Last Life is ‘Kentucky Route Zero in space’

Apr 15, 2014

At least that’s how it was described to me in a tweet from Andrew Webster, former Gamezebo editor and current scribe at The Verge. And after hearing a description like that, there was no way around it: I just had to learn more.

Now on Kickstarter, Last Life is a murder mystery with a twist:

The murder you’re trying to solve is your own.

“LAST LIFE is a sci-fi noir adventure game for PC, Mac and Linux about a transhumanist colony on Mars,” reads the official Kickstarter page. “When a murdered detective is 3D printed back into existence, he reopens his last case to uncover what he missed--a hunt that reveals AI corruption, corporate espionage, and the conspiracy that may have led to Earth's doom.”

If that sounds as incredible to you as it does to me, you’re not alone. The folks at Double Fine happen to agree with us, so much so that Last Life has become the second game to earn the “Double Fine Presents,” distinction – an initiative that Tim Schafer & Co. have launched to help raise the visibility of deserving indie games that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. 

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Moebius: Empire Rising Review

Apr 15, 2014

Moebius: Empire Rising has an impressive adventure game pedigree thanks to creator Jane Jensen’s genre-defining work at Sierra, and on the Gabriel Knight series specifically.  Her commitment to quality writing, characters, and plot in each Gabriel Knight entry opened the point-and-click adventure up to explorations of deeper, more mature subjects that have persevered through modern entries like those from Wadjet Eye.  Moebius maintains this focus on writing and story, playing out like a page-turner mystery that also happens to be filled with ingenious puzzles and challenges.

The story revolves around our protagonist, Malachi Rector, a world-renowned genius who utilizes his photographic memory and knowledge of history to appraise priceless antiques and expose fakes.  We learn early on that this is no desk job: Malachi travels the globe to meet the needs of his clients and has been sent to the hospital by some who have received less savory appraisals. 

Moebius: Empire Rising

At the start of Moebius, Malachi is approached by a government agency, FITA, to investigate the death of a young woman in Venice.  He is not expected to solve the murder, but simply research the woman’s life and use his talents to decide if her biography parallels that of anyone in history.  Of course, this unique assignment becomes the gateway to a much larger mystery and conspiracy that ensnares Malachi and the player for seven chapters.

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UFHO2 dev: Valve doesn't want my game, so torrent it

Apr 14, 2014

Ciro Continisio of Tiny Colossus took to Reddit over the weekend in order to promote his strategy game UFHO2. After nearly two years stagnating on Steam Greenlight, and measly sales through Desura and Humble, Continisio has resigned himself to the fact that "nobody is going to buy it unless it's on Steam" and released a UFHO2 torrent onto The Pirate Bay. The release of the torrent came a little over a week after UFHO2 was released onto the iTunes Appstore where it's available for $3.99.

UFHO2, which stands for Unidentified Flying Hexagonal Object, was posted to Steam Greenlight in August of 2012. Six months prior the game managed to pull in over $10,000 through a successful Kickstarter campaign. However, it is worth noting that about half of those earnings came from just around 10% of the backers. 

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The game is a sequel to the 2007 game, UFHO, also developed by Continisio, which was available to play for free online. The servers for UFHO have since been shut down and the game is no longer playable. 

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Civilization: Beyond Earth - because strategy games belong in space

Apr 14, 2014

You know who’s great making PAX East announcements? Firaxis. Last year the studio used the Boston convention to announce the mobile port of XCOM: Enemy Unknown which, yes, managed to live up to the lofty promises they’d made. This year, they decided to go one step further and announce the next entry in everyone’s favorite strategy series, Civilization.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth will take players on a journey into the stars for the very first time (unless you count 1999’s spin-off Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, which the devs of Beyond Earth love, but stressed they’re going in their “own direction” from in a conversation with Kotaku).

Following a series of events that Firaxis refers to as “The Great Mistake,” the Earth is looking a little rough around the edges. As a result, humanity sets off to colonize a strange new world. Unlike past games in the series that draw from history, Beyond Earth will be about making choices to shape humanity’s future. 

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The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 - A Crooked Mile Walkthrough

Apr 14, 2014

Episode Three of The Wolf Among Us is a point-and-click adventure game created by Telltale Games.  In this game, you take on the role of Bigby Wolf, a tough law enforcer who tries to keep the peace among New York’s fantastic population of "Fables." Episode Three sends Bigby Wolf and Snow White on the trail of suspected murderer, Ichabod Crane. Gamezebo’s walkthrough will provide you with detailed images, tips, information, and hints on how to play your best game.

