7 Indie Games to Watch For from the Spring Festival 2020

Thanks to Geoff Keighley and Steam, everyone was able to play upwards of 40 indie games that were going to be featured at various canceled conventions this year. I went through the list, chose the ones that I was most interested in, and decided to play them and make a video. Here are my thoughts on the 7 I tried.
Please make sure to wishlist any of these games that interest you it will help the devs out considerably.
Also this is my first time ever doing a “list” type video really, with editing, and scripting! Please let me know how you all feel about this style of video, and if I should consider doing similar things in the future. Personally I think this came out alright, although I am clearly looking at my notes during the intro and outro bits (and would preferably avoid having my face on camera in the future lol)

TN’s Indie Impressions – CrossCode

A 16bit era styled ARPG?  You would think this would be right up my alley.  I certainly hope I dont get eggs on my face…or balls.

Prolly Balls.

And always remember…STAY NERDY!

CrossCode on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/368340/CrossCode/

TN’s Indie Impressions – Coffee Talk

Clearly inspired by games like VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action, Coffee Talk puts you in the role of a Barista who owns their own coffee shop.  However, while set in Seattle Washington in the year 2020, this is a very different place where fantasy creatures like Elves, Werewolves, Cat People, and more all exist alongside humans.  Your goal?  Get through each night serving the right hot drinks and listening to the stories of your patrons.
Find Coffee Talk on all the following Sites:
This Indie Impressions video is also now available in Podcast / Audio form! See the links below to listen and subscribe!

TN’s Indie Impressions – Sparklite

Full disclosure, I got a key for this from Evolved PR. Additionally, I had been waiting for Sparklite to come out since I saw early GIFs on it on /r/indiegaming.

Sparklite is an Action RPG Roguelike created by Red Blue games, and published by Merge Games. In this you play a young mechanic named Ada, accompanied by a robo friend as you try to help save the world by defeating the 5 Titans of Industry and their evil Baron. Was this game worth my hype leading up to it? Well, lets find out.

Sparklite on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/943140/Sparklite/
Sparklite on Switch: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/sparklite-switch/

Also thanks to Evolve PR, I was able to ask the Developers of Sparklite a few questions.  Here are my questions their responses:

Me: What are some features you wish you could have added to it that you did not have time for?

Red Blue Games: I love this question. Cutting features is one of the hardest things to do. We had a cool NPC planned that would send you a photo of a location in the world with hidden buried treasure. You’d have to match that photo with where it is in the game world to find the treasure. There are so many little things like that. As for major features, we had second phases for bosses planned but did the first phase first and realized that it would just take too much time to put in a second phase for everyone

Me: What are some features that were added that you did not expect to originally implement?

Red Blue Games: The coolest example of this is the robot companion’s role. Originally all of the gadgets were controlled by Ada. But one of our level designers suggested that some of those things could be done by the robot. We had our artist Rafael do some mockups and it was just so cool to see the robot with his own set of tools to use. So we were able to fairly cleanly repurpose some gadgets as Wingut gadgets which also gave the second player a lot more to do than we originally expected.

Me: Any plans for post-launch support in the way of DLC or Free updates?

Red Blue Games: We’d love to shoot for a content patch soon, but it largely depends on the reception of the game. In the meantime, we’re hanging tight during launch to see if we need to address any hotfixes or UX improvements for things that our players might find unintuitive, but over the course of development, we’ve had a lot of ideas for features that would make for great content updates, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to make them happen.

Me: What games did you draw inspiration from for this title? Visually, mechanically, or thematically?

Red Blue Games: Visually: SNES games in general were a huge inspiration. One of our early artists quotes Secret of Mana as his favorite game and people say they get a ton of those vibes from our art. But we also didn’t want to be totally retro so we break plenty of rules regarding our color palettes, particle effects, and even motion blur on the camera.

