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    Coming In June – Two Unique VR Games That Don’t Have A Single Zombie

    We’ve covered a few popular virtual reality games here at Gamenader. Dead Ground: Arena and Arizona Sunshine are both excellent games with lots in common. They have different but well-realized virtual reality gameplay, action-packed FPS mechanics, and lots of zombies. These games lend are a perfect fit for the virtual reality gaming landscape, but it turns out there’s more to VR than gruesome violence against the murderous undead.
    Sea of Memories and Paper Valley are two new VR games coming to the Steam Store in June. There are no zombies, no shooting, and no life or death survival situations. It’s just you, your VR headset, and beautiful, immersive landscapes and puzzles. After all of that murdering, a more casual experience is a welcome respite.
    Coming June 1st to Steam is Sea of Memories, a visually stunning optical illusion puzzler. Use creative thinking to tackle 100 puzzles with no apparent structure or logic. Move the primary object and find the perfect angle to reveal the puzzle’s solution, discovering increasingly challenging puzzles as the game progresses. Allow yourself to be swept away in the peaceful atmosphere, complete with original soundtrack and sound effects.
    100 puzzle levels based on optical illusions. Original soundtrack. Unique graphics and setting. Simple and mechanical control for relaxed gaming. Compatible with HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality.
    Next up is Paper Valley. At some point, nearly everyone has folded a sheet of paper into the shape of an airplane then thrown it gently, watching it glide through the air. It's a soothing, relaxing experience addition to the world of virtual reality gaming.
    From VITEI Backroom:
    “Paper Valley immerses players in a lush green world of mystery, filled with crumbling monuments, and an unspoken narrative inspired by the works of ThatGameCompany. Now both HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift owners on Steam will be able to experience the world of Paper Valley on June 6th... Paper Valley tasks players with bringing this world back to life by using VIVE controllers or Oculus Touch to throw, curl, and glide paper planes into targets. With each successful throw, you add color and life to the world. Skillful throws bring beauty back to the environments and unlock the hidden secrets of the valley, tapping into ancient forces to unveil the truth held within the ruins.”

    The one-of-a-kind game is the winner of the Famitsu Media Highlight Award at BitSummit in Kyoto, Japan 2017 and features a unique soundtrack, which will also be available on Steam on its own or as part of a bundle. Alex May from VITEI Backroom composed the soundtrack that was influenced by 90’s ambient electronica and artists like The Future Sound of London. It was crafted using all 90’s Japanese hardware synthesizers, sampled and sequenced in Renoise, a tracker style sequencer.

    Paper Valley will be available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Sea of Memories and Paper Valley require a virtual reality headset to play.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 – Release Date And Everything We Know So Far

    The most recent installment of the AAA franchise, Call of Duty, took us back to the game's roots and put players in the midst of World War II. But, it’s time to move on and Activision has announced the newest installment in the Call of Duty series, Black Ops IIII. We’re not entirely sure why it’s titled Black Ops IIII and not Black Ops IV, but I can assure you that it’s not a typo.
    Here's everything we know so far:
    Black Ops 4 is set between Black Ops 2 and Black Ops 3, so it’s a modern game that takes place in the near future. That means modern weapons and advanced, or at least current technology. Speaking of weapons, Black Ops 4 employs an all-new weapons attachment and a modding system that will benefit players that like to pick their favorite weapon and stick with it. Investing the time to master your weapon of choice will be a necessity. 
    There are other, seemingly small game changes that are likely to have a big impact on overall gameplay. Most notably, healing is no longer automatic. Players must use a dedicated button to instigate healing, leaving themselves vulnerable. There will also be a medic class that specializes in healing. The popular Pick 10 system is also returning to the game, to the delight of many players.

    In addition, Black Ops 4 offers some major changes in the overall experience. First, and perhaps most notably, the single-player campaign has been nixed completely in this installment and the multi-player game has expanded with Battle Royale style competition, titled Blackout. Blackout features the largest map ever in a Call of Duty game, 1,500 times larger than Nuketown. Clearly, the game’s developers are looking to tap into the overwhelmingly popular Battle Royale market.
    To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Call of Duty's Zombies, the game has expanded the on the concept. At launch, there will be three fully realized zombie experiences: IX, Voyage of Despair, and Blood of the Dead. Black Ops 4 Zombies features new systems for creating and completing community challenges, social systems designed to connect players, as well as the popular Easter eggs. Difficulty levels and in-game tutorials have been reintroduced to the zombie universe.

    Finally, the PC version of Black Ops 4 is being fully optimized for Battle.net, thanks to co-developers Treyarch and Beenox’s collaboration with Blizzard. An uncapped frame rate, 4K resolution and HDR, and easy customization for each player’s hardware, as well as Battle.net’s social systems, security, and server stability are thanks to this partnership.
    “Black Ops 4 is by far the most ambitious title our team has ever created,” said Dan Bunting, Co-Studio Head, Treyarch. “At its core, Black Ops has always been about challenging convention and boldly taking our gameplay in new directions. With Black Ops 4, we’ve designed an experience for all play styles and skill levels from casual to competitive. It brings a layer of tactical depth that rewards players for mastery, and just feels so good to play.”
    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is coming October 12, 2018.
    Watch the Call Of Duty Black Ops 4 multiplayer reveal trailer:

    'Zombie-Infested, Lovey-Dovey Puzzle Game' Love Is Dead Is Coming May 31st

    "Rescue your pets. Eat pancakes. Fight pirates. Fall in love. Hundreds of levels spread across 7 colorful worlds. A puzzle adventure about love, death, pets, and pancakes."
    Pets, pancakes, pirates, puzzles, love, and... zombies? It sounds like a lot to take in, but the upcoming Love Is Dead  promises a unique puzzle adventure with roots in a popular webgame series from 2012 — Love Is Dead began as the I Saw Her series of flash games, which started with I Saw Her Standing There and was followed up by I Saw Her Too (With Lasers), and I Saw Her Across the World. Though each game in the series requires its own set of mechanics, they share a common thread in the overall tone of the games. Despite a post-apocalyptic setting, the entire series, as well as the upcoming Love Is Dead, remain lighthearted and romantic. Over the years, millions of players have enjoyed the original, award-winning casual games and Armor Games hopes to bring those fans along in this latest part of the journey, and gain new fans along the way.

