Hand of Merlin (PS4/5 Review)

As always I want to thank the fine folks at RoomcGames and Versus Evil for tossing me a review copy of this one. It is always appreciated and definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.

Hand of Merlin plays like a lot of other RPGs. You create a party of three heroes then move around a map to individual places ( think Slay the Spire) and make decisions. Maybe it’s to help some poor folks find a wagon wheel or save them from bandits. Solving these will many times get you money, or fame. Fame is used to level up all of your characters at once.

Battles themselves play out in a tactics style and won’t win any awards for creativity. If you are a fan of them there is nothing new here to enjoy. The usual hit points and armor are present with hit points not coming back between battles outside of certain ways of healing and armor completely replenishing.

I don’t say this is a bad thing, the battle system is a lot of fun and I greatly enjoyed it. I just don’t want anyone to go into this thinking the wheel has been reinvented so to speak.

The story itself is quite basic but it serves its purpose. Inspired by Arthurian legends, Merlin is attempting to save the world from a terrible event. That is where the rouge-lite experience comes into play. Each time you fail, and by the way, losing the Holy Grail also results in a game over. I discovered that when I sold it. Anyway, if you fail Merlin will simply take off to a new part of the multiverse where you will start all over again. You pretty much lose all of the progress you made except for any heroes you unlocked or spells you unlocked.

Oddly, I don’t really have anything bad to say about this game. It is essentially average in every way I can think of. The sound, the graphics, the gameplay. It is all good. Just that, good. It isn’t in any way special or unremarkable. It is a solid 7/10 and great for any fan of rogue-lites.

Grid Force – Mask of the Goddess, will be published and distributed by Gravity Game Arise. Grid Force will release on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC on August 11th 2022.  

Grid Force is a grid-based bullet-hell RPG with a diverse cast, lightning-fast combat, and a deep story that adapts to your choices.

Players take on the role of Donna to create a squad of up to 4 characters from a large cast that they have recruited on their journey. Battling through waves of enemies, defeating challenging bosses, and making story-altering decisions, players are given free rein to forge the dream team of their choosing. With dozens of characters to be recruited, upgraded, and engaged with as the story progresses, quick-swapping between your squad during combat is the key to creating ultimate synergies and conquering the grid.

Key Features: 

  • Dozens of unique characters to recruit and upgrade.
  • Thousands of possible squad combinations.
  • Tough-as-nails grid battles and mighty boss fights.
  • Story told in beautiful, interactive manga-style comics.
  • 90’s-inspired soundtrack. 
  • Dense dialogue trees. 
  • Pivotal choices that lead to branching story paths.

Nicola Strina, Producer of Dreamnauts, says:

“We grew up with Gravity as a name synonyms with innovative and fun online games, and to now be part of their new indie initiative is something really special”

Michael Prefontaine, Business Development Chief of Gravity Game Arise, says:

“Grid Force is a force to be reckoned with. From the moment I saw this game and played the demo, I was hooked. There is creativity here that draws upon so many genres, action that will keep you thinking and moving, a story that is honestly moving with choices that affect not only the story but how you strategize and play the game.

The Dreamnauts are a unique family of extremely talented creators and we are proud to work with them and help bring their creations to gamers around the world.”

Critically acclaimed ‘Heaven’s Vault’up for store pre-order – new trailer (PS4/Switch)

Strictly Limited Games is delighted to announce that they will publish an exclusive limited edition release of the critically-acclaimed Heaven’s Vault for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 (PS4), in partnership with the award-winning developers at inkle. Praised for its narrative depth and gameplay around exploration and deciphering an ancient language, Heaven’s Vault is already a timeless classic. The boxed release now secures a permanent physical legacy for Heaven’s Vault and includes unique collectibles transcribed with never-before-seen Ancient text, well-aligned with the theme of archaeology in the game. Pre-orders will kick off on June 12th, at 12 AM CEST (midnight) only at Strictly Limited Games.

Nominated for the BAFTA, winner of the Independent Games Festival in the category “Best Narrative” and honored several times as one of the top 10 games of 2019 (The New Yorker, Mashable, GamesIndustry.biz), Heaven’s Vault is an adventure game unlike any other. Every choice counts, as the adaptive narrative reacts to your decisions and the game expands on every replay, unlocking deeper secrets.

About Heaven’s Vault:

Welcome to the Nebula: a strange network of moons linked by rivers in space, where ancient robots coexist with humans. Its ancient history has long been forgotten and only fragments remain, written in a lost hieroglyphic language. Join archaeologist Aliya Elasra and her robot sidekick Six on a trail of discoveries that will lead to the very edge of the world and to the ancient secret of Heaven’s Vault.

