Author: Jackie Whitehead

Review: Song of the Deep

The game feels very similar to games like Ecco the dolphin, Aquaria and Insanely twisted shadow planet, in the sense that you have the ability to move in any direction, and can freely explore the big map you have.

As you progress through the game, you will find a lot of treasure, some that you can obtain by finding secret paths, and some that you may only get if you come back in the future, after you have acquired a necessary upgrade.

The story is quite simple, but enough to grip you. You play as the daughter of an explorer. He has told you many stories of the sea, monsters and locations. One day he doesn’t come back home from sea, and so you set off to try and find him.

The game has occasional narration, which isn’t for everyone, but since the game is set in a desolate and lonely feeling place, it fits. Luckily the narrator has a pleasant voice, and does a good job at reading the well-written lines.

The art is gorgeous, and it’s a joy to slowly go around admiring the detail in the foreground and background. I love that there’s a good mix of natural, but fantastical looking creatures, as well as creatures that look steampunk.

The music does a great job at accompanying the atmosphere. It actually got me pretty emotional when I put headphones on.

The gameplay itself isn’t too challenging. Even though there’s combat, it’s quite a relaxing game. You’ll get upgrades to your submarine that can help you with fending off enemies, or you can improvise and throw objects from the environment at them.

The main line of powerups is interesting and has some clever applications. The optional weapon powerups are unnecessary and kind of disappointing. The bosses are fun but generally easy.

Most of the physics-environment puzzles are clever and interesting. Some are a bit fiddly, but not that hard after I grew more comfortable with the controls and timing.

I’d recommend using a controller to play. Although it’s playable with keyboard & mouse, I found it to be very unpleasant.

Overall, it’s quite a lovely little game. It’s simple and charming. If you enjoyed any of the games I mentioned at the beginning of the review, or any other games where you explore and admire the environment, then I would definitely recommend this one.


Review: Catch a Lover

Catch A Lover is a silly multiplayer game that gives me very strong “Who’s your Daddy?” Vibe. The game pits 2-4 players in a very awkward and chaotic situation.

One player is the husband, who comes home to discover that his wife has cheated on him with the “lover”. The husband’s job is to beat up the Lover before he escapes. His pet dog can also help him by leaving pee traps on the floor for the Lover to slip on.

The other team consists of the Wife and Lover. They both have to find the Lover’s clothing so that he can leave the house safely and clothed. The wife also has the ability to clean up dog pee to prevent the Lover from slipping on it.

The husband and lover can both find stun guns in safes that can help you get a breather if you’re being chased/chasing.

The game actually performed much better than I expected. The animations look good, the models look pretty decent and the game ran very well. My only complain is that after every match, even if it’s a private lobby with friends, you will be thrown to the main menu and have to rehost it all again. It didn’t take too long, but I’m hoping the dev can fix that before the game leaves early access.

I found that the balancing tipped a little bit in the favor of the Husband and dog team. They won most times. I’m not sure what can be done to help the lover win a bit more, or if the dev even wants it to be 100% balanced. I didn’t find it frustrating in any way because it’s still fun to lose in this game, if you’re having a laugh with friends. But perhaps the lover could be a bit faster than the husband, or maybe not have only 2 possible pairs of clothes to put on.

I would also love if there were a few more maps. The map design is really nice in the existing level, and although the rooms aren’t randomly generated, the items within are. That’s how I think it should be. But just changing the aesthetic a little bit by changing house would be a welcome bonus to keep the game from getting stale.

Overall, I had a blast playing it with 3 other staff writers. I think that’s the main way to enjoy the game. The price might be a little bit steep for some people, but I think if you’re interested in the game at all, you’ll probably have fun playing it.

Review: Cloudberry Kingdom

Cloudberry Kingdom is a jumping and platforming game developed by Pwnee Studios. You will start out with the basic hero named bob, who just has a single jump and basic physics. Depending on what mode or levels you are doing, you will have the opportunity to play as different heroes that have a unique style of play. Tiny and fat bob are just different sizes for him, with tiny letting you jump a lot higher and fat bob can’t jump very well. Rocket and double jump bob both affect how he jumps, rocket giving you a jet pack and double jump is exactly that. Some annoying variations are wheelie, bouncy, and hero in a box, where they make it hard to do jumps correctly. Spaceship is possibly the most unique one, since it places you in a ship and you must fly to the other side of the level without touching anything, even basic ground. Phase bob causes you to constantly change sizes, from really small to really big, so you need to be careful where you are currently standing.

