Following a successful early access campaign, publisher Merge Games has released Dwarfheim. The co-op real time strategy game has officially reached version 1.0 as of today. This means that it is now a fully featured title that can be purchased on Steam. To celebrate its launch Merge Games is offering a 30% discount for all purchases until October 4.
Furthermore, there is a 33% discount on Dwarfheim Founders Edition. This special edition comes bundled with both the game and the Supporter Pass. The Supporter Pass is a piece of DLC that adds exclusive cosmetic items. This includes skins for several Thanes, tools, units, and various buildings.
Goodbye early access
A lot of developers get stuck in early access hell. This is when a game never reaches version 1.0 and instead stays in its pre-release form forever. There are various reasons a developer may do this but thankfully the team behind DwarfHeim has successfully left early access.
DwarfHeim is a unique game as its designed solely around co-op gameplay. Three players can work together as a team, each sharing the same base. They fill one of three unique roles: Builder, Miner, and Warrior. All three of these roles are required to progress your clan.
Builders are responsible for healing units, building defences and maintaining infrastructure. The Miner is the team’s primary resource gatherer but can also building machinery and traps to disrupt the enemy. Finally, the Warrior has to train an army to defend the objective.
There are three game modes available: Conquest, Skirmish, and Sandbox. Sandbox allows you to freely create whatever you like. Skirmish is a single player only mode where it’s you versus the A.I. And then Conquest is the main competitive mode where two teams of three fight it out to claim victory. Only the best players will be able to dominate here.
Nintendo recently had a Direct announcing a large variety of games. Amongst these announcements , improvements which people waiting for a long time to its Nintendo Online service. From next month, Nintendo Online subscribers will gain access to several popular Nintendo 64 (N64) games. Furthermore, a handful of Sega Mega Drive classics are expected to follow as part of the so-called expansion.
All the supported games will be playable with up to four players both local and online. The confirmed games are: Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Lylat Wars, Yoshi’s Story, Mario Tennis, Dr Mario 64, Operation WinBack, and Sin and Punishment.
When Nintendo brought NES and SNES games to Switch, it also released a set of special anniversary controllers to celebrate. This time is no different. Once the N64 service goes live Switch Online owners will be able to purchase a Switch compatible Nintendo 64 controller. For many, this is an iconic controller due to its unorthodox shape and central analog stick.
Otherwise, players also have fourteen Sega Mega Drive titles to look forward to. Obvious classics like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Ecco the Dolphin are available in the library. It’s interesting to see Nintendo host a Sega collection given the history the two video game giants once had.
Unfortunately, these new games will not be available at the current price that Nintendo Online is offering. Instead, there will be tiered memberships that grant access to different platforms and games. To play both N64 and Sega Mega Drive games will require to purchase the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion.
The exact price of this expansion pack is currently unknown. Nintendo simply states to “check back soon for more details”. Hopefully, it doesn’t end up considering too expensive given that all that’s up for offer is some decent emulation. Although knowing Nintendo it’s hard to say what to expect.
It’s no secret that FIFA Ultimate Team is the sport game’s premiere selling point. For many the fantasy squad building game mode is the most important feature in EA’s football series. And so, it should come as no surprise that it’s the game mode that receive the most updates. Amongst next year’s improvements is the addition of four new icons in FIFA 22.
Icon cards are cards used to represent historically great players. The legends of the game are given the chance to appear in Ultimate Team through them. Each icon has three cards representing three stages of their career: base, prime, and moments. Only the former two are available at the start of the game with moments being released later in the year.
Who are the new icons?
The new four icons coming to FIFA 22 are Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Iker Casillas, and Cafu. All of these players are true greats of the game and are widely considered some of the best players to ever play.
Wayne Rooney is England’s all-time top goal scorer with 53 goals in 120 international appearances. However, it’s his illustrious career with Manchester United that most will know him by. He made 393 appearances at United during which he won five Premier League titles.
Another Premier League great joins the icon roster with Robin Van Persie. Van Persie is one of Arsenal’s all-time best players having scored 96 in 194 for The Gunners. Similar to Rooney, he also had success at United lifting the Premier League title in 2013.
Finally, Casillas and Cafu join the roster. Casillas played for Real Madrid from 1999-2015, making over 500 league appearances. He is undoubtably one of the best European goalkeepers of all time. As for Cafu, the Brazilian great lifted two World Cups in 1994 and 2002. The pacey full back is one of the truly legendary defenders of his generation.
In an interview with Gameinformer, the CEO of Ludacity Joel Nystrom spoke about Nickelodeon All Star Brawl. Nickelodeon All Star Brawl is a party fighting game that is launching later this year. Many have already compared it to Nintendo’s extremely popular Super Smash Bros series. Well much like Smash it turns out that Nickelodeon All Star Brawl will also feature DLC characters.
DLC characters refer to additional playable characters that will be purchasable post-release. Super Smash Bros has used post-release DLC to add several characters already. Examples include Joker from Persona 5 and Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII. Nickelodeon All Star Brawl will adopt a similar model and add Nickelodeon characters that didn’t make the initial roster.
