Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kickstarter, Binary Domain, and Elder Sign: Omens


Games: So… Kickstarter.

If you're reading this blog, then you are most likely someone who is already in the know, and probably don't need me to explain what it is or how it works. Rather than go into a discussion about the service itself, I just wanted to say that I've backed three projects, and at this point, I don't think I’m very inclined to backing any others until I start seeing some results.

I mean, if Fumito Ueda or Shu Takumi came along and needed a couple of bucks, I would certainly chip in on something like that, but otherwise, I think I'm going to be saying no to everything else that’s sure to come down the pike…

So what have I backed? Well, I'm glad you asked.

#1 – “Double Fine Adventure” by Double Fine
#2 – Wasteland 2, by inXile
#3 – Shadowrun Returns, by Harebrained Schemes

Why did I pick these?

Well, like most people, the Double Fine project was the first signficant one that was brought to the attention of the game-o-sphere. It was a bold, new thing, and most people in critical circles wanted a piece of it for one reason or another. Plus, everybody knows who Tim Schafer is and he’s got a proven track record. I may not be a fan of everything he's done, but I would call myself a fan. Well, a fan of Grim Fandango and the first half hour of Brutal Legend, anyway.

Wasteland 2
Wasteland 2 was a no-brainer since I'm a huge post-apocalyptic fan and the game will be worked on by several people who were involved with the Fallout series, not to mention Chris Avellone from Obsidian coming aboard.

Shadowrun Returns? Well, Shadowrun. I mean, come on. Besides that, I was a huge FASA nut back in the day, and I still have fond memories of Crimson Skies. Also, Jordan Weisman and company are located about twenty minutes from my house, so I have to support the home team. Anybody from Seattle or the surrounding area gets an extra boost from me, just because.

Anyway, that was my thinking and that's where but my dollars. I am more than happy to contribute to this whole Kickstarter phenomenon, but at the same time, I am no fan of tossing my money into a toilet and flushing it away. After having taken the plunge with these three (admittedly, pretty trustworthy) projects, I'm putting a halt on further spending and we'll see where this goes. I would love nothing more than for all three of these games to come out as promised and be awesome, but just because you lead a developer to a pot of money, doesn't mean that he'll know what to do with it.

Fingers crossed!


Games: I just finished Binary Domain a couple of days ago, and I submitted my Second Opinion to GameCritics earlier this evening. Spoiler: it’s super-favorable.

So, am I covering your flank, or are you covering mine?
I just can't say enough good things about this one, and I would strongly encourage any of you who have an interest in seeing third-person shooting combined with great storytelling and a very light dusting of team management to check it out. Do it!

Since wrapping that, I've gone ahead-over-heels for Elder Sign: Omens on the iPhone. (Also for iPad.)

I'm not familiar with the source material, apparently a series of board games put out by Fantasy Flight, but I really love what they've done with this app. I haven't been able to put it down for several days…

Watch out, Cthulhu... I'm packing heat!
In a nutshell, it's an electronic board game set in the  H.P. Lovecraft universe with all of the minutiae automated, and the gameplay is resolved by dice rolls. There is a hell of a lot more to it than that, but there's no need to go into details at the moment. I'm in the middle of doing a full review as we speak, but to make a long story short, it's a fantastic production that has a ton of strategy and atmosphere.

It's not suited for three minutes here or five minutes there the way some iPhone games are, but if you're looking for something you can sink your teeth into and you dig the idea of banishing the Old Ones with a group of plucky investigators, Elder Sign is the jam.


In the meantime, if your fingers are still itching to click, I'd like to invite you to check out the new Street Fighter X Tekken review currently up at GameCritics, and guest-written by Julian Williams, AKA @TheMirai, of Twitter fame. He's got some great insights into the game and clearly knows what he's talking about.

Long live the Mako!
We've also got the latest episode of Gamecritics After Dark now available for your listening pleasure. The topic is Mass Effect as a series (not just the ending, I swear!) and contains commentary from myself, ringmaster @RichardNaik, cool cat from RPGamer @Finalmacstorm (Michael Cunningham) and… GASP! Can it be? It.. It is! @TimSpaeth makes a surprise guest appearance about thirty minutes into the show, and stays on to give his two cents.

