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Layoffs Hit The Chinese Room as Studio Plans to Go Dark

Layoffs Hit The Chinese Room as Studio Plans to Go Dark

Unfortunate news from The Chinese Room has reached media outlets today. According to a blog post from founder Dan Pinchbeck, the studio laid off most of its staff and has plans to go dark. The independent games creator is most famously known for works like Dear Esther, the Amnesia series, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. Now the company is facing an uncertain future but there is still hope for this small studio.

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Pinchbeck detailed in his post that he had suffered from a non-life-threatening health condition back in June, which gave him and his team time to reflect on the condition of the company. This was following the development of their latest game, So Let Us Melt, and negotiation meetings for the next project the team was planning.

The Bottom Line

“To cut a long story short, the situation–between financial pressures, trying to keep the lights on for the employed team, the stress of end-of-development, health issues–just wasn’t a tenable thing anymore. It was time to take a break, recharge, recover, and have a good think about the future,” Pinchbeck said in the blog post.

Ultimately, this led to the decision to lay off the development team. “So we let our team go,” Pinchbeck continues “Layoffs are never pleasant, particularly when you’re all trying to wrap a game. We did our best to try and help the team secure new positions, and then we all–the whole team–threw everything we had at wrapping the game. It didn’t feel fair to anyone, least of all people who had spent a year working on a project, to have its completion and release overshadowed by news about the studio closing, so we’ve held off on the announcement until we felt we were clear of all of that.” (http://bit.ly/2ftvjFo)

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Time To Reflect and Recover

The developer also detailed that he was not the end of The Chinese Room, merely a small break to recollect their thoughts and goals. As of now the games currently released will stay on sale as well as merch and the fantastic soundtracks that accompany their projects. Currently, the studio has been downsized to just three people, they are working on a game known as the 13th Interior and will bring on a bigger team when the time is right. As for the future, Pinchbeck said the studio has secured funding for a follow-up game called Little Orpheus and is expected for prototyping by the end of 2017.

Pinchbeck finished the post with “Is it the end of The Chinese Room? No, I don’t think so. But it’s the end of a chapter, and we hope you can all be patient with us whilst we figure out what happens next.” Hopefully, this statement rings true because this studio is one of the most talented and has created some of the most beautiful stories in gaming. It is never easy for a studio to downsize like this but unfortunately that is the nature of the industry. An official media meeting is expected to take place later this week so keep your eyes peeled for more information.

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City of Brass – Uppercut Games Playlist

City of Brass – Uppercut Games Playlist

Uppercut Games was generous enough to offer the Gigamax crew a beta key to try out their latest Rogue-Like game, City of Brass. This Indiana Jones meets Bioshock adventure was something special from the very beginning. The environments and simplistic gameplay mixed with sneaky traps and dangerous enemies kept things interesting every step of the way. City of Brass may be simple at heart but the level design is spectacular.

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It begins with the character spawning in and it’s all on from there. With no quests or missions, the goal is to make it to the end of the level and advance to the next stage. Each stage is riddled with booby traps, skeleton enemies, and treasures beyond your wildest dreams. The treasure is used to purchase upgrades from the genies located throughout the map. Players have an objective arrow that will guide them to the end of the level, they’re also timed so it’s important to keep moving.

City of Brass Is A Hidden Gem

This hidden gem of a game didn’t get much attention by the media. This is surprising considering it was developed with the help of ex-Bioshock developers. Overall the game came out great and the Gigamax crew is excited to keep on working their way through the unique levels and fight the bosses along the way. There’s no telling what other secrets are hidden throughout the City of Brass. As any fan of Rogue-like games knows, there is always a new, exciting experience to be had.

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Be sure to stick around as the Gigamax Crew continues adding to this exciting games playlist. Both Gigs and Mack can’t wait to jump back in and see what else the City of Brass has to offer.   

Thank you so much for taking the time to watch and for visiting GigamaxGames.com. It really does mean the world to us. If you can think of any way we can improve the content, please let us know at GigamaxGames@gmail.com. Also, if you have a game you want to watch us play, just reach out and we’ll jump right on it!

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Friday the 13th Developer Provides DLC Roadmap

Friday the 13th Dev Provides DLC Roadmap

Fans of the very popular Friday the 13th game will be happy to hear that the developer behind the game, Gun Media, has no plans to abandon the project. In fact, to show players that they are still working hard, the team has provided a “DLC Roadmap” in the form of a colorful infographic that seems like it is intentionally drawn like a camp brochure. The indie developer shared this chart on their forums where they also addressed plans for upcoming single-player content.

