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Game Stuff Podcasts

Game Stuff 57 -Pax West 2018

On this episode Kalai and Roberto discuss the Adventures of Roberto Pax West edition. How is Kingdom Hearts? Did Roberto get to actually play the game? Did Roberto play any indies? Listen as we discuss all things Pax West 2018.

Special thanks to the shows contributors, you can find the band of our intro music, Take Away The Ugly here and find Isaac Sagoeii (the shows artist) at https://isaacsagoeiii.carbonmade.com/

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You can find us on Twitter: @GameStuffCast

You can also email us at Gamestuff@provengamer.com.

We are happy and proud to share that Proven Gamer has partnered with the Humble Bundle!  The Humble Bundle is a fantastic initiative and program that allows games to score a litany of games on the cheap — all while making charitable donations to various groups and organizations.  You can click here for the details on Proven Gamer’s Humble Bundle partnership.

If you wish, you can always download the show here – Game Stuff 57 – Pax West 2018

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Nintendo Switch

The Proven 5: Indie Games We Want On The Nintendo Switch

If Blossom Tales and Shovel Knight’s sales are indicative of anything, it’s that indie titles are a smashing success on the Nintendo Switch. Yes, the ‘Nindie’ scene is here to stay, so why not compile a wish-list of PC/PS4-bound indie games that we want on the Nintendo Switch. Here we go!

Black Future ’88:

Black Future ’88 is a 2D cyber-punk side-scroller where you climb an ever-evolving procedural tower that upgrades itself the higher you ascend. Your objective is simple: reach top of the tower and assassinate its insane architect in 18 minutes or less…or your heart explodes. Each pulse-pounding second of hyper-intense gameplay is accompanied by a striking synth score certain to blow your speakers out. Black Future ’88 is currently set to release on Steam in 2018.

The Italianeer:

Assuming the role of a rambunctious 10-year-old boy named Luciano, The Italianeer invites you to punch and pummel your way through 1980s New York City to collect a smorgasbord of food items for your family. With drop-in/drop-out co-op support and gameplay similar to arcade beat-’em-ups like The Simpsons or Turtles in Time, you’d be wise to bring a trusted paisano on your delightfully hilarious adventure; every track-suit-wearing jabroni this side of Brooklyn is hellbent on wipin’ that stramboli-eatin’ grin off your face.

The Swords of Ditto:

Equal parts Majora’s Mask and Rogue Legacy, with just a dollop of Adventure Time, The Swords of Ditto is a couch co-op perma-death dungeon crawler that gives you five days to prepare and confront the Evil Witch Mormo to prevent the world’s end. How, you might be asking, does one go about postponing doomsday if death is a permanent inevitability? The answer is simple: when your randomly-generated hero dies, a century passes and one of your descendants begins the cycle anew.

Eagle Island:

A pixel-lover’s paradise, Eagle Island is an avian adventure unlike no other. As Quill, you must explore the eponymous isle in pursuit of a gargantuan deity known as Armaura – a particularly foul…fowl who has shanghaied with your owl companion Ichiro. Fortunately Koji – your spare sidekick  – is ready to swoop into action. Utilizing ‘falconry-based gameplay’, and Ancient Totems to elementally empower your fine-feathered friend, Quill’s journey is poised to be an ornithological outing for the ages when Eagle Island releases Summer 2018.

Pizza Titan Ultra:

Let’s face it: Crazy Taxi is so 2000-and-lame. Picking up would-be passengers and recklessly playing chauffeur was fun but it’s Current Year, and Current Year is all about pizza delivery. Pizza Titan Ultra is a frantic, arcade-style action game where you pilot a 10-story mobile pizzeria and deliver piping-hot pizza pies all over town. Taking place within a futuristic city (if this is the future, sign. me. up!), fulfilling orders in 30 minutes or less is the least of your worries as your custom mech will constantly contend with (i.e. bash) a number of machines that get in the way of your deliveries (see, that’s what you get for putting pineapple on a pizza).

What do you think? Are these titles worthy of the ‘Nindie’ honorific? What indie games do you want on the Nintendo Switch? Sound off in the comments section below.

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Nintendo Nintendo Switch XBOX One X

Neon Demons: Aftercharge Hands-On Impressions

“So what’s your game about?”, I asked the representative of Chainsawesome Games as I observed a bit of gameplay from a distance.

“It’s a 3V3 FPS where one team is invisible and the other team is invincible.”

I stood there with a perplexed look on my face. Before I even had time to mull over the ridiculousness of the developer’s sales pitch, I asked him to strap me in cause I wanted to see if what he was selling was as fun as it sounded. I can safely say Aftercharge not only met my expectations, but I could easily seeing it giving the likes of Rocket League a run for its money.

