Our Brilliant Ruin, a New Transmedia IP from Studio Hermitage, Announces Kickstarter for Tabletop RPG

Upstairs-Downstairs Personal and Sociological Drama Meets Existential Horror.

Cary, North Carolina (January 30, 2024) — Today, transmedia company Studio Hermitage announces a Kickstarter campaign for the debut project in its first original IP: Our Brilliant Ruin. The tabletop roleplaying game tells the story of the Dramark, an elitist society unraveling against a preternatural catastrophe. Studio Hermitage will bring Our Brilliant Ruin to other formats, such as graphic novels, audio dramas, and video games, in the future, but is making its inaugural debut with the Kickstarter campaign for the TTRPG on February 27, 2024.
Sign up on Kickstarter to stay notified.

Written by industry veterans Justin Achilli (World of Darkness series, Assassin’s Creed series), Rachel J. Wilkinson (Vampire the Masquerade: Port SagaDune: Adventures in the Imperium), and Pam Punzalan (Journeys through the Radiant Citadel, 2022 Nebula Award Finalist), Our Brilliant Ruin hones in on the relationships and drama of class-based society and the balance between the haves- and have-nots. Artists Andy Foltz (Far Cry 4Star Trek Bridge CrewMythic Quest) and Efrem Palacios (Star WarsHearthstoneMagic: The Gathering) drew from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements to create the unique, Edwardian-inspired world.

About Our Brilliant Ruin
The Ruin befouls everything in its path, ravaging culture and geography alike, and leaving its living victims contorted into horrific creatures. In its wake, Dramark society moves toward an irreversible demise, buoyed on a tide of excess and intrigue.
Players must navigate the social and political machinations of a class-based society while facing the end of the world. Three distinct factions and the families and guilds within them allow players to create fully realized characters to inhabit this doomed world. Investigate an abandoned mansion fallen into danger and disrepair, attend a high-society ball while keeping abreast of the ever-present danger, or confront a deadly chimera that bears an unsettling resemblance to a missing lover. The world is an open book of possibilities… until it ends. 

Our Brilliant Ruin uses an original system of dice pools driven by a character’s emotions and motivations. Combine personality traits and skills to accomplish goals by rolling pools of d6s to determine success, failure, or catastrophe. Inspired by similar dice pool-based systems, these original mechanics for Our Brilliant Ruin provide numerous ways to determine player characters’ fates. An attack motivated by jealousy could be Obsession + Fight, or discovering your best friend is hiding a dangerous secret might be Benevolence + Intuit. Players can leverage their Portfolios to gain advantages in social situations and call upon their Passions to gain an edge on a roll… at a risk.
To stay up to date with Our Brilliant Ruin, follow the project on X (Twitter)FacebookInstagram, or sign up for the newsletter at www.ourbrilliantruin.com. Follow Studio Hermitage on FacebookLinkedInX (Twitter), and the official website at www.studio-hermitage.com.

About Studio Hermitage

Studio Hermitage is a transmedia company working on original Intellectual Property for production across a number of formats including video games and print. Under the leadership of game development veterans Paxton Galvanek (CEO), Justin Achilli (CCO), and Andy Foltz (Studio Art Director), Studio Hermitage aims to build a lasting creative game company, envisioning new IPs for a wide range of formats. For more information, visit www.studio-hermitage.com.

Article by: Susan N.


Atari Reintroduces a ‘90s Pinball Classic — The Balls of Steel are Back!

Now Available on Steam, Jump Back Into the Golden Era Action and Go Balls’a’Blazin! 

New York, NY (January 30, 2024) - Atari® — one of the world's most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers — is delighted to announce the re-release of the legendary 1990s pinball classic, Balls of Steel, now available to purchase on Steam. This fully updated and optimized re-release invites players to get their flippers flapping and go ball-istic once more!

Whether you’re a pinball wizard or a first-timer, Balls of Steel offers an experience that’s as electrifyingly fun as it is nostalgic. Despite its modern appearance and improvements, Balls of Steel retains its golden-era magic with classic visuals and sound effects. Players will enjoy all of the classic tables, in addition to two brand-new tables introduced by Atari with the re-release: Centipede and Missile Command

Playable pinball tables include: 

  • Darkside: Set on a remote space station under attack by alien creatures.
  • Barbarian: A medieval fantasy quest with a huge dragon on the table.
  • Firestorm: A mad bomber is sowing chaos in a dystopian U.S. city.
  • Mutation: An accident in a secret science lab has unleashed a massive, slimy monster.  
  • Devil’s Island: Forget fantasy island; this is a nightmare island with lava, deadly creatures, and voodoo.
  • Centipede: Blast through waves of garden pests in this recreation of the Atari arcade classic.
  • Missile Command: Defend your city from incoming missile attacks and killer satellites.

