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By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 10:55 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The first person dungeon crawler genre has fallen by the wayside in recent years. What was once a major genre of PC games that directly led to modern RPGs like The Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age,  hasn’t been used much lately. That is not to say they have been absent, as indie games such as Legend of Grimrock and Heroes of the Monkey Tavern have helped keep the genre alive in peoples’ minds.  But these come off as tributes to the past with modern touches, rather than something that truly adds to the genre.

Enter Hyakki Castle, a game that takes the first person dungeon crawler and transplants it to 18th century Japan. In this game, you will find yourself on a quest to stop an evil sorcerer from destabilizing Japan, and are sent by the Shogun to resolve the matter. It is a simple story but it works well, and helps get you into the game quickly. Hyakki Castle has the character/class select as seen in other dungeon crawlers, but this time you have human, tengu, oni, and nekomata as the species you can be, along with samurai, shinobi, priest and monk as your class options. Selecting the best party is essential due to some of the unique mechanics the game has to offer.

In Hyaaki Castle, you will find yourself journeying through a castle in Edo era Japan and will find monsters at every corner. The enemies are well designed and interestingly enough, use dated visuals that actually help to give the opponents a sense of being truly other. One thing I truly enjoyed was the fact that the game requires you to split your party in two in order to solve puzzles and defeat certain foes. It might sound confusing but it actually works really well and feels like a natural thing. The enemies, based on Japanese folklore, give the game a feeling of horror while still being an RPG. This is not just a reskin of other indie dungeon crawlers, and set in Japan, but instead a game that makes full use of its setting to enhance every detail, both narrative wise and for improving the gameplay.

This isn’t to say the game is perfect though, as while the visuals are used to great effect and enhance the gameplay, the same can not be said of the music. Audio in the game is very minimalistic and this feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity. This could have helped create a more immersive experience but instead it feels lacking.

Control-wise, the game plays beautifully. The different puzzles and combat scenarios all feel easy to get into, with the challenge being from legitimate design and not unfair controls. Considering that the game plays in real time and introduces gameplay mechanics never done before, this is a major achievement. I wasn’t expecting to like Hyaaki Castle as much as I did, as aside from the audio issues I mentioned, the game is amazing. It doesn’t just make due with what is available but makes what is available work to its advantage. Happinet and Asakusa Studios did an amazing job, as ideas like the 2 party system are a great addition to the dungeon crawler RPG genre. It is great to see real innovation and progress, which shows that there is still so much that can be done with first person dungeon crawlers. This is a must play!

 

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided by Happinet

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 06:51 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No GravatarParadox sent out the following

 

Paradox Interactive, a publisher of games that define genres, and Obsidian Entertainment, developers of classic games like Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth, today announced that Pillars of Eternity: Definitive Edition is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs. Definitive Edition, the comprehensive version of Obsidian’s award-winning, best-selling cRPG, Pillars of Eternity, includes the original game alongside both of its released expansions, all premium extras, and an all-new bundle of content, called the “Deadfire Pack,” inspired by Obsidian’s upcoming Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. The new version is available via digital distributors today for a suggested retail price of $39.99.

This complete version provides fans with the full suite of all Pillars of Eternity-related content ever created by Obsidian, providing every piece of the experience in a single, convenient package.
Definitive Edition includes:
The original Pillars of Eternity, winner of multiple awards for its rich story, lush art style, and incredible depth of choice — a modern RPG that calls back the classics like Baldur’s Gate
The complete, expanded world, characters, and content from The White March: Parts I & II, which adds new places to travel, companions to adventure with, and quests to complete – and which expands greatly on the story of Pillars
All premium content originally sold with Pillars of Eternity: Royal Edition, including the original soundtrack, a digital collector’s book, an original novella set in the Pillars universe, and much, much more
The all-new Deadfire Pack DLC, which includes new in-game items to earn and discover, and new portraits from the forthcoming sequel, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, releasing in 2018

This is a really great package. Pillars of Eternity is a great game and this new definitive edition will be the best way to experience the game before the sequel comes out.

 

Source: PR Email

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 05:56 PM | Categorized As News, News, NINTENDO, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Bluehole, the publisher of Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds have revealed some interesting news.  They will be working on a new IP that will be developed for the Nintendo Switch and PS4. This game will be targeted for the Asian market.

Bluehole noted that this is being done due to the massive success of PUBG.

Hopefully we will see this new IP soon.

