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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review for good and bad, it’s not Nathan Drake – VentureBeat

Sonys Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is one of the big exclusives on the PlayStation 4, debuting on August 22. The Naughty Dog game is full of familiar puzzles, action sequences, and plenty of climbing, but the female lead characters take the series in an intriguing new direction.

It is the first Uncharted without Nathan Drake, and it started as a simple downloadable content (DLC), a side story that grew up into a full-fledged game of its own. Sony now calls it a stand-alone Uncharted adventure, and it stars two women, Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross, who have replaced Drake and Sully as the heroic thieves on a grand treasure hunt. It is time for the women a treasure hunter thief and a mercenary to show what they can do with the franchise.

That is good because every new Uncharted game should walk the line between the fresh and the familiar.

Check out ourReviews Vaultfor past game reviews.

Naughty Dog sets up a good story in a believable world

Above: Chloe talks about the god Ganesh with a girl at the bazaar.

Image Credit: Sony

The beginning scene isnt a spectacle, but it sets the tone for game by taking a quiet moment to explore who Chloe Frazer has become. Shes a bit older than in the past games like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, where she made her memorable debut, and Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, where she had a pretty small role. Her skin is darker, and she fits in with the Indian population in the game fairly well.

Chloe is still a thief. But at the outset, she takes a moment to talk with a young girl in a bazaar. In that moment, you can see her kindness and how she sees a bit of herself in the fatherless child. They talk about a little gold statue that she carries around: the Hindu god Ganesh. That little moment and that statue carry a significance in the story.

It reminds us that we know very little about Chloes history. In Uncharted 2, she was a darker foil to Drake, a thief who looked our for herself and chose self-preservation and selfishness over any larger purpose. It is a nice moment, and it shows us Chloes basic humanity, a goodness that will serve her well later on in the story.

As she leaves the little girl behind, Chloe infiltrates a war zone. The atmosphere of fear is very well done, and it immerses you in the foreboding atmosphere of the city at night. You start climbing the buildings, like you do in all Uncharted games, and you find Chloes partner, Nadine Ross, who gave Nathan and Sam Drake a lot of grief as the enemy in Uncharted 4: A Thiefs End. Ross is an uneasy ally of Chloes, and their relationship evolves during the game.

The relationship between Chloe and Nadine

Above: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy features Chloe and Nadine as the main characters.

Image Credit: Naughty Dog/Sony

Chloe and Nadine start out as strange bedfellows, tied together only because theyre seeking the same treasure. They dont trust each other. Chloe is weighed down by thoughts of her lost father, while Nadine is sore about losing control of her fathers company. As they find solitude on their journey together, they change. They think about their choices, and whether they are on the quest purely for the sake of money. Over time, they both find something more important than riches in the quest to find the Golden Tusk of Ganesh.

They learn to banter with each other in a way that reminds me of the jesting between Nathan Drake and Sully. Chloe has a need to control, even to the point where she wont let Nadine drive the jeep because, she says, Its a control thing. Yet along the way, they face off against an army of insurgent soldiers. And they have to trust each other with their lives. By the time the stakes get really high, each character has to evaluate where they stand, make a choice, and change who they are.

Beautiful free-roaming space in the mountains of India

Above: You can see for miles in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.

Image Credit: Sony

A quest for the Golden Tusk of Ganesh takes Chloe and Nadine into some of the prettiest scenery of any game. Chloe and Nadine find beautiful hidden temples and fortresses in the green mountains of Indias Western Ghats, where they uncover the ruins of the Hoysala empire.

The game features one level where you can roam with your jeep through through a huge place with rivers and mountains. You can drive your 44 around the mud and up the rocks. But you can also speed through the rivers and escape the soldiers chasing you. And you can explore the ruins of temples and fortresses in any order. The draw distances are huge, and you can see distant waterfalls, colorful fauna, blue skies, and amazingly realistic water. What I liked about this level was that you could really make use of your jeep, even if it meant driving it off a cliff and going into a complete free fall.

Between the great character facial animations and the outstanding environments, youll feel like a tourist ready to take a selfie at every turn.

Familiar gameplay

Above: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has familiar shooting action.

Image Credit: Sony

The game has some action-packed set pieces, exotic destinations, andintricate puzzles. I enjoyed a puzzle that was kind of like a chess board. You had to walk onto steps and watch out for big axes that the statues swung at you. Some nice touches, like a new lock-picking mechanic, youll use dozens of times in the game. I had to dispatch hundreds of enemies during the game, some of them in stealthy fashion, and some during hot firefights. I still had trouble with the giant armored machine gunners who come walking out and dare you to stand and shoot them. Of course, without these touches, it wouldnt be Uncharted.

Seeing old friends

Youll see reminders of things from the past games through The Lost Legacy. From the jeep and its handy winch to the mountain-climbing spike, youll be reminded of good times from the past. And youll see characters that are familiar as well. Thats all Ill say about that.

Asav is a memorable villain

Above: Asav is the nemesis of Chloe and Nadine.

Image Credit: Sony

One of the things that strengthens the bonds between Chloe and Nadine is their common loathing of Asav, an Indian insurgency leader who is searching for treasure to finance his rebellion. Asav is a smooth talker who wears spectacles even though he doesnt need them to see. He isnt insane in the usual madman sort of way, but hes got his issues. Asav is more like the villain who wont quit and who tries to outsmart the heroes at every turn. He lets them solve the problem, and then waltzes in and takes the prize. And hes got a very annoying army that holds Chloe and Nadine at bay.

Multiplayer can keep you busy

While the single-player campaign is short, you can enjoy a lot of multiplayer combat across 14 maps. Competitive multiplayer features six modes and a big pile of weapons and boosts. It also has co-op play and 50 waves of combat.

This isnt a full Uncharted experience

Above: Jeeps can fly in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (if you drive them off a cliff).

Image Credit: Naughty Dog/Sony

The Lost Legacy is a short game.I spent maybe 25 hours playing Uncharted: A Thiefs End and enjoyed every part of it. This game kept me busy for just 10.5 hours. It feels like a DLC game that grew up to be something bigger. Thats probably why Sony priced it at $40, less than a full-fledged Uncharted game. But we have been trained only to expect the best from Naughty Dog, and its a bit of a letdown that the game isnt longer.

A big bug

Ive never had problems with bugs in Uncharted games. But I encountered one that corrupted my saved game and nearly forced me to restart from the beginning. I was stuck in a cavern with water on one side and a cliff on the other. It was a completely broken scene, and I couldnt find my way out. But eventually, after saving and restarting a number of times, I found my way out. All I can say is that you should save your game periodically, in case the main save gets corrupted.

Not the same boss fight again

Above: Yep, I played this scene before.

Image Credit: Sony

The end of the game is exciting, but weve seen it before. You encounter some spectacular chase, action, and shootout scenes, particularly as the story drives toward its conclusion. But I have fought these battles before. I have been in the same firefights. Naughty Dog was certainly trying to make us remember that this was an Uncharted game, with many reminders of the hallmarks of action scenes. But they could have come up with something fresh.

