Jul 302013
 

Hotline Miami Logo SmallMy character is in the police station. There has to be at least 30 to 45 cops between the man that put a bullet in my nameless character’s face and took something much more dear away from him. I rush into the police station, knocking out the nearest cop and sending his baton flying away from him. The other police see this and rush to his aid, all brandishing their nightsticks. I rush into the room I entered from, they can’t flank me there and I can mow them down. I dispatch each of them and knock over the officer that had gotten the door treatment earlier. This time I slam his head repeatedly into the tile floor until he’s dead. I rush though the rest of the floor, the nightstick is faster than guns and far less noisy. One final cop catches me off guard as I am hunting him down, I throw the nightstick and knock him against the wall. I end him with a swift boot to the head and hop into the elevator to the next floor. 3 minutes later, I’ve killed the killer and apparently a majority of Miami’s police force. Overall, it took me about 5 minutes to create this carnage. My best time was a little over 4 and 1/2 minutes. I took to long on the first floor.

HLM PS Screen 1That is what you can expect from Hotline Miami, Gaming Irresponsibly’s 2012 Game of the Year. But why are we taking a second look at a game we have already reviewed so highly? Well it turns out the the game has come out on the PS3 and Vita and features a few new toys to boot. Now we originally reviewed the PC game just after launch, it was rough and glitchy. That hurt the score quite a bit. However, patches and gamepad all sorts of bugfixes have happened now so let’s jump back in to Hotline Miami!

Soundtrack:

Hotline Miami’s soundtrack is completely intact in both versions of the game. In fact I’d swear they did some balancing to a few of the songs because the PC version was rough! There was improvement here.

HLM PS Screen 2Graphics:

The original rating we had for Hotline Miami on PC criticized a few graphical glitches that kept happening. The game ran smoother than ever on the PS3 and Vita versions. The Vita version actually seemed a bit smoother but may have been due to the better camera controls. Revisiting the PC version, the PS3 is spot on with it. Edge to the Vita here.

Gameplay:

So, what if anything is different in this go around? Russell, for starters. A brand new mask is available from the massive collection of the first game. Russell adds a MadWorld-esque monochrome aspect to the game where only blood is the only thing of color to show up. It’s bad ass. On the Vita, there is a touch-based lock-on feature. This makes the game much more quicker and allows you to move from room to room with pinpoint accuracy. The controls on the PS3 seem a little harder to get the hang of than there were on the PC. I put massive amounts of time into that though trying to figure out the right strategies to get through levels. Practice probably makes perfect there. There are also leaderboards now that can tell you how your times stack up against those of your friends and the rest of the world. I’ve seem some crazy ones already with really dumb masks, it certainly adds a much more competitive element to an already great game.

So here is the deal, Hotline Miami is CrossBuy, so that means if you buy one game you get both. There is literally no imaginable reason why you shouldn’t do this, however take a look at our original review as well because the great things from there still stand true in both versions of the game.

Playstation 3

Graphics

80
 

Audio

100
 

Gameplay

80

Creativity

100
 

Execution

80
 

Offset

90
    

8.8

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Playstation Vita

Graphics

85
 

Audio

100
 

Gameplay

90

Creativity

80
 

Execution

90
 

Offset

90
    

8.9

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Nov 072012
 

I… I don’t really know where to start. I mean, I like to think I know games. I’ve been playing them for two and a half decades, almost daily. After that amount of gaming consumption, I, like many of you out there, have developed a certain level of expectation and a sub-concious knowledge of what games are all about. When a studio announces a new title, particularly the AAAs of this world, we get all jittery and excited about the potential it offers, the hype machine goes into overdrive and we clamour for every pixel of information we can squeeze into our aching, abused eyeballs. So rarely however, does this cycle of events ever pay off. It happens once in a blue moon, something different comes along, something innovative, offering a small fraction of that new experience we were hoping for, that incremental step towards gaming nirvana. I think we do ourselves no favours, we’re constantly fooled by these cheap marketing tactics and essentially, we’re constantly looking in the wrong place, distracted by shiny screenshots and blurb, like a magician’s misdirection away from where the real action is taking place. The best videogames, at their most basic level, are defined by what lies beneath.

So given that I’ve been just as fooled by the charade as the rest of the masses for many years, it’ll come as no surprise when I say that two or three minutes into playing Dark Scavenger, I was thinking “What is this shit?”

