Rogue Lords Debut at PC Gaming Show

Lesquin, France, June 15, 2020
– NACON today revealed the first gameplay trailer for Rogue Lords, a new tactical rogue-like game co-developed by Cyanide and Leikir Studio, set in a murky and macabre 17th-century dystopia named The New World.

Rogue Lords casts players as The Devil in an age when Evil has been defeated and the world has been left out of balance. Unable to physically manifest in The New World, The Devil turns to his more faithful disciples to spread darkness across the land. Dracula, Bloody Mary, the Headless Horseman, the White Lady, and other evil icons unite in an unholy crusade against the Demon Hunters and cultists who conquered the forces of evil once before.

In Rogue Lords players explore a 3D map thanks to a team of three Disciples of Evil and sow chaos and corruption, making important choices and engaging in challenging turn-based combat where outright defeat means game over and the end of the story… this time.

Each run is unique, with new paths, new encounters and new opportunities on every playthrough. Players might choose to burn a farm to the ground on one run or spare the land and recruit its residents to The Devil’s cause on another. Some choices are riskier than others, and the disciples’ talents will change the outcome of the encounter. Dracula can calmly persuade mortals with his vampiric charm while the Headless Horseman might end the conversation through sheer terror alone.

When all is lost, players can draw upon The Devil’s powers and use their harvested souls to transcend the bounds of the game world and cheat. Enemy health bars, luck and other variables can be manipulated at will to tilt the balance of power in Evil’s favour and literally change the game.

Rogue Lords will be released in 2021 for PC, PlayStation®4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch™.

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NACON is a company of the BIGBEN Group founded in 2019 to optimize its know-how through strong synergies in the video game market. By bringing together its 8 development studios, the publishing of AA video games, the design, and distribution of premium gaming devices, NACON focuses 20 years of expertise at the service of players. This new unified business unit strengthens NACON's position in the market, enables it to innovate by creating new unique competitive advantages, and achieve its ambition to become one of the world's leading players in gaming.

About Cyanide

Cyanide is a French video game development studio created in 2000 and based in Nanterre. It has two subsidiaries located in Montreal and Bordeaux. The studio is known for its sports games, such as the popular PC series Cycling Manager and its console version, Tour de France. Cyanide is also the author of Blood Bowl (Sport/Fantasy, 2009), the adaptation of the famous Games Workshop board game; Game of Thrones (RPG, 2012); Styx: Master of Shadows and the sequel Styx: Shards of Darkness (Infiltration, 2014/2017); and Call of Cthulhu, a game adapted from the tormented world of HP Lovecraft (investigative RPG, 2018). More information can be found at

About Leikir Studio

Leikir Studio is a cross-media company. Its objective is to deploy original worlds on all media platforms. Today, the studio is made up of a web team and a video game development team, creators of the brawler Wondershot and the platformer/bullet hell Isbarah.

Article by: Susan N.


Star Wars Squadrons Releasing October 2020


Redwood City, Calif. - June 15, 2020 - Calling all pilots! Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA), Motive Studios and Lucasfilm today announced Star Wars™: Squadrons, an immersive, first-person space dogfighting experience set in the beloved Star Wars™ galaxy. Star Wars: Squadrons will feature thrilling 5v5 multiplayer dogfights, monumental fleet battles, and an original story set during the final days of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the New Republic after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi™. The game will launch October 2, 2020 on PlayStation®4, Xbox® One, PC via Origin™, Steam and the Epic Games Store, and will be playable via Virtual Reality (VR) on PlayStation® 4 and PC with cross-play support. Tune into EA Play Live on June 18 at 4:00pm PT for the gameplay reveal of Star Wars: Squadrons.

“We created this game for every Star Wars fan who has ever dreamt about soaring across the galaxy in their favorite starfighter,” said Ian Frazier, Creative Director, Motive Studios. “Through the collaboration of the teams at Motive and Lucasfilm, we’ve been able to create a high-fidelity starfighter experience with an authentic storyline that invites Star Wars fans to explore never-before-seen corners of the galaxy in their own ship. We’re excited to show all this in action this week at EA Play Live.”

In Star Wars: Squadrons, players will enlist as starfighter pilots, stepping into the cockpits of iconic starfighters from both the New Republic and Imperial fleets. They’ll plan skirmishes with their squadron in the briefing room before taking off for space battles across the galaxy. Players will engage in strategic 5v5 multiplayer space battles with the goal of demolishing the opposing flagship in Fleet Battles and will feel the rush of first-person multiplayer combat as they work with their squadron to defeat as many opponents as possible in Dogfights. Pilots will triumph as a team, adjusting the composition of their squadrons to suit their playstyles as they progress, crushing their opponents and completing objectives across known and never-before-seen locations, including the gas giant of Yavin Prime and the shattered moon of Galitan.

Star Wars: Squadrons will offer rich cosmetic and gameplay customization options with rewards and bonuses that are earned solely through gameplay. As players move up the ranks, they’ll earn components such as weapons, hulls, engines and shields to customize the performance of their starfighters; and gain cosmetic items to customize their cockpit, ship exteriors, and appearance of their pilot. In addition, players will be able to squad up with their friends and play against others, regardless of platform, as cross-play will be supported on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and VR.

Star Wars: Squadrons will also feature a single-player story that brings to life events following the Battle of Endor when the Rebel Alliance has successfully destroyed the Death Star II. Through the story, players will learn what it means to be a pilot as they battle from the alternating perspectives of two customizable pilots, one serving in the New Republic’s heroic Vanguard Squadron, while the other fights for the Galactic Empire’s fearsome Titan Squadron. The authentic story features a diverse cast of original characters, as well as some cameos from familiar faces in the Star Wars galaxy.