Mechanically: Well Bastion was a big influence for top-down combat, though we decided not to do any z-targeting. SNES gameplay was great at the time and still has its place but we didn’t draw a ton from those on gameplay mechanics since we wanted to feel more modern.
Thematically: Well Zelda has to be mentioned at some point in this list. The themes of adventure, exploration, and the whimsical tone all are inspired by Zelda. But the game world itself is worth its own explanation too. We wanted the world of Geodia to also serve as a commentary on real life that would help shape people’s opinions. Maybe that comes from pressures from our family to be doctors instead of gamedevs haha. But we do hope that some of the celebration of science and caution against greed will resonate with players.
Me: What is your favorite creature or boss in the game and why?
Red Blue Games: My favorite boss is Timbert, who’s the Boss in the forest. He was the first we developed and he just set a great bar for the other bosses. I think his gameplay is solid and I love his personality – he’s so mad at his machine malfunctioning!
Me: How long do you expect a normal playthrough to take?
Red Blue Games: We’re getting reports of 12-15 hours or so, and we expect that to vary some based on player skill level. We have additional content for completionists that should take longer than that (getting all of the Beats, for example), and we’d like to do more to highlight the completionist aspects of the game in the future.

TN’s Indie Impressions – Neo Cab

Ever wanted to be a futuristic UBER driver in a cyberpunk dystopia? Cause if you have that very specific urge this game is the one for you. I present Neo Cab, the story of Lina in the cyberpunk city of LO. Make sure to tip your driver everyone!

Neo Cab on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/794540/Neo_Cab/

TN’s Indie Impressions – Vertical Drop Heroes HD

Sometimes you run across a game, and while playing it the only thing you can think is “I could be playing X, which is just a better version of this”. Thats what ran thru my head as I played Vertical Drop Heroes HD. All I could think was I would rather be playing Dead Cells.

Welcome to Episode 9 of TNs Indie Impressions, and today I look at the game Vertical Drop Heroes HD.

Vertical Drop Heroes HD on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/311480/Vertical_Drop_Heroes_HD/

TN’s Indie Impressions – Steamworld Dig 1

MORE VIDEOS! Today its Steampunk Metroidvania action with Steamworld Dig 1.
Next up will be Steamworld Dig 2, then Dead Cells, then Hollow Knight. Thats my plan at least. If you have any games you wanna see on Indie Impressions please leave a comment and lemme know so I can add them to my list and prioritize better.

TN Talks with the Developer of “Within the Cosmos” an upcoming Sci Fi FPS RPG

Hey everyone!  Terminally Nerdy here with another Indie Dev interview, this time for an upcoming First Person Sci Fi RPG called “Within the Cosmos” which will be releasing on Steam on the 1st of August!  I hope you enjoy this look at the person behind the game!

Continue reading “TN Talks with the Developer of “Within the Cosmos” an upcoming Sci Fi FPS RPG”

Steam vs Epic: My Thoughts on the Launcher War

Well, a form of the “console wars” has hit the PC market, and it’s a bit of a doozy.  For the longest time, Steam has been the primary go to when it comes to digital PC Games.  While you can purchase games on sites like Humble Bundle, Indie GoGo, Green Man Gaming, Amazon, GoG, and more, many of these storefronts would provide you with a Steam key in order to activate your game in addition to a download.

Steam has been around since 2003 when it was only a launcher for Valve games and has since grown into a massive storefront housing tons of mainstream and indie games, and a lot of hot garbage as well.  Seriously, the sheer amount of nonsense in the indie section is scary.  I went in there recently to see if I could find something new and interesting and the amount of shitty unity games and hentai games was kind of disturbing.  While Steam has not been the only game in town (just look at the GoG store, and of course EA, Microsoft, and Ubisofts own launchers) it has been, in a general sense, unchallenged for supremacy and relevancy.

Enter the Epic Store.  Epic has grown leaps and bounds these past few years thanks to Fortnite Battle Royale, and at some point Epic decided that they were gonna take a hard shot at Steam for part of the PC Market and games.  Thus the Epic Store was launched.  It offers a much better deal to devs first of all (12% goes to Epic vs 30% going to Steam for each sale), but what it offers consumers is really next to nothing right now.

Just look at the list of features that Steam offers vs what Epic offers, to its customer base:

Hell, as Jim Sterling pointed out in his recent video Epic doesn’t even have an actual shopping cart, meaning you have to make single purchases each time you want to buy something rather than having everything in a single transaction.  That’s just…weird.  And kind of annoying.

Now, the Epic Store does have a Roadmap on Trello that lists its planned features and updates, but even looking at this, as far as a consumer friendly store, it’s got a long way to go.  This is on top of Epic being owned by Tencent, a supermassive Chinese gaming company that’s partially owned by the Chinese government, meaning that if you purchase something on Epic, you are funding Tencent, and that wigs out a lot of people.  One person compared Tencent to an actual Shadowrun level Corp and I cannot disagree with that sentiment.

