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Albedo: Eyes from outer space is a first person puzzle based horror game themed around the old cheesy B-Movies and space opera’s of early television production, the game immerses you into such an experience with the authentic old sounds used along with a typical style of inherent threat coming from the tentacle clad eye’s which are an immediate threat from the outset.

The gameplay itself involves object hunting around the rooms while trying to find out how to use those particular items (or maybe some you’ve missed in previous rooms) to traverse to the next location all the time trying to avoid becoming a victim of the eyes which have come from outer space.

The puzzles can often be obscure and sometimes frustrating if you believe you’ve found the solution or checked everything, but sometimes things will require a closer look or a re-visit after you have set up previous steps, but as puzzle games go this one isn’t designed to simply walk you through and feel good about yourself for completing highly signposted routes, instead you feel a part of the scene actually trawling through everything fighting to find your way out, and perhaps feeling more rewarded for persisting and finding the hard solution. Progress may be slow but you’ll feel like you’ve definitely earnt your escape when you do make it out.

Get albedo: eyes from outer space on steam now
Also available on green man gaming
Courtesy of Merge Games.

Firstly I must apologize for the quality of the video, the poor lighting required me to up the brightness so things are visible which has caused everything to become rather pixelated like a computer game, and the audio has an echo due to the noise removal technique and amplification required to eliminated the crowd noises, which is why when I am not directly facing the camera some of my audio becomes non existent.

Guitar hero live is a change in direction for the usually cartoon sprite based game, where instead of watching computer characters perform on stage in the background while you play along to the tune instead behind the familiar riff line is a live stage and support band who react based upon how well you are playing the track.

Other significant changes to the game are the actual way you play, which involves a dual 3 button strip with black and white controls, helpfully hinted at on screen with up and down buttons om case you forget which side is which. With a little adapting this seems a lot easier to use than the 5 button system, so even though you are essentially playing with extra buttons this will feel like less.

I do like the new style and the new opportunities it could provide but I think they really missed out by not having a full 8 button swing to utilize all 4 fingers, or even having the duplicated 5 buttons players will be use to but with a dual line system in place allowing for some very difficult routines to be established. Gone is however the tap strumming bar some players will have adapted to which provided a fun way of playing the game along with extra manipulation of the sounds, and activating star power becomes more difficult with the higher positioning of the buttons on the neck of the controller. Sure there is a button to activate star power but this is never the most effective way to use the power, and it isn’t in a convenient location.

Further changes to the game are the facts that it is planned that any further releases will not require a purchase of another game and instead will come as purchasable or rent-able content providing access to any new tunes in a variety of genre’s for example without having to purchase a “Metallica” special guitar hero game. Also for those who wish to compete live there will be a guitar hero live channel where people at home can play along with other players worldwide on the same live track, at present there have been no plans to include a live leaderboard however I think this would be the ideal social situation to provide live results for all players partaking in the live track and provide the ultimate bragging rights topping the live leaderboard broadcast to everyone currently watching that channel.

The game itself will have made up bands playing actual songs so you will always feel like part of the band, and the audience will react to your playing prowess, if you’re doing well they will cheer for more whilst terrible play will result in objects being thrown at you as you play with boo’s and jeers.

I think this is an interesting direction and some good improvements to the genre as actually feeling like you’re on stage and playing adds to the immersion of the game, perhaps having a more transparent riff bar could make things better as the audience and band are obscured a lot of the time.

Little is known about the competitive aspects of the game as yet, as often the same track gets chosen in competitions where the longest possible track provides the best score and is repeated by every single team, a change to this system competitively might make things more fun, perhaps requiring a mini set of 3 short songs to feel more like a proper band and completely eliminating all ridiculously long songs from competitions, or even having all songs have a similar point limit perhaps boosted with freestyle flourishes enabled via star power at the appropriate times, I have no idea how star power works in the game as I could not get the controller to trigger this despite vertically lifting the guitar at any time.

Another interesting aspect for scoring might be if the accelerometers in the controller responded to how you flourished and moved about on stage to incorporate “stage presence” into the scoring system to provide those truly representing on stage and not just playing the tunes the biggest and best scores, but this could always be something to consider for future releases.

As it stands I would definitely recommend a purchase for any guitar hero fan as all of the changes are definitive improvements and go beyond simply releasing further tracks with a whole new play style to master.

