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Epigenesis

            *Note: The game is in early access and is still being worked on. Everything said in this review is subject to change.           

           Epigenesis is a first person frantic shooter. The game was released on Steam as an early access game on November 1, 2013. Now you would expect an early access game that’s only in its alpha stage, would have some issues but believe it or not, this game is pretty well set. This doesn’t mean that the game is perfect, there are a few issues, but nothing that stops you from enjoying this game.

            So what exactly is Epigenesis? Well its a first person shooter, but it has much more than your average shooter. Your main goal as the player is to grab the ball and throw it into the other teams gate. This then gives your team a point, as well as a power up. Power ups add let you modify the map. You can do all sorts of stuff including adding another path or causing a tornado. If somebody has the ball and they fall over the edge, but don’t manage to pass it to another player, the ball resets. It is also possible to intercept the ball from the enemy. This makes the person who has the ball have a reason to score quickly. The game also has pickups which allow you to be more mobile. Now, if you have the ball, you’re all set for the most part. Your main problem is not jumping to your death. Trying to shoot the enemy players when they have the ball is quite difficult. I found that using the rapid fire weapon was very ineffective, however, using the rail gun, I was able to get some shots on people. The game, currently, only has two weapons(as of 12/7/13). This is a little disappointing because a variety of weapons would add a variety of strategies. The rail gun itself does no damage, it can either push or pull somebody if you land a hit. The rapid fire gun is your damage dealing gun, but it’s very difficult to hit somebody. The player can move quickly and unpredictably. This is both good and bad. Its good because it keeps you safe, but, its bad because if your shooting you had better be a good shot. This does add challenge and excitement to the game, especially when your able finally get a connected shot.

  

            Epigenesis adds different froms of challenge and fun through its unique maps. The maps are made up of a variety of floating square surfaces and building tops. You jump from panel to panel, trying to reach the ball first, usually is located in the center. Some maps offer launch pads which send you flying across the map and onto another panel(picture above shows a player being launched). This can be used as an escape route, and offensive route, or just extra fun. When you grab this ball, you can’t shoot, so you have to rely on running. With the multiple pickups and launch pads, you can make your way to score a goal with no problem, that is until somebody gets a good shot on you and sends you off the map. But, if this happens, the ball and you simply re-spawn, after a short countdown, at the designated spots, and you continue playing. 

            The game only has one game mode(as of 12/7/13) which is to grab the ball and send it through the enemy’s gate. This still offers plenty of fun and hours of entertainment. Eventually though the same thing gets a bit old, but I feel that the developers will add more, remember the game is only in alpha. There is one problem that puts a damper on things, the lack of players. The game allows for 5v5 matches, however the biggest I have even been involved in is a 4v3. This, however, is not a permanent issue. I have only seen three servers on my game, but once the game is closer to actual release, there will more than likely be plenty of servers, and people. Most of the time I am able to get into a match that is 2v2. This does restrict what this game truly has to offer. If you have ever played Quake you will know that more people equals more fun. The developers were trying to make their own “Quake style” game.

            Epigenesis is something you should look out for. Unlike these new shooters that have been the same for the past 5 games, this game is unique and contains countless hours of fun. Since the game is only in alpha there are still many more advancements that can take place in this game. The good part about it being an early access game is that the developers will listen to the community and respond to what players say. If you love fast paced games like Quake, or just want to try something new, Eigenesis should be on your wishlist as soon as your done reading this review.

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Written by Wolfgangamedeus

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                      One of the towns in Sir You are being Hunted.

            Sir, You Are Being Hunted is an early access game that was released on Steam on August 19th, 2013. The game basically throws you right in. You get an intro that explains what you need, and then you awake in the middle of nowhere listening to your butler talk to you. Your main goal is to collect a certain amount of mysterious fragments and get back home. But how is the game itself? Well I will tell you.

