United Front Gaming http://unitedfrontgaming.com Inbetweengames Launches "All Walls Must Fall" Kickstarter! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 03/23/2017<br /><br />Inbetweengames have launched their Kickstarter for their upcoming title, All Walls Must Fall!<br /><br />We talked briefly about All Walls Must Fall <a class="external" href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/pc/post/3729/inbetweengames-to-knock-down-walls-with-new-indie-title-">last week</a>. So I won&rsquo;t go over all of the finer details. I will say that it&rsquo;s a tech-noir tactics game that features time hopping agents who must stop a nuclear strike while visiting a night club in Germany&hellip;that um&hellip;you should definitely keep an eye out for.<br /><br /><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rEUCG_aX-wg" width="854" height="480"></iframe><br /><br />Inbetweengames is describing it as &ldquo;X-Com meets Braid&rdquo;. That explains it all. Not really. But it does make it sound interesting no? Again, I&rsquo;m looking forward to learning more about All Walls Must Fall; alas, I haven&rsquo;t had time to play the alpha. Once I do, I&rsquo;ll share my thoughts. In the meantime, head over to its <a class="external" href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inbetweengames/all-walls-must-fall-a-tech-noir-tactics-game?token=abe9b18c">Kickstarter page</a> and check it out for yourself! <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/inbetweengames-launches--all-walls-must-fall--kickstarter Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:00:00 UFG Goes Hands on With Battle Princess Madelyn! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 03/22/2017<br /><br /><em>&ldquo;Nostalgia can be a powerful yet precarious element of game design.&rdquo;</em> This is a quote from a <a class="external" href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/pc/post/2749/citizens-of-earth">review</a> I did of a retro-inspired video game back in 2015. The sentiment was that, developers looking to recreate the magic of yesteryear must do more than just emulate the past &ndash; incorporating retro aesthetics and a &ldquo;hardcore&rdquo; difficulty setting will only get you so far&hellip;<br /><br />There are many reasons why holding onto the past without acknowledging modern design is detrimental to good game development. For one, what made a title successful might elude newer developers, making it difficult for them to separate the good game mechanics from the bad. This is especially true when you consider that some games were designed poorly, despite our found memories of them; for some reason, we thought it was a good idea to require gamers to beat Ghosts &lsquo;n Goblins (and the sequel, Ghouls &lsquo;n Ghosts) twice before actually completing the game. Of course, this isn&rsquo;t to say that retro themed games can&rsquo;t be great. Just that it isn&rsquo;t the easiest challenge to overcome when making video games. <br /><br />This is why I kept my enthusiasm in check after seeing Causal Bit Games&rsquo; &ndash; and independent gaming start-up company based in Canada &ndash; Battle Princess Madelyn game for the first time. The last thing I wanted to do was get all excited for a new and shiny platformer, just to have my hopes dashed when the game is finally released. I&rsquo;ve been hurt in the past. I did however, jump at the chance to play Battle Princess Madelyn after being offered a &ldquo;first look&rdquo; at the pre-alpha build. Long story short, I&rsquo;m glad I didn&rsquo;t pass on the opportunity! <br /><br /><em>Yes, this is the pre-alpha build that is currently available on the game&rsquo;s Kickstarter page. Press codes were sent out before it launched. Stop jumping ahead!</em></p> <p><em></em><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/battle-princess-madelyn-screen.jpg" alt="battle-princess-madelyn-screen" /><br /><br />Short story long, Battle Princess Madelyn is a 2D side scrolling game that&rsquo;s reminiscent of the Ghost &lsquo;n Goblins series. It follows a knight in training, Madelyn, as she goes about freeing her kingdom from the clutches of an evil wizard. To do this, she&rsquo;ll need to traverse through several dangerous locations while dispatching a verity of enemies/monsters. I&rsquo;m talking skeletons warriors, zombies, bats, some type of slime monster &ndash; all popping up just to be slain with a well place spear to the face or&hellip;whatever constitutes for a face on the slime creatures. Two hits against our heroine is the prerequisite for death, one to knock off her armor and one to finish the job. Again, it&rsquo;s a lot like Ghost &lsquo;n Goblins (or rather Ghouls &lsquo;n Ghosts given the 16-Bit visuals). <br /><br />In terms of making this feel like a Capcom classic, Causal Bit Games did a good job. What made me excited was the inclusion of new elements. After completing the first two levels, I was taken to an overworld map. From here I could enter a town to buy items, take on side quests &ndash; which sends you back into past levels, taking alternate routes to find missing loved ones or key items &ndash; and speak to NPC&rsquo;s about the current happenings in Madelyn&rsquo;s world. This isn&rsquo;t a huge addition, most of the aforementioned elements aren&rsquo;t in place right now, but it&rsquo;s content that helps sell the game&rsquo;s story. Here you get to talk to the people you&rsquo;ve saved as opposed to only seeing them right before the end credits scrolled. It also extends the playtime in a natural way without bloating the experience; players can skip the town and its trappings if they so choose.