I was lucky enough to get in to a recent Back4Blood beta and a brief look at the game. A fun game that resembles its predators, Left4Dead in game play but also differing enough to make the game feel like something new. Like the former games, you can play a co-op campaign game where you rush around slaughtering your way through zombie masses.
Beyond the game place, the characters you can play as are pretty entertaining, each has benefits that support the group in some way. I took a particular liking to Hoffman. I had to pick him up because the initial characters I wanted to play were taken by friends. (You know who you are!) But he ended up being my favorite, and I will probably continue to play him once the game comes out fully. I might dabble in others, but to be honest, once I find a character I like, I tend to stick to it.
Now, moving we have the particularly original, (at least for this type of game) deck building system. As you play, you gain points which allow you to unlock cards which you can make into decks. These decks have a variety of benefits for yourself and the people you are playing with. I had a lot of fun putting ammo benefits in to my deck.
So there is a lot more to Back4Blood, but I really think you should play the game to try it out yourself. And in case you could not tell with that suggestion, if you love a good zombie game, you will want to pick up Back4Blood once it goes live!
Paladin Dream is a turn based RPG in the style of all the old favorite classics. You play as a Paladin going on a journey to find out the meaning of a dream he has been having repeatedly over the years. He leaves the abbey where he has spent his entire life and heads out to find the reason for his dream.
The game was made with RPG Maker, which I know, can leave you questioning how good it really is. But Paladin Dream is a pleasant surprise. With about five hours of gameplay and original music composed by the creator, Paladin Dream stands out where many RPG Maker games may leave you wonderful what the heck you just spent money on.
With an original soundtrack composed by creator Matthew Myers, the music alone is enough to make one want to continue the game.
So is Paladin Dream worth playing? If you enjoy a classic turn based RPG feel with a nice story? Sure is! I would suggest you pick it up sooner rather than later.
I was lucky enough to be able to get some questions answer by the creator of Paladin Dream. Here is the Q&A I had with Matthew via email!
Tawny: How did you come up with the concept for Paladin Dreams?
Matthew: Creatively, Paladin Dream(singular, not plural) was inspired by a short story in high school during a King Arthur unit in English class. There are some significant changes and expansions from that story, but the concept of the dream duel to motivate the heroic quest is much alike. The main character, Josiah, is loosely inspired by personality traits of Christian athletes I was around at a job I had living in Texas. The areas he explores are influenced by my experiences traveling in Italy, which included cathedrals, castles, walled cities, mountains, fields, farming villages, and religious art.
When the COVID quarantine era around March 2020 started, I realized I wouldn’t be going anywhere for awhile, and took the opportunity to try something I wanted to do for years, which was to make an RPG. I also had family members who were sick at the time (they recovered, fortunately) so it was a stressful time when I was looking for an imaginary escape. The rest was learning, planning, and asking for help.
Tawny: What did you use to make it
Matthew : I used RPGmaker as an engine to develop the game. RPGmaker is a great tool for (surprise) building RPGs, where you can easily create exploration and combat systems without having to do any programming. It allowed me to immediately focus on what I was excited about, which was telling the story and building the world around it.
For me RPGmaker is a wonderful storytelling platform, even when the subject matter isn’t necessarily a medieval fantasy like Paladin Dream. Before this project, I was inspired by Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, which is essentially an RPGmaker-made documentary game about a real-world American tragedy. I appreciated the way that game handled mature themes while being truthful, and felt that if someone can turn a school shooting into an emotionally powerful RPG then anything is possible.
Tawny: How much of this game did you make yourself?
Matthew: I conceived the story and wrote close to 8000 words of dialog, designed more than 100 maps, devised the combat logic featuring over 50 enemies, and composed all the music myself. Before Paladin Dream, I served as a music composer and producer professionally for numerous games spanning a 15-year career. I also did all the bug fixing and other thankless tasks. I can’t take any credit for building the engine, the many modification plugins I used, or the art assets (whether licensed or commissioned), or the sound fx. I also (obviously) didn’t sing the female vocals in those songs.
With the RPG genre, it seems inevitable that people will compare it to something enormous like The Elder Scrolls, and there’s no way one person in their spare time can do the work of a huge team with millions of dollars. For me telling a short but polished story was more important than churning out hours and hours of quests both as a developer and in terms of what I’d want to play. To that end I was inspired by Dragon Quest 4 in particular, which features a few small adventures that feel like they could be their own small game.