            The environment is put together very nicely. The map is randomly generated each game so you don’t know where everything is when you start out. The map consists of 5 islands which can be either rural, industrial, fens, mountains. When you start a new game you can pick what each island is. As you roam around the world looking for fragment pieces you will come across towns, churches, burnt buildings, and killer robots who for some reason want you dead. However, you can avoid these robots, sometimes, if you hide in tall grass and move slowly. The game gives you a visibility and noise tool that is on your HUD. This tells you if you’re hidden or not.

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                       An occupied town of Robots trying to shoot me 

            I mentioned the robots earlier but let’s actually go into detail about them

There are a variety of robots. You got your standard shotgun holding robots, you’ve got your giant fat robots who carry a revolver, and of course everybody’s favorite, a robot dog. The dogs run around a tackle you, making the game much more difficult. As you get more fragments, more robots and variety’s of robots show up. The AIs themselves, however, are not perfect dead eyes who can hit you from a mile away. You are able to dodge their shots by moving quickly. One really interesting thing I have noticed is that the robots will leave their towns and return to them at night. This doesn’t always happen but I have seen it. It adds more intensity to the game because you can use it to your advantage or be screwed over by it.

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            The gameplay itself is enjoyable. You can search the houses throughout the world; however you can’t go into them. Since the world is randomly generated each game, it would require a lot of loading to allow being able to go inside these houses. You search the doors of these buildings and can find food, bandages, mushrooms and herbs that make you feel “good,” if you catch my drift. You can also find the always useful, weapons. You can travel between the islands to grab your fragment pieces and gather more shipment. Your inventory is a big graph. Each item takes up a certain amount, so to max your use of the inventory you may have to get creative with your organization. One pet peeve of mine is that you can’t rotate items to make them fit. This isn’t a huge issue and shouldn’t stop you from buying this game.

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            Overall the game is unique. It requires thinking, strategy, and just not being dumb. If you run through an occupied town, you’re probably going to get shot up. However, if you sneak your way around, you will probably be okay probably. I would keep an eye out for Sir You Are Being Hunted, it’s an early access game and can only get better.

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Written by Wolfgangamedeus

      Snow is an upcoming free to play MMO(massive multiplayer online). It was just recently released on the Steam store for early access purchase. But what is it? Well have you ever wanted to go skiing but cant? Well that’s what Snow is. Snow is a ski and snowboard simulation game. Your on a mountain, and you ski(or snowboard). Currently you can only ski alone, however eventually you will be able to play with others.

            So the game is still in development and has a few issues, as expected. The biggest one is the lack of sound. You play in silence. However don’t let turn you away because there will be sound. There are also a few glitches and bugs. Examples of these would be: your skis going through the snow a little, you going through the edges of rocks. These are just alpha errors that will be fixed when the real game comes out.          

Example of the alpha stage glitches. Skiing on the mountain top

            Now on to the actual game. Right now you can customize your persons clothes and equipment. There is a variety of clothes and equipment to chose from to make your person unique. When you go to the mountain you can spawn at a variety of places. Some on the top of the mountain, some in the middle, and some at the lower part. If you crash, you can either restart, continue from that spot, or end your session. Right now the only thing you can do is ski and do tricks(once again, its still in development so expect more to come). The trick system however is put together very well. You can do spins, flips, grabs, and tweak them to get more points. The skiing it self is designed nice too. As a skier in real life I know what actually happens and what doesn’t, and this game did a great job at capturing real life skiing, and its still in development!

 Tweaking a grab/spin

You can do all sorts of tricks, like grinding

            Over all, Snow has potential. The game play is very fun, the graphics are nice, and the environment is beautiful. The game obviously has a few bugs and glitches that need to be fixed, but those will be taken care of. Snow is a game that should definitely be watched for as it will continue to get better.

 The environment of Snow.

            Note: I will post another review once the game gets further along in the development process that way I can deliver a full review of the game.

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Written by Wolfgangamedeus

                                   

            Kerbal Space Program, a game of creativity, science, and fun. What is it you ask? Well it’s a space program simulator. You have a space company (like NASA) and you launch rockets into space and see what happens.      

