Captain Orion’s bestest video games picks of 2020!

BESTEST

VIDEO GAMES

OF 2020!

2020 was a great year, for video games releases!

A lot of great games were released for this year. Many of them, I wish I got around to or had the consoles including Ghosts of Tsushima, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Doom: Eternal, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and more. We deserved fresh entertainment for this ongoing global pandemic crisis with the quarantines and social distancing shadowing much of 2020. Meanwhile, the interactive industry thrived with consistent sales, new consoles selling out, and plenty of new content for every player of all types.

Many of these fresh screen games set out to be enjoyed alone and/or socially online. We have more advanced gaming technology and means for online downloading, connecting, streaming, social discussing, cheering, and complaining. They all provide great distractions from the current time stresses as we may build upon new and renewed friendships with our shared love of gaming. Or, just pass the time and our best modern remedy for boredom with some single player escapism!

But for me, I’m a little bit of both types. I enjoy gaming alone, and with friends. Such depends on my mood and state of mind. Though, I steered more toward budgeting with big sales in games and freebies. There was plenty out there for those with the thinnest of wallets. I meanwhile, stayed mostly on my PC and Xbox One, no new consoles for me yet. I do want a Nintendo Switch, with time to play the many past games I missed for it.

Anyway, here are the games I personally present as the most important game awards to for 2020!

BEST NEW GAME OF 2020

HADES

Developer and published by Supergiant Games
System: PC, Nintendo Switch

This is the BEST game of 2020, for many reasons that go back decades in what I ask for in a a best-tier video game. Make it challenging, story-deep, visually awesome, sensible controls, gratifying, constant surprises, great music, unique style, and heart. Hades has all of this and more, with aspects reminiscent of other personal favorites – Disgaea, Diablo, Dark Souls, Smash TV. But with Hades, the more you die, the more the game is revealed with more story and gameplay elements. There is so much more I would like to say, but just go play it if you’re into something that feels both old-school but also super modern in its approach and complexity.

BEST COOPERATIVE?! GAME OF 2020

AMONG US

Developed and published by Innersloth
System: PC, Mobile, Nintendo Switch

A surprise that was released in 2018, but earned a huge boost in popularity thanks to its fans, developers, its very affordable price, online streams, and all around fun this game holds; all perfect for this time of mass quarantines and social distancing. Among Us is that connects us, as each game has its own story creating tension on just who Among Us is sus.

BEST KICKASS GAME OF 2020

STREETS OF RAGE 4

Developer: Dotemu, Guard Crush, Lizardcube  Published by Dotemu
System: All the current consoles and PC

HELL YES!!!! I freakin love the old Streets of Rage games for the Sega Genesis (and later mods, fan-made remakes). Streets of Rage 4 is THE damn great, official successor to all of that, including all that made the game great – action, complexity and variance to the button mashing, awesome musical tracks that your fists can dance to. The graphics are perfect with expressive visual style, vibrant colors, detailed backgrounds, and hella fun for co-op action too.

BEST PLAY AND CHILL GAME OF 2020

TOWNSCAPER

Developed and published by Oskar Stålberg
System: PC

It’s not really a game, but it should be someday. It’s hard to explain. Just watch the trailer, and from there, explore the crazy insane possibilities and let your imagination figure out the direction. The more you tinker and discover new aspects of the game, the more more awesome your wierd little world. I love the animation, sound effects, every little detail no matter how small; making Townscaper worth checking out.

BEST VISUAL NOVEL GAME OF 2020

QUANTUM SUICIDE

Developer and published by Cotton Candy Cyanide
System: PC

This particular Japanese anime style visual novel sets itself off apart with a very unique story, and choosy situations that center around mechanics that are very science fictiony, flirty. with deadly sub-games that take a bit more thinking than I would expect. I much enjoyed this all as I watched and chimed in for some very entertaining Twitch streams from a gamer friend that you should follow (twitch.tv/aechonex).

BEST PUZZLING PUZZLE GAME OF 2020

HELLTAKER

Developer and published by vanripper
System: PC

A fun puzzle-adventure with dating and cooking themes game? Helltaker is that and so much more. It’s very unique, with catchy beats, and a whole lot of fun. It’s also free!

