Gloomhaven Video Game Adaptation is Coming to Early Access in July


Gloomhaven is one of the best board games in existence. The game is a masterclass in board game design and has reset the bar for what that medium can do. It shot up the Board Game Geek charts when it released, quickly becoming the number one ranked game on the popular board game site. If you haven’t been able to enjoy the game already, the team at Asmodee Digital is about to make it easier than ever to pick up Issac Childress’ masterpiece. The Gloomhaven video game adaptation is coming to early access on PC next month. Watch the short trailer below.

Gloomhaven is a mix between tactical RPG, lite deck-building, and epic dungeon crawling. You play as one of 17 characters (though only six are unlocked at the start) in a party of two-four. As you make your way through the story, you’ll fight against many different enemies and uncover a world-changing plot.

However, the biggest change Gloomhaven makes to the classic dungeon-crawling gameplay is that it completely takes luck out of the equation. In other dungeon-crawlers, the game forces you to rely on lady luck as most actions require you to roll dice and hope for the best. Gloomhaven, on the other hand, lets you build a deck of cards that’s full of interesting abilities. Using these tactically is the key to overcoming the games many challenges.

This adaptation will also include an intriguing roguelike mode. I’m not sure exactly what you do to make Gloomhaven a roguelike. That said, I’m very interested to see what changes this makes to the core game. The team will also be adding quite a bit over the course of early access in the form of new enemies, characters, co-op mode, and more.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m kind of a Gloomhaven fanatic. I’ve played the game 80-some times, which is somewhere north of 300 hours. This is a day one purchase for me and I firmly believe that it should be for you too. Gloomhaven will be out in early access on PC on July 17.

 

 

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Risk of Rain 2 Scorched Acres Update Out Next Week


Risk of Rain 2 is a multiplayer roguelike that takes everything from the original and brings it into the stylish third dimension. The game entered early access in late March and the team at Hoopoo Games have been enjoying a successful few months. They are now ready to release their first content update, Scorched Acres, next week.

Details about the update are relatively scarce. Hoopoo will likely reveal more details in the next few days as we near launch. That said, the team did take the update to E3 and showed it off on a few streaming stages. So, we don’t know much, but we do know something.

Most importantly, the update will only include content that is brand new to the Risk of Rain universe. The initial release brought forward quite a bit from the first game, which led to a feeling of familiarity in some places. This latest update won’t have that. Everything in Scorched Acres is new to the series.

Players who felt the initial cast of characters was full of too many humanoids will be happy to see the latest hero is plant/robot hybrid named Rex. At E3, we only got a short look at Rex in action, but he looks like fun to play. Other characters who might’ve felt weak at launch are also getting buffs. In some of the streams, the team specifically pointed to Artificer as someone who is getting a new passive to increase her survivability and maneuverability.

The update also adds a new stage, enemies, a boss, tons of items, and two drones. It looks like it’s shaping up to be quite a bit of content that should make fans happy.

Risk of Rain 2 is available in early access now on PC. Scorched Acres will be out June 25.

 

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Merchant of the Skies Makes You the Sky Captain of Your Very Own Airship


If you’ve always dreamed of sailing an airship from port to port, trading your wares and discovering the world, then developer Coldwind Games has a game for you. Merchant of the Skies is an upcoming sandbox trading game that lets you captain your very own airship. Check out the team’s early access trailer below.

Merchant of the Skies puts the players in the shoe of a sky captain who travels the air gathering, selling, and trading items and resources. The game features light base-building and tycoon elements. As you continue through your journey, you will move from a tiny cloudship to a massive airship to running your own trade company.

At the onset, the game looks to be fairly light in terms of content. This is by design. Cloudwind Games successfully used early access with their first game Lazy Galaxy, implementing player feedback during development. The team believes that this is the best way to capture the correct scope for their project and is continuing the process with Merchant of the Skies.

That said, the team has released a loose roadmap to give everyone an idea of where the game is going. They plan to first introduce game goals and more production chains. They may also add some minigames in the first few updates. After that, they want to add a caravan system which lets players automatically move goods between the different islands. And, with the game’s release, they want to add a campaign mode to make the goals feel bigger and better. Of course, all of this is subject to change depending on player feedback.

Merchant of the Skies is launching in early access on July 30 for PC. Keep it locked here for updates on all the latest indie games.

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Risk of Rain 2 Blows Past 1 Million Sales in First Month of Early Access


Risk of Rain 2 is a co-op roguelike action game that launched on Steam’s Early Access program in late March. Today, developer Hopoo Games announced that they’ve already passed 1 million sales.  It took them nearly five years to hit that number with the original Risk of Rain, so this is a big achievement for the company.

