10.11.2017

Beyond Oasis has Come to Mobile from SEGA Forever

     Thanks to the SEGA Forever program, the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive classic, action-adventure RPG Beyond Oasis, known as The Story of Thor: A Successor of the Light in Europe, is now available on mobile devices.


     SEGA Forever has been expanding their library of classic games, ported as free-to-play mobile titles, and Beyond Oasis is another tremendous installment being brought to the modern gaming market.  Beyond Oasis is the story of Prince Ali stumbling upon a sentient gold amulet attempting to save Oasis from a villainous enemy in possession of the silver amulet.  It's kind of like a wonderful combination of Prince of Persia and the Legend of Zelda- a huge open world filled with a variety of weapons, magic, secrets to uncover, and a wealth of enemies to slay.

     One neat new feature of this version is the "Rewind" button, which was recently added to Golden Axe, which helps alleviate some of the problems I had in my Golden Axe Sega Forever review.  It's a small clock in the upper left corner, that rewinds the game 15 seconds- oddly fitting for Beyond Oasis making it feel a bit more like a Prince of Persia game by coincidence.  It should be noted that there is an abuse-prevention measure in the form of a cooldown timer (or at the cost of watching an ad, if you didn't purchase the single IAP to remove ads), so you can't just rewind time over and over.
     In addition, like all the rest of the SEGA Forever lineup, the game comes with cloud saving, leaderboards, and controller support. I'm hoping they've cleaned up the controller support as it's been relatively loose and has been unresponsive on previous titles.  Beyond Oasis is a game with a 6 button set up, doubling the usual 3 button standard of the last bunch of games, meaning it'll need a much better handling of the control scheme.

     I'm looking forward to giving this title a go, as it was a an amazing title- ranking up there with games like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Alundra, and Landstalker- all around great action-adventure RPG games.

     Beyond Oasis on [ Google Play ] and iOS
          To eliminate ads, there's a one-time IAP of $1.99/ €2.29 / £1.99.

10.07.2017

Undergrave: An Open Alpha Review

     Three Dudes Make Indie Games, creators of the indie title Tel and Aitch, have an awesome Castlevania inspired rogue-like action-platformer game called Undergrave that's been in the Open Alpha stage since October 2016, and has not been updated since November 2016.


     In Undergrave players take the role of an aged, nameless alchemist fallen into darkness.  In the gothic underworld you must rely on your chain-whip, platforming skills, and knowledge of alchemy to make your way through this dangerous journey.  You must slay strange monsters and harvest their viscera.

     What immediately caught my eye was the alchemy crafting mechanic.  As you kill enemies and find items, you collect bits and pieces of things such as bones or mushrooms with which to make potions.  It's a very interesting set up with a plethora of options in what can be created.  When you find a laboratory, you can bring up the list of craftable potions and by adding ingredients, crushing, and heating to the instruction's specifications you are able to make all manner of things.  Looking for a draught of flame?  Done.  Elixir of health?  Here you go.  An "osseous" potion that explodes a pile of bones through the air?  Just made 10.
     On the down side of this is sometimes the instructions aren't clear.  Following the instructions exactly often resulted in "unknown" potions.  After repeated tries, I found that I had to adjust the recipes just slightly, like heating half a second longer than was stated, to achieve the correct results.  It's a little frustrating, but still mostly works.  To not sound too harsh, I'd like to add the scrolling scroll of potions in the upper right corner is one of the smoothest, and coolest, animations in the game.