Tawny: Being a turn based RPG, it’s easy to guess you may be a fan of that genre what’s your favorite video game?
Matthew: I’ll answer this question with a shout-out to an obscure title I grew up fascinated by, which is Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders Of Khazan. Imagine something like the original Final Fantasy on NES, but with more of an open world and more effort placed on the writing. The encounters featured prosaic passages of text like a visual novel, and the combat system was wonderfully deep. The graphics were generally primitive, but the incredible lore and logic breathed life into the world. Sometimes the best graphics are the ones you imagine in your mind, right?
Tawny: Were there any particular influences when you deigned Paladin Dream?
Matthew: I lived in Boston when Bioshock became popular, so Irrational Games creative force Ken Levine was a big influence on my game design philosophy. Comparable to Bioshock, Paladin Dream has no cut scenes to passively watch, everything that happens in the story is a playable event. Also similar is that the player explores a relatively small region of a world rather than a full globe. My favorite Levine quote which I’ve taken to heart is “If you want people to follow your plot, then it has to be really f***ing stupid.” If you watch Indiana Jones and pause the film at any moment, Jones is looking for the ark. Similarly, if you ask what Josiah is doing at any moment in Paladin Dream, he’s looking for the meaning of his dream.
Tawny: Do you intend to make anymore games?
Matthew: I am still under publisher contract to provide support and updates for Paladin Dream for a number of months, so I’m trying to keep focused for that reason. I have several other game ideas that would be cool, so we’ll see what happens in 2022. 🙂
Night Book is an interactive full motion horror video game. A choose your own adventure movie where every action you make has some sort of effect on the outcome of the story. Think of it as playing through a horror movie with fifteen different endings!
Now full motion games have been around for a very long time. There were dozens of them back in the 90s. I will not go through listing them, but if you google FMV games, you will find a list you can work your way through. Many of them are horror.
Night Book follows a pregnant interpreter dealing with an apparently mentally ill father while working night shifts. From there, how she comes in contact with a cursed book having its contents read out loud can vary depending on what choices you make. Which allows for this game to have a lot of replay value. I have played this game a lot, and each time has been a little different.
Now the real question. Is this game worth playing? If you enjoy horror and interactive fiction, I would have to say yes. Though because of the type of game this is, it is certainly not for everyone. But like most games, I say you should at least try it! And if horror is not your thing, the company that made this game has similar ones of different genres!
With the New World come to an end. It’s time to look back and consider what I think of Amazon’s new MMO which is slated to come out at the end of the month, after being pushed back from the spring of last year. Now this will be far from an in-depth look in to the game. However, I will state my honest opinion about the upcoming game.
First New World has your usual general MMO feel, quests, PVP, PVE and so on. Though the setting, while fantasy based, has a realistic feeling to it in the clothing and armors. While there is magic, none of the clothing seems to have strange floaty or glowy things that tend to make no sense.
Having done both the alpha and beta, I can say the game has improved beyond a doubt in the last year. The character creation has a fair variety of options. While no Black Desert Online level of character creation, it has several options. Even allowing the ‘female’ body type to have facial hair.
The game play is mouse based, your main attack is on the right button and your block is the left. If you have played The Elder Scrolls Online you may be familiar with this basic concept. There are also talents locked to keys and numbers. The combat has an ESO or Neverwinter feel to it, though with the ability to dodge being much more fluid than the other MMOs with moused based combat.
New World also has a heavy focus on crafting. You are expected to craft your own tools by gathering items around the world. You can also set a respawn point by setting a camp in different places around the world. In these camps you can do basic crafting and even make food. Other MMOs have done some highlighting of crafting such as Archage, but I believe New World has managed to fit it more comfortable with in its overall game play.
So the final verdict. Is New World worth playing? Very much so. Amazon has created a perfectly playable MMO. Which is great given the recent mass exodus of players from World of Warcraft looking for a new home after lawsuit conflicts.
My one complaint. You can’t swim. You walk along the bottom of bodies of water.
