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Gnah's monster-poking puzzles head to Steam

Gnah, the head-turning puzzler from Montreal gaming collective KO-OP Mode, is coming to Steam for PC, Mac and Linux, complete with Steam Play, cloud saves and "maybe even controller support," the developer says. KO-OP Mode hasn't set a launch date, though Gnah has a release window of 2014.

In Gnah, players poke around the heads of giant monsters, interacting with their faces and then turning them around to mess about inside of their craniums, hoping to eventually find the exit. Playing with the inside of a monster head affects the outside, and playing with the outside changes the inside. All giant monsters are beautiful on the inside, of course.

Previous iterations of Gnah featured a tiny boy inside of the monsters' heads, but after playtesting, KO-OP Mode has decided to ditch the character in favor of liberated gameplay:

"When you were on the outside, you could manipulate any part of the monster, and when you'd flip to the inside, you could play as the kid and interact with objects within the kid's reach. Unfortunately this turned out to be not very fun – the more free-form play of the outside of the head was much more enjoyable and it was frustrating to switch to the kid and be limited to only what they could reach."

Gnah had a spot in the GDC Indie Megabooth, and responses to the gameplay tweaks were "awesome," KO-OP Mode says.
[Image: KO-OP Mode]

Kalypso unveils Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition, pre-orders now available


As if ruling your own banana republic with an iron fist wasn't tempting enough, publisher Kalypso has announced a swag-packed special edition of its upcoming island nation simulator Tropico 5.

Alongside the core game, Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition includes an additional map for Sandbox mode, an "authentic" Tropico passport, a postcard from the faux island and an El Presidente avatar costume. Best of all, you won't have to shell out extra cash for these items. According to Kalypso, the Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition will be available at no additional charge to anyone who pre-orders the game or purchases a boxed copy at launch.

If you'd prefer a digital copy, you can now pre-order Tropico from Steam or the Kalypso launcher. While this version will lack the items included in the Limited Special Edition of the game, the digital release comes with its own bonuses including a separate, exclusive map for Sandbox mode and a "Businessman" avatar costume. To further sweeten the pot, those who pre-order Tropico 5 before May 23 will receive a 10 percent discount, though that price break jumps to 15 percent if you order the game directly through Kalypso.

Tropico 5 is slated to make its PC debut on May 23, with Xbox 360 and Mac incarnations following at some point this Summer. A PlayStation 4 version of Tropico 5 is also in the works, and barring catastrophe should be available this Fall.
[Image: Kalypso Media]

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Secrets of Raetikon review: Learning to fly

In Secrets of Raetikon, from developer Broken Rules, you play as a bird. Really, that about sums up most of the experience. You soar through the air, riding the wind like a bird. You swoop and dive, snatching up teeny bunnies and fallen tree fruit like a bird. You collect shiny slivers, using them to activate ancient ruins and power up a massive, ominous device like a bird.

Okay, so maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch. Indiana Jones-esque tomb raiding aside, Secrets of Raetikon is a simple game with a simple premise: You are a bird. Go forth and do bird stuff. Just, you know, don't forget to dig up a long-lost civilization while you're at it.

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Gods will be patched with Age of Wonders 3 v1.09

The first official patch for Age of Wonders 3 is live. Version 1.09 of Triumph Studios' recent release corrects hardware-specific issues, registration problems, optimizes game performance and tweaks AI behavior as well as adding critical balance fixes to the game.

Based on feedback, the developer has also added a few other features, such as an option for quick saving and native high resolution support up to 2560x1440 / 2560x1600. The patch is available as an automatic download via Steam or as a separate file via GOG.com.

Age of Wonders 3 is a strategic role-playing game Joystiq's Earnest Cavalli called "as glorious a resurrection as the series could have hoped for," in his glowing review.

Age of Wonders 3 v1.09 change log can be found after the break.
[Image: Triumph Studios]

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Disney Infinity 2.0 arrives this August with Marvel heroes [Update]

Update: D23 has since posted a correction, noting it "erroneously reported about the launch of the next chapter of Disney Infinity" and that the information it provided was incorrect. It added that further information on the future of the series will be revealed on April 30.

