Poi Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Poi RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Coolest Things That Happened in 2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/t6lco/coolest-things-that-happened-in-2017 https://www.gameskinny.com/t6lco/coolest-things-that-happened-in-2017 Wed, 27 Dec 2017 14:37:18 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

[{"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/c/o/o/cool-things-bfb36.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/c/o/o/cool-things-bfb36.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176235","description":"

SpecialEffect

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You might not have heard about SpecialEffect, a charity focused on providing ways for disabled people to enjoy video games as if they had no impediments. It's been around for ten years, yet as Christopher Dring of GamesIndustry.biz discusses, 2017 was SpecialEffect's best year so far.

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In addition to being in contact with more people than ever before about how the charity can help, this year's One Special Day fundraiser was the biggest on record. One Special Day is where developers and companies, including Sega, pledge to donate the full day's revenue to SpecialEffect, and many of this year's partners have already signed up for next year's event as well. It's a good reminder that aside from the competition, profits, and backlogs, video games are really about making people happy. And that, in this writer's opinion, is probably the coolest thing of all for this year.

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2017 certainly wasn't short on major developments, events, and game releases. Naturally, we've only touched on a few of them here, so feel free to chime in with your coolest things from this year down in the comments!

"},{"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/c/o/o/cool-things-9ef5f.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/c/o/o/cool-things-9ef5f.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"176255","description":"

Back from the Beyond

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It's not only 3D platformers that experienced a long-awaited resurgence, though. Sonic Mania marks the first well-received and well-constructed outing for Sonic in a long time -- too long, many fans would say. It manages to capture what made Sonic so popular back in the '90s without feeling stale, and one can only hope that it is a sign of things to come (especially if we forget about Sonic Forces).

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But there's more! Capcom's recent Mega Man 11 reveal was meant to show that the company is still dedicated to its rock-solid IP, intending to give the series a true resurrection, and not a halfhearted Mighty No. 9 attempt at it.

"},{"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/c/o/o/cool-things-28129.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/c/o/o/cool-things-28129.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176234","description":"

The Resurrection of 3D Platformers

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After Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, lighthearted, charming 3D platformers essentially fell off the face of the Earth, replaced by the gritty realism and edginess inspired by Grand Theft Auto. But that changed this year. The excellent, though initially-not-well-received, Yooka-Laylee saw the rebirth of classic collect-a-thon, 3D platform gaming, but that was just the start of things to come. There were a number of others this year, some not quite so notable (*cough* Ginger *cough cough*) but many that were, including Poi. Oh, and there was that Super Mario Odyssey thing that a few people talked about when it first came out. If you count that as big.

"},{"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/c/o/o/cool-things-ab2ea.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/c/o/o/cool-things-ab2ea.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"176233","description":"

E3 2017

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This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo was the first to finally be open to the general public -- if one was lucky enough to get in. Apart from being a good means of marketing and generating profit, opening E3 to the public is a recognition of the fact that gaming is much more mainstream than it has been in ages past.

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And this year's expo was certainly one worth attending. For the first time in far too long, there was actual competition between the so-called Big Three, each of which showed off some fine titles and made us realize just how good it is to be gamers.

"},{"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/c/o/o/cool-things-ea18f.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/c/o/o/cool-things-ea18f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176232","description":"

The Loot Box Controversy

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Loot boxes themselves aren't cool, even though they have the potential to be. Many see them as representing everything wrong with the gaming industry. That's why this year's developments are especially noteworthy. On the political side of things, the EU and UK Parliament actually conducted separate investigations into whether the boxes constitute gambling, accompanied by a slew of complaints from gamers and parents pushing for greater regulation.

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Then there was the EA incident, where fan protests influenced the developer's decision to alter its plans, changing the Battlefront II situation into something slightly more palatable. Sure, the fact that it's a Star Wars game and thus has a huge fan base probably helped, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

"},{"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/c/o/o/cool-things-d3ac1.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/c/o/o/cool-things-d3ac1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176231","description":"

The Game Awards 2017

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"What's so special about an award ceremony held every year?" you might be asking. This year was pretty extraordinary, though: Nintendo won Game of the Year for the first time. Of course, Nintendo fans will find that more interesting and exciting than anyone else. But, Horizon: Zero Dawn fans (and others) should still dry their eyes and clean their hankies.

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Even though Sony and Microsoft execs have been quoted as saying Nintendo invigorates the market so much that it's almost become trite, there's truth in those words. Nintendo won with a complete reimagining of one of its foundational franchises. Even if you aren't a Nintendo fan yourself, it still shows that the gaming industry is alive and thriving, unpredictable and dynamic. And that's something to be excited about.

