Xbox Indie Creators Program goes live today with first wave of games
Current offerings already span multiple genres including rhythm games, dungeon crawlers, abstract puzzle games, and sci-fi shooters. Additional information about the Creators Program can be found on the Xbox Wire page. Any young developers interested …
Xbox announces first wave of content for Xbox Live Creators Program
Microsoft Invites You to Make Your Own Xbox One Game
First Xbox Live Creators Program Games are Now Available
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Puzzle | Hidden objects games
Microsoft announced today that the first wave of games made by indie developers via the Xbox Live Creators Program is now available on Xbox One and Windows 10.
You may recall that the Xbox Live Creators Program essentially lets anyone publish Xbox Live-enabled games to the Xbox Store and/or Windows Store. Microsoft launched this program earlier this year as a way to democratize game publishing on its platforms.
The first wave of games from the Creators Program are live right now for everyone on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs, Microsofts Chris Charlawrites. This is an important step for Team Xbox as we continue to deliver a large and diverse lineup of games from creators big and small from around the world.
Microsoft also provided the following list of mostly free or very-inexpensive titles that are included in this first wave:
Animal Rivals for Xbox One and Windows 10. An action-packed couch party game for one to four players. Drop into the game and fight for the Animalonias throne as one of the furry contenders in different mini-games and locations. Game itself presents a unique art style mixing the cartoonish looks and satire approach.
Block Dropper for Xbox One and Windows 10. A fast paced, arcade style, 3D platformer. Try not to fall as you guide your character through the challenging single player mode or grab a friend to battle head to head in a local multiplayer Block Battle Arena.
Crystal Brawl for Xbox One and Windows 10. Gauntlet meets NBA Jam in Crystal Brawl, a 2v2 capture-the-flag local multiplayer game that melds fast action with MOBA-like strategy. Choose from a variety of characters with different abilities, with a notable twist: each character has a unique ability that alters the terrain. Experiment with different character combinations to uncover hidden strategies!
Derelict Fleet for Xbox One. A fast-paced space combat game. You are tasked with defending a refugee fleet as you travel the stars searching for a new colony to call home.
ERMO for Xbox One. A relaxing puzzle game featured with a calming and peaceful graphics. Immerse yourself in the landscapes and colors of ERMO and let you be carried away. You will learn the rules in a few seconds, but ERMO will catch you for hours.
GalactiMAX! for Xbox One and Windows 10. In the vast darkness of space, GalactiMAX has the player shooting aliens for points to pierce the heavens in classic arcade shooter action! As more aliens are defeated, the players ship will increase in size and power. How big can this ship get?!
kubic for Xbox One and Windows 10., A relaxing optical illusion puzzle game based on M.C. Eschers art, impossible objects and other geometric designs. The object is to construct the goal configuration from a number of pieces.
Space Cat! for Xbox One and Windows 10. Shoot your way past an onslaught of enemies and bosses. Collect weapon upgrades like missiles, bombs, laser beams and much more.
Stereo Aereo for Xbox One and Windows 10. An action rhythm game that is inspired by the pop-culture influences of the 80s. You, the player, have to make sure that the mediocre space rockband Stereo Aereo, gets to their life changing concert, on time, in this comic styled sci-fi game.
Windows 10 gamers can find these new indie games in Windows Store: Just navigate to the Games section.
On Xbox One, Microsoft has created a special Creators Collection section in Store > Games.
We hope players will enjoy the games in the Creators Collection, Charla continues. Youll find creative games, some familiar styles, and some brand-new experiences; really, whatever these imaginative developers chose to make. Gamers can expect the Creators Collection on their Xbox One, and the Window Store on their PC, to regularly add new games as developers finish their work. And these are unfiltered games directly from the developers themselves, so your feedback is of course welcomed.
Originally posted here:
First Xbox Live Creators Program Games are Now Available – Thurrott.com (blog)
Independent game developer Rebusmind is currently working on a classic puzzle title with old-school RPG mechanics called SwapQuest. Today, the developer announced the game will be coming to consoles and PC on August 22.
