Brutal Gamer http://brutalgamer.com Bringing you Brutally Honest feedback from today's entertainment industry. Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:11:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 EGX Hands-On: Political Animals http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/25/egx-hands-political-animals/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/25/egx-hands-political-animals/#respond Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:11:02 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114285 With the US presidential election build up in full swing, you can’t turn around without bumping into some form of political content.  Political Animals, being developed by Squeaky Wheel and published by Positech, takes the world of politics and elections and puts a fun spin on things. Political Animals is a turn based strategy game …

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With the US presidential election build up in full swing, you can’t turn around without bumping into some form of political content.  Political Animals, being developed by Squeaky Wheel and published by Positech, takes the world of politics and elections and puts a fun spin on things.

Political Animals is a turn based strategy game where two sides are aiming to get as many voters as they can in order to win the election.  You start off by choosing an animal to be the leader of your party, before choosing traits that they have which will effect certain facets of the game.  Then, you choose an island and the main concerns that they have, such as education or health care.  You then choose your staff, which will have expertise in various areas that you can use to your advantage, and also choose how much knowledge you have in specific policy areas.

The aim of the game is to get as many voters as possible.  You start from your HQ and move to various districts of the island, trying to convince the people there to vote for you.  Once you move in to a district, you can perform various actions to help your cause.  For example, you can campaign in an area to persuade people that you will be better for them than your opponent.  You can also do thing such as rally your supporters or try to raise funds for your campaign.  There are also some underhanded tactics you can try, such as trying to manufacture a scandal for your opponent, or just good old fashioned bribery.  How clean or dirty you fight is up to you.  But you only have a limited number of action points per turn, and each action you perform will take up some of those points, so you have to choose what you do wisely.  There are also a selection of map overlays which will give you a bunch of extra information, such as population for each district, what they want from you and so on.

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As well as direct actions you can take, every now and then there will be events that will take place that you have to take care of.  Here, a situation will be presented to you with a number of options for how to deal with it.  Your campaign will be affected differently depending on what action you take.  For example, one option might gain you more voters, but lose some action points.  Conversely, the other action will cost you voters, but give you more action points.  Another situation might involve you taking some sort of bribe, that will gain you some money but will give you a scandal point, which your opponent could potentially take advantage of.

This all goes on for a set number of turns.  Once the turns are over, each district will have their votes counted.  This includes both the votes you know you’ve already secured, plus any voters who were undecided up until election day itself.  You never know when your policies might swing some voters your way on the last day, so nothing is truly decided until the very end.

Overall, Political Animals looks like a fun game which anyone can enjoy.  It takes the whole idea of politics and gives it a level of enjoyment and charm that real politics doesn’t really have.  The game is still in development, and you can find out more at the game’s official website.

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The Rabbit And The Owl (PC) Preview http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/25/the-rabbit-and-the-owl-pc-preview/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/25/the-rabbit-and-the-owl-pc-preview/#respond Sun, 25 Sep 2016 18:59:57 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114288 The Rabbit and the Owl is a co-op puzzle-platformer by Formal Sheep studio which introduces a negative space landscape. Puzzle-platformer games are one of the oldest genres in all of video games. It’s also one of the most popular genres among casual as well as hardcore gamers. And why not?!! They are fun, simple to understand …

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The Rabbit and the Owl is a co-op puzzle-platformer by Formal Sheep studio which introduces a negative space landscape.

Puzzle-platformer games are one of the oldest genres in all of video games. It’s also one of the most popular genres among casual as well as hardcore gamers. And why not?!! They are fun, simple to understand but challenging to play at the same time. And because of this reason (and many more) why every platformer fan must try The Rabbit and the Owl game.

The Rabbit and the Owl is the game by Formal Sheep, an indie studio. The game is currently running a Kickstarter capmpaign. With goal of $5,000, it received its funding in the first five days of the campaign. With five days left to go, it has been 224% funded and are working toward their first stretch goal.

