Armello Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Armello RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Board Game Adjacent: Top 12 Steam Games For Tabletop Fans https://www.gameskinny.com/k37tc/board-game-adjacent-top-12-steam-games-for-tabletop-fans https://www.gameskinny.com/k37tc/board-game-adjacent-top-12-steam-games-for-tabletop-fans Sun, 15 Dec 2019 10:20:37 -0500 Ty Arthur

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What did you think of top board-game adjacent picks, and are you going to pick up any of the games we listed here?

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Sound off below, and don't forget to leave a comment if you've found any other killer board game-style titles on Steam we should check out.

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If you've already played all our picks, don't forget to take a look at the companion list of direct board game adaptations here.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/7/5/975fa7b6be347452e677476c5ecba355910d91cd1920x1080-304a8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/7/5/975fa7b6be347452e677476c5ecba355910d91cd1920x1080-304a8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204959","description":"

Wargroove

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Buy it on Steam here

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Wargroove is essentially the fantasy counterpart to Tiny Metal, and an even more faithful successor to the Advance Wars style from the Game Boy Advance days.

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The overall strategy and tactics clearly draw on board game design, and while there is a single player campaign, this is a game that's super fun to play in multiplayer matches. Despite the cutesy sprite graphics, there's also a surprising amount of depth going on here.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/2/x/h2x1-nswitchds-tinymetal-image1600w-b5a41.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/2/x/h2x1-nswitchds-tinymetal-image1600w-b5a41.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204957","description":"

Tiny Metal

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Buy it on Steam here

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With Japanese anime characters but very western-influenced unit and vehicle design, Tiny Metal is an odd little hodgepodge of a strategy title that takes clear influence from Advance Wars.

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If you want a tactical, modern-day style game that's simple to jump into, Tiny Metal gets the job done, and the top-down view with turn-based combat gives it a clear board game flair.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/6/8/26803e9dd0f85ce45babf465d23e65330e6dcf6f-053fe.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/6/8/26803e9dd0f85ce45babf465d23e65330e6dcf6f-053fe.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204956","description":"

Slay The Spire

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Buy it on Steam here

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Take a roguelike and sprinkle in a little deck building and you've got Slay The Spire, which manages to hit just the right combo of randomness and difficulty to become truly addictive.

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You'll die, a lot, but have a ton of fun doing it, and there's a different layout every time of course so you'll want to keep trying again and again.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/3/d/b3d7269dd760099bdbf90e5e17c79d7d7386d27ed45b06c2c1e6563f64b3-71719.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/3/d/b3d7269dd760099bdbf90e5e17c79d7d7386d27ed45b06c2c1e6563f64b3-71719.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204953","description":"

Book Of Demons

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Buy it on Steam here

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This has got to be one of the most unique, interesting twists on the classic ARPG style in quite some time. At first, Book of Demons seems exactly like Diablo: we're picking one of three classes and heading beneath a church to start killing skeletons by the dozen, but then things take a turn.

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Rather than free movement, your hero moves down pre-determined board game style paths, and both combat and leveling are handled via a card system.

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This is all reinforced by the paper mini art style. It literally feels like playing a board game where you have to stick your paper tokens into plastic bases.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/r/warhammer-quest-review-470368-09317.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/w/a/r/warhammer-quest-review-470368-09317.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204951","description":"

Warhammer Quest

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Buy it on Steam here

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Want a tactical fantasy game that draws heavily on tabletop rules but not crazy about D&D? Warhammer Quest is the game for you, and as an added bonus it actually utilizes a top-down view and token pieces just like a real board game.

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It's a classic loot 'n sell title where you get random quests to clear out dungeons of goblins, skaven, and so on, sell all the goodies you found to the merchants in the next town, and then do it all over again!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/a/image-cover-6d12c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/i/m/a/image-cover-6d12c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204950","description":"

King's Bounty Crossworlds

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Buy it on Steam here

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Stripping out everything extraneous and focusing on what players really want, the original King's Bounty and follow-up Armored Princess scratched a very specific itch.

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The series combat is along the lines of Heroes Of Might and Magic, but there's no city or resource management beyond building up your armies and leveling your hero.

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An extreme focus on turn-based combat makes this a very satisfying series for board game fans. If you're looking to jump in, I recommend picking up Crossworlds, since it has both the expanded version of Armored Princess and the DLC.

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A full-fledged King's Bounty 2 is also currently in the works and due out sometime in 2020.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/1/e/51e0bcac52a2c0ff49debed37a48c7935ba14cc91920x1080-92891.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/1/e/51e0bcac52a2c0ff49debed37a48c7935ba14cc91920x1080-92891.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204949","description":"

Blood Bowl 2

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Buy it on Steam here

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And now for something completely different! Yeah, those are orcs in jerseys facing off against humans and undead on the football field. Obviously, the rules of football get a facelift in Blood Bowl 2, since these players like to kill each other.

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Even if you don't care for sports-balling (and boy, I really, really don't) this is still a fun series for board game fans. Its complex, hard, and features a ton of strategy to learn.

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Unlike most of the rest of this list, Blood Bowl is actually an adaptation of a specific existing tabletop game, but it's changed enough to be its own thing in the PC version, and the animations definitely take it to a new level.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/8/5/18516ca8ab428529e58c73c72e10f14cb6a93f46-d6787.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/8/5/18516ca8ab428529e58c73c72e10f14cb6a93f46-d6787.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"204960","description":"

Warhammer 40,000 Gladius: Relics Of War

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Buy it on Steam here

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Considering the impact Games Workshop has had on the tabletop industry, from war games to board games and even card-based titles, it shouldn't be much of a surprise they've got a huge number of PC crossovers as well.

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While a lot of the Warhammer universe is pretty lackluster in video game form, there are some hidden gems. Gladius sees a massive shift away from the real-time strategy of classics like Dawn Of War and towards a very board-game focused take on the 4X genre.

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If you like a slower-paced game where you have to sit and think about your strategy, this is the one to pick in the Warhammer 40,000 series.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/8/6/186193-edccc.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/1/8/6/186193-edccc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204963","description":"

Dicey Dungeons

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Buy it at Steam here

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Most board games feature polyhedral dice in some capacity, but this one actually has you playing as the dice! Other than taking on the role of some d6s, the schtick here is that you need to constantly adapt to rules changes and new characters.

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While its wildly random, and it can be very hard, the end result is something like a cute and funny version of Darkest Dungeon but with a gameshow aesthetic.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/0/8/40890-d9ec7.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/0/8/40890-d9ec7.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"204948","description":"

Age Of Wonders: Planetfall

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Buy it on Steam here

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I don't think anyone saw the announcement trailer going the way it did for Planetfall, as the developers announced a surprise switch from fantasy to sci-fi in the long-running Age Of Wonders series.

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Although this is a turn based strategy game with heavy 4X elements, if you really boil it down, Planetfall basically plays like a complex board game with animations.

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From managing resources and diplomacy to exploring the map and dealing with randomized elements, there's a ton here for board game fanatics to love.  The recent Revelations DLC also just added a host of new elements and enemies, with another faction due to arrive in the next expansion down the line.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/r/m/armello-cover-1024x576-a8916.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/r/m/armello-cover-1024x576-a8916.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204947","description":"

Armello

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Buy it on Steam here

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What you get here is essentially a board game built from scratch as a PC strategy experience. It's too complex and animation heavy to work as a real board title you'd pick up as a hobby store, but it works great as an online title. The clear Redwall / Mouse Guard flavor doesn't hurt either!