"},{"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/c/o/o/cool-things-28283.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/c/o/o/cool-things-28283.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176230","description":"

Xbox One X

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Nintendo wasn't alone in putting out a new console this year, and even though Microsoft's latest box isn't necessarily brand-new, it promises quite a bit of innovation. It's the most powerful system available and the only one that can deliver a true 4K experience.

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Granted, some believe you'd have to have a TV the size of your living room wall to really experience the difference between 4K and HD, but that's not the point. What matters for most is that it's a brand-new step that can only drive the industry forward in terms of visuals and technology in general, offering a different vision from Nintendo as far as what gaming can and should be.

"},{"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/p/u/b/pubg-header-719e6.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/p/u/b/pubg-header-719e6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176228","description":"

PUBG

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Despite not being the first of its kind, Brendan Greene's runaway hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (popularly known as PUBG) certainly set the standard for battle royale-style gaming and popular games in general.

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A couple of things in particular stand out about PUBG's success, one of them being the fact that the game wasn't even officially released before it started taking the world by storm. The other would have to be Greene's story itself, a modern-day rags-to-riches story that saw a father struggling to make ends meet suddenly become one of the best-known figures in the gaming industry.

"},{"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/n/s/w/nsw-87b82.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/n/s/w/nsw-87b82.jpg","type":"slide","id":"176227","description":"

Nintendo Switch

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Of course, it'd be impossible to talk about 2017 without mentioning the launch and success of Nintendo's latest system. Not only does it combine console with handheld, but it actually manages to do a good job of it too, boasting an impressive first-year library of games to boot (and it's not even the end of its first year yet).

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However, it isn't just the system itself that should catch your attention. It's the fact that Nintendo managed to turn around four years of failure, learning from its many mistakes with the Wii U and re-entering the industry with a bang, demonstrating how important the relationship between a company and its consumers is. Not that there aren't still issues in that particular area, but it's a mighty fine start nonetheless.

"},{"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/c/o/o/cool-things-header-68263.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/c/o/o/cool-things-header-68263.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"176265","description":"

2017 was a fantastic year for gamers. There are the obvious things, like Nintendo's massive success with the Switch and the rebirth of several franchises and genres, and then some not so obvious, including the success of a charity dedicated to helping disabled people. From Microsoft's most powerful console ever to the loot box controversy and everything in between, it's been a year full of companies and organizations actually responding to consumer desires, sometimes effectively -- as with Nintendo -- and sometimes not so much (that one's directed at you, EA). But in the end, amid the controversies and kerfuffle, it's really all about having fun. So with that in mind, here are our top picks for this year's coolest events, in no particular order.

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14 Best Free Themes for PS4 https://www.gameskinny.com/qqxl9/14-best-free-themes-for-ps4 https://www.gameskinny.com/qqxl9/14-best-free-themes-for-ps4 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:15:49 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

[{"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/d/a/r/dark-souls-iii-lands-e310b.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/d/a/r/dark-souls-iii-lands-e310b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170905","description":"

Dark Souls III: Transitory Lands

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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Here's on for the Dark Souls fan! Saying this theme is dynamic carries a double meaning, as it's probably the most dynamic of the lot. It features your hero walking across what looks like old linen (or maybe parchment). He comes across various environments as he progresses, all of which look like old engraved images, and their deep blackness throws their intricate details into sharp relief against the rest of the scenery. They vary, too, so it's almost entertainment in itself.

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When it comes to PS4 themes, it's definitely not true that you get what you pay for. There is a wide variety of free themes just waiting to find their new home on your console, whether you're a fan of RPGs, platformers, sci-fi, or fantasy.

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Let us know in the comments which ones you plan on downloading or which ones you'd like to see added to this list!

"},{"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/i/t/witcher-37a37.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/i/t/witcher-37a37.jpg","type":"slide","id":"171050","description":"

The Witcher 3: Geralt and Ciri

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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How is it possible to capture the essence of an entire trilogy and its themes in just one image? Like this. The Ciri and Geralt theme from The Witcher 3 manages to convey the folklore and high-fantasy elements of the entire series through two of the game's most important characters. This particular image from the theme emphasizes Ciri's determination and independence, which, in turn, helps make the game itself stand out. That determination is yours to shape through your in-game choices, an ambitious undertaking on the developer's part that works oh-so-well in action.

"},{"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/v/a/n/van-helsing-e043b.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/v/a/n/van-helsing-e043b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170876","description":"

Van Helsing

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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This Van Helsing theme's not just for fans of vampire lore. The game itself combined a wide variety of concepts in an ambitious attempt to merge folklore with science -- adding a touch of RPG goodness to round it all out. The theme conveys those concepts very well.

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Apart from the titular hero, you've got a rather bizarre, alien-looking creature and a sinister robot, while giant clockwork dominates the background. The parchment-themed icons add a nice touch too. It's another one that's especially suitable for a Halloween theme, but fans of what goes bump in the night and Diablo-style RPGs can enjoy it year-round.

