"Hatoful Boyfriend may be a bonkers twist on the traditional Japanese dating sim, but its surreal 'boys are birds' premise is more than just a gimmick. Courting your potential feathered suitors is rewarding and frequently hilarious, while eventually unravelling the story's darker elements bring the real heft and value to the experience.
If you're willing to leave your comfort zone, it's worth sticking your beak in." - Hatoful Boyfriend Review | I'm A Pigeon Fancier
Mediatonic and publisher Devolver Digital have today announced that Hatoful Boyfriend will indeed now be coming to Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita this month in a cross-buy title capacity.Click here to read more...
In a way, I wish all election campaigns were this interesting, but I suppose the murder is somewhat of a downside. Kinda.
The plot of NOT A HERO is as ridiculous as they come. You take control of a group of characters working for BunnyLord – a time traveller from the future – helping their bid to become the Mayor of England at the next election. The best way to do this is to “killing bad guys in the face” as the voters love that sort of thing (apparently) and so begins a political campaign filled with carnage, mayhem, and exotic milkshake flavours.
Using a roster of nine characters, each with their own unique abilities and exaggerated personalities, players must navigate crime-filled tower blocks and complete objectives. What separates it from other 2D shooters is the cover mechanic, which allows characters to avoid enemy fire before popping back out to unleash some bullet-based justice. The end result is as hilarious as it is challenging. And infuriating.
Click here to read more...
I really, really want to like Titan Souls.
Billed as a cross between Shadow Of The Colossus and Dark Souls but more like a ruthlessly-filleted 2D Zelda compilation, you'll battle a series of enormous bosses with a single arrow and one sole hit point. You'll learn attack patterns, discover weak points and die dozens if not hundreds of times, living for the moment when your bow hits home and your adversary crumbles before you. Before scuttling off to the next arena and the next tougher leviathan.
It feels a little like Acid Nerve are making up for some of the terrible boss battles we've suffered over the years -- from Human Revolution to RAGE -- and are trying to restore the balance in one streamlined package.
So it's odd, then, that I can't stand it. Titan Souls may be based on a razor-sharp gameplay concept, brainstormed over a game jam and developed into a full release, but it's been stretched to near breaking point in the process.Click here to read more...
Titan Souls is shaping up to be an absolute belter, starting life as a three-man game jam project for Ludum Dare 28 and now one of the most anticipated indie games of the year. Unashamedly taking inspiration from Shadow Of The Collossus and Dark Souls, it's a brutally tough slice of exploration and massive boss battles.
That original Ludum Dare prototype (http://clawmark.itch.io/titan-souls) has now been prettied up and augmented with all the new visuals, sound design and gameplay features coming to the full version, and is available to freely download from Steam as a playable demo. There's plenty of it and it's eminently replayable.
Enter The Gungeon is not your typical Roguelike.
Sure, there are procedurally-generated dungeons to explore, full of treasure, enemies, traps and opportunities to permanently die. Yes, it's viewed from a top-down perspective and resembles a retro gem with its detailed faux 16-bit art style. Granted, you'll choose a character and then delve into the depths for fun, profit and eventual death.
What makes Enter The Gungeon different, however, is that it's also a proper shoot 'em up. Going beyond the usual twinstick genre hybrids we've seen over the last few years, it's a hectic no-holds-barred gunfight where every table can be flipped over, every piece of cover is potential safety, bosses turn into bullet hell barrage madness and your only friends are the hundreds of boomsticks at your side. Though still deep in development, what I've played of it is shaping up to be a game of exceptional... calibre.
I apologise for nothing. Let's get stuck in.Click here to read more...
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is bigger than Hotline Miami in every way imaginable. From a massively expanded runtime to multiple playable characters, an involved canon-hopping storyline and sprawling murder playgrounds, Dennaton have thrown everything they can at the game to give you more bang for your buck.
We expect this from sequels, of course, but being bigger doesn't necessarily equate to being better. Something that Hotline Miami 2 players will find out the hard way.
Hotline Miami 2's storyline is utterly bizarre. Starting with a controversial fake-out, the plot schizophrenically leaps between events before, during and after the first game. New plot threads are brought up and ignored or left dangling. Characters are introduced, killed off, taken in unexpected directions or otherwise discarded. One moment you're storming a garage as a hired goon, the next you're playing as an actor depicting the events of the original or fans obsessed with the legendary serial killer, then you're fighting the communist invasion of Hawaii. Dialogue shifts between uncanny and clichéd on a whim.
