Don’t Die, Mr Robot! Review

Read More

There is a high probability that I will be committed to an insane asylum after writing this next paragraph but hear me out. Our Don’t Die, Mr Robot! review;

During my time with Don’t Die, Mr Robot, there was one song that inexplicably came to mind over and over. I don’t particularly like this song but its first few lines perfectly describes how I feel about Mr Robot. That song is Lose Yourself by Eminem and the lyrics go a little something like this;

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs.
But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down,
The whole crowd goes so loud

Think I have lost my mind? Allow me to explain…

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
Don’t Die, Mr Robot! is a perfect example of a developer nailing down a simplistic system and then tweaking and twisting it to really put some meat on a games bones. As the name suggests, the game is about preventing Mr Robot from shifting off of his mortal coil – something which is easier said than done. Each game starts with Mr Robot in the centre of the screen, sitting, smiling back at you with his cheeky grin. Then all hell breaks loose. The edge of the screen explodes with warning signs which hail the arrival of Mr Robot’s would-be assassins, a cast of robotic missiles, machines and miscreants, each with their own method of getting across the screen. Akin to a bullet-hell game, the aim is to survive by avoiding all of the enemies that are thrown at you. So what does this have to do with sweaty palms, weak knees and heavy arms? The basic premise of Don’t Die, Mr Robot! is twitchy, tense and nail biting. The screen can quickly fill with a horde of enemies leaving tiny spaces for Mr Robot to squeeze through making your buttocks tense up. Of course, Mr Robot has his own unique method of fighting back – Fruit. Yes. You read that right. Fruit. Randomly spawning around the screen are pieces of fruit (Cherry’s, Oranges, Apples, Grapes and more) which let out a shock wave when ever Mr Robot picks them up. Any enemies caught within that shock-wave are destroyed, freeing up a little breathing room for the titular hero. If another piece of fruit is within range of the blast radius, you can kick off some great chains which spread across the screen taking any enemies with them and increasing your score in the process. It’s a simple premise but it works really, really well.

Dont-Die1

There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
Don’t Die, Mr Robot! has a retro feel thanks to its art style. It’s bright and simplistic, bringing back memories of a by-gone age of gaming. Think TxK meets Pacman and you are along the right lines. The parallax-like base, colourful enemies and, of course, Mr Robot himself combine together to create an assault on your retinas. It’s not unpleasant but can be totally over whelming at times. There were a few of the Remix levels that really boggled my eyes because the base was completely off-kilter from the movement of the game.

He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs
Dropping (fruit) bombs does much more than just remove Mr Robot’s attackers – it increases your score. Don’t Die, Mr Robot! has several different modes, all of which offer something a little different. The games “Arcade” mode is the simplistic never ending survival-’em-up which gets more and more difficult the longer you play. The only aim is to survive and your only measure of success is your score which is racked up by obliterating your would-be attackers. Don’t Die’s “Chill Out” mode is the opposite end of the spectrum. Enemies move in slow motion across the screen and fruit spawns less regularly. It’s quite relaxing but can be tense when the screen is full of slow moving robots. The Time Attack mode is my weapon in Mr Robot’s arsenal. With only 2 and a half minuets at your disposal, you are challenged to pull together the highest score possible.

Lastly, the Remix mode – a set of 50 different challenges each with their own goal, is where you will be spending most of your time. Each Remix test has different criteria which change the way you play the game. Restricting movement to a horizontal or vertical plane, having a polar opposite magnetic effect on fruit and making certain fruits dangerous to Mr Robot are just a few of the variants that the Remix mode throws at you. The aim of the remix mode is to stay alive for long enough/score enough to unlock in-game bronze, silver, gold and platinum trophies, each of which award points that unlock further Remix’s. Here is where Don’t Die, Mr Robot! stumbles…

But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down
The Remix mode should be the best thing about Don’t Die, Mr Robot but the game does little to explain the mode, the trophies, the targets or what to do. When you start each Remix for the first time, your first target, the bronze trophy time/score is displayed in the top right of the screen. The silver, gold and platinum times are not shown until they become your next target score/time. In this type of game, when gunning for the Platinum is the whole purpose, it seems daft not to display this score/time before or during the Remix. Several times during the Remix mode I have pinned myself in a corner to wait out what I thought would be the last few seconds of the challenge only to be wiped out before the end of the Remix. The trophy “points” are also a mystery, with no details on what trophy awards what points. These might seem like small, niggly issues but they cause a rankle in an otherwise addictive game mode.