Original story:

Disney Infinity 2.0 is slated to launch this August, according to a since-removed snippet from Disney's official fan club site, D23. While the D23 blog entry in question is still available to view, a cached version of it notes that the Disney Infinity follow-up "is coming in August 2014, and a teaser trailer can be viewed at Marvel.com," likely referencing the teaser posted by Marvel earlier this month.

"The teaser promises such Marvel-ous additions to the game as familiar Marvel characters, objects, and vehicles-the possibilities are infinite," the site continued. The previous sandbox-style adventure game from Avalanche Software did wonders for Disney Interactive, driving its revenue to $403 million in the first fiscal quarter of 2014. The company also saw losses in Q2 2013 and Q3 2013 to the tune of $54 million and $58 million, respectively. That led to layoffs in its games and Internet divisions in March that numbered 700, at which point Disney said it plans to scale back annual game output "by as much as 50 percent."

We've reached out to Disney to confirm the release window for Disney Infinity 2.0 and will update as we learn more.
[Image: Disney]

'Stiq Tips: A Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn starter guide


Any MMO can be daunting if you go in blind. Although Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn isn't nearly as hardcore as FFXI, it still has a few snags that newcomers can hit if you aren't careful. Since many of you will be jumping in for the first time with the PlayStation 4, I've compiled some tips to help you ease into the process.

First, understand that when creating a character, your race doesn't matter all that much. Yes, you can definitely do your research if you want to min-max and get that extra half a percentage of efficiency for your favorite class, but as a general rule the game is designed around the class system, so don't freak out when you're making your first step into the creation process.

Having said that, the game is also designed to accommodate one character -- no alternates (alts) needed. What I mean by that is one character can simply switch classes, start from level one, and go all the way up to the maximum of 50 at any time (once you've unlocked the ability in the main story). Say you're a Lancer; all you need to do to become an axe-wielding Marauder is visit the Marauder's guild in its major city, talk to the guildmaster, get your first axe, and equip it. Boom -- you've switched classes.

This encourages you to play the entire Realm Reborn experience with one main, in addition to full access to freely explore other classes and earn some select "cross-class" abilities to bring back to your other jobs. The other neat thing is that the game keeps the level of your highest class in mind, and gives you an experience bonus proportional to what level you are with your new class -- so experiment away!

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'Every Action Counts' in space shooter Galak-Z

Image In Galak-Z, every action counts! Why? Because in 17-BIT's upcoming PC, Vita and PS4 "roguelike spaceship shooter," death hits the reset button on your progress. Can you help maintain the exemplary 34% success rate? Find out this fall. [Image: 17-BIT]... Continue Reading

Curses 'N Chaos waves in reveal trailer


Mercenary Kings developer Tribute Games showed off its new game, Curses 'n Chaos at PAX East this past weekend, but if you weren't lucky enough to see it then, here's what it looks like.

Yup, what you see is pretty much the deal. It's an extremely minimalistic 2D action game where players survive wave after wave of baddies, collecting coins and special power-ups to survive whatever monster pops in from the periphery of the screen. Survive the horde mode this fall.

Watch Firaxis boldly bring Civilization to space from PAX East



Missed the PAX East panel that revealed Civilization: Beyond Earth to the world? Maybe you just want to relive the magic you already witnessed live in Boston? Firaxis has you covered either way, uploading its panel from the show, complete with a peek at the future of the Sid Meier series.

Civilization: Beyond Earth takes the addictive franchise into space this fall, though the developer has some experience with space exploration. The developer's decision to boldly go into space allows its designers and artists to free themselves from a "historical context," Firaxis designer and programmer Anton Strenger told Joystiq at PAX East.

"We, as designers, were free to come up with really fun new gameplay systems that didn't really make sense in a more historical game, or even like a fantasy game." In Beyond Earth, Strenger said for example, players may launch satellites over a planet, influencing the events below.
[Image: Firaxis]

Behind-the-scenes 'Final Hours of Titanfall' app now available

The Final Hours of Titanfall, an in-depth look at the development of Respawn Entertainment's first game, is now available to download on iPad, Windows Surface as well as PC and Mac via Origin for $1.99. Versions of the app are also planned for Android and iPhone, and both a text-only version for Kindle as well as an audiobook version are being considered.