In SwapQuest, an ancient evil known as The Horde has risen to take hold of your land, Aventana. Its up to you to rid the world of this threat by travelling throughout Aventana, swapping tiles with road on them to create a consecutive path for your characters journey. In your travels, you will find invaluable treasure and fight fearsome beasts.
The game features a levelling system for one of six character classes. As you progress, your hero will get stronger, but so will the enemy. As huge boss fights and challenging mini-games present themselves, you may feel the game is too much for just one person to handle, which is why the game includes the option to play with a friend in local co-op. Travel this massive world, uncover its secrets, and defeat your enemies.
SwapQuest is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam on August 22 for $9.99. For more information on the game, you can visit the official website.
Recently the game got a brand new gameplay trailer, which has been provided for your viewing pleasure below.
Heads up, puzzle-lovers, this month’s Humble Mobile Bundle is bound to get your brain a’tingling as it features six epic puzzlers for Android.
Ready? Let’s go.
Pay over $1 to get:
Zenge – “Zenge is a peculiar puzzle game, telling the story of Eon – a lonely journeyman who’s stuck between the worlds and time. Game is intended to be a relaxing experience, thus there are no points, stars, tutorials, move counters, in game shops or any other distractors. Just pure, immersive journey with Eon, told through gorgeous art and music.”
Pay $5 or more to also get:
Human Resource Machine – “Human Resource Machine is a puzzle game for nerds. In each level, your boss gives you a job. Automate it by programming your little office worker. If you succeed, you’ll be promoted up to the next level for another year of work in the vast office building.”
Deus Ex GO – “Deus Ex GO is a turn-based puzzle stealth game set in a beautiful dystopian future. Take control of secret agent Adam Jensen and solve brain teasing, grid-based puzzles to infiltrate enemy lairs and unravel a perplexing new mystery. Sneak, hack and fight past enemies, and augment Adam with futuristic upgrades.”
Pay over $5.82 to get all of the above and:
Concrete Jungle – “Concrete Jungle is a new take on the city building genre that swaps micro-management for a more strategic and puzzle-orientated style of city planning.
The aim of the game is to clear city blocks by gathering the required number of points from your residents, giving more room to build. As the city grows, bigger and better new buildings can be added to your deck! You’ll find yourself inadvertently creating zoning puzzles- playing against your own past planning decisions.”
Slayaway Camp – “Become Skullface, a psycho slasher bent on slaughtering campers in this darkly comic ode to 80s horror! A diabolical puzzle game that also happens to be a bloody tribute to the VHS era of videotape horror! No one is safe no law enforcement enforces the law enough and no animals or children are harmed in the summer horror hit of 1984.”
Read more from the original source:
Grab some cracking Android titles in this month’s Humble Mobile Bundle: Puzzles Critical Hits – Pocket Gamer
People who played action video games that involve first-person shooters, such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, experienced shrinkage in a brain region called the hippocampus, according to a study published Tuesday in Molecular Psychiatry. That part of the brain is associated with spatial navigation, stress regulation and memory. Playing Super Mario games, in which the noble plumber strives to rescue a princess, had the opposite effect on the hippocampus, causing growth in it.
Scientists have done dozens of studies looking to see if playing video games affects people’s health and behavior. There’s some evidence they may improve people’s visual short-term memory and eye-hand coordination. But researchers keep looking for negative consequences, too.
These researchers first asked 33 participants how often they had played video games in the past year. They scanned people’s brains using MRIs, and found that the action video game players, who reported spending an average of 19 hours playing action video games each week, had less gray matter in the hippocampus than non-video game players. The difference was statistically significant.
Then the researchers asked 43 other people who don’t usually play video games to spend 90 hours over about 10 weeks playing either action video games or Super Mario games in a controlled setting.
People in the group that played action video games lost gray matter in the hippocampus, according to Gregory West, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of psychology at the University of Montreal. And people who played Super Mario games gained gray matter in the hippocampus.
“While we train up this one system, this other system is potentially being neglected and potentially showing signs of atrophy,” West says.
Simone Kuhn, a professor of neural plasticity at the University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, says people who play action video games shouldn’t be too concerned.
