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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Wayward Souls Early Access Preview [PC Gamer]

Read the full preview at PC Gamer

The fighter is too slow and clunky. The mage brittle and lacking. But the rogue feels just right. Rocketcat Games’ pixelated roguelike dungeon crawler Wayward Souls didn’t click with me until I stepped into the shoes of Renee the Rogue.

Renee has only a single ability aside from her basic dagger attack: the all-important dash. With a reliable way to avoid attacks I finally reached some level of success as I plunged deeper into the randomly generated dungeons… until I was devoured by a horde of angry boars.

Read the full preview at PC Gamer

Battlerite is Bite-sized MOBA Mayhem [PC Gamer]

Read the full quick look article at PC Gamer

Battlerite knows all about big teamfights. Regardless of any given MOBA’s peculiarities, they all come down to a series of dust-ups. These carefully coordinated battles are often the determining factor in a match, and they’re a significant part of what makes MOBAs compelling as a spectator sport.

The appropriately named Stunlock Studios have taken those big moments of a typical 30-60 minute match and transformed them into a 10-minute single-elimination arena brawl of pure adrenaline-pumping chaos. It’s tense, challenging, enjoyable, and free-to-play.

Read the full quick look article at PC Gamer

Streets of Rogue Early Access Preview [Pixelkin]

Read the full preview at Pixelkin

The rogue-like genre has absolutely exploded in the last several years thanks to indie developers. FTL. Rogue Legacy. Spelunky. Risk of Rain. Binding of Isaac. Darkest Dungeon. The Flame in the Flood. It’s becoming a well-worn genre that demands more of each new game.

Streets of Rogue, now out on Steam Early Access, distills many of the most successful elements of the games before it with free-form, procedurally generated level designs that promote creative mayhem. And you can do it with friends.

READ THE FULL PREVIEW AT PIXELKIN

Planet Coaster Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Creating your own amusement park should never go out of style. Frontier Developments’ new self-published title Planet Coaster captures the magic of roller coasters and theme parks from classic games like RollerCoaster Tycoon and Sim Theme Park. Planet Coaster succeeds as a modern update to a classic formula thanks to intuitive controls and an aesthetic that keeps everything light and fun.

Planet Coaster includes three main ways to play: Campaign, Challenge, and Sandbox. In each mode you start with a large tract of land, several rides, and a few thousand dollars. Guests pour into your park, each with their own needs and wants. It’s your job to satisfy them all (and take their money) while researching and building new rides and venues.

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

Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Carmageddon: Reincarnation

Frustrating controls and frequent crashes prevent this nostalgic remake from stepping out of the shadow of the original 90s car-smasher.

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: Stainless Games

Publisher: Stainless Games

Release Date: May 21, 2015

Carmageddon-Reincarnation

In the immortal words of Dr. Ian Malcolm (paraphrasing): just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes that applies to remakes of classic 90s video games.

I was a big fan of Carmageddon back in the day. The violent destruction derby combined standard racing with large, fully explorable zones. Racing through checkpoints was only one of three ways to win.

The others involved either destroying your fellow racers, or running over every poor pedestrian that wandered into range of your four-wheeled death machine. It was silly, over-the-top violence that was very 90s and very fun. An expansion pack added more fun, while a middling sequel suggested that the magic may have already died a bit.

Skip ahead to our current Kickstarter-addled, nostalgic fueled age. Stainless Games bought back the rights to their beloved car-smashing series and jumped onto the Kickstarter bandwagon back in 2012. An official remake was in the works.

Carmageddon: Reincarnation was finally released three years later after a hefty dose of time in open development via Steam Early Access. The result was a buggy, poorly optimized mess that I initially shied away from, despite being a Kickstarter backer. Thankfully a few months of post-launch patches and support have stabilized the gameplay and the result is a briefly nostalgic, but ultimately forgettable experience. Continue reading “Gaming Backlog Final Thoughts – Carmageddon: Reincarnation”