Jessica Jones: New Nightcap Teaser: She's Got a Bad Reputation

     After the nice "It's Time" teaser (that looks like it'll be the opening credits sequence) and the subtle"Good Morning" trailer, we get another hilarious snippet for the upcoming Jessica Jones series brought to us via the combined super team of Marvel and Netflix.

     Krystin Ritter stars as the titular heroine, who's powers are being shown through these great teaser trailers.  The show will also star Mike Colter as Luke Cage and David Tennant as Zebediah "The Purple Man" Killgrave.

     The entire Jessica Jones series will premiere on Netflix on Nov. 20th.


New X-Files: Revival Trailer Promo: The Truth is Still Out There

     Debuting Sunday Jan. 24th, 2016 and continuing on Monday the 25th The X-Files will be reopened in a 2 part special. This premiere event is kicking off a 6 episode mini-series of the return of famed FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

     The series marks the return of creator Chris Carter, David Duchovney, and Gillian Anderson in a great chance to make us believe once more that the truth is really out there.

Heroes Reborn: Enigma Update & Release Announced

     With the Heroes Reborn series having begun, the previously announced video games (Enigma and Gemini) from Imperative Entertainment are on their way to players hands.  Each game is a stand alone story in the world of Heroes with connections to each other and the larger story, but players can come in new without needing to worry about the television show's history.


     Heroes Reborn: Enigma allows players to become Dahlia, an EVO, using her powers of teleportation and time manipulation to escape a secret government facility called The Quarry.  The game is a first-person action-puzzler where you must use your abilities to traverse the complex environmental designs of The Quarry.  It sounds like we'll be playing someone very much like the fan-favorite, series regular Hiro Nakamura in a place that looks a bit like Portal's Aperture Science laboratories.

     The game is made with the Unreal Engine 4 so we can expect some decent visuals for a mobile title, and the story was written under the supervision of Heroes creator Tim Kring.  It will serve as an extension of the Reborn series and will be an experience all on its own.

     Heroes Reborn: Enigma will be available for Android & iOS on Oct. 8th for $5.99.


     Heroes Reborn: Gemini, Enigma's counterpoint, will focus on Dahlia's sister Cassandra.  It is "an entirely different" game that will be coming to PC and consoles at an unannounced later date.


     Heroes Reborn airs Thurs. 8pm on NBC.


Jessica Jones: Marvel & Netflix's First Actual-Footage Trailer: Good Morning

     Netflix & Marvel gave us a small bit of a tease with the release date announcement trailer not too long ago, and now we get a real footage trailer. It shows off just a small amount of her powers, but it is entertaining enough to keep me wanting more.

     "After a tragic ending to her short-lived Super Hero stint, Jessica Jones is rebuilding her personal life and career as a detective who gets pulled into cases in New York City. It's time the world knew her name..."
     Following hot on the heels of the awesome Daredevil series, Jessica Jones will showcase more of the lower case (super) heroes on the streets of the Marvel universe. The series will be continued with Luke Cage and Iron Fist, and will all culminate in a group-centered Defenders series with all the players on a single team.

     Jessica Jones will premiere all episodes on Netflix November 20th.

Josh News Update: Poetry City, USA

     Just a small update here, today is my last official day as an intern editor for Poetry City, USA. It was a great experience and I got to read a ton of poems and meet a truly ludicrous number of highly talented poets. The finished project, Poetry City, USA Vol 5 will be debuting at the Twin Cities Book Festival.

Looky at the cover pic I took! 
     The day long Twin Cities Book Festival is a free event located at the Minnesota State Fair grounds on October 17th, from 10am to 5pm. I would recommend anyone that enjoys books or writing to swing through.
     Previous volumes are available via Amazon for anyone interested, and I'll update the blog when the new product is available.

     [ UPDATE ] Here is the link to Amazon for Poetry City, Vol. 5.
          (Disclaimer- I do NOT make any money off of this)

     As for my own prose on poetry piece in the journal, my favorite part was cut. It makes sense as the journal can only be so long. It went from 4 pages to 2 pages, and then down to a single page. No worries though, I'll find another use for it. Here is that small clip from what was cut:
     "Some poetry can be experimental, taking strange and new approaches- a Jackson Pollack filling a shotgun and splattering words across a canvas.  Some find form to be the perfect way to go- like Michelangelo carving the image out of a block of marble.  Did he do the same for his poetry?  Chiseling a massive dictionary down, page by page, to just the right words befitting the ideal piece of work it contained within."
     I really liked the imagery, and honestly, it's how I work when writing- as my background is primarily in the visual arts like painting, drawing, and graphic design. It was the only part of my piece I really, really liked, it stayed in from the very first draft all the way up until the last draft. Although, I'm already working on another piece for a small work of my own with this particular chunk so maybe it'll see print one day in a chapbook or something.

     Seriously, there were so many amazing submissions, it would've been great to print them all.

     Official Site [ Poetry City, USA ]  [ Facebook Page ]


Star Wars: Heroes Path: Review

"A long time ago, on an iPad far, far away..."

     Star Wars: Heroes Path is another game with unavoidable similarities to Hitman GO. As simply put as possible, Heroes Path is a tiled, turn-based puzzle game covering the events of the first film, Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. The plot as a whole follows many key scenes and only in the end of the game does it take an intriguing turn, where you actually control an X-Wing instead of a character.

"Heroes Path Spaceport. You'll never find a more bland game of dull mediocrity."

