Phoenix Labs and Dauntless Purchased by Garena

It was recently announced that Dauntless developer Phoenix Labs has been acquired by Garena, which is the digital entertainment extension of Sea Limited.

dauntless founder's alpha

Dauntless is a free-to-play, co-op action RPG in the same vein of Monster Hunter. Early in development, Dauntless received significant hype due to being one of the first multiplayer-focused, ‘Monster Hunter’ style games of the current generation. While Monster Hunter: World did temper this hype slightly, Dauntless has still been successful on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch and it is one of the few games to feature crossplay between every system.

“Our partners at Garena have been our most steadfast supporters since the early days of Phoenix Labs, and we are excited to join forces with a global games leader,” said Jesse Houston, CEO and co-founder of Phoenix Labs. “With this next step, we’re able to ensure that we can provide the best possible experience for Dauntless players around the world. We’re extremely excited about what the future holds for Phoenix Labs, as we continue to support our ever-growing Dauntless community and explore future games.

Garena is a leading game publisher and developer in Singapore with more than 320 million active users in the third quarter of 2019.

Source: Press Release

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Tribes of Midgard Preview – Surviving Ragnarok

The looming threat of Ragnarök is something that no Norse tribe can ever ignore. It’s the kind of mythology that isn’t frequently used in video games, but it serves as a flawless setup for relentless battles involving gods and colossal entities. Tribes of Midgard is based on that premise but mixes it with survival game trappings to create a familiar but compelling game.

Tribes of Midgard is being developed by indie studio Norsfell, based in Montreal, Canada. Its backlog is mostly comprised of mobile games, but the ambition driving its upcoming game is worthy of attention, thanks to a satisfying core gameplay that motivates you to advance your character. Nevertheless, the latest open beta is proof that there’s a lot of work to be done, mostly balancing the different systems and providing additional content to keep the player invested.

Tribes of Midgard bare beginnings

Bare-naked Vikings

Tribes of Midgard is a cooperative survival game where up to ten players join forces to defend their village. At the center of the village lies the Seed of Yggdrasil, the tribe’s last hope against the invasion of the grim hordes from Helheim. Your goal is to survive the incoming onslaught for as many days as you can, something that is far from being an easy task, considering that increasingly difficult shadow creatures and colossi will invade your village every single night.

The procedurally generated maps of Tribes of Midgard are one of its triumphs, adding a refreshing stance to each new match. Each map is unabashedly huge, with fast travel shrines thankfully dispersed across the land. You will be running back and forth to your village to heal and craft superior gear, so using these shrines will save you precious minutes. Furthermore, protecting the Seed of Yggdrasil is crucial, so you won’t want to be caught amiss when your help may end up making a difference.

The bulk of the game consists of exploring the wilderness and gathering all kinds of materials. Nearly naked and only with your bare fists to protect yourself from the dangers of the wild, you pick up branches, stones, sticks, and other materials to get you started. The village blacksmith is eager to help you, with a pickaxe and a wood axe inevitably being your first tools. These are used to mine stones and minerals, and to chop down every tree in your way. Soon you’ll be handling a sword or a hammer, but you need more in the way of protection than your undies.

Being a survival game at heart, you’ll often see your objects and weapons break. Having a replacement at the ready may save you from some uncomfortable situations, but it’s a matter of balancing your future needs with your stock of materials.

Tribes of Midgard Jotun attack

Edly the tailor is glad to help, offering several kinds of helmets, chest guards, gloves, pants, and shoes. It’s not a daunting task to get yourself some basic gear; however, to wear those imposing and comfy helmets and chest guards requires some thorough exploration of the region and a sheer dose of luck. Rare minerals or jewels are necessary and hard to find, with some of the best materials dropping from the colossal and threatening Jotun.

Jotun is the giant and ambiguous entity that will occasionally show up to attack the Seed of Yggdrasil. It is a mighty challenge, requiring the concentrated efforts of every player to take it down, not to mention some well-placed and appropriate traps placed near your village. The giant will relentlessly crush any ill-prepared tribe, putting an end to your efforts in that world. Along with the objects that you gather, you also collect souls that you need to deliver to the Seed of Yggdrasil, acting as its health.

