‘Kao the Kangaroo’ Returns This Summer

Tate Multimedia is just a little bit giddy to announce that, more than 20 years after his debut, Kao the Kangaroo will be making a triumphant return to platforming action on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam this summer.

Kao – pronounced K-O – will be familiar to any fans of 3D platformers in the early noughties, having made his debut on SEGA’s legendary Dreamcast back in the year 2000. Now, two decades on, Kao is back in business and about to embark on his biggest adventure yet, setting out to find his missing sister and solve the mystery of what happened to his long-lost father.

Players will join Kao as he picks up his magical boxing gloves and travels the world confronting famous fighting masters who are under the influence of disturbing, dark power, all while exploring a colourful and vibrant world alive with activity and visual flair.

“It’s really exciting to finally be able to say to people that, yes, we will be launching Kao the Kangaroo this summer,” says Kaja Borowko, Head of Studio. “Throughout development, it’s been important to us to make sure Kao’s new adventure both feels like a tribute to his previous outings for existing fans, as well as a fresh, contemporary platformer for newcomers. This is not a sequel, this is a complete reboot, and we can’t wait to see players young and old come together to take on the role of Kao once more this summer.”

The original Kao the Kangaroo series collectively sold more than 700,000 units worldwide, with four games in total having launched across PC, PlayStation 2, PSP, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, and the aforementioned SEGA Dreamcast.

In his latest adventure, Kao will use his boxing gloves to punch a path through his adversaries, jabbing his way through the obstacles ahead as he pummels his way to glory.

Kao the Kangaroo will feature:

  • Beautiful, diverse worlds, packed with secrets
  • Engaging and fun gameplay for all ages – family-friendly, but for core gamers too
  • Magic gloves stacked with powers
  • Kao – a cheeky, brave, and feisty kangaroo who embarks on a life-changing journey
  • An engaging story filled with a cast of captivating characters
  • Challenging combat including unique boss battles
  • A whole host of items to collect

Kao the Kangaroo will launch digitally and physically on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam this summer.

Before We Leave Review – Xbox Series X

I remember losing two whole days to Civ III. I’m not ashamed or exaggerating. I planted myself on the couch with my laptop, turned on a show, and played the renowned civilization builder continually only taking breaks to go to the bathroom, sleep, and eat. I took a break for several years and tried to get into other civilization builder games, but the gluttonous euphoria of my past had left me. Time is a cruel mistress and I forgot so much of how to play these games that I bounced off of almost all of them until I tried Before We Leave.

With a charming and quirky art style, the game is a complete and finished product, which is rare these days. The polish and TLC come through every menu, and design of set pieces as you work your way through the tutorial. While humanity has gone dormant for millennia to survive, they emerge in a world where nature has reclaimed old technology. It is up to you to make the most of a new inter-planetary civilization. While the game’s brief describes this universe as non-violent, it is not without adversaries.

While the aforementioned Civilization Series always has competing people-groups seeking to overtake your resources, Before We Leave is a much more tame and gentle universe. Sure, some goblin may come to steal resources and a giant space worm may devour all that you hold dear, but they’re just trying to survive. Jokes aside, this is a benevolent universe, but there are constraints and some adversaries to contend with.

In each hexagonal world, you emerge to thrive on your little island. Shortly after learning about roads and foresting, you will seek new horizons on other planets to start work towards a cooperative solar system. One oddity is the inability to share resources between inter-planetary towns. While I understand this makes sense narratively, it does create some busy work to make the resources harmonize.

The biggest stand out of this game is the controls and user interface. The greatest turn-off to so many games of the genre is how cluttered and obtuse the menu system looks. Chief among these offenders is civilization-building games. At my current stage of life, I have no interest in learning how a game thinks I should interface with it. Looking at you Stellaris, Dwarf Fortress, and Civilization. From the moment I jumped into the tutorial, to eagerly building my first rocket, I never doubted that I could find what I was looking for in Before We Leave. This is quite an accomplishment when looking to tell the game that you’d like to look at the tech tree while recovering ancient technology and slowing downtime to read a hint. Like putting an N64 into my grandpa’s hands, I do not understand why some games remain so impenetrable for me when I look at how to communicate with their systems.

The other standout is the sound design. It’s charming and uncomplicated. While a fiddle caries you through exploring the universe you can zoom in to hear the chatterings of your little peeps as they go about their business. As gaming has migrated from 5.1 surround sound systems to head-set immersion, I appreciate good sound design more and more as everyone is trying to make a 3D space out of stereo realities.

The game presents several different modes. There’s the classic “start-from-scratch” mode, but the real gem for me was found in scenarios. After playing the tutorial for a bit I jumped into a scenario called Apocalypse Soon. The scenario is a prequel to the main game-type, and I thought it was a clever way to tell a story and give me some ownership of what I’d just learned in the main game type. Honestly, why don’t more games put in a prequel as DLC or an alternate mode? The other three scenarios were fun as well, but this was a standout for me.

