Ukiyo-E Heroes – Documentary Premiere

Let’s talk about something very different this week. Tomorrow, on the 2nd of May, a documentary called Ukiyo-E Heroes goes in premiere at the Hot Docs movie festival in Toronto (buy tickets). Wow, wait NekoJonez, why are we talking about this on a gaming blog? Well, the reason for that is simple. The documentary is about somebody who crafts traditional Japanese woodcuts with a lot of Mario/Pokémon and various other pop-culture references.

What’s the documentary about?

A journey of discovery into how a Canadian craftsman and an American designer with a father and son generation gap who collaborate to revive the ancient Japanese woodcut (Ukiyo-e) using pop-culture icons: Super Mario and Pokémon. 

Here is the team that made the documentary.

A Rivertime Entertainment Production

Director: Toru Tokikawa
Writers: Min Hye Kim, Toru Tokikawa
Producers: Toru Tokikawa, Yu-Fai Suen
Composer: Alan Braxe
Music Supervisor: Alexandre Escolier
Sound Mixer: Danielle Adams
Advisor: Ben Elliott

Follow this documentary

You can find a trailer on their Facebook page and you can follow them on Twitter and even more information can be found on their website. Well, the website of the production company that made the documentary called Rivertime Inc.

This is worth it!

I have watched every teaser and trailer they have put out on their Facebook page, and believe me, this documentary is going on my “to watch” list. I’m very interested in Japanese culture myself. My life long dream is actually going on a trip to Japan.

Since childhood, I have been fan of various Japanese game studios like Sony, Square, Capcom and various others. My favorite is Nintendo.

But, I’m getting off track here. From what I have seen, the documentary is filmed very good. There is a lot of imagery to see how everything came to be. Also, the documentary is filmed at various locations. I love when documentaries do this. That way we get a better view into the subject that the documentary is presenting. If you want to judge for yourself, go and take a look at the social media and the website I linked earlier.

Currently, the studio is working to get this documentary distributed in Europe. So, if you are a distributor in Europe and you are interested in this movie, feel free to get into contact with Rivertime Inc, since if you help to get this documentary into Europe and/or Belgium, I’ll be a customer!

So, if you are in Toronto this week, go to the Hot Docs festival and give this documentary a watch. They are also in the running for an audience award! And they deserve it, in my opinion.

That’s everything I wanted to say about this documentary, I want to thank Rivertime Entertainment for mail me about this. Otherwise I would have slipped under my radar and it would be a shame, since I’m quite interested in seeing the documentary myself.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

The Legend of Dark Witch is coming to Playstation Vita!

banner_small.jpgQubicGames S.A. has not forgotten about PlayStation Vita fans. Fairune hit the stores just before Easter break and next week it’s time for another game to entertain you on spring afternoons – Inside System’s jRPG Legend of Dark Witch is coming your way. The game will be available on PlayStation Store from April 25th.

Every PS Vita lover knows that the best productions are those which take you on an adventure. That’s why you can’t go wrong with The Legend of Dark Witch, an action game that lets you play as Zizou the witch. Search for the stolen crystals as you fight anything that gets in your way in this classic “run and gun” game.

Thanks to the magical Segya crystals, the inhabitants of the Legend of Dark Witch universe have been granted magical powers. When they are stolen, Zizou has to embark on a journey through 6 picturesque levels where she will face unique bosses. Defeating enemies grants you much-needed experience which in turn lets you gain additional abilities.

In addition, successfully repeating a level gives you resources necessary to improve your equipment.

The Legend of Dark Witch is:

– A magical world beautifully depicted in the game

– Varied and challenging levels

– Bonuses for repeating levels

– 3 difficulty settings

Game available on PlayStation Store from 25.04.2017

Price: $9.99

Developer: Inside System

Publisher: QubicGames S.A.

Preview: Ama’s Lullaby (PC) ~ Explore and Hack

AmasLullaby_Art_6.jpgKickstarter Page

Today I want to talk about a game that has still a Kickstarter running. The name of the game is Ama’s Lullaby and I have to thank the developer for notifying me about it since this game shows some great promise. This game is an adventure and puzzle game. But, enough stalling, let’s take a look at the currently released material. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

 

What is this game?