If your world is destroyed, that doesn’t mean that your developments are going to waste. Progress is seamless between worlds, so you get to keep your experience level and blessings when you start your crusade in a new map. However, you lose all your equipment and gear, having to start from scratch in your quest to get some decent weapons and armor. If you’re lucky, some better prepared player may offer you some of his loot, sparing you the initial struggle.

Blessings are the skills in this game, improving your character’s build and abilities. Spread across four classes (Ranger, Brawler, Warden and Guardian), Blessings provide several buffs and improvements that aren’t to be neglected. Increasing fog of war reveal, improving weapon durability, or increasing damage with a specific weapon, among other things, will come extremely handy when push comes to shove.

Tribes of Midgard hammer time

Fighting for My Tribe

When the night comes, the shadows roam in the direction of the Seed of Yggdrasil. Every player must make a run for the village, defending it with every ounce of their strength. Having a wealthy amount of materials may help you build a wall, delaying the entry of the mythological evil spirits. Dagny the Seeress will patiently wait for harmed Vikings to reach out, healing those who stand within her magical circle; however, whenever a player heals (alone or in a group), the others must wait a couple of minutes for the healer to be available once more.

While Tribes of Midgard already provides a satisfying gameplay loop, there is room for improvement in order to make it a full-fledged cooperative survival experience. The current lack of a player communication system undermines the tribe’s efforts, but this is said to be in the works. Even a simple ping system would be immensely welcome for teamplay and strategizing.

The durability of weapons and items is a bit on the shaky side, forcing you to repeatedly craft the same gear instead of aiming for a better one. This is one aspect that requires finetuning, along with others such as the day and night cycle. Daytime is over too quickly, frustrating your plans to go out into the wilds, exploring at your own pace – suddenly, it’s time to rush back to the village and if there is no fast travel shrine in sight, it will be a long and troubled way home.

Tribes of Midgard barbarian settlement

As far as weapon selection goes, it’s somewhat slim and I couldn’t fail to notice a disheartening lack of ranged weapons. Not having a single bow in sight is an odd omission, especially considering that some of the first foes that cross your path are bow-wielding barbarians. Combat feels satisfying, with the skills spicing up the fights, but hit detection is far from perfect.

While the sandbox gameplay set within randomized worlds is a plus, Tribes of Midgard could benefit from the addition of missions or side quests to break out of its endless loop. Escorting an NPC to a certain area or finding a specific item for someone would help with the flow of the game, adding some extra layers to its free-form gameplay.

The art is good, with a cel-shaded style that isn’t tremendously detailed, but the whole picture makes for a game that is easy on the eyes. When the snow is gently falling and you see the clouds reflecting in the pristine water, everything seems to come together. The giants are quite impressive to watch, as they slowly move towards their goal, your ultimate destruction.

Tribes of Midgard duo combat

The Tribes of Midgard open beta suffered from a few disconnect issues and another bug that cut the matches short. The day never ended, and without the usual warning to swiftly return to the village, surprise struck as the Seed of Yggdrasil was left hopeless, destroyed by a swarm of grim shadows.

This is nothing that can’t be fixed before the official launch, although there is no way to tell if the developers are going to add side quests to Tribes of Midgard to flesh out its core offering. While satisfying, it’s a game that feels extremely niche as it stands right now, and that may end up being its most gigantic challenge yet.

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Killsquad – Bounty Hunters in Space

Is it still a Diablo-like game if it stars space bounty hunters? Probably not, but Killsquad certainly qualifies as a loot-driven action RPG. The latest game from Spanish developer Novarama is a far cry from its most popular series, the family friendly Invizimals.

Killsquad is a sci-fi co-op action game where you can take on contracts solo or in a team of up to four players. Going in by yourself is far from the ideal way to enjoy Killsquad. In fact, it is detrimental to the experience and could give you the wrong impression about the potential of this game. Do yourself a favor and make some friends before playing. You’ll thank me later.

Killsquad Night Two Player Co-op

Bounty Hunters of the Galaxy

In my ill-informed mind, Killsquad was this story-driven co-op game where players would explore new planets and discover exciting new alien species, and blow them to pieces. That much I knew, or so I thought. Reality came knocking and it turns out, Killsquad doesn’t feature a proper campaign, and most likely never will. This is a game about loot and leveling up your hero, paving the way for more challenging and ultimately more rewarding contracts.

