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Games to Get Excited About: March 2018

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The end of first quarter of 2018 is packed full of game releases, including two games specifically for PlayStation VR.  We have Final Fantasy XV finally coming to the PC, an HD re-release of the Devil May Cry series as well as continuations of series like Far Cry, Valkyria Chronicles, and Attack on Titan.  Honestly, though, this month there’s not one game I’m personally interested in, but I know there’s one that many people are looking forward to.

Far Cry 5 is the latest installment in a popular adventure shooter series coming near the end of the month.  Set in the fictional county of Hope, Montana, the game will follow a religious cult and the sheriff deputy (the player) sent to stop them.  The development of the game has taken longer than expected, releasing this year rather than back in 2017.  The player will be able to recruit allies from the local townspeople in the game as well as taming animals to assist with the mission.

Why People are Excited

Far Cry is a very popular series and this game has had a lot of talk around it already due to heightened political discourse.  Setting the game closer to home for a lot of people, instead of some exotic far-away land, has caused speculation about whether the game has some hidden meaning or not.  There was even a petition to change the game’s protagonists from American Christian fundamentalists to a group of Muslims.  Most gamers that I know took the petition as satire, which it very likely was, but it certainly stoked the flames of discussion.

For the important part, the game itself, it looks like Ubisoft plans to deliver a thought-provoking story with a couple of new game mechanics.  The writers want to explore the theme of separatism and what drives citizens to become so disenfranchised that they turn away from their own government.  What causes people who live in such a free and open society to turn against it so dramatically?  Dan Hay said the story looks at the consequences of belief and ideology taken to their extreme.  In the current climate of extremes from all sides, it’s a bold story to present, and hopefully one that they deliver well.

Right from the start, a new feature in this release is to introduce a character generator.  Rather than play a pre-defined character made by the developers, the player will be able to make their own.  They’re also bringing back an element from previous games which allows you to lean around corners again.  We’ll also see a wider selection of close-quarters weapons as the game focuses a little more on melee combat.  In this installment, the player will navigate the open world by way of outposts, working their way through the story by liberating them from cultists.  The writing and outpost element is meant to create a world where no two players should experience the game the same way, as each outpost can be found and overcome from different angles and at different times.

Other Notable Releases for March

Final Fantasy XV – The latest installment of Final Fantasy that released in November for other systems will be coming to PC on March 6th.

Devil May Cry HD Collection – An HD remake of this series will hit PC, PS4 and XBO on the 13th of March.

Kirby Star Allies – This side-down platformer is coming on March 16th to continue the Kirby series on the Nintendo Switch.

Attack on Titan 2 – The sequel to the game based on the popular manga and anime is coming to all major systems on the 20th.

Sea of Thieves – A new title from Rare to XBO and PC on the 20th as well. Cross platform play is promised in this cooperative naval combat game with a pirate theme.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 – The fourth installment of this strategy game is hitting the PS4 on March 21st and will introduce a new class and cast of characters.

Agony – A new title hitting PC, PS4, and XBO on the 30th will put players in hell as a tormented soul trying to survive and escape.

Free Game Spotlight: Viridi

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Developer: Ice Water Games
Publisher: Ice Water Games
Release Date: Aug. 19, 2015

I have no idea why in the world I kept seeing articles pop up for this game, but it seemed for awhile they were literally everywhere. I think that we even joked about it during one of our meetings. Viridi is a much more an experience than a game, in my opinion. However, I remembered seeing it and it is free, so I downloaded it and ‘played’ for a few days.

You nurture a pot of succulents (plants).

You can load up the game and you get to pick your first planting experience. You pick your pot. I picked the concrete colored one with the crosses around the border. I was prompted to pick a grouping of plants and I picked the most colorful group, with the Agave ‘Blue Glow’ in the center. I was brought to a screen where I was able to pull the weeds from my plant (which is a bit confusing for an indoor plant) and watered my growing plants. I named the snail that moves around the lip of my pot Bubba, after my dog, and I have fun spraying him with water. I have no idea why. You can pull plants out and plant new ones. I obtained my ‘weekly free seed’ of Senecio roweyanus, which I promptly planted at the edge, because it looked cool.

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Upon returning to the game, you can pull more weeds and water your plants. They grow; faster than a normal plant, but still fairly slowly. So I checked out the nursery, which is just their ‘Main Menu’. You can purchase (with real money) a number of different types of seeds (at least .09 cents, at most .39 each) that you can add to your pot. Dig up any plants you don’t want and purchase more locations to place more pots. For $3 you can purchase the key to the Cat House (another pot location) and $5 gets you The Key to the Apartment (another pot location) thus giving you 3 pots of plants to look after.

