Archives for 2019

Underpin: A Physical Undertale Pinball Machine!

Checking out all of the custom and homebrew pinball machines showcased at the 2017 Midwest Gaming Classic (MGC) event, Kelly Corcoran (aka: Gornkleschnitzer) was inspired to create a physical Undertale pinball machine!

Making pinball machines is not an easy feat, but when you have talent, passion, perseverance and patience, anything is possible. Having all of these traits in abundance, Kelly commenced this project by choosing a theme and then creating the playfield design utilising Visual Pinball.

For those that want to nerd out on the specifications, Kelly initially set the game up to be driven by a Raspberry Pi 3B, but then ran into serious performance issues when trying to push full-screen animation (via the Allegro video game library) to the LCD. The Raspberry Pi setup was superseded with a full desktop motherboard inside the cabinet. The playfield is controlled by a trio of Teensy 3.5 boards.


source: Kelly Corcoran

With the Underpin machine being completed two years to the day, it was apt that the Undertale Pinball Edition custom pinball machine made its debut at the 2019 Midwest Gaming Classic event. Kelly advises that there are modes and features that still need implementing with a future software overhaul, but the entire experience had been massively fun and frustrating, but the custom pinball creating bug has bitten hard. We can’t wait to see what Kelly comes up with next!

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Pinball Press
Pinball Press is here to spread the word on everything pinball across the known universe. For business / PR email: [email protected]

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[story source: Pinside and HackADay]

 

Katana Zero – Steam Review

Hack and slash your way through countless enemies in Katana Zero, the latest game from Askiisoft.

Having originally been refused classification for sale in Australia, Katana Zero is a super stylish and fast paced action platformer that has you slicing through rooms of enemies in ever complex scenarios. As you play through each area you must eliminate or sneak past enemies depending on your exact mission. Enemies are easily dispatched with a swift slice of your blade but you are equally vulnerable and this is where the major gameplay mechanics come into play. Instant death is balanced with being able to slow time, deflect bullets and throw objects at enemies, meaning you are always looking for more efficient and creative ways to dispatch your foes. Feeling a lot like groundhog day, if you happen to get killed the level rewinds back to the start of the area and you must try again. At the end of an area the “tape” is played back for you to watch your Kurosawa style handy work at full speed.

Oozing with style and flair, Katana Zero never fails to impress with visual and audio design.

Each level feels diverse and lived in, giving the city of New Mecca a real gritty and neo-noir feel. Thrown in is some retro cool neon and VCR inspired overlays to really top off that dark future feel the game is going for. The soundtrack is full of a variety of electronica that really nails the vibe of each level, tracks can vary from subtle to full tempo while others really get that heavy grime bass treatment.

Katana Zero is all about brutal but stylish action, feeling at times like an action filled anime it’s hard not to love it. As the plot thickens and answers make way for more questions the action really starts to heat up, leading to some very intense and complex levels. Some real serious issues like war crimes and PTSD play an import part of the plot, meaning that the story is just as intense as the levels. The ending does leave you wanting for more but there is more than enough game already there for you to enjoy. For the player that isn’t used to this kind of precision and repetition, later levels can get increasingly frustrating but not impossible. Players that crave this kind of pixel perfect movement and timing though will find it both incredibly rewarding and satisfying.

Available on Steam and the Nintendo Switch, Katana Zero is Blade Runner with samurai blades, a game full of fantastic style and super solid gameplay that makes it a must play title.

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Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Katana Zero [Steam] was kindly provided by Power Up PR for this review.

 

 

Go Back To The Future With DMC Watches

Back To The Future fans rejoice! If you can’t get to a DeLorean and hit 88 MPH (141.6 KMH for us Australian folks) to go back in time, then you can use one of these DMC watches to keep (up with) time!

Of course, there was only ever going to be one inspiration for these watches, the original (and damn cool) DMC-12 sports car. Check out some of the DMC watches (below) from their Alpha, Dream and 1981 collections.

Oh yeah, for a limited time, you can get 10% OFF any DMC watch purchase by using the coupon code ‘WELCOME19’! What are you waiting for, get that flux capacitor going and grab your very own DeLorean time machine!

photo source: DMC Watches

 

Renzo Racer – Steam Review

Zooming its way onto Steam is Renzo Racer, a fast and frantic kart racer with a lot of personality. 

Who doesn’t love a good cart racer game from time to time, especially with friends! Renzo Racer is, as one would expect, a fairly cookie cutter style racing game. Choose from one of 16 different racers and around 20 tracks and prove your racing prowess against friends or the computer. Characters are full of charm and personality and the tracks are all interesting and diverse but the racing itself is a mixed bag. There are plenty of obstacles and hazards thrown into the tracks which add to the fun but weird AI can be a hassle when playing alone.

The physics model feels very realistic which is a little strange for a kart racing game and because of this everything feels a bit mismatched. While it does feel like a deliberate choice for the game it will throw off players thinking of a traditional kart racer. There is no easy way to slide into corners which means a more realistic driving approach needs to be taken and proper apex turns are required. Another issue is the barriers which are properly modelled not just invisible walls. Hitting a barrier at speed can cause your racer to flip or get stuck, leaving you spinning tyres for a few seconds until you eventually reset. Characters and tracks are unlocked very slowly by placing first in single race or Grand Prix modes, while a slow drip of content is nice only one character and track is available from the start.