“I would never interpret this finding as a big warning against action video games,” she says. Why did action video games seem to shrink the hippocampus, while a different type of game seem to have caused it to grow? West and his colleagues have some ideas.
The way that each type of video game is designed could play a role, West says.
“In the majority of action video games, there’s an onscreen GPS overlaid on the screen,” West says. “There’s also wayfinding markers overlaid over the environment, and we know from past studies that when people are encouraged to navigate using these cues, really, they’re not using their hippocampal memory system to navigate.”
Instead, they’re using the caudate nucleus, which is part of the brain’s reward system.
“It’s kind of like your brain’s autopilot, you could think of it that way,” West says.
“It could be the case that these action video games are encouraging people to favor this reward system over their hippocampal memory system. And then it’s become the use-it-or-lose-it type scenario.”
He hopes future research can determine if there’s a relationship between the changes he and his colleagues observed and the number of hours a person spends each week playing video games, as well as the extent of the increase or decrease in size of the hippocampus.
And for the 1 in 10 Americans who consider themselves gamers, West has some advice about which games to choose.
“If I had to recommend a type of video game to someone, it would be a 3-D platform or logic puzzle game. The evidence is clear at this point that these games can be beneficial for the brain,” West says.
Spiral Splatter is a brain-bending arcade puzzle game that willpush your hand-eye coordination to the limit with nonstop,mind-boggling puzzles!
Put your problem-solving skills to the test as you navigate over100 levels and 11 different stages full of perplexing puzzles.Watch out for moving obstacles as you maneuver through each level.Think fast, if youre too slow, the ghost may catch up toyou. Hustle to reach the finish before your time is up! Each stageof gameplay adds a new challenge with an ever-increasingdifficulty.
Solve perplexing puzzles in a serene, minimalist space, butdont be fooled by appearances, Spiral Splatter will stumpeven the most adept puzzle game aficionado.
Stay calm, relax and see if you can take on Spiral Splatter!
Spiral Splatter was first released on iOS & Android and isnow available on steam for PC, Mac & Linux for a price of $2,99with a 15% discount in the first week.
Steam Store url:http://store.steampowered.com/app/684870/Spiral_Splatter/
Games Press is the leading online resource for games journalists. Used daily by magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, online media and retailers worldwide, it offers a vast, constantly updated archive of press releases and assets, and is the simplest and most cost-effective way for PR professionals to reach the widest possible audience. Registration for the site and the Games Press email digest is available, to the trade only, at http://www.gamespress.com
Road Draw is a driving puzzle game that tasks you with drawing a road for your car to drive on while avoiding obstacles and collecting coins, going as far as you can before you run out of gas.
Developer: Fun Free Puzzle Games
Cost: Free (With ads and microtransactions)
Road Draw is reminiscent of old Flash games like Line Rider, where you draw a course and let the character traverse it to completion or until they fail. However, Road Draw doesnt quite live up to expectations and is rather simple. You simply drag your finger across the screen to make a path for your car to get across. You have to collect gas cans to keep going, and only fail when your car flips or you run out of gas.
The gameplay is simple, but the difficulty is raised by a mix of the car physics and the level design. The car seems to want to flip forward and has difficulty with upward inclines or drops of any kind. It makes for a frustrating experience and the game winds up being a test of your patience after a while.
The graphics are rather simple as well, with a basic cartoon style and no significant animation or stand out visuals at all. The music, on the other hand, is cool sounding but the in-game tunes are rather intense and out of place for the pace of the game. It has a rather hard rock vibe to it, with guitars and a fast tempo. The gameplay is rather sedated in comparison, and theres no engine sounds to accompany the music either.
Overall, I was disappointed by Road Draws lack of unique features or compelling reasons to play it over similar games. There are no additional track types, only 10 cars, and two stages to play with. I would have liked to see more variety and puzzle elements added to make this game stand out more, as I rather like the draw a track style game from my grade school days of playing in the library.
I would still recommend Road Draw to someone looking for a simple puzzle game, maybe for their kids. It has a decent amount of replay value and challenge to keep you busy for a while and it is at least functional and isnt filled with bugs or incomplete content.
Download Road Draw from the Google Play Store.
