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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Din's Curse: The Dangers Of Explosions In Unstable Caves
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A new blog post from Soldak Entertainment's Steven Peeler once again reveals information about the company's upcoming action RPG, Din's Curse. This time Peeler explored the unstable cave environments in the game, which will include cave-ins triggered by player and monster actions.

In Din's Curse players take the role of an adventurer cursed to walk the lands in a quest for redemption. The game features 141 possible class combinations, an infinite number of dynamically generated towns, and a game world directly impacted by player choices.

A cave-in is exactly what you expect, large forces like explosions can break weakened areas of the cave or dungeon causing large rocks to fall down, crushing whatever is below them. Falling rocks do a good bit of damage, can temporarily block areas, and can cause further cave ins. Be careful with those powerful spells. They might kill your intended victims, but they also might rain down boulders on you or block your escape route.

While a powerful explosion can cause cave-ins just about anywhere, they are much more likely when the surrounding stone is already weak. Water drips and cracks show a slight weakness, while steam and gas leaks show more. Either way, be careful when visible signs of weakness are present. Gas leaks are even worse since they're flammable and tend to explode themselves. Also if there are support beams in the area, try not to break them.

Of course, in Din's Curse, not causing explosions isn't always easy. Many monsters in the game can use spells that explode. The Chaos Lords with their earthquake creating stomps are particularly dangerous. There are also numerous traps on the ground, on chests, and on many other objects. Even obvious explosion dangers like exploding barrels and energy vortexes can cause cave-ins. These circumstances will generate interesting decisions. Should you break that barrel hoping for loot when it is right next to the gas leak? What if it is near a gas leak, 4 cracks, and an energy vortex? What if you are playing a hardcore character?
Learn more about the game at the links below.

Soldak Forums: Din's Curse Cave-Ins
Soldak Entertainment
Din's Curse
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IMG Reviews Pipe Mania
8:03 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the remake of the classic puzzler Pipe Mania from Virtual Programming. Like the original, place and rotate pipes to get the liquid flowing from one end to another. This update to the game adds other themes, giving the player the chance to lay track for a traveling train, for example. Here's and excerpt from the review:

The first and largest addition to the core Pipe Mania mechanics is the campaign mode. Each zone you explore in the quest for connecting the pipes of the world adds a special condition you have to deal with and tends to require some pre-planning to properly defeat. The largest example of this is the train zone. Your train has a start and an end, so it's possible to rearrange the track in a way that creates an infinite loop that you can then use to rack up tremendous amounts of score. This is required in order to beat a few of the levels and especially to get a gold star for all the levels of zone, so you'll have to learn fast.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Pipe Mania
Pipe Mania
Virtual Programming
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Scrabble Plus Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld recently posted a new review of Scrabble Plus, a new electronic edition of the popular word game. Scrabble Plus features the traditional game as well as head-to-head dual board play, arcade style gameplay, and new game themes. Macworld gave the game a score of 3 out of 5.

From the review:

Scrabble Plus has extra features that you won’t get from the “analog” version of the game. For example, you can play Battle Scrabble, a variation of the game that requires two boards and two bags of letters—when playing Scrabble digitally, you don’t need to purchase a second Scrabble set or have a friend to bring a Scrabble set.

The real test of a Scrabble game, though, is how well the basic game plays, and in Scrabble Plus it plays very well, indeed. The board looks brilliant, and is most likely an improvement over the tatty cardboard one sitting on your bookshelf. There are faux wooden tiles and a brightly coloured background. Rules can be customized so you can allow hints, dictionary use, and exclude curse words. The game engine automatically enforces the rules you’ve chosen—that’s the real appeal of any virtual Scrabble game. It lets you concentrate on playing, instead of scoring or looking up rules to make sure a word is valid.
Head over to the page below to read more.

Macworld: Scrabble Plus
Buy Scrabble Plus

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The Lore Of Diablo III
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Hellforge has published a new interview with Blizzard Entertainment's Leonard Boyarsky about the company's upcoming action RPG sequel, Diablo III. In the interview the developer discussed the lore and storyline within the game and how the Diablo III team attempts to remain true to the previous games while adding new chapters to the tale.

With regards to the NPCs again. I’m going back there. Will there be any specific quests or missions related to the player classes?
Leonard Boyarsky: Right now we’re still working out the main flow of the gameplay for the co-op, for your group. But, the way we like to look at it is each character, each class really sees the story from their own perspective. There’s gonna be lore, there’s gonna be things that you encounter in the world that will really affect the characters differently. As far as quests or specific missions, we’re exploring that and we’d really like to include that stuff but that’s kind of up in the air in terms of how that will play out specifically.

Do you also draw inspiration from your previous games – for example Vampire or Fallout?
Leonard Boyarsky: One of the most interesting things for me is that Diablo has a very distinctive voice and you know it’s really something that we’re trying to stick to. We really want to get that feel of the horror – the underlying psychological horror. At its basis it’s an action game, so there’s only so much of that kind of feel you can kind of get. But I think Diablo 1 did it really well , and I think that it’s one of the things we really wanna hit.
Whereas, I think some of my past games I’ve been a bit more flippant in some of the dialogue writing. It’s just a different style, and we really wanna be true to that, and we really wanna make the dialogue as quality as possible, but we really wanna evoke the psychological horror feeling. You know, the whole Lovecraftian vibe of the universe. There’s all this stuff going on behind the scenes that’s just waiting to crush man.
Check out the entire Q&A at the page listed below.

Hellforge: Diablo III Q&A
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
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Adventuring In Machinarium
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Destructoid has posted a review of the recently released Mac version of Machinarium. The point and click adventure game follows the adventures of a robot who must find a way to save his girlfriend and his city from a group of villains known as the Black Cap Brotherhood. Destructoid gave the game a score of 9 out of 10.

From the review:

A review like this would typically devote an early paragraph to summarizing the story, but I'm pleased to be unable to do so with Machinarium: the story is not only completely bare bones and highly reliant on player inference (think Shadow of the Colossus), but it's told in such a gradual and mostly unobtrusive way that half the fun comes from gradually discovering exactly what the unnamed protagonist's relationship is to the rest of the world (I say mostly; from time to time the protagonist will have a thought bubble flashback to provide backstory, but these are really short and easily skippable). Suffice to say, the world of Machinarium is beautiful, haunting, charming and funny.

In regards to puzzle solving, Machinarium is as satisfyingly focused a title I've yet experienced. Rather than forcing the player to collect dozens of items, or backtrack across eight different screens just to accomplish one small task, Machinarium restricts 90% of its puzzles to single locations; even when the game world opens up around the halfway mark, the individual puzzles still feel remarkably tight.

You may enter a room with the intent of finding an item to be used in a different area, but you'll still be able to essentially solve all the puzzles in a location without leaving to get another inventory item or talk to another character. Those few areas you cannot access immediately are clearly marked, and feel less like distracting maybe-solutions for other puzzles and more like isolated reminders: "yes," the game says, "go to the greenhouse and solve an abstract lite-brite-esque puzzle, but don't forget you're also looking for a key to the arcade. Thus, it's very difficult (but not impossible -- more on that in a bit) to feel completely confused about where you need to go, what you need to do, and what tools you have at your disposal to accomplish those aims.
Visit the site below to read the full review.

Destructoid: Machinarium Review
Buy Machinarium

Mac Games News for Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Deadfall Zombie Survival Mod Released For Myth II6:00 AM
Grappling Hook Now Available6:00 AM
Torchlight: Shared Stash, Alchemist Details6:00 AM
Two Worlds II: New Swamp Screenshots Available6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, October 20, 2009 on one page

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