All posts by Mark Smith

I've been an avid gamer since I stumbled upon ZORK running in my local Radio Shack in 1980. Ten years later I was working for Sierra Online. Since then I've owned nearly every game system and most of the games to go with them. Not sure if 40 years of gaming qualifies me to write reviews, but I do it anyway.

OF BIRD AND CAGE, DUE TO MAY 20, RELEASES A DEMO TODAY

Capricia Productions is glad to announce the release of a short demo of their metal music-driven narrative game Of Bird and Cage, set for release on Steam on May 20th. Players will be able to experience the tutorial and the first two time-limited levels, which full length is about 20 minutes of gameplay, from today until May 18th.

The studio also just released a dev diary interviewing Kobra Paige, leader of Kobra and the Lotus, who voices the protagonist of this unique take of narrative games as a hybrid of storytelling and music. The Canadian singer plays Gitta Barbot, a 25-years-old girl drug addict with a troubled past, trying to escape the mental and physical prison of her captor in a dark, twisted tale based lightly on Beauty and the Beast.

In an exclusive video interview filmed by Capricia Productions, developer of the game, Kobra shared her thoughts on the experience of voicing the character and how she managed to get in tune with Gitta’s feelings: “I feel that I brought me to the character […] because I’m using my voice to contribute to her, I think it’s my sound”. You can see the full interview in the Youtube video below.

FEATURED ARTISTS

  • Kobra Paige (Kobra and the Lotus)
  • Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses)
  • Rob van der Loo (Epica)
  • Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation)
  • Casey Grillo (ex-Kamelot)
  • Rocky Grey (ex-Evanescence)
  • Mike Lepond (Symphony X)
  • Davidavi ‘Vidi’ Dolev (Gunned Down Horses)
  • Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria)

KEY FEATURES

  • Listen to a two-hour-long symphonic metal album in the form of a new, fresh interactive experience – the first of its kind! With original songs by the composer Arnold Nensis.
  • Shape the story through your decisions and lead Gitta to multiple endings.
  • Choose wisely, but quick enough: the world is fully synced with its soundtrack, so the time to act will be always limited to the length of each song.

ABOUT OF BIRD AND CAGE

Of Bird and Cage is an intense music-driven narrative adventure. This new experience, a powerful symphonic metal album and game hybrid, conveys the power of music with a dark, twisted tale based on Beauty and the Beast. The game features artists from several renowned groups like (ex) Guns N’ Roses, Epica, Within Temptation, and many others.

You play as Gitta Barbot, a 25 year-old drug addict girl who tries to escape from the physical and mental prison of her captor — a man called Bres Lupus. Experiencing Gitta’s life from her childhood to the present day, you will have to make choices that will have dire consequences, and watch how your actions reveal new paths while struggling to keep your sanity.

Follow the twisted relationship between these two characters, portrayed in a gut-wrenching way. Happy endings don’t come easily here. In this first-person hybrid of a concept album and a game, your choices and actions will shape the narrative.

Hot Wheels™ DLC Now Available in Beach Buggy Racing™2: Island Adventure

Mattel, Inc.  and Vector Unit, a leading arcade and racing game developer, announced today the upcoming release of the Hot Wheels™ Booster Pack DLC for the popular kart racer Beach Buggy Racing2: Island Adventure. The Hot Wheels Booster Pack will be available for purchase on May 12, 2021 for Switch, Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam PC. The DLC is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

The Hot Wheels Booster Pack includes seven legendary Hot Wheels cars and four new racetracks, complete with twisting orange track pieces.  Players can complete all-new missions to unlock vehicles, discover custom paints and decals, win trophies, and collect Hot Wheels medallions in challenging stunt missions.

Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure is an action-packed, mayhem-filled kart racer with split-screen competition and game rule customization. Play any part of the game solo or with friends in split-screen, from the story-driven Adventure mode to multi-event Championships, adrenaline-pumping Races, skill-mastering Drift Attacks and more.

