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Natsume confirms Gotcha Racing for 3DS is out August 27th

081915-gotcha2  081915-gotcha1

I dug the 3DS out of its tomb at the bottom of a plastic bin just the other day to see if I’d missed the release of Gotcha Racing. Since I first saw it at E3 there’s just been a special somethin-somethin about the top-down, cross-screen racing game that’s captured my interest. It turns out I didn’t totally flake out and miss it because just today Natsume has confirmed it’ll be out on the 3DS eShop on August 27th. Yay!

Unfortunately, they still haven’t released any more direct feed footage and not even new screenshots so the impact of the game may be lost with just these two images. Nevertheless, I’m planning on picking this up on the 27th so look for some kind of recap in the coming weeks. If you’d like to know more about the game, click on in. I’ll just leave Natsume’s whole press release here since I’m too exhausted at the moment to edit it down. (more…)

Beat Bop brings Interactive Music and Management to the Clicker Genre

I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of “clicker” games, the growing genre where you tirelessly click on things to slowly, but exponentially, increase your income until numbers in the millions are flying out of everything on screen. They’re usually too mundane for me but set one up about music with a soundtrack that changes based on your clicking speed and suddenly I’m interested. That’s the concept behind Beat Bop, a new clicker game coming to Android and iOS in August from the Australian studio, Fliptus.

In the free-to-play game you start out as a lonely, hopeful street musician plucking away on a street corner with big dreams of superstardom. As you click to collect coins you’ll soon be able to pick up new band members, buy out promotions, start selling merch, and deal with broken instruments and media scandals. Of course, there’s a huge array of costumes and gear to buy as well to customize each member of your band. All this tapping action is set to unique music that changes with each venue which evolves as you add members (and instruments) to your band.

There isn’t a lot to hear from the game just yet but the above gameplay trailer gives you a glimpse at how it will sound and play when it’s released later this month. With an interesting hook I might actually give this one a shot and at least report back on the interactive music portion.

KatyCraft: Express Your Rocket League Obsession in Real Life


This one is a co-craft between Katy and I featuring my current online, multiplayer, team-based, sports competition of choice: Rocket League. I know, none of those things are stuff I usually go in for but, man, this game is fun and hilarious. It doesn’t hurt that it was “free” with PlayStation Plus as well, otherwise I’d never have touched it. Anyways, here’s a university-styled shirt design we brainstormed. It’s more simple than my grander design (which is maybe still forthcoming) but I like it. You can get it in a variety of colors and styles but classic blue or orange would be my recommendation.

You guys, Katy makes a lot of awesome stuff. She’s on Red Bubble, Storenvy, Etsy, and Gumroad with stickers, cross stitches, shirt designs, jewelry and more. It’s not all video game related either, she’s got your fandoms covered!

Decoding the Language and Story of Submerged


When it comes to finding secrets in games I usually don’t last long before turning to a FAQ or forums. Chasing down tchotchkes is fun for a while but when it comes down to the last few I always prioritize my time over energy exerted. In contrast I seem to willingly hook myself on deciphering real and fictional languages in games. Dinosaur Hunting and Spelunker Z are both Japanese exclusives with small fan bases so understanding them required me to put in the work to climb the language barrier. Once the cipher was discovered in Fez I was right there with everyone else, jotting down symbols and translating the esoteric poetry.

For Submerged it was an excuse to stick with the game after finishing the main adventure. The story is easy enough to piece together as you slowly unlock new pictograms drawn by Miku. Her journal details the story of how she and her brother ended up in this strange city as well as the creatures and landmarks she discovers. The really interesting part is the “City’s Story”, a collection of 60 pictograms that are hidden throughout the game and tell the greater story of what happened to this world. Every pictogram is accompanied by four alphabetical characters and with the promise of more context I couldn’t help but have a go at decoding it.

So I did. I’m no master codebreaker or linguist though and I’m definitely not bragging. Ed Orman at Uppercut Games clearly did a lot of work to create the alphabet, but it wasn’t hard to decode. After he dropped a hint about the game’s logo I was off and crackin’. Since all the words are based on English it was easy to sound out and guess at the rest and after a couple mix ups I had my cipher.

If you’ve finished the game and want to know more, have a look at this gallery. But be aware: SPOILERS! Even seeing the pictograms gives away most of what you get out of the game. If the idea of a sunken metropolis and a game of exploration is at all interesting to you I recommend playing it yourself. Then come back and we can chat. If that doesn’t bother you then, by all means, click on in!

I’ve translated every bit of text I could find in the game including the achievement icons. My rough alphabet cipher is also included if you want to do some decoding (or encoding) of your own. Maybe use it for your fan fiction, I dunno.

Rocket League’s Supersonic Fury DLC is Out

Rocket League‘s first major free update and paid DLC are out now so I did a quick video to show off the recent changes, upgrades and new content. Included in the free update is a new arena to play in, a spectator mode with full camera controls, over 70 country flags, and some bonus antenna toppers and wheels.

