February 2019

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Tetris 99 Review

Tetris 99 is the “The is Fine” meme in video game form – only instead of ignoring encroaching flames, you have to keep your cool during an onslaught of gray garbage blocks piling onto the screen from any of 98 other players in the match, making each moment more panicked than the last. Sometimes it really is fine, and the right sequence of movements mixed with a little luck returns my grid to a nice, orderly structure. Other times the garbage is too much, and all that remains of my screen is a gray dumpster that signals an early exit from this frantic, pulse-racing spin on one of the most beloved puzzle games of all time.

I get irrationally nervous during a seemingly solid run; a palms sweaty, heart beating out of my chest, jittery kind of nervous. If I had a blood pressure cuff on during a top-10 run, my doctor would probably tell me I need to be on medication. When I make it into the top five, I feel like I can run through a brick wall. I also feel like I’m going to pass out. I’m 99 percent sure Tetris 99 is bad for my …read more

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Battlerite Royale Going Free to Play

The MOBA brawler Battlerite Royale has officially gone free to play.

As of today, Battlerite Royale has moved out of Steam Early Access and into a free to play structure. Stunlock Studios is also releasing the “BIG PATCH” today, which introduces three new Champions, two new areas, and new regional objects added to certain parts of the map.

The new Champions are Oldur who can bend space and time, Taya the tornado summoner, and Pearl who can unleash the ocean’s fury. The two new areas are the Frozen Plateau and Trade’s Islet. On top of this, players will be able to purchase the Legendary Adventure Pack 2, which features a new mount.

The BIG PATCH also introduces the Battle Pass system, which gives players a Free Pass and the option to upgrade to a Premium Pass, which can unlock exclusive cosmetics. The All Champions Packs for Battlerite and Battlerite Royale are priced at $20.

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SEGA Forever is Teasing ‘Phantasy Star 3’ and ‘Phantasy Star 4’ on Twitter

SEGA Forever is up to their old tricks again and it seems they’re teasing some upcoming releases on Twitter. First let’s dial way, way back to the summer of 2010 when the App Store was still in its infancy and SEGA had in the previous year or so dabbled with releasing some classic Genesis games like Sonic The Hedgehog and Streets of Rage for iOS. You may recall that those releases were simply the original ROMs wrapped up in a fairly janky emulator, and they didn’t work all that well on the touchscreen. Then they released Phantasy Star 2 and, due to the slower pace and turn-based nature, it actually worked well even in that janky old emulator. Fast forward to June of 2017 when SEGA rolled out their SEGA Forever initiative and Phantasy Star 2 was in that initial lineup of revamped, re-released classics for mobile. Now, according to the SEGA Forever Twitter account we should be seeing the third and fourth entries in the Phantasy Star series soon.

The passageways between the Layan worlds and the Orakian world were sealed.

In time, people forgot there were other worlds besides Landen.#SEGAForever <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" …read more

‘Noa Noa’ Review – Finally, a Nostalgic Virtual Pet Game that Gets It Right

I hope I always remember my first Tamagotchi. And my second. But when it comes to mobile games imitating the popular toy, none have felt anywhere near the experience of the original handheld virtual pet, and most have gone forgotten after a few minutes of use… until now. Noa Noa (Free) is here, and not only does it have the charm and surprising depth as Tamagotchis, it adds to it to create a full mobile experience framing my new pixellated friends. It feels like home.

When you begin the game, one of the first things you need to do is pull out the battery tab. Yes, Noa Noa even includes the best part of new electronics, pulling out a little piece of plastic between the battery and battery connectors. It’s slightly fussy and surprisingly bouncy. It is also a sign of the authentic feel to come.

Noa Noa is set in an office, although you can change the location skin as you progress through the game. Your virtual pets – yes, you can have more than one at a time! – can be found on the desk. Once zoomed in, it’s a simple swipe to get to the next pet. The …read more

Anthem’s Microtransactions: Everything You Need to Know

The first week of microtransactions are currently available in Anthem, and if you don’t feel like earning them for free, they’ll set you back $30 USD. They can be earned in-game if you’d rather not pay to acquire them, but here’s what you can get today:

  • 61,000 coin or 850 shards – Epic Guardian Armor Pack for the Ranger
  • 61,000 coin or 850 shards – Epic Dreadnought Armor Pack for the Colossus
  • 18,000 coin or 400 shards – Epic Gum on Shoe Entrance Animation for the Colossus
  • 12,000 coin or 300 shards – Uncommon Graphic: Midnight Shield Vinyl
  • 12,000 coin or 300 shards – Rare Metal: Diamond Plate Texture
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Kingdom Hearts III Redeems Donald Duck

Kingdom Hearts’ convoluted story is a punchline for many gamers who haven’t played the franchise, but fans who’ve stuck around since the beginning have a punchline of their own: Donald Duck.

