Motorcade: 72-Hour Game Jam

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Hey FREEDOM★CGC community! I’m Daniel Sun, if you listen to ‘Don’t feed the Gamers’ I was the guest host on episode one! I participated in the 72 hours #IndiesVsGamers Game Jam, presented by PewDiePie and GameJolt.com. My buddies Alex did the art, and Ally Currie produced the music.

I present to you….

Motorcade


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It’s a top down escort shooter. You’re a biker with a gun, and your one job is to protect the VIP limo – don’t let enemies destroy it! Grab some Xbox controllers and 4 buddies for ultimate fun. The game focuses on super-fast action where defense and position is key to score!

We are extremely happy with how this game turned out. Please play it, and if you like it give it a ‘5’ on GameJolt.

Check out the game on www.motorcadegame.com

Vote on GameJolt : )

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Coffin Dodgers {Review}

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“Coffin Dodgers feels like a short demo, certainly not a full game. It’s frustrating and unfortunate because the core mechanics and gameplay are actually really fun, there’s just no game built around them.”

  • Developer: Milky Tea Studios
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Genre: Kart racing
  • Release date: July 8th, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 4 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 9,99€ / Copy provided by developer

It’s not unusual for racing games to feature tournaments you want to win so you can get money, glory, or perhaps even save the world. However, it is rather unusual to be racing for your very life, what little is left of it, at least. The terrific premise of Coffin Dodgers sees you take on the role of a senior citizen, get on your mobility scooter and try to outrace the Grim Reaper in order to live out a few more years in peace. High stakes, then. In true kart racing fashion, you’ll race across several different areas, upgrade and pimp out your mobility scooter and use various weapons to get an edge on other competitors. Whoever ends up last in each area, kicks the bucket. However, the boney man in the black cowl will resurrect these poor souls as zombies so they can still race against you in upcoming races. What a douche.

As soon as you start up you scooter, it just feels good. The controls and the mechanics may not be quite as expertly fine-tuned as in big budget kart racers, but they still feel tight and the driving is definitely a joy. It’s a well-known fact that senior citizens play dirty and it’s no different here. As soon as you start racing, you’ll notice that you can use your cane to knock your elderly peers off their scooters and get ahead in the race. Getting stuck into a pack of racers is hilarious as they will all be waving their canes about and it is very likely that you’ll end up on the ground. Once that happens, it’s even more likely you’ll simply get trampled by other racers as your rag doll twitches about on the pavement. Aside from that, you get some more traditional weapons and gadgets by driving into the classic question mark crate. These aren’t really as inspired as they feature well-known rockets, shields, oil slicks, etc. found in any kart racing game. The weapon that stands out here is the Uzi which you really wouldn’t associate with “homemade” weapons. Although, I found the Uzi to actually be the weakest weapon as it simply takes a long time to knock someone off with it. You know it’s not a particularly good weapon when it’s easier to do a cane drive-by rather than an Uzi drive-by.

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New Game Releases: July 2015

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This is not a comprehensive list of all releases in July (there are too many!), but rather just a small sample of releases we think are worth highlighting – with a focus on Steam in particular. Early Access releases are included, but they will be labeled as such. If there are some games you’re looking forward to that weren’t mentioned here, please sound off in the comments!

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DBoy’s Den – Episode 9 – The Impressions That I Get From E3

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I’m back! Missed me? Of course you did. That’s why you’ll enjoy me talking about where I’ve been hiding, and also my impressions on this year’s Electronic Three. Rejoice!

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Turmoil {Early Access Outlook}

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DISCLAIMER: Early Access Outlook is not a final review. The purpose is to assess the state of the game in its current form while acknowledging that it is still in development. This outlook will provide information on what’s available now and what the developer plans to add in the future. No score will be given. A final review will follow once the game leaves Early Access.

  • Developer: Gamious
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Genre: Simulation
  • Release date: June 5, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 5 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 9,99€ / Copy provided by developer

There are a lot of games with names that consist of really bad puns while others are just generic or don’t really describe what the game is all about very well. I just feel compelled to stress out that Turmoil perfectly encapsulates what this game is all about and furthermore it’s just a great title. It’s a game that simulates being an aspiring oil driller at the very end of the 19th century. The petroleum industry was already in full swing at the time and lots of people were trying to strike it big by uncovering that next well of black gold.

