Disaster has struck. Upon coming to an asteroid belt, your spaceship is hit and life support is down. Oxygen is rapidly depleting and all you have are two quadrupedal deck robots controlled by old tech through the view of security cameras.
Factotum is a 3D puzzle game released for the Wii U by TACS Games. Traveling through 30 different levels, you’ll race time discovering what happened in the aftermath of the crash and stumble upon the real goings on within the ship in the pursuit to call for help.
You’re not alone. Luckily another has been spared from the collision and is able to help you along the way to regaining control over your space ship. He’ll communicate to you straight through the speaker on your Wii U gamepad giving you instructions and suggestions to get both deck robots to the freight elevators.
The entire game is dressed in a green color scheme that brings back memories of an Apple II computer. At first, the green completes the motif of your environment, but quickly becomes an eye strain. I found myself occasionally glancing at the wired rustic frame around the screen just to give my eyes a break.
The indie game sphere is no foreigner to puzzle games but with the introduction of the Wii U gamepad, the second screen gaming experience has baffled many developers including Nintendo themselves. TACS Games creates a great atmosphere that fulfills the prophecy of sitting in front of an old school console controlling these robots to perform a series of tasks to get them both to the elevator. Switching between the bots or collecting a box or two, clicking on the touchscreen is satisfying and a good sense of control.
Puzzle fans will find a lot here to play with for just $10 USD.
Searching the bookshelves at your local library will find many titles dedicated to bettering your life and your workplace. On the opposite side, a much smaller section, is a section of books based on video games. Never the two shall meet. And how could they? Mastering the Game: What Video Games Can Teach Us About Success in Life bridges that gap by showing how video games have transferable skills into the real world through a process author Jon D. Harrison notates as allegamy.
Team work, communication, time management, multitasking, problem solving; these are just a few of the skills that will propel you in the workplace. Honing these skills typically come from workshops, panels, on-site training, or boring videos on YouTube. But video games, although not in a direct manner of thinking, teach and train these important skills just by playing through a dungeon in the Legend of Zelda or an online match in Halo 3. Harrison points to popular games millions have played and shows that what you learn in a tutorial of your favorite shooter does transfer outside of video games. Harrison sites many games that on the surface look like a simple waste of time yet demonstrate core values and award for successful ventures.
Harrison also shows how games like Journey for the PS3 sets the stage for selecting your own path in life by presenting short term and long term goals and rewarding you for a job well done. That it’s OK to be confused or lost but know that there are signs or items you can pick up to get yourself make on track for your own happiness.
Mastering the Game is a quick read with eye opening accounts and packed full of awe inspiring connections found in those dusty cartridges sitting on your shelf.
Purchase Mastering the Game on Amazon
Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: March 28, 2015
After almost three years of retro gaming articles, interviews, podcasts, and insights, 1 More Castle will officially close their doors on July 31st, 2015. With it comes sadness, support, and a bright future for the many that contributed.
I was originally attracted to 1 More Castle from the wealth of knowledge and the “friend’s basement” feel I got while surfing around. Journalism in video games today, whether they be new or old, can come with a hefty amount of negativity, sexism, and trolling. Your friend’s basement was always a safe haven to sit around and talk about the fun that can be had with video games. The life changing experiences we discovered while in play and the lessons we learned that we will pass down to others. It was a place to relax, to find help, to debate, and to share a laugh with. It was 1 More Castle.
My past few years with the group have seen friendships grow strong from acquaintances, my first live recording, and a chance to hold a panel to discuss the one thing I most connect with: video games. 1 More Castle gave me the insight that I had something to offer to a community that I was never an active participant in before. It led me down the path less traveled to journey outside my normal life and into the realm of possibilities. It allowed me to showcase my talents and nurtured me on a road for real expectations.
I made good friends. I have stories to tell that would have never happened had it not been for 1 More Castle. Not once did I ever feel unwanted, used, or abandoned. And I did my best to fulfill those values to everyone who came.
But for now, my princess is in another castle.
Believe it or not, the Nintendo Entertainment System is alive and well in the hearts of those who relentlessly mull over assembly code, creating new adventures for hardware that’s 30 years old. One of these is the latest from Sly Dog Studios, the Rise of Amondus, which is the next entry in their Candelabra series. A story of prophecies, betrayals, the death of the first-born, and the growth of an army. Take control of Amondus, Rant, and Charwit to cast the Forbidden spell and make your way through Primwoods.
The Rise of Amondus is a horizontal shooter that includes a unique collectable gameplay mechanic. You’ll dodge danger while controlling a reticle on screen that calls Rant to pick up goblins to add to your army. Your whereabouts on the screen determines your projectile’s trajectory. Being in the center will shoot a four-way shot hitting anything in its path.
Consisting of four levels, you’ll be tasked to collect a certain number of goblins per level. After doing so, you will challenge the champion of the level at the end. If you make it without the right amount of goblins, you’ll be forced back to the beginning. Luckily you do have unlimited continues which you’ll use many of.
Controls have a learning curve with moving the reticle while dodging danger and avoiding the Forbidden Spell that one-hit kills everything. Four levels may not seem like much, but they are hard as nails making the completion of them that much more rewarding.
The soundtrack also has a very common theme that easily gets stuck in your head as you battle that’s a delight as well as is the in-game manual.
Fun, yet can be extremely frustrating, the Rise of Amondus demands your attention and quick reflexes if you plan on leaving Primwoods alive.
Release date: 2015
Check out Sly Dog Studios.
Anyone who has been around the gaming community, perhaps even peered inside, knows of the greatness of the Mega Man 2 soundtrack. Mainly composed by Takashi Tateishi, credited as Ogeretsu Kun, the soundtrack has inspired many musicians and developers alike. Some brooding to take the very likeness of while others use as building blocks to reflect their upbringing in new projects.
Some bands try to replicate this sound using actually instruments. The fast pace and complex tones require amazing skill to pull off. But like any homage to a particular style of music, hearing the same songs over and over again becomes boring to any fan.
“A Mega Man 2 Guitar Tribute” by Mega Beardo dares to do something different. Rather than take those note for note and bridge them over electric strings, Mega Beardo allows the song to build upon itself. Other than just slamming into the familiar, the rhythm and beats become the introduction which will later become the song that we know it as. It takes an artist with the love of a song and the mastery to make it become a reality. Mega Beardo has done just that.
Each song always brings you back to a form of the original, but the journey there is often crossed and wild. Each beat hits on point while tracks like Bubble Man invites the sense of a calm underwater escape.
The metal is here for those looking for it. The subtle tones of something new and awesome invite you to listen in. There is a story being told through the music, each track melding into another making one overarching piece rather than track to track.
Suffice to say, the entire album is impressive, moving, and would be a welcome to fan edits and homebrews looking for a superior soundtrack.
Purchase “A Mega Man 2 Guitar Tribute” for NAME YOUR OWN PRICE.
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