BOOSTER PACK FEATURES

  • Seven legendary Hot Wheels cars:  Rip Rod™, Surf ‘N Turf™, Bone Shaker™, Twin Mill™ III, Donut Drifter™, Hotweiler™ and Loco Punk™.
  • Earn trophies in the new Hot Wheels Championship.
  • Go for Gold on four thrilling Hot Wheels-themed tracks:  Volcano Blast, Hot Wheels Harbor, Looptastic Stadium, and Frostfire Vale.
  • Five new Hot Wheels Cup events added to the Adventure map.
  • A new Hot Wheels Stunt Challenge added to every track in the game.  Discover them all in 1000HP Race mode.
  • Six new Achievements to unlock.

Hot Wheels was the 2020 Global Top-Selling Toy of the Year, according to the NPD Group.* Fans can experience the brand, which originally debuted in 1968, through toys, consumer products, content on YouTube, digital games across all platforms, and both virtual and live events.

Beach Buggy Racing™2: Island Adventure Copyright © 2021 Vector Unit® Inc.  HOT WHEELS™ and associated trademarks and trade dress are owned by, and used under license from, Mattel. ©2021 Mattel.

Charming Futurism Puzzler Retro Machina Available Now on All Major Platforms

Today Super.com and developer Orbit Studio are thrilled to announce their retro-futuristic action-puzzle adventure Retro Machina is now available for Windows PC via Steam, Xbox, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch! Recently awarded “Best Brazilian Game” at BIG Festival, Retro Machina places players into the metal boots of a lonely worker drone cast out from his society for his malfunctions as he seeks to uncover the mysteries behind the robotic world in which he lives. Set out on a charming adventure to explore the bizarre and desolate lands outside of the shining — but increasingly difficult to maintain — Endeavor City.

Inspired by the works of legendary science fiction authors like Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac “Three Laws of Robotics” Asimov, Retro Machina evokes feelings of nostalgia mixed with hope for the future in a charming, retro-futuristic aesthetic. For hundreds of years, the sprawling high-tech metropolis of Endeavor City has been dutifully maintained by a society of robots that follow a strict societal rule: no imperfections will be tolerated. One such worker drone begins to question the history of Endeavor, and upon being cast out, must explore mysterious, ruined lands beyond the glass dome that encompasses the city. Players will use their wits — and a few spare parts — to outsmart enemies, solve puzzles, and finally get the answers they seek.

Watch the Retro Machina Story trailer below:

Key Features:

  • Fight Your Own Battles…Or not: While you may not have the size or strength of a military robot, as a worker drone you have the ability to hack into the minds of your fellow robots and get them to do your dirty work
  • Use That STEM Degree: As a robot, it’s inevitable that systems will break down and repairs become necessary. Assemble a collection of spare parts and tools to fix yourself as well as upgrade your defensive and offensive capabilities
  • It’s Lloyd John Dunn’s World, You’re Just Living in It: A gorgeous and definitively retro-futuristic design permeates four beautiful biomes, ready to be explored. Each one filled with dangerous enemies, challenging bosses, and a bevy of clever puzzles and hidden secrets to discover
  • A Thrilling Mystery: Just who were the original inhabitants of Endeavor City, and what happened to them? Uncover the truth behind their disappearance and try to figure out a way to get them back — after all, who will fix the robots when everything breaks down?

Retro Machina is available now for Windows PC via Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Raw Fury’s ‘Call of the Sea’ Out Now on PS5 & PS4

Indie developer Out of the Blue and Raw Fury have launched Call of the Sea on PlayStation®5 and PlayStation®4 today for $19.99 via the PlayStation® Store. To commemorate its PlayStation debut, the award-winning puzzle adventure game is available at a 20% discount for PlayStation®Plus members through May 18. Players who purchase the PlayStation®4 version of the game can upgrade to the PlayStation®5 digital version at no extra cost.

An otherworldly tale of self-discovery and mystery set in the 1930s, Call of the Sea is a love letter to the adventure genre. Players follow Norah, a charming and determined young woman, to a lush island paradise in the uncharted reaches of the South Pacific on the search for her missing husband. On this mysterious island, you’ll unearth the remnants of a lost civilization, investigate clues, and solve a variety of clever puzzles to piece together the fate of Norah’s husband’s expedition. Explore stunning tropical environments on this immersive voyage inspired by the surreal emotion, suspense and surprises of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories.

Call of the Sea launched on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC last December to multiple honors, including nominations for Best Debut Game at the 2021 BAFTA Games Awards and Excellence in Visual Art at the 2021 Independent Games Festival. It is also included with Xbox Game Pass for consoles and PC.

