28/04/2023

King of the Arcade XSX Review 6.5/10 "A fun, mini-game-laden budget title" ๐Ÿ•น️ @SuperVillainDev #IndieGame #GameDev

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King of the Arcade casts the player as a once-adored arcade master that has now fallen to the lows of living in his mum’s basement, with zero cash and mounting debt. In a last-ditch attempt to get a job, he applies at the local arcade, where the owner recognises him from his glorious gaming past.

Sworn to a life out of the limelight, our protagonist is dragged into a situation where he must once again waggle his joystick better than anyone else, as he strives to best the thugs from a competing arcade at their chosen games…or not, as the case may be.

27/04/2023

Flight From The Dark | Book Review | Author: Joe Dever | Publisher: Magmanund "Timeless Adventures For All -You Are Lone Wolf!" ๐Ÿบ⚔️ #GameBook

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When I had the opportunity to cover Magnamund’s Flight in the Dark gamebook, it dawned on me that I used to adore the gamebooks of my childhood and teens, but then they seemed to fall by the wayside - for some reason - for decades.

A couple of years ago, I was in a charity shop in my home town of Cardiff and saw a good number of Fighting Fantasy books for sale and grabbed them all. After reading a couple, the fun of the experience set back in and it sparked some conversations with friends – especially my GF colleague Max – as the design of the books is timeless, and there’s universal accessibility in them that I’ll touch upon later.

In short, the chance to write about Joe Dever’s Flight in the Dark could not have been more timely.

The Creepy Syndrome Xbox One Review 7.5/10 "Frightening Fun For Under a Fiver!" ๐Ÿ‘ป @JanduSoft @BoomfireGames #IndieGames #GameDev

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I was lucky enough to cover Boomfire Games’ prior release - Cards of the Dead - back in 2021 around Halloween time. I was a big fan of the deck-based storytelling and simple, yet tense premise - escape from the zombie-ridden city without dying! In fact, I enjoyed the artwork and game so much that I backed the Kickstarter for the actual card game release of Cards of the Dead – and recently played through a few rounds of it during an extremely nerdy weekend board game retreat with a  group of equally nerdy friends.

The game went down a storm, and I’m already keen to play again! 

And so, a few months ago when Jandusoft began to tease the release of The Creepy Syndrome, my britches were full of twitches! 

26/04/2023

Escape From The Red Planet PC Ten-Minute Taster Gameplay "Turrets & Solar Panels At The Ready!" ๐Ÿช☄️ @frostypopgames #IndieGames #GameDev

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Escape From The Red Planet simplifies resource management, tower defence, and first-person mechanics into a singular arcade experience. On the latest mission to Mars, the Orion III crash-landed. With Martian attacks looming, Houston most definitely has a problem!

Redemption Reapers Nintendo Switch Review 6/10 “A Decent SRPG, That Doesn’t Want To Take Too Many Chances” ⚔️ #IndieGames #GameDev

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Redemption Reapers opens with a very engaging cinematic, it’s very effective and does a good job setting up the narrative whilst sowing intrigue. It introduces us to our band of mercenaries, ‘The Ashen Hawk Brigade’ who have taken up the fight against The Mort - a destructive band of orc-like creatures who have swept through the land, decimating village after village.

It’s an interesting setup and I was definitely invested quickly, the problem came about three-quarters of the way through my time with Redemption Reapers, when I realised the opening had been the most impactful thing so far - and though I was enjoying my time in this world, it never managed to recapture that initial interest.

Mario Mixtape by Mustin ๐ŸŽถ @Mustin #SuperMarioBrosMovie #SuperMarioMovie #VideoGameMusic #VGM

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You might have noticed that there was a Super Mario Bros. film released recently. Or, I don’t know, perhaps you’ve been in a cave thousands of feet below the earth’s surface. 

In any case, music producer Mustin has released an album in celebration. Mario Mixtape is a genre-hopping collection of remixes of tracks from Nintendo’s number one franchise, written by Mustin himself and produced with his 17-year-old son Logan.

The twelve tracks cover the entire series, from the underground theme in the original game, all the way through Dr Mario and Super Smash Bros. Melee, to a military drum-filled version of Attack of the Airships from Super Mario Galaxy. 

Standouts are the electro-swing Delfino Plaza, from Super Mario Sunshine, and the city pop-esque Piranha Plant’s Lullaby from Super Mario 64. This album is a lot of fun and gives a new lease of life to a lot of tracks you forgot you knew.

 

Mario Mixtape is available on all streaming services, and if you want to support Mustin directly (as I always recommend) it’s available digitally and on CD for $ 9.99 USD on his Bandcamp page.