While the roadmap itself does not share any dates but does show the long-term goals of the developer and a ton of the DLC’s coming to the game. According to the chart, fans can expect new maps, modes, and a lot of new cosmetic options for Jason and the councilors. Other updates include new emotes, Jason types, and councilors. This all comes in the wake of the developer’s teaser video, released in August, that gave vague details of their DLC plans.

The Roadmap:

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In the forum post, the developers explained their progress for fixing bugs across the various platforms Friday the 13th is available on. Most importantly they laid out plans for getting content onto the Xbox, a process that has been admittedly too slow. According to the developer, this is because of Microsoft’s strict rules and guidelines for updating games.

That’s Not All!

The team also explained that single player was delayed from its previous summer release because they wanted to focus on fixing the core game first. Now that the stability issues have been addressed, the developers are reassigning resources to make sure that this feature gets added as soon as possible, including hiring additional staff. The Roadmap indicates that single-player mode will seemingly be a number of different challenge modes rather than a conventional campaign.

Hopefully, players will start seeing this content soon as the game was relatively bare bones when it first hit consoles. We are big fans of this game over here at Gigamax and are excited to see more DLC come to this exciting indie game. Make sure to keep checking back with Gigamaxgames.com for more on Friday the 13th’s DLC roadmap as information becomes available.

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New Hellblade Patch Fixes Tons of Bugs

New Hellblade Patch Fixes Tons of Bugs

It has been a little over a week since Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was released and the developers are already patching a variety of bugs that have been plaguing players. While the independently developed game was praised as one of the best games to come out this year, it certainly had its issues. That’s why the developer, Ninja Theory, rushed to get this patch out detailed here on their blog.

Hellblade

There were bugs that would break the game or stop character progression entirely and these were the first to be addressed. They also fix a variety of collision issues that would send the player out of the game world and make it impossible to proceed. PC players will also be happy to hear that an issue involving the menu not loading has been patched.

There’s No Stopping Ninja Theory

Ninja Theory doesn’t plan on stopping either. The blog post also detailed that they’re still hard at work looking into bug reports so expect more updates in the near future. One patch, in particular, is the performance issues that PC players with AMD GPUs have experienced.

Below we have a full list of the patch notes that you can also find on Ninja Theory’s blog. While releasing broken games should never be acceptable, it’s hard for a small development team to take care of all the issues right at launch, sometimes it takes time for the community to find the problems and aid in pointing out where they are. Hellblade was an excellent game that should be in every gamers library especially after the patch. Gigamax managed to beat the game while only encountering one game breaking bug. If you’ve had issues make sure you report it to support@hellblade.com.

Patch Notes:

-Fixed a crash that could happen if two Keep Guard enemies are standing close to each other and one dies.
-Russian subtitles for the Hellblade feature have been added.
-Fixed an issue where the audio would be out of sync with the Hellblade feature if it has been paused for an extended period of time.
-Fixed an issue where the Baldr Masks in the Tower Shard level are white on the inside.
-Fixed scenarios resulting in unlit geometry after reloading from checkpoint.
-Fixed a potential progression stopping bug in the Fenrir Cave by the ‘M’ rune door puzzle.
-Fixed potential progression stopping bug in Fenrir Cave due to check pointing after skipping a lit region.
-Fixed potential progression stopping bug in Fenrir Cave if player fails to collect floor rune after combat and subsequently dies.
-Fixed collision issues that could allow players to unintentionally exit the game world.
-Fixed audio cut-out issues.
-Added audio cues for hidden faces.
-Fixed audio hard cut at the end of various cut scenes.
-Fixes for audio lip sync issues.
-Audio balancing fixes.
-Various subtitle localisation fixes across a number of languages.

Combat tweaks:

Global

-Adjusted automatic difficulty enemy health scaling and Senua’s damage taken/given modifiers.

Senua

-Increased damage value of certain combo finisher attacks.
-Adjusted rate of combat focus resource build-up in Hard difficulty mode or higher.
-Fixed issue with stinger animated cameras popping if the same attack was repeated.

Warrior Enemy

-Warriors now have an increased chance of evading certain heavy attacks.
-Fixed missing sound effects on certain reactions.

Protector Enemy

-Health values have been lowered.
-Will now remain vulnerable for longer after his shield guard has been broken.

Keep Guard Enemy

-Fixed a potential crash bug if Keep Guard enemies are standing close together and one of them dies.
-Tweaked rotation rate during certain attack windups.
-Fixed missing sound effects on certain attacks.