The whole crowd goes so loud
It is worth mentioning the Don’t Die, Mr Robot soundtrack which can flip from the sublime to the ridiculous. The majority of the tracks used during play are old-school synth beats with plenty of bass but there are a hand full of fast paced electro tracks and a guitar riff in there for good measure. The sound tracks alone are toe-tappingly pleasing on the ear but once the games sound effects – specifically the Vegas Slot machine chimes – are layered over them, the game can create quite a din.

It would be easy to pass up Don’t Die, Mr Robot based on the simplistic premise and retro-styled graphics but Infinite State Games have done an admirable job of creating an addictive, twitch game from a basic idea. The Remix mode could have done with a little more polish in terms of displaying goals and the sound effects can be irritating at times but it is easy to lose an hour to Mr Robots desperate plea for survival without even noticing it. !!!Terrible Joke Alert!!! You could say…You “Lose Yourself“…

Bonus: As both of the Vita’s thumb sticks control Mr Robot, the game is suitable for both right-handed and southpaw gamers.

Developer: Infinite State Games
Publisher: Infinite State Games

Don’t Die, Mr Robot is available now on PSVita and PlayStation TV.

Full Disclosure: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a code for the game.

You can find all of our review over on the PSGamer Review Leader Board.

Grim Fandango Remastered Review

Read More

When it comes to point and click adventures, Lucas Arts were the undisputed masters. During the 80’s and 90’s the studio created some of the greatest games of the genre – Monkey Island, Day Of The Tentacle, Maniac Mansion, The Dig and Full Throttle – all of which still stand the test of time to this day. Thanks to Tim Shafer’s Double Fine and the PlayStation Third Party production team, one of Lucas Arts’ very best adventures, Grim Fandango, has been remastered and re-released for the PS4 and PSVita and while this remaster spruces up the dated visuals of the classic original, freezing and save bugs threaten to spoil the games shiny new coating.

For those who did not play the original Grim Fandango, the game is set in the 8th level of the Underworld. It tells the tale of Manny Calavera whose job at the Department of Death (or DoD for short) is to greet the recently deceased and to sell them travel packages to the 9th circle of Hell. Unfortunately, Manny has hit a bit of a dry spell, only receiving clients whos less-than-virtuous deeds on Earth mean they can not afford premium travel packages on the Number Nine Express train. Meanwhile, Manny’s arch rival Domino has been hitting it big, rounding up all of the angelic souls who can afford a “Double NN Ticket” and sending them on their way. Manny starts to suspect foul play at the DoD and so starts to snoop around but it is only when he meets Meche Colomar, a pure and beautiful soul which is unable to afford a train ticket for some inexplicable reason, that Manny uncovers a nefarious plot at his company.

GrimFandangoRemasterjjhed7

Broken down into 4 acts, Grim Fandango spans the length of the 8th circle of the underworld featuring the city of El Marrow, the port town of Rubacava and even the Edge of the World but the one thing that remains the same throughout is the art style. Inspired by noir crime films, 1930’s art deco and the Mexican Day of the Dead, Grim Fandango is unique in terms of visuals and style which is still fresh and bold even though it is almost 20 years old (thanks in part by the HD spit shine that the Remaster has received). As smart as the visuals are, it is the game play that really sets Grim Fandango out from the crowd…

