Death Squared Review – Nintendo Switch

Death Squared broke me.

Now, I don’t mean broke as in a “made me break stuff” kind of way. Rather that on multiple occasions Death Squared reduced me to a near-blubbering mess of a person struggling to comprehend just how I’d solve the puzzle facing me. Yet eventually I’d overcome it, but that fleeting euphoria would last as long as it took for the next level to appear. I’d even go as far to say that there were definitely times where it invoked memories of another isometric problem-solving game from my past, one that also featured two characters who drove me head over heels insane at the best of times…

Reminiscence aside, Death Squared is a 2017 3D isometric cooperative puzzle game from Sydney gamedev SMG Studios. It’s based around an incredibly simple concept: Move your AI ‘bots from point A to point B. That’s it! Sounds easy in concept, right? Once you start throwing lasers, moving platforms, and needing to coordinate moves into the mix, suddenly you’re heading towards ‘broken’ territory. As an added bonus Death Squared is as couch co-op friendly as it gets, meaning that it’s another delightful game to play with people you don’t want to have to like for much longer.

While Death Squared can be enjoyed with up to 3 other people, I opted to spend the bulk of my time slogging through the 80 level single player story mode. I started out simple enough – move from the starting point to the round circles that serve as the goal. As the levels progress, more and more elements are introduced that forced me to use the tricks I’d learnt in a completely different way. The progression feels natural, and I never found the difficulty being artificially ridiculous just for the sake of slowing my progress down. There are times where it does feel like a struggle to push through lots of levels in a single sitting, with my 20 minute bus ride each day feeling like an optimal playtime before I started feeling broken and needing to stop. Your mileage may vary here, but it’s something that is negated by the more people you have to play it with.

Trying to enlist some celebrity assistance

So what about the story you ask? It revolves around a slacker named Dave (Voiced by Rice Pirate Mick) and his virtual assistant IRIS (also voiced by Rice Pirate Mick!). Dave’s a level 1 supervising technician at a futuristic robotics company who has one job: to monitor the AI Test ‘Bots (you!) as they go through their paces. Mick’s delivery and timing on his lines is fantastic, and really sells the banter between the two. This all plays out in the background as you work through the story mode along with the odd company email load screen, and complements the mode well.

When I’m Sixty-fouuuur

It’d be harder if the controls were unwieldy, but beyond a couple of times where I did something dumb and found myself getting stuck on the geometry, the twin-stick control method works pretty well. Left stick moves the Red ‘bot, while the right stick moves the Blue ‘bot, and this setup even plays into the puzzles in later stages. This can make for some rather tricky times when playing solo, as my brain would often assume the left stick corresponded to ‘bot on the of the screen, only to have the other one suicide off a ledge. I even tried giving one of the Joycons to my 5 year old, but he proved to be more frustrating than trying to just do it myself. To him, watching the colourful square dive off the edge and explode was the absolute height of hilarity! The edge detection on the platforms can be a little touchy at times, as I’d find a bot tumbling to its doom despite swearing I had ample space to maneuver. These moments were rare though, which is reassuring for a game that involves some fairly precise movements at times.

Booooom

One thing I’ll say is that this is a game that feels more at home on the Switch than any other platform I’ve seen it on (which is to say, Death Squared is on pretty much everything!). Given the Switch ships with two Joycons by default and the “pick up and play” nature of the system, this makes Death Squared a really good first game to grab if you’ve just gotten the console and want some co-op games to play. Add a pro controller or two into the mix, and there’s a party right there!

Did I mention it’s also only $14.99 on the Nintendo eShop (and slightly higher on other platforms)? Given there’s a good 8-10 hours of play in the story mode, and many, many more hours in the Party or super-hard Vault, Death Squared is definitely worth checking out.

Death Squared was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch. Played story mode to completion, and ran through a handful of the Party mode levels. Review code provided with thanks to SMG Studios.

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blahjediAaron Clement
Tassie based retro gaming guy. Co-host of the Press Play On Tape Podcast. Father of 3 and married to the very tolerant Kellie Clement. Coffee powered!

