Saturday, 26 March 2016

Android indie game review - Ginger Roll

In Ginger Roll you play a ball in a bubble of some sort (I forget exactly why, but the plot is unimportant), trying to make it to the finish line of each level.  The first level is easy but it doesn’t take long to get tricky – as soon as level 5 in the first world in fact gets pretty challenging!  You have things to collect along the way and of course the obligatory enemies, power-ups and power-downs.  Once you get into this game there is rarely a dull moment!

You play the game using your phone’s motion sensing, and the controls work very well and are nicely responsive.  The challenge level to play the game well gets high very quickly, but I never had the sense that it was the controls letter me down (just my reflexes, sadly not as good as they used to be! L).  There are plenty of levels to play so this will keep you going for some time.  There is a preview for each level to give you an overview of the whole thing.  The graphics are suitably cartoony and the music is good, bouncing along merrily as you struggle with the levels. 

If you like games that use motion-sensing and require a good deal of skill, you will enjoy Ginger Roll.  The short levels make it suitable as a tea-break game, but the number of levels means you will get a good amount of gameplay out of it long-term too.

(Android version reviewed on Samsung A3.)


Links:

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Legend of Hand - Demo and Greenlight Campaign

Been liking the look of this one since I saw it at Adventure-X 2014.  It's now on Steam Greenlight and has a demo available.

Legend of Hand by Cloak and Dagger Games is an explorative point and click adventure game with RPG elements set in a Far-East inspired world! Influenced by Amiga classics and martial arts beat ‘em up games of the 80's and 90's.  Currently the game is expected to launch early in 2017.

The Story:
When your wise old crony masters send you on a quest to find a missing messiah known as Grandmaster Hand it’s best not to ask too many questions – though it’s safe to say the fate of the world depends upon finding him. Four mysterious, tight-lipped martial arts masters are said to hold the clues to his location and each is shacked up on their own island, stretching out across vast oceans, claiming to be his successors. But are they really what they claim to be? Maybe, if you can beat them in a fight they'll talk - but that’s okay, you’ve trained your whole life and you’re an absolute badass! The only problem is you aren’t too good at saying no to people... You’re supposed to be a fighter, so what are you are doing in the kitchen? Why are you running around doing errands for old ladies and solving relationship woes? Yep, there’s a lot to do on your adventures - travel across the unique islands and see what traditions they have on offer. There’s gambling, banquets, fishing and all sorts of fun ways to spend your time- just don't forget to find Grandmaster Hand! 

Features:
- An epic quest and unfolding storyline that spans many years and unique lands.
- A massive cast of intriguing , mysterious, bizarre, amusing and crazy characters (some utterly useless). 
- Unique and retro drawn graphics and huge catalogue of animations including costume changes, disguises and drunk dancing. 
- Learn new moves, increase your HP and fight using a turn based RPG style fighting system that’s easy to learn and fun to play! 
- Expect to meet companions who will aid and follow you in your adventures! 
- Get sick, fall in love, fight for the innocent, gamble, make grub for Gran - the world of Legend of Hand is varied and detailed. 
- Typical adventure game elements such as puzzles and dialogue interactions. Expect the difficulty to increase as your quest progresses, things may seem easy to begin with, but that won’t always be the case! 
- Mini games galore, including cricket fighting and fish tickling! 
- Full screen animated drawn cut scenes. 
- Hidden secrets for keen explorers! Mind your trousers… 
- Unique and engaging original soundtrack . 
- The odd real world cameo here and there. 
- Optional scanlines to enhance the retro vibes. 






Monday, 21 March 2016

Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish Release Date Announced


March 15, 2016 - Independent game publisher Fruitbat Factory is proud to announce that POMERA Studios’ mystery visual novel Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish will be released on Steam on March 30

Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish is a thrilling mystery story revolving around a series of unfathomable incidents in a town, brought to life with gorgeous artwork. 

Synopsis 
In the middle of the night on a certain day of April 201X, the right arm of the owner of a general store is chopped off in the backyard of his own store. Even though he claims that the perpetrator is a 'doll' that was kept in the store, his words carry little weight due to the lack of other witnesses. 

The doll and the detached arm are gone from the scene of crime. 

“Like a light too strong may burn out one's retinas, so too can supernatural entities be toxic to humans.   Even should they take on the invisible form of one's emotions.” 





