Hi, Sean Jacobs here I would like to present my interview with Switchblade Monkeys the wonder team behind the upcoming title Secret Ponchos. I would like to apologize for the delay but, I went Clark Kent and transcribed my interview via my handy digital voice recorder. Lets get into this tasty treat why don’t we.
Me: Hi, Sean Jacobs here from RealOtakuGamer.com can you Please introduce yourself to our readers at realotakugamer.com
Yousuf Mapara: Hi, I’m Yousuf Mapara and I am the Creative Director (and President of Switchblade Monkeys) of Secret Ponchos.
Me: Well, you just answered my second question because I was going to ask you what you’re relation to Secret Ponchos was!
Me: What inspired Switchblade monkeys to create such a unique game like Secret Ponchos?
Yousuf Mapara: We really wanted to make a game that takes us back to multiplayer fun, That’s just fun to pick up and is not this huuuge learning curve of like 30-40 hours just to be able to have fun. We are all hardcore fighting game kinda fans and so we love that depth but not the (inaudible) Though, the main thing is that we wanted to make a Spaghetti Western game so, that’s where it all started, ya know? its just such a cool genre. Basically our musician and I were sitting playing Soul Calibur and we had um, were playing Ennio Morricone in the background at the same time and all of a sudden everything just magically synced up the music, the epic trumpets and uh ya know the drama from the music and it felt like everything we felt like everything we were doing was just choreographed to the music so, we were like “WOW we really need to make a fighting western game”
Me: Isn’t it weird how things just come together like that?
Yousuf Mapara: I know, I know it wish there was a cooler version on how the game started but, its stupid but, that’s how it came together.
Me: That’s OK because that is the most organic way to come up with an great idea.
Me: Were there any other influences drawn from other games pulled into making Secret Ponchos?
Yousuf Mapara: We really wanted to make a game that has this competitive, you pick it up and we want your adrenaline to start pumping, that kind of fun. You pick it up and we want it to feel competitive, fun kind of game… I remember lining up to Street Fighter and getting our quarters and this is the type of game that we wanted to make so you could enjoy. A lot of games recently are awesome experiences but, they have also have became like interactive stories with a lot of cinematic experiences
Me: Yeah, like watching a movie you sometime play.
Yousuf Mapara: …and we wanted to take a step back from that, we have developed plenty of projects like that at AAA studios and we wanted to get to the feeling of “ah man you got me this time I’m going to go home and practice to get the best of you”
Me: Given the multiplayer nature of Secret Ponchos when it is released will Switchblade Monkey launch some sort of DLC to compliment that element?
Yousuf Mapara: You know uh, so our model for DLC is very interesting we don’t want to be very aggressive with dlc. When you buy Secret Ponchos its a complete experience on its own you don’t need to pay more money or buy stuff to be able to fulfill your experience, with that being said the genre is such an interesting genre for character archetypes that we only scratched the surface with our characters so, we are going to keep expanding on the Secret Ponchos Universe and that’s a better road to DLC. As long as the fans want to see the game universe expanded we will keep have new guys and use DLC to fund new characters.
Me: When I was doing research on you guys on YouTube that’s what I was thinking. I was like They could be in a good position to be able to spin DLC in a good way if infused correctly. I don’t like the aggressive DLC, I don’t like aggressive salesmanship at all so like, if your company create a great package its going to make us the fans want to buy it.
Yousuf Mapara: Yeah don’t want people to have their defenses up when playing our games as if we are trying to pitch them, if they bought the game its a fun universe, right? we hope people are looking forward to new expansions and new characters and we could use DLC to fund that. When you are really excited for a game, like Diablo and you are really looking forward to the expansion and its a worthwhile purchase that is the type of feel we want to lean towards.
Me: What about this game excites you the most and what can you tell people about secret ponchos that haven’t heard of it?
Yousuf Mapara: The two things we are the most proud of is the art style we really tried to focus on a great art style but, secondly when you look at team shooters and fighting games and there is a lot of them and they are all feeling kind of similar it was really exciting that we have found a new twist a new presentation for a combat game in this genre hey we are a small indie company and just by moving the camera over top we kinda made our own type of combat game and that’s what we are excited about it doesn’t have this superficial feel of a slight change on an existing shooter game it has its own thing and that’s what we are most excited about.
