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Games of the World War I

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100 years ago the guns of the Western Front fell silent, marking the end of the first World War. For over four years, countries from every corner of the Earth had been engaged in combat so brutal and horrifying that they called it “The War to End All Wars” in the hope that mankind would never devolve into the beast that had caused this level of apocalypse again. Over 12 million were dead, countless more wounded, four of the largest empires had collapsed, the terrain of Europe was torn up and poisoned and the political landscape forever re-written. WW1 was the birth of the modern age, and it came into this world kicking and screaming.

Despite the importance of the war, when it comes to depictions in media, WW1 is often overshadowed by the successive conflict known as WW2. It’s not hard to see why. WW2 is filled with daring battles, exciting gunfights, bombastic tank duels, and harrowing dogfights at breakneck speed. The Great War, in contrast, is filled with endless tales of disease, death, and the hellish boredom and terror of trench warfare. The Nazis are also a far easier “bad guy” and killing them in endless waves doesn’t require bringing up any long-winded discussion over who’s fault the war actually was.

Still, the first World War is definitely a topic that deserves more discussion and portrayal in media. It might not always be easy to make the war “fun” but here are some games that at least try to give players a taste of the conflict, without any trench-foot or Spanish Flu.

Battlefield

First and foremost is the game that’s probably the greatest contribution to WW1 discussion in a long time, even if its historical accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. When DICE and EA announced that they would be taking the Battlefield series away from modern conflict, everyone assumed that meant another WW2 game. However they surprised us all by going back even further, and when the first trailers for Battlefield 1 were shown off there was a mixture of intrigue and concern. A WW1 shooter on the scale of a Battlefield game hadn’t really been attempted yet, and the concept didn’t seem to have legs. Still, DICE persisted and it’s a good thing since BF1 is arguably their most interesting game since Battlefield 2.

DICE surprised everyone with their announcement of Battlefild 1. Even more surprising is how good it is.

Taking place across a wide variety of battles, including The Somme, Caporetto, The Brusilov Offensive, and even Africa and the Middle East, BF1 does a great job of showcasing how widespread the war really was, a concept often forgotten amidst media of the Western Front. Similarly, there’s a massive variety of weapons to play with, from early tanks and planes to a wide array of infantry weapons, including experimental weapons that never saw real action. While the historical accuracy of the game is way off, there’s no denying that it has done a great job of getting people interested in WW1 again, and for that alone, the game is worth mentioning.

Verdun and Tannenburg

For those looking for a much more brutally realistic look at WW1, there’s the WW1 Game Series, the combined title for the games Verdun and Tannenburg. The Former features Western front maps, being named after the longest battle that lasted most of 1916 and centered around a French fortress town, while the latter is named for the German rout of the Russian army in 1915 that would contribute to the war taking far longer than anyone expected.

Unlike BF1 automatic weapons in these games are very much the exception, not the rule, with the vast majority of classes being limited to slow firing, but very deadly rifles, with the occasional pistol thrown in for close quarters. While it doesn’t feature the scale of BF1, both games focus much more on the terrifying nature of the war, where death can come from anywhere at any time, and shots are nearly always fatal. They emphasize good aiming and positioning, rather than blanket fire and grenade spamming.

Verdun is probably the better of the two games, being fully completed with the occasional new bits of content patched in. It features familiar Western armies from Canada, Great Britain, France and America facing off against a variety of German groups across massive maps. The main game mode is Frontline, an interesting attempt to take the back-and-forth warfare of the Western front and make a game of it. Each side attempts to take the other’s trench, either affecting a breakthrough or being flung back to their own trenches to defend against the counter-attack. Rinse and repeat until either the game timer runs out or one side manages to capture all three lines. It’s an interesting idea that is much more harrowing to experience — and the fact that most matches end in stalemates might be a subtle commentary on the futile nature of the war.