AmasLullaby_Art_2.jpgAma’s Lullaby is a point-and-click adventure game taking place in a cyberpunk environment. In the shoes of Ama, a high potential teenager, you will explore an off-world colony created by machines. By using her laptop’s command-line based system you will be able to hack any network of the city. But every action will have consequences, and Ama will become an easy prey once her identity is unveiled.

That’s the 50-word description the developer gives. As a student in network engineering and a big fan of adventure games, this premise interests me a whole lot. I’m going to be honest, right away. I wish there was a demo of this game already. I want this game in my life, like right now.

From what I have seen in the trailer footage, this game has quite interesting gameplay. But I’m going more in-depth in the next section of my article.

My thoughts

7e97c0d6c91d53a54faee47ddaea309c_original.jpgThe game features very pretty pre-rendered environments. That was something that caught me off guard when I saw the teasers. If this is the alpha stage of the game, consider me hyped. This game is going to look amazing if it has the quality from the teasers throughout the game.

What amazes me more, is that this game is a one-man project. I have a lot of respect for people who create their own games and use mostly or all original assets and content. Speaking from own experience, it’s not easy to create a game from scratch. It requires a lot of work and a lot of dedication.

I admire the honesty of the creator on the Kickstarter. He tells the whole story of the development of the game. He admits trying to get this game from the ground once in the past, but he didn’t succeed. Admitting failure isn’t always easy to do, but the professional way he does it is worth its weight in gold.

In any case, let’s talk about the game again. Something that looks really interesting is the hacking mechanic. In this game, you can also get hacked. And that’s something that made me smile. That mechanic is going to make the game for me. Since it adds that dash of realism to the game that I miss in the hacking mini-games I played in the past.

This game is going to have dialogue trees. This is something I expect more in a RPG-game. But, it might give some interesting puzzles in this game. There are also going to be fight scenes. Here is me hoping that the game doesn’t rely on QTE (quick time events) for the battles.

The game draws its inspiration from Bladerunner in a way. Fun fact, the game is going to be released in 2019. That’s the year the movie was set in too, in a similar ship. Also, taking inspiration from any movie with my favorite actor Harrison Ford is a plus in my book.

Kickstarter

So, at the moment of writing, the game’s Kickstarter is still running. In 12 days, the Kickstarter will be closed. So, if you are interested in seeing this game before everybody else OR supporting this game, go to the Kickstarter page right now!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005143815/amas-lullaby-a-point-and-click-game-in-a-cyberpunk

 There are also a lot of updates written by the developer and more video’s to see the progress of the game. So, go and have a look to that! I’m keeping an eye on the game as well. Since this game looks really interesting. I can’t wait to see where this game goes. If there is interesting news, I’ll tweet it out! Here are the links to their social media:

Facebook & Twitter

If you still have any questions about the game, go to their social media and ask a question. The developer will reply to your question.

To wrap this article up, I think I have to say in conclusion that this game has a lot of potential. Since it’s a point-&-click adventure game. And those aren’t made often. I can’t wait to see more of this game. Since what I have seen so far, is really good. All the concept art and trailers are getting me hyped!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then; take care and have a great rest of your day!

Preview: SkullStone (PC) ~ More Oldschool Dungeon Crawler Fun!

skullstone_main341Official website

It’s time for something completely different. This week, I’ll take a look at a game that is still in development and doesn’t have a demo yet. The fine folks over at Black Torch Games sent me a request to take a look at their upcoming game SkullStone. It’s a dungeon crawler. I have played a lot of dungeon crawlers. I have also written articles about some of them. Like Etrian Odyssey, Venture Forth, Delver and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. If you want to know more about the genre and gameplay style  Wikipedia has a great article on it. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

Wanna see the game in action?

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On their YouTube channel, you can find various videos where they show off the content of the game. They already released one of the tracks of the soundtrack in the game. If this is an indication of the quality of the soundtrack, I think I might add the whole soundtrack to my library. Seriously, it gives off the right mood for an adventure down in the dungeon.

But on their YouTube channel, they show off early content. Remember, the game is still under development. But, I honestly think that what’s shown so far is amazing. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on it. 

