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World Of Goo, Little Inferno, And Human Resource Machine Coming To Switch This Week

Developer Tomorrow Corporation announced today the release date for three of its previous releases coming to Switch.

On Thursday, March 16, World of Goo, Little Inferno, and Human Resource Machine will all be available on Nintendo's new console. These three games will join the eight others that were added to the Switch's eShop last week.

The games were meant to be launch titles for Switch, but were delayed to this week.

[Source: Tomorrow Corporation]

 

Our Take
More games on Switch is a good thing. More new games would be better, but I never did get around to finishing World of Goo. Maybe now is the time.

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World Of Goo, Little Inferno, And Human Resource Machine Coming To Switch This Week

Developer Tomorrow Corporation announced today the release date for three of its previous releases coming to Switch.

On Thursday, March 16, World of Goo, Little Inferno, and Human Resource Machine will all be available on Nintendo's new console. These three games will join the eight others that were added to the Switch's eShop last week.

The games were meant to be launch titles for Switch, but were delayed to this week.

[Source: Tomorrow Corporation]

 

Our Take
More games on Switch is a good thing. More new games would be better, but I never did get around to finishing World of Goo. Maybe now is the time.

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Hands On With The Mysterious World Of Hob

First announced in 2015, Runic Games' Hob piqued our interest during its numerous appearances at trade shows like PAX. We recently had a chance to sit down and play a build of the game that will be appearing at PAX East, and came away impressed by Hob's puzzle designs and environments, and charmed by its sense of style.

Hob takes place in a mysterious, lively world teeming with bizarre wildlife and covered in ancient-looking machinery. Taking control of an unnamed hooded figure, players use a variety of combat and platforming skills to make their way across the treacherous landscape, restoring power to massive machines in the process. It is immediately reminiscent of games like Shadow of the Colossus and The Legend of Zelda with its sense of atmosphere and exploration, but it stands apart with an art style that is all its own, with it's surreal blend of calming, lush environments, and monolithic machines.

Combat will immediately feel familiar to fans of the Dark Souls series, relying on dodge-rolling and shield defense as players wait for an opening to attack. What Hob adds to the standard swordplay is a heavy attack with the character's giant metal hand, which can be used to break enemy shields or perform an area-of-effect ground slam. While I didn't encounter a lot of enemies during the demo, the combat in Hob feels simple and satisfying, with options for improvisation on the part of the player. 

My time with Hob was punctuated by an overarching sense of curiosity. With some puzzles, combat, and platforming, the slice I played cast Hob's world as a believable, breathing place full of mystery. The demo begins with the protagonist sliding down into an open area with a large mechanical tower in the middle. Yellow grass lines small rocky hills, and the edges of the space are lined with threatening vines that will damage, and sometimes attack if you get too close. They can deal significant damage, but their flowers also carry small upgrades that will increase your maximum health.

While there are a few enemies to battle here, the primary focus is climbing the tower, and manipulating various aspects of it to progress. Hob hits a nice balance when it comes to the design of its individual puzzles, never being too hard to outright limit progress, but often causing you to look closely at the environment for the solution. The area ends with an elevator, which takes our protagonist into an underground dungeon.

The descent into the dungeon is one of the more impressive moments of the demo, as the camera draws back to give players a better look of the massive, dormant machines underground. I see faint lights and figures shifting in the distant dark, giving the area a much more foreboding feel than the last zone. While this area included some light puzzle solving, a majority of the gameplay centered on platforming. With spinning gears, teleporters, and floating plates, the section provides players with a good variety of perils to traverse.

Platforming in Hob feels tight, aided by the main character's ledge grab, which saved me from death more than once. Timing here is key, but thanks to responsive controls and fairly generous checkpoints, I was always ready to try again right after dying. 

After finding my way through the dungeon, I'm taken back to the surface, now in another part of the world. This final area is more lush than the opening, with green bushes and trees, as well as a good deal of friendly wildlife roaming around. Opposed to the fairly linear platforming and puzzle sections before it, this area serves as a nice reprieve and begs to be explored for its secrets.

The demo ends with the protagonist inserting a mysterious sigil recovered in the dungeon into an altar-like structure, which transforms the landscape ahead of it, first raising up a large section of a forest before slamming it into place, setting the stage for another area and another adventure.

Interacting with the environment was one of the most enjoyable elements of my experience with Hob. The landscape is filled with a variety of wildlife that make it feel like a part of a real ecosystem. Some animals attack on sight, some ignore the player completely, and some flee when players draw near. Little touches like this go a long way toward making the game world feel believably alive, but one small aspect really impressed me.