By Christopher Byrd By Christopher Byrd August 9 at 2:01 PM
Hellblade: Senuas SacrificeDeveloped by: Ninja TheoryPublished by: Ninja TheoryAvailable on: PS4 and PC
Were all prisoners of our minds to some extent, though some of us more so than others. Hellblade: Senuas Sacrifice opens with a warning: This game contains representations of psychosis. People with experience of psychosis as well as professionals in psychiatry have assisted in these depictions. It tells the story of Senua a young, mentally-tormented woman who goes on an orphic quest to retrieve her lover from the underworld. Although the game is centered around a character who suffers from auditory hallucinations and delusional thoughts, I think it will resonate with many who have dealt with chronic depression, paranoia and other mental health issues.
From its opening scene, which calls to mind the journey up a foreboding river in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness, I was struck by the games production values. As Senua paddles her way through a fog-laden landscape in a dugout tree trunk, the narrator, voiced by Chipo Chung, introduces us to the Celtic warrior and the other voices Senua hears. Chungs mellifluous narration is as mesmerizing as any Ive heard in a video game fully on par with the voice work of Linda Hunt in the God of War series and Logan Cunningham in Bastion and Transistor. When Chung says, This is a journey deep into darkness. There will be no more stories after this one, she imbues the lines with a pathos that would come across as silly if voiced by a less-skilled actor.
And then there is Senua herself, played Ninja Theorys video editor Melina Juergens. Juergenss performance feels proportionally unbridled. When Senua can no longer bear the voices swirling around her, mocking and hectoring her, she looks unflatteringly discombobulated. When she falters in a fight and struggles to regain her footing she appears as though she is summoning every last iota of strength to defend herself. Her displays of anguish, of which there are plenty, are operatic without being cloying.
Although the Cambridge-based, U.K. studio Ninja Theory is a relatively small in comparison to many of the blockbuster specialists in the industry, with Hellblade, they and their technology partners are paving the way for lower-cost motion capture technology. This technology allows actors to have their digital likenesses integrated into a games graphics engine in real-time. (An actor can have a different face and body altogether in-game, while retaining the expressive nuances that they bring to the table.) Because the developers dont have to wait for long periods to see how an actors performance meshes with their game world, as has been the case for most of the industry since the advent of motion-capture technology, the cutscenes feel more organic than in most games that leverage the physical traits of human actors. (Here, I cant help but think of the Call of Duty games.)
In terms of gameplay, Hellblade sticks to the old combat and puzzle-solving formula. Yet, what saves these elements from being wholly conventional is how they affect and illuminate Senuas mental state. Fail in battle or in overcoming environmental challenges too many times and a flesh-rotting disease will gradually spread up her arm to her head resulting in permadeath whereby the players save file is deleted. (If youre unwary of courting such risks, you could always upload your save file to the cloud if youre playing on PS4, or download it to a USB stick if youre running the game on PC. Though obviously youd miss that frisson that comes from negotiating higher stakes.) As for the puzzles, they serve not only as palate cleansers between action sequences, but also to underscore Senuas determination to find secret correspondences in her surroundings via her own unique way of looking at things.
Speaking of visuals, on the whole the game looks stunning. However, there are cracks that appear intermittently that can somewhat mar the illusion. Aside from the occasional pop-in graphics that I noticed on the standard PS4, I noticed that when you swivel the camera in front of Senua while she is standing still, she swivels her head back and forth like a marionette. Moreover, close to the end of the game, I believe I committed a game-breaking error. There is a part where you need a torch to solve a certain puzzle, which I foolishly left behind after Senua dropped it in battle. After making my way to the puzzle and having the game autosave behind me, I could not return to where I dropped it. Im not sure if the developers meant to illustrate another cruel trick that Senuas mind played on her, but with nothing in her hand she held her arm aloft while a faint trail of smoke flickered in the air. Even if this was a fluke, I like to imagine the game found an exquisite way to troll me that was consistent with its overall evocation of heartbreak.
In any case, few mainstream video games have tried, let alone achieved, anything close to the emotional intensity that courses through this game.
Christopher Byrd is a Brooklyn-based writer who has been playing video games since the days of the Atari 2600. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Barnes & Noble Review, Al Jazeera America, the Guardian and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter@Chris_Byrd.