After subverting my expectations, for better and for worse, I was able to enjoy Killsquad for what it is; a fast-paced action RPG where loot matters and grinding is key. It may feel light on content during Early Access, but the core mechanics are in place and the wheels are in motion. While the theme couldn’t be more dissimilar, Killsquad feels remarkably close to Pagan Online, right down to the way that enemy waves appear out of thin air. Not my favorite mechanic, I must confess.

Killsquad features four space bounty hunters for you to choose from: Troy, Kosmo, Cass and Zero. While the selection is sparse, the heroes are diversified enough to suit most playstyles. My favorite of this bad bunch is Zero, a medical combat robot gone haywire. So much for empathy, as it is now a reckless murder machine, using its laser attacks to deal with any creatures. I’m also a fan of its ability to drop a MedPack, making it the perfect healer unit on the battlefield.

Killsquad 2-Player Co-op Zero and Kosmo

On the other hand, if you prefer to get up close and personal, Kosmo may be the right man… er, dead man for that. Wielding a massive sledgehammer, he isn’t afraid to use it to crack some alien skulls. Troy is the gunslinger and natural gambler, shooting his way to better loot. Finally, there’s Cass, the warrior nun, with her sharp sword and invisibility powers.

The grind may be strong with this one, but it’s not entirely unforgiving. You can stick to your favorite hero without second thoughts as you won’t be forced to start from scratch when you want to try the others. The support gear and prototype gear that you purchase from the shop is shared through all your characters, so you’ll swiftly find your brand-new space bounty hunter starting from Vector 31 or so. Weapons, however, are bound to each hero, so this is another aspect entirely.

Vector is the fancy name given to experience levels in Killsquad. This is a calculation based on your current equipment, which includes weapon, support gear and prototype gear. To make it perfectly clear, your overall ranking is the sum of the three gear parts divided by three, in case you find your Vector number not to be an exact reflection of your stats. It took me a while to discover its inner workings.

Killsquad Palace of Pain Co-op

Contracts Make the World Go Round

With no campaign to sink your teeth into, you must pick one contract from the available selection. Contracts rotate in real time and are currently divided in three tiers: Recruit (Vector 1-30), Veteran (Vector 35-90) and Spec Ops (Vector 120-150). There is nothing preventing you from accepting contracts above your pay grade, but don’t get too cocky or you may end up seeing your mission cut short.

Killsquad’s Early Access features 12 contracts spread across three different planets. It’s a skimpy selection that is enhanced with day and night missions, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a game in desperate need for additional content. Luckily, the maps are randomly generated, which means that you’ll face slightly different challenges. Sometimes you’ll struggle to find the right path, especially in The Palace of Pain, with a narrow pathway or two being harder to find than it should. Killsquad doesn’t feature character transparency, so it’s not uncommon to lose track of your hero or an enemy in the heat of battle.

The Palace of Pain is one of the planets filled with riches and bugs of various sizes. It’s not my favorite place, due to the industrial complex design that leaves me somewhat cold, maybe due to the endless steel walkways, or the succession of vast, empty rooms. I much prefer my trips to planet Kemmekh, where the neat sound of crystals shattering is like music to my ears. Planet Wasteland 7A is exactly what is says in the box, a devastated place with traces of a long-destroyed civilization.

Killsquad Wasteland 7A Battle

Apart from the randomized level design, Killsquad’s planets also feature a few neat touches. Environmental hazards are something you must deal with and  they come in different shapes and sizes. You have meteor storms dropping at the worst moments, or laser storms that sweep the screen and everything in their path. Both you and the enemies are affected by these hazards and taking advantage of them in an intelligent way will save you a lot of trouble and health.

Each contract unfolds in a similar manner, as the heroes earn experience up to level 10. In regular intervals you’ll unlock new upgrades, choosing a new skill from a few choices. Steadily you’ll learn the best skills for your playstyle and as soon as you reach level 10, the contract objective is activated. It may consist of destroying a boss, safely escorting a vehicle, protecting an antenna, destroying crystals, and so on. It all boils down to exterminating whatever gets in your way.

