Indie Games Tagged Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Indie Games RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Indie World March 2020: Sequels, Timed Exclusives, and Puzzlers Abound https://www.gameskinny.com/6of8i/indie-world-march-2020-sequels-timed-exclusives-and-puzzlers-abound https://www.gameskinny.com/6of8i/indie-world-march-2020-sequels-timed-exclusives-and-puzzlers-abound Tue, 17 Mar 2020 13:52:51 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

It's not a 2020 Nintendo Direct, but the March Indie World presentation was packed full of exciting and interesting new indie titles heading to Nintendo Switch.

The one thing that unites them all, though, is that all of them are basically timed exclusives on the system. Here's a rundown of what was shown and what we can expect as 2020 moves along. 

Exit the Gungeon

As usual, Nintendo saved the game with the biggest hype factor for last: Exit the Gungeon. It looks like it brings with it all of the insane action and quirky style of Enter the Gungeon, which makes sense given Exit picks up right where Enter ended.

It's packed full of hundreds of weapons, enemies, and random rooms. More importantly, Exit the Gungeon launches later today as a timed exclusive on Switch.

Blue Fire

Blue Fire is a slick-looking action game featuring a deadly little chibi character and myriad gorgeous environments. Coming from Robi Studios, Blue Fire seems to be as much a 3D platformer as an action game, and it's one we're definitely keeping an eye on ahead of its Summer 2020 release date. Blue Fire is a timed Switch exclusive as well.

Baldo

Baldo's been in the works for a long time. It's a lovely, expressive anime title in the visual style of Ni No Kuni that focuses on Zelda-style dungeon and open-world exploration. Baldo finally launches summer 2020 and is another timed exclusive on Switch.

I Am Dead

Annapurna Interactive's latest title is a unique-looking title called I Am Dead. You'll take control of a museum curator in the town of Shelmerston. He also happens to be dead.

You'll save the island by solving a wide range of puzzles and exploring its mysteries and secrets when I Am Dead launches first on Nintendo Switch sometime this year.

Summer in Mara

Summer in Mara from Chibig Games is a unique twist on the farming genre. It follows Koa's journey as she tries to uncover the secrets of the ocean. To do that, she'll have to develop an island, survive the weather, make friends, and explore everywhere, as you do. Summer in Mara launches this spring and, surprise: it's a timed exclusive.

The Good Life

The Good Life takes place in Rainy Woods, the happiest place on earth — except at night, when everyone turns into an animal. White Owls Inc. describes The Good Life as a repayment sim RPG, where you use all your animal skills to uncover mysteries and pay back your debts in a charming, rural British town. The Good Life launches on Nintendo Switch sometime this year.

The Last Campfire

Hello Games is working on a new title called The Last Campfire that's all about hope and empathy. It follows Ember as she solves puzzles and brings light to the darkness surrounding the manifold people and animals she encounters. Light looks like it's literally life in The Last Campfire, too.

It's got a lovely and expressive visual style and an emotive trailer song as well, but no, we're not sniffling. You're sniffling.  The Last Campfire launches on Nintendo Switch this summer.

Faeria

Faeria, a card-based MMO, has been out for a while, and it's coming to Nintendo Switch in March. You'll build your deck, per usual, and you'll also build the maps you play on in each battle. Even though it functions as an MMO, Faeria offers a sizeable single-player campaign and PvP mode as well. Faeria will include cosmetic packs available as DLC on the eShop as well.

Eldest Souls

Eldest Souls has you slaying gods in a boss-rush battler that's basically the indie version of Dark Souls. It's brutal, you'll die, and you'll agonize over your skill buildout to try and survive the next time around. Eldest Souls looks ghoulishly delightful, and it launches on Nintendo Switch this summer.

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And that was that. March's Indie World presentation didn't have any major stand-out titles or shockers, but there's no denying the Switch has a lot of indie goodness coming over the course of 2020. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more indie game and Nintendo Switch news as it develops.

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Vitamin Connection Review — Take Your Medicine https://www.gameskinny.com/rb827/vitamin-connection-review-take-your-medicine https://www.gameskinny.com/rb827/vitamin-connection-review-take-your-medicine Fri, 06 Mar 2020 16:47:17 -0500 Greyson Ditzler

Vitamin Connection is the kind of game that deserves to succeed. It's easy to pick up, exhaustively fun, and vibrantly creative. It's loaded with charm, replay value, and oodles of original ideas. It's the kind of game that every Switch owner should have in their collection one way or another.

Recently-released in digital form on the eShop, Vitamin Connection comes from indie giant WayForward Technologies, the same studio responsible for games such as Shantae and the Pirate's Curse and River City Girls. 

It very well might be one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch. 

Vitamin Connection Review — Take Your Medicine

Open wide y'all, it's time for the pill.

In Vitamin Connection you play as Vita-Boy and Mina-Girl, two miniature beings who pilot a tiny capsule-sized spaceship. They are mailed to the residence of the Sable family, all of whom are afflicted by some sickness or malady. The two tiny teammates use their ship to tackle everything from tickling tonsils to tuning troubled televisions. 

Every sprawling level sees Vita-Boy and Mina-Girl moving on rails through the colorful, bacteria-ridden insides of each family member. Branching paths mean that some backtracking is required, but re-treading areas isn’t the slog it might seem. Not including the game’s nicely varied level design, new hazards present themselves to shake things up. Add to that a wide-ranging catalog of enemies and the more Metroidvania sections of Vitamin Connection are easier to digest. 

Luckily, each level has a full map that fills out as you go so it's hard to get lost, and there's often a collectible hidden down the path less-traveled, compelling you to move forward. 

To get through it all, you'll need to twist and turn your controller, aim and fire your weapon, and control the movement of your ship all at once. In single-player, you do this by yourself using either two Joy-Cons or a Pro controller. In co-op, you can split the controls between two people. 

It can be a little frightening at first; every scenario involves quick thinking and fast reflexes popping as you swap between traditional controls and several types of motion controls. Luckily, it doesn't take too long to adjust to things. Any failure ends up being a light smack, especially with the game's relatively lenient checkpoint system.

In lieu of boss fights, each level subjects you to several mini-games, each of which use the Joy-Con motion controls in a different way. One minute you may be playing a rhythm section with two sets of instructions, the next you'll be guiding a hoop around a wire. In others, you'll be playing air hockey against a computer opponent. 

These sections build off of each other without compromising the game’s light combat focus or its relaxed tone. Consequently, they nicely crescendo into the actual boss fight at the very end of the game. 

It's showing various symptoms of "Early 2000's-itis"

Vitamin Connection reminds me of the early 2000s, a time when Japanese imports flooded the U.S., stunning us with starry-eyed wonder. Vitamin Connection could have easily been a forgotten classic of that era; it carries so much of the same style and energy.

Vitamin Connection’s presentation really is something special. The game’s signature panache comes from Lindsey Collins (also known as 'linzb0t”), who was also the lead artist on the bright and stylish Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche. Her signature round and cutesy style shines through while still looking wholly unique.

Made up almost entirely of simple shapes with bright, primary colors, Vitamin Connection lacks sharp edges and angles (unless when necessary), instead opting for rounded, inviting shapes. This works in tandem with the game’s cartoonish but earnest writing, and its equally heartfelt dialogue. Every cutscene and exchange is fully animated and voice-acted; the production value is quite high considering this is an independent production. 

Director James Montagna has mentioned that both Katamari Damacy and Jet Set Radio were major inspirations for Vitamin Connection’s visuals and music, and it shows. Vitamin Connection has such an amazingly robust and highly-produced soundtrack that most of its songs could have easily been Billboard Top 40 songs from 15 years ago. 

The game is jam-packed with original music from a variety of different artists. The soundtrack spans many different genres, though J-pop certainly dominates. Cheerful lyrics in both English and Japanese are belted out with accompaniment from a variety of both synthesizers and real instruments, creating a happy, high-energy atmosphere that never lets up.

Even when the music drastically switches style, the soundtrack always feels appropriate for each level, whether it be in the form of a rap song or a gothy ballad.

The sound design, in general, is excellent, creating a consistently cartoonish and thematically appropriate soundscape. There are songs unique to each level, and songs play on a shuffled playlist every time you start a level, cutting down repetition significantly, which isn't much a problem anyway because every song is catchy.

The developers even went so far as to have an extra layer of music play whenever the Vitamin Beam is firing and made most songs have their own unique layer. That's just awesome.

There honestly isn't much I can find wrong with Vitamin Connection. Sure, it's a little hard to figure out at first, but the game teaches you all the basics, and doesn't punish you too hard for struggling at the start. Not everyone will dig the style and music, but speaking as someone who enjoys this sort of thing, the whole team executed it perfectly.

Vitamin Connection Review — The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Very fun and creative
  • Totally unique gameplay and controls
  • Good by yourself or with a friend
  • Lots of content and replay value for $20
  • Great soundtrack and graphics
Cons
  • Somewhat steep learning curve for controls, especially in co-op
  • No 2-Player VS. mode for the various unlockable mini-games
  • Minor backtracking may bothersome

To bring this love-letter in disguise to a close: Vitamin Connection is a game that everybody should play. Not just because it's a great game for families and kids, but because it's just a great game. Creativity and charm like this should not just be celebrated but rewarded. 