So, what do we know so far? Well, the introduction of the story. And it goes like this:

The people of Deepkar send for help. Evil creatures spew from the ancient structure – Skullstone – which appeared in the forests. Killing men, snatching women and children – they bring terror to the hearts of good people. Heroes are needed to deal with the growing threat once and for all… But reality is there are no heroes in this world. All of those who came here to aid people of the Deepkar village in their struggle won’t do it for just a few words of appreciation. Money and treasures is what they want. And fame for some of them. They are mercenaries and this is yet another great opportunity to earn a coin.

Choose among 20 characters, each with different set of skills and abilities, ready to fulfil different roles in your party. Healers, offensive and defensive magicians, front-row fighters – you name it. Build your team according to your play style.

This is going to be very interesting. I think the story of the game will be about a town that’s in dire need of help but doesn’t want help from adventures. Since they despise adventures for their greed and lust for fame. So, I’m curious. What will your characters be? One of many that are going to try and prove themselves or mercenaries? We will know when the full game releases!

From the FAQ page from their website, we also learn that this game will mostly focus on combat. But not only that, it will have exploration and puzzles. I’m a bigger fan of the puzzle and exploration aspect, but if the game has interesting battle mechanics, I’m down for a fun time as well.

Also, from looking at the videos and the screenshots on Twitter and Facebook, I think the game looks great already. For such a small team working on this game, it looks amazing. Only the animations should be polished a bit more, but to be fair, they said in the videos that they are working on that, so I’m not worried about that.

The only thing that isn’t clear to me are the controls. So far, I only see that the mouse can be used to control the game. I hope that in the finished product, you will be able to use more than only your mouse and bind all or most actions to a button on the keyboard.

Wishes for the full game

skullstone_scrbarrels[330].jpg

I have looked at the press material, YouTube videos and through various social media posts; and I have some suggestions or wishes for the final version of the game.

#1 – Something I love from Etrian Odyssey is the fact that you can add notes to your map. I think that would be a great feature in this game. Like, you buy a scroll in town and you can put it on the wall to help guide you or when you need to go back to that spot when you retrieved a certain item.

#2 – A difficult mode without a map. Since this game took inspiration from old school dungeon crawlers, I think it would be an amazing feature if you don’t have a map in-game. That way you have to either draw your own map or try to remember it all. But, I would make it an optional difficulty, since not every player would be down for that.

#3 – Randomise! Well, this is a very tricky one. At one hand, I’m hoping for the game to tell a big story with a well-crafted dungeon like in Orcs & Elves. But on the other hand, I’m also hoping for something like Delver. I think a fine compromise would be a challenge mode where you go into a randomized dungeon with the most difficult enemies in the game in the most tricky situations.

I think I would get a lot more ideas to suggest as soon as the game or the demo releases. So, they would blow my mind if they implement one of these features. Or if they are already implemented or on the “planned list”.

Details

skullstone_scr_img11[338].JPGSo, the game will only release on Windows PC. The game release date will be later this year. The developer told me that this game won’t have a certain target audience so everyone will be able to enjoy it!

If you want to follow the development of the game, you can do that using these links:

Also, the developer told me they are going to send me a copy of the game when it’s released. So, you will also see a review of the game right here!

I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. I urge you guys and girls to check this game out. Keep an eye on it, since I think it has quite a lot of potential.

Thank you for reading my article on the upcoming game SkullStone. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then… have a great rest of your day and take care!

Preview: The Last Tree (PC) ~ Save The Trees

Official website

So, today we are going to take a look at a preview of “The last tree”. A game that is created by Ungrodo. It’s a game with a message. The message might be pretty clear when you read the title. It’s about the deforesting of our planet. Which is in my opinion a real big shame. Because I sometimes go to the forest and sit there. I put my headphones on and listen to some calming music to get some rest. These moments are so relaxing to me, I wouldn’t want to miss it! I go there when I feel I have no inspiration or motivation to continue. But hey, we are getting side-tracked. Let’s take a look at “The Last Tree”. And as usual, I encourage you to give it a try for yourself. Also, as usual, feel free to give your opinion about the game and/or the content of the article in the comment section down below. 

Full disclosure: this article is written to raise awareness for this game. This isn’t a sponsored article at all. 

Warning: I played a more completed version then the demo version provided on the site. This game is still under development and is subject to change. Things might be different in the final release. 

