Wednesday, 7 March 2018

HQ Trivia app secures $15 million in funding

The live-streaming game shop app HQ Trivia has raised $15 million in funding through an investment from venture-capital firm Founders Fund and Lightspeed Venture Partners. ...



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Superhero Brawler 'DC Unchained' Up for Pre-Registration, Two New Trailers Released

Announced in August of last year, developer 4:33 and Warner Bros. are teaming up to bring a new free to play superhero brawler to mobile called DC Unchained. You'll choose from over 30 different DC Superheroes and Villains to fight in teams of three through iconic DC locations like Gotham City and Metropolis. Yes, it's more or less a DC version of Marvel Future Fight [Free], and I'm totally OK with that! In December 4:33 unveiled a brand new trailer for DC Unchained alongside news that they would be performing a closed beta test of the game on Android in January. That beta test continues in select regions, but now DC Unchained is up for pre-registration as well ahead of its planned global release sometime this year. They've also created two new trailers showing off the Superheroes and Villains in the game.

As with most free to play game pre-registration campaigns, there are some rewards for those who pre-register for DC Unchained. If you head over to the official website (which is extremely animated and makes my laptop as hot as the sun's surface) you can find links to pre-register as well as a rundown of all the various rewards you might get based on how many people also sign up. Pre-registration is open for both iOS and Android users. There's also more information on the game itself and some additional character videos to check out on the website. Overall if you enjoy super grindy free to play character collector games like Marvel Future Fight and its ilk, and you ALSO really like DC characters, then DC Unchained is worth getting excited for when it arrives at some point in 2018.



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Review: Packet Queen # (Switch eShop)

Review: Review: Packet Queen # (Switch eShop)

A royal flush, or just a joker?



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SwitchArcade Roundup: Nintendo Direct Announcement, 'Aegis Defenders', GameStop Sale and More

Welcome to the latest SwitchArcade roundup, where we're covering the latest Nintendo Switch news, sales, and releases! Wednesdays are shaping up to be a quiet day for Switch releases, but Thursday and Friday of this week are going to be quite busy with a lot of intriguing titles hitting the eShop. Today is a lull, so let's catch up with some news, some sales including some deals at GameStop, and a rundown of Aegis Defenders.

News

Nintendo Direct on March 8th

A new Nintendo Direct is happening tomorrow, March 8th, at 5:00 PM EST. Nintendo is promising new details on Mario Tennis Aces, their upcoming tennis RPG. 3DS titles will also play a part of the broadcast, which will run about 30 minutes. Rumors going around suggest that some new Mario DLC is in the works, but we'll see when the second Direct of 2018 hits. You can watch and get notified of the start time via the embedded player below:

ARMS Update 5.2 Out Now

While Nintendo is done adding fighters to ARMS, the content updates and balance changes keep coming. Update 5.2.0 adds in Party Crash's Big Time ARMS mode in regular, offline battles. This gives your fighter massive arms that also do a lot of damage. This can be a helpful assist for players trying to get into a fair fight against each other offline. If everyone had access to it online, nobody would not pick it, so you'll have to just enjoy it among friends. A whole bunch of balance tweaks are in the game now as well, be sure to check out the full patch notes for more.

Hori announces new Switch stand

HORI revealed an interesting new stand that serves as a USB-C hub with four USB ports, along with a USB-C port for charging. Because of the Switch's USB-C port's positioning, you kind of need a stand to charge while having the system propped up, and also to get angles that won't cause neck pain. However, this stand goes a step further by making it easy to use USB accessories in tabletop mode, so if you have some multiplayer going on, you can use your preferred wired controllers or wireless USB adapter for your friend's controllers without worrying about hooking up to the TV. HORI makes good, affordable products...now we just need a lower-priced TV mode dock from them. This is about one step away from that.

Game Impressions: Aegis Defenders

I feel like the idea of combining tower defense with other genres goes severely under-utilized, and I'm glad to see Aegis Defenders bringing this hybrid to fruition. Levels in Aegis Defenders involve you making it through a platforming section, which often introduces new elements and building blocks. Then, you get to the tower defense portion, where you command up to four characters against enemy hordes coming in from different entry spots. The game isn't about endless action, but surviving the waves you're tested with.

The build phase presents a few challenges, as you often have relics to pick up, and some valuable resource caches are in out-of-the-way places. Then, the game awards you with more currency for starting a wave early. There's all sorts of risk-reward propositions in play here. Also, each character does best against enemies of the same color as them, so you have to be careful where you use each character and their abilities. Each character can build different defenses and traps, and some require combining resources from each character.