Most levels in Cloudberry Kingdom are randomly made, with their difficulty depending on how far you have progressed in the current mode. Not only are the levels random, but their difficulty will even scale on how well you are performing, allowing even the least skilled players to have fun. No matter how they look or are designed, they all have one thing in common; they allow you to almost always have forward motion and you will rarely need to move backwards or slow down. Each level will have some coins on them to collect, awarding you differently depending on which mode you are playing. The design of each level takes into consideration which hero you are using, gaps will be much wider if you are able to double jump or have a jet pack for example. If you are playing a level that you really like, you can use the save level option in the menu to be able to play it again at anytime through the free play mode.

Other than basic land, there are a variety of types of other platforms that function differently and you will need to know how they work. There are floating blocks that will drop if you stand on them too long, blocks that will cause you to bounce, and even ones that will fade in and out in a rhythm. Moving blocks, elevators, and pendulums will cause you to time your jumps accordingly. Clouds will cause you to slowly fall through them, giving you just enough time to jump out of them.

There are many hazards to watch out for while playing Cloudberry Kingdom. Simply touching any of them will be the end to your hero’s life. There are spiky balls swinging around on chains, spikes placed on different surfaces that pop out at times, and falling spiky balls from the sky. Lasers will shoot from the bottom to top of the screen, flames will spin around on surfaces, and saws will try to cut you as they also swing around. Serpents and fire balls will try to jump out of the floor to catch you as you jump along the path. Flying bugs will let you land on them, squishing them and giving you the ability to jump again.

If a level ever feels too hard, you can opt to use one of three abilities that are designed to help you get past them. Each ability costs a certain number of coins, which you have collected while playing. You won’t have to spend any if you use them in free play however. AI, costing 5 coins, will give the computer control over your character, which will show it completing the level for you, but it won’t count as you doing it. The orb ability, costing 40 coins, causes a blueish orb to follow a drawn out path, which you can follow as it goes along the path. Slow motion, costing 20 coins, will of course slow the game down for you to complete the level.

The story levels in Cloudberry Kingdom are the most basic ones, that just simply require you to get to the door on the other side. These are the only levels that aren’t randomly made, since they were designed to ramp up in difficulty in a certain way. There are no time limits and you have an unlimited number of lives. As you progress through them, they will slowly get harder and you will play as a different hero every 10 or so levels.

There are 4 different arcade modes, each putting a different twist on the basic gameplay. All of these modes involve you collecting coins to earn points so you can rank on the leaderboards. Escalation is just like story mode, except you stay as the same character and have a limited number of lives, though you can earn more for every 25 coins. Time Crisis has a time limit involved, and you can increase the timer by collecting coins, up to a max of 20 seconds. Hero Rush will give you a random hero each time you complete a level. Hybrid rush is like Hero Rush where it gives you random heroes as well, but it will sometimes combine multiple heroes such as fat rocket wheelie.

It is possible to completely customize how you want a level to be designed, as well as designing your own hero. You can choose how long the level is, how many checkpoints are in it, whether or not a spike wall is chasing you, and the types and frequency of playforms and hazards are present in it. Upon completion of a free play level, you can generate another one with the same settings if you so desire. If you were to max out every setting, it will create a level that is probably only possible if you were to use the AI ability, as it has to be done perfectly. Creating your own hero to use involves editing everything about his physics, from jumping to falling, and even the size of him. Having double jump or rocket set as a baseline, you can also choose how many jumps he has or how much fuel in the rocket.

