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Nintendo Switch Previews Pax East 2018 Previews

PAX EAST 2018 – Kaet Must Die Switch Version Hands-On

A hidden, dark, and creepy challenge that Switches expectations of what a puzzle game is.

Tucked into a small corner of PAX EAST was a small, non-decorated booth. Standing there was a young man, and a cosplayer dressed in a Gothic themed dress. It was clear the game that I would be demoing would be dark, twisted, and deadly. This is Kaet Must Die from Michigan-based Strength In Numbers. It seemed rather strange that a game such as this would be tucked inside of a corner booth, wedged between the wall, the Indie Megabooth, and Devolver Digital. However, this was a gaming convention, and I came here to play games. With a brief introduction, I sat down and began my demo. 

Kaet Must Die puts you in the role of a young woman named Kaet, who awakens in a filthy sewer, beneath an unknown city. It is apparent that somehow, she has slipped into an alternate reality, filled with evil and darkness. She has no means of self-defense and no navigation tools. To escape, she must secure magical skulls and place them within the shrine, located at the center of the level. The skulls are scattered throughout the sewer. With a multitude of threats lurking in the dimly lit corners, Kaet must be vigilant, observant, and stealthy in order to survive.

The Switch Factor

Kaet Must Die was played on a Nintendo Switch, a surprise considering the nature of the game. Overall, the game ran really well, but smooth gameplay and crisp visuals could not help me stave off death. I played the game with a complete open mind, with no prior knowledge of what I was supposed to do. I only knew that I had to navigate the sewer and locate an exit. Within moments, I turned a corner, a zombie grabbed me, and it was game over. From this point on, I knew that the game would be a trying tale of trial-and-error. I navigated further in the sewer, recovering at least one skull and voiding the zombies.

In Kaet Must Die, the zombies look more like mannequins, but with green eyes. Even getting remotely close to them is similar to setting off a landmine. I managed to secure one skull but realized there were multiple skulls I need to secure. As I attempted to navigate, robed trolls lurked in the shadows, moving around discreetly without a pattern. Eventually, they found me, and electrocuted Kaet, ending my efforts. Something inside still wanted to continue my trials, however.

Try, try again…

On my third try, I maintained more care, and was also given the hint of using glowing mushrooms to send distracting flares to the robed trolls. It worked, and allowed me to stay alive for a little longer. Throughout the sewer, garbage and dim light maintained an atmosphere of constant alert. I looked closely, securing another skull, but alas, I met my demise once again. A troll snuck up behind me and electrocuted me. Being that I died three times, I determined that my time with the demo was over.

Kaet Must Die feels like an acquired taste. I talked to one of the developers at the booth, and the game was touted as a painful practice of trial and error. Should players wish to complete Kaet Must Die, they will have to die a lot. I suppose that is part of the fun, if you like that sort of torture. During my play-through, there was no means of self-defense and no navigation tools. My mental deduction skills were put to the test right from the jump. With that being said,  learning where the skulls are and making it to the end of the level will take repeat game-play. On one hand, this is reminiscent of classic games, most particular the side-scrolling action-platformers of the 1990’s, like Mega Man. Of course, to beat those games, players had to fight, die, and repeat until they figured out how to beat the game. But Kaet must Die touts itself as one of the most hardcore horror puzzle games ever made. In the short time that I played. it was unique and different, and there are those that will probably enjoy the brutal difficulty and lack of guidance. However, for general game players, there may be better, more refined horror experiences elsewhere.

The Bitter End…

Kaet Must Die looks and feels like a game better suited for a twitch streamer. I can imagine an audience closely following a streamer and seeing just how far they’ll go in a competitive format. For video game players, Kaet Must Die is certainly playable but perhaps not very accessible. I would like to see some means of defense, as well as some form of guidance to the different skulls. It doesn’t have to hold your hand , but it doesn’t have to leave you completely naked to danger. The character sounds like an amazing super natural being. Perhaps a limited use of her pwoers will work to make the game more accessible. Kaet Must Die is a work-in-progress, and I am hopeful it can evolve into something better.

Kaet Must Die is currently on Steam and will come to Nintendo Switch in Q2 2018.

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Pax East 2018 PC Previews

Pax East 2018: Deathgarden Preview

Deathgarden is the newest game from Behaviour Interactive and is the spiritual successor to Death by Daylight. Following the same idea, Deathgarden has you assuming the role of one of five “runners” who’s goal is to try to activate 2 out of 3 totem poles to open the exits, while being actively hunted by a heavy armored “Hunter.” Once you activate a totem, your location is revealed to the Hunter who will come quickly and hard. Don’t worry though, the hunters are without ways to defend themselves.

The Hunted

Each Runner is armed with wrist arrows to stun and knock back the Hunter. Should you be downed by the Hunter, your team can rescue you and revive you, but you will most likely be sent to the blood post to think about what you have done. Once again, your team can rescue you from the “blood post,” but the Hunter can execute you removing you from the game. Once the “Hunter” has removed 3 people from the game, the round ends. Best 2 out of 3 rounds wins. The runners are playing in third person, while the Hunter is playing in first person. This whole experience creates a really fun “cat and mouse” type gameplay that I can see being fun for a long time.