Story:

The Rabbit and the Owl

The game is set in an ethereal world Yril, where light and darkness prevail. Remnants of an ancient civilization litter the landscape. Now, two kindred spirits, for reasons unknown, have manifested themselves as the Rabbit and the Owl.

You will help guide the Rabbit and the Owl through tranquil forests, harsh deserts, crumbling cities, and more. As you progress, you will discover what happened to the people who once inhabited the land and why the Rabbit and the Owl are here now.

Gameplay:

The Rabbit and the Owl

The Rabbit and the Owl is a negative space co-op puzzle-platformer. You can solve the puzzles with a friend or by yourself if you feel up to the task.

You control two characters each occupying in an area separated from each other. The white Rabbit occupies dark areas, and the black Owl occupies light areas. Puzzles require the Rabbit and Owl to help each other by creating blocks, activating levers, riding wind columns, and more. While playing solo, you can switch back and forth between the rabbit and owl.

The gameplay is challenging as you to need use the characters ability to help the other within its own confined limits.

Presentation:

The Rabbit and the Owl

The painterly art of the Rabbit and the Owl is gorgeous with calm atmosphere and simple but appealing visuals. The soundtrack goes along perfectly and proves as calming as the visuals while solving fun (i.e. difficult) puzzles.

Conclusion:

Personally, I really liked the concept of the game. The romantic notion that these dark and light souls are opposites but symbiotic. This is definitely one of the platformer game to look forward, not just because of challenging puzzles and beautiful art but also because of the curious and unique story.

The game is tentatively set to release in 2017 on Steam for PC and Mac. But you can get a early hands on experience by playing the Demo.

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EGX: Sunless Sea Prequel, Sunless Skies, Announced http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/25/egx-sunless-sea-sunless-skies-announced/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/25/egx-sunless-sea-sunless-skies-announced/#respond Sun, 25 Sep 2016 14:00:53 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114277 Failbetter Games moves from the sea to the stars Sunless Sea was a critically acclaimed game that was released back in February of last year. It shares the same universe as Fallen London, which first saw the light of day in 2009. Both of these games took place in the same “comic horror” world, featuring …

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Failbetter Games moves from the sea to the stars

Sunless Sea was a critically acclaimed game that was released back in February of last year. It shares the same universe as Fallen London, which first saw the light of day in 2009. Both of these games took place in the same “comic horror” world, featuring everything from Lovecraftian abominations, to comically talking rats. Failbetter Games has decided to build on the universe, and as a result has announced a prequel to Sunless Sea, Sunless Skies.

Sunless Skies will leave behind the sea and take gameplay to the stars. The Empress of Fallen London has abandoned the city, and has ventured out into the stars. In the High Wilderness, she attempts to forge a new British Empire, a highly authoritarian one. The player will be among the outcasts that live on the brink of the Empire, trying to eek a living.  All the while, the stars are going out.  They’re being murdered.

Failbetter Games mentioned that Sunless Skies would be launching a Kickstarter campaign in February, and then moving into Early Access. They claim to want to improve upon the foundation of Sunless Sea, and they learned much from when that game was in Early Access. Their new game is also heavily inspired by the works of H.G. Wells and C.S. Lewis.  The game will be available on PC, Mac, and Linux

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No Man’s Sky Bug Patch Released http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/24/no-mans-sky-bug-patch-released/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/24/no-mans-sky-bug-patch-released/#respond Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:05:50 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114159 Dozens of fixes abound in the latest patch for No Man’s Sky No Man’s Sky is a very controversial game, there’s simply no avoiding it. It has both it’s firm critics and defenders in term of its quality. That’s neither here or there at the moment, as both sides could most likely agree on one …

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Dozens of fixes abound in the latest patch for No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky is a very controversial game, there’s simply no avoiding it. It has both it’s firm critics and defenders in term of its quality. That’s neither here or there at the moment, as both sides could most likely agree on one thing. The game was rather buggy on its release, something that affected many players. Now, however, with the 1.09 patch, many of these bugs have been addressed.