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I love video games. In fact, there are very few that I have played that I do not enjoy in some manner. That was how I first stumbled on Humble Bundle. The promise of a variety of games easily pulled me in for a fairly inexpensive amount of money. It was even better to find out that some of the money I was spending was going to a charity. I love to support a charity when I am able. When Humble Bundle added more than video games, I was super excited. I have purchased quite a few of their book bundles now as well.
Now the catch is Humble Bundles change regularly and while some of them are amazing, some of them may not be for everyone. The important thing is to check regularly and see if you can find one you like. So is Humble Bundle worth using? If it has something you like? Yes! It very much is.
Right now they have the Find a Cure bundle which has tones of assets people who are looking to create games can use!
So every now and then I like to play some really obscure games. For no real reason other than the concept amuses me or the game play seems to be interesting. So when I got a message from Scott Ullenberg of Horse Power Games I figured I could give his games a look. Now I can’t lie and say I played all of them, but I did give Dungeon Rescue, Sumoo Warriors and Lazy Quest a try. He also volunteered for some interview questions, which I will add to the end of this.
As a whole the games are all reminiscent of old school NES period RPG games. The graphics are pixel art and the controls have your basic RPG feel. The stories are different but entertaining and as a whole I would say they are worth playing if you are looking for something to spend some down time on.
Tawny: How did you come up with these crazy game ideas?
Scott: I’d like to say that I do a lot of work on these ideas, but I get them based on several things. It comes from making a game that I would like to play. The idea for Sumoo Warrior came from wanting to make a role playing game like Pokémon, but with a twist and Cows just seemed funny. Okay, the ideas are sometimes funny or wanting to make a unique game.
Tawny: What do you do other than create these games?
Scott: My full-time job is driving a semi. I know that doesn’t make sense, a truck driver who makes games. The job allows me time to work on them and it keeps me busy.
Tawny: Which of your published games is your favorite?
Scott: Like any parent, I don’t really have a favorite, but there are games that are special. Lazy Quest comes to mind. It is part RPG quest game and part Sims. It takes place in your grandparent’s house and you not only have to do things for them, you have to take care of yourself.
Tawny: Do you have more in the future?
Scott: I have several more that I’m working on. One is an isometric version of Spy Hunter. I have a horror game too.
Tawny: Your games are pretty niche, entertaining though, do you plan to expand at all?
Scott: I’ve made notes for a sequel to Sumoo Warrior and Duck Wars will eventually be an online multi-player. I will also be expanding the ‘one room-one hundred level ‘ series. Bumper Betty and Galaxy Pop are part of that. What that means is, when you finish all 100 levels, you get a code to send me and I’ll send back a Certificate of Achievement.
Final Winter came to me via a message reply to one of my advertisements. I never would have heard of this game if one of the developers had not reached out to me. Which is unfortunate because this game is probably the most fun I have had losing in years. Now I know what you are thinking. Probably something like. “You had fun losing a game?” Yes. Yes, I did. Some games you play to win but do not always expect to. Let’s talk more about this game.
Final Winter is a described as an RPG with Speedrunning elements on its Steam page. Though I would say it is more like a roguelike but you get 30 lives. A village is cursed and most of the people have left, though the remaining villagers and strangers come to the village hoping to gain rewards, travel in to the caverns one at a time to stop the curse. Here’s the catch, you only have ten minutes to do it! To do this, you play through a dungeon crawl, learning various skills which are inherited by the next villager when you die. I suppose I should say if you die, but I died a lot, it just became a when.
These skills you learn as you go allow you to find quicker ways through each dungeon level, eventually allowing you to easily traverse each level so it is entirely possible to make it in the limited time frame. They also made the combat to be quick. It uses only the space key, requiring you to simply tap it at the right time!
Beyond creative game play and story the soundtrack to this game is amazing. I particularly enjoyed the battle themes that played on each level while fighting creatures. The music fits the already amazingly designed levels, and the well-drawn characters and monsters.
This game is well made, entertaining, and inexpensive. It is a must play for fans of roguelikes, or speedrunners, or those who just want to experience a fast-paced dungeon crawler!
Final Winter can be found on Steam and guess what? You can also pick up the amazing soundtrack! I strongly suggest Final Winter for all gamers. And to keep an eye on Space Heater Games for future projects!