Demo and stuff

the-last-tree

Update after publishing this article: I totally forgot to mention that the developer is planning to release this game on various platforms like Android and iOS. So, keep an eye out for those!

The developer of this game gets a thumbs up from me. I ran into some issues with the first build I got from him. I emailed him back telling him about it and after a few days, he emailed me back with a new and improved build. Seriously, I love when developers do that. Really listen to the feedback of the people who play their game.

The game is being developed in the Unreal 4 Engine. In this simple 2D game, time moves when you move. A trailer for this game can be found on YouTube. The story in this game is charmingly simple. It has to be since it’s a platformer.

The year is 2092, and the tree called Ungrodo is the last tree on earth, and everybody’s chasing him. He has very special skill – TIME SLOWS DOWN WHEN HE MOVES.

The story is being told by little floating notes. The game doesn’t force you to read the notes. But in most of the notes, the text is so short, you don’t have to stop in your tracks to read everything. I would recommend the developer to shorten some notes, since they stop players dead in their tracks if they want to read everything. I can image this would cause some players to not bother with the notes and skip them. The writing for this game is decent and it would be a shame if players skipped this aspect of the game. Also, I think it would benefit the atmosphere if you added some animations in the background to aid the story telling.

The screen is on fire!

the last tree2.png

Visually, this game looks pretty nice. But there are some things I would like to see improved in the final build of the game.

First of all, the game uses amazing fire effects, but they look disconnected for the visual presentation of the rest of the game. I think it would be nicer if you give the fire a more drawn look like the rest of your game.

Secondly, and this is only a minor thing, remove the lines in the menus. The reason why is: when you have a “R” in there, the line makes it look like an “A”.

Thirdly, there is a great checkpoint system in place in the game. But I would recommend a bit more visual animation when passing through the checkpoints. Sometimes, I hardly noticed I passed a checkpoint.

And finally, while the mechanic of time slowing down is great and becomes very interesting in the game, I would try and avoid the wobble effect you get when you stop moving with the character.

The controls of this game are pretty well done. The game doesn’t provide a tutorial on the controls and it doesn’t need to that, since the controls are so intuitive that they explain themselves. The only thing I would recommend is an option menu to let people to rebind their keys. Since I don’t think everybody wants to use the arrow keys to move in their games.

This game autosaves with each checkpoint. And that’s a great plus in my book. Since I’m somebody who would forget to save and shutdown the game. So, thanks for that. But speaking about saving, I have two issues with this.

One, why is there a restart game option in the pause menu? I would rather have an option to return to the main menu and restart from there.

And two, why isn’t there a prompt saying “are you sure you want to restart your game, since your save data is going to be lost” when you select, restart the game?

Run to the … left?

the last tree3.png

So, the gameplay of this game is really simple. Go from right to… left? Yes, a reverse 2D-platform. Neat.

You will have to jump over enemies and obstacles. You can’t fight the enemies since, well, you play as a walking tree.

I love when you died and you return quickly enough, you still see parts of the animation from when you died. This is an amazing touch.

Also, I love that the danger isn’t gone when you jump over an enemy. Since they turn around when you jump over them. Adding to the immersion of the game. Since the character in this story is hunted upon.

Speaking about enemies, I think it would be a bit more fair if you don’t combine too much enemies with the blade traps. Since it’s pretty difficult to make a jump over an enemy and a blade. A good fix for this would be a sort of life-system. Where you are able to take a few hits before you die. And staying in the theme of the story, the main character could lose parts of his(/hers?) body when hit. Like the enemy or the blade was successful in cutting off a piece of him(/her?)

The soundtrack of this game really suits the atmosphere the visuals are building. I think it would improve the game if the sound effects would be changed to fit the character a bit more. Like jumping up is a branch that is being picked up out of leaves or something along those lines.

In any case, I said everything I wanted to say about this game, so it’s time to wrap this article up.

Conclusion

I think that this game has a lot of great ideas as a base, but needs a lot of polishing up. The menu system needs to be more expanded upon. The game idea is excellent. It’s a platformer that can stand out if they polished up a bit more.

The basic game is already there. It just needs some more work to expand the game and improve it.