The whole thing eventually unravels as the boundaries between fantasy, reality, delusion and videogame break down, the structure collapsing under its own obtrusive and obnoxiously wordy weight. It's confusing, deeply pretentious and I absolutely bloody love it.Click here to read more...
The recent console versions of Shadow Warrior have stayed around about the £30 mark since its release, but this offer from The Game Collection is one of best we've seen so far. It beats the next cheapest offer by around £2 on both consoles.
Jon said that Shadow Warrior was "still as savagely brutal, tough, slick and satisfying as ever" in his review, as the fight against armies of demons is just as fun as it was in the original PC release. It's definitely worth a look if you haven't played it already, or if you don't have a PC capable of playing it (as well as the saving, as the PC version tends to be far cheaper these days.) Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD for the heads-up!
Platforms: PS4 | Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Bandai Namco | Devolver Digital
"If you miss the thrill of classic old-school shooters, the simple joy of blasting hordes of foes with oversized weapons and ferreting around for secrets, quicksaving and circle-strafing all the while, you should buy Shadow Warrior immediately."
I wrote this line a year ago in my Shadow Warrior PC review, and it still holds true today. Laughing at the limp linear patronising state of the FPS genre, Flying Wild Hog looked back at classic PC shooters and delivered a Wangtastic slam-bang, honest-to-goodness, three-fisted humdinger of a game with huge explorable levels, massive guns and enormous hordes of deadly demons to point them at.
Now a pixel-perfect port is available on PS4 and Xbox One, meaning that console owners have the opportunity to find out what they've been missing. I could probably end the review here... but in all honesty, this is also an opportunity for me to right a wrong.
See, Shadow Warrior has matured like a fine wine, becoming more delicious with age, and a year of perspective makes me realise that I might have weighted certain aspects of the game too heavily even though my criticisms are still the same. On PC I accused many of its unique features of watering down and diluting the classic FPS formula I've loved since Doom, and they do, but a year on I find myself enjoying Shadow Warrior as the game it is rather than the game I wanted it to be.Click here to read more...
Better late than never. There's still time to take advantage of the tail end of The Humble Bundle's weekend sale, which slashes some weird and wonderful games published by Devolver Digital down to size.
Personally speaking, and with links to our reviews, I'd recommend grabbing crazy Pigeon dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend for £3.49, glorious madcap shooter Serious Sam 3 for £2.99 (and the previous games, with the exception of Serious Sam 2!), elegant roguelike shooter Heavy Bullets for under a fiver and Cosmic DJ for £1.99.
Either way, the deals end at 18:00 BST today.
Shadow Warrior was a proper breath of fresh air in an industry obsessed with 'shared worlds' and 'cinematic narratives' when all you really need are great big guns and hordes of beasties to point them at. Plus sprawling levels stuffed with hilarious secrets.
"If you miss the thrill of classic old-school shooters, the simple joy of blasting hordes of foes with oversized weapons and ferreting around for secrets, quicksaving and circle-strafing all the while, you should buy Shadow Warrior immediately," I wrote in last year in our Shadow Warrior PC review.
Now Flying Wild Hog's retro-themed slaughterfest is coming to Xbox One and PS4, the latter of which I was able to test out earlier this week. The result? Shadow Warrior is still a real, slam-bang, honest-to-goodness, three-fisted humdinger.
Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (£6.99)
Developer: Terri Vellmann
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Don't let the garish screenshots fool you. Heavy Bullets is one of the most elegant games released in years.
These days, shooters are obsessed with being the biggest. They crave the most features. The most polygons. The most connected worlds, the biggest DLC libraries, the most modes, the most maps, the shiniest companion apps, the biggest franchise potential, the widest audience. And they bloat themselves into huge shambling monstrosities in the process.
In comparison, Heavy Bullets is an E-Type Jaguar parked on Southend seafront or Kate Middleton's dress at a Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. A strong and simple idea, executed as stylishly and solidly as possible, designed with as few moving parts and extraneous details as possible to obtain the required result. Throughout a procedurally-generated dungeon, you'll blast a menagerie of virtual beasties while jealously hoarding your limited resources, blending the permadeath progression and exploration of of a Roguelike with the nervy twitch reflexes of an old-school shooter.
As such, Heavy Bullets is the very definition of a game that perfectly achieves what it sets out to do - no more, no less.Click here to read more...
Platform: PC (£6.99)
Publisher: Devolver Digital
For the last few days, I've been the only human girl in a high school for birds. I've flirted with Rock Doves, agonised between chasing a haughty Fantailed pigeon and his dreamy half-brother, entertained the notion of dating my narcoleptic button quail teacher and embarked on a quest for the One True Pudding. All between trying to ace my tests and pass the semester.
