Empires in Ruins preview/review

Here at Masquerader Gaming, we make it our mission to help ALL Indie developers with their games. Whether they are a small time, one man (or woman) team or a bigger team, we stand by to help with previews, reviews, news and videos (step forward Knocking One Out).

Empires is basically in pre-alpha, in it’s first playable state. Developers Hammer&Ravens have put out the game for some early access testers, we are lucky to be amongst them. I’m not going to tell you about how good the game is, or how it stacks up against other games in the genre because, even for our standards, that’s pretty unfair. Instead I am going to tell you about what the game could be, it’s potential and what it does good right now. (more…)


Review – Dying Light

Tension makes horror, the night brings tension.

I’ve been looking forward to getting my bloodied and battered zombie killing claws on this title ever since I caught a glimpse of it many moons ago. A ‘new’ zombie IP from Techland that has weapon crafting and upgrades, brutes that have the power to knock you off your feet, runners that keep you on your toes in the midst of shambling walkers, suiciders that blow up if you’re in their vicinity, a ‘ram’ type infected that will charge you down, sewer levels – all akin to Techland’s other zombie property Dead Island. How have they managed to at least splinter these mechanics apart enough to try and create an entirely new series? I’ll try and pick apart the pieces in order to tell you.

Well for one, I guess I’ll try and strip back and look at every aspect in order to create an in depth review in order for you guys to make up your own minds on Dying Light. (more…)

Talks To… Blimbu Games

Tell us about Blimbu Games. Who’s the team and what do they do?

Blimbu Games are a team of 6 Game Developers from Grimsby, UK. We’ve been
together for about 3 years now and we’ve had experience making games for
mobile and recently we’ve moved onto console game development. The team is
made up of:

Jake Willey, Managing Director, programming lead and Musician
Daniel Willey, the Co-Managing Director and 3D Lead
Alex Johnson – Art Lead
Dayne Oram – 2D Artist/GUI Programmer
Bob Guest – Musician and Sound Artist
Josh Orr – 3D Artist.

How does a typical day play out for you guys?
Usually we get into the studio and we set ourselves tasks for the day. We
use a system called “Trello”, basically like an online pin-board where we
can post tasks/updates on our development for other team mates to see! From
here we just work work work…with a hint of pratting about here and there
too. We’re game developers after all! How can what we make end up being fun
if we don’t have fun whilst making it?

Up to now, we’ve only really interviewed indie teams that consist of, at
most, 3 people. How does the development process start for you? Is one
employee the ideas guy or do you input altogether at meetings and such?
Usually before starting a new project we’ll get together and sit and discuss
target platforms for development. What are we aiming our game at? Are we
looking at a title for say, the Wii U, or are we looking into one for
Mobile? Then, from here, concepts are proposed to each other after going
away and thinking and we take a vote on which idea sounds the most appealing
to the majority, and then from here we just snowball and mindmap ideas until
we get something planned out that we’re all happy with! The whole process
for us for ironing out a concept can take a good month sometimes!

We noticed that You guys have won an award for your game Caved In! You must
be stoked about that. How does it feel to have your efforts recognised?
Definitely! We won “Best Game” at our site for the Global Game Jam 2015, in
which we had 48 hours to make a game based on the theme “What do we do
now?”. We ran with the idea of having these 4 pirates stuck inside a cave on
a timer that will eventually seal itself should they fail to find their way
out. We all spent ungodly amounts of hours awake that weekend, with what
must have probably only been 6 hours sleep all in. That’s collectively, too.

Does the award add any hidden pressures when looking at future projects? Has
it changed the way that you might attack a new idea?
It definitely adds an aura of expectation from people, I suppose. We were
known among our classmates here at the University where we study for doing
what we do, but winning the award has definitely made us aware that we now
have to live up to the reputation and provide the goods, so to speak! The
fact that Caved In was the first time we’d attempted making a multiplayer
game might mean that we have a bit of a knack for this particular style of
game, and so in future it could be something that we look into more than we
would have done should we not have won this award! We’ve also definitely put
a lot of pressure on ourselves now too – we want to keep up the momentum!

Do you have any advice for aspiring indie devs starting out?
It’s hard, so don’t expect things to happen overnight. It’s taken us 3 years
to even get remotely noticed! Whilst that might seem daunting to a lot of
people wanting to start out with this, don’t let it sway you. It’s one of
those things that if you want it hard enough and you’re passionate enough to
persevere, you’ll soon start to see returns. Also, don’t aim too high with
your first project! I hear a lot of guys I know wanting to do the whole
Indie thing setting their first projects with far too much ambition.
Ambition is great, but you have to remember if you want to make a first
person survival horror game with only 2 guys and no experience, it’s gonna
be bloody hard! Make sure your team know their strengths and weaknesses, and
play to these. You are only as strong as your weakest team member. You could
have the world’s best artist on your team, but with no one to code the game
you’re not going to get very far!

