July 2019

Development of the Long-Awaited ‘Exiles of Embermark’ is on Hold, New Game ‘Dungeoning’ Now in the Works

Way back in early 2016 we first learned about Exiles of Embermark, an ambitious mobile-centric combat RPG. Originally announced as a project from Industrial Toys, the makers of the Midnight Star series of mobile first-person shooters, the developers actually spun out into a brand new studio called Gunslinger which better represented what they were trying to accomplish with Exiles of Embermark: A game where you can have meaningful and strategic duels with real-life opponents, all in the span of a minute or two that fits into the style of bite-sized mobile gaming. Literally like digital gunslingers. Since that initial announcement more than three years ago, we’ve covered Exiles of Embermark a ton, posting new info when it came out and seeing the game in various stages of development at conferences. It always felt like the game was right there at the finish line, but with Gunslinger always adding in new features and systems and then trying to balance everything to be fun, that finish line always seemed to be moving further and further into the future. And, well, unfortunately that has finally caught up with them as today they’ve announced that “the game’s production is currently on …read more

Madden NFL 20 Review – Some Stumbles, No Fumbles

Continuing the Madden franchise’s recent tradition of story modes,

Despite the lackluster story and the way it’s delivered, QB1 succeeds in connecting you to your on-field performance and inspiring you to improve or play differently each week once you’ve made it to the NFL. The text message system, while not the best avenue for full conversation, is better utilized in delivering week-to-week objectives and challenges. You can complete these to earn XP, which you can then invest into your character in an RPG-lite-like system where you choose which aspects of your game you want to develop.

As an example, I responded with some trash talk against one of the league’s best cornerbacks, Richard Sherman, and my Game Day Goal, as it’s called, was to achieve 400 yards or more of offense and a 60-yard pass–not an easy task with Sherman in the backfield. The system is dynamic and responsive to what happens on the field week-to-week, and this is a nice touch that provides a further level of connection to your character and their status in the league.

Madden 20’s standard Franchise mode, which is separate from the QB1 mode, gets a welcome update this year. Its implementation of …read more

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Poison, Lucia, and E. Honda are Coming to Street Fighter 5 According to Steam Leak

Capcom’s next set of DLC fighters may have just leaked on Steam ahead of their EVO 2019 reveal. A new trailer published on Street Fighter 5’s Steam page shows off three new characters not yet in the game: E. Honda, Lucia, and Poison.

A DLC trailer (since removed) briefly went live on Street Fighter 5’s Steam page, and it’s unclear if it was intentional or not. The trailer shows three new characters joining the roster, as well as a release date for August 4, the last day of EVO 2019.

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Text Parser Mystery ‘The Crimson Diamond’ Hides its Secrets Among a Varied Cast

Somebody at the Crimson Lodge knows something about this huge diamond that’s been found in town. You’ll just need to uncover their secrets to figure out who it is.

Nancy, an amateur geologist, finds herself doing some unexpected detective work when she heads to Crimson, Ontario to look in on a huge diamond that’s been found. To figure out the truth behind this colossal gem, she’ll have to work over the cast of The Crimson Diamond, listening in on conversations, taking notes about their interactions with one another, and interrogating them herself. All with you typing out the correct commands, that is.

That’s not the only mystery that’s afflicting this town, either. Depending on your sleuthing abilities, you might find the characters have a few more problems that you can solve. Doing this might take you to some secret areas around the lodge and town, revealing more information about the place and the characters inhabiting it. Or possibly put you in trouble with some of the more nefarious folks involved in this diamond mystery.

The Crimson Diamond looks to drag you into a complex mystery that involves everyone in a small town, wrapping you up in the relationships and personalities of its …read more

Charting Harry Potter’s Rocky Gaming History

As today is his birthday, The Boy Who Lived has now lived to the age of 39, and what better way to celebrate the magical hero’s big day than with some magical games based on his adventures?! Harry Potter games have had a tumultuous history, so let’s spin a few Time Turners and revisit its highs and lows.

The console movie tie-ins

For each of the eight movies in the Harry Potter series, there has been a game adaptation of the same name. These offerings on console occasionally offer experiences with some depth. More often, however, many of them seemed to ride on the popularity of their film counterparts, expecting success based on the brand name alone. While they vary in quality, most of the games at least do a serviceable attempt at letting fans of the franchise interact with the characters and locations they’ve come to love.