So what is Epic doing to try to attract consumers to come and buy games over there?  Well…they are forcing exclusives.  What they are doing is offering large amounts of cash to Developers to entice them to release only on the Epic Store for a year, before going to other stores.  So far Phoenix Point, The Quantic Dream Games such as Heavy Rain / Detroit Become Human, the Outer Worlds, Hades, Metro Exodus, and a few more have been made into “Epic Exclusives”. The worst part is that some of these originally advertised as if they were going to be released on Steam!  Outer Worlds and Metro Exodus both had / have steam pages, but no longer are purchasable on that platform!  Phoenix Point had a Kickstarter where people who pledged on Kickstarter were PROMISED copies on Steam and Gog, but are now being told “No, sorry, you can get it on Epic or you are screwed” and Phoenix Point has even been making Refunds difficult.  And Epics stance during all this is to make fun of their customers (Tim Sweeny has tweeted a few times about Entitled Gamers).

In essence, Epic is attempting to FORCE you to use their store, rather than entice you.  Let’s do some math.  If you have a game that’s $60, and you sell it on both Epic and Steam, here is what your cut (as a Dev) would look like:

  • Epic (12%) – $60 x .88 = $52.80 to the Devs
  • Steam (30%) – $60 x .70 = $42.00 to the Devs

So on Epic, a dev makes $10 more per sale.  That does in fact add up.  If an dev sells 100,000 copies, that’s roughly $1,000,000 more in revenue on the Epic store.  But what happens if, instead of forcing exclusivity, Epic and the Devs of a particular game say “Well on Steam the game is $60, but hey, if you come to Epic, you can get the game for $50, saving YOU the Consumer $10!”.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but for a lot of us PC gamers, $10 in saving is a good enticement.  And what happens to the cut the Devs get?

  • Epic (12%) – $50 x .88 = $44.00 to the Devs
  • Steam (30%) – $60 x .70 = $42.00 to the Devs

Obviously the devs only get $2 more per sale vs $10 more, but they still get more money and the consumer now has a good choice to make: Do I spend $60 to have it on Steam with all my other games?  or do I spend $50 on a different store, thus saving money?  In this case, while the Devs don’t get as much extra per sale, they also reach a much LARGER Audience.  They reach all who are using the Epic Store, and they are also STILL reaching all the Steam users!  Plus, Epic doesn’t look like a completely dick in the process.

Truth be told I would rather games be available on as MANY platforms as possible, both PC and consoles, so that way the devs can reach the widest audience possible and the consumers / gamers can pick and choose HOW they want to play the game.

Personally my big issue here really is that Game Devs are not going to Epic solely because of the 12% vs 30% issue, but rather because Epic is handing them massive stacks of cash in exchange for exclusivity rights.  That’s a nasty move and is not consumer friendly.  Does it work?  Hell yea it does.  It makes people like me have to make a choice: do I buy the game on Epic, even though I don’t want to really support Tencent in that manner, nor Epic in that manner?  Or do I wait for it to be released elsewhere.

The Outer Worlds is a big one for me, as I was super excited to see it announced.  But I have zero interest in using the Epic store.  But it seems that the outer Worlds is going to be released on the Microsoft Store as well, and I might just purchase it there to support Microsoft over Epic (plus, Microsoft is bringing Halo to Steam so I mean, I gotta support those fine folks).

Hell if all this mess was JUST about the Dev’s cut of each sale, the Discord Store (yes, Discord has a game store BUILT IN NOW) takes even less then EPIC does from each sale (10% vs Epics 12%) so it’s all about that Payola, that big fat stack of cash Epic is handing devs in exchange for exclusivity rights.  Pretty sure if Epic wasn’t offering companies massive payouts the companies wouldn’t be going there.  It’s all about the money in this case.

I am however glad to see that Steam is getting some competition, let me be honest.  Steam has been a monolith, a company that most PC gamers use because it’s all we have.  I use it because it’s easy, it’s customer friendly, and it’s never done me wrong.  The ease of use, the ability to have all my games listed in a single place, the updates and whatnot.  The sales are a huge deal as well.  I am, in fact, entrenched in Steam (I have near 800 games on there alone).  But I am pragmatic enough to be willing to look at other stores, such as GoG (I am near 200 games over there), Origin of course for EA Stuff, and Uplay for Ubisoft stuff.  Generally if I am looking to get a game, I look for the best price when I am ready to purchase, and go to the store giving me the best deal.