During the first playthrough of the level, I accidentally killed a deer-like creature, leading other creatures like it to flee whenever I drew near. On a second playthrough, having not killed any of them, I was able to approach them and interact in a way I was previously unable to, where I approached the creature and was able to embrace it as a heartwarming animation played out.

Little is known about the story of Hob at this point, and I left the demo with more questions than answers. I think that's a good thing. While Runic Games stated that there is a greater "Darwinian struggle" at the center of Hob's story, it's apparent that they want to keep a lid on the greater secrets and reveals of this world until the game releases, and it's easy to see why.

From the archaic machines dotting the landscape, to the bizarre creatures and even the mysteries surrounding the main character, Hob's narrative strength lies in showing rather than telling. Hopefully, everyone will be able to walk away from Hob with their own interpretations when it releases later this year. I know I walked away from this demo impressed.

Hob is expected to release sometime this year on PlayStation 4 and PC.

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Hands-On Impressions Of Yooka-Laylee’s Whimsical Snow World

Veterans from Rare have teamed up to bring us Yooka-Laylee, a platformer inspired by the developers' past works such as Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country. While we got a chance to play Yooka-Laylee's tropical level at Gamescom last year, this time at GDC we got to see a whole new, wintry area.

This quintessential snowy level is called Glitterglaze Glacier, a place blanketed with snow and covered in icy patches. It feels almost necessary for a whimsical platformer such as Yooka-Laylee to have such a level, and it fits in well. I had fun searching for secrets in caverns, transforming into a giant snowplow, swimming in the icy waters, and enjoying all the small details reminiscent of Rare's earlier works. From the font of dialogue text to the off color humor, it's clear that Yooka-Laylee hopes to evoke a certain nostalgia, but it manages to also feel fresh for a new audience.

You control Yooka, a chameleon, and a purple bat named Laylee sits on your head and helps you fly over short distances. You can roll down and up icy hills and take out enemies by whacking them with your tail in a quick twist. The movements feel smooth and fun, along with little idle animations that make both characters adorable.

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You will also meet other quirky characters, and many of these will return as you explore one world to the next. For example, Dr. Puzz and her D.N.Ray makes a reoccurring appearance in each world, and so does a skeleton traveller that constantly runs into unfortunate problems. Dr. Puzz in particular is amusing. I had to find a collectible called a Mollycool (which, to no one's surprise, looks like a molecule) and bring it back to her in order to unlock a transformation ability, which turned me into a snowplow. Each world will have its own transformation ability.

In the middle of Glitterglaze Glacier stands a large castle that looks like it's straight out of a fairytale, and the developer teased that it's accessible from underwater, and holds several valuable secrets inside, though the team wants to keep it a surprise for launch.  

Yooka-Laylee launches April 11 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

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Top Of The Table – The Weird World Of Numenera

Amid a busy schedule of gaming releases this week, inXile launched their latest video game, Torment: Tides of Numenera. I reviewed the game, and also shared some additional thoughts in a quick video on the project and on our podcast; peruse any of those articles, and I think you’ll be able to tell that I’m an enthusiastic fan of the setting. That’s because Numenera, the tabletop role-playing game upon which the video game is based, is an absolute treasure trove of stellar world-building – a virtual master class in how to defy expectations while still keeping a fiction grounded and understandable. 

Since its launch in 2013, Numenera has continued to grow its universe and whether you’re a tabletop RPG player or not, it’s worth exploring. If you’re a fan of heady, unusual, speculative fiction, this is a world that should be on your radar. And if you discovered Numenera through the recently released video game, these are the books that can let you continue your adventures into the broader universe of Numenera’s Ninth World. 

Numenera Corebook
By Monte Cook

If you are interested in jumping in to try Numenera as a tabletop RPG, the original corebook is your best option. This massive tome includes the full rules for both players and game masters to run Numenera adventures. In addition to rules on character creation, running game sessions, and all the equipment and artifacts that you might need, a large bulk of the Corebook is devoted to establishing the setting of the Ninth World. Here, we learn that humanity has risen again on Earth, a billion years in the future. At least eight previous great civilizations have risen and fallen in the vast gulf of time between now and then, and the remnants of those sprawling (sometimes intergalactic or interdimensional) civilizations still litter the Earth – these strange leftover items of science and technology are called numenera. 

The Corebook introduces the Steadfast and its nearby surrounding, a great hub area for any Numenera game that is filled with bizarre creatures, detailed cities, and numerous influential organizations. You can discover strange places like the Beanstalk, an ancient tower with a “stalk” that rises, apparently all the way into planetary orbit. Or face the horror of the Iron Wind – a swarm of insane nanites that surge across the surface, devouring and warping everything they touch. Even if you just hosted sessions in and around this these core locales, you could keep your gaming group busy for years. But there’s certainly places further afield that afford even more curious opportunities. 