With so many players jumping into Risk of Rain 2, the devs have quite a bit to stay on top of. This is an Early Access game, so the game is still heavily in active development and players can help shape where the game goes from here. To that effect, they released an updated Early Access Forecast map a few days ago that outlines the changes and updates they have planned for the next year.

The forecast shows that the team is working on quite a bit. Every update will add new survivors, stages, and bosses. Players can also expect to see new items and equipment released with every update. The summer update will introduce “Skills 2.0”, while fall will bring something called the “Hidden Realms”. Winter will give players the “Artifacts 2.0” system and Spring 2020 is currently the target for the 1.0 launch.

Obviously, all of this is still very much in flux. Plans can change quickly based on how development is going. That said, Risk of Rain 2 has had an incredible level of early success. If they can continue that upward momentum, Hopoo Games is going to be in a very good place at this time next year.

Risk of Rain 2 is available now on PC via Steam’s Early Access Program.

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Switchblade Is Like a Twisted Metal MOBA, But Really Needs an Audience


Switchblade is a crazy beast. Relatively novice studio Lucid Games is attempting to take on the MOBA market at large, which is filled with some of the heaviest hitters in the industry. Even better, they are driving that momentum with a unique take–instead of a top-down League of Legends format, we see vehicle action more akin to Twisted Metal or Rocket League. While the game is absolutely worth booting up, especially to MOBA newcomers, there is one thing that it is lacking: an audience.

For anyone new to the MOBA scene, the genre focuses on large-scale arenas where teams of five or six charge head on to slay some mobs (smaller CPU creatures), level their character, claim objectives, and knock out opponents. While the Battle Royale scene has overtaken the genre meta from MOBAs, they still maintain a huge following. Some of the most prominent tournaments held yearly are all MOBA based, and at any given time Mixer and Twitch are dominated by players.

That being said, it’s worth noting that almost every MOBA looks very similar to the outside observer. They are typically third-person action based titles which deviate when it comes to metas and abilities. Frankly, it is an impossible market to break into in 2019. Unless, of course, you go for a hail mary and make something out of left field. Similar to how Tetris 99 is redefining what it means to be a Battle Royale game, Switchblade is attempting to offer a different perspective in what a MOBA game is.

While many things are the same between a Dota 2 and Switchblade, there are some major differences — the most significant of which being the fact that everything is a battle car. No more wizards, heroes, or gods — you are swapping out heroes for something more like Sweet Tooth. Truth be told, that alone makes the game far more approachable compared to other more dominating MOBAs. Thanks to headway made by arcadey battle-car games like Rocket League, it is much easier to convince my friends to pick up this game and get them to understand the rules.

Of course, the utilization of vehicles isn’t just cosmetic. Thanks to the newfound mobility, we get to add some speed to a MOBA, even if it is only visual. Some cars and tanks are faster than others, so you have to weigh your options of the 17 available vehicles. Do you want one that can pack a punch or one that can peel out of a messy situation with gusto? Thankfully, players can choose two in the beginning to interchange. With this in mind, the five-player pools always have some nice diversity with ten cars in the rotation.

Other than that, the game is by far and large similar enough to the MOBA scene where it isn’t going to make a huge difference. It has its own style of guardians, towers, and “jungle” objectives where the game will be instantly recognizable to fans of the genre. On the other end, everything is so well-explained and streamlined in the tutorial that beginners will not need to worry about getting lost in deeper mechanics.

This is by no means a comprehensive review of the game — it is still in Early Access, is limited to one map with one mode, and is still tweaking bugs. The game is by no means rough, but there is a healthy development life ahead of it. That is, if they can manage to work out its most significant issue.

And what is that predicament? At the end of the day, the biggest issue in the game is a fanbase, or lack there-of. Since the game launched on Steam, it has an all-time peak of 70 concurrent players — which doesn’t include a more healthy fanbase on the PS4. The Reddit community is equally tiny, with little to no action on the forum:

Switchblade Reddit PC PS4

This leads to its own forms of difficulties. Without a steady fanbase, it is a pretty tall order to have new development on modes or maps that will split up the player base. Matchmaking is not nearly as quick as an Apex Legends or Fortnite game, and often you will get auto-filled with some bots. But overlooking those hindrances, the title itself is a fun experiment and likely the only MOBA I’m willing to try out with my non-MOBA playing friends.

If you are someone who has been digging the Rocket League scene and are looking for something slightly more strategic but with the same pick-up-and-play flair, go ahead and dive into Switchblade. By all means, it scratches a similar itch and is a good gateway drug to the genre at large. Still, it’s long term appeal may be at risk if the player count continues to dwindle.


Switchblade is a free-to-play MOBA currently available on PC and PS4; feel free to follow the game’s official Twitter along with developer Lucid Games.

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