Spanish developer A Crowd of Monsters releases their second Xbox One title (also available on PC) following the release of Funk of Titans back in January and the two couldn’t be anymore different. Moving away from the bright light-hearted tone of Funk of Titans is the complete polar opposite Blues and Bullets, an episodic noir fiction style investigation game about a retired police officer who runs a diner being dragged out of retirement to investigate the case of a missing child.
For this review as its episodic I’ll give an overview of the gameplay mechanics based on the first episode which I doubt will change much then talk about each specific episode as they release, without spoilers! When a new episode releases I’ll update this post.
The first thing you’ll notice is the distinctive look which is based on classic American comics and noir fiction and it looks great with splashes of red and other colours too. It’s an impressively styled game that I think was a very good choice and represents this dark and corrupt city of Santa Esperanza you’re getting into very well. When I call it a dark and corrupt city [no spoilers], in Episode 1 this becomes clear quite quickly with what to expect from the game going forwards. (more…)
Submerged is a third-person combat-free exploration game set in a mysterious open world flooded city, made by Australian studio Uppercut Games, whose earlier work included the Bioshock franchise for 2k and the Epoch franchise on mobile. You control a girl called Miku, who has brought her injured brother to the city with the hope of patching him up and leaving for pastures new.
You arrive in a small fishing boat which you explore the city by sailing around in, collecting rudder upgrades, hidden objects, landmarks, wildlife and for the story progression, supply drops which are around hotel roofs, collecting these will help you get your brother back to full health. (more…)
The Fall is a 2D sci-fi puzzle-solving action game set on what appears to be an abandoned space station of some sort, it looks like The Swapper which came to Xbox One recently although The Fall balances up the “puzzles” with more action scenes, giving you control of a weapon and its more about exploring the environments and connecting the dots between the different moments using your items to progress and not being a heavy puzzle focused title.
You play as ARID, an artificial intelligence which has been activated by your crash landing on this unknown place somewhere in space. The landing has left your suits functions impaired and you must get to a medical bay to help the injured human inside your suit.
Round 2 of my compilation of newest games rated by PEGI (EU), USK (Germany) and ESRB (US)
“Exploration, Sacrifice, and the Serenity of Desolation
Trapped in an ancient, half-submerged city and desperate for supplies, you must explore the flooded streets in your simple fishing boat, and scale the ruined buildings that hold the promise of salvation.
With gorgeous visuals powered by Unreal Engine 4 and music by BAFTA Award-Winner Jeff Van Dyck, Submerged will drag you under.”
Submerged is an interesting game with a cool premise, I hope it lives up to its potential.
- Developer/Publisher: Uppercut Games
- Rated: USK
- Visit: Website – Twitter
The Deer God (more…)
Round 2 of my compilation of newest games rated by PEGI (EU), USK (Germany) and ESRB (US)
Magnetic: Cage Closed
- Developer/Publisher: Guru games/Gambitious Digital Entertainment
- Rated: PEGI
- Visit: Website – Steam page
“First person puzzle game where the player manipulates magnetic forces to accomplish their goals. The mechanics are focused around a single tool: The Magnet Gun which allows you to create electromagnetic fields with either positive or negative charges.”
From Riptide GP2 developer Vector Unit comes Beach Buggy Racing a free-to-play mobile game brought to consoles as a premium product, stripping out all the free-to-play aspects, rebalancing the game, adding more content and other features such as split-screen multiplayer for $10 on Xbox One and Playstation 4.
My only concerns were how its economy would transition to console and I’m very pleased to report that Vector Unit have done a fine job on that aspect, the economy is fair with players needing to complete levels to earn money and upgrade their buggies, you can’t really see its mobile roots at all, that is how well its been handled [I should note here there are no micro transactions here at all]. Racing, namely winning races earns decent payouts over a large career mode consisting of 9 events across different HP engines which requires you to upgrade your vehicles to keep progressing has no excessive grinding or anything else to get the best out of it. (more…)
Ultratron by Puppy Games is a retro-futuristic inspired robot blasting twin-stick shooter with collecting money and power ups to bolster your humanoid battle droid then take him into the arena and shoot your way to higher scores. It takes after such games as Robotron 2084 and is a really fun game which is easy to get into.
It uses the standard twin-stick set-up with right thumbstick for shoot and left thumbstick for moving the robot around, if you have any smart bombs blow them up with the right trigger and right bumper is a speed boost if you’ve bought the ability. When you complete a level your multiplier increases to a maximum of 5 which is lost if you get hit, the multiplier boosts your score and the cash you can pick up, different enemies drop different amounts. There are also various power ups to collect which you get from shooting a spider droid which occasionally darts across the screen. (more…)
Vector Unit recently released Riptide GP2 for Xbox One, a game which I quite enjoyed and reviewed at release, now they are back on Xbox One and Playstation 4 this time with Beach Buggy Racing!