While Killsquad is described as featuring “short, adrenaline pumping missions”, these actually run for longer than I was expecting. I would say that your average mission length is around 30 minutes, with some of them going well past that. This isn’t an issue for me, but some players may be more interested in short bursts of gameplay. The addition of a few extra contracts that don’t exceed 10 or 15 minutes would be a welcome addition.

Killsquad Warrior Nun Hero

A Disconcerting Lack of Talking Raccoons

The DNA you collect during the missions is the in-game currency used to purchase a few specific items in the BioSystems Labs shop. If nothing tickles your fancy or you feel confident in your abilities, the acquired DNA will be converted to credits by the end of the mission. These credits will then be used in the main shop, where you gradually purchase better weapons and gear. Things get more expensive as you go, but in general the Vector level of each piece is superior to what you have previously acquired, so it is a good deal. This is the recurrent way for leveling your heroes and confidently taking on better contracts.

There is a secondary shop where you can purchase epic and legendary weapons. These come with significant attributes but also a heavier price. You need to grind additional materials and craft three special types of currencies if you want to lay your greasy fingers on one of those.

With my early game experience being mostly to blame, I had mixed feelings going solo with Killsquad. The pace was trite and the frequent need to destroy stationary mines to earn that little bit of experience made it feel a bit dull. It was an unexciting grind that slowly improved as I became suited for better contracts and more challenging foes.

Killsquad Vehicle Escort Co-op

Still, playing Killsquad alone is wasting the tremendous potential of the game. Playing with one friend is enough to lift the game to other standards, and the four-player mode is certain to raise the chaos and fun factor in equal measure. It gets so frantic at times that the battleground turns into a dazzling light show, and you’re left wondering how you managed to stay alive amidst all that spectacle.

Co-op is where Killsquad absolutely shines, making some of its shortcomings feel inconsequential. I didn’t care that much anymore about the repetitive enemies (30 at the moment), or the small number of environments. I was having fun handing out medkits to my partner, as he unabashedly dived headfirst into the chaotic enemy waves, while I took out the rest of them from a distance. We were having fun and boasting about our newfound abilities to survive in a deadly environment, against all odds.

I can’t fully recommend Killsquad for solo players, but it gets high marks if you plan on playing with a friend. As I said before, this is where the game truly shines. It was purely designed to be enjoyed in co-op and does quite a good job at it, too.

You should have a decent amount of fun in its current state, but Killsquad needs more content; more loot, more heroes, more planets, and more contracts, which it will certainly get in the future. I can only endure so many steel catwalks before I start longing for other, more alluring planets to scavenge. Isn’t there any lush tropical planet in need of a committed and reasonably priced bounty hunter?

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Two Player Co-Op is Coming to Pagan Online

Wargaming and Mad Head Games have announced that two player Co-Op is coming to Pagan Online today in all Missions and Assassinations. The new co-op mode will allow players to face larger hordes, bigger bosses, and more challenging challenges. Right now it isn’t available for the main story campaign but from the sound of it that is coming soon.

Other future updates to Pagan Online will be heavily influenced by the introduction of two-player co-op. This includes synergies between heroes, special co-op systems, special rewards, and drops. But the biggest thing that this is leading the way towards is four player co-op. “Co-op is going to play a big role in the upcoming expansions to Pagan Online,” said Uros Banjesevic, Chief Creative Officer of Mad Head Games. “We’re very happy to be bringing this new feature to the game and can’t wait for players to get in and start playing Pagan Online with their friends.”

Pagan Online is currently available in Early Access on Steam or in the Wargaming Premium Shop for $29.99. It is a fresh take on the ARPG genre with MOBA-like controls. Its lore is inspired by pre-Christian Slavic mythology. The developers, Mad Head Games are one of the pioneers of the Serbian gaming industry. The company is well known for their unique approach to casual adventure games. This success has led to them expanding into new genres, which is where Pagan Online comes in. Pagan Online officially entered Early Access on April 18th and since then they’ve already had a couple of patches in which they fine tune the game, smooth out the bumps, and introduce exciting features, like today’s introduction of two-player co-op. It sounds like Pagan Online is going in an interesting new direction and being able to play with friends makes it all the better.


