Risk of Rain 2 Shows Incredible Promise in Early Access [Pixelkin]

Read the full Early Access preview at Pixelkin

I lived through the initial 3D gaming era of the mid to late 90s. Whether for better or worse, most games made the awkward, ugly transition from pixels to polygons. And for every Mario 64 there was, well, a Sonic 3D.

Thankfully we’re far removed from those days. But rarely do we see a series so completely, and effectively transform from 2D to 3D, as I’ve seen in Risk of Rain 2. The sequel was announced and released via Steam Early Access during the Gearbox panel at PAX East, and it’s already fantastic.

Read the full Early Access preview at Pixelkin

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Overcooked 2 Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

It’s not uncommon to shout “just sautée the damn mushrooms already!” at your family members when playing Overcooked 2. The delightfully chaotic cooking simulator returns with more cooperative mayhem as players quickly work together to fulfill culinary orders while avoiding kitchen hazards.

The sequel offers a few new features but ultimately the same experience. Thankfully it’s still a winning recipe.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Divinity: Original Sin is a Great Co-op RPG for Couples [Pixelkin]

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Seven months and 80 hours later my partner and I finally put down our PS4 controllers in triumph to watch the end credits roll on Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition.

We have played many cooperative games together over the years but none have enthralled both of us quite like D:OS. Its rewarding tactical combat system, huge world, and most importantly, a story that weaves together both characters equally kept us invested in one of the best cooperative gaming experiences we’ve ever had.

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Direwild: Co-op Deckbuilding Dungeon Crawler on Kickstarter

I saw a lot of neat upcoming Kickstarter-hopeful games at PAX South earlier this year. One that always stuck with me was Direwild. It’s finally arrived on Kickstarter.

Direwild plays like a fun combination of Pokémon, a cooperative deckbuilder, and a tactical RPG.

Cards are made up of 130 creatures. Each creature card has modifying traits and abilities that can be added to other creature cards, letting you create a single super-creature through a unique crafting system.

I’ve loved other games that use a similar system of modifying cards, such as Evolution, where the same cards act as both units and enchantments depending on how and where you use them. You can read the rulebook here.

On top of charming, summon, and creating creatures, you also navigate a series of tactical battle maps, battle evil minions, cast spells, collect treasures, level up heroes, and fight your way to the final boss battle.

The game is designed as an ongoing campaign using all three grid maps, and includes tuckboxes so you can save your current game (ha!) and bring the cards into the next scenario.

Direwild is designed for 1-4 players, with an estimated play time of 60-90 minutes and an age of 13+, though the material itself is family-friendly. In fact the starting creatures are puppies and kittens!

It includes a double-sided map board, standees, 10 hero boards, tons of cards, and some dice and tokens. Optionally you can upgrade to a Premium edition to receive miniatures of the 10 playable heroes and five enemies.

direwild

The Kickstarter campaign has been up for about a week and is already a resounding success, reaching its very modest funding goal of $38,000 within the first two days. It’s a short campaign with only 14 days remaining, and already over 1,000 backers have nearly doubled the funding goal. The next stretch goal unlocks new minions.

The current minimum bid to receive Direwild is $59, not including shipping (US is $10). Estimated delivery is August 2018, though I’ve never experienced a Kickstarter project not receiving at least some sort of delay.

The Direwild Kickstarter campaign ends December 1.

Master X Master’s Co-op PvE is Better than its MOBA [PC Gamer]

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There are dozens of ‘me too’ free-to-play MOBAs vying for your attention, and Master X Master looks like any other at first. It launched in June as MMO publisher NCSoft’s answer to the genre, and features a standard 5v5 lane-pushing match on a single map called Titan Ruins.

The best part of Master X Master is the surprisingly enjoyable cooperative PvE mode, which elevates an otherwise mediocre lane-pusher into a rewarding, bite-sized action RPG.

Read the full article on PC Gamer

Earthfall Early Access Preview [Pixelkin]

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Earthfall has a very simple goal: make Left 4 Dead, but slightly better. And with aliens. Left 4 Dead’s strict focus on cooperative survival gameplay endeared many co-op fans, and has left a noticeable void since Left 4 Dead 2 released back in 2009.

Earthfall is here to fill the gap. It shamelessly pulls all of its action beats, enemy types, and campaign structure from Valve’s zombie-survival series, but does it all very well. The Early Access version has all the right pieces to make a worthy spiritual successor to one of the best cooperative series in gaming.

Read the full preview at Pixelkin

Death Squared Review [Pixelkin]

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Portal, and to a larger extent Portal 2, have inspired a new subgenre of puzzle games that emphasize cooperation with a dash of cheeky humor. Death Squared is a shining example of this cooperative puzzler genre, letting one, two, or four players guide little robot cubes around a series of increasingly challenging deathtraps.

Death Squared features a lengthy Story campaign consisting of 80 levels that can be played with two local players, or a solo player controlling two bots with one controller. For the latter, the single player controls each bot with a different analog stick (or keyboard setup).

That’s a lot of levels, but they’re designed to be bite-sized. Each level should only take a few minutes to complete, and that’s with a lot of trial and error.

READ THE FULL REVIEW AT PIXELKIN