The 5 Most Romantic Games to Play This Valentines Day

The 5 Most Romantic Games to Play This Valentines Day

Valentines Day is here, and with many people making reservations at fancy restaurants, and throwing roses at your significant other (or begrudgingly at other couples, depending on your take on tradition – who are we to judge?), it is time for you to snuggle up alone or with your significant other in front of your PC or console of choice.

Read moreThe 5 Most Romantic Games to Play This Valentines Day

Stardew Valley: Exciting Updates Bound Early 2018

Stardew Valley: Exciting Updates Bound Early 2018

ChuckleFish, developer of the critically acclaimed indie game Stardew Valley has recently posted a big blog update letting players know that they plan to implement many additions to the game in the beginning of 2018.

A big highlight on the blog post was for the most exciting update to Stardew Valley. I am of course talking about the highly anticipated inclusion of multiplayer mode for all current versions of the game.

On their blog the developer has made sure to update the current status of the before-mentioned multiplayer update, stating: “Tom is working on implementing marriage between players, and recently finished up working on festivals. Now you’ll have someone to dance with at the Flower Dance, even if you’ve yet to win over any of the residents of Pelican Town.”

ChuckleFish has also stated that Stardew Valley is to receive new content, but what that content might be is yet unknown.

In addition to the changes being done to the core Stardew experience, Chuckefish has made an exceptionally exciting announcement for lovers of Sony’s PS Vita. A port Stardew Valley is launching alongside all of the before mentioned updates. This version will include remote play with the PS4 but unfortunately will be the only version of Stardew Valley that won’t receive the multiplayer update.

All the Stardew Valley updates have been expected since mid-2017, but due to “polishing and QA”, the developer has decided to move all Stardew Valley related-updates to the first quarter of 2018.

Stardew Valley is an indie farming simulator that both revives many features from known games in the genre such as Harvest moon, whilst adding modern eases to create a smoother experience. The game is currently on Nintendo Switch, Steam, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and has a very high Metacritic score of 89 for its Steam version.

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Slime Rancher (PC) Review – Heckin’ Cute!

Slime Rancher (PC) Review - Heckin' Cute!

Being colourful and/or cute is so in this year. I mean, so far we have had Yonder, Splatoon 2, and now Slime Rancher, which very well may be the heckin’ cutest game of them all.

In Slime Rancher you play as Beatrix LeBeau—a beautiful person of colour with green hair and a button nose worthy of booping—who has left behind her life to work on a distant ranch where she collects and breeds slimes to harvest their poops to exchange for cash—yes, really. But don’t worry, there isn’t a single thing about this game that is gross, profane, or even remotely violent; which is a refreshing change for a game played in first-person.

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Slime Rancher gameplay images via Monomi Park

As Beatrix, you’ll spend a majority of your time exploring a massive ranch to look for new areas and breeds of slime, as well as fruits, vegetables, and doors that can only be unlocked via keys given to you by giant slimes that take a good deal of searching to find. Slimes and the items you find throughout Slime Rancher can be sucked up and carried in your vacuum cleaner-like device, thus allowing easy transportation back to your home on the ranch. Once there you’ll be able to set up pens for your adorable slimes, plant gardens, and trade poos for cash in the “plort market” which has varying prices just like the real stock market.

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Slime Rancher gameplay images via Monomi Park

Money can be used to upgrade and expand your ranch, abilities, and pens as well as unlock a science centre which grants you, even more, resource types and abilities. Some upgrades include a jetpack, a larger stamina meter—which is used for the Quake-like sprinting as well as jetpacking—and taller pens which allow for more slimes. The science area is especially useful as it grants you the ability to open treasure orbs hidden throughout the world, and eventually the ability to craft two-way portals which come in quite handy late in the game as otherwise, you’ll be going on lengthy journeys to and fro. Unfortunately for me, the science centre was the last thing I purchased near the end of the game; had I known it granted custom teleports I’d have bought it sooner and saved myself some trekking. That said, I never was bothered by the backtracking, and there are plenty of portals back to the ranch to find throughout the game that exist in the wild.

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Slime Rancher gameplay images via Monomi Park

Surprisingly, there is actually a pretty charming story told throughout the game via notes left behind by the retired previous owner of the ranch specifically for Beatrix as well as letters from a person Beatrix knows from back home. The notes from the previous farmer add cute little insights into how a person nearing the end of their career or life may think, as well as reflecting on their memories on the farm. Reading what I assumed was an old lady reminiscing about her life was charming, heartwarming, and even a bit sad. Beatrix’s loved one back home also tells a story of what it is like to be far away from someone you care about and is a deeply touching story, one that Slime Rancher‘s designer Nick Popovich told me was deeply personal and loosely based on his experiences.