Originally debuted at E3 1997, Balls of Steel set a new standard for video game pinball. The classic game added edge, attitude, and style to a genre dominated by familiar sights and sounds. Media of the era sang high praise for Balls of Steel, calling it “the best PC pinball game ever,” and complimented the deeply realistic and immersive gameplay by promising “guaranteed sleepless nights.” Balls of Steel rose to worldwide prominence as one of the most fun and compelling pinball experiences of its time.
Balls of Steel is now available on Steam for Windows PC for $8.99, and is compatible with keyboard and mouse or gamepad controls. Learn more at the official website.

Stay up-to-date on all things Atari and retro-pop culture by following on Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram, and YouTube, and join the community on Discord.

About Atari

Atari is an interactive entertainment company and an iconic gaming industry brand that transcends generations and audiences. The company is globally recognized for its multi-platform, interactive entertainment and licensed products. Atari owns and/or manages a portfolio of more than 200 unique games and franchises, including world-renowned brands like Asteroids®, Centipede®, Missile Command®, Pong®, and RollerCoaster Tycoon®. Atari has offices in New York and Paris. Visit us online at www.Atari.com.

Atari shares are listed in France on Euronext Growth Paris (ISIN Code FR0010478248, Ticker ALATA).

©2024 Atari Interactive, Inc. Atari wordmark and logo are trademarks owned by Atari Interactive, Inc.


Article by: Susan N.


Industry Veteran Jeff Hickman Reunites with Former Mythic Entertainment Leaders at Loric Games

1AM GAMING VC leads $4M investment round to develop Loric Games’ next-generation co-op airship RPG

ARLINGTON, Virginia - January 30, 2024 | In a landmark move signaling strategic growth, Loric Games proudly announces the appointment of Jeff Hickman as its new Chief Production Officer. Simultaneously, Loric Games unveils a significant milestone in its journey—a $4 million USD funding round led by 1AM Gaming along with Hiro Capital, fortifying the studio's position in the gaming industry and clearing its path to build the next generation of co-op RPGs.

$4 Million Funding Round Led by 1AM Gaming
Loric Games secured a substantial $4 million USD in led by 1AM Gaming, a testament to the studio's potential in shaping the future of online gaming. The investment will empower Loric Games to amplify its efforts in creating cutting-edge co-op RPGs, fostering innovation and excellence in a genre that’s ready for something new and unique.
"Everyone at 1AM can blame Brian, Rob, Jeff - and many of the Loric Games team - for sleepless nights up late with our friends raiding the Hibs in Dark Age of Camelot. For that alone, we almost invested in their new project," said Louis Gresham, Co-Founder of 1AM GAMING. "But it was learning about their vision for the game and knowing that they have a desire to steer co-op RPGs in a whole new direction that made us realize we wanted to be a part of what they're building."
Jeff Hickman: A Visionary Leader in Gaming
Jeff Hickman, a luminary with over two decades of experience, assumes the role of Chief Production Officer at Loric Games. His illustrious career includes pivotal roles at NaturalMotion, Electronic Arts, BioWare, and Mythic Entertainment, contributing to the success of renowned titles like The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Warhammer Online and Dark Age of Camelot.
Rejoining forces with former colleagues from Mythic Entertainment, Jeff Hickman expresses his enthusiasm for the new chapter at Loric Games: "Joining the talented team at Loric is like coming back home. We're not just colleagues; we're co-conspirators in a grand adventure. Together, we'll turn our groundbreaking ideas into cultural phenomena, one game at a time."
Brian Johnson, CEO of Loric Games, Shares Excitement
Brian Johnson, CEO of Loric Games, shares his excitement about working with Hickman again: "Reuniting with Jeff at Loric isn't just about collaboration; his arrival during a period of dynamic growth and expansion underscores Loric’s commitment to elevating our high standards in game production. Our team's collective journey, marked by both successes and challenges, uniquely positions us to elevate new and exciting game genres to unprecedented heights."