    From Armor Games:
    "[Love is Dead] features over 200 levels and the ability to choose your pronouns and those of your sweetie for a personal experience. You and your lover have returned from beyond the grave and go on a globetrotting adventure to find your missing pets, Dogface and Catface. Collect photographs and pancakes as you traverse the seven distinct worlds filled to the brim with ghosts, zombies, pirates, secrets, and the occasional carnivorous plant."
    Players control two freshly dead zombies as they traverse the bouncy, responsive world, visiting graveyards, an art gallery, a volcano, and more exciting environments on a quest to save their beloved pets. Encounter interesting characters throughout 300 levels and enjoy the bright, crisp graphics and upbeat music. Experience the brand new story in single-player mode or play with the one you love in local co-op mode.

    As a fan of entertaining and addicting co-op games like Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime and Overcooked, I have high hopes that Love Is Dead will fit in as another couch co-op game to play with my friends or my significant other. I tend to be an overly-competitive player and have been known to ruin a game night with friends when playing more competitive games. It's bordering on cliché, but I'm an unapologetically brutal Mario Kart player. If I want to continue any romantic relationships or friendships, it's important that I mix things up with friendly, upbeat co-op games. Working with a partner to conquer a particularly difficult level is not only satisfying but somehow manages to bring people closer. We need more whimsical games like Love Is Dead — there's enough divisiveness in the world, already.
    "Love conquers all... including death and well-established zombie tropes in this colorful puzzle game!" Love Is Dead hits the Steam store on May 31st and will be available for Mac and PC. 
    Watch the teaser trailer below:

    No Man's Sky Gets A Second Chance With 'NEXT' – Update With Multiplayer Coming This Summer

    Way back in 2016, an enormous amount of hype surrounded an upcoming Sci-Fi game, titled No Man's Sky. It promised a game that would delight fans of classic science fiction, as well as players of exploration and survival games. Upon its release, we were to be gifted with a revolutionary open-world gaming experience in the form of the best game of the year. Except it wasn't. Players would travel to distant galaxies, encountering unique lifeforms and planets, as they chose the type of player they wished to be. But, it turned out to be boring, overly complicated, and expensive. Perhaps it was a case of too high expectations, or it may have just been a legitimate failure.
    Like most flops, the game faded into the background as bigger, newer games were released. We may have forgotten about No Man's Sky, but the developers and a small handful of players didn't. In fact, the game has been continually changing with the major updates Foundation, Pathfinder, and Atlas Rises, along with many smaller patches. Basebuilding, vehicles, and even a new storyline and mission system were added. Players agree that long after its release, the game is finally starting to become the game it should have been.
    Now, Hello Games has announced the biggest update yet, due out this summer.

    The upcoming update, called 'NEXT' will not only bring No Man's Sky to Xbox One but will also add multiplayer. The major update is free for existing players and the Xbox One version will include all previous updates.
    “Multiplayer completely changes the No Man’s Sky experience, it’s emergent, fun and intense in ways we always wanted it to be. I’m so happy this is finally happening,” said Sean Murray, founder, Hello Games. “It is genuinely exciting to be able to fully realize the potential so many people could see in No Man’s Sky. This will be our biggest update yet and we’re pumped to be bringing Xbox players along on the journey with us now too.”
    Since its release, No Man's Sky has been on a quiet upward trajectory, but the release of 'NEXT' is a rebirth of the game and will hopefully bring new players, drawn in by a promising multiplayer experience:
    Explore the infinite universe with your friends, or bump into random travelers. As you voyage together, friends will help you stay alive, or prey on others to survive. Build bases from tiny shelters to complex colonies that you create as a team and can be seen by the community. Be a pirate or a wingman in epic space battles with friends and foes. Race exocraft across weird alien terrains, create tracks to share online.
    I had a lot of hope for No Man's Sky when it first released, and I will admit that I'm excited about it all over again, if cautiously. However, the developer has an uphill battle as they attempt to remake the game into the hit it could have been and overcome the game's negative reputation. I want nothing more than for them to succeed, and for this to be the brilliant game we were all so anxious to play from the beginning.
    No Man's Sky is currently available on PC and PS4. It will launch on Xbox One on Tuesday, July 24 in North America, and Friday, July 27 in Europe. The 'NEXT' update will launch simultaneously for PC and PS4 players.
    What do you think? Will you be playing No Man's Sky this time around? We'd love to hear from you!

    Ukrainian GSC Doesn’t Need E3 to Announce the Return of Their AAA Title!

    As we are all eagerly waiting for this year’s E3 and the upcoming big name reveals, some of which we mentioned in our previous articles, GSC Game World managed to slip under our radar and silently announce the long-awaited return of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.
    By posting a Tweet and opening a website dedicated to the game, the most successful Ukrainian formerly-defunct-now-reopened-video game studio sparked speculations, as to whether 2021 will be the year we finally see a new S.T.A.L.K.E.R. iteration after almost 11 years.  
    GSC started releasing the widely-successful S.T.A.L.K.E.R franchise back in 2007, pioneering the genre of modern open-world action adventure games. Inspired by the 1971 Soviet novel Roadside Picnic, and the subsequent 1979 movie Stalker, the franchise was set in Ukraine, some years following the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Powerplant disaster. In the series, players get to play as Stalkers, shady individuals who illegally enter ''The Zone’’ - area in and around the city of Pripyat, which has been sealed off by the government forces and private contractors after the meltdown. Stalkers hunt for mysterious artifacts, new elements which were formed as a result of the nuclear fallout, and which grant its wearers unique abilities. These artifacts are highly priced outside of the Zone, so exploiting and selling them on black market has become a lucrative business not just for the Stalkers, but for military and PMCs, who are in constant war with one another over them. Besides the dangers of the ongoing war, The Zone is also a home to many physical anomalies, as well as mutated creatures which the players have to fight or evade in order to survive.
    The critical praise of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, the first game in the series, motivated GSC to release two more sequels, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky in 2008 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat in 2009, both of which received equally favorable reviews. With series sales exceeding 4 million copies worldwide, GSC announced S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 in 2010, with release date being set for 2012. To everyone’s surprise, GSC studios fell apart the very next year due to undisclosed reasons, effectively halting further S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 development. In 2014 studio came back together again, but instead of announcing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, they released Cossacks 3, a real-time strategy that got mediocre reviews. A free to play shooter riddled with microtransaction, Survarium, was released a year later and got similar mediocre reviews even though it was loosely based on the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. universe.