Slime Rancher is a cute and mostly simple game as there is no real combat, no extreme crafting, and no survival elements. But don’t let the simplicity frighten you away. Personally, I loved being able to casually explore at my own pace, checking every nook and cranny for some undiscovered species of blob to take back to my ranch, but some players may hope for a bit more. If you find repetitive games with only a few small goals and no real difficulty, you may very well find Slime Rancher a bit boring, but you’d probably find every farming game equally as boring—if not more so.

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Slime Rancher gameplay images via Monomi Park

The only thing close to negative criticism I have for Slime Rancher is that many of the unlockable items and letters from home are gated behind time played. One second in real life equates to one minute in-game, and when I finished I was on my 30th day. That said, I never found myself waiting around for time to pass as there was always something to keep me busy, be it feeding my slimes (which is purely to get their plorts, they won’t die like your Tamagotchis did when you were a kid and your mom was supposed to take care of it while you were at school. I’ll never forgive you, Mom!), upgrading pens, or continuing to explore. I’d imagine if someone wanted to they could repeatedly rest at the house on the ranch to speed up time and thus unlocks, but I feel like that would defeat the purpose and the final letter is locked behind finding the final note from the previous rancher anyways.

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Slime Rancher gameplay images via Monomi Park

Reaching the end credit sequence took me around 15 hours, though I feel like it could have been done faster had I had the ability to craft portals earlier. There is some post-game content and the ability to continue ranching and exploring as you see fit (for those worried about playtime), plus the developers have more content planned for patches coming in the future.

I absolutely loved Slime Rancher, from the colourful start to the bittersweet ending that literally had me sobbing—something that is quite hard for video games to achieve. While a bit repetitive, I think that is excusable as it comes with the nature of the farming genre, even if this is one of the most casual farming games out there. I’ve never played a cuter, more pure game in my entire life, so I have no qualms awarding Slime Rancher a well deserved perfect score.

Freedom Humble Bundle Offers Over 40 Games

Freedom Humble Bundle Offers Over 40 Games

The latest announcement from Humble Bundle is making an impact with its Freedom Bundle, an offering that gives those who donate over 40 different games and 6 digital books.

As it goes with every Humble Bundle, those who want to snag all of the games in this bundle have to pay a set price. While you still get to pay what you want, the minimum this time around is $30 USD, and there aren’t any payment tiers. Grouped together the games come to a value of over $600.

All the proceeds go to charity, and Humble Bundle specifically selected three different organizations that they say were “chosen for the work they do in defense of justice, human rights, and civil rights.” These charities include the American Civil Liberties Union, the International Rescue Committee, and Doctors Without Borders. Those who pay for the bundle will be able to split the donations to each organization as they see fit. Humble Bundle also promises to match customer contributions up to $300,000.

This comes in light of recent U.S. immigration policy that has even affected the video game industry.

So, what games are included in this bundle? All are listed below, but keep in mind that Humble Bundle may add additional content throughout the week!

  • The Witness
  • Stardew Valley
  • Subnautica (Early Access)
  • Day of the Tentacle Remastered
  • Overgrowth (Early Access)
  • Nuclear Throne
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Octodad: Dadliest Catch
  • World of Goo
  • Mushroom 11
  • No Time to Explain
  • Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
  • Super Hexagon
  • Guacamelee Super Turbo Championship Edition
  • The Stanley Parable
  • The Swapper
  • Thirty Flights of Loving
  • Spirits
  • Human Resource Machine
  • 2064: Read Only Memories
  • A Virus Named TOM
  • 7 Grand Steps
  • Mini Metro
  • Retro Game Crunch
  • Tower of Guns
  • Waking Mars
  • Song of the Deep
  • Monster Loves You
  • AI War: Fleet Command
  • Sproggiwood
  • Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore A Fedora Deluxe
  • Ninja Pizza Girl
  • Secrets of
  • Raetikon
  • Girls Like Robots
  • Ellipsis
  • Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball
  • Streamline (Early Access)
  • Invisible, Inc.