The series defined clear expectations of Donald from the get-go in 2002. Donald is your team’s mage, and he’s supposed to heal you with a flick of his wizardy wand when you’re too busy blocking enemy attacks to heal yourself, the operative phrase being “supposed to.” I can’t tell you how many times an intense fight ended in failure because Donald decided to go rogue. “Oh look, Donald is unconscious again,” I’d grumble … because it’s inappropriate to swear at one of Disney’s darlings.

Oddly enough, Goofy has never earned the same criticisms – his role has always been the team’s extra muscle, so I don’t fault him as much when he’s slow to throw a potion at me. Goofy is also easy to understand, whereas Donald always sounds like he’s choking on a pack of cigarettes. These few simple reasons explain why Goofy has traditionally been more lovable than Donald.

Kingdom Hearts III offers a satisfying experience for longtime fans, delivering conclusions to decades-long plot points …read more

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The World Next Door Release Date Announced

The World Next Door, a narrative-driven, action-adventure game from VIZ Media, officially has a release date.

Announced on The World Next Door’s official website, the game will hit PC, Nintendo Switch and iOS on March 28, 2019. It will run for $15, but a premium bundle that includes the game’s soundtrack can be purchased for $20.

The World Next Door follows Jun, a “rebellious teen girl trapped in a parallel world inhabited by magical creatures.” The game is inspired by anime and indie games, and players can expect to encounter an eclectic cast of characters while uncovering mysteries within its world.

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Mobile-Centric MMORPG ‘World of Legends’ Soft Launches on iOS and Android

The library of MMORPGs on mobile is surprisingly robust. I used to think an MMORPG on a mobile device didn’t make any sense as in my mind they’ve always been these games you sit at your computer and play for hours at a time. But in reality it makes perfect sense, as mobile devices have become incredibly powerful and they’re more or less always connected, and since the gameplay in MMORPGs can often be of the bite-sized variety the genre actually fits really well on mobile. There are also several types of MMORPGs on mobile. There’s the full-sized version that simply tries to emulate a desktop MMORPG but on the touchscreen, like Villagers and Heroes or Old School Runescape. Then there’s the sort of outlier like Lineage 2: Revolution which has all the trappings of a full-fledged MMORPG but allows you to tailor it to your specific tastes, either playing everything yourself or letting the game play itself for you, and everything in between. Finally, the most prolific type on the App Store is the free to play MMORPG which functions really similarly to a social RPG but with more robust multiplayer components. One new entry of this variety is …read more

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Update Starts New Season, Changes to Blackout Map

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s newest update, Operation Grand Heist launched Tuesday on PlayStation 4, becoming available on Xbox One and PC at a later date.

Operation Grand Heist is a free update and will offer content across all playable modes: multiplayer, Blackout and Zombies. A new female specialist, the Outrider, will be released and more playable areas in the Blackout map will launch.

The update is comprised of a 1970’s style heist theme, and brings with it immense types of personalization, including new vehicles and accessories.

The new specialist, Outrider, who was previously in Black Ops 3, will make her debut in the update – known for her stealth precision using the Sparrow, a, explosive longbow, to take out enemies.

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EF raises $115M new fund, aiming to create another 300-plus startups in the next three years

Entrepreneur First (EF), the London-headquartered “talent investor” that recruits and backs individuals pre-team and pre-idea to enable them to found startups, has raised a new fund of its own to continue scaling globally.

The $115 million first close was led by a number of leading (mostly unnamed) institutional investors across the U.S., Europe and Asia, including new anchor LP Trusted Insight. A number of well-known European entrepreneurs also invested. They include Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder of TransferWise), Alex Chesterman (co-founder of Zoopla), and EF alumnus Rob Bishop (who co-founded Magic Pony Technology which was bought by Twitter for a reported $150m in 2016).

This new fund — which EF says is one the largest pre-seed funds ever raised – will enable the talent investor to back more than 2,200 individuals who join its various programs over the next three years. EF currently operates in Bangalore, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Singapore and Paris.

This will translate to the creation of around 300-plus venture-backed companies, three times the number of startups it has helped create in total since EF was founded by McKinsey colleagues Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck all the way back in 2011.

As part of the same …read more