Salt and Sanctuary Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Salt and Sanctuary RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Salt and Sacrifice, the Sequel to Salt and Sanctuary, is Coming in 2022 https://www.gameskinny.com/5n02h/salt-and-sacrifice-the-sequel-to-salt-and-sanctuary-is-coming-in-2022 https://www.gameskinny.com/5n02h/salt-and-sacrifice-the-sequel-to-salt-and-sanctuary-is-coming-in-2022 Fri, 11 Jun 2021 17:57:48 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Salt and Sanctuary, the 2016 2D Soulslike, is getting a "sequel." Developer Ska Studios announced that Salt and Sacrifice will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and PS5 sometime in 2022. It's unclear if it will come to Xbox platforms. The announcement was made through a reveal trailer during the Summer Game Fest kickoff event. 

We say "sequel" because it appears Salt and Sacrifice is taking a page out of the Demon's Souls to Dark Souls playbook. Based on what Ska Studios has shared about the game so far, it doesn't appear to be directly related to Salt and Sanctuary narratively, and though it seems to carry over mechanics from the first game, it also seems to greatly expand upon them in compelling ways. 

Players will take the role of a marked inquisitor, a pariah of sorts in the Alterstone Kingdom. The inquisitor's purpose is to hunt down and destroy mages, but just not any run-of-the-mill mage. These are terrifying, sometimes towering behemoths that feel right at home in any Soulslike

Take a look at the trailer below. 

According to Ska Studios, there will be eight classes to choose from in Salt and Sacrifice. Though that's the same number available in Salt and Sanctuary, the classes in Salt and Sacrifice carry different names and, presumably, different characteristics and abilities. They are Highblade, Paladin, Assassin, Cleric, Dualist, Fighter, Ranger, and Sage. 

Like Salt and Sanctuary, Salt and Sacrifice will include "drop-in drop-out" online cooperative multiplayer. 

Ska Studios says there will be 20 types of mages (bosses) to take down in Salt and Sacrifice, and the map will be even more varied than before, featuring "eerie villages, tomb temples, and swamp kingdoms." Of course, there will be a number of skills and abilities to choose from through the Runic Arts system, though those weren't specified in the initial release. 

There's still a lot we don't know about Salt and Sacrifice, but stay tuned over the coming months as Ska Studios is sure to provide more information leading up to launch in 2022. 

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5 Most Punishing Indie Games on Steam Right Now https://www.gameskinny.com/0u8cg/5-most-punishing-indie-games-on-steam-right-now https://www.gameskinny.com/0u8cg/5-most-punishing-indie-games-on-steam-right-now Mon, 12 Jun 2017 14:29:49 -0400 glados131

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Super Meat Boy

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There are plenty of platformers renowned for controller-smashing difficulty, but few are as iconic as Super Meat BoyCreated by Edmund McMillen, who would later go on to make another indie classic in The Binding of Isaac, it's not uncommon to feel that the odds are utterly stacked against you in this game, as you stare down a gauntlet of spikes, buzzsaws, rockets, and countless other deathtraps.

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Like in Titan Souls and Hotline Miami, you don't have health, so the game demands perfection as you navigate the deadly obstacle course in your way. One might worry that this would make the game feel unfair, but when you die you respawn immediately, so there's no waiting time between attempts. Coupled with the extremely responsive controls, it's not hard to see why this game has remained a shining example, if a brutally difficult one, of its genre.

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What are some of your favorite hard indie games? Let us know 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/s/a/l/salt-sanctuary-screenshot-psvita-ps4-30nov15-9f5ea.jpe","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/a/l/salt-sanctuary-screenshot-psvita-ps4-30nov15-9f5ea.jpe","type":"slide","id":"161580","description":"

Salt and Sanctuary

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While Titan Souls took inspiration from Dark Souls for its difficulty and title, Salt and Sanctuary did the same for its difficulty and... pretty much everything else. The main difference being, of course, that it's a 2D platformer rather than a 3D experience. But other than that, the Souls formula has been very directly translated into this new format. Salt is souls, sanctuaries are bonfires. And yes, the infamous difficulty is present as well.

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And although copying a pre-existing template isn't terribly impressive, what is commendable is how well it delivers on making the combat nearly as challenging, yet also rewarding, as the originals themselves. If you've played Souls, I highly recommend checking this one out.

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Hotline Miami

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Hotline Miamiand its sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, are a pair of brutal top-down shooters. Each stage has you taking a gun and massacring a building full of enemies, usually in a highly gory fashion. The real adrenaline rush comes from how unforgiving the combat is-- one hit and you're dead. This means you need to think tactically as you move from room to room. Rather than rushing in, you need to pick your moments to take enemies out without getting overwhelmed.

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As swiftly as death comes, though, it's just as quick to reset a stage. One button press after death and you're right back into it, ready to die gruesomely yet again. These are not games for the faint of heart.

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Enter the Gungeon

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I considered putting The Binding of Isaac on this list, but ultimately decided against it. While that game is extremely difficult for new players, once one has "learned" the game it becomes much easier and based more around RNG. Enter the Gungeonon the other hand, is almost entirely skill-based, to the point where I've never beaten the final boss.

