‘Jurassic Park Alive’ Brings Dinosaurs To The Real World

Augmented reality games are taking mobile app stores by storm this year as franchises like Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, Maguss, and now Jurassic Park.

Players will assume the role of a Dinosaur Protection Group (DPG) member tasked with saving dinosaurs from a second extinction.

Unlike other AR games that require the user to travel in the real world, ‘Alive’ will let players send out a drone to collect DNA samples.

The game will take on a realistic approach to collecting dinosaurs with players using location-based technology to track and observe dinosaurs habits in their natural habitats.

Users Collect rare and powerful breeds of dinosaur by flying a virtual drone in-game, and collecting DNA samples to maintain a full roster of dinosaurs in hand.

Battles will take place between dinosaur ‘strike teams’.

Collectible items will come in the form of supply drops which will contains in-game currency or things like battery life for the drone.

The game is set to release this spring according to a trailer released by Ludia, the developer of the game.

Interested dinosaur wranglers can pre-register here.

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New Kingdom Hearts 3 Trailer Confirms Monsters, Inc. World

In a new trailer, developer Square Enix finally confirmed another Pixar world that will be in the upcoming release of Kingdom Hearts 3, Monsters, Inc.

Complete with monster forms for each of the main characters, Sora, Donald, and Goofy can be seen meeting Sully and Mike and their little human friend, Boo.

Also in the trailer are reveals and hints towards a renewed Organization 13 and a glimpse of Vanitas approaching Sora in a cutscene from the game.

The game is supposedly still on track for a 2018 release with rumors panning the game towards a Holiday 2018 release, in time for the 13th anniversary of the titular series.

Review: A Hollow Doorway

In a world that’s constantly on the move and changing, its a wonder when a gem like A Hollow Doorway interrupts the natural flow of things.

A Hollow Doorway is a colorfully meditative game by Kenny Sun. The object is to rotate your door to match the constantly shifting and shrinking hollow doorways. This all happens while the colors shift and parade across the screen and the music transcends the user into a meditative but focused state.

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The game comes with 9 levels, all increasingly difficult but fun to play. The game also features taptic feedback for iPhone 7 and newer, which this writer thought was a nice touch during gameplay sessions.

There are 34 achievements through Apple iCloud and leaderboards for top scores.

On the music side, musical artist JACK+JIM created 10 songs for the soundtrack which fit perfectly with the door shaping madness that is A Hollow Doorway.

Gameplay becomes addictive when you discover there are countless numbers of customizations, from colors and themes for the doorways and doors, to faces that can be added to the rotatable door.

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Of course, since the app is free, there are loot boxes in the game. The creator apologized in the description of the game for the addition of this, but none of the loot boxes are necessary and the game can be played and completed without the additional themes and faces.

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The customizations can also be obtained naturally through playing the game, though it may take longer than just spending the few extra bucks to eliminate them entirely.

Overall, I believe this game deserves a 9 for what it is. The music is great, gameplay is addictive and interesting, and though its not a new concept (looking at you Super Hexagon) it is a great pace-changer in the game that is the App Store.

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Facebook Announces Pilot For Game Streaming

In an announcement, Facebook announced the pilot of a game streaming service aimed at allowing a more diverse group of streamers to thrive and be successful.

The announcement states that Facebook has listened to gamers, noticing upticks in views for their live video platform, especially for gamers.

Facebook aims to create a more thriving network of game streamers, helping them gain a their moment in the spotlight by helping with discovery and distribution across their multiple social platforms, including Occulus, as well as providing the opportunity for streamers of every level to be successful.

The Twitch competitor will allow gamers to stream in 1080p/60fps but Facebook has stated that they are committed to adding new features based on input from content creators.

Although more popular gamers have made a home on Facebook using their live platform, the new game streaming program will allow for a greater number of streamers with added tools and education for streamers of all levels.

The pilot kicked off on January 27, and interested streamers can sign up for the pilot program here.

The Fidget Diaries: Day 1, The Shakes and Fidgets

In this new series, I’ll be taking you through my day to day in the german MMO Shakes and Fidget, a cartoonish traipese into the wonderful world of weird.

Level Up

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As the subtitle says, I finally leveled up (something rare in this game) to level 20 before attempting floor 5 of the first dungeon, the Desecrated Catacombs, but more on that later. With my level-up I added some more stats to constitution and intelligence so that I can take more of a wallop and dish out more damage, something that will come in handy as I tackle floor 5.