Gas attacks are part of the brutal reality of Verdun and Tannenburg, and failing to get your mask on in time results in a painful death

Tanneneburg is still in early access, and as of this writing, only has a few maps and classes to play. However it’s a decidedly different beast from Verdun, and if you’re looking for more of a run and gun shooter, this is the one to look for. Like the real Eastern front, this is a war of movement, with massive open maps in the Maneuvers game mode. Each side is tasked with taking and holding spawn points, some of which confer bonuses like extra ammo or artillery support to the controlling team. Once a path has been cleared to the enemy HQ, it’s forward for the final assault. The more open maps encourage on-the-move thinking, and since most of the capture points are in the open, battles have a much more spread out feel. Combine that with the higher player count and bots filling in empty spaces and Tannenburg does a wonderful job of creating a cacophony of death that’s only going to get more exciting as development continues.

NecroVision

Finally for shooters is the oddball, and how very odd it is. While the previous games may have occasionally struggled with historical accuracy, NecroVision struggles with staying on this plane of reality. What starts at the Battle of the Somme with you, a hapless American volunteer stumbling into a slaughterhouse of a battle, quickly devolves into a story about vampires, zombies, demons, and otherworldly magic, all wrapped up with a healthy dose of complete insanity. There are mech battles, there are magic underground cities, there are giant floating sky skulls, and there’s a bizarre melee combo system with names “Brute Willis” “Redneck Fury” or “Soccer Star”. It’s a nutty shooter, no surprise considering it comes from much of the same people that worked on Painkiller, and if you can get it for a few dollars it’s certainly worth the wild ride, if only to see the extremes of where WW1 fiction can go.

NecroVision is a WW1 game where you battle a giant spider with a rocket-shooting mech, and that’s just fine.

Red Baron

One of the most memorable things about the Great War was its evolution of flight, a technology only mastered a decade before the war began. The skies over the battlefields were even deadlier than the trenches and fields, with life expectancy for most pilots between 40-60 hours of combat time. Still, the harrowing danger of the skies translates into great action for games, and the best classic example of this is the Sierra hit Red Baron, specifically the 1990 version. With graphics far ahead of their time that still manage to convey a sense of scale and detail despite the polygonal look, and gameplay that’s deceptively simple to get into, Red Baron is a shockingly enjoyable game even today. Placing pilots into either the British RAF or the German Luftwaffe, and creating a dynamic campaign of bombing runs, balloon attack missions, and good old-fashioned dogfights, Red Baron is a great combination of first-person shooter and simulation that’s definitely worth checking out, even 30 years later.

Death at 10,000ft in Red Baron

Wings over Flanders Fields

Still, 1990 was a long time ago, and eventually, someone had to pick up the proverbial torch of WW1 flight sims. Thankfully there’s Wings over Flanders Fields, a full conversion mod for Microsoft Flight Sim turned standalone product that bills itself as the final word in WW1 flight simulation experiences. That’s no joke, as WoFF has an impressive amount of detail built on the foundation that Red Baron put down decades ago. Like Sierra’s classic the campaign is dynamic, but unlike Red Baron, the front will actually change as the war drags on, and battles on the ground can affect your campaign. If you’re assigned near the Somme river in late 1916 you can expect heavy combat every mission, whereas flying over quiet sectors will relegate you to scouting missions and the occasional bombing run. There is a high barrier to entry, and playing it without a full sim setup of head tracking and flight sticks is impossible, but for the fanatic, this is certainly the game to get.

Wings!

The war in the skies was filled with drama and excitement, and for those looking for a casual take on the “gentleman’s war” there’s the Cinemaware arcade shooter Wings!. Originally an Amiga title, now remastered with better graphics and voice acting, Wings! is that classic Cinemaware combination of storytelling and gameplay that longtime fans loved. It certainly lacks any of the depth of Red Baron or Wings over Flanders, but it does tell a great story of the evolution and daily life of the RAF over the course of the war, and its simple gameplay is enjoyable enough for the few hours of the campaign.

Wings is an arcade take on the war, with a great story to boot.