Much like the majority of other Lucas Arts games, Grim Fandango Remastered has no failure conditions (there is no “Game Over” situation) and the game is propped up by hundreds of intelligent, creative puzzles, the solutions to which are never immediately apparent. The game presents you with a multitude of problems which Manny must solve in ingenious ways. Right from the outset, when you are having to think “out of the box” using items (all of which are stored in Manny’s jacket pocket) in ways outside of their design. Using coral and a rope as a makeshift grappling hook or making a character sick are just standard solutions to the puzzles of Grim Fandango and they are as frustrating as they are imaginative. Even though I played through Grim Fandango more times than I care to admit upon its original release, a hand full of the puzzles still gave me a head ache and the memories of exasperation from all those years ago came flooding back. Grim Fandango requires a measure of patience and a great deal of trial and error but the pay off is always worth the head scratching and teeth grinding that some of the games puzzles invoke.

The one thing I have not yet mentioned is that Grim Fandango is genuinely funny. It’s dialogue heavy and full of gags, one liners and satire. From the wacky over-the-top slap stick to the banter with Domino and the games villains, there are some truly laugh out loud moments. Almost every conversation and puzzle solution is enough to raise a wry smile but there are plenty of belly laughs on offer here too. The biggest laughs come from the vivid characters of the game, all of which are a caricature. Domino, the slimy office favourite. Glottis, the flawed and obtuse daemon best friend. Olivia, the beret wearing hipster. Sal, the determined revolutionary. The cast is packed with memorable characters who you can grow to love or instantly hate.

So, what has been Remastered? The core game remains the same but quite a lot has been improved. The visuals have been spruced up with new, detailed textures across backgrounds and character models, real-time lighting effects and this remaster runs at a smooth 1080p resolution. The sound track has been fully orchestrated (with added jazz saxophone) which blends with the games themes perfectly, harking back to the noir films of the 1940’s. A new control method has been added (although the original tank control scheme is still available for the purists) which sends Manny in the direction you are pressing. The game also has the option to run at the original 4:3 aspect ratio (with side bars filling the rest of the screen) or at 16:9.

Unfortunately, these improvements have resulted in a few unsavoury side effects. During my first run though of the remastered Grim Fandango, it froze up twice at one particular point (when trying to climb up to the roof of the DoD) and after resetting the PS4, the game wouldn’t start at all. Deleting the install data and reinstalling the game fixed the issue but this was still incredibly annoying. Grim Fandango Remastered can also take a worrying long time to save. As there is no auto-save function, you have to manually do it from the options menu and this can make the game hang for a few minuets.

Technical issues with the Remastered edition aside, Grim Fandango is still one of the best point-and-click adventures ever created and I am delighted that Double Fine and Sony worked hard to bring it back from the dead. It has a compelling plot, a fantastic cast of characters, a unique art style, dry-as-a-bone wit throughout and some of the very best “Why didn’t I think of that?” puzzle solving moments of all time. Of the glut of Remastered games that are popping up all over the release calendar, this is the one that I find most deserving. It’s a game I spent an eye watering amount with as a teen and has stood the test of time extremely well, the remastered visuals and new control method shedding the dated aspects of the original entirely and leaving the fantastic game that remained intact. In short, it’s dead good.

Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Double Fine Productions

Grim Fandango Remastered is available now on PC, Mac, Linux, PSVita and PS4 (review version).

Full Disclosure: In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of the game from the PSN Store. All patches were installed at the time of review.

You can find all of the games that we have reviewed at PSGamer by visiting the PSGamer Review Leader Board.

80’s inspired racer Drift Stage is coming to the PS4 and PSVita

Read More

The 80’s were a golden age for racing games. Out Run, Spy Hunter, Hard Drivin’, Super Sprint and Road Blasters pushed the boundaries of the time and fathered the genre that many of us love today. Super System Software are taking PlayStation gamers back to these glory days with Drift Stage, a racer with modern-day sensibilities but full of the 80’s charm.

