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Gamebox 2.0: Sleep Tight Graveballers Edition

Before we head to NYC to check out the Play NYC convention, we reviewed a new box full of games to get us ready for more gaming. This time, we played a lot of run and gun action titles, played with the undead in different ways, did some gory biking, and dealt with the human condition from the past and future.

Sleep Tight (Zach): Sleep Tight from We are Fuzzy recently hit Switch and PC and is a wave based tower defense/shooter.  You play from a variety of kids who have to battle the monsters that attack their bedrooms when the sun goes down but luckily the monsters are susceptible to dart guns and other kid warfare tech.  As you survive each wave, you gain sun and moonlight points that you can use to upgrade and buy new weapons, repair defenses, unlock perks and more and you can build walls and turrets to create the ultimate pillow fort.  The game has a fantastic art style and a bunch of the devs are veterans of Disney and other Hollywood studios but the downside, for me, is that it gets a little boring after a few waves.  The location doesn’t change and the enemy variety doesn’t really seem to change much either and there’s no fun power-ups or really anything to keep things interesting and the upgrade path seems a little slow to build as well.  Each kid starts with their own loadout, so that adds some variety but having grown up with the likes of Smash TV, I need a little more from my twin stick shooters.  Despite that, it’s still an extremely solid game and definitely check out the trailer and, if it looks interesting, check it out.

Graveball (Zach): Graveball, from 3D Realms and Goin Yumbo, is a new arcade sports game for PC that has you controlling a team of goblins competing in the brutal titular sport.  Graveball is played 3 v 3 and the goal is to get the ball, or in this case, the skull, into the end zone and have it stay in place for 2 seconds, at which point it will explode and give you a point.  There is also a ring that lowers at various points that you can throw the skull through and gain more points.  All the goblins players have clubs and killing the other team is a major strategic play.

Any player that is killed has to wait a seemingly endless 3 second before they turn into a ghost and can respawn anywhere on the field.  The game plays extremely fast and it’s easy to pick up and play and the simple 2 seconds till score mechanic adds lots of frantic melees in the end zone as you try to keep the other team away and they try to dive or hit the skull out to keep it from scoring.  The game has local and online multiplayer and you can unlock a bunch of different customization options for your goblin player.   I definitely get some Mutant League vibes from the simple to pick up gameplay and the emphasis on killing the other team and if you’re looking for a fast and fun sports game to play on PC, definitely check out Graveball, it’s out right now.

Guts and Glory (Zach): Guts and Glory, from TinyBuild and HakJak, is an insane but hilarious physics racer(?) that puts you in control of a fleet of insane vehicles and characters as they compete on the titular game show, which seems slightly out of control.  Guts and Glory puts you up against a string of challenging courses and your goal is hit the checkpoints and make it to the end in the fastest time.  The only issue is that everything is trying to kill you in the most over the top and violent fashion possible, with buzzsaws, landmines and cannons ready to blow you in gibs.  The game has a wonderfully twisted pleasantness that contradicts all the bloody violence with a whimsical soundtrack and characters like a dad and his son riding a bike or a little boy pulling a girl in a wagon attached to his bike and then all of them getting arrows shot into their heads or exploding into hundreds of pieces.

The game feels like a more structured Goat Simulator in the best way possible and I am fully on board with its twisted sense of humor.  The gameplay is solid as well, although the advanced techniques definitely take an equal amount of luck and skill.  Some obstacles will require you to go off a jump and then twist or roll in mid-air and you’ll definitely need to take multiple resets for challenges like that.  The game also has potentially endless challenges, at least on Steam, as the Steam workshop is fully integrated and user created tracks are available to download.  The game is out on PC as well as PS4, Xbox One and Switch and if you like wacky physics, over the top violence and obstacle course racing, definitely check it out.

Mothergunship (Chris) : Grip Digital has released their take on the bullet hell and roguelike FPS experience in Mothergunship. Similar to their previous title, Tower of Guns, Mothergunship places the player into enemy infested levels that are begging to be shot at. Players take the role of a nameless soldier that awakens to find their space crafted damage during an alien invasion. Hastily recruited into a mobile division, the solider is given a mecha suit and some basic weapons to fend off the alien threats. Given missions by The Colonel, a no nonsense tough talking officer, the solider must clear out spaceships by spaceships until the solider can clear a path directly to the Mothergunship, the flagship controlling the alien forces. But basic weaponry won’t get the solider far into the battles, parts must be collected and crafted to make the mecha suit and the solider’s arsenal ready for the increasingly difficult battles ahead.