     Heroes Path is a game of strategy. Simple movements in taking turns moving around a digital board and using what skills or abilities the current character has to find ways around enemies. New elements get added regularly like moving tiles or transport tubes to "teleport" you to another place. But nothing truly clever or imaginative. All the levels feel half-assed, like they focused on the Midi-chlorians instead of letting the Force be mysterious and work its magic. None of the puzzles are that difficult, although there is a very moderate replayability through the use of a star collecting system. Each level has 3 star goals, some of which can only be obtained by a single way through solving the level's puzzle forcing you to replay it in a different way for another star. A cheap way to extend the length of playtime.

     What the game has going for it is slim. The graphics are decent, and although I really enjoy the art style, the animations are merely average at best. A more stylized look, or smoother animations could've done wonders here. To be fair though, there are nice comic book-ish cut scenes that are handled well enough.
     Being a Star Wars game, the sound design is top notch. Everything sounds accurate effects-wise and the music is great. Honestly, I don't recall any Star Wars games with poor sound effects or music, and that is including the really cheesy old games like the vector graphics arcade game.
     The controls are adequate. Nothing amazing or notable, and I must note a couple times when the moves I attempted didn't register and the character just sat there. A small annoyance.

"That's no game, it's a cash grab."

     The biggest issue with the game is actually with the IAPs. When you purchase the game you get a fair amount of levels, but none of the Han Solo or Obi-Wan Kenobi levels included. To play the entirety of the game you have to pay the initial $3.99 (4 characters and 6 chapters), and then another $3.99 to get the remaining 4 chapters (24 levels). There are also purchases for hints on how to solve a puzzle or for extra special abilities for characters to use, a fact made worse by some of the level goals necessitating the use of a special ability.
     This cash grab is a huge slap in the face. The game could've been an easy flat fee of $4.99, with maybe a small fee for extra hints, but this feels like it is purposely withholding parts of the game to make more money. This proves to be a great disturbance in the wallet.

"This isn't the game you are looking for."

     As a lifelong die-hard Star Wars fan, Heroes Path offered roughly 6 hours worth of enjoyable entertainment. As a fan of the game that heavily influenced this, Hitman GO, it gave me a little more joy for my dollar, but only moderately. The best thing the game has going for it is the potential for more levels. They could easily add the other 2 original trilogy films, then the prequels, and maybe even The Force Awakens as future DLC. But because this game is only mediocre it is highly doubtful that any more content will be added.

     Star Wars: Heroes Path is a game I can only recommend to hardcore Star Wars fans, otherwise, just buy Hitman GO, it is a superior game in every way. One would think that if they copied from such a tremendous game, how did this end up so uninspired? And that makes me sad because this game could've held immense potential with better designers. It's clear that this game wasn't made for the players. It's too simple and repetitive, and would've been much more appreciated if it had no damn IAPs, because it's already paid game.


Shane Carruth: Signs with WME for The Modern Ocean

     The exceedingly talented Shane Carruth has officially signed with talent agency WME for his new project. All that is known about the project so far is that the film will be titled The Modern Ocean and is considered to be "nautical action-adventure."

     It will be very interesting to see how he handles his first real big budget film. His previous works, the very mind-bending and experimental Upstream Color and the made with a threadbare budget of $7,000 Primer, were unbelievably well done. Primer is easily one of the greatest time travel films ever made, if not the best itself.
     What he did is even more amazing when you think of the fact that he wrote, directed, starred, and produced them among other things. He pretty much makes the films by himself. His films are made with a distinct style, and have a special something about them that makes them stand apart from the typical low budget fare. This is a cinematic artist of the highest caliber, and whatever he does will likely be amazing.

     If this project goes well I wonder if he'll ever find a producer for the film he had in the works years ago A Topiary? The film once had the backing of Steven Soderbergh and David Fincher. Despite great excitement for the ideas, no studio would help with the 20 million he was asking to make it. Even after dropping the asking price to 14 million, nothing came- so he had to drop the project and move to something else.
     As Tom Bond of One Room with a View put it:
     "To put it as bluntly as possible, A Topiary is the most mind-blowingly ambitious screenplay I have ever read. Working my way through its 245 pages I found myself shaking my head in disbelief every few minutes at the staggering vision on display. A Topiary is at once so complicated it dwarfs anything Primer or Upstream Color attempted and so simple it makes you look at the world around you with new eyes."
     And a similar sentiment is also shown by Carson Reeves over at ScriptShadow:
     "The script can be frustrating and it can feel long at times and it can lose you at others, but it also feels like it was written by someone who knows exactly what they want to do with it and have a clear vision on what it should look like in the end. It’s an original work and boy do we need more of those right now."
     For those of you that are curious to read Carruth's 245 page tome of a script it can be found through a search engine quite easily. I don't know if it is ok to post a link directly to it or not so I must refrain from doing so.

     Source [ Deadline ]

Heroes Reborn: Premieres Tonight!!!

     Anyone that has followed this blog for a very, very long time would know that I began this blog with a large number of horribly formatted, and frankly, very poorly written Heroes posts back in 2008.  I thought the first season was absolutely amazing and I made sure to watch every episode all the way through the long downhill slide into its cancellation, commenting and posting most of the way.  It was like watching a friend slowly dissolve before my eyes.

     Many, including myself, are hopeful now because series creator Tim Kring is back on board, and also because the series is a limited one.  So there should be no strung out, never ending story lines and no filler episodes.  There should be no room for anything to really waste our time or dilute the show.  With a definitive beginning and end the show now must adhere to an economy of footage and to really make it count.

