Tagged: Capybara Games

My Xbox Games of the Year 2014

GOTY

With the end of a year comes the coveted Steverulez Game of the Year competition! This prestigious award is given to my favourite games that I played in the year of which there are some worthy winners:

Sunset Overdrive

Insomniac’s crazy awesomepocalypse is a an absolute gem and one of the most impressive games so far this generation. Managing to combine crazy fun in a great open-world playground, it was a game I was really looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint. The game shows Insomniac’s creativity at its absolute best and really is a blast.

More detailed thoughts on Sunset Overdrive here

Super Time Force

With its impressive time rewinding mechanics Super Time Force is a deceptively deep and clever game of “single player co-op”. The pixel art style looks good but its the humour in the game with the story and characters that really add to the gameplay and make it a quirky action game. I was mega-hyped for Super Time Force when it came out back in May and it didn’t disappoint at all.

My impressions of Super Time Force

Lords of the Fallen

Supposedly Dark Souls like RPG I really enjoyed Lords of the Fallen, I was particularly very good at it but I did have a really good time playing through it, grinding to higher levels and watching the story unfold. Its based around the bosses you have to kill (or “Lords” as they are known) and I found it very satisfying to fight and beat them, the game gets a bit of a steep difficulty increase towards the end but I thought it was very enjoyable and I’m pleased they’re already working on a sequel.

Contrast

I was incredibly surprised by Contrast, it was a really nice 1920s noire dark art style about a young girl and her “friend” who only appears in the shadows. I found it a little thought provoking but with fun puzzles and a bit of platforming mixed in was really a game that I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Contrast review

Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4 takes the great game of its predecessor to the mountains of India and does it again. Kyrat is a great open-world, the story is intriguing – much improved from Far Cry 3s and has some good characters in it and the open-world of hunting various animals, lots of choices for side-missions and upgrades lead to a deep and an incredibly well executed game (except the multiplayer which is beyond terrible) and manages go against the grain of recent Ubisoft titles in being great, running great and not being broken.

Wolfenstein: The New Order

Machine Games first title was a reboot of a classic series and they did a fantastic job. It was a good length, single player only game focusing on their strengths to create a tight and good experience with decent story and satisfying gun play. Without multiplayer which they clearly felt wasn’t needed they were able to concentrate on making an impressive reboot in an alternate-history WW2 era game

More thoughts on Wolfenstein The New Order

South Park: The Stick of Truth

Obsidian and THQ Ubisoft’s long-time delayed South Park RPG finally came out in March and was a true game worthy of the TV show. Combining the proper look of the TV show with great RPG gameplay its not only the best South Park game but as you can see from its inclusion on this prestigious list its one of the best games of the year. I really hope we get a sequel to build upon the awesomeness that Obsidian managed to produce despite the issues going on at THQ and then the move to Ubisoft.

Fable Anniversary

Lionhead’s HD remaster (for Xbox 360) of their original Fable adventure still holds up as an impressive and great journey in Albion. The graphical improvements look very nice and really show the vibrancy of the world they managed to create a decade ago but despite the odd bit of clunkiness it holds up well as a fun and very good adventure RPG.

Games not included:

A couple of games I’ve either not finished yet or not played at all:

Dragon Age Inquisition

I have barely started it if I’m honest, it seems like game that requires a lot of time and focus which I don’t have for it right now with other games I’m playing, i’ll get to it eventually.

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments

Ive been incredibly impressed with this, surprisingly so, I’ve only finished about 1/3 of the game but I’m loving it so far, i’ll be writing more about this another time.

Games that I’m most excited about from Gamescom part 1

Here are the games I’m most looking forward to from Gamescom (part 1):

Quantum Break – Xbox One (Remedy/Microsoft Studios)

Finally the gameplay presentation I have been waiting for since last E3 and whilst i’ve seen some people offer a tepid response to it I thought it looked great. Some of that great Alan Wake atmosphere mixed with some Max Payne gameplay, the time elements look interesting and the game looks great too, you can tell its running on Xbox One because it has lost the vaseline smear effect which I much prefer.

