Amazon has revealed its new cloud gaming service, Luna

Amazon Luna

American conglomerate Amazon is launching a new cloud gaming platform named Amazon Luna. This platform will act similarly to the existing Google Stadia and will be compatible with PC, Mac, and Fire TVs. There will also be web apps created that will provide native support for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

The major difference between Luna and Stadia is how their respective business models will work. Whilst Stadia has users purchase games to stream like most other platforms, Luna is a little different. Instead, users will be able to subscribe to various “game channels,” that will provide access to different libraries.

What you need to know about Amazon Luna

Amazon Luna controllerSo far Amazon has confirmed two game channels. First, its own Luna+ channel will feature the likes of Control, Yooka-Laylee, and Resident Evil 7. Alternatively, you could for the Ubisoft game channel which will provide access to just about every major Ubisoft product on the market. That also includes first day access to any upcoming games too.

Amazon describes the Ubisoft channel as Luna’s “first game channel in development.” Presumably, it will reach out to other major publishers and indie developers in order to create other channels for consumers to opt into.

On top of all this, Luna will also feature Twitch integration making it a surprisingly decent platform for casual steaming. Players will also be able to see other people’s Twitch streams and actually launch Luna games through the official Twitch client itself.

Regarding pricing, we currently know how much the Luna+ package will cost as well as the controller. You can get the Luna+ game channel for just $5.99 a month. That puts it in a similar bracket to other similar products like Stadia itself. As for the controller, that will launch at $49.99, matching the existing PS4 and Xbox One equivalents.

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.

Never Alone: Foxtales Announced

E-Line Media has announced a new expansion for their Alaskan adventure game Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna), the new story driven expansion is called Foxtales.

In Never Alone: Foxtails Spring has come to the Arctic as Nuna and Fox climb aboard their umiaq (a sealskin canoe) and take to the waters of the coasts, rivers and lakes of Northwest Alaska. They’ll travel across open seas, swim through the ruins of a sunken village and paddle up the Noatak River on a mission to rescue a new friend.

Foxtales will feature three all new levels full of environments to explore, puzzles to solve and enemies to face. And just like in the original game the dlc was developed in partnership with an Alaska Native community, Foxtales will also contain five new unlockable Cultural Insight videos that include the family of Willie Panik Goodwin, Sr., whose telling of “The Two Coastal Brothers” inspired the game.

 

 

Never Alone: Foxtales will be available on the Xbox One, PS4 and Steam (PC and Mac) on July 28, 2015. E-Line Media did not say if or when the new content will be available to the Wii U and Nvidia Shield versions.

Victor Vran Final Release Date and Story Trailer

Victor Vran

Victor Vran is an upcoming (and I use that term loosely) action role-playing title developed by Haemimont Games. It’s been in early access on Steam since February which one of our authors detailed in 10 Best Early Access Games on Steam Right Now.

I am pleased to announce that it has a final release date! Mark your calendar for the 24th July and celebrate. That is right. 24th July on PC, Mac and Linux. If you’re looking for a role-playing game that is a little bit different, then I definitely suggest you check it out.

The game combines a few of my favorite things – a gothic fantasy world, science and magic mixing together, demons to battle, and being able to freely change weapon classes and not be locked into one type of ‘job.’

Want to play alone? That’s cool. Want to join up with a friend and play co-operative multiplayer? You can do that too!

Not too convinced by my words? Just check out the story trailer below and tell me that doesn’t look awesome! If you’re a fan of the Hunter: The Reckoning Games you will definitely enjoy this.

What do you think about Victor Vran’s trailer? Leave the comment in the comment box below.

China Joins the Fight for the Future in Overwatch

Overwatch

Online gaming is huge in China and Blizzard is going to take full advantage of that with NetEase, Inc., the companies announced a three-year agreement to license Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch, a supercharged first-person shooter featuring an amazing cast of heroes and set in an all-new Blizzard game universe, to a NetEase, Inc. affiliate in mainland China.

Overwatch takes place in a technologically advanced, highly stylized future earth. In a time of global crisis, an international task force of soldiers, scientists, adventurers, and oddities known as Overwatch had come together to restore peace to a war-torn world. After many years, the group’s influence waned, and it was eventually disbanded.

“With Overwatch, we’re putting our own spin on the team-based shooter highly accessible, with the depth and action that FPS fans love,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re looking forward to delivering an awesome experience to Chinese players, and we can’t wait to share more about the game and the Overwatch universe in the months ahead.”

“We’re excited to bring Blizzard’s first-ever FPS to players across China, and expand our cooperation with a brand-new franchise,” said William Ding, CEO and founder of NetEase, Inc. “We’ve had great success working with Blizzard to bring their world-class games to Chinese players, and we’re thrilled to diversify our portfolio of licensed Blizzard games with this popular genre.”

Overwatch is set to release a closed beta this Fall, players interested in attending the beta can sign up on the game’s official page.

Retro Corner: SkiFree

SkiFree

I remember the first PC I ever owned. It was a vast, white monstrosity about the size of your average studio apartment. The brand was Siemens Nixdorf, which isn’t even a damn thing any more and hasn’t been for a decade and a half. There was none of this newfangled ‘internet’ thing at this time (not for me, at any rate), and my computing time with the big ol’ Nixdorf mostly consisted of making pictures with Paint and clipart.

There is a point to all of this prattle. Hold on to your underpants, because here it comes now: one of my earliest memories of the brave new IT (not ICT, I’m much too old for that) world was SkiFree. I get powerful nostalgia-pangs just from hearing the name, so here’s my little ode to it.

If you’re not as decrepit as I am, SkiFree was released in 1991. It’s a simple arcade affair for Windows (later ported to Mac, and Game Boy Color of all things), which sees you slalom down and endless slope and try to reach the furthest point you can.

SkiFree 2

There are various play options. The slalom course is a straight up time attack run, while on the freestyle course you instead aim for the highest score by accumulating ‘style points’ (by performing jumps and such). More able players can opt to take the tree slalom course, which is longer and more difficult. You can also opt to eschew all of these and just ski about. Y’know, freely, hence the name.

The controls are just as spartan as the presentation. You use the arrow keys to move, and the space bar to jump. Like most arcade games, it’s one you can pick up almost instantly, but it’ll take some time to uncover all the little tricks and techniques to get the best out of your scores and times. SkiFree is a game that demands quick reflexes, as the perspective means that you can careen at obstacles (poles, trees, other skiers, abominable snowmen) with little warning.

It’s a simple little thing, but the game had that one-more-try factor that all the best quickfire ones do. It also has a unique charm and quirky humour that’s difficult to convey with such limited resources. Startled dogs you speed past or barrel into on the course will pee in the snow in fright, and the stickman abominable snowman will eat you at the bottom on the mountain to herald the end of your run.

I’ll say it again: ah, SkiFree.