     Though, to be honest, my hopeful attitude is very hesitant.  If you've looked through my old posts about the Heroes universe they are rife with letdown.  I had hopes and ideas far too large for the show.  So, in the mean time, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that this series recaptures the magic of the first season.  The later seasons did have a few really good episodes like the "Shades of Gray" and "1961," but they were few and far between, and I hope they really hit those high notes again.

     I still have a "Five Years Gone" Hiro Nakamura action figure pinned to my wall, as well as a slew of trading cards, comics, and a stack of the official Heroes magazine.  It would be awesome for the show to be amazing once more.

     On a side note- I'll also try and get a review of the Heroes Reborn: Dark Matters the digital prequel to Reborn up sometime in the next couple days as well.  I got the Heroes app on my phone a long while back with the exclusive episodes, although I see they've been adding them to the Heroes Youtube channel recently for those without the app, so I suppose I should finish the review and post it soon.

     For related posts [ Heroes ]

Gravity Rush 2: Story & Character Details Emerge

     After the SCE Japan announcement of the Gravity Rush (aka Gravity Daze in Japan) sequel and the Gravity Rush Remastered at the Tokyo Game Show 2015 during their press conference fans have been eager to learn more of what's to come of the heroine Kat.  

     The amazingly made Gravity Rush 2 official site has put up some new info:
      (thankfully translated for us over at Gematsu)
In the aerial city of Hekseville, reconstruction is progressing after the new weapons incident caused by the former mayor D’nelica. 
After a strange gravity wave disturbance was observed, the gravity princess Kat begins an investigation with her shifter partner Raven, and Syd, a police officer. 
Kat senses something strange and the area is hit by a gravity storm on an unprecedented scale. The three investigators are sucked into a gravitational whirlpool before even getting a chance to use their powers.
A remote, alternate dimension. Kat was engulfed by the gravity storm and finds herself in Banga Village, where people mine gravity ores amongst ruins for a living. 
Separated from Dusty, the cat who gives her the power to manipulate gravity, Kat is without special powers, and spends each day doing hard labor in the mines. 
One day she heads to work with Syd, who found himself in the same village, and a type of Nevi they’ve never seen before—called a “black insect” in this world—appears. The two are in deep trouble, but then… 
A girl who lost her memories. She saves the aerial city Hekseville from a gravity storm attack, and its people endear her as a gravity princess. 
A girl who used to be Kat’s rival, but now appears as her partner. 
A police officer who resolved a number of incidents with Kat. But he’s also a troublemaker that invites unrest. 
Gravity Rush 2
A bright and bustling town where you can feel the vitality of its citizens. 
A new dimension of gravitational action.
With your new power, face the threat that stands in your way, and discover the fate that awaits Kat.

      There's a bunch of small tidbits, but the good news is we get a new partner, a new place, and a new power all to help fight a new threat.  There isn't a whole lot for plot detail, but enough to keep our interest peaked.
     I'm actually really curious about the ability to feel the vitality of the citizens.  Could that be a hint to what the new power will be?  Will we see Dusty again?  So many questions to ask while we await the game.

     Gravity Rush 2 will be available on PS4 in 2016.

     Gravity Rush Remastered will be available in Japan on Dec. 10th, 2015...
          ...and in the EU and US in Feb 10th, 2016.

Blade: Snipes & Marvel Considering a Return of the Daywalker

     Fans of the Blade series have been waiting since 2004's Blade: Trinity to hear news like this.  Huffpost Live's host Zerlina Maxwell interviewed Wesley Snipes to discuss his new NBC show The Player, and of course, the topic of Blade and his recent Marvel talks came up.
     "There's always a possibility, you know. It's in Marvel's hands. They're controlling the pace and the flow with that. Conversations have been good. They see the value in it. We see the value in it," Snipes said. "I'm still in shape enough and fit enough to handle the role. We'll see how it goes. I don't really know what's going to happen to it yet."
     Going further, she asked him about the possibility of crossing over with the Avengers:
     "That would be interesting. I mean, I know it's in the comic book. It would be interesting to see where they would place him and where he really would fit in," he said. "He's got to bite somebody. I don't know who he's going to bite."
     It is an awesome thing that they are considering his return to the character, and many of us would love to see it done.  Obviously Snipes would want a crossover with the Avengers for monetary gain and popularity, but Blade feels like he's from a different world.  The same divide as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist have.  The Defenders are on a smaller scale, working in the shadows of the Marvel universe.
     So, personally, I believe it would be much better done as a darker toned TV show.  It would fit in with the underworld vibe of Daredevil, especially considering we'll now be seeing the Punisher in the next season.  
     Blade has a heavy horror story feel, and a television show would give it the proper time to develop an atmosphere to really hit home with his character.  Taking into consideration the fact that a Doctor Strange film in the works is a good sign, as he is more of an occultic background and should contain the realms and potential to work Blade back into the Marvel's shared cinematic and televised universe. 

     Snipes returning as the Daywalker would be amazing so hopefully they take this project up.  I'd like to see a return of Ghost Rider as well, which I still have a lengthy post in the works for.  It keeps getting put off, but maybe I can crank it out and edit it for the weekend.

     Source [ Huffington Post ]


The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Will Feature PewDiePie & Sean Murray

     CBS has been scheduling a lot of awesomeness in general for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, but there are two upcoming guests that are notable for the gamer community.

     It's good to see the gaming community is getting more coverage after the Jimmy Kimmel poked fun at Let's Play gaming, which was handled well afterwards.  Jimmy Fallon has a week every summer dedicated to gaming, and Conan O'Brien posts his wonderful Clueless Gamer videos that are always entertaining.

