Effie Review The Tale of a Man Fighting For His Youth

Effie Review

Effie Review

Every so often I get inspired to give an unknown indie game a go. After skimming through Steam’s new releases list looking for something to play, I came across Effie. The ambition of a small indie studio and eye-catching screenshots reminded me of the time I got to review Crosscode. What should have been just another indie game ended up being my 2018 game of the year. Reminiscing on this got me excited and so I found myself playing through Inverge Studios’ first-ever game. Let’s jump into Effie Review.

What is Effie?

Effie is a 3D action-adventure platforming game that takes inspiration from classics such as Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. The core of the gameplay will see you navigating simple platforming segments, defeating waves of enemies, and exploring the land of Oblena.

Oblena has been cursed by an evil witch called Melira. She’s also responsible for cursing our protagonist, the heroic Galand. Melira has stolen away Galand’s youth and left him as an old man before his time. It’s up to Galand to seek out Melira, save Oblena, and get back his youthhood.

melira witch

Effie’s gameplay is simple enough and won’t take you very long to understand. Basically, you travel to three different cities in order to remove Melira’s curse. This is done by repowering each of the cities, a job that took me roughly 3 hours.

Inside of each city, there’s a mix of simplistic puzzles and straightforward platforming segments. Hardly any of Effie’s gameplay is designed to be difficult or mentally straining, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It makes Effie very accessible and a great choice for those looking to relax. Because of this, Effie could be a good purchase for children or parents looking to play with their kids.

effie and Galand

I do have some concerns about Effie’s length. A complete playthrough where I collected every relic only took me just over 5 hours. I have no doubt a more skilled player could cut this down even further. Given its $20 retail price, this is a real hurdle.

Gameplay

Not all of the puzzles seem overly logical. Many of them are memory puzzles that require you to guess until you either get lucky or figure out the order. I’m not overly keen on puzzle design that prevents you from being able to complete it on your first go.

Perhaps the strangest design choice was to opt for an open-world environment. The world itself is relatively empty outside of a handful of designated areas where experience and relics can be found. The sad thing about this is that not only is it empty, but it’s tiny too. Attempting to explore beyond a mile or so out of the map has the game force teleport you back in. Effie may very well have been better off just opting for a generic level selection screen or a central hub world as many of its listed inspirations implement.

Gameplay combat

Many critics have complained about clunky camera controls and imprecise platforming, but I have to disagree. Certainly, neither are outstanding or particularly impressive but I do feel they are very serviceable. Perhaps is Effie was a precision platformer like Super Mario Odyssey I’d care more, but most of the jumping segments are easy enough. The tools Effie offers are more than adequate to avoid getting in the way.

A pretty serious balance concern regarding the combat can be encountered early on. Once you arrive at Woodborn City, you are given the ability to throw your shield like a boomerang. For some reason, this one-shots the majority of enemies in the game. Only those that are protected from light attacks can survive a hit. For me, this ended up replacing attack combos entirely since it was just too strong not to use. Given how easy the game is already, this isn’t ideal.

Visuals

I remember fondly when I first stepped foot into Oblena. Those striking bright red flowers and forestry are truly beautiful. They provide the kind of sights people worldwide would travel to see. It’s rare I just take a moment to stop and take in the world around me. That takes something truly special.

effie environment

Effie’s visuals aren’t just for show either. Thanks to its simplistic, low-poly design, it’s very easy to understand what you can and can’t do. There’s no need for obnoxious tutorials or on-screen messages flashing, “Go this Way!” Anyone with even a basic level of platformers will instantly know where to go and what they can jump on.

Performance

Unsurprisingly, Effie is not the hardest game to run. The majority of modern systems will easily reach a stable 60 FPS on medium settings. On my mid-tier gaming PC, I managed a very consistent 90 FPS on high settings. Even during intense combat segments, my game never dropped below 75 FPS.

For those that do need to drop settings, doing so makes a huge difference. On Very Low my FPS varied between 200 and 240 whilst Low saw this number drop to 125. Medium and High ran similarly well whilst Ultra hovered between 60 and 80. Simply put, Effie is extremely well optimised.

puzzle effie

As for the settings, there’s a pleasantly surprising amount of choice. Many indie games tend to skip this stage of development, but Effie does no such thing. There are options for draw distance, resolution scale, texture quality, shadows, anti-aliasing and just about anything else you’ll need. This is a well thought out PC port.