     What Undergrave does well lies in its concept.  It's basically just another rogue-like, but the Castlevania-esque visuals take it to a memorable level.  Then it pushes the game further with clean, gorgeous animations, in a heavily Gothic and atmospheric environment.  It also features brilliant and fitting music, adding to the tension of the environments quite wonderfully.
     Sadly, this open alpha is plagued by one awful problem- the controls.  As they are right now, the controls are very, very clunky and unresponsive.  In a rogue-like, unresponsive controls can lead directly to death, which is unbelievably frustrating.  A great many of my deaths were due to the jump not responding and subsequently falling to my death or taking fatal damage.  Jumping while moving often stops the character and instead of jumping in an arc, he just jumps straight upwards, and in turn often meaning incurring damage that could've been avoided had the momentum carried him forwards as it should.
     It should also be noted that the "interact" button is inexplicably in the center of the screen instead of one side by all the other controls.  That way players aren't forced to stretch a finger across to the center of their devices, some of which are large enough they may need to pull a hand away to reach.

     All in all, Undergrave is a tremendous in its alpha state- it's off to an amazing start with excellent graphics and distinctly moody music.  It's got an amazing base concept of creating your alchemical weapons, but could definitely expand on that, perhaps to making more than just potions- maybe other weapons or things to enhance his whip, such as adding an elemental attack to it.  They could add a wider variety of locations, a bit of story lore for us, and some permanent unlockables to aid us in our quest.
     Regardless of whether it's still in development or not, if you are a fan of Castlevania or rogue-likes, you should definitely check Undergrave out.  Despite my complaints, it's still a beautiful little game you can pick up and play in short installments.

     For updates follow 3DMG on [ Twitter ]

     To play [ Undergrave ]

9.28.2017

Red Dead Redemption 2: Trailer 2 is Here

     Rockstar Games' highly anticipated sequel to Red Dead Redemption has released a glorious new trailer to remind us that 2018 can't come fast enough.


     In this new trailer we get a little bit of the story- it follows the trail of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as they're pursued across the American heartland.  It looks like there'll be plenty of fighting and stealing along the way.  Red Dead Redemption 2 seems to improve upon the last installment in every possible facet.  Better graphics, a bigger world, and presumably another epic western tale of blood and glory.

     We'll need to ready our rifles and revolvers in preparation for this wonderful prequel.

     Red Dead Redemption is set to arrive in spring 2018 on PS4 and XBox One.

9.24.2017

Slaughter 2: Prison Assault: 3rd Person Shooter's Sequel: Teaser Trailer has Arrived

     I was a huge fan of Slaughter, it's a tremendous 3rd person shooter game with a ton of action, humor, and fun all crammed onto Android devices.  Then I found out there was a sequel on the way and hyped it over on Droidgamers.


     I've been eagerly awaiting more news of how far along the game has been and what the status might currently be.  Recently creator/developer Ray "Venomized Art" Spark has mentioned the game's release is "just around the corner," with no specific date given.  Though it should be noted that it was sitting at around 60% complete as of a month ago, and as of 20 minutes ago, he released a teaser video with the comment that it is, "Almost finished."


     I can only tell readers to watch the videos and go check out the first game to get a feel for it- this is one that I highly recommend, as I said before, "Slaughter is a genuine treat for anyone that likes short and sweet 3rd person shooter games.  It's has good controls, lots of shooting, humor, and a lot of replayability."  Though I should note that there ARE sound effects, but they aren't in the trailer- here's a trailer/gameplay of the first showing them, so please don't be offput by not hearing anything in these teasers.

     Slaughter 2 puts players in the shoes of a Special Forces soldier (some of whom shot at Russel, the protagonist of the first game), and will cross over with the first game at some point.  This game should reveal the secrets of the first's captured city, and the developer has said he hopes this one will be about twice the length in terms of gameplay.
     In previous contact with the developer he's stated the game contains better graphics, animations, new weapons and enemies, as well as including a lot more trivia, texts, and secrets.

     The first Slaughter is available for .99 on Google Play

     Source [ Venomized Art on Facebook ]

9.03.2017

Borderlands 3 Update: PAX West 2017 Teaser Announcement

     Fans have been clamoring for news of the beloved Gearbox franchise Borderlands for another installment since the Pre-Sequel hit systems in late 2014.  There was the cancelled mobile MMORPG Borderlands Online that looked great, and then we got a tidbit of hope when Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford said at PAX East 2016 that, "Obviously, there is going to be another Borderlands."


