Tag: indie games

Games for Aid, E3 Hype, and Capcom Copyright

Send Aid to Palestine

Itch.io a website for indie game developers to sell and download indie games has a special bundle for $5 you receive over 1,000 games from over 800 content creators. All the profit raised will be donated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. UNRWA will provide further food assistance to over one million Palestinians in territories with heavy destruction. They are also helping provide emergency mental and physical health protection for those in the region. If you’d like to buy games and help aid Palestine click here to contribute.

Capcom sued for using unlicensed photos in games

The Japanese video game developer and publisher Capcom are in some deep water with a photographer suing the company for copyright infringement. Judy A Juracek has accused the company of using unlicensed photos from her book in multiple games such as Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry. The images are from Judy’s copyrighted book published in 1996 called Surfaces which features over 1200 visual references for different creative artists. It’s taken Judy some time to take action on this claim as she wasn’t positive about the infringement relating to both major games Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry, however it wasn’t until Capcom’s ransomware attack that her suspicions were confirmed. Judy’s lawyers are asking for $12 million in damages as well as up to $25,000 for each photograph used.

The biggest week in gaming is just around the corner. E3 kicks off on the 12th of June for 3 days of video game announcements, release dates and more. Starting with Ubisoft, Devolver Digital, and Gearbox showcasing their latest titles leading up to the event. EA have also dropped their latest game announcement Battlefield 2042. To stay in the loop with all the heavy hitters of the games industry such as Xbox, Bethesda, Square Enix, Capcom, Bandai Namco and more Zed Games have put together a calendar so you can follow along at home.

The week in gaming releases:

June 10:

• Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade [PS5]
• Ninja Gaiden: Master Edition [Switch]
• One Hand Clapping [PC]
• We Are Football [PC]

June 11:

• DariusBurst: Another Chronicle EX+ [PS4, Switch]
• Guilty Gear -Strive- [PC, PS5, PS4]
• Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart [PS5]

June 13

• Lumberhill [PC]

June 17

• Police Simulator: Patrol Officers [PC]
• Roguebook [PC]

Beyond Blue Review

Developer: E-Line Media
Publisher: E-Line Media
Music: Curated Playlist
Platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, Linux and Mac
Released: 17th April 2020
Genre: Adventure, Educational, Simulation, Indie Game

“Beyond Blue takes players into the near future, where they will have the opportunity to explore the mysteries of our ocean through the eyes of Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist. She and her newly-formed research team will use ground-breaking technologies to see, hear, and interact with the ocean in a more meaningful way than has ever been attempted. The game features an evocative narrative and exploration of an untouched world.” – E-Line Media Game Description

Beyond Blue is evocative and heartfelt in its design. E-Line Media have a statement that says, “Inspiring Players to Understand and Shape the World.” And that is exactly how I felt about Beyond Blue. This wonderful ocean research game was inspired by Blue Planet II and you really do feel the passion and love for the ocean throughout its narrative and educational aspects.

You as the player Mirai love whales and spend time with a family of sperm whales with their new born calf Andrea. You follow Mirai on her personal journey above the water as well as her professional life underwater where she hosts live streams called OceanX Streams, collecting samples from the ocean floor, tracking marine life and of course discovering the mysteries of the ocean. All this to help educate the wider world about the “blue heart” of the planet.

There are in total 8 dives each one lasting anywhere between 15 minutes and upwards of 45mins depending on how much you like to explore. Mirai has her home base which is a futuristic submarine that she returns to examine findings and complete reports. It’s also where Mirai contacts her sister back on land where she is trying to help support her sister in taking care of their grandmother. This ties closely to the research Mirai is conducting on a family of sperm whales, the pod has a new mother and daughter duo whose family also consists of a grandmother.

Beyond Blue is so educational that while I was playing, I learnt that sperm whales live in family units and that the females will stay together forever while males will leave until they are of breeding age. Sperm whale females build strong and lifelong bonds with each other and those bonds will transcend generations. Grandmothers will pass on valuable knowledge to their younger family members. Mirai intends on studying the baby sperm whale well into adulthood and throughout her life to understand more about the species.

The voice acting is fantastic, all the characters really come alive with the phenomenal voice work of Anna Akana (Ant-Man), Hakeem Kae-Kazim (Pirates of the Caribbean III), Ally Maki (10 Things I Hate About You), and Mira Furlan (Babylon 5). These talented actors really help bring the educational elements of Beyond Blue to life.

