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  1. To be deprived of our dreams is a horrible prospect, and when dreams have the power to create reality—in the wrong hands' calamity is afoot. Children of Lumera is set to combine the emotional symbiosis of a classic children´s book and an adventure game—inspired by "The Neverending Story" and Tolkien´s "The Hobbit." Developer, Phantom Fox, has created a huge universe packed with history and different cultures whose characters, stories and destinies are interwoven. Children of Lumera was originally intended to be a children's book, but it grew on the team to mold it into an episodic adventure game, too. The game itself will be shown as a world full of unbelievable wonders, audiovisual riddles, fantastical stories and lots of interactivity. When dreams and memories are wiped away, what's left but empty feelings and sadness? Set in a world where all life was created with the Alvenkinds power of dreaming, a young girl named Elo Bryghtfire has been given the task of finding a cure for Oblivion. A thousand years after banishing Grimgol to Mokra Dur, the Mountain of Oblivion, nothing was left but ruins in the sand lost to the ravages of time—just like most memories of the Alven children. But in some places, the magic of dreams had endured and is now just waiting to be found. One of these places is the sheltered forest village Slumber Deep, nestled at the foot of the Cauldron Mountains, surrounded by the enchanted Ardon Woods. Our story starts on the Day of Renewal when a little girl named Elo Bryghtfire has no choice but to follow in her grandfather's footsteps to complete an ancient ritual. By the end of the day, fate will have turned against the villagers, as invading dream-eaters casts the lovely village into a dark fog and steals the villagers' hopes and dreams. Aided by a little yokai creature called Biz, Elo escapes to the Negeb desert and ventures out on a marvelous but dangerous quest to save the art of dreaming. Like Night in the Woods and Oxenfree, Children of Lumera is a modern 2D adventure that focuses on emotional game play and story-driven presentation. Visit a beautifully hand-drawn universe that is complex and immersive. At every corner and behind every stone there could be incredible stories, magical artifacts, sensory puzzles, or even songs. Without saying, the desire to explore is rewarded—the more curiosity a player has, the deeper the experience of the universe will become. The gameplay is strongly driven by revealing the secrets of the ancient Alvenkind, interacting with beautifully illustrated environments, characters and objects. Without dreams to inspire us, what choice do we have but to succumb to the spread of darkness? Will Elo have the courage and strength to overcome this calamity? Find out when Children of Lumera becomes available to purchase on Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, Linux, and iOS. Release date has yet to be revealed, but you'll know as soon as we know! Follow the game's progress by visiting the official website for more information or these social media platforms to stay up to date with Phantom Fox: Instagram Facebook Twitter
  2. Game: Swords and Souls: Neverseen Publisher: Armor Games Studio Price: $14.99/£11.39 Release Date: 22nd July 2019 Genre: Adventure, Turn-Based RPG Multiple warnings were provided to me about the addictive nature of this game, but it wasn't until I found myself at 4 in the morning, birds chirping, and my alarm to get up for work just a few hours away... that I realised maybe I have a problem here. The story is a simple one that brings familiar tones and notes that are common with every fantasy story. You play a voiceless hero who has stumbled onto the island of Neverseen, only to be immediately approached with trouble and tales of a powerful witch in a tower. There is a mighty quest for magical items and weapons to defeat this witch and meat fodder sidekicks along for the adventure. What makes the narrative stand out particularly in this game is the characters and tongue in cheek humour. The sarcastic Sir Pupset who reluctantly trains you and Hop the Innkeeper with his monstrous pet Pupsy. It all may seem rather a cliche and that is part of the charm as it works more akin to a parody then a sweeping epic... plus the twist at the end will surely make you double-take and think back to clues that were placed along the journey. There is a 'kookiness' that I love and even when I was nearing the end of the game and was met with a few surprises, it kept that light-heartedness while still delivering a worthy antagonist and plot. At first glance, the gameplay may seem rather simple, but with every victorious battle I emerged from, a new mechanic was introduced, a new fun toy to play with. Whether it was mercenaries, taming wild beasts to raise as your own or simply investing into the town -maybe building yourself a new little house- there was always a sense of achievement. Furthermore, every time I played around with the new mechanics, I discovered that it isn't just aesthetic, it has a purpose. My investment has made me filthy rich, my house gives me XP bonuses, and fixing up the training camp helps you level up the ranks quicker to reach that coveted Soulmaster tier. This is a meaty game, for even after completing the story there are still more hidden secrets to uncover, fish and monsters to catch and pets to train up to be powerful allies. All this and I haven't yet mentioned the Endless Mode that you unlock once the main story is over and done with. Truly you will be occupied for a while, making this a good hearty purchase. There is always something to do in this game. I am never bored and every time I load up the game it sucks me deeper into a black hole filled with fun, and the thirst to train till I am the strongest hero of the land. This game really should come with warning labels.