25/04/2023

Speedonauts PC Review 7/10 "Speedonauty, Very Nauty…" ๐ŸŽฟ @WorldAwayGames #IndieGames #GameDev

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Alto, the lonely goatherd and toadly gnarly snowboarder have a lot to answer for. Fire up one of his adventures on your phone and time has a tendency to disappear. This sideways scrolling endless runner game had a beautiful simplicity to it and a series of increasingly difficult challenges that draws you back in. And draw me in they did.

So, when presented with the opportunity to take a closer look at World Away’s Speedonauts, I was excited, but also concerned about developing another snowsport addiction.

24/04/2023

Thumby by TinyCircuits "the smallest handheld console ever made?" ๐Ÿ‘ @TinyCircuits #Retrogaming #GameDev

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My fiancรฉe introduced me to Thumby a few weeks ago via – I believe – an Instagram post she came across.

It was an intriguing and novel concept – a challenge to make the smallest handheld console ever made, and for it also to be a fully functional system.

21/04/2023

Sanctuary SAGA PC Ten Minute Taster "Pixel Art Perfection" ⚔️ @SancSagaRPG #IndieGame #GameDev

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Protect your caravan and face the brutal Untamed Wilds in rogue-lite turn-based RPG Sanctuary Saga. Engage in row-based combat across multiple varied biomes and keep your group together using a dynamic relationship system.

Calmer from Flare "A Game Changer" ๐Ÿฆป๐Ÿ‘‚@flareaudio

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I initially came across the Calmer product via a source that I usually pay no attention towards -  Twitter advertising.

However, I’m acutely aware of anything that can assist with my younger brother’s daily issues with certain frequencies triggering incredibly debilitating, migraines (it doesn’t help that I communicate with him exclusively by blowing on a whistle for differing lengths of time - in a language entirely of my own devising, to be honest) and also, with me being the singer/guitarist in a band outside of GF (www.recluse.bandcamp.com), I’m only too aware of the long-term effects of poor ear-care combined with consistent exposure to loud volumes without due preparation.

And so I contacted Flare, who kindly sent out promotional units for us to cover. 

I have to say that the results of using Calmer have been quite astonishing.

20/04/2023

VGM Essentials: Pokรฉmon Remixed Vinyl Review "Flash Forward A Few Years and Now I have Kids, and They Like Pokemon" ๐Ÿ’ฟ @MateriaStore #Vinyl #VideoGameVinyl #VGMVinyl

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The Pokemon series has, by and large, passed me by. The original came out in the late 90s, and I bought a Gameboy with the game just to see what all the fuss was about. 

A couple of hours in and it never really grabbed me, so that Gameboy pretty much became a Tetris machine (no regrets). And, like everyone in the world, I did a little bit of Pokemon Go at first but never actually understood what I was meant to be doing.

19/04/2023

Catan Console Edition Xbox Series X Review 7/10 "I’m a pretty keen board gamer" ๐Ÿงฉ @DTGBoardgames #IndieGame #GameDev

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I’ll preface this review by saying I’m a pretty keen board gamer. I’ve got a semi-regular gaming group, involving some other Games Freezer contributors, and we enjoy the odd weekend away getting stuck into tabletop delights, with Yellow Pages-esque rulebooks and hundreds of miniatures that end up all over the shop (looking at you, Endure the Stars).

Curiously though, before getting this for review I’d never played Settlers of Catan (or Catan, as it’s now officially called). It’s one of the board games that’s credited with bringing the hobby into the mainstream, with simple rules and fairly deep gameplay (at least, if you compare it to Scrabble).

18/04/2023

Beyond The Long Night Ten Minute Taster PC Gameplay "Twin Stick Balloon Shooter"๐ŸŽˆ @NoisyHeadGames #IndieGame #GameDev

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In Beyond The Long Night you explore a whimsical underground world whilst being chased by a mysterious corrupting force in this charming twin-stick action roguelike! 

Befriend loveable characters, fend off enemies with chaotic abilities, and uncover the secrets of this subterranean kingdom caught in a time loop.

WWE2K23 Xbox Series X Review 8/10 “No Steps Back” ๐Ÿคผ‍♂️ @transvaalgf #WWE

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When reviewing the previous entry in the series - WWE2K22 - I mentioned that recent WWE games have a habit of going one step forward but two steps back. Well, finally for the first time in years, that statement does not apply to this entry. After having good building blocks from last year’s version, they didn’t remove a mode or change things drastically for no reason, they simply worked on and improved what they had already built last year.

The gameplay is largely the same, which is a good thing, as there has been a long-running joke between my brother and me in that the first thing he would ask me about the new WWE game would be, “Have they changed the control scheme again?”, so it was nice this year to say “no, it’s the same as last year, they haven’t moved counter to RB… no, its X this year… no, wait! You wiggle the thumb stick!”.