Is this so different from Lara Croft?

Chloes a female treasure hunter who climbs a lot. She drives spikes into walls. She takes on armies of men who mean her harm. Shes tough but human enough to be vulnerable once in a while. And she has father issues, as her dad disappeared while hunting down a treasure himself. Does this remind you of anyone? For sure, Chloe is a unique character with a very different past than Lara Croft. But her story and game are familiar enough that they dont seem as original as they could be.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy isnt as ambitious a game as the past Nathan Drake titles. It probably suffered from starting out as DLC and then becoming more ambitious over time. Fans will like it, but they wont love it. It is a bit of a letdown when it comes to providing enough new experiences.

But it explores fresh characters and proves that two female treasure hunters can be just as compelling when it comes to depth and storytelling as the men of the previous games. And it takes us into the beautiful world of India, and its deep mythology that provides a great back story. I appreciated how, in a familiar Naughty Dog tradition, the beginning and the ending looped back to each other. Chloe and Nadine are a good salve for the loss I still feel about the ending of Drakes story.

Score: 83/100

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy comes out on August 22 on the PlayStation 4. The publisher provided us with a code for this review.

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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review for good and bad, it’s not Nathan Drake – VentureBeat

Tri-town libraries announce upcoming programs – Wicked Local Marion

Marion

The Elizabeth Taber Library is located at 8 Spring St., Marion. The phone number is 508-748-1252. The hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. More program information can be found on the librarys website at elizabethtaberlibrary.org.

Upcoming programs

Bike Lending Program: The Elizabeth Taber Library is offering a bike lending program for adults again this summer. Library patrons ages 18 and older will be allowed to check out a bicycle and helmet for three days with a Marion library card. Patrons will need to provide their library card and license, as well as sign a waiver form before taking the bike out for a spin around Marion. For more information, stop in or call 508-748-1252.

Seed lending library: The Elizabeth Taber Library, in partnership with the Marion Garden Group, has kicked off a seed saving and lending program. Community members may check out seeds for free from the Elizabeth Taber Library. The idea is that you plant the seeds, let some go to seed, then return some of these next generation seeds for others to borrow. For more information, call 508-748-1252 or stop into the library for some material on this new program.

Afternoon Book Club: 2 p.m. the third Tuesday of every month. Stop into the Elizabeth Taber Library to register and reserve a copy of the monthly book.

The Mystery Book Club: 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of every month. Stop into the Elizabeth Taber Library to register and reserve a copy of the monthly book.

Museum passes: Heading to the museum with friends or family soon? Be sure to stop by the Elizabeth Taber Library first to check out any of our museum passes with your SAILS library card. The library currently has passes to Heritage Museums and Gardens, Museum of Fine Arts, Mystic Aquarium, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Plimoth Plantation, Roger Williams Zoo, and the DCR MassParks Pass. To reserve a pass or for more information, please call the library at 508-748-1252 or visit our website http://www.elizabethtaberlibrary.org.

Book a Librarian: Residents who have basic technology questions or need assistance with an electronic device recently acquired can call the library to book a one-on-one appointment with one of the staff members.

Home Delivery Services: The Elizabeth Taber Library, in partnership with the Council on Aging, is pleased to offer home delivery of library books to those Marion residents that need this service. To be eligible for this program, you must be a Marion resident with a library card in good standing. Before bringing materials to your home, a brief phone interview must be conducted with Libby ONeill, the Library Director, to discuss your areas and authors of interest. To arrange to have library books or audio books delivered to your home, please call the Elizabeth Taber Library at 508-748-1252.

Free Online Resources: With a Marion library card, residents now have access to free information online. The Elizabeth Taber Library now subscribes to the following e-resources: Instant Flix, access to thousands of streaming films and shorts from around the world; Universal Class, an online continuing education program with over 500 courses; Zinio Digital Magazines, access to 50 top magazines online; and A to Z World Travel, access to over 200 city travel guides online. For more information, call the Elizabeth Taber Library.

Mattapoisett

The Mattapoisett Public Library is located at 7 Barstow St. The mailing address is P.O. Box 475 Mattapoisett, MA 02739. The email address is mfpl@sailsinc.org. Check out the website mattapoisettlibrary.org.

Upcoming programs

LEGO Builders, Unite!: 1-2 p.m. Wednesdays. LEGO enthusiasts gather at the LEGO table in the Childrens Room to enjoy the latest LEGO challenge. Dig in and build.

Student Book Swap: Students in grades seven and up are encouraged to register this year for the Summer Reading Program upstairs in the Student Lounge. Summer reading lists are available for area schools, and students can borrow a book from the reading table to keep and enjoy. Stop in and see the new button making machine and relax in the student lounge. There are video games and DVDs here too.

Drop-In Chess: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Students are invited to play chess in the Childrens Department. Bring your own chess board or use one of the librarys. For experienced and beginning students.

History Lecture Series with Seth Mendell: 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sept. 19. Historian Seth Mendell is back this summer with a six-part lecture series, The Years Between the Wars, 1918-1939. The series will cover the events of the period and the reactions of England, France and the United States as the structure established by the Paris Peace Conference and Treaty of Versailles crumbled, sending Europe and the world into another war. Attend one or all of these fascinating talks.

Ongoing programs

New Scrapbooking Group to Meet Monthly: 10:30 a.m. the first Friday of the month. Bring your photos, papers, tools and ideas to a new group Scrapbook Crop! The group will meet the first Friday of every month in the library meeting room. Ideas for designs will be shared over coffee and tea. All skill levels are welcome.

Tech Help: Get a new tablet, smart phone or ereader as a gift? Work with librarian Elizabeth Sherry to learn how to use it efficiently. Download free books from the library to enjoy any time, any place. For an appointment, call 508-758-4171.

Young Scientists Club: All children are welcome to drop in to enjoy the Science Exploration table where they can create a bird feeder, enjoy a squirrel scavenger hunt, and try other nature activities. A sensory bin is there for toddlers to dig in and enjoy.

Knitting is happening: The librarys Knitting Group continues every Thursday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Experienced and beginning knitters gather to share tips, patterns and projects. Everyone is welcome.

MOBY Backpacks: Explore the outdoors all year long with the whole family by checking out a MOBY backpack from the childrens department. The My Own BackYard creations are filled with equipment, activities, nature journals and fun. Binoculars, tools, collection kits and more are included, as well as books to answer questions about the seashore, invasive species, insects, wildflowers, rocks and fossils and other topics. Let the staff know what you discover as you explore the outdoors.

Signing Savvy: Want to learn sign language to communicate more effectively with a hearing impaired person or to begin a fun way to communicate with your baby or toddler? Visit the librarys website with your Mattapoisett library card and select Signing Savvy on the left side of the homepage. The free program enables searches for words and phrases you want to learn and saves your list of new signs.