Hollowpoint – PC/Playstation 4 (Ruffian Games/Paradox Interactive)

Ruffian’s new original project unveiled at the Sony conference and as part of the Sony/Paradox deal announced at E3 the game is first on PS4 for consoles. A2.5  tactical 4 player co-op action game set in a world of corporate armies fighting each other and your job is to build up your organisation, it gives me a darker Shadow Complex vibe and looks great, the game is out in early 2015.

The Escapists – PC/Xbox One (Mouldy Toof Studios/Team17)

One of the titles ID@Xbox’s Chris Charla announced as first to console on Xbox One, The Escapists is about escaping from prison – building your character up and devising that perfect escape plan to break out. Combining RPG elements, crafting mechanics, and planning your escape in a great pixelated look. The game is due out on Xbox One early in 2015.

Geometry Wars 3 Dimensions – Xbox 360/Xbox One and others unconfirmed (Lucid Games/Sierra Games)

One of my favourite franchises is making a return through Activision Blizzard’s new indie initiative which gives their legacy IPs to developers to make a new entry in the series. Lucid Games made up of former Bizarre Creations (Geometry Wars creators) employees are trying their hand at the return of Geometry Wars 3.

So far we only have a few images released and it has a nice aesthetic but I’m concerned at the 3D “dimensions” gameplay more akin to Super Stardust HD to Geometry Wars of old. I remain hopeful though that despite no involvement from Geometry Wars creator and almost sole developer Stephen Cakebread that the new one lives up to its successors.

Geometry Wars 3 Dimensions features:

  • Full 3D Gameplay
  • Online Multiplayer
  • Cooperative Modes
  • Over 10 Battle Modes
  • 50 Missions

gwfinallogo2

Rise of the Tomb Raider – Xbox 360/Xbox One (Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix)

Announced as an Xbox exclusive for holiday 2015 (PC and Playstation formats sometime in 2016 presumably) unfortunately they didn’t show anymore new footage just showed the E3 footage against whilst making the new announcement which is obviously a new development between E3 and Gamescom.

I was a big fan of the reboot released in early 2013 and I can’t wait to play the sequel on Xbox One next year.

Below – Xbox One/PC (Capybara Games)

A game I’m very excited about (and i’ve written a number of posts about) got a new trailer at Gamescom during the Xbox briefing and was confirmed for a 2015 release. The atmosphere and gameplay looks great, I can’t wait to play it.

Rewind: Super Time Force impressions

A title I have long been interested in finally came out in May for Xbox Live Arcade by Capybara Games (via Microsoft Studios publishing) and was also the third self-published on Xbox One using ID@Xbox.

A side-scrolling run’ n’ gun shooter with a 16-bit art style with a time controlling twist, the ability to rewind the action and try to save yourself from the death you just incurred adds so much to the game, building on the solid shooting mechanics in different environments.group

Super Time Force is like playing co-op with yourself, you have 1 minute to get to the end of the level in “real-time” but within that you can rewind the action to spawn other characters to help yourself through the level whether you use them to pick up glorbs or shards, time extenders or to kill a pesky dinosaur or knights there is a ton of depth to what originally seems like a very simple game.

There are lots of playable characters in Super Time Force each with their own abilities and combat style which are useful in different circumstances. My personal favourite was Zackasaurus the dinosaur on a skateboard who can bite (good for killing enemies up close) and spit venom which is very useful destroying doors and multiple enemies. The characters provide another great aspect to a title that has clearly been fine tuned to perfection so it fits the vision Capy had for it. The variety of the abilities and the characters themselves which are funny (Zackosaurus, Squirty Harry) or imitations (Lou Don Jin) is done well and just adds character to the game overall.

STF_Screenshot_1

The most important part of the gameplay is obviously the time power, using pause and rewind you can go back through what you’ve already done and do it better and quicker with the same or different characters which is where it really sets itself apart from other 2D shooters. At any point in the rewind process all the way back to the start of the level with the simple tap of a B button, you then select your character and you’re back in playing again.