Originally a free-to-play game on mobile by the name of Beach Buggy Blitz it has undergone some big changes to make it fit the console audience as a premium $10/£8 game by removing all of the features that come with a free launch on mobile: No timers, ads or in-app purchases as well as a completely retuned game economy so the player can unlock upgrades quicker and easier. (more…)
I really enjoyed Interstellar, I thought it was great and possibly even one of my favourite films, it was so good that I actually bought the Blu-ray with the art book which is unusual for me! Thats how much I liked it tough and I was always disappointed there wasn’t some of proper story focused planet space exploration game to go with it (anyone who mentions the iOS game will be blacklisted!).
Enter Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition, which I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced for Xbox One at E3 2014 . It really scratched that itch of exploration and discovery for me, it’s not an action game with big explosions or an RPG with a deep level of progression its an adventure platformer which allows you to experience what it would be like to seek life on another planet, before finding an abandoned Russian town on it that is.
In my review I said how awesome the Battletoads level in Shovel Knight is, it’s quite lengthy with three different sections and the first two change core gameplay somewhat to perfectly capture what its like to play Battletoads but some people may miss it as its hidden so here is my guide and videos to finding the secret passage to unlock the level:
You need to have unlocked the Hall of Champions which is done by opening up the middle section of the map, make sure you have cleared the Explodatorium with the Plague Knight boss and it will unlock the Hall of Champions.
The video below shows you how to do unlock the Battletoads section (beware if you want to do it without clearing Hall of Champions there will be a few ghosts around)
And if you don’t have the Xbox One version or just want to see the fight, here is my battle with the Battletoads! (more…)
Shovel Knight is the one of the many indie darlings of the recent era, the team at Yacht Club Games kickstarted it for PC, WiiU and 3DS and now the game is coming to Xbox One as well as the recent Playstation 3, 4 and PSVita release.
What sets out the later releases apart from the original launch is the platform specific content, on Xbox One it has a Battletoads level and on Playstation it features Kratos which are pretty cool additions to the game and something nice to entice fans on new platforms to invest as well as some nice fan service too.
For those aware, Shovel Knight is a classic action adventure with an 8-bit retro aesthetic where you play as Shovel Knight, a small shovel-wielding knight (shockingly) on a quest to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved Shield Knight but The Order of No Quarter stand between him and the Enchantress. Gameplay is based around platforming, shovel hopping/slashing enemies and digging to fight through levels, collect treasure and beat the bosses. (more…)
We Are Doomed is a twin-stick shooter from developer Vertex Pop, it’s a high-score chasing game with a colourful and distinctive art style which really stands out as it looks great.
It’s a very simple game at its core, right stick for shooting your energy beam and left stick for moving your white little ship around the grid and your aim is to shoot the polygonal enemies which appear in many varieties. As you play blue/purple coloured squares appear on the grid and are also dropped by killed enemies, collecting these increases your multiplier and your super beam charge once you have enough you can unleash the super powered weapon on your enemies, which will help you clear the board and gain a very short amount of invisibility to help you out of a tricky spot too. (more…)
We Are Doomed by Vertex Pop is a colourful twin-stick shooter where you shoot baddies with a laser beam! Its bright and jovial in nature which some people will like, it has two modes: Waves (with 30 waves of levels) or Endless which is based on zones to ramp up difficulty.
The aim is to get high scores, beat your friends and then go and beat them again, there’s plenty of variety in the polygonal enemies you are battling against and you can collect blue square which tally up to charge your super beam which will add massive firepower to help vanquish the enemies! (more…)
LA Cops is an isometric twin-stick shooter set in the background of 60s cop TV shows, its cheesy, light hearted, brutal and fun, the art style is simple with flat (not a criticism) looking surfaces, its minimalistic and really does well in conveying the era its representing.
There are 8 story missions with 5 side missions to complete, the levels are short and some can completed in 3-5 minutes on normal and hardcore with Nightmare taking a bit longer and needing more thought but in order to stand a chance you need to replay levels, get better scores and earn more XP to improve the stats of your team.
Replaying and retrying each level is a key part of the game and thats not a problem although I found I had to do a fair amount of grinding at the beginning to get my stats up before I felt I could really do well in the levels which seems a bit unbalanced. (more…)
Pneuma is an interesting title for a number of reasons, made by a small UK based developer Deco Digital (and Bevel Studios) who made the game and juggled jobs on the side to help fund it. It’s an ambitious and intriguing puzzle game and the first Unreal Engine 4 title to release on Xbox One (and with that is a whopping 10.5gb download!)
The game itself is a first person puzzle game, you control the very self-aware Pneuma a god in this world, he narrates as you go through and is rather irritating if I was to be completely honest, I think I’m over the narrator thing (having also just played Transistor after Pneuma which had a similar sort of thing too) but I also think I’m glad it was silent, as nice as the music was.
The first thing as with many games I noticed was how it looks, Unreal Engine 4 is certainly well represented here, the frame rate is smooth, has good aliasing and impressive art direction, it’s certainly a looker and a surprising effort given the developers background, not to sound disparaging to them, it’s just I wasn’t quite expecting something that is such an impressive technical achievement as well as having great production values and presentation.