a dungeon crawler. Dungeon Rustlers challenges worthy players to hack-and-slash through waves upon waves of tenacious enemies. Although you can only begin your anticipated adventure on PC, it does offer full controller compatibility for those console players who are willing to attempt the vigorous task of reaching the 50th level.

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I felt a strong attachment to this game the second I began my adventure in level one. As an avid player in games like Realm of the Mad God and Gauntlet,  I feel as if much of the world is missing out on these old-school adventure games. It’s not hard to see that the retro-90’s genre is fading away, and with new generations being exposed to the higher class games of today, pixelated dungeon crawlers could be pushed toward extinction. Luckily, companies like Zimventures brought us Dungeon Rustlers.

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Before you begin the climb to victory, you must first choose one of three classes. The bold and ruthless knight can unsheathe her mighty sword to make her enemies cower in the face of death. As you progress through the levels your sword acquires the ability to shoot arrows from its blade, causing the slaughter of annoying slimes to be much more satisfying. If you ever find yourself on the brink of death, do not be afraid to activate your force field and flea the scene to regain health.

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The archer, my personal favorite, weaves her frost arrows from her quiver, leaving her enemies frozen and slowed. While the archer is given less health than the knight, she is more than capable of conducting an equal amount of destruction. The Archer’s class ability allows you to heave frozen walls in both the front and back of your player, causing enemies to be halted and slowed where they stand. With her frozen bow in hand, no enemy would dare step in your path.

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The final warrior would be the fire conjuring Mage. Spitting fireballs out of each hand, the Mage can melt any enemy it may come across. If ever in a crisis, the Mage can activate his special ability and summon a ring of fire around him, damaging enemies and keeping them away. While the mage can easily shred through the skeletons roaming in the dungeons, you only need to be hit twice in order to die.

All three classes are capable of upgrading their basic attacks and summoning floating helpers to aid in the adventure. Upgrading basic attacks will increase both the effectiveness of each hit and the number of shots being volleyed out of your weapon. The purchasable helpers will stand by your side and synchronize their attacks with yours, causing two more bullets to be added alongside your barrage of attacks. All of these upgrades can be purchased with gold found within in each level.

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Dungeon Rustlers eases players into the game by providing appropriate increasing increments of difficulty, making each level seem accommodating, but no walk in the park. Around level ten, I did feel as if the upgrades for basic attacks made each level executable with ease. Similar to training in Call of Duty: Zombies, I would find myself dragging enemies behind me, eventually turning around and unleashing the power of my triple shot weapon. All of the enemies would perish, and I would repeat the cycle like clockwork. While many levels seemed like they should have been more difficult, I did find myself on the edge of my seat for a select few. Once you die, you are not brought to the title screen to replay the game right away. Instead, you respawn where you last were, but are missing all of the valuable upgrades and power-ups needed to withstand the forces of the current level. This shouldn’t pose as much of a problem during the early levels, but dying around level 30+ could be fatal. You begin with three lives and once all have dispersed, your journey is over. You can then attempt to climb the levels with a new character or beat your best times on the previous character.

Zimventures based Dungeon Rustlers on racing through levels and clearing them fast. They encourage players to repeat the game to shatter their previous times. After each level, you can view your best time, and where you stand on the compared to other players. I could imagine the replay potential, as well as the appeal to speedrunners in taking on Dungeon Rustlers and smashing the leaderboards.

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The music choice for this game was amazing and fitted the tone to appeal towards old-school players. The mix of an epic dungeon crawler and retro-electro style tunes and beats, made me taste the sweetened luxury of being in a 90’s arcade. I did stumble upon a few glitches that left me dead for no reason, but I do understand that the game is still in early access and is not yet fully patched. I do wish Dungeon Rustlers offered more playable characters and diverse combat styles between them. Dungeon Rustlers’ 50 levels can be purchased for $3.99 on the steam marketplace today.

Enomview Score: 7.2 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/713450/Dungeon_Rustlers/