    S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 concept art released shortly before the company's collapse featuring [L-R] feral doggos, Ukrainian-born Slenderman and something unexplainable
    Ever since then, GSC was rather silent regarding their future projects, instead only focusing on Cossacks 3 and Survarium updates, so it came as a pleasant surprise when out of the blue they tweeted the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 announcement. Besides the the ''supposed’’ year of release - 2021- which is featured on the picture and the website, there are absolutely zero other information available on the project. As such, we can only hope that GSC will continue to pleasantly surprise us and maybe release some more information on the development of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 in the near future, but until then, let us enjoy three more disturbing images of creatures we might encounter while exploring the Zone.

    From left to right: Miss Piggy with spider-like thingy living in its back, Monkey waiter serving mom's spaghetti, ''Camouflaged Log Monster'' 

    Blast from the Past: NovaLogic’s Delta Force – Series that Inspired Battlefield and Call of Duty

    Few days ago, I was cleaning up my basement when I found a box with some old stuff of mine. Besides the endless supply of boot-cut jeans and cargo pants, which were ohhh-so fashionable during the 2000s, I also came across some old CDs and DVDs that I completely forgot about throughout the years. While some were pirated, others were legit, with many still being in their original boxes. To my surprise, one of the discovered boxes was that of Delta Force Trilogy, the series i used to love as a kid, and one of the first multiplayer shooters I ever played.
    Old-school gamers are probably going to remember the Delta Force franchise, but for younger ones, it might be a complete unknown. The series was developed by the now-defunct NovaLogic, a company established in 1985 and renowned for making some of the first military simulators, such as the submarine simulator Wolf Pack (1990), tank simulator Armored Fist (1994), flying simulators Comanche (1992), F-22 Lightning (1997), MiG-29 Fulcrum (1998) and many others. Originally made in conjunction with US Army for the purpose of army training, Delta Force paved the way for modern shooters such as Call of Duty and Battlefield, as it invented many of the game mechanics and design concepts which are commonly used in today’s shooters.
    One of the first unique feature of the Delta Force series, at the time, was its freedom of choice. When starting a mission, the players could pick their custom soldier and equip him as they saw fit. They could choose his primary and secondary weapons, as well as additional equipment such as offensive and defensive grenades, flak vests, laser designators and many others. This allowed players to approach the missions in any way they wanted, from being stealthy and using silenced weapons, trough sniping from afar, all the way to taking their M249 SAW and mowing down enemies in front of them.
    Custom loadouts added to the replayability of each mission as players could, for the first time, experiment with a variety of equipment in discovering which one works best for the given mission similar to the modern-day COD franchise.

    Character selection and loadout screen
    The Delta Force series also pioneered shooters with large open areas that players could freely explore and move around. Although these vast playable areas were not as lively as in today’s games due to engine and hardware constraints, they never felt bland, as maps featured a mix of hills and plains, rivers and lakes, all of which added to the uniqueness of the terrain. As the game’s plot played out on all five continents, missions were also set in different environments such as South American jungles, Siberian snowy mountains and African deserts. There was also a mission which featured the Pyramids of Giza, which could be entered and climbed on, allowing for some fun sniping experience.
    These large, open areas removed the linear bonds that most games had at the time, there by letting players try out different tactical approaches to each mission, just like in the modern Battlefield or Rainbow Six series.

    Players could explore any area of the map and climb the present structures, such as the Pyramids seen on the right
    NovaLogic also strived to bring hardcore realism to the Delta Force series, in lieu of their reputation for making military simulations instead of simple shooters. As such, the player, his teammates and enemies were by no means bullet sponges. One bullet to the head or center mass was all it took for both the player and enemies to be taken down. Even bulletproof vests and armored helmets, which when equipped took up an inventory slot, did not offer full protection, as they would only effectively stop small arms fire while sniper bullets and grenades would still instantly kill the player. Players could also run out of ammo during their missions, rendering them unable to complete it.
    The one-hit-kill mechanic and limited ammo added realism to the series, a feature that was only later seen in modern games such as ArmA, America’s Army and Insurgency.
    The Delta Force series were also among the first to feature AI-controlled teammates with which the player could communicate trough radio messages. Although these AIs were not very advanced, they were still an interesting add-on, as they could inform players of enemies, call in a laser-designated strikes and even provide fire support if ordered. Teammates could also die while on a mission, which would cause them to be replaced by new characters of different looks, names and loadouts. Interesting fact was that Delta Force series also featured female soldiers, a rather uncommon sight at the time.

    Parachuting with an AI-controlled buddy Longbow, and one of the playable characters and potential mission partner Mako - the team's medic and a specialist diver 
    Delta Force games also came packed with content. They had unique weapons such as the cancelled Pancor Jackhammer shotgun, one-of-a-kind Soviet underwater APS rifle, and even the futuristic-looking G11 and Calico M950. Every sequel also had about 40 playable missions, which when combined with custom loadouts and challenging gameplay mechanics such as bullet drop and one-hit kills, made the series offer hours upon hours of fun.
    Although by today’s standard, the Delta Force series are quite outdated both in terms of graphics and gameplay, they still have mechanics used in modern day games, and while I cannot recommend them to youngsters, older gamers might find the series a nostalgic reminder of the good old days.
    The first three Delta Force games currently hold Very Positive ratings on Steam and are available individually or as a Bootcamp bundle for 19.99 USD.

