#FreeGameFriday: Cave Story

Welcome to #FreeGameFriday, where we suggest a new game for you to play every Friday. And it won’t cost you a dime.

I cannot offer enough praise for this indie classic. Cave Story is a metroidvania-type game that’s very well-built, it’s got a great story, and the soundtrack is amazing. There are many hours of gameplay to be found inside, along with vast secrets and three different endings.

Best of all, the original version is free (there is a remaster on Steam, but that costs $15).

Cave Story ~ Doukutsu Monogatari 9_13_2016 6_18_28 PM.png

You can get it here for Windows, macOS, Linux… and a whole bunch of other platforms.

HTC Vive: A Review

Hey, folks I have had the HTC Vive for a long enough time that I feel I can give a pretty thorough review. As you all know from reading my previous posts, I had a little bit of a struggle setting up my Vive. Once I got through that headache, there hasn’t been any more headaches.

Take a look at this intro video to the HTC Vive from Valve itself.

The Vive is honestly the best virtual reality experience I have ever experienced! I had the Samsung VR that had come with my smartphone when I purchased it. The Samsung VR was not a bad experience considering it was all running off of my phone! But the Samsung VR could never touch the Vive. The Vive has capabilities of no other virtual reality device out there to date. Correct me if I’m wrong! Take note, I have never used the Oculus Rift

The Vive is able to track your space so that you can move around in the environment to play. This is pretty awesome. The only other experience that even comes close to this was my time I spent with Microsoft’s Kinect. Even that though is just scanning your body. This is scanning your play space! There are sensors on the headset and sensors on the handheld controllers that track your relativity to the room. This is all done by using base stations that are to be mounted at least a foot above you.

In my experience with the Vive, my play space does not have high enough ceilings to put the base stations a foot above my head. This has not seemed to be a problem when playing, The only problem I have had with tracking is when I move my head down quickly. When I do this it results in a gray screen for maybe a second.

I’ve played Job simulator that came with the Vive, and it was really good! I was convinced I was in the simulation. I’ve played TiltBrush that also came with the Vive, and I can honestly say that was amazing! The other game that came with the Vive was Fantastic Contraptions. That game is okay, I haven’t spent as much time with it. But if you’re going to play a game on the Vive I highly recommend The Gallery Episode 1:The Call of the Starseed! That game really showcases the capabilities of the Vive.

The controllers are really comfortable to hold in your hands, and they don’t feel awkward at all when playing games. The virtual representation of them are different in each game I’ve played, but they are really cool to look at. You move your hand any particular way, and it mimics that movement almost perfectly. There is little to no stutter in the motions! I was really surprised by this! The buttons react the way you would expect, and are not in a bad layout. I like the way everything is situated.

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The headset can be rather clunky sometimes after prolonged use, but it was never uncomfortable with the memory foam pads that line where your face rests. It can be a little detaching to the virtual world you’re in when you trip over the long cord that runs down your back to your PC. But this is something that you will eventually get used to. The first few times using the Vive, I wasn’t sure about the cable, but it really isn’t too bad once you get used to the movement. I would recommend calibrating it so that when you start up you are facing away from your computer so that you don’t have to worry about the cord wrapping around your body, which tends to happen anyway from turning and doing the movement. Probably the only downfall to the headset is the cord.

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If you’re on the fence with getting the Vive, I can say that I have not regretted making the plunge. Sure most of the games feel like tech demos at this point. But there is so much going into development for this technology! I know it takes a little bit of a beefy computer to use, but if you have the capabilities, be sure to pick this up and try it. There really is no way to describe it other than to show you. It’s that type of experience. Words can not give it justice.

So if you know a friend that has one, get to his or her house and try it out. You’re going to have a blast in these virtual worlds, and will not want to come back to reality. Thanks for taking the time to read my review, and keep an eye out for more material. I’m working on a review of an alpha game called 911 operator.

Opinion: Level-based Games vs. Open-World Games

Both kinds of games hold a special value to me.

Level-based games, like the old Mario and Sonic games, give me a sense of pride and satisfaction when I complete them. Heck, making any kind of progress in them feels great, and there’s a sense of accomplishment when even one of these levels is finished. Also, that means that the progress is measurable; every level you complete guarantees that you’re one step closer to finishing the game. Heck, I can tell if I’m getting close to the end of a game if I look it up, but that ruins some of the fun.

For open-world games, some of that satisfaction is gone. Sure, there’s a lot more to do. And it’s not all that difficult to keep track of what you’ve finished and how far into the main quest you are. I often feel overwhelmed, though… as if there’s too much to do. And for games like The Witcher 3 and Skyrim, yeah, there’s a lot to do. There’s nothing wrong with that… it’s just not always my style.

Bottom line is, I like both for different reasons. Open world games are something I can sink my teeth into and enjoy the world, while level-based games are still enjoyable, but something I can track and knock out more quickly.

Which kind of game do you prefer? Or do you prefer other varieties of games? Let us know!

– Josh

July in Review

Well, what a month it’s been! Thank you. All of you. You’ve promoted us and visited the site over the last couple of months, helping us become even better than we were at the start. Thank you.

We had a LOT of posts in July, but there were several that you seemed to enjoy more than others. Here’s our top 10 posts for the month:

  1. Mod: Morrowind Overhaul
  2. No Man’s Sky: Explore Trailer
  3. The Elder Scrolls: Legends
  4. Elder Scrolls Online: Dark Brotherhood DLC
  5. First Impressions: Pokemon GO
  6. RogueLands
  7. History Lesson (from the Obduction Soundtrack)
  8. Why Pokemon GO is Awesome
  9. HTC Vive: Setup Struggles!
  10. Starbound

If you missed any of these, feel free to check them out! We cover a wide variety of games and music genres!

Moving forward, we’re going to continue posting reviews, for games both brand-new and decades old. In addition, we’re going to continue posting new soundtracks every week, and we’re starting something new: #FreeGameFriday, where we find free games for you to try and tell you about them!

If you have any requests for what we should work on (games to review, content to add, tweaks we can make to our writing), let us know! We’re open to suggestions and would love the chance to make this site better for everybody.

Remember to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, and if you see a review that you like, share it and spread the word! And of course, if you’re interested in becoming a reviewer for us, contact us! We want to hear from you and add to our team!

Be sure to keep an eye out; we’re constantly adding new content, including some new reviews going up throughout this week!

Thank you again, and we’ll see you around here soon!

No Man’s Sky: Explore Trailer

Hello Games has released their first of four videos highlighting No Man’s Sky’s gameplay pillars. The pillars are; Explore, Fight, Trade, and Survive. 

The new gameplay shows off an improved UI and new planets we haven’t seen previously. It may be worth the mention that there seems to be improved lighting and graphics compared to older trailers. Now that the game has gone gold, we can expect no deviation in No Man’s Sky’s August 9th release date. Our Universe Awaits.