Indie Essentials 5: Dead Cells!

Indie Essentials 5: Dead Cells!

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for another Indie Essentials!

Dead Cells is an Early Access metroidvania game with Souls-lite combat, created and published by the French studio, Motion Twin. I can already tell that this is a game that’s going to devour my time, and I couldn’t be happier! It’s got a beautiful pixel-graphics style with modern graphics effects on top. The soundtrack is neat, but that and the graphics both take a back seat to the combat – it’s absolutely spot on, and super satisfying! The game advocates playing with a controller (as you can see in the screenshot that is this post’s featured image), and I absolutely agree with that.

The game is $/€ 16.99, and can be bought either through Steam or Humble.

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Indie Essentials 4: Capsized!

Indie Essentials 4: Capsized!

I had an involuntary break from creating videos last week, due to a malign case of man-flu, but I’m back now! This week’s Indie Essentials video is about the 2011 Alientrap Games’ game, Capsized!

The game has gorgeous environments and overall design, even if the lurking monsters are sometimes annoyingly hard to spot until you’re right up close and personal with them. As I mentioned in the video, this is the first indie game that opened my eyes & ears to electronic music, eventually leading me down the path of loving chiptunes & synthwave!

Do you have suggestions for indie games I should cover? Hit me up @NerdEssentials or @Barl0we on Twitter, or leave a comment on the post on Instagram!

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Indie Essentials 3: Spectra!

Indie Essentials 3: Spectra!

My third Indie Essentials video is out – this week’s featured indie game is Spectra!

Spectra was developed by Gateway Interactive, released in 2015 and with the eponymous soundtrack by Chipzel (which came out in 2013).

I sort of forgot to gush about the soundtrack as much as it deserves in the video – it’s one of my all-time favorite chiptunes album. The soundtrack is no longer available as DLC on Steam, but you can still buy it on Chipzel’s website.

I reviewed this game for IGN Denmark back in the mists of time (July, 2015). Back then, I gave the game a 9/10 score – and I’d still give it that today. The last point is docked for a lack of variation in the space backgrounds & the procedural generation.

Since IGN Denmark has gone the way of the dodo, I might post an English translation of the review some day – but for now, just enjoy the video :)

-Barl0we

P.S.: I completely forgot to celebrate that this was my 200th post on Instagram. Oh well! My #IndieEssentials videos have been doing pretty ok for  themselves on Instagram – when I have 5-10 of  them, I might combine them into a listicle on YouTube or something!

 

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Indie Essentials 2: Stardew Valley is out!

Indie Essentials 2: Stardew Valley is out!

My latest Indie Essentials video is out, and you can watch it on my Instagram page!

It features the 2016 indie darling, Stardew Valley! It’s one of my new favorite feel-good games, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how multiplayer for it turns out!

Big ups to ConcernedApe for continuing to support the game with awesome free updates post-launch!

Video is up here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb2D-AHgP_p/

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Updates: Instagram & Green Team!

Updates: Instagram & Green Team!

Oh, hello!

I didn’t see you there!

I know it’s been a while, but things have happened. First off, I decided to spend my efforts establishing myself on Instagram, and if you aren’t following me there yet, please do! I post 3-4 times a week on average, and I try to keep it relevant / interesting!

After reading about the Green Man Gaming “Green Team” affiliate program, I decided to not just post pictures on Instagram, but video as well! You can see my first IG video “Indie Essentials” (about Thomas Was Alone, one of my all-time favorite indie games) right here.

I have settled on sending out Indie Essentials every Thursday, so look out for the next video in a few days! I might also do a gaming news video once a week – though the 1 minute length definitely sets some restrictions on what and how much I can cover!

If you feel like supporting me, feel free to click the image below – it’ll save a cookie on your computer for 30 days and give me a kickback on any purchases you make on Green Man Gaming in that time!


I might also upload the videos I create for Instagram to YouTube / Twitter in the future, but for now I’m trying to just make regular video content on Instagram happen – one 58-60 second video at a time!

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Switching to YouTube / Teaser

Switching to YouTube / Teaser

As some of you may know, I’ve been a writer for IGN Denmark for a few years now.

Recently, IGN made the decision to close down the individual Scandinavian IGN sites in favor of one hub site (IGN Nordics) which is meant to service the same countries as before. Among other things, this means that it’ll be nigh on impossible for me to get to review games for IGN any more, since there is a policy of 1 review in English across all their sites.

Since I’ve already been sort of toying with the idea of creating content here, and since I’ve been wanting to cover more than just video games, I feel like now is the time to make the switch from strictly written content and shitposting on Instagram to also creating video content on YouTube.

Since I’ve had a hard time keeping to a regular posting schedule for my blog on this site, I’ve decided to see if I can stick to a more regular schedule of producing content for YouTube.

Planned content includes reviews of video games, music, collectibles as well as vlogs about stuff like podcasts, books, movies or whatever else strikes my fancy – as long as it’s nerd-adjacent.