…Although really, it's more like a nickel, at least.


Over the upcoming weeks, seven brand new Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City missions for the US Spec Ops squad and four new versus mode maps and will be available for players to download. The first DLC mission launches on April 10th for PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE and is completely free of charge.

Players will take on the role of Harley, Dee-Ay, Tweed, Willow, Shona or Party Girl and set out to recover evidence that reveals the truth behind the deadly virus outbreak. An additional six missions along with the four versus mode maps will be available to purchase in the weeks to come.  


Majesco Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: COOL), an innovative provider ofvideo games for the mass market, announced today that Double Dragon: Neon will be released as a full-scaledigital game on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft andPlayStation®Network this summer.  Majesco Entertainment has once again partnered with WayForward, the award-winning team known for bringing franchise favorites including BloodRayne: Betrayal back to audiences in exciting new ways, and is thrilled for the fan-favorite developer to put its signature spin on the father of all brawlers: Double Dragon! Double Dragon: Neon isn’t a shoddy sequel – it’s a face-melting 80’s tour de force! Featuring bodacious characters, gnarly combat, and a retro aesthetic, it’s pure over-the-top baditude…to the max!
Double Dragon: Neon on Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360 and PlayStation®Network is expected to release this summer. To get the 411 about Double Dragon: Neon, please visit booth #808 at PAX EAST Convention Center, and visit the website, Facebook ( or Twitter (


Here's a quick recap of what was announced for the Witcher 2:
·         iOS comic set in the Witcher universe announced
·         The Witcher: Enhanced Edition now on Mac via Steam
·         “Write your own review” program gives 1000 lucky people the chance to get Witcher 2 Xbox 360 before release
·         All owners of The Witcher 2 will receive a complimentary backup copy of their game on DRM-free digital distributor
·         Pre-download of the Enhanced Edition patch for The Witcher 2 will start before April 17th


Mighty Rabbit Studios, an independent mobile game developer based in North Carolina’s bustling Research Triangle Park, has announced the launch of their first title for iPad®, iPhone®, and iPod®touch: Saturday Morning RPG (SMRPG). An episodically epic role-playing game inspired by the best cartoons and pop culture icons the 80s had to offer, SMRPG is a love-letter to all your best childhood weekend memories. To take up the fight against the forces of retro evil, download the first episode of SMRPG from the App Store today for free.

For a glimpse at
 SMRPG’s thrilling combat in action, check out the trailer.

SMRPG Features Include:
·  Original soundtrack by legendary composers Vince DiCola, best known for his work on Transformers: The Animated Movie, and Kenny Meriedeth, who worked on musical scores for over 200 popular cartoons and shows includingDuck Tales, X-Men, and Power Rangers.
·  Touchscreen-controlled, timing-based combat inspired by classic JRPGs and legendary items from the 80s – use a Botchangers action figure to crush enemies as a semi-trailer truck, or a Joystick to start a video tennis barrage!
·  Progression system that lets players grow their character’s abilities to match their play style and mix and match magical scratch-and-sniff stickers they collect in-game to boost powers, de-buff enemies, and more.
·  Full season of planned, self-contained episodes that will tell the full tale ofSMRPGhero Martin "Marty" Michael Hall’s battle against the forces of evil!
For more information about SMRPG, visit the official Mighty Rabbit site or follow the team on Facebook and Twitter!

SMRPG is the first title to be published by Durham, NC-based game development accelerator Joystick Labs. For more information about the program, including information about how to sign up for the upcoming 2012 program,


 indiePub announces finalists for its
2012 Independent Propeller Awards

indiePub has finished judging all the entries for its 2012 Independent Propeller Awards video game development competition and is ready to announce the finalists for all categories.

indiePub received approximately 100 entries which were submitted by indie game developers from across the globe.

indiePub will award $50,000 in total cash prizes including $25,000 to a Grand Prize winner and $5,000 to the winner of each individual category: Best Art, Best Audio, Best Design, Technical Excellence and Mobile Game. Winners will be announced April 18, 2012, and may have the opportunity to have their games published by indiePub.

