Ninjin: Clash of Carrots | Review | PC

Ninjin: Clash of Carrots by Pocket Trap is a retro style indie side scrolling beat-em-up available now on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.

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The Shogun’s minions stealing the carrot crop

Ninjin takes place in a fantasy realm inspired by Feudal Japan and inhabited by animals. In the opening scene, the peaceful village of Usagi is attacked by the minions of the evil Shogun Moe who steal this year’s entire crop of carrots. The village shōya tasks two ninjas, Ninjin the rabbit and Akai the fox, with retrieving the carrots at any cost so the people won’t starve. Choose your ninja (or grab a friend for some co-op) and fight your way through the ranks of the Shogun’s armies, lieutenants, samurai, warlords, and eventually Shogun Moe himself to get back as many carrots as possible.

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Gear up for battle

 

Gameplay: The controls for Ninjin are fairly simple and perfectly responsive. While it allows use of either keyboard and mouse, or a controller, both have their advantages and disadvantages. The controller is nice for having everything right in your hands, but makes precision ranged attacks harder to execute. The keyboard and mouse setup is better for aiming ranged attacks, but makes dash attacks and movement a bit harder. Also the mouse cursor used to aim projectiles can easily get lost on the screen if there’s a large number of enemies. Overall the gameplay is well polished and smooth as butter.

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Fight through the frozen mountains

Sound: The soundtrack for Ninjin is very well done and it’s easy to hear the influence of retro games such as Zelda, Double Dragon, and even Mario. The game also has a large assortment of music, which keeps it from getting stale. The sound effects only serve to drag you further into the retro nostalgia of this game. Your character has a number of sounds for various weapons, attacks, and movements and that’s only the start. The many enemies each add their own movement and attack sounds into the fray, making for a symphony of commotion at times, but not to the point of being disruptive. One of my favorite sounds in the game is the burbling noise made as the text scrolls through the speech bubbles. I love that they chose this instead of having spoken lines because it pays homage to so many of the classics that this game pulled inspiration from.

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Spend your carrots at Corgi’s roadside shop

Visuals: The visual style of Ninjin is nothing short of spectacular, it perfectly combines ancient Japanese ukiyo-e art, old school video games, anime, and 2010 Cartoon Network. The level selection screen is an overworld map similar to Super Mario World, with new bits being revealed when you progress. As you travel from your village to the Shogun’s castle you ninja run through a number of scenic locations, including vast forests, snow covered mountains, the big city, and even a spooky graveyard. Each level has a bit of foreground, the path where the action takes place, and the background. The backgrounds are composed of multiple layers of cutouts making it look like scenery from a theatrical production or a painstakingly intricate pop-up book. Each new NPC and enemy that you encounter have their own unique look, weapons, and attacks to add to the palette of the game. Also you can unlock weapons and accessories to customize your character that range from authentic to hilarious and even downright bizarre.

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Some of the weapons are… interesting

Story: Ninjin’s plot borrows aspects from many familiar tropes and weaves them together in a way that, while not necessarily completely unique, is definitely enjoyable. After the opening sequence, most of the story is played out in cut scenes every so often in between levels, although occasionally bits of plot are interjected mid level by an NPC or enemy character. Most of the dialogue portions in the game are skippable, but I would say that they are worth taking the time to read as they are well written and quite amusing.

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Take down General Jam’s tank

Replay Value: I would say Ninjin has an upper middle range replay value as there are a decent number of things to keep you coming back. First off it has a good amount of stages of varying difficulties to fight through and depending on the enemies encountered you may need to rethink your strategy and change up your equipment before trying again. This of course could mean grinding through previous levels to “farm” enough carrots to buy something new from the store (pun intended). That brings us to the next reason: equippable items. There are over 200 unlockable weapons and accessories, most of which can have an impact on your stats and attributes and can give you the upper hand in the next boss fight, or get you a better rating on that last stage. Because when you do finish a level you are given a rating based on your performance, which is stored along with your best times, giving you reason to continue trying to better yourself. Also you can try your luck on The Oni TV Show, the game’s endless mode, which presents new challenges and has exclusive rewards that can only be unlocked by getting as far as possible. Last but not least is the fact that the game has local or online co-op so you can grab a friend and open up a can of carrot flavored whoop-ass on some baddies, just like the good old days.

