Let’s talk about … – The Room Three Will Be Here Soon

The Room series has become one of the more beloved mini-franchises in app gaming, a combination between the ultimate escape the room experience and an immersive digital narrative. The original game (The Room) was sort of an out-of-nowhere hit for developer Fireproof Games, and the follow-up (The Room Two) built on its predecessor’s success with a very similar format.

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The third game in the series has been delayed a couple times throughout 2015, but now Fireproof has announced it’s coming soon, with the design complete and only testing and approval by Apple for iOS distribution holding it back. By the sound of the announcement, a late October or early November release appears likely, though it’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty.

If The Room Three does make it out for a 2015 release, it’ll likely immediately become one of the most popular and well-reviewed mobile games of the year. This is a tad presumptuous to say, but given the success of the first two games, as well as the similarity between them, it’s a fairly safe bet to expect Fireproof to deliver once again. And for the most part, the elements that have made these games so enjoyable are actually pretty simple.

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First among these elements is pure, visual beauty. This has become a greater point of emphasis in the app gaming industry in general, as evidenced by Design Instruct’s list of the most beautiful iOS games. Most of these games are familiar titles that have at times risen to the top of the charts not necessarily because of complexity or gameplay, but because of aesthetic appeal (which isn’t to say some of them aren’t fantastic games as well). Neither of the two existing The Room games is mentioned on this list in particular, but this is the company these games are in, and in this regard at least we can already be sure that Fireproof has done it again. Earlier this year, TouchArcade published some screenshots from The Room Three, and the look is close to what players have grown used to.

Within its overall look, The Room series has also thrived by its nonstop use of basic tools and instruments of mysterious intrigue, long established in mystery and horror genres alike. Some of this even gets back to genre staples like Sherlock Holmes, known for a few little props that have since come to represent the very idea of mystery and detective-like exploration. Even a Sherlock Holmes slot machine game at Betfair taps into some of these basic props. Pipes, magnifying glasses and the like—pre-technological tools for work and recreation alike—take the place of typical slot machine icons, providing light touches that facilitate a detective atmosphere for players. The Room series has taken this same idea and run with it, its games populated with a dizzying array of Victorian era instruments. And this, too, is a very simple source of the games’ intrigue that will surely be repeated in satisfying fashion in its third version.

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Finally, the other reason that The Room Three seems destined to thrive is that it really doesn’t have much responsibility on its shoulders in terms of narrative. While these games do follow a story, that story is intentionally vague, such that at this point a satisfying conclusion isn’t exactly the main goal of the average player. The story involves following a friend deeper into mysterious locations and alternate dimensions by way of allowing his cryptic notes to guide you through the game. But by the end of The Room Two, things have gotten so crazy that players will basically accept whatever’s tossed up as an ending or resolution. Basically, that means that whatever story is in The Room Three would have a hard time disappointing.

It should become clear in the next few weeks just when this game is coming. But in the meantime, players can safely anticipate yet another wonderful game from Fireproof.

Let’s talk about … – Sol Trader is back on Kickstarter

Earlier in the year we covered Sol Trader, an in-depth space sim from Chris Parsons. If you missed that article you can check it out here. After the first Kickstart fell short of its target, raising £9,251/£20,000, Sol Trader is back with a second Kickstarter campaign, this time only looking for half the original goal, £10,000.

We had a quick play of Sol Trader when the first Kickstarter launched, and one of the things we loved was the depth of gameplay and the social aspects of gameplay: it seems we weren’t alone. After feedback from both players and industry, gameplay has been re-written to place even greater emphasis on these features. There’s also been lots of work put into the graphics, so the game is prettier than ever.

To coincide with the new Kickstarter, a fresh demo is available showing the current state of the game. Bear in mind, some features promised in the Kickstarter are not yet available.