    Fortnite News — Season 4 Week 3, 4.2 Update, And The Limited Time Solo Showdown

    Like usual, events and updates to Fortnite Battle Royale and Save The World are coming fast and furious. With the release of Season 4, we moved on from space and into the world of superheroes and villains. The Battle Pass available for 950 in-game V-Bucks, or roughly $10 and offers the opportunity to complete challenges and reap the rewards. Rewards are available to Free Pass and Battle Pass members, but of course, some rewards are only for paying players. Rewards include V-Bucks, gliders, and more.
    Season 4 means map changes brought about by a comet, 100 tiers of new rewards, including new cosmetic items, emotes, and Sprays. The Weekly Challenges reset with the start of Season 4; the weeks have flown by and Week 3 Challenges are now the focus.
    The Week 3 Challenges are:
    Deal damage with pistols to opponents (0/500) Search chests in Lonely Lodge (0/7) Search Rubber Duckies (0/10) Follow the Treasure Map found in Salty Springs (0/1)(HARD) Sniper Rifle Eliminations (0/2)(HARD) Eliminate opponents in Tilted Towers (0/3)(HARD) Revive players (0/5) (HARD) This week, Epic Games released the 4.2 update, with patches, improvements, a couple of new weapons, and for Save The World players, the Item Perk Recombobulator. For full update and patch notes, click HERE. Let's start with the highlights of the update:
    First off, the *new* Epic and Legendary Burst Assault Rifles Can be found in Floor Loot, Treasure Chests, Supply Drops, and Vending Machines. The Epic version does 32 damage while the Legendary does 33 damage. It uses Medium Ammo and has the same damage fall-off ranges of other Assault Rifles.
    4.2 also offers a new foraged item — apples, which are scattered around the map. Eating an apple gives 5 health.
    Bugs have been fixed, standard gamepad configuration is now called 'Old School', and the Suppressed Machine Gun's damage has been increased by 3.

    In 4.2 Save The World Players get and new weapon, the Quad Launcher, and the addition of the Item Perk Recombobulator, a way for players to customize their items to suit their play style.
    From Epic Games:
    "The Perk Recombobulator is unlocked when you complete Plankerton Storm Shield Defense 2. At that point, a sequence of two side-quests will become available that, upon completion, reward you with a large number of brand new resources to use in the Perk Recombobulator. Be sure to complete these quests to get a head-start with your item customization!
    To access the Perk Recombobulator, visit the item upgrade screen, and navigate to the new ‘Modify Perks’ option."

    Finally, in addition to the improvements and upgrades included in 4.2, Epic has announced a New Limited Time Mode called the Solo Showdown in Battle Royale. Solo Showdown is unique in that it doesn't change how you play the current Solo Mode. Players who want to compete live in the "ultimate test of survival" must enter the contest by May 21 (the contest is open from May 17-May 20), and your first 50 matches in the Solo Showdown mode will be tracked and how you place will determine your rewards at the end of the event. With countless high-level players out there, it will be a challenge to reach the top 100 needed to earn the big rewards, but anyone who enters and completes 50 matches will earn a Spray.
    Here are the rewards:
    1st Place: 50,000 V-bucks 2nd - 4th Place: 25,000 V-Bucks 5th – 50th Place: 13,500 V-bucks 51st – 100th Place: 7,500 V-bucks Getting started in Fortnite, Battle Royale or Save The World, can be a daunting experience, with such a huge array of game options, weapons, cosmetics, and contests. However, with so many options, there's something for everyone to enjoy. I recommend choosing a mode you like, focusing on it, and building a collection of in-game items that suit your tastes and play style. Stay tuned to GameNader for more Fortnite news.

    Join The Space Race In New Realistic Space Agency Sim, Mars Horizon – Supported By The UK Space Agency

    Joining the ranks of games like Terraforming Mars and Surviving Mars, that allow players the opportunity to transform Mars into a habitable planet, is Mars Horizon — a space agency management and mission simulator inspired by real science and engineering. It focuses on the reality of space exploration and is due out later this year for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Interestingly, Mars Horizon has received support from the UK Space Agency, in the form of a grant, plus advice and information on space exploration and the running of an actual space agency.
    In reality, humans are likely to reach Mars in the first half of this century. Mars Horizon wants to make that upcoming leap forward in human technology a reality that is accessible to everyone, even if it's just in the form of a video game.

    Auroch Digital, the game's publisher, recognizes that video games have the ability to provide entertainment, but also have the opportunity to address real-world issues and ideas in an easily digestible format.
    “We wanted to distill the wonder, drama, and the galaxies of possibility that space offers us as a species, into game form. Mars Horizon is our love-letter to the race into space and the challenges and triumphs of humanity on the way to becoming a multiplanetary species,” said Auroch Digital’s Design Director, Dr. Tomas Rawlings.
    From Auroch Digital:
    "Mars Horizon is a strategy game in which players control a government space agency. Picking between the space agencies of either Europe, Russia, or the United States, the players then control the agency to collaborate or compete in a decades-spanning campaign to expand humanity’s reach further into space. With each game an alternate history begins to be shaped and guided by the player’s actions, building iconic rockets, probes, and satellites that transmit crucial scientific data back to your customisable Earth HQ, all the while researching, investing in, and bolstering your space flight capabilities.
    During the player’s version of the space race, perhaps Europe work with Russia, sending satellites into orbit? Could it be that the US get this first satellite into space but that Russia achieves the first moon landing? Who will be best poised to venture to Mars because of learnings from earlier missions? Players will research new tech, expand their agency base, build rockets, send satellites into orbit, and launch a variety of missions throughout the Solar System. The game culminates in the first crewed mission to Mars, setting the stage for humanity to become a multiplanetary species."