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Day one of EGX 2015 drew to a close, after a long wait at the early entry queue while a video played we eventually got onto the show to have quick look around before I had a day of booked up sessions with developers and press, many of who’m have stated that they will send screenshots and game codes, but obviously not in time for such a quick article as this. I will be focusing on a few of them in detail either in the main article or in their own separate game-play and review articles as necessary.

I started off the show having a play on the upcoming rock band, which I will go into detail more about in the later video. Sufficed to say it is a fun experience and quite easy to grasp the new 6 key system, although a few changes to the controller itself will be missed such as the strum board, and the gimmick of playing live on stage is a much better on screen experience than the usual cartoonish feel of the game.

After this I hit up the playstation and xbox one zones, checking out what they individually had to offer. The xbox area was spread out with separate queue’s for each section and a collectors card system to win a prize if you can play in all segments much like playstation had the previous year. While the playstation zone was very different having a sealed section with queue’s for the games side by side and a few set props visitors could pose for photo’s with.

I had a little time to check out the latest assassins creed, where I decided to try and do everything within the mission parameters within the time limit, failing as I seemed to despawn one of the allies I had and spending far too long attempting to track down his location, even with eagle eye highlighting character locations this proved impossible. The mechanic to essentially zip line between locations made traversing without getting spotted pretty much a predetermined fact, however when it came to the actual free running element I found that you were often stopping where you expected the character to jump off the small ledge as the system appears to have been adapted in a manner that jumping from ledges is not permitted whether you would take damage or not, and jumping while free running is entirely impossible.

This method doesn’t feel as satisfying and correct as previous games, and sometimes when you come to the end of a path you’re running through you find you end up jumping to the side or a path you never intended to and have to go out of your way to get back down to the floor. Other than these factors though the game felt smooth and like a typical assassins creed game, hard to see what other new mechanics there are by such a short demonstration.

I arrived early to the press zone so took the opportunity to watch the latest hitman footage, where it is stated you will travel in varying locations across the world taking out hits on characters in any way you see fit, with a variety of methods depending on your stealth, cunning, patience and exploration of the level you can execute each hit a significant number of different methods, from straight hit and run to downright perfect execution planting c4 on the stage-lights and influencing factors to get the target in question onto the stage to fall victim of a “tragic accident” while you’re in the crowd where it couldn’t possibly be you that caused his death. The developers want you to feel powerful as agent 47 able to use disguises to gain entrance to different area’s and only area’s established for the specific uniforms and that you could essentially roleplay as each of those for as long as you aren’t discovered. A good feature is that the supervisor (or gang leader, or whatever is relevant) of the particular group you’re dressed up as gets highlighted on the map, so you can be sure to avoid that particular person as they will be able to instantly identify you as incorrect knowing all of their staff. It isn’t clear if you can become said leader by using their uniform as yet.

After this I spent the entire day in pre-booked sessions, starting out by playing a press competition of eternal step, a game I will be looking forward to showing you separately, an action rogue-like where you collect treasure cards which you use at the end of each floor to discard or modify your equipment in order to progress as far as possible before inevitable failure (or possibly success when the game is completed and has an ending.) The game is very fun and can get very challenging when you’re running low on hp with no potions, I made it to the first boss on floor 20 before inevitably failing, but I did set the record where other press have only managed around floor 11 and 12 at most.

The rest of the day was spent around the indie gaming section playing on sublevel zero which I had to get out there as involved in the team is phi from tinykeep, and the game itself is a challenging homage to decent with additional elements such as crafting your weapons and modifying your ship as it stands it is a very difficult game with sprawling procedurally generated worlds.

After this I played a space station management sim which I proceeded to break and another point and click adventure which again broke, don’t forget that a lot of these games are early in development and not fully finished so you can expect all of these issues to be resolved upon full release, after this I had a session with riot: civil unrest which was an interesting riot simulator which rather ambitiously provides each individual crowd member with their own ai and adaptive ai which responds to how you have acted throughout the game, so crowds get more frenzied if your police force are heavy handed and have a bad reputation, but also adapt to how they have individually been treated so at this state it currently allows for around 10 minutes of playtime before the game crashes, this will be fixed in time for a full release and additional factors such as vehicles and more gameplay modes will be activated but it is definitely an interesting concept to keep an eye out for, which I shall hopefully bring you more on as it progresses.

After this I had a session booked with pollen, a space simulator in virtual reality on a station on a moon on titan, however as the queue’s were busy I only got to play for 5 minutes before being ushered off despite booking a session which was said to last for 30 minutes in the email so I cannot tell you much about the game itself unfortunately, I have emailed the developer but have yet to receive a response.

