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Runbow_Logo_MultiColour_RGB

I had the opportunity at PAX East to play a whole lot of different games. Many of them were interesting. A few of them were great. But, only one of them was truly revolutionary: Runbow.

Runbow, by 13am Games,  caught my attention for two main reasons.

  1. The art style is awesome. The entirety of the game is brilliantly colorful and is, in fact, built around the different colors and the way they interact with each other. All of the characters look as though they were ripped right off of a poster from the 60s or 70s.
  2. Runbow is a nine player game. Yes. I just said that. It is a nine player competitive game. The developers made this happen using the Wii U gamepad alongside four wii-motes with attached nunchucks or Wii Pro controllers.

My demo was relatively short, but I havenʼt played anything so interesting in years. There are a variety of game modes, but each of them were built around short bursts of platforming. The key is that the majority of the platforms are colored blue, green, cyan, and so forth. The background is constantly changing and if it happens to change to the same color as a platform it will essentially disappear. This makes each round very chaotic as all of the players not only race to the end, but they fight to survive.

Runbow Character Art

The Runbow character art is fantastic!

I also got a chance to play a “Color Master” mode where one player uses the gamepad and competes against all of the other players to prevent them from finishing the race. The only way to score points as the color master is to prevent everyone from finishing the race. I played as the color master and enjoyed a whole host of tools through my demo. I could drop bombs. I could create my own character to run and attack players. I could even paint different colors on the background to make platforms disappear.

The whole experience was a lot of fun and I was playing with complete strangers! I immediately imagined the insanity of my entire family and some of our friends playing this game. The younger players might struggle with some of the platforming, but each level is so chaotic that just running through them would be fun enough to keep it all going.

I cannot wait for this game to come out. Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming as the year passes for more in depth information.

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I got a chance to see some great board games at New York Toy Fair this year. The usual big ticket publishers were there like Mayfair, iello, and Asmodee. But, some of the hidden gems were at a booth that house smaller game designers who all had their games published by a company called AdMagic.

AdMagic is a publisher that allows people to get their games made without signing onto a bigger publisher. This gives them an independent feel that immediately grabbed our attention! (We love our indie games here at Engaged Family Gaming!)

The Game of 49

The Game of 49 is unique, but will feel familiar.

I saw The Game of 49 while I was walking down a row of small tables at New York Toy Fair. I have to admit that it did not look very interesting to me at first. But, the designer was able to help me understand the magic.

A lot of boards games recently have focused on delivering something new and unfamiliar. We see fantastic mini-figurines. We see bizarre shaped meeples. We see unique cards all the time. The Game of 49 focuses on delivering interesting game play using components that we have all used for most of our lives.

The game play is built around auctioning off squares on a bingo board using fake paper money. The goal is to try and purchase four squares in a row. It sounds simple, but the auction mechanic makes the territory control more difficult than it sounds.

If this sounds like it is up your alley make sure to head over to the BreakingGames.com website to order it!

 

 

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I got a chance to see some great board games at New York Toy Fair this year. The usual big ticket publishers were there like Mayfair, iello, and Asmodee. But, some of the hidden gems were at a booth that house smaller game designers who all had their games published by a company called AdMagic.

AdMagic is a publisher that allows people to get their games made without signing onto a bigger publisher. This gives them an independant feel that immediately grabbed our attention! (We love our indie games here at Engaged Family Gaming!)

Appalachian Trail Logo

Learning about the outdoors is going to be very cool!

 

The Appalachian Trail Game came about as a bit of “Trail Magic.” One of the game designers was hiking the Appalachian Trail and opened his map. He then thought to himself, “Wouldn’t this be an interesting game board?” He then set about using his time hiking to develop a game that featured the wonder of the trail and could be used to teach newcomers the basics!

Players are dealt a series of gear cards that represent actual equipment that they would need to go on the famous cross-country hike. You then progress along the trail and are presented with challenges like trivia questions or natural hazards that you need to “gear up for.”  The Appalachian Trail Game is well suited for scouts, outdoorsmen (and outdoorswomen!), and anyone who is interested in the Appalachian Trail.

It was originally funded through a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign (it funded in less than 48 hours!) It is currently available for purchase directly from their site or through BreakingGames.com. We’ll be following up with a formal review later this year! Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more great games!