About Loric Games
Loric Games, a venture-backed game development company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, stands at the forefront of creating immersive online gaming experiences. With a commitment to innovation, Loric Games continues to captivate audiences worldwide.


About 1AM Gaming VC
1AM partners with game industry builders who want to work with investors who’ve been in their shoes. Having started and exited companies, shipped games on mobile, PC, and web, and driven revenue internationally at companies like Google, Riot Games, Deloitte, Carlyle, Bessemer, Fox, Warner, and more. Portfolio entrepreneurs include former leads from multi-$B franchises like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Apex Legends, Candy Crush, and Hearthstone.


Article by: Susan N.


Touhou Luna Nights - PS4 Review

Touhou Luna Nights by developer Team Ladybug, WSS playground and publisher WSS Playground, PLAYISMPS4 review written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.
Estimated reading time: 6.5 minutes
Those of you who have been around here may know that I'm a fan of Touhou, both the official games and the fan games. Today I get to tell you about Touhou Luna Nights, a title that released on PC back in 2019, and now has a console port! A wonderful metroidvania with Touhou themes and gameplay elements! Without further ado, let's get started!
Now, those of you who have no knowledge of Touhou may not really get everything reference and plot-wise, but no worries if you aren't familiar, as most everything is self contained, to a certain degree. Everything else you need to know can generally be inferred as well. For those with no knowledge, I'll provide a bit more. Touhou Luna Nights starts out with Sakuya, a maid working for Remilia, the vampire owning the Scarlet Devil mansion, finding herself in a somewhat unfamiliar area. Turns out that Remilia is testing a new playground out, and has created a sort of game where Sakuya must fight her way through the fake world she is in to make it to the top of the mansion.

Unfortunately for Sakuya, her ability to fly and stop time is greatly restricted. Yes, those are things she can normally do, but where would the fun be if you could do that right from the get-go? So Sakuya must use what Remilia has provided within her game world as she does some metroidvania style exploration and combat.

Luna Nights at it's core is a metroidvania title, where the focus is exploring rooms, discovering abilities and enhancements, fighting bosses to proceed, and backtracking to acquire items you've missed, as well as any hidden rooms on the map you can find. While the basis is pretty typical of metroidvania titles, a 2D action platformer style where you have a primary attack, a secondary skill, and various movement/exploration based abilities to acquire, Luna Nights also implements some functions very typical of the Touhou genre.

Let's go over some of the gameplay basics. Right off the bat you'll notice you have both a health gauge and an MP gauge. Almost every attack, both basic and skill, will consume MP which slowly fills back up.  Yup, even basic attacks are "limited". Using your basic attack to throw a set of knives does consume MP, although not that much. Cool fact, picking knives back up restores some MP. If you hold down the basic attack button you can build a move that slows down time around you, but not for you. This is really useful for getting lots of grazes, avoiding attacks, and environmental obstacles that are moving too fast.

Now, grazing is something that Touhou is really big on. The original Touhou games are bullet hell games, and grazing is just barely dodging an attack. While this was originally just for score, in Luna Nights grazing can be used to restore MP, health and time gauge. Since all basic attacks and skills take chunks out of your MP gauge, this is the best way of keeping both your attacks and health going strong. So what about that time gauge? Well, Sakuya has the ability to stop time. Here though, that ability has been largely diminished.

Shortly after starting the game, you'll find a friendly NPC to give you a pocket watch, which can be used to release the restriction on your time stopping ability, although not fully. This NPC also happens to run the item shop. You have a limited amount of time to use time stop for, and every action you take will reduce that time, whether it's moving, attacking, or using skills, your time gauge will deplete accordingly. This is kind of handy when you're out of MP, as you can substitute time for MP while time is stopped. If you end time stop or run out of time gauge, time resumes, all the knives or skills you've activated start moving again, and so can the enemies. Fair warning, if you run into attacks during stopped time you still take damage.

Luna Nights is an interesting game from a gameplay perspective because of a weird relationship between basic skill line and skill cap. See, as you kill enemies you get exp and can level up, increasing defense and attack damage, so you can theoretically outlevel bosses or use items bought in the store to push through when the game gets difficult. Or you could dodge enemy attacks by a few pixels, get really good at it, and be virtually unstoppable because you regenerate too much MP and health to die. It's certainly completable without being too good at the game, although it'll be a bit rough, but is incredibly rewarding to be able to demolish bosses by dodging attacks by paper thin margins and punishing them for it.