            We will start with the basics: you build a rocket, any size, any design; however, if you want to make it into space and eventually to other planets, you will need some thought. The specs of the rocket count. If it’s too heavy, you won’t make it far. If there isn’t enough fuel, you won’t make it far. If it lacks control, guess what, you won’t make it far. However, if it’s well balanced, nicely constructed, you may just win the space race, even though it’s just you.

            The game has two modes: sandbox, and the recently added career mode. Sandbox you do what you want at no cost. Career is still under construction so I will say what I can: to get more pieces you need to get research. To get research you need to launch rockets and recover them. This is all as of 11/13/13 so this may change in the future. Career mode is under construction and will eventually improve.

           The way you make the ships is unique. It allows you to do a lot of different things. You can build a small ship, or a large ship. Not only can you build rockets, but you can build space planes (which is more for advanced players). You can add auto control features to your ship that allow you to sit back, watch your rocket go with all you having to do is activate the stages when needed. In space you can connect your rockets to refuel, or even build a space station, which is very difficult.

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                               You can make ridiculous designs

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                                    Space planes are cool

            The game tests your skills in a way like no other. You can use brains and calculate your launches, or be like me and send them flying, the choice is yours. One flaw is the game does lack a tutorial. It tells you what you need to know, but when it comes to the complex stuff the game leaves you in the dust. The community has published great guides that help you however, so don’t let the lack of help keep you from buying the game. I have spent countless hours in this game and continue to do so. It is still under construction so it can only get better. Try the demo, the demo removes the majority of parts and limits the planets, but you get the basics of the game. All in all, consider Kerbal Space Program for a future purchase.


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                                     Things will light on fire

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Written by Wolfgangamedeus
Have you ever wanted to start you own game development company? Maybe you want to bring your ideas to life? Well, now you can with Game Dev Tycoon. 

Game Dev Tycoon is a strategy, tycoon game. If you have ever played record shop tycoon, it’s similar to that. The game focuses on you creating games that are in demand. If you make a good game you will get some good income; if you make a bad game, well you know how it works.

 You start your own game development company and manage it, but there’s much more than that. Managing the finances is only the beginning. You actually get to decide what kind of games you make and what kind of graphics and technology they will have and use.

            Though you don’t actually see the games you make, you decide what they are. You pick a genre, a topic, and platform. You then delegate your time and employees into the areas you want most. So if you make a racing game, you wouldn’t put any time into dialogs. Once you get further in, you can make multi-genre and multi-platform games. These all depend on what ratings your game will get and how much money it brings in.

            You are able to make games; that is already known, but you can also do much more. To make these games run well, you make engines. Make a good engine, good games will come and vice versa. You can eventually make your own consoles, although if you’re not set on in-game money you may want to hold off. You can take part in gaming conventions, or even host your own. You can create unique games like MMO’s and AAA(very large and detailed, unique games) games.

            Knowing what makes a good game helps a lot in this game. If you know what makes a good combination you will rock at this game, however you will still face challenges. If you don’t know what makes a good combo, you’ll still love the game because you’ll learn what makes a good combo, and what doesn’t.

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            All in all, this game is a great strategy tycoon game. The details you can do make the game unique and like none other. If you’re looking for challenge and fun, consider this game. For a cheap price (on steam as of 11/12/13) the game is well worth it.

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The following review was writting by Maer_Blaidd

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

In a land full of trolls, giants and gryphons lays the tree of life.  Travelling through a huge world filled with countless dangers are two brothers, heading to the tree to get the essence to save their fathers life. Will they succeed or will they die trying?  The Players Choice.

 

Requiring a controller, Brothers has quite a unique style of gameplay. The player controls both brothers at the same time, using the left stick and trigger for the brother in blue and the right stick and trigger for the brother in orange. This gets confusing from the start when trying to make them both walk in a wide area, I found myself making them go in opposite directions. Trying to focus on both simultaneously is almost impossible when also trying to keep them from falling off cliffs. Interestingly when using both to carry something large, having only one brother move slows the process down.