It's was weird, even for someone who reviews localised Japanese games and doujin titles on a weekly basis. Thankfully I've loved every delightfully bizarre and comfort zone-shattering minute of it.
At its core, Hatoful Boyfriend can best be described as a dating sim with birds instead of people. Like any visual novel, you'll click through reams of quirky text dialogue and narration accompanied with crude character portraits, occasionally choosing between a few different options to push the narrative in a new direction. Hanging out with and being nice to your harem of clichéd potential boyfriends (the shy bookish one, the complex Tsundere one, the hyper one, the childhood friend after something more, you know the drill) may make them fall for you, at which point you'll enjoy an intriguing ending, unlock some character artwork and then start all over again like a pigeon-fancying version of Groundhog day.
Only, again, the boys are birds. And if you don't manage to find love you'll be brutally murdered in your bed.Click here to read more...
Expendabros is a free game. Think of it as an extended demo for the excellent Broforce, that just happens to feature some of the characters from the upcoming Expendables 3 movie. I know, the last time there was an Expendables game, it was one of the worst pieces of interactive excrement we've ever had the misfortune of playing through.
But this is basically Broforce. And, as anyone who's played Free Lives' games or seen any of our amazingly brofessional coverage of it will testify, Broforce is awesome, dumb, arcadey fun.
Forget those free Doritos games that Microsoft pumped out on Xbox LIVE, forget Zool and its Chupa-Chups. This is quite possibly the best piece of advergaming we've seen in a long time, possibly ever. It's not a true film tie-in per se, but even if it was, it'd be a damn sight better than most tie-in games. Because its free. And awesome.
You can try it out for yourself (and then download Broforce proper for more crazy explosive pixellated brilliance and online multiplayer), but I also threw together a little video last night that may be the least professional thing I've ever made. You can watch it after the jump. Apologies to any and all who do. There are many swears, terrible impressions, Darkness-esque moments of falsetto singing, and lashings of maniacal laughter.Click here to read more...
I failed the first level of Gods Will Be Watching over ten times before I finally managed to balance hacking a computer mainframe, watching over a bunch of jittery hostages, and staving off some grenade-happy soldiers successfully. Even when I had, I still wasn't certain that I'd actually done it through my own skill and deft multitasking rather than some sort of fluke born from frustration.
The game's first level gives you four hostages and a computer system to crack. Soldiers inch their way towards you down a nearby corridor, and the only things you have to halt their progression is the threat of violence to the hostages or a spot of blind fire, both of which freak out your captives.
The hacking progress bar takes its sweet time, and though you can charge a hacking boost in increments, each time you do, your own cyber security takes a hit. Occasionally, your corridor-covering chum will have a crisis of faith, sometimes your hostages will tell you that they're about to run or fancy ending it all or don't think you're looking, and you'll have to decide how to deal with the situation.Click here to read more...
'Reboot' doesn't have to be a dirty word. Shadow Warrior is a proper old-school FPS, a riotous full-fat romp with huge guns and hordes of enemies to point them at. Not to mention a katana and one of the best first-person melee combat systems we've ever seen. A steal at £4.99, and you don't have to register on Steam if you don't want to. Expires at 18:00 this evening.
Platform: PC (Steam Early Access, £5.94)
Developer: Terri Vellmann
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Six bullets. That's all standing between you and a thousand virtual meanies hellbent on deleting you with extreme prejudice.
Don't blink. Don't panic. And most importantly of all, don't miss.
Heavy Bullets is a fun and frantic little thief of time: an attempt to merge the tense exploration, procedurally-generated dungeons, limited resources and permadeath of a Roguelike with tense and twitchy corridor shooting. All wrapped up in an eyepopping stereoscopic art style that tries to capture what it might be like to be trapped inside a malfunctioning glitchy mainframe.
Despite still being in early access, it's really shaping up very nicely indeed. Heavy Bullets is a feast for the senses... and it's out to kill you. For the record, here are a few of my early attempts in humiliating video format:Click here to read more...
Always Sometimes Monsters is a game that's all about choice. Sometimes that means deciding whether or not to give that bag of super-potent drugs in your pocket to your rehabbing junkie best mate just so he can calm down before his own gig. Sometimes it means choosing between a job at an ad agency or a local newspaper. Sometimes it means letting someone lose their life so you can keep yours. Sometimes it means betraying a friend and cutting them out of your life so you can be with the person you desire.
Sometimes it means becoming the lesser of two evils. Sometimes it means being a monster.