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/battle-princess-madelyn-screen-4.jpg" alt="battle-princess-madelyn-screen-4" /><br /><br />One of the things that stood out to me was the appropriately tuned difficulty setting. What I mean is, newcomers to this genre will actually be able to pass the third level within the first few hours of play. As much as I loved the older games Battle Princess is designed after, they were really tough way back when. The arcade version was just brutal, though that was mainly because you had to shell out 25&cent; to continue playing past death. That&rsquo;s not the case here. Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, you will die a lot. You just won&rsquo;t want to throw your controller out the window when you do. And for all of you masoc&hellip;er&hellip;hardcore gamers out there, I&rsquo;m sure there will be a difficulty setting that lets you really amp things up. <br /><br />Because this was a pre-alpha build, I wasn&rsquo;t able to get very far. That said, I really enjoyed what I did get to experience. The old school platforming was entertaining, the difficulty felt right, and the promise of more content (sidequests and such) has me anticipating the game&rsquo;s release. Apparently, judging by the fact that nearly every stretch goal for the Kickstarter has been reached in five days&rsquo; time, others are just as eager to play. Will Battle Princess Madelyn be the next big retro inspired game to be released on modern consoles? That I can&rsquo;t say. What I can say is that this might be the first game I back on Kickstarter in like, forever!</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/battle-princess-madelyn-screen-2.jpg" alt="battle-princess-madelyn-screen-2" /><br /><br />Battle Princess Madelyn is set to be released on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, and PC. Of course, as the <a class="external" href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/causalbitgames/battle-princess-madelyn?token=02f40852">Kickstarter</a> isn&rsquo;t over, there&rsquo;s no release date to be shared. We&rsquo;ll be sure to continue covering this title as things progress though.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Editor's Note:</strong> We updated this article to fix an error - we called Causal Bit Games, "Casual" Bit Games...yeah, we're gonna go sit in the corner now... <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/ufg-goes-hands-on-with-battle-princess-madelyn Wed, 22 Mar 2017 12:00:00 Nier: Automata /pc/post/nier:-automata Fri, 17 Mar 2017 12:00:00 Stories Untold <p>Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />System: PC &nbsp;<br />Genre: Adventure<br />Rated: N/A<br />Players: 1<br />Cost: $9.99 <br />Release Date: 02/27/2017<br />Publisher: Devolver Digital<br />Developer: No Code<br /><br />One of the scariest games I&rsquo;ve ever played was a texted-based thriller called Sleuth. First released back in 1983, Sleuth placed players in the shoes of an investigator looking to solve a murder. This was done by searching through rooms in a large estate, interacting with objects and questioning guests. Once the player can identify the murder weapon, the murderer and the room where the murder took place, he or she will then round everyone up and accuse the culprit. Easy right?<br /><br />Well, of course it isn&rsquo;t. Not only is it tricky to figure out who did what &ndash; you must keep up with everyone&rsquo;s stories to find out who is lying &ndash;&nbsp; but you also have to do it before the killer takes notice. Obviously, they don&rsquo;t want to you solve the mystery; your snooping about the place paints a giant target on your back. After you&rsquo;ve started interviewing different suspects, the game will alert you that the killer is growing more and more suspicious. At one point, they&rsquo;ll even start stalking you. What makes it scary is the lack visual/auditory information you&rsquo;d get from more recent games, forcing you to use your imagination. As time goes on, the tension rises as your mind tries to deal with the idea of being stalked. And then, like a well-timed phone call to a fearful Drew Barrymore, the end is signaled by an alarm and bright red text explaining how the killer murdered you. <br /><br />Now you may be wondering why I&rsquo;m writing about Sleuth and/or what it has to do with No Code&rsquo;s <em>Stories Untold</em>. The reasons are simple. For one, I wanted to explain how a text-based game could be scary without talking about the plot from Stories Untold. And two, note that at times, Stories Untold provides a more thrilling experience than one of the scariest games I&rsquo;ve ever played.