17/04/2023

ODYSSEY "Original Amiga Demo Scene Soundtrack" Vinyl Review | "If you are a fan of Amiga audio, I heartily recommend that you grab this" ๐Ÿ’ฟ @WRWTFWW #Vinyl #VideoGameVinyl #VGMvinyl

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Readers of previous records that I’ve mentioned or covered over the years - such as David Whittaker’s Shadow of the Beast or The Bitmap Brothers:

Odyssey will know of my love for the Amiga. The singularly impressive sound chip and sheer creativity from artists of the time mean that there’s a really special moment and nostalgia for me when I get lost in the Amiga soundscape.

I’d say I spend more time listening to the music of various Amiga games than actually playing the games themselves because the audio is so evocative and transportive. 

Formula Retro Racing World Tour Nintendo Switch Gameplay "Race Like It's 1995" ๐ŸŽ️๐Ÿ’จ @CGAStudioGames #IndieGame #GameDev

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Building on the success of the original retro racing hit, Formula Retro Racing: World Tour introduces new tracks and car types for an additional level of depth. 

You'll race through iconic global locations, compete against other drivers, and try to beat your lap times. 

Do you have what it takes to master each racing line, hug every apex, and cross the chequered flag to victory?

Transparent Tech is Back as GameSir Launches The New T4 Kaleid Transparent Wired RGB Controller ๐ŸŽฎ @mygamesir

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GameSir today announces the launch of its new T4 Kaleid RGB gaming controller. Equipped with special motion aim/steer technology, users can enjoy their favourite games with motion control, or through regular analogue stick gameplay. 


The GameSir T4 Kaleid is available on the GameSir website now at a discounted rate of $41.99/£41.99 (RRP £41.99) and AliExpress for £37/$43.


It will also be available on Amazon.com and Amazon UK at the end of April for $41.99/£41.99/€57.99

Boasting Hall-Effect magnetic sensing joysticks providing anti-drift technology, the T4 Kaleid is a durable controller that retains its precision over the course of its use. Joy-con drift can greatly impact gaming, so users of the T4k can rest assured that their controller will not be affected by the wear down caused by continued heavy usage.

14/04/2023

Wall World Ten Minute Taster PC Gameplay "You're Just Another Brick In The Wall" ๐Ÿงฑ @alawarteam #IndieGame #GameDev

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In Wall World, you'll explore the mysterious Wall World on your giant robot spider: mine for valuable resources, upgrade your equipment to fight off hordes of monsters and discover exotic biomes in-between attacks. 

Will you be able to survive and learn the secrets of the Wall World?

13/04/2023

Clash: Artifacts of Chaos XSX Review 8.5/10 "Pretty Pugilism" ⚔️ @theACETeam @NaconFR #GameDev #IndieGame

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It was only as I was installing Clash: Artifacts of Chaos that it dawned on me that I’d played the previous games in the series a decade ago - Zeno Clash and Zeno Clash 2 (2009, 2013) – and enjoyed their idiosyncratic take on the 1st person melee fighting genre.

As the installation percentage slowly rose, I cast my mind back to the sessions on my PC with the initial Clash games, they were incredibly unique titles with flawed but fun mechanics that had a narrative style and structure that called to mind Ice-Pick Lodge’s Pathologic – but the Clash series was different in that they actually held up to close scrutiny and were fun to play.

It’s a heady combination when you discover a developer that isn’t afraid to go off-piste with their narrative presentation, whilst also pushing forward a pretty niche genre, in this case, an FPS melee combat / RPG hybrid.

Fast forward to the present and within a couple of hours, I was completely on board with the third title in this long-running series - Clash: Artifacts of Chaos.

12/04/2023

Loretta Review 7/10 "A Nice-Looking Tense Horror Title" ๐Ÿ”ช @yabutuzoff @PixelHunted #IndieGame #GameDev

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It’s 1947. You’ve just killed your useless writer husband and dumped him the well. Time to get out of town and start a new life… if only you could get into the safe where he’s locked away his final manuscript so you can make a decent payday from his publishers.

This is the setup for the tense and atmospheric Lorettafrom developer Yakov Butuzoff. The game wears its influences on its sleeve, attempting to capture the paranoid vibes of Hitchcock movies like Vertigo, Dial M for Murder and a smidge of the desolate Psycho. Less a game and more of a visual novel, Loretta lets you guide the titular housewife through one of the worst weeks of her life while her sanity gradually crumbles under the weight of her past and her murderous inclinations.

