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a crooked mile

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a crooked mile

Have you ever wanted to see your favorite childhood fairytale characters as scumbags, liars, criminals, and prostitutes? The Wolf Among Us is a five part point and click game by Telltale Games letting you do just that. Based on the Fables comic book series, you play as Bigby – the human version of the Big Bad Wolf. You’re the sheriff in Fabletown – an underground community of fairytale characters who have lost their home world. For the past two episodes, Bigby has been investigating the murders of two prostitutes, with the help of Snow White.

In this episode, everything you thought to be true about the villains is wrong. By the end of episode three, you find out that there are bigger powers at play – not just Ichabod Crane acting out his sick and twisted fantasies. We find out about a new villain – The Crooked Man. He might be the real mastermind behind the crimes, but with the way the plot twists, you never know.

I think episode three has been the best so far because the plot is paced better than the other two episodes. I never felt like I was in a cut scene too long, or clicking on clues too long. There were just enough quick time events and dialogue woven throughout the game to keep it interesting. There was never a dull moment and I didn’t feel like the episode was too short, like I did with episode two. I never felt like the creators put all their eggs in one basket in one scene. Because of this, I say The Wolf Among Us – A Crooked Mile is a must buy.

The Wolf Among Us is available on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

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When I was first asked to play Conception II I haven’t played an RPG in quite sometime. Going into this game I didn’t expect an extremely fantastic title or anything remotely interesting…mainly because I didn’t know anything about the title or series for that matter. Then I realized that the more of it I play the more intrigued I became. Then the experience became a little more jaded. While the game wasn’t bad it became slightly repetitive and more so cumbersome than anything.

Conception-II

The game takes place in the World of Aterra where they worship the Star God where they prosper through the power of Star Energy. You are known as God’s Gift who trains at an academy for disciples which is a special group of people who are summoned to fight against monsters who come from Dusk Circles. As God’s Gift you and a collective of females perform a ritual for the church known as Classmating to generate Star Children. Why is this important? The Star Children assist you in combat along with you and a female partner and they all have a particular class and several set of set of skills.

Defense Pose Conception II

I’ve never been so confused and befuddled with confusion quite like I have been while playing the game. I’m not so much confused into the depth of the world as I am with why some of these things are especially necessary. For a lack of better words, classmating is essentially having sex to produce children who can fight. It is blatantly obvious considering the underlying tone of everyone and the way each girl presents themselves before and after it occurs. Doing it just makes you feel slightly more dirty. Even more so when you are forced into doing classMANting which while really funny is in a way kind of perverse.

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Engaging enemies is where the game gets even more unique. Once you encounter an enemy inside one of the games many labyrinth’s you are forced to choose between normal JRPG actions such as attack, skill and defense. The most interesting aspect is the combat system in which you choose the side to attack your foe. Every enemy has a weak side and the choice of each side benefits you during combat. My only main concern with the battle system is that you are given the option to guard and yet it does nothing. It states that you will take less damage but you still take just as much as if you weren’t defending. I have also noticed that for a JRPG it’s pretty easy. I have played much easier games but I never really felt as if I there was too much going on and the difficulty made matters worse.

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Graphically the game is rather impressive as it features fully animated anime style cut scenes and moves at a silky smooth 60 FPS. The in game engine isn’t bad as it looks more like an above average PlayStation 2 title with a few more bells and whistles. The thing I was more impressed with was the music and the character design. These two things were probably my main drive for playing this game as I was more intrigued just to see what the next monster would look like. To be quite honest the designers seem to draw heavily from the Persona series as the music and monsters seem as if they came straight from that source.

Overall the game is like “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears” as it doesn’t do anything overall really impressive nor does it do anything really bad. Although it’s themes may not be quite suitable for everyone it’s still interesting enough with it cool soundtrack and character design. The game may not be for everyone but I do feel as if it worth a play through for anyone who is itching for a new RPG to play for their Vita. It hits the mark at being just right.