Star Wars: Squadrons is available now for pre-order and lands on retail and digital storefronts on October 2 for $39.99. EA Access* and Origin™ Access Basic** subscribers can enjoy up to 10 hours of play time at launch, along with 10% off the purchase of the full game. Origin Access Premier** subscribers will get full access to Star Wars: Squadrons on PC along with all the benefits of Basic as long as they subscribe. For more details, visit

Follow the EA Star Wars channels on Twitter and Facebook, or visit to stay updated on the latest news.



About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) is a global leader in digital interactive entertainment. The Company develops and delivers games, content and online services for Internet-connected consoles, mobile devices and personal computers.

In fiscal year 2020, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $5.5 billion. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, EA is recognized for a portfolio of critically acclaimed, high-quality brands such as EA SPORTS™ FIFA, Battlefield™, Apex Legends™, The Sims™, Madden NFL, Need for Speed™, Titanfall™ and Plants vs. Zombies™. More information about EA is available at

EA SPORTS, Motive Studios, Battlefield, Apex Legends, The Sims, Need for Speed, Titanfall and Plants vs. Zombies are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. FIFA, John Madden, and the NFL are the property of their respective owners and used with permission. PlayStation is a registered trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.

Lucasfilm, the Lucasfilm logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & TM 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

Article by: Susan N.


Infliction: Extended Cut - Switch Review

Infliction: Extended Cut by developer Caustic Reality and publisher Blowfish StudiosNintendo Switch review written by Natasha with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes.

My father always taught me that if I walk into a house and a creepy voice tells me to “GET OUT!”

... Imma get out

But for some reason there are those among us that don't have that sense of fight or flight.

*An otherworldly scream shrieks from somewhere in the basement of a house?*

“Let's go check it out!” Chirps the protagonist.

Infliction is a psychological horror game that was developed by Caustic Reality and published by Blowfish Studios. It has a story-driven approach to horror that focuses on making every moment unsettling and unpredictable. A first-person perspective that is bound to deal you a mature subject matter. It is available to play on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and now for the Nintendo Switch.


Our story takes place in a house that, from a glance, looks relatively normal. But as you explore, you start to notice that someone, or something, is following you. Soon you are trapped within the confines of this home, which warps into different dimensions, and the only way out is to subdue the vengeful spirit. Exorcism is your only option, but you'll have to run, hide and sneak past the ghostly figure that wants nothing more than your gruesome death.

Shhh... I'm trying to hide

Pointing and clicking is how you interact with everything in this game. You can basically investigate everything that's in the house. I found the amount of detail that went into every individual object in the game is quite impressive.

You have a main goal and side goals. Your main goal keeps you on track with the main story while your side goals are achieved when you come across items that relate to the spirit in the game. Tidbits that dive into the history of the spirits human life. You can take the time to find them, however you raise the chances of being caught.

As for the spirit herself, she is hunting you and your character will die instantly if you are caught. The best way to tell when she is approaching is if you hear her groaning behind you. You do have options to defend yourself from her. Option 1 is to hide. Hiding out of her line of sight will confuse her and eventually she'll stalk away. Option 2 is to turn on the lights. Turning on the light while she is under it will stun her and cause her to vanish for a short time. But I recommend turning off the light afterwards. Leaving lights on will allow her to break them and once they're broken they can not be repaired... EVER. So make sure to double back and check you didn't leave any lights on in the house.

Music and Visuals

Normally I'd have something to say about the music, but there really isn't any sound other than your ominous footsteps, radio announcements and the crazy woman who's trying to kill you. Sometimes silence is the scariest sound.

As I mentioned earlier this game makes sure to put a lot of detail into almost all of your surroundings. Things like books, movies, food labels and flyers all have something so distinct that you can read everything on them. This game is dark, even if you put it at it's brightest, it's still dark. I get it... the darker things are the harder things get.

To conclude, I didn't expect this game to be so terrifying. I was CRAWLING through most of my playthrough and sometimes that got me killed. Overall, the game took me about 4 hours to complete the main story. It's short and sweetly nightmarish.

If you're looking for something to kick your anxiety into overdrive then Infliction: Extended Cut is the game to keep you up at night. I'm giving this game a 7 out of 10. Now... if you'll excuse me I have to go find some salt and holy water.

Score: 7 / 10


No Place for Bravery Coming to Nintendo Switch and PC

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – JUNE 13, 2020 No Place For Bravery, a top-down action-RPG that explores the lengths a parent would go to find their child in a war torn world, will release in Q1 2021 on Nintendo Switch and Steam for Windows PC with the help of publisher Ysbryd Games.

Developer Glitch Factory will leverage Ysbryd Games’ years of experience on beloved narrative-driven experiences like cyberpunk bartending sim VA-11 HALL-A and cosmic horror roguelike WORLD OF HORROR to help bring the gripping story and pixel art landscapes of No Place for Bravery to immersive life.

An old soldier dedicated to the advancement of his people, Thorn reassesses his priorities and prepares to lay down his sword, until discovering his long-lost daughter Leaf still lives. In a bid to expunge the nightmares which plague him, Thorn sets out with his disabled foster son Phid to find Leaf, and endures a painful quest that forces him to confront the decisions made in his ambitious past.

No Place For Bravery places equal emphasis on narrative and action, with fast-paced movement paired with swift strikes and tactical parries during combat encounters. Progression is not about leveling up and increasing stat numbers, but earning upgrades discovered from significant encounters and uncovering the secrets laying in wait within the beautiful world of Dewr.

No Place For Bravery’s art conveys the goals of its gameplay by featuring an incredibly detailed pixel world, a stirring soundtrack and hand-painted textures. Characters feature fluid animation, all created in a style drawing inspiration from medieval, high fantasy and apocalyptic fiction.

Originally conceived of as a roguelike in 2016, Glitch Factory overhauled No Place For Bravery in the years since to deliver an experience that more closely follows their vision and inspirations, with a narrative-driven campaign influenced by the difficult experiences of its creators.