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Like Isaac, the game is a rouge-like, meaning the layout of the floors are randomly generated each time you play and death is permanent. Each floor is exponentially more difficult than the last, as the game throws more and more complex enemies at you. The bosses in particular are extremely challenging bullet hells, and as if that weren't enough, the only reliable way of upgrading your health is to beat a boss without getting hit once. Seeing the true final boss and ending of this game is an achievement you should feel truly proud of.

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Titan Souls

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With a name that takes direct inspiration from Dark Souls, you might expect that Titan Souls would share that series's notorious difficulty. And you'd be right. The premise is simple-- you're in a world where the only enemies are bosses. Your only weapon is a single arrow you can shoot and pull back to you. And everything dies in one hit-- including you.

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You might think that the bosses dying in one hit would make them easy, but getting that hit is easier said than done. Every boss has some sort of weak point, some sort of weakness you need to exploit to be victorious. As a result, each fight feels unique and stress-inducing, as you're essentially trying to solve a puzzle while under constant threat of dying from a single slip-up. The game requires you to develop very quick reflexes, and the thunk you get when your arrow finds its mark is incredibly satisfying.

"},{"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/u/you-died-42f63.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/u/you-died-42f63.jpg","type":"slide","id":"161573","description":"

Indie games can be a source of endless entertainment. The best of them can give you a great experience with interesting but fun mechanics, all with graphical requirements and price much lower than their AAA brethren. When a game isn't under pressure to be seen as "mainstream," game designers are free to unleash their creativity and make something that doesn't have to be marketed to as wide an audience as possible. They also don't have to make it easy.

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It's easy to make a hard game, though. It's not as simple to make a hard game that doesn't feel cheap or unfair. When a game pulls it off, though, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Just ask anyone who's played Dark Souls. (And don't mention the Bed of Chaos.)

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With that being said, here are five of the most difficult-- in a good way-- indie games you'll find on Steam right now.

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6 Best Games to Play on Date Night https://www.gameskinny.com/vwbbw/6-best-games-to-play-on-date-night https://www.gameskinny.com/vwbbw/6-best-games-to-play-on-date-night Sun, 12 Feb 2017 14:05:07 -0500 Emily Parker

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A video game date night can either strengthen a relationship or leave it shattered and abandoned. Choose your game wisely and count yourself lucky you have someone to play with. 

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What are your favorite date night games? Will you be having a game date on Valentine's Day? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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Salt and Sanctuary

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Consoles: PC & PS4

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Couch Co-Op: Yes

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Skill Level: You both better be MLG

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Budget: Console version and a giant stuffed animal to cry into ~$30

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If you both thought the Dark Souls games were just a little too easy, check out this side scroller homage that you suffer in together! The difficulty is significantly amped up when co-op is turned on, so no weak links on this date night. 

"},{"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/2/9/4/2946644-rockband4-hud-1b82b.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/2/9/4/2946644-rockband4-hud-1b82b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"150315","description":"

Rock Band 4

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Platforms: PS4 and Xbox One

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Couch Co-Op: Of course

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Skill Level: As a gamer? Not required. Musically? Appreciated. 

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Budget: Band in a box & bottle of stage whiskey ~$200

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Get ready to take your relationship to the next level -- start a band. Be prepared for fights over the drum kit, spending way too much cash picking up new songs, and listening to your partner slaughter Florence and the Machine at least 5 times. 

"},{"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/g/o/a/goat-simulator-listing-thumb-ps4-06aug15-e07d2.png","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/g/o/a/goat-simulator-listing-thumb-ps4-06aug15-e07d2.png","type":"slide","id":"150312","description":"

Goat Simulator

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Platforms: PS4, Xbox One and PC ( there are versions for older gens as well)

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Couch Co-Op: Yes

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Skill Level: Best to not have any

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Budget: Console version and a mid-range bottle of tequila ~$35

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Get your goat on and laugh until you cry. There's nothing better than that feeling on a first or 50th date. You'll also find out whether the person you love most (or are tryna chill with tonight) is an evil goat mastermind or a saint among goats...  

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Just remember -- there's no turning back. 

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Don't Starve Together

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Platforms: PC & PS4

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Couch Co-Op: Yes (Lan also available)

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Skill Level: Medium and Medium, or High and Low

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Budget: Bundled version (if you don't already own the single player game) and a really full bodied red wine ~$50

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For the couple that enjoys a more macabre atmosphere, Don't Starve's multiplayer expansion is just perfect. The game is simple to begin with, but can get really complex if it grabs your attention. Its co-op mechanic allows even the most button-smashy partner plenty of activities to keep them busy.  

"},{"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/f/b/2/fb2bd18ed041435a4f7a160f1c518e43-77232.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/f/b/2/fb2bd18ed041435a4f7a160f1c518e43-77232.jpg","type":"slide","id":"150299","description":"

Child of Light

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Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, and PC (there are versions for older gens as well)

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Couch Co-Op: Yes

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Skill Level: Medium for Player One, Very low for Player Two 

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Budget: Console version and giant ice cream cake or equivalent  ~$25

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Crank up the romance with this literal bit of digital poetry. Meant to feel like a children's book, this game is thoughtful and beautiful. You'll definitely score some cute points, but remember that this is a turn-based RPG. Some people will just never ever, under no circumstance, be able to sit through a strategy RPG like this. But it doesn't hurt to try.   