 

By Gehennakat On 25 Mar, 2014 At 06:12 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
Delsin

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Delsin

I hate inFAMOUS: Second Son. Not in a bad way, but in the way that I can’t seem to get anything done (that includes job, house, family, etc.). I’m not talking about bugs or glitches either. The problem is that publisher Sony Computer Entertainment and developer Sucker Punch Productions have created such a realistic sandbox that I spend most of my time running, leaping, and flying that I forget what mission I was on or what I was doing to begin with, but I digress.

Smoke1inFAMOUS: Second Son begins 7 years after the events of inFAMOUS 2 in New Marais after Cole MacGrath’s heroic sacrifice. The new protagonist is Delsin Rowe and he’s portrayed as an Akomish Native American. Now the tribe is actually fictional, but as a Native American I’m glad they’ve actually included someone with a heritage to base his personality and interactions off of. Delsin lives in Washington amongst his tribe and is also the resident trouble maker. Being a graffiti artist, Delsin has been in conflict with the local authorities on more than one occasion. Unfortunately for Delsin, the local constable is none other than his brother Reggie. I’m going to avoid story spoilers for the sake of those who haven’t been playing and just say after a confrontation Delsin learns he is what they call a conduit. All conduits have now been dubbed bio-terrorists by the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) and are being rounded up and stored away or tested on. After a few cut scenes and a short tutorial Delsin finds himself in Seattle on the hunt for those who have wronged his tribe.

Like inFAMOUS 2, there is a karmic scale that impacts what abilities and powers can be upgraded by the choices you make during the game. I focused on a “Good Boy” play through and maintained that, for the most part, through until the conclusion. Now karmic choices play out in certain levels, but even running through the street there are opportunities abound to be the daring do gooder or an all-around evil bastard. As an evil doer you can harass street musicians, break up activists who are against conduits, execute DUP soldiers, etc. As you come across other conduits you’re also given the opportunity to corrupt or redeem them to continue on whatever path you choose. As the good guy you can heal people caught in the cross fire, destroy drug stashes, and even take down DUP grunts with non-lethal means. Once you choose your focus, your powers will follow suit. Once I absorbed my neon powers and reached guardian level karma I was able to slow time and zoom in for accurate sniper shots. Target’s heads are highlighted red for an evil execution or blue on their feet and legs for an immobilization.

neon dashI think one of the more annoying problems with the original two inFAMOUS titles was the means of locomotion. Cole had some cool ways to get around, but it felt like it still took forever to get anywhere. This is why I hate the abilities in this new game (sarcasm). Delsin’s first two powers are a smoke ability and a neon charged ability, and both can get you around town in a matter of seconds. The smoke dash ability covers ground while leaving you unexposed to attacks until you form back together. This also plays into the myriad of vents now located on buildings that let you dash into the ducting only to materialize on the roof instead of manually scaling the side of 5 story building. The neon abilities answer to this a sprint that moves at light speed (think the Flash) and lets him run up the side of buildings to get to the top. So why do I hate this? Mainly because I’d start a level and begin making my way to the objective only to get sidetracked by the scenery, or a tall building I wanted to vault, DUP on the street, blast shards (yes, those are back), etc. The means of getting around Seattle vary and are a blast. I won’t spoil the last two abilities or how Delsin comes about acquiring them, but they also make for some fun ways to get around town. Not only that, but the ability to trade out your powers on the fly is fun too. Air dropping into a group of DUP from the rooftop, to disable them with smoke headshots, to then stealing some neon from a nearby sign to finish of the rest with a stasis grenade never gets old. You’re limited by your creativity… and your ability to finish an actual level without being distracted.