In truth, I’m not likely to the be the only one. It’s an obscure, indie PC game, that runs in a native resolution window of 800×600 and on the face of it, looks like an indie PC game from 1994. The likes of Minecraft and a plethora of dodgy looking but ultimately mind-blowing indie games from the past few years has given me enough savvy to push past this barrier of ugly however. I’m glad I did.

Does this guy look familiar at all?

I’m trying purposely not to stray into the content of the story, but the basic premise is that you are picked up in space after a ‘spat’ with some kind of Elder Space God(TM). He’s probably friends with Galactus and Unicron. You know the kind of guy I mean. You are picked up by a band of unlikely crew-mates, a Skeleton with a crossbow, a knock-off of a Geiger-style Alien with Cthulu tentacles/a vagina in place of a mouth and an extraterrestrial version of the Joker, both in looks and demeanour. They need your help, and of course hilarity ensues.

But it actually does.

Dark Scavenger is strange. It’s the best way to describe it – everything about it is strange. It is a strange blend of Text Adventure, Turn-based JRPG and that ‘game’ you used to get on Microsoft Encarta 96. It’s also a visually offensive game, and not in the Dwarf Fortress-ASCII sense. The whole game is composed of static images, drawn crudely as if thrown together by an acid-addled art student and lacking any form of animation whatsoever. Somehow though, this sack of oddities is drawn together by the power of some incredibly original and entertaining scriptwriting which, against all odds, produces something very charming and unique.

The crude graphics don’t matter once you’re into the narrative of the game. The mechanics are incredibly simple, almost painfully so. It’s point-and-click at it’s most basic. Enter a screen, fight an enemy or two by clicking your choice of attack and clicking the static enemy sprite, taking turns until either you or they fail. Once this is done, click various parts of the static background to trigger extra parts of the narrative and perhaps find items. It’s all about the items. Your crew-mates, terrible fighters by their own admission, have the ability to craft you new weapons and abilities from the junk you find. Skeletor’s cousin makes weapons, Ork Joker produces ‘items’ and Vagina-face makes allies that you can summon during battle. Of course none of these items and abilities are visualised at any point, they remain lines of text in your inventory.

Click him to death using your crew crafted weaponry.

This may sound terribly tedious, but here’s the deal. It’s all about the text. The details of your journeys are wonderfully off-the-wall and obscure, the details of your manoeuvres and wounds inflicted and received in battle are outright hilarious and visceral in equal measure. The banter between you and your Saturday Morning Kids TV reject crew-mates is inspired and raises a smile on regular occasions.

The gameplay is simple, but the grind addictive as ever. The mechanics are basic, but as effective as they could possibly need to be. The presentation is woeful, but the writing absolutely overshadows it.

It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea (I’m English, it’s a fair reference) the graphics and simple point-and-click construction may simply be too much for some to get past. It might look and work like something I could’ve made in Klik & Play 18 years ago, but I could never have injected it with the unique character it has.
If you are in any way interested in games with narrative, you aren’t put off by text (not that it has swathes of passages, it’s succinct) and most importantly, want to be entertained by a game that does just about everything differently from the norm, Dark Scavenger is likely to be just what the space doctor ordered.

PC Game

Graphics

40
 

Audio

60
 

Gameplay

85

Creativity

95
 

Execution

70
 

Offset

85
    

7.3

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Oct 152012
 

Sid Meier is one of the most ambitious and brilliant game developers to ever live. Upon his entrance into the video game industry he created now one of the most highly regarded development teams in the industry, Firaxis Games. Since then, Firaxis has arguably mastered the art of the strategy game and no matter what it is they release, it never ceases to give us hours upon hours of brilliant gameplay that creeps into a part of our brain and just forces us to not stop playing until the sun has rose for another day. Firaxis’ newest adventure, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, does not break that mold as it brings together global struggles and foreign invaders into one nice little package.

As most know, XCOM Enemy Unknown is the reboot of a franchise from the 90’s-Early 2000’s. The story mechanics have mostly stayed the same between the two as it all revolves around an unknown alien invasion. It’s a derivative starting point but from there interest begins to rise as you become more and more curious as to why the aliens are invading and what exactly is leading them. The downside to this interest is in the inevitable disappointment as the game never tops the initial intrigue that pushes you forward through story missions. It’s a bland subject that very clearly takes a back seat the vast amount of other content within XCOM.