The challenge in Aegis Defenders often comes from how difficult it is to multitask with different characters. You have four different characters with a whole variety of abilities at their disposal to mix and match. You need some time to get acclimated to which shoulder button does which action. Thankfully, you can play with a friend in a co-op mode, which goes a long, long way toward making the experience better when you can collaborate your actions and communicate with them, rather than managing everything yourself. The game is perfectly playable in singleplayer, it's just so much better when you involve a friend. The dynamic screen-splitting is a nifty effect too.

The pixel art is fantastic in Aegis Defenders. While a lot of games go with the chunky, low-resolution pixel art look, Aegis Defenders shows how high-res pixel art can be absolutely stunning. There's all sorts of gorgeous details, and a vibrant use of color to populate the world. The player sprites are a bit small, but this is because the game has to fit as much on the screen at it possibly can at once.

Aegis Defenders is a tricky game to play, but if you're patient and willing to give it some retries (thankfully if you die, you don't have to replay an entire level, you can restart from a checkpoint), you'll find that success is rather rewarding once you have a plan and can execute your strategies with multiple characters. Tower defense became a bit cluttered of a genre when it became really popular on the web and mobile, and a game like Aegis Defenders goes a long way toward showing that there are still fresh ideas to be hard from the genre. Definitely consider picking this one up on the eShop.

Games on Sale

Piczle Lines DX

($10.49 from $14.99 until March 15th) Imagine picross, but eliminate the orderly chaos of grids, and instead have two endpoints that you need to connect between numbers. Such is the challenge of Piczle Lines DX, which delivers a clever spin on the classic puzzle concept. There are a couple of more traditional picross games on the eShop in Picross S and Pic-a-Pix Deluxe, but this one has a free demo if you want to see what a twist on picross is like.

GameStop deals, including a refurbished Nintendo Switch for $279.99

Want to save $20 on a Switch? You can pick up a refurb model for $279.99. A bunch of accessories are 20% off, as are some Nintendo collectibles. GameStop has a few games on sale, too, until March 10th:

  • FIFA 18 $39.99 from $59.99
  • Has-Been Heroes $9.99 from $19.99
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 $39.99 from $49.99

Has-Been Heroes is a game I've been waiting to go back on sale for $10 after forgetting to get it during a post-holiday sale, so I'll be heading out tonight to pick that one up.

Keep an eye out every weekday for more SwitchArcade Roundups! We want to hear your feedback on Nintendo Switch coverage on TouchArcade. Comment below or tweet us with your thoughts!



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Banner Saga-inspired Ash of the Gods launches on PC this month, later this year on consoles

Developer Aurum Dust has announced that Ash of the Gods, its gorgeous narrative-focused tactical RPG, will be heading to Steam on March 23rd, with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch versions due later this year.

Ash of the Gods is, as you'll no doubt notice as you peruse the announcement video below, very heavily inspired by developer Stoic Studio's critically acclaimed The Banner Saga series - and Aurum Dust readily acknowledges the games' influence.

Ash of the Gods utilises a similar blend of gloomy, branching, visual-novel-style storytelling - where one bad choice can wipe a character out for good - as well as turn-based tactical combat, and even a similar (and thus equally striking) animation and art style.

Read more…



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Cataloguing soda machines in games throughout the ages

After being inspired by a soda machine in Batman: Arkham Knight, professor Jason Morrissette decided to start cataloguing the different ways video games represent the machines.  ...



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Attend GDC 101 at GDC this year to get the most out of your show!

For GDC 2018 later this month organizers are debuting a special overview event -- GDC 101 -- on Tuesday, March 20th that will show you how to get the most out of your time at the show! ...



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Magic Leap raises $461 million in funding from Saudi Arabian investment arm

Mixed reality startup Magic Leap announced today that it has raised an additional $461 million in funding, provided by The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia's investment arm.  ...



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Review: Bleed 2 (Switch eShop)

Review: Review: Bleed 2 (Switch eShop)

Tell me, do you bleed?



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Weekly Jobs Roundup: Volition, Creative Assembly, and more are hiring now!

Here are just some of the many, many positions being advertised right now on Gamasutra's job board. ...



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Don't Miss: How working on gross, violent games can mess with developers

We often hear about how playing violent or otherwise disquieting games affects people, but how does the process of working on these projects affect developers? Gamasutra chats with a few to find out. ...



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Fortnite's new Teams of 20 limited time event launches tomorrow

Epic has announced that Fortnite's hugely popular last-man-standing mode will be expanding tomorrow, March 8th, with a brand-new limited time Teams of 20 event.

As its name very firmly suggests, Teams of 20 shakes up Fortnite Battle Royale's usual terms of engagement by dividing each match's 100-person player count into five teams of 20.