The only things I wish Vitamin Connection had that it doesn’t is some sort of 2-Player VS. mode and a longer campaign. But it's also important to remember that when your worst complaint about a game is, "I wish there was more of it", you've still got a great game on your hands. 

Vitamin Connection is available now exclusively on Nintendo Switch. 

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In Other Waters: Save Humanity as an AI Program https://www.gameskinny.com/ty00b/in-other-waters-save-humanity-as-an-ai-program https://www.gameskinny.com/ty00b/in-other-waters-save-humanity-as-an-ai-program Tue, 04 Feb 2020 11:00:02 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

We take on a huge variety of roles in video games, hero or villain, medieval warrior or supernatural fighter. But Jump Over the Age's In Other Waters aims to shake things up a bit by casting you as an AI program.

The world is ending, and humanity must look to other planets for continued survival. Enter Ellery Vas, a xenobiologist trying to find both signs of new life and her missing partner.

She's sent to the oceanic Gliese 677C. As might be expected to cause a bit of drama, her diving suit has issues. On the plus side, you're there to guide her through alien waters.

You see the world as an AI program would. Along the way, you — through Ellery, of course — uncover secrets in the waters, scan and examine the finds Ellery comes across on her journey, and even build a relationship between the AI and Ellery, assuming you keep her alive and healthy, that is.

Jump Over the Age is a one-person studio run by Gareth Damian Martin, part games journalist, part Ph.D in experimental literature, and now part game developer. In Other Waters already won the 2019 IndieCade Europe Jury Prix award and is set for release on Nintendo Switch and PC sometime in 2020.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more In Other Waters and indie game news as it floats our way.

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Sparklite Review: Zelda Meets Roguelike With Pristine Pixel Art Flourishes https://www.gameskinny.com/0jeff/sparklite-review-zelda-meets-roguelike-with-pristine-pixel-art-flourishes https://www.gameskinny.com/0jeff/sparklite-review-zelda-meets-roguelike-with-pristine-pixel-art-flourishes Thu, 14 Nov 2019 08:36:46 -0500 David Jagneaux

Sometimes I feel like my tastes in video games don't even make sense to my mind. On the one hand, I absolutely love The Legend of Zelda, but most imitations are off-putting. I love pixel art games but typically don't spend much time with roguelikes or roguelites. That's because I find them too repetitive or lacking in variety, especially if they're procedurally generated, though there are some exceptions.

Sparklite from developer Red Blue Games and publisher Merge Games is one of those exceptions. It just doesn't feel like your traditional roguelite experience.

Sparklite Review: Legend of Roguelikes

In Sparklite you play as Ada, an engineer-type heroine with a trusty wrench and robot that's crash-landed on a strange world powered by mysteriously magical objects called sparklite.

The big bad Baron is pillaging and mining the world to harvest and consume the energy for himself. In contrast, the inhabitants co-exist with the world and leverage its properties to power gadgets and cities. All of the Baron's ravaging has left the world unstable and every so often (read: when you are incapacitated and returned to base) the world shifts.

This means that the actual overworld itself is rearranged entirely. Just like any roguelike with randomization, these areas are split into chunks. Consequently, it's not a truly random setup, but rather more akin to changing the order and layout of the pieces. Everything is very consistent, though, so it feels a bit like a never-ending top-down Zelda game since the overworld is different, but similar, each time. It's like entering Hyrule Field for the first time over and over again.

When you complete significant milestones, though, like defeating one of the bosses, the location is saved on your map even after it moves. 

Back at base, you can deploy upgrades in the form of patches that are sewn onto your gear. This includes things like expanding your pool of hearts for more life, upgrading your energy, improving attack power, increasing defense, and so on. Some patches even enhance your map with new icons, as well.

Once the world resets, you can't just look at the map and clearly see how to get somewhere. Although the landmarks will still be visible for whichever quadrant they're in, allowing you can get a general idea of the right path to take, things are covered in a fog, similar to a cloud of war in strategy games. 

Pixel Perfect

Visually, Sparklite is exquisite. The pixel art aesthetic fits the tone and gameplay perfectly, and it's got an appropriately retro-style soundtrack to go along with it. Enemy designs are bright and colorfully animated across distinct regions and various underground dungeons.

If you played Moonlighter or have ever seen a top-down Zelda game in action, then Sparklite will be immediately familiar. You run around, attack enemies with a melee weapon, unlock and purchase extra gear and weapons gradually throughout the game, and fight fierce boss enemies at the end of levels. It's the same formula here, but with a creative roguelike twist layered on top.

However, some of what makes Zelda so delightful is lost in translation. For starters, the gameplay is a bit less precise especially for ranged weapon aiming and dodge rolling plus, there isn't much of a story in Sparklite other than the overall framing of events. Characters don't speak much, and the plot points are all pretty shallow. 

All told you could start fresh and reach the final boss in Sparklite in a matter of just a few hours, but beating it is another story. The final battle is much more difficult than the prior bosses and will likely result in needing to grind for sparklite so you can upgrade your gear and stats with better patches while stocking up on gadgets. But if you take your time and don't rush, it all evens out as a more balanced affair. 

Sparklite is full of nooks and crannies begging to be explored so, even though I don't want to tell you how to play a game, per se, it would be a bad idea to try and speed through this one. Exploring the shrines, finding hidden NPCs and collectibles, and upgrading the facilities back at the main base really open up the game's hidden variety and extra layers.

Sparklite Review — The Bottom Line

Pros:
  • Fantastic pixel art graphics
  • Snappy gameplay that expands over time
  • Clever overworld shuffling mechanic
  • Good enemy and gadget variety
Cons: 
  • Controls feel a little floaty sometimes
  • Lackluster story
  • Eventually starts to feel repetitive 

Sparklite doesn't try to hide what it is and immediately draws you in from the very start. It's a tightly-crafted, well-designed, and snappy top-down adventure game that shuffles just enough around to keep things fresh even after a dozen hours of play. And if you're still not sold on the idea, go ahead and download the demo from Steam and try it for yourself first free of charge.

[Note: Merge Games provided a digital copy of Sparklite on Steam for the purpose of this review.]

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Carve Up an ‘80s Robot Dystopia in Yacht Club Games' Cyber Shadow https://www.gameskinny.com/0m6qp/carve-up-an-80s-robot-dystopia-in-yacht-club-games-cyber-shadow https://www.gameskinny.com/0m6qp/carve-up-an-80s-robot-dystopia-in-yacht-club-games-cyber-shadow Wed, 25 Sep 2019 15:24:54 -0400 Thomas Wilde

There’s a certain kind of side-scrolling action game from relatively late in the NES’s run that doesn’t get a lot of attention these days. The highest-profile example is probably Sunsoft’s Batman, the 1988 movie tie-in, but you could also point to Power Blade, Shatterhand, or Vice: Project Doom.

They’re sort of Castlevania's grandchildren by way of the NES Ninja Gaiden trilogy, mixing Castlevania’s mission structure with Ninja Gaiden’s fast pace and covering it all with an ‘80s-appropriate cyberpunk candy shell.

Cyber Shadow is a deliberate callback to that sort of game, much in the same way that Shovel Knight is a strange beerslam of DuckTales and Mega Man. I usually hate describing a game in terms of “X meets Y,” as it feels reductive, but this is the sort of game that doesn’t really give you much of a choice. It’s wearing its influences on its sleeve.

You play as Shadow, a cyborg ninja, who comes to the ruins of Mekacity in search of the secrets of his clan. The greater world is under the control of synthetic lifeforms, and humans are mostly gone. You soon discover, though, that some of Shadow’s clanmates may still be alive somewhere in Mekacity, and that the ruins might hide the secret of how the synthetics managed to take over in the first place.

In play, the first word I want to use is “smooth.” I got a chance to play through the early game at PAX West this year, and even at its very start, it’s an elegant, fast-moving game.

It does start more slowly than its trailers would have you believe, though. At the beginning of Cyber Shadow, you’re equipped with Shadow’s sword, which you can swing about as fast as you can push the attack button. You can smash lights to pick up currency along the way, in the finest Ninja Gaiden tradition, as well as refuel a blue meter that Shadow spends on special moves.

Periodically, you run across power stations that you can use to refill Shadow’s health. You can also spend currency at these stations, which unlocks up to two special moves at once. The one I saw the most of during my demo was a sort of boomerang shuriken, each use of which automatically slung itself around Shadow as he moved for short periods of time. It was actually a lot like the old boomerang shuriken in Ninja Gaiden, but with that weapon's weird additional functionality made into its entire purpose. 

You can also unlock various passive moves for Shadow by learning the secrets of his clan. Offensive skills, like the forward rush, are executed with Symphony of the Night-esque button sequences. You can also unlock short teleports, wall jumps, and parries, meant to help you deal with specific enemies and situations. The further into the game you go, the more elaborate your moveset gets, and the faster the game becomes.

Most of what I saw while I was playing it, though, made Cyber Shadow mostly look like a modern, almost-too-faithful spin on Ninja Gaiden. I got a chance to play around with a couple of subweapons, but I didn’t see much in the way of the new gameplay-changing skills.