BEST FINALLY GOT AROUND TO IT GAME OF 2020

FINAL FANTASY XV

Developed and published by Square Enix
System: All the current consoles and PC

Final Fantasy XV came out a little over 4 years ago and has been in constant development all the way until 2019 with tis final DLC. This open-world game is freakin massive, giving its players much homework into other media for a wider complete experience. I found the 19.99 price for the Royal Edition (main game plus mostly all the DLC) the best I can get for my single-player RPG Final Fantasy loving needs. I enjoyed this far more than expected, delve deep into worldbuilding, and will forever treasure what it brought in this tough pandemic time.

BEST DEMO GAME OF 2020

THE LIFE AND SUFFERING OF SIR BRANTE

Developer by Sever published by 101XP
System: PC for the demo

A surprise treat among I discovered among the PAX Online demos. It’s a visual novel that reads like a lifetime biography, but with choices that do indeed tell a story of about the life and suffering of (you can choose his name). It’s a series of very unfortunate events, where you do your best to make the best out of it, and find deeper meanings though it all. It’s different and worth checking out for visual novel fans, and something to watch out for when it’s fully released.

BEST GAME OF 2021, MAYBE..

CYBERPUNK 2077

Developer: Playstation, Xbox, and PC

The game I was most excited for its delayed release. And, I still am. But after seeing (and laughing) the glitches, problems, frustrations that seem to be a trend for these big, crazy games where play-testing continues with the player after its release…not playing or judging this until the final product is done with enough updates, patches, DLC, whatever it takes to experience as intended. Maybe it will be awesome as its hype. I will remain excited, and wait till the finished product.

That’s all the game awards for 2020 I got. If there was something else I should have played, please share in the comments below!

New Gaming Preview Trailer: Lost Words

Publisher Modus Games and developer Sketchbook Games, recently unveiled at the New York Game Awards, Lost Words: Beyond the Page, “an inventive and touching tale of a young girl’s personal growth.” Also, a puzzle platformer, mixed with fluid, dreamy animation.

This new trailer above is narrated by the game’s female protagonist, Izzy, provides a glimpse of the fantasy world of Estoria and the moving emotional journey of a young writer using creativity and her journal to deal with life’s adventures. Izzy’s recollections and imagination inspire breathtaking scenes of a vibrant, evocative world, unfolding new moments within an emotional story brimming with joyous, childlike zeal and mounting poignancy as that innocence adapts to life’s realities.

Lost Words: Beyond the Page featured a narrative script from writer Rhianna Pratchett (daughter of fantasy writer Terry Pratchett). Her writing credits span through two decades, and includes such notable story-driven hits hits as Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider (2013), Rise of the Tomb Raider, the Overlord series, Mirror’s Edge, and more.

Lost Words is set for a Spring 2020 launch on Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. To read more about Lost Words: Beyond the Page, visit the official site, www.lostwordsgame.com.

E3 2019 Gaming News: Read Only Memories: Neurodiver

Neurodiver 2

Interesting news surface at E3 for fans of the cult indie cyberpunk hit, MidBoss’ 2064: Read Only Memories…

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver, the next mystery adventure set in the world of MidBoss’ 2064: Read Only Memories, will delve the psyche of PC and Mac in 2020.

Return to the vibrant cyberpunk world of Neo-San Francisco from 2064: Read Only Memories, filled with friendly and familiar faces including Jess Meas, the gene-spliced, hybrid lawyer, TOMCAT, the notorious hacker, and Lexi Rivers, former police officer turned private eye.

Here’s a little preview…

Neurodiver will introduce new characters, locations, and mechanics, including the ability to dive into and change other characters’ memories, as well as overhauled art and an unsolved case to crack with multiple endings.

Take on the role of ES88, a telepath employed by a powerful organization called MINERVA specializing in neurotechnology and extrasensory projection phenomena. In exchange for a procedure arming her with a Neurodiver, a powerful genetically engineered device allowing ES88 to dive into others’ memories, and employment at the agency, ES88 gave up her identity and memories.

A rogue Esper, a naturally gifted psychic, is on the loose and wreaking havoc through the subconscious minds of Neo-San Francisco. Track down this mysterious rogue known as the Golden Butterfly by using the Neurodiver to search the memories in which it hides. Read Only Memories: Neurodiver’s Deep Dive mechanic enables ES88 to identify, manipulate, and unlock information, though overuse can irreparably corrupt her target’s memory.