The finalists for the 2012 Independent Propeller Awards are:

Mobile Game
CreaVures by MuseGames
Drive Them Back by WeDontKnow Games
Hero Mages by D20 Studios
Technical Excellence
Backworlds by Juha Kangas and Anders Saint Ekermo
Burning Thirst by Ninja Monkeys Team
Leshy by Team Radioactive Dodos (DigiPen)
Nitronic Rush by TeamNitronic (DigiPen)
The Red Solstice by IronWard
Best Design
Backworlds by Juha Kangas and Anders Saint Ekermo
Coloropus by Pigsels Media
FYI by Digital Dreams
Leshy by Team Radioactive Dodos (DigiPen)
Waveform by Eden Industries
Best Audio
A Walk in the Dark by Flying Turtle Software
Krautscape by Mario von Rickenbach, Michael Burdorfer and Phil McCammon
Leshy by Team Radioactive Dodos (DigiPen)
Nitronic Rush by TeamNitronic (DigiPen)
The Red Solstice by IronWard
Best Art
Backworlds by Juha Kangas and Anders Saint Ekermo
OIO: The Game by Uncanny Games
The Bridge by HyperCube Games
The Red Solstice by IronWard
Toren by Swordtales
Grand Prize
Deity by Double++ (DigiPen)
Nitronic Rush by TeamNitronic (DigiPen)
OIO: The Game by Uncanny Games
The Bridge by HyperCube Games
The Swapper by Facepalm Games
indiePub also extends Honorable Mentions to:
Aces Wild by Eternal Rivals Studio
Bad Bots by PointFiveProjects
Dark Scavenger by Psydra Games
Gear: Full Circle by Team 3 (DigiPen)
Infection by RainForest Artificial Life
Solstice by Disco Tank (DigiPen)
The Fourth Wall by Lo-Fi
About indiePub indiePub ( is a leader in promoting independent video games and their developers.  indiePub has engaged indie game developers and gamers by providing resources to collaborate and create innovative games as well as sponsoring competitions including the Independent Propeller Awards. indiePub is a developer, publisher and distributor of independently created video games for various platforms including game consoles, handheld game systems, mobile devices and tablets. indiePub's elite indie game lineup includes Kona's Crate, Vessel, Storm, Capsized, Catapult for Hire and several yet-to-be announced games.


Disney Interactive Media Group today announced the development of “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion,” the first Nintendo 3DS™ title in the “Disney Epic Mickey” franchise. The title features an interactive combination of painting, dual screen integration and 3D transformation capabilities designed to give players the unique ability to create objects and even characters they can place in the world of Wasteland.  

In “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion,” Reality is What You Paint of It.  The game offers a special drawing and painting function that allows players to create rough versions of objects that magically transform into classic Disney-style 2D illustrations.  Utilizing the game’s unparalleled dual screen integration, players then move their creations to the top screen where they are further transformed into full-color, fully-rendered 3D visuals.

 “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion” is being created by critically acclaimed DS developer DreamRift, in collaboration with Disney Interactive’s Junction Point. The game is slated for a fall 2012 release on the Nintendo 3DS. For more information, go to, or check out this month’s issue of “Nintendo Power” magazine which features an exclusive cover story on the upcoming game.


Natsume Inc., a worldwide developer and publisher of family-oriented video games, launched their first annual Spring Sale for the Natsume Online Store at with a special spring promotion.  Customers will receive a special Natsume soft "duckie" friend with any purchase, from now until April 30th. The duck is here to celebrate the return of warmer weather and good times with Natsume games, just in time for spring celebrations to come this month.

The plush duck, originally a pre-order bonus for Harvest Moon: Animal Parade in November 2009, has now returned to celebrate the arrival of the spring season in the U.S., and fans can grab this quaint quacker with any Online Store purchase.  The Natsume Online Store boasts new and classic titles including Harvest Moon: Magical Melody for the Nintendo Wii, Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny for the PlayStation 3, Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals for the Nintendo DS, Gabrielle's Ghostly Groove 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, and many more.
Players can follow all the news for all of the beloved Natsume franchises via, or by scooping all of the latest Natsume news at and  Natsume will also be attending E3 2012 in Los Angeles at the start of June.