Features 
  • Gorgeous illustrations by a skilled, experienced illustrator  

  • Story painted in vivid colors by talented voice actors/actresses and musicians

  • Map-based scene selection

  • A reasoning system that unlocks bonus content upon successful answers


The Steam release of Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish will be priced at$14.99. The game will include Steam Trading Cards, Achievements, and Cloud support. The game’s opening and screenshots can be viewed on theSteam page

Working on Magical Eyes, we could feel the passion POMERA Studios has poured into the game over the several years it took to create, and we’ve wanted to reciprocate that and meet the fans’ expectations. That’s why we’ve put special effort into fine tuning the visual look of the game, to give it all the polish we can.” says Jakke Elonen, Project Lead. 

Magical Eyes - Red is for Anguish is available for pre-order with a 10% discount from the official Fruitbat Factory store

Fruitbat Factory, Ltd 
English version developer (Homepage, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+,Youtube) 
Fruitbat Factory is an independent localization house focusing on bringing interesting Japanese games to English-speaking audiences. 

POMERA Studios 
Developer of original Japanese version (Homepage) 
POMERA Studios is an independent Japanese game developer. They create games with the policy of leaving players smiling. 


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Twitch Director Keynotes MomoCon; Hi-Rez, Vlambeer Exhibiting


ATLANTA - March 9, 2016 - Marcus Graham, director of programming, Twitch will deliver the keynote address at MomoCon 2016, the largest gaming expo in the Southeast U.S.  More than 40 game developers will exhibit at the convention including Hi-Rez Studios, Vlambeer, and Blue Mammoth Games.
 
MomoCon, a celebration of video and tabletop games, cosplay, anime and comics, drew more than 66,000 turnstile attendance in 2015.  This year's convention, taking place Thursday, May 26 - Sunday, May 29 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, is expected to be even larger.
 

MomoCon 2016 is also the first year to partner with Take This and The Pokemon Company. Take This will make its AFK Room, a calm and quiet place to recharge in a crowded convention, available to all MomoCon attendees. The Pokémon Company will work with the local tournament organizers Pokémon Battle Factory, to host an officially sanctioned championship-point qualifying series at MomoCon 2016.
 
In addition to Marcus Graham's keynote there will be more than 100 hours of programming streamed live on Twitch.tv/MomoConTV. In total there will be more than 70 other special guests that will participate in MomoCon 2016, including voice acting luminary Nolan North, from the Uncharted series, and Matthew Mercer from Geeky and Sundry's Critical Role as well as online personalities including TotalBiscuit, ProJared, LilyPichu and Blakinola to name a few.
 
MomoCon 2016 will host the second largest convention gaming hall in the U.S., dedicated to activities such as eSport competitions, tabletop gaming, robot battles, laser tag, arcade cabinets, and much more. With more than $5,000 in guaranteed pots, and support from Aksys Games, makers of Guilty Gear, as well as a partnership with xSplit this year is expected to be one of the biggest eSport events in the Southeast.
 
For more information about MomoCon please visit http://www.momocon.com/.

StarDrive 2 (PC/Mac) receives first DLC


Haarlem, The Netherlands – 08 March 2016 – Developer Zero Sum Games and publisher Iceberg Interactive are happy to release the first official DLC to their turn-based 4x space-strategy title StarDrive 2 (PC/Mac/Linux). Sector Zero will expand theStarDrive 2 universe and gameplay grandly and adds a new set of features and additions.  A release trailer is created to show some first footage of the changes and additions to this brand new DLC. Check the trailer HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTsMMLLwWK4 
 
Some of the major changes in the Sector Zero DLC include: The galaxy is divided into a new Hex-tile Strategy map, there are three new ways to win the game, dozens of new quests, anomalies, technologies and events. The ground combat received a major overhaul and new Deep Space Construction Mechanics have been added. Moreover, UI and AI are improved and there are more options for your Galaxy Size.
 
Daniel DiCicco, Developer of StarDrive 2 and Sector Zero DLC says: "We are thrilled to launch our first full-featured expansion pack. I know players new and old will be delighted with the many new features and changes in Sector Zero"
 
With the release of Sector Zero, publisher Iceberg Interactive is offering a massive 75% discount on StarDrive 2 in Steam’s Daily Dealhttp://store.steampowered.com/app/252450. Simultaneously, the main game received a major patch today. Read the full changelog in the Steam Hub HERE.