Drift Stage has smashed it’s Kickstarter goal of $30,000 by more than $20k and it still has 3 days to go so the game is definitely coming its originally stated platforms (PC/Mac/Linux) but Super System Software have now announced that a PS4 and PSVita version is in the works.

An update on the Drift Stage Kickstarter page says;

We’ve been talking to people at Sony for quite a while now, and we’re finally at a point where we can say: we’re working towards PS4 and PS Vita releases of Drift Stage, and the fact that we’ve exceeded our funding goal is certainly going to help make it happen. We’re still focused on PC/Mac/Linux right now, but we’re hoping to hit PS4/Vita in 2016.

Drift_StageThis move makes total sense for all involved. PlayStation platforms have become second homes for the best and brightest the the indie development community has to offer, often brining the game to an entirely new audience.

You still have time to back the game in order to nab the PC, Mac or Linux version so visit the Kickstarter page here if that is your platform of choice.

Project Scissors: NightCry gets scary new trailer

Read More

Project Scissors: NightCry is the spiritual successor to the classic survival horror Clock Tower series. Coming from the creator of Clock Tower, Hifumi Kono, and the director behind the terrifying film Ju-On (which you might know better as The Grudge), Takashi Shimizu, the game is set on a cruise liner and has you play as 2 beautiful passengers who are desperately trying to evade the evil that haunts them.

A point and click adventure that steers clear of weaponry, Project Scissors: NightCry is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter to the tune of $300,000. It is currently $49,500 on its way to its goal with 19 days to go and if it is successful, it will release on the Vita, PC via Steam (and probably humble and GoG), Android and iOS.

Today developers Playism and Nude Makers have released the first game play footage of Project Scissors: NightCry.

If you like the look of Project Scissors: NightCry, head to KickStarter (widget embedded below) and help this game come to the PSVita.

Source

Sony Online Entertainment is no more. Say hello to Daybreak Game Studio

Read More

No, this isn’t a studio who’s only aim is to produce breakfast TV simulators, Daybreak Game Studio is the new name for Sony Online Entertainment which was recently purchased by Columbus Nova, an investment management firm based in New York.

SOE are known for some excellent online multiplayer games such as EverQuest, PlanetSide 2, DC Universe Online and H1Z1 and have been creating games since 1999!

“Sony Online Entertainment, newly rebranded as Daybreak, is a great addition to our existing portfolio of technology, media and entertainment focused companies. We see tremendous opportunities for growth with the expansion of the company’s game portfolio through multi-platform offerings as well as an exciting portfolio of new quality games coming up, including the recently launched H1Z1 and the highly anticipated EverQuest Next to be released in the near future,” said Jason Epstein, Senior Partner of Columbus Nova. “The recent Early Access launch success of H1Z1 is just one testament to the talent and dedication of the studio’s developers to create great online gaming experiences.”

“We are excited to join Columbus Nova’s impressive roster of companies. They have a proven track record in similar and related industries and we are eager to move forward to see how we can push the boundaries of online gaming,” said John Smedley, President, Daybreak Game Company. “We will continue to focus on delivering exceptional games to players around the world, as well as bringing our portfolio to new platforms, fully embracing the multi-platform world in which we all live.”

A letter was sent out to various partners and gamers stating that any current games that are in developement shall continue their progress with everything being “Business as usual” This is soothing words as for a moment I was worried H1Z1 would be canned, delayed or something. Anyways, you can read the letter below

Dear Players, Partners and Friends,

Today, we are pleased to announce that we have been acquired by Columbus Nova, an investment management firm well-known for its success with its existing portfolio of technology, media and entertainment focused companies. This means that effective immediately SOE will operate as an independent game development studio where we will continue to focus on creating exceptional online games for players around the world, and now as a multi-platform gaming company. Yes, that means PlayStation and Xbox, mobile and more!

As part of this transition, SOE will now become Daybreak Game Company. This name embodies who we are as an organization, and is a nod to the passion and dedication of our employees and players. It is also representative of our vision to approach each new day as an opportunity to move gaming forward.

