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Gamebox 2.0: Games of April 2020

As everything is still locked down, there’s plenty of time to check out some new video games and we got to play a few varied and interesting titles for the latest Gamebox 2.0.  We reunited with our old buds Bob and Bub for the fourth entry in the Bubble Bobble series, saved the world in VR in the latest game from Twisted Pixel and got tactical in space with two different roguelike tactical strategy games.  Check out everything we played below.

Bubble Bobble 4 Friends (Zach): Out now exclusively on Switch, the fourth entry in the legendary Bubble Bobble series is here with Bubble Bobble 4 Friends.  Coming from Inin Games and Taito, Bubble Bobble 4 Friends sees the return of everyone’s favorite dragons Bub and Bob along with two new friends for four-player co-op in 100 new levels as they try to defeat the evil wizard Bonner, who has turned all the toys in Bub and the gang’s owner’s room against them (Bub and the gang are toys in this version).  The same great gameplay is here in this newest iteration of the series as you’ll try to make your way around the stage and take out all the enemies so you can progress to the next screen.  You have to encase your enemies in bubbles and then pop the bubbles to kill them and the trick to pro-level scores is to chain bubbles together to rack up combos.

Things start fairly simply but it gradually becomes more and more complex with more enemies and tricky layouts to the screens.  At end of each world, you’ll face off against a boss and, if you defeat them, you’ll gain a special outfit that Bub and the gang can equip at the start of the next world that will give them special abilities, like a sniper-like long shot or an electrical.  As if all the new levels weren’t enough, the full, original arcade game is included with 4 Friends as well, which will give you another 100 levels of classic platforming action.  If you’re a fan of Bubble Bobble and you have a Switch, this is definitely worth grabbing up to three friends and blowing some bubbles.

Deep Sky Derelicts Definitive Edition (Zach): Coming from Snowhound Games and 1C Entertainment, Deep Sky Derelicts Definitive Edition is the console edition of the PC tactical RPG that originally came out in 2018.  You control a squad of scavengers who are tasked by a wealthy citizen to find a fabled alien artifact in the spaceship wasteland of the Deep Sky sector of space.  If you can find the location of this artifact, recover it and bring it back, you and your crew will gain citizenship and escape the hard-scrabble life of a scavenger.  Pretty much right from the start, Deep Sky Derelicts offers you a ton of customization options, so much in fact that it’s possibly overwhelming at times.  For your crew, you can set their name, appearance, and class along with special traits that can raise or lower certain stats.  Once you have your crew assembled, you plot your course to various derelicts spaceships to scavenge for supplies but your main objective is to reach the derelict’s bridge and see if there is any information on your target.

Moving around the derelicts uses up energy and if you run out of energy, your crew’s suits start to lose life support and you’ll have to destroy some of your loot that you’ve collected to get enough energy to limp to a landing zone and get back to your hub.  When you encounter enemies on the derelicts, the combat plays out in a classic 2D RPG style but with a card-based system for attacks and skills.  Each of your crew has a deck of cards based around the class you chose for them and different abilities come up in your hand each turn, whether they are attacks, recharges or buffs for themselves or another crew member.  The attacks all pop off in cool comic book style panels and the entire game has an awesome sci-fi comic look and a funny, grungy tone.  After battles and by wandering the ship, you’ll gain a ton of loot and items and they can either be sold, converted to energy as mentioned before or added to your crew’s weapons and items, giving them more cards and more options.  If you’re looking for a tactical RPG with deep systems, Deep Sky Derelicts will be right up your alley, as you can get lost tinkering with items, skills, upgrade and load-outs for your crew.  It’s out now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Convoy (Zach): Coming from the aptly named Convoy Games and Triangle Games, Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike is definitely for fans of games like FTL.  After your spaceship crashes on an apocalyptic planet, you need to control the supply convoy that needs to head out and brave the wastelands to get the supplies needed to repair your ship.  Each run you begin has different items to collect and they’ll be in different areas, so no two runs will ever be the same.  When you start, you’ll have your MCV, the main transport that holds your supplies.  You can’t control the MCV but if it is destroyed, it’s game over.  You have two support vehicles that you do control and you’ll travel around freely on a map of the planet, hitting random events and battles along the way. You can choose to hunt down any of the needed parts you in any order but you have to keep an eye on your fuel and the health of your vehicles and you’ll need to head to camps to refuel and repair as needed.  Along with your objectives, there are special points of interest around the map that usually triggers some sort of side mission or give you the opportunity at some loot or possibly put you in a battle.

When you’re in battle, you control your support vehicles and you need to maneuver them into the range of the enemies while being prepared to chase them if they move out of range and to dodge deadly obstacles that come up, their positions indicated by skulls on the right side of the screen.  If you don’t move your vehicle out of the way of the obstacle, they are instantly destroyed.  It definitely takes a bit to get a handle on combat, as there’s a lot to keep track of and lots of quick decisions needed.  It’s interesting and different and once you get the hang of it, it results in some awesome, dynamic battles that feel like something out of Mad Max. As you gain loot and win battles, you can also visit camps to get upgrades and buy new weapons, with each vehicle have a different setup as far as where new weapons can go and there’s a chance you can run into some characters in the world who will join you with super powerful vehicles.  The game is maybe not the most jaw-dropping graphically but they get the job done and it’s similar to the simple brilliance of FTL.  The game has a great sense of humor and you’ll run into random scenarios that are straight out of various sci-fi movies, like 2001: A Space Odyssey and you’ll encounter three different factions that all mostly want to kill you, like the pirate-like Privateers, the mutated Raiders, and the technological TORVAK.  If you’re a gamer who is into roguelikes and the “one more run” mentality they can inspire, Convoy is one to check out on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.

B-Team (Zach): B-Team comes from Twisted Pixel, who also recently brought us the extremely fun beat ’em up VR throwback Path of the Warrior.  B-Team is another throwback style game for Oculus Quest, this time parodying 80s action movies and alien invasions as Earth’s best heroes have fallen to extraterrestrial invaders and only a group of four weirdos and losers are left to take on the threat and save the planet.  Each member of your team, The Leader, The Ranger, The Muscle, and The Engineer, has unique weapons and skills and you can switch between them at any time by moving the stick in your right hand.  Most of the game is divided into either runner sections, reminiscent of a first-person Temple Run, or a wave shooter section where you’ll have to blast away at incoming aliens.  For the runner sections, there are certain obstacles that only 1 member of the team can pass and you have to switch to them and use their skill or you’ll take damage.  In the shooter sections, you need to figure out which weapons work best on the various enemies and switch back and forth.

There are also missions where each member has to perform a specific objective, like defusing a bomb or tossing grenades to take out alien positions and you’ll eventually rescue one of the captured generals, who are all beloved 80s action stars like Michael Dudikoff, Cynthia Rothrock and Fred Williamson.  If you’re a fan of the goofy one-liners and ridiculous action of the Blood Dragon games, you’ll definitely be on the same wavelength with B-Team.  There are lots of unlockables to collect to customize each member of your team and you’ll earn them by beating missions or seeing and grabbing or shooting them in the levels.  Each team member has three different items of clothes you can change as well as new weapon skins and you can also unlock new one-liners, which range from classic 80s action quotes to stuff like singing “Nothing Compares 2 U”.  It was originally made for Oculus Go and Gear VR and some controls are still remnants of that, like having to look with the headset to target some objectives, and it does feel a bit like a step back compared to the complete freedom of movement and better realized aesthetic and tone of Path of the Warrior but B-Team is still a goofy and fun VR experience with some added callbacks for action fans like us.  Check it out if you have an Oculus GO, Gear VR or Oculus Quest.


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