Created over a four-year span by Geoff Keighley, the app is a 25,000-word deep-dive on Titanfall's development and the legal issues that Respawn co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella settled with Activision in May 2012 pryor to West's departure from the developer in March 2013. Keighley conducted interviews with over 80 people to chronicle Respawn's beginnings, which cover the "toxic mix of office politics and creative struggles the build the next great videogame franchise." It also features concept art and videos from the early days of the game's development.

This isn't Keighley's first foray into longform app development, as the behind-the-scenes "Final Hours" series includes an episodic webseries on Square Enix's Tomb Raider reboot, an app for Portal 2 and one detailing the creation of Mass Effect 3.
[Image: EA Games]

The latest Rocksmith 2014 DLC is Garbage (in a good way)



You're not paranoid, Rocksmith 2014 owners: Ubisoft does indeed have more DLC coming your way, and this time it's three hit singles from '90s grunge band, Garbage. Those looking to relive the glory days of Clinton, Beanie Babies and denim overalls can learn to play "Only Happy When It Rains," "I Think I'm Paranoid" and "Stupid Girl."

Songs are available for $2.99 purchased individually, or for $7.99 when purchased as a pack. And don't worry, you don't need to be a '90s kid to get this - everyone with access to Xbox Live, the PSN or Steam can download the songs now.
[Image: Ubisoft]

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Ransack Steam for War of the Vikings

Those of you who woke up this morning with a craving for blood and glory will be happy to learn that publisher Paradox Interactive and developer Fatshark have officially launched War of the Vikings.

Normally this is where we'd outline the historical action game's features, but in this case we can do you one better. Last week our own Richard Mitchell and Anthony Agnello were joined by War of the Vikings producer Gordon Van Dyke for a Joystiq Stream. Don't worry if you missed the initial broadcast, you can find an archive of the entire thing by visiting our original post.

If that hour-long glimpse at the blood-slicked chaos of battle has piqued your interest, you can pick up War of the Vikings from Steam at a price of $25. Alternately, those of you with deeper pockets can spring for the $35 "Blood Eagle" edition of the game which offers an art book, soundtrack and special in-game gear, or the $175 "Valhalla Edition" which features all content found in the Blood Eagle version of the game, along with all future DLC content, a strategy guide, a digital novel, and quite a bit more.
[Image: Paradox Interactive]

Steam's Daily Deal offers System Shock 2 at half price

If your life is painfully lacking in malevolent AI and angry, telekinetic monkeys, today is your lucky day: Steam is currently offering survival horror classic System Shock 2 at a 50 percent discount.

Co-developed by Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios, and designed by BioShock maestro Ken Levine, System Shock 2 drops players into the dark corridors of a faster than light spaceship where a routine rescue operation has gone horribly wrong. Armed with scavenged weaponry and a handful of special powers, players must battle the twisted denizens of deep space, all the while being mocked by SHODAN, a once helpful AI that has started to lose her virtual marbles.

Despite being a "Daily Deal," System Shock 2 will remain at its current $5 price point until Monday, April 21 at 10AM PT. Would-be players need not worry about system compatibility, as Steam offers System Shock 2 in PC, Mac and Linux flavors.
[Image: Night Dive Studios]

Broken Sword 5, Episode 2 out today on Windows, Mac, Linux


The second episode of Revolution Software's classic-styled point-and-click adventure game Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse is out today on Steam, Good Old Games and Get Games, finishing up heroic duo George and Nico's latest globetrotting journey.

The first episode of The Serpent's Curse launched late last year for PC and mobile platforms. Broken Sword 5 exceeded its Kickstarter goal in 2012 during a boom period for crowdfunded point-and-click adventure game projects, earning nearly $800,000 in backer pledges.

Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse - Episode 2 is due to hit the PlayStation Vita, iOS and Android devices soon.