If you look enviously upon people enjoying themselves in these deep and challenging civilization-building games but worry that the learning curve is too steep, then take a look at Before We Leave. While Stellaris and. Civ. VII sits atop a pantheon of mathematicians proverbial wed dreams, Before We Leave is for the rest of us who don’t enjoy reading user manuals for fun. The charming and “non-violent” disposition of this game is relaxing and peaceful in a way that feels like I’m on a treasure hunt rather than constructing the next empire to dominate the universe. Furthermore, offering different game types for as much or a little time as you have is a great way to further the approachability of the challenge.

Although this is not the game you will seek 2000 hours into, it is the warm welcome home to civilization builders that I didn’t know I wanted. I am really interested in the team at ___ to make a sequel that builds out the depth and characteristics of each planet and town to increase the replayability of the game. All that to say, if you haven’t picked up a Civilization builder in a while, Before We Leave says “live and let live” and I think that’s a great world to build.

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Annapurna Interactive’s The Artful Escape Now on Switch, PlayStation

The Artful Escape, published by Annapurna Interactive and developed by Beethoven & Dinosaur, is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch for $19.99.

First released this past September on Xbox and PC and nominated for three 2021 Game Awards, The Artful Escape is a musical narrative adventure about a teenage guitar prodigy who sets out on a psychedelic, multidimensional journey to inspire his stage persona. Through light platforming, intergalactic guitar jam sessions and snazzy character customization, players step into the shoes of Francis Vendetti as he faces the shadow of his late uncle, a deceased folk legend, on the eve of Francis’s first show. The game features voice performances by Michael Johnston, Caroline Kinley, Lena Headey, Jason Schwartzman, Mark Strong and Carl Weathers.

For all the latest updates on the game, follow Annapurna Interactive and The Artful Escape.

LIFE IS STRANGE REMASTERED COLLECTION – 5-MINUTE CLIP

SQUARE ENIX® presents a 5-minute sneak peak of the upcoming Life is Strange™ Remastered Collection, which contains enhanced versions of the first two games in the award-winning series. Featuring updated character models, improved motion capture and more, players will be able to experience legendary leads, Max and Chloe, like never before on Google Stadia, Xbox One, PlayStation®4, GeForce Now, and PC Steam.

Improvements visible in this clip are:

  • Now rendering in native 4K in Unreal 4, with a rebuilt lighting pipeline.
  • New and updated 4K-ready character models with increased polycounts and additional bones are visible throughout
  • All character models feature more emotive and expressive animation, more natural hair physics, and updated tears, injuries, and more.
  • Max’s tears and expressions are more detailed with updated facial SFX
  • Nathan and Chloe’s facial expressions and eyelines have been revamped
  • New lip-sync animation throughout.
  • New and updated scenic materials for reflectivity and texture.
  • Updated models and materials for key props, ex. the bucket in the bathroom

The Life is Strange Remastered Collection is available on Google Stadia, PlayStation 4®, Xbox One, GeForce Now, PC Steam on February 1, 2022. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions will also be compatible with the next-gen PlayStation 5, and XBOX SERIES X|S. The Nintendo Switch version will be available at a later date.

Purchasers of the Life is Strange: True Colors Ultimate Edition will also receive the Life is Strange Remastered Collection.

Standalone Expansion Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem Available Now On Steam

Developer Timelock Studio and snowed-in publisher Devolver Digital have opened fire on the Horde via Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem‘s launch on Steam.

A community mod gone official standalone expansion under the blessed guidance of the Seriously talented Croteam, Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem finds the series’ iconic dual wielder braving an Arctic blast of carnage. Seriously devastating weapons await Sam as he gears up to blast scores of enemies new and old. Serious Sam 4 owners can also steady their sights on a 25 percent discount on Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem‘s new firefights.

Sniper Elite 5 Reveals Brand-new Invasion Mode

Rebellion, one of the world’s most successful independent studios, has today released a new CGI trailer for Sniper Elite 5, the latest installment of the award-winning franchise, hinting at the new Invasion Mode which allows players to drop into each other’s campaigns and take on the role of an Axis Sniper with high rewards on the line. Created by Rebellion’s dedicated production company Rebellion VFX, the new trailer utilizes both in-game and bespoke VFX assets with a tailored audio mix to create a stunning cinematic which can be watched here.

Invasion Mode will bring a whole new dimension to the game’s intense drama and add increased diversity to the tactics that players will have to employ in order to complete their mission. The invading Axis Sniper will have the sole aim to eliminate the player while the Allied Sniper will gain an extra objective: take out the invader. Invasion Mode will also be available in cooperative play – increasing the challenge for the Axis invader as they now have two Allies to track down but offering greater rewards.