smoke chainThe devs at Sucker Punch deserve as much kudos as they can get because they’ve created a truly beautiful next gen console experience. I’ve heard people complaining that the characters are bland and uninteresting, but I disagree. I’d wager these are the people who played the game for 3 days straight without sleep or human interaction. Games like this are like a great meal and need to be savored. The cut scenes, facial expressions, and voice acting are all top notch and fit well within the story given to us. My only grievance (and it’s little) is the inclusion of a bad karmic side. Yes, I know it gives more options and a bit more depth, but it doesn’t flow with what we see of Delsin, those he cares about, or sense of community his tribe instills in him. The city of Seattle needs to be addressed as well because it seems like a living breathing organism. From the buildings, to the lighting, to the pedestrians on the streets Sucker Punch has crafted a very realistic city for us to play in. This is evident in the audio for the game as well. You can stop on the corner and just listen to everything that’s going around. The last big tip of the hat to Sucker Punch is the lighting, particles, and physics of the environments. Delsin’s smoke and neon abilities are absolutely gorgeous (so is one of his last ones) to behold, with lights dancing off the walls as you zip around, to the small particles of smoke and fire coming from Delsin as he teleports. Physics come into play even more since now you can actually destroy objects in the environments instead of trying to scale them all.

neon ground poundWith all the next gen titles coming out I’d be remiss not to encourage any PS4 owner to check out inFAMOUS: Second Son and experience everything it has to offer. In addition, there was a day one patch that added about 4-5 hours of extra gameplay and an online hunt dubbed “Paper Trails” (we will be doing a follow up on this DLC). This combined with fantastic acting, animation, gameplay, and story will make sure inFAMOUS: Second Son doesn’t disappear into a puff of smoke.

(9.0 out of 10)

_-Alpha-Protocol-PC-_

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Have you ever watched a Bond film and thought “that’s what I want to do”? Well, you might change your mind after you play Alpha Protocol. Not because the game is specifically bad, but because you’ll get a feel of what being a spy in the field is actually like.

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Alpha Protocol is an action role-playing stealth game. What a mouthful, but accurate. It was released in 2010, and for a four year old game it feels…older. That’s not a bad thing, mind you.  Most gamers would say their favorites are from a generation of consoles that are no longer distributed, but those games are chosen quite often out of nostalgia. On the one hand those games were the best of their time, but on the other hand they fall short compared to some modern innovations. The point here is that Alpha Protocol feels like one of those games. Something you loved for what it was back when you played it the first time, but over the years it has lost its edge.

To start, Alpha Protocol is truly a spy story. You are Michael Thorton, a new recruit in the Alpha Protocol program, and your job is to serve your country and stop the bad guys. Sounds simple enough given this is the idea behind more than few games. However, you are a spy. Your job is to get things done with minimal exposure. Whether you kill everyone in your way or just leave them with a tortuous headache, no one should know you’re there. Stealth is a great game mechanic, and Alpha Protocol does a great job of using it. Except for the bugs.

Let me talk about those for a moment because most of the issues I had with this game stem from bugged stealth mechanics. There were times when I would be crouched behind a wall, completely out of sight and fully buffed in sound dampening, and taking a few steps alerted a guard more than ten feet away. This would then alert every guard on the map. And if I should come out of cover and actually be seen, one guard would be enough to expose my location to every guard who would then proceed to start shooting. It’s easy enough to rid yourself of guards and turn off an alarm, but in a minute I’ll tell you why this was such a problem.

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This game is good. It’s hard to call it great, and at times it isn’t all that fun, but it’s good. Agent Thorton is betrayed on his first assignment for Alpha Protocol and is set on a path to make things right. Here is where my favorite aspect of the game comes in. Choice. As Thorton you get to choose what happens. How you interact with others can determine how they respond to you and your actions. Gaining friendship has advantages, but so does rivalry. Who you get on your side can change the outcome; deciding who to ally with and who to piss off, that’s the trick. This game requires you to pay attention. Between gathered intelligence, dossier information, and other tidbits you collect along the way there is an abundance of knowledge. Knowing where you’re going, why you’re going there, and who you’re facing will make things far easier. The game doesn’t do all the thinking for you. The missions you choose to do, and the order you choose to do them in, also has impact.

