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!

Let’s take a look at … – Steredenn

Blast your way through never-ending enemies and tough bosses in this brand new early-access title from Pixelnest Studio. Steredenn is a shoot-‘m-up that is both gorgeous and addicting; with big, colorful, pixels laid out in beautiful retro-style space atmospheres, overlaid with a wide variety of enemies blocking your path.

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You are a ship with a simple task: survive the onslaught of space pirates. You begin with a basic weapon that can shoot constantly as you weave around the screen, trying to annihilate all other ships in each round.  Bonus points are awarded for destroying all enemies on the screen before they vanish to the left and then more points for not taking any damage. Some ships will drop any of 34 other new weapons that you can pick up and use as you see fit. The game allows you to swap between two weapons at a time, so you have to be smart about what you pick up and which you use in certain situations. But think fast, because it’s easy to become quickly overwhelmed and lose the battle.  And yes, you have to start over from the beginning.

There are three modes of play: normal, arena, and challenge. Normal is typical game play to see how far you can get past waves of enemies and 10 bosses in 20 environments. Although this game is called a roguelike, there is no RPG element to this game. Your only hope of getting better is simply learning the mechanics and the attack styles of your enemies, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each weapon type. If you’re the type to be obsessed with beating your old high score, you’ll love this game even more. Arena is a mode where you can battle bosses that you’ve beat in normal mode, allowing you to set and beat previous win times. “Challenge” mode is currently grayed out in my account, possibly to be added as the developers work on the game.

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The soundtrack for this game is one of the first things I noticed and enjoyed. High energy, and perfect for the action; it never gets old no matter how many times you have to start over. I’m picky about music in my games (I often turn it off completely if it annoys me in the least), but I love the style they chose, a mix of electronic and metal.  Check out a sample here:  https://zandernoriega.bandcamp.com/album/steredenn-original-soundtrack

This game is still being refined, but it is very playable, and I only had one small issue so far. After defeating a boss, my next round of play had no enemies, just space rocks. This was a one-time glitch, though, and Pixelnest encourages reporting of any bugs so they can perfect their game before official release.

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Steredenn is now available in Early Access on Steam for $9.99 (or your regional equivalent), with a 10% discount for early adopters, and will also be available for Xbox One. They are aiming for the official release in July or August. Interested in more? Check out their dev-log at http://steredenn-game.tumblr.com/.

Tl;dr: Steredenn is an addicting early-access shmup with gorgeous retro environments and fast-paced never-ending combat set to fun, high energy music that will have you wanting to “try one more time” over and over again! 9/10.

 

Let’s take a look at … – Rock Zombie

Rock Zombie is a 3D Side-scrolled, kickass zombie murdering styled arcade game. If you love metal and smashing zombies with guitars; this one’s for you. Quaternion Studio have produced a really good game that deserves to be recognized for what it is.

Well the title of the game explains pretty much what you have got yourself into when you load up ‘Rock Zombie’. Rock music that Roars through your headphones, flames and more flames, Rock chick band members that cave zombie heads in with brute force using their favorite guitar, Motorbikes and an original idea.

When I write a review I like to note everything from music through to how many times I could play the game, but when I was playing Rock Zombie I was so enraptured in the gameplay that I slowly drifted away from the sound and all of those small little things that I didn’t really care about while playing the game. The sound of the game had included all of the effects from the guitar swinging through objects to zombies blowing up after their reincarnated bodies slowly drifted back to where they belong and most importantly heavy music that kept you in the mood to play the game.

The story is very straightforward and designed in a really fun comic strip. The story is about three females that are in a band that is obviously struggling to get noticed in the rock scene. They attend a concert and the next thing you know, you are involved in the biggest apocalypse in metal history.

The Graphics really surprised me in this game, I really didn’t have too high expectations for the graphics when I was looking at the preview, but you can tell that Quaternion Studio tried to make the players graphical experience the best they could when they were designing the game. Even though when I play most side-scrolled arcade fashioned games, the graphic side of things don’t bother me too much but I really enjoyed the 3D graphics for a change.

The gameplay at times did feel a bit jagged and laggy, but do not let this get you down! The game controls were very simple! Yay for simple controls, this means if you want to destroy zombies it makes things a whole lot easier and enjoyable for you. The levels didn’t feel too lengthy, which sometimes in my opinion can really destroy a good game. All the levels included the basic needs (health refills and all of that stuff). I really enjoyed the gameplay experience. I honestly will keep playing this game over, and over for days.

Quaternion Studio I would just like to say thank you for putting together such a wicked game and wish you the best in the future. In my opinion I really enjoyed the game and for the price it is selling for it is definitely worth it. You will endure hours of endless fun. Everything about the game just made it feel so right. I easily give this game a 7.5/10.

If you are interested in buying this game please check it out at www.rockzombiegame.com

Reviewed By Ben Duncombe

Twitter: @H2Omate