Source: Press Release

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Steambirds Alliance – Birds of Prey

There is something inherently evil with cats. How they seem to follow your every move, staring at you in uncomfortable ways, as if they have full control over your life. Pouncing from unfathomable places at just the wrong time with a loud meow that scares you to death.

I’m not the only one that thinks so. Birds also consider cats to be their mortal enemies… well, so do dogs and mice, which is further proof of the evilness that lies within these furry feline creatures. However, those will have to wait for better days as now it’s time for the birds to rise against their evil cat overlords in Steambirds Alliance.

Steambirds Alliance Preview Crab Boss Battle

Toucan Play at That Game

As you may guess, there is no shortage of wackiness in Steambirds Alliance, a game that nearly defies description. This is a 60-player co-op bullet-hell twin-stick shooter where birds make a stand against their eternal sworn enemies, cats, all of this from the comfort of different kinds of airplanes. It’s a clever mix of hard-as-nails shmups such as Ikaruga or DoDonPachi with Realm of the Mad God, the cult classic retro-styled MMO that Spry Fox co-developed. Now they are back with a new game that features less pixel-art and more birds on planes.

Steambirds Alliance begins with your feathered fighter on a plane, merrily flying around the rebellion’s sky base – all of you Avengers fans can think of this ship as the bird’s very own Helicarrier. Your starter plane will be your trustworthy companion during the first hours, but your progress will unlock other, better planes. These are the classes in the game, further offering other choices of weapons and strategies – some planes are even named Paladin, Medic or Assault, in case you had any lingering doubts about their roles.

Your pilot rank unlocks skill options that you can learn using skill points. I had a hard time getting to grips with the way that the skill tree worked, and I have no doubts whatsoever that others will feel the same. You need to pay close attention to each skill row, understand how learning a skill will sometimes replace other one, and work out how some skills are tied to a specific plane. For a game that tries to evoke the feel of old-school arcade shooters, this is an area that could benefit from a serious overhaul.

Steambirds Alliance Preview Buddies in Flight

Thankfully, permadeath is one thing that doesn’t carry over from Realm of the Mad God. Or should I say that it does, but with a twist that turns Steambirds Alliance into a more accessible, less nerve-wracking game. When your plane gets blown to pieces, your current plane level resets but you keep your hard-earned overall pilot experience level and unlocked skills. This approach makes progress much more manageable, while still providing a tough-as-nails challenge that requires tactical thinking and nerves of steel in order to slowly discover new, more robust planes. However, all the loot in your possession also disappears, so make sure to thread extra carefully when you have a sweet piece of gear that you don’t want to lose.

Your inventory is extremely limited, or at least in comparison to the colossal amount of loot that you’ll find in your quest. An option to auto-equip superior items is a godsend as it saves you the trouble, and it’s also nice that you can get rid of low-level items with the press of a button.

Your home base in the skies is the place where the bird alliance decides on its next target. In theory, at least, because it’s mostly a matter of entering the dropship that will take you to the open world battlefield. But before you take the fight to the cat army, you should make the most out of the available facilities. The Pilot School is where you can learn skills; the Storage is where you can safely store some of your best loot for later; the Hangar is where your plane collection sits tight, waiting for your choice; the Workshop is where you can craft new stuff; in the Store you can buy all sorts of things with gold or scrap, from special missions to upgrades and even emotes; and the Pilot’s Pub, where you can sip a refreshing cocktail… well, actually no – this is where you accept missions that grant you special rewards.

Steambirds Alliance Preview Boss Explosion

Wake Me Up Before You Dodo

By now you’ve probably guessed that Steambirds Alliance’s pace is frenetic and hardly lets you stop for a quick breather. As soon as your firepower is one to be feared and you climb experience level after experience level, the cat menace becomes more imposing with larger ships, more erratic movement patterns and countless projectiles of different shape and size. The pure definition of bullet-hell is a mere dozen or so experience levels away.

Controlling your plane is as responsive as you would expect from a game where twitch reflexes and split-second reactions are crucial. With a gamepad you can play Steambirds Alliance just as you would with your average twin-stick shooter, using the right thumbstick to aim and fire. If you choose to play using WASD, the mouse can be used to aim and shoot, but I couldn’t get used to the compulsory circular turret movement – against all odds, I prefer the more immediate gamepad feedback. You can also give your plane a small speed boost and believe me, you’re going to need it.