That’s where you come in. You start in a town which is just in the process of erecting its first commercial building. Luckily, the town hall is already there and that’s precisely where you need to go in order to buy a deed for your own patch of land. This is portrayed through an auction mini-game in which three other NPC’s will bid you and each other for the best plot of land. Of course, at the very beginning nobody really knows what the best plots are. However, based on previous results of already drilled plots, all participants will be able to guesstimate the best possible location and they will all try to outbid each other.

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Spotlight on Excrement Vol. 5 [Jaws NES] (This Time It’s Personal)

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In retrospect, when evaluating the temerity of game developers and publishers of the 1980’s and 90’s, it can be fairly stated that they were fearless when it came to their willingness to adapt – quite literally – anything into the fold of the gaming medium. Unfettered by the constraints of taste or common sense, the list of games both fully realized as well as those proposed but later abandoned is staggering. From a pseudo-sequel to The Goonies by Konami (a game which I’m certain confused and traumatized countless children who were convinced they had somehow missed out on a sequel to one of the 80’s greatest flicks) to an unreleased SNES game based on the film Radio Flyer, which was predicated on the premise of child abuse, there was nothing that couldn’t be adapted, however tenuously, into an interactive goldmine.

There was even a proposed Hellraiser videogame for the NES, which I’m pretty certain would have been the greatest game ever made had it been finished.

raisertitle

In November of 1987, LJN, a company that would go on to unleash such masterpieces as Back to the Future (see Vol 1 of this series) and the amusingly unfrightening Friday the 13th, would release what some consider their genuine masterpiece:

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Broken Age (Acts 1 and 2) {Review}

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Broken Age is a gorgeous game. I don’t mean only that the overall art direction is stunning or that it seems like just as much care went into the individual character designs while still allowing them to neatly fit into the game as a whole. I’m also talking about how the story, which anybody who has ever been a teenager could relate to, uses warm humor to get at the hard truths of growing up while never letting that humor cause a distraction. So Broken Age is a gorgeous video game, but I’m not so sure it benefits from actually being a video game. There are some puzzles that work really well, but there are more that feel like roadblocks in the way of meeting new characters, seeing the next area and finding out how everything wraps up.

You play as two teenagers, each with their own wildly different frustrations with the rules. Shay lives on a spaceship where distant AI’s (rebelliously named Mom and Dad) smother him with boyhood luxuries he no longer cares for and stifle his growing desire for freedom with constant safety precautions. Vella lives in a village of otherwise loving bakers who have condemned her future by choosing to offer her as the next sacrifice to a monster instead of confronting it. The juxtaposition of the two diverse backdrops of sci-fi and fantasy highlights the similar difficulties of the two main characters in transitioning from children to adults while being neither.

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Mortal Kombat X {Review}

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“Mortal Kombat X is a worthy sequel that improved on the great revamped fighting engine introduced in the last installment.”

  • Developer: Neatherrealm Studios
  • Publisher: WB
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Released: April 2015
  • Played on: PS4
  • Play time: 35 hours

A few years back Neatherrealm studios successfully rebooted the Mortal Kombat franchise, a franchise that was well passed its prime. The reboot introduced a whole new 2D combat system and brought back every character from the first three beloved games. With its amazing story mode and addicting combat, the new Mortal Kombat became the best game in the series. Mortal Kombat X is the first sequel in this new line of MK games, the MK2 of this new reboot so to speak. Just like the MK2 of before it enhances what came before with a better combat system and some great new characters.

MKX could have been called Mortal Kombat Generations as it involves the children of many of the MK mainstays. These new cast members fit in perfectly, Cassie in particular is as funny as she is sexy and dangerous, a fantastic female character. The female characters in general are handled better than in any fighting game I have ever seen. Gone are the ridiculous “big boobs on display” costumes from MK9; now they dress normally and are strong empowered women. Joining the kids are a whole new cast of outworld freaks including the creepy D’vorah who is part insect and Ferra/Torra a giant with a small evil girl riding it. The new characters fit right into the MK lore and go nicely with the rest of the returning cast which stars most all of the favorites.