"},{"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/p/o/i/poi-e2c83.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/p/o/i/poi-e2c83.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"170909","description":"

Poi

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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Here's another one for explorers to check out. The Poi dynamic theme brings with it the bright colors and cheerful cartoon aesthetic of the game itself. Each screen depicts one of the principal characters in a characteristic pose, set against a bright backdrop. It's an excellent way to page homage not just to the game itself, but to the genre it represents, one that -- for many -- formed an important part of our early gaming years. If you're in need of a break from the grittier side of gaming, or just want to be reminded of your platforming days of yesteryear, you could do far worse than this.

"},{"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/r/i/m/rime-9c2f2.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/r/i/m/rime-9c2f2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170875","description":"

RiME

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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That's not all on offer from Grey Box, though. The RiME dynamic theme comes close to one-upping its predecessor. It focuses on the beach from the game's opening scenes, but that's not all. You'll hear the sounds of the waves and gulls, along with being greeted by your ever-present, friendly fox guide. It does a fine job of transferring the game's sense of wonder and the urge to explore into just one scene, and you may be hard-pressed to actually navigate away from it to choose a game.

"},{"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/d/r/e/dreadnought-639ac.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/d/r/e/dreadnought-639ac.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170873","description":"

Dreadnought: Sinley Bay

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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Here's another theme to satisfy the sci-fi lover in you -- Sinley Bay from the tactical space game Dreadnought. This, too, is a dynamic theme.

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Stare into the endless depths of space, and as you scroll through your menu options, you'll see ships cruising slowly by. Combined with the subtle space tones in the background, it really creates an atmosphere equal parts wonder and isolation. That feeling will resonate particularly well with fans of the game since Sinley Bay is where the war-weary renegades train their future leaders to ensure the solar system's freedom -- not a bad little motivator to get you started with whatever game you choose.

"},{"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/s/t/a/star-wars-5564c.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/s/t/a/star-wars-5564c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170870","description":"

Star Wars Battlefront: Leia Organa

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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And one more Star Wars theme. We know it doesn't look like the "real" Leia Organa, but there's still quite a bit to love about this zooming dynamic theme. It forgoes the flashiness of the Jakku theme in favor of a toned-down approach that lets Leia's determination shine through. Plus, it hearkens back to one of the most memorable moments in the original Star Wars films, with the Imperial siege on Hoth.

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"},{"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/j/a/k/jakku-77e05.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/j/a/k/jakku-77e05.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170845","description":"

Star Wars Battlefront: Battle of Jakku

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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Here's another one that's sure to please fantasy fans. It draws on the exclusive Battlefront packaging that explores the important lore behind The Force Awakens, connecting the original and new trilogies. Despite its connection to the latest films, it's got something for everyone to enjoy, from TIE Fighters and X-Wings for those faithful to the originals, to the raw fan appeal of such an awesome conflict between Empire and Republic that never could have happened in the first three films. (And, by far the best for some, there's nothing to connect it to the prequel trilogy).

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"},{"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/o/b/hobbit-ee96e.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/o/b/hobbit-ee96e.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170844","description":"

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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Tolkien fans rejoice! The Hobbit still has a free theme on the PlayStation store. And it's a darn good one, too. Azog the Defiler takes center stage -- well, right-center if you want to be technical - -in the depiction of the slow, tense build to the film's climactic final battle. However, in the background, you're also treated to the sight of Esgaroth on fire, with Smaugh above. Sure, it's not the happiest of scenes -- but it looks amazing.

"},{"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/f/f/x/ffxiv-a2be2.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/f/f/x/ffxiv-a2be2.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170843","description":"

Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensword

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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This Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensword theme offers up a more traditional look in more ways than one. As you can see, it focuses on a dragoon, which, apart from being an important class in FFXIV in general, is one of the series' oldest and most well-known character classes -- thanks in part to FFIV's Kain. More importantly, though, it gives you the chance to admire Akihiko Yoshida's fantastic artwork close up, bridging the gap between the olden days of Final Fantasy and the modern.

"},{"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/y/o/k/yokaime-d5f37.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/y/o/k/yokaime-d5f37.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170957","description":"

Nioh Yokai Theme

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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This Nioh theme might just essentially be the game's boxart plus a monster. But it's pretty good art, nonetheless. That's because it manages to give you a distinct impression of what the game's all about. The gear and coloration leave no doubt as to combat's central role in the game -- if you had doubts, given that it's a Koei game -- and the otherworldly glaze of Nioh's eyes suggesting that something out of the ordinary will play a significant role in plot and characterization. It provides a bit of intensity for your background and proves the old saying that simple is often best.

