Rating:
EU Release Date: Apr 22, 2013
Publisher: Antanas Marcelionis
Developer: Antanas Marcelionis
Total play time: 00:60:00 (approx.)

The Howler is a beautiful, hand-drawn game with a simple concept from Lithuanian developer Antanas Marcelionis. Based on steampunk novel The Hour of the Wolf by Andrius Tapinas, you control a little hot air balloon above the Free City of Vilnius in 1905, piloted by Antanas Sidabras. The missions start simple with small tasks such as collecting and delivering packages over buildings, but the further you go, the more complex the tasks.

The gameplay is simple, but can be achieved in a variety of ways depending on your platform. You can click with a mouse on PC, touch the screen with a mobile device or even make noise to make the balloon rise. Then, by keeping quiet or not touching, you can let it sink again. A sharp, loud noise (or space bar, or double tap) will allow you to drop any cargo in your balloon. But your direction and speed is completely at the mercy of the winds and your balloon is delicate. Rise too high and your balloon will be lost. Hit a building and it will explode. For such a simple game, it is surprisingly challenging. Be prepared to redo some of the levels a few times before you get it right!

Screen

Float your balloon around obstacles to win.

The soundtrack to this game is subtle, but effective. During the levels, you have gentle wind effects with bird calls and the menus have a little bit of music. Other sound effects add atmosphere throughout, but in general it is a fairly quiet game… until the balloon explodes. That made me jump a couple of times.

Overall, this is a fun little game, ideal for wasting a few minutes here and there. Some of the levels can be a little frustrating, but as a distraction from other stresses in life, it’s not bad. What’s more, it’s less than £1 on Steam.

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Rating:
Worldwide Release Date: August 3, 2016 (for Android)

Screenshot EDIT (14.8.16): Seeing a lot of connectivity issues at the moment. An update had been released, but is it going to fix the problem for anyone? It didn’t work for me. (Review follows)

I’m not a big mobile gamer. This is probably something to do with my dislike of smartphones. But I’m a sucker for Final Fantasy games and so when I got the email about Mobius Final Fantasy, I had to return to my phone to give it a go.

The story seems somewhat similar to the first Final Fantasy game – at least what I remember of it. Your character is the Warrior of Light and it’s your job to save the world, called Palamecia in this game. Along the way, we meet some familiar characters – Princess Sara of Cornelia, who I suspect we’ll have to save at some point; Mog, the lovable moogle; a whole bunch of recognisable enemies and some shifty looking guy in armour called Garland… Now, why do I have a bad feeling about him?

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As I have mentioned, 2016 has so far been a rubbish year, but it is predicting bright things for the future. Not only was there an announcement of a new Nier game, but there are signs of a remastered Final Fantasy XII, in my eyes, the best game of that series so far.

This remastered version will introduce the Zodiac Job System, which the European and North American versions never had, a newly recorded soundtrack and a way better save system (my word, those save crystals were the bane of my life!). I’m expecting great things.

On a separate note, does anyone want to buy me a PS4? It looks like I am going to need one.

So I’ve been quiet this year, but then 2016 has been something of a wash-out for me at least, so I’m just keeping my head down and focusing on not going mad. But this is something that I can’t resist sharing, a little glimmer of light in this doom and gloom year.

It’s new footage from the upcoming game NieR Automata.

The distant future…

Invaders from another world attack without warning, unleashing a new type of threat: weapons known as “machine lifeforms.” In the face of this insurmountable threat, mankind is driven from Earth and takes refuge on the Moon.

You play as YoRHa, a series of androids designed to combat the alien invaders. The female is 2B (YoRHa No. 2 Model B) and the male is 9S.

If you’re interested, there is also a video of gameplay footage below, with commentary from some of the team behind the game. Although the enemies are not like the ones in the first game, I’m sure you’ll agree that there is something quite familiar about them… Horribly familiar…

I’m pretty sure this game is going to be just as heart-breaking as the first.

 

 

Welcome back to Tuesday Tunes! This week’s track is “…Steel for Humans” from 2015’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, composed by Percival and Marcin Przybyłowicz.


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Video  —  Posted: December 8, 2015 in Articles, Music
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Windows 10 Revisited

Posted: November 17, 2015 in Articles, Uncategorized
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You would think, that after spending a little more time with Windows 10, I would have gotten used to it. It turns out, no. I’ve grown to hate it more. And I now have a more definitive answer to the question “Should you upgrade to Windows 10?”

No. Absolutely not.

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So, they’ve given what was formerly known as “Nier: New Project” a proper name. NieR: Automata.
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With many of the original NieR team returning and new members such as Akihiko Yoshida, responsible for character design in my other favourite game (FFXII) and the Platinum Games people, this looks set to be awesome. Check out the trailer:

Although penned as a sequel to 2010’s NieR, you don’t actually have to have played that game, nor any of the Drakengard series (from which NieR was a spin-off) for it to make sense. It’s a very weird game and that’s all you need to know.

The story of Automata is set on Earth, after mankind fled to the moon during an invasion by mechanical lifeforms with superior weaponry. Now, mankind are using their own androids to take back their planet. That’s the girl you see in that trailer. Its name is YoRHa 2 Model: B – 2B for short – and it is an android, not a woman.

The original NieR story is linked to this only by location. Although some of the characters from that game may be mentioned, they are unlikely to appear. The gameplay, however, will be more similar, with a range of different play styles to keep the audience on their toes. You can almost guarantee that it will have multiple endings, the story won’t be anything like what you were expecting and there are going to be some ridiculously oversized swords in play. Oh, and the game’s producer says it will have a happy ending… just like the first NieR…

Currently, the game is only set for release on PS4, but no date has been given.

Video  —  Posted: October 30, 2015 in News, Trailers
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