Me: Thank you again Yousuf and it was a pleasure standing here with you and playing with your staff on multiple matches. I can’t wait for Secret Ponchos and the many ways you will possibly expand its universe.
*Before our scheduled interview Yousuf and I had several conversations one that revealed that Secret Ponchos will be on the Steam for early access. Secret Ponchos was originally slated for PS4 release but, after the outcry of the PC community Switchblade Monkeys have decided to appease the masses and give the Steam community an early shot of the former PlayStation 4 exclusive.
I was so amazed by what I walked into the main show floor at PAX East I witnessed all developers, hardware manufacturers have their very own nook carved out of the Boston convention center. Before I walked down the long steps and I snapped the 1st picture of my face in utter amazement. I first walked into the Boston Convention Center and stood in line to receive my first media badge. I proceeded to walk towards the big glass doors spotted with a few security guards and some structures promoting PAX. As I walked through the door I had an Idea of what was to be in store for me but, what took me by surprise the most was the amazement that stemmed from the actuality that I have finally made it! I have made it to one milestone of mine to go to one of the big shows in the gaming world PAX East!
I descended the staircase I first noticed Bethesda Softworks booth showcasing large walls of Wolfenstein & The Evil Within images the large titan tron screen had no image up yet, later they were to display two titles ESO (Elder Scrolls Online) and Wolfenstein.The two titles displayed are good as some of you know already of ESO but, the beginning sequence to Wolfenstein was awesome a far cry from the original game of course in the graphics department but, more importantly story. Later, I wandered around snapping selfies of me in from of Turtle Beaches mammoth sized headphones and snapshots Xbox One’s large setup. In Microsoft’s booth they were setting up Kinect Rivals Sports definitely a game I would love to play on the show floor tomorrow. I also snapped a picture of a barely set up of Project Spark another title I must play coming from the wonders over there at Rare Games. As I moseyed around the corner from there I saw roughly 15 monitors half in which had Xbox One’s hooked up, I’m sure the rest will plug into the flat screen tvs. I wandered around avoiding heavy machinery and guys and gals pushing carts around with serious merch and building supplies and I got side swiped by that hinted at behemoth two legged dinosaur monster from the game Evolve and this statue is surely fine crafted and gargantuan!
There was several sections setup for pc play for titles from developers like NC Soft & Carbine Studios WildStar and games like Infinite crisis which has a large section carved out with custom comfy gamer PC chairs on stage and off… sounds like some great things will happen in that side of the convention center. I have heard some rumbling about Infinite crisis but, when I saw a little bit of the cast which is DC universe characters, if you didn’t know made me flip my wig (just a tad). When I took a deeper look on the outskirts of the show floor where all the large displayed casted its shiny shadows I saw random geekery merchandise from creators like Fangamer whom makes all types of stuff showing reverence to our video game favorites like Animal Crossing New Leaf socks and Legend Of Zelda shirts and the flying P from Super Mario Bros 3. There is plenty from these wonderful folks and hopefully I can catch the ear of one of their booth reps to ask them a few questions for realotakugamer.com. I also saw small booths displaying mobile games, This weekend I will try to over the small indie mobile games that are glue that binds this convention. I saw merchandiser booths for retro games and even retro systems to go along with those classic gems. Oh yeah, The Crew had a grand display too giving us the feel of working in the garage set of fast and the furious RIP Paul Walker.
Come to find out after I recharged my body phone and wrote part of this article on the 1st floor when I went back inside to check out some more booths for around 20 minutes an “Enforcer” people whom are hired to secure the floors for random things that shouldn’t be happening, spotted me and noticed I had a Media Pass. The nice fellow asked if i had any “other passes like a vendor badge”, I honestly said “no” and he politely asked me to leave. He walked me to the front counter, the information counter and explained to them that the security at the door was not checking badges properly. I was elated that i was able to experience the behind the scenes of PAX East while also giving you, our readers the inside scoop on my Twitter account.