On Thursday, Oct. 1: 
Stephen Colbert will have an interview with and demonstration by famed YouTuber Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg.  One may guess that it may have something to do with his game, Legend of the Brofist, which arrives tomorrow on iOS and Android devices.  Considering he is the first person to crack the 10 BILLION mark, this makes sense.
On Friday, Oct. 2
Following a visit from God-slash-actor Morgan Freeman, Hello Games founder Sean Murray will be visiting for an interview and demonstration, presumably for the highly anticipated upcoming No Man's Sky.
     I am particularly interested in Sean Murray's segment.  He originally caught my attention with what I believe has been the best E3 presentation speech ever at the E3 2014 Playstation Press conference.  It contained a moving sincerity that isn't seen too often in the games conferences, and was a genuine delight to watch.

     I've transcribed the speech below for those of you that might be interested, as well as included links for those that want to see it.

     Sean Murray Hello Games' Founder:
     Thank you, feeling a lot of emotions right now. 
    I'm Sean, I'm from Hello Games.  We're a tiny little indie studio.  We're a group of friends making No Man's Sky.  It's a science fiction game.  I guess inspired by the kind of sci-fi I grew up with.  The battered book covers of Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke- just worlds that I wanted to escape to but never could. 
     We've created a procedural universe, it's infinite, and it's one that everyone can share. 
     We're going to start every player on a different planet, so no two people will have the same experience. 
     This universe we've created is so vast, it's so boundless, it's actually infinite, and we don't even know what's out there.  When the game releases, every player who picks up a pad and plays is going to help us discover a little bit more... 
     ...and I can't wait. 
     I want to finish with just a tiny taste of what your own unique journey into infinity might look like.  Hope you like it.
     To see it click the video link and he starts at 1:20:00-
          Playstation E3 Pess Conference 2014 ]

     For his PS Blog post Playstation Blog ]

     The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs Mon-Fri, 11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT


Age of Zombies: Quick Review (Android)

     Halfbrick Studios' hero Barry Steakfries returns in this semi-sequel to Monster Dash and Jetpack Joyride.  Steakfries is an 80's hero born in the wrong era, but in this game he finds his niche- through time travel.  After encountering his arch nemesis Professor Brains, he ends up  jumping through a portal through time.

     Age of Zombies is a nice little twin-stick shooter tossing players through time to slay hordes of zombies and undead creatures with a handful of various weaponry.  Each level has 3 stages and is themed, such as the prehistoric times including a zombie Tyrannosaurus Rex as a boss fight.  There's also Ancient Egypt, Ancient Japan, gangster infested 1930's, and "The Future."
     Though the campaign is short, even including the extra levels, the issue is slightly lightened by the addition of a horde mode, multiplayer, leaderboards to keep players going.  It isn't much, but enough to eat a 5 minute downtime and enjoy a couple chuckles while doing so.

     Halfbrick has used a surprisingly precise set of virtual controls, they are tight and responsive, everything feels extremely smooth.  The sounds and music are only average, but the art and animation is perfect for the nature of the game.

     The story is campy, and Steakfries comes across as a Duke Nukem wannabe written by a teenager, with his repeated swearing and crude jokes, but damn it, I still laughed anyway.  Age of Zombies is short and as to the point as one of Steakfries' own one liners, offering adequate action and absurdity for a couple hours of your time.


Sky: Review (Ketchapp)

     Developer Ketchapp consistently creates games that are beautiful, and maintain the tradition of older games' fun simplicity.  Their newest free-to-play game, SKY, is yet another wonderful creation holding true to that standard.

     SKY takes the age-old Pac-Man type of score-collecting game and puts it in a rail-sliding set of procedurally-generated trails to navigate.  The player's avatar in this case begins as a mere yellow square, but as you collect more of the coins along the pathways you follow, you can unlock a bevy of other icons such as a skull, a unicorn, or a tiny ninja.  I would like to note that the ninja is hilarious in it's tiny death animation.

     The game begins simply enough.  You are the square sliding along a path.  With only a jump and double-jump (tap and double-tap respectively, making playing single-handedly possible) you must avoid obstacles in your path.  The complexity of the task is greatly compounded by the fact that each time you die you need to begin anew.    
     Okay, that's not so bad.  It sounds like an easy thing to play, right?  Well, what is interesting here is once your square travels into a tent perspectives and directions may change, as well as compounding the number of squares you have.  Often, you'll find yourself controlling four separate squares on four separate lines and jumping in unison, desperately wishing for an orange marker that brings them all back into one yellow square.  Trying to adequately keep them all alive during the short bursts can be quite challenging.

     Honestly, the negatives of this game are slim.  The ads are annoying, but an IAP can relieve that issue for a small fee.  In addition extra in-game coins may be earned by voluntarily watching occasionally when offered.
     Then concerning purchasing the new in-game player icons, they never unlock the ones you want.  I tried the heart, but got the ninja, and so I tried the unicorn and got the skull, and so on.  So maybe there is a problem with that, because it doesn't say the box you get is random, you scroll through them and click unlock, but it doesn't unlock the one you pick.

      The game has very responsive controls and a wonderful lulling piano score that creates a pleasant experience all around.  SKY is an excellent minimalistic game- it's fun, addictive and challenging, everything a game should be.

Land's End: UsTwo's (Monument Valley) New VR Adventure Game's Trailer

     Today we get some good and not-so-good news.  The good part is that the creators of Monument Valley have a new virtual reality game, very reminiscent of the long time classic Myst, coming out on Oct. 30th.  The not-so-good news is that you have to have a Samsung Gear VR to play it.