Hello Games has provided a very long list of the changes made in the patch. First and most obviously is the improved ability to recover corrupted save files. This fix in particular was singled out by Hello Games, hinting that it had been a problem for many gamers. Other fixes made include improvements to the UI, preventing accidental resource loss, and visual fixes.

While this no doubt will make No Man’s Sky more stable, one can’t help but wonder if it will do much to fix the game’s reputation. Many people have already criticized this patch, saying it doesn’t fix many of the game’s shortcomings. However, new features are still coming to the game. As such, the game’s future is uncertain, and has a chance to improve for the better.

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EGX Hands-On: Jack Move http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/egx-hands-jack-move/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/egx-hands-jack-move/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 22:18:58 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114263 A look at cyberpunk JRPG Jack Move, a game heavily influenced by classic Final Fantasy games.

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There were quite a few RPGs on show at EGX this year, each one having it’s unique hook.  One such game in the Leftfield Collection section of the show was particularly interesting, and that was So Romantic’s Jack Move.

Styling itself as a cyberpunk JRPG, Jack Move sees you playing the part of the a hacker who has to solve a mystery after a simple data raid manages to go wrong.  The game is said by the developers to be in the vein of the classic Squaresoft greats like Final Fantasy VI and VII, and it’s extremely evident that those games have heavily influenced the gameplay here.

The demo on show here has you making your way through a multi storey corporate building, trying to get to the mainframe at the top floor.  Along the way, you’ll have to contend with that old, familiar JRPG mechanic, the random battles.  On each turn, you have to wait a certain amount of time before you can take action.  You can either attack, use special attack/defence abilities or use items.

You have a power meter and each special ability uses up some of this power, basically in the same way that spells use up mana.  You level up these abilities by using them in battle.  However, you can only have a certain number of special abilities ‘installed’ at any one time, so if you want to change up the abilities available to you, you’ll have to ‘uninstall’ an existing ability before installing a new one.

The game has a pixelated graphical style that looks interesting and fits in with the whole classic, cyberpunk hacking theme that the game uses.  Instead of the usual ‘attack’ or ‘magic’ commands, it says things like ‘hack’ and ‘execute’.  At its core, it’s the mechanics of a classic JRPG in a retro, cyberpunk shell and it’s a nice combination, especially with the old school sounding music.

Jack Move is certainly a visually and thematically interesting take on classic JRPGs, and is certainly worth a look if you get the chance.  The game is still in development and has no set release date as of yet, but you can find out more information about the game at the So Romantic website.

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You’re going to want to play as a pilot in Titanfall 2 http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/youre-going-want-play-pilot-titanfall-2/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/youre-going-want-play-pilot-titanfall-2/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 20:01:17 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114260 Sure the mechs in Titanfall 2 are the draw, but playing as a pilot if going to be just the right kind of nuts. Piloting the action Now that’s a neck-snapping, wall-running good time right there. Did you play the original Titanfall? If you did, then you know that stepping into the shoes of a pilot is …

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Sure the mechs in Titanfall 2 are the draw, but playing as a pilot if going to be just the right kind of nuts.

Piloting the action

Now that’s a neck-snapping, wall-running good time right there.

Did you play the original Titanfall? If you did, then you know that stepping into the shoes of a pilot is a lot more fun than it might seem. The Titans themselves are the stars of the show, no doubt about that. But pilots have their good points as well – not the least of which is being able to move around better and quicker then their big buddies.

Developer Respawn Entertainment says they’re the most “highly skilled predators on the Frontier”. And the devs have compiled a list of five reasons why you should believe it. In short, they are that Pilots:

  1. …Know How to Move
  2. …get Tactical
  3. …are Smarter
  4. …are the Future
  5. …are an Extension

Of course, the company goes a lot deeper than just the headlines, in the official blog that was just updated. You can find that here. There’s more though, than just the exploration of playing as a pilot today.