"},{"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/e/v/e/everybodys-golf-99d31.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/e/v/e/everybodys-golf-99d31.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170841","description":"

Everybody's Golf

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Download this theme on the PlayStation Store

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If you're looking for something a bit brighter, consider checking out this cheerful Everybody's Golf dynamic theme. It changes scenes depending on which menu you are working with at the time, from the primary one you see here -- complete with golf ball being driven right at you -- to a more urban scene, and a desert course as well. It's a good way to show off the game's cheerful colors and quirky characters juxtaposed in the realistic looking courses. Plus, it's just fun in general.

"},{"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/r/o/s/rose-twilight-ps4theme-44a40.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/r/o/s/rose-twilight-ps4theme-44a40.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170840","description":"

A Rose in the Twilight

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Find this theme on the PlayStation Store

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This free PS4 theme might be static, but that doesn't keep it from being wonderful to look at. It perfectly captures A Rose in the Twilight's unique art style - -which is more than enough to recommend it. However, it also manages to convey the game's key themes as well, from the main character's general vulnerability and her giant companion's impressive strength to the narrative importance of the color red streaking through the mysterious castle. It's fitting for a Halloween theme, but definitely worthwhile year round.

"},{"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/d/i/s/dishonored-08b94.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/d/i/s/dishonored-08b94.jpg","type":"slide","id":"170839","description":"

Dishonored 2: Karnaca

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Find this theme on the PlayStation Store

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This free dynamic PS4 theme showcases the natural beauty of Dishonored 2's main setting. It's not the view you normally see while playing, but it is one of the most iconic views of the game, nonetheless. Eschewing the touristy glitz of the main city, this theme focuses on the gently flowing water and the slowly turning windmills instead. It's a nice break from the intense action of the game itself, but the muted tones go far in setting a nice aura for whatever game you're about to play.

"},{"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/1/5/e/15e99e516c74ad69e24a1ba73dce0a98da7f66ab-1003531-ef264.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/1/5/e/15e99e516c74ad69e24a1ba73dce0a98da7f66ab-1003531-ef264.jpg","type":"slide","id":"171089","description":"

Alongside its vast software library, the PlayStation 4 offers a huge variety of themes for you to choose from. But say you don't really want to shell out for a new theme after buying some of the games from that library. Never fear! We've put together a list of the 14 best free PS4 themes to help you out of just such a dilemma. They do a fair job of representing that variety too, from platformers and

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They do a fair job of representing the variety the platform has to offer, from platformers and exploration games to RPGs, sports, and otherworldly combat. You're sure to find something you like over the next several slides, so read on to discover your next favorite backdrop for your favorite console.

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How Indie Devs Are Filling the Platforming Void https://www.gameskinny.com/eeg5b/how-indie-devs-are-filling-the-platforming-void https://www.gameskinny.com/eeg5b/how-indie-devs-are-filling-the-platforming-void Sun, 16 Apr 2017 14:37:06 -0400 Dan Roemer

The platforming genre -- outside of Nintendo's offerings -- has fallen from the mainstream as of late, but thankfully we have indie developers filling that much needed void. So much so that in recent years we've seen some of the best the genre has to offer thanks to the indie scene. Today I'll be breaking down my favorite sub-genres of platformers and what indie games within these genres truly stand out and that you should check out!

Puzzle Platformers

Braid

 

The puzzle platforming genre is more alive than ever thanks to the indie-scene, with incredible games such as Jonathan Blow's Braid released back in 2008, originally for the Xbox360. From its time manipulation mechanic based puzzles and platforming, to the odd obscure story and the many different unique worlds with their own time manipulation rules, Braid is one of the best puzzle platformers of all time.

And really, it's a beautiful example of how indie developers are taking old tricks and making them new -- keeping the platforming genre alive, well, and diversified. 

Inside

 

2016's INSIDE, from developer Playdead, has an incredibly haunting atmosphere. This game is a testament to what a platformer can achieve in terms of horror, puzzle solving, and environmental storytelling. It's not hard to see why puzzle platformers are alive and well thanks to indie developers like Playdead. Garnering an overwhelmingly positive rating on Steam, INSIDE is also on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Hardcore, Challenging Platformers

Indies have also given us platformers that will simply kick your ass and possibly make you destroy a controller or two. Harkening back to the days of the arcade quarter munchers, you will absolutely die in these games, but you'll still keep coming back for more punishment because of their addictive nature.

Super Meat Boy

Super Meat Boy, from developer Team Meat, is without a doubt one of the most challenging platformers out there. Whenever you die (which will be a lot), you'll know it's purely your fault. Why? Because the controls are dead-on precise, making every move you make not only intuitive but highly reactive. Stack over 300 levels on top of that, and you'll end up dying a hell of a lot and keep coming back for more.

N++

 

If you thought 300 levels was insane, N++ from developer Metanet Software features well over 2000 levels.

The N series started off as a flash game released back in 2005, which you can play and download here for free. I remember sinking countless hours into it in the public library of my high school during lunch hours and talking with my friends about how far we could get in each episode. 