It all begins with the base building aspects that dominate a chunk of your time in XCOM. If you didn’t know, the XCOM project is a security measure that must ensure the Earth’s safety from the incoming attackers. Because of that, you must keep countries happy, which means establishing satellites over their country, killing UFOs near them, attacking invaders when they land on their soil, etc. If you fail to succeed in these tasks the country will eventually fall into panic. If nothing is done about their panic, they will then withdraw from the XCOM project fully and not only will you lose their financial backing, if you lose too many countries, the game will be over.

Other things to do in your base can range from building facilities to help improve work speed around the base, researching new technology (weapons, armor, etc.), to eventually purchasing that new technology and assigning it to your soldiers. Your soldiers are the heart of the entire operation. You begin the game with Rookie soldiers but as they complete more missions, get experience, and make a few kills, they will earn upgrades in rank that will ultimately grant them a new skill which is chosen by you from two set choices on an upgrade ladder. The upgrades are all fairly helpful and make you constantly want to rethink your attack plans. Apart from that, the idea of letting your men carry over from battle to battle and even giving them nicknames (RIP Papa Bear) is a great one that allows you to establish some kind of relationship with almost every troop that heads out onto a mission with you.

Once you’re launched onto a mission, you must then order your squad around until an enemy or objective is found. The turn based formula has been a staple of Firaxis’ games but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its fair share of nagging issues. Most notably, the game just feels like it is moving a lot slower than necessary. Also prominent is the issue of sometimes moving your character one space over from where you intended to move him, leaving him exposed to enemy fire. From there, the entire battle could turn as the enemy would then unload on you and eliminate one of your soldiers. That being said, I was playing Enemy Unknown on a Xbox 360, I’m almost certain this issue would be fixed on the PC version.

Those issues would typically be unforgivable but thanks in part to some clever design decisions that enhance the experience of the player; your frustration never builds too high. It also doesn’t hurt that setting up a solid kill by using skills and other soldiers’ positioning is just plain fun. It begins to feel like one giant puzzle that you’re just trying to solve without any errors. The skills your units acquire through leveling up add a much needed depth that keeps you hooked for hours. You combine that desire for leveling up with the innovative sections within your base and you could find yourself playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown for hours on end.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown bears a familiar dark sci-fi look that has been featured in many games before its time. The character models don’t vary as much as you’d like and most of the enemy design is pretty basic. The most disappointing thing is the lack of variety in the map design. It seems as if there are only six different maps that Enemy Unknown uses every time you’re launched into a mission. But in the grand scheme of things, these issues are never too harmful to the experience as most of the environments look fine and the clever use of lighting the game shows off is a nice touch.

The turn based strategy game has never been one that I enjoy taking online. I’ve always found the slow paced gameplay to quickly become a bore and put a damper on whatever excitement was going on onscreen. Firaxis doesn’t attempt to fix that issue as each turn lasts around one and a half minutes, which is spent mostly looking at your idle soldiers. A simple fix would be to allow people to queue up moves, which would then force the turns to progress much quicker. Perhaps there’s an issue with that fix that I’m not seeing.

While Firaxis doesn’t directly fix that issue, they do manage to install a fairly nifty point based purchase system that allows you to select your soldiers before going into a battle. Obviously, the better the unit, the more expensive it’ll be. Which then leads you to choosing between having a large less skilled army or instead having a smaller and stronger army. You then take your army online and fight someone else’s group of men. From there, the gameplay is exactly similar to the story and features the same pros and cons. Though once you finish a fight in multiplayer, you don’t get the chance to exit out into an addicting home world.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a clear reboot of the franchise and it does it justice by providing hours upon hours of excellent gameplay that only the great minds at Firaxis know how to deliver. Firaxis didn’t reinvent the genre, but they didn’t have to in order to release a fine product. It comes with its share of problems but those problems are moot in the grand scheme of things as you begin to dive deeper and deeper into the heart of XCOM, realizing along the way that you just don’t want to stop.

XBox 360

Graphics

80
 

Audio

90
 

Gameplay

90

Creativity

85
 

Execution

90
 

Offset

85
    

8.7

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

Jun 112011
 

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

Duke Nukem Forever

Mac

Contains: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol

Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.


It’s been twelve years. Twelve long years and throughout the beginning of Duke Nukem Forever there will be multiple pieces of dialogue reminding you of this fact. But the return of a legend it is and despite a handful of miniscule issues it truly is worthy of Duke.

