This week on a jam packed Zed Games Maylee, Hazel, and Zahra talk news, before delving into games to play with five or more friends! Maylee hits it off with a rundown of Golf With Friends, Zahra reminisces on family fun with Minecraft, Paul dubs over Rifftrax and What the Dub, and Hazel table flips over Tabletop Simulator!
Developer: Barrel Roll Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Music: Barrel Roll Games
Platforms: Steam (PC)
Released: 22 October 2020
Genre: Multiplayer, Hide and Seek
You’re walking down a seemingly empty street, on edge. Mundane objects catch your attention, a candle, those barrels, maybe even that broken teapot. They’re not doing anything, but that doesn’t ease your nerves. Instead, you launch a chicken at a pile of crates. The chicken starts to crow.
One of the crates moves.
The hunt begins.
Witch It is a fast paced game of hide or seek, where the hiders are witches who can turn into any object within the world, and the seekers are hunters who are determined to save their village from dangerous magics. With an array of abilities, features, maps, hundreds of objects strewn across each map, and a fair amount of chaos, combined with a chunky and colourful art style, Witch It is a bit intense, a bit funny, and a lot of fun.
Witch It is a pretty simple concept. If you are a witch, you’ll have a bit of time to find a hiding spot. But not only that, you can also transform into any object you find. A painting? Book? Rock? Rose? A boat? No problem! You’ll just want to make sure you blend in.
If you’re a hunter, you must use potatoes to find and defeat witches.
But the game throws in a few mechanics that makes this game of hide and seek a bit more… hectic.
As a witch, your health bar changes depending on what you transform into. The bigger the object, the more health, but bigger objects are more difficult to hide naturally. Witches can of course fly on broomsticks, allowing them to reach high areas. But they are also capable of casting spells, one of which is to create a decoy object to fool the chicken.
Hunters also have a range of abilities. I’ve mentioned the chicken. If you find yourself in a library full of books and you don’t have enough time to throw a potato at each one of them, you can throw a chicken, and it will hone in on a disguised witch within a certain distance. It’s funny when you’re a hunter, it’s infuriating if you’re a witch.
In addition, you can utilise a ground pound attack that will damage any witches within a short range. If you’re facing a pile of identical jewels, it’s pretty handy. And of course you can unlock a grappling hook to allow you to reach those hard-to-reach places.
With these mechanics, a very cluttered map, half a dozen players, and a limited amount of time, a match can get pretty intense. As a witch, not only do you have to find the perfect object and the perfect spot, and place yourself perfectly to look as mundane as possible, you’ll need to time the use of your abilities to keep hunters away from you. And if you get caught, you need to think quickly. You might just be able to escape and hide again.
As a hunter, you only have so much time to find all the witches, and the maps you play in are very cluttered. You can run around hoping to spot something that looks out of place, or maybe even move just in the corner of your vision, or use your abilities to hone in on the witches. When there’s only a few seconds left, and the witches are taunting you, well, I ended up throwing a lot of potatoes.
The games are quick and engaging, whether I’m a hunter or a witch. It can be intense, stressful, exciting even. And with a variety of maps, including the ability to create custom maps using their in-game engine, it’s hard to get bored. And there are multiple game modes as well, as variations of the hide-and-seek premise, like trying to collect specific objects before the time runs out, or if you’re found as a witch you join the hunters to find the other witches. And you unlock cosmetic items to make your witch and hunter your own.
It’s not a perfect game, but the flaws aren’t stopping me. I would prefer a more immersive tutorial that wasn’t just video clips and an explanation. And it took me a bit of poking around to figure out how servers work. But these were things I ended up figuring on my own anyway with a bit of trial and error.
The music is a bit goofy, with sort of silly, spooky music that just adds to the fact that this is just hide and seek. And the sound of chickens clucking, witches cackling, hunters body slamming, it’s a lot, but it also becomes a bit scary when you’re hiding and you hear that chaos get closer and closer. But if I’m entirely honest, I wasn’t paying that much to what I was hearing. I was too busy holding my breath because I can see a hunter passing the shelf I’m hiding on.