Here’s a full feature list taken from the Kickstarter page:

  • Single-player combination of arcade 2D spaceflight and strategic manipulation of your network of contacts
  • Run missions using your family and friends’ connections to government or business
  • No ship given to you at game start: you must take a loan and hire a ship, or borrow one from a wealthy relative
  • Fly between planets, interacting with the various characters you come across in cities and in space
  • Research information on other characters through chatting to friends and relatives
  • Customise your ship with lasers, passenger quarters, shields, bolt weapons, missiles and scanners (coming soon)
  • Blackmail others with the information you find, or sell it to the press (coming soon)
  • Trade goods for profit
  • Procedural generation of a whole society of thousands of random characters
  • Start every new game from your character’s birth
  • Choose your parents and all your major life choices as you grow up
  • Your choices determine your personality and your friends, relatives and enemies
  • Full modding support: change all the organisations, events, weapons, planets, ships, conversations and tutorial system.
  • Windows, Mac and Linux at launch
  • Already greenlit on Steam

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We liked what we played of Sol Trader, and will be picking up the new demo soon! It was also Greenlit earlier this year, so there’s certainly the audience, it just needs a little help getting across the finish line. Head to the Kickstarter to show your support, or visit the official website for more information on the game.

Let’s talk about … – Skara, multiplayer hack ‘em up, going F2P

Skara: The Blade Remains is a multiplayer hack ‘em up currently in Early Access on Steam. Released back in October 2014, the title was received to ‘Mixed’ reviews, and is now preparing to move to a completely F2P model.

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Sales of Early Access on Steam will close by September 30th, moving Skara to a new, invite-only model until early 2016 when it moves completely to a F2P model. 8-Bit, the studio behind the title, have assured players that have bought into Early Access that they will continue to be able to play the game. This also extends to people who supported the game on Kickstarter and Greenlight.

“Of course, anyone who already owns Skara will get to keep playing it!” commented Pablo Rodriguez, Skara’s Creative Director. “We wanted to make sure ‘limited edition’ actually means something: Exclusive access to the game’s development while we finish testing, the rewards we detailed in the packages, and eventually their money back in virtual currency upon the game’s full F2P release.”

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8-Bit keep pushing with content updates as it nears it’s new, free model, and have this week released a new build featuring a tutorial, new combat features, refined UI and a player ranking system. A list of full features in the 0.5.4 version is as follows:

  • A new playable tutorial (including a new environment: The Khilma dungeons).
  • Power up items in the arenas (specifically health power ups and damage buffs).
  • Try all three characters without leveling up! This is something a lot of our users requested and we were very happy to change.
  • Class skills are now attached to different buttons (Q&E on the keyboard, X and Y on Xbox controller)
  • The Melee combat is faster now, the Hit stun is reduced. Also the free target mode has been modified to allow characters to dodge without losing focus on the target.
  • Rankings! Who will be the best? Find it in the War Log in the UI.
  • We also changed the Duel Game conditions to make it feel more like a Versus fighting game.
  • We’ve worked on the animations for all characters to make them more realistic and more spectacular. Characters should blend to sprint mode now and a lot of other features: Check them out!
  • New in-game HUD: Now you can check your enemy’s shield meter as well as the skills they’ve equipped. There’s also a new effort meter when sprinting.
  • Bug and crash fixing to make the game more stable. Please as usual send us feedback if something isn’t working by either writing in the forums, sending us an email, or filling out a bug report.

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If you’re interested in playing Skara you can sign up for an invite to the new build here. Either that, or wait until it releases as F2P early next year! If you just can’t wait, the Early Access build of Skara is still available on Steam.

Here’s the trailer for the latest version!

Lets’ talk about … – The Witness sets a release date with second trailer

Almost 2 years later the second trailer for “The Witness” has finally dropped. Jonathan Blow’s next game will be out on 26th January 2016 and that date can not get here soon enough.

Blow, featured in the incredible ‘Indie Game: The Move’, created “Braid”, which in many respects started the indie Game Renaissance that we are in today. If this game is anything like this last, we are in for something extremely special.

Watch the Release Date Trailer below.

Let’s talk about … – Socuwan looks to Kickstarter for funding

Socuwan is an Indie MMORPG currently in development by Karl Wimble. The title has been in development for over three years, and is written using a custom game engine created using Java and Open GL. Promising ‘a slightly quirky and refreshing twist on your usual, run-of-the-mill MMO’, Socuwan is now on Kickstarter looking to fund the rest of development.

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Socuwan is touted as being by the community, for the community: that’s certainly the case. Over the last two years of development, the community have provided around three quarters of the game content, including models, animations, textures, sound effects and music.

This community orientation carries itself through to gameplay, with a cooperative killing system and worwide duelling tournaments. Playing together will be rewarded, aiming to thwart the typical MMORPG process of finding a quiet area to grind.

