Features

By Joey Lewandowski, July 29, 2014 0 Opinion

(Editor’s note: This opinion piece by long time friend of the website, Joey Lewandowski, was originally posted on ShellyPalmer.com. We feel that Joey makes some interesting points and is worth the read. Enjoy.)

EA announced a new service called EA Access on Tuesday, which delivers some of its games on the Xbox One at incredibly inexpensive prices. Check it out:

EA Access membership unlocks The Vault, a collection of EA’s biggest games on Xbox One ready for you to download and play.  During the beta, gamers will have unlimited access to four great EA games: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4™, with more titles being added soon. That’s over $100 worth of games for $4.99 a month. You can play these EA favorites as much as you want with the click of a button.

The press release is fairly detailed, but there isn’t enough information for me to figure out the most important distinction: EA Access may be the greatest service ever available on the Xbox One, or it could be a pretty okay service that I don’t pay for.

There isn’t really a middle ground.

For $5 a month (or $30 a year), I get access to four games I paid $195 for on the day they came out. That’s an awesome deal. That $30 price point is half the price of Madden NFL 15, which I’m buying in about four weeks. Does EA Access let me play that? I don’t know. I know I can play a two-hour trial of it, five days before it comes out, and my progress will carry over to the retail version. But is that it?

There’s no way EA can be giving away full copies of brand new titles as part of this promotion… right? There’s a new FIFA and Madden coming out in the next three months (and a new Battlefield was supposed to as well until it was delayed to next year), so offering full copies of last year’s versions is a good way to draw people into the service. Peggle 2 is a great game, but it’s an inexpensive one, and a way to show casual consumers how good EA’s digital-only games are.

I’m hungry for more details. I’m guessing each new sports game will be available to play in full a few months before the next version comes out. That won’t cut it for me with a game like Madden, which I’d want to play a ton of leading up to and throughout the football season. But for games like FIFA or NHL, games about sports and leagues I don’t really follow, EA Access still holds a lot of value. Is $30 a year worth having access to a slightly-delayed but ever-rotating cycle of great games? For me, definitely.

The delivery process of digital media is changing. Netflix broke the system, for the benefit of consumers. Spotify followed suit with music, and Amazon/Oyster/Scribd did for books. It looks like EA is doing the same thing for video games (albeit only their games). Sure, the monthly subscription prices are adding up, but so is the value – and so are the savings on not having to buy full retail versions of anything ever again.

By Andrew Martins, July 28, 2014 0 News, PS4

A minor snafu on Sony’s part may have ruined the surprise for PlayStation 4 fans attending this year’s Gamescom, as a listing of playable games for the platform showed off some particularly unexpected titles.

Found by an eagle-eyed NeoGAF user, the listing had thatgamecompany’s Journey among a list of playable PS4 titles. Other surprise titles for the platform included Giant Sparrow’s The Unfinished Swan and Supermassive Games’ upcoming horror release, Until Dawn.

Apparently, the full list of 35 PS4 and 20 PlayStation Vita games was listed on Sony’s official page for the event, which is slated to start in two weeks at Cologne, Germany.

Sony has since taken the listing down.

The potential re-release of both The Unfinished Swan and Journey would be nothing new to Sony’s newest system. Last month, both of Q-Games’ PixelJunk Shooter titles hit the PS4 and the Vita as PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate.

So what do you think? Will you re-buy Journey or The Unfinished Swan for the PS4? Let us know in the comments below.

By Andrew Martins, July 21, 2014 0 3DS, Multiplatform, News

The inbox of a videogame news website gets some pretty weird stuff ranging from tangentially related comic books to press releases about “gamer” snack foods of dubious nutritional value that will improve response times in first person shooters.

Today, we at Pixelitis got one of the weirder ones in recent history from Ubisoft of all places. Apparently, a new title called Tetris Ultimate is coming to the Nintendo 3DS version this fall.

Tetris Ultimate is apparently an updated version of an obscure Russian game from 1985. I’m sure no one’s ever heard of it.

For a more in-depth look at the game according to Ubisoft, hit the jump.

In the interest of sharing this particular oddity with everyone, it’s worth noting that this latest version will allow for four players to compete in seven different game modes, as described below:

  • Marathon – Complete level 15 and rack up as many points as you can.
  • Endless – Keep clearing lines until your stamina runs out.
  • Ultra – Race to score as many points possible before time runs out in this three-minute challenge.
  • Sprint – Clear 40 lines as quickly as you can.
  • Battle – Go head-to-head to knock out 1-4 challengers.
  • Battle Ultimate – Be the last person playing after using crazy power-ups. Go on the offensive with Carousel and make your opponent’s Well shift to the left after each move, or trigger Let it Rain and dump garbage down on top of them. Buzz Saw helps you out by clearing away a number of your lines, especially useful when you’re in a spot of trouble.
  • Challenge – From disappearing Tetriminos (Tetris® playing pieces) to orientation-locked Tetriminos, be prepared for a variety of challenges that will test a player’s fortitude.