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That’s all great, but how do you actually play? It’s simple enough. There is combat, stealth, hacking, and collecting. In combat you can put points into different weapons: shotguns, SMGs, assault rifles, pistols, and hands. There are also gadgets; from grenades, to flash bangs, to health kits, you can carry a minimal set into missions and use them for different situations. Stealth, while not a requirement in mission, is a good way to get all that you want. Hacking is dealt with in three ways: computers, keypads, and safes. Hacking a computer requires finding a series of non-moving letters and numbers amongst a stream of flashing figures. A keypad is simply hacked by matching numbers is ascending order to their circuit. A safe is a lock picking screen where you move pins into position and click them in place. Collecting is just what it sounds like. Make sure you explore every room because information, money, and security systems may be hiding anywhere (which is useful when you are lacking cash to buy that armor you want). You will spend the majority of the game working on these skills, getting used to being in cover and sneaking into position, only to reach “boss” fights and the final mission.

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Remember when I said how bugged the stealth system was? Here is where that becomes important. Boss fights, including most of the final mission, are tough. Add in the fact that stealth becomes useless and they get tougher. Here, fight a helicopter that can shoot you through cover, never loses target lock, and you have to fire one RPG at a time at it and those RPGs are scattered across the map. On top of that, here are five men who are going to shoot you, chase you, and know where you are because the helicopter never loses target lock. And if one enemy knows where you are, they all do. It’s infuriating.

I will say that I had fun with this game. The story pulls you in, and you feel like a true spy when things go right. The stealth is fantastic, when it works. The characters are ranging, and often have unexpected stories. I plan to try it again, make some different choices and see what happens, but I do like where my initial instincts lead. And that’s good. This isn’t a game that says “here, make a choice” and then gives you a cookie cutter ending. Who you decide to be will change the path, and that’s nice to see.

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There are other things I could cover. How bad targeting is, how wonky movement can be, how bad pathing is for NPCs, how many boss fights I won because of glitches…

If I were to recommend this game it would be lightly. If you like stealth games and spy stories try it out. If you don’t, skip it. Alpha Protocol requires dedication. It asks you to sit down, pay attention, and accept that things will not always go the way you want. You may do a bit of reloading, but know that the only save option is auto saves.

With all that said, you can always use brute force, and then stealth doesn’t matter so much. It will take more time, you’ll face more enemies, and you may lose out on some of the finer points, but at least you’ll know why all the guards are after you.

By NoirZillaGamer On 16 Mar, 2014 At 04:47 AM | Categorized As Featured, Mobile Gaming, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments
deadlings title

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 deadlings title

Brought to the Android & IOS mobile platforms on March 6, 2014 by Artifex Mundi sp. z o.o. and Nimbi Studios 

Meet Mr. Grim (Death) in a desperate attempt to gain friends in his lonely mundane life, he seized an golden opportunity to obtain some friends by utilizing his industrious spirit and capitalize on the zombie outbreak that is ravaging the land. Welcome to Deadlings Inc. Grim acquires a factory to manage and maintain these brain eating hordes of the undead. One by one Mr. G creates zombie types to help mankind all in an attempt to make these zombie legions into productive workers citizens ;) and to add some new friends into his barren “Facetome” page online.

mr grim

Your mission is to use your undead team of Mr. Grim’s worker buddies to navigate through small yet technical stages filled with floor switches, saw blades, wall trampolines, lasers, locked doors, spiked pits and beyond. In some stages you will use one zombie and others you will switch between multiple zombies each using their select skillsets to help you triumph the levels thrown at you. There are situations where you will also use multiple zombies at once on stage; it is up to you to make sure you do whats possible to get to the exit door. If you mistakenly sacrifice one of your deadmen you have a opportunity to re-animate them and try once more though, you only have a limited amount of attempts to try this option. Deadlings has a rating system in place you will get rated on each stage by the collection of delectable brains you acquire each stage has its own amount of required to obtain a perfect rating. If you are planning to play the Android version like myself and are a trophy lover, Google Play has its own achievement system available of course provided by the lovely folks over at Artifax Mundi/ Nimbi development teams. This does drive the user to beat each stage to its fullest along with trying their best to speed run this bad boy! After the 1st chapter you will unlock the “Nightmare Mode” which will make you journey through Deadlings levels exponentially more difficult and bring out your competitive nature, if you dare.

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Deadling Inc. Roster;

Bonesack (Runner)- Running & Jumping is this zombies forte’ & its up to your quick screen taps to make sure he avoids all the obstacles in his way.

