March 28, 2016

Consider Who Could Be There: Harassment in VR

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Renee Gittins

Today marks the official launch of the Oculus Rift, a high quality virtual reality headset with dozens of games to enjoy. As an avid fan and enthusiast for the medium, I am beyond excited for today.

However, I am not going to gush about my love of VR in this article, I am writing it to talk about a rather unpleasant experience:

I was harassed in virtual reality.Read More


CCP Games Unleashes EVE: Valkyrie Launch Trailer

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

CCP Games has unleashed the launch trailer for their immersive spaceship combat title EVE: Valyrie which is exclusively available for the Oculus Rift.

Owen O’brien, the game’s executive producer, reflects on the journey the team has been on to bring the game to market. He remembers trying on his first modern VR headset three years ago and how the technology has advanced since then.

In part O’Brien wrote:

“I’m incredibly proud of what the team here in Newcastle have created, but what we have built is not an end in itself. Rather, it’s a basecamp to start from. Where we go from here is up to you. We want this to be the best competitive multiplayer game on the VR platform. But we don’t get to decide that. The players do. “

Eve: Valkyrie takes place in the same universe as CCP’s long running EVE universe, in the game players take the role a Capsuleer, one of the elite few who are able to use the Capsule technology to single handedly fly technologically advanced starships. Death isn’t the end for a capsuleer –  upon death their consciousness is transferred to a new clone body with all of the memories and experiences that the last incarnation had.

If you’re a sci-fi fan and don’t own a rift it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch this trailer – it’s narrated by none other than Battlestar Galatica veteran Katie Sackhoff!

EVE: Valkyrie is currently bundled with the consumer version of the Oculus RIFT. If you didn’t get your hands on a launch unit the game can be purchased through the Oculus Store for $59.99.

From CCP’s FAQ:

I didn’t pre-order an Oculus Rift, but I do want to own the EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack. What can I do? 

After Rift pre-orders end on 28 March, the only way to get EVE: Valkyrie will be via the EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack, which will be available for purchase on the EVE: Valkyrie website, through Oculus Home, and from select digital retailers, at a price of USD $59.99.

[youtube id=”8TmMIGOevis”]


Broken Deals: Prepare For VR With This Excellent PC Hardware

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Today is the big day – the first Oculus Rift consumer version (CV1)s have arrived to their owners homes. If you were one of the lucky few, well we’re all insanely jealous but we’ve also got some tips for you. If your PC rig isn’t quite up to snuff we’ve got some hardware suggestions for you – from processors to video cards we want our readers to be prepared for the VR future.Read More


Witch & Hero II | Review

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Jason Nason

The original Witch & Hero was the second game I reviewed a few years back and I loved it. The game was the model of simplicity, both in approach and gameplay. Born from the look of the old school 8-bit era of games, Witch & Hero looked and felt like a game that could have been around when I was a kid.

Witch & Hero II takes everything that the original did so well and builds on it. Everything from the original game is intact, but the sequel has more meat.

The game takes place years after the events of the first game where a new Demon Lord comes to terrorize the world, with the Witch and Hero setting out to defeat him. Unfortunately they are defeated. Once news has spread of the defeat, two new heros emerge to fight the Demon Lord. These are who you will play as in the game.

Read More


Overwatch weekly brawls dug up by data miners

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

If you are not in the Overwatch beta (like me) then you probably missed the most recent set of patch notes which added a new mode similar to Hearthstone’s tavern brawl. Now data miners have found a cache of data which seems to name all of the brawls that will be playable. Lets get right to it here is what Overpwn found

  • Super Shimada Bros.: Welcome to Hanamura. Genji and Hanzo only. Faster abilities, slower ultimates.
  • Mystery Heroes: On death you will respawn as a randomly selected hero.
  • Justice Rains From Above: Pharah and Mercy take to the skies.
  • Arcade: More health! Faster ability and ultimate cooldowns! Faster respawn!
  • We’re All Soldiers Now: Soldier: 76 takes command of the Control Maps.
  • High Noon: It’s high noon on Route 66. Headshots with McCree only.
  • Show Your Support: All support heroes. Limited to two of the same per team.
  • Tanks a Lot: All tank heroes. Limited to two of the same per team.
  • Overly Defensive: All defense heroes. Limited to two of the same per team.
  • Highly Offensive: All offense heroes. Limited to two of the same per team.
  • Heads Up!: McCree, Genji, Hanzo, and Widowmaker. Headshots only.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: McCree, Reaper, and Roadhog duke it out.
  • Moba-Watch: Unique heroes per team. No hero switching allowed.
  • Girl Power: Female heroes only. Sorry, boys.

