Treasure Stack, a new game by Pixelakes, mixes falling block puzzle mechanics with platformer elements to make a new style game.
Murdered Soul Suspect is the newest game developed by Airtight Studios and published by Square Enix. Set in current Salem, Massachusetts you play as Detective Ronan O’Conner searching for the answers to why he was murdered. The game begins with your murder and you spend the entire rest of the game as a ghost using your new found ghost skills and your already established detective skills to solve who murdered you and why.
From the first trailer I saw of this game I was enamored with it. It seemed as if it was a dark investigative game and I wasn’t disappointed. After the game released, however, I became nervous to play it because it seemed to get mediocre reviews. Whereas I can see why it may not have been some people’s cup of tea, I truly feel as if they just didn’t go into it realizing what type of game it was, and reviewed it unfairly.
Murdered Soul Suspect is not an action game. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Other than the occasional tie in with one of the game’s demons (which greatly resemble a dementor from Harry Potter or maybe even a ring wraith from The Lord of the Rings) there is no combat what so ever. Even with the tie in with the demons there is not really a battle so much as a stealth/assassination mechanic. If fact, there is no way to go head on with a demon. The only option is to hide in spectral energy and then perform an assassination while it isn’t looking.
A game without any action these days is almost unheard of, however this isn’t the first game that has used this format. Games such as Indigo Prophecy and Shadow of Destiny used a very similar format. Ronan walks around and searches for clues to solve not only his own mystery, but also takes time to help some ghost friends in need. I truly feel as if some people who have played this game have been confused as to what the game is trying to accomplish. The fun in Murdered Soul Suspect doesn’t come from high octane action or gunfights, but it is fun on a more cerebral level. The setting, story, creepy mood, all are extremely well executed in this game.
In summation, if you don’t mind a game with little to no action, but love a good puzzle or atmospheric game, then I cannot recommend Murdered Soul Suspect enough. I truly enjoyed this game and my hope is that other people will read this review and give it the chance it deserves.
As I cruised around this morning sipping coffee and off-roading in my mini-van in an effort to hack portals, recharge resonators, and establish links and fields, I thought to myself…”Maybe I have an addiction.” If none of that last sentence made sense to you, then you probably haven’t heard about Ingress. Ingress is a near-real time augmented reality massively multiplayer online video game created by Niantic Labs, currently only available for Android devices, but rumored to be coming to Apple’s iOS sometime in 2014.
I have been part of the beta version of Ingress and was excited to hear that the Beta phase is almost over! On December 14, 2013, when Ingress’s worldwide 9-week, 39-city global player event, Operation#13MAGNUS concludes, Ingress will exit Beta. To me this means more players, more portals and more fun as the competition between the two opposing factions in the game ramps up to a whole new level.
Prior to this announcement you needed a friend already in the beta to invite you, and those of us playing were gifted with only a precious few invitations to give out. Now, the invitation code requirement has been dropped, and all Android players can enter into the Beta phase. You can join the worldwide action that is Ingress, by downloading the game on Google Play here. Join me in strengthening the Resistance, or join the Enlightened…either way, be prepared for a whole lot of fun and a cool new way to game.
As a thank you, Niantic Labs is gifting agents like myself who have supported them during the Beta a special one-time badge: The Founder Medal. Any Agents that have reached Level 5 by the Beta end date of December 14, 2013 will get this special achievement.
If all that news isn’t exciting enough, they have also announced The Ingress Elite V challenge. Starting Monday, November 4th and running through the end of Operation #13MAGNUS on Saturday, December 14th, all Ingress Agents will be eligible to participate in a challenge to identify the five most elite Agents from around the world. Winning Agents will be flown to California for Top Secret Ingress briefings in February 2014, as well as a special interview with Susanna Moyer from the Ingress Report. Details on the Ingress Elite V challenge can be found here.
Operation #13MAGNUS anomaly events have already begun all over the world launching a new chapter in global gameplay. At the beginning of #13MAGNUS, the XM entity known as Roland Jarvis was shattered into 13 pieces. These shards scattered throughout the world. Now, Enlightened Agents, like myself (Viva La Resistance!) must reunite them in order resurrect their leader. Resistance Agents will be seeking to destroy the shards, and by doing so, rid the world of Roland Jarvis forever. This effort is literally spanning the globe as Agents from the over 200 countries where Ingress is currently being played cooperate to achieve their goal, leading to the final confrontation at the end of #13MAGNUS on December 14, 2013.
The remaining #13MAGNUS Anomaly events will happen in the following cities:
I have had an incredible amount of fun playing Ingress and the communities formed for this game, both locally and globally just add to the fun of this experience. One of my favorite things about Ingress is that the game appeals to all ages, and in my encounters, I’ve found that the players are more my age range. Let me know in the comments section if you are already part of Ingress and what faction you play for, or if you are planning to join us.
