Ether One Articles RSS Feed | Ether One RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network May PS Plus IGC Review Sun, 10 May 2015 08:12:43 -0400 Curtis Dillon

Every month since 2010, Sony has given away 6+ games as part of the PlayStation Plus Instant Games Collection. The IGC comes with your monthly (or annual) PS Plus subscription and offers great value for money. PlayStation owners get over 60 games a year on PS3, PS4 and PS Vita, all of which have a Metacritic rating of 70 or above.

A year's subscription of PS Plus costs £39.99, or $49.99, which works out to little over £3 a month. Playstation Lifestyle reported that PS Plus subscribers received over $1300/£841 worth of games last year. So yeah, PS Plus is a very good service that helps players discover games they may otherwise never have even looked at. 

This is the first (ongoing) review of the Instant Games Collection for each and every month. So, once a month, when the IGC goes live we will post a review - a synopsis and mini-review of each game, the value for your money, and whether or not we recommend you pick them up.

Ether One (PS4)

Ether One was released for PC last year and turned heads for its subject matter: dementia. This first-person adventure game (which are so popular right now) tasks you with restoring the memory of a 69-year old dementia patient.

You traverse a picturesque landscape and pick up anything and everything along the way, which can be stored in your hub-world. You can solve puzzles and learn more about the world and what happened to the patient's memory, or just progress freely and get the basic gist of the tale. If you enjoy plot and exploration that's free from combat, check this out.

Ether One is a beautiful game, in both its aesthetic and the story it weaves.

Guacamelee: Suber Turbo Championship Edition (PS4)

Guacamelee is one of many MetroidVania-style games to be released in recent years but it's also one of the very best. Top-notch platforming, wonderfully colourful visuals, and a hilarious cast of characters are just a few of the reasons why Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition holds an 87% on Metacritic, despite having been released across 9 platforms.

If you enjoy old-school platforming games, ridiculous humour and fun, Guacamelee: Super Championship Edition is for you!

Race The Sun (PS4, PS Vita)

Race The Sun is an infinite runner developed by Flippfly and released last October. It's not a typical endless runner in that you are flying a silver spacecraft, but Race The Sun is fast-paced and slightly addictive.

Admittedly, I had never heard of this game until I saw it on the IGC. Regardless, I downloaded it and gave it a shot. I've only played it a couple of times, but I get what it's trying to do. I'm not a huge fan of endless runners, but this is a pretty good one - especially if you use Spotify on your PS4 and listen to whatever you want!

Race The Sun is frenetic and very difficult, perfect for anyone wanting a quick and challenging experience.

Hohokum (PS3, PS4, PS Vita)

Hohokum is reminiscent of Journey, Flower, LocoRoco, and many other, smaller, Playstation exclusives. You may be wondering how the heck any of those games are similar, but they share the same simplistic and artistic lineage.

Hohokum doesn't require much in the way of gameplay or deep thought, but that's the point. It's very simple and very enjoyable. You play as a long worm-like creature that carries people to their destination, be it a wedding or through a cave. It's a relaxing game that suits anyone who enjoyed the aforementioned titles.

The Unfinished Swan (PS3, PS4, PS Vita)

The Unfinished Swan is a very special game. This is probably the first indie game I ever played that really caught me. I downloaded the demo for The Unfinished Swan and immediately bought the game after the demo finished. I highly recommend it to everyone.

You play as a young boy who has lost his mother and follows a swan that escapes from its painting. The swan leads you to a completely white room, and that's where the game starts. The only gameplay mechanic is to throw paint, which guides your way through worlds in order to find your mother. It's a simple, elegant game that completely hooked me. The Unfinished Swan is beautiful and unique, and 100% worth checking out.

Murasaki Baby (PS Vita)

Murasaki Baby is a really weird, Tim Burton-esque game that is great on the Vita. Similar to The Unfinished Swan, Murasaki Baby has you playing as a child, looking for your mother. The difference? Murasaki Baby is creepy as hell.

In Murasaki Baby you guide Baby through different levels, literally holding her hand, and help her avoid all the evil in the world. You, as the omnipotent finger, can change the background to affect the elements and progress. The gameplay is very simple but effective and the art-style is wonderful. The story is nice and it's a bite-sized experience that fits the device it's on.