What I did see, though, was an impressively grimy game. Cyber Shadow has an impressive sense of place, thanks mostly to how intricate the sprite work can get. The big improvements it’s got over the 8-bit games it was inspired by (read: stitched together from) are the smoothness of its animation and the big, blocky definition of its backgrounds and enemies.

You can get a surprising amount of atmosphere out of sprites if you really work at it, and Cyber Shadow does. The subdued color palette really helps to communicate the sense that you’re fighting through the guts of a slowly rotting cybernetic hellhole. Sprite work on this level has arguably been something of a lost art; there are certainly games with good pixel art out today, but a lot of them are aiming for a brighter, more cheerful look than this. Cyber Shadow is going hard into a darker aesthetic, which is an impressive change of pace.

For the last 10 years, Cyber Shadow was a solo side project for a Finnish developer named Aarne “MekaSkull” Hunziker, working under the company name Mechanical Head Studios. Representatives of Yacht Club Games found Hunziker’s posts about Cyber Shadow on Twitter, and reached out to offer assistance; the final game is made almost entirely by Hunziker, with design feedback and publishing duties by Yacht Club, and a soundtrack by Enrique Martin and Jacob “virt” Kaufman.

As of PAX West, Cyber Shadow was described as being in a “polish phase,” with no idea as to how long the game has left to go before completion. It’s scheduled for release at some point next year.

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Yahct Club Games and Nitrome Announce Shovel Knight Dig https://www.gameskinny.com/9bvwd/yahct-club-games-and-nitrome-announce-shovel-knight-dig https://www.gameskinny.com/9bvwd/yahct-club-games-and-nitrome-announce-shovel-knight-dig Wed, 28 Aug 2019 15:26:07 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Ahead of PAX West, Yacht Club Games announced Shovel Knight Dig, a brand-new Shovel Knight game developed in partnership with Nitrome. Among other things, Yacht Club said that the collaboration with Nitrome helped produce high-color pixel graphics and improved sound over the original as well.

Dig has been in development for more than a year, but Yacht Club said there's still a ways to go before it will be ready for release. However, more information and a playable demo will be available at PAX West, and the game was confirmed for the Nintendo Switch.

Shovel Knight Dig combines two major points of the original Shovel Knight games — navigating stages using clever digging techniques and gathering treasure — but packages them in a completely different style.

Instead of traveling to the right like a traditional side-scroller, the goal is digging further down, as Shovel Knight tries to recover his stolen treasure from the nefarious Drill Knight. As the name suggests, digging plays a significant role in the game and its mechanics.

Shovel Knight gets some new moves to help make the dig easier, too, actions called "Speed Shovel mechanics." What those will look like isn't completely clear, though, since some of the shovel-wielding hero's moves shown off in the trailer resemble special upgrades from the original game.

Also resembling the original game is the familiar loot loop, where Shovel Knight uses all the plunder found during their journey to purchase a bevy of upgrades and new outfits from the world's quirky inhabitants.

Dig's various stages will feature the same kind of crafty design that gave the original its character — but they won't be set in stone. Each playthrough features a different sequence of pre-crafted stages for "infinite replayability." 

Shovel Knight is widely regarded as the figurehead and trendsetter of indie gaming, with its nod to retro greats like Mega Man and Metroid wrapped in a thoroughly modern package.

Along with making its way onto all major consoles, the Knight even made cameos in other major releases, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Yooka-Laylee. Yacht Club has been working on Shovel Knight and its various offshoots for a long time, and it seems that's a trend that won't be going anywhere in the near future.

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EXCLUSIVE Interview with Redeemer Devs, Sobaka https://www.gameskinny.com/7436j/exclusive-interview-with-redeemer-devs-sobaka https://www.gameskinny.com/7436j/exclusive-interview-with-redeemer-devs-sobaka Fri, 19 Jul 2019 08:00:01 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

In 2017, Redeemer, a top-down shooter, was released for PC to some mixed reviews. Critics said the game had heart, but there was a lot of room for improvement that could make this game a great one. 

Sobaka, the developer of Redeemer, listened and two years later, they are releasing Redeemer Enhanced Edition which is coming to PC, and for the first time ever, consoles.

During E3, I was able to talk to Sobaka and discuss their present, their past, and what is to come in the near future. 

Redeemer: Enhanced Edition

If you have played Redeemer or have seen gameplay of it, you know the combat is a bit intense and brutal. The people over at Sobaka had to do some research in order to get the action in Redeemer just the way they wanted. 

"We had played a lot and we had watched a lot of action movies so we didn’t really need a rehearsal. Just like in any good action movie – it is cool to smash faces! Games could be really cool without a bloodshed for sure – at the end it is all about fun!"

When Redeemer first hit the PC market in August of 2017, they not only listened to the critical reception but also the response from the players. Over time Sobaka was able to release some patches, added new languages, and even a Russian voiceover which was made by the community.

However, in order to give the fans the updates they wanted to see in the game, they had to find a new publisher. 

"At some point we were talking to BUKA and then we realized that we should release our game on consoles. Our PC publisher, Gambitions, didn’t see that this way. They figured it won’t be profitable. BUKA figured it the other way. Thus, we’ve reached an agreement with BUKA to port Redeemer to the consoles."

Now with BUKA controlling the publishing rights to Redeemer, Sobaka can bring the best possible version of the game to PC and introduce it to a whole new audience on consoles. 

While it could be difficult to satisfy gamers nowadays, Sobaka listened to what their core audience wanted to see brought to the Enhanced Edition of Redeemer and tried to deliver as much as they possibly could.

"Leveling system is the core part of this update and it was highly requested by community. Certain skills now improve as player uses them, for example, if you fire an assault rifle a lot, then by the end of the game you deal much more damage with it. On top of that, there is a plenty of perks now so player can choose whether to go for a shotgun or for exploding bullets."

Sobaka believes that this is the progress Redeemer lacked in its previous iteration. They knew that something in the game was missing, but didn't know how important it actually was to the player base until after it was released. 

Life of an Indie Game Developer

Mobile games have a bigger audience than any other style of gaming. Just think about it: everyone has a phone, right? 

Developing a game for mobile, and loading it full of microtransactions sounds like a great and easy way to make a lot of money over time. It's that easy!

Well, it isn't. 

Early in Sobaka's history, they were approached and offered a deal to make mobile games. This would've been great exposure for an indie developer and could put them on a great path to success, but Sobaka turned it down so they could focus on their dream game.

"The point is that mobile games are not that profitable as one might assume. For a steady income you should integrate a lot of ads and in-game purchases into your game to pullthe money out of users’ pockets - we believe there’s no creative component in such kind of work."

Not all heroes wear capes.

In addition to just wanting to get more money from the players, the mobile market isn't as easy to succeed in, especially as an indie developer.

"Beside of that, the competition on the mobile games market is pretty tough and a lot of major companies with a plenty of experience, huge budgets and numerous successful projects can easily “suppress” newbies."

When the newest generations of consoles launched (PlayStation 4, Xbox One), the people over at PlayStation wanted to make their new console the go-to place for indie devs to release their newest projects. 

That's winded down over the past couple years, hugely in part due to the release of the Nintendo Switch. The Nindies Program has helped plenty of smaller developers bring their projects to the front row so they could get more exposure in a sea of games that is always very crowded.

Or so we thought.

"There used to be less video games in general so it was easier for a decent projects to make it to the audience. On the other hand, the gaming audience is much bigger nowadays and I guess overall it would be roughly the same in percentage."

Being an Indie dev is pretty hard nowadays. There are a lot of people and smaller developers all competing to have their place on your gaming platforms.

"Millions of the talented indie developers are working on a games of their dreams just like we are. Eventually everyone is trying to win the attention of the more or less the same audience. It’s because of the responsibility why being an indie-developer is not that easy. If you have a steady job at a major company you don't bother yourself with anything apart from your task but if you’re an indie developer you have to deal with a millions of various issues swamping you."

Besides bugs in the game, competition is the biggest obstacle that all indie developers have to struggle with. 

Future of Sobaka

With Redeemer Enhanced Edition coming to PC and consoles, what is up next for Sobaka?

They are currently working on their next game, 9 Monkeys of Shaolin, which is what they call a "true rebirth of the iconic beat 'em up genre in vein of old-school video games."

The idea for their next project started a few months before they first released Redeemer for PC back in 2017.

"A few months before releasing Redeemer we started to plan our next move. We didn’t know how Redeemer was going to perform but we already had quite a bold idea to develop a third- person game remotely similar to Hellblade. It would have been an expensive and pretty complicated project to sell it to publishers. Then we started toying with the top-down camera, and ended up getting a side view. We set it up a bit and it started to look exactly like beat’em up game players would instantly recognize."

When it comes to certain games, players already know what to do and there is no need to guide them. That is exactly the case for 9 Monkeys of Shaolin. It is reminiscent of a brawler that you would play as kids, but modernized with a cool art style. 

While they had the idea for 9 Monkeys, you still need to make some money in order to start the next project. They were hoping that Redeemer would help finance their next game.

