Monday, 21 January 2013

Kentucky Route Zero: Act I

I could ramble on at great length about the first act of Kentucky Route Zero. But instead, I'll merely mention the strange characters, the slick art style, the unsettling atmosphere and the joy of driving around its spindly, monochrome map learning more about this eerie twilight-bathed land and its inhabitants. Why won't I go into more detail? Simply, Kentucky Route Zero is a game full of charms best discovered first-hand.

Act one of this fine point and click adventure is available here and although short, it is well worth the asking price. I can't wait to see where developer Cardboard Computer (Jake Elliott and Tamas Kemenczy) plan on taking Conway and his old, rattling truck in the months to come.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Rejoice, my fellow hunters! Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate is almost with us! Well, we still have a few months to wait, but I hardly need much persuasion to post something Monster Hunter related, so here we are.

Ultimate is stomping its way to the US on March 19, before swimming across the Atlantic - presumably tied to the back of a Lagiacrus - a few days later on March 22. Ultimate will be released simultaneously on Wii U and 3DS and that means one thing - I'll finally be picking up a Wii U to coincide with the release. I've been putting it off for too long and this gives me the perfect excuse to jump into Nintendo's new console.

While the Wii U version will have full online play, the 3DS version doesn't have this feature. However, cross-platform saves mean I gather resources on the bus to and from work on my 3DS and then transfer them to the Wii U when I get home. Perfect.

While it's doubtful we'll ever celebrate Monster Hunter like they do in Japan, I really hope this is the version which finally convinces those sitting on the fence how good Monster Hunter really is.

And, as if all this Monster Hunter goodness wasn't enough, there are rumours abound that Monster Hunter 4 - due to arrive in Japan this year on 3DS - will also be coming to Vita. The thought of playing an import version on the Vita's sumptuous screen is enough to make a wyvern cry shiny tears of joy.

I'm off for some 1000 Year Crab and Hairy Tuna sushi to celebrate!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Freedom Planet

Years of being mercilessly battered by critics have left Sonic the Hedgehog - that once proud, hi-top wearing flash of blue, sprawled face down on the canvas. Sure, he manages to occasionally drag his limp, bruised body over to the ropes and raise his bloodied face to give us a soupcon of fun - usually in something other than a platform game - but the old codger just hasn't been himself since the Nineties.

It's a shame, because on the Megadrive, the spiky hog was light years ahead of the competition, starring in several wonderful and perilous platform capers. Sonic's star might have faded since then, but rather than sit around and wait for some Cocoon-like rebirth, the team at GalaxyTrail Games have come up with something quite exciting - a frothy platformer which doffs its cap to Sega's old mascot, before zooming away on a madcap dash to the finish line.

Freedom Planet is the name and judging by the excellent demo, the dev team could be on to something of a winner. The game bears a striking resemblance to Sonic's old adventures, but GalaxyTrail have added a fresh injection of fun to the old formula by adding a dose of inspiration from Megaman and Gunstar Heroes.

Multi-tiered levels, unlockable characters with their own unique moves, infuriatingly catchy tunes and breathless platform action should ensure healthy sales and with a modest Kickstarter target already surpassed, this could be big.

Visit Freedom Planet's Kickstarter page to download the demo and see the game in action for yourself.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


When Shiren the Wanderer and Koppa took me on a journey to the Lair of the Golden Condor back in 2008, little did I know the lasting effect it would have. Since then, I've become a complete Roguelike nerd, geeking out at the mere mention of permadeath, procedurally generated dungeons and gold-plated +5 katanas. So, when I found out about Chasm - a Roguelike/platformer in early development from Discord Games - I couldn't help but sit up and take notice.

Taking its inspiration from classic Roguelikes and games such as Diablo and Castlevania, Chasm has its heart in the right place, while the crisp, pixelated visuals have already set my heart aflutter.