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Wadjet Eye's "Shardlight" adventure game now out for PC


"I was only five when the bombs fell. All this time, I've just been trying to survive."


Amy Wellard is dying. Twenty years after a cataclysmic disaster leveled her city, Green Lung is wiping out the population at an alarming rate and vaccine is in short supply, rationed by a government that favors the rich. Amy may not have money or status, but she has something more important: hope. And if there's a cure out there, she's going to find it.


Wadjet Eye Games is proud to announce their new adventure Shardlight has released for PC on Steam, GOG, and the studio's online store (http://www.shardlight-game.com). Step into Amy's worn shoes to explore a dying city, navigate its social hierarchy, and expose the secrets that plague a community still suffering from the devastation of war. With old-school pixel-art graphics, classic point & click gameplay, and high production values all around, Shardlight is an ambitious game from the studio behind the Blackwell mysteries, A Golden Wake, and many other acclaimed indie adventures released over the past ten years.


Store Links and 10% Launch Sale
Through Tuesday, March 15, Shardlight is on sale for 10% off (regularly $14.99 marked down to $13.49):



Additional bonus content, including a digital soundtrack, production art, and behind-the-scenes video from voice recording sessions, can be purchased as a $5 add-on from all three stores.


Assault Android Cactus Releases for PS4


BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND - March 8, 2016 - Assault Android Cactus, the action-packed arcade-style twin stick shooter by Witch Beam is now available for PlayStation 4.  

Assault Android Cactus replaces the traditional life counter with a battery system, which rewards an aggressive style of play. The characters' batteries constantly drain throughout a level, and if a battery is fully drained, the player's android will shut down completely. The only way to stay charged is by destroying the malfunctioning robots and collecting their battery packs.

The story follows Junior Constable Cactus: an intergalactic police android on a mission to reclaim the Genki Star, a stranded space freighter under attack by its own robot workers. 

Aboard the Genki Star, it's up to Cactus and her battery powered friends to defeat the hordes of robots and five massive bosses before their power runs out!    

Each of the nine playable android heroines has their own character-specific primary weapon with infinite ammo and a more powerful special weapon with a cool down timer.



Game Features

  • Non-stop twin stick shooting action
  • Nine playable androids, each with a distinct play style and personality
  • Supports one to four players with local co-op
  • Four game modes including  
    • Campaign - Uncover the mystery of the Genki Star in 25 action-packed stages and unlock a new character after completing each of the five worlds
    • Infinity Drive - Fight an endless onslaught of progressively more difficult enemies and bosses
    • Daily Drive - A new level every day, that can only be played once  
    • Boss Rush - Challenge all five bosses, one after the other  
  • Battery system replaces traditional lives
  • Unlock game changing EX options such as a first-person perspective or mega-weapons
  • Accessible gameplay, great for all ages 


"The best part of a shoot 'em ups is the reckless action, but players are usually encouraged to play it safe," says Santana Mishra, Director at Witch Beam. "Assault Android Cactus' battery system pushes players to engage in constantly evolving nonstop action where they must stay on the offensive to survive."

More information about Assault Android Cactus can be found at: www.assaultandroidcactus.com  




ROCKET LEAGUE BATMOBILE DLC AVAILABLE NOW

SAN DIEGO, CA – March 8, 2016 – Independent video game developer and publisher, Psyonix, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, are pleased to announce that the iconic Batmobile from the highly-anticipated Warner Bros. Pictures film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, is available for purchase in Rocket League right now!

Priced at $1.99 USD (or regional equivalent), the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Car Pack is officially licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and includes the world-famous Batmobile and three exclusive Antenna Flags that allow players to show their allegiance to the World's Finest trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Pick it up today for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, or Windows PC via Steam.

ABOUT ROCKET LEAGUE
Winner or nominee of more than 100 game of the year awards, Rocket League is one of the most critically-acclaimed sports games of a generation. Boasting a community of more than 12 million players, Rocket League is a high-powered hybrid of arcade-style soccer and vehicular mayhem that offers easy-to-understand controls and fluid, physics-driven competition. Available digitally on Xbox One, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, and Windows PC via Steam,Rocket League includes more than 100 billion possible customization combinations, a fully-featured offline season mode, multiple game types, casual and competitive online matches, and special "Mutators" that let you change the rules entirely.

