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PAX East 2018: Living My Childhood Dreams with Sleep Tight from We Are Fuzzy

Every kid I know build pillow forts and pretended to defend their living room from something. Sleep Tight  by We are Fuzzy gives us the chance to relive those childhood memories in video game form. I was fortunate enough play a lengthy demo of the game and I came away very excited.

Sleep Tight is a twin stick shooter at its core. Players control one of a group of awesome kids, each with our own special abilities and starting weapons. The goal is to defend your living room from monster attacks each night. You do that my spending each day building defenses like pillow forts and setting up foam dart gun turrets to hold off the attackers. Once night falls you run around your room eliminating foes as you try to survive for one minute.

One. Minute.

That’s doesn’t seem like a long time, but when an unending army of monsters is attacking for that entire time it feels like an eternity. The challenge is amped up even further by your limited ammunition supply. Resource management and careful planning are key. I thought that would undermine the fast action, but it didn’t. I had to use everything available to me to be able to survive each wave. I barely survived my first few waves and eventually ran into a night where my defenses were overwhelmed (#steveisbadatvideogames). I wasn’t frustrated though. I knew what I did wrong in my demo right away and adjusted my plan immediately.

Another thing that helps Sleep Tight stand out from the crowd is the gorgeous visuals. The team is comprised of a group of developers including  Maxx Burman, whose credits include Far CryLeague of LegendsWestworld, and Titanfall. Disney character artists, including Dylan Ekren, who worked on Wreck It Ralph and Zootopia, and Ubisoft designer Oscar Mar, whose resume cites the Far Cry and Rainbow 6 franchises. It is easy to see why this game looks so awesome when you look at that pedigree. When I spoke to them at PAX East they told me that they wanted to make a game that looked like a Pixar movie come to life. Mission accomplished!

Sleep Tight is coming this summer to PC and to the Nintendo Switch and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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PAX East 2018 – Saving the World in Earthnight!

Earthnight, by Cleaversoft, is a procedurally generated infinite runner hand painted in an anime style set during a dragon apocalypse. coming to PS4, PSVita. and PC/Mac later this year. That sure is a lot to unpack, but it my demo was so good when I played it at PAX East that its worth digging in to every detail we can about it. The game has been in development for several years at this point. So long, in fact, that it started when infinite runners were just starting to pick up steam on mobile devices. The team  at Cleaversoft wanted to make a game together and decided on a project that improved on the genre by adding more depth. They wanted to take Infinite runners to new heights so they decided to go into space… with dragons.

 

The most striking thing about Earthnight is the art style. Every frame of animation is hand drawn by a brilliant artist in an anime style. The two main characters, a 14 year old girl name Sydney and a freelance photographer named Stanley, are beautifully animated. Their detailed running and jumping animations each help to give them as much personality as a few dozen pages of dialogue and backstory. Even the character selection screen serves to illustrate their character.

The level design is important, too. The team created something they like to call “hand-designed procedural generation.” They divide each dragon into three different core components: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each of those components has at least five different hand-designed variations that spawn based on a set of rules. This means that players will be able to master the different segments as they play the game, but their time with the game will never be the same.

The action is also very fast. The characters run on their own so the only way that players can control them is through timing their jumps. Stanley, the photographer, is the easier of the two characters to control. He doesn’t have as many options for movement so it will be easy for even novice characters to pick him up and do well. Sydney, on the other hand, is incredibly difficult to control. I played a few rounds as Stanley and got cocky so I tried to take a turn with her. I paid for it at first because she controls very differently. The biggest difference between the two of them is that she can dash forward after jumping. This might not seem like a big deal, but the added choice mixes things up a bit. That dash can help you get onto far away ledges, but it can also land you in big trouble.

We will, hopefully, be getting our hands on Earthnight later this year. I asked the developers about other consoles and they didn’t have anything to announce at the time. I am hoping that this one finds it sway to as many platforms as possible. It is too pretty not too.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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PAX East 2018 – 20XX

What if someone told you that you could have more Mega Man whenever you wanted? What if that same person told you that you could have more Mega Man and play with a friend? If either of those questions earned a happy response then boy have I got a treat for you. 20XX by Batterystaple Games is, literally, the answer. It also happens to super fun to play and available right now.

20XX is a rogue-like platformer that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Mega Man X series. I’ve had a chance to play it a few times now, most recently at PAX East 2018, and it has improved significantly with each iteration. It has been available on Steam for a while now, but I got a chance to play the game while it was running on PS4.

The biggest highlight of 20XX is the cooperative play. Mega Man has always been a lonely game. You were one lone robot battling against an army of robot masters. When the developers added a second player they changed the entire dynamic of the game. It went from a solitary experience to a shared one. I never knew how much I wanted that until we finished our first boss in the demo. It definitely made the victory sweeter. I can’t wait to play it with my boys.

My demo also included a new third character named Hawk. The first two characters, Nina and Ace, were direct analogs to X and Zero from the Mega Man X series, but this character is very different. She plays more like Simon Belmont from the legendary Castlevania franchise. Her primary weapon is a whip that not only deals melee damage, but drains weapon energy from the enemies she hits. This lets her use the special weapons she earns from bosses more frequently. She doesn’t need to worry about energy pickups like the other characters do. Instead, you really need to use the specials more frequently so you don’t waste the energy you drain from enemies as you naturally traverse the levels. This was neat mechanic. It really forced me out of my comfort zone. I play Mega Man games in a very specific way and have since I was a child. I am very conservative with my special weapons and only use them when I think it is “the right time.” I fell into tat same pattern before my demo partner (who happened to be a developer) reminded me about the energy drain.