Final Verdict on Effie Review

Although it fails to evolve many mechanics typical of its genre, Effie offers a very competent 3D platforming experience. I fell in love with the visuals and the story is charming enough whilst it lasts, Unfortunately, at just 5 hours long, Effie is slightly overpriced at $20. Perhaps down the line if it gets a better sale or some new content, then I’d be more inclined to recommend it.

I hope you leaned something from this Effie Review. If you have something to add, please use the comments box below.

 

Video Games With Unique and Innovative Gameplay Mechanics

With the beautiful games being released this past few weeks, we can’t help but wonder if they will also capture us with their gameplay or detach us from the immersion that the game’s graphics or story gives us. Most of these upcoming games are overly hyped and we don’t want another, for a lack of better word, disappointment. No man wants to see a sky of unfulfilled promises – I know, not the best wordplay out there. Heads up! Minimal spoilers ahead. I did my best to keep all the spoilers to the least while keeping the integrity of the explanation about the video games with innovative – or unique – gameplay. Here are video games that got us hooked with their gameplay. These games are not rated on which is the best; this is an unsorted list. *wink* Enjoy!

Superhot

Unique Gameplay. Simplicity truly is beauty
Simplicity truly is beauty

Minimalist graphics? Check. Challenging levels? Check. Innovative and easy-to-learn gameplay? You guessed it – Check. Meet Piotr Iwanicki, the game designer of one of the best examples of indie-done-right video games. And, no, I will not try to pronounce his name. Superhot started out as an entry in a 7-Day First Person Shooter game jam back in August 2013. It was then greeted with a lot of praise from gamers and critics alike. Finally, released into a full-blown game back in 2016, thanks to crowd-funding and a lot of great publicity.

The gameplay can be explained in one sentence and the developers did just that stating that, “SUPERHOT is the first person shooter where time moves only when you move.” – You can’t explain it any simpler than that. Yes, time stops when you do; you can see the bullets mid-air, you can stop playing and go do something else, and you can smack people in the head then take their weapons, which you can also see fly up in the air as the enemy falls to the ground. This unique gameplay truly makes you feel like Rambo or Jack Bauer, a hero to save the day. Well, not in 24 hours or less, because you will be playing this game for dayz just to get through the challenges.

Papers, Please

It's fun, you have my word.
It’s fun, you have my word.

Have you experienced travelling to another country? Did you ever wonder how the immigration officers do their jobs? If the thought crossed your mind, I suggest grabbing a copy of Papers, Please, a game made by Lucas Pope. He was a developer from Naughty Dog, the studio behind the award-winning video game series, Uncharted. He made this game with a thought in his mind that video games are a form of art.

In Papers, Please, you get to play as an immigration officer and you’ll get to experience how to stand on the other side of the window in the immigration office. The graphics for the game is simple, but the gameplay is unique. It starts simple, some basic rules will be laid out for you to follow. And these rules will be the basis  whether an applicant can pass through or not. Then as each day in the game progresses, new rules or requirements will be presented: additional paperworks will need to be verified, new tools will be introduced in order to asses the immigrant, and other additional actions which is very similar to how immigration really works. After playing this, you might think twice before unleashing your rage in the immigration office.

Monument Valley

The title doesn't spell "Challenging", right? Wrong.
The title doesn’t spell “Challenging”, right? Wrong.

Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles. We all thought that video game puzzles will always be the same: you will encounter an obstacle, then you’ll be asked to find certain objects or pieces then place them in or on a specific place, you’ll be asked to draw a line going from a point around the obstacle and to a certain end point, et cetera. Then Monument Valley came into the picture and it came in with a bang. With multiple awards, citations, commendations, and praises, this video game sets a mark for the next generation of more challenging and innovative puzzle games.

I’m pretty sure you’ve seen or at least heard of impossible objects. Those objects that we perceive as physically impossible or, at least, bothering. Monument Valley used it as the main gameplay mechanic of the game. The players are asked to control a silent protagonist, a princess named Ida through  various levels of optical illusions. You might be thinking that it’s simple, you just need to get through the whole “illusion” of the stage. Nope. There will also be tiny objectives like, activators, bridges, pathwalks, etc. that you need to activate and manipulate in order to get through the stage. If you’re the type of gamer who likes some excruciating mental challenge, you might want to give this one a shot. Thank me later.