One of Steambirds Alliance’s claims to fame is that 60 players can fight the war together. With a few partners you can already get a sense of the chaotic, bullet-ridden elegance of the action, but I can only imagine when a few dozen players are taking on the same boss – it should be quite a sight… if you manage to see your plane at all. There is a handy option that teleports you next to another player so that you can jump straight into his fight, cooperating and hopefully reaping the rewards faster than going alone – this is a nice, straightforward way to motivate co-op play.

Steambirds Alliance Preview Sky Base

Somewhat unexpectedly, PvP is out of the equation. The focus is entirely on co-op and while Spry Fox seems adamant about keeping it that way, they have admitted that some sort of indirect player versus player feature such as guilds may eventually make it into the game. While I reckon that a full co-op PvE game is nice for a change, Steambirds Alliance just feels like the perfect fit for some epic high-altitude arcade clashes. I’m a bit torn on this issue, but I’d rather have a competent, fun co-op experience than having to deal with a tacked-on PvP mode to please the “masses”.

Transitioning between zones is seamless, with a huge sign warning you of the recommended player level, as to prevent any erroneous wandering through deadly areas. No biting more than you can chew, slowly but surely growing in power is the strategy that will take you places.

I positively admire the graphic style chosen for Steambirds Alliance. The tiny planes and smooth animation bring back fond memories of arcade classics such as 1942, SWIV, Banshee or Flying Shark. Everything is a bit crowded but that won’t stop you from appreciating the backgrounds that change for each zone. From rocky mountains to factories or rustic villages, it’s a testament to the developers’ abilities that these never get in the way of the shooting – if you failed to spot a bullet, it’s most likely your fault. And those boss explosions… now those are some truly eye-catching fireworks.

Steambirds Alliance Preview Shark Attack

I have to hand it to the cats for what they truly are; masterminds. You wouldn’t guess that these lazy furry creatures had it in them to create dozens of remarkable ships. It’s not just about the sizes and practical use against the bird uprising; it’s the way that some ships take inspiration from other animals and objects such as crabs, sharks, dogs, centipedes, trains and much more. You’ll come face to face with some clever ship design, particularly the bosses.

Steambirds Alliance probably isn’t going to replace your main MMO; nevertheless, it is more than capable of providing some frantic exhilaration. It is both suited for short gameplay bursts and long hours of relentless evil cat shooting. While it won’t set the world ablaze, it seems to have “cult classic” written all over it, just as it happened with Realm of the Mad God. It’s a chip off the old block… or should I say, a chirp off the old block?

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Dauntless Loads its Guns on October 3

Its felt like forever, but the new Dauntless Repeaters – the game’s first and only ranged weapon option – finally have a hard release date as well as a whole slew of new details on just how these new weapons work and how to get them.

The Dauntless Repeaters can be unlocked via a quest with Admiral Zai after you’ve taken down a full-strength Shrike. After that point, the weapons can be upgraded much like others in the game, though with a variety of notable differences.

Repeaters come in four totally customizable parts: the grip, which determines your thrown ability; the barrel, which sets the element type of your attacks; the chamber, which lets you customize your skillshot ability; and the prism, which offers you a passive bonus. Each of these four pieces can be mixed and matched, provided you have the materials and the money to craft the items in question.

While the instinct to hang back and fire from long range is inherent in the use of the Repeaters, a number of benefits can be conferred for those who get in close. For one, damage increases the closer you get in what sounds like the “critical distance” mechanic in the Monster Hunter games. Additionally, reloading while near a monster empowers your next few shots.

Like the headline states, the Repeaters will make their way to Dauntless this coming Wednesday, October 3rd as part of the game’s next patch.

Our Thoughts

The customization options that the Repeaters offer will end up making them more expensive than other weapon types, but ultimately more deep and rewarding overall, likely. We actually kind of hope this same system comes to the other existing weapons of the game, assuming it plays out the way it sounds on paper.