So let’s break this down: one team is invisible and the other team is invincible. One team is made-up of invisible robots whose primary goal is to sabotage six glowing tubes known as Energy Extractors located throughout the map. Successfully destroy all six and your team is victorious. Sounds simple right? Of course it does – you’re invisible for crying out loud! Well, it’s not so cut and dry. Striking one of your luminous objectives causes your cloaking device to stop functioning, thus revealing you to your indestructible adversary – the enforcers.

Now, as an enforcer, your objective is to track down those bothersome robots. Only after you have dropped all three robots (and keep them down) does that translate to absolute victory for the enforcer. Again, how hard can that be, right? If you simply camp the Energy Extractors then surely you can just obliterate those robots and call it a day. Especially if you make use of your tracking device – it’s barely even a competition! Not so fast there, chief. Did I mention that the robot team can revive fallen comrades? And you thought that it was going to be easy.

Aftercharge is very manipulative by means of how it appears and initially plays. Both sides seem to play easier than they actually are. As a robot, you need to shed a lot of what most online FPS titles teach you; a run-and-gun approach does not work here. You need to temper that inherent desire to blindly bash everything and everyone around you for a more coordinated tactic. It’s all about patience and communicating with your teammates to find the perfect chance pull a fast one over on the opposing team. Conversely, there is just as much planning and coordination that goes into playing as an enforcer. Between keeping an eye on the Energy Extractors and keeping robots down, things can get dicey in a hurry – especially when you factor in how quickly robots can revive one another.

For a game with such a simple objectives, I was surprised by the level of depth of each side’s gameplay mechanics. There is a lot of strategy to be found in a set-up like this and all of it hinges entirely on communication. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible at online first-person shooters. So much so that I won’t even use a microphone – I’ll just do my own thing and my team be damned. But the cut-and-dry nature of Aftercharge, coupled with how rapid-fire each of the rounds were (seriously, it took me longer to strap on my headset than it did to finish a match) really lends to the accessibility of it. Suddenly I wasn’t so concerned with performing well – I was simply having too much fun to care. It also helps that game controls like a dream and has got a neon-glow TRON-ish vibe going on that I was completely into. 

Aftercharge is set to launch Summer 2018 on PC, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch (YES!!). Chainsawesome Games mentioned to me that Cross-Play will be a thing between all platforms and that there will likely be beta in July A price point hasn’t been set but the developer is considering a $19.99 price point.

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Nintendo Switch

Super Sphere Bros.: SpiritSphere DX Hands-On Impressions

A bit of disclosure: I am totally not writing a favorable preview of SpiritSphere DX just because I won a 1V1 match against its developer. My inflated sense of self-worth has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of gushing I’m about to unleash. With that being said, I was utterly charmed by this gem of a game. It easily turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences of PAX East 2018.

At first glance SpiritSphere DX looks like a concept for a would-be air hockey/pong mini-game meant for Oracle of Ages/Seasons. Kudos by the way to developer Eeendhoorn’s for so skillfully capturing the essence of the 8-Bit era; the sprite work/animation is unquestionably top-notch. The game looks and even feels like am extensive ROM-hack of one of Link’s Gameboy outings. But the more I played it the more I realized that this unassuming ‘sports’ game was cleverly concealing a bit of Smash Bros. goodness within it’s retro-inspired exterior.

In SpiritSphere DX there are four key inputs to be mindful of: ‘Smash’, which allows you to deflect the sphere away from your side of the playing field. ‘Dash’, to make a potentially game-saving sprint towards the eponymous bouncy orb. ‘Item’ lets you make a one-time use of an item you pick up during the match. Items can range from relatively the relatively harmless – such an Arrow Shot or Bomb – to completely game-changing like increased movement speed or make you grow in size. And lastly there is a button assigned to your character’s Special Ability. And yes, SpiritSphere DX has got tons of character.

There are 10 characters to choose from, each one more zanier than the next. Lin for example (a clear-cut female clone of Link) wields a sword and is able to charge her attack to unleash a mighty swing. Baphomet – this game’s Ganon – can grab the approaching sphere and hold on to it before releasing it.  It makes for a insanely unpredictable moment-to-moment gameplay. There is also Ozo, a mage that can only use spells. And a cat…named Buster.

SpiritSphere DX was clearly designed with an eye to the multiplayer experience. While it does have a single-player mode (with an actual story and BOSS FIGHTS!), developer Eeendhoorn wants you to get your buddies together to see who’s best. The game boasts an metric ton of modes such as Squash Mode for 1V1 action, and a ridiculously fun Boss Mode – a 2V1 match where one player controls an over-sized boss. But the most noteworthy of the bunch is Tate Mode. Tate Mode has two players using a single Nintendo Switch flipped vertically with each player holding one of the attached Joy-Cons on each end. I seriously cannot wait to take my Switch on-the-go and challenge folks on a crowded New York City subway; what could possibly go wrong?

If you’ve always dreamed of Mario’s sports series to look and feel like The Legend of Zelda than you have come to right place. SpiritSphere DX launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch May-June 2018.