So I am pretty picky about the video games I enjoy playing. I am more of a story over game play sort. So the idea of picking up Rift World came off feeling a little like a chore. Oh great, a FPS, even with a fantasy feel to it I could not help but remember how much I suck at shooters. I simply have no aim. But in wanting to give this game, and it’s developers the benefit of the doubt, I played the demo. And I am glad that I did.
Now as mentioned before Rift World is a FPS were you play as a mage. You are traveling between rifts and use various magic spells to attack elementals and explode parts of the scenery, like barrels, creatures, and chests to add to your health and mana, which once full, go in to a spare pots for you to use when needed. Which I thought was pretty interesting. I enjoy the idea of being able to build one’s stores. It gives you a little leeway but also requires you to plan, unlike games that seem to provide you with a never ending supply of potions.
Now beyond the basic game play, you can double jump and dash. I found that in using these aspects I could make use of my time in the air, raining pewpew doom down on the elements who like to swarm. Oh yes, you need to be quick, because when I say swarm, I mean swarm; I had tiny elementals come flying at me so many times. However, despite continuous death, I had fun throughout the demo.
So what is the final consensus on Rift World? I am hoping to play the full game when it comes out. For now however, we are limited to playing the demo, which can be found on steam. Also if you want to support the game, here are the various links provided to me by lead developer Nick Paladino. https://linktr.ee/RiftWorld
One after thought. Why do I find rock slugs so cute?
I have an MMO weakness. Anyone who reads my blog regularly can see that. Lately my guilty pleasure has been The Lord of the Rings Online, an older, but still entertaining game! So what makes this older game still so much fun to play? Well, there are several aspects this now free-to-play game takes advantage of that some of the more popular names should probably consider.
First, the game sticks close to the lore of Tolkien’s books. It takes some creative liberties where there are holes, but the story stays loyal to the source material. And even those creative liberties are not overly annoying. No more surprising than say, the Hobbit movies.
The gameplay itself feels slow these days, but given the game was released in the early 2000’s on the heels of the well loved movies, it makes sense that some aspects of it would not hold up to the expectations of people who are used to more fast passed MMOS of the 2020s.
If you’re heavily concerned with how your character looks, the character creation is pretty limited, again this is a game made in the early 2000s. However, there is a lot you can do with armor and dyes. The game has a detailed clothing appearance aspect and you can choose when to display your shoulders and helmet, as well as collect various dye colors.
Now I said the game was free-to-play now. As such, there are a few pay walls that you can take down with a subscription, like most MMOs these days. However LOTRO has one aspect many games do now, you can earn currency in the game to unlock everything you need to pay for. Sure, it may take you a bit longer to grind out deeds to buy what you need and progress through the game, but it is entirely possible to play the entire game free with this method.
All in all if you enjoy story more then graphics this is a game for you.
Women in video games are nothing particularly new. Any gamer can name a handful. And even someone with little game exposure can often at least name Princess Zelda, even if they may mistake her for Link and Princess Peach. But there is much more than a handful of well-known damsels in distress. And no, I am not discounting the heroic actions of the previously mentioned princesses; they have of course had their moments in the various settings and situations of the multitude of games that their male counterparts Link and Mario span.
But we want to look at more empowered heroines. The characters that make you feel as though you should cheer or weep for them regardless of gender. These are characters that show strength and skill that are not bordered by a sense of gender requirements. Some may be slightly sexualized, a subject that is slowly being corrected by many companies as years go on, after all video games are still a predominately male aimed genre. While others may seem oddly androgynous to the point, the player may not have even grasped their gender until it is revealed. Sometimes gender is simply not important to the story. In this series, we will cover several badass female video game characters.
Let’s start with Samus Aran.
Now if you have been gaming for a while. Or simply do not live under a rock, you probably know who Samus is. For those who do not, I will take a moment to explain. Samus is the main character of the Metroid series. Introduced in 1986 game Metroid. Since then there have been numerous games with the character either as main character or playable in some manner.
In the first Metroid game, we assumed the gender of the character male throughout the entire game, and she was even referred to as a male in the game booklet. It was not until the end of the game that the helmet of our hero is removed and the flowing blond hair reveals him to in fact be a her! Despite knowing this, I still got a thrill when I finally got through the game once I was old enough to play it.