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Combining several different styles all at once, Armello is part turn-based strategy, part card-based random mechanics, and part RPG. Although it has a single-player campaign and AI missions, keep in mind Armello is very much meant to be played online against other players.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/7/b/27b01129a6ad12e3af9f11a8dfe09ea90b868c371920x1080-0b0ec.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/7/b/27b01129a6ad12e3af9f11a8dfe09ea90b868c371920x1080-0b0ec.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204945","description":"

Hand Of Fate 2

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Buy it on Steam here

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I'm honestly surprised there haven't been more games like Hand Of Fate and its sequel, because the core concept is such an obvious winner for tabletop fans who want a PC game.

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There's a literal board with a digital card-dealer sitting across from you to pull from the deck and see where the story goes. In a way, Hand Of Fate is like a single-player advancement of those old VHS-based board games.

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To keep things fresh, Hand Of Fate 2 switches to real-time action during the combat segments for a satisfying blend of video and board game styles. Of course, RNG plays a huge role here, as you can end up with devastatingly difficult or very easy encounters depending on what hand you are dealt. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/a/boardcov-48803.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/o/a/boardcov-48803.jpg","type":"slide","id":"204961","description":"

As the library of titles at Steam continues to grow at an exponential rate, its become clear that a game doesn't have to be a huge budget AAA affair to warrant dozens or even hundreds of hours of play. 

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There are plenty of games with tried and true board or card mechanics that can suck you in and never let go, whether you prefer fantasy, sci-fi, modern day tank combat, or anything else.

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Ready to ditch the first person shooters and try out something more tactical? Let's take a look at the the top 12 board game-adjacent entries currently available!

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Most of these picks aren't direct 1:1 translations of an existing board game, but are rather tactical strategy entries with board and card elements added into the mix.

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In other words, if you dig in-depth board games but want to play something on PC instead of at your dinner table, you'll love these Steam titles.

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Looking for direct adaptations of famous board games instead? Check out our list of the 12 best Steam board games currently available -- from Zombicide to Ticket To Ride and everything in between -- over here.

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Redwall Is Finally Getting a Video Game, but You Probably Shouldn't Be Happy About It https://www.gameskinny.com/s58v3/redwall-is-finally-getting-a-video-game-but-you-probably-shouldnt-be-happy-about-it https://www.gameskinny.com/s58v3/redwall-is-finally-getting-a-video-game-but-you-probably-shouldnt-be-happy-about-it Thu, 11 Jan 2018 11:23:11 -0500 Ty Arthur

It's weird to think about, but my entire career has essentially been dependent on a talking mouse going on a quest for an ancient sword.

I've spent the last 10 years working as a freelance writer covering everything from underground black metal to Call Of Duty guides, and even released my own fantasy fiction ... and I can say without hesitation that I wouldn't have done any of that if it wasn't for discovering Redwall as a nine-year-old at the school library.

While other series would eclipse it in my list of personal favorites, Redwall is unquestionably what got me started in the fantasy realm and would spur me on to D&D, Final Fantasy, and beyond.

In retrospect, it's not a perfect series. There are plot problems, overly recurrent themes, and some thorny issues of racial bias you don't notice as a kid (why are all mice good and all ferrets evil?), but as a preteen just discovering the fantasy genre, I was hooked.

 Thanks, Brian. I owe you one.

The Long Wait for a Redwall Game

Later on as an adult, the criminally unknown Mouse Guard graphic novels would step in to rekindle that fire with a very similar style and subject matter. Mouse Guard would go on to inspire a stellar pen-and-paper RPG that really evokes the feel of the story (with mechanics way outside the typical d20 system) and lets the grown-ups who adored Redwall as kids roleplay in a very similar universe.

While Mouse Guard has us covered on the tabletop setting, fans have been left out in the cold on the video game front. If you do some digging across the web, you can find some unofficial, fan-made Redwall games in various stages of completion. As far as official, licensed games, there really hasn't been anything to date.

That's not to say the notion of talking mice living in quiet abbeys in the woods hasn't managed to invade games, however. Several developers have already given us high-quality games with anthropomorphic animals that are clearly meant to be in line with Redwall's aesthetic.

There's been the turned-based Game Of Thrones-meets-Redwall game Armello, the old-school RTS battle title Tooth And Tail, the Early Access (but already promising) stealth-action RPG Ghost Of A Tale, and the upcoming VR game Moss, which looks about as Redwall-ish as you can get without actually having the name.

 

Despite all those interesting offerings, there hasn't actually been anything legitimately released in Brian Jacques' famous fantasy world ... until now.

Just a few days back, a post for the very first Redwall video game randomly hit my feed thanks to the vagaries of the great unknowable Facebook algorithm. It's called Redwall: The Warrior Reborn and is launching in Early Access with a first episode titled The Scout.

To say I was merely excited would be the understatement of the century. Ecstatic? Over the motha-friggin' moon? Those are all a lot closer. Based on the Facebook comments, it seems a lot of other fans are feeling the same way and can't wait for the finished product.

Bumps Along the Road to Redwall

The episodic nature of the release, coupled with what is sure to be a long Early Access, put a bit of a damper on my initial excitement, bringing to mind the abandoned development of After Reset and many, many other episodic games that saw crowdfunding success but were never finished.

Despite those misgivings, I devoured the early screenshots and concept art, which looked pretty good (even if it didn't seem to exude the feel of Redwall as I'd conceived it as a kid), and started digging in deeper to see what had been done so far.

At the Steam page, it seemed the next logical step was to browse through other titles by the developer to know what sort of game to expect, and that's when the first red flag popped up. 

To my dismay, Soma Games has a grand total of one other game under its belt: a slingshot puzzle entry called G Prime that has all of three reviews on Steam. A development team with next to nothing else to its name being given a major IP is already bringing to mind all those terrible Warhammer 40,000 titles that Game Workshops hands out like gross candy.

So how exactly did we get here, rather than seeing Redwall be handed out to a bigger name?

This is where things get a little confusing. There was a Kickstarter for a game called Redwall: The Warrior Reborn by Soma Games back in 2013, but strangely it wasn't actually for the Early Access Steam game out now. Rather, it was for a Minecraft entry called Abbeycraft, which really wasn't clear just by reading through the Kickstarter page.

That crowdfunding success was used as a jumping-off point for the next step, which is the Early Access beta period being used to actually develop the full game.

 It's got potential, even if the team is untested.

Realizing they may not be the first name you'd think of to tackle Redwall, Soma put up the Project Mouseworks page describing the history of how they got hooked up with the franchise, and my heart sank reading each successive paragraph.

Easily the biggest issue is that the author of that page hadn't even read the books until after author Brian Jacques died. Since the team had been actively pursuing the IP before his death, the gravity of that problem should be readily apparent.

If the Telltale crew had never read any of the Game Of Thrones books before pitching George R.R. Martin and HBO, would you have wanted them to tackle the series?

Flaming Potholes to Hell on the Road to Redwall

That Project Mouseworks article only gets more alarming from there, and my concern grew when the author said he didn't think the ghost of Brian Jacques was involved in granting them the license, but "coincidence is the language of the Spirit."