“Ingress is a game of exploration and discovery in the real world, as well as a way to join in with an amazing global community of Ingress Agents,” said John Hanke , VP in charge of Google’s Niantic Labs. “Our journey over the past year has taken us to live events in more than 80 cities around the world, more than one million downloads of the Ingress app, and more than one million Portals discovered and submitted by Ingress Agents. Two ebooks, a comic book series, and a weekly YouTube show, ‘The Ingress Report’ paint a rich picture of the Ingress world. And Agents have made it their own with more than 2,000 Ingress user communities created on global social networks and countless designs for shirts, badges, jewelry and other objects. More than a dozen Agents have gone so far as to tattoo the Ingress logos on their bodies! A huge thank you to all of the amazing people that have been part of the Ingress journey so far. You have helped make Ingress what it is and have inspired us with so many amazing stories about meeting one another and finding new ways to explore and interact with our world. We can’t wait to see how players continue to make Ingress and the real world a more fun and inspiring place.”
I was recently given the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Goblin Zeppelin Ambush play set from a very dear friend. Now, as a Mother of many children I will admit that I have spent a ridiculous amount of money on building blocks for the kids. There are an endless number of overpriced and complex sets out there and to this very day I have yet to see any of these sets of blocks actually get assembled. Instead, the kids lose the pieces or the instructions, or simply forget they even have them. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of stepping on a block with your bare feet you simply haven’t lived. So, I have pretty much sworn that I would never purchase them ever again.
Honestly, I never really understood the pull of these building block sets. That is, until I was given a set of what I now refer to as “grown-up blocks”. If you listen to The Mommy Gamers podcast, I don’t try to hide the fact that I have a very unhealthy obsession with World of Warcraft. While I don’t claim to be a hardcore or knowledgeable player, in fact I’ve still never gotten an alt to level 85, I do enjoy the heck out of the game and yes…I got insanely giddy when I got this present.
Here’s a product description for you:
Build and customize a unique airship with the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft Goblin Zeppelin Ambush play set. Krazzle, the Goblin Rogue, and Light Hoof, the Tauren Paladin, are outfitted in highly collectible Judgement armor and ready for battle. Attack from the airship with the brick-blasting cannon launcher. Alternately, stage a counter attack with Darkhowl, the Worgen Rogue, and his buildable Alliance crossbow as he plans a sneak assault on the Zeppelin. Also includes a random loot drop – armor or weapons – to add to your collection!
Assembling this play set was actually a lot of fun. I employed the help of my ten year old son and probably acted like more of a child than he did while I was putting together my Zeppelin. He pouted a few times because I was hogging the assembly process actually and I maturely told him “Mine!” and that was the end of that. The instructions were easy to follow, much easier than say…assembling a piece of furniture. We wisely dumped the packages of blocks into bowls so that they wouldn’t end up getting knocked onto the ground and lost forever. Aside from some minor struggles with getting some of the blocks to snap into place it was an enjoyable experience. There were a few times that we would try to snap a wing into place and something else, like the cannon, would fall off and we would both kind of glare at the blocks, but I figure this was a good lesson in patience for both of us. So it was kind of therapeutic too.
I’m not sure if I’m completely convinced that building block sets are worth the cost just based on this one experience. The majority of the blocks can only be used to create this one specific creation and I’m really not sure what to do with it now that I’ve built it. What does a grown woman do with her WOW blocks? Start a curio cabinet next to my husband’s Navy memorabilia? How do I explain that to people when they come over to my house?
What I did learn though, is that this was a fun family friendly project to do. If you’re going to drop large chunks of money on Mega Blok or Lego sets you might as well sit down and make sure those things actually get put together and enjoy some quality time with your kids at the same time. If World of Warcraft blocks sound like fun to you, check out the Mega Blocks WOW site. The Zepplin set is actually their featured toy right now. If you’re interested in purchasing this set of blocks, they cost about $65 and links for purchasing are also provided on their website.
I stumbled upon Skallops while I was at PAX Prime 2012 this month and ended up taking a set home. Skallops are laser cut, top-quality, hand-finished birch plywood that are used with playing cards to create any type of structure your mind can imagine. As long as you have enough Skallops and something to connect them to be it cards, postcards, business cards, or whatever you create, you can make absolutely anything.
As soon as I shook off my jet lag from PAX Prime I whipped out my Junior Set of Skallops, which has 52 wooden Skallops and one deck of cards. My children, ages ten and thirteen quickly started creating…things. I had to employ some creative mothering when my son brought me his creation and asked if I liked it. If you’re a Mom, you know exactly what I was going through as I gazed up on this oddly formed jumble of playing cards and Skallops. As he watched me analyze his art work I thought quickly and said the best thing I could think of, “It looks awesome!”. Thankfully that was enough for him and he replied with, “I know, totally looks like fireworks in the sky right?”.
It didn’t take long for the kitchen countertops to completely disappear under a sea of confusing creations. Our Junior Set was quickly depleted so we may be upgrading in the future to the Starter Set with 104 Skallops and two decks of cards, or just go completely crazy and get the Builder Set with 208 Skallops and four decks of cards. My only hesitation would be the fact that while the kids really love building with Skallops, they always seem to disappear when it’s time for them to be broken down and put away.
Skallops are very light-weight, but incredibly sturdy. Getting the cards in the slots can be a little difficult at times, but they are made to grip ordinary playing cards firmly, so that your creations hold up really well. I think these would be great for anyone who has kids to just leave out on a rainy day and let the kids imaginations go crazy. Skallops are recommended for children ages three and up, but based on the zero interest level my toddler showed in them I’d say this is probably better for more of the elementary age and older range. Of course grown-ups who like to build can have fun with this as well.