  3. RaginRamen

    Quench - Papercraft Pilgrimage

    Game: Quench Publisher: Axon Interactive Price: $19.99/£15.49 Release Date: 7th August 2019 Genre: Puzzle, Adventure, Story Rich When it's been a long day at work and I just want to relax, I just want to do one thing, listen to some good music and drift away into another world. This can be done with a good book, movie or occasionally an FPS if I'm in a bad mood. There are, however, times when a puzzle game is just the ticket. Quench was that game for me this month, its beautiful soundtrack and art took me away and the puzzles kept my attention and challenged me as I journeyed through on this virtual pilgrimage. I've yet to witness the ending at the time of writing this review, but the narrative is very poetically written. A story of a variety of animal herds migrating from polluted and drylands to reach greener fields. The word pilgrimage is used very often and it has that spiritual essence to the dialogue and the narration. To help them on this pilgrimage is you. The fruit of the elder tree brought forth you as a spiritual bird to guide the 6 herds of the kingdom. It really makes you feel involved, you end up caring for these animals and grow an attachment to the leaders. Their safety is your main concern. We all know that in real life animals migrate year-round and that often pollution and blocked rivers are dangers to them. This story pushes the envelope in getting you to empathise more, getting the animals from news headlines to a bird's eye view of the struggles you will save them from. This game was made with a message, but that didn't stop the developers from forgetting that it's still a game and needs to be fun. I am truly delighted with this. Too many games have focused too hard on story and art, only to forget they are making a game. Being a puzzle game, I will focus on that aspect. There are 4 different powers you can use in different situations. To clear paths, block enemies and support your herds. Each power is surprisingly versatile in what it can do and they are introduced one by one to learn them all effectively. Quench doesn't hold your hand with the tutorials or ever give hints as to what to do to solve puzzles, but they don't leave you guessing either. I'd say that is a well-designed game, wouldn't you? As mentioned when I was talking about the story, the game is very good at building empathy. When clearing the path for your herd, it switches to a lemmings style mechanic where they will blindly trust you and keep moving (so you better have done a good job removing obstacles). Unlike lemmings, these are your children, your babies, you care for them and if even just one dies?... well I've restarted many times to rectify that. Not many games are good at generating empathy... sympathy maybe, but not empathy. Matching the sweeping poetry of the writing and story is a lovely soundtrack and a beautiful art style I've not seen often. It's almost like pixels, but it's not. Opting for shaded triangles instead of squares gives it a unique look. Most of the game takes place overhead, seeing as you are a spiritual bird, that makes sense. When it is time to dive into the narrative, it takes a cinematic approach with very little animation. To me it resembles a tapestry, a story told from one painted scene to another with colours to match the tones of earth and nature. Although no voice-overs were recorded for this game, they had done a wonderful job of creating motifs to accompany each different character, bringing personality and voice to them without actors. Papercraft! That's the word I was looking for to describe the art, gorgeous is another word. After experiencing the story and thoroughly enjoying the puzzles, I have to wholeheartedly recommend this game. The story is truly as beautiful as the music and art. Not just beautiful but subtle and I love that about it. If you enjoy relaxing with a puzzle that isn't easy, but it's just hard enough to satisfyingly complete, then throw away that Sudoku and get started on this pilgrimage.
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