    It's going to be a while before Mars Horizon hits consoles and PC, so in the meantime, enjoy these other games that put humans on the red planet:
    Surviving Mars — Primarily a building game, players work to create the first functioning human colonies on Mars. Similar to Mars Horizon, a space agency is chosen. Use supplies and resources to build your ideal colony from the ground up. The primary objective is to keep colonists alive, but gameplay focuses on infrastructure, research, and settlement expansion.
    39 Days To Mars — A couch co-op game (think Lovers In A Dangerous Space Time or Overcooked) in which two players have unique roles in an expedition to Mars. Pilot an unreliable spacecraft into space in this charming game.
    Mars 2030 — Produced in collaboration with NASA, Mars 2030 uses virtual reality to explore 40 km of Martian terrain. Actual NASA satellite data was used to produce the maps and models for this open world exploration game.
    Watch the Mars Horizon teaser trailer:

    Take Advantage Of Shrapnel Games' Memorial Day Sale – All Military Games Discounted Thru May 28th

    Spring is heating up, which means Summer is right around the corner. That means soon it will be pool days, barbecues, and trips to the beach. Short shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits are the wardrobe of the season. It's time for road trips, adventures, and stargazing under the Summer sky. Okay, maybe Summer is like that for some people, but not for me. I don't like the sun, shorts, or hot weather. I don't really like pools and the beach is all sandy. If you're one of those folks who loves Summer and the oppressive weather that comes with it, I think that's awesome. But, I'll be in my hoodie, playing games in the air conditioning. 
    The beginning of the Summer season is marked by Memorial Day, which since 1971 has been on the last Monday of every May. Just a little history lesson: The first national Memorial Day was in 1868, but was called Decoration Day. It was started to memorialize those who died in the Civil War, but later the name was changed and it became a day to honor those who died in all wars. Though we celebrate with barbecues and a long weekend, it is a somewhat solemn occasion.
    So, to recognize the soldiers who died defending our country, Shrapnel Games,  a premier publisher of war games and strategy games, is having a Memorial Day sale, but only on their war games. The sale has already begun and lasts through May 28th. In addition, Shrapnel Games always offers a 10% discount to active duty and retired military members. Visit their website for more information . 

    Here's a sample of the games included in the sale:
    Air Assault Task Force for $33.95.  "Who doesn't like helicopters? Even better, helicopters swooping out of the sky and creating havoc?" A realistic war game featuring helicopters from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
    ATF: Armored Task Force for $22.95. Tank action throughout the world, with real-time gameplay and high-fidelity maps. 
    Battle Group Commander: Episode One for $9.95. ProSIM title featuring a British Battle Group facing off against Soviets. Episode One is a mini-game from ProSIM, focusing on four scenarios that have a high level of replayability. A mini game with of the features that ProSIM is known for.
    BCT: Commander for $14.95. A hyper-realistic simulation of modern ground combat.
    The Falklands War: 1982 for $33.95. A "fascinating" simulation from ProSIM, focused on infantry. Intricately detailed modeling in the historical campaign and hypothetical variants.
    Raging Tiger: The Second Korean War for $33.95. A hypothetical look at what would happen if another war started on the Korean peninsula. An open campaign system allows players to jump to any battle they wish. 
    Salvo! for $33.95. Send your opponents to Davey Jones' locker in this thrilling wargame of 17th through 19th century Age of Sail combat on the high seas.
    The Star and the Crescent for $33.95. ProSIM takes on the Middle East — focused on hypothetical wargaming between the Israelis and the Arabs.
    War Plan Pacific for $34.95. This revolutionary wargame covers the entire war in the Pacific from US entry until the atomic bomb, playable in a single session. Simple mechanics, historical strategy, with single and multiplayer games.
    winSPWW2 and winSPMBT Main Battle Tank Enhanced Editions, each only $34.95.  Based on the classic Steel Panthers engine, winSPWW2 and winSPMBT together provide gamers with almost a century of turn-based land warfare. With hundreds of scenarios, campaigns, and the ability to generate quick battles, both games have extensive replay value.
    World Supremacy for $21.95. Board game feel in a computer game, this game is, in fact, a battle to take over the world.

    Iron Throne Releases Tomorrow On Mobile. Pre-Register Now For Exclusive Rewards!

    The release of the fast-growing mobile gaming company, Netmarble's, newest game is only hours away and the title will sound familiar to many people. Iron Throne is an expansive, MMO strategy game with RPG elements created specifically for iOS and Android. As mobile technology quickly improves, so do the games offered on the platform. Gone are the days of match-three puzzlers and simple platformers — immersive games with intense combat and the increasingly popular battle royale gameplay are taking over the app stores.
    Iron Throne is not directly related to Game of Thrones, but players are likely to recognize many of the themes. You can't play as Jon Snow or “Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons”, but you do have the opportunity to become a ruler of your own making. The world of Iron Throne is a medieval fantasy realm, complete with murderous rulers, dragons, and a battle to rule the kingdom. With many different game elements, you have the freedom to become any kind of ruler that you want, but you're not going to come out on top without getting your hands dirty in battle. In order to become king, players must win the Capital War, which requires carefully forged alliances and a wide variety of strategies to win various battles. Netmarble promises a new and unique strategy experience that is sure to challenge seasoned players of classic strategy games and bring new gamers to the genre.

    Strategy is a major part of gameplay in the high-quality, colorful, 3D world, but Iron Throne is much bigger, offering opportunities for different types of players to get in on the action. Players will be able to master RPG elements that include crafting and working through an engaging, surprise-filled storyline of quests that utilize the game's original heroes and crafting systems — the object is to hire various heroes to lead their troops into battle, then increase their power through quests and equipping crafted items.
    With just strategy and RPG elements, Iron Throne is already a huge, full-featured game, but developers didn't stop there. Battle arena games like Fortnite are becoming some of the most popular and widely played games for the mobile platform, and Iron Throne has added Battle Royale and Team Deathmatch modes for fans of fast-paced, multiplayer, battle action. Perhaps the best part of these modes is that they can be played without losing troops or resources that would affect your strategy and building game.
    Iron Thrones hits mobile app stores on June 16, but there is still time left to claim some really cool rewards for pre-registering on the game's website (http://www.playironthrone.com). Players who pre-register will be rewarded with 1,000 gold, Dimensional Conqueror Helm, and Dimensional Conqueror Great Sword. At the moment, these rewards are only available to Android players.