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Co-op mode, now with twice the ninja goodness

Summary: I saw some promise when I first heard about Ninjin, so I was excited when the folks at Pocket Trap sent me a copy to do this review. I’m not sure what I expected the first time I fired it up, but I surely got more than I bargained for. As someone who grew up playing game series such as Ninja Turtles, Battletoads, Streets of Rage, and Double Dragon this game was a huge wave of nostalgia for me, although I feel that it’s modern aspects make it relevant in today’s market as well. So whether you’re an older gamer like me looking for a trip down memory lane, or a young gamer looking for something quick and new to play when the Fortnite servers are down, I would highly recommend this game.

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Win special rewards on The Oni TV Show

Claybook | Review | PS4

I sat down with my five year old to try this game for the first time. The moment the tutorial loaded and we rolled our “not Playdough” ball around, my son started to giggle. I knew we were going to have an afternoon of silly surprises. The following hours were full of laughter, smiles, and a few frustrations. It’s never a bad time though when a kid can laugh uncontrollably and scream,

“I turned into…banana rocket ship!”

“Look dad! I’m a duck! WAIT! I’m a BUNNY!”

“Why am I a nom nom nom chocolate!?

You just can’t help but laugh when telling a kid to “Go eat that candy bridge with that huge marshmallow!”

The entire game takes place in a child’s play room on tables full of clay. You are a ball, a square, a sphere, or even the aforementioned rocket ship, controlled by yourself, but through a little boy avatar sitting at the edge of play table in the room. It’s a bit creepy as he just stares at the clay object you’re controlling, with no emotions showing on his face. My daughter (who is 3 and loves to watch us play games) said “He looks sad because he’s sad!”

His emotionless, dead eyes still follow every flick of your left stick. Something as simple as a small smirk on his apathetic visage would release the feeling of it being a pre-rendered, storyboard, creepy Pixar character. Seriously though, I’m half expecting to see toys in the background from Sid’s room.

Each level has a set of objectives to complete and when you complete them, a waypoint pops up with your “exit”. After finishing, you are rated with a star based scoring system on how well and how quickly you performed the tasks. Upcoming levels are unlocked using your earned stars in a very similar way that they are in Angry Birds. Locking progression behind this barrier isn’t very encouraging for a young child.

“I already beat the level, why can’t I do the next?” My kid asked me.

Having to tell a 5 year old they “didn’t do it good enough” just seems like bad parenting.

It’s also bad game design.

The progression lock is very steep right off the bat for a game marketed at kids. This could be eased up in a future update.

The control system also isn’t very intuitive. For example, every kid presses “X” or “B” or “A” to try jumping when they first play a game. Having to explain there is no jumping in this game, and that X pauses the game, then allows you to rewind and make copies of your current ball of clay, can be very confusing for a kid…or myself. I found that even if I continued to try and press a non-existent jump button while rolling around.

The camera can really be quite a hassle at times as well. In the video you can see how the camera gets “stuck” if your dough ball shape thing is in a weird location.

These frustrations aside, Claybook is really quite charming, and must be seen in action. Screenshots cannot give this game its due display.

The color palettes are pleasing, the music (although repetitive) creates a whimsically pleasant atmosphere, and a physics engine that’s truly fascinating.

It reminds me of the graphic and physics demos that GPU developers showed off throughout the early 2000’s. Playing with the alluring liquid dynamics creates a temptation to ignore the level objectives, and just carve around in the dough to see what happens.

The creative team at Second Order knew this and had the forethought to put in a sandbox mode that’s available from the start in any level. It’s an absolute delight exploring this game engine, especially in couch co-op mode.

Regardless of the games problems, I’ve found myself going back a few times this week (without my kids) to romp around the clay. It does make me feel like a kid again. I can almost smell the fresh opened plastic container of “clay dough” now.

Played on PS4 Pro (with a 5 and 3 year old “helping“)

Available on PS4, Xbox One, and Steam.