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You can find more about the game on its website, and here is a breakdown of some gameplay highlights:

  • Worldwide duelling tournaments
  • Co-operative skilling system
  • Player owned houses in the game world
  • No grinding
  • Unique combat system
  • Thousands of weapon combinations
  • A diverse and unique looking world which is created by the community

If you like the look of Socuwan, then be sure to head by the Kickstarter campaign. With 18 days to go, the campaign has reached 12% of its goal so could use some love! The developer also has a long-running YouTube series document the development process, so check that out here if you’re interested. I’ll leave you with the kickstarter video for the title so you can get a better idea as to what Socuwan really is!

Lets’ talk about … – Zealous make open call to indie game developers

Zealous, a platform for matching talented creatives with clients is making an open call to all Indie Developers for an up-coming event in January 2016. The huge event will host 100 artists, 55 speakers, and take place over 10 days.

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The invitation has been extended to indie game developers, CG artists, character designers and much more. Submissions are open unitl 30th September, so head here to apply! The event is designed to showcase the most exciting UK based creative talents alongside industry talks, exhibitions, workshops, filmmaking, gaming, demonstrations, get-togethers and gigs. If you’re a creative based in the UK you’ll want to check it out!

Here’s a feature-list of what can be expected from the event:

  • It’s free to participate and 51% of all tickets sold will go to the creative talents selected to showcase their work at Zealous X
  • An independent panel of exciting judges (full list to be announced soon) will be selecting the best 15 creative talents in each discipline to be showcased at Zealous X
  • Build lasting and valuable relationships across the creative sector • Selected works will be showcased on a curated exhibition at the Rich Mix
  • A day dedicated to short films and story telling
  • A day dedicated to interactive and gaming • 15 gigs across the festival
  • 15 performances across the festival, including cabaret, dance and spoken word
  • Promotion on Zealous’s online channels

It will be great to have so many different creatives under one roof, and showcasing their talents side-by-side. Creative project can be submitted at http://x.zealous.co/be-showcased/.

 

Let’s talk about … – EGX announce partnership with YouTube Gaming

EGX, the UK’s largest gaming event, has this week announced a partnership between themselves and YouTube Gaming, bringing the YouTube Gaming stage to EGX taking place later this month. YouTube Gaming is the brand new app from that aims to provide a home for the rapidly growing game community on YouTube.

The partnership will bring some of the biggest gaming stars on YouTube to EGX, taking part in a myriad of events such as hosting panels, workshops, Q & A sessions, and live Let’s Plays from the stage. Confirmed creators include Synidcate, The Yogscast and Outside Xbox.

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One of the coolest things about this partnership has to be the fact that a large portion of EGX will now be streamed on gaming.youtube.com/egx. If you can’t make it to EGX, you can simply tune in from home and keep up with all the action. Global Head of Gaming, Ryan Wyatt, has the following to say regarding the partnership:

“EGX is a big moment on the UK gaming calendar that we’re psyched to be a part of – not least as an opportunity to meet members of this hugely vibrant gaming community face-to-face and to bring the best of YouTube Gaming to life for those that come down”.

“YouTube Gaming’s plans are hugely exciting and we’re delighted to host them at EGX.” “Their presence at EGX will be a fantastic new feature for our attendees”, said David Lilley, Managing Director of Gamer Events.

For more information on YouTube Gaming visit the official website, or get the dedicated app, available on both IOS and Android.

Have you used YouTube Gaming yet? I checked it out when it first released, and wasn’t blown away! I didn’t see why I’d use it over my subscription list. Still, this is an awesome partnership, and we look forward to seeing what YouTube Gaming produces moving forward!

Let’s talk about … – Game Developers Unite for War Child

20 years ago Oasis, Blur, The Stone Roses, Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and many more created the first HELP album. It went on to raise £1.5M for War Child’s activities and helped protect children on the war-torn Balkans. Now, 2 decades later, the big players in our world are doing the same, and coming together in a unique ‘studio game jam’ to help keep Way Child’s activities strong.

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War Child will be providing a brief to the studios taking part, who together, across their various offices around the world, will come together to create the title in just 6 days. Some big players have signed up to the jam, including:

  • 343 Industries
  • A Brave Plan
  • Bossa Studios
  • Carbon Games
  • Creative Assembly
  • Curve Digital
  • Hardlight
  • Hinterland
  • Spilt Milk Studios
  • Sports Interactive
  • Team 17
  • Torn Banner

Together, these studios have sold well in excess of 100m games, so it’s certainly the dream team. Major technology providers including Unreal, GameMaker, and Unity are also backing the project by providing their tools to the teams at a ‘no cost and royalty free’ basis.