Graphically the game is a mix of styles. The environments look very realistic in some areas of the game while the characters all have a colourful cartoon aspect to them. The waterfalls I saw looked beautiful and the snowy areas later in the game were astounding. Starbreeze Studios’ addition of minute details that are often overlooked is great. Moving the brothers over snow covered ground actually leaves footprints, and when they are splattered with blood, walking through water will actually wash it off which I found a nice feature. It was also nice to see the bothers have their own personalities that had opportunities to show frequently.

 

Interacting with different characters with either brother exhibits contrasting situations. The elder brother, Blue, is more serious and protective, while the younger, Orange, always seems to be more playful and innocent. A perfect example of this is when they first meet the troll. Orange isn’t bothered by him at all and waves friendly to him while Blue pulls Orange back and puts his arm in front of him in a defensive way. Conversely the disposition NPCs have towards the brother’s change depending on which one they are talking to. Some will treat Orange with ignorance but show Blue more respect. 

 

I like the puzzles in Brothers as they provide the right amount of challenge to the player without becoming frustrating. Even chapter of the game explores different game mechanics, using mechanics such as timed lever puzzles, having to swing using each brother and rowing mechanics. Each puzzle is given to the player multiple times while growing increasingly difficult as the game progresses. I seriously enjoyed the swinging puzzles as it does make you think “Which brother do I have to use right now”? Some puzzles require Blue to help Orange reach higher places and in others, Orange must squeeze through small gaps to open up gates for Blue to access.  The fact that the game isn’t centred on one specific brother is good as it means nothing is repeated too much during the game.

The tone of Brothers starts off light-heartedly with the sun shining, the brothers setting off on their quest to save their father and walking through the village, the world seems a nice place. Unfortunately this doesn’t last for long. Shortly after leaving the village, the player meets a troll that is actually friendly, but then when the brothers enter the nearby cave they see other trolls working in a mine and one that is locked in a cave. Suddenly this game doesn’t seem all the happy anymore. Further on in the game it becomes downright gruesome when the brother reach the canyons filled with giant corpses. To get past some of the corpses the brothers need to do things like interact with one of the giant’s axes to chop another ones arm off and fire a crossbow bolt into another giants head to knock it backwards so they can carry on.

 

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a brilliant game, experimenting with features that I have never encountered before, and Starbreeze Studios has done it exceptionally well. It is a short game but with the content it is worth a play through. I highly recommend this game.

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Written by Wolfgangamedeus.

Dark Souls, a game which consists of exploring, fighting, and dying. Dark Souls is an action RPG game developed by From Software and published by Namco Bandai games. The game takes place in a land in which you go to after you die. The land is named Lordran and has countless opportunities in which you, the player, may take part in. The game has an intense game play which separates the casual gamers from those who are seeking a challenge.

            When you first start the game you run through the first area with little to no problems. When you leave this area however, all bets are off and Dark Souls gives you a run for your money. Those who can’t handle a challenge or simply don’t want one will quit at this moment. Those who stay will face intense enemies, tough environments, and the problem that all Dark Souls players face, dying. You will die in this game, but that’s the fun of it. On that note, the game is challenging, but it is very balanced. There is always a way to do what you need to, and if that way doesn’t work, there is always a second way. The game does not have a difficulty setting and truly does challenge your ability to think and play smart.

            The game has a minor soundtrack. Throughout the game you will not hear any music until you get into a boss fight. Every boss fight has a soundtrack, even if you can’t hear it. Characters throughout the game do speak (except for your character) and provide you with some story.

            The game is only half of the fun, the other half is the lore. Everything in Dark Souls has a story; every dead body, item, or weapon is where it is for a reason. The game allows you to almost make your own characters story. There is not a whole lot of lore in the game that is actually confirmed. There is plenty of evidence to support the popular lore theories but From Software lets you the player decide what you want to be true. There are also numerous characters throughout the game that progress with their own story as you progress with yours. This allows you to follow up with some different people and get more storyline out of the game. The main story itself appears to be weak and not well put together, but when you read a little bit out of game you will see that the story is much more than you thought.