Further, as much as I hate to say it, GoG / Origin / Uplay / The Microsoft Store are NOT really competition to Steam.  They still, however, offer more to consumers then the Epic store does at least.  Almost all of them have better features, more options, and better treatment of their customers right now then Epic does.

Steam could, and SHOULD, lower their cut at this point for Devs, to help the devs make more.  A drop to even 20% would be a good thing overall.  Steam also needs to start really digging into the sheer mass of garbage that exists on their platform somehow.  They claim they don’t want to be the “quality police” but at this point something has to be done about the sheer amount of shitty asset flip games and other trash that piles up, making it hard to really find good stuff on there at times.

But from a consumer standpoint, i.e. the people who actually BUY the stuff, Steam is still on top.  Epic has a long way to go to catch up, and perhaps one day it will.  But their practices has soured them to me, and I am not a fan of their attitude nor their actions as of late.  I would rather wait for the games they are paying to be exclusive come out on other platforms then support Epic and by proxy Tencent and the way they are acting.  Business in this regard is about both the company and the consumers, and about meeting in the middle to have a beneficial transaction on both sides and right now Epic is acting like they own the world and can do whatever they want from my perspective.  And I hate that.

How do you feel about this?  Are you going to purchase games on the Epic store or simply wait for them to appear on the store of your choosing?  Do you feel that Steam finally has some decent competition in the market?  Let me know in the comments below!

As always thanks for reading everyone and Stay Nerdy!  Make sure to follow me on TwitchYoutubeTwitter, and join my Steam Group and Steam Curator pages!  Pledge to my Patreon!  Spread the word on social media & help me get out there so I can bring even more content to the masses.  You do want more content yes?

151 Days till Gen Con! State of the Nerd: March 2019

It’s that time again!  Time to talk about how last month went, and how this coming month is looking in the world of Terminally Nerdy!  This post most likely will not be too long, as honestly there hasn’t been much going on in the Nerdy world all things considered.

First let’s talk schedule.  My wife’s work schedule is changing effective March 2nd, and she will be back to working both Saturdays and Sundays for the most part.  This means that Sundays will be ONLY for Streaming (YAY!) and Saturdays will be either Clay relaxing OR Clay working on things.  For example, on March 2nd I hope to work on my new Lets Play.

Yes, you heard that right.  I am trying out doing an actual classic Youtube Lets Play.  No camera, voice only.  What game?  Final Fantasy X Remastered on PC, and my Patrons are the only ones getting the episodes right now.  The idea here was to give me another type of content I could create on my own time, in a more bite sized format vs the archives of Streams that I post.  Let’s face it, my Stream Archives are 3 to 4 hours in length and not everyone wants to bother watching them on my Youtube Channel.  But a 20-30 minute video once a week?  That’s much more digestible.  So far I have recorded something like 11 episodes of the FFX Lets Play, and the first 4 episodes are frankly a bit of a mess but I fixed everything on Episode 5 and onwards.  The plan is that they will not be released to the public until the entire game is finished, and at that point I will move on to a new game.  I also intend to focus on JRPGs or Grindy games for the Lets Play series.  That way I can do stuff off camera and not run into the issue of missing something.  If you want to view what I have released so far then consider dropping $1 on my Patreon.  You get access to episodes every week, along with tons of other stuff the instant I finish em.

Hell, I got blog posts every 2 weeks queued up until the end of JUNE right now.  Seriously.  I got book reviews, a couple of Plot Hook articles, some game reviews, ect.  All sorts of stuff.  But my Patrons?  They got it ALL already.  Seriously, for just a buck you can get it all instantly vs waiting around.  Or pledge more, there are other perks too!  So again, VISIT MY PATREON!

Now as far as Tabletop RPG stuff goes, I got a couple of reviews in the works, and with my Saturday’s being freed up again during the morning, I can actually put some work into them.  I got something to review from Yubi which should be done relatively quickly honestly, and then the Tiny D6 stuff still including a new game they sent to all their patrons (which I am one) called Tiny Gods.  Oh yea, Demi Gods in Tiny D6 format?  HELL.  YES.  I need to see if they are working on Tiny Supers as well.  But these are all in the works and with more free time I should be able to work on those as well and other stuff.  I also have a post where I am actually paying a writer to review something that was sent to me as a test run when he is done with it.  He needed some work, I needed some help, boom!