The environments throughout the game are varied to the pouring rain in the dark of the ball park, through to an extravagant casino and a glimpse of the streets of L.A the visuals are nothing particularly special and do seem to loose quite how sharp they are when played on large screens. However, for the most part the graphics are very good and fairly impressive unless you are fortunate enough to own a copiously sized screen in the 47” region.

Duke cares not for your large television

Women are a key part of Dukes life and rather important to him especially the hot ones which is where we begin to have a problem with the alien visitors. The problem is that they seem intent on taking away all the hot women and Mr Nukem will not settle for that any more than he did the last time they tried it.

From the very beginning we see that despite the delays and countless rewrites and reproductions that Duke Nukem Forever has been through Duke himself has been very busy with pictures of himself after a successful shark fishing trip, another of the king atop Everest and ten there is the multiple franchises such as the Duke Dome, Duke Burger as well as his own Casino to explore throughout just to name a few.

Once you start to get into the game you’ll probably notice what I noticed and no I’m not just talking about the very lengthy load screens despite installing the game to hard drive. This doesn’t feel like a shooter. I don’t know whether or not it’s the nostalgia or the sarcastic humour throughout but the whole thing feels like an arcade game. Not as though you’re sat at home on your super powerful console but like you’re using an old cabinet style machine. This feel is helped along by not only the gameplay and the fact you’re playing Duke Nukem it’s also the old school end of level boss style which features on multiple occasions and also features a new addition to the line-up in the form of The Energy Leech.

This probably won’t end well for you guys

There is however one fault to the nostalgia for those of you that hate underwater levels. In my opinion underwater levels are just unnecessary and unwelcome on my console whether or not you are Duke Nukem. But aside from this minor setback even a level with a layout that I hated still didn’t make me want to put down my controller and call it a day.

All the classic Duke enemies are present and accounted for but look just a tad more evil as sin. You’ll get to meet the Cycloid, Pig Cops and Octabrains all of who are intent on making your life a misery and ultimately trying to end The King. The game has Four Difficulty settings only unlocking insane after you’re done the first time round. Once on the higher levels and further into the game the enemies become far more powerful and menacing to an insane point at times but who wants a walk in the park?

In the years gone by Duke certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humour which has been integrated into the game throughout. During his inception Duke was a means of poking fun at all the of the day action heroes such as Arnie and Bruce Willis so how did this carry over to 21st century Nukem? Other video games of course. With mocking references to Halo, Portal and Gears of War just to name a few some are blatant and some rather subtle but my favourite still remains “power armour is for pussies” when Duke is offered some that very closely resembles that of Master Chief. The game also pokes a little fun at itself as well with Dukes response to being asked for a red key card being along the lines of ‘go f**k yourself’.

Duke has also acquired himself a nice set of wheels known as The Mighty Foot which is rather useful not only for getting from one place to another but also for wasting aliens. Although driving doesn’t feature heavily in the game here will be times where Duke has to drive his own vehicle and also borrow a radio controlled car from a young fan whilst slightly smaller than he should be.

Jumping a canyon … Like The King

Weapons are easy enough to find and most enemies will drop theirs for you to carry off and waste some more of their brethren with. By the far the more entertaining are the freeze and shrink rays which, as you can probably guess, do exactly what they say on the tin. Once frozen you execute however you feel like it by shot, the execution feature or by just beating them down. When shrunk you can watch as you’re enemies cower in fear at your feet before squishing them. Be wary though as at points throughout the game you yourself will be shrunk and your once mighty weaponry reduced to nothing more than a mere pea shooter.

On top of the gratuitous amount of weapons that are kicking around in Duke Nukem Forever there is also plenty of other odds and ends to help you on your way. Explosives are represented by the trap mine and classic pipe bomb complete with car key fob detonator. There’s also the Holoduke which works great for distracting enemies giving you the freedom to take some cover or sneak round and catch them off guard. Beer and steroids are of course available on several occasions with beer increasing your “ego”, duke equivalent to a shield, and steroids which increase the strength of melee attacks massively although both will cause you a pretty distracting effect on the screen as a kind of payback system.