If you own a Vita and want a game that utilizes its forgotten features (i.e touch screens and motion control) Murasaki Baby is for you.


May was a really great month for PS Plus. The Instant Games Collection offers 6 unique games this month, 3 of which are cross-buy. Every game on this list is worth checking out and offers something different. Sure there might not be any AAA titles, but there's definitely something here for everyone.

Total Cost of this Month's Games: $89/£57

IndieCade 2014: News, Trends, & Titles Fri, 19 Sep 2014 18:00:57 -0400 Auverin Morrow

IndieCade, the largest independent game festival in the US, is gearing up for its fifth year. October 9-12, industry figures and general consumers alike will gather in Culver City, CA to attend professional conferences, business networking and social events, tournaments, and meet-and-greets with game creators. Most importantly, they'll get the opportunity to test play more than 150 games, spanning all genres and platforms. (This even includes tabletops and LARPing games.)

This year, IndieCade boasts 151 independent titles. Of these games, there are 35 official nominees that were previously selected as the best and most exciting titles of the year. Let's take a look at the prevalent trends among the competitors, along with some notable games to look out for. 

Nominee Trends

1. Puzzle Games

Just under half of this year's nominees have incorporated puzzles into their games. These puzzles come in all forms, from mini-puzzles that unlock new areas to complex puzzle that help further the storyline.

In Fract OSC, for example, the player must solve musical puzzles in order to rebuild machines. But Ice-Bound requires the player to piece together fragments scattered throughout the game in order to create or reveal the storyline. 

Fract OSC boasts graphics as stunning as its music.

2. Multiplayer Games/Features

Like puzzle games, multiplayer games (and games with multiplayer options) are dominating the nominee pool this year. This includes cooperative (team) and competitive (PvP) formats. From MMOs and MOBAs to multiplayer mobile, handheld, and tabletop titles, gaming seems to be becoming an increasingly more social activity. The sheer number of multiplayer titles both in the nominee arena and the general pool reflect a high demand for games that offer social features.

These features, however, are taking really unique forms in this year's competitors. Choice Chamber, a dungeon crawler, allows multiple players to give constant feedback (via a chat fuction) that changes how the game plays out. It was designed specifically to be played live on a stream service like Twitch, so that all participants can choose to either help the main player along, or create a challenge to slow them down. 

Another interesting take on the multiplayer function comes from Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. In this virtual reality game, one player straps on an Oculus headset to find him/herself trapped alone in a room with a bomb. Other players in the real world have instructions to diffuse the bomb, but are unable to see it. All players have to cooperate in order to neutralize the threat. 

Choice Chamber takes live-stream audience interaction to a whole new level.

3. Choice/Exploration/Narrative

Several of this year's nominees opted for adventure games over action ones. With the advent of titles like The Walking Dead, which focus heavily on storytelling, it's no suprise that we're seeing a considerable number of games that mimic this style: lots of story, choice, and exploration with few to no combat/action sequences. 

Example: Ether One.

In this title, you assume the role of someone who struggles with dementia. You must rebuild your memories by exploring the world around you and solving puzzles. There are no enemies to fight. No missions. No levels. Only the search for answers and the story that unfolds. The game even offers a second mode that removes all the puzzles, making it a full-fledged exploration experience. 

Some games, like first-person explorer Private Eye, are using the Oculus Rift's virtual technology to further immerse the player in an exploratory, interactive, story-driven experience. 

4. Intellectual/Philosophical Games

With the wild success of games like The Stanley Parable, we've seen an influx of games that make you ponder ideas or simulate relationships, storylines, etc. for the purpose of intellectual observation. 

Coffee: A Misunderstanding is a short, interactive role-playing experience meant to simulate the awkwardness of online friendships when they're moved into a real social context. 

On the opposite end of the "thinky-game" spectrum is How Do You Do It?, where players step into the mind of an 11-year-old girl who attempts to understand the mechanics of sex with the help of her two plastic dolls. The game is meant to be a simulation of how one of the developers actually explored sexuality as a child.

