Gamebox 2.0: Inky Horror Edition

We got another batch of games that we got to check out ranging from creepy cartoons to an homage to 80’s action to a spiritual successor to Jet Set Radio and much more.

Bendy and the Ink Machine: There’s been a slew of horror games that have gained popularity recently for scaring Twitch streamers with jump scares but Bendy and the Ink Machine stands out among the rest with it’s incredibly awesome setting of an old school, 20’s style animation studio that has become infested by horrific ink monsters and the studio’s icon Bendy has become real and horrific as well. Cartoon fans will see some inspirations taken by a certain Mouse mascot, as well as refences to the Golden Age of animation. The gameplay has you solving various environmental puzzles, like finding certain items or turning on switches and occasionally fighting ink monsters with an ax. There’s some Bioshock style audio logs scattered around to fill in the backstory of what happened as well.  Both chapters are about 20 minutes long but are paced so that you are constantly making progress and/or getting freaked out but never bored.  Episode 1 is free to download on Steam and is well worth a look for the horror fans. Episode 2 is out now with three more chapters planned for release.

SmuggleCraft: We’ve seen hovercraft racing games going all the way back to F-Zero but SmuggleCraft has a unique single player quest where your choice of missions can effect different characters and lead alternate endings.  You play a smuggler in debt who has to use their hovercraft to win races, make deliveries and earn credit in order to pay the bills. Credits can go towards upgrading your ship and unlocking various bodies, engines, stabilizers for your craft.  The levels are randomly generated and the gameplay is fast with different paths available in each level and there are obstacles that require pinpoint dodging to avoid.  If you’re looking for a racing style game with a heavy story component, SmuggleCraft might be up your alley on PS4 or Steam but if you want straight up racing action, it’s not quite up to level of Wipeout or F-Zero.

Inner Chains: We played it at PAX East not too long ago, now Inner Chains is out now on Steam and it’s just as disturbingly creepy as our demo was. Set in a bizarre world full of horrific plant and animal life, you play a escapee of a cult and journeys onward to unravel what exactly is going on in this world.  You get different weapons like a lightning gun or a fire gun that has different effects on the various enemies and you can try to manipulate the enemies into attacking or killing each other. The art style has a very dark sci fi twist to them, and a lot of it was inspirited by the works of HR Giger. The environment and it’s creatures has an organic, slimy and pulsating look to them, it’s enjoyably uncomfortable to stare at. Inner Chains is not a non-stop action fest that can be played like a typical run and gun FPS. This has a nice retro vibe that begs for levels to be taken at a slower pace to build up a plan and take in settings. Gamers looking to explore a disturbing and incredible looking world should check it out. .

Nongunz: Nongunz is a rogue-like, hardcore 2D shooter that puts you into randomly generated crypts full of horrible creatures ranging from crawling fingers to messes of eyeballs that you have to blast away with an arsenal of guns.  Your goal is to make it to a boss chamber and clear it and then take the credits you earned from the crypt to unlock and upgrade the buildings outside the crypt.  If you like experimenting and not getting your hand held, Nongunz will be right up your alley because outside of the basic controls, there is pretty much no explanation of what things do or how to do things but through trial and error, you can figure out the basics of what is going on.  The action is fast paced and brutal and you are going to die, a lot.  There’s also some sort of metagame to unravel as, when you quit, you end up in a bedroom of a character that was apparently playing Nongunz and there’s some secrets and puzzles to work out there as well.

Anybody Out There?: Dead City: If you’re itching for an open style games similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure stories, Anybody Out There? is a mobile game that scratches that itch. You start getting text messages from a character named Sam, who is in a city that is being overrun by zombies.  Somehow she got your phone number and you start to help her decide how to proceed and survive by choosing 1 of 2 responses.  You’ll do a quick bit of story and then Sam will either go and do something or rest and you’ll get notified when she’s back, so it’s perfect for a quick hit on your phone if you are in line or waiting for something.  The game is from a German developer, Everbyte, so there is a bit of syntax weirdness with certain sayings or the way things are worded in English but it’s nothing egregiously bad.  It’s out now on iOS and Android.

Tokyo 42: Tokyo 42 is a gorgeous looking new, isometric open world action game where you play as an assassin who is trying to unravel a conspiracy while taking odd jobs to kill various targets around the city.  The world is fully 3D and you can rotate all the way around and it reminds me a bit of how Hitman GO looks, except obviously much more animated and you have full control.  The action is frantic and you get into massive shootouts with the various groups roaming around Tokyo and there is a multiplayer component as well that lets you battle your friends in a similar fashion.  It’s worth checking out just for the look alone but it also has a cool story and great action as well.  It’s out on PC and Xbox One now and it will hit PS4 in mid-July.

Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs: At first glance, Regalia seems like a fairly typical RPG with a great sense of humor. However, after completing the initial chapters the Regalia’s true nature is revealed and it has a full on kingdom/city management component in addition to turn based RPG combat and missions. You play as Kay, the recent heir to a kingdom that is unfortunately drowning in debt and you have to figure out how to rebuild the kingdom while keeping the debt collectors off your back. Kay has his two sisters and a faithful knight along on the journey and he gains new allies as well and you can manage who your “away team” is before setting out on missions. Regalia does a fun job of mixing micromanaging a city and traditional grid base RPG elements. Taking the frustrating elements of a Sim City game, and the complex combat of Final Fantasy Tactics. The game has a great score and a full vocal cast that gives the gameplay a nice touch. Once you get into the game proper, there’s almost too much stuff to do.  If you’re fan of old school JRPGs, this is definitely worth checking out.

Tango Fiesta: Tango Fiesta is 100% on our wavelength as far as a love of 80’s action goes but the gameplay is not quite there to make it the spiritual squeal to Broforce, aka Broforce 2: Electric Boogaloo. The game is an arcade style shooter where you take on hordes of enemies across various missions that usually require you to blow up or trigger certain targets before eventually taking on a boss. The first mission is a riff on Commando, the next is Predator and so on and there are some excellent deep cut jokes that only true action fans will appreciate and the musical score is an incredible copy of the scores of the various movies.  The Commando mission in particular is so good I thought they just ripped the James Horner score directly out of the movie. Tango Fiesta features 4 player co-op mode to really let the bullets fly. The actual gameplay is unfortunately not very interesting, as you just sort of mindlessly shoot enemies and take out the targets to move on to the next level.  Tango Fiesta’s heart is definitely in the right place but Broforce is still the pinnacle of 80’s action homages.

Hover: Revolt of Gamers: Inspired heavily from Jet Set Radio, Hover: Revolt of Gamers is a neon colored open world game where you play as a member of a resistance group if a futuristic city being held under the oppression of the Great Administrator. You take on various missions from people around the city  and can get ranked in the side missions of a basketball type sport as well.  If you’ve played the Jet Set games, everything about this game will be very familiar. This time around, you’re not on skates and instead you have a futuristic suit that lets you move quickly, jump extremely high and grind on rails. You earn upgrades by finding them around the city or completing missions and you can improve your speed, jumping ability, etc and you can also tag walls with graffiti in another homage to Jet Set. The music is a huge aspect of the experience and the techno/dance score for Jet Set games returns for Hover. There is even music from Jet Set composer Hideki Naganuma thats fits perfectly for all the future hovering. If you are a fan of Jet Set games, this is pretty much a no-brainer and the closest you are going to get to an actual sequel to Jet Set anytime soon.  It’s out now on Steam and is hitting consoles later 2017.

Embers of Mirrim: This past PAX East, Chris and I played Semispheres,  a game that lets you control two different spheres tied to each analog stick through various puzzles. Embers of Mirrim takes that idea and ties it to some hardcore, old school platforming for some finger and brain melting gameplay.  Set in a fantasy world with two rival, cat like species, two of it’s members are fused together by a mysterious force to stop the corruption that is destroying the land.  The fused creature can split into “embers”, one light and one dark, and each is controlled by the left and right analog stick respectively and you have to guide them through colored barriers and mazes and eventually you have to do this and then immediately transition into platforming.  There’s also boss fights and set pieces that utilize this mechanic as well.  It reminds of games like Guacamelee and if you’re looking for a platforming challenge, this is definitely one to check out.

ROKH: Survival games are all the rage right now with games like Rust and Ark, and ROKH is the latest entry that seems like it’s trying to do a slightly more realistic spin on the genre. Playing a colonist on Mars, you arrive on the red planet after the first wave of colonization failed. You have to try and build up a viable colony in the ruins of the old.  You assemble tools then mine minerals and scavenge in containers left around the planet to build tiles and building materials to create colony buildings. Since you are on Mars, you also have to monitor your oxygen and energy levels of your spacesuit and other bodily needs as well. ROKH can be played online with players working together to build up a colony or just cause some havoc on each other (while the planet tries to kill everyone). Zach isn’t a fan of the survival genre but liked the realistic aspects of the game. Chris liked that he could single handedly depressurize a room while all the players have their helmets off.  ROKH is in Early Access right now on Steam with a full launch date next month.

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