To learn more about Rocket League, please visit www.RocketLeagueGame.com, "Like" it on Facebook, and follow it on Twitter (at)RocketLeague for all the latest developer updates and news.

BeefJack Create launches 'The Idea Mill' and 'Game Tuning'

Two new services offer support, direction and assistance to budding game designers and established studios alike
London-based games studio BeefJack Create today launched two new services, which aim to help both budding games designers and established indie developers make the best games possible.

The Idea Mill makes games design and development accessible to anyone with a great idea, no matter how little their technical or creative knowledge. With a full team of developers and designers, BeefJack Create helps its partners turn game ideas into reality - via comprehensive design, production and deployment support, which keeps the game's creator firmly in the driving seat.

With Game Tuning, BeefJack Create partners with independent developers to help fine-tune their games and produce the best possible results. With more involvement than a simple outsourcing development team, BeefJack acts both to fill any production gaps, and to provide tailored support and guidance, throughout the project's lifecycle.

Creative Partnerships

James Wheeler, one of BeefJack Create's recent partners, said: "BeefJack helped flesh out my idea while bringing new opportunities to the table. They also created some fantastic concept art and came up with an inventive way for me to make money."

James, a keen level designer himself, also relished the opportunity to add to his skillset in this area. "They're keeping me involved and giving me the opportunity to learn more about game development," he added.


Meanwhile, Dean Edwards - creator of Iron Fish and a lover of all things marine life - approached BeefJack with the seeds of an idea for a psychological underwater horror game. BeefJack Create helped fine-tune his concept before moving into production - providing full development, art, narrative design, project management and business support.

"They are all extremely talented, hardworking and professional. The passion they show for the games industry has made creating Iron Fish one of the most rewarding and fun things I have ever done," he said.

BeefJack Create launched in May 2015, with the view of lowering the barriers of entry to game development, and enable anyone with a great game idea to make it happen. Find out more on the BeefJack Create website.

About BeefJack

BeefJack started making games in flash in 2008. It also held an online magazine and gaming community. BeefJack's development arm created a range of successful web games - including the award-winning Hot Tub Heist (which achieved over 1 million plays and a four-star rating on Newgrounds) orVerminator (with over 3 million plays and a four-star rating on each of iOS and Android).

Today, BeefJack offers a variety of indie game services. Alongside Create, BeefJack Promote offers marketing services to independent studios.

Find out more about both services on our website, and feel free to drop me a line for further info.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Point and Click Musical - Midnight at the Celestial Palace: Chapter I

Midnight at the Celestial Palace: Chapter I is now on Steam Greenlight.  Check out the Official Website and the trailers / screenshots below.






Himeki Games launches Greenlight campaign for An Oath to the Stars


UK, London, Mar 07, 2016 — Himeki Games, an independent game studio based in London, has submitted to Steam Greenlight An Oath to the Stars, a hardcore Danmaku SHMUP inspired by Japanese classics such as Ikaruga, Eschatos and Dodonpachi, with anime characters and a very peculiar art style.

"An Oath to the Stars is the game we always wanted to make, a love letter to the genre with a new twist," says Attilio, experienced game developer with more than 6 years of experience, and continues: "We want to give a pure experience, without elements such as powerups and upgrades which only distracts from the main core, which is dodging and scoring. We always loved SHMUPs, we are targeting fellow fans and we are not compromising on gameplay and quality to appeal to the mass market."


The core mechanic of the game is the Distance Overdrive. Your laser damage power is inversely proportional to the distance from the target. Getting closer will grant faster kills, but put you in danger. Faster kills will then impact your momentum combo, multiplying your score if you can keep your streak of fast, close kills without dying. In order to use your laser, you'll consume laser energy, which is released by enemies. Faster kills also grants additional laser energy, resulting in even longer combos.

The game follows the story of Hoshiko, former general and mecha pilot. Left for dead by her closest friend and comrade, she is now looking for revenge. "Hoshiko is a strong character, and the only thing left for her is to get revenge from Chiyoko," adds Antonio La Barbera, Character Designer of the game.