Surtr

-Fixed an issue where Surtr was able to throw Senua outside of the arena.

Valravn

-Fixed an issue where Valravn could not be damaged while in Focus for certain combos.
-Parried projectiles will now remove shadow state on hit.

Fenrir

-Health values have been adjusted.
-Fixed issue where certain attack were not dealing damage correctly to Fenrir.

Revenant Enemy

-Adjusted slide properties for certain attacks.
-Adjusted cooldown for parry and evade defensive actions.
-Parried projectiles will now remove shadow state on hit.

Photo Mode

-Fixed an issue where motion blur is applied to object incorrectly during Photo Mode.
-Removed the second slider that did nothing when cycling through the Effects tab.

PC Only fixes

-Fixed an issue where altering master volume would cause no audio to be played during the intro.
-Fixed the lack of vibration with the Steam Controller for the Blindness level
-Fixed an issue where key bindings and run toggle were not being saved between game sessions
-Fixed an issue where looking around with the mouse during the boat intro was not working.
-Fixed an issue where Focus was not able to be assigned to another key.
-Fixed an issue where tabbing out during cut scenes would cause audio to go out of sync.
-Fixed an issue where the menu would not load on start up.

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Sources:

HELLBLADE BLOG POST: http://www.hellblade.com/hellblade-patch-1-01-released-for-playstation-4-pc/

Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice Gameplay & Playlist

Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice Gameplay & Playlist

Mack and Gigs entered the very bizarre world of Hellblade Senua’s Sacrifice in a recent Youtube live stream and it was a strange and exciting journey. Starting on a mysterious boat ride that was like “It’s a Small World” but with corpses and ending with a confusing maze of portals and glyphs. This game is a fever dream that wants the player to unlock the mysteries held inside. Ultimately, the experience with this new indie game was amazing.

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Definitely, don’t miss the crew trying to solve puzzles that almost figure themselves out while swinging violently at enemies that are basically tutorials. Luckily they managed to get through the experience without dying (apparently this game has strict punishments for that). The game seems to focus on the story and mental anguish the heroine is going through, but she’s still a badass that makes us wonder why we haven’t taken up the claymore yet.

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to click that subscribe button! If you enjoyed don’t forget to check out the rest of our videos.

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Yooka Laylee Spit N’ Polish Update Out Now

Earlier this year the developers behind Yooka Laylee, Playtonic Games, launched an update for the PC version titled “Spit N’ Polish.” This update fixed many peoples issues with the platformer that was inspired by the glory days of Banjo-Kazooie and as of yesterday, the patch has been added to the PS4 and Xbox One editions of the game.

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Image Source: http://bit.ly/2wAfDUx

One of the many changes that the indie developer made was a new optional camera that gives the player way more control over where they can position the once fidgety system. This seemed to be one of the main concerns of the Spit N’ Polish update as many reviewers considered the camera to be a major downside to the experience.

In addition to the new camera, the game also makes adjustments to the game’s flying and first person aim controls, the ability to skip cutscenes and dialogue, an option to shorten the iconic “gibberish” voice acting, and tons more that Playtonic detailed on their Spit N’ Polish blog post.

Some of the bigger changes include:

  • Pagies have added signposts to Hivory Towers to help guide players to new worlds
  • Design tweaks to all arcade games
  • Improved speed when scrolling through Totals Menu
  • New moves section added to pause menu, with image guide
  • Restart option added in the pause menu during arcade games and Kartos challenges
  • “Sonar-able” objects now have clearer visual identity
  • Laser move no longer requires player to crouch
  • Improved Transformation controls
  • Minecart control and hitbox improvements
  • Improved Rampo boss fight
  • Performance improvements
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Image Source: http://bit.ly/2wAfDUx

Playtonic is still hard at work on the Nintendo Switch version,  set to replace the canceled Wii U version of Yooka Laylee. No release date has been set for their return to Nintendo but Playtonic tweeted a picture of the game running on the new console so hopefully, we’ll see it soon. The developer also detailed that the Switch version would come with the Spit N’ Polish update already implemented.

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Dead Matter: A True Zombie Survival Game

Dead Matter: A True Zombie Survival Game

Every fan of zombie fiction has at some point asked themselves “what would I do in a zombie apocalypse?” The indie developer, Quantum Integrity, is looking to help answer this question with their upcoming sandbox survival game Dead Matter. Originally developed as a mod for Crysis 2 back in 2013, the team behind the game put their heart and soul behind this project and it shows. With multiplayer, near endless customization, a humongous living world, and full mod support Dead Matter is quickly becoming the zombie survival experience everyone has been waiting for.