Darkest Hour and Victoria 2

If running around as the infantry or flying dangerous dogfights isn’t your style of gameplay, then the War has also been well represented in the Strategy world. Paradox, as is their style, have two different grand strategy games that let you re-examine the war, or should you choose you can totally re-write it and prevent it from ever happening. First is Darkest Hour, a total conversion mod for Hearts of Iron 2 that Paradox bought and released as a full product. The WW1 scenario starts at the outbreak of the war, with Franz Ferdinand dead and Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. From there you can choose any country to play and decide how you’d like to proceed. Maybe Britain doesn’t join the war after Germany invaded Belgium, maybe Germany didn’t get routed at the Marne and captured Paris in 1914, or maybe the war dragged on for years longer and WW2 never happened. The beauty of these Paradox games is their ability to adapt to your changing history.

Taking that a step further is Victoria 2, which turns the clock back further to 1836, which means the world going into the War could be vastly different. Perhaps the American Civil War ended very differently, with the Union and Confederacy joining different sides, or should you choose the War just never happens, and some other conflict writes the world of the 20th century. While it doesn’t quite have the ease of access as some of Paradox’s later titles, Victoria 2 is still something of a favorite for many fans, and rumors of a third entry into the series are starting to circulate as well.

Battle of Empires

For the arm-chair general looking to get close to the action, the prime game would be Battle of Empires, an RTS based on the Men of War games. A word of warning, each campaign is purchased as DLC, with the base game only containing a prologue and tutorial, as well as access to multiplayer. Still, the campaigns do cover topics the other games won’t like the Ottomans, Russians, Bulgarians, and Austrians. The scales of the battles are impressive too, with hundreds of units and fully destructible terrain creating a great sense of destruction. There’s also a decent variety of missions, from standard battles to stealth missions with small squads, objective based maps that require critical thinking. The attention to detail is superb, and the game is still being updated with new campaigns and mod support, so there’s certainly a lot to dig into for fans of the genre.

Battle of Empires provides a close look at some of the massive battles of the War.

Special Mentions

Finally, there are a few games worth mentioning that don’t fit into the above genres. Valiant Hearts is a 2d puzzle side-scroller from Ubisoft, using the same amazing art style as the recent Rayman games. It tells a wonderful tale of four different people, brought together by the war and helping each other survive, while also having interesting puzzles and a cornucopia of historical factoids sprinkled around. Toy Soldiers is a tower defense game with a very WW1 aesthetic, with biplanes and rhomboid tanks dominating the battlefields as you hold off waves of plastic army men. Finally, there’s Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol, a mobile turn-based flight game where you command a squad of plans, planning their maneuvers with the flick of your fingers, trying to account for their movement as you go.

Valient Hearts tells a great story of survival and friendship, set against some of the darkest moments of the 20th century.

WW1 might not always be the most exciting topic, and it’s not hard to see why it’s not discussed to the same degree as other conflicts of the 20th or 21st century. But that doesn’t mean it should be forgotten, and there’s an endless amount of stories to be told still waiting to be made. 100 years is a very long time, and the while all that remains of the war is relics and memories, games like the ones here will make sure that those memories live on for a very long time.

For further learning about WW1, be sure to check out The Great War on Youtube, which provides bite-sized episodes detailing every week of the war over 4 years. 

Andrew Vandersteen has been watching movies and playing games since before he could do basic math, and it shows. But what he lacks in being good at things, he makes up for with opinions on everything nerd culture. A self described and self medicated audiophile and lover of anything and everything really, really terrible, he's on a constant quest to find the worst things humanity has ever published. He's seen every episode of The Legend of Zelda, twice, and thinks the Super Mario Movie was a war crime. When he's not playing games or writing about them, he's messing around with audio or fixing computers. Perpetually one paycheck short of breaking even, and always angry about something.

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10 Years Later: ‘Mass Effect 2’ is An All-Time Sci-fi Classic

Mass Effect 2 didn’t just nail the formula for a successful sequel, it tied together one of the greatest science fiction tales ever.

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Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect launched in 2007 as the boldest science fiction project ever conceived for consoles. The complex mythology, history and the many alien races, each with their own political/religious beliefs offered a depth rarely seen in the medium. Only a game as ambitious as Mass Effect 2 could not only match the pedigree of such a massive project but surpass it in every single way imaginable.