Set to retro-inspired music from Scarlet Moon artists, this colorful point-and-click adventure explores themes of memory, perception, and identity through the lens of a person who willingly gave up everything she was.

“The mystery of the Golden Butterfly is the perfect opportunity to expand the Read Only Memories universe,” said Cade Peterson, CEO of MidBoss, “Everything fans of 2064 loved is still there: diverse characters, an immersive cyberpunk world, fun puzzles, and a great story.”

For more info on Read Only Memories: Neurodiver, follow Midboss on all the best social media sites and visit midboss.com

E3 2019 Gaming Preview: Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy.

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Indie games publisher Big Sugar (formerly Digital Uppercut) and indie developer Ludomotion recently announced at E3 their new game, Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy.

The following is much info on this new game from their recent press release. But first, a trailer preview from E3…

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is a roguelite action-RPG and prodigious sequel to the critically acclaimed indie gem, Unexplored. Leave the Dungeon of Doom behind and venture into a vast, wondrous world as you embark on a heroic quest to destroy the mysterious Staff of Yendor.

Explore beautiful landscapes and discover hidden marvels. Encounter magical creatures and dangerous foes. Make brave choices and put your faith in good fortune. Featuring a unique legacy system, advanced procedural generation technology, and rich, generative storytelling, Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is an adventure like no other.

Major changes in the evolution from Unexplored to Unexplored 2 include the sprawling outdoor setting of the sequel, which leaves behind the original’s dungeon-based confines, and a dramatically different visual style that imbues the world with a wonderfully vibrant and magical sense of place.

Less immediately obvious, but absolutely fundamental to Unexplored 2, is the use once again of advanced content generation. Ludomotion has continued to refine and improve its revolutionary technology, which is now capable of even more impressive results across a range of systems, from world and level creation to generated stories and puzzles.

“The first game is a dungeon crawler, but Unexplored 2 takes the adventure outside the dungeon,” explains game director Joris Dormans. “You can travel across a whole continent of generated places. There are so many things to see and to do – so much to explore, so many challenges to overcome, so many stories to discover. Unexplored had hundreds of hours of content, but Unexplored 2 will be even bigger.”

To coincide with the game’s announcement, an Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy Open Access campaign has launched on crowdfunding platform Fig, giving backers immediate access to a pre-alpha test demo, amongst other incentives.

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy will launch on PC and consoles in 2020. For more info, visit www.bigsugar.games.

E3 Gaming 2019 Preview: Unto The End, by 2 Ton Studios

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New publisher Big Sugar (formerly Digital Uppercut) and indie developer 2 Ton Studios unveiled at this year’s E3 show, their upcoming combat adventure Unto The End. It’s a2D cinematic adventure, featuring a nuanced combat system and handcrafted encounters, which follows a father’s journey through an unforgiving wilderness to get back to his family.

Here revealed is some cool raw in-game footage…

Unto The End is the creation of the husband and wife development team of Stephen Danton and Sara Kitamura of 2 Ton Studios. Both shared some insight from a recent press release.

“From the very start we knew we wanted a minimal art style with a side-on presentation, and gameplay that focused on player skill,” explains game designer and animator, Danton. “We also didn’t want to copy-paste an existing game model, or simply make a puzzle-platformer, roguelike, metroidvania or 2D Dark Souls.

“So we spent a lot of time trying out ideas. And although that’s fun, it’s also really scary because there’s not much there to guide you. In the end we landed on a few simple ideas and then spent a bunch of time refining them.

“Unto is a focused experience. It’s handcrafted and values quality over quantity. When it’s all done, we hope players enjoy its challenges and come away feeling a real sense of mastery and accomplishment.”

Unto The End will launch on the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The release date is not set yet.

My favorite video games of 2018

Captain Spirit

2018 was a year of many small, yet very shiny gaming gems.

Which, I think is something the industry needs, for just being good games without a ton of DLC, loot boxes, virtual currency, adware, and other deceptive practices disguised within what would appear to be a good game. For me, such as a big turn off. I just want to play a good, challenging game with maybe a story or some visual element I can get deeply involved in.

Still, I did play some games in 2018, but also avoided the popular overly large-world games like the Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, God of War. I hear those are good, but I didn’t time to get deeply involved. And, much of that involving additional currency to enhance the game, ended in a huge turn-off.  I also avoided the newer mobile games and multi-player out there for much of the above reason.