"},{"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/m/i/n/minecraft-steve-00366474-5192148-lrg-c9e64.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/m/i/n/minecraft-steve-00366474-5192148-lrg-c9e64.jpg","type":"slide","id":"150314","description":"

Minecraft

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Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC, and just about everything else. 

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Couch Co-Op: Yes on consoles; LAN available on PC

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Skill Level: Not Required (It's actually very easy)

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Budget: Console version and some flowers to match your in-game garden: ~$30

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All of us have (probably) dabbled with the sandbox survival top dog, but have you considered playing it with that special someone? Building a house, setting up a farm, or digging into the earth only gets better when you can bicker about it with your partner. 

"},{"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/d/a/t/dating-your-best-friend-1f2d4.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/d/a/t/dating-your-best-friend-1f2d4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"150309","description":"

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it seems like an appropriate time to compile a list of the best video games to play with your significant other on date night. 

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Whether both you and your partner are master gamers, one of you is a little new, or you're both hopeless, there is always a game to play together. Here's a varied selection to get you on track for the best date night ever! 

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7 Best Platformers From the Last Year That You Haven't Heard Of https://www.gameskinny.com/wigc6/7-best-platformers-from-the-last-year-that-you-havent-heard-of https://www.gameskinny.com/wigc6/7-best-platformers-from-the-last-year-that-you-havent-heard-of Mon, 30 Jan 2017 01:44:44 -0500 Bryant Pereira

The indie game revolution revived genres of games that were beginning to lose their mass appeal -- namely platformers. With the popularity of Steam and digital downloads on consoles, platformer games started releasing in huge numbers again. The genre stopped being dominated by names like Nintendo and fans embraced the creativity of smaller studios.

Last year was no different, with some of the best platformers of the decade releasing. It doesn’t take much digging to find out about the hottest titles like Inside and Super Mario Run, but if you’re jumping for joy at the idea of playing some of the best platformers of 2016, look no more.

Headlander

Headlander is easily the most unconventional game on this list. It jumbles Metroid with old school sci-fi movies like Alien and puts you in control of a floating head. Yes, a platformer game where you don’t necessarily jump everywhere, but you fly through the levels in order to take control of robot bodies to make your own.

The theme in Headlander is unique, and under the creative umbrella of Double Fine and Adult Swim, this comes to no surprise. Robot enemies and NPC’s are former humans who uploaded their consciousness’ into what is called the Pleasure Dome. I’ll let your imagination figure the rest of that out.

The gameplay in Headlander is completely new yet familiar at the same time. Bodies are essentially different weapons, and you can upgrade your helmet in different ways like in other Metroidvania games. You can infinitely fly throughout the levels but must collide into enemies to decapitate them and take their bodies. The game mixes aesthetic, humor, and fun gameplay to make a remarkable experience.

Candle

Teku Studios from Spain wanted to make an impact on the indie scene with their debut game. Candle is a slow-paced, stealthy platformer.  Named after the studio, the story follows a young man named Teku who is on a quest to save his shaman apprentice. The soothing narration along with the beautiful hand-drawn watercolor graphics make the entire game feel like you're in a living painting.

Teku is not a speedy or powerful protagonist like in many other platformers. He instead focuses on stealth elements to combat enemies along with using his trusty candle. Teku uses his candle to illuminate new areas or overcome challenges, but the flames do not last forever. Sources of light must be uncovered and used, and sometimes the candle must be blown out in order to advance.

Candle's unique gameplay and alluring visuals are accompanied by a distinctive Spanish theme. The indigenous culture is apparent in the towns and characters and they blend excellently with the international style music. Candle is a relatively obscure game, with most of its reviews coming from foreign critics and websites. There may not be a lot of press coverage out there for Candle, but it is definitely a game to keep an eye out for.

Bound

Jumping on the success of games like Journey and The Unfinished Swan, Bound immerses us into a narrative that’s more about the atmosphere and art than gameplay. The protagonist sways through levels gracefully dancing from platform to platform. The controls are simple and the enemies do not pose a significant threat, but the world of Bound is a story of its own.

Interpretation is key in dance and in Bound. The game uses its mechanics to key players in on what is actually happening, leaving much of the story up to the player’s interpretation. The main plot is similar to a basic fairy tale, but the undertones and environment tell a story of their own of a woman who imagined a whole new world to better understand her own.

Bound's colorful landscape, majestic movement, and unique alternate paths keep players eyes glued to the screen and immersed in the beautiful world. The gameplay could use some more variety, and the dances themselves could have some more impact in the game, but Bound does an excellent job of promoting the fusion of art and games.

BoxBoxBoy

A tiny gem in a sea of AAA titles and 3D games, BoxBoxBoy combines simplicity with a quirky theme to make one of the best downloadable 3DS games. Brought to life from the creators of Kirby and Super Smash Bros., BoxBoxBoy follows the tale of our adorable box-shaped hero, Qbby in his second adventure.

Qbby uses his abilities to create boxes out of his body in order to press switches, build platforms, and block laser beams in order to reach his destination. Following the formula of the original BoxBoy, the sequel takes the only logical route -- add more boxes.