It is very much a meditative experience. It is beautifully designed and the music is soothing. I do love that each plant is explained. It’s official name, common name, native location and subtle details of each plant are listed. It’s adorable and probably amazing for someone who knows far more about plants than I do. I sat down fairly stressed today as I was looking back in on my plants and do find myself much calmer and more relaxed. If you want to relax and love plants or pretty things, this is the game for you.

You can find it here.

Indie Developer Spotlight: Liege

Indie Developer Spotlight: Liege

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That’s right, we have TWO Indie Developer Spotlights this month! With all the contacts we made at Too Many Games, we decided to double down this month. Enjoy!

We spoke with John from Coda Games, who we met at Too Many Games, about their upcoming game, Liege. Here’s what he had to say:

Q1. Tell us about your game.
Liege is a story driven RPG with a deep, tactical core. The game has classic JRPG influences, but:
– Modern presentation
– Seamless, fast paced tactical battles
– No random encounters, no grinding, no fetch quests, no fluff

Here’s the trailer:

Q2. What was your inspiration to create the game?
Inspiration for the game came from lots of places: Classic RPGs I loved as a kid (FFVI, FF Tactics and Suikoden) were some of the original inspirations, while more recently games like the new XCOMs and Transistor had a big influence as we developed the mechanics. Inspiration for the story and setting came mostly from outside of games (fantasy books, film and TV- too many to list!).

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Q3. When should we expect to see it?
As of now we’re aiming to release on Steam Q1 next year, with console ports in Q2-Q3 2017.

Indie Developer Spotlight: B3

Indie Developer Spotlight: B3

B3 Box Kickstarter

We were recently able to come into contact with Psycho Robot Studios about their.B3 Box Art upcoming indie game, B3: Beep Boop Bot. Here’s what they had to say:

What’s it about?
Our game is an arcade style robot shooter about an out-of-date robot that is activated to take on other robots in a space center that have become AI aware. It will have a campaign mode and a survival mode, a leaders board on steam for high scores, and, if our Kickstarter does well after we launch it, then we will also expand to have multiplayer options.

What was your inspiration?
Our inspiration for this game just kinda grew from nothing. I mean, we both have always been hardcore gamers with a desire to create a game, but the concept itself grew over time. It started with a basic robot running around a room shooting stuff. After that, we released a few demos. Being in the Army, I was able to test it on a bunch of Soldiers who lived in the barracks. B3 Lvl 1 ReworkWith that, we grew the game into something more, based off what the players liked, didn’t like and what they wanted. After that we released another demo on twitter to streamers and YouTubers. From that, we are in the process of making more improvements and changes. It really has been a fan input created game.

When will it be released?
We don’t have a release date, but I want to say early 2017. It’s hard to say, though. We will have a new demo in a few months that represents the final game.

 

Indie Developer Spotlight: Splitmind

Indie Developer Spotlight: Splitmind

Written by: Rendal Studios

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ABOUT OUR GAME:
Splitmind is a 2D adventure game starring Kaplan, an amnesic shadow awaking in Mnemosyn, “the land of memories.” From this strange place, Kaplan will be able to project himself in his lost memories and then investigate his own past to answer all the questions he has.

During his identity quest, Kaplan will meet several odd characters, all of whom are related to his past. But beneath the appareances lies some terrible events.

Splitmind is a game playing with mysteries and misleadings; a game where nothing that seems to be true really is.

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WHAT INSPIRED US:
First of all, we’re big fans of old point & click games, like the Broken Sword or the Monkey Island franchise. So, when we started our company, we thought, “Hey, what if we make an adventure game?”

Then, we needed a strong story because it’s hard to innovate in a game genre that is older than 30 years. One of us came with an idea he started working on a few years ago: “What if I woke up one day, in a strange place, without any idea of who I am or how I got here?” Something between the Christopher Nolan movie Memento and the Jean Paul Sartre Huis Clos play.

We finally started to work on the concept and the script. Then everyone on the team brought some ideas about the designs. What will Kaplan look like? What will the Unamed City look like? And then we got this strange black & white shadow, wearing private investigator clothes, and walking in a city where no one can tell if it’s daylight or evening.

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We also wanted to give the game an interactive comic book look, with speaking bubbles and action bubbles appearing whenever an action is possible (speaking, observing, etc…).

