Party Hard 2 is the sequel to Party Hard, the 2015 stealth strategy game also showing you being the party pooperest murderer that there ever was. In the sequel, you want your Christmas bonus, don’t get it, and decide it’s time to rage. On everything. Like Hitman, you’ll be trying to kill targets and not raise suspicion on yourself. You can also blow a bunch of stuff up which is always rad. The immediate difference between this game and Party Hard is the 3D environment blended with the pixel graphics of its predecessor which creates a great style and is much easier to read what’s happening on the screen. The baller soundtrack and aforementioned visual style are the icing on this satisfying if grimdark game.
You can expect Party Hard 2 to hit at least PC in 2018.
Strategic followed by chaotic 4v4 FPS gameplay is the best way to describe Due Process. A team tries to infiltrate a building and kill another team, and the other team is trying to kill their aggressors. There’s a number of tools each team can use, but none more important than the planning phase. Both teams get time before the match starts to plan out their attack — what walls to blow, doors to kick down, areas to block off, grenades to use. Our experience, however, is that the second something goes wrong with that plan, the team panics and then it’s anyone’s game. The game is incredibly fun to play with strangers, but even more so with friends that way you can say “I TOLD YOU TO COUNT TO 5 BEFORE INGRESS DAVE, WHO TAUGHT YOU TO COUNT?”
There’s no word on when this will be coming out, but definitely keep an eye on it for the future. You can sign up for their mailing list now and maybe get in to the alpha!
The Swords of Ditto is a cartoony action adventure game in which you’ll take control of the Hero of Legend in a fight against the evil Mormo. Oh, you died? That’s cool, there’s always another Hero of Legend just around the corner with a while new adventure. In fact your successes each life affect the next Hero of Legend The combat is fairly standard 2D action game, but the game’s bread and butter are the environments, art style, and characters you’ll meet along your way. The best part is the game features 2 player couch co-op, perfect for friends or loved ones to start a new adventure together. There’s frisbees, golf clubs, and big ol’ feet as weapons, awesome. Secret quests and dungeons to explore together, rad. Wanna speedrun it and defeat Mormo from the beginning? Go for it, have a blasty blast.
The Swords of Ditto is coming early 2018 to PS4 and PC.
Aftercharge is a 3v3 asymmetrical FPS game. 3 players play as a group of robots trying to destroy a number of energy extractors on the map. They’re completely invisible unless they’ve just been damaged or are directly in front of an enemy. They have the ability to resurrect their allies and also a number of abilities to help them sneak around the map. The enemy team is invincible and has abilities to either impede the invisible enemies or buff themselves. The resulting combat are a stressful mix of sneaking/seeking and frantically trying to kill/run away before invisibility comes back. It’s a great deal of fun, especially playing with friends.
You can look for Aftercharge coming to Windows, Mac, and Linux in Spring of 2018.
Pato Box sees you take control of a duck boxer doing what he does best — box. Even in situation in which it may not be applicable like opening doors, this guy’s a punching machine. He was betrayed on his way to the top of his boxing career and is ready to punch his way to the truth. The art style is stark black and white, which is a visual treat and so much fun to watch. The combat responds as well as you’d expect of something that looks like a Sin City Punch Out. It’s a unique experience and definitely one worth checking out.
Pato Box will be out this Spring for PC, Mac, Switch, and PS Vita.
If Donut County was the simplest game at PAX South 2018, Phantom Doctrine is definitely the most complicated, and not in a bad way. If you’ve ever played XCom and wanted it to be deeper on basically every level, this is exactly the game you’ve been looking for. Set during the Cold War, you lead an organization called The Cabal dedicated to fighting global conspiracy. The game takes major events from history that are all true, but where most of the game occurs is in “what if this happened”-type scenarios. Like in XCom, there are missions to go on that you can play through, and a home base to manage. As the base, you can look through evidence you’ve collected to try and piece together your enemies’ plans, recruit new operatives, brainwash captives, acquire more funds, and take the heat off your agents. While in the field, you can choose to operate with stealth or being aggressive, gather intel or rush to the objective. The game is really flexible to how you want to play it and how you want to spend your time. If you want to spend 20 hours in the base making sure everything’s perfect for the next mission, you can. If you want to speed run through the missions, you totally can. Missions also allow you to have special abilities like spotters, snipers, and grenade launchers, which come in handy when in a sticky situation.
If you’re ready to sink your teeth in to the deepest tactical game in quite some time, get hype for Phantom Doctrine coming in 2018 to at least PC.
Moonlighter is like if Recettear and a Roguelike had a baby. You play as a shopkeeper outside of an ever-changing dungeon. Your task is to sell goods to people. When you do, you earn money so you can get better equipment and craft better items to either sell or use yourself to go in to the dungeon. Clearing the dungeon will yield new items, which you can craft and sell in your shop, et cetera. It’s a big ol’ capitalism loop. The dungeon is different every time you enter, which makes it that much more fun. There’s 5 different entrances to the dungeon and characters to interact with so there’s presumably an end, but with the varying dungeons, bevy of characters to please, and loot to grab, you may not ever want to see it.