Museum passes available: Did you know that with your library card you can check out passes to museums all over Massachusetts and Rhode Island that will give you free or discounted admission? The library also has passed for discounted Paw Sox tickets, zoos, state parks, aquariums and more. The list of passes is available on the librarys website http://www.mattapoisettlibrary.org. You can also reserve the passes online with your library card. There is currently a display about the pass program in the reading room. Call the circulation desk if you need assistance reserving a pass at 508-758-4171.

Free Videos: Library videocassettes are looking for new homes that have VCRs so they can still be enjoyed. Stop in and help yourself to the selection on the main floor near the Friends Used Book Sale shelves.

Ereader Assistance available: Still need help downloading ebooks and audiobooks from the library catalogue? Librarian Liz Sherry offers two free workshops each week to help patrons manage their ereaders, no matter what type they own. Stop in on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. or Fridays at 3 p.m. These times dont work? Give her a call and make an appointment to get assistance. If you dont have an ereader, but you are curious about them, the library has several that you can try during the workshop.

Teen Thursdays at the Mattapoisett Library: The library is staying open from 5 to 8 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday evenings of each month for teens only. Library staff will be there with fun, homework help, and refreshments. Meet your friends to relax or to work on projects together. Music, food and teens only. Teen Thursdays are brought to the community with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Teen Advisors at the Library: Each Wednesday from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. students in grades seven through 12 are invited to meet at the library to help plan new library programs and services for students. Drop by and help choose new furniture, music and movies. Contact librarian Liz Sherry for more info at esherry@sailsinc.org. Come in and say hi to our gecko!

Teen Art Magazine: Make art together and help create a young adult art magazine at the library. Workshops are held the first and last Tuesday and Saturday of every month. Students may take contributions of writing, photography, art and design, or make their own creations at the workshops. Take your creative talent and ideas. For information, contact Elizabeth Sherry at 508-758-4171 or esherry@sailsinc.org.

Tech stressed?: Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Fridays at 3 p.m. the library staff holds informal workshop to answer questions about e-readers, tablets, and downloading books and music. Take the device you own or try one of the librarys e-readers to see if you like reading books in this format. Everyone is welcome.

E-catalog is now online: The electronic catalog for the SAILS Library Network is now up and running with a new, user-friendly look and feel. Log in with your SAILS library card and access millions of titles in a variety of formats. Stop by the library and speak with the staff if you would like help navigating the website sailsinc.org.

Letterboxing sleuthing: This fascinating activity for the whole family will take you to all corners of the library to solve a mystery while following literary clues from childrens books. Each month the book different, visit the library and join the fun. Details are available in the childrens department.

Ready to Learn the Language?: Log into Mango Languages with your Mattapoisett library card and begin your foreign language study. Over 20 languages at varying levels of proficiency are offered at no charge. Click on the Mango logo on the librarys website at http://www.mattapoisettlibrary.org. Before you travel, practice your conversational skills. Its fun and free.

Computer Know-How: Need a little help with computer skills? Call or visit the library and make an appointment to meet with a computer tutor. Sessions are free and can vary in length. Let the library staff know how they can help you with web searching, email, Microsoft Word or searching for library materials. Call 508-758-4171 to make an appointment.

Curious about downloading audiobooks and music?: The Mattapoisett Library has installed a Download Station to simply the process of downloading audiobooks or music to an MP3 player or iPod. Take your device into the library and let the staff assist you with the simple two-step process. Select a book or tune, download, and youre off. No more worries about downloading software to your home computer, firewall challenges, etc. Its simple using the Overdrive database of thousands of titles. Visit the Overdrive website via the librarys webpage for more information and to see what books are available, http://www.mattapoisettlibrary.org. Then, visit the library and let the staff help you get started.

Need help getting online?: Would you like help setting up email or using Facebook to network and share family news? Call the library for an appointment at 508-758-4171 and a staff member or tutor will work with you to get you up to speed in no time. Appointments are necessary.

Family Literacy Kits: Be the first to take home a messenger bag filled with the makings of a great story time. Themed kits have been prepared with books, puppets, and related activities for toddlers, preschoolers and older elementary grade students. Lots of fun, ready-to-go, for families, childcare providers and school classes. There are over a dozen themes from which to choose.

Childrens author book display: Visit the Childrens Department to see books on display that have been published by local children. Join the staff in celebrating the efforts of our youngest creative writers.

Have puzzles to share?: Why not contribute your finished jigsaw puzzle to the librarys Puzzle Exchange? The library staff is gathering puzzles to lend on a swap basis. There is no need to use a library card to check them out. Puzzles are great fun on a rainy day and will entertain children and guests for hours. Drop off your donations at the circulation desk.

Free legal assistance from the Massachusetts Bar Association: On the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., citizens can call for free legal assistance from an attorney who is a member of the MBA. Call 617-338-0610. The Dial-a-Lawyer program has been effective in assisting many persons with a wide range of legal questions. Veterans are assisted on separate dates. Topics addressed can include housing, access to benefits, landlord/tenant matters, family and employment issues and other concerns.

Rochester

The Joseph H. Plumb Memorial Library is located at 17 Constitution Way, The Common, Rochester. The phone number is 508-763-8600. The hours are Monday and Thursday, from 1 to 8 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information about these and other programs, call 508-763-8600, go to http://www.plumblibrary.com or email info@plumblibrary.com.

Upcoming programs

Watch the eclipse: 2-4 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Plumb Library. All attendees will receive a free pair of eclipse glasses, sent to us by StarNet. Learn how to view through a pinhole viewer. There will be a demonstration of the librarys telescope and MOBY Stargazing backpack. Register on the Events Calendar. Weather permitting.

Just the Facts: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 17. Plumb Librarys Nonfiction Book Group will meet to discuss Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America by Patrick Phillips.

Cafe Parlez: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 31. The group will discuss Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry.

Announcements

Friends of Plumb Library renewal notice: If you are a member of the Friends of Plumb Library, watch for your annual renewal notice in the mail. Fill it out, add a check, and either mail it back to us, or drop it by the library. Your membership pays for the programs (story times, book groups, Summer Reading Program, etc.) and some museum memberships at the library. Forms are available at the desk, and on the website. Call us at 508-763-8600 if you have any questions.

Friends seeking books: The Friends of Plumb Library are seeking used books and other items for their annual book sale that will take place on Sept. 23. Please bring your clean used copies of books, DVDs, CDs or games to the Plumb Library during library hours. Last date to drop off books will be Sept. 21. Please call the library at 508-763-8600 for more information.

Power vampires: Did you know there are vampires in your house? Dont start wearing garlic just yet, though. These are power vampires, using up electric power just sitting there, turned off. They could be the coffeemaker, the computer, the game system or the printer. You can borrow our Electric Usage Meter to see how much power these vampires are consuming in your home and take steps to unplug them, if possible. This will cut down on your electric usage and save you money on your next electric bill. Thanks to Eversource for the donation of this meter. Call the library at 508-763-8600 to reserve the meter or for more information.