New trailer announces Jagged Alliance: Rage! PC and console release dates

Press Release: Mercenary tactic game Jagged Alliance: Rage! will be available on September 27th for PC and November 6th on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One. Get ready for a demanding turn-based strategy game, where your team of Mercenaries is always outnumbered and low on ressources.

This spin-off from the Jagged-Alliance-Franchise is about the beloved mercs like Ivan Dolvich, Helmut “Grunty” Grunther, Charlene “Raven” Higgins and more. Playable in singleplayer and coop-multiplayer, the game will feature an approximately 20-hour long campaign.

Jagged Alliance: Rage! is in development for PC, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, and the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X and will be released onSeptember 27th PC with an SRP of 19,99 $ / 19,99 €. The console version will follow onNovember 6th 2018, pricing at 29,99 $ / 29,99 €.

Jagged Alliance: Rage! is the first game to be published by HandyGames, the latest family member of the THQ Nordic network. HandyGames will act as an independent publisher, focussing on small and mid-sized projects or 3rd-party indie games.

About Jagged Alliance: Rage!

Jagged Alliance is back – With a new take on turn-based tactics, adventure elements and the well-known quirky mercenaries! Set 20 years after the first Jagged Alliance, this spin-off lets you experience a road trip into a jungle hell to test your mind and body to the limits!

This time it’s just you and a few allies versus an entire island ruled by a drug overlord and his crazed army.

The Features:

• 2 Player online co-op mode

• Deep turn-based tactical gameplay mixed with adventure elements

• Choose a variety of tactics ranging from stealth to brute force

• Strong character personalities with own skills, desires and personal conflicts

• Rage skills: Unique character abilities that get more powerful over the course of the battle

• Powerful Commanders coordinate enemy troops on the battlefields

• Face terrifying experimental drugs and use them to manipulate your enemies

Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 will land in January with more planned content – Watch its new and glorious Faction Trailer!

Initially planned for a release in September, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 will now land on PC in January 2019. These additional months of development will allow developers Tindalos to polish the game and bring all their ambitions to life after the great success met by the series’ first game. The team at Tindalos will also take this opportunity to add additional content for the game’s release!

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 already offers a massive amount of playable content with three great narrative campaigns, twelve playable factions, and meticulously refined gameplay. The extra development time will allow Tindalos to add a new, exciting feature – All three narrative campaigns will be playable in co-op multiplayer! To engage players during this extra development phase, Focus Home Interactive will organize not one, but two pre-order beta periods. More details about the dates and content of these pre-order betas will be announced shortly.

See all the fury, glory, and terror of the 41st Millennium’s deadly space battles in the new Faction Trailer for Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2, the massive RTS from Tindalos Interactive and Focus Home Interactive. The enigmatic Necron collector, Trazyn the Infinite, narrates the trailer, which shows off his hoard of the galaxy’s most mysterious artifacts and fearsome warriors, introducing you to each in turn. Armada 2 is available for pre-order now.

Set after the devastating events of the Gathering Storm Event, which wreaked havoc upon the universe of Warhammer 40,000, Armada 2 features every faction from the original Battlefleet Gothic tabletop game. Each one was updated and revised for the modern setting with new ships and lore, yet with the same bloodthirsty need for galactic domination. Whether you’re a thoroughly corrupted Chaos cultist or a fan of the ever-curious, never-outgunned Tau, you will find a fleet for you within Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 is available for pre-order on Steam, offering Beta Access before the release of the game, and a 10% discount! Returning Battlefleet Gothic: Armada players on Steam benefit from a 25% loyalty discount on their preorder of Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2. The game will be coming to PC in January 2019.

HYPERGUN | Review | PC

 

HYPERGUN by NVYVE Studios is a procedurally generated Neo-80s indie FPS roguelite available now on Steam and coming this fall to Xbox One and PS4.