“Multiple members of the team had to deal with toxic relationships and absent parents,” said Matheus Queiroz, developer at Glitch Factory. “Through the trials and tribulations of our lives, including the long road of development, we have persevered, and we hope our shared experiences will be heartfelt by the PC and Nintendo Switch communities in 2021.”

No Place For Bravery releases in Q1 2021 for $19.99 for Nintendo Switch and Steam for Windows PC, with support for English and Brazilian Portuguese language text at launch and more languages to follow.

For more information, visit the No Place For Bravery website, like the game’s Facebook page, join the Discord server, and follow Glitch Factory on Twitter and Instagram. For more on Ysbryd Games, please visit the Ysbryd website and follow @YsbrydGames on Twitter.

About Glitch Factory Games

Making games in the heart of Brazil since 2012, Glitch Factory’s founders dreamed of working in games, but finding few opportunities in their home country, they started their own company. Working both with clients and on their own titles, Glitch Factory operates with a horizontal structure where everyone has a voice in the decision-making process.

About Ysbryd Games

Publisher Ysbryd Games delivers games with stories that have the heart and soul to stay with players for a lifetime, underlined by captivating gameplay and striking aesthetics.


Jaggy's Corner - June 27th, 2020

Welcome back to Jaggy's Corner where I talk about various topics in the gaming industry. Today, however, Jaggy's Corner is going to be much more serious as it covers a heavy topic. As a result, before I move on I'm blatantly telling you that this post is a TRIGGER WARNING. I cover sexual harassment and surrounding topics. I have linked to a couple of peoples' accounts with individuals within the gaming community. Each of these also carry trigger warnings. I'll do my best to reduce specifics that might needlessly hurt our readers, but I'm not going to pull punches.

Sexual Harassment Allegations - Where It Began and the Conversation

On the weekend, one woman posted a Tweet about sexual harassment experienced by a well known Destiny 2 player "SayNoToRage". As the weekend progressed, a lot of allegations were made through many Twitlonger posts. To date, both men and women have come forward with stories of sexual harassment, rape, or coercion (like BDSM for example).

During the course of the weekend many well-known streamers, partners, and YouTubers were called out. A Twitter user JessyQuil began compiling a list of all those accused, the accuser(s), and the link to the allegation. Unfortunately, this list is quite long and shocking to several people in the gaming community.

Among the list of accused persons are: Ryan Morrison (The Video Game Attorney), Cryaotic (YouTube/Streamer), WitWix (streamer), Sjin (Formerly of the Yogscast), HJTenchi (streamer), wgrates (streamer), Kasper (Charity Streamer), ProSyndicate (Streamer), and Hassan (Twitch Staff). This list is not exhaustive as there are many other cases of sexual harassment.

What's Happened Since?

After days of reading horrible detailed accounts of several sponsors of these gamers have rescinded their deals. A well-known group the Online Performers Group (OPG) lost a lot of its key members, a group that consisted of many high profile streamers and YouTubers, which forced them into an interesting situation. Another group ceased operations as a result of the allegations. Finally, Twitch updated its policies in an official blog post and began investigating the allegations leading to the Banning of several streamers like iAMSp00n, WarwitchTV, and BlessRNG (So far...).

But Wait! There's More!

Another allegation was written about a Twitch Staff member who is Accounts Director and in charge of Strategic Partnerships. While this particular accusation has not been dealt with (that we know of), it shows that the gaming community needs to be more accountable. We should not be silent anymore. Ubisoft posted a response after several allegations involve multiple staff members.

I can only hope that things will improve from here but I have my doubts. Companies tend to follow the money and not care about anything else, but what do I know? In order to survive in the world, money leads the charge. And many of these allegations can be difficult to prove because we all know how the court system handles things... For those that don't know, someone compiled a list of statements made by judges in the American legal system. Go on. Read some of those awful and ridiculous statements. Then tell me why you think most people don't step forward with allegations of sexual offenses.

The nuclear fallout from these accounts doesn't just extend to those that have sexually assaulted members of the gaming community. I've read several allegations of non-sexual harassment among the other allegations. In fact, I can even tell you some stories...

Harassment doesn't just come from men to women, it comes from all persons of all walks of life. It also doesn't just extend to the gaming industry.

A Personal Story

When I was younger, I became friends with a couple of business owners. For the most part, these people were amazing and wonderful people. Anyways, I was invited out to lunch by a business owner to talk. I believe this was around the time I was in finance, so I hoped he would become a client. We went to a place not far from work to his friends' restaurant. It wasn't open to the public on that day and everything seemed fine.

While we waited for the chef to make our meals, the restaurant owner asked me to follow him so that he could show me something. I followed, not really thinking anything of it, but I was rather hesitant. He took me to a back room and proceeded to grab my breast. I backed away and told him that this wasn't acceptable. He said something along the lines of 'Oh sorry, you're not married so I just assumed it was okay'. Let that sink in. BECAUSE I WASN'T MARRIED IT WAS ACCEPTABLE TO HIM. Why? Apparently, this is how things are done back home.

That's just one instance that happened outside of gaming.

Another Personal Story of Harassment

Inside gaming, I've been in multiple long distance relationships. Many of them failed horribly. The one situation that always angers me the most is my encounter with 'Zankorian' during my WoW days. (This is going back many years by the way. Don't try to find this person now. I highly doubt that he could be found.)

Zank and I were in a 'relationship' for several months. We were friends and guildies prior to this, so he was 'good'. The two of us would talk every day, we'd raid, we'd laugh, we'd play music, etc... I stopped focusing on real life as I was so infatuated with the guy.

He was from Florida and he was Hispanic, a fact that worked for me because I like the Spanish language and I would be able to practice with him. Anyways, after being together for a few months he began asking me to react sexually to him when we were on Skype. He also had my actual phone number so sometimes this happened outside of Skype. He would ask for nudes as well. I told him that I never do those kinds of things and I wasn't comfortable with the idea. I refused. (Keep in mind this happened after being sexually harassed multiple times and raped.) With each conversation, he would persist and I would continue to say no. I thank the stars I never met him in person...