If you want to play with some friends locally, they can plug in controllers to join in on the jumping with you. Even though you can use WASD or the arrow keys on the keyboard, it seems that only one person can use the keyboard. Every mode can be played in multiplayer, even the story levels. Multiplayer basically puts everyone’s character on the current level and you all will have to try beating it. You can still die in the same ways, though the level doesn’t get reset until everyone is dead or someone reaches the end. If one player gets left behind and the screen goes past them, they will die from that. Levels with checkpoints will revive dead players as they are touched. A special bungee mode exists within free play that causes all players to be connected by a stretchy rope, causes mayhem if you stray too far from another.

Everything that you do in Cloudberry Kingdom is stored as a statistic that you can view at any time. You will see basic information such as the number of times you’ve died and to what, and how many coins you have grabbed. Other statistics such as average length per life and the number of jumps you have done.

All the basic options exist, with sound and music volume sliders, resolution, and the ability to edit your keys. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to bind the space bar to the jump button, since that is how it is used in other jumping games. The graphics are nice colorful and cartoony, but aren’t ugly because of their simplicity. There is a variety of music that will play during the levels, and their quality sounds much better than a lot of video games.

There’s nothing wrong with the unlimted randomly generated levels, but because of that the levels all have the same feel to them. Other jumping games, like Super Meat Boy and Dust Force, have carefully crafted levels that have their own unique theme and layout. Other than that, nothing else stands out bad about Cloudberry Kingdom.

All game modes will start out easy, but will get harder as they go. This means that if you don’t like challenge in your games, you might not make it very far in all the modes. You can custom make yourself easy levels though. All random levels will even scale their difficulty on how well you do, meaning that they will stay relatively easy if you are having trouble. Even so, you will have to eventually improve to advance into the harder levels. Story mode saves your progress after completing each level, though everything else pretty much requires you to play until you run out of time or die too much. Level wise, it shouldn’t take you over a minute to do each one assuming you don’t die a whole lot in doing so.

Anyone looking for a great challenging platforming game will love Cloudberry Kingdom. The levels will get harder with how well you are doing and of course how far you have advanced in the current mode. Leaderboards will keep you on your toes while you try to beat the best in the world. Arcade has a bunch of modes to unlock as well as the different types of heroes you can use on them. Escalation and Time Crisis require you to play them as the normal character first, while you can unlock the others by completing a certain amount of levels. Different arcade modes require you to have a high enough player level, which is the total number of levels you’ve completed during the story and arcade.

Cloudberry Kingdom costs 10 dollars and if you purchase it you will also get the soundtrack. If you enjoy other jumping games, it is well worth buying Cloudberry Kingdom with the amount of content it comes with at such a low price.

Review: Gorn (VR)

Gorn is the best implementation of melee combat in VR to date, by a landslide.

I can’t say that I’ve ever actually cut someone’s head off with a gladius in real life. Nor have I let loose a tight circling flail at the perfect moment to crush a man’s skull – but when you play this game, you’ll feel you’d know just how to do it – it’s that intuitive and real in the “feel” of it all. It took the swarm of positive reviews to get me past my aversion to the cartoony graphics – but now I understand their purpose. It’s to keep me out of therapy…if it looked as real as it felt, I don’t think I could feel good about myself after the things that I have done.

I Went through the first few waves of unarmed opponents with little trouble, even grabbing my opponents and ripping their heads from their still living bodies all to please the crowd of omnipotent floating heads around me quoting Gladiator the whole way through. The night ended with my eyes burning from the profuse sweat i had started producing and I decide even the best gladiators need sleep so i proceeded to get some rest.

I can’t express how much I love this game. It’s the perfect game for someone who wants to feel like an amazing sword fighter/ gladiator without all this futuristic garbage (not saying it’s all bad) of jumping around flying throug the air.

One of my favorite things about this game is the developers, they respond and actually listen to the feedback of the discord channel. I cannot reccommend checking out the channel enough. Now, to describe the game…

Now, obviously it’s not a perfect game, its got its frustrating moments and stuff like that, glitches, bugs, the lot.
But the way the game is right now, it’s constantly changing and is being fixed.
We could honestly use more developers who listen to their fanbase, Foxhole and Gorn are good examples of this kind of great thing.

Another great thing about it is how powerful you feel when you go in slow motion after parrying, chopping your foes to bits like a sadistic sushi chef.
Personally I love cutting the AI to bits and watching them struggle to hit you or get to you.