Chris Kingsley, CTO at Rebellion, commented: “Invasion Mode is a fantastic addition to the gameplay experience of Sniper Elite 5. A human-controlled invader can act in ways that are so diverse and unpredictable, which adds to the challenge and ramps up the tension even further. The player will be informed that an invading Axis Sniper has joined their game and from that point on it becomes an extremely intense, high stakes game of cat and mouse.”

Chris continued: “For those players who just want a solo gameplay experience there will be the option to switch Invasion Mode off, but we recommend that everyone gives it a try at some point. We have been having a lot of fun with it in the studio, jumping into each other’s games and finding innovative, stealthy ways to take each other out.”

Invasion Mode will enable some unique skills for both players. The Axis invader can make use of the AI Axis forces to help locate the Allied player. Tagging an Axis soldier will enable ‘Eagle Eyes,’ which means that if that soldier spots the Allied Sniper then their last known location will be displayed on the map. The Axis Sniper can also instruct nearby soldiers to ‘Stay Sharp,’ increasing their awareness. For the Allied Sniper, each level has invasion phones scattered around the map which the player can use to discover the last known location of their opponent. But beware, as not only can these phones be booby-trapped, but overuse will raise suspicions and reveal the player’s location.

Successful Axis Snipers will be rewarded with weapons, items and skin unlocks while Allied Snipers can earn weapon and character skins by killing their opponent. You will also be awarded with additional XP for having Invasion Mode enabled.

Recognized for its unparalleled tactical sniping experience, Sniper Elite 5 will release simultaneously on Xbox Game Pass, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4 & 5, Epic, Steam and the Windows Store in 2022. Players will reprise the role of elite marksman Karl Fairburne as they travel to France in 1944 tasked with the mission to uncover and destroy the Nazi’s latest plan: Operation Kraken.

To keep up to date with all the latest Sniper Elite 5 news please visit sniper.com and follow the game on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

The new CGI trailer was created by Rebellion VFX. Based at Rebellion Film Studios in Didcot, Rebellion VFX has been formed from industry-leading visual effects supervisors, artists and developers. The team specializes in full CG environment builds, FX, Compositing, Environment Set Extension and Virtual Production set builds with projects utilizing both offline rendered and real-time rendered game engine methodology. The on-site capability is further enhanced by Rebellion’s award-winning motion capture and full performance capture facilities, Audiomotion.

He Sun, Head of Rebellion VFX, said: “It has been a real pleasure for Rebellion VFX to be collaborating with the Sniper Elite brand, to be involved in working on such a title was a real privilege. We wanted to create a trailer that evoked a gritty and down-to-earth feeling in its cinematography, as if it was shot with a film crew on a real location. Technically, we relished the challenge of implementing USD (Universal Scene Description) pipeline in our offline rendering workflow. It was an enjoyable creative process which will hopefully be enjoyed by our passionate community of Sniper Elite fans too.”

For the latest news and information about Rebellion VFX please visit rebellionfilmstudios.com/vfx/.

Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice Available Now on iOS and Android

Oh, behave! Today, prolific indie publisher Assemble Entertainment and developer Crazybunch are excited to announce the mobile release of Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice. Now available on iOS and Android mobile devices for $14.99, you can do more than just “swipe right” on our titular heartthrob. Take Larry’s love quest on the go and help him explore the gorgeous Kalaua’a archipelago and uncover a deliciously devious plot, all while aiding in finding his one true love.

Stranded on the island Cancum after the events of Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Don’t Dry, Larry’s darling soulmate, Faith, has vanished without a trace, with the only clue to her whereabouts being a weak signal from her PiPhone. Journey through the tropical island paradise in the pursuit of true love, flexing those fingers (on the phone screen, naughty!) solving puzzles and meeting the locals along the way. Faced with an island of beautiful women, will Larry stay Faith-ful? Or will he give in to temptation? Your call, cupid <3

The sensational sequel to critically renowned Wet Dreams Don’t Dry, Larry Laffer is no stranger to praise — sitting pretty at 85% positive rating on Steam. Our man’s latest adventure also won 2020’s Adventure Game Of The Year award, receiving acclaim from both new and old point-and-click adventure fans alike.

Key Features Include: 

  • Explore the Kalaua’a archipelago with all its mysterious and magnificent islands — featuring over 50 beautifully hand-drawn locations
  • Meet over 40 new and old friends from Wet Dreams Don’t Dry and chat up some fresh new feminine friends
  • Help Larry solve difficult and exciting (and maybe a little erotic) new riddles and complete quests, providing him with a truly happy ending

To make up for his naughty behavior, romance expert Larry Laffer and Assemble have teamed up with ShareTheMeal to promote a ‘Save the World’ Edition of the title on PC via Steam for $44.99 USD. This edition contains the official soundtrack and digital artbook, with every purchase guaranteeing two meals for hungry children around the world. Larry’s amorous adventure sequel is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

For the latest up-to-date news about Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice, follow Assemble Entertainment on Twitter, Instagram, “like” on Facebook, and join the official Assemble Discord server.