    Iron Throne is likely to grow quickly, so make sure you download and get started on release day, May 16th. To get prepared, watch the trailer below:

    Cozy Up This Weekend With a Loved One and Indulge Yourselves in the Beautiful Medieval-Fantasy World of Coop Trine – On Sale Now

    Family, friends and partners - we all have them, we all love them and we can’t do without them, but sometimes it isn’t exactly easy to do with them either. Especially when that “sometimes” is the designated video game time.
    I’ve had many instances in which my need for gaming caused me to be bugged by my family for not attending joint Sunday lunches, or get patronized by my wonderful girlfriend for not spending more of my free time with her, so in order to evade future incidents I started to compromise. As making compromises is (unfortunately) a daily part of being an adult social creature, I decided to mix the best of both and spend my free time with my loved ones by playing coop games. This way my family, friends and girlfriend get their daily dose of my wonderful-self, while I get my gaming fix without being nagged later on.
    This is how I discovered the Trine Trilogy, a series of side-scrolling adventure games that feature some amazing fantasy environment and exciting puzzles that can be played in a local Coop.
    Trine was developed by the Finnish Frozenbyte and published by Nobilis. The first part of the series was released back in 2009, with the Trine 2 coming out in 2011 and Trine 3: Artifacts of Power appearing in 2015. In between the last two parts, there was also a remake of the original, titled Trine: Enhanced Edition which was released in 2014.
    The plot of all three Trine games (we do not count the remake of the first as only the graphics were improved, while the story stayed the same) follows the adventures of three playable protagonists, Zoya the Thief, Amadeus the Wizard and Pontius the Knight. The first game starts out in a ruined kingdom which is under the invasion of undead forces. The kingdom is home to the Astral Academy, a place where wizards and mages study the powers of magic and mysterious artifacts. Due to the war, the Academy is in disarray and mostly abandoned, which thief Zoya uses as an opportunity to break into, in hopes of stealing valuable treasures. At the same time, the clumsy wizard Amadeus wakes up from his long sleep which came as a side effect of a fireball spell gone wrong. Having slept through the invasion and the abandonment of the Academy, Amadeus wanders the hallways in confusion until he meets Pontius the knight. The brave knight took up arms in order to protect his kingdom and the academy, but was a little late to the party, as his big frame and huge stomach made him slow. From there the two proceed to the treasure vault where they discover Zoya stealing one of the artifacts. In an attempt to stop her, all three grab a hold of Trine, an artifact which binds the souls of persons that touch it. The trio disappears and spawns inside a tomb of the artifacts’ original guardian where they read a stone inscription saying that their souls are now bound and that they cannot exists without each other. The inscription further says that the only way to unbound is to recover the other two Trine artifacts which were stolen and corrupt by evil, thus causing the rise of the undead army which has taken over the kingdom. From there the trio sets out on an epic adventure in order to return the missing artifacts, restore the order to the kingdom and liberate their souls.

    From left to right: Amadeus the Wizard, Zoya the Thief and Pontius the Knight
    For Trine 2 and Trine 3, I cannot say much regarding the plots, as the sequels are somewhat interconnected and I’d hate to spoil it for you, however I will say that Trine 2 features Goblin enemies and some crazy-looking Goblin War Machinery, while Trine 3 takes our heroes to exotic destinations in a fight against rock monsters and Spriggan-looking creatures.
    In regard to gameplay, in all three parts, the player(s) are able to control any of the mentioned characters from the very start. As the game features three protagonists, up to three players can join the coop and play simultaneously on one screen. There is also an optional selection, where one character can be used by more than one player, however, this play-style can be challenging as every character has a unique set of skills which are used to overcome obstacles, defeat enemies and solve puzzles.
    As such, the wizard can create levitating boxes, planks and pyramids which serve as platforms to reach high places and overcome deep holes, lava pits and acid rivers. Wizard can also use his levitating spells to hilariously pick up enemies, swing them in the air, throw them on the traps and even set them up for thief’s or knight’s attacks. Wizard’s spells come in very handy when combined with Zoya’s abilities. The thief is highly maneuverable and is able to jump off wizard’s platforms and boxes with relative ease. She is also able to use her grappling hook to latch onto levitating pyramids and swing from them. The bow and arrow are her primary weapons which she uses to attack enemies and shoot off ropes and switches and/or set off traps. Thief also features an optional upgrade where she can shoot fire arrows or activate an invisibility mode so she can sneak past enemies. Knight Pontius is on the other hand, a character used for heavy melee attacks and protection of the group. He is the least maneuverable character due to his size, but he is able to operate heavy switches with ease as well as use his weight to balance planks. His sword is his main weapon for close attack, but he also has an unlockable Warhammer which can be thrown around. Pontius also handles a shield whose purpose is to protect the group and hold off enemy waves. The shield can also be used for bashing and running through a group of enemies, as well as gliding massive Pontius from a higher platform to the lower without risking fall damage.
    All these and many more abilities are unlockable trough gaining experience points and collecting treasures.

    Trine and Trine 2 Skill Trees and Inventory - Notice the Hilarious Monster Levitation Skill on the right 
    Graphic-wise, all three Trine games are absolutely beautiful. The environment is very fantasy-like with colors that fit perfectly with the level design and scenery. The fact that some of the levels feature puzzles that require the use of environment (such as, turning the plant leaves to control the flow of water and apply pressure to a switch) are an excellent touch, as they further emphasize the great graphic of the game. Music and sounds are also a strong suit of the series. The mystic medieval music combined with an excellent narrator immerses the players into the world of Trine, making the series feel not just like video game, but also like a graphical novel.