The first few levels set a casual tone for the game, as the players will get used to the controls, the weapon stats, and the limitations. But after a couple of levels, Mothergunship really shines with an onslaught of enemies rushing the scene and covering the screens with tons of projects to avoid. Each wave of enemies gives the chance to collect gun parts and armor points to upgrade the offense and defensive abilities. The game allows the player to build their awesome gun creations and see if they are combat ready. Shotguns, machine guns, rockets, edge weapons and much more can be combined into weapons the player’s mech can wield. However, each weapon design will have its strengths and weakness and will revolve around the player’s preferred attack style. The player can load up heavy on heavy attacks with big cooldowns, or rapid attacks with less damage. The game gives plenty of options to mess around and find what works for every individual. The weapon load outs determine many variables in battle, but it places a risk on valuable parts in case the player dies. Weapons brought into levels can be lost if the player dies, forcing the player to be careful of the risk.  Death will reset the player and will forfeit loot. While the game does not prevent the player from mindlessly charging into the fight, it will make every fight a bit harder when the equipment gets slightly worse each time. 

Mothergunship combat gameplay is accompanied by a rocking soundtrack that nicely pumps up the player to unleash bullet after bullet (And a melee attack or two). The heavy metal guitar riffs blend into the background sounds of bullets fired. There are some fun monologues and quirky visual gags that gets a few laughs between gun fights, showing that Grip Digital doesn’t take it self too serious. For gamers that loved the frantic gameplay of Tower of Guns and the gun collecting of Borderlands, the sign up for a tour of space duty in Mothergunship today. Mothergunship was released July 17th, 2018 for Steam, PS4 and Xbox One.

Hypergun (Preview) (Zach): When we can”t get enough of dodging bullets, coming at the end of the month from NVYVE Studios is Hypergun, a roguelite shooter where you play as Dewey Owens, an intern at DevTech Labs.  Earth is being occupied by a hostile alien force but DevTech Labs is secretly working on developing the HyperGun, the ultimate weapon capable of taking down the alien forces.  To create the HyperGun though, hundreds of simulations will need to be run and every possible attachment and modification will have to be tested. As you run through each simulation, you can gain all kinds of cosmetic and performance attachments for your base gun and your goal is to proceed as far as you can before dying.

We played a preview build but already it looks incredible with an amazing Tron/80s neon art style and the music is also incredible synthwave and the gameplay is lightning fast and feels like old school 90’s shooter like Doom or Duke Nukem.  The enemy variety in the preview also offers up a solid challenge, especially the snipers who hid behind enemy shields, and the rooms you fight seem to offer all kinds of strategic movement, with multiple levels, tunnels, and barriers you can activate.  If this is just the preview, the full game is probably going to be incredible.  HyperGun is out on August 23rd for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

20XX (Chris): Making its way onto current gen consoles, Battery Staple Games with a collaboration with Fire Hose Games released 20XX, a 2D action plathformer with roguelike mechanics. Inspired by the Megaman X series, 20XX follows the classic design of fast pace combat, nimble platforming challenges, and creative boss battles. The game is set in the distant future, where technology has advanced robotics. However, some robots have started to rebel and causing chaos around the world, and it’s up to two protectors to set things back in order. The player can choose one of two characters; Nina, equipped with a blaster or Ace, equipped with a laser sword. Players will travel into different stages, fighting many enemies and defeating the robot masters in charge of the rebellion. There is an option for co-op play, allowing two players to run and gun together through local and online modes. 

The game offers a unique challenge of randomly generating many of its content. Levels, enemy placement, and power-ups will vary and will have the gamers experience different gameplay each time. The main objects of each level are to navigate the rooms to reach a sub level boss and later a level boss battle. Survive it all and return back to the base with all the sweet loot collected. Every enemy defeated gives the chance to drop nuts and bolts, used to unlock weapon parts and upgrades. Death of the player will reset a level but gives the player an opportunity to make their character stronger for the next fight.  Its a simple and fun premise that is great to play with its fluid controls and satisfying action. Any gamer looking for more Mega Man style gameplay that’s looking for a fresh challenge should check out this title out now on Steam, Xbox One, Switch and PlayStation 4


The Walking Dead: The Final Season Demo (Zach): One of Telltale’s flagship titles, The Walking Dead, is wrapping up starting next week (8/14) when the first episode of The Final Season drops.  There’s a demo currently up on PS4 and Xbox One and the game is coming to those platforms as well as PC and Switch later in the year.  If you pre-order on PS4 or Xbox, you get all the previous seasons for free in The Walking Dead Collection, which for $19.99 is a hell of a deal on one of the best series of games of the last few years. This Final Season switches the focus back to Clementine, who you only played in flashback in the most recent season, The New Frontier.  Clem is much older and she and AJ, who was missing in The New Frontier but whose location was revealed to Clem at the end of that season, are trying to survive on their own and are desperate for food and looking for a potential safe place to possibly call home.