     Now, after the lackluster Battleborn, Pitchford came out and stated that Gearbox has 90% of their studio's productivity focused on, "Working on the thing I think most of you guys want us to be working on," heavily insinuating the singular game fans are looking forward to- Borderlands 3, or more likely Borderworlds- a more fitting title after the finale of Borderlands 2.  Many of us are extremely hyped as Gearbox's last game hasn't been nearly as captivating, and they could really use a blockbuster to get fans back.
     While he didn't expressly state the name of the game, as Gearbox is now a publisher and can't officially announce a game until they are formally announced, it was a definite teaser- as some of the tech demo they showed at GDC 2017 featured a very distinct art style (see video above).

     All else that is known is that Battleborn's Art Director Scott Kester is serving in the same role on Borderlands 3, and the original Borderlands' writer Mikey Neumann, will be writing it again.

     Source [ Dual Shockers ]

     For related posts [ Borderlands ]

9.01.2017

Golden Axe (Sega Forever): Short Review

     As a long time fan of Sega, from their great system Genesis to their amazing game series' like Streets of Rage, I was truly excited to see they were doing what I complained Nintendo should've done years ago- port their games to the mobile market via iOS and Android.  So far, Sega's ports have brought us classic games such as Altered Beast, Ristar, Kid Chameleon, and Phantasy Star 2, and now, they've brought the fantasy arcade turned Genesis beat 'em up Golden Axe to the Sega Forever lineup.
     Players can once again take on the role of a Dwarf, Barbarian, or Amazon Warrior to battle the dreaded Death Adder for the legendary Golden Axe to restore peace to the land of Yuria.  Slay enemies, ride beasts, and cast spells all along the journey to take back the ravaged kingdom!


     Starting with the good, the Sega Forever titles get some upgrades from the old version.  There's a choice in graphics, either the original or new smooth versions, there's also a slightly easier mode, leaderboards, and a new duel mode where players can face off wave after wave of enemies.  They've also stated that there is a, "Multiplayer experience coming soon."

     Now, sadly, the bad part.  As with all the other Sega Forever games (the exception being Phantasy Star 2- it doesn't require the quick responses of the other games), Golden Axe is another great old school gaming experience once again marred by awful controls.  I noticed numerous times where my character wouldn't respond to inputs, or the controls were off just enough to be frustrating- like trying to make a jump across a gap and instead falling to your death, and I'm not fully positive on this, but I believe some enemy hit boxes were altered, because there's a bunch of times where I'd swing directly through enemies and they'd remain untouched.
     It's also unbelievably irritating to get caught in stun-locked to death sandwiched between enemies because the controls lag or unresponsive d-pad inputs leave you standing still.  The game was originally designed as a quarter-muncher arcade meant to siphon peoples' pockets of coins to make money, and the irksome unfairness of the arcade difficulty is greatly exacerbated by the d-pad input problems.
      In reality, a small patch could easily fix this.  It's the biggest issue with the wonderful games they've been putting out, and if Sega wants to start making money off of these they need to specifically fix the controls.  They've begun a trend that retro gamers want, and have started down the right path, they just need to hone it in and really make these games shine.

     Despite its flaws, Golden Axe is still a good addition to the growing Sega Forever library with its extras and the promise of an online co-op on the way we can hopefully look forward to fixes yet to come.  I honestly hope they do fix the consistent control problems, because Sega has a monstrous library of tremendous games worth replaying, or bringing to a completely new audience, and this is the singular stumbling block in the way.