ABOUT Himeki Games
Himeki Games is an indie studio with a focus on hardcore, premium games. We develop games ranging from old-school arcade to first person 3D VR experiences, targeting a niche population of gamers who are really striving for more hardcore, premium experiences.

Himeki Games was founded by Attilio Carotenuto in 2015 in London. Attilio previously worked at Electronic Arts Playfish and King, among others.


The Next World - a sci-fi game 15 years in the making - is out now on Steam


Dallas, TX -- Mar 07, 2016 -- indie developer Illuminated Games has released The Next World on Steam. It is available for Windows, OSX and Linux PCs. http://store.steampowered.com/app/427860


 DESCRIPTION

You’re in charge of a doomed colony. What now?

The Next World is a visual novel/strategy hybrid in the vein of The Banner Saga, King of Dragon Pass and Oregon Trail. Your colony ship has crashed on a barren world. A mere 758 colonists survive. The captain is dead and all eyes are on you - will you keep the human race alive by making the tough decisions that no one else can?

Choose their strategy - starvation, sabotage and even black market moonshine will compete for your attention as you build new structures, salvage the wreckage for valuable resources, and try to squeak by another day. Live their story - the relationships you forge along the way lend real weight to the outcome of your choices as you lead this desperate band of survivors towards one of several possible conclusions.

QUOTES

"The game combines an engaging story with colony and event management. None of these would make a full product by themselves, but blended together you end up with a mix that is hard to put down." - Falk Engel, TaleWorlds

"Really good at setting a tone of 'urgency all the time' and the combination of the story and the gameplay is clever - it works really well."  - Tim (th_pion), thPionGaming

HISTORY

The Next World began in 2001 as a comic book inspired by the classic PC strategy game Outpost 2. Game writer & novelist Ryan Span (Mount&Blade, Euclidean, FRONTIERS, Mount&Blade, The Imposter Prince) worked on the project in fits and starts before committing to its final form in early 2015. He hopes that genre newcomers will find the retro sci-fi style, hand-drawn art and colorful characters engaging & accessible, while genre veterans will enjoy the strategic twist.


Monday, 7 March 2016

Marble Mountain Launching for VR, PC on April 5

CANBERRA, Australia - March 7, 2016 - Marble Mountain, the third-person adventure platformer by Lightning Rock, will be a launch title for the HTC Vive and arrive on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux on April 5, 2016. Gamers can also embark on this epic Indiana Jones-style adventure with a traditional monitor or on the Oculus Rift. 




Players guide a small marble on an epic journey, starting with gentle grassy hills and ending at the snow-covered summit of Marble Mountain.  Along the way they must use skill and timing to navigate treacherous traps including razor sharp blades, sneaky trap doors, and timed gate posts.  With 25 distinct levels, each stage introduces a new aesthetic feel, obstacles and puzzles for players to overcome, while minimal U.I. creates an immersive experience.

Competitive players can battle for the best time on the online leaderboard.  Intrepid explorers can search for secrets such as hidden collectible items, including the cowboy hat for rugged wanderers and a bowler hat for dignified travellers.  Gold treasure, called Aurums, are also hidden throughout the stages. Successfully collecting all the Aurums in a level will unlock new marble skins. 

Lightning Rock was inspired by retro classics including Marble Madness and Super Monkey Ball, but also drew inspiration from film, including the Indiana Jones franchise.

"Marble Mountain's almost universal appeal becomes immediately recognizable the moment you pick up the controller."  Shannon Pickles, producer, Lightning Rock said.  "At game conventions around the world the platformer adventures bring smiles to every players' face, whether they are enjoying the classic PC and monitor experience or cutting-edge VR.

Marble Mountain will retail for $9.99 USD and is available to wishlist now on 

More information about Marble Mountain can be found at: www.lightningrock.com/marblemountain 



About Lightning Rock
Lightning Rock is a Canberra, Australia based indie studio focused on creating high-quality polished games inspired by retro classics for the PC market, specializing in virtual reality experiences.
The team combines their lifelong passion and love for gaming with the skills developed in their previous professional lives to deliver quality games that offer a challenging and enjoyable experience. Examples of this are level designers that leverage their expertise in civil engineering, and coders that draw on their experience programming air traffic management systems.
To learn more about Lightning Rock please visit http://www.lightningrock.com/

All of our PC Indie Game Reviews

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