    All three Trine sequels are visually stunning! 
    Now please note, that I give my highest recommendation for the first two parts of the series, Trine and Trine 2. They both have interesting storylines, great controls and mechanics, and they both feature 2.5D environment. The third installment, Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power is not a game I would recommend. This part is the first to feature full 3D graphics, and although they are beautiful, the game is very watered down. Unlike the first two parts, this one features no upgrades and skill trees, the controls are very clunky and rage inducing, and story is cut very short as the development team ran out of money due to bad budgeting and “overlooking the fact that 3D games cost more”.
    As such, I wholeheartedly suggest everyone to try out Trine and Trine 2, especially if you like puzzles and platformers and are looking for a great Coop experience you can enjoy with your loved ones. On the other hand, it pains me to say so, but Trine 3 is not worthy of your time as it completely ruined the series and caused it to go on an indefinite hold.
    Trine: Enchanted Edition and Trine 2 currently hold Overwhelmingly Positive Ratings on Steam, while Trine 3: Artifacts of Power has Mixed reviews.
    They are sold separately or as a bundle which is currently on sale and available on Steam for 42.72 USD.   

    Play the first two Trine parts, you won't be disappointed!

    RPGolf Is Inspired By Mario Golf And Classic JRPGS – This Mobile Hit Is Now On Steam!

    "I’m Shintaro Kanaoya, chief important person at Chorus Worldwide, and I hope you enjoy RPGolf as much as I do. Because nothing says golf like clubbing monsters into oblivion.”
    Chorus Worldwide has announced the RPGolf, previously only available for mobile, has just been released on Steam.
    I have a confession to make — I am obsessed with golf games. It really doesn't matter which game it is, I will play nearly any golf game until my eyes are crossed, my fingers are blistered, and I have mastered it completely. If it's a multiplayer game, I will lose friends and relationships when no one wants to play with me. For many years, I had a borderline unhealthy addiction to Tiger Woods Golf. Mario Golf, one of the games that inspired RPGolf, is still one of my all-time favorite games. When the Nintendo Switch came out, everyone was enamored with Breath of the Wild, but all I wanted to play was the surprise indie hit, Golf Story, which also happens to be a "golf RPG", but RPGolf takes the idea to another level.
    "As a brave young golfer armed only with a club and your skills, you must tee off and complete the nine legendary holes, all while slicing, hooking, and clubbing monsters to death. Swing your club and show off your drive in dungeons - connecting with a monster’s head instead of a ball, naturally - and hop into a golf cart to cut across a green. Battling creatures is just par for the course when you’re an eagle-eyed JRPG golfing pro. Of course, you’ll need a bit of FORE-ward thinking if you’re to conquer these challenges.
    Battling bogeys will level you up, improving your strength and allowing you to hit the ball further. Outside of stats, equipment also plays a role: discover legendary clubs and gloves to improve your handicap on each course and give you the edge in battle."

    RPGolf take place in a world where people love golf, in fact, they're obsessed, something I can relate to. The citizens play constantly and turned their kingdom into the most beautiful course in the world. Everything was peaceful — until the monsters came. Sadly, no one could play golf anymore. 
    A hero came to the land with the skills to save the golf kingdom. She must play the legendary holes, defeat the monsters, and restore happiness to the people and their land.
    Players will have to use golf mechanics and skills, as well as retro RPG combat ability to master this 8-bit genre mashup that includes nine holes of golf on a vast, open-world map, dangerous dungeons filled with hidden treasure, and exciting boss fights. Intuitive controls make this game an addictive joy to play and the characters are charming in that recognizable JRPG kind of way.
    I have absolutely no interest in playing actual golf, a game that requires practice, skill, and even a certain amount of athleticism and body awareness. But, RPGolf is going to the top of the list of golf games that I'm obsessed with. 
    RPGolf is available on mobile and as of yesterday, Steam ($3.99).
    Watch the *brand new* trailer:

    Smoke And Sacrifice Confirmed For May 31st. Get A Behind-The-Scenes Look With A New Video!

    Early news of the upcoming narrative-driven, open world RPG, Smoke and Sacrifice, describes it as a " beautiful, hand-animated story of motherhood and survival". As the game has taken shape and a release date confirmed, it appears to be a stunning gameplay experience with nods to classic survival games. It seeks to take the genre and add to it, offering something that fans of the genre will recognize, but pushing the boundaries to create something fresh and innovative. Every single description of the game speaks of its beauty, intimately told story, and compelling, "storybook" world, but what lies underneath is a much darker theme.
    From Curve Digital:
    "Players assume the role of Sachi, a young mother on a quest to discover the fate of her child. The game takes place in a darkly fantastical world where grotesque plantlife and animals roam and harsh societal customs rule... Creatures forage, mate, breed, and prey on one another, creating a living world. Only by taming the game’s wilds can Sachi hope to unravel the mystery at the heart of Smoke and Sacrifice."

    There's a lot of hype surrounding Smoke and Sacrifice, and the release date has finally been announced. Nintendo Switch and PC players will be the first to get their hands on the game on May 31st, just weeks away. Xbox and PS4 users will have to wait a little longer, with a later 2018 release date to be announced. Many are surprised that Nintendo Switch is a part of the first release wave, but this is just the type of game that lends itself extremely well to the home/mobile hybrid Switch. Having played Don't Starve (Pocket) on an iPad and The Flame In The Flood on Switch, I can attest to the benefits of picking up a survival game and taking it anywhere. Given the opportunity, I would always choose a portable format for this genre of game in the future. Of course, Nintendo Switch offers the benefits of a traditional gaming console, as well.
    As the release date approaches, the buzz surrounding Smoke and Sacrifice is only increasing, and the early response is overwhelmingly positive. “We’re thrilled to announce the release date for the PC and Nintendo Switch versions of Smoke and Sacrifice,” said Tancred Dyke-Wells, Co-Founder of Solar Sail Games. “Player feedback since we revealed the game has been wonderful, at shows such as EGX Rezzed and GDC as well as online. We’ve been hard at work making this is the most narratively ambitious survival game yet, creating a beautiful, hostile world for the player to explore alongside a deep, robust crafting system.”
    Last week, a trailer for the game was released, but today, developers have shared a new and exciting video with a glimpse into the making of Smoke and Sacrifice, gameplay footage, and discussions with key members of the development team. In addition, developers have delved just a little deeper and given us more insight into one of the game's strongest elements — the story.
    "Sachi’s home is the one tiny patch of fertile land which remains, surrounded by icy wasteland. Her farming community survives only thanks to their devotion to the blazing Sun Tree, which replaces the light of the failed sun. After sacrificing her firstborn child to the Sun Tree, Sachi discovers a darker secret - will she discover the truth of what happened to her son, or perish in the swirling, deadly smoke of the underworld?"
    Watch the *brand new* developer video below:

    Arizona Sunshine – Dead Man DLC Coming Soon With An All-New Campaign!