Guided by their phones, audience volunteers act out Coffee: A Misunderstanding

5. Virtual Reality & Experiential Games

The final notable trend among competitors this year is use of both virtual reality technology and real-life installments/exhibits to create a holistic player experience. Developers are pushing to immerse players as much as possible in their games in order to get the most out of them. Sometimes, this is just to enhance the playing experience. Other times, it can actually give players a new understanding of certain issues/environments, as well as challenge them to act in ways they normally wouldn't. 

Several of the virtual experience nominees went with the latter goal - like Soulfill, the "mobile-assisted live action role-playing game" that uses audio/touch gestures and text instructions to encourage the user to make eye contact with strangers on public transportation. 

Use of Force went for a similar immersion experience, but as a virtual reality documentary. Using virtual reality goggles and a full-body motion tracking system, players are transformed into eyewitnesses of police brutality committed by the US border patrol in a recreation of real events. 

Use of Force allows players to witness a recreation of actual events. 

General Submissions - Trends & Notable Titles

Trends in this pool overlapped with those in the nominee category. Lots of multiplayer and competitive games, as well as interactive experiences. However, the general pool had a surprising number of LARP submissions (about 1 in 10), as well as several lighthearted comedy games. 

Games to Look Out For:
  • Anamnesisa first-person explorer. The player is a FEMA agent visiting a temporary shelter to learn why some of the tenants have lost contact. The Oculus Rift serves as a second display that players may use to examine objects in the world. In the game, the specially designed goggles allow you to see the "psychological imprints" left by the tenants. Using them, you explore multiple narratives in the process of your investigation. 
  • Elegy for a Dead Worldanother explorer. You are a poet who must write about three different worlds, each inspired by a British romantic poet (Shelley, Keats, and Byron). Then you share your experiences with the universe. Other players read what you write and assess it. The more the real world appreciates your writing, the brighter the stars will shine in the sky above your homeworld. 
  • Hyper Light Driftera multi-platform 2D action RPG. This title uses 8-and 16-bit graphic schemes, but with a much larger world and more modern mechanics. You are charged with exploring a vast, ruined world that holds both lost technology and unfathomable danger. 
  • Sundera 2D co-op platformer. Players wear color-filtering glasses, so they can each look at the same screen, but see a different world. Players must cooperate and communicate verbally to solve puzzles and tear down enemies. 

In Sunder, color-filtering glasses make this distorted image look like two distinct worlds. 

Don't miss out on the festivities!

If you're in the Culver City area or are willing to travel, tickets to IndieCade are on sale now. Although you'll be too late to get the earlybird deals, you can still snag a pass at standard rates or student rates (if you qualify). All-Access passes start at just $495, while festival-only passes run $30-40 per day, or $90 for all weekend. 

If you can't be there in person, you can stay updated on all the happenings via the official IndieCade Twitter and Facebook pages. 

What IndieCade titles are you excited for? Tell us in the comments!

EGX Rezzed: A Retrospective Look Thu, 10 Apr 2014 16:30:59 -0400 Proto Foe

Alien: Isolation. Flockers. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Ether One are my highlights of EGX Rezzed 2014. I hope you enjoy my professional quality video recording, image capture and friends. Oh, there is also a chicken-man.

EGX Rezzed is to the UK gaming scene what college football (the American kind) is to the Superbowl, it's a chance to see future big players! From Indies to first showings of new game titles from both the new and old guard.

Sadly, I never made it past the top of the stairs.

Studios like Creative Assembly, White Paper Games, Dennaton Games, and Team 17 were at the event, each one bringing a different approach to engagement, from Oculus Rift gameplay with White Paper Games to the Chicken-man with Dennaton Games!

Ruling The Roost

Chicken-man was clucking around at the over 18 area for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number where he bumped in to Avaena of Auroch Digital.  I will raise my hands and say it; I never played the first Hotline Miami. It evaded me, I have since corrected that injustice.