The list of books include:

  • The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy: Practical Tips for Staying Safe Online by Violet Blue
  • R in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition; The Boys, Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis
  • Any Empire by Nate Powell; A Little Gold Book of Ghastly Stuff by Neil Gaiman
  • Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free by Cory Doctorow
  • Chapter One from Walkaway by Cory Doctorow

The Freedom Bundle will run just one week, ending on Feb. 20, 2017. If you have any interest in this awesome selection of games or in donating, jump on the opportunity now!

Overwatch Tops Twitch’s Most Popular 2016 Games List

Closing the Gap: How the Competitive Patch Promotes Pro Overwatch

As of October, Overwatch is the most popular 2016 game on Twitch.

News of this came from Twitch itself at a keynote at TwitchCon , where the games streaming service company announced that Overwatch has been the most streamed and viewed new game of the year since its launch in May.

Blizzard’s team-based shooter managed to outdo other popular games from this year, including Blizzard’s own World of Warcraft: Legion, Destiny’s Rise of Iron expansion, and Hello Game’s procedurally-generated space exploration game No Man’s Sky.

Check out the full list of the top ten games below:

Overwatch Tops Twitch's Most Popular 2016 Games List

According to data from earlier in the year, Overwatch has clocked in over 18.3 million hours of play time on Twitch as of mid-September.

Overwatch is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Originally revealed at Blizzcon 2014, the game has amassed a substantial
following, with over 15 million players actively playing across all systems as of August. While the game itself is mostly just a team-based shooter, Blizzard has been expanding upon Overwatch’s universe with external media, including graphic novels and animated shorts focusing on specific characters, such as Hanzo and Winston.

If you’re still not among the 15 million players who have already sunk time into Overwatch, be sure to the check out CGM’s beginner’s guide as a starting point to learn about the game’s roster and the roles they all play.

Since its launch, Overwatch has been subject of several crossovers, including characters appearing in other Blizzard games like Heroes of the Storm, including Zarya and Tracer. In honor of the Olympics, Blizzard released new cosmetic DLC for Overwatch, although it did also result in a fair bit of controversy as they could not be unlocked naturally, and had to either be happened upon a loot box or bought outright with real money.

For more on Overwatch, check out CGM’s review and interview with assistant game director Aaron Keller.

Stardew Valley Getting Multiplayer, Mac and Console Release

Stardew Valley Getting Multiplayer, Mac and Console Release

Stardew Valley, the open-ended farming/RPG hybrid that captured our hearts, is being expanded immensely- and one hard-working ape is seeking more help to do it.

Eric Barone, better known by his developer alias ConcernedApe, announced a slew of planned features for Stardew Valley. In a post on the game’s official site, Concerned Ape announced that co-op multiplayer, language localization and a massive content update are on their way- as well as ports for Mac, Linux and consoles.

Stardew Valley Getting Multiplayer, Mac and Console Release

“First, I’d like to thank you all so much for playing Stardew Valley. The game has been more successful than I ever imagined, and I’m very grateful to everyone for granting me this amazing opportunity,” Barone wrote. “The last couple of months have been pretty wild for me… Toward the end of April the launch buzz had cooled off enough that I could afford to take a short break.”

The Stardew developer said he enjoyed his break, but is ready to return to the Valley.

The full list of what’s planned for the future of Stardew Valley is as follows:

  • – Version 1.1 — A substantial content update
  • – Co-op Multiplayer
  • – Localizing for non-english regions
  • – Mac/Linux Ports
  • – Console Ports
  • – Merchandise

Barone said he will continue to develop Stardew Valley’s content entirely on his own, but is seeking help for the more technical work such as porting and localization.

“Now, there’s obviously a huge amount of work involved to achieve all this… and I am just one person,” Barone said. “I know in the past I’ve been very adamant about doing everything myself… and I still am, when it comes to game design and content.”

“However, I’ve decided to seek outside help for some of the more technical things listed above. More specifically, I’ve accepted an offer from Chucklefish in which they will handle the porting, localization, and the technical side of multiplayer. This will allow me to focus on creating new game content for version 1.1, which I will continue to do entirely on my own.”

Stardew Valley Getting Multiplayer, Mac and Console Release 2

Stardew Valley publisher Chucklefish Games will assist Barone in the technical side of things, while Barone will continue to develop content and design the game entirely on his own.

“This should result in faster overall development and reduced workload for me, while preserving my artistic control over Stardew Valley,” he said. “I think it will be beneficial for everyone.”

Barone noted that while there is no official timetable for the planned updates, “multiplayer, porting and localization are actively being worked on.”