Look, I enjoyed Witch It. I wish I could play it with friends because I just know that the banter, the good-natured teasing, and the outbursts would be just so much fun to listen to and experience. It is definitely a game with a lot of game night potential, with it being easy to learn, and creative ways to hide and keep yourself hidden, or coordinate your hunts. But even on my own, braving those servers by myself, it was still a lot of fun. I got to play some custom maps with no problem, join servers with a dozen players and servers with just a few.
It has a fun art style and satisfying graphics that scales well when I needed to adjust the graphics, with each game I got just a bit better as both witch and hunter, and I never found myself waiting around for ages for other players.
Witch It is a lot of fun!
First Oscar Win for Game Developers
Late last year Respawn Entertainment released Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, a virtual reality first person shooter. To honour the theme of this game, the producers included a gallery mode directed by Anthony Giacchino featuring short films about the veterans of World War II. Included is Colette, the story of her family’s assistance to the French Resistance and her brother’s capture. This 25-minute short rose to fame after winning Best Short Film at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2020, and became the first film produced by a video game studio to win an Oscar at the 93rd Academy Awards.
While not directly referenced by the award ceremony, Mr. Giacchino specifically thanked executive producer Peter Hirschmann the director of Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond and everyone at Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment, especially Vince Zampella, the Head of Respawn Entertainment, Dusty Welch, Chief Operating Officer also at Respawn Entertainment, and Laura Miele, Chief Studios Officer at Electronic Arts Worldwide Studios. The film was made in conjunction with Oculus and the team at Respawn Entertainment, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts.
Gaming Olympics coming in 2020… sort of.
The International Olympics Committee (IOC) have announced the first Olympic Virtual Series to take place before the Tokyo 2020 Games, running from the 13th May to Jun 23. The series currently includes five different games, of which the physical games will be monitored by apps such as Zwift, an app for bike training, and an open format for rowing. For non-physical competitions, these will be run by their own platforms for the Series and include; Gran Turismo by Polyphony Digital, a car racing game available on PlayStation Consoles; Virtual Regatta, run by Virtual Regatta SAS, an app available on Android and iOS; and eBaseball Powerful Pro Baseball 2020, Konami Digital Entertainment’s highly customisable baseball simulator currently available on PS4 and Switch – and only in Japanese. The IOC’s announcement also made it clear that these events will be open to the public and in ways that will “maximise (sic) online mass participation and prioritise (sic) inclusivity and participation”.
Free to Play games on Xbox now Free to Play.
Microsoft announced on the 21st of April that from that day, all Free to Play games will now no longer require an Xbox Live Gold Subscription for access to online play. This includes Looking for Group options and party chats for those games. The exceptions to this are trials, pre-order demos, or early access for paid games. These will still require membership to Xbox Live Gold to access online multiplayer content. If you currently are subscribed to Xbox Live specifically for this purpose, Microsoft is offering a one-time option to immediately cancel and receive credit based on the remaining time.
Now for some game releases.
On April 30th, the exclusive horror roguelike shooter Returnal is coming to PS5 and New Pokemon Snap will be releasing to the Switch.
Then, for the May the 4th be with you, The Colonists, a cute and relaxing building game is coming to PS4, Xbox One and Switch, and Dark Nights with Poe and Munro, the episodic Full Motion Video, choose your own adventure game, is coming to PS4 and Xbox One.
Choose your weapon! Choose Your beard! Jody boldly reviews War of the Vikings (PC).
Lee conjures a review of Warlock 2: The Exiled (PC/Mac/Linux) out of thin air.
Alanah provides a rundown on Trials: Fusion (PC/360/XBONE/PS4).
Aired 23 April 2014
Zed Games Podcast – Episode 216
Australian classification: Unrated
The Viking swings his axe and you backpedal furiously, swapping your bow for your sword in time to parry his next swing. The blow after that bites into your arm, but you’ve delayed the warrior long enough for one of your Saxon brethren to arrive. He stabs your enemy in the back and the Viking falls to his knees. You raise your sword for the finishing blow.