Something very not in tune with the spirit of Redwall was clearly going on there, which was really confirmed with this next statement from the developer:

For long-time Soma Games fans another point seems worth mentioning. We thought a lot about whether or not Redwall was a fit with the core values and mission of Soma Games. Answering that required a lot of thought and prayer. We take our voice and mission very, very seriously. 

Wait, what mission, and why would you need to pray about whether Redwall fit with that mission? 

As it turns out, Soma Games is a Christian development team, although to their credit, they go out of their way to explain they are Christian developers, but they aren't necessarily making explicitly Christian games that are meant to proselytize at the players.

While I appreciate that distinction, the issue still raises another pretty big red flag. Redwall isn't a religious series in any way. It's not even fantasy tinged with religion like Narnia. So why did an explicitly religious company get the license for a game that isn't explicitly religious?

It's a decision that doesn't make any sense. Would you seek out the team responsible for the Left Behind games or Bible Adventures to turn the Wheel Of Time or Mistborn novels into a new game series?

In most cases the religious beliefs of the developers wouldn't matter. I'm sure Christians, Muslims, Wiccans, Scientologists, Cthulhu cultists, and atheists have all worked on awesome games in the past. But then we get to this little statement from Soma: 

The fact that they think Diablo is somehow an inherently "evil" game, or that their core demographic wouldn't want to play the most lauded ARPG of all time ... well, that's concerning. That tells us we're going to get something that's toned down quite a bit from where it probably should be, and that concessions to religious concerns are going to be made where none are even needed in the first place.

It's Not All Doom and Gloom

If you look past the lack of developer pedigree, their unfamiliarity with the source material until after starting development, and the potential religious issues, there's still reason to be cautiously optimistic for Redwall's leap to the digital gaming age.

Most notably, Soma is actually active on the Facebook page with regular updates, and the developers take the the time to talk to potential players or respond to feedback. That's huge, as open communication is a must for an Early Access project.

It's also worth noting that the developers clearly get that Redwall was as much about the abbey and the lengthy food descriptions as it was the heroic mice and foul stoats. There's hope there that this team understands the material, even if they came late to the party.

 Half the series is this sort of thing rather than combat, and I'm glad they acknowledged that fact.

A Plea 

The first Redwall game deserves a development team that is absolutely in love with the source material and has the resources, time, staffing, and ability to make something worth playing that both does the series justice and gives the fans what they've been waiting for these past two decades.

Maybe that's Soma Games, and maybe it isn't. Indie, unknown developers have released unbelievably awesome material in the past, and Kickstarter successes are less unknown these days, so there's always a chance Soma will defy the odds and give us the definitive Redwall game.

Wisdom earned by harsh experience would indicate otherwise, however. Redwall isn't just a cheap paperback to grab at the airport. This series means something to the longtime fans, and we'd rather have nothing at all than get something sub-par.

Soma folks, if you're reading this, it's my sincerest hope that you knock it out of the park and succeed, but at the same time, I'm absolutely begging you -- if you can't give us something better than Armello or Ghost Of A Tale, please do the right thing and hand the franchise over to someone else.

What do you all think -- are you excited for a Redwall game to finally arrive, or would you prefer to see a bigger developer take the reins sometime down the line? 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments! For now, you can check out some Early Access footage below, and you can follow the latest on the game's development over here.

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Loot Boxes Aren't Crazy, But How They're Currently Used Is https://www.gameskinny.com/cewp6/loot-boxes-arent-crazy-but-how-theyre-currently-used-is https://www.gameskinny.com/cewp6/loot-boxes-arent-crazy-but-how-theyre-currently-used-is Thu, 21 Dec 2017 15:37:07 -0500 ReadyPlayerPaige

Sometimes you have to pay to win, but is the cost seriously worth it? As you no doubt know, loot boxes have created some buzz for good and bad reasons. It doesn't have to be all bad, though. At their core, loot boxes are supposed to encourage people to keep playing and provide rewards based on skill and time invested--not how much money a player can invest. But the way they are used now skews the purpose and turns games into cheap cash grabs at best.

What Is A Loot Box Anyway?

For those of you who don't know anything about loot boxes, here is a little bit of info. Loot boxes, sometimes called loot crates, are virtual items that are used in games for upgrades and character customization. Depending on the game, you can pretty much upgrade everything, from weapons, armor, clothing, to minor things like accessories. Loot boxes have been featured in many games, with two notable examples being Overwatch and Star Wars: Battlefront II.

The Good

Loot boxes are actually very useful in multiplayer games. There is an unlimited amount of items in loot boxes, and the list is endless of what loot boxes can do for players. Providing things that improve the gameplay experience, such as upgrades or unlocking new items, and doing so without charging extra money for it provides a strong incentive for players to come back to the game. This, in turn, keeps the game alive for much longer, while keeping players happy as well. The director of Overwatch, Jeff Kaplan, says that the Overwatch team monitors and re-evaluates their loot boxes to make sure the players are satisfied. Some loot boxes can be earned without spending money, which makes loot boxes much more addictive to players, without being a source of harm, unless you count sinking a ton of hours into the game harm.

Then there are cases where loot boxes or crates don't provide anything vital to the game itself. Aesthetic things like dice skins or an accessory for a character are fun, but don't affect gameplay, as was the case with Armello. With these kinds of loot boxes, it's more a case of giving players the option to spend a little to support the game developers, get something in return, and still keep everyone on the same level.

The Bad, Bad, Bad...

But most people end up focusing only on the bad aspects of loot boxes. Why? Well, what started out from play to win has now turned into pay to win. Take EA's Star Wars Battlefront II, for example. There has been a lot of discussion about how this game was very disappointing  Star Wars fans, and gamers have voiced their opinion that this series has to be moved away from EA. One of the main reasons behind the disappointment and strong views is the controversy surrounding its loot boxes.

EA made a few changes to the system, but the main problem hasn't changed. If you want to upgrade your characters and unlock some of the best gear, you'll have to pay--pay for the random chance of getting what you need or want. That creates a scenario where people with more money naturally get more of a chance to upgrade their characters, and everyone else is left out. In a multiplayer driven game, that's a problem, since it discourages people from coming back to the game. Some gamers naturally find this even more frustrating due to the fact that you have to pay a hefty sum of $60 for this game to begin with, and then pay even more just to have a chance at success.

Then there is the recent conflict over loot boxes should be viewed as  gambling--and for good reason. Basically, you are willing to pay a lot of money to get random items that might be rare. Just like a slot machine, you place a bet, of sorts, on how much you want to spend and pay the game to see if you win anything valuable. Sometimes, the player may get duplicate items, which is yet another major downfall of loot boxes.

Most gamers would complain about this, but many directors do what they can to provide a good game experience. Even though Overwatch had problems with the boxes, they never made the regrettable decisions that EA had. EA uses loot boxes to create profit--not even trying to hide the fact--instead of thinking about what gamers would want. Creating addicts from loot boxes is no way to gain profit and retain players. EA has lost over 3 billion dollars of shares because of this. Not only was the game disappointing, but it cost this company so much money.

Conclusion

Loot boxes can be a great asset for players and companies, but they are not being used responsibly at present. Making a profit isn't a bad thing, since that's what companies are in business for. Hopefully, in the future, other developers will face the kind of backlash EA did and realize that they need to keep the players' wants in mind, along with their quest for profit.

 Voice your opinion on how you feel about loot boxes below, and thanks for reading!