Always Sometimes Monsters is a slow-paced affair. It's a Game Maker RPG without any combat systems or incessant inventory management. It's not concerned with your tactical thinking or your capacity for grinding. It just wants to know how far you'll go to get what, or rather who, you want.
Always Sometimes Monsters opens with a very brief prologue stuffed with metafictional waffle. Get past that, though, and you'll find yourself at a party, taking control of Larry, a publisher getting ready to sign you up to a lucrative book deal. By steering Larry around a soiree held at his mini mansion, you're charged with actually identifying your own character from the throng of assembled guests. Will you be male or female? White? Black? Asian? A grungy old soul or a trendy hipster? You decide by interacting with the person you'd like to form the centre of this tale, after which control passes to the person you've chosen to be your protagonist, and you move outside to identify the love of your life from an equally diverse array of characters.
I like the fact that Always Sometimes Monsters doesn't make a fuss about any of this, it doesn't ask for your personal details, it just fills in the blanks via simple gameplay.Click here to read more...
Cosmic DJ is essentially a beginner's guide to music sequencing wrapped up in a bundle of crazy. And I love it.
The developers at Austin studio Gl33k are no newcomers to the scene, though you're more likely to have found them working behind it than stepping into the spotlight in the past few years. They've been responsible for some award-winning sound design across the likes of Halo 4 and Uncharted 3. Put simply, they know their shit.
Perhaps that's why Cosmic DJ is such a delight. It's a simple, straightforward affair that provides instant pick-up-and-play appeal, filled with all sorts of utterly bonkers instruments and effects, and set to a narrative that has you (the Cosmic DJ of Legend) and a floating polygon named Steve (who sounds a lot like the eponymous virus that infects Lister in the Red Dwarf episode "Epideme") saving the universe through the power of music, by fixing a bunch of "Jamtennae" and creating barmy dance music to barmy pictures of horses wearing 3D glasses, barking corgis, and pixel pizza.
It's quite odd. It's also a lot of fun.Click here to read more...
I have blood on my hands. I've racked up a mountain of debt, my landlord has kicked me out onto the city streets because rent has not been paid, and the local homeless have made it very clear that they'll stab me up a treat if I disturb them in any fashion. I've managed to swindle a boy out of some money for a seemingly worthless convention ticket, but he's taken the money from a crackhead relative and now that same relative is waving a shotgun in my face. I could have given the money back. I could have made things right. I could have left this kid out of it from the start and opted to make amends in an honest fashion. I've restarted the save from a couple of minutes ago six times and no matter what, the kid dies every time.
In the words of Buster Bluth... I'M A MONSTER!
I love the way that Always Sometimes Monsters opens -- putting you in control of Larry, the man who'll sign you up to that book deal initially. By steering Larry around a soiree held has his mini mansion, you're charged with actually identifying your own character from the throng of assembled guests. Will you be male or female? White? Black? Asian? A grungy old soul or a trendy hipster? Then control passes to the person you've chosen to be your protagonist, and you move outside to identify the love of your life from an equally diverse array of characters. Always Sometimes Monsters doesn't make a fuss about this, it doesn't shove anything in anyone's face, it doesn't ask you if you want to be gay or straight or if you're a supporter of interracial romances, it just does it. Nintendo, take note.
It's a prologue of positivity, of clinking champagne flutes and pledged ambitions. And it belies everything that comes next.
Always Sometimes Monsters is a game that attempts to look unflinchingly at the decisions we make when the proverbial hits the fan. Several years after that night described above, you play a writer down on their luck, faced with mounting debt, a project that you've not been able to finish, a deadline that passed months before, and the news that the aforementioned love of your life is getting married in 30 days to someone else in a town on the other side of the country. The question is how far will you go to get them back?Click here to read more...
BROFORCE is utterly outrageous in all the best ways. This rambunctious sidescoller puts us into the boots of over a dozen legendary action heroes, homages to everything from Judge Dredd and Commando to Men In Back, Machete, Rambo, Robocop, Terminator, the A-Team and Die Hard for starters, then runs us through an orgy of huge guns, massive explosions and gore aplenty in a quest to bring peace to the world through gloriously over-the-top ultraviolence. It's outstanding - and it isn't even finished yet.
Having caught our eye ever since its reveal, we made a beeline for BROFORCE at EGX Rezzed... where it managed to turn two bro-fessional games writers into fist-bumping, whooping, hollering reprobates in only a few short minutes.
Now that it's available on Steam Early Access, it's high time we took a closer look Free Lives' patriotic blast'em up and explain why it's handily one of our most anticipated games of 2014.Click here to read more...