This obviously sits comfortably between the game's permanent 4-person Squad mode, and the excellent 50 versus 50 limited time event that Epic ran last year. You can witness some artistic impressions of Teams of 20 in the announcement trailer below.

Read more…



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'The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands' Review: It Only Takes a Spark

I have been cycling through a lot of games lately that have very busy interfaces and give explicit instructions on every aspect of the game. Through unskippable tutorials and heavy hand holding, it feels like these games force feed you the info they think you need to be convinced to not uninstall their app. Xigma Games latest offering, The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands [$3.99], is an effervescent tonic to the plague of over information we seem to be in the midst of.

The Bonfire is a game where you will be directly and indirectly navigating the choices of a settler who is setting out to combat a great evil. You start by gathering raw materials and making crude structures by yourself. As you build places to work and sleep, wanderers will visit you willing to live and work in your village. It is your job to apply your burgeoning workforce in a balanced way to the tasks of protection, gathering, exploration and supplying. The game cycles between day and night where night cycles tend to focus on how well fortified you are and day cycles being the primary working time. The control scheme is minimal and helps accentuate a design philosophy championed by games like Alto's Adventure [$4.99], Monument Valley [$3.99], and Prune [$3.99].

The immediate goal set forth in The Bonfire is survival and construction, and is highly reminiscent of another fantastic mobile game Kingdom: New Lands [$9.99]. The controls really mesh well into the idea that you only have control over so many things as a leader, and you can decide to get involved in defense or production but after a while you will notice your contributions pale in comparison to workers equipped with the right tools for the job. More building and crafting options open up as you build your tiny village. Workers all have specific traits as well as hunger and energy levels that all impact how well they do the jobs you assign them.

The hero of the story is measured by how effective you are at cultivating a society capable of waking an avatar to fight for your cause. Beyond the story, there is a score you will accrue based on a number of metrics including game completion speed and whether or not you played on the hardcore difficulty that the game offers. Normal mode allows you to reload the game to the day in which you die, but hardcore immediately ends the game upon your first death. There is a learning curve to surviving in The Bonfire, and even a bigger one in learning how to maximize your score. Unless you like paying for mistakes heavily, you may find the hardcore mode too punishing until you beat the game for the first time. Hardcore is where the game will find its replayability. Once you win the first time, the real challenge will be putting up the highest score possible and the largest source of points is found by leaving normal mode behind.

Gathering materials is the spark that opens up building and crafting options. Once buildings are constructed or tools are crafted, you can assign workers to new jobs. The cycle repeats itself as these new jobs open up new materials, new building and new exploration options. Any time you might feel stuck in the game, there is usually a job, building, or crafted item that has not been pursued and while you will not find any hints in game, the one I would give you is to do everything and make everything possible when you find yourself stuck and you will soon be back on your feet working towards a new objective. I can confidently say I have not found any jobs in this game that are 100% useless nor have I found any jobs that must be 100% staffed at all times, which opens up a lot of room for maximizing the efficacy of your workers.

In a lot of ways this game is a mirror of an iOS classic, A Dark Room [$1.99]. Both share very similar control and society development schemes. More importantly, they both offer an interface that forces you to jump into decisions without any type of suggestion or hint of what is to come. This mystery and joy of discovery is a powerfully rewarding combination. While The Bonfire has a beautiful veneer, A Dark Room tells a slightly more compelling story (which, if you are not familiar with, it's worth a download!). While I did enjoy the story of The Bonfire, it does not take center stage. The journey and the view are much more central to the core experience here. Seeing your workers toddle about and your guards trudge along allows you to connect with the game in a way that A Dark Room doesnt really have any analogue for.

If you decide to pick up The Bonfire, it might be for the spirit of discovery and adventure, or it might be for the artistic quality and simplicity. It may even be for the fact that so many great games seem to be comparable to this one. Whatever your decision is predicated on, there is so much here to enjoy. A certain zen tranquility exists playing the game. Even if you were to constantly be re-allocating workers to maximize production and push for a high score, the simple act of existing and working that you see the hero and the village going through has a therapeutic quality that is well worth the price tag.



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The time and place for jump scares, according to horror devs

PC Gamer sat down with a number of noted horror game makers to discuss one of the genre's most infamous features. ...



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Dragon Quest Builders Leads A Switch Takeover Of The Japanese Charts

News: Dragon Quest Builders Leads A Switch Takeover Of The Japanese Charts

And Switch sold the most units, too



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Road to the IGF: Matt Makes Games' Celeste

Celeste takes players on daring, challenging mountain climbs, with its music carrying the player along the varied emotions the heroine feels along her adventure. ...



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Software error causes mass Oculus Rift outage

An expired security certificate has seemingly knocked the world's Oculus Rift VR headsets out of commission all at once. ...



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