Tacoma focuses on story over action and thats just fine
Fun and well-paced, Pyre is the rare game that wants players to embrace their slip-ups
Polybius turns one of gamings biggest urban legends into a VR classic
Nex Machina: Frenetic, hypnotic and seriously addictive
via Telltale Games
Two GQ.com writers argue about Telltale Games’ The Enemy Within, a subversive riff on an overexposed superhero.
Scott Meslow, GQ.com culture critic: Josh, it was almost exactly a year ago that you published your review of Batman: The Telltale Seriesthe first episode in Telltale Games choose-your-own-adventure riff on the Dark Knight. Since then, weve both played through the games entire first season, which wrapped up in December 2016and on the whole, we were both impressed enough that we’ve been waiting with bated breath for Season Two to arrive ever since. The first episode of Season Twosubtitled The Enemy Withinfinally arrived yesterday, and we were both hyped enough to knock the whole thing out on the day of its release. So now that weve both binged it: What did you think? Worth the wait?
Joshua Rivera, GQ.com contributor: Mostly, I’m intrigued. Telltale’s first season of Batman played a neat trick, starting with all the most familiar ideas and premises from popular Batman storiesthere was a lot of Nolan in the mixand then cleverly subverting them, leveraging our familiarity for some very fun ironic tension. You can only pull that trick once, though, and now that we’re fully aware of how Telltale is building its own Bat-universe, there’s an increased emphasis on why. What’s the point of the story they’re telling this time, and how they can play with our expectations to support it? For me, there’s one huge thing that works really well, and one that does not work at all.
Scott: What I liked best about Episode One of The Enemy Within: The Riddler. Unfortunately, many people still only know the Riddler via Jim Carreys interpretation in Batman Forever, which well, lets just say he made some very big and very bold choices. But The Enemy Within seems hellbent on redefining the Riddler as a psychopathic genius in the Jigsaw vein, challenging his victims to solve puzzles or get their fingers sliced off. Hes introduced using a question-mark cane to slash a dudes throat open. Its weird, grisly shit for a villain that has long been written off as a goofball.
Joshua: Okay, here’s where I disagree with you: I haaaaate this Riddler. I didn’t at firstthe idea of the Riddler-as-Jigsaw has some potential, and the suggestion that he was around causing chaos before Batman is an interesting wrinkle that I’m not quite sure about but wouldn’t mind seeing played out more. Unfortunately, The Enemy Within is strictly using him as an introductory villain, and a harbinger of a gauntlet that Batman will have to run this season. I think that’s unnecessary, and that the Riddler is a great primary antagonist. Granted, I’ve read and watched quite a few Riddler stories, and he’s usually not a campy loon in them. In fact, he’s kind of the perfect Batman villain: a guy who is obsessed with proving that he is smarter than the World’s Greatest Detective. With that in mind, I’m not too hot on this grim and dark take, but it could have been used as a great premise for the entire season. Instead we get a wildly inconsistent antagonist, one who isn’t really interested in proving anything and is mostly just a gangster mad at people who have moved in on his turf while he was away. This is a shame, because I wanted puzzles and riddles! And we don’t get any, reallyat least, no real brain-benders.
Scott: Yes, the Riddlers big riddle is essentially just a riff on the trolley problem, and thats kind of a bummerbut hey, this isnt a puzzle game. And in a series that has already introduced Elseworlds-style riffs on at least a half-dozen Batman villains, I can accept that some of them will end up having more depth than others. On that note, we need to talk about the Joker (or, as hes known here, John Doe). We first met him as a supporting character in Season One, when he glommed onto Bruce during a brief visit to Arkham Asylum. Hes set up for a bigger role in Season Twoand while Im happy Telltale has at least come up with a new riff on a villain who couldnt be more overexposed, Im not at all into what the game seems to be doing with him. What do you think?
