Elder Scrolls Online Releases ‘Markarth’ Update

Elder Scrolls Online is probably my favorite MMORPG of all time. I play it almost every day with the many great friends I’ve made through spending time in this game. And there’s a big new chunk of content out today, as the Markarth DLC is out!

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Dance and Shoot in VR as an Agent of Biodiversity in ‘Star Shaman’

Star Shaman is an indie VR first person shooter roguelike from Ikimasho that offers its players a lot of unique style and energy. In the trailer the developer released at launch, we see a woman dancing some crazy moves as she plays through a level in ways that really inspire me – Will I have as good a time as her? Probably not, but I’m going to damn well try!

At its core, Star Shaman plays fairly similar to something like Space Pirate Trainer. For the uninitiated, this means you stand in one spot and are dodging incoming fireballs and missiles and using an arsenal of weapons to shoot down a variety of enemies that come in waves.

There are some pretty big differences here though. In Star Shaman, you’re actually moving between levels – though all start out looking the same at the beginning of the game for reasons that suit the story. The most major mechanical difference in the actual fights is that we have to summon our weapons to use them against enemies while dodging their attacks. This actually added a lot to the gameplay, as the motion of summoning my gun became part of my groove with dodging. I really felt in tune with the music in a way most typical rhythm games don’t give me.

There are more weapons and upgrades that are unlocked by continuing to play the game. You see, Star Shaman is roguelike in the style of FTL where players progress through tiers of battles at set difficulties with some story mixed in, until the next tier unlocks. The game advises us to be careful about going too far, but I’m still a little confused about how the progression works. There are multiple weapons to unlock, but they require us to grind huge amounts of attempts through the game.

It is implied with the fact you are drastically changing the worlds you’ve beat, by growing flowers and rebirthing life, that there will be a wide variety of enemies later down the road in gameplay than I personally reached. At least, I can’t imagine the developer would add all these beautiful effects, levels and creature designs and then not use them for a good fight?

I really do feel enamored with Star Shaman. I feel selfish about this, but I love the mystery of it – it’s not often I find a truly great game that none of my friends are talking about, and it’s up to me(!) to find the answers to the riddles. I should also mention somewhere here that the soundtrack is very much my jam, and I love it.

Sam played Star Shaman on Viveport Infinity, but it’s also available Steam and Oculus Quest! If you want to talk to Sam about the indie game that’s been on your mind, give him a shout on Twitter!

‘The Room VR: A Dark Matter’ Review

The Room VR A Dark Matter from Fireproof Games is one of the top virtual reality games available. That isn’t me being controversial, it’s a fact – A Dark Matter is one of the only VR games on Steam rated Overwhelmingly Positive by users. There is good reason for this widespread approval of the game, because dangitall this game was great.

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The ‘Venice VR Expanded’ Festival is Incredible!

This is my first year delving into the VR scene, and goodness, I am thrilled about all of the cool projects that I’ve been finding. Most notably is the Venice VR Expanded Festival of 2020 as put on the famous La Biennale di Venezia Film Festival. This VR Expanded Festival is huge! It really just inspires me for the future of the virtual reality scene. There are so many well told stories on display with such a wide diversity of flavors and genres and creators.

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What’s the Deal with These Ancient Steam User Reviews?

I’m a big fan of browsing user reviews pretty much anywhere I can find them. I love the idea of finding people with review-brains like mine that just want to critique, ramble, and gossip about every media possible. Steam User Reviews have proven a great source of entertainment for me, bringing me much joy and frustration reading the reviews of both the talented and the first-time writers. But Steam User Reviews work around a lot of algorithms to try and give people the best idea of whether a game is worth buying or not. Or that was the idea anyways. I’ve recently found a great example of how the Steam User Review system is currently broken in the store page for the game Dead Effect 2 VR, and I will explain how I believe Steam can go about solving these issues to make a more efficient store experience. 

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Is ‘Popup Dungeon’ PERFECT for the Wanna-be Dungeon Master?

Popup Dungeon comes from Triple-B studios, developer of the excellent Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages. Ring Runner was a bit of an odd duck, as it was a spaceship game with these amazing controls and the combat all felt great to play and there was a ton of customization, but it would also make the player sit through a ton of dialog and exposition every few minutes. Popup Dungeon is a completely different game, in that it makes it clear that its story is non-vital. Popup Dungeon practically says to the player “I’ll bring the tools, if you can do a little research into using them, you can write your own story and do some really cool things!”

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‘Necro Mutex’ Combines B-Movies with Old Arcade Classics into VR Awesomeness

Necro Mutex by game developer Denormalizer feels like it has been unfairly overlooked by just about everyone. As of writing, the game only has twenty-one reviews on Steam. I’ve seen overpriced lootbox micro-DLCs with more happy players than that! It’s a shame, because Necro Mutex is something truly special when it builds itself up.

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Innerspace VR Announces ‘Maskmaker’

Innerspace VR has already won my respect with their previous game, a Fisherman’s Tale. It was a really cute puzzle game that grew more weird and trippy as players went further into the story. It was from the street cred from their last game that I’m so confident I’ll enjoy their next game, Maskmaker. My first move after reading about its announcement was literally to add it to my Steam wishlist.

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‘Fujii’ VR Review

I just played Fujii for Oculus Rift S and my goodness I loved it. Funktronic Labs have created this beautiful adventure through a series of different islands with totally different ecosystems. It’s musically brilliant as well, everything reacts to what we touch or move near, creating a beautiful organic feeling soundtrack – like a walk through some very musically inclined forest. It doesn’t take long to realize how dang attractive the game is either, with levels starting off practically in darkness, with light rippling from the player character, giving glimpses of the levels ahead. We make your way through each island by playing with the plants and animals on the paths forward, unlocking more nonlinear paths as we progress. Some will lead back to the start point, some will lead to the seeds we are supposed to collect. It will always be a very pretty trip.

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