The brief time I spent with Hotline Miami 2, on both the PlayStation Vita, and PC, was fun, deadly and ridiculously bloody! It started by booting down a door, which knocked out one guy. I then mounted his face and proceeded to punch him until he was dead, stole his weapon and then went to work on his Guns Anonymous brothers for falling in with a bad crowd. Sadly, I never made it past the top of the stairs.

Dennaton GamesHotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is due out quarter 3 2014 for PS3, PS4, PlayStation Vita and PC, OSX and Linux.

Meet The Flockers

Team 17 were out in force. They took up arguably the most space behind Sega's Alien: Isolation and the massive arena. Sadly, I never got any hands on time with Flockers. I did however get some professional quality recording of the Lemmings inspired gameplay.

Leg shaking fear. Sweaty palms. T-shirt sticking to the lower of your back. Looking around to make sure no-one from Sega is going to jump at you. That was only the first level!

Team 17's Flockers is due out for early access on Steam in quarter two of 2014.

Ether Can Be Only One

I had wanted to try Oculus Rift out for quite sometime, the notion of being transported in to a world via virtual reality had been a secret dream of mine since the watching the VR Troopers as a kid. I now had my chance to take a three-minute jump down the rabbit hole.

Ether One is already out on Steam. Go buy it. Go buy it now.

I had not really heard much about either White Paper Games or their new release Either One. I slapped myself on the wrist right after spending my three minutes inside the beautifully crafted game. This was a game I had to know more of, I needed to know who I was and what events were happening in this world. A few days later I got to play the full game.... 

Ether One is already out on Steam. Go buy it. Go buy it now.

It Is Not Colonial Marines.

Leg shaking fear. Sweaty palms. T-shirt sticking to the lower of your back. Looking around to make sure no-one from Sega is going to jump at you. That was only the first level!

That is all I can say about Alien: Isolation. I got to play a behind-closed-doors session at EGX Rezzed, no pictures or video could not be captured. Stay on the look-out for my first hand experience article.

 What title are you most looking forward to in 2014?

Prepare, Ether One is Coming Thu, 02 May 2013 19:46:14 -0400 MirandaCB

I had discovered a genre I didn't know I loved when I played Amnesia: The Dark Descent. I'm in love with horror games, but what I enjoyed about Amnesia was the story progression and the series of puzzles leading to each key event. I think I found a game that will satisfy anyone's cravings for story immersion.

Ether One, an upcoming game from White Paper Games, is a first-person puzzle game set to be released for PC and Mac in early 2013—so pretty soon! Currently, Ether One is currently making its way through Steam Greenlight and White Paper Games, a studio of just seven game designers, is attempting to show it at E3. 

In Ether One, science takes an interesting neurological turn. You are a telepathic individual known as a Restorer and you're without a past. As a Restorer, you enter the minds of the mentally ill to repair their minds and memories. The story develops as you discover information about your own unknown past and memories through your work with others' psyches. You'll spend a lot of time in western Britain in the 1950s as well as other interesting 20th century periods. You'll also experience the restorations you're performing within patients' minds in the shifting environments and as you trigger changes through different puzzle artifacts and readings. 

Wait, there's more...

Have you heard of the Oculus Rift? If yes, you're on the ball; if not, find out more here. Because the Oculus Rift supports the UDK system White Paper Games is using, Ether One is also supported. Via the Rift, players will feel submerged in the metamorphosing environments and become part of the story. I'm so thrilled about the possibilities of the Oculus Rift combined with this first-person story-focused genre. 

Much of the information provided in the trailer and in developer interviews is relatively vague, which is brilliant. You have the general gist of what the game is about and how it's structured, but the goal is utterly ambiguous. Really, the game itself is a gamble--but that's the most exhilarating part of the genre! Once you dive into a quality game like that, you end up thoroughly satisfied and enveloped by what you've engaged with.  To be honest, I suspect that Ether One will be one such experience.

Overall, this is a game to look out for in the coming months. If you take a gander at the trailer and screenshots, the art and design quality is topnotch. This small group of developers has an exciting vision and psychological story waiting to be unleashed. 

If you want to see this game released on Steam, vote and comment here! If you want to help them get to E3 to show off Ether One, vote here!

Find out more updates as well as the inner workings of an indie studio at their Tumblr page here.