The $3.99 Supersonic Fury DLC gets you:

  • Dominus (classic American muscle car)
  • Takumi (’90s-era Japanese street racer)
  • 6 New Decals for both new Battle-Cars
  • 5 New Paint Types (Brushed Metal, Carbon Fiber, Metallic Pearl, Pearlescent, Wood)
  • 2 New Rocket Boosts (Burnout, Nitrous 2)
  • 2 New Wheels (Cristiano, Spinner)

Check out the video to see it all in action!

PS4 Owner Jealous of the Xbox Elite Controller? Not Anymore!!!



If Sony won’t step up their support of Pro Gamers to match Microsoft’s recently announced Xbox Elite Controller, then Japanese accessory manufacturer, Game Tech, will. Out now in Japan are the ‘FPS Stick Assist 4+’ and ‘FPS Target Assist 4’ for $10 each. Check the links on those for plenty of close up pictures.

The Stick Assist comes with three new analog stick caps that raise the height in varying degrees with various surface coverings. It also has a pair of L2/R2 caps that give the dainty triggers a little more weight and a rubberized grip. The Target Assist takes an ingeniously low-tech approach to the Xbox controller’s programmable stick sensitivity… it’s foam rings. You put these rings (one hard, one soft) around each analog stick and — voilà  — you’ve got a kinda-sorta sensitivity boost to your movement. If both bundles sound like they’d give you a performance enhancing boost you can seek out the ‘FPS Perfect Assist 4’ which includes the stick caps, trigger grips and foam rings for around $20.

It’s an interesting response to Microsoft’s high end controller but, man, those foam rings surely have to wear out super fast right? The stick caps and grippy triggers, that I can get into.

Secret of Mana Gear coming to Spelunker Z in August


I’m really trying to hang in there with Spelunker Z until the next zone of levels are added. They’ve teased the expansion a few times but are padding out the release with new cross promotion gear. After the tie-in with Atlantis no Nazo ended last week they rolled out a collection of items based on something called M.S.S Project. Best I can tell it’s a group of “internet famous” YouTubers in Japan. So, like, Yogscast but with more masks. Anyways, you know it’s a legit foreign phenomenon because there’s no English Wikipedia page I could find to explain it.

The bigger news for Square fans outside of Japan (and in Japan too, to be honest) is the teaser image above for their next collaboration. Despite trying to be sneaky with the obscured image it is so totally Secret of Mana/Seiken Densetsu 2. That’d be more exciting if I ever played it but at least it’ll be gear from something recognizable. Like the image says, that stuff is coming August 4th so you have plenty of time to make a Japanese PSN account, friend me, download the game and play through it with me before the new loot hits. Who’s with me!!? …

Hands on with Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty

I got to play a preview version of Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty over the weekend and recorded a few rounds while I tried to talk about it. There isn’t a lot in this build beyond the core gameplay but it’s still a nice little riff on Breakout with a lot of promise. I go over those promises in the video but you can also check out this post for a more thoughtfully worded version when I wasn’t distracted with 360-degree Breakout.

Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty is being developed by Lantana Games and will be out on Steam, itch.io, and IndieGameStand this August. I’ll most likely be back with more after it’s released.

Gawp at the Smoldering Remains of PlayStation Mobile


If you were wondering what would happen to the PlayStation Mobile marketplace the day after its July 15th execution, all you need to do is look above. The “PlayStation Mobile” button remains on the Vita storefront (presumably until the next firmware update) but it only leads to this stripped down store page with some unceremonious text.

Thanks to everyone who developed, shopped and supported the PlayStation Mobile marketplace. It was fun and weird and probably not all that successful for anyone involved but it was great that it ever existed.

Explore the Art History of Games with Mondrian

Lantana Games, the indie studio behind Children of Liberty – one of my long-running favorites from the IGF — have just announced another new game in a completely different genre. Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty is a block-breaking, Arkanoid-esque game which takes its name from the famous artist but doesn’t strictly adhere to his style. Think of the name as the inspiration rather than the definition of the game’s art style which traces the history of video game art itself.

Starting out in the 1970’s, the game mimics the technological limitations of video game hardware at the time, rendering the playfield in simpler, starker colors. As video games evolve, so does Mondrian’s style, stopping at the blacks and greens of ancient terminal displays, the pulsing reds of the Virtual Boy and so on through the 1990’s. Aside from the visual treatment there’s also a museum interface with 15 initial galleries featuring “works from acknowledged masters of the medium” making Mondrian a potential all-in-one video game art history lesson.


It’s the art aspect that grabbed me but I’m happy to see they aren’t simply redressing Breakout. Mondrian may play like a classic block-breaker but it lets you revolve your paddle 360-degrees around the space, bouncing the ball all over the screen. Forty different power-ups, paddles, balls, and borders are also unlockable to keep things interesting and the brick layouts are dynamically generated from a pool of 40,000,000 possible combinations.

With the base game in place, Lantana will support Mondrian after release with free and paid content including stages only accessible if you own specific games. How they’ll verify previous purchases is unknown but it’s a clever ideal that cross-promotes indie games and lets those devs customize Mondrian to match their individual games. Mondrian: Abstraction in Beauty will be released on Steam, itch.io, and IndieGameStand in August 2015 and I’m hoping to get access to a preview build soon.