     Golden Axe via the App Store and Google Play.  It's free to play with adds, but has a $1.99 IAP that removes adds and allows for an

8.31.2017

Mega Bloks (Construx): Masters of the Universe Skeletor: Micro Review

     It's been quite a while since I've found some cool toys since Wave 2 of the Mega Bloks (now Mega Construx) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mini figures, and today I came across an awesome new one- a tiny Masters of the Universe Skeletor.

     When I first came across the initial bunch of TMNT Mega Bloks figures I was immediately taken with how well done they were, wave 2 pushed that impressiveness even further.  Then the toys were set back a little with the TMNT: Out of the Shadows film tie-ins, then they knocked it out of the park with the black and white Mirage Comics figures- they were downright spectacular!

     Once again, Mega Construx has done a fantastic job in making an absurdly tiny and somehow still manage to have a ton of articulation.  This is a tremendous new mini figure that is great for collectors and fans.  It's well painted, well sculpted, and articulated- these things are just plain amazing little figures.  I only hope they will produce more than only He-Man and Skeletor, currently the only 2 available for the Masters of the Universe line.  I'd really like to see Tri-Klops, Stinkor, Man-at-Arms, or any of the vast array of characters from the comics or show.
     I'll definitely pick up more as they come, but right now, this Skeletor is a perfect introduction to the set, and I can only hope for more to come.

     I've also seen they've released 2 figures from Star Trek: The Next Generation and 2 from Aliens.  In reality, they could make a plethora of great figures for those series' as well- paving more paths for cool new figures now that the TMNT lines are becoming stale.  I'm not kidding, there's a wealth of characters to choose from but they go with ones nobody wants, or more simple repaints/variants of the core turtles for each new wave comprising a full 50% of each new wave.  Mix it up a little Mega Construx!  People will buy the awesome figures when they aren't making the same mistake the old Playmates line made, no one wants the football Leonardo, or an Army fatigues Donatello, we'd rather have a cool Metalhead or Chrome Dome than the infinite number of variants.

8.22.2017

Jurassic World Evolution: Trailer & Thoughts

     I heard there was a new Jurassic Park game on the way and I got immediately excited, unfortunately that excitement was swiftly quashed when I found out it was just another world builder game.


     According to the developer's official press release:
     "Jurassic World Evolution evolves players’ relationship with the Jurassic World film franchise, placing them in control of operations on the legendary island of Isla Nublar and the surrounding islands of the Muertes Archipelago. 
     Players will build their own Jurassic World as they bioengineer new dinosaur breeds and construct attractions, containment and research facilities. Every choice leads to a different path and spectacular challenges arise when ‘life finds a way.’"
     I'm not going to lie, though the developer has over a decade of world/city building, management, and simulation games experience, I just feel they could've done better for the Jurassic Park legacy than this genre of game.  The old Sega Genesis game was a great platformer, the Sega CD version was a point-and-click mystery (as was the far superior, and much more recent Telltale version), and this honestly feels like an upscaled version of Ludia's mobile tie-in Jurassic World: The Game.  The mobile game was a good time-waster, overloaded with IAPs and the like with an interesting dinosaur evolving and battling sub-game- but it was also a mobile game, and not a full console game.  While I don't like this type of game, I'm sure it'll have a bunch of people hyped.

     All I'd like to see, and have wanted to see for decades, is a 3rd person action-adventure game like Uncharted 4 or Rise of the Tomb Raider that takes place in the Jurassic Park universe.  If they could get a company like Naughty Dog or Crystal Dynamics/Eidos Montreal to make it, the game would top the charts instantly.  The closest we got to it is the LEGO Jurassic World game, it wasn't the best, but it was still pretty damned fun despite the flaws (that plague all the LEGO games).

     Jurassic World Evolution will arrive on PC, PS4, and XBox One in Summer 2018, in time for the theatrical release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on June 22, 2018.

     SOURCE [ Frontier ]

8.07.2017

Easy-Mode Players Are The Real Gamers (GUEST POST by @Nintendo_Legend)

“Everything ain’t hardcore, you know.” -- Jay-Z.