So what exactly does this mean for you? It will be business as usual and all SOE games will continue on their current path of development and operation. In fact, we expect to have even more resources available to us as a result of this acquisition. It also means new exciting developments for our existing IP and games as we can now fully embrace the multi-platform world we are living in.

Our games and players are the heart and soul of our organization, and we are committed to maintaining our portfolio of online games and pushing the limits of where we can take online gaming together.

Thank you for your continued support. See you in game!

The Team at Daybreak

forums.station.sony

Bad news: Red Goddess is delayed. Good News: It has a new trailer

Read More

Backers of the successful Kickstarter Red Goddess: Inner World woke to find a disappointing email in their inbox this morning – The game has been delayed until April.

In the email, a spokesman from Yanim Studios said “We’re finding very hard to have to tell you guys is that we’re going to be delayed a few more months until next April. Really sorry guys to tell you this, but everyone on the team is cranking full force and the game is really coming together. We’re moving towards Alpha and we’re getting really close!”

The reason for the delay? As Red Goddess: Inner World is built on the Unreal Engine 4 Engine, Yanim are having issues porting the game across to the Wii U and PSVita (as this can’t be done directly). Yanim have also been waiting 2 months for Xbox One dev kits from Microsoft. The PS4 and PC version of the game are still on track and the below trailer shows how Red Goddess: Inner World is shaping up.

For those of you who are only just reading about Red Goddess: Inner World, the game is a platformer with a unique twist. The game changes based on the mentality of the main character. If she gets angry, the environment gets angry with her.

You can read all about the game on its official website or by following it on twitter.

Futurlab bringing Global Games Jam entry SquishFits to consoles

Read More

The annual Global Games Jam, the worlds largest games jam which spans a January weekend each year, has produced some fantastic results over the past few years, some of which are taken forward beyond the jam and are developed into a full release.

Futurlab, the studio behind Coconut Dodge and the incredible Velocity 2X, took part in Global Game Jam 2015 and their results were so impressive, they are taking their entry “Squishfits” into full production and intend on bringing the game to consoles.

Inspired by a hilarious Japanese game show (that may look very familiar i.e. Hole In The Wall) SquishFits lets you “takes control of a shape that can move left, right, jump and also rotate in 90 degree increments. Walls containing shaped holes are constantly approaching the players, and threaten to squish them. Players have to quickly figure out where their shape must fit into the hole and position themselves accordingly to avoid being squished.”

Squishfits

Futurlab have a special relationship with Sony and PlayStation, releasing a plethora of exclusive titles on the PS4 and PSVita, so it is likely that Squishfits will be seeing a release on one of Sony’s devices. During the jam, Squishfits was also tested using an Xbox 360 controller so it may also be coming to an Xbox.

Of course, we love Futurlab here at PSGamer (you may have heard Ross and I waxing lyrical about them on the PSGamecast) and as fun as SquishFits looks after a 48 hour Game Jam, we can’t wait to see what the game will look like when they bring it to consoles.

Source

Say goodbye to Maps, YouTube and Near functions Vita Owners

Read More

Sony has today announced that support for some of the PlayStation Vita’s functions will soon be coming to an end via a swift chop in the next System update.

So if you like to use your Vita to navigate the world, you’ll need to think again as Maps will be removed automatically come the update. At the same time Near, will lose all its location services, or display maps, pretty much leaving the service redundant.

Next on the chopping board is the YouTube app, support will disappear come 20th April, although gamers can still access videos and the like via the browser.

According to Sony’s Q&A pages, there is mention of these changes but no reason has been given. Could this signal the beginning of the end for our beloved hand-held? Not just yet I would imagine, It’s more likely a cost cutting exercise as Sony are still paying a license to the YouTube app, which could be quite a cost when compared to the number of people actually using it. Perhaps Sony are just streamlining the Vita, cutting down on the faff and focussing on making it the ultimate gaming machine. That gets my thumbs up.

Source: Eurogamer