In between dives quotes from researchers, marine biologists, oceanographer and underwater explorers also known as aquanauts appear throughout the game. There is also this incredible video feature that you unlock throughout the game that is called ‘Ocean Insights’ which are a series of short videos from the real world based around real scientists sharing their love for the ocean, it’s secrets and most importantly sharing their discoveries about our natural water world.

The great thing about these Ocean Insights is that the videos you unlock usually relate to something you have discovered on a recent dive. Honestly unlocking these little mini educational videos was my biggest driving factor for completing a dive. I wanted to hear more from people like Dr. Sylvia Earle the founder of Mission Blue and resident explorer for National Geographic not to mention a bunch of other awesome National Geographic residents you get to hear from.

When exploring in game I found the mechanics to be surprisingly intuitive and the UI Hud to be so smooth an effective. Beyond Blue is considered to be an indie development however the player movement and visual design would suggest a much bigger production. It might not be high graphics but it certainly doesn’t need to be with such a smooth interface and wonderfully designed player movement.

I did have a minor issue with loading a saved game however, when I first logged back in after taking a break the game froze when I selected ‘continue’ so I did unfortunately have to get task manager involved to close the game and start up again this time opting to load a previously saved game instead. I’m not sure if this is an issue isolated to windows versions of the game or my PC just sucks but keep that in mind if you stumble across the same problem.

The music gives off ethereal ocean vibes while diving, creating this really paced atmospheric energy peacefully guiding and encouraging you explore further into the depths. When you are onboard the sub however you get this exceptionally curated playlist of ocean inspired music from a variety of different artists as well as the ability to unlock more tracks throughout game play.

Beyond Blue is touching, awe inspiring, educational, and also a challenge for us to rise to the occasion and protect this vulnerable underwater world. There is so many wonderful things to appreciate about our little blue planet and its vast seascapes and Beyond Blue has done an exceptional job of bringing the ocean closer to us so that we may learn and engage more with our ocean environment. If you are lover of the planet, get Beyond Blue you will almost certainly learn something and experience the vastness of our oceans.

Who wants to play Monopoly?

Sony Lawsuits & PlayStation 5 Shortages

A group of gamers is gearing up to file a lawsuit against Sony this week, arguing that the company runs an unlawful monopoly that limits where players are able to purchase digital copies of PlayStation games to only Sony online stores. This group has said that Sony’s monopoly on digital games means, “they are allowed to charge supercompetitive prices for digital PlayStation games, that are significantly higher than their physical counterparts sold in a competitive retail market.” This lawsuit is designed to hopefully encourage Sony to create a more consumer friendly environment by suggesting a more competitive retail market that doesn’t result in players paying up to 175 percent more for digital games.

Sony are also expecting massive PlayStation 5 shortages that is predicted to last into 2022. Sony have been having some supply issues that don’t have an end in sight. According to Sony’s CFO Hiroki Totoki said, “If we secure a lot more devices and produce many more units, our supply wouldn’t be able to catch up with demand.” Despite supply shortages Sony has sold more than 7.8 million units since November last year. Similar to Sony, Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and S are also struggling with supply constraints until after June 20th this year.

Filmmaker claims Capcom took Designs for Resident Evil Village

Filmmaker Richard Raaphorst who directed a horror film Frankenstein’s Army in 2013 has shared online a comparison of images from his movie and Resident Evil Village’s character designs. Many fans of the horror film continue to find similarities. Raaphorst said, “It’s a crazy monster movie filled with my own creature designs, one of which has been used – completely without authorization or credit in the newest Resident Evil game.” For now, there doesn’t appear to be any legal action from Raaphorst just that he wished they’d given him credit. If you’d like to take a look at the images (SPOLIER WARNING) click here.

E3 2021 is coming up fast

Starting on June 12th and running for three days until the 15th E3 Expo is only a month away. Coronavirus has had a massive impact of industry events however hopeful we are that they will return soon we still have a way to go and because of this, E3 2021 will be embracing all the virtual technology it can to bring us closer to the exhibitors this year. There are some big game announcements to come that are currently kept secret as well as more sneak peaks into big releases such as Halo: Infinite, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Starfield, Final Fantasy 16, a potentially new Sonic game, not to mention the anticipation for Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. If you’d like to get updates on what’s happening as well as where everything is to be streamed head over to www.e3expo.com to sign up, it’s totally free.