At the time I am writing this, the current water-cooler topics of discussion include Harry Potter now being 20 years old and the SNES Classic releasing in the fall. Pop culture is a merry-go-round, an exercise in tempting bystanders through a cyclical display of the same bright lights, colorful motifs, and enchanting musical ditties.

Among the spokes on the spinning wheel of gaming topics is the intractable morass of difficulty levels. When Nintendo included an invincible Tanooki suit in Super Mario 3D World as an option for players who die five times in a row on the same stage, some people found this to be quite an objectionable thing, positing that including this item “destroys everything that playing video games is all about,” because the whole point of video games is “challenging yourself, improving your skills, and finally applying those skills you’ve learned to defeat the stage. Failing is an essential part of any video game. You have to fail to get any sense of accomplishment when you finally do win.”

One could wonder if having fun could be a worthy purpose for gaming.

I recommend reading Nadia Oxford’s piece at USGamer on the topic. Also, this Jimquisition video on Zero Difficulty, concerning reaction to an Easy Mode in StarFox Zero. While we’re recommending items on the subject, here’s a Kotaku article by Jason Schreier on the idea that maybe all games should have a ‘very easy’ mode. Here is a meaty piece on Dark Souls and how its identity is closely tied to its difficulty, among other sentiments. Finally, here is a long Twitter thread on (among other things) how even the meaning of the term ‘hardcore’ has shifted over time as the demographics of the hobby have changed.


Honestly, I do not want to rehash the entire discussion. It should be fairly clear, to anyone with common sense, that it is unreasonable to object to a feature being included in a video game that does no harm yet enhances enjoyment for others. Concerning yourself with how others conduct themselves in their gameplay to the extent of whining about it online is asinine, especially when it has zero affect on your own experiences.

Yet, even in recent days, we see the same old behavior dug back up for a new target, the SNES Classic. “Why don’t you just get a Raspberry Pi?” they cry, ignoring the fact that countless thousands within the target audience of the novelty have no clue nor interest in how emulation works, while also ignoring… the simple fact that it is perfectly fine for others to enjoy something you have no interest in. Again, it is a troll viewpoint, not worth covering in too much detail.

Simply: It is silly, at the very least, to care what difficulty level other people play at, or to scoff at how casual they are. Any half-decent human being with four brain cells can recognize that ‘hardcore’ and ‘casual’ players have equal value, and that worrying how someone else plays a video game is a waste of energy. To be a member of the gaming community yet hate on features that would only serve to include more people is a slimeperson position to take. Yet, I want to go a step further.

I want to say: Easy-Mode Players are the real gamers.

Yes, Easy-Mode Players are the ones who should have the cred, be looked up to, and have their opinions sought after. Why did it take me several paragraphs to reach my premise? … I don’t have an answer for that, ha. Instead, let’s take a not-too-serious look at why Easy-Mode Players are the real gamers.

They Are Different

On a simple, literal level, Easy-Mode Players are different. They take the path less traveled, they march to the beat of a different drummer. They take the scenic route, and do not concern their pride on such matters as violence and speed and competition. They are mold-breakers, and their type is still not thought of as The Default by developers or fellow fans.

Which is fine, mostly. But there is value in recognizing the ideas that a different sort of mind can contribute, and how these voices can help constructively craft the scene. Let them be taken seriously, and be appreciated for their distinct perspective. At times, it may even seem refreshing.

They Appreciate The Craft

Consider motivation: Why would anyone bother playing a game at its hardest difficulty, anyway? Sure they may enjoy the heightened challenge, but why? Does it not always come back to a personal point of pride? Having to conquer the game, having to beat someone else, having to prove something.


Now, consider the Easy-Mode Player, the player who is taking their sweet time to truly soak in the journey, to dive full-bodied into the story and lore that has been crafted for them, to let themselves be immersed and invested in the setting and characterizations. Just as there are connoisseurs in other fields, is there not room for gamers who really take measure of the artform we are so fond of?