     Land's End is a VR adventure from the creators of Monument Valley. Set against spectacular landscapes, the player is tasked with awakening an ancient civilization using the powers of their mind. 
     Land's End combines Ustwo Games’ award-winning approach to interactive storytelling with Samsung Gear VR, creating an incredible virtual reality experience that you can take anywhere.
      Land's End will release on Oct. 30th via the Oculus store.

     Source [ Land's End ]


Gravity Rush Remastered: Falling Upward from the Vita to the PS4 & Sequel Update

     The Playstation Vita has some serious issues (and some obvious solutions) it really could be a huge portable option for Sony users, and one great proof of that fact was the 2012 PS Vita exclusive game, SCE Japan Studio's portable masterpiece, Gravity Rush.

     In late 2013, Gravity Rush fans got teased with a sequel, then in late 2014 another tease for the sequel claiming it was being developed for the PS Vita.  Now almost a year after the last tidbit of information we get more news in an nearly annual update fashion- with a bonus!

Gravity Rush 2 (Aka Gravity Daze in Japan)

     Since the last news update, we now learn that Gravity Rush 2 is being fully and exclusively developed for the PS4 and it is taking full advantage of the graphical power of the system.

     Gravity Rush 2 is slated for release in 2016.

Gravity Rush Remastered

     Developer Bluepoint Games, known for updating the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection, the Metal Gear HD Collection, and more recently the Uncharted Collection have been hard at work updating Gravity Rush for the PS4.  In addition to the increased graphics, they've included all 3 DLC packs (The Spy Pack, The Military Pack, and The Maid Pack) that include extra missions and costumes.  Kat and her sidekick/talking cat Dusty will now be defying gravity in 1080p at 60fps through the city of Hekseville.

      Gravity Rush Remastered will be available in Japan on Dec. 10th, 2015...
          ...and in the EU and US in Feb 10th, 2016.

     Source [ Playstation Blog ]


Gravity Duck Islands: Official Trailer

     Ravenous Games has just released the trailer for the portable puzzle-platformer Gravity Duck, called Gravity Duck Islands.  Once again, players take up the mantle of the Gravity Duck and his wonderful ability to ignore the laws of physics and travel to 4 different islands, each with a their own unique method of puzzle solving.  In addition to jumping, we can now inflate, phase, and teleport through the levels.

     In addition, there will be hats.

     Lots and lots of hats, purchasable via in-game collectible rubber duckies*.

     Gravity Duck Islands will be available in the App Store Sept. 17th.

     *Or at least that's how it appears they are obtained.

MicRogue: MicReview (Android)

     Crescent Moon Games have brought to us a very nice free-to-play game called MicRogue.  It has no IAPs and infrequent, but excessively lengthy, ads.

     MicRogue combines the random generated level elements of a rogue-like game with a turn-based puzzle-strategy game that works much like chess does by taking turns.  Learning how to play is simple, it takes no time to figure out how each new enemy works and how to counteract their abilities, or use their abilities to kill other creatures.  Each enemy piece has their own type of  movements, such as skeletons move diagonally, beholders swap positions with you, Yetis freeze things, and so on.  Players can even align things to have enemies take each other out, or lure them onto traps.

     The goal of the game is to ascend the tower floor by floor, retrieve the treasure and escape from a dragon on the way back down.  If you die, you start all over on floor 1.  Because the floors are only a single screen the game is very fast paced.  And the pixelated art style is very befitting of the nature of MicRogue- a highly condensed retro pocket-adventure hearkening back to the old RPGs of yesteryear.

     A small IAP would be nice to wipe out the ads, and maybe add a stat tracker to see how many floors you've played, how many monsters (and what kinds) you've slain, and how many times you've died or fell prey to traps.  [ UPDATE: Crescent Moon Games have confirmed that they ARE working on a premium version of the game to eliminate ads. ]

     I hope they add more levels or some expansions because there isn't a whole lot here, but what they do have offers great bite-sized replayability.  Maybe add actual dungeon levels, or a side quest or something- a micro-DLC to expand this great little game.

     MicRogue is an ingeniously thought out and compact game that is ultra simple as well as extremely fun to play.  It really is a wonderful dungeon-crawling, chess-like puzzle-strategy game that is both challenging and accessible to anyone.

     MicRogue is currently free-to-play on [ Google Play ]


Ghosts of Memories: A Beautiful Puzzle-Adventuring Trailer

     Ghosts of Memories is a 2.5D isometric puzzle-adventure game in the same vein as Monument Valley and Outside World, and has a lovely beauty reminiscent of Journey.

     Players must adjust and manipulate the architecture around them, altering your perception of the environment to create pathways that bridge the 2 intertwined dimensions, solving riddles, and unlocking the story of these ancients worlds.  Joining you on this quest is a voice trapped in the scepter that allows these powers.
     A lone wanderer from an empty world finds a mysterious scepter that holds untold power. However bound to the staff is also a voice of a woman that seeks help in finding her freedom. She promises to teach the traveler how to use the powers hidden within if he finds her and frees her. Together they embark on a journey that will reveal to them more than they expect.
     Solve puzzles of ancient civilizations as you travel across worlds filled with mysteries. Experience the variety of beautiful, fantastic landscapes by interacting with them and bending them to your will.
     Master the powers sealed in an ancient scepter that will aid you in your quest. Reveal the story of a mysterious being reaching out for your help.
     Ghosts of Memories will arrive on iOS and Android devices Oct. 16th.
          But players may sign up for the Beta right now.