The Elegy for a Dead World

Oh, writing. The act of materializing the wonders of the human mind – the adventures, wishes, dreams, visions, and other abstract or philosophical constructs of the human mind. This is what Dejobaan Games, the developers of the Elegy for a Dead World, used as their main gameplay mechanic.

You are a traveler whose ship was broken and who is tasked to record the history of the planets around you. The gameplay is pretty simple, you get to choose from three planets where you want to write about first. Then, you can start with a certain premise of the world or you can go wild with your imagination with the free writing option. This video game is now being used as a tool for teaching English as a second language or ESL in various schools and universities around the world. This shows that video games can be more than just a ‘game’.

Valkyria Chronicles

You will cry. Trust me.
The 7th platoon of the Gallian Militia

This video game is one of the games I’ve played (and anime I’ve watched) that delivers great story with astonishing twists, relatable characters, and an immersive gameplay. Valkyria Chronicles is brought to you by the developers of Sonic. Yes, that’s right – Sega.

Like most RPG/JRPG, character development is embedded in the core gameplay of Valkyria Chronicles. But, what makes this game unique is its turn-based battle system called BLiTZ or Battle of Live Tactical Zones. I know, sounds awesome, right? Well, that’s because it is. This battle system is composed of three parts or modes. The Command Mode, the Action Mode, and the Target Mode.

The first one puts you in an overhead map of the battlefield. This is the time when you can learn of the enemies’ whereabouts and plan where to position your units and where to strike. Then, you can select a unit to control, which brings the player to Action Mode. While in the Action Mode, you can control your character like a normal third-person shooter. Movement costs Action Points which varies for each of your units on the field. Lastly, when you’re finished positioning your units, you can enter the Target Mode. In this mode, the player has control of the unit’s aim, but you can’t move. This allows for headshots and other awesome kills.

During the player’s turn, each action – whether the control of multiple units or the same unit consecutively – depletes his/her Command Points. There are also different classes of characters to experiment with. The environment also affects the flow of the combat. Snipers can take the higher grounds for a vantage point, tanks can knock down walls, and many more.

This game is truly worth the try. But, I suggest watching the anime first.

Other Video Games with Unique Gameplay

  • Patapon – because of using different notes and rhythms for attack, defend, run, etc.
  • Her Story – because of using video footages of a real person
  • Portal – Handheld Portal Device
  • Eternal Darkness – due to the Sanity meter
  • Shadow of Mordor – Nemesis System, enemies remember you and yes – creepy.
  • Katamari – cute anarchy

These are just some of the games that I’ve played that I think has an innovative gameplay. How about you? Have you played a video game with a very unique gameplay that got you immersed for hours? Tell us in the comments down below. We like to hear more games that exhibits innovation.

Horrifyingly Fun Game You Should Try, If You Can!

Horrifying Fun Game

Horrifying Fun Game

All doctors take an oath and vow to help all people who need it. A strict code that determines the appropriate means of treatment. Any doctor found facilitating the decline or mistreatment of a patient would be a horrifying atrocity. Not to mention a huge crime. Well—what if I told you there’s a game out there that aims at just that?

There’s a game out there that has been designed for android and iOS devices that will surely shock and amaze you. A game unlike any other you’ve ever played. A game that makes you into a truly evil doctor.

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Live…and Let Die

Imagine a game where a completely healthy individual is destined to die based on your choices. Where your sole purpose is to methodically and strategically diminish this person’s health until they finally die. You will get to see how the body systems decline with each choice of your twisted mind.

It gets better–while you continue to terminate the patient, the kind doctors are hard at work trying to diagnose all the patient’s problems. It’s a race against the clock. Each decision will be crucial to your success, or failure.

Tell Me More

With each new level and patient, the game will intensify and challenge your mind. Thousands of possibilities lie in front of you. From diseases, faulty medications, to lifestyle effects.

Biomedical Plague allows you to play  however you see fit. Attack a certain body system will full force, methodically attack each body system together, or set the patient up to fail with a poor unhealthy lifestyle.

Final Breath

The game ends with the death of the patient, or by your failure to kill them in time. The tools are all in front of you. The choices left only in your hands. The Doctor of Death is officially on call. Only question left to ask is, “How do you plan to play it, Doc?”