I'm proud to say N++ was one of the games I was excited for when I originally bought my PlayStation 4; it's also available on PC now as well. With the endless levels, competitive local multiplayer, local co-op, and a level creator with an active community. N++ is the accumulation of over 11 years of work for developer Metanet Software, and it clearly shows.

Pure 2D Platformers

By “pure” I mean basic in design, or games that take inspiration from titles that made the genre what it is today. Games such as Mario, Sonic, Mega-Man, Donkey Kong, etc., would fit into this category. Once again the indie scene has absolutely given us games that take us back to the platforming roots of the 80s and 90s.

Freedom Planet

 

Prior to the upcoming release of Sonic Mania, it almost seemed like we'd never get a tried and true return to form to the original 2D Sonic games of the early 1990s. Some could say we did get Sonic the Hedgehog 4 -- but I'd say that was more of a dumpster fire than an actual return to form.

But the indie developer GalaxyTrail filled that void for many with Freedom Planet.

Successfully Kickstarted and released in 2014 for PC and just last month for the PlayStation 4 in North America, Freedom Planet contains the loops, speed, and boss fights you'll remember from the original Sonic games and the high octane of platformers of years past. The name itself is inspired by the 90s Sonic OVA movie in which the main setting was called “Planet Freedom."

In fact, the game itself started off as just another Sonic fan game, but the developers wanted to give the game its identity; which is exactly what they achieved.

Shovel Knight

 

From developer Yacht Club Games comes Shovel Knight -- probably one of the most iconic indie platformers of all time. It has been released on just about everything, from the Nintendo Switch to the PC. And chances are that if you have a console made after 2005, you can play Shovel Knight on it, which you should. 

Shovel Knight takes modern design cues from the Dark Souls series while taking heavy inspiration from Mega-Man and Castlevania. With an incredible soundtrack, challenging but not unfair level design, a unique life sytem, bright, vibrant retro stylized visuals, and free DLC that expands the game even further, Shovel Knight is an indie platformer that needs to be played by everyone who wants to experience what 1980s platformers were like in their heyday.

3D Platformers

Unless it's Mario, Sonic, or Ratchet and Clank, the heyday of 3D AAA platformers seems to have come and gone (unless you're Snake Pass!). However, the indie scene is also just now budding with potential for quality 3D platformers. And although I still feel we haven't fully reached the heights of what the other sub-genres have accomplished, there are still some great games out there. 

Yooka-Laylee

 

Developer Playtonic Games successfully kickstarted and released Yooka-Laylee only a couple of days ago, with the Switch version right around the corner. Despite the mixed reviews it's been receiving -- and not being exactly indie -- I think it's an important step in the direction of filling the void for 3D platformers from the indie-scene and shows what a non-AAA company can do within the platforming genre. 

Playtonic Games, for those who don't know, is made up of former RARE employees, and Yooka-Laylee itself is a throwback to the 3D collect-a-thon' platformers of old -- especially in terms of design. Running on the Unity engine and featuring a soundtrack from none other than Grant Kirkhope, I think it's a game that Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie fans are really going to appreciate.

Poi

 

Coming from developer Polykid and released on Steam earlier this year, Poi is another game that hearkens back to the N64 era of 3D platformers. But more specifically, it is heavily inspired by 3D Mario games in terms of design, including more recent games like Super Mario Galaxy.

In Poi you collect medallions that act the same way the stars do in the 3D Mario titles. It's a bit lacking in polish overall, but if you're a fan of 3D Mario games and need something to fill the void until Super Mario Odyssey this December -- then I can't recommend it enough.

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So as you can see, if you're a platforming nut and looking new, innovative platformers to sink your teeth into, the indie scene is ripe with casual and hardcore offerings to satisfy your every need. 

From 2D platformers to 3D platformers, indie devs are easily filling the platforming void left by AAA developers. 

But what do you guys think, what are some of your favorite indie platformers? Let us know the comments below and for everything platforming and indie related, stay tuned to GameSkinny!

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It's So Early in 2017 But We've Already Gotten These Great Platformers https://www.gameskinny.com/w7clk/its-so-early-in-2017-but-weve-already-gotten-these-great-platformers https://www.gameskinny.com/w7clk/its-so-early-in-2017-but-weve-already-gotten-these-great-platformers Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 GeorgieBoysAXE

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There are so many other titles I could’ve listed, but if I did that then this list would go on surprisingly longer than you’d think. Some of these games might not do it for all of you, and some of you might even think that the genre is better left behind in our memories, but you can’t deny the importance of what this could mean for the upcoming landscape of games -- especially as this nostalgic trend continues to catch footing the way it has so far.

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I for one hope to see a 3D platformer that can reinvent the genre the way games like Braid, Chariot, and Shovel Knight have for Side-Scrolling affairs.