Boy oh boy I have plenty to say about my 1st PAX East but, to the thing is it hasn’t even started yet! This is only the beginning and oh how sweet it is even at the crunch time for the shows main opening. Stay tuned for future reporting from myself Sean “NoirZilla Gamer” Jacobs and Tiffany Marshall on whats going down on the show floor at PAX East 2014 from RealOtakuGamer.com
Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons is a beautiful game perfectly offset by a dark and bloody story. In Brothers you set off from a nice peaceful town, where the biggest obstacle is a random bully, in order to save your ailing father to dark and bloody areas filled with despair and death. As you travel across the world with their unique controller setup you’ll have to navigate countless simple puzzles and save the occasional NPC who will in turn help you along your journey; which is only becoming more and more perilous as you go.
In between these moments, however, is where you’ll experience the bulk of the game’s brilliant storytelling. Brothers is a nonverbal game where the characters speak in a fantasy language and your only context are the characters heavy use of hand gestures and actions that do a wonderful job of making everything clear while also showcasing each brother’s personalities. While the older brother’s actions are far more focused on helping his father the little brother’s interactions with others and the environment are more carefree.
Simply going down the alternate paths will reward you with experiences you would have otherwise never knew existed. For instance I’m moving on to the next area and I look down to see a man standing on a chair. What I didn’t notice until I went down his path to look was that there was also a noose tied around his neck. Now you can either watch a man commit suicide or have the older brother hold him up while the little climbs the tree and unties the knot. Brothers is full of moments like that in each and every area and the controls really enhance the experience.
In Brothers you simultaneously control them maneuvering a series of puzzles working together through beautiful landscapes. Each brother is assigned a half of the controller and it works flawlessly. While you use the analogs to control each brother’s direction the triggers control their actions. The only problems I experienced with the controls were user based which at times can cause a little frustration. I would routinely have the little brother running into some random wall because I was paying attention to the other or use the wrong side of the controller and falling.
Puzzles or I guess obstacles are obviously the main challenge of the game and all of them use the teamwork component. Whether it’s the big brother using his strength or the little brother using his size each obstacle is easy to navigate for the most part. The challenge comes when you have to “quickly” traverse the area. You’ll be so focused on doing it right and finding your rhythm and it may take you a little longer than expected. The best part about this, however, is that there isn’t a task that will take you forever to figure out or even do. The “harder” ones will take you a few tries tops and you’ll be on your way. Once you learn the controls you’ll be able to fluidly move through every challenge.
Brothers is an extremely short game, but appropriately so. You won’t have this incomplete of rushed feeling by the end of it. Brothers is a must play for anyone who can appreciated a good story and in my opinion should be enjoyed by all. Gamers and non-gamers alike. It’s truly a beautiful game. 9/10.
You can find Brothers: A tale of two sons on Xbox live arcade or currently for free with a PlayStation plus membership.
Fifteen people have been banished from their city and left to their own devices in Medieval times. Can you help them get back on their feet? Banished is a city builder/real time strategy on PC where you start with a randomly generated map and fifteen citizens who must survive harsh weather, natural disasters and disease. You assign citizens to specific jobs like farmer, woodcutter, builder, and hunter. The objective is to repopulate the map and have enough resources to keep your citizens alive.
Banished is about as open to interpretation as Minecraft. All of the things you can build are available right off the bat, all you need are the resources and the workers to build them. The game is incredibly challenging because you have to multitask. Not only do you have to keep your food supply up, but you also have to make sure you have enough firewood ready for the winter. Chopping logs into firewood is a separate job from cutting down trees, so you have to remember to tell your laborers to chop down wood. You also have to make sure your people have warm clothes to wear, so hunters gather leather while tailors make clothes. Then, you have to remember that all of these people need tools to work with, so make sure your laborers are gathering iron and wood so your blacksmith can make tools. It can be quite a mess at times.
The thing I like least about this game is that what you start out with is all you get. Because of that, the game gets monotonous after awhile. There are no objectives other than “don’t die.” You can’t really make upgrades. It’s not like Age of Empires where you can buy upgrades to help your citizens work more efficiently. It’s also not like Sim City where you can make advances in education and medicine. I realize this is a game set in Medieval times and isn’t meant to be advanced through time, but I would have at least liked to see the technology in the game advance through the period.