Though the Tetris series is a relative unknown, it has apparently been a hit with mobile gamers, tallying up more than 425 million paid downloads.

Tetris Ultimate is also slated to release this summer on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Vita and PC.

By Andrew Martins, July 21, 2014 0 Multiplatform, News

There’s just one more left. After tomorrow’s release of “Amid the Ruins,” the fourth episode in the second season of Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, there will be just one more chapter in Clementine’s current journey.

And while our favorite little asskicker is getting close to the end of this season’s story arc, it looks from the latest story trailer that it’s not going to end quietly. As expected, things get hairy, alliances will be made and it looks like everything will reach a fever pitch when everything comes to a close.

“Amid the Ruins” hits PC and Mac, as well as the North American PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3 and Vita tomorrow, July 22.

Xbox 360 users and European Vita/PS3 users will be able to get their hands on the episode on the following day, while iOS users will get the episode as an in-app purchase in The Walking Dead Season Two on July 25.

The official trailer is available after the break and I cannot stress this any harder: THERE BE SPOILERS ABOUND IN THE TRAILER.

By Pixelitis Staff, July 16, 2014 0 Features, Pixelitis Picks

After a while, riding the various modes of transportation in our daily lives can turn into a humdrum sort of thing. While riding in cars and buss can cause some epic amounts of napping, leave it to games to come in and spice up our means of travel.

A cowboy’s pixellated pink horse in Sunset Riders, a beat-up Chryslus Highwayman running on fuel cells in Fallout 2 and an oversized yellow-feathered Chocobo are just a few of the crazy ways that game developers try to relieve the monotony of typical travel.

The need to share the crazy ways in which characters travel was too strong, so we here at Pixelitis have highlighted our favorite ways to get from point A to point B in a game. Though we’ve selected our favorites, it would be great to hear what your preferred methods of traveling in the fictional realm of gaming in the comments section below.

Favorite mode of transportation: The jet bike from  Mega Man X2

megamanx2_jetbikeThe jet bike was admittedly underutilized in Mega Man X2. In fact, it only exists in a playable form on Overdrive Ostrich’s stage, where X can use it to blast through enemies and jump over humongous sandstorm generators.

For that brief moment though, it made me feel like even more of a Maverick hunting badass than ever before. With it you could initiate a jet thrust, shoot down obstacles (thus turning them into makeshift ramps) and even use it as a sacrificial lamb.

What I meant by that last one is that you could take down those sandstorm generators in the level by launching off the jet bike and careen it into the machine, promptly causing tons of destruction in your wake.

You never even had to worry about losing it, you could just backtrack a little and there it was, all respawned and ready to rock.

- Patrick Kulikowski

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Favorite mode of transportation: Polar bear cub from Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Crash Bandicoot 2I’ve noticed lately that whenever I am in the mood to just play something silly and mindless, there are few other games that scratch that itch quite like Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back.

And specifically, the “Bear It!” level. Crash finds an adorably goofy bear cub at the beginning of the level, and proceeds to ride said bear cub. Having a genetically combined dingodile riding a bear cub is roughly the equivalent of a gorilla riding a swordfish. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun.

The level plays out like a runner, with jumps and dodges integral to surviving the level. Handling Bear is primitive, much like games of that era but the hilarity and differences lie in reactions to your death. Missing the jumps over Orcas and snowy totem poles usually lead to both Crash and the bear turning into ghosts, and tripping leads to Crash throwing himself head first into the snow ahead.

While the nostalgia and music are probably more entrancing than the actual gameplay itself, I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t considered riding a polar bear to be fun.

- Karen Rivera

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Favorite mode of transportation: The endless staircase from Super Mario 64

Whenever I’m in the mood for a good existential crisis, I find myself booting up Super Mario 64 and heading towards Bowser’s endless staircase.

I’ll listen to the climbing melody for a few hours and stare at the paintings as giphythey zip by. I’ll feel the weight of my thumb as it tilts the analog stick forward, starting as a light press but slowly becoming a digging sensation as skin meets sharp plastic. Mario’s footsteps shift, ever so slowly from a slight pitter-patter to bombshells fired in rapid succession.

Is this staircase representative of the life I lead? A limitless climb to no apparent end? And let’s say I do find my way to the top, what’s to say I won’t meet an inevitable demise at the polygonal hands of a dragon/turtle overlord? I suppose I could, at any moment, turn right back around and head back down the way I came, but what satisfaction would that bring me?

No matter where I turn, I will meet the icy grip of death. By koopa, by chain chomp, by Bowser, I will inevitably crumble.

Unless I use this dope glitch, yo.

- Brendon Bigley

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By Patrick Kulikowski, July 15, 2014 0 Indie, News

Boston-based indie developer Skymap Games has taken to Kickstarter to help crowdfund their 2.5D platformer, Bacon Man: An Adventure.