Ancient, the hieroglyphic language at the center of Heaven’s Vault, is a full language created for the game that consists of around 3,000 words. A language that an active fan community is continually discovering, discussing, and even expanding beyond the scope of the game. But it’s not only the language that makes Heaven’s Vault special. Progress through the game in any order you choose; the game’s fully adaptive narrative remembers every choice you make, every discovery, and every action you take, influencing what happens next. Meet a diverse cast of characters who remember everything you say, and whose attitudes toward you will change based on how you act. Who will you trust? What will you find? What will you risk? You will have to decide for yourself!

Features: 

  • Find artifacts and translate their hieroglyphic inscriptions to piece together the history of the world.
  • Make tough decisions and interact with a large cast of characters who remember everything you say.
  • Sail Aliya’s ship, the Nightingale, through an open world of fast-flowing space rivers and lost moons.
  • Freely explore a variety of locations, from ruined palaces to desert moons, market towns, and farming villages.
  • Marvel at the unique art style, blending beautiful hand-drawn 2D art with 3D environments.
  • Play it again  – Heaven’s Vault is highly replayable thanks to massively flexible choice-driven gameplay and translation puzzles that expand on every playthrough, revealing new secrets.

The two unique limited editions for Heaven’s Vault are available for pre-order exclusively via the Strictly Limited Games online shop

The Limited Edition is limited to 1,900 copies for Nintendo Switch and 900 for PS4, at a price of 29.99€, including a colorful game manual.

The Special Limited Edition is limited to 900 copies for Nintendo Switch and 400 for PS4, for 49.99€, including lots of additional collectibles: 

  • Special Limited Edition Box 
  • Colorful Game Manual 
  • Original Soundtrack with previously unreleased bonus tracks 
  • 10 Puzzle Cards
  • Timeline of the Nebula 
  • Archaeologist’s Notebook 
  • Bookmark
  • 4 transparent Stickers
Official logo
official logo

Heaven’s Vault to receive limited boxed release

Decipher an ancient language and sail the rivers of space in this award-winning narrative adventure

Stuttgart, Germany – 9 June 2022 Strictly Limited Games is delighted to announce that they will publish an exclusive limited edition release of the critically-acclaimed Heaven’s Vault for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 (PS4), in partnership with the award-winning developers at inkle. Praised for its narrative depth and gameplay around exploration and deciphering an ancient language, Heaven’s Vault is already a timeless classic. The boxed release now secures a permanent physical legacy for Heaven’s Vault and includes unique collectibles transcribed with never-before-seen Ancient text, well-aligned with the theme of archaeology in the game. Pre-orders will kick off on June 12th, at 12 AM CEST (midnight) only at Strictly Limited Games.

Nominated for the BAFTA, winner of the Independent Games Festival in the category “Best Narrative” and honored several times as one of the top 10 games of 2019 (The New Yorker, Mashable, GamesIndustry.biz), Heaven’s Vault is an adventure game unlike any other. Every choice counts, as the adaptive narrative reacts to your decisions and the game expands on every replay, unlocking deeper secrets.

A picture depicting the critical acclaim the game received.

About Heaven’s Vault:

Welcome to the Nebula: a strange network of moons linked by rivers in space, where ancient robots coexist with humans. Its ancient history has long been forgotten and only fragments remain, written in a lost hieroglyphic language. Join archaeologist Aliya Elasra and her robot sidekick Six on a trail of discoveries that will lead to the very edge of the world and to the ancient secret of Heaven’s Vault.

A screenshot showing a fast flowing river with a rock in the middle and shoreline on the right.

Ancient, the hieroglyphic language at the center of Heaven’s Vault, is a full language created for the game that consists of around 3,000 words. A language that an active fan community is continually discovering, discussing, and even expanding beyond the scope of the game. But it’s not only the language that makes Heaven’s Vault special. Progress through the game in any order you choose; the game’s fully adaptive narrative remembers every choice you make, every discovery, and every action you take, influencing what happens next. Meet a diverse cast of characters who remember everything you say, and whose attitudes toward you will change based on how you act. Who will you trust? What will you find? What will you risk? You will have to decide for yourself!