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 - A Crooked Mile

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Guild of Dungeoneering: a self-described 'reverse roguelike'

Apr 13, 2014

Guild of Dungeoneering is an upcoming reverse roguelike from developer Gambrinous. The game has players constructing the dungeon gauntlet that the hero will have to venture through, but the catch is that the player does not control the hero. The goal of the player is to, of course, ensure the survival of the hero through a careful balance of gameplay. Make a dungeon too easy and the hero won't get the experience they may need later on to defeat enemies. Make a dungeon too hard and it will more than likely result in a not-so-heroic ending.

Gambrinous reinforces the design aspect of the game through Guild of Dungeoneering's aesthetics. The game has a hand-drawn look that reminds me of the little warriors I used to draw on folders, back in middle school math class. I know I'm not the only one who did that.

While Guild of Dungeoneering is still in Alpha testing, Gambrinous are selling access to the current build for $9.99 on the game's official website. Gambrinous also posted Guild of Dungeoneering on to Steam Greenlight, for voting. Look for the game to be released late this year for Windows and Mac, with the possibility of a Linux release as well. 

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Fight the Dragon Preview

Apr 12, 2014

On March 27th, developer 3 Sprockets launched Fight the Dragon on Steam Early Access. The top-down 3D dungeon crawler's main attraction was its allegedly super simple level editor which allows players to upload and share their creations. While level editors are not an uncommon sight in video games, 3 Sprockets have gone to lengths to ensure that their dungeon editor is seemingly the main feature of the game.  After creating my own dungeon from scratch in a little under two hours, I'm here to report back that making a dungeon is just as fun as playing through everyone else’s.

Fight the Dragon

Turns out I'm not the only player to think so. In just two weeks, over 450 dungeons (nearing 480 at the time of this writing) have been generated by players and are now waiting to be discovered by other adventurous players. 

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Hearthstone is getting its first expansion with Curse of Naxxramas

Apr 11, 2014

Curse of Naxxramas: A Hearthstone Adventure will be the first-ever expansion for Blizzard's free-to-play digital card game, featuring 30 new cards, a new game board and single-player class challenges.

The expansion takes the form of a card-based dungeon crawler, with five "wings" unlocking over as many weeks simultaneously on all platforms. Each will feature new single-player encounters with boss fights and unique cards. The first wing, The Arachnid Quarter, will be available for free to all Hearthstone players at launch. The remaining content, true to the game's free-to-play model, will be available either with real money orin-game gold.

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Hearthstone saw official release on PC last year, while the iOS version launched in Canada, Australia and New Zealand last week (though if you want to be sneaky, you can learn how to get around that here).

There's no word on the expansion's pricing or release at this time.

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The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 - A Crooked Mile Review

Apr 11, 2014

The first two episodes of The Wolf Among Us got me thinking about how interactive media can transcend games. After all, Telltale’s take on the world of Fables plays more like an interactive film than a traditional point-click-adventure.

With episode three, a new thought dawned on me: as much as Telltale’s approach to the medium can reinvent the way we tell stories, The Wolf Among Us is an equally brilliant example of how well suited this new form of storytelling is to mysteries.

The Wolf Among Us: Episode 3 - A Crooked Mile

Picking up where the cliffhanger in Episode 2: Smoke and Mirrors left off, my initial thoughts weren’t of what’s next, but what came before. I found myself piecing together the bits and pieces of information I’d been fed, weighing them against the narrative, and starting to draw my own conclusions. Do I think their suspect is the guilty party? Why or why not? What evidence have I been shown to support it? And if I don’t think they are, what do the clues that have been revealed tell me about who the real killer might be?

It’s the digital equivalent of an Agatha Christie novel.

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Osmos made a cameo on The Simpsons this week

Apr 10, 2014

It’s been a few years since it first launched, but if you dust off your ol’ memory box, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of happy ones from your time with Hemisphere Games’ 2009 masterpiece Osmos. The game was later ported to mobile devices, winning Apple’s iPad Game of the Year award in 2010 – and, it would seem, the hearts and minds of The Simpsons show writers.

The internet was abuzz this week with talk of this week’s Minecraft couch gag on The Simpsons, but a voxelized Springfield wasn’t the only indie gaming nod on this week’s show. About halfway through the episode, when Milhouse learns that Bart has plenty of stolen goods – including Milhouse’s iPad – Bart suggests he relax to the soothing sounds of “this bubble game.”

We reached out to Hemisphere Games to see how this collaboration came about, and it turns out they were just as surprised as we were.

“We had no idea The Simpsons cameo was coming,” Hempishere’s Eddy Boxerman told Gamezebo. “Our jaws dropped in disbelief when we caught wind of it! As a few friends have said (and who are we to disagree?) ‘It's official -- Osmos is pop culture now!’”

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