Overall this has to be one of the best VR games in existence. I have never hated a floating head that doesn’t speak/barely speaks as much as i have in this game but that anger just makes it that much better when i rip the head from their “champions” shoulders then throw the remains at them. If you have any exercise equipment you wont need it anymore.

Can’t recommend this game enough, it is definitely going far.

New Content for Nier: Automata Announced


Fans will soon have more to experience in the world of NieR: Automata with today’s announcement from Square Enix that a set of downloadable content is coming soon for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system and Steam.

The downloadable content will include three exciting new colosseums to challenge, plus additional sub-quests. Upon completion of these quests, players can earn various rewards, including:

• Costumes from the previous Japanese release, NieR: Replicant, for androids 2B, 9S and A2.
• Records that add special music tracks to the players’ jukebox.
• New equipment and cosmetic accessories such as hairspray that allows you to change the color of 2B and A2’s hair.
• Masks with unique “on equip” effects.
• Special bullets that change the appearance of enemy bullets.

The critically acclaimed NieR: Automata has shipped more than one million physical and digital copies worldwide. Developed in collaboration with PlatinumGames Inc., it delivers a masterful mix of action and RPG gameplay. Players battle as androids 2B, 9S and A2 in order to reclaim the world for their human creators and uncover long-forgotten truths.

Kingdom Hearts: Union χ for Mobile Devices


Kingdom Hearts Union χ, the relaunch of the chart-topping mobile RPG Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ, is now available on iOS and Android devices. In celebration of the game’s successful first year, Square Enix introduced a major update that adds multiplayer mode and additional gameplay enhancements to deliver a complete Kingdom Hearts experience for gamers on the go.

The update brings mobile players together in the Union Cross multiplayer mode, where teams of six can embark on quests and new missions and take down hordes of Heartless enemies and massive bosses. Players can communicate using emotes and text bubbles and coordinate multiplayer sessions. The new Theater Mode option also allows players to view cutscenes from the game.

Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] is available as a free download in the App Store for iPhone and iPad and on Google Play for Android devices. Existing players only need to update the game to access the new content. Additionally, free items and in-game currency will be distributed to all players to celebrate the game’s anniversary and to reward players for participating in a pre-registration campaign that had over 120,000 participants worldwide.

Bullestorm: Full Clip Edition Launch trailer


Prepare to Master the Art of Destruction in the Ultimate Bulletstorm Experience, Power-Sliding onto PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC via Steam on April 7

To prepare the world for the launch of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, developer People Can Fly and publisher Gearbox Publishing announced the official launch trailer, ahead of its April 7, 2017 release on PlayStation®4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. Offering a high-octane glimpse at what players can expect from the remastered action title.

Featuring updated hi-res textures, increased polygon counts, sterling audio, smoother framerates, and running in up to 4K resolution on PC and PS4 Pro, this definitive version of the action-packed, critically-acclaimed FPS comes with all of its previously-released DLC along with brand-new content. And for the first time ever, players will get the chance to play Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition as the iconic Duke Nukem. Featuring a fully rerecorded script and brand new lines from the voice of Duke, Jon St. John, the Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour add-on content will replace main character Grayson Hunt with The King himself and provide players with a whole new butt-kicking perspective on the cult-classic shooter.

The ultimate Bulletstorm experience, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition will include:

The Total Package – All previously-released content, including the Gun Sonata and Blood Symphony add-on packs, now on modern platforms.

New Overkill Campaign Mode – Upon completing the main campaign, blast through this New Game+ mode with an unrestricted arsenal of weapons and Skillshots.

New Echo Maps – Players can showcase their skills on six brand-new levels for the score-based Echo Mode.

Killer Visuals – Presented with updated models, environments, and animations all running at 60 FPS across all platforms.

The Art of Destruction – Pull off masterful kills by mixing fast-paced gunplay with unique kick, slide, and leash combos.

Visceral Audio – Orchestrate a crescendo of chaos with newly remastered audio effects.

Duke Nukem’s Bulletstorm Tour – Play through the entire Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition campaign as Duke Nukem, featuring full voice over and brand-new lines from Jon St. John, the original voice of Duke.