Kickstarter & A Dream

Quantum Integrity boasts on their Kickstarter page that Dead Matter is “true sandbox survival horror.” Players will get to fight through the zombie apocalypse however they see fit. That can include setting up a home base and defending it with their expansive crafting or barricading system all while cultivating the land or wandering the wasteland scavenging whatever tools, vehicles, weapons, and the food they can find. Set in the province of Alberta, Canada players will be able to experience the game alone or with friends as the developer intends to support both play styles equally.

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Image Source: http://kck.st/2veORjV

 

Freedom of expression is an important design choice for Quantum Integrity. Customization features have been at the core of Dead Matter since the games original inception. It starts with the character design where hair, head, and body can all be changed to whatever the player desires. When actually playing the game, customization extends to nearly every facet of the experience including weapons, vehicles, and buildings. Want to wrap a baseball bat in barbed wire? Go right ahead.  Strapping C4 onto a programmable alarm clock? Perfectly fine! Turn the family van into a zombie survivalist’s dream ride? Strap some defenses and gun racks on that bad boy and call it a day.

Alberta, Canada: Zombie Paradise 

In order to help nurture the ideas of their player base, the developer built a stunning recreation of Alberta that contains the lush wilderness of the Rockies and extends to the once bustling city of Calgary. Designed to simulate true survival any simple trip for supplies could turn into a battle against soldiers, raiders, or a family just doing what they have to in order to survive. The world was also fully designed in order to support the player’s settlements. Every building in the game is made to be barricaded, upgraded, and fitted with electricity and running water. All of the land can be farmed and the lakes can be fished. Live in the shadows of the city and survive in the wild or work together with the community to retake the city of Calgary by taking control of dams, transformers, and bridges.

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Image Source: http://kck.st/2veORjV

 

Finally, to assert their connection with the fan base and support where the game got its start, Quantum Integrity comes packed with full mod support. All of the procedural generation tools are being put into the players’ hands as well as C++ and Blueprint access. Any user can host their own server complete with all of their own settings and mods completely free of charge. The team over at Quantum Integrity are modders at their core and it shows through their devotion to the modding community.

Dead Matter looks like an amazing survival experience that we just couldn’t wait to back on Kickstarter. If this game sounds appealing to you, don’t forget to show the team some support by throwing them some money or showing them love on social media. We can’t wait to get our hands on this gem so be sure to keep checking back for more information as the game continues through its development process!

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Theseus Review: Avoid More Than the Minotaur

Theseus Review: Avoid More Than the Minotaur

Whenever a new PlayStation VR title releases, a sense of excitement follows. I begin to wonder what world I’ll get to take an active part in and experience through my very own eyes. Needless to say, when Theseus was first announced I was excited to avoid the infamous Minotaur in the labyrinth he calls a home while fighting creatures that dare to live in his kingdom. Admittedly, the 3rd person camera made me a bit wary of the title, but it was a perspective I had not yet experienced in VR and when done right could be a unique setup. Unfortunately, my concerns rang true, Theseus is a short and dull experience that ends long before you even have the chance to enjoy it and a price point that is far above justifiable doesn’t help either.

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The Journey into the Labyrinth

Theseus revolves around the characters journey into the labyrinth to escape the limbo he has been cast into. There’s spiders, a minotaur, and one helpful ghost, but that’s it. The game’s lack of NPC’s wouldn’t be so concerning if it did more with the ones it had created. In the short time I explored the maze I fought a cumulative 16-20 generic spider enemies, followed the ghost to the objective, and defeated the minotaur without swinging my sword at him. Also, if my description of the story seems somewhat lackluster it’s only because if I said anymore, the hour and a half long story would be ruined. While there is nothing wrong with a short game, charging $20 for the experience is a ripoff.

The third person perspective is a cool take on VR that could be used to set up some cool scenes. Unfortunately, Theseus’ take on the idea caused an uneasy feeling in my stomach and made little sense in a game that was about tight corridors and fighting spiders. Although it wasn’t the developers direction, the game would have benefitted from a first person perspective.

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Gameplay and Mechanics 

The gameplay involves climbing up walls, climbing down walls, walking down halls, running down halls, and lazily swinging at spiders. The combat was so dull at some point I tried to just walk to the next objective until an invisible wall impeded my progress that would only disappear when the enemies were defeated. Fighting involves swinging a torch with triangle and swinging a sword with square with no other control choices available, movement and strategy also felt very limited. While the game may take place in a labyrinth at no point was I ever left questioning which way to go. Pro-Tip, a game about a maze should never be a linear experience.