One day he stopped messaging. He wasn't on WoW. No one had heard from him. He wasn't on Facebook (though I did find his other FB account where he was fully active so I knew he was just avoiding me for some reason.) I didn't know what happened. Did I piss him off? Was I wrong to not give him anything? Was I the bad person?

After about a week of no interaction, one of his 'brothers' messaged me and said, "Hi. Alvaro says that we needed to message you. He's in the hospital. He's in a coma". Color me shocked. I was confused and scared. What happened? Did he get into a car accident? Was this an induced coma or not? I hadn't taken a lot of time between my previous relationship and the new one with Zank. Was I about to lose everything?

Another week went by. I learned several facts like:

  1. He wasn't in a coma

  2. Alvaro pretended to be his own brother

  3. He was secretly in a relationship with someone else (a person who I'm actually good friends with... This is actually a whole other story on its own.)

  4. His name was not Alvaro

  5. Most of what he told me was a lie.

  6. He was active on Facebook but under a different name

I can't imagine what would have happened if I ever went to Florida or if I had sent him nudes. And while this specific situation only extends to WoW, and not a YouTube idol or Streamer, sexual harassment is VERY prevalent in the gaming space.

Final Thoughts From this week

While I know that many women and men have come forward to tell their stories, I have to say that I respect their bravery, especially those who have been very detailed. It's never an easy thing to admit sexual harassment or any kind of harassment, but now people can choose what happens moving forward. Twitch has already banned a few offenders and is investigating others. Gamers have banded together to protect each other from the awful bad apples. Sponsors have dropped their deals with certain individuals across the board.

Frankly, we need to talk more about harassment in gaming. We need to believe more of those stories and not hide anymore. Do not let anyone be responsible for your success or downfall. And most importantly, don't blame yourselves for others being assholes. If I could offer a piece of advice based on multiple experiences, it is this: if you are feeling uncomfortable and have a way to escape, DO IT. If it feels like a bad situation, get out. That is especially true if you've been drinking.

I'm always available to listen, no matter how significant that may be.

And now I'm ignoring Twitter for a week.

Until next time.

Susan N.

Biped - Switch Review

Biped by developer NEXT Studios and publisher NEXT Studios, bilibili, META PublishingNintendo Switch review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

With the beacons having gone offline on the planet Earth, it's up to a team of bipedal robots named Aku and Sila to repair them. Having literally only two legs and feet to work with, our brave repair bots are going to have to have to work together to throw switches, grab blocks and peddle rafts through canyons in order to get the job done.

Susan reviewed Biped back in April with the help of her partner and moving into late June I can now say that I've done the same. Breaking out the other joycons, Izzy took control of one robot while I took control of the other. This leads into a big thing that stuck out to me with Biped. It's accessible to those that don't play often as she’s not a gamer nor does she game other than Mario Party and the occasional Mario Kart match with some of our friends. She'll watch me off to the side but it's not her thing and the fact that Biped can ramp up it's challenges? I'll be honest I think she more often had a better grasp of moving our robots two legs than I did.

The premise for Biped is really simple. You have two robots that have to be moved with the left and the right joysticks. The left joystick moves the left leg and the right joystick moves the right leg. Extremely easy in theory… but let’s just say that I quite literally at times had no idea which leg I was moving as I had my robot walking backwards all while we laughed about it. And therein lies a lot of the charm with Biped. The creators have made adjustments that you can walk forwards or backwards and it doesn’t matter which way you move which keeps the difficulty down as having to use both legs to move around is already a lot harder than a simple joystick.

Split into a series of visually diverse stages, each stage will increase the level of difficulty of the challenges that lay between you and the beacon at the end of the stage. At first, it’ll just be getting across. Then, it’ll be getting across where the platform will change colours if someone steps on it. So if Blue takes a step, then the next has to be Red, then Blue, and then Red, until both have crossed. Later, you’ll have to do this while also avoiding barriers that will push you off and then after that barriers and objects that you have to step over. And this is just the colored platforms!

To not spoil the fun, as Biped should really be picked up, there is no “I can just take care of this myself” challenges. EVERYTHING is designed as a coop experience from moving tubes to walk on to handing off blocks to one another as you move forward. It does get “harder” but it’s never anything that can be viewed as too hard to pull off. We played Biped in about two sittings and that allowed us to figure everything out and pass through the standard levels. Once each normal stage has been cleared, it’ll also unlock a much more challenging stage which will truly put your skills to the test.

Even with the challenge stages, Biped is not very long but in this particular case, it’s not an issue. You can always go back to do better on a stage. You can always try this out with someone else and it’ll be a different experience as no two people really work the same way. There’s plenty of replayability though it would be nice to see either a level editor or perhaps new stages down the line.

So overall, Biped is an amazing coop experience for you and someone else. The stages are fun, the levels are appropriately challenging, and the graphics are super cute with fun music to add to the atmosphere. Being on the Switch also helps for you to bring it along as long as you’re being safe in the current climate that we find ourselves in with Social Distancing.

Score: 8.5 / 10


Let's Play - 8-Bit Adventures 2 Steam Summer Festival Demo

8-Bit Adventures 2 by developer and publisher Critical GamesPC (Steam) spotlight article written by Pierre-Yves.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Recently as part of Valve's Steam Summer Festival, Critical Games released the newest demo to their upcoming title 8-Bit Adventures 2. Having been in development for several years, we first took a look at 8-Bit Adventures 2 back in October of 2017 before being able to sit down with the lead developer Josh Hallaran for an interview on it, Tales Across Time and the original 8-Bit Adventures.

So what exactly is 8-Bit Adventures 2? It's a retro inspired RPG that brings us back into the world of a computer after our "heroes" saved it from the dust that was eating up everything in its path. There's still plenty that is unknown about the story as we have only been treated to some teaser moments without an overall context, but, what's present is clear that this isn't just something that has been cobbled up together.