    Take a relaxing vacation to the beautiful United States southwest... wait, that's not it at all. Try to survive the desert during a harrowing zombie apocalypse in Arizona Sunshine, an immersive and gruesome FPS virtual reality experience.
    Built specifically for virtual reality, Arizona Sunshine is an award-winning game with a Metacritic score of 81. Players must survive the hordes of zombies as they search for other human survivors. A true survival challenge, you must ration your ammo and supplies carefully, searching for more along the way. Even the undead hold on to items that could be useful — you'll have to do some dead zombie body searches. 
    The landscape offers many unique locations, like mines, canyons, and abandoned towns. Coming on May 24, the brand new "Dead Man" DLC adds an all-new environment to explore and if you survive, you get to go nuclear on a deadly zombie horde. It offers a new challenge for experienced players, and with the DLC release, developers hope to bring in a new wave of gamers to fight the neverending waves of undead.
    From Vertigo Games:
    "Arizona Sunshine – Dead Man DLC drops you in an infested US missile base where you lead a frantic attempt to contain the expanding zombie outbreak. Playing as Dockson, a US Army Special Forces corporal, the fate of the American Southwest rests in your hands as you fight to launch a nuclear-warhead loaded missile vital to stopping the spread of zombies. Locked away in the close-quarters of the missile silo, even the most veteran of Arizona Sunshine survivors will need to stay on their toes to overcome the undead onslaught and complete the mission."

    Dead Man DLC includes:
    An all-new campaign mission telling a prequel story to Arizona Sunshine. Online co-op functionality for up to two players. A range of difficulty settings including the insane Apocalyptic Mode! 6 new achievements/trophies spread across an infested missile base. 3 new weapons: A fully automatic submachine gun, a two-handed shotgun and a tactical handgun. 3 new masks: the military gas mask, the skull mask, and the Dead Man mask. New character customization options that carry over to the base game.   The Dead Man DLC will be available for $2.49. Note: release date for Vive, Oculus, and Windows HMD is May 24th, with a PSVR June release date yet to be announced. A virtual reality headset is required. Arizona Sunshine was released in on December 6, 2016, and is still considered to be one of the best virtual reality games available. Now, with the addition of a brand new DLC, it looks like the game is here to stay. Players remain impressed with the compelling campaign and the hordes of zombies keep coming, more than a year after the game's original release.
    From a Steam reviewer:
    "This is still a very relevant VR game. It is more polished than MOST other VR games and gives the platform a great example of VR done right."
    Watch the original Arizona Sunshine launch trailer:


    Play With Me – A New Adventure Inspired By The Saw Horror Franchise

    Indie game developer AIREM and IQ Publishing have teamed up for the nightmarish Play With Me. Despite the friendly name that brings about thoughts of childhood toys and careless, youthful fun, this game is anything but. It's a point-and-click adventure, filled with horror elements and inspired by the Saw franchise. There's even a creepy clown that just might bring back memories (and nightmares) of Billy the Puppet.
    Currently, Play With Me is available on Steam for PC, but versions are in the works for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and even mobile. 
    The game's protagonist is Robert Hawk, who has mysteriously disappeared, along with his wife, Sara. Their abandoned vehicle has been located, but there are few clues to tip off investigators to what happened and where they have ended up. However, Robert's career as an investigative journalist may be the only thing they have to go on. Along with his partner, Private Investigator Patrick Clark, Robert had been researching and writing a series of articles about a serial killer named "Illusion". He may have gotten just a little bit too close and now he knows too much... and he's become a victim, too.

    "Illusion" isn't content to simply murder his victims, but prefers to torture them in the process. Trapped in his game, you must guide Robert through a series of challenging puzzles and negotiate the human element of the story. Finding unique ways to use and manipulate objects is key, but so is forming human relationships that could be advantageous. Eventually, you will have to explore your own morality when you are forced to make life or death choices. Play as a cold-hearted survivor and sacrifice others to save yourself, or form bonds and try to help your fellow captives survive.
    Play With Me is a story-rich adventure with unique, randomized puzzles and a variety of outcomes based on your choices throughout the game. Even though your life is at stake, you're going to have to keep your wits about you to find a way out of the trap. To keep things interesting, there are plenty of non-traditional ways to manipulate items in-game.
    From the developer:
    "Get to a higher level of immersion and use real objects to outsmart the harasser. Blow into the microphone to blow out the candles, make a hand gesture to light the match, shake the box (what may be inside?), open the jar (watch out because the eyeballs may fall out!) or attack someone with a hammer! I hope you have a mirror within your reach… And that is only the beginning of the surprises!"

    Players report that the puzzles are fairly difficult, and being successful requires some creative thinking. Rather than using traditional video game puzzle mechanics, Play With Me draws from the popularity of escape rooms and requires you to use everything at your disposal, not just the obvious items. Everything from the people you are trapped with to the literal "writing on the wall" has the potential to get you one step closer to safety.
    Not just a single playthrough game, Play With Me has multiple endings and game modes, plus mini-games. It's a terror-filled adventure for fans of story-based puzzle games with traditional horror elements and plenty of references to one of the best horror franchises of all time.
    Watch the *new* Play With Me trailer below:
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