EA revealed the spec list for playing Titanfall 2 on the PC as well today. And you might be interested in seeing some benchmarks too. I’m always a little blown away by the system req’s on games like this one. Then again though, I remember when games talked in mega-bytes and not gigs for install size.

Honestly though, what Titanfall 2 needs doesn’t seem too extreme. Read up on it here and see if you’ll be able to run the game when it hits (always a good idea to check). That’s a launch that’s coming up soon by the way. Titanfall 2 arrives on the PC and consoles in just a little over a month from now, on October 28th.

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Doctor Doom returns in Infamous Iron Man #1 http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/doctor-doom-returns-infamous-iron-man-1/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/doctor-doom-returns-infamous-iron-man-1/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 17:40:41 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114242 Very shortly there’ll be two Iron Men running around the Marvel U, neither of which is actually Iron Man. Less Doctor Doom, more Iron Man Victor Von Doom has ascended to greater heights than ever before, as…IRON MAN?! Your eyes do not deceive you! There’s a new Iron Man in town, and he’s coming your way in INFAMOUS IRON …

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Very shortly there’ll be two Iron Men running around the Marvel U, neither of which is actually Iron Man.

Less Doctor Doom, more Iron Man

Victor Von Doom has ascended to greater heights than ever before, as…IRON MAN?! Your eyes do not deceive you! There’s a new Iron Man in town, and he’s coming your way in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #1 – the all-new ongoing series from the blockbuster, Eisner Award-winning creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev! It’s time for the greatest villain in the Marvel Universe to try something…new. Where Tony Stark failed, Victor Von Doom will succeed! Only, how will the rest of the world’s heroes take to their deadliest foe masquerading as their greatest champion? The question remains – has the one-time Doctor Doom truly turned over a new leaf, or is this just the next step in his master plan? The answers begin as Bendis and Maleev bring you their next can’t-miss collaboration in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #1 – coming October 19th!

So, I have a few thoughts on this one. I’m never one to turn down more Doom, as the bad Doctor is not really that often seen, and when he is, the arc’s never last as long as I’d like. He was featured in Secret Wars of course, but in a way that wasn’t satisfying for me as a fan. So, more Doom = good.

Doom as Iron Man though? Well that’s just… weird. I get it, as he’s a narcissist who could easily want to try his hand at being great hero. All the adoration that comes along with that would have to be tempting for someone like him after all. I doubt that he’s ever seen himself as a villain, even with all he’s done in the Marvel U, so that kind of makes sense. But as Iron Man?

Why not just as Victor Von Doom? Seems like that would be more fitting for him than taking on someone else’s identity, even if it is to just try and show him up. We’ll see I guess. I’ll definitely pick up issue #1, even if it’s just to see the reasoning behind the change. And again, it’s more Doom so…

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Entertainment Earth

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Stellar Interface (PC) Review – It Really Is Stellar! http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/stellar-interface-pc-review-really-stellar/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/stellar-interface-pc-review-really-stellar/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 16:32:54 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114184 The Shmup (Shoot-Em-Up) genre is full of crazy, colorful displays, and Stellar Interface is nothing but. There’s been a lot of games in the shmup genre, and this is one of the best. Don’t believe me just because I say so, let’s take a look at what makes this game so great! Graphics Stellar Interface …

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The Shmup (Shoot-Em-Up) genre is full of crazy, colorful displays, and Stellar Interface is nothing but. There’s been a lot of games in the shmup genre, and this is one of the best. Don’t believe me just because I say so, let’s take a look at what makes this game so great!

featured

Graphics

Stellar Interface actually has…well… a stellar interface.  Impeccably crafted pixel art, clean lines and organization, and the options are very clear and concise. Everything has it’s place, and I appreciate that attention to detail. I really love the UI, and developer Imagination Overflow deserves accolades for making an excellent-looking game. Their visual style really brings out the nostalgia of Raptor: Call of the Shadows but feels modern like FTL. Enemies have very distinctive looks, and the Lost Lords and Overlords are especially distinctive  and cool. I especially loved how each one is unique in both appearance and mechanics.