Plumb Library Knitters (and Crocheters): 6:30 p.m. Mondays. Bring your latest project, get advice on a problem or a new project or just have fun hanging out with other knitters. Chocolate is always served.

COA Book Group: 10:30 a.m. the third Tuesday of each month in the activity room of the COA Building, Dexter Lane. Books are available at the library or at the meeting. All attendees are requested to bring their library cards. You need not be a Rochester resident to be a part of the book group. Call the library or the COA for more information.

Tumblebooks: E-books for E-kids: Parents! Do you want a website that will be safe and educational for your preschool or early learning child? Do you need a website that will help your pre-reader to learn to read? Does your older child need a book for a book report or wants to try an audio or ebook? Then try Tumblebooks. Check out the link on the Plumb Librarys website to access Tumblebooks, or access it here: http://asp.tumblebooks.com/library/asp/home_tumblebooks.asp No library card necessary! Youll find picture books, chapter books, nonfiction books, graphic novels, childrens classics, short videos from National Geographic, puzzles and games that help with language skills, and much, much more. Accelerated Reading and Lexile Reading levels are listed for each book. There are books for preschoolersfifth grade, all free and accessible from any computer or device. Ask us for a demonstration. Its fun; its easy; its free. Try Tumblebooks now!

Computer instructions: Do you own a laptop or other portable device, such as an iPad, iPod, etc? Want to learn how to download free ebooks from Overdrive, log into the new Enterprise online catalog from SAILS, or use one of our computer-based services, such as Zinio, Atomic Training, Universal Class, or Transparent Language? Take your device or laptop with your library cards and we will go through the log-in processes, downloads, or whatever it takes to get you connected. Starting at 6:30 p.m., we will go over the new library search site, Enterprise, then move to Overdrive. Next will come Zinio, the new magazine download site. If time allows, we will take on the other sites: Universal Class, Transparent Language, Law Depot, Atomic Training, and Tumblebooks. We will also briefly touch on Freegal, the upcoming new service that will allow you to download music to your computer or device free of charge. Pre-registration is required, as space is limited. Call the library at 508-763-8600, or email us at info@plumblibrary.com to register.

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Tri-town libraries announce upcoming programs – Wicked Local Marion

‘Cityglitch’ Review – Defeat Glitches and Save Cities in This Challenging Puzzler – Touch Arcade

In Cityglitch [$2.99], a new puzzle game in app stores now, the world is filled with haunted cities full of glitchesstrange, irregular, and dangerous beings that torment the residents. It falls on a red-headed protagonist to fly through each city from rooftop to rooftop and light runes in order to conduct a magical ritual that will free each city from their glitches. Naturally you play as this protagonist and must solve a puzzle to light each rooftop rune. Each puzzle takes the form of a five-by-five grid. One or more of these spaces will be occupied by pink oblong circles which are the runes of that rooftop. When your protagonist steps on a rune it will light up becoming two oblong circles, one nested within another. Your goal is to light up all of the runes.

Each rooftop also contains a number of green trees, spaces you can’t step into, as well as a number of glitches determined to prohibit you from lighting all of the runes. One can’t blame them, really, because once you light them allpoofno more glitches. Cityglitch is a turn-based puzzle and each glitch has its own movement pattern. Ghosts move one square a turn directly toward the protagonist. They must always end closer to her than they started. Cats are largely stationary, that is, until you enter a square adjacent to them at which point they move one square directly away from you. Arrows blast across any open spaces in a straight line until they hit a tree or level wall. The next turn they come back the other way.

The protagonist moves like a queen in chess. As many squares in any direction as far as it is possible to go before running into an obstacle. This movement, and your ability to outthink the glitches, are your best weapons against their superior numbers. Cityglitch is all about figuring out how to manipulate the glitches and their prescribed movement patterns to your advantage. You can set up cats and even ghosts as roadblocks to arrows, for example, and lead ghosts on a merry chase around obstacles to free yourself for a big move across the board and to a rune. One thing to watch out for is already lit runes, of a glitch steps on those squares the rune will go out and need to be reactivated by stepping on it.

Once you beat a rooftop level you’ll fly across the city to another. Rooftops within a city have variable difficulties which serves as a nice change of pace. It’s also helpful for the times you get stuck on a particularly difficult level. You can just fly off to tackle another and come back when you’re ready to give it another go. This design helps alleviate the frustration of getting stuck some players have with challenging levels and puzzles overall. Once you’ve fixed enough rooftops of a city a boss rooftop appears. Boss fights are particularly challenging as they have far better movement capabilities than your run-of-the-mill glitch.

Cityglitch is a very challenging puzzler, especially once you arrive in NEO FOLIAthe third citywhere things escalate quickly. I had considerable trouble figuring out how to circumvent the wall of cats and spaces of doomanything that finishes a turn on them is vaporizedin HIGHERHOME for example. FLATTEN is a very challenging rooftop where you have to turn a cat into an unwilling blocker to succeed. BROKENSLASH, on the other hand, is an exercise in losing a couple ghosts in hot pursuit, at least long enough to light up four different runes. Each of these levels plays much differently and there are more puzzle variations besides. This depth of mechanics and solution types is great and really makes Cityglitch feels like a few different games.

I also really like the rooftop level names and how they forecast what’s in store for you within. Some of my favorites are PINCER, STONETRAP, THE CHASE, and SICKLE. There are 95 levels in total spread out over 7 cities. Each city has its own unique boss-fight level that must be won to move on. Another cool feature is a fairly subtle move counter. Cityglitch is largely a minimalist puzzler, which means no tutorial, stars, points, or move limits. There is, however, a visual indicator of how well you did on any particular rooftop. When complete rooftop color lets you know how many moves it took to finish the puzzle. Light blue is what you’re after for a “high score” but it’s subtle enough that you can easily ignore it if you don’t care about move counters and the most efficient possible solution. If you do care, however, it’s just an added avenue toward challenge.

Cityglitch is a very cool, very fun, puzzle game with compelling mechanics and a wide variety of level types. The techno-arcane theme is interesting and well supported by the game’s graphics and soundtrack without being a distraction. The game is a definite challenge, especially once you get to the third city where the difficulty ramps up significantly. Casual puzzle fans might get turned off at this point, but hard-core aficionados will likely dig it. Check the game out now and head on over to our forums for more info.

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‘Cityglitch’ Review – Defeat Glitches and Save Cities in This Challenging Puzzler – Touch Arcade

Game review: ‘Black the Fall,’ escape the iron fist – Reading Eagle

At first glance, “Black the Fall” comes off as the estranged cousin of “Inside.” Both are moody puzzle platformers that share a similar tone and minimalist aesthetic. What sets “Black the Fall” apart is its historical inspiration based on the implications of real-world politics. Whether the message hits home, however, relies heavily on the background and personality of the player.