Stencher (Floater)- Controlled by his own backside gasses this bloated putrid zombie drifts through the air utilizing your very own skills to help it maneuver through the a gauntlet of aerial saw blades & wall spikes.

Creep (Sticker To Surfaces)- A slimey legless zombie built for the jumping & sticking to the many surface of the levels be careful where you leap because not all surfaces are meant for your landing.

Lazy brain (Remote Controlled Undead)- Controlled by your direct control while the other types are lead by short to medium screen presses this buddy starts and stops by your command.

Deadlings overview

Deadlings is jam packed with over 100 puzzles to run, float, creep & slip through though, at the time of my review there were only 60 stages available for me to conquer. Each of the 4 chapters originally available consists of 15 levels each. The 1st chapter is comprised of “test” puzzles during the progress of this chapter you will be introduced to 3 of the 4 zombie types. 1st you will use the “Runner” then the “Creep” next will be the “Stincher” as you get accustomed to each zombie type you will encounter several different scenarios set up to challenge your hand eye coordination skills. When the 2nd chapter is introduced an additional zombie will be added to your roster the “Lazy brain” after this Deadlings will increasingly get more difficult applying the scenarios thrown at you during the initial chapter you will have a blast.

Deadlings will challenge you with a plethora of challenging level designs while being filled with fun cutscenes & silly zombies like in the title Plants vs. Zombies. You will not be frightened by these zombies (no way!), but Mr. Grim might turn up the heat just for a few chuckles in the end. You will be drawn to Deadlings’ whimsical nature including what was mentioned previously. This game is available on iOS, Windows Store & Amazon Store ($1.99) and Android (Free) platforms. Under the hood, there are also some items for you to purchase to extend your playthroughs. Though with a simple timer, you will unlock more playing time after you expire your allotted turns.

* While I played this fun title on my Samsung Galaxy SIII, I suggest a much larger screen like the Galaxy Note/Mega or any sized tablet especially if you have hot dog fingers like myself though, this game is definitely playable on my device.

brothers-1

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brothers-1

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.

By Sofie Sohan On 28 Feb, 2014 At 05:13 AM | Categorized As Conventions, Editorials, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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The winter this year in New York has been particularly harsh on everyone, both mentally and physically. The Vikings even thought Ragnarok, the Viking Apocalypse was scheduled for this weekend.

{cue Led Zeppelin – Immigrant song here}

So it was no surprise to me, that when I looked at my significant other last week during dinner and casually asked “So… what do you want to do this weekend?” that they sighed, returning with nothing but a non-committal shrug. Then, through a series of strange events, we found ourselves with our car packed to the hilt (it’s normal to need eight tiaras for a weekend…right?), on the road to New Jersey for Jeff Mach’s Wicked Faire, which turned out to be the perfect cure for the winter blues.

I SPIT FIRE AT YOU, WINTER

What exactly IS Wicked Faire? The more accurate question is what ISN’T Wicked Faire? It is part convention, part renaissance festival, part music festival, but 100% stress-free fun, as I quickly found out. The following is taken from the About section of the Wicked Faire website, and I would absolutely agree that this is an accurate assessment:

“The Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire is a miniature explosion of entertainment and activity, wrapped up in a fresh-baked Renaissance Faire exterior, filled to the brim with big tasty chunks of well-seasoned festival, spiced with a bit of convention, then dipped in a sauce of non-convention, and served at a terribly low price during one fantastic frenetic weekend every year. There are so many madly diverse fun things going on at any one time that, in general, if you come looking to find a good time, you are damn likely to find one.”

(Read more here: Wicked Faire: About )

Wicked Faire is an extravagant, fascinating, enthralling, all-you-can-experience buffet of entertainment, shows, interactions and fun. It is devoted to creating a weekend of acceptance, and creating a space where any non-normative person can express themselves; be it through geek, steampunk, kink, sexuality, renaissance, cosplay, burlesque et cetera. You can be as dressed up or as dressed down as you like – I wore cocktail dresses all weekend while a friend I was with wore jeans and a geeky T-shirt and we both still garnered an equal amount of positive attention. There were a variety of things to do, people to see and musicians to watch. There was a secondary festival going on at the same time, Voltaire’s Necrocomiccon, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any time to check that event out (though I really wanted to!)