Released 3 years after the original, a full decade ago, Mass Effect 2 set the benchmark for not just sequels but for science fiction gaming as well. Few sequels are able to overcome the weaknesses of their predecessors with such perfect accuracy while also doubling down on what made them good in the first place.

The first task that fell to Bioware was to refine the combat. The original game had more of a strategic angle to it but that strategy meant the game was constantly stopping and starting, stuttering the action and ruining the flow of the game. By streamlining the combat into more of an action RPG experience (emphasis on action), Mass Effect 2 created a much better sense of tension in battle sequences. Aiming, using techniques and issuing orders also flowed more smoothly with these changes.

'Mass Effect 2' is An All-Time Sci-fi Classic

Another major change was the removal of the Mako, an exploratory rover the player drove around alien planets with. While a novel idea, the Mako often lead to aimless wandering as the player sought out resources on the many planets of Mass Effect. Instead of driving to their destination, players were now warped directly to the area they would be exploring. Resource collection was overhauled as a result.

While few players will talk about the thrill of spinning a globe around and aiming a reticle in order to collect resources in Mass Effect 2, the simple speed by which this process was streamlined offered a hefty margin of improvement over the original game. Resources that might have taken a half-hour to collect in the first game could now be found in 1/10 of that time. Resource collection, while a vital part of the game, was never meant to be the time sink it was in the original Mass Effect, and by speeding up this process, Mass Effect 2 allowed players to get back to the meat of the game: doing missions and exploring the galaxy.

Of course, these aren’t necessarily the most significant changes that players will recall from their time with Mass Effect 2. The story and character roster were also expanded considerably from the first game, and these are without a doubt the biggest improvements that this sequel is able to mount.

Mass Effect 2

While Mass Effect had seven playable characters, Mass Effect 2 expanded that to twelve. Not only was the amount of characters an improvement, though, the quality of the characters on offer was also much stronger this time around. A full nine new characters were introduced for players to utilize in combat, strategize with and get to know throughout the game. Among them were badass assassin Thane Krios, dangerous convict Jack, morally dubious Miranda Lawson, and hivemind robot Legion.

In fact, the cast of Mass Effect 2 is so good that it has rightfully become a benchmark for the creation of a compelling cast of characters in RPGs, and video games, in general. The sheer diversity on display in the looks, personalities and movesets allowed for the cast is awe-inspiring, and this is without even considering the trump card that Mass Effect 2 flashed throughout the experience of playing the game.

The monumental suicide mission to raid the Collectors’ base and save humanity is the impetus for the entire plot of Mass Effect 2, and the reason for which the player is recruiting the baddest mother fuckers from all over the galaxy in hopes of success. It isn’t just a suicide mission in name either, many, or even all, of the cast can die during the completion of this mission, adding a layer of suspense and finality to the final stage of Mass Effect 2 that few other games can match.

'Mass Effect 2' is An All-Time Sci-fi Classic

To this end, players were encouraged to get to know their crew through loyalty missions specific to each cast member. By undertaking these optional missions and completing them in a way that would impress or endear themselves to the character in question, players were able to ascertain the unquestioned respect and loyalty of that character, ensuring they wouldn’t go rogue during the final mission.

Still, even passing these prerequisites with flying colors wasn’t a guarantee for success. Players also had to pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the characters when assigning tasks and making split-second decisions. Who you would leave to recon an area, repair a piece of equipment, or lock down a path, could make the difference as to who was going to survive the mission. Further complicating things, the characters you wanted to take with you to final branches of the mission might be the very people best suited for these earlier tasks.

Mass Effect 2 isn’t just one of the greatest science fiction games of all time, but one of the best science fiction experiences in any medium, full stop”.

Getting everyone out alive is a truly Machiavellian task, requiring either a guide or multiple playthroughs in order to get it precisely right. To that end, my feeling is that it’s better to go at it honestly the first time around, dealing with the requisite losses that this experience entails. After all, it isn’t really a suicide mission without a couple of casualties right? Even with all of my preparations and foresight, I lost Tali and Legion in the final mission, but for the fate of the human race, these losses were an acceptable cost.