Source: official site

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Mojang Announces Minecraft: Dungeons

Minecraft has had its MineCon Earth event wrapped up for another year, but this year’s event has provided something notably different for the popular boxy sandbox title. A Minecraft: Dungeons announcement was made, unveiling a new standalone co-op game that pretty much sounds like what you’d expect from its title.

minecraft: dungeons announcement

Minecraft: Dungeons will let up to four players band together to experience dungeon crawling gameplay in the Minecraft universe. Fans can expect to see all new mobs and bosses in various biomes like canyons, swamps and mines, and can look for new loot to take on greater challenges in classic dungeon delving fashion.

The game is a totally new standalone title being developed by a team in Stockholm, Sweden. The announcement calls Minecraft: Dungeons the team’s “passion project”, which looks to have been in development for a pretty long while.

Of course, MineCon wasn’t just about the new game. The event also announced the new Village and Pillage update; increase customization options for add-ons; and Inspiration Island, a free content update due later this year that looks to help players get acclimated to creating things in Minecraft. All of the event’s reveals are compiled here.

As for Minecraft: Dungeons, that will make its way to PC at some point in 2019. A trailer is below.

Our Thoughts

A Minecraft dungeon crawler? Kind of surprised that sort of game didn’t exist already! We’re certainly interested to see just what makes this particular slice of digital dungeon delving stand out from others, but consider us curious in the meantime.

Source: official site

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Shadows over Bögenhafen DLC for Vermintide 2 Releases

The thing about cursed objects is that stuffing them into a closet doesn’t suddenly make them not cursed. This is a lesson the citizens of Bögenhafen are learning all too well, and as usual it’s up to the player heroes to clean up the mess. That’s the setup for today’s Shadows over Bögenhafen DLC release for Vermintide 2. More or less.

Shadows over Bögenhafen dlc

Shadows over Bögenhafen introduces players of the co-op critter slasher to the titular town, which has fallen under the curse of the Blightreaper, a pestilent blade that has brought a Nurgle infestation. The task: cleave through the threats, find the Blightreaper, and perhaps see it unmade.

The new DLC adds two new levels for players to cut through in the form of The Pit and The Cleansing, along with a number of new challenges and quests to overcome. Rewards added in this DLC include new skins, portrait frames, Illusions and hats. Those who own the DLC can even invite players who don’t have the expansion pack into their runs.

Unsurprisingly, developer Fatshark’s CEO Martin Wahlund is pretty excited. “Shadows over Bögenhafen adds even more compelling content that should challenge and satisfy even the most hardened players,” says Wahlund in a statement. “After the huge success with the release of Warhammer: Vermintide 2 we remain focused on supporting the game with new content and experiences.”

The DLC is arriving today on Steam for those who are interested. There’s also a release trailer that sets the scene you can view below.

Our Thoughts

We’re not sure two levels is a lot for a DLC’s release, but then again those could be some pretty compelling two levels regardless. In any case, for fans of this particular online co-op game, we hope they have a good time in Bögenhafen one can in a plague-ridden city.

Source: press release

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Ex-BioWare Devs Unveil Co-Op Action RPG Breach

The pedigree of being a former BioWare developer is something that bears a bit of weight in the minds of many gamers, self included. So considering the Breach announcement that crossed my desk led off with that bit of information, I felt compelled to share details of the incoming co-op RPG, which has offered a look at its gameplay in both text and video form.

breach announcement

With plans to “revitalize the co-op action RPG genre”, Breach will have players facing down mythological threats that have collided with a modern-day Earth. The game features dozens of classes like the Gunslinger, Chronomancer or Auros Gladiator to name a few. Each class can be customized with endless options according to the announcement, and players can switch classes at any time they like.

If you’d rather not play the goody two-shoes, there’s also the option to play as the Veil Demon. This class lets you summon traps, place elite monsters and possess bosses to generally make the lives of the party a little less comfortable.

Breach is due to enter paid early access later this year and will launch free-to-play sometime in 2019, along with a technical alpha test at some point beforehand. Fans are advised to head to the game’s website for more information, or you could stay right here and watch the trailer below.

Our Thoughts

Assuming this game’s pacing is anything like it’s demonstrated in the above video, we suspect that Breach will definitely bring something new to co-op multiplayer. Particularly if the Veil Demon role is as fun as it sounds on paper. We’re looking forward to learning more soon!