It’ll be coming out in 2018 for Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch, and Mac/Linux.
Tunic has so much style it hurts. Zelda is the easiest comparison — you’re a lone adventurer (in this case a lil fox) in a mysterious world who collects items that open up new paths. If Hat In Time is a cute-as-heck platformer, this is a cute-as-heck action/adventure game. The controls are tight and responsive and the combat feels fluid and satisfying. An extra layer of polish/intrigue to this game is the concept that it’s a game you’re just discovering that was made in a foreign country, so you’ll see parts of the manual in the game and all the text is in a made up language you don’t understand. Even the website has this language peppered about.
This game is one of the ones we were most excited by at PAX South, so be on the lookout for it coming out later this year to PC, Mac, Linux, and consoles in 2018.
Once upon a time, @PeterMolydeux had a joke game description in which you play as a hole in the ground. From that, Ben Esposito created one of the most simple, but compelling games at PAX South, Donut County. The mechanics are simple — you play as a hole in the ground swallowing things up. The more you eat, the bigger your hole gets, which allows you to eat bigger things. Think reverse Katamari. Between levels, you’ll also get a glimpse into the lives of the citizens of Donut County which has been upended by this dumb hole. The art style is simple and effective, the humor isn’t overdone, and the gameplay, though simple, is satisfying.
Donut County is coming to PC, Mac, and iOS in 2018
Developer Znavit Games and international conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT) are about to cast gaming in a whole new light with ‘SEEDS: The Magic Garden’ an upcoming puzzler that tasks players with rescuing and growing magical plants.
The twist? Players who manage to complete the game will have a real tree planted on their behalf!
In the magical world of SEEDS, join friendly beetle-cat Arni on a quest to save nearly-extinct plants by matching different colored stones. Use a variety of boosters and create “root paths” to help grow 30 extinct plants – but watch out for toxins, explosions, and other hazards! If you complete the game, you’ll not only be saving a tree, but you’ll also receive a certificate that can be saved to your device and shared on Facebook
I started this article during our September gaming month here at Sub Cultured. Since Hispanic Heritage Month also ran until mid-October, I had originally decided to compile a list of characters to showcase Hispanic representation in video games. I identify as Hispanic, having a mix of Spanish and Mexican blood in my genetic makeup (among others) and while my ties to my cultures aren’t very strong, I enjoyed the few times I’ve gotten to play as a Hispanic character. Upon writing this, I realized just how little I’d had the opportunity.
“From the press to the games they cover, the absence of black or Hispanic characters is limiting its fan base, its narrative potential, and its creative ideas.”
Where Are We?
For a lot of us, discovering Hispanic characters in our gaming choices means seeing ourselves on the screen and allowing us a place in the stories we played. Unfortunately, characters with darker skin tend to be strictly reserved for tertiary roles or worse, cameo appearances which end in death before we get a chance to experience any sort of character development. Honestly, I had trouble thinking of others aside from Street Fighter’s Vega and Resident Evil’s Carlos Oliveira. Vega is a gorgeous Spanish assassin whose modus operandi is killing women he deems ugly and is one of many choices on Street Fighter’s roster. Carlos is a South American ex-militia sort of guy with a good heart, and he even gets to save the day in Resident Evil 3. In addition to them, there are other, smaller roles prevalent in games, like the cholos in Grand Theft Auto installments, Bane in Injustice: Gods Among us, and while we are sprinkled throughout independent titles like Guacamelee, but where are the protagonists?
When I worked through the vast catalogue of video games I’ve ever played in my life, I found a solid argument could be made for Dead Rising’s siblings Carlito and Isabela Keyes as both were playable, fully fleshed out characters. However, it was disheartening to realize I’d come up with just two out of scores of main characters spanning dozens and dozens of popular franchises. We exist as NPC’s like Final Fantasy XII’s Al Cid Margrace and the A.I. Secundo from Beyond Good and Evil, but no matter where I looked, Hispanic and Latino main characters statistically don’t exist.
As I researched more characters, like Steve Cortez from Mass Effect or the handful of luchador based exaggerations, I noticed a trend. Mostcharacters consisted of stereotypes with similar accents no matter their ethnicity and language, or served a purpose little beyond forwarding the white male hero’s journey. Is this really how we’re seen? Settling for the bare minimum of representation is not what we deserve, and it’s something we should strive to change. Surprisingly, the fighting genre did far and above have the most inclusive characters, counting LGBTQIA individuals among their ranks like Guilty Gear’s Bridget and Kung Jin of Mortal Kombat, even though the genre is inherently catered to the male gaze.