 

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 12:27 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarHappinet sent out the following

 

Japanese videogame publisher, Happinet, announced today that its beautifully stylized real-time dungeon RPG game, Hyakki Castle, launched on PC via Steam for western players. The game transports players to a terrifying haunted castle, where players are charged with leading a party to subdue the castle’s miserable lord.
Hyakki Castle, set in the 18th century during the Edo Period of Japan, brings classic Japanese “Fantastical World” folklore and ghost stories to life with an unforgettable Ukiyoe art style as players explore the frightening halls of the castle, battling forbidding demons and terrifying ghosts along the way. Choose between a Samurai or Ninja and venture forth into the enormous castle, filled with clever and cunning traps, to do battle, solve puzzles, defeat bosses, and ultimately defeat the gloomy Lord of the castle.
Featuring a brand-new approach to the traditional real-time dungeon RPG battle system, Hyakki Castle encourages players to split their party with its exclusive 2-party system, a feature not yet seen in real-time dungeon RPGs. Work together to use unique skills and equip up to four actions at the same time to aid in eradicating monsters with distinctive attacks, defenses, projectiles and magic spells while executing pincer attacks, flanking enemies, and more as you uncover the mysteries hidden within the castle’s remote and isolated depths.
“All of us are particularly enthusiastic for the opportunity to add our contribution to the dungeon RPG genre, creating a thrilling, mysterious, and suspenseful experience,” said Masaru Saito, Producer at Happinet. “We’re proud that Hyakki Castle showcases the deep roots of Japan’s rich folklore and hope it delivers an exceptional and gratifying experience to RPG fans around the world.”
To celebrate today’s launch, players can pick up Hyakki Castle on Steam at a 20% discount for $19.99 USD during a limited time launch week sale. As part of their commitment to continue support its community post-launch, Happinet also announced plans to release additional free dungeons within the year. Players are encouraged to visit the Hyakki Castle Steam page and Asakusa Studios game page for additional details.
Game details:
  • 2- Party System: Split your party of up to four players for unparalleled strategy and party options in this unique approach to the real-time dungeon genre

  • Real-time RPG Action: Become a Samurai or a Ninja, create a party, and venture forth to do battle, solve puzzles, defeat bosses, and explore a mysterious castle to defeat its Lord!

  • Classic Japanese Setting: Clash with monsters and supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore

  • Explore a Mysterious Castle: The enormous castle is filled with cunning traps—some of which can only be solved by dividing your party—and tough boss monsters, testing player instincts and judgement

  • Unforgettable Soundtrack: The game features traditional Japanese music and ambient sound creating an environment of mystery, suspense and fear to the gameplay experience

Hyakki Castle is a truly interesting RPG that blends gameplay and ideas in a unique way. We will have a review up shortly.

 

Source: Happinet PR

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2017 At 10:09 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Next week’s Neo Geo game for Nintendo Switch has now been revealed. The arcade sports action game Soccer Brawl will be coming to the eShop on 11./23

 

“Soccer Brawl is a soccer game released by SNK in 1992. Sparks fly as teams representing 8 different countries battle for the championship. Stages in the near future, teams feature 7 robot players instead of the normal 11 players, allowing the defense to also go on the attack and for a variety of arrangements.

This game is a direct predecessor to other action soccer games such as Mario Strikers and is a welcome addition!

 

Source: Nintendo eShop

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 11:58 PM | Categorized As ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Josh Fairhurst of Limited Run Games and Mighty Rabbit Studios has detailed some interesting things about how Limited Run Games came to be.

 

According to Fairhurst, Limited Run Games grew out of a situation where Mighty Rabbit Studios had a very limited budget and had to make a choice between an ESRB rating or a physical release for one of their games. They chose to do the limited release since an ESRB rating would have cost too much and would have closed the studio due to lack of finances.

From that one gamble that was made, a new business was formed for short physical runs of games leading to LRG as a business.  Fairhurst has been vocal about ESRB ratings hurting developers due to the cost for certification. This raises an interesting point. Is the ESRB actually holding back game development in some ways now? Fairhurst raised interesting points and how trying to deal with it led to a new business venture, but for many smaller companies the certification expenses can be a nasty financial surprise. Maybe a reexamination is needed, or smaller developers and studios might struggle more.

You can see Fairhurs’s tweet thread below

 

Update: Faorhurst has provided more context for his tweets and a correction for us.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2017 At 10:30 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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Shmups are one of the oldest genres in gaming, with classics like Space Invaders becoming a pop culture phenomenon. However, shmups tend to fall into one of three  categories, namely vertical, Horizontal and 3D view ( ala Star Fox and Panzer Dragoon) and innovation is not typically done. That is until now.

Astebreed: Definitive Edition is a shmup like no other that I have encountered before. It has an anime style to it, combined with a story based narrative to give it a unique identity. But what makes it so unique is the shifting perspective. Astebreed shifts between all 3 styles that shmups usually fall into, and does so in a way that helps create a fourth  hybrid style. It sounds like it would be disorienting but no, it actually plays very well and flows naturally. I don’t know how else to put it, but Astebreed: Definitive Edition honestly feels like a successful reinvention of the shoot em up genre with its hybrid gameplay.

The story itself is not much to talk about, as far as I am concerned anyways, but the visuals are very appealing, especially when the perspectives shift constantly. I also like the music of the game, as it helps keep the gameplay immersive and the player invested. The downside though is that some of the visuals can be a bit overwhelming, mostly due to causing me to lose track of the ship at times. This isn’t a major gripe but it did cause some issues for me. Despite that, Astebreed: Definitive Edition does feel like a great product.

If I had anything else to say, it is that Astebreed: Definitive Edition has a unique charm to itself. This release brings the updates from the console version and helps expand the experience for players, which is great. I really did like Astebreed: Definitive Edition and feel this is a game worth getting. I recommend it highly!