XSEED Games, an independent-minded publisher, is pleased to announce that it will be bringing the action-adventure title Way of the Samurai 4 to North America this summer exclusively on the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system as a digital release through the PlayStation®Store. Already released in Japan and garnering a Famitsu Gold Award amidst critical acclaim,Way of the Samurai 4 takes players on a journey through post-isolationist Japan, and chronicles the power struggle between three warring factions.

Players will begin their experience in Way of the Samurai 4 by creating their own customized character. After building their samurai warrior and choosing from one of three distinct age groups – youth, young man or middle-aged – players are thrown into a tumultuous power struggle between three factions: the shogunate pro-governmental forces, the nationalistic isolationists, and the foreign powers who are heavily influenced by the British Navy.

As players freely discover a vibrant and living world, selecting which quests and missions to undertake will shape their own destiny as loyalties to each of the three feuding factions affects the branching storyline and which of the multiple endings will be experienced. The dynamic combat system includes a vast array of bladed and gunpowder-based customizable weapons, and the unique online feature allows the uploading and downloading of player characters to roam in other players’ games as an assassin to challenge and defeat in order to receive that character’s equipped spoils. The original Japanese voice-overs have been left intact and will be accompanied by English sub-titles.

Developed by ACQUIRE and published by Spike in Japan, Way of the Samurai 4 will be released in North America this summer on the PlayStation 3 system as a digital release on the PlayStation Store. XSEED Games will share more product info in the coming months.


Risen 2 – New Videos

Video #1  - The Pirate's Den:
Patty meets up with her estranged Pirate Father, Captain Steelbeard, and the Nameless Hero provokes fights in the Pirate's Den.

Video #2 - The Pirate Oath:
The Nameless Hero swears his allegiance to the Pirates, and the group sails to Tacarigua where they find trouble like a heat-seeking missile.  
Bonus for use of "shitbirds" in a quote by Steelbeard!

Video #3: Learning Voodoo
Convincing the native Shaganumbi tribe to teach the Nameless Hero voodoo is no small task!  No kidnappings or mysterious substances needed to be dropped into drinks though, which is a pity. :(

Video #4:  Using Voodoo
The Nameless Hero uses Voodoo to take control of a drunken pirate named Jim.  What a sucker. :D


League For Gamers™ (LFG) announced today that it will be at PAX East in Boston, Massachusettes, April 6-8, to raise support for its community of gamers, developers, and industry supporters in their ongoing effort to protect the games industry against harmful legislation.

LFG is currently battling H.R. 4204, which will require a mandatory warning label – linking videogames to aggressive behavior – on nearly all titles. As legislation that will set a dangerous precedent based on questionable research, LFG aims to educate individuals wanting to know more about the bill and lend a voice to those who’re already concerned. Its current efforts can be found here:

“When SOPA and PIPA were near passing, gamers banded together and found their voice – effectively helping to shut down the legislation,” said Mark Kern, Red 5 Studios CEO and LFG founder. “While it was an awesome moment that proved we can’t be taken lightly, protecting gamers’ rights is an ongoing process that requires us all to remain vigilant. LFG is here to be the watchdog against bills like SOPA, PIPA, and H.R. 4204. But it’s the community that inevitably acts as our teeth.”

League For Gamers will be taking sign-ups and meeting with PAX attendees at Red 5 Studios’ Firefall booth, #536. Interested parties looking for more information about the organization and its efforts are encouraged to stop by and meet with a representative or head over to the official website:
All current members and individuals that sign up at the show will receive an official LFG shirt, exclusive to the event.