We hope we did a great job and that our prospective audience will enjoy our game.

THE RELEASE DATE:
There is no fixed release date for now, but we can assure you our game will be released during 2016. We’ll soon announce our Kickstarter campaign, then we’ll communicate about our release date for PC. The releases on iOS and Android will follow.

Here’s the trailer:

This Month in Gaming History: May

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This Month in Gaming History: May

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May is a great time of the year. Summer is just around the corner; school is about to end. There are plenty of opportunities to give games: graduation gifts and Mother’s Day gifts. Maybe that is why this month had so many games to choose from to write about. So without further ado, here are some games that have been released in May throughout history, including one of my favorites.

Magnavox Odyssey

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The first video game console, called the Magnavox Odyssey, was demonstrated on May 24, 1972 and later released by Magnavox. This console started it all, folks. For so many of us, gaming consoles have just been a thing that we have always had. Some worked better then others, but were constantly there. Before this, a gamer would have to game in an arcade.

Pac-Man

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Pac-Man was released as an arcade game in Japan on May 22, 1980. I love Pac-Man. As previously written, I spent a lot of time playing Ms Pac-Man as a kid at our local pizza place. Most of the pizza places in the towns around me had at least one game. Pac-Man was usually one of them, if they had more than one. Thank goodness for these restaurants because, when I was growing up, to get go to a real arcade, we would have to travel almost an hour to the mall. Also, I need to give a shout out to my parents, who gave my brother and me our quarters to play this game that we both enjoyed so much.

The object is simple. Eat as much as you can and don’t let the ghosts catch you.
To be honest, I think these rules are still extremely applicable to my life.

Wolfenstein 3D

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Wolfenstein 3D was released by id Software on May 5, 1992. This game started its life on the PC and then moved to other platforms of game play. It is a first-person shooter game. Gamers get to play an Allied spy who is trying to escape a Nazi prison called Castle Wolfenstein.

Bejeweled

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Ah, Bejeweled. Bejeweled was first released on May 30, 2001 by PopCap Games as an Internet browser-based game.Soon, it was released onto other platforms. The one which I think most of us have played is via mobile phone. So much time on the phone. This game is the starting point for other addictive games that we love, such as Candy Crush.

Mass Effect

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Mass Effect was released for the PC on May 28, 2008. It is a science fiction role playing third-person shooter game. In the first three installments of the game, the player plays Commander Shepard as he tries to save the galaxy from mechanical beings known as Reapers. Mass Effect is a highly acclaimed and popular set of games.

Diablo III

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Speaking of insanely popular games, Diablo 3 was released for the PC and Mac on May 15, 2012. The player would pick a class, the number of which depending on whether or not the player has purchased the expansion pack, to defeat the Lord of Terror, Diablo. This third installment of the series broke all kinds of sales records, including how quickly it sold. This is not surprising, due to the game’s popularity over the years.

Whew. We have had some heavy hitters in May in the past. Here’s hoping for many more wonderful releases to come.

 

Free Game Spotlight: Star Trek Timelines

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Free Game Spotlight: Star Trek Timelines

Dev: Disruptor Beam
Platform: Android, iOS, Browser
Release Date: January, 2016

Timelines

Credit: Disruptor Beam                                                                                                 

The free-to-play strategy mobile game, Star Trek Timelines, centers around the idea that a strange anomaly has caused different timelines and realities of Star Trek to merge together, obviously causing conflicts that the player must resolve while they explore the galaxy.

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Credit: Disruptor Beam                                           

The player resolves these conflicts by constructing an away team with the relevant skills and traits to solve the problem in different ways. You can choose characters that will try to resolve conflict diplomatically or you can choose characters that use weapons to gain control over a situation. The game is full of choices which align you towards different characters and groups as you agree or disagree with them. The player gets to level up these characters as they complete missions and collect new crew members with different specialties as the game goes on. The game is made up of these away missions, space battles, and faction missions. All in all, there is a lot of game play to be had in Star Trek Timelines.

Star Trek Timelines is visually impressive with beautiful cutscenes and an interactive, colorful, and detailed galaxy map. One of the most immediate things I remarked on the game was just how well produced it was. Every time I enter the game, I’m greeted by the treat that is John de Lancie’s voice acting as the character Q. There is so much polish on the production and interface of the game that it is understandable why I keep hearing about it.

I do feel however that though the game is well produced in many areas that the mechanics are not as rewarding as the external aspects of the game. And though the game can be a lot of fun, there are some downsides. Read the rest of this entry