Features: 

  • Find artifacts and translate their hieroglyphic inscriptions to piece together the history of the world.
  • Make tough decisions and interact with a large cast of characters who remember everything you say.
  • Sail Aliya’s ship, the Nightingale, through an open world of fast-flowing space rivers and lost moons.
  • Freely explore a variety of locations, from ruined palaces to desert moons, market towns, and farming villages.
  • Marvel at the unique art style, blending beautiful hand-drawn 2D art with 3D environments.
  • Play it again  – Heaven’s Vault is highly replayable thanks to massively flexible choice-driven gameplay and translation puzzles that expand on every playthrough, revealing new secrets.
A screenshot showing a Brass Ceremonial Goblet and three words, allowing the player to choose which they feel is best inscribed onto drinking implement.

The two unique limited editions for Heaven’s Vault are available for pre-order exclusively via the Strictly Limited Games online shop

The Limited Edition is limited to 1,900 copies for Nintendo Switch and 900 for PS4, at a price of 29.99€, including a colorful game manual.

HeavensVault_Packshot_combined.png

The Special Limited Edition is limited to 900 copies for Nintendo Switch and 400 for PS4, for 49.99€, including lots of additional collectibles: 

  • Special Limited Edition Box 
  • Colorful Game Manual 
  • Original Soundtrack with previously unreleased bonus tracks 
  • 10 Puzzle Cards
  • Timeline of the Nebula 
  • Archaeologist’s Notebook 
  • Bookmark
  • 4 transparent Stickers
Special limited edition contents.

Both editions can also be purchased as an exclusive bundle with the two official Heaven’s Vault novels by Jon Ingold, inkle’s narrative director. Only 100 of these bundles will be available for Nintendo Switch and PS4 respectively.

Resident Evil 4 Remake

Resident Evil 4 will always have a special place in my heart. It wasn’t my first Resident Evil game, It wasn’t even my first with Leon. It was however the first I enjoyed enough to complete. So seeing this trailer made me quite happy. So please enjoy the first of what I hope is many trailers as we wait for this release. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Source of Madness PS5 (Review)

As always with these things,a huge shout out to the ladies and gentlemen at Thundeful Publishing and Thundeful group as well as everyone working with them to hook me up with a copy of this one. It is always greatly appreciated.

Did you ever want to play a game that would basically tell you how the story, the basics on how to play then just let you go? No I don’t mean any of the souls games, I mean one that is easy to just pick up and play without someone screaming “git good” when you get frustrated.

Enter Source of Madness, a side scrolling rouge lite where you WILL die,and that’s ok. You will start out with a bit of lore, escaping to a sort of keep after picking a character and setting out into the Loam Lands. In true Lovecraft style you will collect blood to level up. Each run ends when you die. Any money you make and items you find are gone, but the blood you make can then be used to unlock new skills or items.

With your character dead you will pick from a group of new randomly generated characters and set of once again into the procedurally generated world for the next run.

The combat in game is a lot like the graphics, simplistic yet effective. The visuals are the perfect mix of spooky and creepy while not being so dark things are hard to see which is an issue I think to many games try to do. It’s the creatures here that take center stage. You never know if something with far to many arms is going to come out of that rustic building and kill you or if a blog of tentacles is going to come sliding down the next hill.

The combat itself is simply a matter of dashing around and attacking with the appropriate buttons, usually one of the trigger buttons. This sounds easy but it is far from. The timing of it means a lot and messing that up can mean losing a nice chunk of health you can’t really afford to lose.

The game takes some time to get used to,with each run teaching you a little more and helping you get a little further into the game itself and it’s mechanics. I’ve probably got about a dozen hours in and lost about as many characters and I am still figuring things out,and that to me makes this beautiful game worth playing. This one is a great 8/10 and at it’s price point is a must play for fans of rouge lites or side scrollers. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Elite Dangerous Profile Transfers from Console to PC Coming This September

As many of you may know I was a huge fan of Elite Dangerous, I was part of the last Distant Worlds 2 Expedition and completed it making it all the way to Beagle Point. After the release of Odyssey on PC was a disaster, it was revealed it would never come to console. ( I play on PS4) That announcement and the announcement that console support was essentially abandoned completely I lost any desire to play the game along with many others.

There may be new life and hope for many, as it was recently announced that console players this September would be able to transfer their files to the PC version of the game. This will allow them to enjoy the new content as well as Odyssey without having to restart. This to me is far too little too late however as many will have already done this. Check their site for more info.

ICONIC LEGEND OF MANA ALLIES ELAZUL ANDLADY BLACKPEARL ARRIVES IN ECHOES OF MANA

SQUARE ENIX®’s newly released mobile action RPG, Echoes of Mana, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times since its launch, has released new content including the scenario event “Searching for Lost Luster” featuring the ally, Elazul, from the beloved Legend of Mana game. Players can also get a chance to obtain the popular Lady Blackpearl from Legend of Mana through the “Searching for Lost Luster Harvest” summons.
 