It’s not all negatives though, the physics model definitely adds to the experience and getting used to it can reveal some nice tricks. Placing the bomb item down as a person is right behind you will give you a nice impromptu boost forwards and hitting a ramp just right can have you soar right over the competition. The character designs are all well done and it’s easy to start picking favourites depending on the kart shape and stats. There is a real charm to the whole feel of the game but it is often easy to see where other kart games have influenced Renzo Racer in its style. 

A good game to try with a few friends for a good laugh as you knock each other about but single player can be a bit frustrating from time to time. From the wacky cast to the cute tracks, Renzo Racer is a game that definitely stands out from other Kart clone racers but not always in the best way.

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Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Renzo Racer [Steam] was kindly provided by EnsenaSoft for this review.

 

 

She Remembered Caterpillars – Nintendo Switch Review

Delve into the strange and cryptic world of She Remembered Caterpillars, a new puzzle game from Jumpsuit Entertainment

She Remembered Caterpillars is an interesting puzzle game where it is your goal to move various little fungi creatures through a level so that each ends up resting on an exit tile. Adding to the complexity of these puzzles is the shape if the creatures casing, hard to explain but visually easy to understand. Different obstacles, activated bridges and restricting gates will allow or prevent movement depending on the specific shape of the fungi. Various mechanics are added slowly over the course of the game, leading to some real brain bending puzzles that feel very satisfying to complete.

Rather than being told overtly, there is a narrative of love and loss interwoven between the puzzles in little text segments between puzzles. Often times it is only a brief conversation between characters but other times it can be small stories that explain the state of the world overall. There is a nice mysterious feel to what exactly the story has to do with the game you are playing but it all feels very symbiotic. The drip feed of story elements has a very moreish appeal to it and I often found myself playing entire chapters when initially only planning to play a level or two.

There is a pleasing aesthetic to the microbe and fungus style in She Remembered Caterpillars that works real well with the puzzles. Backgrounds are generally subdued and all of the important puzzle elements are quite bright and vibrant, this really helps you to identify exactly what is going on at all times. The soundtrack is quite mellow and this results in a very chilled out feel to the game which can help when puzzles start to get taxing.

She Remembered Caterpillars is a wonderful puzzle game with funky visuals and a surprisingly deep story. There is a real hidden depth in this title that is sure to win many over.

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Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: She Remembered Caterpillars [Nintendo Switch] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.

 

 

Weedcraft Inc. – PC Game Review

Time to trade green for green in Weedcraft Inc., the latest title from Vile Monarch.

A game about growing and selling weed? I know what you are thinking but Weedcraft Inc. manages to turn a touchy subject for some, into a seriously fun business management game. You start off in one of two scenarios, the default scenario being that you are a pair of brothers that just lost their father. One brother has experience with business, the other with growing plants in their father’s basement. In the other scenario you are an ex-con that is fresh out from jail, this is labelled as the harder of the two. From here you grow product, harvest and sell at a local market, sounds pretty simple but there is a lot of depth to Weedcraft Inc. that is very enjoyable.

Growing the product itself acts a lot like a clicker style game, you choose your weed strain, soil type and begin to grow your plant. Soil type, soil chemical composition and growing conditions will affect your harvests yields and quality of the final product. As the plant grows you need to water and trim it to promote best growth, this allows the plant to grow faster. Time can also be sped up or slowed down to suit your playing style and helpers can be hired as the game progresses to help tend the crop. Expanding your operations will start to draw attention from not only rival dealers but also from the local police, who kindly hint you at first to make things a little less obvious. Rival dealers can be strong armed out of a spot or just dealt with by delivering higher quality product at a better price. As for the Authorities, multiple fronts can be purchased such as tea rooms and pizza shops to hide your activities.

Weedcraft Inc. manages to address the serious social and political sides of growing Cannabis. Apart from the illegal and humble beginnings of your venture, it’s possible to move onto medical production and eventually push for legalisation by befriending senators and pushing for reform. Dialogue is well written and avoids any real cheesy characters you would expect to find in a game on this subject. It is obvious that a lot of care and dedication has been put into striking a balance between serious business sim and weed subculture. Weedcraft Inc. has a very nice hand drawn artistic style and a mellow soundtrack, both of which create a nice aesthetic that suits the overall feel of the game perfectly. Menus are easy to navigate and it’s always simple to tell exactly what is going on.

No matter how you feel on the subject it is a well made and interesting business sim with lots of hidden depth. From illegal dealing to thriving business empire, Weedcraft Inc. is a game that will certainly end up growing on you.

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Mat Panek
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Weedcraft Inc. [Steam] was kindly provided by Power Up PR for this review.

 

 

Tiny Retro Gaming Pocket Sprite Device Fits in Your Hand

Oh wow, this (Pocket Sprite) is so damn cute that we just had to share it with you all!

WE WANT ONE!!!