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Why The Heck Did They Add Microtransactions to Armello? https://www.gameskinny.com/ij498/why-the-heck-did-they-add-microtransactions-to-armello https://www.gameskinny.com/ij498/why-the-heck-did-they-add-microtransactions-to-armello Thu, 31 Aug 2017 17:09:45 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Microtransactions are often seen as the bogle of the gaming world -- a sometimes-necessary evil peculiar to our modern times. Some developers implement them in a fairly nonintrusive way, like we've seen in Bravely Default. But others practically require in-game purchases if you want to succeed (I'm looking at you, Fire Emblem Heroes).

So when League of Geeks chose to include microtransactions for their popular RPG boardgame Armello, it raised some eyebrows -- especially considering the game's low price point to begin with. Yet whether their existence in the game is a good or bad thing ultimately depends on the individual player's choice.

Armello, for those of you unfamiliar with the game, pays homage to old-school tabletop games -- combining a rich fantasy setting with RPG elements like equipping characters, sidequests, and dungeon exploration as you wage war for the kingdom. Success or failure are determined in large part by RNG, so even the best of strategies can easily go wrong if the circumstances are against you. As such, there is a definite element of "one-more-turn" at play.

Such a setup seems like a prime choice for adding in-game purchases that help arrange the game in your favor, either through extra dice rolls, powerups, or items, and it's not a great leap from one more turn to just one more purchase. Yet that's not really what happened here.


You don't even have to pay to be a giant, sword-wielding rabbit!

What's the Big Deal?

Purchasing the game by itself gives you access to loads of content anyway, with all the base characters -- each of whom has their own unique abilities -- and the chance to earn chests or keys to unlock chests after each multiplayer battle. Chests give you dice skins to customize your dice, but the results are purely aesthetic. It's these skins and chests that are the focus of the microtransactions, with a huge array of dice skins available.

If you opt for the chests, it's completely random what you'll get -- and some reviewers liken the setup to a form of gambling, encouraging players to try again to see what luck they'll get. However, it's difficult to see that being the case here, unless you really, really love having as many different looking dice as possible.

The naturally ostentatious nature of the purchases means there is a slight element of the haves versus the have-nots, since everyone is going to see who has what type of dice. At the same time, regardless of how much money you spend on these, your chances at victory are still determined by the RNG, and with the relatively low price point of the microtransactions themselves at $2.99, there is a chance that almost anyone could, at some point, pick at least one extra dice skin to flaunt.

This bit about price and desirability determines how microtransactions are received. The NPD group conducted a market survey in October of 2016 and found that 77% of gamers felt positively about in-game purchases that allowed them to expand their enjoyment of the game, with 68% expressing dissatisfaction over purchase that amount to a pay-to-win scenario.

This explains why there have been thousands of microtransactions already in Armello, since it is a case of the former rather than the latter. Players are pleased to support the developers  and expand the game a bit for a low price-- relative to the initial purchase, at least -- without feeling disadvantaged if they don't pay more.

Actually, it's the DLC that has been drawing fans' irritation. League of Geeks offers several DLC packs that provide different characters with different abilities. However, these cost half as much as the game itself -- and aren't all that wonderful for the price. Considering that the base characters are well-rounded enough to begin with, it doesn't really amount to a case of pay-to-win, but players want more from the developer and are willing to pay for it.

The Verdict

In the end, the reason League of Geeks introduced microtransactions to expand their profit from the game without straining their own resources. It's good business sense. For the right price, and with decent enough content, many fans don't mind. If you don't purchase them, you can still enjoy the game just as well as anyone else and have the same chances of winning. Ultimately, it's up to you as to whether you think it harmless or a shameless attempt to suck people's wallets dry.

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The 10 Most Anticipated Android Mobile Games for 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/qyski/the-10-most-anticipated-android-mobile-games-for-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/qyski/the-10-most-anticipated-android-mobile-games-for-2017 Sun, 27 Nov 2016 15:22:16 -0500 sknau002

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2017 has a surprising amount of hype for its mobile gaming department. Our list of most anticipated Android mobile games turned out to be bigger than we thought as more and more developers realize how to make mobile games -- or translate old classics to one of gaming's youngest, yet most promising mediums. 

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Did we miss any of your most anticipated Android games? Let us know!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/p/super-mario-run-5860a.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/u/p/super-mario-run-5860a.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142474","description":"

Super Mario Run

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Honestly, who didn't see this coming? Not Super Mario Run itself -- that was a total surprise. But once it was announced, how could it not make it on this list? Super Mario Run will feature typical Mario levels where instead of playing them normally, Mario will run on his own and the player must time his jumps, attacks and tricks accordingly. 

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In classic Nintendo fashion, they're making use of a different control scheme and creating something new out of it. There will also be a time trial mode where the player races another player's past performance on a track. 

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Nintendo will undoubtedly cram tons of features into this game, as they never release one-trick ponies, but the details are still under wraps. While this list wasn't in any specific order, this game is definitely high on many gamer's wish lists -- if not the top of our most anticipated Android mobile games of 2017.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/d/u/r/durango-335fc.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/d/u/r/durango-335fc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142472","description":"

Durango

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An original mobile game, Durango is an isometric survival building game. It takes place on an island filled with dinosaurs and present day people stranded there. Their only hope is to collect supplies, build tribes and make the best of their surroundings. 

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Durango is planned to be an open-world survival game with multiplayer elements from Nexon Korea, the team behind Maple Story. Although this game seems to be nothing like Maple Story, and more like How to Survive, the mixing of multiplayer and single player elements from Nexon Korea seems promising for this 2017 Android release.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screenshot-2016-862a1.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/c/r/screenshot-2016-862a1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142476","description":"

King's Knight: Wrath of the Dark Dragon

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Before Final Fantasy took the stage in the JRPG genre, Square made an arguably fun, arguably terrible game called King's Knight. It was a fun game, sure. Going through levels, shooting at blocks, revealing secrets, gathering points, beating bosses...

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But the game failed to adequately tell you how to beat it. If you lost one character, you were allowed to continue, but you could not beat the game. This took a clever idea and stomped it into the mud. That is, until 30 years later in 2017, where a remake/reimagining takes place!

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King's Knight Wrath of the Dark Dragon returns with similar gameplay as the original, but with a huge upgrade to graphics. It even adds a huge roster of characters.

The game never quite begged for a remake in the traditional video game sense, but it fits perfectly in the Android market with its bite-sized levels, item gathering and leveling up.

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Oceanhorn

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This game is another title originally slated for 2016 being pushed into the next year. Oceanhorn is a Zelda-like action-adventure game that takes settings and ideas from Wind Waker but changes perspective to the isometric POVs of classic top-down Zelda titles.

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A sequel, Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm has recently been announced, but a mobile version of the original could boost sales, as Oceanhorn was a bit of a sleeper hit, despite featuring music from Kenji Ito and Nobuo Uematsu. Expect to see this on iOS and Android in 2017.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/u/skullgirls-valentine-wallpaper-ariff78-d7ph6s8-b07fa.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/s/k/u/skullgirls-valentine-wallpaper-ariff78-d7ph6s8-b07fa.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142488","description":"

Skullgirls Mobile

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What's Skullgirls, you ask? Skullgirls is a 3-on-3 fighting game from Reverge Labs that pits cute girls in a battle royale. The series has been praised for its animation and controls, and it was actually heavily based on the Marvel Vs Capcom series in regards to its tag team combat system, assists and hyper counters. 