Do you have the nerve to play this game? Only person it’s going to hurt if you play is the patient.

So, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts on the game. Likes, dislikes, my choices. Leave all your comments below! Remember, share the page with anything you’d think would be interested in this game.

Video Games That Tackle Social Issues

Ellie and Riley

Video Games – we all enjoy it. Whether you’re young or old, a student or an employee looking to pass the time with a little fun; we all enjoy video games. It is a means for us, an outlet, to do the things we can not do in real life; to experience the things that is not readily accessible to the most of us. Video games also help us understand different types of people by having diverse and – for some games – very realistic characters. But, not a lot of us see the underlying meanings behind the video games we play and enjoy. The implications hidden behind the realistic graphics, the heart-warming soundtrack, and the innovative gameplay. Here is a list of some of the video games that tackle different social issues. Sit back and let us dwell deeper into the meaning of these well-known video games.

War“This War of Mine” 

Video Games: This War of Mine is a video game about civilians surviving in a war-torn city.
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Let’s start with a very well-known topic – war. We’ve all heard of different stories about war. And war has been a choice of topic or genre by a lot of video games. But, the creators of This War Of Mine, 11 Bit Studios, approached this genre in an innovative and immersive way. In this game, you don’t play as a well-trained-muscle-torn super soldier equipped with a planetary cannon. Here, you play as a civilian caught very deep in the war-devastated fictional city of Pogoren, Graznavia. You will struggle, because ‘gather’ is putting it lightly, for food. Scavenge for medicines or supplies and try your very best not to bump into soldiers or other hungry survivors.

The day and night cycle plays a significant role in the game mechanics. During the day, you’ll be managing your hideout in a very detailed manner; while keeping an eye on that sniper whose not letting you out. When darkness falls, you’ll be sneaking into buildings and areas for supplies; while avoiding being killed by other people seeking means for survival. You will also be making a lot of moral decisions; whether you’ll kill that one annoying person to save the whole group or watch as everyone slowly suffer. Add to that, the beautifully-made charcoal-style aesthetics; and you have a game that will leave you thinking and reflecting about war and its effect on the human soul.

 

Privacy“Watch Dogs 1 and  2″ 

Video Games: Marcus Holloway and the gang
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Have you ever felt like being watched? Like Big Brother is always around you, lurking in the dark, studying and recording your every move? We are living in the age and time of information and the improvement in technology is far from slowing down. Also, the number of people uploading all of their information in the internet is increasing. Which is why black hats are more eager to steal any sensitive information they can get their hands on.

Watch Dogs, is a video game about hackers waging war on the government for manipulating information and invading the privacy of their people. This video game does not really tackle or explain ‘hacking’ in detail; but it shows what hackers can do with the information that the people, themselves, gave out there in the internet. This game is a sweet reminder that internet privacy is sometimes just an illusion to make us feel safe. It also reminds us that the internet is a very dangerous place to be placing all of our information.

 

Social Difference – Multiple Video Games (Witcher SeriesLife is Strange, The Last of Us, other video games)

Video Games: The Witcher
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So what if you have white hair, feline eyes, sterile, and has high resistance, if not immune, to diseases? So what if you have pointy ears and lives longer than humans? We are all living things and we can co-exist if given the chance and consideration.

The Witcher series, which is set in the world of Temeria, is flooded with racism and discrimination. Elves and Dwarves are discriminated for not being human, despite the humans being the invaders of the land. Basically, humans are the foreigners and, yet, they are pushing away and abusing the original inhabitants of the land. Luckily, Geralt, despite being discriminated himself, acts as the median between the two worlds. That of humans and of ‘non-humans’. Geralt does not make any rush decisions when doing a job. He investigates first and looks for a way for both parties to work together. With an exception, there is no consideration to be given for evil-tainted individuals, human or non-human.

Video Games: Life is Strange
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Life is Strange is a video game that takes place in a small town called Arcadia Bay. A place where a lot of things happen. Including alcoholism, bullying, and child abuse. Child abuse being a social issue that’s very rampant nowadays; this video game shows the whole issue in a different perspective. You play the game and see the world through the eyes of a teenager with the ability to control time, Max Caulfield. The game also includes other issues like teenage pregnancy, social anxiety, and brats who think like they are on top of everyone. Max’s story is also a depiction of how it feels like to be bullied for being “not among the famous”. This is a game definitely worth checking out if you want a relaxing soundtrack and a story that is full of twists.