20XX is currently available on Steam and is coming to PS4 soon. I asked them about other consoles (like the Switch), but they didn’t have anything to confirm yet.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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PAX East 2018: Projection by Shadow Play Studios

Puzzle platformers aren’t usually my favorite games. But, Projection by Shadow Play Studios is a game that looks like it will buck that trend.

Projection is a game about shadow puppetry. It isn’t about the artistry or performance, though. It is about controlling light and shadow to help explore a 2d environment. This is a 2d puzzle platformer that is reminiscent of games like Inside and Limbo.

Each level is presented as a shadow puppetry stage. You control a shadow puppet with your left control stick and and a light source with your right. The gameplay is built around moving the light source behind the stage and creating shadows that you can use as platforms, elevators, etc. I didn’t get a chance to spend a lot of time with the game, but I could tell that this mechanic left a lot of room for interesting puzzles. Small changes in the environment can have a big effect on the puzzles since shadows rely so much on perspective and angles. I can’t wait to see what Shadow Play Studios has up their sleeves.

Another thing I found intriguing about their pitch for Projection was the varied art-styles. Shadow puppetry is a dying craft that exists all over the world with subtle differences in the technique by region. Projection promises to show off these varied art styles and traditions as players explore the different stages in the game. The environments will include the thick jungles of Indonesia and the smoggy skies of industrial era London. These diverse locations will provide interesting environments for shadow casting and new artistic traditions to explore.

 

Projection will be available on PC, Mac, and consoles next year. This is definitely a game to keep our eyes on as we get closer.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! Episode 127: PAX East 2018

Hello and Welcome to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! This is episode 127. This week we are talking video games and Stephen pitches Jonathan his favorites of PAX East

Host:

Stephen Duetzmann @EFGaming

Co-Host:

Jonathan Tomlinson: The Man Behind The Curtian

 

Around the Horn

 

Stephen

Mages of Mystralia

Nintendo Labo preview thoughts

Alto’s Odyssey

Jon

God of War preview thoughts

Assassin’s Creed Origins Final Thoughts

The Room: Old Sins

 

PAX East

Projection

Earthnight

Trailmakers

20XX

Brawlout

Lightfall

Sleep Tight

Tunic

Overland

Stephens Article on The Messenger from PAX east

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Check out this episode!

 

 

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PAX East 2018: The Messenger From Sabotage Studio Delivers

I played a lot of games at PAX East 2018, but none of them captivated me like The Messenger from Sabotage Studio did. We live in a world where everything old has been remade, revisited, remastered, and repackaged for years. You’ll never see me complain about this. Some of my favorite games of the last several years have been born from the hearts and minds of my generational peers remembering the games we loved and putting their own spin on it.

Simply put… The Messenger is a modern response to the Ninja Gaiden series from the NES era. Sabotage Studio is a team full of people who love that game and have gone out of their way to show their reverence in game form.

They have put their love for Ryu Hyabusa’s first adventure on display with this game. With that said, I didn’t just fall head over heels for some random ninja game. This has all the makings of a classic if my demo is any indication. With that said, there are three things that really stood out for me in my short time with the game.

The Controls

I’ve never met a ninja, so I could be making broad and baseless assumptions. But, I’m willing to bet that most of them are pretty quick. I doubt I’m alone there. Ninja games have play fast enough to match that assumption for me. I can’t imagine a slow and plodding combat game like Dark Souls suiting the theme. Fortunately, The Messenger does exactly what it should and more.

I was immediately impressed with the game’s snappy controls. Every button press resulted in immediate action. By the time I was done with my (painfully short) demo I was rewarded with fluid movement and fast action. Nothing felt like it was getting in my way aside from the enemies. It was a great feeling.

There is more to The Messenger than well designed controls though. Sabotage Studio gives us plenty to do. The coolest game mechanic is the “Cloud Step.” The Cloud Step is an extra jump that you can take any time you land an attack on something while jumping. This jump remains charged until you hit the ground. That leads to some very interesting path choices as you get deeper into the game. This combined with a wing suit and time travel portals spread throughout the levels makes for some beautiful runs.

I barely stumbled my way through the demo, but as I did I could imagine the runs that would be put together by skilled players. This is going to be a glory to behind in a few years at an AGDQ event.

The music and sound design

The music was just short of divine. Just listen to the video below to see what I mean. I waited in line for a while to get a chance to play the game. I was VERY grateful that the music was as good as it was.

It was genuinely funny!

I went into my demo expecting an interesting, retro-inspired ninja game. I got that. What I didn’t expect was to find myself laughing in the booth. The overall plot of the game wasn’t particularly funny, but the writing for the supernatural characters like the otherworldly shopkeeper and the demon who brings you back to life should you die were very funny. I can’t wait to see what other funny bits the team is cooking up for us.

 

I went into my demo excited and came out of it hyped out of my mind. Its all I wanted to talk about when I called home to talk to my kids about it. The Messenger will release sometime this summer for PC and Nintendo Switch and I can’t wait to play. What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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