I hope you’ll join me on this adventure in creating stuff to entertain hopefully not only myself, but you as well!

 

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Why I love the Gravity Rush series (+bonus Gravity Rush 2 gallery)

Why I love the Gravity Rush series (+bonus Gravity Rush 2 gallery)

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Gravity Rush 2 for IGN Denmark.

I’ve been looking forward to the game for some time, and it was (almost) everything I could have wanted it to be.

It’s no secret that I love the Gravity Rush series. It was the first game I completed fully on my Playstation Vita, and I’ve now reviewed both Gravity Rush Remastered and Gravity Rush 2 for IGN Denmark.

I love the game(s) – it’s one of those series I can lose myself in, and just feel good.

That’s sort of the core of Gravity Rush for me – there might be danger, there might be villains, and there certainly are high stakes. But danger is usually averted, villains are either defeated or redeemed, and friendship – even in  the face of adversity – wins every time.

Kat is a great character, even if she sort of lets herself be a doormat to some of the side mission NPC’s (Eugie and Aujean, anyone?). Usually she’ll know that she’s being taken advantage of, but she goes along with it, hoping her efforts will let the NPC’s grow as people along the way.

The art style goes a long way towards helping the charming characters and world work, in my opinion. I’ve never been much into anime, but the art style just sort of looks like you’re in an anime – and it works.

On that note, I am impressed with Gravity Rush 2 – it feels like the same engine as Gravity Rush Remastered (and probably is), but I was impressed with how rarely I’d have textures pop in even though I was moving at a fast clip through the game’s world.

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I apologize for the wonky pictures among the gallery – I played around with the different Instagram-type filters that become available as you progress through the game and its online component.

Now I just need someone to help me get that damn Kat Figma that was exclusive to the Japanese Collector’s Edition of Gravity Rush Remastered!

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Rambling about love, hate and inclusivity.

Rambling about love, hate and inclusivity.

I woke up today to the news that Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States.

As so many others, I could not believe that such a hatemonger could win such an important position. I’ve seen the way Trump supporters act on the internet, heard the man himself on TV, for the past year. I simply could not believe that a majority would rather have a person such as him hold such power.

Now, as for myself – I’m a straight, white Danish guy. I’m unlikely to be directly negatively influenced by this outside of the worldwide economical ramifications this presidency is going to have. But as a nerd, this turn of events is troubling to me.

I – as so many others – grew up being bullied for what I liked. I had a hellish childhood in school, years of mental torture at the tiny hands of the type of person who could grow up to be a Trump. Now, I’m so privileged that this was a situation I could grow out of. At the time of high school, I was met with people who just wanted to get along and figure out what everything was about. My time being bullied and mocked for what I liked to do or how I looked / acted / dressed was over.

Many others are not so lucky. And this is why I cannot fathom how people online – thinking of demographics like GamerGaters and the online alt right specifically – can have so little empathy for others. I don’t know why it’s such a blind spot for so many people – maybe it’s sort of a “Someone Else’s Problem” field  like in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Maybe it’s too painful to think back on what it felt like to be bullied for something out of your own control. But it’s not okay.

I spent my childhood being an underdog – my greatest hope outside of just being left alone was that someone would stand up for me, to empathise with me.That’s why I cannot as an adult bear to stand by when I see someone being bullied.

I remember the hopeless feeling of unfairness, of just wanting to exist without being bothered every day – and even though I thought it was hell at the time, I recognize that I am lucky enough that it ended. People of color, women, LGBTQIA people, are not so lucky.

I may be a goddamn pale, white and nerdy straight guy – but I stand with people of color, women, LGBTQIA and everyone else who is as terrified by the recent political turn of events.

As it happens, I’m going to the Capitol Wasteland over the weekend for a family wedding. I’ll try to take some  pictures of anything interesting, and maybe some video to re-create the teaser trailer for Fallout 3 linked below.

Now let’s play some goddamn video games.

 

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The Bright Sessions are back!

The Bright Sessions are back!

One of my favorite audiodrama podcasts has returned to active duty, after a hiatus between seasons.

The podcast in question is none other than The Bright Sessions, created by Lauren Shippen. Now, if you haven’t heard of The Bright Sessions yet, here’s the TL;DR:

The Bright Sessions is a science fiction podcast about people with supernatural abilities, and  the people who want to help – or use – them. It follows the titular Dr. Bright in her efforts in helping these people – so-called Atypicals – with dealing with and controlling their abilities.

That’s the short introduction to The Bright Sessions, but if you haven’t already subscribed to them, you should. The podcast is well-written, and well acted. The cast of characters are likeable, and  the premise is interesting as all hell.

That said, if you haven’t caught up to the podcast yet, you might want to stop reading here, as I’ll be writing about the first episode in the third and newest season of the podcast.

Still with me? Great.