Details regarding the new content include:

  • New Scenario Event “Searching for Lost Luster” – Available now until June 30, players can clear the event quests to collect event points (EP and High-Level EP) that can be traded for grand rewards at the EP Trader. Additionally, players can receive 3★ Ally Elazul (Young Jumi Knight Ver.) from “Legend of Mana” and 3★ memory gem “Show of Faith.”
  • Chapter 6: In a Patchworked World Main Quest Now Available – The adventure continues with a journey through the most peculiar echo yet with the release of Chapter 6’s story. Players will continue their search for the Mana Sword and explore a new echo, only to be guided by the unfamiliar voices of two young girls. When wandering deeper into this mysterious place, players will encounter Elazul from Legend of Mana and Keldric from Dawn of Mana.

  • “Searching for Lost Luster Harvest” Summons – Now through June 30, this summons features the 4★ ally Lady Blackpearl (Jumi’s Finest Ver.) from Legend of Mana, 4★ ally Hawkeye (Pride of Thieves Ver.) from Trials of Mana, and 4★ memory gem “Chasing the Light.”

Echoes of Mana is a free-to-play action RPG designed for mobile devices. The title features an original story that weaves together both new and beloved Mana series characters alike. Players will be able to enjoy the action gameplay they love from the series and battle with friends through a multiplayer mode.

Echoes of Mana is available now for free on iOS and Android devices via the App Store and Google Play. Text is supported in English, German, French, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and Korean. For more information, visit EchoesOfMana.com.

The Devil’s Whispers, By Lucas Hault

First and foremost, I don’t do a lot of book reviews but TkPublishing asked me to take a look at this one and as a gothic horror book, it seemed like something I would enjoy. Plus we all know how much a love an up and comer in anything. So huge shout out to both of them for hooking me up with this.

We start out like many books, with our main man Gerard Woodward being summoned to an old castle. Our new British friend wasted no time getting settled into his room and doing what the average person would do, second-guessing his life decisions.

The life decision at this point is not listening to his wife and coming to this castle that he is now clearly locked into. Things aren’t exactly normal back home in London where he left his wife, I will however leave that for you to figure out as it is quite interesting.

Obviously, as you guys know I don’t like to spoil too much about the story of these things and that will be more true here than normal so I will talk more about the style of writing here. If you remember those old classic horror books written in the time period style of old letters and journal writings. This is a lot like that, and it is extremely well done. You can read this and feel the picture Hault paints with his pen.

All that being said there is a sort of mystery to the whole thing, and that mystery is would it be better to classify this book as an homage to Dracula or more of a retelling. I don’t mean this as an insult, I feel like it is very well done in fact. The story doesn’t revolve around a simple vampire and it isn’t as simple as silly name changes in a quick cash grab. There was time and effort and love put into this novel and I truly think fans of the classic monster tails by the likes of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelly will find a lot to like here.

If you are interested in checking out The Devil’s Whispers, and I recommend you do, you can pick up a copy here.

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising Review

  Eiyuden Chronicle Rising is a weird game for me. It’s cheap ($15) and is a spin off of a game that isn’t out yet. It introduces you to the world and some of the characters that will be in next year’s Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes.

  It actually does a very good job of this, C.J. is a lovable scavenger and her relationship with Garoo who is a kangaroo is great. More than once I laughed at how upset or annoyed he would seem to get at her love of stamp collecting.

  Yes I did say stamp collecting. A large part of this game is simply helping rebuild New Nevaeh. While you do this the towns people will reward you with money, experience new tools and stamps. These stamps fill a card that basically show your progress in the game and can be used to get items at the trader, later on some of these items are absolutely amazing so it is worth collecting them, sort of.

I say sort of because the game isn’t really all that hard or long. You only ever get three characters,you can swap between them easily simply by hitting A Y or B depending on who you want to attack with and doing so allows you to use link attacks to cause more damage or solve puzzles. I never found a reason to spend time grinding for levels or materials, simply doing all the missions will set you up nicely.

  The town itself however is nice, rebuilding it is simplistic,just gather the materials people ask for and give it to them. They will build the building in a preset location and give you a stamp.

Honestly for $15 the game is nice but a little repetitive. It is a nice introduction however to a world I can’t wait to give deeper into. It is also on GamePass and definitely worth checking out. Best wishes and may the gaming gods bring you glory.