turrets-and-asteroids

Audio

The music of Stellar Interface is very catchy, the kind of thing you’ll hear in arcades or early Apogee games. The sound effects play quickly, and dont feel harsh or grating like a lot of other similar games. Stellar Interface’s audio ties in very well with it’s visuals; I can ‘feel’ the explosions and projectile impacts. Crashing into another ship doesn’t feel as impactful as it should. I would occasionally die because crashing into another ship didn’t feel impactful (literally and figuratively). A tighter connection between the visual and the sound would fix this. It was a minor annoyance at most, and that’s pretty much the biggest problem I have with Stellar Interface.

Gameplay

One of the first things that caught my eye when I started Stellar Interface was the easy-to-understand Guide. It displays information in the best way possible, showing everything but introducing each elements and mechanics slowly and explaining everything in detail. I’m a sucker for a good tutorial, because I firmly believe the best way to teach a player is to encourage them and give them confidence. Roguelike games often fail at this, but Stellar Interface has done a terrific job of teaching and encouraging without hand-holding. Even the progressive nature of the levels works with this philosophy.

hive

Controls

The controls in Stellar Interface feel a little floaty and imprecise. At first I thought it faulty design, but quickly realized it’s very intentional.  The feel of the controls changes drastically with each ship and upgrades available to you. Some levels seem completely innocuous from the map readout, but upon entering its 4 turrets and a ceasless barrage of asteroids coming from every direction; not impossible to survive, but very difficult early on. There’s also the Lost Lord, Overlord, and Factory levels that are mechanically simple, but can be excrucatingly difficult (in a good way).

Special Levels

Factory levels are fairly simple in theory: a pre-set kill count appears and if you complete it without dying, you get that ship permanently added to your roster of ships. I do hope that the developers will add more meta-progression to the game than just the ships, as it’s a great way to add meta-progression.

factory

The Lost Lords are really cool mini-bosses, and the first one I fought functions a lot like getting a new ship from a factory; a pre-set kill count appears and the enemies were rolling in. Instead of killing ships however, I was shooting down honeycomb clusters of egg sacs while being divebombed by weird larvae.

Overlords in Stellar Interface are basically the Final Boss, but with a very shmup-oriented focus. My first one trounced me, and I noticed too late that there were visual indicators on the Overlord ship itself to show it’s attack pattern. I would definitely advise trying to get a shield or healbot of some kind before fighting them.

Funny story: even after I died to that Overlord, my little drones kept fighting it, and eventually killed it. Nothing changed, but at least Bruce and Sylvester avenged me. I want to take a moment to talk about the drones. I love the drone names. Bruce, Charlize, Sylvestor, see a pattern? Drones are definitely your best friend, and I can’t stress that enough. I haven’t seen any others that were as memorable (there’s been a couple), but the more you play the more you will fall in love with all of the little winks and nods the game makes.

overlord

Overall

Stellar Interface is a fun rogue-like shmup. It has the nostalgic feel of Raptor: Call of the Shadows with the modern design of FTL. Stellar Interface is easily an instant classic, and if you’re a fan of shmups or roguelike games with a twitch-based twist, this game will scratch those itches and more. Definitely a game to get, even if it’s still in Steam Early Access. The developer has mentioned their intention to provide controller support in an upcoming update, which aside from a greater variety of music and maybe more meta-progression, is the only thing I can think of that I’d like to see added.