So who can we expect?
The initial roster for Nickelodeon All Star Brawl doesn’t include some popular characters who will likely come later as DLC. The likes of Spongebob SquarePants, Aang, and Nigel Thornberry were a given. However, there are some surprisingly popular characters that won’t be available on release.
It’s important to note that the official launch roster hasn’t actually been revealed yet. But a leak of the roster went public earlier this month. We are going to assume that leak is accurate for the sake of this article.
If it is accurate, then there is no representation for several popular shows which Nickolodeon hosts. That includes Drake & Josh, iCarly, Lazy Town, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, and The Fairly Oddparents. Even though some of these shows are live-action, Nystrom made it clear in the interview that it’s possible that they will still make an appearance.
The first batch of DLC is expected to launch soon after release. There will be two unnamed characters available with additional DLC characters following in the future. Even without DLC though Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl will launch with twenty different characters which should be enough to keep players happy.
Japanese games company Nintendo has cut the price of the Switch in Europe. Previously, a new Nintendo Switch would cost €330 or £280. After today’s change it will instead retail for just €300 or £280. That’s a substantial reduction that may encourage consumers who were otherwise doubtful to give it a go.
You can also expect this to have a long-term effect on the second-hand market. If buying a new Switch is cheaper than second hand units should follow the same trend. Interestingly, this is the first price cut the hybrid console has received since its launch in 2017. That alone shows just how successful the Switch has been.
What about the US?
Although there has yet to be a cost cut in the US market, this may change. Recent reports suggest that a similar price cut to the Switch is expected to hit North America in the near future. We do not currently know how much cheaper it will be but it’s possible to take a guess based on the changes in Europe.
Currently, a new Nintendo Switch retails in America at $300. Once the price cut hits this will probably down to around $270. Not a bad cost at all for a console capable of playing all of Nintendo’s latest and greatest games.
But why is the Switch being made cheaper? It certainly isn’t because Nintendo is struggling to sell units. According to its earnings report, Nintendo estimates Switch sales at almost 90 million units. That’s comparable to the Wii, Nintendo’s all time most successful home console.
Instead, this change is probably in response to the Switch OLED’s upcoming release. This upgraded Switch model launches next month at €365, £310, or $350. It will feature a greatly improved display, 64GB of internal storage, and a wired LAN port. This will provide consumers with three choices to purchase: the Switch, Switch OLED, and the portable mode only Switch Lite.
In a recent financial report, GameStop outlined its future intentions to evolve. Moving forward the video game retailer wants to transition towards becoming a general technology company. That means moving the focus away from just selling games to offering a wider range of products.
Those that have visited a GameStop store recently will have already seen this change start to take shape. The retailer sells plenty of non-gaming products like clothing, electronics, and merchandise. But there are plans in place to push this movement further. And eventually, transition fully into a technology retail chain.
What does the future hold?
The choice to transition into a technology company was listed as a “business priority.” According to GameStop, this change will “connect customers with games, entertainment, and a wide assortment of products.” A comparison to an existing company would be Frys or Newegg.
In order to successfully evolve, GameStop is planning to “increase the size of our addressable market by growing our product catalog across consumer electronics.” Simply, it wants to offer a wider range of products and give consumers more choice as to what they can buy.
Furthermore, the report confirms plans to “expand fulfillment operations to improve the speed of delivery and service to our customers.” This hints at a shift towards online shopping which makes sense given the reason for this change. GameStop is becoming something different in order to stay relevant.
The reality is that every year that goes by physical stores like GameStop become less important. Digital stores are taking over as they are often more convenient and cheaper. By adjusting its practices and identity, GameStop is attempting to future-proof itself. Credit, where credit is due, is a smart move. We all saw with Toys R’ Us what happens when a big company fails to keep up with the times.
Sonic Colors: Ultimate is releasing later this week but those who pre-ordered got to play it early. Early adopters found out quickly that Sonic Colors: Ultimate is full of bugs. The issue is even more apparent on the Nintendo Switch, where the publisher has had a hard time optimising.
Thankfully, Sega is aware of these issues and has a plan to address them. Official Sonic the Hedgehog social media manager Katie Chrzanowski took to Twitter to explain. She posted: “Hey everyone! Appreciate all your feedback on Sonic Colors: Ultimate, and the teams are listening and assessing for an upcoming patch.”
Not exactly as it seems
Interestingly, the state of Sonic Colors: Ultimate has been blown a little out of proportion. Although the remake of Sega’s 2010 classic does have its issues, they aren’t as bad as many may think. This is because some of the bugs shown in a viral video were produced as a result of playing on an emulator.
These Sonic Colors: Ultimate bugs unique to the emulator were also addressed by Chrzanowski: “We’ve seen some graphical issues that were caused by an emulator which is unfortunately outside our control. Trying to figure out what bugs are legitimate can really slow down the QA process.”
Regardless, it would be dishonest of Sega to pretend legitimate issues don’t exist. Play testers have managed to recreate an issue during some segments that triggers flashing visuals. This visual bug is so intense that it could potentially cause seizures in individuals with epilepsy.