I’ll try to keep off spoiler territory by talking about the episode and its contents in broad strokes, but you might still get spoiled a bit if you haven’t listened to it yet.

The episode is titled “Asset 43, Meetings 1-6”, and it sort of flips the tables on the regular format.

In the episode, Dr. Bright is being interviewed by her former friend / mentor / superior from the AM, in a series of disciplinary meetings. We gradually learn about what happened to Dr. Bright, and what made her want to leave the agency in the first place.

The episode is interesting, as it sheds some light both on Dr. Bright’s past, as well as on the ever-presently-lurking-in-the-shadows AM. As it turns out, the former friend / mentor is now a Director at the AM, and she has her reasons for not turning in Dr. Bright to her own superiors, despite knowing that she is behind the events of the Season 2 finale.

The episode features a new take on the theme (loved it), and strong performances from both Julia Morizawa (Dr. Bright) and Alex Marshall-Brown (Director Wadsworth).

The wait between Season 2 and Season 3 of The Bright Sessions feels longer than it was, but going by the first episode of this season, it was definitely worth the wait.

For now, I’m just looking forward to the next episode.

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Review: Darkest Dungeon

Review: Darkest Dungeon

Review copy of this game provided by its developer, Red Hook Studios.

Darkest Dungeon is a rare breed of game – it was successfully Kickstarted, entered Early Access a year after its campaign was succesful, and exited the Early Access stage a year after that. In my opinion, this is one of the best examples of a game developer using crowdfunding to complete its game – and without the game in question being stuck in Early Access forever, to boot!

On September 27, the game then transitioned to Playstation 4 and Vita as well.

Darkest Dungeon is described by Red Hook Studios as a Gothic RPG, which is a pretty good way of describing it. The game has a killer art style, and H.P. Lovecraft’s influence all over it. The general atmosphere of the game is complemented by the soundtrack as well, with both the music and sound effects being really satisfying.

The game is a turn-based RPG where your party of adventurers delve into the depths of human endurance while exploring their way towards the darkest dungeon. Story-wise,  you take the role of someone returning to the Hamlet at the behest of his or her Ancestor, to right the wrongs that they have performed. To put it another way, if you were to mix a drink of the Darkest Dungeon story,  you’d mix one part Hell House by Richard Matheson with three parts H.P. Lovecraft, served chilled in a high glass…You’d have Darkest Dungeon.

Gameplaywise, there are two distinct aspects – managing your Hamlet (or town, if you’re not into old-timey words) and the actual adventuring bit. Both parts are informed by the other, and if you’re not using the loot you collect while adventuring to upgrade  your Hamlet, you will soon find yourself woefully unprepared to face the horrors that the game throws at you. The Hamlet consists of a handful of buildings you need to upgrade – from the Stagecoach where  you’ll recruit new adventurers to the Guild or Blacksmith where you upgrade your adventurers or their kit. Of particular importance is the ways for your  adventurers to recuperate from adventuring – like the Abbey, or the Inn.

The reason you’ll want to upgrade the latter buildings is simple – while adventuring, your adventurers will build up Stress. Build up enough, and you risk them getting negative Quirks. Your tank may decide that it’s better for him to bleed than to receive healing, or your healer may panic at the sight of  the undead. Stress is not only a bad thing, however – your  adventurers may prove to excel under pressure and gain a positive Quirk. These Quirks can be anything from being better at dodging to dealing or withstanding more damage, which becomes essential to manage as  the game goes on.

wallpaper_plaguedoc

Additionally, you’ll need to keep your adventurers stocked up on items such as torches, food and shovels – because the darkness increases stress, starving increases stress, and trying to clear obstacles without a shovel may get your heroes hurt.

As a fan of H.P. Lovecraft’s thematic universe, this is one of my favorite games set in that theme, ever. The game itself is not scary as such – but you will feel the stress and anxiety that your adventurers are submitted to, as well. The game can both be uncompromisingly punishing as well as super rewarding. The feeling of joy when a stressed character copes with Stress by getting a positive Quirk can be amazing, especially at the lower levels where you don’t have a lot of options with regards  to gear and skills.

I mostly played the game on my Playstation Vita – and I’m thoroughly impressed with its performance on this platform. The game plays without a hitch on the platform, basically. My only two gripes with the Vita version is the fact that the game does not utilize the touch screen, as the controls can be kind of clunky, and that the UI is not scaled up just a little bit. I was still able to play the game just fine, but having the UI and text in general being just a bit bigger on the small screen would have been great.

As it stands, though, I’m keeping Darkest Dungeon on my Vita – the gameplay is, as mentioned, top notch and the performance of the Vita port (along with cross-buy and cross-save) makes Darkest Dungeon a must-have for Vita owners.

Darkest Dungeon is available on PC, Mac, Linux as well as Playstation 4 and Vita.

Posted by Barl0we in Gaming, 0 comments