On the video game front, I am putting Jump Force aside till the DLC is released and the bugs worked out.  Turns out there are some nasty issues in the later parts of the story with the AI, and I am hoping they fix it.  In fact, the most effective way to play the game right now is to spam guard and then spam Throws since the AI only uses Block and Supers.  Seriously, you just block a bunch, and then when the AI is done spamming, you spam your Throw button because that breaks guards.

I am also working on a review of Okami HD.  I played the original version on the PS2 way back when it was first released, and I am finally getting to the HD Remaster, which is a real treat.  I just reached the Windmill area in Okami HD if you know the game, so it’s gonna be a bit of time till I finish.  Not that I mind.  Ammy is the best pupper in gaming hands down.  As far as streaming goes, I am working through Dark Sun Shattered Lands, which is the Terminally Nerdy Games Club game on my Twitch, which is not a terrible game, but it hasn’t aged too well.

In fact, this Sunday March 3rd will be a nice 4 hour stream of Dark Sun Shattered Lands on my Twitch Channel, then I will be switching back to My Time at Portia for the rest of March, which I started this past weekend on Stream (you can view the Archive of my first stream of that right here).  Thanks to the Devs of My Time at Portia for providing me a key, it’s an excellent game thus far and very in depth.  I am intending to do a full story playthrough on my Twitch Channel, and then a written review.  And obviously I am working on FFX Remastered in Lets Play form.  Oh, and the new Path of Exile expansion releases in a week or so, and I am totally gonna be playing that as a Storm Brand Elementalist.  That’s more for me though.

On my New 2DS XL I am working on Persona Q Shadow of the Labyrinth in preparation for Persona Q 2 which will release in June in the US.  I might have to get me a physical collector’s edition of PQ2 truth be told, as I am super interested in the game.  Maybe I can contact one of the folks at Atlus US to get one.  Maybe.  I should ask cause that would be killer.  I should finish Persona Q first though and review it I imagine haha.

Additionally, I now have a Steam Group and Steam Curator page for you to join and follow.  Please do so, it helps extend my reach, and the Curator page is a great place to get bite sized reviews of games in case my long form stuff is not your cup of tea!  Also the Steam Group is a place where fans of my work can meet up and chat with each other (and me!) and maybe play some games together, if your into that kind of thing.

Finally, there is something special that I will be doing in March assuming schedules and timing all lines up, which should be something VERY cool.  I hope.  My Patrons will get it once it’s done, and the rest, well, I dunno!  But trust me when I say that it’s kinda wild.

CREATOR SPOTLIGHT

For this month’s creator spotlight I am going to talk about a musician and podcaster I adore as of late, Marc with a C.  He has been making low fi pop records for something like 20 years (as he tells it) and they are honestly a ton of fun.  I have known him for a couple of years now, and met him a few times in fact at shows here in my home town.  He honestly is just a good guy and deserves a listen.

Beyond his music however is his music Podcast, Discography.  This is a podcast where takes a deep dive into the various canonical albums of different musicians to see what their work says about them and how it all stacks up.  His season 1 was on Frank Zappa, which personally I had never really bothered with and thanks to hearing some of the tracks, about the only thing I MIGHT listen to is his Synclavier stuff because Zappa’s lyrical stuff is a little too out there for my tastes.  But breaking down the history of Zappa was completely fascinating.  Seasons 2 he busted out Janet Jackson, another artist I have never really been into because that style of music is generally not my thing, but after hearing her history I might have to give it a look.  And finally, the current Season 3 is The Who, and dear god it’s wonderful.  Like seriously, I love his Who seasons so so much.

If you are looking for a new musical act to follow or a new podcast to listen to I cannot recommend either of his works enough, they are phenomenal!

Marc with a C Website:  http://marcwithac.com/

Discography on Consequence of Sound Network:  https://consequenceofsound.net/category/cos-exclusive-features/consequence-podcast-network/discography/

As always thanks for reading everyone and Stay Nerdy!  Make sure to follow me on TwitchYoutubeTwitter, and join my Steam Group and Steam Curator pages!  Pledge to my Patreon!  Spread the word on social media & help me get out there so I can bring even more content to the masses.  You do want more content yes?