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Nov, 2017 At 04:43 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Zen Studios has announced that Pinball FX 3 will have a very sweet mode on Switch.

The game is playable vertically with just a single joycon for better balance. This will give players a real arcade feel for the game.

They then further stated that HD rumble support will be included, and that HD is great for playing with friends.

Will you be getting Pinball FX 3 on Switch?

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Nov, 2017 At 10:35 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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We now know this week’s Neo Geo game for Switch. Hamster will be publishing Karnov’s Revenge according to a listing on the European eShop.

 

“Karnov’s Revenge is a fighting game released by Data East in 1994. Thirteen combatants have once again gathered to compete in Great Gapple. The Weak Point system allows for enjoyable and deep combat.”

The more games like this, the better. Will you be checking this out?

Source: Switch eShop

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Amongst the myriad of pick-up-and-play games on mobile platforms, it’s hard to stand out these days.  Virtually every genre is utterly swamped with games, especially indie releases.  And no genre is more stuffed to overflowing than the physics-based genre, primarily owing to the success of games like Angry Birds.  In a content-rich environment such as this one, it’s hard to stand out.  But what better way to do so than with Cthulhu?

Lunarsea (ah, the double entendre!) is a free physics based game on iOS and Android where you play as the great lord Cthulhu himself, who decided to steal the moon.  Doing so has angered the puny human population though, so oddly enough, Cthulhu is fleeing their wrath with a hastily muttered “wgah’nagl bug.”  Unfortunately for our poor angry Elder God, the only getaway vehicle he could locate was an ancient wooden sailing vessel, so he tosses the moon in his pocket, hops aboard, and makes good his escape.

Okay, perhaps a little suspension of disbelief might be required.  The story is short and endearingly odd, but how is the gameplay?  Well, it’s very straightforward.  The moon affects ocean levels, and well, you have it, so you can tap the screen to release it anywhere in the air to raise and lower the waves, as well as to block missile attacks from those filthy humans that just won’t leave you alone.  In addition, there are left and right buttons to move your vessel across the screen to prepare for obstacles, which are frequent and appear rapidly.  The lunar gameplay makes Lunarsea unique and interesting, as the combination of waves and gravity make for a remarkably organic combination.  Timing is everything in this game as you are raising and lowering the waves to get over sharp mountains, dodge missiles, and collect coins and health.

Yes, Cthulhu needs money.  That’s probably on a sign being held by a vagrant trying to wash a windshield somewhere, and if it isn’t, it should be.  In this case, coins buy much-needed upgrades to your skills, such as health, boat speed, and invulnerability length.  And you will need them.  The difficulty curve in Lunarsea ramps up fast.  By level  5, you’ll be swearing at your phone and getting frustrated as those pesky humans manage to fire torpedoes, regular missiles, and even laser-guided missiles at your creaky old vessel.

Fortunately, Live In the Game thought ahead on this one.  Frequent deaths don’t lose all the coins you’ve collected.  It would be nice if you saw a running tally of those as you played, but each time you die, and die you will, your updated bankroll appears and you’re able to buy upgrades.  In addition, there are goals as well, such as blowing up ten missiles or traveling a thousand meters.  The completion of each goal earns you additional bonus coins, allowing you to buy even more upgrades so that eventually, even those of us unskilled at physics games can still manage to move forward at an ungainly crawl.  Many of the goals are also cumulative between games just like coins, giving you the chance to complete them, as you are unlikely to in a single game.

 

There are a couple of sticking points in Lunarsea though.  The list of active goals you are trying to achieve scrolls down from the top of the screen every single time you die.  After you raise the goal cap, this actually intrudes on the gameplay itself, distracting you at the beginning of each level and constantly reminding you that you’re failing to complete them.   The challenge of the game itself can be daunting at times as well and may lead to frustration for the more casual player.  And the jaunty nautical music that seemed novel and enjoyable at first (controllable with a slider, thankfully) can become quickly repetitive as there is only the one song that repeats ad nauseam on every level.

As a minimalist game, however, even after an hour, your phone is unlikely to heat up significantly.  Lunarsea is definitely not a resource hog on Android, which is a plus in these days where you can literally watch your battery life drain away like a swirling toilet flush while you game.   There’s also an Endless Mode to just relax and play if the stages are frustrating you.  It’s still hard, but it’s definitely fun too.   The install on Google Play warns of in-app purchases and ads, but neither were to be seen for this review of the current build of the game.  Overall, Live In The Game has created a clever little game that’s fun to play in small doses when you have a few spare moments.  I mean really, how can you go wrong with a free-to-play game that combines H.P. Lovecraft, Baby Driver, Despicable Me, and Pirates of the Caribbean?  You can’t, and don’t try to say that you can!  Go and give it a try if you enjoy physics games and a challenge, or ever wanted to just… steal the moon!

Download Lunarsea free for Android here.

Download Lunarsea free for iOS here.

This review covers the Android version of Lunarsea by Live In The Game.