The plan is to release the game on Windows, Mac and Linux, with the possibility of a XBLIG release to follow. It's not going to be out in the wild anytime soon, but I plan on keeping my peepers on Chasm as it goes through development.

Visit the official Chasm site to check out the latest news about the game and you can show the game a little love over on Steam Greenlight.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Knytt Underground

Nicklas Nygren’s games are always worth playing but perhaps his most accomplished work has been his fabulous Knytt series. Back in 2008, I urged Sony to bring Knytt Stories to PSN and finally, unbelievably, a new Knytt game has popped up on PS3, Vita and PC – and it’s wonderful.

Knytt Underground is split into three chapters, with the first two introducing the player to the various play mechanics, while the third chapter throws everything together to create yet another spellbinding adventure.

Nicklas – or Nifflas as he's better known - has taken elements from his previous Knytt games and fused them with another of his celebrated works, Within A Deep Forest, to create a brilliant and superbly thought out game where exploration takes centre stage.

What makes Nifflas’ games so memorable is the wonderful environmental sound effects, which blend with the simple visuals to create a sublime atmosphere. Knytt Underground continues this theme with a host of aural delights. From gentle acoustic guitars playing over rustling leaves in the wind, to minimalist electronica, it's all here and it sounds quite incredible through headphones.

If you want to check the game out, you can download a demo (Windows, OS x and Linux) from the Nifflas’ Games website, or grab the digital download from the PlayStation Network.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


This four-level Ludum Dare entry is a perfect coffee break game and features a few neat ideas. The aim is to try and stop a band of prehistoric tribesmen from crossing a map to claim a tasty haunch of meat. The loincloth-wearing humans follow a pre-determined path towards their lunch but by placing objects such as mammoths, ice flows and god statues along their path, you can kill them before they reach their goal.

There's a nice layer of strategy thrown into the mix as each of the items at your disposal has pros and cons. For example, placing a volcano in their path might seem as if it will lead to a fiery death for the hunters - and it often does - but in some cases they'll claim fire from the lava which they can then use to scare away the ferocious beasts you've dropped in their path.

Extinct is a smart little game, even though it's all over in a few minutes. You can play it in your web browser here.

Monday, 7 January 2013


I do love a good Roguelike and the latest to sink its claws into me and drag me off to a grisly death is Chad Cuddigan's Delver – a game which is currently in development for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android devices. Unlike the vast majority of Roguelikes - which are usually viewed from a top-down perspective - Delver is viewed in the first-person, which makes the simple task of rounding a corner a nerve-shredding experience.

The visuals in this spelunking excursion are excellent, with some nifty lighting effects used as you scuttle down corridors, while there are some cool weapons to snaffle, especially the wands which have a devastating effect on the subterranean denizens.

Chad has some big ideas for Delver and although he's constantly beavering away on making it even better, what is here already is really quite special.

For more, head on over to the official website where you can check its development, follow Chad on Twitter and vote the game up on Steam Greenlight.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Radio the Universe

I’ve been on something of a crowd funding crusade of late, throwing my hard-earned cash around as if it were Monopoly money. That said, it has been an incredibly exciting few months, with some fabulous looking projects on the way, including Sui Generis, Maia, Richard & Alice, Ouya and the cheeky little scamp that is Spud’s Quest.

As if all this wasn’t enough, I’ve was tuned into Radio the Universe just before Christmas – a dark and brooding title which, according to developer 6e6e6e, takes its inspiration from games such as Zelda, Dark Souls, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Hotline Miami.

The mere mention of Dark Souls is enough for me to part with my cash instantly, but a quick glance at Radio the Universe’s screens actually brought to mind the overlooked and quirky DS RPG Contact – albeit with a darker edge.

The game hit its Kickstarter target of $12,000 within hours and has now reached all of its stretch goals, which promise to expand the game world, add secondary weapon systems and double the amount of cut scenes.

Head on over to Radio the Universe's Kickstarter page to find out more and see the game in action.