We had gotten to New Jersey on Friday at about 10 PM, after a few GPS mishaps and a quick Taco Bell break. We checked in at the Doubletree Somerset, and received room keys, which apparently also came with free chocolate chip cookies. Free cookies are always a great start to a convention.

FREE COOKIES

After a quick costume change and some light social interaction, we went party hopping within the hotel, which was fun in and of itself. I woke up at 11 AM on Saturday and decided to check out the dealers rooms. The vendors themselves were incredibly varied, from leather armour to teas, steampunk hats, knives, gourmet dipping sauces, and hair flowers. I spent a good three hours inside the rooms (that’s a long time when you’re hungover), talking to all of the vendors. We all laughed about my state of hangover, and one of them even gave me aspirin. All of the goods being sold were of high quality with an emphasis on homemade, and the fact that the vendors actually took the time to talk to me in depth about their products despite only buying a few small things, shows that they care about their consumer base.

I have provided links to a few of the vendors I personally talked to over the weekend with a glimpse of some of my favorite products of theirs:

- Gorgeous handcrafted wire elf and dragon ears jewellery with precious stones: Belethil, Jewelry by Alanya Divine

I love this so much. What’s great about these is you can wear them to LARPs, or as standalone jewellery.

- Handcrafted steampunk and leather hats, goggles and other accessories: The Blonde Swan

I love red, I love lace, and I love hats… so naturally I love this.

- Hand blended artisan teas that are inspired by music, works of literature and fantasy art. Gluten free and vegan friendly! Dryad Tea:

TEA DELICIOUS TEA

- Infused oils, dips, kitchen wares and cookbooks with a pagan touch: Cucina Aurora 

I cannot stress how delicious this infused oil was enough.

- Handcrafted hair flowers, sticks and fascinators: Pyraara

I love the combo of hair flower + feather.

Saturday afternoon I caught a cello performance by The Wandering Cellist. I had played cello all throughout secondary school, and the technical skill displayed was astounding. It should also be noted that Mike covered “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica on cello. I REALLY wish I had caught it on video, but I felt my cell phone recording wouldn’t do it justice. You can find more cello music here: The Wandering Cellist 

Saturday evening we caught Busts & Trunks Burlesque show. They are a division of the Ocelot on a Leash Theater Company, and are from Philadelphia. The Busts and Trunks division caters specifically to geek culture, and the show they had put on Saturday night was entirely Doctor Who themed. They were incredibly awesome and varied in their performances, and my favorite performance was an Amy & Rory burlesque number to Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” closely followed by a second favorite of a Captain Jack Harkness boylesque number.

Busts & Trucks Burlesque

Our Sunday was a bit more relaxed. Though we wanted to do more, we only went to a couple of other things, an awesome pastie-making workshop by the girls of Busts & Trunks, and another burlesque show, this time by The White Elephant Burlesque Society, who hail from New Jersey. I’m pretty sure I lost my voice from cheering so hard between the two shows. This show was a bit less nerd oriented, but still just as entertaining, with a variety in content; there was ballet, traditional Hawaiian dancing, chair and fan dancing were all used in their acts. One member of their troupe, Holly Ween, ate cookies like Cookie Monster while dancing to Lady Gaga. It was incredible.

Delicious, delicious cookies…

The weekend setlist for WEBS can be found here

All in all, I would have to say as a first time attendee, that Wicked Faire was a LOT of fun for everyone, regardless of what subculture you’re into, and I would definitely go back! I’ve also made tentative plans to attend Steampunk’s World Faire, which runs Friday, May 16th – Sunday, May 18th, 2014 in Piscataway, NJ and is also run by Jeff Mach events. You, dear reader, should come along too.

Until next time, this is Sofie Sohan signing out! 