Source: press release

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E3 2018: Hands-on Strange Brigade

I wasn’t sure what to expect with Rebellion’s Strange Brigade. The game’s reveal trailer certainly had a unique angle, as we rarely seem to have games set in the early 1900s narrated in the kind of hammy style associated with early Hollywood. Part of this may be because I’m part Egyptian myself and know that the whole “mummy” monster thing is purely a western creation. I don’t mean to say it’s offensive, but it’s like someone telling you a ghost story about the spirit of a statue getting revenge on a small child that kicked it. It’s kind of freaky, but you probably won’t consider vengeful statues as a monster trope to rely on. As the western mummy mythos has always seemed less developed than, say, the zombie apocalypse, I wondered how much content the game could muster.

The above trailer really serves to highlight most of what I saw. While the queen herself didn’t show up, I did see a good amount of similar traps and puzzles. What the trailer doesn’t show is that gameplay often feels like moving from one wave-mode defense point to another. While that may sound boring to some players, from a design point, Rebellion actually sets it up pretty well.

At least for our demo, the basic set up was that we’d come to a new thing, have the hammy Hollywood narrator hint at what to do (say, aim magnified light at a target, Indian Jones style), watch what happens, and then find the same set piece in the next area but figure out how to correctly solve the mirror in a new context. It’s very Nintendo-esque and helped ensure that we were learning the game. As you’d expect, after being shown a few things, like how to bring down dangling objects to hit switches or activating spinning blades of death to help cut through waves of mummies, the game would give us several pieces together, culminating in our final battle, which, like many cinematic demos, ended right when the fight would have begun.

I should point out that the narrator does fit into the game’s style quite well. Everything we did felt episodic. We didn’t just have the narrator acting as hint guide, but setting the scene that we were old-timey, turn of the twentieth century cultural imperialists largely fighting foreigners, as foreigners, in another foreigner’s land. Again, my background makes it hard to ignore this, but at the same time, that’s exactly how the game makes everything feel exotic. Everyone except for the mummies seem out of place, but potentially in a good way. If you have British explorers in Egypt with what I think is a Nubian Warrior, why not toss in a samurai or Cherokee warrior? A lot of fun can be had if you embrace the kitsch.

Combat wise, the gun play is much less Nintendo than the design. Guns have recoil, so you can’t easily line up headshots and wait for mummies to turn into a death factory. Unless you’ve activated traps in front of them, in which case, you’re safe. You can hurt yourself on traps and explosives, but that’s the limitation of friendly fire. Sorry, no headshotting your fellow players!

strange brigade

As you might expect, the undead on their own don’t pose much of a threat. They’re very much the shambling zombies you’d see in standard zombie movies or in the Lon Chaney Jr Mummy movies. However, as you progress, the mummy waves become denser and denser. By the end, it did kind of feel like a zombie movie, in that there was a sea of them, but as the “actors,” we had just enough breathing room to take one out before having to deal with a threat right behind us. The risk of being overwhelmed is very real, so ensuring that you time your use of traps correctly is important. You have room to be creative, but things like setting off a trap before its able to hit anything clearly will put you at a disadvantage, especially if its something like an exploding barrel. Certain traps like the electrical magic fields can be reset, but explosive pottery stays blown up.

I wasn’t able to see every character’s ultimate ability, but the Nubian warrior woman’s was a nice AoE fireblast attack. Unlike in most games, the ulitmate isn’t just something you get from fighting, or even from standing around. You can actively choose to charge it, but doing so prevents you from using your weapon or kicks, including the head-smashing finisher you can execute on undead that fall to the ground but aren’t exactly… perma-dead. While charging, you can only run around and hope your tactic proves useful, as you can’t defend yourself or your allies.

The whole time you’re fighting, you’re also trying to pillage treasure. The game may be co-op, but getting gold only counts for your character and helps you unlock gear between matches. The end of the round screen ranks you by performance and shows who got how much gold, adding just a little competition in ways other co-op games like Monster Hunter World does.

Sadly, Rebellion had no one on hand for me to ask questions to about the potential for new characters, other levels, DLC, or what all persists on your character between rounds. The game’s not an MMO, but it may act as a unique, co-op lobby game that some readers may enjoy.

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