There you go, personally I kinda love the idea of a rotating game mode that keeps things interesting beyond just team death match, payload, and king of the hill. I personally can wait to play Overwatch period so playing any of these game modes seems even more fun.

What do you think of this mode? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.


User gets connected to two separate League of Legends games at once

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Fionna Schweit

Reddit user /u/popingheads has posted a video to the League of Legends subreddit showing his champion getting placed in to two separate matches at the same time. Its as odd as you might think. Both of the matches seem to feature the same 10 players. While Popingheads team plays in one game, the other team seems to be playing in the other. So which on is the right one? Only Riot knows, and I doubt they will be telling anyone any time soon.

The user also provided this end of game screenshot as additional proof that there were two games, and provides this anecdote about how the games ended

” after the enemy rushed down our Nexus both matches closed for me. One of my other friends was still stuck finishing the other match which was a 2v1 however.” What an intresting and potentially game breaking bug. Have you ever seen anything similar to this when playing league? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter

lol end of game


Space Grunts | Review

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Robyn Robo


Space Grunts is a lovely little game available now on Steam for PC/Linux/Windows, the Humble Store, Apple’s App Store & Google Play. For this article I reviewed it on Linux. The game was released cross-platform at the end of February. The one-man development team, Orange Pixel, has a track record of creating simple cross-platform action games. This game is similar to those in of its action-oriented screen shaking chibi-pixel style. It is unique, however, in of that it’s a turn based rogue like with a light strategy bent.

Like its predecessors’, Space Grunts is a straightforward game at face value, with three moderately unique classes to choose from, dropping you right into alien stomping action. As a full-on rogue like it features a wide variety of items, enemies, traps and variations on each. The dungeon is randomly generated, only saving your progress at the beginning of each level, but your ‘save’ is deleted if you die. Further, the current level regenerates upon loading a save. This means that save-scumming is pretty much impossible, which lends some credibility to the global leaderboard. If you can’t crack your way into that, there’s also a daily challenge with its own, daily, leaderboard. The game is glossed and polished extremely well, setting it apart from many in the genre.

In addition to the general polished feel, the game sets itself apart with the action heritage of Orange Pixel’s other games. While Pascal Bestebroer’s (Orange Pixel’s sole full-time developer) other games may not normally be turn based, they are all solid mobile adaptations of existing genres. Their past games have included Gunslugs, a run ‘n gun, Heroes of Loot, a twin-stick dungeon crawler & Groundskeeper, another run ‘n gun. All of these appear to have tapped the same team for art and music as well. Similarly, Space Grunts can be played quickly and is good for a jam session on the go. While this is unlikely to get you into high score territory, it’s fun and refreshing. The controls are simple, inventory management and character development are very light and mostly automatic. You can play with a joypad, keyboard, mouse and of course on mobile devices’ touchscreens. Played quickly, the game feels more like an old top-down shooter, such as Alien Breed, than a rogue like. Gameplay immediately reverts to a slower turn based rogue-like, however, when you’re faced with a challenging room.

Levels in the game are, thankfully, split into sealed rooms. Each room requires you to open the door before the monsters, turrets and NPCs come alive. This allows players to pace out the action and approach each room as its own unique puzzle to be beaten. A perfect puzzle-like assessment is impossible as a monster’s health is unknown at start and slightly random without an extra, turn limited, in game item. This means that there is an additional element of chance beyond just the loot drops and enemy movements, which I found refreshing over number-crunching.


Why not both? Poison and healing spores.

With perma-death and no saves for old characters, you’ll be starting fresh frequently. The game doesn’t make this difficult and accepting that is part of the fun. Each play through is a chance to get further in the dungeon, or see a new hidden area. There are plenty of types of areas too, each occupying several levels and having unique challenges to it. Some are hidden behind destroyable architecture in the game, others caused by activating a found item. Lots of things are breakable, dropping loot or exploding in unique ways, even rooms can be reshaped by explosions. Despite the wide variety, I’ve yet to see an area that is simply unbeatable. It’s conceivable you may find an acid covered floor you can’t cross without boots and be unable to proceed. Some destructible elements are fairly unpredictable too, such as crystal flowers that can either heal your or irradiate a room. That said, I haven’t seen an area which careful tactics, experience and critical thought can’t manage. This is a hard balance to achieve with random dungeons, and again that polish is where the game shines.