"Before making any next moves we have to earn some money. Redeemer didn’t make it quite well. It made some but you can’t even hire anybody else for this money. We’re going to release 9 Monkeys of Shaolin on consoles so we might have a better shot this time. If we still don’t make enough money… well we’ll just start it over with a new game and another concept. As soon as we make money we will see what to do next."

`

Both 9 Monkeys and Redeemer have plots that are based around the main character avenging deaths of their loved ones. Sobaka prefers to keep the story simple. 

"Revenge is a classic and clear plot idea. Although we want to come up with something trickier, let's agree that a simple story about relentless revenge has its own charisma in it."

While you might have to wait until Q3 2019 to get your hands on 9 Monkeys of Shaolin, you don't have to wait any longer to play Redeemer Enhanced Edition because it is available NOW! 

Redeemer Enhanced Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch!

I would like to thank Sobaka for taking the time during their busy week of E3 to talk to me.

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Unbound: Worlds Apart Announced, Kickstarter Campaign Begins in May https://www.gameskinny.com/k63bm/unbound-worlds-apart-announced-kickstarter-campaign-begins-in-may https://www.gameskinny.com/k63bm/unbound-worlds-apart-announced-kickstarter-campaign-begins-in-may Tue, 02 Apr 2019 12:33:51 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

[Update: As of May 7, Unbound's Kickstarter campaign is live, and the demo is available to all, not just backers.]

Romanian game developer Alien Pixel Studios has released an announcement trailer for their new platformer, Unbound: Worlds Apart.

Described as a "dark fairytale", Unbound follows main character, Soli, on their journey to uncover the secrets behind the disaster that befell their world and ruined their homeland.

The trailer features the game's signature art style, atmospheric environments, and Tim Burton-esque character designs. However, it also shows off Unbound's primary mechanic: reality warping.

Soli has the ability to create a sphere around them that acts as a portal to another dimension. This other world operates on different laws of physics, and certain abilities in the main world will be completely different on the other side.

Sometimes, this portal reveals a way around an obstacle in the main world or uncovers secrets about objects that can't be seen normally. Other times, though, it contains new enemies and traps, introducing an element of strategy in how players will overcome the challenges Soli faces.

Unbound has been in development since 2016 when Alien Pixel developed an idea based on a character who could cast a magical sphere around himself. It's easy to see how far the game has progressed since its first concept trailer.

In fact, Alien Pixel said followers can expect a demo release later this spring.

However, to help cover the costs needed for Unbound to be fully complete, the developers are planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign on May 7:

Bringing Unbound to Kickstarter will not only give us a possibility to finance the development of the game, but it will also keep us on our toes and ensure we are committed to our community. We see it as a promise to our players to deliver the best game we possibly can next year.

Interested players can follow the game's progress on Discord and Twitter

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Cuphead is Coming to the Nintendo Switch This Spring https://www.gameskinny.com/gij12/cuphead-is-coming-to-the-nintendo-switch-this-spring https://www.gameskinny.com/gij12/cuphead-is-coming-to-the-nintendo-switch-this-spring Thu, 21 Mar 2019 11:42:09 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

To start off the Nindies Showcase on Wednesday, viewers were treated to a rather weird tutorial on how to pour milk. At the end of the tutorial, though, Cuphead and Mugman popped out of the bowl to confirm that the Dark Souls of Platformers is making its way to the Nintendo Switch on April 18.

Originally released back in 2017, Cuphead is a critically praised platformer for the Xbox One and PC; our review said it "it is probably the best example of the genre released in the past 15 years."

Behind its tough gameplay, Cuphead was beloved for its beautiful soundtrack and jaw-dropping art style, becoming a hit with fans and critics alike, holding an 86% on Metacritic

Cuphead on Switch will, of course, support two-player co-op, letting friends die together or make their way through the game's ludicrously difficult levels.

After the premiere trailer, Nintendo thanked "our friends at Microsoft" for allowing this to happen.

Of course, there have been the recent rumors about Xbox Game Pass making its way to Switch along with a port of Ori and the Blind Forest, which might not seem too far fetched considering Microsoft is planning to bring Xbox Live to the Switch

What's more, in a tweet after the showcase by Larry Hyrb (Major Nelson), it was confirmed that players will be able to unlock Xbox Achievements on the Switch port of the game, and that they'll be able to play as Mugman during the single-player mode thanks to a post-launch patch.

Interested players can pre-order Cuphead for the Nintendo Switch here for $19.99. The game is currently available for the Xbox One, PC, and MacOS. 

The Nindies Showcase also unveiled a surprise mashup between The Legend of Zelda and Crypt of the Necrodancer

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Late to the Game: Way of the Passive Fist, a New Dawn for Beat 'Em Ups https://www.gameskinny.com/98sud/late-to-the-game-way-of-the-passive-fist-a-new-dawn-for-beat-em-ups https://www.gameskinny.com/98sud/late-to-the-game-way-of-the-passive-fist-a-new-dawn-for-beat-em-ups Wed, 06 Mar 2019 13:56:05 -0500 Allison M Reilly

Editor's Note: This review is part of our "Late to the Game" series, which highlights and examines games we initially missed.

Way of the Passive Fist from Household Games is a side-scroller beat 'em up, but, as "passive fist" suggests, the main character doesn't fight. Instead, the mysterious Wanderer uses parries, dodges, and deflections to clear through each wave of enemies.

The only "attacks" the Wanderer does are counters or shoves to remove a tuckered out bad guy. The parries and dodges give Way of the Passive Fist a rhythm game vibe, where it's all about timing versus button mashing or outsmarting the enemy.

It seems like an obvious take on a well-worn concept: the player dodges and deflects everything instead of throwing punches. Yet, Way of the Passive Fist delivers a new-school indie experience that feels straight out of the '90s arcade at the same time.

A Well Executed Twist On A Timeless Concept

The defensive posture of the game's mechanics is a subtle, but refreshing, take on a normally offensive video game genre. Unlike most brawlers, there's also no co-op mode, so Way of the Passive Fist is more story-driven, focusing on the Wanderer's journey across planet Zircon 5 to save what's left of humanity. The game's emphasis is still on the action and clearing enemies, but the story creates a compelling investment in the Wanderer for the player.

Although a beat 'em up, Way of the Passive Fist plays like a rhythm game where the core mechanics are timing and pattern recognition. The Wanderer can counter several enemies at once, but the enemies attack one at a time.

Each enemy has it's own pattern, or rhythm, and each enemy's pattern type gets incrementally harder (both in speed and pattern) as the player progresses through the chapters. The enemies also alternate among themselves when attacking.

Overall, the game has great pacing. Most of the time, each scene feels doable with an appropriate level of mastery.

The graphics and soundtrack are also top-notch, fitting the game's sci-fi tale and ambiance. The 16-bit pixelated visuals is a nice old-school throwback that adds variety to the atmosphere.

Backdrops can be an afterthought in beat 'em up games, since they're not typically about the environment. However, Household Games' attention to detail in the backgrounds, enemy designs, music, and effects augments what could otherwise easily be a boring and repetitive experience.

Small Flaws That Can Ruin The Experience

The critiques I have for Way of the Passive Fist are tiny, but they can ruin the gaming experience if players don't have perseverance or fortitude. For example, the first chapter of the story mode may put some players off.

While it begins as a tutorial, introducing the player to some of the game's basic elements, all of the explanation disappears when the boss, Breen, shows up. Simply, it's not obvious how the player is supposed to defeat Breen, and there is nothing to indicate whether attempts are wrong because of poor timing or because they are the incorrect thing to do.

Although the adjustable difficulty is a positive for Way of the Passive Fist, I didn't appreciate needing to adjust the difficulty just to get through the first boss. It's brutal for new players when late parries don't count toward a combo, especially when they're still learning the game's controls and enemy patterns, and Breen requires combos to be defeated.

Pros:

  • Awesome graphics
  • Even better soundtrack
  • Original concept

Cons:

  • Bosses have steep learning curve
  • Not great if you're no good at timing or rhythm
  • No co-op mode

In conclusion, Way of the Passive Fist is a slick, well-executed concept with incredible fun to be had. It's a title that's original yet familiar at the same time.

It's not perfect, but the quirks almost make perfecting every parry and pattern a rewarding goal — it certainly hasn't gotten the recognition it deserves for revitalizing experience it provides. If this is the first you're hearing of Way of the Passive Fist, the way of the passive fist is worth knowing and trying out for yourself.

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Roguelite Metroidvania Scourgebringer Scintillates in Announcement Trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/af7ne/roguelite-metroidvania-scourgebringer-scintillates-in-announcement-trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/af7ne/roguelite-metroidvania-scourgebringer-scintillates-in-announcement-trailer Tue, 05 Mar 2019 05:15:02 -0500 Joshua Broadwell

Flying Oaks Games, an independent development studio based in Europe, and publisher Dear Villagers recently announced a new collaborative project, Scourgebringer, an action-packed, roguelite Metroidvania.

The story revolves around main character Kyhra as she uncovers the mysteries of a sinister monolith that has suddenly appeared, threatening the very existence of her world. Along the way, she encounters incredibly powerful bosses, enigmatic ghosts, and secrets left behind by previous explorers.