With two sets of boxes, the complexity and variety of puzzles increase exponentially. The game also enlists a limit to how many boxes you can use in order to collect the elusive crowns in the game. Each level presents challenges that are not made for trial and error, but rather solved through planned out strategies. BoxBoxBoy offers a number of different costumes you can dress Qbby in and also has a number of challenging post-game levels. For less than 5 bucks, BoxBoxBoy is a must-have on the 3DS.

Salt and Sanctuary

Commonly referred to as the 2D Dark Souls, Salt and Sanctuary is no ordinary platformer. The influence is immediately recognizable and the harsh gameplay it dishes out is just as hard as its seminal games’. Players take control of a hero who must roll to dodge enemies, memorize attack patterns, and die over and over again in order to make any progress.

The customization in Salt and Sanctuary is through the roof. Ska Studios boasts over 600 weapons, armor, spells, and items -- many of which can be crafted and upgraded. However, the game starts you off with essentially nothing, forcing players to patiently work for that big number. The game never explicitly directs you to your destination or has an overarching storyline. Everything is learned through gameplay and lore scattered throughout items and the sparse NPCs the game has to offer.

Although the game borrows heavily from the Souls series and JRPG leveling systems, the game plays very much like a Metroidvania game. Aside from fighting, there are some challenging platforming sections that are inaccessible until certain moves are learned. Revisiting areas to find weapons and fight more enemies is a common occurrence.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

Reminiscent of old-school 90’s platformers and cartoons, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero’s vibrant graphics and funky soundtrack give the impression of an HD Sega Genesis game. The traditional side-scrolling levels are quick and full of explorable areas that are chock-full of collectibles to find. The musical direction is apparent the entire game, as Shantae dances to transform into different animals. Each animal enables different abilities Shantae can use to access different areas within levels and traverse over areas.

The game has a central town where you can purchase items, talk to NPCs, and most importantly, take on side missions that reward Shantae with new animal transformations. Outside of the town is a pulsating world of steaming deserts, riddled pirate ships, and tranquil temples. The cheery music and brightly colored hand-drawn art are a pleasure throughout the whole game.

Similar to Kirby games, Half-Genie Hero is not a difficult game in terms of defeating enemies. The monsters throughout the game won’t have patterned attacks like in Salt and Sanctuary and will more than likely walk back and forth and sprint towards you when startled. The real fun in the game is the experimentation of abilities, exploration of the beautiful levels, and the cleverly designed boss fights.

Owlboy

This list is for the best platformers you haven’t heard of yet, and although Owlboy is gushed over by critics everywhere, its long development cycle may have put it under the radar for many. Developed over 8 years, Owlboy is an old-school platformer for the new age of games. The pixel art is as perfect as any can get. Everything from the subtle movements of characters to the distinctly detailed design immediately draws attention to the game.

The presentation alone is enough to suck players in, but what really keeps them in is the gameplay. Owlboy’s main character Otus is extremely limited by himself as he can only roll, spin, and fly. However, Otus teams up with his friends to form differing ways to fight enemies. Defeating enemies creatively is rewarded with treasure, and Otus’ unique friends make every level feel fresh and new.

Everything from the level design to the music, to the sob-inducing story, is top notch. Don’t just take my word for it, though, look online at the raving reviews, or check it out for yourself to get engrossed in a real work of art.

Last year proved to be a quite the year for platformers, and 2017 is promising to be equally as good. Before starting a new adventure in anticipated games like Yooka-Laylee and Super Mario Odyssey, jump into one of last years best platformers to hold you over.

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10 Amazing Games You Can Play On Almost Any PC (2GB RAM Or Less) https://www.gameskinny.com/ha36r/10-amazing-games-you-can-play-on-almost-any-pc-2gb-ram-or-less https://www.gameskinny.com/ha36r/10-amazing-games-you-can-play-on-almost-any-pc-2gb-ram-or-less Tue, 24 Jan 2017 08:23:12 -0500 Vian De Bod

PC MASTER RACE!”

If you've spent even a little time in the gaming community, then you have probably heard this statement. And to some degree, you can't deny that using PC is the most versatile way to game -- but that doesn't mean it's the best option for all gamers. While playing PC allows you to play almost any game on any graphical settings you want, you first have to have the money for an excellent computer.

So what do you do when you don’t have an excellent gaming PC? What do you do when you can only play on a potato? Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do, unless you’re willing to dish out quite a bit of cash to upgrade. Usually one of the biggest obstacles to a PC running certain games is the RAM requirement. RAM is arguably the most important factor when it comes to checking your system’s compatibility, so that is what we are going to focus on. If you have sucky RAM, then this article is for you.

Luckily, there are still some great games out there that aren't going to demand an amount of RAM you simply don't have. These 10 games only require 2GB of RAM or less -- so even your weak computer can play them!

*It's worth noting that if a game has a minimum requirement of 2GB RAM, it is still better to play it on a system with more in order to avoid lag. So if you have 4GB RAM, these games should run like a dream.

Don’t Starve

(1+ GB RAM)

Developed by Klei Entertainment, this survival game looks like something right out of a Tim Burton film! You can choose one of many characters, each of which has a special quality to them. Your primary goal is to survive and best this uncompromisingly harsh world.

The art style of Don’t Starve is a dark and alluring 2D style that is set in a 3D world. It sounds strange at first, but the world allows you to turn and change perspective in any direction, making it feel more real and immersive.