HYPERGUN takes place in the not so far off future. In the year 2038 the Earth discovered that we are not alone in the universe when an advanced race of aliens brought war to our unprepared planet and occupied most of it. DevTech Labs is located in one of the few unoccupied cities and has been tasked with developing a super weapon (code name: HYPERGUN) to provide a chance of survival for what’s left of our troops. You play as Dewey Owens the new intern at DevTech Labs. Your job is to assemble and test out various HYPERGUN prototypes inside of a battle simulator to find the perfect weapon. You are quite literally humanity’s last hope against the alien horde.

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Don’t get swarmed!

Gameplay: The controls for HYPERGUN are mapped out well and for the most part follow the typical FPS layout. The game fully supports use of a controller, but I preferred keyboard and mouse as it felt to be more responsive for my play style. The keyboard controls are totally customizable so you can adjust them to whatever you want our are used to. The gameplay is quite fluid and there aren’t many glitches, although it is easy to get caught on something on the floor or trapped in a corner if you aren’t careful. Also I will warn anyone who gets sick easily, the motion can get dizzying at times so you may need to adjust the sensitivity to your liking.

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Enter the simulation

Sound: The soundtrack for HYPERGUN really stands out from the start and only gets better as you progress through the game. The music has a real Neo-80s vibe reminiscent of Tron and retro video games. Various levels, challenge rooms, and boss battles all have their own music. The music has a tendency to fade into the background during a hectic firefight, but you’ll catch yourself dancing around to it when things die down. The sound effects are also well done. You will quickly learn the sounds of the various enemies and traps to avoid being caught off guard by a horde of shamblers while engaging a squad of snipers, or jumping right into the path of a flame turret while trying to dodge a mage’s powerful blast. Many of the attachments you can find for your weapon have a unique sound as well, which is quite amusing when you have the corn attachment and you’re popping popcorn off the face of an angry alien.

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Welcome to the jungle

Visuals: At first glance HYPERGUN is just another basic shooter going from room to room killing enemies, without a lot of effort put into the visuals. But once you think about it you realize that the look is exactly what the makers of the game were going for, it adds to the Neo-80s vibe and you can again see the influence of Tron and other retro-futuristic movies and games. Also the further you get into the game the richer the visuals become. Each level has it’s own style ranging from factory to jungle (and even volcano) with rooms of various sizes and layouts providing new threats around every corner. There are also some unique and interesting creatures to face and challenging yet captivating boss fights. The main place where the visuals shine would be the weapon attachments found or unlocked throughout the game that are used to construct your HYPERGUN. There is a spectrum of these attachments each with its own look that when pieced together can give you all kinds of wacky yet deadly weapons.

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One of my wacky creations

Story: The plot of HYPERGUN doesn’t go very deep as the game focuses more on gameplay. Things inside the simulation are fairly straightforward, clear as many rooms as possible without dying, build your gun, kill the boss, on to the next level. But if you take some time to explore the DevTech offices outside of the simulator you will be rewarded with bits and pieces of life around the office and the outside world during the alien invasion, in the form of post it notes and emails scattered in various places.

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Explore the DevTech offices

Replay Value: The procedurally generated aspects of HYPERGUN give it a decent amount of replayability. Every run can have a different difficulty based on what attachments you discover, how many bits (in sim currency) you find to use in the store, the number of locked or unlocked treasure chests, whether or not you get a challenge room, and what the boss drops. Gotta love that sweet RNG! You can also find Hypercoins (out of sim currency) that can be used to add new attachments to the RNG pool (160 in total), unlock new classes, and gain new skills for your character. In addition to the starting class, The Intern (SMG), you can also unlock Security (assault rifle), The Lawyer (shotgun), and Human Resources (sniper rifle) , each with their own skills and attributes, making it easy to find one to fit your play style. In the simulation chamber you can view your best times for each level or a complete run, your top 5 HYPERGUN candidates, and tons of in game stats, making that push to better yourself a visible goal.

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Spheros is the first of many exciting boss battles

Summary: To be honest HYPERGUN turned out to be a lot more fun than I was expecting. The trailers seem to be a lot of hype (pun intended), but for the most part the game lives up to it. While it’s not going to overthrow any AAA shooters, it’s definitely worth its $15 price tag. I’ll note that the developers provided me with a review copy, but I would willingly pay for this game. At this point I have put roughly 10 hours into HYPERGUN and have only gotten about halfway through the listed levels, I’m not sure if that speaks to the difficulty of the game or my skill…

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R.I.P.