Video Games: Riley and Ellie
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The Last of Us: Left Behind, sparked a controversy when Ellie and Riley hinted quite a number of times about their feelings with each other. We all remember that photobooth scene, right? How about that scene where they dance to a tune and then unknowingly attracted a horde of infected? All of these hints led to one conclusion and a lot of people were shocked. Some related and found themselves in the position of the protagonists in terms of personal identity; some accepted the fact and were happy for the pair; but, for some…they just do not approve of the whole charade. The relationship they have and the characters themselves doesn’t actually raise an issue; but the different ways people responded to the writing of the game, present an issue on sexual discrimination.

There you go. Here are just some of the games that tackle some of the issues we are facing up to this day. There are still a lot of games that depicts issues not mentioned here. If you have played a game with an interesting theme, comment them down below and let’s have a talk. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Red Little House Closes Studio, But Continues Development

Red Little House, a Spanish development team consisting of only seven people, shared some sad news in its latest monthly progress report.  Due to financial constraints, they have been forced to close the doors on their studio after working there for two and a half years.  However, they are still continuing development of their next game, Fleish & Cherry in Crazy Hotel, from their individual homes.  The title has had its share of financial woes since its failed Indiegogo campaign in 2013, only raising €6,693 of its €29,ooo goal, but the team has continued to press on.  At this point, they have completed the entire first act of the game as well as the general story and mechanics.

Fleish & Cherry in Crazy Hotel is an isometric adventure-puzzle game heavily inspired by 1930’s animation, complete with a fully monochromatic art style.  The story centers around Cherry (pictured right) on a quest to rescue her boyfriend Fleish (pictured left and named after the Fleischer Studios that created the Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons) from the villainous Mr. Mintz (possibly named after Charles Mintz who infamously held the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit instead of Walt Disney).  While exploring Hotel Hyperion, Cherry will take advantage of cartoon physics to solve puzzles.  She can inflate herself like a balloon to travel over gaps and be flattened with an anvil to enter tight spaces.

If you want to check out Fleish & Cherry in Crazy Hotel for yourself, you can find downloads for the free alpha demo here.  You can also check out Red Little House’s official website here.  The game has already been greenlit for release on Steam and the developers hope to have it completed before the end of this year.

Indivisible Crowdfunding Campaign Extended

If there’s one game developer that I’d say you can trust with a crowdfunding campaign, it would definitely be Lab Zero Games.  While major industry veterans like Tim Schafer, American Mcgee, and Keiji Inafune have each had their fair share of missteps with crowdfunding, the people at Lab Zero know the importance of transparency with their funders and detailing exactly how much money they need for their goals and what that money will be going towards.  Their DLC campaign for their first title, Skullgirls, remains one of the most well-executed crowdfunding campaigns for a video game that I’ve seen.  They’ve once again taken to Indiegogo to help fund their next game, Indivisible, which they describe as a combination of Super Metroid and Valkyrie Profile with elements of roleplaying, platforming, and even some fighting-game elements.  505 Games is willing to put $2 million towards development of the game, but only if Lab Zero is able to raise $1.5 million with their campaign.

Indivisible tells the story of a young girl named Ajna who possesses the strange ability to absorb other people and call upon them for aid as Incarnations.  These Incarnations act as your party members in combat and include such diverse characters as the Aztec-inspired athlete Tenoch, the reclusive shamaness Razmi, and the voodoo zombie Narssus.  There will also be a number of cross-over characters from other indie games appearing as playable Incarnations, including Juan from Guacamelee, Zackasaurus from Super Time Force Ultra, The Drifter from Hyper Light Drifter, Lea from Curses ‘N Chaos, Calibretto from Battle Chasers, the titular Shovel Knight from the massively popular Shovel Knight, and even Annie from Lab Zero’s own Skullgirls.  Each Incarnation will have their own storyline to explore throughout the game as sidequests.

Gameplay takes the form of an exploration-based platformer in the overworld  and a fast-paced RPG in combat.  Anja will acquire various weapons throughout her journey that can be used both in combat and to discover new paths.  In battle, your party acts more like a single fighter rather than individuals as each will be controlled with their own face button and each will have abilities operating on cool-downs.  This will allow you to chain abilities together into combos and deal serious damage to your opponents.