            The game does have a multi-player. As you run through the game you are either hollow or human. When you’re human you are eligible to be invaded by another player. However you may also summon somebody to help you out.           You may also place your sign down and be summoned by somebody else. When an invader kills you, you lose some things, but nothing you can’t get back. Rather than losing items you just lose your humanity. The servers for Dark Souls are not dedicated. This makes it difficult to someone other players because they may not be able to connect. You will most likely not be able to play with a friend for the game does not offer the ability to play only with friends. However, if you’re playing on PC, there are mods that fix these issues and allow you to play with friends with little to no problems.

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            Dark Souls has an environment like no other. The only loading screen is when you launch the game. Once the game is launched, you get put in this vast world that has a variety of environments. The game itself has great detail where it is needed. There are a few areas where you can see that the developers did not put a whole lot of time into, but these areas are not important and should not affect you in any way.

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    Dark Souls will challenge you. It may drive you away, or it may bring you closer. The best way to actually test whether you like the game or not is to play through a few boss fights. The bosses range from big to small, easy to insanely hard, and whether you need to get a strategy or go guns blazing. Dark Souls is a game everybody should put on their wish list and consider playing.


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Written by No_Pizza.

In space, no one can hear you scream. Or crash ships for that matter, which is the highlight of Space Engineers. 

For those who haven’t heard of this(and I am assuming most haven’t unless they saw the steam update), Space Engineers is a sandbox, physics based space game, and it does it well. 

The game allows for a selection of 4 different world types for now: Easy 1, Easy 2, Survival(which I don’t believe is fully operational), and Empty World, but you might as well just do quick play for the basics.

The game does not feature an ingame tutorial side for controls, but it does link you to a video, however, the video only helps with building a small ship.

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Onto the actual gameplay.

Starting off, you’ll more than likely be confused, but fortunately there is text that shows up giving you basic controls. The controls are not very hard to learn, and are very easy to get used to. Building at first feels very similar to Minecraft, one button places, and another button removes, nothing to complicated, which is very nice compared to other space simulators. The minecraft feel goes away when you see that the blocks aren’t all squares. You can place a variety of blocks depending on ship size, and can fly them into other ships. You do need to be careful while building, as you can send the ship off into space before you get the chance to do anything, and it’s not easy to stop. At the moment you cannot actually mine or engage in combat, but these will be implanted. 

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The actual moving around in Space Engineers feels very basic, you don’t feel like you are really in a zero gravity environment, if you’re jetpack isn’t on, you just descend until it triggers itself. However, flying a ship feels quite good.
I take that back, having gone back and playing. Walking on foot on a nonmoving surface feels basic, but when you’re ship is spinning out of control and you try walking with no jetpack, it’s hopeless in the best way possible. You feel as if the ship is really tossing you around. You’re character may even ball up, at least as it seems. It’s a great feature. Flying itself still feels good, though a free cam addition would be nice. This is in the game.

At the moment, the most you can do while flying is cruising around, and crashing. Flying itself feels fine, and the ships weight does matter, which is a very nice feature. The crashing in the game is possibly the high point of the game. Each block will either dent in or simply break. Physics also plays a huge role here: If your ship is bigger and stronger, it’ll wreck the other ship. If you are smaller, expect to be shattered to bits.

Sound wise, there isn’t much to hear.  The game doesn’t seem to have any ingame sound other than one orchestrated song with a somewhat depressing tone, but it fits with the lonesome space theme.


The autosaving in the game can easily get in the way, as it pauses the game and brings a text box with the word “saving” over the screen, but this can be forgiven.

All in all, the game is something I would definitely look out for, with multiplayer, survival, and much more coming very soon. Even with the current lack of features, the alpha has just enough to keep you entertained. This is a game to look out for.