Meanwhile, I did have time for some especially great games that made its debut this year. So, here are my favorites for 2018, and the special awards I give them…

BEST ART DIRECTION IN GAME OF 2018

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GRIS

Developer: Nomada Studio    Published by Devolver Digital
System: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Mac

I played this at PAX West and was instantly captivated. Not just with the gorgeous hand-drawn, animated visuals but with the fluid poetic gameplay. It feels like every moment is a work of art, backed an amazing soundtrack. Gris made its recent release debut, and I now find myself falling into its allure all over again.

BEST ROLE PLAYING GAME, and BEST SHOOT-EM-UP of 2018

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CROSSCODE

Developer: Radical Fish Games    Published by Deck13
System: Linux, Microsoft Windows, MAC

It’s a role-playing game, and a shooter, and a puzzler sometimes. It’s a beautiful game with old-era graphic done with heavy care and attention, and a fun story added in. While much of it feels like a throwback to the RPG games of the early 90s with anime influences and a large cast of characters, its approach of being a fast-paced shooter throughout gives the style a fresh approach.

BEST RETRO STYLE THROWBACK of 2018

2018-12-25

THE MESSENGER

Developer: Sabotage    Published by Devolver Digital
System: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows

Here is a little throwback to the classic Ninja Gaiden run and slash games. The pixellated graphics remind me of the later NES games which really pushed what it could do back in the day, making it feel timeless, and lost for a time (tired of some “retro games” looking to retro). The Messenger brings that back with some classic gameplay and 8-bit music as well, but with the more solid challenge for aged game players.

BEST NARRATIVE GAME OF 2018

Captain Spirit

THE AWESOME ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN SPIRIT

Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment    Published by Square Enix
System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

Cool little free game with no strings attached, set in the Life is Strange universe. You play the role of a young boy living out his superhero fantasy while dealing with real-life problems. Lots of decisions and some moral questions are raised. There is no need to familiarize oneself with the Life is Strange games, which is nice. I will get around to eventually.

BEST EXPLORATION GAME OF 2018

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SUBNAUTICA

Developed and published by Unknown Worlds Entertainment
System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh

I played a little bit of this and fell in love with its gameplay, story, deep world that feels like an awesome dream, mixed with tense moments. The underwater feel, playful colors, and use of deep ocean physics has me coming back, looking for more and discovering interesting things at a pace I can control.

BEST REBOOT OF A CLASSIC HERO in 2018

MegaMan11_06

MEGA MAN 11

Developed and published by CAPCOM
System: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

It’s the comeback we long-time Mega Man fans deserve. With fluid animations and modern designs without losing all the best parts about the classic games. I love the bosses, silly voice acting, the Double Gear gimmick. It’s awesome, the game is way too short in its final stages. Still, it did well and I hope this will be the standard for more Megaman games to follow.

BEST FIGHTING GAME OF 2018

smash-bros-ultimate

SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE

Developed and published by Nintendo
System: Nintendo Switch

Of course! It’s almost cheating with a roster and winning formula updated with the power of the Nintendo Switch.

THE OTHER BEST FIGHTING GAME OF 2018

2018-12-25 (1)

Lethal League Blaze

Developed and published by Team Reptile
System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows

Wow, what a crazy reinvention of the fighting game genre, where much of it revolves around dodgeball like physics. Add some crazy music beats, wacky character designs, and wickedly fast, unexpected gameplay and this is a game that will gain more notice and respect in time.

BEST RESTORATION OF A CLASSIC GAME

Zone of the Enders 2nd Runner: M∀RS

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ZONE OF THE ENDERS, THE 2nd RUNNER: M∀RS

Developer: Cygames   Published by: Konami
System: Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows

A beautiful re-render of Hideo Kojima’s awesome PS2 game that doesn’t have Metal Gear in the title, and far more polished than the HD Ps3 version, and also formatted for virtual reality. The story, characters, mech-designs, physics is full of originality and brings out a special uniqueness for those looking for more than great gameplay. The original I feel still isn’t appreciated enough, and now it’s built better for a new generation to enjoy, while fans can enjoy it further.

That’s all the freshness for 2018 from me. If there was something else I should have played, please share in the comments below!

A Stranger Look at the PAX 10 of indie games for 2018

Soon, the PAX West show will return to the Seattle city for 2018. And within, are some new gems from this year’s PAX 10 lineup.