The game offers a rich crafting system based on both science and magic. Gather all the resources you can, but do so before night time. At night, you will find that there are untold horrors lurking in the dark. If you don’t have a torch or campfire nearby, you won’t live to regret it!

There are very rare and specific ways to avoid death, but you can kiss a character goodbye if you don't figure them out -- because this game boasts a perma-death system. Should that happen, both your character and the world it inhabited is gone for good. One of the key aspects of Don’t Starve is the fact that, like others on this list, each new world is randomly generated. This means that even if it comes to your character’s inevitable end, you have a new map and a new experience ahead of you!

Don't Starve's beautiful music and realistic sound effects, help bring everything to life. If you’re a bit of an audiophile, you’ll enjoy this game’s great sound design.

In conclusion, Don’t Starve provides a beautiful art style coupled with a brutally difficult survival-system. If eerie survival games are your thing, then Don’t Starve is for you!

 

Bastion

(2 GB RAM)

Bastion is a game developed by Supergiant Games. This action-RPG plops players into a beautifully lush world complete with hand-painted artwork and a deeply compelling story.

You play as “the Kid” during what the (excellently voiced) narrator calls “The Great Calamity”. Your world is falling apart and your civilization is crumbling to pieces. Your only hope is to restore the “Bastion”, a place where everyone is supposed to go when things go horribly wrong.

The gameplay is smooth and polished. You have a choice of over 10 different weapons to play with at any given time, each of which pairs differently with others and is better for certain playstyles. As you progress through the game and advance the story, you will begin to unlock even more options and upgrades.

The soundtrack is arguably one of Bastion’s strongest attributes. You know that a game nailed its soundtrack when you find yourself buying the OST after playing it. Add the incredible voice acting of the narrator (basically the only VA in game) and the great sound effects, and you have a feast for the ears!

 

Minecraft

(2 GB RAM)

I know, I know. Minecraft really doesn’t need any introduction, but I added it because it is a great game that deserves mention even if some might consider it “overrated” or “over-done”. Minecraft  is a 3D sanbox survival game developed by Mojang.

You are plopped into a randomly generated world comprised of nothing but blocks of different types and textures. Your goal (or the closest approximation to one) is to survive long enough to find a portal that takes you to a different dimension to kill the “Enderdragon”. Though this is the closest that Minecraft comes to in creating a set “goal”, there really isn’t one.

One of the game’s biggest component (in survival mode) is crafting. Almost every single block out there can be used to create something different or new. You can craft armor, tools, weapons, different blocks, food and much more! 

And I haven’t even touched on things like redstone and mods -- but I will say something about creative mode. Creative mode basically gives you the power of a god. You can create and build nearly anything your heart desires from the game’s entire catalogue of blocks. This is arguably Minecraft’s most played game mode, and with good reason. Minecraft just wouldn’t be the same without it.

 

Fran Bow

(2 GB RAM)

I just had to put a game in here for you point-and-click fans out there! Fran Bow was developed and published by Killmonday Games. This point-and-click adventure game will have you going everywhere, solving puzzles, and exploring amazing worlds! I have to give you a fair warning though. This game is messed up. I’m pretty sure that you will need some psychological help after playing! All kidding aside, Fran Bow is a very charming game that many people can enjoy.

The 2D art style of Fran Bow is definitely very quirky and adds to the overall feel of the game. You play as Fran, a girl in a mental asylum after the murder of her parents. You must work your way through elaborate puzzles to find your way out of the asylum, taking many drugs along the way.

The art team for the game did a fantastic job at capturing the essence of the story and turning it into a visual treat.

The gameplay is a standard point-and-click formula with some form of “crafting” mixed in. An added mechanic is one where you make Fran take her medication in order to “see things differently” which can at times help you solve the puzzle. The attention to detail also grabs you, as nearly every small thing is clickable and provides at least a few lines of Fran’s thoughts about it.

Overall I would highly recommend Fran Bow to anyone. If you like point-and-click games, be sure to try it. Even if you just enjoy creepy psychological horror games, I would highly recommend this one!

 

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

(256 MB RAM)

This game is pretty old, I admit. Is it a bit of a cop-out? Yes. Do I make any apologies for it? No. GTA: San Andreas (developed by Rockstar North) is an amazing game, and one of my favorites of all time. Besides, I never said that this list would only contain recent games, just good ones -- and GTA:SA is a game that undoubtedly falls in that category.

 

San Andreas has you playing a character called Carl Johnson (CJ to his friends). CJ returns home after the murder of his mother. After a life of running away from his past as a gang member, he is forcefully pulled back into the gang life upon his return. You will go from a nobody gangster to one of the most powerful people in San Andreas, fighting your way up every step of the way.

GTA – SA is an open world sandbox game. Most of the game’s mechanics centre around gunfights and driving cars or aeroplanes. But there are moments like stealth missions and dancing with either CJ or the low-rider he’s driving that really brings the game to a well-rounded whole.

Overall I would rate GTA – San Andreas as one of my favourite games of all time. If you enjoy a good story within a GTA-styled open world, you’ll love GTA – San Andreas. I highly recommend it to everyone!