 

BRAWLOUT DASHES ‘N’ BASHES ONTO PC, PLAYSTATION 4 & XBOX ONE TODAY!

Press Release: Get those fists (or paws… or flippers) up, because Brawlout brings the fight to PC, PS4 and Xbox One today. Not only does this mark the game’s launch out of Steam Early Access, but it enables Angry Mob Games to share the beloved party fighting genre with a whole new audience of console owners, following its initial launch on Nintendo Switch. Are you ready for fast-paced, couch and online party multiplayer?

Having gained notoriety for its lovable cast of guest stars, including indie darlings from Hyper Light Drifter and Guacamelee!, mascot platformer extraordinaire Yooka-Laylee is now available as part of Brawlout’s roster. Not to be outdone following the game’s launch earlier this month, Dead Cells’ headless protagonist will also join the fight this Fall, bringing his unique form of weapon-based offence to the arena with a multitude of skills and weapons to master. If you’re looking for a character that can adapt to just about any situation, look no further!

On top of its stellar cast of original and guest characters, Xbox One owners can look forward to an exclusive party mode, offering up five new ways to amp up the dash-n-bash action. Read on for all the details:

Golden Belt: Become the king of the ring! Fight to hold the belt longer than your opponents and fill up your golden meter to win!

Plague: A terrible plague has descended on the arena, dealing damage over time to infected players. Hit other players to pass the plague on and keep on the offensive to eliminate 3 opponents and win!

Sudden Death: Who performs best under pressure? Everyone starts with 300% damage, half a meter of rage burst, and has 1 minute to score as many kills as possible.

Coin Mania: It’s raining gold! Collect gold coins and watch your back – others can steal them from you. The player with the most coins at the end of the time limit wins!

Bomber Blast: Are you ready for explosive action? Players can’t stop dropping bombs – even after they run out of stocks – littering the arena with obstacles that offer a helping hand when it comes to launching others. The last player alive wins!

Brawlout is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, retailing for $19.99 USD. For more information and all the latest updates, follow Angry Mob Games at the links below.

ABOUT BRAWLOUT

Brawlout packs a punch with couch and online play modes that feature quick matches over slow-paced, defensive battles. Brawlout goes all-out with lightning-fast aerobatics famously found in classic platform fighters. With wavedashing, a free-form combat system, and a chargeable ‘Rage Meter’ at the player’s disposal, each battle will be a combo-bonanza!

From grappling to long range weapon options, there is a character for all fighting game aficionados. Whether players are looking for a casual couch experience with friends, or to challenge pros in worldwide online tournaments, Brawlout caters to anyone looking to create a little chaos. For those wanting to take part in the mayhem from a safe distance, Brawlout TV is available for spectators to watch ongoing matches.

FEATURES

• Choose from six original combatants (each with variants that change up their look, moves, and playstyle) in addition to guests from indie hits Hyper Light Drifter, Guacamelee!, Yooka-Laylee, and Dead Cells: bringing the roster to 24!

• Host up to 4 players in online and local battles

• Choose from a number of battle modes including Timed, Stock, or Team Matches

• AI opponents are also available if you want to practice your team combos with a friend, or if you need to fill out a free for all

• Train with Advanced Tutorials or by challenging Arcade Towers

• Fuel your Rage Meter to power up for hard-hitting special attacks, and tap into Rage Mode to swing the match in your favor

• No blocking required – Action is kept fast and fluid with wavedashing, teching, air dodging and other advanced maneuvers

• + new features being added all the time!

A Hat in Time announces new DLC along with coming to Nintendo Switch at Gamescom

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Today over on the official twitch account for Hat In Time the team announced their new DLC, titled Seal the Deal, along with coming to the Nintendo Switch in the future. The cool thing here is if you down the DLC on launch day you get it for FREE! After that it will be $4.99. The DLC drops on September 13th but we didn’t get a date for the Switch release. What are you more excited about, the new DLC or the Switch release? You can watch the video below for all the details.