     Source [ Ghosts of Memories ]


Josh News: A Sad & Terrible Morning: One of My Pets Unexpectedly Died Overnight

     This morning I woke up to an awful sight.  My birds were screeching, fluttering, and acting strange and when I went down to find out what happened, Albert was laying face down on the bottom of the cage.  She had died some time in the night.  It was completely unexpected.  No signs, no warnings, no nothing.

Albert on right, Meira on left.
     Albert hadn't been acting weird or anything, and I know that birds tend to hide their illnesses, but this was so abrupt.  Seriously, just yesterday she was doing great.  What a depressing way to wake up.  I've never taken pet deaths well, and this does hurt.  I'm just glad the other 3 birds are all right.
     Poor Meira, Albert's cage mate, is singing a sad soft song, and it makes me feel bad.

     Rest in peace Albert, hopefully you are now with founding Team Peeper Keeper member George off in Bird Heaven.  You will be missed.

RIP, Little Alberta


Pokemon GO: Augmented Reality For Real Life Adventures in the Tall Grass!

     Nintendo recently announced a move towards more mobile gaming, and along with The Pokemon Group and developer Niantic have brought us this great idea for adapting the bazillion dollar franchise to iOS and Android devices sometime in 2016.

     The augmented reality of the game is that players will now be able to see and capture Pokemon in the real world through their phones and GPS.  They'll be able to battle, trade, and collect them all.

     Another addition will be a Nintendo manufactured Bluetooth device called the Pokemon GO Plus.  It is a watch like device that will alert players to nearby Pokemon and allows for a simple button-pressing catching ability.

     Pokemon GO will be free-to-play with IAPs.

     Hopefully they don't monetize pokeballs.  I'll go poor trying to capture all the Squirtles.

     Source [ Pokemon ]

Jessica Jones: Teaser Trailer & Release Date

     We are finally getting some new Jessica Jones show news.  The second series of five planned from Marvel and Netflix's partnership has gotten a release date with an accompanying teaser trailer.  It looks very much like it could be the credits sequence, similar in style to the previous Daredevil's was, but we'll have to wait and see.

     Marvel's Jessica Jones full 13 episode series premieres on Netflix Nov. 20th.

     After Daredevil and Jessica Jones, will come Luke Cage and Iron Fist series,' then a team up show show called The Defenders, a sort of down to Earth, poor-man's Avengers.


The Balloons: Noodlecake Teaser Trailer

     Publisher Noodlecake Games has posted a nice teaser trailer for developer Hyperbeard's upcoming game The Balloons.  It doesn't give any indication what the game is really about or what type of gameplay there will be, but it does offer a hilarious take on what looks to be a bunch of spikes reacting to being encountered by a massive balloon.

     Official site [ The Balloons ]

Infestor: Short Review (Android)

     Ravenous Games' latest Android mobile game is Infestor.  Another pixel-art retro platforming-puzzler done with flair and brilliant game design.  The game has the same appearance and difficulty as their Random Heroes and League of Evil series', which is a great thing.

     What Infestor has done with this new game is more akin to their game Gravity Duck as opposed to the other more action oriented titles Ravenous is known for.  It focuses more on using the role of a mind-controlling bio-weapon slime escaping a military facility- forcing players to solve puzzles instead of resorting brute force to get through levels.

     The levels are puzzles gradually getting more complex and difficult over time, filled with a variety of humans to take over in an effort to get through.  Each of the human types has individual abilities, such as construction workers being able to push boxes around or a general being able to open locked doorways.  Players must use each of the abilities to find an escape to the next level.  Even abandoning a host is useful- when you leave them their head explodes in a humorous and satisfying splortch noise and gives you a nice jump boost to reach higher platforms.  There's nothing too strenuous to solve, it is an even and well-balanced challenge growth through the game.

     The negatives of the game are small, nothing big enough to dissuade from giving the game a chance.  Players can get caught on parts of the landscape, occasionally the buttons will be unresponsive, and I noticed that any jumps that touch a wall or ceiling halt progress and drop you like a rock, usually resulting in failure of the level.  But because the levels aren't very long, even towards the game, it isn't too much of a hassle- just a mild annoyance.

     Infestor is another entertaining game in the trademark Ravenous style.  The threadbare plot is just enough, and it ends in a way that teases a potential sequel, that I will be eagerly awaiting.


Seashine: Review: Bringing Light to Dark Waters

     In developer Pated's free-to-play debut title Seashine, players must struggle to maintain light and life against the darkness of the deep sea.  From the moment the players' baby, bio-luminescent jellyfish is born from a crystal, they have to fight against the oppressive dark.  Flee from piranhas, avoid poisonous aquatic mushrooms, boiling sea vent bubbles, and falling debris- everything in this world is there to slow you down or kill you in the quest for life/light.  It gets very tense because every second counts.

     Seashine is a beautiful rogue-light game.  What I mean by that is the game combines elements of an exploration-survival game with traditional rogue-like replayability with light as life.  The more light you have the longer you'll live and the more you can see around you.  It serves as both a health bar and a timer gradually fading into blackness.  The only thing that extends time is touching/eating other glowing things or obtaining stars which when tapped add extra time pausing the life/light bar from shrinking for very short durations.