Even though there are no real objectives to Banished, at least you can use the achievements as guidance for how you want to progress in the game. Most of the achievements start at having a population of 300. After a couple hours of play, my town was only up to 100 citizens. The more you play the game, the better you get at managing your town. You also get faster at expanding your population. I think this is the type of game that gets better with more practice. The last city I built, which I named South Park, was growing fast and had more than enough workers. I had tons of food and I kept up a steady amount of firewood. However, earlier in the game I had turned off tool production since I had reached a good amount, and told that worker to go do something else. There isn’t any alert about being low on tools like there is for pretty much every other resource in the game, so I had forgotten to send my blacksmith back to work. Now none of my citizens can do their jobs and the blacksmith can’t keep up with demand. That’s an example of how once you think you’ve mastered Banished, you’ll eventually make a mistake.
Here are some tips where I’ve learned from my mistakes:
Keep building houses! This is the number one way to keep your population growing. Your citizens have babies, and those babies grow up to be workers. The parents get old too, and die of old age eventually. In one of my earlier towns, I didn’t keep up with building houses and it turned out all my citizens were over the age of 80!
Never turn off firewood production. At the beginning of the game, you’re going to think once you’ve hit your woodcutter’s limit for firewood, that you can send him to a different job and turn off firewood production. You will run out quick, especially as you expand your population. Always keep several woodcutters available to make firewood. That “Low Firewood” alert is annoying!
Keep a couple laborers handy for when you need raw materials. These are citizens who don’t get assigned to specific jobs, they just hang out until you need someone to cut down a tree, or gather stone or iron. It’s really a good idea to always have laborers gathering raw resources.
Create hunters and gatherers first thing. These guys gather food quicker than farming. So while you’re planting farms and orchards and waiting for livestock to mate, hunters and gatherers are going to be your main food source. If you have enough workers, you can build more lodges.
Herbalists aren’t that big of a deal. In my last and best town, I decided not to worry about an herbalist hut. As a result, that was one more worker for something important, my citizens were still at maximum happiness, and I was at maximum health for my longest time yet!
With all its frustrations, I would give Banished 8 out of 10. Even though there are no clear cut objectives, it’s very rewarding when you’ve learned something new on your own and can implement it in a new town. As a huge fan of strategy games, I’ll be playing Banished for weeks to come.
If you want to get banished you can buy it on Steam or DRM free from the source!
On Jan. 31. Ouya announced the second iteration of its android based platform. The new version comes in black matte, has double the memory, an improved controller, and better wifi.
For those unfamiliar, Ouya was a kickstarter funded system that raised over $8 million and sold out on Amazon and at other retailers. The idea behind it was to “disrupt the television gaming market” by allowing indie developers to create games on the console. The target audience is obviously indie studios and indie game lovers. It gives them a console to work on they don’t have to worry about the likes of Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft.
The specs for this very little bundle of joy are as follows: CPU: nVIDIA Tegra 3 – T33 Quad-Core Processor, Memory: 1GB RAM, Console Dimensions: 75mm x 75mm x 82mm (2.9in x 2.9in x 3.2in), Storage: 16GB Internal Flash Storage (expandable via USB Port), USB: One USB 2.0 port, One Micro USB port, Connectivity: WiFi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Ethernet port, and Bluetooth, Video Output: HDMI (up to 1080p HD)
The Ouya also comes with a an improved wireless controller. Although it looks the same according to Ouya they fixed the analog sticks and the buttons from the last version.
If you’re interested in getting the Ouya just follow the link at the top and it can be yours for only $129.00 or you can buy last year’s version which will still be sold for $99. While the company does not foresee any price drops it does offer over 600 games that are all free to try so from that standpoint it seems like a steal.
Nano Assault Neo is a great game that harkens back to the old school games of the 16 bit era brought to you by Shin’En. Games like Gradius, R-Type are ones that I think of when I am trying to sell this game. While, I only use these classic titles as mere reference points into luring you the reader or any random person whom is looking for a good game to try, this game packs so much more. Nano Assault Neo is a very beautiful, fast-paced (16:9 60 frames per seconds) space shooter based inside the microscopic world in linear PCM 5.1 surround sound. Nano Assault isn’t just a side scrolling shooter like the games I originally mentioned yet it is a 3D hybrid of those titles. You will face all sorts of microscopic creatures that will come at you from various angles even from ways you can’t even see them attacking you from. These strange creatures come in all shapes and sizes with a large arsenal of projectiles speeding your way these will not be your only obstacles neither, the world itself presents its own challenges.