Re-mastered Versions of Three Original Devil May Cry® Titles Now Available
SAN MATEO, Calif. — April 3, 2012 — Capcom®, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today announced Devil May Cry® HD Collection is now available at retail for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft® and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. Devil May Cry HD Collection brings the first three original Devil May Cry® titles: Devil May Cry®, Devil May Cry® 2, and Devil May Cry® 3: Dante’s Awakening Special Edition together in one high definition 

 Leading Eastern and Central European publisher, 1C Company, is excited to announce the international release of King's bounty: The Legend and King's Bounty: Armored Princess for Mac. These legendary games are available in 6 different languages - English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian.
King's Bounty: The Legend is an adventure RPG with Turn-based Strategy battles. In a fairy tale fantasy world of fearless knights, evil mages, wise kings and beautiful princesses the player controls a hero. Leading their character through the game world, exploring it, commanding armies in battle and accomplishing various quests can mean great reward or huge defeats.
King's Bounty: Armored Princess is a sequel to the critically acclaimed King's Bounty: The Legend. Players will take on the role of Princess Amelie who travels around the world of Teana and searches for the renowned knight, and her mentor, Bill Gilbert.
This new world of King's Bounty: Armored Princess is full of mysteries and dangers. The new character, the Princess, will encounter horrible creatures, huge monstrous bosses and a new race, the bloodthirsty Lizards. As in the multi-award winning game on which this sequel is based, the player has many options to resist these new enemies. Various new skills and characteristics of Amelie as well as her chance to fly will help her overcome the hordes attacking the kingdom. The Princess is also accompanied by a Pet Dragon, at the very beginning small and amusing, but its abilities develop steadily until it becomes an incredible ally. He will do his best to protect the Princess during the battles, starting with easy blows and treasure hunting and finishing with battle rage and volcano summoning.
King's Bounty gameplay is divided into two major sections: adventure mode and battle mode. While playing in adventure mode the gamer controls their character in real-time. With several classes available at the start of a new game, the player moves through the adventure map seeking various treasures, fighting monsters and accomplishing quests tasked to him by the local stewards. Once in battle mode the gamer assumes the role of a war chief, leading his troops in tactical turn-based combat. Battles take place on land or sea, in dungeons or castles or even in some items! The hero himself doesn't participate in the combat, but can assist his troops by casting spells or summoning different creatures.
1.         Mac App Store:
2.         SteamPlay:
King's bounty: The Legend -
King's Bounty: Armored Princess -


Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) and OVERKILL Software today announced the latest game update for the high-intensity, co-op, first-person shooter PAYDAY: The Heist. With a slew of new events, achievements, disguise masks and an all-new community-centric music track, this game update offers some serious ransom to hardened criminals looking for the ultimate PAYDAY.

Available today via digital download on the PlayStation®Network and PC systems, thenew game update further intensifies this online co-op shooter's six dynamic heists, forcing players to rely on quick thinking and teamwork to thwart well-trained law enforcement and successfully execute new objectives and achievements. Enhanced AI capabilities, such as aggressiveness, agility and intelligence, have also been implemented.

Key features of the new game update include:
·  Masks of Disguise: Presidential masks are now available to those players that have reached level 145. Players can grab a Golden mask when all heists are completed on OVERKILL 145+. BEEEF masks have also been added to the game, and can be picked up in the lobby.
·  OVERKILL 145+: Players that have reached level 145 can now play on a new difficulty called OVERKILL 145+, which opens up the possibility for new events and achievements. It also unlocks new weapons, such as the crowbar to open doors, as well as leaderboards.
·  Drop-In: With the added in-game drop-in ability, players can set the server to allow for others to join the game mid-heist. Players can also filter players by setting server reputation and difficulty requirements.
·  SWAT Tactics: The SWAT captain has trained a slew of new recruits, resulting in challenging new tactics and counter measures for players to face on each of the heists.
·  Sweet Moves: Players can check out new weapon animations for the Shotgun.Law enforcers now move more tactically than ever before. Even civilians have new dance animations in the DIAMOND HEIST.
·  Portrait Window Additions: Players can now see the name of the character they are currently playing in the portrait window while in game.
·  Compare Worldwide: PC Players can now view statistics on how many players in the world have completed the different heists on all difficulties through the"SELECT HEIST" menu.
·  Expanding Field of View (FoV): PC Players can now choose what FoV they want to use ranging from 60 to 100 through the advanced graphics menu.
·  DIAMOND HEIST Music: For PC players, as a token of appreciation to the community, 200 of the most dedicated career criminals' nicknames have been immortalized in-game. The DJ has added a new music track, doing shout-outs to 200 players in the community.
This game update is available for download at no additional cost on STEAM and on the PlayStation®Network.


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