Overall, although in early alpha, the game ran super smooth and without many hiccups. The Hunter did seem to be a little overpowered. Several times, I was downed and was instantly sent to the Blood Post only to have the hunter run straight over to me to execute me without my team having a chance to rescue me. When I explained this to the dev, they stated to me that the Blood Posts don’t become active until at least three people have been downed and even after a blood post is activated, there is a 15 second wait til a runner could be executed. Playing the game, it did not seem to be the case, but I also wasn’t counting the seconds or watching to see how many runners were downed before me. Which speaks well for the game and not me playing. I may have been a bad teammate, but the game was so intense that I was running for my life most of the time, enjoying myself while playing a game that normally would not have appealed to me. Deathgarden has opened my eyes to these types of games, giving me a reason to go back and try Death by Daylight.

Another Proven Gamer, Matt Murray, previewed the game from the Hunters Perspective. Here are his thoughts:

The Hunter

Hey everyone, Matt here. I previewed the Hunter role in Deathgarden opposite to Tricky’s experience with the runner. I’ve played quite a few asymmetrical multiplayer games but none have ever really nailed the formula. Jason was scary in Friday the 13th and the monsters in Evolve all were pretty cool but playing as the bad guy in these types of games often feels slightly limiting, underwhelming, and kind of clunky. I’ve always felt more like I was flailing and failing than some monster of total bad-assery. That is decidedly not the case in Deathgarden. I ended up playing two rounds, I won one and lost the other. The whole time I felt like I was walking imminent Death. I felt like the soldier from Doom that had been accidentally dropped into a bad teen slasher flick. They were a cabin full of kids expecting a machete wielding maniac. Unfortunately, for them, I was a shotgun duct taped to a cheetah.

Though I only pulled out the win in one of my two rounds I spent most of my time smiling like an idiot. Deathgarden, if nothing else, is incredibly fun to play. Bouncing between the three capture points I’d watch the runners scurry off like mice as I’d approach. Most times I would down at least one of them. I liked that I was able to see an outline when one or more of the runners was at a particular capture point. It made it easier to track who was where. I wasn’t entirely clear on how the Blood Posts worked. I know my win condition was to kill three of the runners, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to trigger the stands when I needed too. This was probably more due to how much info I had to take in prior to playing than poor instruction.

In my time with the game, even though I did feel extremely powerful, I never felt overpowered. The round I won was by the skin of my teeth and the round I lost wasn’t particularly close.  I really had a blast playing Deathgarden and can’t wait for it to make it to full release. I think they’ve hit the nerve of the genre that so many have missed.

 

The game is in early alpha with no release date. Platforms unknown at this time though we played on PC for this demo. Price point is also an unknown at this time.  One thing I was assured of, however, was Behaviour Interactive will  be staying far away from loot-boxes stating “We don’t want to go down the same path as EA”.

 

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Companies Conventions Nintendo Pax East 2018

ASTRO Gaming Partners with Nintendo

ASTRO Gaming has announced that they have partnered with Nintendo to release some Nintendo branded Speaker Tags and Headsets. The press release states the following”

“Nintendo captivates and inspires gamers with iconic franchises and perennial characters, capturing the imagination of players across all generations. Nintendo continues to push the boundaries of gaming with Nintendo Switch, which allows players to enjoy their gaming experience regardless of where they play,” said Cris “Soup” Lee, Head of Licensing & Partnerships, ASTRO Gaming. “ASTRO Gaming believes in delivering players unsurpassed audio fidelity with premium products that enhance immersive gaming experiences. ASTRO is delighted to team up with Nintendo to create innovative products that ignite nostalgia and passion for gaming, featuring beloved characters and franchises for fans to collect and enjoy.”

ASTRO Gaming kicks off the new partnership revealing three sets of exclusive speaker tags for A40 Headsets, featuring retro-classic takes on The Legend of ZeldaSuper Mario Bros.™ and Super Mario Bros. 3™.  Developed alongside Nintendo, the ASTRO Gaming A40 speaker tags feature official artwork to ensure an authentic representation of these classic franchises.  Fans can get an exclusive first look at the upcoming tag sets this week at PAX East in Boston, April 5-8 (ASTRO Booth #13055).

ASTRO Gaming speaker tags provide gamers with an opportunity to personalize their listening experience with magnetically interchangeable custom-made art designed for the studio’s entire series of award-winning ASTRO A40 Headsets. Additional details and availability of specific Nintendo-themed headsets, speaker tags and audio accessories from ASTRO Gaming will be announced at a later date.  For more information about ASTRO Gaming, please visit www.astrogaming.com.”

Take a look at the speaker tags below:

PG Thoughts: With all this controversy regarding Nintendo not playing well with 3rd party accessories, it is nice to see some more Nintendo branded 3rd party support. Now if only we didn’t need 3 wires, a phone, and a IT department to get it all working. But hey, we will look cool at least!