New Equipment

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I took on Floor 4 which rewarded me the Arcane Storm Gloves of the Magician, which I equipped, although it cuts strength a bit, it increased my luck, and dexterity by nearly double. Floor 4 proved a challenge, so you floor 5 should definitely prove the inevitable challenge.

 

The Inevitable Floor 5

I failed to defeat the enemy on floor 5, so I will be trying again tomorrow.

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Islands in the Formless Void changes the Dynamic of World Sandbox Games

In what is a unique take on the open-world sandbox genre of video games, Islands in the Formless Void opens up islands filled with tiny artificial intelligences.

Comprised of people and various creatures, players will witness these tiny creatures learn to manipulate the world around them, eventually learning to build and explore, but what they learn and discover will be entirely up to the player.

Decisions and player interaction is an integral part of Islands in the Formless Void.

“The idea for this game has evolved over the course of many years,” said Jon Galindo, developer of Islands of the Formless Void. “Part of it is just my personal style, and part of it is based on my often-unsuccessful attempts to unravel the philosophy of games and art.”

Players can be a disembodied witness to the world below, or choose to shape the terrain, or jump into a body and pretend to be one of the creatures living on the island.

When jumping onto one of the islands, all the options available to the AI’s is available to the player. Build fires, chop down trees, and build anything.

Of course, when feeling lazy, players can create an assortment of different lifeforms to do the work for them.

Each island has a different assortment of creatures available to them, pick one and see the creatures explore, transform the world around them, and learn new abilities and building projects.

The player can walk among them in hopes to teach them new things, but the tiny creatures will never be under full control, they are their own beings.

The game will take place in a shared universe, comprised of islands. Players can claim exclusive ownership of an entire island, or leave a portion of it open to other players.

These aren’t just empty islands though, these lands are open and available to change to the players hearts content. Want to change the way the hill looks on that side of the island, the option is available to do so.

Of course, just like the real world, anything created on the island will eventually decay over time. Players are warned though, this will create complications for the little island citizens if too many resources decays over time.

Of course, all of these features take place in a gorgeously unique pixel-based universe.

“Shining Force, by Sega, was the first video game I completed, that’s what inspired the graphics of Islands in the Formless Void,” Galindo said. “Minecraft and and Age of Empires are what inspired the building and resource collection mechanics.”

The game will be an HTML5 app, which means it will be playable on practically anything with an internet browser.

The creator of Islands in the Formless Void, Jon Galindo, got started in video games in middle school, where he says his father bought him a $25 PC from a second-hand store.

“On that computer I found a little game called Chip’s Challenge, which I played endlessly,” Galindo said. “I later acquired a CD containing a collection of Sega classics containing the original Sonic games, and Shining Force, the first game I played to completion.”

Later on in life, Galindo said he discovered Pokémon, Minecraft, and Age of Empires, but never found satisfaction with the games, he wanted to change them, improve their mechanics.

Eventually, he got into code and is now developing his own video game.

“There are challenges, but they are like puzzle-solving,” Galindo said. “Trying to understand what games are, understand what fun is, answering these has been an obsession which led me to where I am now.”

With development of Islands of the Formless Void underway, Galindo hopes to one day run a small business, and hopes the development of this game will open the avenue to create more games.

The game is touted for a December 2018 release.

The Kickstarter campaign for Islands of the Formless Void is a little under a month until completion and funds from the campaign are going directly to the game and other related costs of development.

As Jon Galindo states in his Kickstarter campaign, the fate of the game depends on donors decisions.

New Game The Onus Helm Brings Classic Dungeon Crawling Gameplay to Steam

With a classic gameboy-like appearance and smooth and satisfying gameplay, The Onus Helm, a game by developer B-Cubed Labs is on its way for release in 2018.

The Onus Helm is a randomly-generated action adventure game with Rogue-like elements, combining the best elements of several genres and making them into a unique and interesting gaming experience.

“The Onus Helm started off with a much bigger scope,” said the developer behind the game. “I knew that I wanted to replicate my favorite experiences from the 2D Legend of Zelda games, but with the gameplay of a fast-paced dungeon crawler, and the general look and feel of the game developed into what I think is best for the scope of the project.”