SpiritSphere DX is also the winner of the ‘Would Have Upstaged Mario Tennis’ Award  which can be listened to in more detail here.  SpiritSphere DX is being published by Fabraz Company, the creator of the oh-so excellent Slime-san (available now on all platforms)

Be sure to follow along with Fabraz, Eeedhoorn, and  SpiritSphere DX’s progress over at their homepage here

Categories
Nintendo Switch Previews Previews

A Ninja’s Scroll: The Messenger Hands-On Impressions

For me (and most fans I imagine), Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos was the gold standard of Ryu Hayabusa’s 8-Bit adventures. It was a sequel that vastly improved over its predecessor and maintained its signature high-level difficulty. It was the best representation of classic Ninja Gaiden. Little did I know that Sabotage Studios was about to set a new benchmark in 2D side-scrolling platforming with The Messenger – the best Ninja Gaiden game I’ve never played.

The PAX East 2018 demo begins with a displeased ninja dwelling on the bothersome chore that is his daily lessons. Apparently there is a prophecy and said prophecy has foretold the end of the world – an apocalyptic scenario that can only be prevented by an ordained savior known as the ‘Western Hero’. The only problem is that doomsday more of a hamper on the ninja’s free time as he considers the stories to be a whole lot of hooey. Well, it doesn’t long for a demon army to start raining fiery meteors upon the ninja’s village both proving wrong and wiping out his entire village in one fell swoop. It’s at this point where that aforementioned hero shows up (fashionably late of course), hands the ninja a scroll, and tasks him with delivering it to East in hopes of ending the curse that has befallen the land. Pretty serious stuff right?  Well yes…and no.

Tonally, The Messenger knows that it’s out to completely obliterate genre tropes. What should play-out as a serious, by-the-numbers platformer, feels more like it borrowed a page from Deadpool’s handbook. From the short time I spent with the game, I was met with video game in-jokes and references, a chatty Shopkeeper that constantly breaks the Fourth Wall, and laugh-out-loud moments during a boss fight of all places. It’s the game’s way of telling you to assume nothing and forget nearly everything you have come to expect from the genre. Even the graphics somehow manage to defy expectations. 

Aesthetically the game could not be anymore Ninja Gaiden; the main character is the spitting image of Ryu Hayabusa and is even sporting his trademark blue garb. The graphics are full of color and pop off the screen. Seriously, I have never seen a retro-style title that looked this good. It captures the simple sprites of the NES-era but also elevates the color palette to bold new places. This is further evidenced by The Messenger’s slick gameplay gimmick: a time warping mechanic which transports the game from an 8-Bit backdrop to an even more vibrant 16-Bit style. While I wasn’t able to gather from the demo what the full implications of this graphic swap would be, each style does impact the level design and the layout of certain obstacles. So even though there might be a blocked path/obstruction in the 8-Bit landscape chances are it won’t be there once you transition of 16-Bit. I was also informed by Sabotage Studio that the graphical transition won’t only be available in the moment-to-moment gamplay – that players can look forward to explore the entirety of the game in both 8-Bit and 16-Bit sprites.

For a game that is clearly inspired by one of gaming’s most important franchises, The Messenger doesn’t mess around with perfecting the Ninja Gaiden control scheme. From the sword slashes to gripping to walls, the controls are insanely tight. I often wondered throughout the demo if Ryu Hayabusa controlled with this much accuracy and precision. The game feels exactly the way it should – until it doesn’t because why quit messing with expectations now?  The silly Shopkeeper I mentioned before dispenses fun upgrades such as a Wingsuit (for gliding purposes – obvi) and a Rope Dart to grapple to surfaces. The Shopkeeper also has access to a Skill Tree – something that completely caught me off guard.

My time with The Messenger while short left me with a childish grin on my face. The demo ended with an over-the-top encounter with what appeared to a tall Lich Mage…which revealed itself to just be wearing a really long cape. For all intents and purposes, The Messenger is a 2D Ninja Gaiden love-letter designed to toy with your expectations with every shift of the screen. What begins as a clear homage to Tecmo’s iconic blue ninja quickly tosses the playbook out the window for a completely fresh experience altogether. It’s really obvious why Nintendo showcased this title in its booth; The Messenger is full of heart and its developers’ love for the genre is uniquely apparent.  I cannot wait to get my hands on the full experience when it is released end of Summer 2018.

The Messenger is also the winner of the DoublePlusGood Award which can be listened to in more detail here. Be sure to follow along with Sabotage Studio and The Messenger’s progress over at their homepage here.

Categories
Nintendo Duel Screens Podcasts

Nintendo Duel Screens 41 – The PAX East 2018 Extravaganza

Andy heads to Boston, MA for PAX East 2018. Which games did he play? What were his favorites?  And which ones deserve ALL of your attention? Find out all this and more as Andy goes into EXTENSIVE detail on the very best games of both Nintendo & The Indie Megabooth.

 

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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!