When you come back into the game you are also able to save the life of characters that previously died by killing (or protecting that character) from whatever did them in, you can then “capture” the saved friend and use their special ability too, so if you hold X and fire it you could have Jef Leppard’s rocket combined with Amy Mckillin’s powerful shot to help bring down multiple enemies or a door down quicker, if you get hit with this second character, they will die again – for good this time but you survive and carry on, another great touch.

STF_Screenshot_10

The story in the game is humorous and well presented which adds another layer to the game, why you are where you are and what your overall goal is in that level, not that it matters or is particularly deep but the story is well written with some funny references and moments. It’s certainly a good addition to the game anyway.

Super Time Force is a game that looks like its remarkably short on face value but in reality going through the levels, collecting all the glorbs and shards (which while unlock new character when all collected) will take a while to get it right as some are hard to find or attain in the context of the level. Add in the speed runs you can do to get a “Super Time Force” rank, there’s a lot of content there.

Collecting shards goes into slow motion for a few seconds and is especially useful when trying to complete a level for a STF rank. When you get near the end of a level you will see 3 little flashing blobs, collecting it will show a timer at the top and you will have a time of around 20 seconds (varies on different levels) to complete the level in from the very beginning. This seems ridiculously impossible at a glimpse but if you use your characters properly, efficiently and grab Zackasaurus you can zoom across the levels – grabbing the shards along the way to give you a little boost and jump home (you’ll know it when you see it) and get a Super Time Force rank (video below of one of my Super Time Force rank runs of about 20 seconds).

STF_Screenshot_9

Along with all the levels, Super Time Force ranks, collectible glorbs, shards and characters theres a lot to do in Super Time Force without even getting started on Super Hardcore mode, I’m sure you can guess that one for yourself!

I haven’t mentioned the bosses either but at this point I won’t ruin everything!

Explaining the gameplay of Super Time Force is something I find quite difficult to do and feel like I’m doing the game justice in how well its presented and executed so I did a video (below) of my play through of an early level in the game to give a better idea of how it plays.

Super Time Force is a great game, with a core mechanic to make it really stand out and offer something fresh with nostalgia, great humour and a lovely art style to add to that, the entire experience is tightly put together with a perfect time bending bow wrapped around it. Capybara Games have made a game that will help to further define them as a top indie developer and made one of my favourite games on Xbox One so far.

The Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions are almost the same except for a cool feature on Xbox One which uses GameDVR within the game to record a game clip of your level with the press of a Y button at the end, without showing the rewinds, just the characters actual run. I have added another video below to show what that is like.

A PC version was recently confirmed for release on Steam this summer with added content.

Xbox.com store link (Xbox One / Xbox 360)– £11.99/$14.99
Formats: Xbox One (played), Xbox 360 (PC coming this summer)
Developer: Capybara Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios (On XBLA, ID@Xbox game on Xbox One)
Official website

Gameplay video:

Super Time Force rank run (22 seconds)

Atlantis level

At the Xbox One reveal last May then Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer said:

“Microsoft Studios plans to release more than 15 exclusives in the first year of Xbox One, 8 of which are brand new franchises” (Via Youtube)

 

The criteria for the list isn’t very specific, exclusive being “Xbox” or “console” exclusive? If so the list is already full, if not then its decidedly emptier, I’ve brainstormed what those titles could be and this is the list I’ve got, bare in mind he said “Microsoft Studios” as well which discounts Titanfall, Peggle 2, Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare (not fully exclusive anyway) and Fighter Within (lol).

When the statement was made at E3 last year, Below by Capybara Games was a Microsoft Studios published Xbox One exclusive since then the game has moved to ID@Xbox and is coming to Steam at the same time, I assume this was one of those 15 games and 8 new franchises so I’ve taken off the list so its now a case of “more than” 14 games and 7 new franchises.