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Yooka-Laylee

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I’m just going to come out and say it now: I think you should play ALL of the games on this list, but if you’re really strapped for time, cash, or both, and can only play one of them, then please for the love of Jiggies, make it Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee.

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Never before has there been such a delicate artisanship to a love letter quite like this Modern take on the classic formula, as you take control of animal duo as they set off on a quest for mysterious pagies that hold an answer more valuable than the gold that they happen to be printed on.

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Every analog and contrast that you can make between the two is in full effect, as you travel through 5 giant worlds that can be expanded into bigger stages with the more you collect, giving you access to new moves and abilities so that you can repeat the process again, and again. The presentation spares no expense either as it delivers some of the best fourth-wall breaking commentary towards the video game industry and game culture it panders to with writing that hasn’t been this cheeky or clever since Banjo-Kazooie itself.

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Yooka-Laylee takes every single concept that was celebrated by the classic Banjo games, and amplifies them tenfold, it truly is the new-age Banjo-Kazooie, and is easily the genre finest return to form that I’ve seen so far for the genre as a whole.

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/l/a/platfomrer-listicle-12f40.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/l/a/platfomrer-listicle-12f40.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155220","description":"

Crash Bandicoot: The N. Sane Trilogy

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The wacky jorts-wearing Marsupial is scheduled to make his glorious return with an HD remaster of the games that made him the famous character that he is today, and a part can’t help but get really excited over what’s included in this package.

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It’s strange because as much as we would all like to think that this is a remake of the original Crash Bandicoot games, it’s more like a reboot considering that Activision has none of the original assets to the series, and had to rebuild every detail of the initial games by scratch.

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As such, Activision will have their work cut out for them with the N. Sane Trilogy as they’ll be improving upon a lot of the quirks in the first and second one that didn’t quite age so well, including new checkpoints and time trial modes across all three games. The bundle will not only be remastered for High Definition visuals, but will also be optimized for 4K support as well, and contain remastered compositions of the original audio and soundtracks.

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Sony’s classic answer to Mario will be back in style come June 30th, and it’s poised to have that huge reunion tour sensation on everyone.

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Super Mario Odyssey

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You know, this list already mentioned big open worlds, and Mario, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the latest game to feature Nintendo’s iconic mascot wouldn’t get name dropped sooner or later.

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There isn’t a whole to add here though, other than that we know that this Mario adventure is going to ditch the conventional hub-area from the previous titles, in favor of giving the plumber some free reign to explore a giant open world that’s modeled after real-life locations. From New York to Mexico City, and the South American jungles, the scenery will be unlike anything ever seen in a Mario adventure before, complete with lifelike NPC civilians that will creep the shit out of you on an entirely different level of the uncanny valley.

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Along for the ride is a new hat companion that Mario that grants the hero some new skills, like channeling his inner-Bond villain to throw the hat like a projectile weapon at  enemies, or in some instances, as a makeshift platform that can give Mario that extra umph of distance once bounced off of in the air as well.

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We don’t have a whole lot beyond that, and for all we know, the game might ditch the collectible formula altogether, but until then, it’s a safe bet that this next-gen sequel won’t stray too far away from its platforming roots.

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A Hat In Time

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Sometime before Playtonic came onto KickStarter with their less than conspicuous Love Letter to that one Bear & Bird game that people seem to love, another studio by the name of Gears for Breakfast teased a revival of that brand of gameplay with their own crowd-funding project name A Hat in Time.

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Starring the endearing Hat Kid, A Hat in Time will follow its namesake and have you exploring the different worlds through various points of history in search of Hourglasses to help her fuel her ship after she was attacked by, no joke, the Mafia.

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Did I also forget to mention that her arch nemesis is another lady named Mustached Girl?

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A Hat in Time is reminiscent of the open hub-world formula made famous by the Rare 3D platforming classics, as you’ll hop ‘n bop through 5 huge worlds that are filled with loads of challenges and puzzles to solve. The game is currently in Beta, and the groundwork that Gear For Breakfast has laid down so far is nothing but impressive. The scale and scope to A Hat in Time’s level design is what makes it stand out from its peers as gives you so much to do without ever overwhelming you in the process.

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There’s no word yet on when the final version will be released, but needless to say that this game should be on the radar of anyone who’s looking to get in on the 3D Platformer renaissance.

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Poi

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Super Mario 64 is a game that still lives on in the hearts of many gamers who grew up playing Nintendo 64, as it was a game that had this larger-than-life scale to its world, and abundance of possibility to its three dimensional take on the Mushroom Kingdom. Every 3D platformer that came after it did what it could to adapt its pocket-filling mechanics around their own distinctive themes and gimmicks, but they did everything they could to be different without alluding a lot to the source material that inspired them.