The PAX 10 is an annual list of industry chosen new indie games, earned approval as worthwhile to check out to all gamers. These interactive works add fresh and innovative elements in gameplay, have an interesting style, fun and sometimes weird. For both the PAX West and East shows, attendees can demo these games, with the developers usually present. Each annual list is special and inspirational for new upcoming talent, showing you need not big company brands to impress potential gamers. Just keep the player engaged with something original, engaging and fun. Others will notice.

For this 2018 run, here is the PAX 10 worthy of your attention:

Gunhead

Developer – Alientrap
Platform – Windows/Steam
Genre – Roguelike FPS
Website: www.alientrap.com

“Gunhead is a fast paced roguelike FPS where you take the role of a pirate mech with a gun for a head, looting derelict spaceships filled with monstrous drones made out of bone and steel. Sequel to Cryptark – Coming 2018.”

Personal Thoughts: The art style is beautiful and comic book cell-shaded. The overall feeling is a bit visual overload, but maybe that’s part of the fun.

Mirror

Developer – Ian Lilley
Platform – Windows / Linux
Genre – Puzzle
Website: http://www.mirrordropgame.com

“Mirror Drop is a psychedelic 3D puzzle game where you maneuver a reflective sphere in a world full of mirrors, over-saturated colors, and infinities. Each level contains three puzzles and a hidden exit, set against 100% raytraced alien geometry.”

Personal Thoughts: This looks trippy as hell, and could be more involving as a VR title.

DropOverload

Developer – Revival Productions
Platform – Windows / Mac / Linux / Xbox One / PS4 (Steam/Gog)
Genre – Shooter
Website: http://www.playoverload.com

:A new six-degree-of-freedom shooter from the creators of Descent with intuitive controls, amazing lighting and graphics, and the best zero-G robot-blasting combat ever devised.”

Personal Thoughts: Looks very polished, with a lot of added potential for VR.

Pizza Titan Ultra

Developer – Breakfall Inc.
Platform – Windows via Steam (Xbox One / PS4 Coming Soon)
Genre – Action
Website: www.pizzatitanultra.com

“Pizza Titan Ultra is a fast paced 3rd-person action platformer focused on fighting and smashing through a futuristic city, in a giant mech, to deliver pizza. Experience arcadey action with speedy attacking and dodging, but also attempting to control the massive weight of a 10 storey mobile pizzeria. Just try not to make too much of a mess.”

Personal Thoughts: I love this ridiculous premise, where Crazy Taxi meets Gundam. The mech designs are awesome.

Praey for the Gods

Developer – No Matter Studios
Platform- Windows
Genre – Action Adventure
Website: www.praeyforthegods.com

“Praey for the Gods is a brutal journey set on a desolate frozen island, where your only chance of survival is to destroy the very gods you believe in. In Praey for the Gods, you play a lone hero sent to the edge of a dying world to discover the mystery behind a never-ending winter. Arriving with only the clothes on your back, you must survive the colossal dangers that you encounter. To restore balance and reclaim the land from the brink, you will be faced with questions that not even a God knows the answer to.”

Personal Thoughts: A beautiful, story-driven game, where the play and progress is the exposition, driven by exploration and survival. As a big fan of the classic Shadow of the Colossus game, this excites me.

Retimed

Developer – Team Maniax
Platform – Nintendo Switch
Genre – Multiplayer Arena Shooter
Website: maniax-games.com/Retimed

“Retimed is a local multiplayer arena shooter for 2-4 players with slow-motion. It’s a combination of Super Smash Bros and the film Matrix. When an enemy bullet gets close to you, time slows down and a time bubble is created around the player. Now there is enough time to react and try to dodge the deadly projectiles. These time bubbles generate exciting alternations between fast-paced movement and tension-filled slow motion moments.”

Personal Thoughts: An interesting concept, which I think I would need to test before getting too involved.

Roundguard

Developer – Wonderbelly Games
Platform – Windows
Genre – Rogue-like
Website: http://www.wonderbellygames.com/

“A bouncy physics-based roguelite with a cast of oddballs, procedural dungeons, and lots of loot. Like if Peggle played D&D in the basement.”

Personal Thoughts: This looks fun. I like when RPG elements gets mixed into other genres. 