By Lorie Taylor On 27 Feb, 2014 At 04:44 PM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo Wii/Wii U, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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First Appeared on The Legend of Lorie

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

If you’re looking for a challenge on your Nintendo Wii U system, look no further as Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze will most likely make you go bananas… in a good way, of course. Retro Studios brings a direct sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns giving players a new adventure, additional playable characters, and unique ways to take on brand new, gorgeous levels.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze takes place after the Nintendo Wii title, Donkey Kong Country Returns. Starting the game, you see Donkey Kong and his friends watch as their home is overrun by animal vikings known as the “Snomads” who freeze Donkey Kong’s island. Donkey Kong and his gang set off in an attempt to take back their home traversing through water levels, icy terrains, and many other challenges.

Snomads
The evil snowmads that are the new enemies in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.

If you’ve played the previous Donkey Kong Country games, you’ll be very familiar with the frustrating yet addicting platforming mechanics. Donkey Kong can roll, jump, and ground smash his way through enemies and obstacles. Besides your basic maneuvering on the ground, Donkey Kong and the gang will need to swing on vines, travel on various vehicles and animals, and now swim through treacherous deterrents. Controlling DK and the gang while swimming will take some time getting used to at first as the controls were a bit shaky, however, I was surprised at the attention to detail that was given to the newly added swimming gameplay. If you were to jump in the water, DK gracefully dives right in instead of his normal clunky, gorilla jump. In addition to the new underwater levels and swimming mechanics; the vehicles in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze have been revamped a bit. When riding in a mine cart, the screen will sometimes switch to 3D where controls will be shifted to navigate the cart by jumping from side to side. This happens interchangeably from side scrolling, to 3D, and  then viewing the game from above.  This adds a slightly new challenge to the already difficult mine cart levels. Speaking of difficulty, the Donkey Kong Country series has been known to give even the best of platformer gamers nightmares but in Tropical Freeze, the difficulty has been toned down a notch. Now don’t get me wrong, this game is still incredibly difficult. If you press the jump button too hard while on a mine cart level, you’ll hit an enemy flying only inches above the track or an incorrectly timed barrel shot will equal your inevitable demise. Nintendo, however, added a few things to make DK’s adventure a little bit easier for players like a shield power up you can buy from Funky Kong’s shop to help you pass that frustrating mine cart level. Regardless, if you’re a patient person then you’ll be looked at as a saint in the gaming community for beating a pretty difficult game.

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Underwater levels are a new and fun addition to the Donkey Kong Country series.

Retro Studios has done an amazing job at rebooting an already beloved video game that originally released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System about 20 years ago. One of the most notable things has been the revamped soundtrack and the stunning graphics. A new soundtrack has been added to Tropical Freeze but veterans of the Donkey Kong Country series will notice a couple of tracks that sound a bit familiar. Why does it sound so familiar? Because David Wise, the original composer of the Donkey Kong Country series, was brought back on board for Tropical Freeze. You’ll find yourself humming or bobbing your head to the catchy, island-y type tunes that are in this game. On the subject of island-y type… “things”, the graphics in Tropical Freeze are beautiful. DK’s home has been transformed into an tropical mix of arctic and fire-y madness. Many levels take place in chaotic situations that DK and his gang have to escape from. One specific example that was actually one of my favorites in the game was a level that took place inside of a tornado. I found myself several times putting the controller down and just gawking at some of the brilliantly thought out levels and scenery. If you’re like me and notice the little things, you’ll see that the updated graphics have improved on the Wii U system. Donkey Kong looks “fuzzy” and you’ll notice Cranky Kong’s wrinkles in his muzzle. Basically, the game is gorgeous and it looks absolutely flawless playing on the television and off-screen on the Wii U Game pad. Tropical Freeze does not utilize the Wii U game pad in anyway except for having the ability to play off screen while leaving the main television screen available for another activity. I was slightly disappointed that there was not as much integration with the Wii U game pad but was still satisfied with the ability to play the game on the game pad when someone else in my household demanded the main television.