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Being quite successful in the fighting game market, Reverge Labs announced Skullgirls Mobile, which puts a twist on the fighting game's mechanics. To match the limitations of twitch mechanics on an Android and iOS device, the game focuses more on RPG elements like equipping your favorite Skullgirl with new equipment and moves. Don't worry though, the game still seems fast-paced and exciting.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/1/2016-torchlight-mobile-2e02b.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/1/2016-torchlight-mobile-2e02b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142466","description":"

Torchlight Mobile

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The Torchlight series has been a big hit with gamers around the world. Torchlight Mobile is set to be a faithful adaptation of the series on Android and iOS. Each character has six skills, but they can be customized to create many more than that. 

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Torchlight Mobile will include a PvP mode and even a MOBA mini-game that doesn't detract from the game as a whole. Torchlight Mobile could really be successful on Android with its touch-to-move/attack controls, and if the dungeons are cut up into bite-sized pieces, this game could really sing.

The video presentation of the game shows the art style is very accurate to the existing iterations in  the series and the action seems to fit right in with what Torchlight fans are used to.

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Sheltered

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Another game coming from another platform, Sheltered started life as a PC game. In it, the player assumes the role of a family of four. They must survive in a bunker after an apocalyptic event. This involves crafting, decision making and scavenging for supplies. 

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The entire game takes a 2D perspective and is controlled mostly by a mouse, making the translation to Android touch controls relatively easy to comprehend. No release date has been promised, but the developers have said on multiple occasions, including their Kickstarter page, that they want to bring the game to Android and iOS in 2017.

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Sdorica - Sunset

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Not much is known about Sdorica - Sunset except that it's from Rayark Inc., the creators of Implosion: Never Lose Hope, and it is set for an Android and iOS release. It was set for a late 2016 release, but with 2016 nearing an end and no update on the release, it can only be assumed this will be pushed into next year.

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Sdorica is a 2D fantasy game with beautiful artwork similar to Odin Sphere. The lack of details and a month of silence from their social media team is a little concerning. However, the success of Implosion should give some hope, although the new art style is a huge departure.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/a/r/m/armello-c29f2.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/a/r/m/armello-c29f2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142455","description":"

Armello

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In September 2015, Armello released on PC, and later on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. After receiving additional support from government funding in Australia and meeting its Kickstarter stretch goals, the game was also planned to release on Android and iOS. 

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Armello is basically a board game. Unlike many board games however, it initially existed as only a video game with a board aesthetic.

The premise follows a dying king and characters aiming to take his place as ruler of the animal kingdom. The player chooses one of these anthropomorphic heroes and sets out to take the throne. The art-style alone is enough to sell the game, but those who enjoy board games would feel right at home with Armello. Speaking of art style...

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Duelyst

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Duelyst is currently on PC, Mac, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. It started as a Kickstarter project come to life and focuses on short play sessions. Clocking in at around ten minutes, each turn-based tactical battle is meant to be bite sized and pick-up-and-play. 

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As a Tactical RPG that also plays like a deck-building game, Duelyst lends itself pretty perfectly to the Android market. There's also a practice mode, Challenge puzzle modes and a tournament mode.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/8/7/5/87583b60d92a9e7.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/8/7/5/87583b60d92a9e7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"142475","description":"

Mobile gaming has always been hit-or-miss. But as of late, it's been hitting a lot more than it used to. So much so that there are a few games on Android that we're legitimately hyped for! So...we created a list of our most anticipated Android Mobile Games of 2017!

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Some of these titles are already on other devices/consoles, but most are new releases. However, all of them were picked with their compatibility with mobile gaming in mind.

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Top 10 Best Games of 2015 You Might Have Heard Of https://www.gameskinny.com/vuzlj/top-10-best-games-of-2015-you-might-have-heard-of https://www.gameskinny.com/vuzlj/top-10-best-games-of-2015-you-might-have-heard-of Thu, 01 Sep 2016 10:00:01 -0400 Angelina Bonilla

2015 was a good and a bad year in gaming that gave us an eclectic menagerie of titles you may not be familiar with. Which is why I'm here, I'm here to talk about the "Top 10 Best Games of 2015 You Might Have Heard Of" If you've heard of any of these titles, that's great, I hope you found them as enjoyable as I did. If you haven't heard of these titles, that's great too, I hope I introduced you to a great game!

The games on this list may not be nearly as obscure as my worst of list, but many of the bigger titles have been largely forgotten by the community, heard in passing, or just ignored all together. Undertale and Life Is Strange won’t be on the list because their fandoms can fill a small country of their own. Don’t worry obscure game enthusiasts; we still have some bizzare ones on this list that you may not have heard of.

Let’s begin shall we? 

10. Catlateral Damage

Remember when I said that I’d also be talking about games that the gaming community largely forgot about or still hadn’t heard of? Well this is my first case of it. Catlateral Damage. Despite being an extremely successful Kickstarter and getting all sorts of coverage, it’s like the gaming world has gone nearly silent about after the release.

The game’s main gimmick, playing as a cat is it’s main draw but despite that the game manages to stay fresh and fun for hours on end. There’s a variety of levels, unlockable cats you can play as and ways you can play within the levels. It’s one of those titles that you just run around and have fun with and not put in too much thought while playing it. It’s entertaining and mindless to just be a cat, but there’s also a weird amount of strategy to knocking down just the right amount of things to proceed to the next level.

There’s also plenty of references to various other licensed products that may get a chuckle out of you every once and a while. Truthfully, I put this Catlateral Damage on the list because I wanted those people who just needed a game to play for some goofy fun, to have something to go with. It’s been a destressor of mine since I’ve purchased it and in this hustle and bustle world, I think we need a game like Catlateral Damage to relax and cause some havoc with, in a family-friendly sort of way.

9. Armello

Tabletop games have been around for years and it’s only fitting we’d get some video games that’d represent this like Armello eventually. Armello is a beautifully drawn game about a kingdom that’s in danger of collapsing after its monarch goes mad, and it’s up to you to claim the throne. You’re competing against 3 other players, whether they’re AI or player characters, and you have to defeat them in win. There are 5 distinct clans: Wolves, Rats, Bears, Rabbits and Bandits, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Each character also has their own backstory that factors into why they want to become king of the land or any history with the king.   There are countless guides about this so I won’t go into it too much detail here, but each hero has their own way of winning and learning this is half of the fun of this game.

 No two rounds of Armello are the same and there is a wide variety of things you can do within the game in order to win. A lot of it is RNG, but you can put the odds in your favor by doing quests, fighting other players and gaining prestige, which acts as reputation for your feats. This means you can conquer your foes in a multitude of ways that they might not even see coming. There’s also added elements involving what’s infecting the monarch, The Rot, forcing you to not only compete against the other

There’s also added elements involving what’s infecting the monarch, The Rot, forcing you to not only compete against the other players, but against the king himself who is also out to get you. What’s interesting is that in general, the monarch’s AI seems to be a lot smarter than the AI of the other controlled characters, which is a grand challenge and also slightly frustrating. There were entire rounds where I was able to go around decimating all of the characters but then end up losing because of something the monarch did.

Something about Armello that I immediately noticed was that while the game does plenty of things to keep it fresh, Armello isn’t a game you want to marathon for hours on end. That, and the game shines a lot more in the multiplayer than it does in the single player, which is a shame since there could have been a lot done to make it just as interesting as multiplayer.