Initially, it didn’t look like Indivisible was going to reach its goal within its month-long campaign, but Indiegogo agreed to extend the campaign for an additional month.  The campaign is now sitting at $1,047,385 with 15 days to go.  The game is planned for release on Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.  You can check out the Indiegogo page for Indivisible here.  If you’re on the fence about the concept, you can try the game for yourself by downloading the free prototype that they have available.

Indie Spotlight: Kick and Fennick

If I haven’t said it anywhere publicly before, I’ll say it here: Playstation Plus is amazing! Every month I get at least 2 new games for each of my Playstation consoles for free. Sometimes, I get games that I heard of but never had the chance to play or I’ll get an indie game that I never heard of. Earlier this year, the indie game I didn’t hear of was a game on PS Vita called Kick & Fennick. I downloaded it because the image caught my eye as looking cute and I thought it could be fun. What I didn’t expect is that this game would become a contender for my personal Game of the Year.

This game is a has a simple premise, a small boy named Kick wakes up in what looks to be a post-apocalyptic/1984-esque world. Kick gets saved by an even smaller robot named Fennick who has a dying battery. The two, along with a big gun, then go off an adventure to the Core Tower to fix up Fennick.

The gameplay is a sidescrolling platformer where you use a giant gun to destroy robots and launch Kick like a tiny cannonball. The simplicity is shocking, because I’ve never played or heard of a game that has a mechanic like this through the majority of the game. It opens the game up to have tight, well developed levels, which bring the difficulty and the fun. It reminds me of an old school Rareware game in all of the best ways.

Throughout each level and world, it gets progressively harder and you have to really think about how to make each jump. It’s really interesting to have a platformer where you have to think strategically about how you get from one platform to the next. The levels also never overstay their welcome, which is something a lot of games fall into the trap of.

If I had one complaint, it’s with the combat. When Kick shoots an enemy, he always gets knocked backwards a bit. It’s not a flaw in the game design, because it’s clearly meant to be like that, I’m just saying it got a little frustrating. However, whenever you die in this game you never feel like the game cheated you. Since the player has to strategically make all of their jumps, the only person to blame is themselves. Despite the “meh” combat, everything else is amazing!

This isn’t a review, I just want to shine some light on a great game, but if it was I would give this game a 10/10. It’s a charming game made by a rad developer for a system that needs more great games. If you have a Vita, it is currently $7.99 on PSN and is totally worth every penny. As a side note, if any of the people from Jaywalkers Interactive are reading this, please know that you now have a ride or die fan in me because I completely adore this game. Good luck with everything, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for you guys!

7 Days To Die: Alpha 11 Update

Alpha 11

If you’re a keen player of the many survival type games currently on Steam, you’re most likely pretty well acquainted with 7 Days To Die which means you’ve played the new Alpha 11 update that was released a couple weeks back. So what’s new in Alpha 11? Well aside from switching to the Unity engine, it turns out that there’s actually quite a lot.

Switching to Unity 5 has been one of the more noticeable changes in terms of visual effects in this recent patch. The lighting has been vastly improved to create more dynamic visuals and a smoother, less blocky transition between day and night cycles. Equipped weapons and items now don’t take up as much of the screen as they used to and little touches such as reflections on the hunting knife make all the difference in the improvement of this project.

Rivers and buildings have been touched on and have a slightly more polished look to them. Trees are arguably the most noticeable difference, there is now more variety and their foliage has a more natural movement as branches and foliage hang down and sway in the wind. Unfortunately this still needs a little work. In some biomes there is a meshed outline of trees and bushes in the distance but these are still being worked on as plans for patches and the upcoming Alpha 12 update are already underway. The improved high res fog addition is a great improvement not just to visual aspects, but it adds a layer of tension to gameplay. Hearing something ten feet in front of you at night but not being able to see it is certainly a frightening experience.

blunderbuss and hill

New locations include a hospital, two new grocery stores, a new larger bookstore, new larger hardware store, two new luxury cabins and an Indian burial ground. Some of these are only exclusive to the Navezgane map but improvements such as caves and roads that actually traverse the terrain of hills and such make for a more immersive and natural feel to the world.