Joshua: Wow, Scott, you are really good at being wrong. John Doe is great. I’m totally with you in that I would ultimately, prefer a Batman story without the Joker, and thought he was in Season One just the right amount (the brief opening segment of the fourth episode). But if we need to have the clown in the game, this is how I want to see him. In Telltale’s Bat-verse, the Joker isn’t a mass-murdering terrorist yet. He’s just a formal mental patient with white skin and green hair, a twitchy, shifty presence that isn’t quite there but also always seems to have an ulterior motive and appears to be smarter than he lets on. Putting him in such close proximity to Bruce forces players to interact with him in a profoundly uncomfortable way, as there’s no way he’s not gonna be a big bad, but he’s also pretty much entirely an unknown. We don’t know how bad he’s going to be, or if the Joker we know is a fate that can be avoidedor if, in trying to avert that fate, we give John Doe what he needs to thoroughly destroy Bruce’s life. I’m always on edge during a John Doe scene, and because you don’t really do much in a Telltale game, that counts for a lot.
Scott: Heres my problem with John Doe: Were carrying way too much baggage into this story to treat him as anything but the Joker. Im well aware that Telltale wants me to treat John Doe with less skepticism than Id treat the Joker, because they keep forcing me to accept him as a temporary ally. And maybe The Enemy Within really plans to futz around with Batman mythology so much that John Doe never actually becomes the Joker. But if my in-game Bruce Wayne is willing to give him the benefit of the doubtwell, Im not, because Batman has been shoving the chaotic-evil Joker down my throat for as long as Ive known about Batman. And because I keep resisting John Doeand the game keeps pairing me up with him anywayIm more aware than usual that Telltale games rely on the illusion of choice while nudging the player down a semi-predetermined path.
Joshua: It’s definitely a premise that relies heavily on the payoff, and the odds are higher that said payoff will be disappointing than surprising or satisfying. That said, I love John Doe so far, mostly because I like when stories about iconic characters essentially lure you into a game of chicken over how far they’ll bend things. Even if I’m not sure how this will pan out, Season One really did pull off some great twists, so I’m cool with it all.
Scott: Telltale games live or die by the difficulty of the choices youre asked to make, and I breezed through most of Episode One without a second thought. I only struggled with one choice, which basically came down to whether I wanted to spend more time as Bruce Wayne or Batman, and Im pretty sure the end result was essentially the same either way.
Joshua: I agree with you here: At their worst, Telltale games essentially stir up drama for no reason, causing characters to behave in strange and inconsistent ways for the purpose of making choices artificially difficult. At their best, motivations are clear, and stakes are high, and choices are unbearable, or at the very least, tough. The Enemy Within is mostly full of the former, unfortunately, and a lot of the plot of this first episode feels like thumbs are on the scale in a way that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If Season One was about bringing Bruce Wayne under fire, Season Two looks like it’s Batman who will be attacked from all sides. I’m not entirely convinced by how it’s getting us there, but I’m definitely interested to see where it heads.
Scott: The first episode ends on a pair of surprising revelationsone of which redefines your relationship with a major character, and one of which will make many Batman fans very, very happy. All told, Im still pretty hyped for the rest of this second season. Remember: The first season didnt really kick into high gear until Episode Three, when a cliffhanger revelation upended traditional Batman mythology in a fascinating and satisfying way. I expect similar twists from The Enemy Within before the season ends.
Joshua: Telltale’s brand of choose-your-own adventure games have, over nearly a decade, barely changed at all. They all play the same, they all share a similar art style, and they all control about as well as an old jalopy your cousin added a spoiler to, as if that was supposed to help. Despite their jankiness and familiarity, Telltale games are still a great place to find good stories, and their take on Batman is distinct and surprising enough to stand out in a sea of Batman-centric pop culture. Given that Batman has been retooled and reinvented countless times over 75 years, that’s no small feat.
Scott: Of all the superheroes, Batman has probably has the best run of video games, and in a surprising number of genres. Im a fan of the platformer Batman on the original Nintendo, the beat-em-up Batman Returns on the Super Nintendo, and the more recent Arkham Asylum, which offered a solid blend of stealth, combat, and puzzle-solving. And wherever The Enemy Within goes from here, I think Telltales Batman series belongs on that list as a standalone success in its own right: A story-driven Batman game that derives much of its power from subverting all the stuff you think you know about Batman.
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