Follow Aaron Clement on Twitter and Instagram

 

 

Let’s Get Physical with Wonder Boy The Dragon’s Trap

Hold onto your swords peeps, Limited Run Games will be releasing physical copies of Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap on the PS4 this Friday (August 4) – North American time (midnight Friday in Australia) !

There will be 5,000 copies of the Standard Edition and 3,000 of the Collector’s Edition with limits (per customer) to ensure everyone has a fair chance of grabbing this wonderful game!

Standard Edition: 5,000 copies, with a limit of two per customer!

Collector’s Edition: 3,000 copies with a limit of one per customer!

source: Limited Run Games

 

Flappy Bird On A Dreamcast Memory Card

Programmer Dmitry Grinberg has cleverly hacked a Dreamcast VMU to run a Flappy Bird clone, wow! Watch the demo video below and/or read about how he did it.

Source: dimtrygr on YouTube via Technabob

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msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter

 

 

Classic SEGA Games on iOS and Android via SEGA Forever

Three decades after it all began, SEGA Networks announces a growing collection of classic video games for mobile

In celebration of a simpler time – an era that came before cool kale, hyper-connectedness, DIY artisanal beer-making, and social media mayhem – SEGA Networks Inc. is bringing a growing collection of classic video games from every console era to your mobile device for free. The collection, called SEGA Forever, is a re-awakening of archetypal gaming, an ode to the deep and diverse SEGA catalogue, and the beginning of a retro revolution that will transport players back through two decades of console gaming.

Each game in the SEGA Forever lineup is free-to-play, ad-supported, playable offline, and includes added features like cloud saves, controller support, and leaderboards. For players who prefer a pristinely ad-free mobile gaming experience – folks who want to play SEGA just like they remember playing in their basement, without interruptions from parents, siblings, or homework – SEGA have rolled back the price so each game can be purchased without ads for $1.99. As the SEGA Forever collection expands through months and years, it will include both official emulations and ported games that pan all SEGA console eras, each adapted specifically for mobile devices while remaining faithful to the original games.

“Above all else SEGA Forever is a celebration of nostalgia. It’s about allowing fans to reconnect with past experiences and share them with family and friends in an accessible and convenient way,” explains Mike Evans, CMO of SEGA’s Mobile Division in the West. “Join us on a journey of rediscovery as we roll out two decades of classic games free on mobile. Create your own ‘SEGA Forever folder’ and collect your favourite classics. Enjoy moments of nostalgia on the go, or sync a Bluetooth controller to enjoy a console-like experience in your living room. SEGA Forever democratises retro gaming, and seeks to change how the world plays, rediscovers, and shares in classic game experiences.”

The first batch of SEGA Forever games has been carefully curated, boasting both blockbusters and core fan favourites; The collection will officially kick off today with five Mega Drive / Genesis titles, all of which will be available to download for free on the Google Play Store for Android devices and on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, where they will be accompanied by iMessage sticker packs:

  • Sonic The Hedgehog, the 1991 household classic that has remained at the forefront of hearts and minds since inception
  • Phantasy Star II, the longtime fan-favourite RPG from 1989
  • Comix Zone and Kid Chameleon, two American titles developed by SEGA’s in-house studio STI
  • Altered Beast, the original Mega Drive / Genesis pack-in title, a beat-em-up set in Ancient Greece that represents a weird and wonderful segment of the SEGA catalogue that is ripe for rediscovery

 

Following today’s launch, the SEGA Forever collection will continue to grow with additional releases coming every two weeks. It took AGES to get here, so it’s now time to start playing!

image source: SEGA Forever

 

Line Defense: The Mobile Arcade Game That Blends The Past With The Future

Whoa, this newfangled arcade game Line Defense (Ed: not Defence!) melds the playing mechanics from two classic Atari games, Missile Command and Breakout. Line Defense was released almost a year ago (August 2016), so if you haven’t picked it up, then grab your Android or iOS device and hit download immediately. Oh yeah, did we mention that Line Defense is free? Well, what are you waiting for – go and get it and play it!

