Shadowgate Postmortem Developer Interview

shadowgate

Shadowgate was one of many Kickstarter projects I helped support back in the initial crowd-funding explosion in gaming two years ago. While many projects were promised and created on an intoxicating nostalgia-laced aroma, I’m happy to report that two years later, Shadowgate not only successfully released but is a damn fine remake worthy of its name. It helps when you have the original developers that are just as passionate about remaking their classic for both new fans and rosy-eyed veterans.

Karl Roelofs is the Design Director at Zojoi, and along with fellow Zojoi cohort Dave Marsh helped create the popular first-person puzzle adventure game, Shadowgate, back in the late 80s. “If it wasn’t for Kickstarter, we would have never been able to re-imagine Shadowgate,” Karl says, “I am very grateful to the innovation of crowd-funding and the particular focus on retro gaming.”

Read the full interview at Leviathyn >>

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Legend of Grimrock 2 – Ten Tips for New (& Returning) Players

legend of grimrock 2

Like the first Legend of Grimrock, the sequel is filled with brutally difficult puzzles, harrowing monster battles and cruel traps. It’s also incredibly fun.

While individual puzzles and walkthroughs can be combed through via wikis, forums and guides, these tips are more generalized and spoiler-free. Knowing is more than half the battle in Legend of Grimrock 2, and even veterans of the first game will find lots of useful new information and tactics to utilize while adventure on the island of Nex.

 

1) Create a balanced party of specialists. There are only so many weapons and armor on the island, it would be supremely difficult to outfit four warriors, especially in the early game. Instead diversify your party as much as possible to cover different skills and different weapon styles. You’ll also want at least two frontline fighters to wear the majority of any found armor and take the majority of the hits. I suggest at least one Heavy Weapons and one Light Weapons user.

2) Alchemy may be the most important skill in the game. You don’t necessarily need an Alchemist (though I’d highly recommend it if you want to wield firearms) but do invested in the alchemy skill. Unlike the first game you do not need an empty flask to make a potion, only the proper herbs. And the island is chock full of them just lying around. At 4th level you can brew Greater Healing and Energy Potions, the former which also heals injuries, and several new potion types are introduced that require high levels of alchemy, like Potions of Resurrection and even the ability to brew permanent attribute boosters. Alchemy is amazing.

3) Either max the Firearms skill or ignore them. Even with an Alchemist firearms malfunction at an annoying degree, essentially removing them from the current combat encounter. The firearms themselves are rare and fairly powerful, and though ammo is decently plentiful you do not recover them like arrows and quarrels. If you’re firing your gun as often as possible, you will quickly run out of pellets, so invest in a backup weapon skill.

Read all ten tips at Leviathyn >>

Legend of Grimrock 2 Review

legend of grimrock 2 review

When Blizzard approached the sequel to seminal Action-RPG Diablo, they expanded the gameplay beyond a single large dungeon-crawl into the deserts, jungles and forests of the larger world. Almost Human utilizes a similar design philosophy in creating the sequel to 2012′s Legend of Grimrock, a modernized but still old-school at heart first-person grid-based RPG.

Legend of Grimrock 2 still begins with a four person party of prisoners, only instead of being cast into a hellish dungeon, your ship crash lands into the mysterious island of Nex, home to a robed figure known as the Island Master, as well as a host of monsters and Grimrock’s intriguing brand of devious puzzles.

Many of the core gameplay mechanics remain the same from the original. You navigate the world one square at a time picking up items and weapons, searching for secret buttons and treasure chests and solving a myriad of puzzles. All the denizens of the island, including lots of new foes as well as some familiar faces (yes those terrifying spiders are back, and there’s a dungeon full of ‘em) follow the same square moving rules, and your approach to the ‘square dancing’ method of combat as either an important part of the gameplay or exploitative will still likely determine your overall enjoyment of the combat.

Read the full Review at Leviathyn >>

Final Thoughts – The Swapper

I’ve finished another backlogged game from the excellent Humble Indie Bundle I purchased earlier this year thanks to Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts on my gaming blog, and enjoy the excerpt below.

the swapper cover

Rogue’s Adventures has introduced me to a lot of non-violent puzzle games, especially in the last year – Antichamber, Fez, Portal, etc. The Swapper is absolutely the best of the bunch (yes, I enjoyed it more than Portal, I generally prefer 2D to 3D with my puzzle games) and is also one of the few games with a foreboding sci-fi horror theme that is never actually reaches heightened stages of horror. A friend of mine put it succinctly: It’s like the first 15 minutes of a sci-fi horror film where we’re delving into the danger before *** hits the fan, extrapolated over a five hour game.

To me that pervading sense of dread and curiosity without having to feel scared of zombies or aliens jumping out at me is a huge plus, and something I rarely get to experience in games. I really don’t do horror games and The Swapper’s emphasis on puzzle solving and exploration while still maintaining its creepy atmosphere of What Went Wrong was wonderful to experience.

 

Read the full Final Thoughts over on Game Informer >>

 

#GameMovieMashup

gamemoviemashup

Every once in awhile a fun hashtag pops up on twitter that I actually participate in (besides my own weekly movie live tweeting on #RogueDVDNight). On October 6th I noticed a friend tweet a #GameMovieMashup, which combines the titles of games and movies. I believe IGN started it, though I don’t actually follow them on twitter.

Anyway since twitter isn’t the easiest thing to archive and look up, I’ve compiled a list of the Game Movie Mashups that my friends and I furiously concocted on twitter that day. Many folks obviously had fun with the hashtag but I’m just including my friends below for some fun record-keeping.

 

New Gameplay Video – Endless Legend

Our latest episode of Chamber of Game, the video series hosted by Leviathyn, takes a look at Endless Legend. Developed by Amplitude Studios who previously made well-received 4x space strategy game Endless Space, Endless Legend takes the action down to the planet of Auriga featuring fantastical factions and gameplay that’s very similar to Civilization while still introducing lots of new concepts and mechanics.

In this video Chris and I show off some of the early game while discussing how a race of murderous insect people are maybe just misunderstood.

Read More at Leviathyn >>

New Final Thoughts – Dust: An Elysian Tail

I’ve finished another backlog game from the excellent Humble Indie Bundle I purchased earlier this year. You can read my latest Final Thoughts on my gaming blog, and enjoy the excerpt below.

Dust-An-Elysian-Tail

Video games are extremely difficult to make, in cost, time and skill. The concept of the auteur has been around in film for decades – that a single filmmaker’s work on a film was as complete and total as an author of a book, but in games it’s exceedingly rare due to the amount of work involved. Thus I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dust: An Elysian Tail was created (designed, drawn and programmed) by one man – Dean Dodrill.

Originally crafted to be an old-school Castlevania-style platformer, Dodrill won the 2009 Dream.Build.Play Microsoft Challenge, resulting in a contract to provide a full-fledged release on Xbox Live Arcade, which eventually released as part of the Summer of Arcade promotion in 2012.

I mention all this as a testament to how well crafted the story and themes of Dust are, and though every indie studio can’t secure a big contract from Microsoft it’s an absolute joy to see the auteur surface in gaming.

Read the full Final Thoughts on my gaming blog >>