It’s been some years since we have seen a “main character” introduced with a Hispanic background. What more do we have to do to get a game centered around us? Take a look around the next time you’re buying a video game. We ARE purchasing games, we ARE playing the shit out them, and we ARE an audience developers are not considering according to the most recent study. With the passing of one of the more influential Latino bloggers, Juan Carlos Alanis, in the past couple of years, no one has really stepped up and filled his place in the gaming community. There aren’t resources for us, so we are left to join the forums of places like the profit run IGN, or social media groups.
What Can We Do?
Can we make the gaming world aware of our existence?
Hell yes, we can.
Together we can be loud, and utilize the spaces and movements given to us. Brandish that #HeritageMonth hashtag between September 15th through October 15th. Reintroduce the gaming community to GameDev Latinos, a site highlighting developers from all over and where to buy their games. Create your own hashtags when you get to pick a Hispanic character. Overwatch, Blizzard’s immensely popular FPS, JUST added Sombra, the Mexican hacker. Use her, talk about her, and let’s raise awareness about how special she is to us.
We can create our own stories, and create our own games based on our rich backgrounds. Those of us with game development dreams, go for them! Let’s discuss how different a game’s story would play out because the main character is Brazilian, Dominican, Mexican ,etc (Spoilers: it wouldn’t be different). We don’t have to wait for a story starring us; we can create that story! CollegeScholarships.org has a decent list of resources to continue your education in those fields, both academic programs and scholarships, so take advantage of them! Indie blog Remezcla even recently highlighted up and coming developers after Kingdom Rush was created by Uruguay-based Ironhide Game Studios and grabbed the attention of the gaming industry a few years back.There are people making games actively right this second for you to work with.
Are you a convention goer? Request panels from Hispanic and Latino developers, or submit your own and start the conversation. I promise that if there’s one thing I’ve learned from talking too much about everything, it’s that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. Sub Cultured will be attending PaxSouth in January, held in beautiful San Antonio, and my focus will be on seeking out games that represent us.
In the TV series Lost, we see a character named Desmond Hume residing in an underground facility, driven borderline insane by the monotony of his daily routine. Desmond is required to regularly enter a series of numbers on a computer every 108 minutes. While nothing as redundant occurs in The Bunker, the game’s tone, setting, and non-linear storytelling feel directly inspired by a show like Lost.
The Bunker, developed by Slendy Interactive in partnership with Wales Interactive, begins in a post-nuclear war era with the birth of our protagonist, John. He’s born in an underground shelter that houses less than 60 people. However, we quickly flash forward 30 years later to find John alone with his mother. Thus the central mystery reveals itself: what happened to everyone else?
An Alarm Sounds
What separates Slendy Interactive’s first outing from other titles is its aesthetics: everything is live-action. With a runtime of roughly 90 plus minutes, you essentially have yourself a movie. Now the industry hasn’t mastered manipulating a real human being completely. The Bunker is simply a point-and-click thriller, but is still impressive for a developer’s debut game. Unless you’re slow to select the next location and make John stand around looking clueless, the gaming experience itself doesn’t distract from the cinematic quality.
In the midst of John’s daily routine, an error message indicates a system failure somewhere in the facility. This is where the conflict and John’s unease begins. He hasn’t traversed from his floor with his mother much, if ever. Visiting other floors to resolve a mechanical problem sets his nerves off. Actor Adam Brown‘s performance, especially his facial expressions, effectively communicate John’s dread with his predicament.
As you take John along on his mission to repair the electrical and air filter systems, Brown moves timidly along each darkened hallway. With each floor you explore, a seemingly repressed memory rears its ugly head. We begin to see what unfolds with the shelter’s previous occupants via flashback, culminated in the game’s final moments. It’s as disturbing as it is gratifying.
Actress Sarah Greene plays John’s mother and she covers every range of human emotion fathomable by the game’s end. However, I’m intent on avoiding spoilers, so I’ll reference these specifics no further. If you ever throw up your hands during The Bunker‘s story, which can take a stretch to get into, be assured there’s absolutely a pay-off.
Outside of our two leads, the minor characters deliver their lines in a most uncomfortably wooden fashion. Then at certain points where John is simply standing in a hallway, the musical score swells as if hinting at a big reveal or jump scare, but nothing comes.
Mechanically speaking, the game is ultimately not intended to be any sort of challenge. It’s rather unfortunate though, as glimmers of a Quick Time Event (QTE) appear all-too briefly. However, the average gamer will pass these QTEs with flying colors and then some.
Despite any criticisms I levy against The Bunker, the story and high production value compel you to forgive them. This feels like a full-fledged Hollywood production but occasionally the actors arbitrarily stop and wait for a button click. They even filmed this in a real decommissioned bunker. This pays off as it makes your environment feel legitimately previously occupied.
It might be too early for declarations, but I’m predicting this title could see the same success as last year’s live-action mystery game Her Story.