Skylanders Battlecast Review [Pixelkin]

Skylanders Battlecast shamelessly rips its core gameplay from Hearthstone to create a solid and enjoyable digital card game.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Skylanders has dipped its toes into mobile apps before, from the Collection Vault to Lost Islands. Skylanders Battlecast represents a full spin-off that effectively uses gameplay heavily borrowed from Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to create a fun and easy to play digital card game.

Skylanders Battlecast is a free to play digital card game. Cards come in several different types, with the titular Skylanders cards being the most important. Every deck must contain exactly three Skylanders. Each Skylander has attack and health numbers, and gains levels throughout a match. One frontline figure can be used to attack or swap to another on the sidelines. Choosing when to swap and which cards to use is a fun dilemma in every game.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Stardew Valley Tips for Your First Year [Pixelkin]

Helpful tips and seasonal guide for your first year in indie farming sim Stardew Valley.

Read the full tips and guide at Pixelkin

Stardew Valley is more than just a farming game. It’s also a dungeon crawler, a dating sim, and a fun exercise in planning and management. The constantly ticking clock and wealth of content can be overwhelming, particularly when starting out. I’m here to help you make the most out of your first year in Stardew Valley.

General Tips

  • Nearly every activity will level up the relevant skill, from fishing to fighting. If you find the fishing mini-game particularly challenging, keep pecking away at it to get better (and eventually buy better rods).
  • Rainy days are a godsend. Early on much of your time and energy is spent watering crops. Rainy days are freebies that let you focus on fishing or getting deeper into the mines. It rains most often during Summer.
  • Never have a tool selected if you’re not using one. Every miss-click swing of the axe or hoe drains precious energy. And never have bombs selected while walking around your farm…
  • Watch TV every day! Clicking on your TV gives you a couple options depending on the day. Weather Report lets you plan for a rainy day. Fortune Teller might hint at lucky loot drops. The Queen of Sauce teaches you cooking recipes. Finally Living off the Land gives you general tips for the game.
  • See those odd little dirt patches with worms sticking out? Use your hoe to find clay, plants, or even missing library books. The worms crop up most often during Winter.
  • While clearing out your farm try to save up wood to finish the bridge at the beach. It takes 300 wood but is well worth it. The tide pools to the East offer large amounts of coral and sea urchins every few days which sell for a tidy profit.
Read the full tips and guide at Pixelkin

Stellaris Review [CGM]

Stellaris captures the craziness and fun of sci-fi in an engaging, infinitely replayable strategy game.

Read the full review at CG Magazine

Grand Strategy games have been around for awhile – a genre coined and perfected by Swedish developers Paradox Interactive. Previous Paradox titles dove headfirst into Medieval and World War history, and Stellaris finally takes us to the stars.

Managing European provinces is trite compared to large-scale galactic conquest, allied federations, and playing god to lesser beings. Stellaris isn’t just Paradox’s most accessible title; it’s also the best space empire management game I’ve ever played.

Read the full review at CG Magazine

Battleborn Review [Pixelkin]

When everything in Battleborn clicks together it’s a beautiful mess, but too many frustrations drag the experience down.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Battleborn is a tale of two games. Borderlands developer Gearbox took the main elements of the MOBA genre – waves of NPCs, multiple hero classes with unique abilities, leveling, towers, etc, and injected them into a first person shooter.

The other half is a series of cooperative missions involving the unique story and characters of their insane universe. Both feel like they should’ve been expanded into their own games. When everything clicks together it’s a beautiful mess, but too many frustrations drag the experience down.

Gearbox has leveraged their funny comic art style into some truly awesome character designs. The 25 heroes are a motley crew divided into five different backgrounds, from the fantasy-inspired Eldrid to the space pirate Rogues.

There’s Oscar Mike, your typical Call of Duty/Halo soldier. But then there’s Miko the sentient mushroom healer and Toby the penguin in a giant mech suit. The Shayne and Aurox duo have a teenage girl possessed by a giant guardian demon thing. Battleborn has some of the most unique hero designs I’ve seen in a hero brawler.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Skylanders 6 Predictions and Wishlist [Pixelkin]

My wishlist of features and full-on predictions for the 6th Skylanders game, due later this year.

Read the full article at Pixelkin

Whether you’re obsessed with collecting toys to life figures or you think it’s all a silly money trap aimed at kids, one fact is undeniable. The toys to life genre has exploded in the last few years, raking in billions of dollars for Activision’s Skylanders series alone. Now we have LEGO, Nintendo, and Disney all capitalizing on this unique toy-game craze.

But it all began with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure in 2011. Every year brings us a new Skylanders game with new gimmicks and toys. A hallmark of the series is that you can take your older figures into each new game, creating a fun bond between your beloved characters.

A new Skylanders game has become as common as Call of Duty. As a Skylanders veteran I’m here to provide my wishlist and predictions for the next Skylanders game, which is expected to be announced within the next few weeks.

Read the full article at Pixelkin

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Shadowrun: Hong Kong

Another fun Shadowrun adventure, but overall weaker than Dragonfall as the series hits its gameplay limits.

I have finished another backlogged game via Rogue’s Adventures. You can read my latest Final Thoughts below and also on my gaming blog on Game Informer.

Developer: Harebrained Schemes

Publisher: Harebrained Holdings

Release Date: Aug 30, 2015

Franchise Fatigue. It happens to the best of them. Many times it’s a “it’s not you it’s me” kind of situation. Maybe you played a bunch of entries in a row, or maybe a sequel simply doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself form its predecessors.

I didn’t think I’d start feeling Franchise Fatigue in the Shadowrun games. Shadowrun: Hong Kong is only the third game after Harebrained Schemes resurrected the series through Kickstarter several years ago. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Shadowrun: Hong Kong”

Rogue Stormers Review [Pixelkin]

Rogue Stormers is an intriguing combination of side-scrolling shooter and rogue-like dungeon crawler.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

When I spoke to Black Forest Games at PAX South, they revealed that Rogue Stormers went through a major evolution during Early Access. It was originally devised as a standard action-RPG, but came off as too linear and boring. BFG revamped the gameplay, adding randomized levels and multiple characters. The result is an intriguing combination of side-scrolling shooter and rogue-like dungeon crawler.

The world of Rogue Stormers showcases a unique style called “Dieselpunk.” Dieselpunk represents an industrial World War 1-2 aesthetic. Black Forest Games applied this world of bulky technology to the medieval-like city of Ravensdale. A substance called “goop” powers all their diesel engines. It also turns the population of Ravensdale into monsters.

Read the full review at Pixelkin