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‘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.

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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

Master the space-time continuum in Causality, a unique puzzle game for iPhone – Macworld

These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a gameYou Should Play.

Most of the puzzle games on the App Store fall into a handful of genres: match-3, hidden object, point-and-tap. Occasionally, youll see a unique take on one of those genres (like Spry Foxs Road Not Taken), butstill in one of those genres.

Causality is not your typical puzzle game.

If I had to classify Causality, I guess Id call it a turn-based puzzlewith a twist. But even thats kind of a lie, because this is one of the most unique mobile games Ive played. Its so unique that its actually kind of difficult to explain, but Ill take a stab: In this game, you travel backward (and forward) in time to help your past (or future) self(s).

Eryeah. Its hard to describe in words, but it makes more (if not complete) sense when you get your hands on it. Youll have to pay $1.99 for this premium pick, and its totally worth your cash. Heres why:

It starts out simple: If youre asking yourself what the heck a space-time continuum is right about now, dont worryyoure not expected to jump into the deep end of Causality without getting your feet wet. Although the game eventually gets pretty tricky, the first chapter does a good job of easing you into the confusion.

Causality consists of 60 levels across four different zones, and each zone has 15 levels (10 main levels and five optional levels), a unique visual scheme, and new obstacles and challenges. The first 10 levels in the first zone are introductory: Here, youll learn the basics of how the astronauts move and how obstacles and time-warp portals work. Its not an in-depth tutorial, but youll get the hang of it pretty quickly (and if you dont, this game is totally winnable by trial-and-error).

The goal: Get the blue astronaut to the blue tile and the green astronaut to the green tile. And dont get snatched by an alien tentacle.

In each level, your goal is to direct colorful astronauts to their respective colorful tiles. There are obstacles along the way, such as alien tentacles, switch-based platforms, and crumbling tiles. The solution wont always be straightforwardin some levels youll need to bump your astronauts into each other to get them to go the correct direction. When an astronaut successfully reaches their destination tile, they stopin some levels, one astronauts tile will block anothers, so youll need to time their travels correctly.

Levels also have time constraints, which are measured as step-counts (or turns). To move time forward, tap the screen and drag your finger down; to move time backward, tap the screen and drag your finger up. This game is turn-based, so at each step or turn you can make changes to the board by tapping arrow tiles to change directions.

But it quickly gets crazy: Switches, arrow-tiles, and obstacles are one thing, but time-warp portals are where Causality gets interesting (and incredibly confusing). If an astronaut comes enters a time-warp portal, theyre teleported to a different part of the board and to a different point in time.

The purple astronaut is four steps from the portal (the tile with light shooting out of it), and the portal sends him back five stepsso you can already see his ghost.

This is where it gets tricky: when an astronaut starts to approach the portal a time-warped ghost of that astronaut will appear on the board. Its a little tough to wrap your head around, but if the portal sends your astronaut back three moves, the astronauts ghost will appear on the screen three moves before the astronaut reaches the portal. Time-warps appear as loops on your timeline, so that should clear things up a littlesort ofmaybe

Once the original astronaut actually enters the portal, theyll disappear and the ghost will become the real astronaut. Naturally, this means that many of Causalitys puzzles can only be solved with some careful time manipulating and multiple astronaut planning.

Its beautiful and relaxingish: If Causalitys uniqueand occasionally super frustratingtake on turn-based puzzles doesnt tempt you, its graphics and soundtrack certainly will.

The board may be minimal, but the background is not.

Like many popular mobile games, Causalitys primary visual aesthetic is low-poly minimalism, but its not just another Monument Valley clone. This game definitely has its own look, with single-screen boards, smooth white tiles, and bright, vibrantly-colored dynamic backgrounds. Although the boards are maybe a bit too minimalist, youll still find a lot of unnecessary (but pretty) details, including cables and electrical currents that match switches, platforms, and portals.

Old-school video scan lines indicate rewinding or fast-forwarding.

Whats perhaps more impressive than just the art is the animation, because of how the game is set up. Since youre constantly moving backward and forward in Causality, the board is almost always in motion. This is where the dynamic backgrounds really come into playevery movement, no matter how tiny or irrelevant to the outcome, is recorded on the tape and played backward and forward. Youll even see old-school video scan lines to indicate fast-forwarding and rewinding (versus just playing).

Developer:LojuPlatform:iOS(Universal)Price:$2

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Master the space-time continuum in Causality, a unique puzzle game for iPhone – Macworld

‘noded’ Review – An Attractive Minimalist Puzzler That’s Sometimes Tough to Figure Out – Touch Arcade

A node is a point at which lines come together or branch. It also drives the gameplay of new puzzle game noded [$0.99] by Pixel Envision Limited. In noded you’re presented with a series of lines and nodes in a particular shape and given a target shape to replicate. You tap on the nodes to flip their associated lines in another direction and must figure out the right series of moves to morph into the correct final shape. The goal is to complete this transformation in as few moves as possible.

The concept is simple enough, and I breezed through the first few levels with just a little experimentation before going through my final “scoring” run. It felt fast and fun and a key strategy I tried to employ was to work my way back from the acute angles in the target shape and figure out from where lines and nodes would have to swing to get to those final resting spots.

This worked at first, but as the target shapes became more complicated and mechanics ramped up the game changed for me. I found myself unable to properly visualize the moves necessary to solve the puzzle and was left with a lot of trial and error (read: groping for a clue) to complete levels. I found it particularly difficult when nodes overlapped making unscrambling things tough to do without a great many unsuccessful attempts. In most cases I gave up on finding the optimal solution and just played the game as a “pass/fail,” so to speak.

On the upside, noded is very attractive and I’m really drawn to its simple and clean graphical design. The musical accompaniment is also pleasing and worth keeping on if you enjoy a bit of a soundtrack while you play. The game also offers plenty of bang for your buck, with 80 levels to play through.

I struggled with this game, despite being attracted to it. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I wonder if the concept is just a little too abstract for the average puzzle player. If geometric puzzle games are your thingor you’re a big-time puzzle aficionado looking for a challengenoded will provide you with plenty of challenging levels for a very low price. Make sure to also swing by our forums and leave your impressions there.

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‘noded’ Review – An Attractive Minimalist Puzzler That’s Sometimes Tough to Figure Out – Touch Arcade


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