If you enjoy unique platformers, I would highly recommend to take a look at this one and take a look for yourselves.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog. But until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Preview: Asylopole (PC) ~ Press Release

retest4 2 blanc taille ks 1024.jpgOfficial website

Today I have the honor to take a look at an adventure game, that’s still in development, called Asylopole. I wanted to write an article earlier about this game, since the developer mail me in the beginning of this month. In any case, before I give my own opinion, I first of all want to link you guys and girls to MrLiamMills his video about it! Go and check it out here. In order to talk about this game, I took at look at the DRM-free playable teaser. Because this is a teaser, I also took a look at all the material published by the developer. So, enough stalling. Here we go. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

Keep in mind that the game is still subject to change, since it’s still in development. 

Postives

01magasin94 2adam.png

The story is described by the developer himself:

The game take place in a dystopian future where it’s a daily struggle for the population just to stay sane. Under the huge dome that covers the megalopolis and all its inhabitants, you play the role of Adam Murdock, a psychiatrist working in an insane asylum, a gigantic building that supports the center of the dome.

When treating patients, you are able to access their inner most thoughts and help fight the phobias and other mental problems that exist in a virtual world that’s known as Mentalis.
Get inside your patients’ heads to find out what’s gone wrong. Experience totally new universes and fight your patients’ worst demons…

 I love adventure games and I have played my fair share of them like Broken Sword and Monkey Island to name a few. There are a lot of adventure games I have started but never finished. The reason why I choose to finish an adventure game is the story. Without a good story, I can’t find the motivation to continue.

The story that’s currently shown in the playable teaser and in the press material sounds very interesting. While at first glance, it looks like a story that has elements thrown together from popular adventure games, I honestly think this can be very epic. The basic idea for the story reminds me of an underrated shooter called DreamKiller.

It’s quite impressive that this game is created by one person. Of course, he got some help from other people, but most work is done by one person. I’m honestly always impressed when somebody designs a game from top to bottom. Many years ago, I tried to create games myself and I didn’t get any further than simple 2D-casual games. So, it’s quite impressive.

The atmosphere & soundtrack is very nice too. The animation and visual presentation fits the story and setting quite well. From what I have seen from the press materials, I honestly think that this game has the potential to pull me in when it’s finished. And not only that, the developer went out of his way to make the world a bit more alive. Things like a social network and references to the latest popular trends are all pretty nice to see.

Improvements?

rue9pnj53 US.pngSo, what do I recommend to the developer to improve or take a look at? Well, here are a few suggestions from me. Things that the developer should improve in a demo version and/or the full version.

First of all, I would honestly take a look at the UI. While it’s still in development, I haven’t seen where you would place the options menu. Or is the plan to only put that in the main menu? Just a side note, I got a crash while trying to save my game in the playable teaser.

What I would improve the most in terms of the UI is the fact that most menu sections lack “back buttons”. I know that you can press the “escape key” but those things aren’t always common knowledge. What I’m trying to say is that you should make the UI as accessible as possible. A good UI doesn’t need any explanation from a manual or an in-game tutorial. The developer is already doing a great job by using universal icons for most functions.

Also, try to implement support for screen sizes. My laptop resized the game to a screen as big as a screen on the Nintendo 3DS. I wish I was able to play in a bigger resolution.

While I know that developing a game is hard and asks a lot of time, I wish you had a bit more to do in the playable teaser. One mini-game, one inventory puzzle and/or a bit more action would have been lovely. Since now, I’m a bit bummed out. I want to play more. Since this game certainly caught my attention.

And honestly, that’s all I can say about this game. I encourage you guys and girls to support this developer. Since it’s quite clear this game is a work of passion and I see that there is a lot of potential in this game.

The foundation is already present, so dear developer, build on it. And I’m looking forward to in a more finished build to test out. And if you want, I’m willing to take a look at it and write another article about it.

Before I forget, congrats on the award man. I can say out of my own experience that getting a reward for your hard work is really motivating.

This game is one I’m going to keep an eye out for. I followed the developer on Twitter and I like I said earlier, I can’t wait to see more.

So, that is everything for this week. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks again to the developer of this game for giving me this chance to write about this game. This will be another game I’m looking forward too in 2017! I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then: take care and have a great rest of your day!