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/stories-untold-screen-2.jpg" alt="stories-untold-screen-2" /><br /><br />Stories Untold is a game with four text based adventures disguised as a compilation tape of sorts. The aesthetics scream creepy 80&rsquo;s TV show as each &ldquo;episode&rdquo; begins with the same opening though they feature completely different stories (the font and musical score are reminiscent of Netflix&rsquo;s hit show, Stranger Things). An overarching theme connects all four adventures, making way for a secondary plot as you complete each one. And&hellip;that is about as far as I want to go when it comes to a synopsis. Majority of the fun comes from trying to figure out what&rsquo;s going on and how or why things are happening. <br /><br />Strange things (heh) will happen while you play, some of which break the 4th wall in disturbing ways. This is mostly seen in the first adventure, The House Abandon. When it beings, you (the player and the protagonist) will be sitting at a computer playing a game called The House Abandon. The story will type itself out across the old CRT monitor, explaining how you&rsquo;ve come to the house. From there, you&rsquo;ll be able to type in key phrases to move things along. Typing &ldquo;get out of the car&rdquo; or &ldquo;open the front door&rdquo; and pressing enter will have the game shoot back a detailed description of how these actions were completed. At a certain point, the game within the game will start saying things that are a little too real.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/stories-untold-screen.jpg" alt="stories-untold-screen" /><br /><br />What&rsquo;s great about Stories Untold, is that unlike Sleuth, the fear doesn&rsquo;t just come from our imaginations. Things happen apart from the writing on the monitor; the opening of a door, for a second, fooled me into thinking that someone was behind me while I was playing. There&rsquo;s also voice acting, harrowing music, and jump scares &ndash; none of which overshadow the innate eeriness of a text-based game. This results in a genuinely creepy 2017 version of a game from this genre. &nbsp;<br /><br />Unfortunately, some of the fear dissipates as you move through the later adventures. Some of this is due to the stories&rsquo; being broken into a series of puzzles. They aren&rsquo;t especially tricky, but what&rsquo;s needed to solve them often makes them more difficult than they should be. One of the adventures has you entering codes found on micro-film, which are hard to make out given the poor lighting and fuzzy images. Zooming in helped a little. Still, some numbers and letters resembled each other, unnecessarily prolonging the process. &nbsp;<br /><br />There&rsquo;s also an issue with word recognition. For some reason, Stories Untold is strict on what words do what (or anything for that matter). It&rsquo;s an old problem for text games in general but here it&rsquo;s made worse by how specific everything tends to be. Typing in &ldquo;go around back&rdquo; doesn&rsquo;t work while &ldquo;follow the lawn&rdquo; sends my character to the backyard. Even more baffling, a &ldquo;check the backyard&rdquo; might&rsquo;ve resulted in a &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t understand what you&rsquo;re saying&rdquo; response. Mind you, the hints that were given told me to go to the backyard (like, the word backyard is in the description of what the game wants me to do).</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/stories-untold-screen-3.jpg" alt="stories-untold-screen-3" /><br /><br />Constantly entering commands that don&rsquo;t do anything or, in the worst case, cause you to accidently loop back to a room/object with a similar description to what you&rsquo;re look for, acutely sucks all the tension away. Things would have been better if all of the adventures were structured like the first one. That&rsquo;s not to say that I didn&rsquo;t ultimately enjoy the experience. It just means the Stories Untold isn&rsquo;t as amazing as it could have been&hellip;<br /><br />Gameplay: 8<br />This text based adventure can send chills down one&rsquo;s spine. The overly difficult puzzles and word recognition problems hurt the experience though. <br /><br />Graphics: 8<br />The retro vibe is great,&nbsp; the Stranger Things-like theme sells it. There are some hiccups when it comes to visual cues needed to solve puzzles. <br /><br />Sound: 8<br />The music and voice acting was decent. The ambient sounds helped with immersion. <br /><br />Replay Value: 4<br />There are some visual tricks that help to explain the hidden story. But they aren&rsquo;t significant enough to cause one to replay the game if missed; basically, once the mystery is solved, there&rsquo;s no point in replaying, at least not for a very long time. <br /><br />Final Score: <br /><br />7<br /><br /><br /></p> /pc/post/stories-untold Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:00:00 Stories Untold /pc/post/stories-untold Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:00:00 Inbetweengames to Knock Down Walls With New Indie Title! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 03/15/2017<br /><br />I always wonder what happens when developers leave a major studio. Whether it be due to layoffs, change of heart, or a canceled project, a dev&rsquo;s future isn&rsquo;t always certain. Recent years have shown that one of the most popular things to do is to turn inward &ndash; as in, starting an independent studio and going it on your own!