     The downsides of Seashine aren't too bad either.  The controls are a little sluggish and get really tiresome when you fight just to move around a simple falling rock or need to evade an angler fish or piranha.  Some of the deaths feel a little cheap too.  On one play I had a huge predator come out of the background with absolutely no indication there was any danger- making it seem like the game just decided I should die right there with no way out.  Another time there was a singular glowing fish to eat and I then swam to death because there was none in the direction I went.  The unresponsive nature of the controls definitely get to be

     The music and sound effects in this underwater abyss are perfect.  Majestic and fitting for the deadly environment you swim through, they serve only to add to the perfect atmosphere.  Touching crystals creates chimes and the bubbles lull you with a relaxing ambiance.  The stresses of the game are somehow softened with such a wonderful score, making each death a little less painful.

     Seashine holds a haunting appeal to experience such strange horrors of survival anxiety in an alluring undersea world, and I would recommend it to anyone.  Submerge yourself in this enchanting environment.

Little Ghostbusters: Tiny Mobile Game Review (Android)

     I came across this small gem looking for some good Ghostbusters games for my phone.  Little Ghostbusters is a kind of reduced version of the old Sega Genesis Ghostbusters action-platformer game- shrinking it down to a fixed-shooter for the mobile

     Players choose one of the 3 original film Ghostbusters (Venkman, Stantz, and Spengler- but oddly no Zeddemore which is quite disappointing), each with their own type of blaster.  Sadly, the Proton Packs and Neutrino Wand streams are missing.  Each level is in a single room with ghosts flying across the screen.  Players must simply zap as many ghosts as they can while avoiding falling obstacles.  At the same time power ups, rare and valuable hearts, and money (score bonuses) drop to assist in your ghost capturing quest.  That is really the whole extent of the game.

     It is really a very basic game like Galaga or Space Invaders, but it doesn't need much more.  Really, outside of adding Zeddemore as a character, the only additional thing I'd change is to add a continue feature.  Each player only gets 3 hits and dies (slimed!) and you have to start completely over.  It gets very frustrating in the later parts of the game when the screen is pure bombardment and there's no way to avoid getting hit.  Otherwise it's a nice pocket-sized fixed-shooter game.

     Little Ghostbusters has solid graphics, smooth animations and gameplay, good sounds, and a nice synthesized version of the theme music, so it isn't much, but it's still a fun time waster for either fans of the franchise or fixed-shooters.

     Check it out free on Google Play [ Little Ghostbusters ]


Star Wars: Uprising Launches Sept. 10th on Mobile

     As we inch closer to the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, we are sure to be seeing plenty more goodies, and the mobile game Star Wars: Uprising in particular is looking really good.  This will also be the second official piece of official new SW canon since last week's novel release Star Wars: Aftermath- following events in the post Return of the Jedi universe.  Both works will serve as bridges to the upcoming film.
In the days following the Battle of Endor and the fall of the Emperor, The Anoat sector has been locked down by the Empire. With the Rebel Alliance on the other side of the Iron Blockade, it falls to the sector’s smugglers, freedom fighters, bounty hunters and gangsters to join forces and form an uprising.
The Galaxy needs a new hero. What kind will you be?
Decide and become a part of Star Wars history.
     Star Wars: Uprising is a free to play MMO action-RPG and appears to have a sort of Star Wars Underworld vibe from the Expanded Universe that was recently culled from the SW canon.  Players will work in a co-op dungeon crawler style game to fight through hordes of the Empire's cronies and attempt to break through the Imperial quarantine.  It sounds like a slow, but fun, grind of defeating enemies, collecting items, and upgrading skills in an effort to crush the Empire's hold on The Anoat sector.

     IAP's will be included in the game and Uprising's director Daniel Erickson says the monetization will be against "time and competition" as opposed to being simple paywalls.

     [ Star Wars: Uprising ]  The game will be available this Thurs, Sept. 10th.


Gravity Duck Sequel "Islands": Coming Soon!

     Ravenous Games has a history of making great small games- from their Random Heroes and League of Evil series' to the Devious Dungeons up to their newest release Infestor- they have become known for quality games for mobile devices.

     This newest announcement is a sequel to Gravity Duck, subtitled Islands.  In the new game players take Gravity Duck on an adventure across 4 different islands, each granting you a different ability, expanding on the gravity flipping of the first installment.  Players can look forward to a multitude of puzzle-solving goodness.

Each island has a unique ability: Jump, Float, Teleport, and Phase.
     No set release date has been given, Gravity Duck: Islands is "Coming Soon."
     It also has not been announced whether it'll be available for iOS, Android, or both.


LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles: Review (aka Yoda II)

     After playing the turly awful LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles, I had been extremely skeptical about the follow up LEGO Star Wars: The NEW Yoda Chronicles, also known as Yoda II.  Much to my surprise, developers The LEGO Group had taken it in a much better direction.
     Gone are the mobile RTS levels and in their place are 3 types of perpetual-runner type levels.  After choosing to side with either Jedi Master Yoda or Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader (the only real differences are cosmetic), players take up missions to collect Holocrons through various falling, running, and flying levels.
     The first type is actually the worst of the bunch.  You begin with a character in free fall, and have to avoid various objects in your path, collecting health and holocrons along the way.  The controls for these levels are downright horrendous and irritatingly unresponsive.  Even at their best they are clunky and aggravating.

     Next up are the running levels.  Players are hurried along paths on various planets and can shuffle side to side, jump over holes or gaps, and attack enemies and obstacles that appear.  Not a whole lot, but they are short and fun while collecting those plentiful Holocrons.