 

Stardew Valley

(2 GB RAM)

Stardew Valley is an amazing game developed by ConcernedApe and published by Chucklefish Games. If you like games that completely draw you in and make you lose hours of the day, then this is the game for you. Stardew Valley is a farming simulator similar to Harvest Moon, with quite a few RPG elements in there.

You play as the heir to a little farm left to you by your grandfather, and it's your job to take care of it and make it flourish once again. Not only can you farm all different kinds of crops, animals, produce, flowers, honey, crustaceans, etc. --but you can also catch fish, delve into the mines, make friends, build your farm up, craft, and a whole lot more. There is a reason this game can suck up so much of your time, and just playing it will show you why.

The art style of Stardew Valley is absolutely breathtaking. The game is gorgeous, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise! All joking aside, this game really is beautiful and my favorite season has to be Fall just because of the leaves that change color.

The OST of Stardew Valley is one of my favorite parts of the game. While there is no voice acting and the sound effects are slightly forgettable, the music of this game is absolutely stunning! Every season has a few different songs that fit the time of year. I love this OST and I cannot express just how amazing it sounds!

I cannot recommend Stardew Valley enough. If you want just a single, good game that you can come home to, relax and sink a few hours into each day, then you cannot go wrong with this. I would rate Stardew Valley as one of my most enjoyed games of all time.

 

The Banner Saga (1 and 2)

(2 GB RAM)

The Banner Saga games are developed by Stoic. Yes, this technically counts as two games, but they are just so good that I had to lump them in together. If you're looking for a story that's reminiscent of Game of Thrones (but with a Norse theme) and turn-based combat....then these games are for you.

The sun has stopped dead in the sky and ancient dangers called Dredge are suddenly emerging from below the surface of the earth. The alliance between humans and Varl (giant, horned humans who live for hundreds of years) is fragile -- and with the Dredge returning it will only become more strained. You play as a cast of a few people and it is your job to navigate the crumbling world around you.

The game uses tactical, turn-based combat that requires the use of careful positioning as well as careful planning. A wrong move or two and you could lose the whole battle. That being said, as someone who usually isn’t a fan of this type of combat, I really enjoyed it because of how well it was done. 

The art style of The Banner Saga is amazing. They skilfully use 2D animation in a way that makes it feel like you’re watching a film at times. Not to mention the amount of detail the artists put in. The world map, for example, is absolutely huge and fairly well drawn. Each little detail has its own little bit of lore. Sometimes it is astonishing just how much detail goes into the art of this game. And the sound is equally as wonderful -- I bought the OST on Steam just to have a little epic music in my life. 

I would definitely recommend The Banner Saga to anyone. If you like a compelling story, get this game! If you like beautiful art, get this game! If you like turn-based combat, get this game! If you like beautiful music, get this game!

 

The Binding Of Isaac (All Versions)

(2 GB RAM)

The Binding of Isaac is a very difficult rogue-like game with a steep learning curve. If you like games that don’t hold your hand and can keep you occupied for hundreds upon hundreds of hours, then look no further than this indie gem.

BoI doesn’t have a set story per se. Some people speculate on the true nature of what is going on. If, however, you take the game at face value, the story seems simple. Isaac is a young boy who was tormented by his overly religious mother. In a fit of religious zeal, she tries to kill him and he escapes via a trap door in his room that leads to the basement. From here you go lower and lower, fighting hordes of different enemies.

The art style of BoI is both basic and disgustingly brilliant at times. There will be a lot of times where you might make a face because you just killed a sentient pile of poop or a fetus (or even a heart if you make it that far). There are many dark and disturbing themes in BoI with a lot of religious symbolism. The game’s developer has gone on the record for saying that his experience of growing up in an abusive, religious household inspired him to create the game. 

If you want a rogue-like game that offers a challenge and some very intense themes as well, then Binding of Isaac is for you. Honestly, I love this game and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for that extra challenge.

 

Salt And Sanctuary

(2 GB RAM)

If you haven’t yet read my first impressions on Salt and Sanctuary, then I highly recommend you do so if you want more information on it. SaS is a brutally difficult game developed by Ska Studios. It basically feels just like a Dark Souls game, except with its own world and art style.

The story of SaS is pretty basic, as you would expect from a game akin to the Souls series. Of course the world has its own lore and such, but your character is basically a nobody. You start off as a sailor that shipwrecks on the coast of an unknown land. From there you will traverse the world, fighting to survive every step of the way. Enemies can be unforgivingly brutal, and you might find yourself using the dodge mechanic a few hundred times per hour.

The artistic style of SaS is, in my opinion, one of the game’s strongest qualities. You have a beautifully done 2D world with amazing detail and a dark theme. What more could you want from a game? Even character creation is highly detailed within this 2D world. If you like eerie and foreboding settings, then this game has you covered. Not to mention the interesting, yet (at times) disturbing design of some of the bosses.

The sound design in SaS is also superb! From the swing of a blade to the crashing of a hammer, the combat sounds bring it all to life. The background music is just as amazingly awesome and makes you really feel like a bad ass at times. Though there are some in this list that does sound better, this game truly does make the best of the sound design implemented.

If you liked any of the Souls games or similar games, then this one is for you! I highly recommend it to those seeking a true challenge. If you are up to it, try it out and see just how brutal this dark, yet beautiful game can be!