Mass Effect 2

Even outside the strength of this fantastic cast and the monumental undertaking of planning and executing this final mission, there were other key characters and elements introduced as well. The Illusive Man, voiced by the great Martin Sheen, emerged as a necessary evil, saving Commander Shepard from death but asking morally complex decisions to be made as the cost of doing business. The relationship with, and the choices the player makes, in regard to The Illusive Man have far-reaching consequences for the remainder of the series, and as he emerged to become a primary antagonist in the final game of the trilogy, the considerations to be made were vast and insidious by their very definition.

With so many factors working in its favor, Mass Effect 2 is the rare game that is so perfectly designed that both its predecessor and sequel suffer by comparison as a result. While the improvements of ME2 make it hard to go back to the original game, the scope and ambition of an entire cast that could be alive or dead at the end of the journey also neutered the third game, causing many of the best characters in the trilogy to be excised from the final leg of the trip.

Truly, Mass Effect 2 isn’t just one of the greatest science fiction games of all time, but one of the best science fiction experiences in any medium, full stop. Like The Empire Strikes Back before it, Mass Effect 2 is the best exemplar of its universe and what makes it compelling and worthwhile in general.

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PAX South 2020 Hands-On: ‘Speaking Simulator,’ ‘Iron Danger,’ and ‘Wildermyth’

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Iron Danger

PAX South brought an extremely diverse lineup of games to San Antonio, and in this next roundup, it’s time to look at another diverse assortment of titles. These include Speaking Simulator, the surrealist take on the art of speaking, Wildermyth, a beautiful new RPG based on D&D, and Iron Danger, a surprisingly player-friendly take on roleplaying.

PAX South

Speaking Simulator

When asked why he was inspired to develop Speaking Simulator, the developer promptly responded, “I don’t know!” That was exactly what I felt while playing its demo at PAX. It left me mystified, amazed that it exists, overwhelmed by its complexity, and delighted with its absurdity. Speaking Simulator follows a highly advanced android tasked with assimilating into human society in order to gain world domination – and to do that, he’ll need to learn how to speak first. Players are thus tasked with controlling every aspect of this android’s face and guiding it through increasingly difficult social situations.

Speaking is an awkward art for many people (including myself), and Speaking Simulator is just that: awkward. You can control nearly every aspect of the android’s face. You can move its tongue with the left stick and its jaw with the right, while manipulating its facial expression, eyebrows, and more with other buttons. This leads to a delicate balancing act where complete control feels just barely out of reach so that you must always be alert and able to sufficiently direct your mechanical face.

PAX

During each conversation, you’ll have so many different moving parts to consider. You’ll have to follow prompts about where to move your tongue, how to adjust your mouth, how your face should look, and so on. The more complex the conversation, the trickier it is to speak. Scenarios during my demo included a date, a job interview, and the most normal social situation of all, speaking to a man while he’s using the toilet. And of course, if you don’t perform adequately in these conversations, then your face will start to explode – which is only natural for awkward conversations, after all.

Speaking Simulator is the definition of controlled chaos. It shows just how difficult it really is to be a human – controlling the face alone was far more than I could handle, as my frequent face explosions during my demo showed me. Playing Speaking Simulator was an equally hilarious and surreal experience, one that I can’t wait to experience in full when it releases on Switch and PC at the end of January.

PAX

Iron Danger

Iron Danger was one of my biggest surprises at PAX South. When I arrived at the Daedalic Entertainment booth for my appointment with Iron Danger, I didn’t expect to enjoy it half as much as I did. As a western-styled, point and click RPG, Iron Danger was outside my comfort zone. Yet the game is explicitly designed for players like me, who can feel intimidated by the immense amount of strategies and decisions that the genre requires. This is thanks to its core mechanic: time reversal. Perhaps this mechanic isn’t entirely unheard of in RPGs (Fire Emblem: Three Houses comes to mind as a recent example), but the way it’s implemented in Iron Danger makes all the difference.