Shift Quantum

Developer – Fishing Cactus
Platform – PS4 / XBOX One / Nintendo Switch
Genre – Puzzle Platformer
Website: www.shiftquantum.com

“Axon Vertigo, the world’s leading authority and most trusted friend in cerebral contentedness programming, promises to deliver better life quality for everyone with the Shift Quantum program. Connected to the cyber-noir action-puzzle platformer, you will be task to solve puzzles and create negative space by inverting the world to transform barriers into escape routes. Shift the world, twist your environment, bend your mind to unveil its secrets and solve each brain-drilling level. Make use of all special gameplay blocks to overcome obstacles and get to the exit to find the happiness you have been searching for and promised by Axon Vertigo.”

Personal Thoughts: I like the customization feature, and would play it just to see what others would come up with. I like the style too, and hope there is a good story with that too.

Tick Tock: A Tale for Two

http://www.ticktockthegame.com

Developer – Other Tales Interactive
Platform – Windows
Genre – Co-op adventure
Website: www.ticktockthegame.com

“Tick Tock: A Tale for Two is a co-op adventure where you and your friend get trapped by the skilful clockmaker Amalie Ravn. In order to escape you need to navigate a magical clock world filled with secrets and puzzles. The only problem is… neither of you have the full picture. Prepare yourselves for a narrative experience where your communication skills are put to the test. Read out loud to each other, discuss what you see, and combine the information on your two screens to get closer to the truth and your ultimate escape. Play on any two devices, local or remotely, all you need is a voice connection.”

Personal Thoughts: An interesting idea this is. I like it, but would need the right kind of person with a good attention span to take this seriously.

With Friends Like These

Developer – Shy Kids Club
Platform – Nintendo Switch / PC
Genre – Co-Op 2D shooter
Website: www.shykidsclub.com/with-friends-like-these

“With Friends Like These is a game that lovingly forces co-operation. Everyone on your home planet is super bored and over worked! So you and your bestie have decided to take everyone on a trip to Crazy Time Planet where everyone can let off some steam. Unfortunately, things go wrong and you crash into Super Chill World, your friends don’t realise they’re on the wrong planet and start to cause chaos. It’s up to you and your pal to collect up all your friends before they cause too much damage and drive the Super Chill residents insane.”

Personal Thoughts: Cute and weird, which the games industry can never have enough of. A game like this would work well in a video arcade cabinet, and I would spend the quarters for it.

HAROLD HALIBUT, a handmade adventure indie game planned for 2019

 

Cologne, Germany-based developer Slow Bros. is building a new world, piece by piece using hand-crafted real toy models, puppets, and other real world supplies; all incorporated into their new adventure game, Harold Halibut.

Harold Halibut is a narrative exploration game that combines underwater atmosphere and self-reflective humor with a unique art style.

Comprised entirely of real world supplies and made in Unity, Harold Halibut aims to bridge analogue and digital art. Slow Bros. sculpts, paints, and glues together the models and puppets that make up the world of Harold Halibut, while a team of digital artists renders these objects into the virtual space.

Harold Halibut tells the tale of a clumsy lab-assistant and janitor who was born on a submerged spaceship that crash-landed on an alien planet made entirely of water. Never knowing what life was like on Earth, Harold spends much of his time daydreaming about what’s beyond the subterranean vessel in which he is bound. After spotting an unidentified swimming object, Harold becomes obsessed with uncovering the mystery behind this aquatic planet.

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“Harold Halibut started out as a dinner table conversation about the adventure games we played as children,” said Slow Bros. designer, writer, and composer Onat Hekimoglu. “We soon started building dollhouse sized sets and puppets in our bedrooms. The result works like a game but it looks like a stop motion film. Welded metal, carefully sewn textiles against tiny wooden floorboards, and clay faces the size of walnuts pull the player into Harold’s world.”

“We are beyond excited to be partnering with Slow Bros. on Harold Halibut,” said Simon Byron, Publishing Director at Curve Digital. “The sheer amount of work and intricate detail that Harold Halibut brings blew us away, and we can’t wait to show you all more.”

Slow Bros developers with Curve Digital will target Harold Halibut a 2019 release for PC and consoles. For more info, visit www.haroldhalibut.com.

E3 2018: SABLE, a new indie game with Moebius inspired animation

Through this year’s E3 show event, an announcement trailer for a new game Sable stands out for something different and exciting for gaming fans.