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Final Overview

Theseus is a collection of ideas that could have been really cool if executed properly. The graphics were great and the character design was creepy in a good way, but ultimately the game fell short in too many areas to justify it’s unusually high price point. If you are looking for a new VR title to pick up, Theseus should probably not be on your list.

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SUPERHOT VR: Gigamax Review

SUPERHOT VR: Gigamax Review

SUPERHOT was one of the most popular indie games of 2016 and I’m we’re excited to say that adding VR to its formula is a perfect fit. Developed and published by the Superhot Team, the game has an interesting history that shows how video game development has changed in the past decade. Initially part of the 7 Day Video Game Challenge in 2013, where developers had 7 days to program functional prototypes for games. While the game didn’t win the challenge, it made the Steam Greenlight program and was almost immediately approved. With its insane meta narrative and intense gameplay, SUPERHOT VR is the perfect addition for any PSVR owner.

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Be A Baddass

If you’ve played SUPERHOT before, not much has changed except for the addition of VR but this inclusion fundamentally changes the players’ experience. For those that haven’t played, SUPERHOT is an FPS unlike any other tasking players with taking out groups of enemies in a minimalist environment. The one big difference between this game and other shooters is that time will only move when the player moves, which gives the opportunity to dodge bullets and alter their current actions. In VR, dodging said bullets actually involves the player moving their head and manipulating their body to avoid the projectiles. A game has never made me feel more badass as I spawned into the white room, picked up a bottle to my left, smashed it against the advancing knife wielding enemies face, grabbed its knife from the air, threw it at an advancing gunman, grabbed its gun and shot a second advancing gunman, all while dodging gunfire.

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Things Take A Wild Turn

The plot is as insane as the gameplay offering the player a meta narrative where the game addresses the player directly. The story starts off without much explanation, spawning in a white room the game slowly introduces the mechanics and lets the protagonist get used to the controls. Things take a wild turn when the game has you turn the gun on yourself and pull the trigger. That’s when the player realizes that they are in a simulation… Inside a simulation. Throughout the game, it seems that you are infiltrating a strange virtual base filled with red faceless enemies and guns, which leads to one of the strangest endings in any video game but I won’t spoil that here.

SUPERHOT VR is an awesome addition to a relatively lackluster list of PSVR titles that are available now. If you own this hardware I strongly recommend getting this game. One thing to note before buying is that you will need plenty of space in order to reach for various weapons and dodge all the bullets that are heading your way. Make sure you have a decent play zone or it will lead to a very frustrating time (as I initially found out before relocating). Gigamax will be streaming SUPERHOT VR on Twitch next week so be sure to come back for more details!

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Goes Hardcore

PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds Goes Hardcore

In an attempt to make a challenging game even more difficult, the developers behind PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds will be adding “First Person Only” servers in the next update. This news was confirmed by a tweet sent out by the creator of this indie hit, Brendan Greene, who confirmed the new servers would be available in the next monthly update.

PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds already offers both first and third person perspective in there servers, but players are able to freely switch between the two styles on the fly. Third person is useful for checking your corners upon entering rooms and for having a wider perspective when traversing outdoors. First person however, is perfect for lining up those tricky shots that can be deceiving while using third person. Most people would agree that knowing when to switch between these two camera angles is essential to mastering Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds meta.

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Image Source: pcgamer.com

Time To Get Hardcore

Fortunately for the hardcore gamers out there, these indie developers agree with the philosophy that third person mode in competitive play can be very cheap and unrealistic. Using this camera mode players are able to look over walls, check windows, and peak around doors that wouldn’t be possible in first person. Removing the player’s ability to get this tactical advantage will ultimately add to the competitiveness of this already ultra competitive game.

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Image source: rockpapershotgun.com

More To Come

This isn’t the end of new updates for Battlegrounds though. Right before E3, the developers announced a zombie mode would be making its way into the game along with two new locations for fans to battle it out. To impress players even further, they unveiled new vaulting and climbing mechanics and an Xbox One version of the game at E3 itself. Unfortunately the game will remain in early access a little bit longer then expected but ultimately this will only benefit the full release of the game.

Player Unknown’s Battleground has been updating at a steady pace since launch and these new servers only prove the indie studio’s commitment to the game. Gigamax Games will be keeping a close eye on this indie hit so be sure to keep checking back for more information!

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