Add to this that the different skills you can get are pretty fun and interesting, as well as well-handled exploration and hidden power-up items, Luna Nights is a really fun title. Seriously, when I got the "chainsaw" skill I was like "...sorry, what?" but then I started hucking chainsaws at people and was like "ohhhh, I like this". There are other skills to collect, some more basic like homing knives or a paralyzing shot, and some like a blade that constantly homes in and attacks anything that can be damaged on-screen or a knife barrier.

Touhou Luna Nights also has a really fitting art style for a metroidvania title, with well done sprites and interesting enemies that differ each area you proceed through. A more retro like pixel graphic style is used and it fits really well. Add in some nice remixed Touhou theme tracks and you've got a very aesthetically pleasing title. As a cool little aside, those familiar with the Touhou universe, or at least the characters in and around the Scarlet Devil Mansion can probably guess at the next boss for an area based on either the area theme song or little hints added into the environment, which is a really cool consideration.

As you're exploring the world of Luna Nights, you'll be collecting gems that you can exchange with the vendor for cash. Why aren't you directly given the cash instead? Well, it turns out that each gem type has some sort of passive effect just from carrying them. Although selling them in order to buy upgrades is almost assuredly the way you should probably go, it is a cool little mechanic that was included.

Honestly, I loved the entire time I spent with Luna Nights. Unfortunately, that time wasn't nearly long enough. I loved Luna Nights, and I just wanted more when I was done. Even after earning every achievement, I still felt like I wanted more of the experience, and it didn't really take me too long. I'm not sure if this is because I've gotten too used to/good at metroidvania's where I can now tell which areas are most likely to have hidden walls or not, but I would've loved to see the game at least twice as long, in all honesty. Well, at least it doesn't have the opposite problem, where it overstays it's welcome. Also, in all fairness, the game is pretty linear, and the "metroidvania" aspect is pretty subdued, with the focus being on combat more so than large map exploration, although [the metroidvania aspects are] still there.
Overall, I gotta say that Touhou Luna Nights was an absolutely wonderful experience and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. It was fun, engaging, had it's own unique twist with the grazing/timestop mechanics, and wrapped it all together with really smooth gameplay and a good artistic and musical package.  While certainly rather short, and maybe a little more confusing for those unfamiliar with Touhou in general, I think Touhou Luna Nights is a really great game for someone looking for some metroidvania fun.

Score: 9.5 / 10


Journey Into Legend: El Dorado Prologue Launching for Free on Steam

Gameparic officially announced that the premiere of the free Prologue for El Dorado: The Golden City Builder will take place on January 30, 2024, at 3:00 PM CET. After a very well-received demo version, the studio decided to take the next step in developing the game and release a free Prologue for players.

El Dorado: The Golden City Builder is a strategy city-building game in which you plan, build and develop your settlement to conquer Jukatan and earn the title of The Golden City. Become a leader, whom even Gods will bow to. Offer sacrifices to the Gods to earn their favor, but beware and don’t lose yourself in your riches.



Prologue is just part of the full game that players will get to know the game before its official release and will be completely free on Steam. Develop your early small settlement into a city bustling with life and dripping with gold. Build, develop, manage your resources and appease the Gods. Dominate other newly rising or existing settlements of other families through conquest or peaceful talks. Diplomacy or blood… it is your choice.

El Dorado: The Golden City Builder - Prologue
will be available on Steam for free. This is just a part of the full version of El Dorado: The Golden City Builder. Prologue will be available in 13 languages - English, French, Italian, German, Spanish - Spain, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese - Brazil, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Turkish.

Article by: Susan N.


Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Available for Pre-Order Now!

Lesquin, 18 January 2024 – NACON and stillalive studios are pleased to announce that Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator, the relaxing gardening game, is open for digital pre-order on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One. It will be available from 22 February 2024 on all the platforms, while the Nintendo SwitchTM version will be released on 14 March 2024.

With its colourful, soothing world, Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator offers players a relaxing gardening experience, where the only limit will be their own creativity! Your challenge is to transform an abandoned plot into a flourishing community garden, while interacting with the game’s quirky characters, your fellow villagers.