In “Black the Fall,” players take control of an overworked machinist who is stuck under the thumb of an oppressive communist state. You’ll have to sneak past guards and avoid detection while trying to escape from your working-class prison.

After stepping off a crowded elevator, players are literally put to work straight from the get-go. The industrial setting and minimalistic art style set the tone for what is to come, as the tiny machinist hops onto a stationary bike to trigger the first steps of his escape plan. You can even unlock the Working Class Hero achievement if you stay on the bike long enough, but even the most diligent workers earn little for their efforts.

As you sneak your way past guards and carefully maneuver through rooms rigged with deadly robot patrols, you begin to really get a sense of what an oppressive regime can truly feel like. The game’s Romanian developers, Sand Sailor Studio, designed the dystopian aspects of “Black the Fall” around their own experiences and memories living in communist Romania during the reign of Nicolae Ceaucescu.

The feelings of hopelessness and dread are pervasive throughout. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief upon reaching the outdoors, only to find that the outside world offers its own set of challenges.

As you make your way through the deteriorating landscape, you’ll eventually stumble across a small robotic companion who loyally follows your commands and is crucial for solving puzzles in the game’s second act. The little fella is pretty much indestructible, too, so don’t worry about putting it in seemingly harmful situations. Though mainly used as a tool for solving puzzles, the robot companion helps to lighten the mood during your otherwise harrowing journey.

The puzzles themselves are fairly satisfying, at least coming from someone who enjoys solving environmental puzzles. Some puzzles are quite challenging, and give that “aha” moment upon realizing the solution, which is how good puzzles should be.

Often, a puzzle’s solution will involve an element in the environment that you didn’t realize was something you could interact with, which says more about the person solving the puzzle than the design of the puzzle itself. I prefer games with puzzles to avoid obvious hand-holding, so I was okay with this despite having kicked myself a few times for not noticing certain objects in the environment sooner.

The only things that get in the way of the satisfying puzzle design are occasional hiccups with the player controls. The machinist moves well for the most part, but sometimes the jumping and maneuvering is inconsistent, causing your character to get hung up on objects from time to time.

At one point, I tried to have the machinist interact with a moving train, but he turned to interact with the robot companion instead, who was actually behind him. This caused me to miss the train, and since it was tied to an achievement, I had to restart from the last checkpoint to try again. There were also times when the movements were slow to respond to my inputs, which can get frustrating during puzzles that require fast reflexes and time-sensitive reactions.

The third and final act takes a dark turn that pivots you into a different direction. However, your goal remains the same: keep pushing forward towards freedom.

In terms of atmosphere, style, and overall puzzle mechanics, “Black the Fall” hits the mark in each of those areas. However, some narrative aspects could have been expanded upon to flesh out the deep personal message they were trying to convey at the end.

While comparisons to “Limbo” and “Inside” are inevitable, “Black the Fall” ultimately offers its own unique puzzle-solving, platforming experience. If you are drawn by “Black the Fall’s” minimalist design and heavy atmosphere, then we recommend giving this moody platformer a try.

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Game review: ‘Black the Fall,’ escape the iron fist – Reading Eagle

The ‘Dungeon Raid’ Eulogy – The Best 32-Bit Games That Will Die With iOS 11 – Touch Arcade

Spending hours compiling the list of 32-bit games that are set to die with iOS 11 was an immensely difficult task, not simply because of the sheer number of games, but also because of the fond memories I have of so many of the titles that are sadly facing the chop next month. While there are a number of games that I could single out, and many that I intend to put a spotlight on in the coming weeks, Dungeon Raid [$0.99] remains the most prominent example of a pivotal and influential App Store release that will be disappearing when the 32-bit Appocalypse comes around. Beloved by the iOS gaming community, critics and casual iPhone users alike, Fireflame Games’ App Store debut was a slick, detailed and impossibly irresistible puzzle RPG amalgam. Even though it originally released in 2011, Dungeon Raid remains as fun and as playable today. However, despite over six years since its emergence on the App Store, very few mobile puzzle games have managed to replicate the compelling formula that Dungeon Raid perfected, and it’ll be incredibly sad to see it fade into obscurity.

On the surface, Dungeon Raid may appear be somewhat derivative of both the many puzzle RPG titles that came before it, and the ones that have emerged in vast numbers since its heyday in 2011. There are only four key tiles to be matched in Dungeon Raid, with swords, which must be linked together to eradicate skull icons, alongside defence-building shields and HP restoring potions. However, its this simplicity and accessibility that makes Dungeon Raid so appealing, and the way Fireflame Games manages to add numerous layers of depth without deviating from this core formula enables some incredibly guilt-inducing multiple-hour playthroughs in attempting to beat your last high score. Attempting to manage the board to prepare for imminent boss fights that can appear at any moment and quickly result in your protagonists demise, all the while trying to link together as many shields and coins to bolster your equipment and level up your weaponry, is a precarious balance to strike, and

Beyond the core matching mechanics, the developers also added in a number of features that result in every run being a wildly different experience. At each new level, upgrades and special powers can be chosen, resulting in things such as collecting all health potions as experience, turning one random column into swords, or doubling all coins collected the next turn. With rather lengthy cooldowns, these powers arent able to be abused, but in a pinch can be the difference between life and death. By limiting the amount of powers to a maximum of four, you are forced to choose whether to accept or ignore a certain ability at each level up, perhaps in the hope that a better alternative will appear at the next time of asking. Not choosing to load up on abilities can be a huge gamble, and its this element of risk that makes Dungeon Raid unputdownable, as you excitedly wait to see what the next level or the next boss may bring.

Dungeon Raid also had a class system that was implemented in an update shortly after its release, with roles such as Ranger, Mage, Assassin and more available to be unlocked through multiple plays. These all have perks, flaws, and special qualities based on their race and exclusive skills that give a unique spin on the core gameplay in Dungeon Raid. However, its the unlock and levelling system for these

All these different features result in what is one of my favourite App Store puzzle games Ive experienced in the almost ten years of the platforms existence, and revisiting the title for this feature has brought back a ton of extremely fond memories of playing Dungeon Raid when I was younger. One particularly fond anecdote that came to mind recently was shortly after the game released, I was going to London with my family to see Arsenal play a football match (or a soccer match for those across the pond). While I cant remember anything about the result of the game, I can recall playing Dungeon Raid in the car, on the train, while waiting for the game to start, and even while waiting for my dad to go to the bathroom. Fast forward six years to last weekend – I’m now technically an adult, and on a three hour train ride to see my friends in the north of England. Before I know it, Ive arrived in Leicester, my phone battery is precariously low, and Ive spent the entirety of the journey completely hooked on Dungeon Raid again. Its stories such as these that emphasise how Dungeon Raid is perhaps one of the most tragic examples of a game that will disappear from the App Store during the 32-bit Appocalypse. Not only does it run perfectly, but – outside of the lack of optimisation for newer iOS devices – it hasnt aged a day.