As this was not an intended feature, Sonic Colors: Ultimate does not have an epilepsy warning. Having a warning for stations like this is a legal requirement. Not doing so puts some of your consumers at serious risk. In worst case scenarios, epilepsy can be fatal. Needless to say, this is an issue that Sega needs to fix quickly.
Warzone developer Raven Software has released the roadmap for Season 5 Reloaded. The new roadmap details what content Call of Duty fans can expect moving forward in both Warzone and Black Ops Cold War. Amongst the reveals was the confirmation that a Judge Dredd collaboration event will be ran in Warzone soon.
Judge Dredd is a popular British comic series. The story follows a law enforcement officer who is challenged with managing crime in the dystopian city of Mega-City One. It peaked in popularity in the 90s but still maintains a dedicated fanbase to this day.
Another Warzone collab
Judge Dredd is not the first collab to come to Warzone. Previously, Activision teamed up with Rambo, Die Hard, and Jigsaw to produce event exclusive cosmetics. Similarly, the Judge Dredd collab will see a new operator and gun skin introduced in a paid bundle. The exact cost of the bundle is unknown.
Interestingly, Season 5 Reloaded will not introduce any new guns into either game. However, a new melee weapon based on the Japanese sai blade will be added. Otherwise, Black Ops Cold War will run an Oktoberfest event, a new Motocross game mode, and a new mastercraft rarity weapon skin.
Warzone itself will see two new game modes introduced. Firstly, there’s Clash. Clash is a 50 versus 50 game mode with unlimited spawns and customised loadouts. The other mode being added is Iron Trials ‘84. It has been designed to be a higher skill version of Warzone with a longer time to kill, no free loadouts, and skill-based gulag mechanics.
Fans more interested in Zombies than Warzone and multiplayer aren’t being left out. Season 5 Reloaded will add a new Outbreak region and world event. Furthermore, a new feature called Rampage Inducer is being added alongside a new Outbreak mode, Survival. Further details on these additions can be expected in the near future.
A new law in China has been passed greatly limiting the time children can play games. Moving forward, minors in China will only be able to access online games for up to three hours a week. This law affects all players under the age of 18 currently living in China.
Specifically, the law states that children will only be able to play games on Fridays, weekends, and holidays. On these days between 8pm and 9pm, children will be allowed to play games online. To help enforce this, online gaming companies will be barred from providing servers to minors. These companies will be expected to have a real name verification system in place to restrict access.
Why the change?
From an outsider’s point of view, this change probably seems extreme. After all, limiting the hours that all children can play games to just three hours a week is a lot even for China. However, the move isn’t completely irrational and is being implemented as a method of tackling video game addiction.
China has a bad problem when it comes to video game addiction. The exact reasons why are complicated but minors in China have a tendency to get unhealthily obsessed with interactive media. This often comes at the hefty cost of educational performance and grades.
On the other hand, those who understand addiction may find this move puzzling. Psychology shows that removing an addiction doesn’t usually help the individual overcome it. Instead, addicts will move onto something else, often more harmful, to fill its place. Furthermore, this decision will likely hurt China’s gaming industry which is responsible for games like Genshin Impact.
Perhaps the biggest flaw of this idea is that enforcing it is basically impossible. The real name verification system may help somewhat, but it is easily worked around. As long as parents are willing to borrow their accounts to their kids, it isn’t going to work. Realistically, this new law is probably not going to help prevent any form of addiction.
Pathfinder: Kingmaker is currently free to play on Steam. From now until August 29, The Enhanced Plus Edition of Pathfinder: Kingmaker can be tried out for the sweet price of nothing. It is a fantasy RPG developed by Owlcat Games and published by Prime Matter.
Furthermore, those that enjoy it can purchase the full game on sale. Until the end of the month, it is available at $9.99 which is 50% off its full retail price. The party-based RPG is extremely accessible requiring only a GTX 960M graphics card or better to optimally run it. So don’t be afraid to give it a go even if you are playing on a less powerful machine.
Is it worth your time?
Pathfinder: Kingmaker– Enhanced Plus Edition is currently reviewed on Steam as ‘Mostly Positive’. As for the professional reviewers, they scored it at an average of 73 on Metacritic. That score is taken from a wide range of sub-scores, with a total of 33 reviews being submitted.
That all adds up to suggest that Pathfinder: Kingmaker is a good game. Although not extraordinary, most players who try it out do have a good time. And keep in mind most of those reviews are submitted based on the RPG’s launch retail price. As a free-to-play game, it offers even better value.
To figure out if you’ll enjoy it or not it’s worth identifying some comparisons. Games that are similar include titles like Baldur’s Gate II and Pillars of Eternity II. These are all isometric, single-player RPGs that focus on party-based combat.
But what about the developer? Owlcat Games is a CRPG specialist studio that has previously worked on Heroes of Might and Magic V and Silent Storm. Its team possesses vast industry experience and very few other developers understand this genre to the same extent.