<br /><br />This brings me to inbetweengames, an indie studio made up of ex-YAGER developers (Spec Ops: The Line, the canceled Dead Island 2). Since leaving the major, they&rsquo;ve been pretty busy; they are currently working on a tech-noir tactics game called All Walls Must Fall. It&rsquo;s a rather interesting sounding title. The elevator pitch: gamers are to command a group of secret, time hopping agents in the year 2028. Their job is to foil a plot to end the Cold War with a rogue nuclear strike by utilizing stealth/deadly combat during a continually looping night.</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/all-walls-must-fall-screen.jpg" alt="all-walls-must-fall-screen" /><br /><br />Procedurally generated levels, isometric view, pausable real-time tactics with actions that coincide with the music (the game takes place in a night club in Berlin, Germany) and more round out an extensive features list. What has me most intrigued is the social stealth and crowd simulation. The idea is to reflect current global issues as well as represent Berlin diverse culture. Based on what they&rsquo;ve done with <a class="external" href="http://www.unitedfrontgaming.com/post/1326/spec-ops:-the-line">Spec Ops: The Line</a>, this might be the more noteworthy aspect of the game&hellip;</p> <p><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/unitedfrontgaming/files/all-walls-must-fall-screen-2.jpg" alt="all-walls-must-fall-screen-2" /><br /><br />Of course, I haven&rsquo;t gotten any hands on time with All Walls Must Fall. That fact will be changing soon we were given a key to the pre-alpha build; I&rsquo;ll be sure to report back on my findings once I&rsquo;ve had a chance to check it out. In the meantime, be on the lookout for the game&rsquo;s coming Kickstarter, launching March 22nd, as well as our continued coverage. <br /><br /></p> /pc/post/inbetweengames-to-knock-down-walls-with-new-indie-title- Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:00:00 All Walls Must Fall /pc/post/all-walls-must-fall Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:00:00 Phoenix Labs Releases Dauntless PAX East Trailer! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 03/13/2017<br /><br />Phoenix Labs released a new trailer for their upcoming title, Dauntless, during PAX East. Featuring two of the unique Behemoths that players will eventually hunt, the trailer offers a glimpse at the game&rsquo;s intense combat!<br /><br />For those that don&rsquo;t know, Dauntless is a free-to-play, co-op action RPG where players must work together to defeat large monsters called Behemoths. Think Monster Hunter and you&rsquo;re halfway there. The two Behemoths shown in the trailer below are Pangar and Shrike. Pangar looks like an armadillo/dragon like creature that conjures ice shards out of the ground. Shrike is more like an owl&hellip;an owl that uses tornadoes to blow away would-be hunters&hellip;<br /><br /><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AHMQzSGNCOQ" width="854" height="480"></iframe><br /><br />Dauntless is coming to PC later this year. Those of you eager to join the fray can sign up for the closed beta here. Of course, whatever you do, keep it locked here for more gaming news! &nbsp;<br /><br /></p> /pc/post/phoenix-labs-releases-dauntless-pax-east-trailer Mon, 13 Mar 2017 12:00:00 Dauntless /pc/post/dauntless Mon, 13 Mar 2017 12:00:00 Devolver Digital Announces Ape Out! <p>Written By: Kenneth Seward Jr.<br />Date: 03/10/2017<br /><br />Devolver Digital and Indie developer Gabe Cuzzillo announced a new title, Ape Out, that&rsquo;s coming to PC and consoles this summer. Featuring minimalistic yet, stylized visuals and intense combat, the game seems destined for greatness&hellip;or at the very least, a second glance from interested gamers!<br /><br />After watching the announcement trailer (shown below), that are Ape protagonist is trying to escape a labyrinth-like zoo full of rifle carrying guards. He does this by smashing his way through, using his momentum as a weapon; he attacks send his captors flying into each other. He can also grab enemies and use them as human shields. <br /><br /><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iuomQdQnHFE" width="854" height="480"></iframe><br /><br /><em>&ldquo;Since I was a little boy one of my hobbies has been to secretly set zoo animals free and watch them run rampant, killing their captors in the most violent ways possible,&rdquo;</em> said Devolver Digital CFO Fork Parker. <em>&ldquo;Ape Out captures that child-like sense of wonder in a very profound and meaningful way and also adds a drum beat.&rdquo;</em><br /><br />Crazy childhood hobbies aside, Ape Out does look like a fun time. It&rsquo;s a bit reminiscent of the Hotline Miami series, another from Devolver Digital&rsquo;s stable. Those of you heading to PAX should check it out at their booth. Going or not, be sure to check back here as we continue to cover this interesting title!&nbsp; &nbsp;<br /><br /></p> /pc/post/devolver-digital-announces-ape-out- Fri, 10 Mar 2017 12:00:00