It begins with the protagonist awakening to find the cursed helm upon his head. The player must then wander the rooms in the game to discover the truth behind the helm and overcome its burden.

Throughout the game players will find weapons, discover secret areas, and gain new abilities that will allow them to fight off the mysterious creatures making up the world of The Onus Helm.

The developer behind the game noted that his most influential inspiration was The Legend of Zelda, and those inspirations can be clearly seen.

Paying homage to the titular series from Nintendo, the menu, graphics, and gameplay style are all reminiscent of Nintendo’s famous game.

The game will come with a built-in speed run clock, perfect for live streamers and will support both keyboard and game pads.

Like most Rogue-like games, permadeath will be an important feature, making each playthrough an important affair. It will be important to stay alive, especially when encountering one of the many bosses scattered throughout the rooms.

Luckily, there are countless amounts of items and weapons at the players disposal as they explore the randomly generated dungeons of The Onus Helm.

“I am really hoping to make something fun and challenging that can get players coming back for more,” said the developer. “I’ve put a lot of time and effort into the character art and atmosphere too.”

The Onus Helm is touted for a 2018 release and is currently a little less than a month away from the end of its kickstarter.

New Pokémon GO Feature Makes the Game More Realistic

In what was an unexpected update, Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, revealed the newest game update will bring more realistic augmented reality to the game, thanks to Apple’s ARkit development software.

That’s right, android users are getting left behind for now as Niantic works to develop a feature exclusive to Apple devices.

This new feature will begin to implement ARkit, apples new flagship development kit for developers to utilize AR more fluently.

For example, according to Niantic, Pokémon GO will use the new technology to make Pokémon occupy a fixed point in space, allowing players to walk up close to The Pokémon and observe it from all angles instead of The Pokémon just floating around in the air.

Beyond cosmetics, players will now be able to essentially sneak up on Pokémon and gain a greater amount of experience and chance to catch The Pokémon depending on their awareness level.

Awareness level is a new feature inside battles. It is represented by a bar at the bottom that raises if the player gets too close to The Pokémon during the battle, or makes too many quick moves.

Niantic said players will have to be careful trying to sneak up on Pokémon like Charizard but will find it easier to sneak up on Pokémon like Snorlax.

After testing the new update, I can personally say it is somewhat buggy. Pokémon appeared on top of objects as an overlay and didn’t quite look like they were sitting on the ground like I imagined.

“This is our first step toward making AR capabilities in Pokémon GO even more awesome, opening up the framework for greater AR experiences in the future.”

Overall, the new feature adds a layer of depth to the game, even if it is just cosmetic in nature.

Animal Crossing Provides A Relaxing Environment During A Stressful Time

Christmas is my favorite time of year, but it tends to be one of the most stressful times of year for me.

Between financial struggles, finals at University, and the long ride between college and home, there are various things that all ball together and create a chain reaction of stressful events.

Of course, relationships and friendships all help to lessen the stress, but I remember one game that used to tune me in and calm me down during pressured times.

Animal Crossing is a relaxing game. Either of its iterations will be able to provide a relaxing and interesting world to players.

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It offers a small, homey town with a house and friendly animals to talk to. The music, the characters and the environment are all cheery and uplifting.

Maybe it is just that, Animal Crossing provides a happy and cheerful environment to play through. No enemies or stressful events (except for the bees) to be found anywhere on the island.

It provides a second home experience.

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Though someone may abandon the game for years, the town that players spend so much time in, is still there. Albeit, villagers may leave or relocate, and weeds will certainly destroy the grass but that familiar house, the stores, the animals, they will be there.

Animal Crossing provides a familiarity, a consistence that allows players a place to return when life becomes unfamiliar or inconsistent.

I think that is what makes it so relaxing.

I always have my town to go back to. I can check in on villagers whenever I want, I don’t have to play everyday but I have that choice.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is another experience to enjoy now, and on mobile. Now I am not confined to my 3DS to play, but I have my town with me wherever I go.

I can always quickly open up the app and pop-in to check on how the animals in the game are doing.

I can always shake a few trees or catch a fish.

With the Christmas event underway in the game, I am finding myself more and more relaxed as Nintendo promises snow to come to the game.

Pocket Camp, though a mobile app, has carved a special place in my heart and I will keep it as long as it is available for me to return to.