The game has gotten a ton of changes compared to previous seasons of The Walking Dead.  The art style has been revamped and seems to lean even harder into the cel-shading to make it look like the original comic and it looks fantastic.  The combat system has been revamped as well and Clem now has to the ability to decide whether she wants to stun enemies or go straight for the kill and you move around much more like a standard third-person adventure game and the quick time prompts are much more naturally and subtly used as well.  The plot has come full circle for this final season as Clem is now the one caring for a kid, just like Lee did for her in the first season and things could end up in a dark and depressing place based on The Walking Dead and how the other Telltale games have gone.  I’m excited to see how Clem’s story wraps up and you can see the start next week.

1979 Revolution: Black Friday (Chris): iNK Stories’ multi-award nominated title 1979 Revolution: Black Friday makes it’s re-release this summer. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is a graphic adventure game that mixes historical events with some dramatize story telling. Players take the role of Reza Shirazi, an aspiring photojournalist, who returns to Iran amidst the Iranian Revolution that started in 1977. The Iranian Revolution was a movement that tried to overthrow the Shah which resulted in chaos for the country.

In the same gameplay inspired by Telltale games, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday has branching mechanics that affect the narration of the game. As Reza Shirazi, the player can interact with dialogue choices, item collection, and quick time events to determine certain outcomes. Aiding people, saying certain words and playing with emotions all have consequences that shape and mold the game experience. Reza will face many tough decisions throughout the game, the real-life events of the game were one of the unfortunate circumstances. The public had become torn apart, with people mistrusting one another and the fearing the changes in power. While some games are relaxing and colorful, 1979 Revolution: Black Friday is meant to shock and offer a too real side of humanity. The game has many tense movements that draw the gamer into the moment, sometimes forgetting the game part and get engrossed in the drama. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday was originally released in April of 2016 and is set for a new release July 31 for the PlayStation 4 and August 2nd for the Switch and Xbox One. 


Observer (Zach): From the team that brought you Layers of Fear, Observer came out basically a year ago to the date but was recently include as a free game on Twitch Prime (If you have Amazon Prime and Twitch and haven’t linked them, you are missing out on a ton of great, free games and bonuses for games like Overwatch, PUBG and Fortnight).  You play as Dan Lazarsky, with the voice and likeness of the great Rutger Hauer, who is an “Observer”, a special police officer in the year 2084, who can hack into people’s mind to gain evidence and confirm alibis.  Lazarsky gets a message from his estranged son, Adam, and sets out for Adam’s tenement to find him but uncovers a gruesome crime scene and starts to unravel a conspiracy involving the powerful Chiron corporation.

The game plays from the first person perspective but it’s a cyberpunk horror game, as Lazarsky starts hacking into the minds of corpses and they are all horrific memory fragments that start mixing disturbingly with Lazarsky’s own memories.  Once you are in the mindscape, you usually have to solve environmental puzzles and survive specific scenarios and there’s a creepy cybernetic monster who keeps showing up and requires you to sneak past, Outlast style, or else it’s instant death.  You also use Lazarsky’s bio-enhancements to examine the organic and technological evidence of various crime scenes.  The world looks incredible and it’s very much 80’s style cyberpunk, with green CRTs and older tech cobbled together and rainy neon soaking over everything.  Rutger Hauer delivers a great performance, as you would expect, and the rest of the voice cast is solid as well.  If you’re into horror games, definitely give Observer a look, as it’s out on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.


Kirby Star Allies (Zach): One of the games I managed to get off my backlog, I actually rented Kirby Star Allies from my local video rental store (yes, they still exist).  The first Kirby game for Switch, the pink powerpuff finds himself on a quest to discover the source of mysterious dark purple hearts that are corrupting Dreamland and Popstar and the quest eventually sends Kirby into the depths of space to battle a strange group bent on reviving an ancient evil.  Kirby himself has gained a new ability from these mysterious shards and he can now throw hearts at enemies have them instantly become trusted allies.  Kirby can have up to four friends with him at a time and there are a slew of team up and combo attacks you can use.

There are a bunch of returning Copy Abilities for Kirby to use, like the trusty Sword, Ninja, Fire, and Ice but there are a bunch of new abilities as well, the best of the bunch, to me, probably being Spider, which lets Kirby wrap up enemies in a variety of webs and kick around cocooned enemies to damage other enemies.  Major characters like Dedede and Meta Knight can join Kirby’s quest as well and four players can play co-op if you have enough joy-cons.  The game looks and sounds great, with gorgeous and colorful environments and new music tracks along with new versions of classic tracks.  The big thing though is that the game might be too easy for some players.  If you are rolling deep with a full squad, you can almost just sit back and let them take down the bosses for your and you’ll gain an absurd number of extra lives but Kirby has never really been known as a hardcore franchise.  If you just want to have some fun, solid platforming fun, Kirby Star Allies will give you that and more.

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