Touted as “a toaster gun shooting, kung-food fighting, co-op action game” on the campaign page, Skymap is asking the internet for $20,000 to successfully fund Bacon Man and ensure its completion for PC and Mac, with a console release planned if they manage to hit their goal.

Skymap has noted titles like Mega Man X, Rayman, and Earthworm Jim as the prime influences behind Bacon Man’s design.

The team has also launched a Steam Greenlight page, which allows users to vote on whether or not they would like to see the game on the service.

Be sure to dig into the preview I wrote for the early alpha version of Bacon Man during MAGFest this past January. The campaign has until Aug. 15 to be funded.

By Patrick Kulikowski, July 14, 2014 0 Android, iOS, News, PC

Japanese RPG and J-pop fans alike are getting a shot at an early access beta of Breath of Fire 6, provided they purchase an upcoming new J-pop album.

“Fantastic Soda!!” is an upcoming J-pop CD single by popular voice actress Haruka Tomatsu, which features the newly-announced Breath of Fire 6’s theme song, “In Our Hands.” Included with each CD purchase is an early access pass that allows buyers to participate in an upcoming Android beta test of Breath of Fire 6. Also included is a bonus DLC companion for the player, voiced by Tomatsu.

In addition to her pop singles, Tomatsu is known in Japan for a bevy of voiceover roles, including performances for various anime series like Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day and videogames like Valkyria Chronicles 2 and Arc Rise Fantasia.

“Fantastic Soda!!” will release in Japan on July 30, with an announcement regarding the BoF6 beta test and subsequent release to be revealed at a later date. Since the game’s reveal last year, Capcom has remained uncertain about bringing the Android/iOS/PC sequel to North America or Europe.

Thanks to Louis Leon and Rurouni for providing a translation.

Source: Breath of Fire 6 Official Page

By Andrew Martins, July 14, 2014 0 Multiplatform, News

It may be 17 years since the release of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee on the original PlayStation, but Just Add Water’s “modern conversion” of the title is bringing more than the game’s music and visuals to today’s standards – it’s now got preorder bonuses.

Slated for a July 22 release, the PlayStation versions of Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty will not only feature the original score and new visuals, but also a special costume (pictured above) and a brand new character to play as named Alf for those that preorder.

While costumes in an Oddworld game are certainly a new addition to the series, those that played Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus will remember Alf as the tea drinking, fez wearing modokon that helps his fellow former slaves kick their alcoholism.

Playing as Alf will let players experience a new section of Rupture Farms, replete with new dangerous areas to escape from. Unique dialogue has been recorded for the new character and a special leaderboard will be in place to see who can keep the quirky modokon from becoming a packaged food product the fastest.

According to a PlayStation Blog post by Just Add Water CEO Stewart Gilray, the bonuses will be primed and ready to unlock at midnight on July 22.

Gilray also said that when the game comes out on PlayStation 3 and Vita later this year, both the preorder bonuses and the game itself will be Cross-Buy and Cross-Save enabled. There is no release date for those versions at this time.

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty will release for the PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and Wii U on July 22.

By Andrew Martins, July 12, 2014 0 Indie, Multiplatform, News

It’s been a while since we last heard of Iridium Studios second title, There Came an Echo, but a nearly two-minute video was released yesterday that gives a quick glimpse into the game’s “War Room” mode.

The video, which you can find after the break, features Iridium Studios CEO Jason Wishnov running through a bit of the mode, which serves as a practice area for players to become more acclimated with the game’s commands, weapons and tactics while fending off waves of enemies.

For those not in the know, There Came an Echo is a real-time strategy game that primarily utilizes voice commands to control the characters on screen. Almost all of the commands, as well as the character names themselves, are customizable, making the experience unique to each player. Support for other languages will be available as well.

Wishnov boasts that the game will be a “massive step forward for voice interfaces in games,” though the game will also allow players to use traditional control schemes like controllers or keyboard and mouse if they so choose.

Last March, the game was successfully funded on Kickstarter, raising more than $115,000 from 3,906 backers. It has since been supported by Intel’s RealSense.

There Came an Echo is slated to release for PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year.

By Mercer Smith-Looper, July 11, 2014 0 3DS, News

Much like the Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament that Nintendo held recently at E3, they have just announced that they will be holding a tournament for the 3DS version of the title at San Diego Comic Con at the end of the month.

The tournament will commence on July 25, starting with a preliminary round at 12 p.m. PST with groups of four contestants battling against each other. The winner from each group will then move on to the next round. The finalists will then compete one-on-one against each other in bracket style to become the hopeful winner of the tournament.

The tournament will take place at the Nintendo Gaming Lounge at the Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego. Entrants will be able to sign up on the day of the tournament, although there will be limited availability.

If you, like me, will not be at SDCC but are still interested in following along with the fun, Nintendo has set up a stream just for that on their Twitch channel.