In preparation for decorating their garden, players can now preorder the digital version of the game, and get the Eco-friendly Ornament Set additional content free of charge. This comprises eco-friendly ornaments including chairs and tables made from recycled wood, as well as rattan lanterns. This pack contains everything they will need to make their garden even greener!

There are now two editions available to pre-order on consoles:

  • Standard Edition: includes the basic game, available for €39.99 | $39.99 | £39.99 on consoles, and €24.99 | $24.99 | £24.99 on PC (Steam).

  • Deluxe Edition: includes the basic game and the Garden Party Pack additional content, including two exclusive plants and a wide selection of elegant ornaments to transform the garden into a welcoming and festive place. Available for €44.99 | $44.99 | £44.99 on consoles, and €29.99 | $29.99 | £29.99 on PC (Steam).

Both editions will also be available for purchase on PC (Steam) the day of release, at the price of 24.99€ | 24.99$ | 24.99£ for the Standard Edition and 29.99€ | 29.99$ | 29.99£ for the Deluxe Edition.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator | Pre-Order Trailer | PEGI | ESRB | USK:

About Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator

Experience a relaxing gardening simulation, and create the garden of your dreams, in the colourful, soothing world of Garden Life. Plant and decorate at your own pace, to transform an abandoned plot into a flourishing community garden.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator will be available for PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC (Steam) from 22 February 2024. The Nintendo SwitchTM version will be released on 14 March 2024.


Check out the Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Steam page 



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 16 development studios, the publishing of AA video games, the design and distribution of premium gaming devices, NACON focuses 30 years of expertise at the service of players. https://www.nacongaming.com/


About stillalive studios

stillalive studios is a team dedicated to creating dynamic and aesthetic games for the general public. Known for its famous Bus Simulator franchise, the studio has developed its expertise in creating high quality simulation games. Composed of about sixty people, the Austrian studio, based since its creation in 2010 in Innsbruck, combines enthusiasm, passion, experience and talent. For more information: http://stillalive.games

    Article by: Susan N.

    Chalgyr's Game Room Upcoming Layout Update!

    Good day loyal readers of Chalgyr's Game Room, Susan aka Jagtress here.

    Our site has been around for many years, as you can tell from the content that we put up. While we may not be as prolific as other sites, we thought it would be a great idea to start the new year with a brand new look.

    After careful consideration and discussion with the team, we've decided to go ahead with a new layout that features a scrolling banner, dark mode, and more! This change will occur within the week, so keep your eyes peeled for a new look. And don't worry, our content will continue to be put out daily as the new year picks up with exciting indie titles!

    Thanks for everything and we hope you like the new look.

    See you on the other side!

    High Rise City - PC Preview

    High Rise City by developer Fourexo Entertainment and publisher Deck13PC(Steam) preview written by Susan N. with a copy provided by the publisher.
    Estimated reading time: 4.5 minutes.


    Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is Out Now!

    January 18th, 2024 - Ubisoft announced that Prince of Persia™: The Lost Crown is now available worldwide on Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, Amazon Luna as well as Windows PC through the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store.

    In this brand-new adventure, players will embody Sargon, a young, gifted warrior, member of an elite group called The Immortals. As they are sent to rescue Prince Ghassan, they will explore Mount Qaf, a once wondrous place, now cursed and hostile. Sargon and his brothers-in-arms will soon discover that time itself will be a treacherous foe and that the world balance must be restored.

    Inspired by the Metroidvania structure, Prince of Persia™: The Lost Crown lets players explore a handcrafted world at their own pace. From the majestic Citadel of Knowledge to the colorful landscapes of the Hyrcanian Forest, players will discover a variety of environments inspired by Persian mythology. By acquiring new time powers, unlocking unique abilities, equipping different amulets and combining them, Sargon will progressively delve deeper into Mount Qaf, solving puzzles, finding secrets, and completing exciting side quests. Sargon will also learn to master the different Time Powers to defeat unique & mythological creatures that will stand in his way.
    To get a taste of what the game has to offer, players can try out the free demo. This custom demo gives a first glimpse at the epic journey that awaits them in Prince of Persia™: The Lost Crown. It includes carefully selected sections from the game, with early unlocks of Time Powers and amulets, to show the main gameplay features while not spoiling the story. Some content in this demo may vary from the final game.  