Armello is the sort of experience you need to share with others and it’s a game that shouldn’t be hidden away to Rot in the background. With its expansion coming out soon, I’m looking forward to playing more of this Game of Thrones, Redwall chess game that is Armello.

7. Bulb Boy

Bulb Boy is a unique beast, and I knew that the moment I saw it on Kickstarter, which made me interview the developers and got me excited for its eventual release. It’s a game that did everything it promised in its Kickstarter, offering a point and click adventure horror game with a unique art style, gross monsters and some platforming twists. Bulb Boy himself has an infectious laugh and an impish yet easily frightened persona that really does make you feel for him when you’re fighting the horrors of the house.

The atmosphere can be tense and spine-tingling at times thanks to the music and sound effects, leaving you shaking in your boots. Each area has a unique way of solving its puzzles that are shown in the bright dream-like sequences, without spoon feeding you its answers. Bulb Boy is rather easy overall, and it leaves much to be desired in the sense of being actually challenged. Death is only a mild inconvenience, which works because the game itself is a bit on the short side and having to replay the longer platforming parts after dying would be a chore.

Bulb Boy is only around 2 hours, and the pacing was incredibly fast, so it goes by in the blink of an eye. It just ends suddenly after a rather tense boss fight, leaving you wondering just what happened. There’s also a focus on bodily humor, which I can’t say I particularly care for, especially when it’s used excessively.

Nonetheless, Bulb Boy is a creative gem that needs to be recognized more and while I know it’s gotten a fair amount of exposure from other YouTube channels, I was there long before it had a playable demo, but I’m happy to have seen it grow into the game it is now.

7. The Deer God

Reincarnation isn’t a subject that’s covered too often in games, at least not in the more traditional sense of the word, and that’s part of what makes The Deer God such an interesting title. It takes a more spiritual take on things: you start off playing as a hunter who shot a baby deer, and are later killed by wolves. You’re then brought back by the eponymous Deer God, who tasks you to live out your days as a deer, from fawnhood on.

It goes about this by making you start off nearly powerless and slowly gain more power as time goes on, mixing platforming with oddly megaman-style difficulty and power ups. Now I know this sounds a little odd to the normal gamer, maybe even a little hipster and pretentious. Well, you’re not necessarily wrong about those assumptions. 

The Deer God does talk down to you sometimes and it has a tone of condescension that I don’t think the developer intended, but it is there in some of the text, especially with the “moral choices” you have to make. Nobody likes being told they are a bad person, especially when The Deer God punishes you for killing things like bunnies, by turning you into a fish if you just so happen to die. It’s a very judgemental game that almost puts Undertale to shame with how bad it makes you feel about your actions. I was deeply enthralled with

It was a creative concept with beautiful artwork that enthralled me from start to finish. It’s why I interviewed the developer back when it was on Kickstarter and why I did a preview of it on Early Access. The Deer God was a Kickstarter game I believed in and since it’s on my list, you can see I wasn’t displeased with the results.

6. Shelter 2 

When it comes to unique and creative titles, Might and Delight tend to be one of the first studios that come to mind. And with that comes the Shelter series and its entry on this list: Shelter 2.  In Shelter 2, you play as a mother lynx who, after giving birth to her cubs, must hunt down various creatures in order to keep them alive, along with traveling from place to place as danger stalks you.

It takes a semi-realistic approach, with you as the mother Lynx having to care for all of your babies, having to portion out their meals between each one, teaching them how to hunt with you, and avoiding dangers like wolves and the terrain itself. The difference is that it does veer more on the artistic side at times with how you navigate with the symbols with your lynx vision and how the art style looks like it came straight off the pages of a storybook. It helps tell the story of this very beautiful yet very dangerous world you’ve found yourself in.

Now, there are quite a few gameplay issues that, while they are slowly getting fixed in patches, are extremely noticeable. Things like framerate drops, odd little glitches that cause the cubs to spaz out and get lost when they’re following you, and more, which takes away from the Shelter 2 as a whole.

It can also get a bit repetitive, but luckily no two playthroughs are the same since you can have any surviving cubs you have be your next protagonist and it changes the path you take. Slightly, but it does change. Personally, I’d recommend getting this game when it’s on sale because despite the bugs I mentioned, it’s still very much worth owning if you enjoy artistic titles or games that go against the grain of what’s considered a normal game.

Shelter 2 may not be perfect, but it’s worth it to see your precious cubs grow into big, strong adults, going off to continue this cycle of nature.
Hope everyone liked this first part of my video, stay tuned for part two coming out very soon.

5. Sym 

Sym is a curious game that tries to emphasize what it’s like to live with social anxiety disorder through a series of keyboard snapping puzzles in between two worlds, and it’s a fascinating take on it. you, the player, explore the world as Josh the young man with the disorder, using his two alter egos. There’s Caleb, who lives at the fringe of reality and wants to conquer his fears, and Ammiel, who doesn’t want any social contact. Sym has a very abstract artstyle, using only black and white to show what’s happening on screen.

They convey this through two distinctive worlds that you have to navigate through, and small textless cutscenes allowing you to interpret what’s going on. The game often throws up random phrases throughout the levels that people with anxiety will likely recognize; things about self-worth, that everyone is laughing at them, things of that nature. Us navigating through these puzzles is a way for the main character Josh to navigate his way through his problems and figure out a better reality. Even if the way it goes about it is by throwing us into the spinning blades of death for missing our jump slightly. The controls are tight, which means it leaves very little room for error to the point of frustration.

As in, the deaths in the Sym aren’t always your fault like they are in other platformers of its kind. Sym isn’t quite as refined as something like, say, Super Meat Boy, but it’s still a well put together platforming puzzle title.
Not only that, but there’s a mode you can play where you have the ability to design your own levels and play in other players’ levels all around the world, which increases the replay value exponentially.

Sym tactfully handles the subject of social anxiety in a way that makes it easy to understand and fun to play, a game like that deserves to be on a list like this.

4. Hand of Fate

When I came across Hand of Fate, I truly hadn’t seen anything like it before; it’s a deck builder-based, DnD-esque action RPG with roguelike elements to it.

All of these concepts on their own have been used countless times before, but the way that Hand of Fate goes about making them work together is what makes it truly special. You play as an adventurer who has stumbled across a mysterious card game that takes his memories, turns them into cards for both you and the dealer to play with. But, the dealer also has unique cards exclusive to his deck that’ll make your journey through the ‘levels’ even harder.

Luckily, you can unlock special gear unique to your deck to combat this but it’s all up to chance. The player gets to create the deck you play with, which means the majority of encounters you come across are your own doing, unless they’re locked into the deck by the dealer. The encounters change the gameplay from a card game to a third person hack and slash, where you try to survive against the hand you’ve been dealt.

While there is an element of luck in it, since you’ll often not know what’s coming up next and the dealer tries some slick shuffling moves in order to trip you up, it gives Hand of Fate another element of danger to it. Especially when you land on an encounter that you weren’t prepared for and have to switch to 3rd person hack and slash, mode with little life left. It also helps that Hand of Fate does have some lore to it, which I won’t spoil here, but it adds just another layer to it. I’d like to bring up this was made in unity, as were many of the entries on this list but I digress, and while it does have occasional stuttering issues, it doesn’t detract from the experience over all. That’s why I highly recommend you sit down with this mysterious dealer and test your skills against the

It also helps that Hand of Fate does have some lore to it, which I won’t spoil here, but it adds just another layer to it. I’d like to bring up this was made in unity, as were many of the entries on this list but I digress, and while it does have occasional stuttering issues, it doesn’t detract from the experience over all. That’s why I highly recommend you sit down with this mysterious dealer and test your skills against the Hand of Fate.