 

Guild Wars 2

(2 GB RAM)

GW2 is an MMORPG developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSOFT -- and depending on who you ask, it's either the best or worst thing since WoW. I am a massive fan of this game and I play it daily. 

The story of GW2 is pretty vast and quite hard to summarize, but I will do my best. The Elder Dragons have arisen once more after their millennia-long slumber to devour Tyria’s (in-game world) magic. You, along with some help, will take the fight to each and every one of them. 

Honestly, because it’s an MMO (and one that has been out for nearly 5 years too), the mechanics are just way too vast to cover in this limited space. Just take my word on it here, guys. GW2 revolutionizes many MMO concepts and takes core mechanics to the next level.

Artistically, GW2 is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen. It's not only stunning in-game, but the painted cutscenes and concept art is beautiful enough to frame on a wall. Not to mention the fact that I just love the brush-painted effect that they integrated into the UI. GW2 has a lovely visual style all around.

And the music in GW2 is absolutely gorgeous! The music released at launch was all composed by Jeremy Soule -- the guy behind the OST for games like Skyrim. Not only that, but the sound effects are just as good. When you are in the heart of the jungle, for example, you can hear every bird and wild creature around you. Every attack you do feels like it has weight because of the “meaty” sound effects that accompany it. The voice acting in the game is also as superb and deserves no less praise. 

Guild Wars 2 has time and again surprised and amazed its fans, and with good reason. You'll be getting all that and more from an MMORPG with absolutely no subscription fee (no pay to win either)! It even has a good free-to-play (F2P) option -- so you can try this game out without even spending a cent. An excellent game to round this list off nicely.

 

I hope you've found at least one game in this list that suits your tastes. Just because you can’t afford a great gaming PC doesn’t mean you have to stick to watching others play great games from the side-lines. There are a ton of great games out there that can be played on nearly any system. You just have to know where to look.

Have you played any of the games on this list? If so, let me know what you thought! And if you have any other recommendations for great games, leave them in the comments down below!

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Salt And Sanctuary: 2D Dark Souls https://www.gameskinny.com/74cxh/salt-and-sanctuary-2d-dark-souls https://www.gameskinny.com/74cxh/salt-and-sanctuary-2d-dark-souls Sun, 22 Jan 2017 10:58:24 -0500 Vian De Bod

“Is this Dark Souls!?”

After about an hour of playing this game, you will undoubtedly have had this exact same thought. Salt and Sanctuary is a game developed by Ska Studios. Many people call it a 2D Dark Souls, and for good reason!

It shares many similarities to that franchise. From bonfires to in-game currency, Salt and Sanctuary is a game deeply inspired by the Souls series, but one that sets itself apart from that series in many, many ways. 

Salt and Sanctuary came out nearly a year ago, but it fell through my radar until recently. Here are my first impressions after a bit of gameplay!

Graphics

SaS has a unique 2D art-style that creates a perfectly eerie atmosphere. The dark color palette and very-well-done character models make it feel gritty, even when it seems pretty basic at face value. The blood and gore in this game is (in my book) a huge plus because it really helps take the aesthetic of the game to a new, dark level.

Gameplay

The controls are simple to understand and configurable to your liking (I played with a controller). The combat is fast-paced and brutally difficult (even more so when you add traps to the mix).

Though I would like to see some more attack variety (there are basically only three attack types per weapon), and the rolling mechanic could use some work, it does not detract from the game very much.

The character customization is very well done for a 2D game. The skill tree is also absolutely humungous, so there’s a lot of customization room for players whol want to play, for example, a rogue or a warrior or a mage. 

From my research, there is local co-op (and local PvP), but I have yet to try it. Unfortunately, there is no online co-op or PvP, though there is a “message” and “phantom” system (like in Dark Souls), which helps players traverse it's dark and morbid world.

Setting & Story

This game has a very dark setting and it makes it obvious from the very beginning. You are a sailor that has been shipwrecked on a dangerous, mysterious island.

Once you arrive, you are asked to choose between three different religions, which ultimately determine the look of your sanctuary (equivalent of a Dark Souls bonfire) where you can spend Salt (equivalent of Souls in Dark Souls) to level up! They also provide buffs that help players in different situations throughout the game. 

Sound

The sound-track for SaS is very well done, though it does sometimes feel a bit like it lacks a variety of songs. The ambient sound, however, is spot on for the tone of the game, and it adds a very spooky atmosphere to all your dungeon crawling. The combat sound effects are crisp and clear, but quite repetitive.

There is no voice acting in this game either, but in my opinion, that’s nothing inherently bad. The enemies in the game also have very limited catalog of (but still well done) sounds, though the bosses are all unique (so far!).

 

Overall

Salt and Sanctuary has a great art-style and overall visual aesthetic. The game mechanics are fun, but not too complicated (yet). It has a fluid combat system (though the lack of attack options isn’t that great) and is as brutally difficult as the Souls-series can be. The setting and atmosphere are both superb, and although the sound in the game lacks some variety, it is still very well done!

Overall it is definitely a game I would recommend so far and well worth the money!

Check out the epic trailer!

What do you think about Salt and Sanctuary? What do you think it does well, and what do you think it could do better? Let us know in the comments below!