I’m not sure if I covered this in the video but I did get to play on rise of the tomb raider at the end as well, when I had a problem attempting to leave the first area I had to ask for help, because it had not been tutorialised that you needed to shoot blocks of concrete to destroy them on spikes, which appeared to be the largest unbreakable part so even with experimenting I shot at the cracked wood, the thin pillar it was attached to and everything but the large and in reality least likely to break part of the blockage.

The representative stated that they wanted to have a more “dark souls” experience not providing any information to the player, however this seemed a major blockage not only to progress but attempting to enjoy the demo. Thankfully after this I was able to progress and even found for myself a hint button essentially listening to lara’s heart (as it beat a heart while giving a slight hint to the solution highlighted with a vocal cue) however the platforming elements proved very awkward, as many of the scenery elements which were climbable looked identical to those which you could never climb, and a lot of the action came down to quicktime events rather than actual fun gameplay elements. I had hoped this would be a return to more of the original tomb raider elements however I was left disappointed simply with the way the platforming and navigation of the rooms worked, being unable to climb onto pillars and surfaces that were completely reachable, not being able to climb the same ribbed wall as you climb elsewhere just because that isn’t the path to progress, and ultimately black screening the game as perhaps I passed the time limit being stuck in the first room for 5 minutes before asking for help because the very factor to destroy the blockage was never tutorialised or hinted at.

On the way out of the show with things closing I managed to get a quick play on total war arena, which if you enjoy the total war franchise is a much simplified version of the game, with point and click ordering of troops, activatable powers and real time online multiplayer in 10vs10 action. Troop customization and leveling occurs outside of the actual gameplay to make combat quick and fun with no pausing or problems and meaning that real time adjustments to all of your troops in a quick and efficient manner is a must.

I will have a much more in depth review of the actual show in a separate article and a few of the games I will be able to bring to you in much more detail in their own reviews also, so watch this space for more.

Portal 2 is the sequel to the game which bought first person puzzles into the world. Returning with new mechanics and puzzles to solve it is one of those games that everyone should just own.

This is the playlist of my playthrough, which will include the co-operative testing initiative, the online multiplayer version of portal as well as any community made maps which I choose to play.

Get portal 2 on steam now

@Upstream_Arcade a new gaming company established by Adam Langridge and Imkan Hayati, who previousely worked on the marvellous miss take, and before that lionhead studio’s games such as fable 2, black and white 2 and max payne 3.

They sent a nice email asking if people would follow their new company as it has been a lifelong dream for them to go independant and obviously starting out on a new venture can be a little scary, so getting support and people following helps along with the nerves.

Their first project is funded, and is said to be a stylish, kick ass action game, and they have promised more details as development picks up, along with a review copy so I can provide a glimpse into the game when it is ready.

Their official statement is “They have decided to use this power for good – making bombastic action games that will make players look and feel so good, they will want to share the show with their friends by uploading and streaming their gameplay.”

So if you’re in the gaming industry in some way or just like to follow games you should check them out

With the government subsidizing the installation of solar panels for many low income families across the nation as part of a green incentive it is becoming more popular for solar panels to be a significant source of energy during the summer, but are you really getting any savings by generating your own electricity?

Some might say yes, because obviously you are creating power and providing it onto the electricity grid, however this may not be the case as in many instances electricity meters have systems in place as “anti tampering measures” that detect when you’re putting electricity onto the grid, the meter itself will think that the unit has been tampered with and that you are attempting to reset the dial and have reversed the flow recognition, as such a warning will flash up on your meter rEd standing for “reverse energy detected”

If you are getting an rEd warning on your meter this can institute a failsafe that not only means you are paying for the electricity you create and send onto the grid but you also trigger the meter to clock on at a faster rate as it attempts to overcompensate, whilst still clocking up your ordinary electricity charges throughout the entire period.

I have done some research online and this is a regular occurrence, and what do the electricity companies do when you report this to them? At the time of recording the video they stated that they would take measurements throughout the whole payment period, and see if anything has changed, to this date they still haven’t done anything and the meter still reads rEd. They did promise to swap my moms meter for a smart meter ( a pay as you go topup meter wholly unsuitable for countryside use as she lives in the middle of nowhere, with no convenient topup points anywhere nearby) instead of her existing direct debit meter.