The demo currently contains three separate segments. The Prologue, a Dungeon and a Town that contains a boss fight if you wish to find it, otherwise, you simply need to walk out the front gate when you're ready. The environments are well detailed, the graphics run smoothly, the music is awesome and the dialog has been paced so that each person you talk to has a personality to them which is a lot nicer than simply displaying the same text with the same speed for everyone.

So because there are three separate segments, I decided to record a playthrough of all three which can be found on our YouTube channel and which also has been embedded right here. So while we wait for the final version to be available, enjoy our recent look at the game!


The Academy: The First Riddle - PC Review

The Academy: The First Riddle by developer Pine Studio and publisher SnapbreakPC (Steam) review written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Logic and puzzles have always been an integral part of our lives whether we realize it or not. They're there in math problems, with people who buy more bananas than reasonable, in engineering and design, even in personal home projects. But now they are also at The Academy, ready for you too solve, logicalize, and puzzle your way through with maybe a bit of lucky guessing.

In The Academy you take the role of a boy named Sam who has applied for a position at the prestigious "Academy", a place of five minute classes, constant pop quizzes, and phantom bears chasing the students. Well, that last one isn't supposed to be happening at least. The Academy sets you off during the exams for entrance into Academy, with a test of wits! After passing your exam, you begin your next four years restricted to the grounds of the Academy, where you will make friends, enemies, go to classes, solve puzzles, find books, and prevent supernatural/scientific phenomena.

During your time at the Academy, you will be tasked with attending classes, which constitute short quizzes about content in the "books" you're provided, followed by a puzzle, solving puzzles for others in order to get things you need, and putting broken mystic objects back together. Optionally, you will be: reading newspapers, finding books, attending elective courses, helping out others, and finding miscellaneous objects. At its core, The Academy is about one thing and one thing only: solving puzzles.

The Academy is what I would call a "3D Professor Layton", boasting 200 riddles to solve, which basically come in pairs of one "easy" and one "hard". You can explore the Academy mostly at your leisure in 3D, and when you interact with someone for a class or a "quest" point, you'll start a two-part riddle/logic puzzle, where the first part is mandatory to finish before accessing the second part. The main gameplay will come from solving these riddles/logic puzzles. You're given a few tools to help out, like a pencil to draw with and a ruler, but most of the time you will be using simple, or complex, reasoning.

The puzzles are found by: attending class, finding a book hidden in the Academy each day, or accepting side quests or story quests. You have a ten point initial value, which will decrease each time you get an incorrect answer. The riddles involve either multiple choice options, or dropping a marker on the picture associated with the riddle to indicate the answer. So, how is the quality of the riddles? Well, let's talk about the main puzzles to start. Let me just say that I love puzzle games. My usual problem however, is that logic can be...subjective. While there is usually only one "correct" way of looking at a puzzle, you can still arrive at an answer depending on how you approach things. I'm pleased to say that there were very few times in The Academy that I was blindsided by the thought process involved in a solution. In fact, there were a bunch of riddles that I answered correctly, but the flavour text told me I "solved" the puzzle in a completely different method than I actually did. That being said, I have no idea if that was pure luck or intended, but if it was intended, well done.

So let's talk about the riddles I couldn't handle: the newspaper candle sudoku things. After about five hours roaming the Academy, solving puzzles, collecting the chocolates that give you hints, and doing these unparalleled exercises in frustration that come with the newspapers, I STILL don't know how they really work. For whatever reason I just can't really figure out the rules, despite the fact they're clearly written out. Thankfully, like the books hidden around the Academy, they're only once per day.

Academy exploration is rather lenient, as you generally have some areas blocked off, so searching for books and chocolate isn't too frustrating. They also sparkle, so that helps as well. Character animations are, well, odd, but fully functional, I didn't notice clipping, and the only real "glitch" I found is when I tried to enter a bathroom, ended up ten feet in the sky above a boat, and then teleported back to my room. I was thoroughly confused, but nothing crashed and I wanted to return there anyway, so I'll call it a feature, not a bug? While the Academy is of a decent size, Sam runs around fast enough that I never got frustrated at moving around, even while book searching. It's also quite nice that at the end of each day you have to return to your bed, so you can get anything done you need to before hitting the sack.

In terms of music and graphics, there isn't much to write home about really. It isn't bad, it isn't super memorable. I do have to say that the developers chose the best name for the bully: Corn (Cornelius). I mean, I can assure you I wouldn't take "Corn" seriously (LOL).

The Academy is quite well done in terms of both puzzles and mobility in-game. Puzzles can be challenging, but not hair removal inducing, and you're given well enough hint opportunities to hopefully see you through, although some of the hints were absolutely useless. The storyline is interesting, and compelling enough without getting into the territory of ridiculous, and the only real frustrating parts were entirely optional, which is another plus.

Overall, The Academy provides a lot of entertaining puzzle solving and an entertaining storyline. While some of the puzzles are confusing or arguable, you get that in pretty much any puzzle game, and the few number of issues with understanding puzzle solutions really speaks for how well they're put together. There are plenty of puzzles, and enough little side missions to keep you entertained for a while. There are enough hint items floating around to help you through the core of the game, and they're easy enough to earn if you put the effort in. The Academy is an enjoyable puzzle solving experience that I would recommend to anyone coming off a Layton bend, or looking for some riddles to solve.

Score: 8 / 10


Days Gone - PS4 Review

Days Gone by developer SIE Bend Studio and publisher Sony Interactive EntertainmentSony PlayStation 4 review written by Pierre-Yves with a purchased copy.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Making its way into my 2019 Guilty Pleasures was SIE Bend and SEA's Days Gone. By no way, shape or form was this a masterpiece but I'll be damned if this open world "zombie" apocalypse wasn't fun to ride around on an American Chopper. Taking place two years after the start of the infection, Deacon St. John is looking for a reason to keep living and may have finally found it.