For more information, visit www.CalloftheSeaGame.com, and follow the game on Twitter.

Focus Home Interactive’s PvPvE Heist Game Hood: Outlaws & Legends Launches Today

Hood: Outlaws and Legends, the new co-op PvPvE heist game from Sumo Digital and Focus Home interactive, is available now. Squad up in opposing teams of four, choose your character, and work with your allies to pull off the perfect crime in Hood’s nail-biting matches.

Faced with a merciless, unchecked state, rebels and rogues battle to claim their place among legends. To win influence with the people, rival gangs compete in daring heists to hit the wealthy where it hurts. But only the best will make it out alive with the goods.

Two teams of four players compete to execute the perfect heist in medieval forts patrolled by deadly AI guards. Each hero brings unique abilities to the balance of your team, helping you move in stealth unseen, control the battlefield at long range, or dominate your foes in close-quarters combat.

Hood: Outlaws & Legends is out now on PlayStation®5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation®4, Xbox One, and PC. You can also buy the game’s Year 1 Edition, which includes three Battle Passes due to be released post-launch.

For more on Hood, visit www.focus-home.com/en-us/games/hood-outlaws-legends.

Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice, the Second Installment in the Titillating Saga, is Coming Soon to Consoles and Switch

It’s time to join Larry Laffer on another adventure! The tongue-in-cheek humor that the Leisure Suit Larry series is known for is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in the form of the critically acclaimed saga sequel Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice.

Following a triumphant launch on Windows PC via Steam and GOG, publisher Assemble Entertainment and developer Crazybunch are bringing Larry’s mischief to consoles on May 18, 2021.

Join the tenacious Larry Laffer as he searches high and low for his missing soulmate, Faith, through the island paradise of Kalau’a Archipelago. Featuring more than 50 hand-drawn locations, cheeky puzzles, and a huge cast of alluring and hilarious characters, Leisure Suit Larry – Wet Dreams Dry Twice is the perfect game for the couch or on the go!

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 companions 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

Don’t miss your chance to join Larry on another unforgettable adventure!

Resident Evil Village Now Available – A New Generation of Horror Awaits

Capcom’s highly anticipated survival horror game Resident Evil™ Village is now available worldwide on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Steam and Stadia. Resident Evil Village immerses players into an intense battle to survive the horrors of a remote snowy village where a diverse cast of mysterious locals and terrifying creatures await. This action-packed title is the eighth main entry in the award-winning Resident Evil™ franchise which has shipped more than 107 million units globally and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Resident Evil Village is eligible to upgrade for free from PlayStation 4 to the digital PlayStation 5 version (please see details here), and will support Smart Delivery for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles.

Resident Evil Village continues the story of Ethan Winters, set forth in the critically acclaimed Resident Evil™ 7 biohazard. Larger-than-life heroes like series veteran Chris Redfield, along with imposing adversaries like Lady Dimitrescu, are just some of the enigmatic characters Ethan encounters in order to save his daughter. In addition to an intense story campaign and robust gameplay, Resident Evil Village also welcomes back the fan-favorite The Mercenaries game mode. This extra mode is available upon finishing the campaign and has new added features, giving players additional challenges and ways to enjoy the village once they complete Ethan’s journey.

The newest console technology paired with Capcom’s proprietary RE Engine, also used to create acclaimed titles such as Resident Evil 7 biohazard, Resident Evil™ 2, Resident Evil™ 3, and Devil May Cry™ 5, delivers the most vividly realistic survival horror experience to date. Resident Evil Village is available today both physically and digitally in Standard and Deluxe editions. The Deluxe edition includes the base game and digital add-on “Trauma Pack,” which consists of additional in-game content including a Samurai Edge weapon, a Resident Evil 7 biohazard found footage screen filter, tape recorder save point option, safe room music “Go Tell Aunt Rhody,” immediate access to the “Village of Shadows” difficulty setting, the Baker Family Incident Report, and more.

As a thank you to fans celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Resident Evil franchise, those who purchase Resident Evil Village will also get access to the free multiplayer experience Resident Evil™ Re:Verse, coming later in Summer 2021.

Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure gets Hot Wheels DLC

Mattel, Inc. and Vector Unit, a leading arcade and racing game developer, announced today the upcoming release of the Hot Wheels™ Booster Pack DLC for the popular kart racer Beach Buggy Racing2: Island Adventure. The Hot Wheels Booster Pack will be available for purchase on May 12, 2021 for Switch, Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam PC. The DLC is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB.

The Hot Wheels Booster Pack includes seven legendary Hot Wheels cars and four new racetracks, complete with twisting orange track pieces.  Players can complete all-new missions to unlock vehicles, discover custom paints and decals, win trophies, and collect Hot Wheels medallions in challenging stunt missions.

Beach Buggy Racing 2: Island Adventure is an action-packed, mayhem-filled kart racer with split-screen competition and game rule customization. Play any part of the game solo or with friends in split-screen, from the story-driven Adventure mode to multi-event Championships, adrenaline-pumping Races, skill-mastering Drift Attacks and more.

BOOSTER PACK FEATURES

  • Seven legendary Hot Wheels cars:  Rip Rod™, Surf ‘N Turf™, Bone Shaker™, Twin Mill™ III, Donut Drifter™, Hotweiler™ and Loco Punk™.
  • Earn trophies in the new Hot Wheels Championship.
  • Go for Gold on four thrilling Hot Wheels-themed tracks:  Volcano Blast, Hot Wheels Harbor, Looptastic Stadium, and Frostfire Vale.
  • Five new Hot Wheels Cup events added to the Adventure map.
  • A new Hot Wheels Stunt Challenge added to every track in the game.  Discover them all in 1000HP Race mode.
  • Six new Achievements to unlock.

Hot Wheels was the 2020 Global Top-Selling Toy of the Year, according to the NPD Group.* Fans can experience the brand, which originally debuted in 1968, through toys, consumer products, content on YouTube, digital games across all platforms, and both virtual and live events.

METRO EXODUS Enhanced Edition Out Now for PC

Deep Silver and 4A Games are pleased to announce the launch of the Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition – a radical update that harnesses the power of Ray Tracing-capable GPUs to deliver an incredible visual upgrade. The PC Enhanced Edition is available for FREE to all owners of the original release on Steam, the Epic Games Store, Good Old Games and the Microsoft Store.

Metro Exodus PC Enhanced Edition offers additional Ray Tracing features including Advanced Ray Traced Reflections and support for the much-requested DLSS 2.0 on NVIDIA hardware, which offers sharper image details and increased framerates and display resolutions. Further collaborating with NVIDIA, this update improves our existing Ray Traced Global Illumination tech innovated with the original release of Metro Exodus to make every light source fully Ray Traced and implements our RT Emissive tech from The Two Colonels throughout the game.

This upgrade is so extensive it will require a Ray Tracing capable GPU as the minimum spec and will be delivered as a separate product – it is not a simple ‘patch’ to the base game – instead it will be offered as an extra entitlement to all existing Metro Exodus PC players.

Deep Silver and 4A Games have also confirmed June 18th as the release date for the massive, FREE next-gen Metro Exodus upgrade for Xbox Series X|S and the PlayStation® 5, titled Metro Exodus Complete Edition.

Metro Exodus Complete Edition will run at 4K / 60FPS with full Ray Traced lighting throughout on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The base game and DLC expansions will feature both our ground-breaking Ray Traced Global Illumination (RTGI) and the Ray Traced Emissive Lighting techniques pioneered in the original release of Metro Exodus and The Two Colonels expansion across all content.

The next gen consoles will benefit from dramatically reduced loading times thanks to the use of their SSD storage optimizations, 4K texture packs, and a range of platform specific features including spatial audio and controller latency improvements on Xbox, and support for the haptic features of the PlayStation 5 DualSense controller.

These enhancements will be made available as a free upgrade to all PS4 and Xbox One and One X Metro Exodus owners, or available to new players with the Metro Exodus Complete Edition – a newly announced high value physical edition for franchise newcomers. This Complete Edition includes the base game and both DLC expansions: The Two Colonels and Sam’s Story.

For an even more detailed breakdown of the new tech and features present in the Enhanced version of the game, please visit newly updated 4A games blog on the website: https://www.metrothegame.com/en-us

For more information on Metro follow us on Twitter and Instagram @MetroVideoGame and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MetroVideoGame.