“A warrior never enters a battle without a proper weapon” with the “Nanoshop” provided to you in between the 16 stages divided between 4 uniquely designed microscopic cluster worlds you can upgrade your ship with points collected on the previous stage completed with up to 3 different types of Subweapons and 4 Satellites which are position-able anyplace around your ship via your Wii U Gamepad. You can buy extra lives, Item Attractors, Score Doublers amongst other additions to your arsenal. Each world has its own large “extreme boss” after the 4 stages are completed within each cluster. Then fun can also be shared with a friend locally via co-op play using the TV & gamepad the gamepad even displays a small live feed in the corner of it displaying the action that’s going on screen with your team member. Additionally, missions are given to you that you can decide to complete if you desire along with competing with online with the ranking system provided to you the system ranges from all modes available to you within the game like single-player, two-player & survivor mode to name a few.
This game is another great title that utilizes the Wii u gamepad well in small subtle ways that are intuitive and not overly done. Nano Assault can be used totally independent of the television, which is a plus for a parent of a house load of children and a wife who just might want to use the TV right when I am deep within a battle on one of these tyrannical micro worlds of Nano Assault Neo. This game can be played by any level of gamer but, you have been warned this game is not for the faint of heart, just endure the pain that will occur you will be thankful afterwards. This is an excellent shooter to the controller gripping end, I hope my words has moved you to go pick up this title on Nintendo’s Eshop now available for $9.99 in the U.S. Don’t miss out on this great game you already slept long enough on Shin’En games Nano Assault Neo.
Welcome back to this one player adventure starring your very own legendary whip lashing vampire killer from Transylvania Simon Belmont. You should know by now this journey will be fraught with danger but, what do we do in the face of that? We sure don’t cringe I can tell you that.
Unepic (EnjoyUp Games)
Try this mixture platform, role playing, comedy that takes place in a fantasy of medieval lore. Set in the 80’s Join our hero Daniel a cool nerd that’s into role playing board games and sci-fi movies as he is thrust into a world he thinks is a bad hallucination. How long can he go before he realizes that where he has landed is oh so much more? 7 bosses, 70 spells and 100 weapons filled with snarky dialogue and pop culture references. Unepic is sure to spark up your inner geek, come on give it a try!
F1 Race Stars: Powered up edition (Codemaster)
3, 2, 1, Goooooooo! Blast onto the race course with over the top Formula One racer with brand new content, featured circuits, loop-the-loops and shortcuts famous transformed tracks all in the company of 1-4 player pals via split screen.
Contrast is an ode to the storytelling of the early 1920’s.It has an artistic film noir feel to it, this is one of the main reasons why I downloaded this game on PlayStation Network (though this game is also available on Steam) Oh, plus this game is free of charge brought to me by my lovely PlayStation Plus subscription also available for $15
First, I will touch on the gameplay because the crown jewel of this game is the actual story which in today’s gaming scene is hard to come by. This game first starts you off by briefly going through tutorials while pushing the story forward. The mechanics are simplistic in nature there are only four moves you learn Jump, Dash, Interact & Phase in/out (For transitioning into & out of the shadow world). It is slightly difficult in some parts due to timing or maneuvering of the game worlds objects you have to position to progress forward. Contrast is setup like a stage play the game is broken into acts. Within each act there are a set number of light orbs called “Luminaries” you will need these orbs to lighten certain paths needed to progress through the stage. Contrast is considered to me as a 3D puzzle platformer and plays as such but, the shadow play really adds complexity to this simple game. The design of the game has been used before but, is still fairly new to me and to the console platform as far as I know. Games like Super Mario 3D World has touched on this artistic shadow game mechanic along with a few others. Shifting from reality to the shadow realm is part of this games allure fun and frustration will ensue because of this new found mechanic. You will find yourself in precarious situations whereas you will find yourself stumped in several puzzles. Please do not fret because simplicity is the key and it is not as hard as you think it is. In many cases you will find that you were over thinking the whole situation.