Days Gone is really a game in two distinct parts that while it uses the same identical look, feel and mechanics, feels different. Taking things from the very top, Deacon, voiced by and looking like Sam Witwer (Star Killer in Force Unleashed, “Darth” Maul in Solo and the Clone Wars, Being Human and Smallville), you’ll be riding a motorcycle, shooting and stabbing zombies all while swearing like there’s no tomorrow because honestly at this rate? There is none. Finally deciding to head out from where Deacon and his best friend had Boozer had been holding out, you are attacked, Boozer is injured, and it’s up to you to try to keep him alive as you do “requests” for some of the surrounding settlements as you wait for Boozer to heal up.

This opening leads to one of the more interesting styles of storytelling that I had sat down to in a while. There’s no “linear” line per say as you drive across Oregon slaying zombies and tracking down thieves and murderers. Feeling a lot like side quests to start off, you soon come to see that while each storyline feels separate, everything is connected. Keeping Boozer alive, doing requests for the settlement, going up to Deacon's wife's grave so that he can vent a bit. Each small part adds on an extra layer making this more than just an open world zombie slaying thrill ride like Dead Island. It makes it into an actual story of a man trying to find the will to keep living when he's almost got nothing left short of trying to keep his best friend alive.

Like a lot of Open Worlds, there are loads of places you can go to, but many you should probably stay away from until you are either properly equipped, or just crazy enough to try to pull it off. What I appreciated is that Days Gone if it doesn’t want you to go somewhere, it will block you off in a more realistic fashion such as a tunnel being collapsed, a literal horde of zombies that are blocking you until you finally take them out or just have barricades with guards that you can’t kill off because they are technically the “good guys”. Not actually having anything that amounts to good guys though, the various shades of gray that Deacon operate in help keep this adventure grounded even if he’s a Grade-A killing machine.

Now being an open world, with plenty of ground to cover, it’s great that you have your motorcycle because you’re going to need it to cover the vast distances between points. Where things can be a bit trickier at first, is making sure that you have enough gas to actually make it to said destination. This is another element that helps keep the adventure grounded because it keeps a bit of realism to the whole thing. Run out of gas, you need to walk your bike to the closest place that will be able to fill it up. Either that, or you set out on foot to make it somewhere that will recover it for you, or where you can find a gas can in order to fill it back up. Be warned though, if you leave your bike behind and a horde was walking by, the damage could be pretty nasty and unless you're holding onto scrap, you had better hope that your credit with a nearby faction is high enough to pay for the repairs.

It becomes clear fairly early on what’s a “main” quest, and what’s a side quest. Side Quests though, either Deacon’s or one of the local settlements are all worth doing as they’ll either pad your inventory or your relationships. As you improve your relationships with the settlements, new bike parts and weapons become available making your journey a bit easier as even if you level up and get to learn new skills that make your stealthier or deadlier, you have to actually get there first and until you get better at repairing and finding gas? You’ll need what the settlements provide.

Thankfully though, it’s not just about completing their quests, because if you just do that, you’ll never max out your relations. On top of performing the quests, you can hand in food, herbs and zombie ears that count as bounties. Don’t worry, these are two separate stations that take these in! For food, items such as deer or wolf meat will gain you a lot more reputation and credits than simple herbs that grow along the side of the road. For zombie ears, the more powerful the zombie, the higher the reward, EXCEPT, if you go about taking out a horde. The reason is the sheer number of ears that you’ll be bringing back far outweighs that of a single tougher or special zombie so if you’re brave enough? Go for the horde!

While the approach may be a bit more realistic in its presentation, the gameplay is pretty standard. Using a third person view, you can swing your cobbled weapons at zombies which reduce their durability, you can sneak up for a stealth kill using your invincible knife, or you can open fire with whatever range weapons you have equipped. Pistols, shotguns, sniper and automatic rifles all become available alongside grenades, flash bangs and molotov cocktails that are great for hordes of zombies as they set each other on fire. Fight smarter! Not harder.

For your melee weapons you’ll want to keep a close eye on the durability as if you lose it, you need to make another one and the parts that you need may not exactly be on hand or even nearby. For ranged, you can attack groups of people that would kill you first on the road or you can always head back to the settlement and pay for a restock. In the beginning you’ll want to be a reserved as possible but as time goes on, you’ll gain saddlebags to your bike allowing you a full ammo restock which is much cheaper to fill those bags, than to actually pay to restock each type of ammo that you’ve used while out on the road.

As fun as the gameplay was though, it wasn’t what kept me going. It was the story and wanting to find out what happens next. Does Deacon’s best friend live? Does the settlement that gets hit survive? Questions get asked more and more and like any good tale, it takes some time to get the answers and even then? Some of those answers are behind plot twists that you wonder if they could happen or not and when they do, how you feel is entirely up to you as not everyone is going to feel the same way about both the big and the small events.

Like I said starting off, by no way, shape or form was this a masterpiece but I'll be damned if this open world "zombie" apocalypse wasn't fun. Having played between various reviews and in small spurts here and there when I couldn’t just sit down for four to six hours at a time, Days Gone was a title that I loved to boot up and just play and while it didn’t win any awards for 2019, it was and will be a Guilty Pleasure for some time to come.

Score: 7.5 / 10


Touhou: Mechanical Scrollery - PC Review

Touhou: Mechanical Scrollery by developer 巫女さん作法 (Mikosan Saho) and publisher Phoenixx Inc.PC (Steam) review written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The Touhou series is an incredibly large base of bullet hell games developed by ZUN, and has spawned many an offshoot, some RPGs, some platforms, a few fighting games, some rhythm games, and I'm pretty sure they're running out of genres to cover, whether through official releases or fan games. Here we have "Touhou Mechanical Scrollery", an interesting take on a 3D bullet hell style.