As massive fans of Missile Command and Breakout, we can say that the Legal Radiation game dev team have definitely blended the past with the future. For those of you that want to know the main features before you dive in, here is what Line Defense will deliver:

  • Simple one finger swipe control
  • Unique bonuses, power-ups, bosses & Motherships
  • Collect crystals and get special upgrades for your line (cannons, radar, shield power etc.)
  • 20 colourful maps & a challenging hardcore mode
  • Unique Mini Games for extra fun
  • Amazing original soundtrack with dynamic in-game music.
  • Easy to play – no tutorial needed!
  • Includes 50+ achievements
  • Gamecenter Leaderboards Support


source: Legal Radiation Team

 

Code Breakers: Women in Games

Press play on Code Breakers, an exhibition curated by ACMI and the first of its kind in Australia celebrating the achievements of women working in the games industry.

Code Breakers celebrates emerging and established female game makers in an interactive and immersive exhibition. Visitors can get hands-on with an array of playable games – from indie through to commercial hits and new releases – all made by Australian and New Zealand women working in different capacities: as directors, programmers, developers, digital artists, writers, producers and designers.

Katrina Sedgwick, Director and CEO of ACMI says, “Despite women making up almost 50% of game players, they account for less than 10% of the games industry. Code Breakers seeks to shatter stereotypes and celebrate the women who are breaking down barriers and building vibrant, creative careers within a global industry that is increasingly diverse. Our hope is that the industry will soon reflect the diversity of the gaming community it seeks to serve.”

Nicole Stark, Co-Founder Disparity Games and Art Director and Designer on Ninja Pizza Girl

From platformers and role-playing strategy digital board games through to graphical adventure and racing games, Code Breakers offers something for everyone at every skill level. Deliver pizzas and crush bullies in Ninja Pizza Girl, join an animal clan in Armello or race souped-up cars in Need For Speed: No Limits.

Code Breakers ponders important questions in a post Gamergate landscape: What does a more inclusive games industry look like? How do we encourage this diversity? In Code Breakers, each maker reflects on the sometimes challenging journey they’ve made into this male-dominated industry, revealing the human stories behind their games via a custom built exhibition audio tour.

“I think this exhibition is an excellent way to give Australians a peek behind the curtain of game development, and highlight that women are playing an integral role within the industry. I really hope it helps to inspire girls and women to begin making their own games,” says Rebecca Fernandez, a games programmer who worked on recently released PS4/Steam titles Tricky Towers and Armello.

Lisy Kane, Producer at League of Geeks

The game makers featured in the exhibition include: Lisy Kane, Producer at League of Geeks, co-founder of Girl Geek Academy and one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the games category; Katharine Neil, independent Game Developer and director of the hugely controversial and influential game Escape From WoomeraMaru Nihoniho, Founder and Managing Director of Metia Interactive and recipient of a New Zealand Order of Merit for her service to the gaming industry; and Siobhan Reddy, Co-Founder and Studio Director of Media Molecule, named in Fortune‘s 10 most powerful women in gaming.

Siobhan Reddy, co-founder and studio director of Media Molecule

Code Breakers has been curated by ACMI in collaboration with an advisory committee consisting of key industry figures Kate Inabinet, Animation and Games Industry lecturer at RMIT and creator of education based games for children; Helen Stuckey, media arts curator, researcher and Program Manager of Games at RMIT; and Leena van Deventer, a game developer, writer, educator and Co-Director of WIDGET (Women in Development, Games and Everything Tech).

A free exhibition, Code Breakers: Women in Games premieres at ACMI on Tuesday 25 July and runs until Sunday 5 November 2017. Information at acmi.net.au/code-breakers

source: ACMI

 

Fury Fingers: Ghost Recon Wildtime

Fury Fingers are back with a new action comedy film based on ‘Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands’ – sanctioned and supported by Ubisoft.

Featuring wrestling, gun fights, fight choreography, car chases, drone filming, parkour and VFX, the film follows Iron, Atlas, Grimm and Beak are on a stealth mission in Bolivia (cleverly re-created in the South Australian outback), but party music, dead bodies, poor intel and general bad luck are ruining their chance of success…


Source: Fury Fingers on YouTube

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msausretrogamerMs. ausretrogamer
Co-founder, editor and writer at ausretrogamer – The Australian Retro Gamer E-Zine. Lover of science fiction, fashion, books, movies and TV. Player of games, old and new.

Follow Ms. ausretrogamer on Twitter