Chained friends, cartoon violence, and silly divers

Wanna to go clear corpses at the bottom of the ocean?

Chained friends, cartoon violence, and silly divers

Have you recovered from Summer Game Fest yet? It was one of the busiest seasons that this new "Not E3" period has had since the collapse of the old times. I would argue it was actually too much. There are so many events, so spread apart, with so many announcement that to be honest, it all kinda lost a lot of impact and meaning for me personally. This was the first year that I didn't watch everything. I didn't get up early to catch the presentations. I barely even combed through the highlights. I thought that perhaps was just the current state of my life - stressed out with the day job, and three months away from having out first kid - but I have been reading a few other takes that said that this time, it was just too much. Let me know how your Not E3 was this year, I would love to know.Just because I didn't absorb all the festivities doesn't mean I'm not excited about games! Let's take a look at this week's list.

What came out this week?


Developer: Exit73 Studios
Steam rating: Very Postive
Store page

Diablo IV might be getting ready for its first major expansion, but if you are craving some late 90s/early 2000s Cartoon Network-esque nostalgia, you might want to check out #BLUD this weekend.

This ARPG puts you in the shoes of Becky Brewster, the new kid in town who happens to be from an ancient bloodline of vampire hunters. While the perils of high school are bad enough, there also happens to be a demonic infestation of their new cozy town, and armed with the power of social media, it's up to you to stop the vampire reign.

Thankfully you are armed with a suite of tools to smack those vamps down, the most powerful of them being a social media account. Find targets by scanning through the town's social media rumor mills, and take selfies with your enemies to discover their weaknesses. A kinda neat premise if you ask me.

Everything about #BLUD (pronounced hashtag BLUD if you were wondering) screams The Fairly Odd Parents to me. The animation and humor is just so on point for a particular time in animation history that felt transitional from the classics of yesteryear, but on the fast track towards the madness that Adventure Time and Rick and Morty would bring.

Chained Together

Developer: Anegar Games
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

I love a game that can sell its idea immediately in an elevator pitch, and Chained Together is so easy to understand. A third person platformer, you are chained together with up to three other people are you try to reach the summit of what seems like a never ending climb.

Just watch the trailer for 10 seconds and you'll totally get what it is going for. It has three difficulty levels - Beginner, Normal, and Lava, which is literally "the floor is lava" as it continually rises from the depths behind you.

While the game offers solo play, the real fun here will be sitting on a couch with your friends, trying to avoid (or perhaps intentionally fall into) the pits of doom. You will need friends nearby, or set up a Parsec session, because the game only supports local multiplayer.

I have no friends though, so I guess I will be skipping this one.

Still Wakes the Deep

Developer: The Chinese Room
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

The Chinese Room are back with another narrative heavy adventure in Still Wakes The Deep, a return to their horror roots by the looks of it. Taking place on an oil rig off the coast of Scotland, it looks like you will be dealing with the all kinds of beasties featuring tentacles, and I am sure, some kind of Eldritch lore given that it takes place at sea and all.

You play the role of an off shore oil rig worker who is fighting for their life as all lines of communication have been cut, and the exits are blocked. You will simply need to face the storm that has arrived, and the horrific creatures that have come aboard.

This one came out of left field for me, and I am not sure why because The Chinese Room have always been a favorite of mine since the release of Dear Esther back in 2012.

I am so down to explore something set in 1970's Scotland, and I am so excited to see what these folks have cooked up. This one came out of left field for me, and I am not sure why because I have really enjoyed The Chinese Room since they released Dear Esther way back in 2012. Maybe the marketing cycle just hasn't been strong? It seems to be reviewing well on Steam, and it is also available on Game Pass for those who subscribe.

If you dig SOMA, or Amnesia, definitely check this one out.

Blade and Sorcery

Developer: WarpFrog
Steam rating: Overwhelmingly Positive
Store page

If you have owned any kind of VR headset since 2018, you have probably been hit with "have you played Blade & Sorcery?" at least thirty times by now. Right alongside side Beat Saber and Super Hot, this Early Access darling has been lauded by VR gamers for years now, and after a lengthy development cycle, it finally hit the coveted V1.0 this week.

Blade & Sorcery is a medieval fantasy game that focuses on melee and ranged magic combat. Powerede by a realistic physics combat system, weapons and objects in the world have real weight. So do the enemies, like giant dragons and other beasties who want to crush your skull.

Most of the people I know who love this game live in its sandbox mode, but the full release includes an adventure mode that promises to provide the deep lore the world for you to explore. To be honest this looks pretty neat, but I have a massive backlog of VR games I haven't even installed yet, and I am still only halfway through Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners so this one will languish on the wishlist a little longer.

Murky Divers (Early Access)

Developer: Embers
Steam rating: Very Positive
Store page

In the growing genre of "Lethal Company-likes" such as Content Warning, Murky Divers is another of those "grab your friends, find some weird shit, and scream like your favorite YouTuber/Twitch streamer" experiences that is rocketing up the charts right now. But this one has a weird corporate coverup twist that I am all here for.

Your mission is to dive down to the corps abandoned deep sea labs to dispose of the corpses littered throughout aforementioned labs, but you will need to avoid all the horrific terrors that are lurking in the shadows. Hijinks are around every corner, and frankly this does seem like it is a lot of fun, with a slightly different vibe than those other games it is cribbing from. If you have some pals ready to go, it will surely be a good time.

Some other interesting things I saw this week

A great piece about Citybuilding, colonialism, Ronald Reagan, and Against the Storm

I really love Against the Storm, a game that caught me by complete surprise and was the first game that pushed me towards this newfound love of the strategy genre that I had avoided for some 36 years of my life. Well this week Nick Capozzoli wrote a piece that explores the ideas of citybuilding games as a whole, where Against the Storm fits into that, colonialism, and a whole bunch of other stuff too. If this quote grabs your attention, I highly suggest you go read this great piece.

Reagan, now there’s one motherfucker who would have loved a storm button. Imagine it: a world that perpetually rewilds itself. Somewhere that practically invites you to heroically pioneer, colonize, dominate, and exploit it again and again and again.

There was a pretty good Nintendo Direct!

It's no secret that Nintendo has a new console on the way, and most of us suspected that this next Nintendo Direct would be light on content, but the folks from Kyoto came out swinging with some truly great stuff. Metroid Prime 4 was shown for the first time, which had fans rejoicing. But the highlight for me was that Zelda is getting her own leading role game for the first time, and…it looks good? I will say it kinda felt like a cop out when they made a big deal about her not having a sword because "girls can't have swords, silly", the puzzle-style gameplay with mirroring items in the world does seem very cool. Excited to get some nice swan songs out for what has probably been Nintendo's best console.

GOG has a massive summer sale

Getting ahead of Steam, the folks over at GOG are running a massive summer sale for the next few weeks with DEEP discounts on a lot of great games. If you have never heard of GOG, they are owned by the folks who make The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077, have been around for a loooong time, and all of their games offer DRM free, which is honestly, kinda nice. I still prefer Steam, especially because I do most of my gaming on a Steam deck. But highly recommend checking them out and see if there's something you have been longing for at a great price.

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