Now there’s one elephant in the room which this game bought to the party which is multiplayer. The online multiplayer for this game is absolutely atrocious and really has no refining features. Whilst keeping the old styles of finding a game by hosting or locating a specific game type instead of a newer matchmaking system this nostalgia can’t save it. This is a shame really because the campaign is excellent and everything that you would want and expect but the multiplayer sucks and I am happy to just pretend that it doesn’t exist helped by the fact that there isn’t an Xbox Live logo on the front cover.

To help pretend that the multiplayer isn’t there

With the game being as good as it is let’s just pretend the multiplayer never happened because it would be unfair to score such a fantastic overall single player experience lower because of a dire multiplayer feature.

8.5 out of 10

XBox 360

Graphics

65
 

Audio

60
 

Gameplay

50

Creativity

50
 

Execution

35
 

Offset

85
    

5.8

  

How do these ratings work? Click here for descriptions!

This game is truly epic and although a shame that it took twelve years this has to be ignores to an extent because it was never going to be perfect no game is. But Duke Nukem Forever comes damn close. Its funny, relaxed and exciting as well as a nice break from games that take themselves seriously. It is a fun game but the loading screens taking as long as they do and that useless multiplayer feature are a constant nagging problem but had they been improved or even not as bad then this game would, in theory, warrant an even higher score.

Duke Nukem Forever is out now in the UK and will be released in America on the 14th of June.

Apr 272011
 

I once had someone obsessed over PC games inform me back in 2002/2003 that Duke Nukem Forever would not only be the greatest game ever, but its release was also right around the corner. HA-HA-HA! BAH-HA-HA-HA-HA! It’s been about a decade since then. What’s changed? Nothing. Well, supposedly that’s not entirely accurate as in the year 2011 the first-person shooter that every Duke Nukem fan has been waiting for… for… for… forever, is about to bloody well turn true. Duke Nukem Forever is appropriately named, having first been announced in 1997 as the sequel to the last “main” Duke Nukem entry that saw release during the ’90s, Duke Nukem 3D. Under the development of 3D Realms, Duke Nukem Forever has taken this long for several reasons. The build cycle switched out development engines over the course of history for one thing. Add on the departure of staff members who were lead by a man who never thought Duke Nukem Forever would ever be ready. Well Mr. Broussard, strap on your reading glasses: your vision is about to come to life.

A revolutionized throwback to the ’90s, the filtering of Duke Nukem Forever story-based beer will be light, as alien-crushing, kick-assing gameplay will provide the stronger elemental that will inebriate players with happiness in these particular circumstances. Speaking of the brew, those bastard aliens have drunken it all, just as they have stolen all the babes on Earth. During the hiatus between their last invasion, Duke Nukem has been franchising himself all these years, having warded off those planetary scumbags in the past. Fame and fortune must pause for a moment, ’cause the strong-jawed Duke is back to put an emphasis on what made him such a celebrity in the first place: his boot sticking far up alien behind.

Originally, a PC game in the making, Duke Nukem Forever is (or was) vaporware that constantly has been the running gag of the industry. Being called names such as “Duke Nukem Whenever,” “Duke Nukem If Ever,” and “Duke Nukem ForNever,” fourteen years is a terribly long time for a game to be delayed. Thankfully in 2009 after some discord about the overdue product (which Take-Two Interactive had paid Infogrames to publish years before hand), the small but affirmative 3D Realms staff who at this point continued to work on Duke Nukem Forever from their homes had approached Gearbox Software, having just released Borderlands. Gearbox’s CEO Randy Pitchford, a former employee of 3D Realms, agreed that Duke Nukem Forever doesn’t deserve to never see the light of day. For as long as it’s been around, Duke Nukem Forever has been actual and whole in playable form at different stages over the years, but with Gearbox helping to put together the final cogs in the wheel, this June is when the game will at long last be rescued from the pit of despair it has unquestionably stumbled into.

After fourteen years in the oven, players are probably wondering just what Duke Nukem has to offer for a current game with traditional shooter gameplay. How about a regenerative health bar, based on a system known as Ego Boost, which will expand based on the interactions received from signing fans’ autographs. It could be the case when rescuing the women of Forever this mechanic will key into Duke’s status improvement. Driving segments and the series’ stable of famous weapons are being integrated too, including everything from the shrink ray to the Devastator. Being able to affect enemies viciously and comically sounds like fun. Outlining how all this entertainment will seep through the cracks, one mission puts Duke and a supporting squad against a two-story boss you can call the Cycloid. Based in a football stadium, Duke gets to dismantle this enemy with bullet heat and finally kicking its eyeball across the field goal. Score one for the human race!

