Orks, Shamans, Assault Rifles and Seattle: Shadowrun Returns [UPDATE]

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

[UPDATE: Some fact corrections courtesy of UGEplex and a few grammar fixes. Thanks for the heads up!]

I remember Shadowrun from high school. A game usually mentioned in the same breath as Cyberpunk, Anarchy and The Clash. I had played a human Decker, someone skilled in hacking high end tech and using it to turn the tide of a fight. I wasn't much for brawn, but I held onto a shotgun for close encounters. Decklan Teague was the name (get it, Deck Lan) and unauthorized access was the game. I only played it briefly, maybe six sessions or so. The game left a mark though, and it's hovered in my tabletop curiosities ever since.

I'm ashamed to say that I came late to the news of Shadowrun Returns. By the time I found out, its kickstarter campaign had already wrapped up and the game was on Steam. It sat in my wishlist for what seemed like ages until my recent birthday, when some people who care about me very much (read; my wife and parents) gifted it and the Dragonfall expansion to me.

Sortie En Mer; Drown, Then Buy a Lifejacket

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I almost drowned 9 years ago. It remains one of the single most terrifying moments of my life. Swimming has since, although it used to be a favorite activity, become difficult to manage without panicking. For anyone that has come close, it's an experience you won't ever forget. You are simultaneously fighting against gravity, the water and your own body. Every natural reflex your body has will only help you drown faster. Overcoming the urge to breathe while your lungs burn and mustering the endurance to keep moving your arms and legs is more difficult than most would imagine.

Today I heard about a browser based "drowning simulator." Knowing very little else about what I was about to experience, I looked it up. After experiencing Sortie En Mer myself, I have to say I feel as though I've been played. 

The Last Federation; A fine mix of Strategy, Diplomacy and Subterfuge

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The Last Federation marks a return to the space strategy genre for Arcen Games. As the last remaining member of your species, a fugitive in a stolen flagship, you must work with and against the other species in the solar system to unite them in a federation. It's a complex concept that requires equally complex gameplay. Arcen has a history of deep gameplay, and their latest game takes full advantage of that experience.

On the surface, the initial gameplay feels fairly simple. But after traversing the first few missions and combat scenarios, the game explodes with options. Up to five factions are present in the solar system at any one time. Not all of them are immediately spacefaring races. Your eventual goal is to ally yourself with the other species in the system. Getting there is the really difficult part.

Chromatic Casting

Friday, April 18, 2014

Here are some things about me that are relevant to this article:
1) I love playing tabletop RPGs in general, and Pathfinder in particular.
2) I am a freelance writer for Dreamscarred Press, one of the best 3rd party publishers (or 3pp) currently producing material for Pathfinder.
3) I’m really big on talking up the work of other 3pp’s and freelance designers publishing their own additions to the game.

Super Genius Games, and now the splinter company Rogue Genius games, are a 3pp for the Pathfinder Roleplaying game, following the motto “We err on the side of awesome!”. Once upon a time I went on a binge where I bought almost every Super Genius Games PDF available on the Paizo site and I've slowly been separating the wheat from the chaff ever since. Their Mosaic Mage PDF is definite wheat.

Mysteries and Wildcats Abound in Secrets of Raetikon

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Secrets of Raetikon,the latest game from Broken Rules is beautiful. Soaring through it's colorful levels is a very serene experience. At least, until the first time you're attacked by a Buzzard. It's a game loaded with puzzles and secrets, yet gives the player little guidance in solving them. These puzzles exist regardless of your interest in them. They can all be solved, and some require specific objects to do so. In this open world, how and when you solve many of these puzzles is entirely up to you.

Confessions of a Giant Robot Chew Toy

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Oh. Oh crap.
I've had some more time to mess with MechWarrior Online and I think I've reached a verdict. I'm terrible. I have yet to contribute significantly to a single match. Sure, I'm in a tiny mech with pretty meager weapons, I'm not exactly a damage powerhouse, but I've yet to really score any solid damage before I'm blown to bits. If the players in this game were represented as a food chain, I'd be the plankton of the group. While much less plentiful than the real life animal, I am helpless and eaten by many other predators, large and small.

Walking the Crooked Mile: The Wolf Among Us Episode 3 Review

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bigby's got a rough job. As the Sheriff of Fabletown and one of the more fearsome fables around, you'd think he'd get a little more respect. You'd be sorely wrong. Telltale's third episode of The Wolf Among Us, A Crooked Mile makes that fact abundantly clear. Try as you might, through option after option, there's no silver lining to this episode. It's gritty, tough and bloody.

Ty Taylor on Tumblestone

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You probably recognize Ty Taylor as the creator of The Bridge, last year's mind-bending Escher-esque puzzle game. Lately he's been running from convention to convention promoting his team's latest creation, Tumblestone, a fast-paced block smashing game with a more casual bent. Fresh from SXSW, Ty took some time to chat with us about Tumblestone and the indie game scene. Here's what he had to say.

The Behemoth Bolsters Indie Development

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Behemoth is known to some as the crazy Grandpappy of indie games. Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers brought the Behemoth neatly into the spotlight, and since then, they've continued to impress. Through it all they've stayed true to their roots and have been a great voice for independent developers. Today they announced two new subdivisions focused on promoting and assisting independent developers even more.

What's on My Plate: Asteroids, Giant Robots and Broken Bones

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I have a bad habit. I am not the kind of person that plays one game through to the end before picking up another. In any given week, I'm often playing at least three different games (not concurrently, mind you) often more. Today is April Fool's day and the gaming news out there should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to talk briefly about some of the games I'm playing this week.