     Lastly, and easily the best and most fun, are the flight levels.  These have players flying around in vehicles in a 3D area shooting enemy ships and collecting the Holocrons that spill out.  The graphics are great, the flight controls can a little restrictive, but also very well done considering this is essentially a pocket-sized space flight simulation.  What surprised me about these levels is how great a delight they were to play.  Honestly, if this game was only the flight levels it may have been a much bigger hit.

     In the time I've been playing this, they've added 2 new ship type levels and 4 new character levels.  Just enough to keep players interest going.  LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles is far better than the first game, and is really worth playing just for the space battle levels alone.  The game has great graphics, clean and crisp sound effects, and is an all around decent free game with no pesky ads interfering with your play.  It may not be the best game for replayability, or most imaginative use of either the Star Wars or LEGO video game franchises, but it will afford you an enjoyable way to eat up some nice 5 minute periods of time.


Disney INfinity 3.0: Playable Kim Possible Teased!

     "So, What's the sitch?"

     Disney Interactive's VP of Production, John Vignocchi had a very interesting meeting with none other than Christy Carlson Romano, the voice of Kim Possible.

     Vignocchi posted a picture on Instagram with the caption:
     "We met up with @officialchristycarlsonromano last night to discuss the POSSIBILities! You guys made this happen - so epic! 
     #bestcommunityever #DisneyInfinity"  
     Previously we learned that there will be at least 116 playable characters by the end of 3.0's run.  Out of that number 16 were to be Disney specific (not Star Wars or Marvel related).  Since the announcement of 116 characters, we've been given the names of Nick Wilde & Judy Hopps from Zootopia, Spot the Human from The Good Dinosaur, and Peter Pan.  There's rumors of figures from Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, and even some serious speculation about Darkwing Duck showing up as one.
     Kim Possible would be an incredible addition to the Disney Originals line of INfinity figures.  While Vignocchi's Instagram pic and caption are not an official announcement, it is close enough to make a fan like myself very excited.  For fans of either Disney INfinity or Kim Possible, this is tremendous news.  Not only is Kim Possible an amazing character, but to have her in a new game would be unbelievable.
     I would also like to add that he had previously posted an image of his very spy-like watch with the caption, "My favorite Apple Watch notification all day... #KimPossible #CallMeBeepMe #DisneyInfinity"

     If this is true, I really, really hope there's a Rufus Team Up Disc.

     Source [ Infinity Inquirer ]

Lara Croft GO: A Puzzle-Focused Tomb Raiding Review

     Square-Enix Montreal has followed up their tremendous digital boardgame Hitman GO with Lara Croft GO in the same vein of game distillation.  They've taken the Tomb Raider franchise and boiled it down to a turn-based puzzle game done in a beautifully rendered art style.

     Visually, the game presents the 2 dimensional play with a nice depth of field by using darkened foregrounds, and washed out backgrounds, making the areas feel like the vast caverns and lands you are exploring in search of the "Atlas of Beyond."  The graphics are clean and fluid and are suited nicely to rendering the atmosphere of the world around Lara.  There's even occasional additional touches for players to see such as every once in a while Lara will do a hand-stand when climbing atop something.  It's a small detail that adds a lot of character.

     Instead of the typical run-in-and-kill-everything-that-moves-with-dual-pistols traditionally associated with Tomb Raider, Lara now must rely upon environmental manipulation and strategy to get around and kill enemies.  Players can shoot enemies from the side or behind, lure them onto crumbling pits, spear them, trigger a dart trap, or pull a lever to drop a boulder on them.
     The main level puzzles themselves are very well done.  They're set at a nice and gradual difficulty growth, never reaching the frustration levels of the final ones of Hitman GO, which is a good thing.  There's just enough challenge, but nothing ever truly hair-pullingly arduous, skirting a line of perfect balance in its progression.  Each new puzzle element like a movable column is added, it becomes one extra step you can utilize on the path to the goal.

     True to the Tomb Raider franchise they've also included collectibles in the form of urns to find scattered through the levels.  The urns contain parts of a set of various jewelry or other gems and relics.  Initially they are easy to spot and become harder to find later on.  The only real issue with this is that some of them are in a blacked out section of the screen and I only found them by randomly tapping the darkness.  Others are far off in the background, blending into it, and a few are primarily hidden around corners where only a small piece of the urn is visible.  The benefit of collecting them for the 100% is that they unlock extra costumes for a little replayable fun.

     Lara Croft GO is a wonderful example of game reductionism.  They took a great IP and made something amazing out of it.  Simple controls, a brilliant art style, great music, all wrapped up with a fitting adventure story.  This was much shorter and easier than Hitman GO (that isn't a complaint, I actually appreciate the brevity here) so I wonder if they will add any extra levels or DLC packs at a later date.
     I really hope Square-Enix Montreal keeps up with this trend, possibly exploring other S.E. properties like Deus Ex, Thief, or even a new take on Murdered: Soul Suspect might be worth attempting with the GO franchise's new formula.


Behemoth's Game 4: Pit People Trailer & First 20 Minutes!

     Ever since Castle Crashers, because I missed out on Alien Hominid the first time around, The Behemoth's games have kept my attention.  They have a unique style to their games, and an ample supply of humor to match.  Their newest game, formerly known under the working title of "Game 4" is now officially titled Pit People.

     And here is the trailer in all its glory:

     But, since a mere minute-and-a-half isn't nearly enough to sate the hunger of fans, here's over 20 minutes of game footage they put up as well:

     The Behemoth's take on turn-based strategy looks both entertaining and challenging.

     Pit People will be coming to XBox One and Steam. (No release date has been given)