I’ve mentioned a few times in this review already but obviously Donkey Kong can’t save his island alone and in Tropical Freeze he has more than just Diddy Kong to help him on his quest. Besides Diddy Kong, additional playable characters have been added to the game with nifty abilities that will help with certain challenges players will come across. Diddy and Donkey Kong’s blonde haired friend, Dixie Kong, joins the gang and has some pretty useful tricks up her sleeve… or should we say ponytail? Look for the barrel with the cute, pink text to release Dixie and utilize her helicopter-like pony tail ability. This ability will help Donkey Kong hover in the air after a jump and will also lift him higher for a bit. If you’re playing as Dixie in co-operative mode, Dixie uses a bubble gun and a projectile and can also double jump. Cranky Kong also joins the team this time and even though he’s old, he is definitely still useful to Donkey Kong. Cranky can use his cane to bounce DK off of the ground and traverse through terrains that contain spikes or thorns. If you’re playing as Cranky Kong in co-operative mode, he throws dentures at enemies as his projectile weapon. With all of these playable characters; when you collect 100 bananas, you can utilize a new ability called “Kong Pow”. When you use Diddy Kong’s kong pow, all enemies on the screen will be turned into red balloons which are extra lives. If you use Dixie Kong’s kong pow, all of the enemies on the screen will turn into golden hearts which allow Donkey Kong to withstand one more hit before depleting red hearts. Last but not least, if you use Cranky Kong’s kong pow ability, all enemies into banana coins which allows players to purchase items from Funky Kong’s shop. With the addition of these characters, tackling the challenges in Tropical Freeze makes things a bit more interesting.

After collecting 100 bananas, players can activate the "kong pow" ability which does different things depending on which character DK is partied with.
After collecting 100 bananas, players can activate the “kong pow” ability which does different things depending on which character DK is partied with.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is a fantastic addition to the Donkey Kong Country series. Fans of the Donkey Kong Country series will instantly recognize the upbeat music, the difficult yet addicting platforming mechanics, and the memorable characters that really make the Donkey Kong Country series special. Don’t be fooled, however, this game is different from it’s predecessor. With a new story, new ways to take on the environment, additional playable characters, and a brand new soundtrack; you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not have this game in your Wii U library.

By Jesse Willoughby On 26 Feb, 2014 At 12:41 AM | Categorized As Featured, Mobile Gaming, PC Games, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
home1

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I’m a big mystery fan, even though I’m not good at actually solving mysteries. Well, I’m not terrible at it. There are times I get it all figured out before Poirot makes the announcement, but not often. But I’m a nerd. Growing up I read all the time, especially mystery novels, and because I love them I am a sucker for trying to solve a new one. That’s why when I saw the game “Home” on Kim of the YOGSCAST’s channel, I just had to try it.

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Home is a horror-adventure game. It’s a pixel style game, and is a murder mystery, but not like you’re expecting. Initially I would have passed this game over because of the pixel style and the side-scrolling viewpoint, but I’m glad I didn’t.

The game starts with the player waking up in a dark room. He doesn’t know where he is, why he’s there, or how he got his flashlight, but he sets out to answer all these questions and more. You take the main character through an old house, underground tunnels, the sewer system, an old train station, an abandoned factory, and a local grocery store before finally making it back home. While doing all of this you uncover “clues”. I put that in quotes because these items and bits of information your find are not really clues until you get to the end of the game.

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Why is that important? Because you are the one who decides what the truth is. You collect all kinds of information in this short game, but does any of it matter? That’s up to you. This game is…interesting in that way. I’ve played through it twice and I’m still not sure I got it. Notes were taken, and I never do that. Of course, I feel like there is an over abundance of information. It could be on purpose, just to make you all the more confused, but I can’t say for sure.

Home is short. It requests an hour and a half of your time, and could take up to a couple of hours, but it isn’t extensive. It’s only three dollars on Steam, and iOS, but it is re-playable. Missing clues leads to different dialogue, different options in the end game. So, going back to see what you missed is worthwhile.

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If you like mystery, a little bit of horror, and pixel style games, I recommend to you “Home”. It’s a good bit of fun, and not too expensive or time consuming.

By Amy McGarey On 25 Feb, 2014 At 06:28 PM | Categorized As Featured, Indie Spotlight, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
Banished gameplay

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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.

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The Trailer

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.

Banished gameplay

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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

The Score

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!

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