I've been playing the Touhou series for quite some time now, both the bullet hells as well as a lot of offshoots, such as: Labyrinth of Touhou, Touhoumon, Luna Nights, etc., but I do believe this is the first 3D bullet hell type I've played. Mechanical Scrollery tells a story of Reimu Hakurei, a shrine maiden of Gensokyo, and Marisa Kirisame, and ordinary magician, resolving an incident involving a bunch of mechanical monstrosities. Some backstory if that made no sense to you: basically Gensokyo is like an alternate plane of existence, where the demons and devils of Japanese lore go when they no longer have a place in the "real world". As such, a large chunk (read most) of the population are yokai (Japanese demons).

Mechanical Scrollery centres around Suzunaan, a bookstore run by a human living in Gensokyo. One day Reimu and Marisa go to check out the latest release of a new "totally not Agatha Christie" novel, when they discover robotic creatures infesting the area around the human village. Turns out the local yokai population can't actually perceive the robots, only humans, and moon rabbits, can. Reimu and Marisa discover the robots are coming from a demon book that has wormed its way into the roster of books in Suzunaan, so it's up to Reimu and Marisa to find the cause of these robots and stop it.

Mechanical Scrollery is what I would, maybe generously, describe as a combination of bullet hell and monster hunter? Sort of? You move around with full 3-Dimensional control and you attack the robotic creatures, knocking off parts and hitting them until they die, collecting parts, and use those to craft weapons. You're given some pretty standard tools to accomplish your task of vanquishing the offending steel menace. You have a long range shot, a melee attack, a super move, a dodge, and a dash that handles like a bike three sizes too small with a flat tire.

The general idea is that you have a shot gauge, which fills up either by smacking enemies with your melee, or by narrowly dodging an attack while using they dodge function. Hitting enemies with the shot will increase the special gauge, and once that is full you can unleash your special. You can also enter a sort of sniper mode where you can focus fire at parts of a creature. Enemies will attack back, either by trying to slap you, or by shooting the most colourful death you'll ever have at you.

While the concept behind Mechanical Scrollery is something I can really get behind, the implementation leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth. Honestly, it has a lot of sketchy points to it. Most of the time for a mission, you get dropped in a roughly circular arena and follow the radar to find the enemies you need to kill. Occasionally the radar won't actually show all the enemy locations, so you then have to procedurally go through all the enemies till you find the ones you need. A little frustrating if you need to beat two or more bosses within your time limit, but have no idea where the last one is.

Additionally, after you beat an enemy, their parts are left for you to pick up. If they die while in mid air, they make a very harsh drop to the ground, occasionally going right through it. I actually lost the "last boss' " parts like this. A little frustrating is that there aren't any invincibility frames on taking a hit, meaning you could be full health, and then just get pelted by a stream of bullets to find out you died. Hey;th is also a weird sort of stat in Mechanical Scrollery, as I found it was either almost full, or a few pixels left. You can use healing items through the pause menu, which is helpful if you get blindsided by an enemy.

Yes, you will get blindsided. Most of the creatures are content to leave you be, but as soon as one gets poked a little, then they come at you full force. It's too bad some of the special moves are rather...wide area. I can't count the number of times I tried using a special on a boss type enemy, only for another nearby boss to get nicked for 1 damage, and all of a sudden it's a 2v1 not in my favour. On the plus side, you get a full heal from leveling, and destroying parts nets you experience, so you'll probably be able to pull through between that and your healing items. On the subject of special moves, they are tied to your weapon, or upgrade tree of your weapon. My issue with the specials is two-fold, really. First, since the special is tied to weapon, if you want a specific weapon, but not special, you have to decide which one you are going to deal with. Depending on the special, say Marisa's Asteroid Belt which shoots a bunch of bullets, it may get VERY difficult to differentiate your own special bullets from enemy bullets, as they look exactly the same.

Apart from that, the soundtrack is rather good, although there aren't many tracks, and the character animations are...acceptable? The art is pretty good, and there's surprisingly little clipping, especially around the hair, and I'm always pleased to see hair not clipping through a characters body. That being said, the 3D animations feel a little stiff, and the 2D animations have really weird mouth movements, and for whatever reason the parts of a character that "extend" beyond the screen borders get "stuck" there.

Overall, I have to say I had a surprising amount of fun with Touhou Mechanical Scrollery. The stages weren't too long, and the game finishes before it starts wearing on you too badly. Yes, it is rather short at only four chapters with about ten or so missions per chapter, but it was a nice pace. The graphics are decent, and the soundtrack quality isn't bad. You get enough material drops that you won't be farming a stage for six hours trying to get an azure dragonsphire equivalent, although the amount of money you'll need is a little aggravating. Weapon trees are pretty decent with a variety of options, and I didn't have the game crash while playing.

That being said, it's very clunky and could use a lot of refining. As a step away from the standard 2D fare, I'd say it is a nice refreshing step. As a whole however, it falls flat in some key areas, although not to the point that it causes any critical issues.

Score: 6.5 / 10


White Day: A Labyrinth Named School - PC Review

White Day: A Labyrinth Named School by developer and publisher SONNORI Corp and publisher PQube LimitedPC (Steam) review written by Natasha with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Picture this... You're young, in love, and it's the perfect day to share a gift of passion with the person you've been crushing on since you started your high school life. WELL TOO BAD! Because White Day takes your picture perfect dream and stabs a bloody paint brush through that canvas and laughs in your face at your poor attempt at young love. Seriously, when will teenagers learn that going into a creepy school at night is not a good idea for confessing your love? Bad stuff is just bound to happen!?

White Day: A Labyritnth Named School is a survival-horror game that was released back in 2015 by ROI Games & Gachyon Soft on mobile in Korea and got a worldwide release from PQube only a year later. It is a remake of the 2001 game of the same name that was originally released for Microsoft Windows. Packed full of jump scares, exploration, puzzle-solving and multiple endings White Day will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The game even ended up getting a graphical upgrade in 2017 and is now available to play, at it's best, on the PlayStation and PC.