Bow and Building

There is a new ‘gore block’ system that essentially allows demised corpses to decompose overtime and decay into the blocking equivalent of flesh. From my experience testing this new feature I discovered that if zombies attack one area while you’re trying to thin their numbers, other zombies can use these piles to escalate and climb over your walls/barricades into your base. Scary stuff!

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A new leveling system means experience and survival have their merits. You can now level up by killing zombies and crafting items. The more you level up, the better your crafted items and weapons will be, increasing their durability to illustrate your vastly improved experience and knowledge. New weapons such as the Bow and Blunderbuss have been newly introduced into the fold, the bow being a fantastic weapon for first time players and new characters for its easily crafted ingredients and ammunition.

New zombie types are also a new feature with the inclusion of the new ‘feral’ and ‘burnt’ zombies. The burn victim zombies are charred and burning embers and ash coat their decomposed bodies, if they get close enough they have the chance to set you on fire. The feral zombies are the most aggressive of the two, they are deadly in packs and a horde of these will surely force you to do some rebuilding to your fort. You cannot hide from feral zombies, they know where you are no matter what and their aggression (especially at night) allows them to shred through your blockade at speed so be prepared!

Burnt Zombie

Changes that have altered or removed certain aspects from previous patches have been made to better our experience with the game too. An example of this is how the food/water meters now deplete at a much slower rate, meaning players no longer have to devote their playtime to stocking up on food and water. Another example is how previously, blades of grass had to be broken down in order to create plant fibers, now when you retrieve grass it skips all that and is already plant fibers. Little shortcuts like this remove the menial tasks that were previously present before.

These are just a number of the vast new additions and features to the constantly improving 7 Days To Die. To keep up to date on news and upcoming patches you can follow the developer’s diary or watch out for more articles here on Vgamerz in the near future.

Kickstarter Alert: Starr Mazer

Starr Mazer

Starr Mazer fuses 2 of my favourite video game genres, the shmup and the point and click, into a sleek and sexy retro Sci – fi epic which promises some interesting gameplay elements such as the groundbreaking new “OMG” narrative. No, that wasn’t me being incredibly over the top, the “OMG” actually stands for something the developer, Imagos Softworks calls “Open – Middled Gameplay”.

What this means, is that an entire playthrough of the game is like a season of a TV show, but each episode within can appear in almost any order. A decision you make during gameplay can trigger the start of one of these “episodes”‘ and your actions during can cause different branching paths and events to occur. The gameplay is supposed to be seamless between the ship and adventure sections, with the point and click features taking place on solid ground, while the shmup sections document the large amount of time you’ll spend travelling between locations. On top of this, the shmup sequences are dynamic, with a few minutes meaning the difference between flying into the middle of a space battle, or just passing by the resulting wreckage. The graphical style is reminiscent of the early Lucasarts adventure games, which brings back awesome memories of playing Monkey Island on my PC way back when.

Starr Mazer boasts an awesome soundtrack with names like Virt (Shovel Knight) and Manami Matsumae (Mega Man) on the bill, and I think the Kickstarter looks to be a great investment in an awesome game. The funding period ends in 68 hours, with just $10,000 dollars to go before they reach their target, which is $160,000. It looks like Imagos Softworks are ramping up for a big push in the final days of their campaign, so if Starr Mazer floats your boat, why not toss a few bucks their way?

Bazalth: Don’t Trust the Signs Combines Beat ’em Up with… Puzzle Solving

One of the reasons why I love indie developers is that they try and usually manage to create amazing products that would, otherwise, not be available. Take the new Belgian developers Helium games who decided to mix Beat ’em up elements with puzzle solving in their upcoming title, Bazalth: Don’t trust the signs.

The game comes with a funny story too: in a peaceful world where cute little creatures called Gloupsies lived, everything was perfect… except for the fact that every once in a while – every 28 days, of Fridays – the Gloupsies were attacked by demons who raided their village. Not the brightest creatures around, the Gloupsies always rebuilt their village, even though the weekend was coming, and waited for the next invasion.

All until a mysterious stranger arrived and decided that it’s time to help the poor little creatures get the peace they deserve and banish the demons once and for all. This is when the player becomes active and starts working their magic: either by solving puzzles or by doing the extreme opposite: using brute force to destroy demons.

There’s a quick trailer for Bazalth: Don’t trust the signs which you can check out below:

This promising indie game is coming sometime by the end of the year and it will be available on PC, Linux and Mac.