 

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 Millions of dollars will be spent this year to market AAA video game titles like Madden 15, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Grand Theft Auto V. These franchises are pillars of the video game world (for better or for worse), but there is FAR more out there than what you can see on store shelves or in TV advertisements.

Hundreds of games by independent developers are released on PC as well as on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace and Nintendo eShop. These games are often smaller, simpler in scope, and much less costly than the standard $60. Even better? Many of these games are better than the juggernauts.

There are a lot of parents buying new consoles for their kids this holiday now that the next generation of consoles is in full swing. Make sure that you take a look at the online store for whatever console you buy and take a look at the smaller games available. Some of them are amazing.

Some highlights include: Resogun (PlayStation 4), Chariot (All home consoles), Shovel Knight (WiiU), and Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One). I cant show trailers or game play in print, but there are videos galore for all of these games available on YouTube.

Remembering the smaller games will guarantee that there will always be something to play (and you won’t break the bank keeping it that way)!

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IndieCade is taking place this weekend in Culver City, California. This is a big deal for the independent games industry as a whole, but other segments of the gaming market are showing up as well.

Nintendo, one of the biggest names in the video game business is going to be there. Not only are they planning to highlight fifteen playable independent games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems, but also many of the creative minds behind the games themselves.

Nintendo has even coined a new term for these independent developers who have aligned themselves with the Nintendo systems: Nindies. These “Nindies,” or Nintendo independent developers, will be at IndieCade in person show off their wares and to share their experiences working with Nintendo.

“Nintendo has always supported creativity and innovation in video games,” said Steve Singer, Nintendo of America’s vice president of Licensing. “These Nindie developers are currently making some of the most exciting and imaginative games out there, and Nintendo is pleased to offer them multiple platforms to bring their creative ideas to life.”

The Nintendo booth will feature the following Wii U and Nintendo 3DS digital games, many of which will be playable for the first time:

Wii U

  • Affordable Space Adventures from KnapNok Games: A 2D side-scrolling spaceship simulator. Players use the Wii U GamePad controller as a “Heads-Down Display” in the spaceship cockpit. Play it alone, or fly as a crew of two or three players. Exclusively on Wii U.

  • The Fall from Over the Moon Games: The Fall is a unique blend of adventure-game puzzle solving and side-scrolling action. Players take on the role of ARID, the artificial intelligence onboard a high-tech combat suit.

  • Costume Quest 2 from Midnight City: Pick a fight with demented dental soldiers in Costume Quest 2, the sequel to the hit original RPG, Costume Quest. Includes a range of new features and game-play improvements.

  • Stealth Inc. 2 from Curve Digital: Players step into the role of a clone escaping a sinister and high-tech testing facility in this puzzle-platformer. The game tests brainpower and reflexes in more than 60 levels linked together by a detailed world. Exclusively on Wii U.

  • Swords & Soldiers II from Ronimo Games BV: Like its predecessor, Swords & Soldiers II is a side-scrolling strategy game that allows players to buy units, cast spells and build structures to overwhelm their enemies on a 2D battleground. Exclusively on Wii U.

  • Runbow from 13AM Games: Runbow is a party action game for up to nine players. Platforms and obstacles appear and disappear as the background color changes, so players have to think fast, stay alive and make it to victory in Run, King of the Hill and Arena modes. Exclusively on Wii U.

  • Sportsball from TOO DX: Up to four players take the reins of exotic birds that flap, tackle and dunk balls into the net for points and glory, leaving their opponents as feathery tarred balls of shame. Exclusively on Wii U.

  • Chariot from Frima: Chariot is a physics-based co-op platformer in which a brave princess and her suitor carry a funeral wagon through ancient caves to bury the King’s remains in a gold-filled tomb.

  • Beatbuddy from THREAKS: The action-adventure Beatbuddy combines puzzle solving and enemy vanquishing with exploration, set to an original soundtrack.

Nintendo 3DS

  • Woah Dave! from Choice Provisions: In Woah Dave!, players gun for digital glory by slaughtering aliens, stealing their loose change and racking up the highest score possible.

  • Xeodrifter from Renegade Kid LLC: A story of an interstellar drifter traveling the stars on a simple mission of exploration, Xeodrifter offers classic 2D platforming, shooting and exploration game play that will test players’ skills. Exclusively on Nintendo 3DS.

Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

  • Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Games: A sweeping classic action-adventure game with intense platforming, memorable characters and an 8-bit retro aesthetic. Play as the eponymous Shovel Knight, a small knight with a huge quest!

  • Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse from WayForward: Set sail for adventure with Shantae, the belly-dancing, hair-whipping half-genie. When Shantae loses her genie magic, she must team up with her arch nemesis Risky Boots and become a pirate in order to save Sequin Land from an evil curse. Exclusively on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.

The Nintendo booth at the IndieCade festival will also feature a massive concentration on “Nindie” developers. A list of attending developers includes the following:

Nindie

Game

Platform

Launch Date

KnapNok Games

Affordable Space Adventures

Wii U

Q1 2015

Over the Moon Games

The Fall

Wii U

Released

Double Fine

Costume Quest 2

Wii U

October

Yacht Club Games

Shovel Knight

Wii U;
Nintendo 3DS

Released

Ronimo Games

Swords & Soldiers II

Wii U

Winter

WayForward

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

Wii U;
Nintendo 3DS

Winter;

Oct. 23

13AM Games

Runbow

Wii U

2015

TOO DX

Sportsball

Wii U

November

Frima

Chariot

Wii U

Q4 2014

Choice Provisions

Woah Dave!

Nintendo 3DS

Fall

Do any of these games sound interesting to you? Sound off in the comments section!

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As a 12 year old in rural East Tennessee (which is only slightly more rural than urban East Tennessee), there was one mall that my family went to, and one toy store in that mall, KB Toys. I’m sure there was a plethora of amazing diversions there, but the only area I cared about was the revolving shelf just inside the entrance that held my own video game nirvana; the discount computer games. It’s here that I met (and subsequently fell in love with) King’s Quest, Space Quest, Quest for Glory (noticing a theme?), Red Baron, The Incredible Machine, and numerous other titles published by Sierra On-Line.

That’s the nostalgia blanket I was wearing when Activision released it’s teaser last week on Sierra.com that an announcement was coming for the nearly forgotten brand. We have since learned that Activision is reviving the label as an Indie game publisher. I will begin operations by publishing Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions this holiday season and a new King’s Quest that is due out in 2015.

Wait just a second. I have to calm down before I can write more…

… Almost there…

Okay. I’m ready.

Activision is a corporate behemoth, and it’s a smart move to revive a brand with an existing fan base to take risks on smaller projects. Sierra’s mission will be “to find and work with talented indie developers working on their own amazing projects, or passionate about working on great Sierra IP” according to Bob Loya, Sr. Director of External Development at Activision Blizzard.

So far those talented developers include Lucid Games (a team with developers that worked on the original Geometry Wars) and the quirky team The Odd Gentleman (The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom). Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions will bring full 3D action and cooperative gameplay to the franchise, alongside 50 levels of new single-player content and 10 battle modes. The new King’s Quest (just breathe, Brandon…) will follow the adventures of King Graham and Gwendolyn, his granddaughter.

Now I think it’s time to break out King’s Quest 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 to get me through to next year. (Yes, I know there was a King’s Quest 8, but I choose to pretend things stopped at 7). If you’re interested, check out the Sierra bundles on GOG.com, or the incredibly great remixed versions at AGDInteractive.com.

What do you think of Sierra’s revival? Let us know in the comments.

 

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Treasure Adventure World screenshot

I saw a lot of interesting indie titles while I wandered the show floor at PAX East. Only a few of them stood out to me as something that needed real attention. Treasure Adventure World was one of the best.

Developed by Robit Studios, a team of three people, Treasures Adventure World looks like a treat. The story follows common video game tropes: a young girl with amnesia, a companion with ambiguous intentions, and an adventure to discover her past. The adorable aesthetic, however, more than pushes it ahead of the pack. This is a gorgeous game to watch. Characters are well animated (even at this early stage of development) and the levels are beautifully done.

Treasure Adventure World takes a Metroidvania style adventure game and makes it accessible to a younger audience. Simple controls and a straight forward premise will let younger players enjoy this richly animated world without getting confused. The protagonist does slowly acquire new tools that will allow players to explore different areas for secrets, but these changes are brought on slowly to avoid overwhelming anyone.

Robit Studios is doing amazing things with this game and I cannot wait to share more with you. Stay tuned to Engaged Family Gaming in the near future for more updates.

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