Friday, August 28, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep31: Naev


Trading, combat and exploration in space!

Naev (Not Another Escape Velocity) is a single-player open-world sandbox space title. You begin with a basic ship and make your way through the cosmos completing jobs. Each system has a number of locations, most of which contain NPCs, missions, goods and ways to upgrade your ship.

The game boasts a multitude of options in terms of customizing your ship and ways to earn money. The overall map is always the same, but missions and NPCs vary greatly with each playthrough providing a fresh experience with each game. There's an overall story you can follow, but it's often lucrative to find side missions to complete while working on the main quests.

Naev is open source - there's a number of mods available and even alternate versions of the game with different content. It's a fun title and definitely worth a look if you like open-ended space games.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hearthstone: Opening 40 Packs of The Grand Tournament


I open 40 packs from the newest Hearthstone expansion, discussing the cards as I go.

I have mixed feelings on the set as a whole. On one hand, many of the cards are way more balanced than Goblins v. Gnomes (which is good). Unfortunately, this also means that constructed play probably won't see a lot of change in the long run. 

There was an outcry over power creep when Ice Rager and Evil Heckler were shown, but it seems like everyone forgets just how much better Piloted Shredder is than pretty much every other card for its cost. The problem isn't with the new cards - it's with the OP cards released in Naxx and GvG. I think a lot of players are ultimately going to be unimpressed with TGT because of that, which is a shame because the set feels well designed and is full of cards that beg you to try new deck ideas.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep30: Blocaria & Inexistence


Time for another double feature! We've got 2D survival crafting in Blocaria followed by Metroidvania platforming with Inexistence.

I don't have anything special to say about Blocaria. It's buggy, laggy and apparently abandoned. The developer hates if you call it a Minecraft or Terraria "rip-off", but had no problems using the same crafting recipes and even music from the Mojang hit. This game was supposedly rebuilt and renamed to Paradigm (not the point-and-click adventure title of the same name), but good luck finding it - the developer's website doesn't exist anymore.

Inexistence is a Metroidvania platformer with light RPG elements. You play as a reluctant hero attempting to rescue your sister. The game defaults to a controller if you have one, which I prefer for platformers anyway. The controls are very responsive and intuitive which is great. Gameplay feels like they took the best and most memorable things from Super Mario, Metroid, Castlevania and even the classic TMNT game and blended them into an (S)NES-talgic delight. Unfortunately this is only a demo (with the first two levels and a boss fight) but it's enough to give you a fair idea of how the game handles. I enjoyed the Inexistence demo quite a bit, and it seems to have been greenlit on Steam with an expected release to be coming very soon.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep29: Cube27


Brain-teasing, block glitching puzzle action with Cube27!

This is a matching game that's kind of a mix between a Rubik's Cube, Mahjong and... something else I can't quite put my finger on. Puzzles come in the form of 3D shapes made out of cubes. The goal is to match cubes, thus removing them from the puzzle. You get bonus points for removing cubes quickly and matching in color/number sequence. In addition a power meter rises on the left with four special abilities at your disposal - bombs, automatch, time freeze and nuke.

Things start out simple, but get trickier pretty fast. Cubes can be hidden behind other cubes (similar to blocked tiles in Mahjong). Later on, the puzzles contain glitches, viruses and other obstacles that make completing the puzzles difficult (or impossible with wrong moves early on).

If you love Mahjong but are looking for a new twist, Cube27 may be right up your alley.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Friday FREE GAME Feature! Ep28: Lair of the Madhat


Diablo-style hack 'n' slash action with Lair of the Madhat!

This game isn't bad, but it is quite short and relatively easy. I beat the game in about an hour and I don't recall even dying. The gameplay is about what you'd expect for the genre, but there's no inventory system. You only keep what you can hold, and potions are used immediately on pickup. The art style is well done and may be the most impressive thing about this game. As a student project, Lair of the Madhat looks pretty good - as a real game title, it could use a bit more content and polish.