Game Releases this week:

May 13th: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids comes out on all platforms
May 14th: Famicom Detective Club (Nintendo Switch), Mass Effect Legendary Edition (PC, PS4, XBO), Quantum Replica (PS4, XBO, Switch), Subnautica (Switch), Subnautica: Below Zero (PS4 & 5, XSX, XBO, Switch).
May 18th: Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice (PS4, XBO, Switch)

Carrion Review

Developer: Phobia Game Studio
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Audio: Cris Velasco
Platforms: Switch, Xbox One, Window, Mac & Linux
Release Date: 23/7/2020
Genre: 2D Action Platformer

Carrion is made for those who have, in one way or another, wished to unleash their inner Mr Hyde. And a warning to the wise and not so wicked, if you dislike the creepy, or are triggered by pixelated gore, the spatter and squelch of viscera, screams of terror, or unleashing the horror within… you are probably not going to be into this.
In Carrion, you control the hive mind of a symbiotic colony of an antediluvian ancestor to the tubifex worm, resulting in a cyclopian monstrosity of Lovecraftian horror. Basically, you’re a mass of prehensile tentacles and teeth bent on freeing yourself from the scientific dissection of your biomass.

Commonly, this game is described as reverse horror. Instead of playing the protagonist hiding from the horror as it stalks through the facility seeking freedom, you are the horror.
After breaking from your containment, you stalk your captors, ripping and tearing apart the available flesh to absorb as precious biomass. The biomass you will need to protect yourself while searching for the genetic skills of your kin scattered the of throughout the facility.
Towards those that dare fire upon your amassed power, you will revengefully return to chew on their corpses for the audacity of attempting to damage your majestic abomination.

Or maybe that’s just me…

What the developers at Phobia Game Studios really got right was the weight and movement in the game. The feeling of throwing doors, grates, vending machines, and human torsos come with a satisfying inertia and the added benefit of distracting – or even dismembering – your human opponents. This satisfaction also extends to the effects of your size on your movement as well.

Your own movement is also hypnotic. The worms that make up your body constantly move and shift, slinging out to fling you, swing you, and catch you. And while the movement looks complicated, it controls remarkably well.

I played on PC, and if you have ever played a shooting game, you know that your hand need not move from that position. The mouse controls your movement and prehensile tentacles while your left hand activates skills and levers, the latter of which are many.

Carrion is at its core a linear game pretending to be metroidvanian. The aim is to move from area to area, with you unable to traverse to the next without a new genetic skill. To reach the next save point, lever, or destroyable terrain piece, you are required to solve little puzzles or battle the different types of security intent on annihilating you.

And did I mention there is no map? You will have to rely on your own unique awareness and memory, a special little trap for overthinking completionists and people to took so long between gameplay that they forgot where they were up too… not that that happened to me.

Visually, the pixel art is perfect for the transitions between the clean, bright scientific active compounds, the rusted and disorderly industrialism, and the luminous greens and blues of botanical cave systems. It also means the game can live between the super realism of our imagination and the disbelief of pixelated abstraction, allowing for a modicum of separation between you and the horrors you commit. This is especially relevant as the game play actively covers all the interacted environment with a visceral palette of reds and purples as you course through them.

Acoustically, the game does balance the need for horror elements to the environment without overdoing it. So, while the screaming and whimpering of the cowering humans is ended with the crunch of cartilage and bones, there are no wet slaps of tentacles as you traverse. Instead, a pleasant soft carolling of schwips as your weight-bearing tendrils flail about to find purchase. The atmospheric soundtrack, composed by Cris Velasco, matches the horror theme perfectly. The tension-filled tracks, rather than filling you with dread, instead drive you further into the carnage as you lay waste to all before you.

Overall, Carrion is not a long game, and manages to find a place in the truly short list of games I’ve actually finished. The game’s length means it sits comfortably between learning how to utilise all the skills, and not overstaying its welcome. If you are looking to speed run this metroidvanian world in your first playthrough, I don’t think you’re going to get much satisfaction out of Carrion. However, if you choose to relish the screams, take revenge on those that hold you back, and take your time to work through the puzzles like the Dexter you always knew you were, then I think this sinewy tale might just be for you.

It is no wonder this game won the 2021 BAFTA’s Game Awards Best Debut Game and was nominated for best original property game.