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Top 5 Modern Metroidvania Games https://www.gameskinny.com/7ww8h/top-5-modern-metroidvania-games https://www.gameskinny.com/7ww8h/top-5-modern-metroidvania-games Sun, 22 Jan 2017 10:43:28 -0500 Will Dowell

The metroidvania genre provides a sense of exploration and growth. Whether  it be exploring an alien world or the land of the dead, these games create wonder and excitement in their worlds. While not the most popular, the metroidvania genre has been a consistent driving force in how video games are designed.

Originally, these games increased their length by keeping players lost. Now however, metroidvanias have to create worlds that can be explored without overwhelming the player. The originators of this genre, Metroid and Castlevania are close to dead, but new games have risen to take their place. Here are the Top 5 Modern Metroidvania Games.

Number 5: Cave Story

Considered a hallmark of indie games, Cave Story is a shining example of what one man can create. Explore the land of the Mimigas, a cute race of bunny-like creatures as they war with a mad scientist. Engage in challenging combat with each weapon providing a different tool.  Cave Story clearly takes  inspiration from Metroid through the use of musical cues and the 8-bit pixel art.

Sadly, this inspiration is only skin deep as Cave Story is extremely linear. The only time Cave Story does not directly guide you is with its true ending, but that challenge is incredibly obtuse and frustrating. It not only requires external information, but is a grueling gauntlet that will cause most players to simply put down the controller. Even with these major issues, Cave Story should be experienced by any fan of indie games or metroidvanias.

Number 4: Strider 

Jumping straight into 4th place is Strider. Explore Kazakh City as you attempt to assassinate Grand Master Meio. With a teleport dash and double jump, traversal is fast and fluid. Combat itself is intense and fast paced, with Strider Hiryu flipping across the battlefield, causing mayhem and carnage. Multiple upgrades allows this dance of death to increase in intensity with explosive kunai to deflecting bullets with a sword swing.

The reason this adrenaline fueled adventure is only number 4 is its linearity. Strider will lead you room to room with only a few moments letting you run wild. While this allows the game to focus on a tight pace that grips the player from start to finish, it limits the ability of the player to truly get lost in the world. If you want an action-fueled adventure, get Strider

Number 3: Guacamelee!

Guacamelee is easily the most unique entry on this list. Set in a humorous Mexican-themed world, Guacamelee takes you on a daring quest to save the President's daughter. Along the way, you will travel through bustling towns, giant mountains, and even the Land of the Dead. To best your foes in combat, Guacamelee provides a satisfying beat-em-up fighting style rife with combos, throws, and special moves. These special moves also serve as the main upgrades used to unlock the world. This allows the world to create challenging obstacles that will require the player to master its mechanics.  Guacamelee turns the standard combat of most beat-em-ups and turns it into something unique.

Guacamelee also combines video game humor with a Mexican theme which creates some of the most entertaining parodies out there. Metroid in particular, is referenced through the use of Choozoo statues and Metroid sculptures. This may date the game but is enjoyable none the less. The only drawback is the linearity. While it is more open than Strider or Cave Story, Guacamelee leads the player through a predetermined path, leaving exploration for only hidden goodies and upgrades. Even so, it is still one of the most entertaining games on the market.

Number 2: Salt and Sanctuary

One of the more recent metroidvanias on the market, Salt and Sanctuary pays homage to both Castlevania and Dark Souls with its gloomy atmosphere and brutal combat. Explore a dark world filled with danger and traps in attempt to save a princess. The story may be cliché, but the world building more than makes up for it. Combat is weighty and punishing, yet never feels unfair as every enemy attack is telegraphed and can be countered. Backtracking is also kept to a minimum with its levels looping onto themselves.

Salt and Sanctuary nails the sense of growth that makes metroidvanias so satisfying, but its exploration can feel obtuse and limited. This is due to the lack of a functioning map or other tool that can be used to track your progression throughout the world. While Dark Souls was able get away without a map feature, Salt and Sanctuary does not have any major landmarks to create a sense of direction. Even with this blemish, Salt and Sanctuary is one of the best metroidvanias ever made.

Number 1: Axiom Verge

Axiom Verge is by far, one of the best metroidvanias ever made. It nails everything; from exploration to the sense of growth. Exploration in particular, is one of the most satisfying experiences as every upgrade provides a creative twist in traversal. The teleport for example, can give you an extra jump or allow you to pass through walls. Combat truly shows your power as a character, with almost every weapon being useful and appealing. While the exterior makes it feel like a Metroid clone, Axiom Verge provides a unique experience that exceeds many games in the Metroid series.

Axiom Verge's world design shows how to give the player a sense of exploration while not overwhelming the player with too many options. Every zone provides areas of no return, that gate off the world into smaller, more manageable, sections. With this and a fully functioning map, it is only a matter of time before the player finds the next upgrade. This perfectly balances the need of tight structured challenges and the need to provide a sense of wonder. Axiom Verge is a shining example of how a metroidvania should be done. If you can only buy one game from this list, buy Axiom Verge. It is worth every penny.

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The future of metroidvanias as a game genre looks increasingly bright. These games show that the market still love to explore and experience. Upcoming titles such as Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and Chasm provide excitement for fans of the genre. While the future of the Metroid and Castlevania series look grim, the legacy they created will live on in these titles.

What do you consider the best metroidvania? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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