Scourgebringer's gameplay draws its inspiration from Metroidvania and action games of old, and the developers seek to combine that sense of mystery and danger with fluid controls and aerial combat.

However, it's not a traditional Metroidvania in the sense that Metroidvanias require backtracking with newfound powers. Scourgebringer is all about moving forward and finding alternative routes to do so. The environments Kyhra must explore are pre-built around specific challenges and presented in a procedural style.

Joonas Turner, of Nuclear Throne and Tormentor X Punisher fame, is creating the game's soundtrack, which Flying Oaks and Dear Villagers say will be one of the game's major strengths.

Flying Oaks' Thomas Altenburger said the game has been in development for only a few months, but the process is completely open. That means the team shares progress and even budgets with players, incorporating the feedback they receive in the process.

There's certainly been no shortage of roguelites and Metroidvanias in recent years. However, Dear Villagers's involvement suggests players have something unique to look forward to with Scourgebringer.

The publisher began a few years ago under the name Playdius, but Guillaume Jamet, head of publishing, said Playdius overextended itself with too broad a focus, harming its branding in the process.

The company rebranded as Dear Villagers and plans to narrow its focus on meaningful, mid and hardcore games for PC audiences. Specifically, their goal is working with "indie games that reach for higher, maybe AA-style games. What we're looking for right now are games with very nice visuals, something visually astonishing, and great gameplay with a twist."

Those looking forward to playing such a game might have a bit to wait, since Flying Oak hasn't mentioned an anticipated release date. However, more information on the game's progress can be found via Flying Oak Games on Twitter.

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Snail Games Announces Outlaws Of The Old West With Trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/i0b9i/snail-games-announces-outlaws-of-the-old-west-with-trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/i0b9i/snail-games-announces-outlaws-of-the-old-west-with-trailer Mon, 25 Feb 2019 12:49:59 -0500 QuintLyn

Snail Games, publisher of a number of free-to-play online and mobile games, recently announced the launch of a new publishing label dedicated to releasing independent games from North America and Europe. The new label, named Wandering Wizard, is kicking things off with an open world sandbox survival western, Outlaws of the Old West, developed by Virtual Basement.

Outlaws of the Old West is set in the nineteenth century American West, and players take on the roles of settlers trying to tame the land. To survive the old West, they'll need to hunt, forage, mine, and craft the materials they need. As they progress, players will be able to construct everything from camps to forts, and they can even become mayor of their own towns.

Gameplay takes place on servers hosting up to 150 people, and as players explore the map, which is filled with deserts, plains, swamps, and mountains, they'll decide the direction the narrative on their server takes. Using a morality system, they'll be able to build their own unique reputations, taking on roles ranging from a defender that protects other players and settlements to a cold-blooded outlaw.

Just as the players drive the narrative, they will also determine the economy. They can mine for gold, farm and craft, and even purchase land deeds that allow them to setup shops and auction houses for trading with other players. Those with the inclination can also make a living hiring themselves out as a mercenary or a guard.

This system will provide something for just about every type of player, as those who elect to become farmers, hunters, and miners will need the protection that can be provided by the gunslingers. On the flip side, fighters are going to need someone to supply them with the basic items for living. Of course, if you feel like more of a villain, you could just try to take what you want.

According to the Outlaws of the Old West Steam page, the game is set to release on March 12, 2019. Of course, this may be the Early Access launch rather than the official one. 

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10 Most Anticipated Indie Games of 2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/i9021/10-most-anticipated-indie-games-of-2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/i9021/10-most-anticipated-indie-games-of-2019 Wed, 05 Dec 2018 16:38:28 -0500 ESpalding

[{"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/n/d/end-slide-6f59d.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/n/d/end-slide-6f59d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"191721","description":"

So then, there you have it! Ten great indie games which are going to be heading our way in 2019. Of course, we've only scratched the surface as there are so many amazing indie games in development at the moment and many we will see in the coming year.

\n

Are you looking forward to any of these ones? Maybe you are excited about something else?

\n

Let us know which games you are most looking forward to seeing and we will try to keep you informed about them as well as many other titles arriving next year and beyond!

"},{"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/t/r/i/trine-45c96.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/t/r/i/trine-45c96.jpg","type":"slide","id":"191545","description":"

Trine 4

\n

Developer: Frozenbyte
Release date: TBA 2019

\n

Not much is known about what Frozenbyte will be bringing us with Trine 4; there isn't even an official trailer for it, but given that Trine 3 gained quite a lot of negativity, fans are hoping that they have learned what wasn't done well last time and have built on that. 

\n

This time around they have partnered with Modus Games and Trine 4 will eventually be available on PS4, XBox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.

\n

As the news of a new Trine game was announced by accident by someone that wasn't the developer, we still don't know all that much about it. But we'll be sure to let you know when we do. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e16a8fe84e4d89a3763fca0d525e4fee.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/e16a8fe84e4d89a3763fca0d525e4fee.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12508","description":"

Spelunky 2

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Developer: Mossmouth
Release date: TBA 2019

\n

There is currently a frenzy of excited Spelunky fans eager to find out when the next installment is coming to our screens. Those who went to PAX West this year have already had a look at it and, judging by the chatter, it is looking like a worthy successor! 

\n

In Spelunky 2, you play as the daughter of the spelunker from the first game, who is trying to make her own way in the underground world. She has taken to the skies and is now exploring the tunnels on the moon. There are plenty of new dynamics, critters, and mobs to fight against.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a0099d04bd2d60eae3b0b3c2d8bc9ada.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a0099d04bd2d60eae3b0b3c2d8bc9ada.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12507","description":"

Phoenix Point

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Developer: Snapshot Games
Release date: June 2019

\n

It is always exciting when a founding father of a genre returns to their roots. That is what Phoenix Point is.

\n

It is being made by the creator of the original X-COM series, Julian Gollop. It is a squad-based game using turn-based tactics and strategy and is said to be the true spiritual successor of the original series. It has already got a massive fanbase, which is evident from its hugely successful Fig campaign, launched in 2017, where it raised $765,948.

\n

In the future, Earth is decimated by a deadly outbreak called the Pandoravirus. It has the ability to mutate a being almost instantly by combining human, animals and alien DNA. This gives the game an ever-evolving menace to deal with. The aliens themselves are procedurally generated so players will constantly be having to evolve their own tactics in order to defeat them.

\n

Upon release, Phoenix Point will be available on PC, Mac and Xbox One.

"},{"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/l/valley-gods-game-0b84f.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/l/valley-gods-game-0b84f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"192080","description":"

In the Valley of the Gods

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Developer: Campo Santo
Release date: TBA 2019

\n

The last time developers Campo Santo were on the scene was back in 2016 with their sensational mystery game Firewatch. Their latest game, In the Valley of the Gods, aims to take you on a journey through 1920s Egypt while out to discover new archaeological discoveries.

\n

You play as an explorer named Rashida who has one more shot to make it to the big time as a filmmaker. She has been sent out to Egypt to try and uncover new ancient relics and to document the whole thing. Unfortunately for you, the only other person on this adventure is your former partner who you have absolutely no desire to work with again.

\n

In the Valley of the Gods does not have an exact release date just yet, but we do know that when it becomes available it will be on PC, Linux and Mac.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/7690dfd1c98ce588b7cb6a8cdeea742e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/7690dfd1c98ce588b7cb6a8cdeea742e.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12505","description":"

Sable

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Developer: Shedworks
Release date: TBA 2019

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Undoubtedly, the first thing that grabs you about Sable, by UK-based developer Shedworks, is its unique comic book art style. It went down a storm at E3 2018 and gained a lot of interest from fans and press alike.

\n

The story starts when the titular character sets out into the desert for her tribes "right of passage". To become an adult, Sable must explore her surroundings, unlocking ancient histories and learning about the world around her. This is very much an exploration game with some platforming and puzzle elements thrown in for good measure. There is absolutely no combat in the game at all. Everything is focussed on exploration.

\n

There is no definite date for Sable's release but, until we know, here is the E3 announcement trailer for you to watch.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/82fac97c2ac7fddd7743d6f0bb2e3759.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/82fac97c2ac7fddd7743d6f0bb2e3759.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12504","description":"

Session

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Developer: crea-ture Studios
Release date: Q2 2019

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Fans of the skateboard subgenre have been hoping for a follow up on the vastly successful Skate 3 but, as it has already been confirmed by EA that there isn't going to be a Skate 4, there was a big hole in the market which needed to be filled.

\n

Enter crea-ture Studios and their game Session. Back in 2017, the studio launched a Kickstarter campaign to try and raise some money to make and release their own skateboard game. They were initially looking to raise CA$80,000 but managed to get a massive CA$163,700 in funding.

\n

Session promises to reignite your passion for skateboarding and wants you to explore what it means to be a street skater. The only limit to the tricks you can do is your creativity and your dedication. Some of the game's features include a video editor which will allow you to film, edit and create your own montage to then show to the game's community.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/39c70a3458d0fe6701b05c8e5dd5456d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/39c70a3458d0fe6701b05c8e5dd5456d.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12503","description":"

PHOGS!