The game they will be creating will be called HELP: Real War is Not a Game, and will be releasing through Steam and other digital download platforms late in March 2016. With more announcement expected in the coming weeks, head to http://www.warchild.org.uk/helpgame for all the news, and follow War Child’s UK twitter for updates.

Let’s talk about … – Xeodrifter now available for PS4 & Vita

Xeodrifter, a metro-style platformer from award winning indie developers Renegade Kid and publishers Gambitious Digital Entertainment is now available for Playstation 4 and Vita. After releasing late last year for PC and 3DS, now PlayStation owners can join the party!

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You’re a galaxy-traversing traversing nomad with a damaged ship. Stranded in the dark void of space, your goal is to re-build your ship and go home. The journey will take you through four sprawling planets, unlocking new weapons and abilities, allowing you to grow stronger, ready to face the nasties that await you in the strange woods.

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The Steam reviews for Xeodrifter are ‘Mostly Positive’, with common complaints being the lack of content, and it falling short of its Metroid goal. Maybe it will lend itself better to be played on a Vita, where you can pick it up for 15 minutes at a time. We have a key for the Vita on the way, so we’ll check it out ourselves and will let you know what’s what!

Xeodrifter is available on PS4 & Vita for£7.99/$9.99/ €9.99 (Cross buy). If you’re interested in the PC version, you’ll find it on Steam for £6.99/$9.99.

Let’s talk about … – Trion Worlds announce new title Atlas Reactor

Trion Worlds, the publisher behind RIFT, ArcheAge, Trove and Defiance, made some big announcements this weekend, including unveiling their new title Atlas Reactor to fans at PAX Prime in Seattle. The all-new turn-based tactics game is now open to alpha signups following the official launch. Here is the trailer.

Trion has also opened alpha signups for their upcoming ARPG/MMORPG hybrid Devilian, for which Founder’s Packs are now on sale. In addition, they revealed major updates for both ArcheAge and RIFT, and showed new content coming to Trove soon.

Here are the details on all announcement:

  • Atlas Reactor – Combining fast-paced action with simultaneous turns in nail-biting, high-stakes battles for the last man-made reactor on Earth, Atlas Reactor will have players outsmart and out-gun their way to fame and glory. The game’s first alpha testing period starts today, and players can sign up on the Atlas Reactor site right now.
  • Devillian – For lovers of MMORPGs, ARPGs, and MOBAs, Devilian offers the visceral action combat of ARPGS, a huge persistent world with the deep guild and socialization systems found in MMORPGs, and competitive player-versus-player action found in MOBAs. Devilian will be entering Alpha on September 3, 2015 and will feature Founder’s Packs for players, which are on sale now.
  • RIFT – RIFT’s 3.4 update will, for the first time since the game’s launch, introduce a brand-new calling, the Primalist. This will launch with six souls and bring with it a slew of new content including the all-new Planetouched Wilds expedition zone, Lord Arak Raid, Rhazade Canyons dungeon and much more.
  • ArcheAge – ArcheAge‘s biggest update ever, ArcheAge Heroes Awaken, will launch on September 12, 2015 and feature significant updates to the game. The brand-new Hero System, updates to the Guild Progression System, Housing upgrades and a reborn Diamond Shore offer just a glimpse at the new content in ArcheAge Heroes Awaken.
  • Trove – Trove, Trion Worlds’ recently launched voxel MMO adventure game, has been a big hit amongst fans since it launched July 9, already amassing more than 2.5M monthly active users.  The upcoming Fall update, The Shadow Tower, will introduce an all-new class, the Lunar Lancer and endgame content as the game prepares to launch on Mac in Fall 2015.
  • Defiance – The upcoming Defiance Supreme Patch will introduce a new race of enemies, the acidic Shrill who inhabit Silicon Valley’s arkfalls. Also added will be Supreme Weapons, a new higher tier of rarity which can be applied to all current and future weapons.

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Big things coming from the publisher. Their title Trove, the voxel RPG released recently, now has 2.5M monthly active users. Very impressive! Do you play any of their titles? If so, let us know which one in the comments and why you like it!