The trailer gives a style must be stylized after the classic artwork and storytelling of Jean Henri Gaston Giraud, more known through his pseudonym Moebius. As for the story itself, it follows through its description from Shedworks, the developers behind the new game:

Sable is a coming-of-age tale of discovery through exploration across a strikingly rendered open world desert. Go on a deeply personal journey across an alien planet while learning its history and discovering Sable’s place in the world.

This is Sable. Created by Gregorios Kythreotis and Daniel Fineberg from a studio they’ve founded called Shedworks. Original soundtrack (including the song for the trailer) composed by experimental pop artist Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast. Narrative crafted by the talented Meg Jayanth. Sound design from Independent Games Festival award-winning audio designer Martin Kvale. Animation by brilliant newcomer Micah Holland.

Sable is planned for release on the PC and consoles in 2019. For more info, visit sablegame.com

PAX West 2017 Part 2, Outside the Expo Hall

Last week, I attended the PAX West 2017, an awesome event of video and tabletop games. I wrote some words about it in a recent Part 1 post, where I shared my pics and observations on the main Expo Hall.

Now, I share the rest, which I found much more exciting and expansive. Below are more pictures and notes of select moments of this fun show. Take a look!

I spent much time on the sixth floor checking out the PAX 10, a select group of indie games hosted by their creators. Among them, West of Loathing caught my eye for its interesting, fun choice of style.

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Also among the PAX 10, I enjoyed Tiny Bubbles, a puzzle game that feels therapeutic and comforting. I like to see bubbles pop.

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An interesting side thing happening among the indie games out there – cartridge games developed by gaming fans for old console systems. Retrotainment Games showed some interesting new game cartridges, playable for the NES.

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This PAX West, I also attended many panels. This panel, was about the Youtube gameplay streaming scene, hosted by the Gaming Grandma, Shirley Curry.

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Another panel, this on overlooked job opportunities among game company developers. This chart gives a good look at what’s out there for those interested…

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The Nintendo Metroid Panel focused on Samu’s return to the 2-D platform for the 3DS. Much was shown, but the highlight for me is this fan-art by James Franzen (@goshadale)…

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In light of Metroid, here is some amazing Samus cosplay…

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Another panel on game writing. Lots so helpful advice on creating fiction in the world of gaming.

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A personal favorite of PAX in the past years; the Late Night Dub Fight..where a group of comedics improv and dub various (and some very familiar) cartoons and live-action video clips.

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Also around PAX West, many board games. Sometimes, just seeing one with a lot of setup is a beautiful thing to photograph. I didn’t get the name of this, but I really want to play it

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In the basement area kind of hidden, was the Indie Megabooth for tabletop gaming. Some very fresh, and just getting the word out on their games. Here is Sarah’s Singularity, a game of time travel and alternate timelines.

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Also much enjoyed in the same room, Cult Following. A game involving cults, with a lot of goofy aspects to it.

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Someone Had Died, a game that caught my interest most so. It’s a game of winning an inheritance, by building upon a story following someone’s sudden demise.

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Another new game of interest: Now Everyone get the F%$# Out,  a game of drunken party antics. The game creator (I didn’t get his name, argh) gave me a spirited introduction.

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Back to the main floor, and more cosplay. Here is some lovely Final Fantasy XIV presentation.

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League of Legends cosplay!

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Squids from Space Cosplay

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Not sure on this group. I like the costumes.

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Fire Emblem cosplay.

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The final morning of the grand PAX West adventure, greeted by some of the ever-awesome PAX Enforcers (paid volunteers of the show).

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One thing I loved about this convention vs. other shows, is the line entertainment brought on by some of the PAX Enforcers. Some had goofy games to share, others played music. Overall, a great dedication from the managment to try and make more minutes of the show count.

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One of the big PAX West live events, a role-playing session with Jim Darkmagic (Mike Krahulik), Omin Dran (Jerry Holkins), Viari (Patrick Rothfuss), and special guest star, Strix (Holly Conrad)

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One of the many music concerts, tributing game music and culture. Here jamed the Bit Brigade, remixing the old NES Batman while it played on in the background.

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The last event attended for me, was the Omegathon: Final Round. This being a competition of a surprise game chosen (Nidhogg 2) for the 2 final players. The match was quite exciting (but was interupted with some technical difficulties).

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That’s all for now. I very much enjoyed this PAX West, with so much done and new friends made, games discovered, and many cheers put out. I look forward to the next year!

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