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Batman Arkham Knight {Review}

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“…it has always been gameplay first, everything serves as a way to give the player maximum gameplay variety, engage the player in unique ways and challenge them.”

Completing a trilogy while maintaining high quality and keeping things fresh is a tough proposition. Most of the time the third game in a trilogy doesn’t stick the landing and is viewed worse than the previous sequel. Rocksteady studio manages to conclude its Arkham trilogy on a high, what I consider to be the best in the series. Batman Arkham Knight improves on all the gameplay systems that came and introduces the batmobile which is incorporated in nearly every aspect of the game keeping this last installment from feeling like a clone.

The batmobile to me feels like the main new item of a new Zelda game. The core gameplay systems are still in place but the new item or in this case vehicle, is used throughout the game in unique ways. Even though it is a car, traversal is maybe the least useful function of the batmobile. It is a blast to rocket through the streets barreling through any object in your path, but flying through the city is still the best and fastest way to travel. The car is a bit loose in the controls, it bounces off walls like it’s a beach ball and you can easily lose control when boosting and trying to drift. It feels like an ultra arcade racer when using it as a car but when you become accustomed to the quirks of its handling it becomes fun to master the race trails and car chases.

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Knee Deep Act 1: Wonderland {Review}

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DISCLAIMER: This is a review of the first episode. No score will be given. A full review of the entire season will follow once all three episodes have been released.

  • Developer: Prologue Games
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Release date: July 6th, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 4 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 27,99€ / Copy provided by developer

It’s a good thing that I’m playing this game on a hot summer evening. It’s also interesting that I live just a few miles away from one of the largest swampland areas in Europe and the humidity, as always, is unbearable. It’s just curious that there are no mosquitoes tonight. All in all, a perfect situation to immerse myself into Knee Deep, a self-proclaimed swamp noir in three acts. And I am immersed in a matter of seconds. The first thing that strikes me is the music, a brilliantly moody mixture of American folk and blues. I start the game up and I am immediately seated in a theater. I silence my mobile phone out of respect for the actors. As the curtain rises on the stage, I find myself in a backwater Florida town of Cypress Knee. It’s a grim start as a washed-up actor has hanged himself from a tower next to a local inn.

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Ronin {Review}

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“…a thoroughly great game thanks to its stylish presentation, innovative mechanics, emergent gameplay and well-designed levels.”

  • Developer: Tomasz Wacławek
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Genre: Action / Strategy
  • Release date: June 30th, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 9 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 12,99€ / Copy provided by developer

Because of its visual style, it’s extremely easy to get the wrong idea about Ronin. Take a look at one screenshot and you’ll think it’s similar to Gunpoint. Take a look at another and it will remind you of Mark of the Ninja. Don’t judge a book by its cover, goes the old saying, and in Ronin’s case, it’s certainly true. Ronin doesn’t actually play anything like either of those games. Ronin is an odd beast filled with contradictions. It’s an action game, but its combat system is turn-based. It’s a 2D side-scrolling platformer and yet it doesn’t really compare to any platformer you’ve ever played. It has stealth elements, but it bluntly states that it is not a stealth game and advises the player to simply kill everyone.

Ronin has a razor-sharp focus on the gameplay which is reflected in the fact that the story is extremely simple. Its most obvious inspiration is Kill Bill as Ronin tells the tale of a katana-wielding heroine on a bloody revenge path. The entire story is delivered through approximately 20 short lines of text and there’s no mucking about. They killed your father. Now you kill them. The end.

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Life Is Strange: Episode 1 {Review}

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DISCLAIMER: This is a review of the first episode. No score will be given. A full review of the entire season will follow once all five episodes have been released.

  • Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Release date: January 29, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 4 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 4,99€ / 2,49€

In a medium in which stories are non-existent or deal with big themes such as saving the world, we very rarely get a chance to play a more grounded and subdued game. Life Is Strange is one such game. The player takes over the role of Maxine Caulfield, a shy and introverted 18-year-old whose biggest passion in life is photography. And even though the game doesn’t waste a second to present its time rewind hook, the real focus is still very much on Max’s more mundane problems such as dealing with everyday life and relationships in Blackwell Academy.