The portable movie tie-ins

Often overlooked in favor of their console counterparts, Harry Potter’s portable entries were developed by different studios. As such, they often vary wildly from the console versions, with some versions exceeding the console versions in quality. When we reviewed The Prisoner of Azkaban, for example, we gave …read more

Fire Emblem: Three Houses Builds An Army Worth Caring About

Now that Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been out for almost a week, I can finally talk about it in detail with you all, which has me over the moon. My review pretty much sums up my thoughts, but here’s the short version: This game got its hooks in me and still hasn’t let go. One of the things that most impressed me about Three Houses is just how much I cared about my combatants and how much being put in the role of a professor enhances the experience. I’ve talked before about the importance of making RPGs more personal and how party bonding matters so much in a genre that has us spending so much time with characters. When an RPG does something well, it’s worth discussing, so let’s break down what Three Houses does to connect you with students to make battles take on a new level of intensity.

Giving You A Personal Stake

Fire Emblem has always had a personal touch by putting some extra accountability on you as a player with character permadeath. Most fans will tell you that the tension of knowing you could lose a combatant permanently is integral to …read more

Papa Roach Concert Reportedly Used Stolen Video Game Artwork for a Poster

Papa Roach, the nu-metal band known for their hit song “Last Resort,” is accused of using stolen art from a video game for one of its tour posters without the permission from the developers.

Papa Roach’s official Facebook page posted a picture of a tour poster used to promote the band’s recent performance at the South Side Ballroom in Dallas, Texas. The poster features a reddish fish monster looking at her phone with Papa roach and opener Asking Alexandria’s name on the front. The name of the venue is also printed along the bottom.

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‘Kazarma’ is a Super Colorful, Super Stylish Shooter from Legal Radiation that’s Launching Next Month

Developer Legal Radiation, who released the super clever “Breakout meets Missile Command” game Line Defense (Free) a few years back, have another game on the horizon that’s looking quite cool. It’s called Kazarma and it’s sort of a scrolling shoot ’em up mixed with a third-person auto-runner. And, like Line Defense, it has really colorful and stylish visuals. In fact I’m kind of in love with the super saturated environments in Kazarma. The concept is pretty simple: Touch and drag your finger or thumb to maneuver your ship left or right as it propels forward and auto-fires at approaching enemies. You’ll make your way through 50 randomly generated levels that get increasingly more difficult as you progress, with increased speed, more obstacles, and harder enemies. You’ll collect power-ups, unlock new ships, and even unlock a special Challenge Mode along the way. Here’s a trailer.

Interestingly, Kazarma takes place on the Kazarma Bridge, which is a real bridge in Greece that dates back to around the 13th century BC. While not quite as long as the Kazarma Bridge in the game, the actual Kazarma Bridge is still standing and in use today, all …read more

The Top 10 Game Boy Games

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the North American release of Nintendo’s first handheld gaming device, the Game Boy. Released in 1989, the Game Boy was a successor of sorts to the hugely successful NES, but was completely handheld. To commemorate the occasion we decided to debate our 10 favorite games released for the original handheld. You could argue the Game Boy and its successor the Game Boy Color were essentially the same system, but in order to keep this list as close to the original Game Boy as possible, we decided not to include great Game Boy Color games like Pokémon Gold & Silver (which was playable on the original Game Boy, but released with the Game Boy Color logo on its spine) and Color-exclusive games like Metal Gear Solid (Metal Gear: Ghost Babel in Japan). We also skipped games that received simultaneous Game Boy/NES releases, like Dr. Mario. With those caveats in place, we hope you enjoy debating our list as much as we did!

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What the Game Boy Means to Me, 30 Years Later

In 1992, my grandmother, my cousin and I were in a mall someplace in Bromley, Kent, England. At eight years old I was developing a burgeoning appreciation for visiting the mall with my grandmother; as a New Zealander who visited her in the UK once a year, she had a tendency to spoil me. During this particular mall visit, my cousin told her he wanted a Game Boy, Nintendo’s handheld console that had been released in Europe a couple of years prior. I didn’t know what a “Game Boy” was at that time, but I knew that if my cousin wanted one, then I wanted one too.

The Game Boy, an innocuous purchase for a kid who only really wanted one out of FOMO, changed my life.

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