Thinking about what Duke Nukem’s doing with the graphics, it’s surprising to see that the game isn’t looking so… 1997. Brought up to code for the present, Duke Nukem Forever will come across as offering blood splattering, urinal censored, busty beauty-surrounding, and three titty alien downsizing. Hell, I’d still hit it… with my cannon. While Forever looks nice, it also doesn’t seem to elevate itself to the standards previous high-profile games have ushered in over the years, everything from Gears of War to Heavy Rain. Crisp, clear, dazzling graphics are what instill a premium tank of gas in visual engines – not that it matters much. Duke Nukem Forever looks to be of interest even if it won’t be pushing itself over the limit.

It’s expected that Duke Nukem Forever is landing in stores on June 14th. After the delay from May, and even before then the early 2011 estimate, this “final” date right now is all we have for a guarantee. With Duke Nukem Forever, it’s been fourteen years in the making. What’s a couple of more months? Could it be true, however? Is Duke Nukem Forever finally going to ship as a product, or might its destiny take another turn for the worse? With multiplayer in the planning stages, with its release on the horizon, the King looks to be coming home. Come get some!

Apr 102011
 

Detour is scheduled to release in Q2 of 2011, but before it does, we wanted to get in touch with the creators, Sandswept Studios. Today, I’m speaking with Geoff Keene (the CEO and Design Director), and he will give us a bit of insight on both the game and company alike.


Can you give us a brief history of Sandswept Studios?

Oh, it’s a riveting tale of adventure. Actually, it’s fairly short. We started Sandswept in December of 2007, during a particularly bad winter storm. At that time we were working on a 2D sidescroller. It didn’t really work out as we planned, and as it was our first project, we ran into quite a few issues we didn’t expect. In December of 2008, we canceled that project and began development on DETOUR. We started rather small, and have grown and shrunk repeatadly over the past couple of years, and we’re now sitting fairly steady at about 13 or so, right as we’re getting ready to release DETOUR.

Detour looks to be a pretty amazing multiplayer title. Will connectivity be exclusively hosted through Sandswept’s servers, or will it all users be able to direct-connect, host servers, or connect via LAN?

As long as players are connected to Steam, they will be able to create their own private and public games for people to join. We’re still working out how and if we’re doing any sort of automated matchmaking, as opposed to just having a global server list and joining directly to friends.

Will there be leaderboards or tournaments built into the game?

We do plan to have leaderboards and a few other ranked-style games, even if they’re not present in the initial release.

The video speaks volumes about the gameplay of Detour. How would you describe the game in paragraph form?

Oh boy. We’ve had to do this quite a bit, and it doesn’t always work. The gameplay of DETOUR is quite different from just about any other game out there, which is both a blessing and a curse. I’ll give it my best shot.

DETOUR is essentially a construction-based war game. The goal is to get your trucks across the map, while stopping the other players from doing the same. There’s a lot of cool stuff, such as bombs, bribery, turrets, donut shops (seriously!) and bubbles you can throw onto your truck. There’s a huge level of depth to the game we didn’t even touch on in that short 3 or so minutes of gameplay, and we hope we can show it off (and simply let people play it) in the very near future. All the beta feedback we’ve been receiving has been surprisingly positive regarding how smooth it plays and so forth. We’ve seen a few comments from those watching the video, perhaps a bit worried that the game will be too fast-paced, or something of the sort. We’ve been taking a lot of feedback and are making some adjustments to drastically increase the length of games, allowing for quite a bit more depth to the way you build, defend, and destroy.

Are there already plans in the works for DLC additions to the finished product after release?

We don’t currently have any specific plans for DLC, but it’s always a possibility. We will very likely roll out at least one additional update post-release, in order to address feedback and a few other things we simply haven’t had the time or resources for.

What gaming influences have helped to shape Detour into the game it has become?

This is a very good question. We’re not even sure ourselves. The idea spawned from an old board game (we believe it was called “Bridges”, or “Bridge-It”), but has grown into something far different. We’ve definitely looked at various RTS games and how they use their rock-paper-scissors mechanics, and we’ve heard it likened to old games, such as Blast Corps, but we certainly couldn’t point to any specific inspiration other than “The idea sounded like a fun game to make.”

Everything seems slated to release this quarter – are you aiming for a specific date yet?