    While exploring this mythical place, players will be fully immersed thanks to the original soundtrack created by Mentrix and Gareth Coker. The traditional instruments of the Iranian-born composer Mentrix on one hand, and the modern sounds of award-winner Gareth Coker on the other will guide players from one environment to another. The full soundtrack is available now on all streaming platforms. The original soundtrack is also available here: https://ubisoftmusic.ffm.to/princeofpersia

    Prince of Persia™: The Lost Crown is available at a suggested price of €49,99 for the Standard Edition and €59,99 for the Deluxe Edition on Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, Amazon Luna as well as Windows PC through the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store.

    For more information about the Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, please visit princeofpersia.com .

    For the latest news on Prince of Persia and other Ubisoft games, please visit news.ubisoft.com

    About Ubisoft

    Ubisoft is a creator of worlds, committed to enriching players’ lives with original and memorable entertainment experiences. Ubisoft’s global teams create and develop a deep and diverse portfolio of games, featuring brands such as Assassin’s Creed®, Brawlhalla®, For Honor®, Far Cry®, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon®, Just Dance®, Rabbids®, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six®, The Crew® and Tom Clancy’s The Division®. Through Ubisoft Connect, players can enjoy an ecosystem of services to enhance their gaming experience, get rewards and connect with friends across platforms. With Ubisoft+, the subscription service, they can access a growing catalog of more than 100 Ubisoft games and DLC. For the 2022–23 fiscal year, Ubisoft generated net bookings of €1,739 million. To learn more, please visit: www.ubisoftgroup.com..
    © 2023 Ubisoft Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are registered trademarks in the US and/or other countries.

    About PLAION

    PLAION is a leading independent developer and producer of games and entertainment products, with nine development studios and five publishing units based all over the world. Founded in 1994 as Koch Media, PLAION offers a unique breadth of services and solutions, dynamically growing its business to push ourselves and our partners to the forefront in all the segments we operate in.

    PLAION runs a multi-label strategy, with fully owned publishing units, such as Deep Silver, Prime Matter, Milestone, Vertigo Games and Ravenscourt, publishing games for consoles, PC and VR platforms across all physical and digital channels.

    Additionally - as a global publishing partner - PLAION has formed long-term multinational publishing collaborations with numerous game publishers including Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, Capcom, Focus Multimedia, Giants Software, Koei Tecmo, Paradox, Sega, SNK, Square Enix, Techland, THQ Nordic, Tripwire, Warner Bros and many others.

    With its parent company in Höfen, Austria - and the HQ in Munich, Germany - PLAION owns local publishing companies in Germany, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, the United States as well as Japan and Hong Kong.

    PLAION owns nine game development studios: Deep Silver Dambuster Studios (Nottingham, UK), Fishlabs (Hamburg, DE), Warhorse Studios (Prague, CZ), Milestone (Milan, IT), Voxler (Paris, FR) , DigixArt (Montpellier, FR), Flying Wild Hog (Warsaw, Kraków, Rzeszów, PL), Free Radical Design (Nottingham, UK) and Vertigo Games (Rotterdam, Amsterdam, NL). Additionally, PLAION collaborates with numerous independent development studios around the world.

    Part of PLAION is also PLAION PICTURES, a leading independent film distributor in Europe with a library of more than 1.400 titles. Further business operations include Sola Media, a sales agency and production company for family entertainment, Spotfilm Networx, a multi-channel streaming network, and a sub-label dedicated to Japanese animation.

    PLAION also owns the leading video game merchandise company DPI Merchandising (Denver, Roseburg, USA and Munich, DE) and a Quality Assurance Facility in Olomouc, CZ.

    PLAION is an Embracer Group company.
    Article by: Susan N.


    Howl Review

    Howl by developer Mi'pu'mi Games and publisher astragonMicrosoftXbox Series X review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    Howl is an interesting title that I admittedly needed some time to warm up to. It wasn’t reaally what I was expecting initially, but as I grew to understand the gameplay better, I also came to appreciate the rest of the package more.

    To start, Howl calls itself a turn-based tactical game, which is accurate if not exactly how I expected things to play out. Essentially, you occupy a map with squares you move about on, with a handful of abilities that help you traverse from entry point to exit as you attempt to survive the monsters also on the map. While you make decisions in turn-by-turn fashion, you and your opponents execute them at the same time. That puts emphasis on learning their behaviors (though there are settings to make the experience a bit easier and permit you to see what the monsters will do on that turn). The entire thing has sort of a see-sawing trial and error element that makes Howl feel much more like a puzzle game than a true tactics game.