One thing I can confirm though is that since having the meter installed it clocks up at a severely faster rate than it ever did prior to installation, so unless solar panels drain your electricity there is something dodgy going on, and my mom took painstaking measurements weekly for months prior to installation to measure what difference her solar panels would make, nobody expected them to increase charges and trigger an rEd warning that the electricity companies refuse to put right (as they’re making extra money and benefiting from the solar panels far from anyone else doing so)

So if you do get solar panels or already have some you should be sure to check your meter for an rEd warning and make sure to report any problems immediately to your electricity supplier before you get ridiculously large bills as a result of generating your own electricity.

Assault android cactus is out now on steam, a top down fast and frantic shoot em up with a slightly comedic narrative, built in global high scores and 9 different androids to unlock all with their own play styles.

If attempting to replay the levels and get better scores and higher leaderboard positions isn’t enough to keep you coming back for more there is also a daily challenge where every 24 hours all steam users compete on the same map with the same enemy waves to get the highest score possible in a single chance attempt to score highest on the leaderboards.

All of the levels are short and fast paced, with lose conditions varying from the usual top down shooters, while you have a health bar the primary factor for failure is a loss of the “battery” which is a timer system within which to defeat all waves of enemies within the level. Dying is still a factor however as to reboot your android of choice you will drain the battery making things more difficult.

The enemies and action seem quite varied from the offset, with some enemies choosing to shoot at you, others charging at you to swarm you in a corner if you are unfortunate enough to not cut your way through in time, as well as turrets, flying enemies, champions and mine launchers. Think you’re safe and you’ve got the level mapped out, think again as completing a wave will often trigger the level design to change in a very fluid manner, often releasing more waves of enemies while blocking off escape paths you may have kept clear with new holes in the floor or walls coming from nowhere.

If you are a fan of this style of game assault android cactus is definitely one you will wish to own and test your prowess against the leaderboards while attempting to get the highest ranks on all levels (far from the C’s and D’s I achieved on my first attempts) while mastering all of the enemy varieties and the bullet hell standards some of the bosses can entail.

This playlist will show all of my daily attempts as well as my playthrough of the main game.

If you want to get assault android cactus for yourself (and lets face it probably decimate my scores) go to

Diehard Dungeon is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler with frantic top down action. I am playing on the champions unleashed mode which makes it more difficult with both friendly and evil champions chosen by those who have completed the game and escaped already.

Can I track down the dungeon master and defeat him once and for all (and not just his shadow clone) and can I master and complete the rather hard but fun and fast paced minigames?

Get diehard dungeon for yourself on steam

I was off visiting someone in tamworth when I topped up my mobile phone credit, and after being asked which network it was for due to the nature of EE I informed the staff member it was orange, and was provided with a voucher for EE credit which claimed to be for all three versions of EE, this was from within the EE store itself in tamworth so if anyone would get it right it would be the store member you would think.

After seeing my friend I got on the train back, and stopped over in birmingham to buy some things from the shops while I had the rare opportunity to be out and about and get a lift back without having to rely on the terrible countryside buses which end so ridiculously early that you can’t visit anywhere. I attempted to top up my mobile phone with the pay as you go credit, and upon doing so I realized that the credit didn’t work as it stated that there were problems topping up.

In a panic I visited the EE store as the shops were within 10 minutes of closing attempting to resolve the situation and get the credit on my phone, after informing the staff member in birmingham of my situation she stated that I had been given the wrong credit and that it doesn’t state that it works on orange, I pointed out that it did state this clearly on the receipt and she shouted at me “no it doesn’t don’t interrupt me I’m the staff member we’re all trained to know the difference and not give the wrong voucher” and refused to call up the tamworth store and attempt to resolve the situation so I could simply get my credit, I pointed out very politely that it does clearly state on the receipt that it works on orange and that I informed the staff member in tamworth I needed orange credit, she continued to refuse to be helpful, it was only when I requested a complaint form that she got a manager who was able to resolve the situation but this was well into being stressed at needlessly by the staff member who should have been polite and attempted to resolve the situation rather than shouting at me in an angry form for pointing out that my credit stated it was for orange and that I stated clearly to the staff member when asked that I required orange credit. She insisted that I return to tamworth, an impossible feat considering how late in the day it was and that stores were about to close and I would require a train journey to get there.

This whole situation and the way EE works with the three EE’s OrangEE T-mobilEE and EE itself all operating separately still, and that 3g signal is terrible and often unobtainable seems ridiculous and I’m fed up of the orange customer service. EE keep sending millions of marketing texts constantly despite not wanting these and opting out hundreds of times, and I’m just entirely fed up of their network. So much so that I had to get my complaint out there, still didn’t get a complaint form to send to their offices so a very public one will suffice @ee