Exploration is a joy, taking things one room at a time. Some levels are fairly linear while others amble about with hidden bosses, and dead-ends. Some rooms seem to have pre-programmed archetypes. For example, there are rooms made entirely of flame grates firing in random sequences, almost always with an item in the middle. Being able to learn how best to navigate each room and when to use your items is essential. The items are almost never permanent, minus some stat upgrades and detectors. This makes almost everything ephemeral and takes some of the bite out of a character’s death, which in this case is probably a good thing. Characters dying so quickly, it’s reasonable that there’s no way to make permanent progress ‘developing’ them.


I’m not showing what level this is from, because it’s embarrassing.

There are, by the way, only three main character types. Each has a unique variation on three main attributes: strength, tech and luck. These are respectively the character’s brute damage and hit points, ability to fully utilize new items, and likelihood of finding items. The characters’ types of “captain”, “strongarm” and “techjunky” don’t quite translate into the rogue/fighter/mage roles you’d expect. They do come close, though. All character types start off with the same three weapons, but are able to use each to different effect. There’s only four main weapons in the game, the three starters plus a crowbar mostly good for opening crates you find later on. Weapons can be upgraded via random drops, and there are limited use weapons such as mines, RC robot bombs and flame throwers. Other drops run the gamut of possible upgrades, one off ammo-burners, regeneration items, time stoppers, teleporters, practically anything you can think of. Ammo packs and health packs are used immediately, so it’s sometimes wise to skip around the health packs for backtracking within a level.


Always wanted a Space Cube

There is some permanent progress to be made in the game. In addition to leaderboards and daily challenges, there are data cards revealing backgrounds on each enemy, a Moonbase Log updated as your characters proceed further into the dungeon and meet NPCs, statistics about your gameplay, three unlockable ‘skins’ that are actually more powerful characters, and plenty of achievements to reach. These synced across systems for me in Steam, I can’t vouch for Google Play but I assume it uses the cloud sync there as well. Proper support of ‘cloud saves’ has been on the uptake in games, and it’s lovely. I only wish there were ways to sync from Steam to the mobile app stores and vice versa with games like this. All of those extra numbers and items, in addition seeking the final boss of the dungeon, gives you plenty to rank your game mastery against.

The graphics are a solidly modern take on pixel art. Which is to say, pixelated but not retro. The effects and fog-layers are often high-resolution and 3D, glowing light sources and reflections abound. Your character even leaves little ephemeral foot prints. Effects and animations in the game run constantly, somewhat masking its turn based play. I see the style of the characters & mobs as anime influenced, with that big-headed chibi look to them. This look is in tune with the restraints of mobile screen sizes but still reasonably fun to look at on a bigger PC monitor. The music is similar, good, easy to listen to, but not overwhelming. A series of slick bubbly techno-ish tunes played over the ambient noises of machines in the dungeon and sound effects. The music neither grated on my nerves, nor made me pause to listen. I’d say only slightly better than average in this regard but it fits the game well and doesn’t sound like stock effects.


Glowing, reflective, shininess

Despite having a one-man development team, Orange Pixel maintains proper community forums. They are very active on those and release frequent bug fixes and updates to their games. I have to say I’m impressed. I’ve seen plenty of better funded developers not do nearly as well by their fans.

The game also doesn’t “feature” in-app-purchases. Once you’ve bought it, you have the full game, regardless of platform. Prices vary between mobile and PC, which is frustrating even if it is standard practice. The PC version is the most expensive, at $9.99, while the Android and iOS versions are $3.99. It is nice to see Android & iOS at the same price point.

Are you a fan of Nethack or Rogue like games? If so, are you looking for something mobile friendly, more accessible and modern? Then this is a fantastic choice. If you were let down by “Steam Marines”, or if you want more of the same, definitely consider this game. Space marine alien stomping is one of my favorite themes and Space Grunts pulls off the ambience of it well. The graphics are slick, the music fitting and the gameplay tight. It isn’t a rich, beyond-expectations game, but it is clever and well made. It feels absolutely worth the price. Especially if you like the genre or want to try something new on mobile. Orange Pixel has been around for a while now releasing these well packaged, small games. Their experience and style shine through.


Get the latest articles and news from BrokenJoysticks and a selection of excellent articles from other sources.

Simply fill out the form below and you’ll be on your way to getting our upcoming newsletter.