    Perhaps that is a distinction that is splitting hairs, but I have to admit I found it a little offputting initially. Progression is also handled quite differently than the typical strategy game, with no emphasis on things like experience points, but instead currency in the form of skulls (from killing enemies) and confidence (from beating the stage in or under a predetermned number of turns, again adding that sense of ‘puzzle’ to the experience). You can however, unlock additional or upgraded skills as you progress through the game, giving you more robust opportunities to deal with the stages and deepending the gameplay experience in meaningful ways.

    It's all wrapped up in a charming presentation. I’ve always had a fondness for the sort of ‘hand drawn’ style of art used here for the visuals. It’s bright, it’s pretty easy to distinguish things on the maps that look like old parchment. The audio didn’t tickle my fancy quite as much, but it’s still pleasant enough. The music and sound are fitting, and the narrator’s voice has a certain warmth that does the tale justice, even if the story itself felt a bit thin to me by the game’s midpoint. The premise of how your protagonist the prophet is deaf and therefore able to resist the howling sound that curses people into becoming monsters has a nice folklore feel to it that unfortunately fell a bit flat for me by the game’s ending.

    Speaking of the ending, Howl is not a terribly long game, but maybe that’s to its benefit. The primary story can be completed in about four hours, and if you really want to clean up everything and be a completionist, it probably takes about another three hours or so to achieve. Given the indie nature of the game, that’s probably enough content and keeps Howl from overstaying its welcome.

    If you like trial and error (with a heavy emphasis on error and trying again), Howl’s formula will be pretty appealing. It wasn’t quite the game I was expecting when I fired it up, but that doesn’t mean it was a bad game by any means. In fact I’d go so far as to say it was a pleasant experience worth trying out, even with a few frustrations and flaws along the way.

    Score: 7 out of 10


    Learn More About Flotsam by Stray Fawn Studios!

    Zurich, Switzerland - Jan 17th, 2024 - Stray Fawn, the indie game studio behind The Wandering Village, has announced the third game in its publishing lineup. Flotsam, the floating garbage town survival game, is a must-sea. Scavenge what precious garbage you can from the ocean's surface and grow your city while doing your best to survive in this colorful post-apocalyptic world. Flotsam is set to make its highly anticipated 1.0 release in the summer of 2024.

    Stray Fawn joined the indie publishing fray in March 2023 with their first partnered game Earth of Oryn, a medieval kingdom-builder, followed shortly after by the flying city-builder Airborne Empire in June 2023. Both games have reached 50,000 wishlists on Steam and are expected to launch later this year. With Flotsam, developed by the award-winning Belgian studio Pajama Llama, as the third game in their publishing lineup, Stray Fawn are further strengthening their commitment towards city-builders.

    Flotsam launched into Early Access in September 2019 and has been constantly improved and expanded thanks to valuable player feedback. Stray Fawn will assist Pajama Llama with the long-awaited 1.0 release of the game this summer which will add controller support, new content, an improved tutorial as well as a long awaited story ending to the game.

    Flotsam is a cheerful and relaxing survival town-builder in a flooded world. The player oversees a group of drifters navigating a polluted ocean on their mobile floating town.

    Search for garbage to recycle into wonky workshops and desalinators, providing drifters with fresh water and shelter. Craft pollution washers to clean food and prevent disease and keep drifters happy.

    Flotsam aims to create an ever-changing world, featuring diverse biomes and landmarks.  Traverse the dynamic environment while managing power via fossil or sustainable generators. Balance town weight and footprint to maneuver past submerged viaducts, mysterious ruins of cities and polluted forests. Seek help from stranded seagulls, refugees and specialist drifters to thrive in this feel-good apocalypse!

    Flotsam Features:

    • Recycle trash from the flooded world to build your mobile floating town.

    • Maneuver your town through ocean obstacles in a randomized feel-good-apocalypse world.

    • Keep your drifters healthy by creating shelter and collecting fresh water and food.

    • Manage drifter morale by cleaning polluted food and decorating the town.

    • Befriend seagulls and search for specialists to enhance your town with farms, tugboats, med pods and desalinators.

    • Colorful 3D art style with hand-painted and outlined textures.