If you’ve never played a tabletop RPG before, and you want a less intimidating entry point, I’d also recommend the Starter Set box, which includes premade characters, summarized rules, and an adventure to get you going. 

Ninth World Guidebook
By Monte Cook and Shanna Germain

If you’re intrigued by the potential of locations only hinted at in the Corebook, the Ninth World Guidebook is your next stop. While it remains focused on terrestrial locales, this setting book highlights hundreds of new characters, lands, and creatures to uncover. 

Among many wonders, the Ninth World Guidebook takes visitors to the Frozen South, and a strange oasis city there called the Invisible Vale, a shielded paradise in the midst of the snow where people have settled in relative comfort. Or discover the Seraph Tempest, a mountain-sized machine that wanders the wastes. Elsewhere, encounter the Triumvirate, an enigmatic group of entities – three androgynous faces that hover ceaselessly over an ever-calm inland sea. Or dare the horrors of the Red Kingdom of Vralk, and find a culture built around cruelty, where the fear of pain is the primary motivator rather than wealth or accomplishment. 

The Ninth World Guidebook is filled with new places to visit, and due to the nature of strange science and technology inherent to the Ninth World setting, it’s easy to transplant a group of characters to one of these new locations with a portal, a strange conveyance, or anything else the game master might imagine.  

Torment: Tides of Numenera – The Explorer’s Guide
By Shanna Germain

Perhaps even now you are in the process of falling in love with the unusual characters, cities, and dynamics of the Torment video game. If you’re a player of Torment who simply wants to continue their adventures with the Last Castoff, or you don’t even want to play the tabletop game, but you just want a deeper glimpse into the lore of Torment, this is the book for you. 

The Torment Explorer’s Guide highlights most of the major characters and locations mentioned in the video game, and then blossoms outward to describe all sorts of details that lie beyond the scope of that adventure. Yes, you’ll find new descriptions and fleshing out of party members like Matkina and Aligern, and you’ll also encounter extensive descriptions of the strange living city called the Bloom, alongside a tour of Sagus Cliffs and its many districts. But you’ll also uncover new discoveries about the surrounding land, like the Black Cube – a hellish prison where everyone has amnesia about the nature of their crimes, or the city of Archopalasia, where an ancient machine regularly copies and recycles all its residents, turning their old bodies into goo that powers the city. 

If your main connection to Numenera is through the new video game, I recommend snagging a copy of both this book and the Numenera Corebook. A gaming group could have a lot of fun taking on the roles of other Castoffs of the Changing God that were not mentioned in the video game, and setting out onto a nearby quest. 

Next Page: Want to travel beyond the bounds of the Ninth World? Visit outer space, the deep oceans, or even other dimensions


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Mega64 Imagines A World Where Fumito Ueda Directs Madden 2018

After developing The Last Guardian for a decade, what else would Team Ico mastermind Fumito Ueda want to do but develop a game in the Madden franchise?

Probably lots of things, but that doesn't mean we can't imagine that beautiful future on our own. Mega64 has done most of the work for us in a new parody video that gives a glimpse into what a Ueda's Madden might look like, with a foreword by the man himself. It's a fun video that references past works like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian, while also finding time to poke fun at Rob Gronkowski and Michael Vick. You can check it out down below.

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 If you're craving a little more Ueda goodness after that, you can read about The Last Guardian, as well as some of Ueda's philosophies on game design in an interview here.

[Source: Mega64]

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Spike Chunsoft Officially Announces Fire Pro Wrestling World

Last week, Spike Chunsoft teased a return to Fire Pro Wrestling, and during a GDC 2017 press conference, the company finally unveiled the new fighting game.

Fire Pro Wrestling World will hit PlayStation 4 and PC sometime in the second quarter of 2017. This version also features an old-school inspired art style and will allow players to fight online.

[Source: Dualshockers]

 

Our Take
I can't say I'm excited about this, but hopefully, it will be good. It's impressive to see this series is still trudging along since 1989. Hopefully, it's learned a few things since its terrible Xbox 360 release

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The First Fifteen Minutes Of Night In The Woods’ Delightfully Strange World

Night in the Woods is a story-driven adventure game from developer Infinite Fall. It tells the tale of a young anthropomorphic cat who returns to her hometown for the first time in years, and it turns out that a lot has changed. She must uncover the truth behind the town's spooky happenings while reconnecting with old friends, making trouble, and figuring out where she wants to go in life.

In the video below, Ben Hanson and I take a look at the first fifteen minutes of the game, and comment on how it revels in examining human emotion and presents unique, multi-faceted characters that we fell in love with. 