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Developer: Bit Loom Games
Release date: TBA 2019

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If you love bright colors, puzzles, and physics-based games, then, my friend, PHOGS! is going to be the game for you. Developed by Bit Loom Games and published by Coatsink, both in the UK, the game has been doing the round on the expo circuit this year and has been a roaring success.

\n

In PHOGS!, you play as a creature which resembles two dogs who are connected to each other via the mid-section. The aim is to travel through the "Phoggyverse" completing puzzles and overcoming various obstacles. Sounds pretty straightforward but with two characters for the price of one to control, things could get interesting!

\n

It is going to be released across multiple platforms but, as of yet, we don't know which ones that will be.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/0a9d0283c9ee3fcbfd43bdb313b1744b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/0a9d0283c9ee3fcbfd43bdb313b1744b.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12502","description":"

Creaks

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Developer: Amanita Design
Release date: TBA 2019

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You might think that this is an obscure choice, but the folks at Amanita Design have a pretty good cult following thanks to their smash hit point-and-click Machinarium. The artwork of their games is unmistakable!

\n

There isn't a whole lot known about this game. In fact, on the game's Steam store page, all it says is "meet your new neighbors".

\n

In the teaser trailer for Creaks, you get the impression that this is going to be another point-and-click adventure which is heavy on puzzles and problem-solving. The setting looks dark and eerie with great attention to the smallest details.

\n

Once we know any more details about Creaks, we will let you know. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a1d6331974bfc8e00c991e5d044212f7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a1d6331974bfc8e00c991e5d044212f7.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12501","description":"

Sunless Skies

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Developer: Failbetter Games
Release date: January 31, 2019

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Even though Sunless Skies has been in Early Access on Steam for quite some time, it is finally getting a full release at the beginning of next year. Since hitting Steam back in 2017, it has been getting positive reviews all the way through its development, so this is looking like it is going to be a great addition to your indie collection. 

\n

In the second of their Sunless games, Failbetter Games wants you to take command of a flying locomotive and explore the reaches of space in this Victorian Gothic adventure RPG set among the stars.

\n

Sunless Skies is being developed for Windows, Linux and Mac.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cc17c6737aadf9c747c20fd22f3428f7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/cc17c6737aadf9c747c20fd22f3428f7.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"12500","description":"

Sea of Solitude

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Developer: Jo-Mei Games
Release Date: Early 2019

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Sea of Solitude was announced last year as one of EA Originals' next indie titles, but it was at E3 this year that we got to see more of this stunning indie game.

\n

The game follows a young woman called Kay as she battles loneliness while trying to survive in an abandoned, submerged city. Her feelings and fears have turned her into her own personal enemy and the only hope she has of getting back to normal is to get help from the monsters lurking around the city. 

\n

Sea of Solitude will be available on Windows, PS4, and Xbox One.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/1/2019-1aa0f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/2/0/1/2019-1aa0f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"191722","description":"

This year has been a fantastic year for gaming. Both indie and AAA developers have pushed out some amazing games and, if conferences like E3 are anything to go by, 2019 is going to be another amazing year for gaming.

\n

Most of you will already know which AAA games you are most excited for in the coming year, but there are also some great indie games coming up, too!

\n

Join us as we take a look at 10 of the most anticipated games heading our way in 2019.

"}]]]>
Underhero Review - I Need a Hero https://www.gameskinny.com/alp37/underhero-review-i-need-a-hero https://www.gameskinny.com/alp37/underhero-review-i-need-a-hero Sat, 29 Sep 2018 11:13:46 -0400 Kimberly Cooper

Underhero is another one of those games that you might've otherwise missed if you were not actively following its progress. More often than not, it takes a lot of perseverance and charm to get this far and Underhero is a quirky, exciting adventure that changes up the hero formula.

The Story

The game is played within a 2D side-scroller view and while it may feel compact, it's accompanied with delightful, unique characters and a solid story of trying to save the world when you weren't exactly cut out for the job in the first place.

You take on the role of an underling-turned-hero (the Underhero) and unknowingly tasked with saving the world. This puts the antagonist-turned-protagonist into quite the pickle because this obviously isn't what he planned to happen. 

The main character is another one of those silent-types, but the fluid animation and comical moments give him plenty of personality without ever really saying a word. You're paired with the former hero's sword that is capable of changing from a blade into a hammer and slingshot at will. 

The dialogue is both quirky and cute which makes listening to all the passive dialogue quite the adventure.  Each world hosts its own color scheme but they all end up coming off as vibrant and colorful instead of dull and dreary.

Going through each area filled me with excitement as I wondered what sort of enemies I would encounter and what kind of attacks they would use against me. Would I need to duck or jump when they attacked? Would I need to use my shield or bribe them with money because they were too strong? The enemy designs fit perfectly into the peculiar world of Underhero, however, at times I felt like there could have been a larger quantity of enemies between areas.

One thing that had me baffled throughout my play-through was how all of the enemies worked for the corporation led by the main boss in the game, Mr. Stitches, but they never seemed to question why one of their own was out attacking them in the field.

The Battle System

I expected to be faced with either turn-based battles or regular ol' hack and slash when going about my journey and was met with something entirely different. People that are familiar with Undertale might see some similarities in Underhero's battle system. Once you come across a monster you initiate a fight where you can talk to your opponent to get the occasional hint or even bribe them with your own hard earned cash so that they'll leave you alone.

If throwing your money away doesn't sound like your cup of tea, have no fear. Battling involves a little more thought in which you have to actually observe your opponent's actions in order to predict which move they'll use next. If predicted correctly, you're able to dodge moves by jumping or ducking.

Time your own attacks perfectly in tune with the music to get extra damage but your attacks are also based on how much stamina you have which fills back up during the battle.

You can buy potions and other items from the shop back at the HQ as well as finding potions out in the field. The game isn't overly difficult by any means but my complaint is the game occasionally experiences lag during battles which can make them go on longer than necessary or cause you to get hit by attacks. 

There's plenty of fun to be had in Underhero with mini-games, boss fights and puzzle elements with a little platforming thrown in. While you're playing, you get to experience a phenomenal soundtrack composed by Stijn van Wakeren that I found myself listening to throughout the odd hours of the day.

Underhero isn't an overly difficult game and if you ever think an enemy is too much to handle you can always just bribe them so that they will leave you alone. You'll go broke, but at least you're able to continue on your adventure.

Despite the presence of a few bugs, this game was designed by a team of only four people and offers roughly 15-25 hours of gameplay that will scratch that indie itch. If you've been needing a break from Dead Cells or Hollow Knight and just want to experience some witty comments and bash around a few monsters without a fear of losing your head, this is the next best thing.

It's available for $14.99 on Steam, Gamejolt, and Itch.io

A demo for Underhero is still available on Gamejolt and Itch.io for those who need extra incentive. 

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Slime Rancher Now Available on PS4, Xbox One https://www.gameskinny.com/bg2xu/slime-rancher-now-available-on-ps4-xbox-one https://www.gameskinny.com/bg2xu/slime-rancher-now-available-on-ps4-xbox-one Mon, 10 Sep 2018 11:32:12 -0400 Allison M Reilly

Indie hit Slime Rancher from Monomi Park is now out in stores for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Previously only available digitally on Steam and Xbox One, physical copies of Slime Rancher are now on shelves worldwide. Monomi Park partnered with Skybound Games on the new version and has released a new trailer alongside the launch.

Boxed editions of Slime Rancher come with extra content, including:

  • A Slimepedia Booklet (your beginner’s guide to Slime Rancher).
  • A free digital download of the game’s Original Soundtrack.
  • A discount voucher for Slime Rancher merchandise.

PS4 and Xbox One players will also receive console-exclusive DLC. The DLC involves heroic costumes for slimes and a new ranch house, vacpack, and ranch tech for the player, but each console features a different version. The PS4 DLC is goblin costumes and the Sapphire Chroma Pack, while Xbox One players will get pirate costumers and the Emerald Chroma Pack.

Originally launched in August 2017, Slime Rancher has been downloaded more than 5 million times. The boxed editions cost $30. Find them online or at a retailer near you.

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GloGo Review: Send the Ball Home https://www.gameskinny.com/y918c/glogo-review-send-the-ball-home https://www.gameskinny.com/y918c/glogo-review-send-the-ball-home Thu, 30 Aug 2018 11:34:49 -0400 Allison M Reilly

Do you know the scene from Happy Gilmore, where Happy yells at the ball after he fails to sink the putt?

"Are you too good for your home? Answer me!"

GloGo by Accordion Games is the video game version of that scene.

Released in January 2018, GloGo is an arcade, puzzle game where the player sends the ball toward its hole (a.k.a home) at the end of the level as fast as possible. Players are the ball, using a keyboard or joystick to control it. Obstacles, such as holes, walls and moving blocks, add difficulty and ensure the "way home" isn't a straight line. The game is a neat concept, but at times so frustrating, you want to punch that guy too.

And GloGo knows it. Rage quitting is one of the Steam achievements.

The Environment Isn't the Problem

GloGo and Accordion Games nail the aesthetic. No frustration here.

The music is perfect for GloGo, reflecting the concept's simplicity while adding flair when the game's objective never changes. Each level has its own track, but the entire soundtrack is dubstep, so I don't recommend this game if you hate electronic music. However, the music doesn't get in the way of the gameplay. Players can easily spend 20 minutes on a level going for the fastest time possible, and the music doesn't distract or get stuck in your head.