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Polykid’s Poi does the exact opposite of that --  it does everything within its power to openly tribute the mechanics of the Italian Plumber’s first 3D outing.

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In its conceit, Poi definitely nails the colorful backdrops and engaging worlds as it hands you control over two orphan siblings that you can alternate between in a journey to collect shiny Explorer medallions for a kind old man who know more about your journey then he’s letting on. Each world is broken down into segments that center around one specific object to collect the prized collectible much like the 3D Mario titles, significantly changing something about the level each and every time you enter it. Poi does expand upon the foundation it heavily homages though as it gives players the chance to collect coins that they can spend on tools and skills that will come in handy later for the more challenging medallions that require their use in order to be collected.

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Poi is out now on Steam, and is currently enjoying its first sale, I recommend any fan of the genre that doesn’t particular need a heavy reverence towards Rare in their 3D romps to be enjoyed should go check it out.

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2D Side-scrolling games are so commonplace nowadays that it’s getting hard to call them old-school games; when you think about the fact that they’re on nearly every single platform that you can think of, can you really say that they’ve technically aged?

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While the jury is still out on that one, there’s a “new” retro throwback that’s quickly turning out to be a comeback, and that’s the 3D Platformer, a genre built around the idea of treasure hunting and adventure across an assortment of unique locales that make up one giant world to explore. Thanks to KickStarter and nostalgia, 2017 will play host to a number of collectathon romps have you thinking that the days of the Nintendo 64 and original PlayStation never left us; here are some of the few that’re worth looking out for!

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Give Poi a Shot If You Need Your Collectathon Fix NOW https://www.gameskinny.com/pgyww/give-poi-a-shot-if-you-need-your-collectathon-fix-now https://www.gameskinny.com/pgyww/give-poi-a-shot-if-you-need-your-collectathon-fix-now Wed, 15 Feb 2017 08:00:01 -0500 DannyPTP

Back in the 90s and early 2000s, consoles were ripe with 3D platformers, giving gamers a chance to explore environments to their hearts content and challenge themselves to 100% the game, which in some cases, was no easy feat.

Developed by PolyKid, Poi is an indie action-adventure platformer, that takes many cues from games such as Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64, throwing players into bright and colourful worlds, each with their own aesthetics.

The game revolves around two characters on a quest to uncover the mysteries of the Milky Way Globe. Along the way, you'll run into many quirky characters and creatures as you discover many uncharted worlds.

Your main focus in this game will be to collect over 100 'Explorer Medallions' scattered across the lands. While these aren't mandatory to progress, they're fun to collect and some will be guaranteed to have you scratching your head, wondering how exactly to get to that one medallion on a high up ledge.

To help with finding all those medallions, you can utilise a series of abilities, including wall jumps, triple jumps, rolling long jumps and more!

Wait... doesn't that sound familiar? Like plumber familiar? Must be my imagination.

As well as this, you're able to compete in online global leader boards, to see how fast you can beat a stage. Can you make it to the top?

Still unsure on if you should buy the game? Poi has also won awards!

"Game Development World Championship" 3rd Place 2016

"Humble Bundle Monthly" August 2016

Congratulations to PolyKid for these awards!

So what are you waiting for? Poi is available on Steam now!

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Collectathon Platformers Are Back in 2017, Didn't You Know? https://www.gameskinny.com/vbava/collectathon-platformers-are-back-in-2017-didnt-you-know https://www.gameskinny.com/vbava/collectathon-platformers-are-back-in-2017-didnt-you-know Thu, 19 Jan 2017 03:00:01 -0500 Bryant Pereira

After enduring a slumber last generation, collectathon platformers are undergoing a resurgence, and 2017 is looking to be the renaissance.

The announcement of Yooka-Laylee in April, 2015 struck the internet with a sea of nostalgia, surpassing its Kickstarter Goal of £175,000 within 30 minutes.
Two years later, Playtonic Games' new entry is joining titles like A Hat in Time, Poi, and the newly announced Super Mario Odyssey in making 90’s inspired platformers a hit trend once again.

Playtonic Games is a development team primarily consisting of veteran Rare developers. The creative minds that brought classics such as Donkey Kong Country, and the raunchy Conker’s Bad Fur Day, are releasing their spiritual-successor to Banjo Kazooie on April 11th, 2017.

Yooka-Laylee reached all of its Kickstarter stretch-goals, and was the fastest game to reach $1 million on Kickstarter. The game includes a myriad of features like local co-op, a multiplayer versus mode, mine cart sections, and an old-school N64 shader mode. Their page even promises a “GK Rap” by ex-Rare composer Grant Kirkhope.