Unfortunately it takes three tries to get your aim right because your sword keeps bouncing off the rocks beside the fallen Viking, and in the meantime an arrow from someone you never see – possibly another Saxon who hasn’t realised you’re on the same side – takes you down.
Then you respawn in the middle of a group of enemies who decapitate you instantly. Then you respawn again, in time for the server to collapse and boot you back to the menu.
You have been playing War Of The Vikings.
Developer: Bizzarre Creations
Out Now for XBOX360, PS3 & PC.
Reviewed by Razor.
If you’ve ever played a racing game and wished you could suddenly unleash a powerful energy bolt to destroy the car ahead of you, or even if you’ve driven through the C.B.D. during peak hour and wished you could unleash an energy bolt to destroy the car ahead of you, then you will definitely enjoy BLUR.
The main event is “powered-up” racing. You and your opponents race as usual, but at select points around the course you will find different powerups that give you access to various offensive and defensive abilities that you can unleash at will. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s pretty much just like Mario Kart, except instead of Mario and friends racing around tracks like mushroom circuit, it’s Renaults, Dodges, Fords and Volkswagens racing in real-life inspired locations like Hollywood and London.
Now, did I say that this was a bad thing? Hello no! Finally we have a racing game that fills the void between Project Gotham Racing and Mario Kart. I’ve never been a huge racing game fan (though I do like games like Burnout where the emphasis is on fun rather than realism) but some of my most beloved gaming memories have been of dominating my friends at Mario Kart. BLUR gives me the tools to dominate them further.
The real fun is in multiplayer mode. You can play online or LAN against up to 19 opponents, or you can play offline with up to four players on a split screen. However, I found the 20 player races to be more chaotic than I could handle, and I much prefered the smaller races of 10 players.
Powered up racing is the default, but there is also a racing only mode, for people who like to race without the destruction; and an arena deathmatch mode for people who like destruction without the racing. Personally I found the powered up racing to be the most enjoyable of the three modes.
Single player mode is great too. It plays out like a career where you are competing against other computer controlled characters. Each stage sees you completing a certain amount of challenges set by a champion driver who you have to eventually beat to progess. Winning the races is only one aspect of it; you also have to win fans by performing crazy stunts and pulling of mini-challenges within the race. Like most other racing games you have to perform well to unlock all of the courses and cars available.
The selection of cars is surprisingly varied. It’s rare to see such a damage-intensive game with a license to use real car models.
Car brands featured include Dodge, Lotus, Ford, Vokswagen and Toyota; and even more surprisingly: all car models feature realistic damage. So yes, you will see Renaults and Nissans hurtling airborne sideways down the course, leaving shattered glass and twisted metal in their wake. There are also a range of four wheel drive and off road vehicles that fit this style of game perfectly.
Powerups that you can use are slightly more balanced carbon-copies of their Mario Kart equivalent. There’s the bolt which is three unguided shots; Shunt is a homing blast that targets the car ahead (think red shell); Mines are like an exploding banana peel; Shock places energy vortexes on the track ahead of the leading player to slow them down; Barge blasts cars in your immediate vicinity away from you; Nitro is your standard temporary speed boost; shield offers you protection from other powerups and there is also a Repair powerup that you will need A LOT.
Something to be aware of is that the game is pretty hard. Like most driving games, there is definitely a steep learning curve and you may find yourself coming nineteenth or twentieth for the first hour or so. The fact that your opponents are all trying to blow you up doesn’t make it any easier.
So, once again I found myself swallowing my pride and switching the difficulty to Easy while I got used to the car handling.
As expected there are heaps of achievements and trophies to aim for, although BLUR rewards you for non-gaming achievements like posting your results to Twitter and Facebook.
Overall, BLUR is an intense and action packed racer that shines in multiplayer mode. A word of warning: you may want to reaffirm your friendships at regular intervals while playing this game, because you will be trading insults regularly.
We reviewed the XBOX360 version; Blur is also available for the PS3 and PC.