The neon color scheme is also a great choice. The bright colors add pizzaz but also make it easy to see the obstacles. I also like that certain objects are always specific colors. The ramps are green, the moving blocks are blue, the ball is white. The neon colors also contrast well against the white ball and black floor. Everything in the game is easy to see and identify; there's no confusion about what obstacle is coming up.

The Platinum is a Lie

Ultimately, GloGo doesn't get a higher rating because it doesn't have a good balance between speed and precision. Level 11, for example, requires so much precision that players need to complete the level several times before thinking about how to do the level faster. Yet, Level 11 is full of jumps where the player won't clear the jump if they're not going fast enough. Ultimately, there isn't much room for players to learn and master levels at their own pace. This can make getting through some levels infuriating.

The platinum times are just about impossible to get. For each level, there are five awards: participation, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Any time matching the participation time or slower earns a participation trophy. In the above photo, to earn bronze, the player needs a time of 20 or 21 seconds. Under 20 seconds earns silver, while a 22-second time will earn the participation trophy.

There are Steam achievements for platinum times that no player has achieved yet. Level 1 has a platinum time of 7 seconds, meaning to get the platinum award, players have to complete the level in under 7 seconds. Six seconds may seem easy but unlike Level 11, there's not much precision to Level 1. It has a straightforward solution, the ball also only goes so fast, and the levels do not provide speed boosts. GloGo consists of 16 levels, four sets of four. The difficulty progression is somewhat steep, but that's expected with only 16 levels. Each level, after the initial learning phase, takes between 10 to 60 seconds to complete. So, finding another second to cut out of seven is tough to do.

Something else GloGo is missing that would greatly improve the experience is an options menu. For example, I would love an options menu to turn off the tutorial messages that come up throughout the first few levels. The messages are helpful for my first playthrough, but break the immersion when I'm trying so very hard to hit platinum-level times.

The Final Putt

Overall, GloGo is a neat concept that invigorates the purest of tryhards and satisfies some casual gamers. For me, I don't want to quit GloGo because if I quit, the game wins. It's a one-player game meant and designed to be beaten. If I can't beat it, who can? But, completing a game so the game doesn't win isn't a very compelling reason to play. Knowing how unforgiving it is to learn each level, I don't look forward to it and I don't expect many other players to look forward to it either.

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Peridium: A Pixelated Take on The Thing https://www.gameskinny.com/rpvm5/peridium-a-pixelated-take-on-the-thing https://www.gameskinny.com/rpvm5/peridium-a-pixelated-take-on-the-thing Wed, 09 May 2018 13:49:40 -0400 Edgar Wulf

Peridium is an old-school point-and-click adventure game made by a small Australian team of developers in just over five days. It follows the story of James Turner, a mycologist who finds himself trapped in a research base deep in the Antarctic. With other researchers, seemingly infected by some unknown disease, trying to break into the station, James must find a way to call for help and evacuate from the area.

Visually, the game uses pixelated graphics which are quite pleasing to the eye. Speech and most actions are represented by animations, and there is never any trouble making out what is going on. The main protagonist, who also takes up the role of a narrator, does an excellent job of conveying his thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Other characters feel lacking in that regard even though, judging by the end-credits, they were all voiced by the same person.

Image courtesy of GO GO Free Games

In a traditional point-and-click manner, you must guide James in finding the necessary tools for solving any given puzzle. A descriptive text appears over any interactive objects, providing a welcome visual feedback and meaning you don't have to click on every square inch of the screen to progress.

The music is subtle, unsettling; similar to what John Carpenter and Ennio Morricone did in 1982's The Thing, from which, more than likely, Peridium has drawn a lot of inspiration.

The game's only shortcoming is its length; it's unlikely to take you more than 30 minutes to complete, though there are two different endings to experience. However, taking the development time and team size into consideration, it is understandable. If you're craving a short and spooky adventure game, Peridium is available on the developer's blog -- for free. If you're feeling generous, you may consider donating a chosen amount and supporting their future projects. Either way, I suggest you give this game a go whenever you have half an hour of time at your disposal.

For more cool off-the-radar games like Peridium, stay tuned to GameSkinny!

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Danmaku Unlimited 3 -- The Only Shmup You'll Need? https://www.gameskinny.com/x4hw3/danmaku-unlimited-3-the-only-shmup-youll-need https://www.gameskinny.com/x4hw3/danmaku-unlimited-3-the-only-shmup-youll-need Wed, 14 Mar 2018 15:04:25 -0400 Jeffrey Rousseau

Today, Doragon Entertainment released Danmaku Unlimited 3 for the Nintendo Switch. After revisiting it on a new platform, I gained new questions. Is this the best version of the game you can play? Is this one of the best indie titles on the Switch? Is this the best shmup released in recent years? 

Danmaku Unlimited 3 (DU3) is a top-down vertical arcade shooter. The Danmaku Unlimited series has been inspired by bullet hell shooters. By design these are games that normally have you surviving waves of enemies throughout each stage. These games are also notorious for seemingly high levels of difficulty. Over time, they've craved out a respectable niche.

The Not-So-Friendly Skies

Although the story is very vague, the player is thrown into the fray and proceeds to fight an unnamed army. The title takes place across seven stages, each named symbolically to piece together the narrative. The plot has loose parallels to the tasks of Valkyries and a pilot's duty.

Each stage take place in well-designed 2D spaces. As you progress, every backdrop appears more and more menacing. This is purposeful, to tell you visually that things are getting dangerous. From the vicinity of your space station to the ruinous cities of an unnamed planet, you are on a journey to hell and back again where no dialogue is needed. Why not enjoy the scenery ... while you avoid all the bullets.

Control and Comfort

The Nintendo Switch version of this game is the definitive version to own, mainly due to the options you have with control preferences. I found handheld to be the best. There's no change or downgrade of visuals if you go from TV to handheld. Handheld is the best from a personal perspective, and it allows you to bring the action anywhere and everywhere.

Alpha and Omega

DU3 is an interesting game overall, and if you've never played a shmup or have not played them for years, it is all that you need. The game has been built from the ground up to present the genre that has been around since the 1970s.

Like its predecessors, you are tasked with clearing the game and obtaining the highest score possible. To do this, you have to shoot down enemy ships, chain your attacks, and use the special graze system. The graze system, as its name implies, allows you to absorb bullets as they graze you. With enough energy you activate a trance mode. In this mode, you'll be glowing gold and possess even greater attack power and invisibility for a short period.

The game itself features an easy mode and hard mode. Easy mode doesn't feel easy for the unassuming player. Hard mode is well ... only for the most hardcore. The title also features unlockable weapons (with demanding prerequisites), leaderboards, and so forth.

As the game uses high-end 2D sprites, it's one of the most visually striking titles you'll play. The game is also vibrant and features a plethora of details you may not notice all at first. You will keep coming back for more before you know it.

All Things Considered

Danmaku Unlimited 3, despite being a solid title, isn't without its hiccups. The game's difficulty works against it as much as it helps it. There will be a small number of players who will appreciate its hardcore nature; others unfortunately will not. Hardcore games like this are often viewed as archaic. Again, this isn't so much a criticism but an observation.

The Definitive Experience

When you step back and realize this game was the work of one man, the feat is more astonishing. Developer Sunny Tam took a lifelong passion and made a modern-day masterpiece. He didn't sacrifice the natural difficulty of the genre but instead embraced its hardcore sensibilities. Admittedly, it'll take a certain kind of player to enjoy everything this title represents and provides as an experience. If you are that kind of player, this will be the only shmup you'll need for your Nintendo Switch because I doubt you'll find better.

Fans of indie games and shmups can find Danmaku Unlimited 3 available for the Nintendo eShop.

Note: A review code was provided by publisher.

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7 Indie Darlings with a Switch Release on The Way https://www.gameskinny.com/bxjoi/7-indie-darlings-with-a-switch-release-on-the-way https://www.gameskinny.com/bxjoi/7-indie-darlings-with-a-switch-release-on-the-way Fri, 02 Mar 2018 13:21:02 -0500 buymymixtape123

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These are just a few of the many nindies that are coming to the Switch during this year. This is a great time to own a Switch as we already have blockbuster games such as: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and DOOM, and now have these nindies to look forward too. It is great to see the Switch getting a large amount of support, therefore keeping fans interested and more people investing in the console.

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It will be great to see how these nindies play on the Switch when they arrive. I can't wait to try out Shovel Knight: King of Cards and Moonlighter when they drop. Which nindie are you the most excited for?