At it’s core, though, Yooka-Laylee is all about its gameplay, and of course those sweet, sweet collectibles. Throughout the game players will collect Quills, Pagies, and Play Tonics, but these aren’t just a number count on the screen. Each collectible in Yooka-Laylee serves a purpose. Upgrading stats, gaining new abilities, and expanding and adding worlds are Playtonic Games’ way of showing this is an evolution from the days of Donkey Kong 64 -- minus the rap.

Playtonic Games’ campaign is only one example of the interest gamers have in collectathon platformers. Sony revisited the world of Ratchet and Clank last year, and although the movie could have been better, the remake of the original was the fastest selling game in the series. Recognizing that nostalgia prints money, Sony is also working on a Crash Bandicoot trilogy for the PS4. Although games like Knack and Puppeteer didn’t leave much of an impact, the remastered classics are bringing the genre back into players minds.

Yooka-Laylee is not the only title to find success with indie game fans. Poi is a popular early-access Steam game scheduled to release February 1st. The vibrant journey tells the story of a young boy on a quest to become a master explorer, and focuses on exploration and collection. The game already received a number of awards such as the Humble Bundle Monthly.

A Hat in Time launched a Kickstarter campaign in May 2013, doubling its funding goals within the first two days. The game is scheduled for release sometime this year, and a Beta release is available for backers. Players take the role of Hat Kid, a young traveler who collects fuel for her spaceship to travel through time and race against evil. A Hat in Time draws heavily from titles like Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and Psychonauts. However, developer Gears for Breakfast plans to innovate the genre with a new combat system and adding in co-op.

What better way to wrap up the year of collectathon platformers by celebrating with a brand new 3D Mario title.

Super Mario Odyssey isn’t releasing until the end of the year, but Nintendo understands its fans’ desires for a true successor to Super Mario 64. Super Mario Sunshine and Galaxy are both amazing games, but each fall short in either execution or content to really emulate the definitive N64 title that changed gaming. Only a few minutes of Mario’s adventures in New York City have been revealed so far, showing a lush world with unique, explorable environments. These trailers show Nintendo is ready to one-up itself in the genre it popularized.

All of these games illustrate the same message -- it’s time for shooters to step aside and let 3D platformers take the crown back. The N64-era of open-world platforming is ready to take back the hearts of gamers from around the world, and hopefully use them to make more games in the wondrous genre of collectathon platformers.

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Poi Kickstarter failed; no sign of a relaunch https://www.gameskinny.com/y30hi/poi-kickstarter-failed-no-sign-of-a-relaunch https://www.gameskinny.com/y30hi/poi-kickstarter-failed-no-sign-of-a-relaunch Thu, 03 Sep 2015 10:11:36 -0400 Aaliyah Bandy

Poi, the Nintendo-inspired 3D adventure game platformer, has failed to reach its Kickstarter goal of $80,000, only raising $27,236. 

So far, the developers of the game, PolyKid, hasn't said anything about the project's failure on Twitter or on their official website.

PolyKid tried their hardest to raise as much as they could in the projects last few days of funding, the even had an AMA for the game on Reddit. One backer asked if the game would get a relaunch on Kickstarter if the game failed to reach its goal.

PolyKid has this to say:

 "A Kickstarter re-launch is unlikely at this point because we don't think we'd be more successful the second time around unless we spent more time improving the game overall. Since we've been working out of our own pockets since the beginning, we don't really have the funds to buy us that time (and is why we were on Kickstarter in the first place). With that being said, we are looking at creative ways to release some version of the game on PC!"

Hopefully, the game will game it's way to Steam on PC and it seems that a Wii U release is unlikely, which is unfortunate since the game is heavily inspired by Nintendo's N64 era.

Maybe if the game gets enough money from Steam purchases, PolyKid can improve the game and maybe even relaunch it on Kickstarter.

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Nintendo-inspired game Poi hits Kickstarter https://www.gameskinny.com/fgl1g/nintendo-inspired-game-poi-hits-kickstarter https://www.gameskinny.com/fgl1g/nintendo-inspired-game-poi-hits-kickstarter Tue, 04 Aug 2015 12:17:14 -0400 Aaliyah Bandy

A brand new indie 3D adventure platformer game by the name of Poi has made its way to Kickstarter and already (by the time this is being written) has raised $3,774 pledged out of its $80,000 goal.

Now, what exactly is Poi? According to the game's developers, PolyKid, say that the game is heavily inspired from old Nintendo games like Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario 64.

Looking closely at the screenshots for the game, you can see how much Nintendo has influenced the levels and mechanics. 

The game is still in early development. The developers still need 3 more worlds, improved animations, more 3D models and textures, and music, which they hope to create with the Kickstarter funds.

Although the game is not even close to completion, it looks promising and full of potential. 

The story starts with a young runaway who is napping under a tree. He wakes up to a book falling onto his head. Annoyed, he picks up the book and sees the words "Explorer's Log" written in big golden letters.

If you want to know more or even help back the project, you can find the Kickstarter here. 

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