Other games have tried to emulate the success of Dungeon Raid, with spiritual successors and borderline clones like Darkin (which has coincidentally also departed the App Store) and Dungeon Tiles [Free] offering up enjoyable experiences, but failing to capture the magic that Fireflame Games conjured up back in 2011. It may be an entirely different genre, but the closest Ive seen to a 64-bit equivalent to Dungeon Raid is probably Solitairica [$3.99], as its accessible combat mechanics, multiple different classes and close brushes with death create the same feelings of constant excitement amidst deceptive levels of depth that endeared me to Dungeon Raid so much back in the day. It will be sad to see the game disappear from the App Store, but with no sign from the developer of a future iOS 11 compatibility update, it appears Dungeon Raid is about to lose the last of its nine lives when the 32-bit Appocalypse comes around. While you still have the chance, Id highly recommend revisiting Dungeon Raid, or even checking it out for a measly dollar if youd like to experience a key release of the formative years of the App Store.

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The ‘Dungeon Raid’ Eulogy – The Best 32-Bit Games That Will Die With iOS 11 – Touch Arcade

Online Applications Could Make Traditional Resumes, Cover Letters A Thing Of The Past – CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Texting and playing games on your phone might just be the path to a new job.

As CBS2s Dana Tyler reports, resumes are starting to take a back seat to the latest in online applications.

Meg Nicol is two years out of college and has yet to gain much job experience.

We have a lot to offer companies but its hard when our resumes are so thin, she said. Being able to show someone your raw skills and your raw talent in a very quantitative way is important.

Nicol showed off her potential by playing games on her phone and landed a new job.

Its a way to get at key abilities you might not notice, or be hard to measure, Criteria Corp. CEO Josh Millet said.

Criteria Corp. is a pre-employment testing company. It recently launched Job Flare, an app that uses six different 90 second brain games for candidate assessment.

The games are measuring things like attention to detail, problem solving, critical thinking, and some jobs require quantitative skills as well, Millet said.

Millet says resumes and interviews arent always the best indicator of the person and their real qualifications.

An objective environment where youre judged on your abilities is much fairer to the applicant and its more fun, Millet said.

Launch Pad is another games based application process.

A resume and cover letter, theyre stale, Job Search Ketchum intern Riis Massey-Williams said. On Launch Pad, you can be as vibrant as possible.

The app is used by summer interns at a New York public relations agency.

They introduce themselves in 140 characters, they create a game name and they respond to two fictitious client challenges, Michele Lanza from Ketchum KPIX Job Search Trends said.

Lanza adds this new program allows a broader selection of people a better chance at a coveted position.

It forces people to put more energy into a job application, especially as a student, intern Jade Song said.

At Ladders, a firm that matches professionals with recruiters, CEO Marc Cendella says games boost a candidates profile.

Assessment tests that can accurately and effectively assess the ability of a candidate to do a job are welcome, he said. Theyre welcome in the workforce, theyre welcome in the interview process.

But experts say dont get rid of your resume just yet. Some games will just get you an interview. Youll still need a solid presentation on paper and in person to land the job youre after.

See the article here:
Online Applications Could Make Traditional Resumes, Cover Letters A Thing Of The Past – CBS New York

‘Follow.trail’ Review – Find Your Trail to Victory and Fun – Touch Arcade

I’m a big fan of puzzle games. They are the perfect genre for quick play sessions on a phone while out and about or during brief stretches of downtime at work or at home. I’m constantly on the look-out for fun new titles to add to my collection for this very purpose and am pleased to be able to mention follow.trail [$2.99], a path-clearing puzzle game released just last week. In follow.trail your goal is simple: Eliminate a series of squares from a rectangular game board on your way to the exit. You do this by following a trail of dots, represented by what look like standard game dice with one, two, or three dots. Each time you land on a die you reduce the number of dots on that die by one. When all dots are gone the die disappears, leaving a blank space on the rectangular game board. Your path must move over all the dice in a level enough times to eliminate them on your way to the checkerboard die that serves as the exit for each level.

Most of the dice in a level are the dotted kind, but many have different symbols that denote special powers. Arrows, for example, slide you one square in the direction indicated. Other special dice are portals that bring you to a matching die somewhere else on the game board. Others still are a set of two linked dice that disappear after a certain number of combined touches. Further complicating matters is what happens if you move onto an empty spacea black die with a single dot on it appears. Subsequent visits to a black die increases the number of dots by one, rather than reduces them.

New mechanics in the form of special dice are introduced regularly as you advance through the game’s many levels. Follow.trail doesn’t introduce these special dice to you, however, you’re left to figure out what they do on your own. The game of the minimalist school overall, in fact, and spares the player a tutorial of any kind in favor of self-discovery. I really liked this aspect of the game and it was fun to take a look at a new board with an unfamiliar die and try to guess what it’d do before I hit it.

The mechanics are all clever, especially the one with the sun symbol on it that, when stepped on, makes all of the white dice black and vice versa. The game changes dramatically with the introduction of that symbol to become much more challenging. It also puts you in the position of creating your own solutions to many levels, rather than poking around until you discover those meant for you. You can freely move over blank squares, creating black dice, with full knowledge you’ll be able to flip them back to much more manageable white ones soon enough. These types of levels require some fun trial and error made more enjoyable by the game’s undo button, an absolute must in a game like this. You can undo as many moves as you like which makes the game much more tactical as you play around with different solutions, discard them, and give it another go. Often it makes sense to completely refresh the level and get a new start, but it’s quite nice to have both options.

The levels in follow.trail also have a nice continuity to them. The aforementioned checkerboard exit for one level serves as your square of origin for the following one. This makes the game feel seamless, especially if you’re good enough to roll right through one level into the next. Most people won’t be, though, especially in later levels and this game is challenging. You can’t buy a hint. You can’t skip a level. You have to solve each and every level. This means you can, and probably will, find yourself stuck on more than one occasion. Puzzlers who enjoy running into these roadblocks and stepping away for a bit before tackling a tough level anew will really appreciate this aspect of follow.trail. There’s lots of those awesome “I can’t do it” to “Yes, I did it” transitions and plenty of hits of adrenaline and happiness when you successfully defeat a particularly tough level. If you get frustrated when stuck like this it may not be the puzzle for you, though.

I really like clear-the-board puzzles where you have to figure out your best order of operations to win. Follow.trail is a very good example of this type of game and compares favorably to similar puzzlers in my collection. Blyss [$0.99] has you swipe a trail along dotted dominos to clear shapes, and ultimately entire levels. Trilogic [$1.99] also offers shape clearing mechanics, though there it is based on elementswater and fire for examplewith natural strengths and weaknesses to each other. If you’ve played and enjoyed these and other similar games, follow.trail will deliver the same type of quality gameplay.