Would Easy-Mode Players not more readily support games as an artform, since they are removing their ego from the equation and more readily embracing the total venue of experiences that the hobby can offer?

I am not saying that speedrunning is somehow bad, or there cannot be a healthy place in this world for esports tournaments. However, consider the artistic merit of these pursuits applied to other subjects of study. What would we think of a reader who speed-read a book? Of a viewer who watched a film in fast-forward? What if a listener made music more difficult, trying to listen to a track while punching their own ears underwater?

Should we not treasure the keen insights of those who truly involve themselves with the games in a real way? Those who really do regard gaming as an interactive art form, and see more clearly their narrative capabilities?

All I’m saying is that I bet people who play Easy have a sight for the craft of games that many others lack, and this is probably pretty cool.

They’re Nicer People

Look, um, I admit, this is a gross generalization, and totally unscientific, but -- if you put the hardest-core FPS player next to someone who likes visual novels, I’m just saying, I would wager on the visual-novelist being the kinder person if I had to pick. Kinder human beings are, generally, human beings I would rather associate and communicate with.


Okay, I am beginning to drift away from any legitimate point I could have had. At the end of the day, all I am trying to say is -- let’s celebrate and champion the easy-mode players, because they add a distinctive wrinkle to the community that should be appreciated. Let’s support and affirm one another, rather than… get bent out of shape because now even a baby can play a Super Mario game (I mean seriously, why the hell do you care wh-- never mind, sorry, sorry).

I do want to include a word about accessibility. The idea of having more play options for more people includes the benefit of opening possibilities for those with cognitive differences or bodily challenges. If including these players means a form of play that could be seen as an Easy Mode, can you really feel good about taking issue with that? Or feel malice for letting these players play at all?

I know some people find children annoying, as another example, but what objection can you truly have to a setting that finally lets a child enjoy a game? Feel free to tackle the issues of appropriate choices on a title-by-title basis, but the overall idea remains: Gaming inclusion beats gaming exclusion, and it is not a difficult debate.

Communities work better when people act more like friends and less like enemies. This seems like a simple-enough idea to me, but we have a bit of work to do yet. So, let’s do the work. Let’s stop turning our noses at folks for playing walking simulators, stop trying to push people into playing in ways they don’t really want to play, and conduct ourselves upliftingly toward those who slide the difficulty scale all the way down.

Here’s to you, Easy-Mode Players. I think you’re the real gamers.


     Guest post written by Eric Bailey [ @Nintendo_Legend
          Admin of [ skirmishfrogs.com ] [ @SkirmishFrogs ]

     For Eric Bailey's last Guest Post click [ HERE ]

DC Unchained: DC Comics' Mobile Counterpoint to Marvel Future Fight

     It looks like Korean publisher 4:33 Creative Labs announced at a recent Comic Con that their development studio Thumb Ageis has been officially working on a DC Universe based mobile game, called DC Unchained, and it looks like worthy competition for Netmarble's massively popular Marvel Future Fight.


     Much like the Marvel Future Fight, players will choose a team of 3 characters- such as Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman- out of an initial 30 heroes and villains, for a variety of modes including story, PvP, and even real-time co-op.  There's been hints that there are still a couple modes yet to be revealed, and there's always the potential for the DC roster to expand greatly after the initial launch.

     Not much else is known at this point.  It looks a little choppy at points, but overall it could easily become the best DC Universe game available once it launches as titles like DC Legends or the mobile versions of Injustice, the 3rd person RPG fun just hasn't been matched nearly as well as Future Fight nailed Marvel's characters.

     I'm seriously looking forward to this and will be updating here as more information and news comes in.

     DC Unchained is expected to hit Western shores in 4Q 2017.

     For related posts [ Future Fight ]

     SOURCE [ EDaily ] via [ 2P ]