When first playing Contrast you will see it doesn’t shine with all the next gen shiny graphics. Easily something that can be done with last gen tech. Though, it does have some high res textures throughout the world you can still come to appreciate the beauty that this game portrays. The neon lights through the city scape to the brownish toned film noir feel the world has down to the shadow play game mechanics that are the main catalyst propelling the games storyline forward. You will be impressed how the developers and story writers let the story unfold. The crown jewel of this is definitely that, the story.This game drops you off into a story about a family torn apart by the complexities of love, trust and loyalty. The main characters of the game are Didi and Dawn the latter is the avatar you will play as. Dawn (The playable character) is the imaginary burlesque circus performer dressed friend of the adolescent girl Didi. The Mother of our character is a nightclub songstress Kat whom is fed up with her husband Johnny because he lives in the skies with lofty get rich schemes. While her parents try to hide the ever-present issue they face as a couple. Didi just wants her dad to live back with them because Mom kicked him out once again. Johnny failing at almost everything he does. He truly wants the best for his family. His dreams in the clouds are not helping paying the bills. While Kat is struggling to keep her home together and a roof over Didi’s and her head all alone is left to do things that drives added stress into their lives. Kat leaves her daughter to her own devices at home alone while she tries to make a living. Dawn is created to help her coupe the emotional stresses put upon this young lady as they escape to the city to have a little fun much is revealed to us through their night time adventures.
There are a few more caveats to add spice to this story but, I will leave it to you experience because I repeat the story is what you truly what you want to experience with Contrast. I tried to eliminate as much of the spoiler content within my review while exposing enough of the story to you so, that it will shine just enough light on this title in hopes that you will purchase/download Contrast .Please try to get into this sweet and touching story that displays the skills of the developers skills in storytelling.
Bronies hate them or love them do have quite a lot of talented individuals among them. Their latest creation? A visual novel based off of fan art.
Before you completely dismiss the idea as ridiculous I should tell you of another visual novel called Katawa Shoujo. It was a visual novel sparked by a picture based off posts on 4chan. The link I will post tells the story better than I can. But back to the My Little Pony based game.
The resulting game is Starswirl Academy, where the protagonist is able to attend the prestigious institution his senior year because of his friend Twilight Sparkle. Also the protagonist is a rock named Tom in the original TV show. Before I delve into the plot and what I believe the game’s goal will be based on all the information the demo gives so far I’ll look at the work that went into the visual novel.
Visually, the game’s backgrounds are as beautiful as that of any visual novel that comes out of top notch companies and the background music is nice and simple. The main problem with the game for some might be in the character designs. I like how they don’t make Pinkie’s hair as big and ridiculous as it is in the show, while some might dislike it tremendously. For me it’s Rarity’s hair that looks ridiculous, and I feel if they had drawn it some other way it might have looked much better.
What makes this game truly special is the touches they put here and there. For example the images of the characters always go through appropriate changes in facial expression, the cutie mark icons at the end of finished dialogue for each characters, and the way they zoom in on Pinkie when she’s too close to you.
The demo of the game also tells a lot not only about the quality of the work but pretty much told me what the entire game will probably be about. One of their questions on their FAQ page is about why they chose Tom to be the main character, this is their response: “Because he’s a named show character that doesn’t have much fan work associated with him. He provides a good blank slate in terms of personality, but comes off as a very solid character when you get to know him. It also makes us laugh every time we get to make a geology pun.” This “blank slate” is a very important part of the game. The beginning of the demo talks about Tom’s dilemma of not really knowing who he is and letting people make choices for him. He’s not really sure why he wants to attend Starswirl Academy but is hoping to find the answer to that there. The game adds in something extra to make sure the game is not only about Tom’s growth as a person but his interaction with the other characters. The school has a long held tradition of having students give each other pins they call “flair” that represent either their personality or hobby. The flair is usually given by the upperclassman who’s gotten to know a person best, and they are usually very personal. I get a feeling the game will be extremely based on having Tom develop a very close relationship (more than likely romantic) with one of the girls who will give him his flair (although he doesn’t know it) and aid him reach self actualization.
In the midst of unavoidable moe.
This has a lot of storytelling potential and can make for a very touching story to some. This game was made in hopes to create something special to both fans and non-fans of the series and I think it can deliver on that promise. I will see if my predictions are correct once the full game comes out. In the meantime you too can play the demo.
You’ve made it this far, so have some Derpy.
Shoot Derpy we’re treading on copyrights here.
This game will be released for free by Zap Apple Project. The game is made possible by the volunteer artists, musicians, and many other talented individuals lending their time and effort towards making a game everyone can enjoy.