Oh yeah another thing, and I can’t stress this enough, LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE
DOOR. There are too many people who try this Indie scene and they push and
force their ideas onto other people. Everyone has an opinion and everyone’s
opinion matters. Sure, if 5 out of 6 guys like something and 1 doesn’t, the
likelihood is that the development of that particular idea is going to go
ahead, however if that 1 person were to try and contest this to a degree
that it caused tension in the team, this is going to reflect in the quality
of what you are producing. You’re making games, here. Everything you make is
going to reflect your effort and the effort of those you work with, so make
sure everyone feels they have an equal say and what they are
producing/contributing with matters.

Last but not least: HAVE FUN! You are creating games! You could be crafting
entire worlds for people to explore or simple one-tap games for the iPhone,
but either way what you are doing could bring a smile to someone’s face
someday, so try to smile whilst you’re making it, yeah?

A bit of a plug on your behalf now. What would be the best way for people to
contact you and grab your games?
Hey a shameless plug never hurt anybody! You can find our development
updates, team information and game information on our website:
http://www.blimbugames.co.uk/. Alternatively you can follow us on twitter
@OfficialBlimbu or like our Facebook page, simply “Blimbu Games”.

If you have anything else to add or anything you’d like to say, now’s your chance.
We currently have some really exciting stuff in the pipeline for the next
year or so, but unfortunately right now we can’t say anything about it.
Mysterious, I know, however it’s something we hope people will enjoy and
we’ll be announcing stuff later this year! Watch this space!

Thank you for the opportunity for the interview guys! 😀

Thanks to Blimbu Games for letting us interview them.


Flashback – Max Payne

‘Michelle lying on the bed. Bullet holes like rubies on her chest. Our baby’s cry cut short, the absence of it heavy in the air. That gunshot, like an exclamation mark to end it all.’

When I first read these lines in the prologue section in the game’s booklet almost 15 years ago, it raised my view on videogames as a medium. I dare say this was THE definitive game that showed me that videogames can take themselves seriously, that they could portray a dark enough story that will pit itself against some of the best noir films ever made. Max Payne was that game for me. I loved every dark nuance, every horrible twist and turn, every heavy monologue laced with brutal cynicism and dark dry humour, I only need to think of the first phrase of the iconic intro music to be dragged back into Payne and suffering. The nightmare sequence in the first game in particular left the realm of the game world and entered my head as it hit the pillow. But I’m getting ahead of myself.



Review – Odd Bot Out

I have a dark dark secret to tell you readers, I’ll just come out and say it. I’m not a fan of mobile games. Please stop giving me that look of disappointment, I have my reasons. I’m not going to tell you if you keep giving me that look. Fine, now you won’t know.

For anybody who has read my previous mobile reviews you’ll be familiar with me saying “fast, simple and addictive”. That’s my rules for mobile gaming. Recently I’ve been on a horror binge, testing out indie horror games and all sorts in an attempt to scare the living piss out of myself. The key to making a horror game scary is total immersion and atmosphere. Unfortunately I’ve found this trait leaking into my list of rules for what makes a quality game. Immersion is something that mobile gaming is lacking but that’s an article for another day (you’ll see, this will link up give me a minute). (more…)


Review – Echo of the Wilds

Note: This review is short as I had only played about an hour of gameplay before writing this up quickly.

You might not be familiar with this game, Echo of the Wilds is a survival simulation game (what game isn’t nowadays?). I had no idea what I was expecting as I actually picked this game up in a bundle, and in all honesty, had not heard of it before. It is a 2D, pixelated, side scrolling adventure. There’s no history or backstory into the game, you pick a default avatar and are thrust into the vast wilderness with only your ghostly conscience to help guide you and keep you alive (and according to “us”, confuse us and piss us off on the way). You start with nothing, (more…)


Flashback – Back to School

Sat indoors on a shitty rainy day, watching speed runs of games whilst writing articles and drinking. As I bounce from channel to channel, I came across a Bully speedrun, a game I haven’t picked up and played in years (when it was “Canis Canem Edit” here in the UK) and it pulled on my nostalgic heart strings. This was a game I wholly enjoyed when it was released. I also found the GTA games to lack something, something Rockstar wasn’t getting right, Bully had this. It had the charm and character I was looking for whilst still delivering it in that distinctive Rockstar way.  I’ve been playing the scholarship edition on the PC and can’t describe how much I’ve been enjoying this game. Well, I’ll have to won’t I otherwise this will be an incredibly short review. (more…)