There are mountains of puzzle games on the App Store and many more coming out each and every week. Sadly great games like follow.trail get lost in the flood, especially without an App Store feature. If you’re a fan of puzzle games I recommend you pick follow.trail up and give it a try. The simple and clever design and high level of challenge will provide many hours of entertaining in both bite-size chunks or longer play sessions. Make sure to head over to our forums and provide your impressions of the game as well.

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‘Follow.trail’ Review – Find Your Trail to Victory and Fun – Touch Arcade

Ironcast Review Nintendo Switch Meets Steampunk – DualShockers

As color-matching puzzle games somewhat similar to Ironcast have become more dominant on both iOS and Android, some negative stigma has formed around these kinds of titles appearing on consoles. They are sometimes seen as too simple and short to really have any staying power or relevancy on a home console. People do tend to forget though that great titles such as Puzzle Quest on the Xbox 360 prove that these kinds of games can still bring fun and addictive experiences to devices that arent cell phones.

Fortunately, Ironcast falls in with the latter group, touting deep and interesting mechanics that mix in some strategy game and roguelike elements. The game stands on its own as both a console and handheld game on the Switch, and manages all of this with an awesome Steampunk setting.

The game stands on its own as both a console and handheld game on the Switch, and manages all of this with an awesome Steampunk setting.

Ironcast is set in 1886 London, in a world where France and England have been at war for almost ten years over a valuable resource called Voltite. In order to gain an edge in battle, the titular Ironcasts, hulking steam-powered mechs, were built by both sides, and handle the most of the heavy work for the armies. Players control one of multiple Ironcast commanders of the British army, carrying out missions to build up the armys forces and gold supply.

Each of the games commanders have interesting backstories detailed in their descriptions, as do the Ironcasts they pilot. While the steampunk world and story may seem somewhat generic upon first inspection, Ironcast does a great job at world building through little things such as mission, character, or Ironcast descriptions. Players must survive as long as the can against the French, taking on different missions to build up the British army, and take down key French opponents.

Before players start a campaign in Ironcast, they must choose both a commander and what kind of titular mech they want to bring into battle with them. Each commander and Ironcast has different special abilities, like giving players a boost if a certain number of nodes are matched. Players start the game will only one commander, and awaken with memory loss in a tutorial that weans player into the titles deep mechanics.

During missions, two Ironcasts go head to head, and attempt to deplete their opponents HP to 0. While the ultimate goal is to destroy the enemy, players must also keep an eye on four meters at the top of the screen. These display your Ironcasts ammo count, energy, coolant supply, and repair supplies.

Collecting nodes is a ton of fun, and is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to combat.

Energy allows players to put up a shield around their Ironcast and start walking to raise the mechs evasiveness. Every action takes heats up an Ironcasts system, depleting its coolant, so that must be constantly refreshed. Finally, the repair bar allows players to repair individual parts of the Ironcast in order to keep those things functional. These meters must be kept full by connecting different colored nodes on the screen. Purple, orange, blue, and green nodes represent ammo, energy, coolant, and repair respectively. Yellow nodes can also appear, and garner players additional gold if collected.

While players can connect as many nodes of the same color as they want, they are only allowed to create offered a limited number of moves each turn. Players can link two different color chains if they run into a rare link node (symbolized by a red chain), but they dont spawn often. Players can also find white Overdrive nodes, which can power up actions that the players Ironcast takes. While this may seem simple and somewhat unoriginal at first, collecting nodes is a ton of fun, and is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to combat.

Once players collect as many nodes as they can on a turn and fill the meters, it is time to spend those points. Each Ironcast is equipped with two weapons, which take various amounts of ammo to use. Players also have a shield they can put up and can start walking to increase evasiveness. All of these systems have their own health bars, even on the enemy, so it is smart to directly choose which parts you want to target when taking on an opponent. I started most matches by target my enemies shields, as those can become a detriment as the battle goes on.

Ironcasts gameplay makes you feel like you are inside a mechs cockpit, constantly checking on tons of different systems, and becomes very addictive and rewarding as the game goes on.

If any of these systems go down, it can hurt ones chances to survive a mission, so it is smart to constantly keep an eye on their healthbars and repair them when needed, though repair these parts doesnt refill the Ironcasts health bar. Each turn contains a ton of micromanaging, and while it may seem overwhelming at first, it really sticks once you get the hang of it. Ironcasts gameplay makes you feel like you are inside a mechs cockpit, constantly checking on tons of different systems, and becomes very addictive and rewarding as the game goes on.

While connecting nodes stays very entertaining, playing on a controller can cause a few problems when if you are trying to connect nodes that are located diagonally from each other. These inputs can sometimes be registered in different directions and into Overdrive and Link nodes, which can sometimes be unwanted and is somewhat frustrating to undo. Even when playing with touch screen controls on the Switch, connecting nodes doesnt function as smoothly as in other similar titles. While this flaw is manageable, it does slow down an already slow-paced game even more.

After each mission, players are brought back to a hanger, where the Ironcast can be repaired, augmented, and leveled up. Leveling up unlocks new abilities for both commanders and Ironcasts, and become very useful in later battles. Bringing ones Ironcast back up to full health can sometimes be expensive in terms of gold, but is worth the cost, as going into battle with a damaged mech is a death sentence, and death is permanent in Ironcast.

If a player dies at any point during Ironcasts campaign, they must restart from the beginning. While this is frustrating both at the beginning and when you lose more than an hour into a campaign, each campaign nets players Commendation Points. These points can be used to buy new Commanders, Ironcasts, Abilities, and general gameplay buffs that make later runs easier. These roguelike elements are very welcome, as Ironcast is a very difficult game, and while some of that can rely on luck, it never gets frustrating.

Ironcast capturesthat one more turn feeling almost perfectly, which allows the game to stand on its own on a console such as a Switch.

Ironcast ended up becoming yet another indie gem for me on the Switch. While its mechanics were initially daunting, once I got the hang of them I couldnt stop playing, and kept trying to get further and further with each consecutive run, hoping to take on one of the games giant bosses. As a fan of both strategy games and roguelikes, I was happy to see that those elements blended nicely with the puzzle genre here to create a memorable experience.

While Ironcasts controls could feel somewhat restrictive at times, and RNG elements out of my control could sometimes end my campaigns early, I never felt discouraged about jumping back in. Ironcast is able to capture that one more turn feeling, which allows the game to stand on its own on a console such as a Switch.

The systems portability is also a great fit for the game, as I could easily knock out one or two missions while on the go. It reminded me of puzzle games from the heyday of Xbox Live Arcade such as Peggle and Puzzle Quest, and makes me hopeful that the Nintendo Switch will be a similarly great platform for smaller, outside the box indie games such as Ironcast.

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Ironcast Review Nintendo Switch Meets Steampunk – DualShockers

Watch and win as we livestream Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign tonight on Mixer [Ended] – Windows Central

Every weekend, Windows Central livestreams an Xbox One or Steam game for 1-2 hours and gives out free games to the cool people who join us during the stream. It’s like a live podcast, only you also get to watch a game while chatting with our awesome readers and viewers!