The Horror Adventure Puzzler Paper Dolls 2 Comes to PS4 & PS5 with Digital Artwork and OST

Developed by Beijing Litchi Culture Media, the new horror adventure puzzler Paper Dolls 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 today. Digital Artwork and OST bundle will also be available.

Prior to Paper Dolls 2, the protagonist Yang traveled through time and was trapped in a deserted mansion in the late Qing Dynasty. Yang’s only hope is to find his daughter and save her from this madness. In the new work, Yang traces his daughter’s footsteps onto the second floor of the mansion. As Yang gathers the clues one by one, he starts to understand the connections between each dead soul and the manor.

With realistic scenes, exquisitely carved decorations, and lingering character dialogues, the setting of the mansion is so alive. As the demons flash suddenly and chase after Yang, the players will most likely have a time of their lives.

Paper Doll 2 has a rich gameplay mechanism and challenging boss battles, making players go through a tense and oppressive experience. Paper Dolls 2 also increases the game’s difficulty, making exploration alone take about 10 hours of playing time. In addition, with improvements in level design, scene atmosphere, plot performance, animation, and sound effects, Beijing Litchi is ready to bring players into a heavy sense of immersion.

The Gold Edition includes the main game, digital artwork, and OST. Digital Artwork contains, not only the characters and setting of Paper Dolls 2, but also the VR and flat version of the game’s original model of the old mansion, showing the carefully crafted storyline. The OST has 18 soundtracks from the original title, Paper Dolls and Paper Dolls 2. The soundtrack follows the emotional journey of the protagonist, combining both classical Eastern instruments with pop, and rock music. It perfectly joins the eerie ancient mansion with a mysterious adventure.

Why is this ancient mansion been haunted by demons? What happened to the residents of this place? What is the connection between Yang and this old house? Overcome your fears and return to the mansion a hundred years ago to find out. Enjoy this thrilling and screaming journey with Yang in Paper Dolls 2.

Check Out the Demo for Trigon Space Story, a FTL-Inspired Roguelike Developed by a Pair of Goat Farmers

If you’ve ever had any doubts about a pair of goat farmers’ ability to develop a video game, you can put them to rest now.

Trigon: Space Story from Sernur.Tech, a Russian indie development studio created by two farmers, is a single-player, roguelike strategy game inspired by FTL: Faster Than Light. Gameforge recently announce that they will publish the game — which has gathered tons of positive feedback and thousands of wishlists on Steam from hardcore fans of FTL — as their first single-player offline game.

Trigon: Space Story places players in the captain’s seat of a fully upgradable starship, where they must manage everything from weapon systems and engines to the day-to-day tasks of the ship’s crew. The procedurally generated universe offers plenty of scope for exploration over four chapters of the story campaign, with nine sectors each containing 10+ individual systems. With dangerous space anomalies, roving gangs of space pirates, and a complex web of intergalactic politics to navigate, players will need to strategize each approach with myriad factors to consider. Outfit each ship with more than 70 different weapons and play from the perspectives of four highly unique species, each with their own quirks and advantages. The procedurally generated roguelike universe provides a new adventure every run and will force players to truly learn the meaning of “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.”

Key Features:

  • Oh Captain, My Captain: It’s your show out there and it’s up to you to lead and inspire your crew, make life or death decisions, and craft the most badass ship in the galaxy.
  • Build the Best Ship in the Stars: Outfit your star cruiser with more than 70 types of weapons including lasers, turrets, plasma cannons, bombs, drones, and more.
  • It’s a Culture Thing: Multiple species, each with their own unique qualities, like the warmongering militant Rakkhi, or the crafty and tenacious Humans.
  • Decisions, Decisions…: You find a damaged ship with a crew that needs rescuing. Do you take the noble route and save them? Or hit ‘em while they’re weak and take their stuff?
  • A New Adventure Every Time: A procedurally generated universe ensures no run is the same, forcing players to learn, adapt, and craft fresh strategies to ensure victory.
  • Stellar Stories to Unfold: A story mode that consists of four chapters and four different perspectives from each species, all of which possess their own quirks and have their own part to play in the overarching plot.

Trigon: Space Story’s demo is currently on Steam. The game will launch in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and Polish for PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store in 2022.

Keep up to date with Trigon: Space Story by following the game on Twitter, YouTube, and Discord, and the official website.

The demo for Trigon: Space Story is available now on Steam. If you’re a fan of roguelikes or galaxy-spanning adventures, try it out for yourself and then add the game to your wishlist by visiting the Steam game page.