3. STASIS

A while back I had a friend of mine approach me about a game called Stasis, which involved body horror, human experimentation, what-if scenarios and space. Needless to say, I was 100 percent on board with it from the start. It’s a point and click adventure, but it’s a little more on the basic side than other entries in its particular genre. Most of the puzzles can be solved by common sense, but that’s not really what people come here for. They come for the story of John Marachek trying to find his wife and daughter, and in that regard Stasis doesn’t disappoint.
John and you become witnesses to the horrors of the station, giving way to plenty of moments of shock,

me witnesses to the horrors of the station, giving way to plenty of moments of shock, anguish and disgust throughout the entire journey.This isn’t an adventure for those with a fragile heart, or a weak stomach for that matter, there’s some parts that are just stomach-churning to behold, but that’s part of the beauty of it. Each moment you find a sickening slab of mutilated human flesh, you learn more about the story through their data logs and it really helps build up this world that the developers had in mind. There's notably barely any music in it either, other than the distant sounds of machines whirring.

This leaves a nice eerie feeling which makes the player feel uneased. There's no moral choice system here either, there's either a bad choice that gets you killed, or a good choice that lets you live. You find out which one that is really quickly after you do it, so be prepared for those moments.

Full transparency: I love this kind of stuff. I’m a huge fan of medical horror, body horror and sci-fi which meant this game was like my bread and butter for quite a while. I’d like to say Stasis is flawless but it isn’t, since there are some turns the story takes that are just eye roll worthy but otherwise, I was thoroughly engaged.

Stasis is a game that truly capitalizes on the phrase “In Space, no one can hear you scream.”

2. Grow Home

Now I know what you’re thinking “Grow Home is on the list? Grow Home is popular!” Well, you’re sort of right on that; it is popular, but not nearly as popular as it should be and the fact I can still mention this game to gamers and they have no clue what I’m talking about is rather telling. Compared to the likes of Undertale or Life Is Strange, Grow Home doesn’t have the same sort of fan base and I must say, that’s disappointing, because Grow Home is truly a treat.

You play as B.U.D., a little robot on a quest to save his planet by growing strange plants to the stars. While there is a lot more to do in this game, like collecting strange flora and fauna, gathering various “seeds” and just exploring this huge planet you’re dropped on, that’s the main premise. You’re given this big world that BUD has to make sense of in order to save his own world, with the help of “M.O.M”; an AI designed to help BUD throughout his journey.

You’re given pretty much free rein, but there is a sense of progression if you collect certain things, because the more you explore and gather, the more you’re rewarded with things that make your life as a little robot easier.

This is the sort of game you can explore for hours and still might not unlock everything, which gives Grow Home quite a bit of replay value, especially for those who want to get all those shiny achievements. There are a couple of issues with BUD’s controls: since he seems rather top heavy he will oftentimes collapse without warning, or sometimes you have to be too on point with Bud’s controls, but nothing too big to complain about.

B.U.D. is somehow the most expressive character I’ve seen in a while and if this little guy pushes the Assassin’s Creed boys out of the way and became Ubisoft’s new mascot, I’d be completely fine with that.

Actually, please do that B.U.D., maybe if you’re around we’ll actually get a sequel to Beyond Good and Evil. Grow Home is a trip to the stars and back, let’s just hope its sequel can live up to the predecessor.

1. Dropsy.



Dropsy. For anyone who knows me, you knew this would be number one no matter what. Even with B.U.D and his never-ending charm, you knew that Dropsy was going to win out in the end for just being so delightfully bizarre. Dropsy is a point and click adventure that is unlike any game I’ve seen in a long time.

You play as Dropsy, a clown accused of murdering his mother and setting the circus on fire. Now he has to go around town and change the way people feel about him so he can give them a hug. You heard that right, I’m not kidding, that’s the entire premise. Just go hug people in your warm, damp, loving embrace, you weird clown you. To do that, you need to solve puzzles, which usually involve the things the people are angrily yelling at you or clues hidden throughout the world.

There is no dialogue in Dropsy, it’s all told through the artwork itself and the speech bubble with pictograms in it. It honestly works well, almost too well in fact. I found myself getting far more moved emotionally by things that were happening in Dropsy than I did from any other title in 2015. All because of this game that looks like a silly little story about a clown but turns out to be more about love, friendship, suffering, loss and all sorts of things you wouldn’t expect from a game where your main character looks like a scary clown.

Dropsy is, much like BUD, a painfully endearing character that you just want to see things go his way for once. This poor guy gets pushed around constantly, and yet despite that he still wants to make friends with everyone, that’s dedication right there. The art is delightfully exaggerated looking; the music is varied as well as catchy, and let’s not forget that the controls and everything functions without a hitch. There was obviously a lot of love and dedication put into Dropsy and it shows.

This is also the only game this year and the only game that I’ve played in a long time that I can, without a shadow of a doubt, call perfect.
Yeah, not only is this my “Game of the Year,” despite me hating to use that term, but this is a game I would say is flawless as a diamond. Dropsy has made an official fan out of me and I couldn’t be happier.

There were a lot of good indie games I could have put on this list, but these were the ones that stood out to me the most. Well, that and I could have filled this list with point and click adventure games only, but I wanted to give you a little more variety than that.

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PlayStation Plus "Vote to Play" indie game Armello coming Sept. 1 https://www.gameskinny.com/le32s/playstation-plus-vote-to-play-indie-game-armello-coming-sept-1 https://www.gameskinny.com/le32s/playstation-plus-vote-to-play-indie-game-armello-coming-sept-1 Tue, 18 Aug 2015 03:58:20 -0400 PencilPusha

PlayStation Plus is putting on a Vote To Play campaign for their customers from August 13 until August 24. Armello, an indie game featuring strategy mixed with RPG and board game-type mechanics, is one potential game to win amongst Grow Home and Zombie Vikings. According to the PlayStation site, the winner of the three will be added to the 'Instant Game Collection' on September 1st, while the other two runner-ups will be sold at a discount to PlayStation Plus members.

Armello, made by League of Geeks (an indie game development group), is a kingdom made up of heroic and villain animals. Those animals seek to fight and conquer each other's territories using strategy and tactics mixed with some dice-rolling like you'd see in Magic The Gathering. There's an RPG element to the game in that it allows players to choose an animal character to fight with, and that animal will go around to conquer all that Armello has to offer.

The game originally spawned on Kickstarter in April 2014, taking a little over a year to get funded. But now, 6,213 generous gamers donated $305,360 Australian dollars to the League of Geeks so they could bring this unique game to life.

Characters can use different weapons, discover treasure, and defend their territory outside before the enemy closes in. The game revolves around the idea of protecting one's land and people. In this case, it involves protecting one's land and fellow animals. The official website has some videos that showcase conflicts with different characters in the game.

Some appear to be internal struggles of right and wrong, innocence and guilt in the face of war and dramatic leadership change over an entire kingdom of animals. Other conflicts appear to be more external, dealing simply with life and death. Armello is riddled with problems, and so players must find a way to bring peace, even if it's found at the end of a sword.