[Video: Revolution Software]

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Chaos Reborn funded, births in 2015

Julian Gollop, the creator of X-COM: UFO Defense, has hit the $180,000 goal for Chaos Reborn, an update to his 1985 strategy game, Chaos: The Battle of Wizards. Unlike many, many projects seeking funding on Kickstarter, this game is already in a solid prototype state. We know, because we streamed it with Gollop as our adversary.

The prototype of Chaos Reborn is accessible through the game's Kickstarter page. The game itself now has the funding to gussy up the graphics and hopefully make its May 2015 launch on PC, Mac and Linux.
[Image: Gollop]

Indie Royal Bundle 12 says you are not a banana

The Debut 12 Bundle from Indie Royale is live. The pay-what-you-want bundle features eight independent titles looking for Steam Greenlight campaign support: Yrminsul, Selknam Defense, Luna's Wandering Stars, Rot Gut, Storm over the Pacific, You Are Not A Banana: Chapter 1, Pester and GEARCRACK Arena.

At the time of publishing, the bundle's average purchase price is $2.92. By raising the minimum of $5, Indie Royale is offering a bonus album of independent music.

All games in the bundle are available for Windows via the Desura distribution. The sale ends in less than seven days.
[Image: Indie Royale]

Bethesda under fire from barbed wire industry, reports The Onion

Image The Evil Within publisher Bethesda Softworks is under fire from the barbed wire lobby for its portrayal of the industry's spiked resource, The Onion has learned. Remember: The Onion. [Image: Bethesda]... Continue Reading

Obsidian gives your ears a taste of the Pillars of Eternity soundtrack



Just because we can't play old school-inspired, Kickstarter success Pillars of Eternity right now doesn't mean we can't experience it. Developer Obsidian has released a score from the game's soundtrack to give anxious adventurers a taste of what to expect when the game releases later this year. The music is an ambient background tune for the Dyrford Village area.

Audio Director Justin Bell noted in a forum post that he looks to the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale) for inspiration, blending "tropes found in European folk and pre-Renaissance modal music" with modern techniques. Bell also wrote that he listens for inspiration during his daily commute to work, and that he reads Johann Sebastian Bach daily.

Video games: classy stuff.
[Image: Obsidian]

Pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order, earn Team Fortress 2 hats

Alternate history Nazi shooter Wolfenstein: The New Order is now available for pre-order via Steam, and Valve has opted to sweeten the deal by offering free Team Fortress 2 hats to anyone who plunks down early cash for the PC game.

Though Valve's announcement makes no mention of what exactly these hats will look like, it does describe them as both "exclusive" and patterned after some element of Wolfenstein: The New Order. Whether that means historically inaccurate pickelhaubes or the combination helmet and gas mask worn by the grunts in this trailer remains to be seen, but, again, these are free bonuses so try not to look this gift horse in the mouth.

Alongside the newly-revealed gratis chapeaus, a pre-order of Wolfenstein: The New Order also grants players access to a beta of id Software's next entry in the hallowed DOOM franchise. However, as we mentioned earlier this month, that beta will only be available to those who pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order on PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

Tackle 'Son of the Crawmerax' in final Borderlands 2 DLC

Developer Gearbox Software has released its final piece of Borderlands 2 DLC. Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax is available now via Steam, PlayStation Network and the Xbox Live Marketplace for $2.99.

The content sends players to Wam Bam Island to partake in the largest Headhunter DLC mission released, according to a 2K blog post. "At the end of your adventure, you will battle a foe that may look familiar – Crawmerax Jr., the son of the great crab worm from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx add-on from the original Borderlands."

The content now shelves the Borderlands sequel, giving developer Gearbox ample time to focus its efforts on the next installment of the game: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Successfully completing the Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax DLC (boy, that's a mouthful) will allow players to wear a shrunken version of the final enemy's head like a hat. If swanky travel duds are more of an incentive, each character will net a beach-themed skin as part of the content. Taking on Handsome Jack in an "Aloha shirt"? Say no more.
[Image: Gearbox]

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