Lastly, Barone gave fans a rundown of what to expect in the first major content update, version 1.1.

  • More late-game content
  • New farm buildings
  • New crops
  • New artisan goods
  • New advanced farming/producing mechanics
  • Shane and Emily will be marriage candidates. They will also have more events and dialogue as a result.
  • More marriage content for all spouses
  • More events for the non-marriage NPC’s
  • Improvements/Additions to mining and combat
  • Ability to move buildings and other convenience features
  • More bug fixes
  • More secrets
  • More small, fun touches to the world

While these features are mostly solid, Barone notes that anything in the list is subject to change.

Stardew Valley is an indie simulation game currently available on PC. It has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, and CGM writer Jake Yanik called it “the most rich and heartwarming experience I’ve had in a game in years.”

Stardew Valley (PC) Review

Stardew Valley (PC) Review

Thinking back to the fall of 2011, there were two games I had become aware of that I wanted more than my next breath. The first was Cube World, which is currently lost in development purgatory. The second was Stardew Valley, and it’s the best damn way I can think of to cap off more than four years of waiting.

Developed by one man—ONEStardew Valley is everything I had always wished Harvest Moon would be when I was growing up with it. Borrowing the theme of inheriting a farm to work (though with the added twist of quitting your job at a faceless megacorp that also happens to be trying to snuff out the businesses in the farm’s local town), Stardew Valley takes many of the best elements from Harvest Moon and mixes them with some of the finest RPG mechanics of the SNES era—all put to splendid 16-Bit graphics and a truly wonderful soundtrack. Sure, there are a couple other games that have attempted this in the past, but they’re all marred for various reasons, and none have managed to preserve the “squee” factor of the classic chibi visuals—until now.

Stardew Valley (PC) ReviewThe core loop is much of what you would expect at first: wake, farm, sleep, repeat. But upon exploring the town’s mine for the first time, you’re handed a sword for protection. This is the moment when all expectations of the game are shattered. Exploring the mine and its plethora of floors pits you up against increasingly challenging enemies in combat that’s immediately reminiscent of Secret of Mana. Along with the difficulty curve, there’s also progressively better ores, minerals, and artifacts to be had from within the mine, many of which can become a staple income for players wishing to stay light on the farming aspect of the game. And for those who don’t, the ores you’ll be fighting for can be smelted into bars and used in crafting the multitude of stations, upgrades, and bits of equipment you’ll use to either automate your farm or transform one of your produced items into another. My character spent the bulk of the summer in the game growing hops so he could spend the winter holed up making ALL the beer.

What’s really amazing, though, is that any part of the game you don’t fancy, you can pretty much leave behind. Don’t like farming? Go foraging. Foraging not your thing? Go mining and battling. Don’t want to mine for your resources and upgrades? Use the money you’ve made from other avenues to purchase ores and skip the mine altogether. There’s a very “your game, your way” sort of feel to Stardew Valley, and there’s been great care taken to ensure that no one route is the “correct” option, nor is it unbalanced in its returns. Want to spend time and effort earning the favour of the various citizens to unlock side content? Go for it! Don’t much care for socializing? No biggie; nothing’s forcing you. Brilliant!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of games that have some sort of progression to them—leveling-up, tiered crafting, unlocks, bonus content, creative aspects, etc. What many don’t know is that I’m the biggest sucker for charm in a game, and Stardew Valley gets me right in the d’awwww every time I play it. This coming together of artistic vision, clever systems, tightly refined gameplay, and oodles and oodles of charm makes for the most thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting gaming experience I’ve had since I first discovered Animal Crossing with New Leaf. The fact that this game has been developed exclusively by one man isn’t just a marvel, it’s absolutely unfathomable. I’m not at all surprised that there are twenty-five thousand people playing it on Steam as of my writing this, just two days after launch. For any small studio, that would be incredible, but for a one-man show that is, if I’m not mistaken, his first game, it’s simply astonishing.

The two very minor bugs I encountered in my time with the game were patched out within hours, so really, the only obvious shortcoming I can find is that there’s no notification that upon reaching level 5 and level 10 with a given skill, the two bonuses that are shown are not immediately granted, but instead have to be chosen between. Because of this, I ended up with a couple skills where I would have preferred the other option, as I thought I was just advancing the menu. Other than that, though, Stardew Valley has been the most rich and heartwarming experience I’ve had in a game in years, and when the multiplayer gets patched in at a later date, I’ll be ready for it to absorb even more of my time—only then, it’ll be with friends!