It begins simply enough for an RPG. Your village is under attack, and as you attempt to escape to safety, you have the misfortune of dying. But death is only the beginning: just as you fall, a mysterious being blesses you with the ability to rewind time at any moment you’d like. That means that if you ever make a wrong move during combat, then you can reverse that decision and try something else. Time is divided up into “heartbeats,” which are measured in a bar at the bottom of the screen.  If you want to go back in time, simply click on a previous heartbeat. There’s no limit on how often you can use this ability: battles become a process of trial and error, of slowly rewinding and progressing as you discover what works. If you end up walking into an enemy trap, simply click back to the heartbeat before the ambush, and try a different strategy.

Iron Danger takes the stress out of roleplaying. RPGs are all about making decisions, and typically, making the wrong decision comes at a high price. But thanks to the time-reversal mechanic, Iron Dungeon gives you the room to experiment without consequence. As the developers at the booth explained to me, the ability to undo your actions turns Iron Danger into more of a puzzle game than an RPG. It’s all about evaluating your situation, the abilities at your disposal, the locations and actions of different enemies, and so on. And if everything goes wrong, then there’s nothing to worry about.

That doesn’t mean that Iron Danger will be too easy, however. Current indications point to the opposite. After I played through the tutorial, the developers took over and showed me an advanced, extremely complex level from later in the game, filled with deadly enemies and dynamic environments to consider, with fields that can catch on fire and explosive barrels to throw at enemies. You’ll have to constantly skip forward and backward in time only to survive. This combination of player-friendly mechanics and hardcore roleplaying combat is an exciting mix, extremely appealing for someone like myself who loves RPGs but doesn’t enjoy the stress that often comes with them.

Wildermyth

Wildermyth

In addition to video games, PAX South also had a substantial portion of the exhibit hall devoted to tabletop games – including, of course, Dungeons and Dragons. But if you wanted to experience D&D-style action without leaving the video game section of the expo, then Wildermyth perfectly fit the bill.

This new RPG is a hybrid between DnD storytelling and worldbuilding with XCOM-esque combat. Like D&D, it allows players to forge their own adventures and stories. Decisions during story events can impact everything from the way the larger story plays out to the weapons your character can use in each battle. Story sequences play out randomly, with events occurring differently depending on which enemies you’ve faced, which characters are in your party, which regions you’ve explored, and so on. It’s an extremely variable story, but with such adaptable writing, each story sequence feels natural, despite its apparent randomness. Instead, it should encourage replayability, to experience every possible story beat there is.

Wildermyth

Combat plays out in a grid-based strategy style, similar to games like XCOM. Each character is decked out with unique abilities of their own, and can interact with their environment dynamically. My favorite ability to experiment with was with the mage character, who can imbue environmental objects with magical abilities, such as attacking enemies who get close or inhibiting nearby enemies with status debuffs. I loved exploiting my surroundings and constructing the best strategies during my demo, and cleverly using special abilities like these will likely be key to strategically mastering combat later in the full game.

Like so many other games at PAX, Wildermyth also boasts of a visually distinct art style. The entire game is framed as a storybook; narrative sequences play out in comic book-like illustrations, and environments and characters consist of flat paper cut-outs in 3D surroundings. Pair this with a muted color palette and a simple, hand-drawn style, and Wildermyth has a quaint, comfortable art style that really supports the fairytale feel of the whole game. Currently available on Steam Early Access, the full game is set to release later this year.

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Indie Games Spotlight – Pastels, Parenting, and Pedestrians

Check out five of the most creative and compelling upcoming indies in the second Indie Games Spotlight of 2020.

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Indie Games Spotlight

Indie Games Spotlight is Goomba Stomp’s bi-weekly column that shines a light on some of the most promising new and upcoming independent titles. Though 2020 is already scheduled to have several of the most anticipated indie releases of the last few years, this time we’re going to focus on games coming out in the immediate future. From vibrant brawlers to daughter raising simulators, you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy in the coming weeks.

Super Crush KO; Indie Games Spotlight

Be John Wick for a Day in Super Crush KO

The neon-tinged shoot ’em up Graceful Explosion Machine quickly became one of the best indies on the Switch in 2017. Almost three years later, the same crew at Vortex Pop is back again with Super Crush KO, a fast-paced brawler set in a vibrant, near-future city. Despite the change in genre, however, it’s clear that Vortex Pop haven’t lost their design sensibilities in the slightest.