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EGX Hands-On: Flat Heroes http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/egx-hands-on-flat-heroes/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/egx-hands-on-flat-heroes/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 15:37:35 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114214 Flat Heroes is an action, puzzle game that’s every bit as unforgiving as it is fun. Think N+ and Super Meat Boy. At first I wasn’t expecting much as the first thing I saw was the title and four small squares. A justified reaction I like to think, but boy was I wrong. So my …

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Flat Heroes is an action, puzzle game that’s every bit as unforgiving as it is fun. Think N+ and Super Meat Boy. At first I wasn’t expecting much as the first thing I saw was the title and four small squares. A justified reaction I like to think, but boy was I wrong. So my friend and I sat down to play Waves mode.

Without a loading screen, which is always a pleasure,  our squares spawned inside a box with a few line barriers inside. A timer counted down and our squares dropped. Right away a few small triangles appeared around the edges of the box and shot lines pretty much everywhere as they rebound off the sides. It was at this point we were blown back, confused and immediately lost the wave. It only took the one loss to figure out what to do and we were quickly bouncing our squares around trying to keep them alive. The feel of the game is surprisingly smooth. The squares slide around and react to your control beautifully.

The aim of the game here is to avoid the lines as they follow the trail and wipe out anything in the way. It’s safe to say it took us a few tries to get past the first level as we got familiar with the controls and feel of the game. Just as we got comfortable Flat Heroes ups the game and throws in beams that start at one side. Top to bottom or side to side. And fly to the other. As you progress so does the speed of the lines and beams you have to avoid.

After a good amount of levels we decided to move on but let the creators know what we thought first. During our conversation, which was mostly filled with praise, we found out there were more game modes. I don’t recall if they finished their sentence as we very quickly sprang back to the game to play. One of the four extra game modes we played was Zones. In this the objective is to stay inside a circle within the box for a set amount of time. The circle will only be there for a short amount of time and then reappear somewhere else. However in this mode you had the ability to attack the other players in a shock-wave manner.

With just the two of us this was fun enough but these indie developers know exactly what to do to steal my heart. To do that they’ve thrown in the ability to add AI’s to the game…Which we had to try. And it’s safe to say the chaos very quickly followed.

This can be a rather stressful game but it’s too much fun to realize. I haven’t played on my own so I can only speak for coop. However Waves will be the same single-player but the friendly competition and camaraderie will be replaced by loneliness. But it’s a fun game all the same.

Flat Heroes is currently available on Steam Early Access. A worthy purchase in my opinion. To find out more about the game and developers pop over to their website.

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EGX Hands-On: All The Delicate Duplicates http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/egx-hands-delicate-duplicates/ http://brutalgamer.com/2016/09/23/egx-hands-delicate-duplicates/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 08:11:42 +0000 http://brutalgamer.com/?p=114206 A look at a game that combines time, family, relationships and memories.

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A game about time, family and memories.

delicate

One of the highlights for me at EGX is the Leftfield Collection, which always houses a selection of interesting game ideas and concepts.

All The Delicate Duplicates is a first person game created by Mez Breeze and Andy Campbell, and sees you exploring the story of a computer engineer called John, his daughter Charlotte and his mysterious aunt Mo, who left him a variety of arcane objects when she passed away.

The game explores the increasingly strained relationship between John and Charlotte, who is an artist and has become particularly interested in these objects.  The story takes place over a number of years, as you explore John’s house and look at various items.

The relationship between father and daughter is interesting, as it becomes clear that Charlotte feels like she doesn’t get any privacy, with the front page of her journal being basically a direct message to her dad, saying he’ll probably end up reading it.  Little story nuggets are told with text that floats around the room, and the mystery deepens as you notice Charlotte is continuing to be intrigued by the items and the unusual properties they seem to have.  You even get to experience it yourself, as in one area, you pick up a bottle, but when you but it down, another appears in your hand and this keeps happening for a while.

The gameplay is simple and just has you walking around and interacting with objects, but everything looks very pretty and the atmosphere makes you want to look around and try and figure out what the heck is going on.

All The Delicate Duplicates looks like it’s going to be an intriguing game with a mysterious narrative.  You can check out more and sign up for the beta at the game’s official website.

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