The Story

You control our love-struck high school student, Lee Hui-min, who decides to sneak into the school after hours to prepare a surprise White Day gift for his crush, Han So-young. Upon entry, our teenage individual becomes trapped inside the institution by an unknown supernatural phenomenon and discovers that he's not the only soul around. With the help of some other students playing hide-and-seek, you'll have to traverse the school at night to find your way out while avoiding contact with a deranged janitor and other ethereal beings that are out to hurt you. Will you make it out of this hell alive or get swallowed whole by the vengeful spirits that live here?

Don't Stop, Don't Look Back

The key to White Day is exploration. Depending on the difficulty you choose, certain things will change. Through my Normal difficulty play through I was able to check most things in the environment. From opening doors, drawers, lockers and bathroom stalls. In doing so you'll come across items that can heal you, some that are key to storytelling or some that are significant to progressing the game. You'll also come across black sharpie markers that are a MUST have, since they are the only way to save the game. If you don't have them you cannot save your progress, so don't be afraid to be thorough when searching the school.

Puzzles are also present and are my least favourite aspect of the game simply because all the hints are subtle. Some events in the game will lock you into a time based scenario where you'll have to run around and figure out how to escape. Anything time based in any game will make me sweat buckets and I have had a few game overs because of them. White Day is on the list. BUT! I have noticed that certain elements in the game go missing when you're trapped in these moments, such as NO JANITOR! This is super helpful when all you wanna do is run down the halls in search of your next objective.

However taking your time can also get you into trouble. At some point in the game you'll encounter the school janitor and he's not too happy about you being in here. If he spots you he'll give chase and won't stop until he looses sight of you. Your best bet is to quickly run into a dark classroom or bathroom stall and hide. DON'T FORGET TO CLOSE THE DOOR BEHIND YOU! This is super important since the janitors AI is quite observant. He's more likely to corner you if you leave a messy trail of evidence. Meaning if you walk into a room and leave the light on and door open, he's more likely to check why that classroom is open in the first place. Be warned though, this guy has GREAT hearing. He can hear things like doors opening/closing and you running around from two floors up. If you where investigating the bathroom early and left all the stalls open, only to run back into the same bathroom to hide from him, he'll put two-and-two together and open the one stall that's closed. BUSTED! Once caught he'll beat you with his bat (Nice janitor, am I right?), but you can run away. You are faster than him, but you do have stamina and if you find that you're running away all the time you'll black out.

These Casper's Aren't That Friendly

Other than the janitor you have others to be wary about. At night this school shifts into the paranormal dimension, where ghosts run free. And trust me when I say this, they love torturing young saps like you. Many unfortunate souls have died on these school grounds over the years and their ghostly spirits are restless.

There are three types of ghost you can encounter in White Day. There are those who are strictly scripted to the story-line and will appear as planned. While others can only appear under certain conditions. You'll notice manuscripts scattered throughout the game. These are known as Ghost stories. They are key in gathering if you plan to find these ghosties. Once you have their story you may need to go to a specific area or need a certain item in order to trigger these individual scares. They aren't easy to activate, but are scary once found.

The last type of ghost is a programmed AI that'll stalk you throughout the game. She can appear when you least expect it. She is programmed to know your exact location at all times and will slowly inch her way towards you. The only indication she is nearby is when the music dips into a more ghastly tone. It'll build in tempo the closer she gets to you. The only way to even catch a glimpse of her is out of the corner of your camera. If you try to look directly at her she'll disappear, but don't be fooled she's still moving towards you even if you're staring her down. If she manages to catch up to you she'll jumpscare you. Not only does this send a sense of dread down your spine, but she can hurt you AND alert the janitor to your location. She is the thing of nightmares.

Music and Visuals

I am pleased to say that I really like the way this game looks. All the character models look great, even our ghostly neighbours. The amount of detail I see on some of these spirits could spot hearts, which means the game is doing its job.

When it comes to the music, it's pretty minimal. But sometimes silence is killer. When all I'm getting in a game of suspense is nothing but the sound of my footsteps, only to hear the jingles of the janitors keys nearby, it sends a shiver down my spine. Ambient noises do chime in from time-to-time, especially when I'm hiding. Nothing makes me jump more than when I'm cowering from a mad man in a dark room, only to have something smack against the window nearby. Brutal, but effective. There is this one track with strings that gets me to run tail every time it starts, because it has a great way of making it sound like something is coming to murder you. It's eerie and chilling. And if a game can make me shake in my boots then I tip my hat to you.

Crank it up to Eleven

As I mentioned earlier I started my play through on Normal Mode. It had a good balance of scares and easy dodging when it came to the Janitor. However, I would highly recommend starting this game on Hard. In Hard Mode everything is elevated. From lesser items, such as fewer healing drinks and half the amount of black marker saves, to far more aggressive and observant Janitors. You'll also have access to all the optional ghosts in the story. You want survival horror at its best this is the level you should play on. I find it much more rewarding when I'm able to uncover all the tragic stories of the ghosts that are trapped within the building. Whereas, in Normal Mode I only have to pick from the bottom of the barrel. And if you're a trophy hunter you'll have to play through this difficulty in order to platinum it.

To conclude, I believe White Day: A Labyrinth Named School is a must play if survival horror is your cup of tea. It has everything you'd want in a horror from challenges, scares and bone chilling suspense that'll cause you nightmares. I find playing this game in a dark room with some friends makes the experience that more enjoyable when you have someone to throw the controller to when your nerves just can't take it anymore. And if you want to heighten that experience the game is available on Steam with the Ultimate Edition, DLC included. I'm giving this game an 8.5 out of 10 for being spectacularly spooky.


Score: 8.5 / 10


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