Super Crush KO plops players into a pastel world full of evil robots and cat-stealing aliens. Such is the situation of protagonist Karen when she’s rudely awoken to find her fluffy, white-furred pal catnapped. Thus, she embarks on a mission to punch, kick, juggle, and shoot anyone trying to keep her from her feline friend. Just like with Graceful Explosion Machine, the goal here is to clear levels with style, rack up high scores, and climb the leaderboards to compete with players around the world. Super Crush KO is out now for Switch and PC.

LUNA: The Shadow Dust Rekindles Lost Memories

Luna: The Shadow Dust is an absolutely stunning, hand-drawn adventure that follows the quest of a young boy who must restore light and balance to an eerie, enchanted world. This lovingly crafted point-and-click puzzle game originally began as a Kickstarter and is finally seeing the light of day after four long years of development.

Beyond its frame-by-frame character animation and appealing aesthetics, LUNA also promises to offer all manner of environmental puzzles to keep players engaged. Control will be split between the boy and his mysterious companion as the two gradually forge a bond and try to uncover the boy’s lost memories. With emphasis placed on emergent storytelling and atmospheric mastery, LUNA should be well worth investigating when it releases on February 13th for PC. Don’t miss trying out the free demo either!

Georifters – An Earth-Shattering Party Game

Genuinely entertaining party games are shockingly hard to come by in a post-Wii world. Georifters looks to fill that gap by offering a multiplayer-centric platformer centered around spontaneous terrain deformation. Players will be able to push, flip, twist or turn the terrain to overcome challenges and battle competitors in hundreds of stages in single-player, co-op and four-player multiplayer modes.

Of course, multiplayer will be where most of the fun is had here. Each character boasts a unique terrain-altering ability to help them attain the coveted crystal in every match. This makes character selection a serious consideration when planning a winning strategy against friends. To drive this point home even further, there will even be dozens of unique themed skins for players to customize their favorites with. Just like the original Mario Party titles, get ready to ruin friendships the old fashioned way when Georifters launches on all platforms February 20th.

Ciel Fledge; Indie Games Spotlight

Master Parenting in Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator

To say the simulation genre is ripe with creativity would be a massive understatement. Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator takes the Football Manager approach of letting players manage and schedule nearly every aspect of their daughter’s life; classes, hobbies, time spent with friends, you name it. The week then flies by and players get to see how their decisions play out over the weeks, months and years that follow. To keep things engaging, extracurricular activities and school tests are taken via a fascinating blend of match-three puzzles and card-based gameplay.

Just like in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, it’s easy to imagine the strong bonds that’ll form after investing so much time and energy into Ciel’s growth into an adult. Better yet, Ciel Fledge is filled out by what Sudio Namaapa calls “a cast of lovable characters” for Ciel to befriend, learn from, and grow up with. Prepare to raise the daughter you always wanted when Ciel Fledge: A Daughter Raising Simulator releases on February 21st for Switch and PC.

The Pedestrian; Indie Games Spotlight

The Pedestrian – Forge Your Own Path

The Pedestrian puts players in the shoes of the ever-recognizable stick figure plastered on public signs the world over. From within the world of the public sign system, players will have to use nodes to rearrange and connect signs to progress through buildings and the world at large.

The Pedestrian is a 2.5D side scrolling puzzle platformer, but the real draw here is the puzzle aspect. The core platforming mechanics are on the simpler side; players can jump and interact with different moving platforms, ladders, and the occasional bouncy surface. The possibilities of where this novel concept can go will all depend on how inventive the types of signs players can navigate will be. The character is also surprisingly charming; it’s inherently fun to guide the little pedestrian man through buildings and environments he wouldn’t normally find himself in.

Whether you’re a puzzle fan or simply appreciate the aesthetics, be sure to look out for the full journey when The Pedestrian launches on PC January 29th. Get an idea of what to expect by trying out the free demo too!

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