From viewing the official site's videos, players can choose to be a bear, a wolf, a mouse or rat, a lion (who appeared to be a king in the videos), a frog or a rabbit. Choices revolving around these characters and their abilities are unclear, but conquering all parts of one kingdom as a 'furry forest animal gone bad' seems clear.

Armello will be available on Steam, as well as PlayStation Plus, on September 1.

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Vote on September's free PS Plus game this week https://www.gameskinny.com/gif0o/vote-on-septembers-free-ps-plus-game-this-week https://www.gameskinny.com/gif0o/vote-on-septembers-free-ps-plus-game-this-week Wed, 12 Aug 2015 10:09:57 -0400 Larry Iaccio

PlayStation Plus subscribers recieve free predetermined content each month, but finally Sony is giving players the chance to decide what games they would like for free.

The first ever Vote-to-Play campaign is kicking off this week and it is putting the power to determine one of September's free games to the players. This Thursday, August 13th at 8:30 AM Pacific Time (11:30 AM eastern time) PlayStation Plus members will be able to vote on one of three games using their PS4.

The games up for voting are:

1. Grow Home

2. Zombie Vikings 


3. Armello

Regardless of what game wins the campaign, the other two will still be released in September at a discounted price.

PS Plus members who would like to vote can do so by accessing the PlayStation Store's Plus section or through the notifications on the PS4 dashboard. Players can vote on one of these games until August 24, at 8:30 AM PST.

Sony is referring to this as the "first" Vote-to-Play campaign indicating that it might be planning on more campaigns for the future.

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9 awesome indie games still to come in 2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/anvlo/9-awesome-indie-games-still-to-come-in-2015 https://www.gameskinny.com/anvlo/9-awesome-indie-games-still-to-come-in-2015 Sun, 16 Aug 2015 04:30:01 -0400 Daniel R. Miller

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No Man's Sky

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Release Date: 2015
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Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
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What is there to say about No Man's Sky that hasn't been said already? The game looks amazing, and no matter what happens, it will make an instant impact on the industry as a new standard for what the indie games can accomplish. Of course, there are some doubts as to whether the game world will be too by the numbers.

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Game director Sean Murray has said in the past that the secret behind the game's infinite universe is simply math, which makes me wonder if there will be enough assets to cover the fact that a lot of planets will have very similar features.  Regardless, there's many a reason why many gamers, myself included, can't wait to get their hands on this game. However, don't be surprised if Hello Games elects to wait until 2016 to let us play No Man's Sky.

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Hyper Light Drifter

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Release Date: 2015
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Platforms: PC, Mac
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Hyper Light Drifter has some of the best use of perspective with pixels that I've ever seen.  The indie action RPG has gained a considerable amount of praise and anticipation from its following, beginning during its Kickstarter campaign in 2013. Hyper Light Drifter is built upon five core mechanics: melee combat, shield defense, dash movement, an array of secondary items, and the use of a drone companion.  

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Jotun

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Release Date: September 2015
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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
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Jotun is a beautiful, hand-drawn Viking adventure that is not for the weak.  The game prides itself on difficulty and demands its players be tactful, patient - and above all, skillful.  I had some hands-on time with the beta version recently, and I can say for sure that the game's strength is in its boss encounters.  

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In a sense its experience is similar to that of Shadow of the Colossus, the world exploration in between boss encounters is both epic in scope and empty in space. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but rather an intentional design choice, meant to evoke the sense of loneliness that the protagonist is enduring on their journey. 

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Adr1ft

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Release Date: September 2015
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Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 4
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Adr1ft is an upcoming sci-fi survival game set above the earth in zero gravity. A terrible accident has occurred at a space station orbiting the planet, and it is your job to figure out what happened and get back to Earth. Your character is inhabiting a damaged spacesuit that can't hold oxygen for very long, so one of the primary moment to moment mechanics is the constant struggle to keep yourself alive by finding canisters of O2. 

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SOMA

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Release Date: September 22, 2015
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Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
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SOMA is a sci-fi horror game built in the same vein as the Amnesia and Penumbra series, which is no coincidence since the developers are one and the same. This time, players will be exploring a run-down underwater ocean lab, filled with frighteningly human and aggressive mechanical monsters, as well as the potential dangers of the unknown.  SOMA tries to emulate a sense of loneliness with a larger environment to traverse, really making the player feel small and insignificant.

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Armello

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Release Date: September 1, 2015
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Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Mac, Android
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Armello is a turn-based multiplayer digital board game with strategy and role-playing elements by developer League of Geeks.  The premise of the game is that the king of the land of Armello has fallen ill to a mysterious sickness called The Rot, and a power struggle for his throne has begun.  As each turn commences, the king gets closer and closer to death, and as a result, more corrupt.  

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Players take control of a single clan, lead by a prominent animal character with different attributes that can be enhanced by completing quests, defeating opponents in battle, and acquiring new gear. All of this builds into a final confrontation with the king to take his castle. The first player to defeat the king and take the throne, wins the game.

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Calvino Noir

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Release Date: August 25, 2015
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Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, iPhone
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Calvino Noir is a 2D side-scrolling stealth adventure game that leans heavily on inspiration from films like Bladerunner and The Third Man, as well as the game Deus Ex, for both its narrative and architectural representations. There are three distinct pillars of importance when defining the Calvino Noir experience: puzzle-solving gameplay, enhanced immersion, and an episodic storyline.  

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In a recent post on the PlayStation Blog, the developers cited the authenticity of the architecture within the game world as a key aspect that establishes the game's gritty art style through form.

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Shadowrun: Hong Kong

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Release Date: August 20, 2015
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Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
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After successfully reviving the Shadowrun series back in 2013 with Shadowrun: Returns and following up with the Dragonfall expansion last year, developer Harebrained Schemes returns with the next official entry, Shadowrun: Hong Kong.  Hong Kong was successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year, raising over $1.2 million, achieving the same amount of success as the initial campaign for Returns.  

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Shadowrun is a cRPG that is know for its sci-fi cyberpunk meets high-fantasy magic world that predicates its gameplay on freeform exploration and strategic turn-based combat.

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Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power 

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Release Date: August 20, 2015
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Platforms: PC
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The Trine series has enjoyed a relatively quiet run of success since the first game launched back in fall of 2009.  The games have effectively combined 2D platforming, 3D graphical elements, and puzzle solving that revolves around environmental manipulation with a splash of basic combat. All of these elements are kept fresh throughout due to a constant rotation of three characters representative of classic gaming archetypes: a soldier, a wizard and a thief.  

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Trine 3 improves on its own game mechanics by exploring the use of depth for environment traversal, all while maintaining the classic two dimensional plane.

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AAA games tend to make most of the headlines throughout the calendar year.  However, it can be argued that some of the best and most unique gaming experiences come from studios without the backing of big publishers. Independent developers have a great deal more freedom in defining what they want their game to be, and cater towards more of a target audience than the general public.

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As the indie scene has evolved over the years, so has the quality of the games coming from it. There is a steadily growing financial payoff in going indie, and although it's still undoubtedly a riskier business venture, there are more and more developers making the jump, so the competition has become increasingly fierce. 

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This list does not necessarily consist of games with concrete release dates, as delays and uncertainty are the norm among indie titles.  However, these games have at least been slated for release in 2015.  Just bear in mind that this is all subject to change.

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