11/04/2023

Syntech launches its 6-in-1 USB-C Docking Station for Steam Deck with ergonomic design and 4K@60Hz output ๐Ÿ“บ

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Syntech, an innovative manufacturer of quality and affordable electronic accessories and consumer technology products has today announced the launch of its new 6-in-1 USB-C Docking Station for Steam Deck. 


Providing users with 6 different ports to meet most needs, and the ability to output to a 4K monitor or TV at 60Hz, it is a handy and ergonomically designed gadget to complement a Steam Deck gaming setup. 


The Syntech 6-in-1 Docking Station for Steam Deck is available for £39.99/$39.99 on Amazon UK and Amazon US

06/04/2023

POST VOID PS4 Ten Minute Taster Gameplay "Life Is Dripping Through My Hands" ๐Ÿ’ฅ @YCJYgames #IndieGames #GameDev

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Post Void is a hypnotic scramble of early first-person shooter design that values speed above all else. Keep your head full and reach the end; Kill what you can to see it mend; Get the high score or try again.

05/04/2023

ESR Launches the world’s first MagSafe power bank with integrated wallet and stand ๐Ÿ“ฒ

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The latest addition to the HaloLock™ system continues ESR’s mission to level up MagSafe

ESR, a leading global brand in tech accessories, today launches its latest product to level up MagSafe, the HaloLock™ Power Bank Wallet. Instead of having to choose between attaching a wallet, stand, or a power bank on the back of a phone, the HaloLock™ Power Bank Wallet combines all three in one convenient, user-friendly accessory.  

The HaloLock™ Power Bank Wallet is available from 6th April on Amazon for $59.99 with UK and European availability on Amazon in May.

Mothered PS4 Ten Minute Taster Gameplay "Mother Is Home..." ๐Ÿก @ENIGMA_STUDIO_ #IndieGame #Horror #GameDev

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Mothered is an immersive first-person horror adventure where you play the role of LIANA - a young girl who arrives home after major surgery and is met with a strange mannequin claiming to be her mother.

04/04/2023

River of Slime Vinyl Review "River of Slime is a Beautifully Presented Release" ๐Ÿ’ฟ @shapeshiftvinyl #Vinyl #VideoGameVinyl

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Shapeshift Records came hurtling onto the vinyl scene in 2022, when they released GOTHAM ‘89, a soundtrack of an imagined 16-bit Batman video game, good.

When a label does something this audacious, it tends to stick in the mind, I mean – if that’s how they kick off – what is the next release going to be, can they top this?


It turns out that the guys and gals behind Shapeshift Records are not shy, and this, their second release is an absolute belter-  and will make a lot of Ghostbuster-lovin’ folks very happy.

03/04/2023

Saga of Sins Nintendo Switch Review 8/10 "A Story in Stained Glass" ๐Ÿ’€ @BonusLevelEnter #IndieGame #GameDev

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I covered Bonus Level Entertainment’s first release, Fox ‘n Forests back in 2018, it was a SNES-tastic throwback to the style of mascot-driven platformer that was pretty rife on the 16-bit machines by the mid-’90s, although FNF would have clearly been a celebrated title should it have been released on Nintendo’s flagship console at the time, and indeed – it still stood out in 2018 as a great release that harked back to that golden era for 2D platform action.

It wasn’t until after I’d played Saga of Sins for a few hours that it dawned on me that I’d played a game by the developer before and it was interesting to compare the style of the two releases, especially visually!

02/04/2023

Postal 4: No Regerts Review 1/10 "I tried... God help me I tried. " ❌ @RWSstudios #IndieGame #GameDev

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I tried... God help me I tried. 

Look I'm not a fussy gamer. Of course, if I'm spending £70 on a AAA title I'll want a bit of spit and polish but, like anyone, I'll always cut smaller, independent studios some slack. Arizona-based studio Running With Scissor is never going to have the resources or money to put out the next Elden Ring so I went into Postal 4: No Regerts with what I thought were appropriate expectations. 

All you want from a game like this is some silly fun. If it's rough around the edges, even intentionally so, that's just part of the deal, maybe even part of the charm. So with that said... 

Postal 4 is fucking awful.

01/04/2023

Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom VR Review 6/10 "TV Tie-Ins Are Difficult Territory" ๐Ÿ‘’ @PeakyBlindersVR #IndieGame #GameDev

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For those who don’t know, the BBC TV series Peaky Blinders is an international phenomenon. Set in Birmingham just after the first World War, it focuses on the titular street gang as they… well, I don’t know, do street gang stuff, presumably.

I don’t know because I’ve never watched it. I’ve seen it, but I haven’t watched it. The main reason for this is that I am a native of those lands, and after about 10 minutes of it, the accents grated on my nerves so much that I turned it off, never to watch it again. 

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