Tonight on Mixer, we played Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign, the superhero-themed puzzle game from D3. Matching gems and battling supervillains doesn’t get much better than this! Read on for quick impressions and contest winners.

Just follow us at Mixer.com/WindowsCentral, enable email notifications, watch along, and participate in chat for your chance to win. After the stream ends, be sure to check back for the YouTube replay video and contest winners.

Watch and follow us at Mixer.com/WindowsCentral!

D3 Publisher’s brilliant Puzzle Quest series combines traditional match-3 puzzle gameplay with RPG-style battles and sprawling adventures. Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign is a Puzzle Quest spin-off that throws one more awesome ingredient into the mix: Marvel superheroes!

In this game, a mysterious alien element known as ISO-8 (also seen in Spider-Man Unlimited) has appeared on earth. ISO-8 has the ability to bestow people with superpowers, which of course means that both the good guys and bad guys want their hands on it.

Each level of Marvel Puzzle Quest begins with a well-written cinematic (of the talking-head variety) that sees a team of heroes (initially led by Nick Fury and Iron Man) tackling threats and thwarting evildoers’ attempts to create havoc with the new alien element. They’ll bump into Norman Osborne, the Dark Avengers, and much more supervillains and heroes along the way.

The actual gameplay is just like Puzzle Quest (and quite close to Gems of War). The player team and the enemy team take turns matching three or more gems. These matches deal damage to the other side and provide energy for use with special attacks. The complexity of the special attacks has increased a bit here, but it should all be second nature to puzzle game fans.

Although the mobile and PC versions of Marvel Puzzle Quest are free to play, Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is a $14.99 paid game. There are no free to play elements at all, so you can experience the whole story and unlock all 54 characters through natural progression. If you like superheroes and puzzle games, you won’t want to miss this one!

See on the Xbox Store

We streamed Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign for ~80 minutes. During that time, we gave out a total of twenty game codes:

See the contest winners at the end of this story.

We stream exclusively on Mixer, Microsoft’s interactive livestreaming platform. It provides some welcome improvements over Twitch, such as a cleaner website layout, built-in stream interactivity, and extremely low latency.

You can follow our channel at Mixer.com/WindowsCentral. From there, you’ll be able to watch the stream and participate in chat directly from any web browser, including the Xbox One and Windows Phone browsers. Mobile apps are also available for Android on iOS.

Some of our handy Mixer guides:

Want to know what’s next for Windows Central’s weekend Mixer programming? We stream a different game every Saturday (and sometimes Sunday). The stream always starts at the same time: 9pm ET (8pm CT, 6pm PT, 2am GMT). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be streaming the following (schedule not finalized):

We hope you’ll tune in as often as you can! Set a recurring alarm on your phone so you’ll always know when it’s time for the stream to start.

These viewers pack a punch and have the brains to match!

Xbox One

PlayStation 4

Steam

Tonight’s prizes provided by D3 Publisher. Thanks also to our stream moderators for keeping the peace and giving away the prizes!

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Watch and win as we livestream Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign tonight on Mixer [Ended] – Windows Central

The Initiate (PC) REVIEW Honey, Where’s Home? – Cultured Vultures

Puzzle games tend to either have great plots or mind-numbingly basic ones. Now, depending on how lucky you are, you might pick out a game that belongs to the former group, but sadly, The Initiate belongs to the latter.

You have been kidnapped. After a generic cutscene of you shortly waking up alone in a hospital, your vision blurry, youre on the floor of a room youve never been in before. A mysterious, taunting voice gets you up to date on the circumstances. Basically, either you solve the puzzles, and then join the cult and walk free, or you die. Sounds like a normal Tuesday to me.

The game has you solve easier and harder puzzles, the easiest of which can be made excruciatingly hard when youre searching around for one last item and just cant seem to find it. If searching where its supposed to be and searching where it isnt doesnt help, nor does turning it off and on again, that means your save file is bugged, and when the game has a one-slot save system, youre going to have to completely restart the game. Now, many of the puzzles that are harder to beat have a simple trick thats easy to remember once you have it, but until you do it can be fairly annoying.

The game is branded as a puzzle game with horror elements, meaning youll have the occasional unexplained earthquake that, according to notes from a mystery person who did the whole initiation before you, seem to actually be unexplained earthquakes. Also present are the obligatory splashes of blood in many places on the floor, obviously only visible with the ultraviolet lamp, for the extra spook factor. These make even less sense than they already do when you find out that failed participants are blown up, leaving the house destroyed, which makes it impossible for such traces to be left.

There are two main audio factors. One is the game maker/narrator/torturer or whatever you want to call him, whereas the other is the repetitive music. With a puzzle game supposed to have horror elements, a lot can be done with the soundtrack. However, if the music is repetitive and can easily get on your nerves instead of unnerving you and giving you chills, its doing something wrong. The taunts of the torturer when youre not moving forward in the puzzles are almost on a loop, and his voice sounds too much like a countertenor with a nasal problem.

The Initiate isnt all bad. Some of the puzzles are quite clever, even if they sometimes force the hints too much, making them too easy. The game pushes the mystical aspect of the cult, with alchemical signs on the walls, too, without having any encounters of the third kind, which serves the game well. Aside from the taunting voice, the games lore is delivered in form of notes hidden around the house, sometimes from cult members, sometimes from the torturer himself, sometimes from the previous Initiate. They either talk about the cult, or tell the story of the previous Initiate, who remembers more about how he got there, but ends up doubting these memories. There are short flashbacks, too, that are quite invasive, flashing over the screen, as you remember the events that transpired before your arrival.

The game ends by giving you the first code needed for the online ARG. This is a series of puzzles, some requiring in-game knowledge, though mostly requiring searches outside of the game. These puzzles can go from easy to ridiculously obscure. The early solvers only had to solve three or four puzzles, but newcomers will have to go through sixteen/seventeen. Out of the 250 spaces there were for puzzles solved, there are roughly 215 left, and there is a large group of people working on trying to get the last puzzle solved, without any proper hunch to go on.

The Initiate is a very short game that can easily be played in less than two hours if you are very perceptive and figure out the puzzles easily, as well as avoiding any bugs. If not, the game can take up to 4-6 hours, depending on a variety of factors. Some of the puzzles are clever, but generally, theyre not too hard, and the games open ending leading to the website might have you feeling unsatisfied. The music is repetitive, and taunts can get on your nerves, but the game is still enjoyable nonetheless, and if you really sink your teeth into the post-game ARG, you might have 10-20 hours in-game on your hands, looking for clues.

Summary

If you find it cheap and dont expect much, youll probably have a good time with this game.

Review copy provided

About our review scores

5/10

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The Initiate (PC) REVIEW Honey, Where’s Home? – Cultured Vultures


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