That’s simply coincidence for us. Quarter 2 is basically when we’ve decided we can really get a finished, working product out the door. We’ve been working on DETOUR for a bit longer than we expected, but we love it all the same. We’ve got an internal deadline to have a huge amount of the game code ‘done’ by August 26th, but it’ll probably release a bit after. Sometime in May is the most accurate estimate I can give at this point.

On a personal level, what games are you playing right now?

Personally, I’ve been getting back into Team Fortress 2 and Call of Duty 4, just because they’re so easy to pick up and play (and then drop when something comes up that I have to attend to.) I’ve also grown some affection for League of Legends. I’ve noticed some similarities in pace between LoL and DETOUR, that’s for sure.

After creating a title, do you still have a good time playing it?

I’ll let you know once it’s out there! The recent playtests have been quite fun for all of us. I think a good portion of the joy for us specifically comes from seeing things really come together and working properly, but the gameplay, from as objective of a viewpoint as I can get it, has definitely held up throughout development.

We’ve heard great things about working with Valve and Steamworks – how would you rate your experience with them?

Valve rocks my socks. I would recommend Steam to any one developing for the PC. The biggest issues we had were trying to get XNA (C#) working with the Steam (C++) code. The rest of the process, and the guys we’ve been in contact with have been ridiculously helpful. I couldn’t ask for a better platform at this point.

Will the game be completely Steam exclusive?

We had plans for an Xbox LIVE Indie Games release, but in order to focus more on ensuring the PC game is not a silly port, we’ve post-poned (read: canceled) it until further notice. The game will be Steam exclusive until we decide otherwise. This is not only because we simply are enjoying Steam far too much and would like to devote more to the PC version, we’re just not very confident in the XBLIG marketplace and sales. We really don’t think it’s worth our time at this point.

Once Detour is released, where will the focus of the designers be redirected? Are there other titles in the works already?

We might have hinted at something in some particular video we released recently. We are working on something huge, in every sense of the word. Gamers have been waiting for it for far too long. Tell every one you know; Sandswept delivers.

Are there any shout-outs or special mentions that you would like to make? Any sites you would like to bring attention to?

I’d mainly like to thank sites like yours for giving us a platform to speak and get the word out! That said, we’d certainly love to see some new faces over on our forums at Sandswept.net! Pardon Our Dust!


Thank you, Geoff for working with us and bringing information and entertainment to the masses. Readers can look forward to a review of this amazing looking title as soon as we are able. Stay tuned! (in the meantime, check out the video below)


Mar 202011
 
Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

Drawn: The Painted Tower

Windows PC

Contains: Violent References

Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.


Drawn: The Painted Tower.

I saw this game and did the “Must have it!!” dance.  Sadly, that dance turned into a sigh after the first puzzle.  Yes, this is a puzzle game.  It looked neat, caught my attention, and wasn’t expensive  – BUT….dun dun dunnnnnnn…… it’s lame.

This game is cute, if you’re 8.  I say 8 because some of the puzzles are quite difficult and will require a parents help.  Heck, some of them I spent a lot longer on than I would have liked. The game caught my eye because it had a “Nightmare Before Christmas” feel to it and because I do art outside of gaming.

After downloading, this game was full of crashes.  On the next to last board, it took a major crash and I had to start all over from the beginning.  There’s your warning.  On the plus side, it’s not TOO long so you’ll be alright starting over.

The graphics are stationary save for the puzzles you have to solve.  There is very little animation.

The hints that “Franklin” gives are touch and go.  Some tell you exactly what you need to do next while other leave you sitting there with a “wtf” expression.

I won’t lie, I was pretty disappointed. It’s almost as if the game was half finished.  You move along at a steady puzzle pace but the end seems very rushed.

 

At one point, a bell falls through the tower and crashes to the ground floor.  Once you hit the bottom floor and hover your cursor over the giant hole, it tells you that it  *appears that there is a room down there* but you can’t go down it.  So, I spent a good 2 minutes thinking that this was another puzzle and tried my best to figure out how to get down there.  You can’t…… move along, nothing to see here except a bell in the floor. *laughs*

Overall, I would rate this game a 4 out of a possible 10.

Those points are comprised of the neat music and the concept only.

PC Game

Graphics

50
 

Audio

60
 

Gameplay

20

Creativity

50
 

Execution

50
 

Offset

40
    

4.5

  

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