Here is the list I’ve got – new IPs are bolded: (more…)

E3 2014: Announced games im looking forward to seeing at E3

Here are the games I am most looking forward to hearing about at E3 2014:

Sunset Overdrive – Xbox One

sunset-overdrive

This coming Thursday (8th May) Edge magazine as well as other gaming outlets will have details and previews for Sunset Overdrive, Insomniac’s very bright Xbox One game. I can’t wait to see it in action, we don’t have much information on the game at the moment but I’m hoping it’ll be a great and different game compared to military shooters, which I don’t dislike but different is welcome too.

Quantum Break – Xbox One

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Microsoft Studios – Current projects list (May 2014)

May 2014 Edition

First party studios:

Announced at E3 2013 the once published by Microsoft now ID@Xbox and Steam title is the next next game from Capybara Games who previously made Sword and Sorcery and Critter Crunch, they also have Super TIME Force coming to Xbox One and XBLA in May/June time which looks equally as incredible as Below does.

The game is about a lone survivor who turns up to an island and goes into the depths Below (see what I did there with the title?!) with just a sword and shield. The idea is that the character is very small on screen to show off just how tiny this character is compared to the island and the game features some crafting, permadeath and other things. Its a survival game that I think looks incredible from the art-style, to gameplay and then onto the music by Jim Guthrie who also did the soundtrack for Sword and Sorcery. (more…)

Last week Microsoft announced that Phil Spencer will be given a new role as Head of Xbox, this means that for the first time in recent history the Xbox division is being led by one person. I don’t think they could have chosen a better person for the job, it shows confidence in the division from new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella especially as there were (mostly likely baseless) rumours that Microsoft were interested in selling Xbox and confidence in Phil to lead the group.

Phil Spencer has done some shorts interviews with news websites after the announcement – Kotaku / IGN Podcast Unlocked as well as a video interview with Xbox’s Major Nelson and a guest appearance on his podcast of which the message between these is the same: Phil is a games guy and if you put him in charge that’s what you will get. (more…)

The great big ID@Xbox confirmed games list

A list of all the games confirmed (not in release date order) and released also a list of confirmed developers but not yet announced any titles are below that. If there are any games you know of not on the list feel free to tweet me

 December 2013 list // February 2014 list

Recently released (Games will be removed after a month)

Upcoming games

A wonderfully unique game from the talented Capybara Games of Critter Crunch, Might and Magic Clash of Heroes and Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery fame, Super Time Force is insane time-traveling run’n gun platformer that will release on XBLA (via Microsoft publishing) and Xbox One (self-publishing).

The game will be out around May/June time according to Capy President Nathan Vella in the GDC interview below and I can’t wait to jump in.

[Update] The price is aiming at $15 (£12 in Microsoft exchange rate land) from a Rev3 games twitch stream with Capybara’s Kenneth Yeung which is about 30 minutes long and gives loads of details on the game plus Kenneth is playing through some levels, looks great. (more…)

17th – 21st March begins the Game Developers Conference, an event in which earlier years have seen games like LittleBigPlanet and Gears of War 2 announced at along with Playstation Home and many other things.

With two new consoles out, services aplenty when you add Steam and others into the mix, technology like Oculus Rift, indie games, post-mortem’s, GDC is an event for developers but there are also some interesting announcements for games too.

The list of this years sessions and speakers gives us an insight into the sorts of things we are likely to see. (more…)

Theres a lot of games coming out in 2014 already announced and I think we will see a lot more announced for this year too (and others that slip into 2015), here are the games I’m most looking forward to in no particular order:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Xbox One/PS4/PC) – 2014

The last game in The Witcher trilogy from CD Projekt RED one of next-gen only games and taking advantage of the hardware available by being open-world, I loved The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 and hope this lives up to expectations.

Youtube Video // IGN interview from Jan 2014

South Park: The Stick of Truth (Xbox 360/PS3/PC) – 07/03/14 (more…)

At E3 and Gamescom Microsoft have announced a lot of games to show off the great post-launch line-up the Xbox One has, here is a compilation including developer/publisher (not all are published by Microsoft) with up-to-date videos. Unfortunately not all the games have gameplay available but as it the case with Sunset Overdrive and Halo there are only some short trailers available, enjoy!

Quantum Break (Remedy Entertainment/Microsoft Studios)

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