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The Masterplan {Review}

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“…possess that inexplicable addictive element that makes you want to repeat that heist until you get it just right, no matter how much it drives you nuts.”

  • Developer: Shark Punch
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Genre: Action / Strategy
  • Release date: June 4, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 18 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 19,99€ / Copy provided by developer

First we have to stake the place out. There’s a guard at the entrance and another one is patrolling the interior. Security cameras are active. There are a few customers inside and they’re going to be a problem as well. We don’t want them calling the cops from the phone booth on the corner. We have to sneak inside, grab the key to the back room and knock out the guy watching the security monitors. Then we can get to the safe. We don’t want a bloodbath. However, if things go wrong, we’ll do whatever it takes in order to get out alive with the loot. Everyone know what to do? Alright, let’s do it.

As you might have surmised from the opening paragraph, The Masterplan is a real-time tactical heist game in which you plan and then carry out robberies all over town. You start small, with a kiosk and the local bar, but over time your ambitions will grow and you’ll get to rob a bank, break into a police station, take out a rival gang and finally take on Fort Knox for that massive payoff that’ll secure your retirement in the Caribbean. The Masterplan is a top-down 2D game set in the 1970’s. You start off with a single goon and a toy gun, but as soon as you get to your hideout, more options will appear. You will be able to hire up to six goons, but you can only take four on heists. As you hit more places, you’ll earn money which you can use to hire goons and buy weapons. You can also use the hideout to practice some mechanics such as locking a door, shooting and so on.

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Don’t Feed The Gamers: 06–05–2015 w/ Daniel Sun of Sun Studios

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Special Guest This Episode:

Daniel Sun Of Sun Studios


http://www.sun-studios.net/

Early Access Review by @upinflames can be read here

This isn’t just any podcast. This is a show for gaming enthusiasts that like to have a good time. @Tony spotlights an indie game developer in each episode. Discussion of FREEDOM frontpage content, community forums, developer interviews and even game shows are brought to you with each musically wrapped hour-long episode.

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2015 E3 Predictions

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Sit back and relax as @Tony and @dendeu discuss 2015 E3 predictions with @crakestraw from Entertainium.org, @sirkibble2 from Progress Bar Radio and @dvader from Ring of Fire.

We do a chronological breakdown of the press conferences:

  • Bethesda
  • Microsoft
  • EA
  • Ubisoft
  • Sony
  • Nintendo
  • Square Enix

Click Continue Reading To Listen!

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Rear Window – Alice: Madness Returns {Retro Review}

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Rear Window is a new series that looks back at the great games we should not forget (and a few we definitely should).

“A little repetition is not enough to mar the beauty and unsettling atmosphere of Alice’s quest for sanity.”

THE GOOD:

  • Stylish, elegant character and environment design
  • Entertaining combat
  • Alice is a solid, well written character
  • Great soundtrack and voice acting
  • Lengthy story mode
  • Plenty of secrets to discover
  • 2D platform section is a lot of fun, could easily be its own game
  • Comes with free downloadable prequel

THE BAD:

  • Combat and exploration get mildly repetitive
  • Uneven texture quality
  • Only a single boss fight in such a long game
  • Occasional bugs and glitches

Back in 2000, Electronic Arts released the critically acclaimed PC and Mac exclusive American McGee’s Alice, a gothic, twisted follow-up to the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll. Eleven years later, a sequel was finally made available to continue, perhaps conclude Alice’s story. Did it succeed in providing a worthy successor to the original game?

Much has been said and done concerning the interpretation of Carrol’s work: ranging from early film adaptations starting as early as 1903, moving on to Walt Disney’s famous dreamy take on it in 1951, to Tim Burton’s darker, but still fairy tale in nature 2010 film. Most if not all of these have favored the playful, mischievous aspect of Wonderland over the underlying theme that quietly runs through the books: that of madness, which some have interpreted as an allegorical commentary on delusion and schizophrenia. Nothing comes close to this aspect like American McGee’s reimagining of Alice’s journey, in which he not only accentuates what the novels only hinted at, but also goes one step beyond, tackling thematics that few in the gaming industry would dare touch even with oven mitts.