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/ba8d843c6354060855961377e28b3cb7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/ba8d843c6354060855961377e28b3cb7.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11875","description":"

Moonlighter

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Release: TBC 2018
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Moonlighter is an RPG that is reminiscent of the old school Legend of Zelda games and will be arriving on the Switch this year. Moonlighter expands on the original Legend of Zelda's formula, as you can talk to villagers and take on quests for them which will reward you with equipment and other items. You can also own a shop, which you will be able to manage and make money off of. Crafting also plays a big role as you can make better equipment to help you complete dungeons. Moonlighter promises to be an interesting port to the Switch and is well worth checking out. 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/2/x/h2x1-nswitchds-awayjourneytotheunexpected-image1600w-3188b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/2/x/h2x1-nswitchds-awayjourneytotheunexpected-image1600w-3188b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"180341","description":"
Away: Journey to the Unexpected
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Release: TBC 2018
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Away: Journey to the Unexpected is a first person adventure title where you try to get recruit different people in the world to join your side to try and help you throughout your adventure. There is a negotiation mechanic which is highly reminiscent of trying to negotiate with personas in Persona 5. What really stood out for Away is the graphics. The game is set in a  colorful 3D world, but the characters are cartoonish and are in 2D. This unique graphic choice makes the game look even cooler than it already is. The protagonist of Away wields a stick which allows you to use melee attacks or magic spells. Be on the lookout for this game as time goes by!

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Crypt of the NecroDancer

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Release: Feb 01, 2018
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Brace Yourself Games' rhythm like dungeon crawler is coming to Switch on February 1st. I never heard of this game until my friend showed me it last summer, and I, for one, was quite shocked at the intriguing take on an older genre. On the surface Crypt of the NecroDancer looks like a regular dungeon crawler, but it is so much more than that. This game's movement and combat is based off a rhythm movement, similar to Dance Dance Revolution's rhythm controls. So lets say you want to move around in the dungeon, you would have to time your movement to the beat of the background music. If you do this you will gain a score multiplier, and if you are unable to the move to the beat then enemies will be able to attack you and you lose this multiplier. This game is incredibly fun and is a great fit as a nindie for the Switch. This game is also out now so go ahead and get it when you can.    

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Layers of Fear: Legacy 

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Release:  Feb 21, 2018
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Layers of Fear: Legacy is also becoming a nindie, and it will become one of the first horror games that is being ported to the Switch. Layers of Fear first came out in 2016, and it received heaps of praise from critics and fans for its immersive horror experience. In Layers of Fear, you are a painter traveling through a mansion while trying to finish your masterpiece. While trying to finish this painting you go on a journey full jump scares and puzzles, all while finding out more about the painter and how he come to be where he is. Layers of Fear may not have the same frightening build-up as games like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard or Outlast, but it still provides a tense atmosphere alongside an abundant amount of scares and a mysterious plot that will keep you interested throughout the game. The game is out now so if you haven't tried it, go try it now!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a0eb76eaea345ed71a01b6361029373d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a0eb76eaea345ed71a01b6361029373d.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"11872","description":"

Terraria 

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Release: TBC 2018
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Terraria - developed by Re-Logic - is a 2-D make your own adventure sandbox game which has very similar mechanics to Minecraft and could have been influenced by this popular game. Re-Logic first announced that the port for Terraria would be coming out on the Switch last year, but they pushed the release back for 2018. This was disappointment to many Switch owners as many fans were looking forward to exploring the world of Terraria on the new console. 

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Inside

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Release: TBC 2018 
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Playdead's critically acclaimed Inside is now making its way to the Switch, and it will be bringing its darker, eerie visuals and story with it. Playdead's first title - Limbo - earned renown throughout the gaming scene in 2010 as Limbo was a beautiful yet fatalistic and depressing puzzle game. Inside is no different, with sombre themes and puzzles being in the forefront of the game. Furthermore, both titles are driven by their bleak and desolate tales which will shock and amaze you throughout the game. There are no new features arriving with this port of Inside, but being able to play it anywhere because of the Switch's portability is going to be a massive plus for the port.

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Shovel Knight: King of Cards

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Release: TBC 2018
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Yacht Club Games' fan favorite indie game is now coming to Switch as the last piece of standalone DLC called King of Cards. Shovel Knight was a Kickstarter funded plat-former that is reminisce of old 8-bit plat-formers of the late 80s. In the follow-up DLC you're the "King Knight," who is trying to lay their claim on the monarchy by taking on the "Three Kings" who are currently ruling. Other than a new protagonist and 30 new levels, King of Cards will have a new built-in mini card game too.  

"},{"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/i/n/nindiesnews-shovelknight-dcd31.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/i/n/nindiesnews-shovelknight-dcd31.jpg","type":"slide","id":"178846","description":"

Since the release of the Switch last year we knew that the console was going to get a lot of the indie games ported or released onto the eponymous device. Games like: Stardew Valley, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, Yooka Laylee and Retro City Rampage DX have already been ported to the Switch, and these games fit the console like a glove. Nintendo is going to keep up with the ports and new releases of indie games - or nindies - throughout the year with a plethora of nindies coming out soon. So here's 7 nindies you should look out for that are heading to the Switch. 

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Past Cure Review - No Cure for Overwhelming Promises https://www.gameskinny.com/lfppt/past-cure-review-no-cure-for-overwhelming-promises https://www.gameskinny.com/lfppt/past-cure-review-no-cure-for-overwhelming-promises Thu, 01 Mar 2018 14:56:40 -0500 ChrisVeso

The old saying "hard work pays off" still holds true today, no matter if it's a game, a movie, a book, whatever. When we receive a finished project, we should always take into account how much work went into it.

And that is true when it comes to indie developers.

We've seen indie developers rise from financial struggles and problems with their own internal decisions to pull out an amazing product that they feel comfortable with and hope the vast majority will enjoy. In some cases, it pans out great.

Not this time. No sir. Nope.

Past Cure is a perfect example of a game developed by a new studio with little to no experience in the gaming industry but with hopes to bring a product that many would enjoy. Here, however, things clearly fell off the track, despite promising trailers and "game awards" to back them up.

The Story? I Wish I Knew. 

Here's how the developers explain the game:

Past Cure is a dark psychological thriller that blurs the lines between dreams and reality. An intense, cinematic, story-driven experience that challenges the player to use mind-bending mental abilities to survive.

You follow Ian, a troubled ex-soldier with no explanation as to how he was able to afford a two million-dollar house in the middle of nowhere. He has psychic powers that will never be explained along with amnesia from being abducted. Ian tries to find the cure to his power and a lead to the people who abducted him and gave him these powers. His brother Marcus, whom you never see, tells him that there's a drug called "Nexus" that gives the user powerful abilities. So it's up to Ian to find the president of the company that developed Nexus.

You enter these dreamlike sequences as your sanity starts to fade. And let me tell you, the only redeeming quality of these sequences is the Milk Men. They never explain who they are or how they affect your sanity, but they're there, and that's all you need to know, I guess.

What's worse is that there's an inconsistency in how the story builds up because it doesn't have enough time (or budget) to build a story around the world, so you're left with bare details. They barely tackle any subject or conflict, and when they do, they drag out poorly conceived segments, assuming that doing so will build tension. It's like reading a comic book by a 12-year-old -- there's little to no detail, but in their mind, it's a MASTERPIECE.

Gameplay? Good Luck With That.

Past Cure struggles with what it wants to be. It pushes the agenda for an "action vs. stealth" type of a game, where you can choose what path you want to take to progress through a linear level, only to be guided to one enemy. The controls are atrocious and poorly implemented. Ian moves like a sloth, and controlling his aim is close to impossible, with no thought-out targeting scheme. Your dead-angle will struggle to aim correctly, your shots will recoil like crazy as you struggle to play how the game wants you to, and most importantly, HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT is a no-go. Otherwise, you're forced into a "cinematic fight" while you're getting shot at.

The stealth segments in Past Cure are a joke. There's no reason to sneak around when the enemies present little to no threat. Crouching is sluggish and slow, and sneaking around will just drag out the game.

The progression in this game is not thought out at all, and they drag every sequence and tutorial till they can milk the four-hour time frame.

To summarize the controls in this game: The game doesn't want you to have fun and play the game with fluid controls; the game wants you to play how the game wants you to -- slow, clunky, and forced.

You know it's bad when the developer barely shows any gameplay depicting shooting at the bad guys. If anything, they'll show off a small, two-second clip on their twitter of them head-shotting a guy.

Visuals? Eh. Sound? Ha!

Using Unreal Engine 4 to the best of their abilities, the developers seem to have taken every preset object they downloaded and placed them wherever they seem to fit. Gotta fill up space? Just fill it up with random tables and chairs since you have no creativity.

Of course the game is going to look slightly presentable when it's built using Unreal Engine 4, but they do not use it to the best of their abilities. And it's clear once you see the whole game that any traces of exciting sequences that we were shown in the trailer were poorly implemented within the game.

This poor implementation includes the sound design. Sound is a very important feature to a game, as it helps build tension, excitement, and a calm atmosphere. Well, you can throw your hopes and dreams away because Past Cure is another example of using stock sound effects and stock music. Every second that passed by with repeating instrumentals was another second that I could have used to play a better game, like Max Payne 3

Final Verdict

Usually it's okay to give small indie studios a pass since they have a lower budget and often an inexperienced team. The team behind Past Cure should be given some credit, as they didn't get their game crowdfunded and started off with a small team.

However, that shouldn't give them a pass for the game's horrible presentation and the fact that they still ask for your time to play through the game and give it a chance. This is not a spoiler, but during the credits, they had the decency to list the people who left the project during production and still thanked them.

I would not ask anyone to try this game out.

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