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Check out our glowing review of Night in the Woods by heading here.

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Jeff Kaplan Talks Overwatch’s World, Shows Spider-Like Character

At this year's D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, NV, a handful of game developers were asked to share their insight regarding the theme of "world building." The first speaker to take the stage was Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch's game director. Kaplan began his talk by focusing on Blizzard's cancelled game, Project Titan.

On the day Project Titan was put on indefinite hold, Blizzard disbanded its development team, moving some people to assist in the ongoing development of World of Warcraft and others to other internal projects. Kaplan and 40 other people weren't moved, however, and were instead tasked to make something new within six short weeks. If they didn't create a project worth green-lighting, the team would disband and join other teams.

Kaplan said this short exploration window was stressful, but helped the team focus on something special. The team didn't want to completely abandon the work they had done on Titan, and felt they just missed the mark in figuring out what it needed to be. Titan's conceptual basis, "a future worth fighting for," became the point of inception for Overwatch. The hope was to use these words to dream up a vision of Earth players would want to inhabit and fight for.

One of the first visions of this version Earth came from an artwork piece of Overwatch's characters. Even at this early state in development, the artwork showed many of the characters that are in the game today, along with several others who didn't make the cut, including a few from Titan. Kaplan showed another early conceptual piece of what they wanted combat to look like. This beautiful piece showed Genji, Winston, Tracer, and a spider-like character who we haven't seen yet (and may never) battling over a control point. Hoping to squash any rumors, Kaplan quickly pointed out that the spider-like character isn't who you think it is. That piece of art ended up being the perfect vision for the game.

When it came time to design the world, Blizzard felt Earth had been done to death in video games. The Last of Us, Mad Max, and other games had done interesting things with the future of Earth, focusing on end of days and war-torn scenarios. Kaplan knew they had to do something different. The "future worth fighting for" hook came to mean making a world they wanted to live in.

Kaplan then detailed the inspiration for a number of Overwatch's maps. Oasis was modeled after Iraq. "Is it necessary to show dusty streets
or bombed-out buildings?" Kaplan questioned. "We've seen enough of that in games." Blizzard's hope for Iraq's future was pristine and technologically advanced. In the game's fiction it is a location born of a group of scientists and researchers.

For Dorado, Blizzard wanted to bring a slice of Mexico to the game. The initial thought was to create a colorful coastal town. So someone on the development team Googled
"colorful Mexican town," and found the perfect shot of a colorful, hilly, coastal town. The team fell in love with it and started building the map. They soon found out it was actually a picture of Manarola, Italy. But they loved the vision they had built so much that they kept it in.

Although the Hollywood map has many visual connections to the movie industry, the team didn't want realism to be the driving force behind it. This map went through several iterations, including one that was modeled closely after real world locations. Kaplan says they liked the vision of "Hollywood made by the guy from Belgium" than the realistic one, since it felt more creative and unique.

The talk concluded with a brief look at several characters, including Ana. Kaplan says that the team challenges stereotypes. Ana is an older Egyptian woman, who is a sniper and a mother. Most shooters are seen through the eyes of "grizzled soldiers," Kaplan added. Blizzard strives for as much variety as possible, as well as the idea of "normal things are normal." This creative angle was used while designing Tracer, the character on Overwatch's cover, who was recently revealed to be gay. Kaplan said these little details give their characters life and make them feel real.

He went on to add that the Overwatch community is bringing more life to the characters than the development team is. He said Blizzard is now just the custodians of this world, and that the players are the life behind it now.

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You Can Now Use Your World Of Warcraft Gold To Purchase Loot Boxes In Overwatch

Want to burn through some more loot boxes to find that one Mei skin but don't have the time to grind out more matches and don't want to burn through our wallet? Blizzard's giving you another option…if you've got a World of Warcraft account.

The developer has updated the MMO's WOW Token function so it can be used across all Blizzard games with micro-transactions via users' Battle.net Balance:

The goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel have a golden opportunity for you, friend—introducing a new way to use your WoW® Token. It’s just as easy as ever, but now when you use gold to buy a WoW Token from the Auction House in certain regions, you can to choose whether to convert it into 30 days of game time or Battle.net Balance*. You can use Battle.net Balance to buy services like World of Warcraft character transfers, digital products like pets and mounts, and even purchase in-game items for other supported Blizzard games you play. 

You can find out more details by reading the post here. It's worth noting that since this exchange is linked to a Battle.net balance, that you can only use this trick for the PC versions of Blizzard games, not the console versions.

 

Our Take
This is a pretty neat trick. A bit of a bummer console players are missing out though. 

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