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DBoy’s Den – Episode 10 – I’m Batman

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In this short episode, I go over the games I’ve been playing lately, such as Batman Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Rory McIlroy’s PGA Tour 2015, and others. I also talk about Comic-Con, U2, and… metal?

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Her Story {Review}

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“The greatest revelations come from sneaking suspicions that build up over the course of the investigation.”

  • Developer: Sam Barlow
  • Publisher: Sam Barlow
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Release date: June 24, 2015
  • Played on: PC

Her Story is a little bit like reading somebody’s diary except it’s more exciting and it feels much more important. The big hook here is that you’re searching through a police database to learn about a murder case that happened back in 1994. Police sirens flash by in the reflection on the screen and add to the feeling that you shouldn’t be doing this but also strangely encourage you to continue anyway. The only thing better than discovering something is feeling like you shouldn’t have made that discovery. However, there’s a physical aspect to reading a diary and it’s made directly by the person who’s forbidden secrets you’re discovering. Her Story is much more chilling. You’re discovering traces of a distant and intangible life, making it almost like a ghost story.

After the initial hook, what really pulls you in is the sense of place and agency. Agency is so often a hot button topic in games like Half-Life and Metroid Prime, but it’s a real factor here in building suspense. The conceit that you’re searching through old files is never forgotten because developer Sam Barlow has made a 90’s workstation to sift through. The screen takes on the convex distortion of glass monitors, but your own keyboard and mouse inputs blur the line between game and reality more than that visual threshold would indicate. But the convex screen is also part of the world building. I’m reminded a bit of Gone Home with how video games can so vividly evoke an era by letting the player interact with its technology.

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Massive Chalice {Review}

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“Massive Chalice is a great strategy game in its own right with an engaging combat system, engrossing marital simulation and stellar presentation.”

  • Developer: Double Fine Productions
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Genre: Turn-based strategy
  • Release date: June 1, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 20 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 19,99€ / 13,99€

We are alone and surrounded. The Cadence never rests and their sole purpose is to destroy us. But there is a glimmer of hope, an ancient relic that can wipe out our demonic enemy once and for all. However, it will take three hundred years to charge up the divine chalice to have enough power to destroy the Cadence. During those three hundred years, your heroes will live, fight, reproduce and die. As an immortal ruler, you will remain vigilant. You cannot leave the keep or the chalice, but you can oversee the entire land and dictate everything.

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Don’t Feed The Gamers: Before The Storm Of E3 2015

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E3 2015 is very close! @Tony and @dendeu talk about how to survive E3, the Official E3 Hype Thread in the Ring Of Fire and Jim’s E3 developer interview schedule for next week. It’s going to be an exciting E3!

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The Silent Age {Review}

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“The Silent Age is a great adventure game with engaging, expertly designed puzzles, compelling narrative and fantastic presentation.”

  • Developer: House on Fire
  • Publisher: Meridian4
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Release date: May 29, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 4 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 9,99€ / Copy provided by publisher

There are theories that suggest that time travel is indeed possible. They are only theories and there are still many open questions regarding what exactly would happen if certain time travel scenarios were realized such as the grandfather paradox. It is precisely those mysteries and unknowns that make time travel so fascinating. It’s great to know the answers, but it also makes things less exciting. That’s just human nature. And that’s why the premise of The Silent Age is so interesting, especially since it explores time travel both in its narrative and gameplay.

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Armed with Wings: Rearmed {Early Access Outlook}

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DISCLAIMER: Early Access Outlook is not a final review. The purpose is to assess the state of the game in its current form while acknowledging that it is still in development. This outlook will provide information on what’s available now and what the developer plans to add in the future. No score will be given. A final review will follow once the game leaves Early Access.

  • Developer: Sun-Studios
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Genre: Action
  • Release date: May 28, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 2 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 7,99€ / Copy provided by developer

The first thing you’ll notice about Armed with Wings: Rearmed is how beautiful it looks. The minimalistic black and white art-style coupled with the superb animations provides a striking first impression. There is also a setting that enables you to change to a color palette which also looks lovely. It is also very polished, there are no bugs or glitches to speak of, it runs very smoothly. All of this is particularly impressive when you realize that this is the work of a single person (Daniel Sun who uses the moniker Sun-Studios) and that the game just launched in Early Access meaning that it isn’t even finished yet.

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