Features Archive

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XBLAFancast Episode 69 – Quite the conundrum

Perry talks a bit about Quantum Conundrum this week, review coming soon. Then we talk some more about Spelunky, as we’ll likely be doing for a while. Perry brings the news and Todd Talk reflects on the first half of the year in XBLA.

Please subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes. We appreciate it! Check us out on twitter (@XBLAFans) where you can win codes for games, give us feedback or just ask a question. We are also now on Stitcher, so you can stream the show on your smartphone, give it a go!

Big thanks to Chris Green for the awesome theme music, be sure to check out his site BlurredEdge and why not follow him on twitter too @BlurredEdge.

 

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Minecraft Mondays – Gigantic pyramid edition

Props to XMaloX for recreating our logo in-game

Each Monday for the foreseeable future, we will be showcasing a community member’s Minecraft world. If you are interested in being featured, please email Shawn@xblafans.com. If you’re new to the world of Minecraft, check our our introductory guide here and find out what over 2 Million Xbox Live players are going on about.

This week, tWisteddEvotion shows Shawn around his amazingly complex world. Which includes one of the biggest structures we’ve seen so far on Minecraft Mondays, in the form of a very impressive pyramid.

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E3 Hands-on: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing off to a solid action-RPG start

The traditional action-RPG experience and what is sacred to it is, for the most part, set in stone. The isometric camera, stat increases on level up, new skills, tons of loot with each miniscule bonus making one item infinitely more worthwhile than another, all of that good stuff. Games like Diablo and Torchlight embody that experience, and The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing endeavors to join the diagonally-skewed club. You play as the great Van Helsing’s son, Van Helsing, in a world overflowing with the occult surrounded by the marriage of science and magic that could be considered fantasy steam punk.

As a bit of a disclaimer, developer Neocore Games is still rather early in the development process, so our hands-on is of pre-alpha gameplay. In fact, not only did we have to use a keyboard and mouse to play, they still haven’t decided on how to map the controls to the controller. This puts a shimmering asterisk on all of our experience with it seeing as the way a game controls is of grievous importance. That said, what we experienced hinted at something solid and enjoyable, albeit at the moment not particularly unique. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sunday Night Streaming: Minecraft Minecraft Minecraft!

This Sunday night our guide coordinator will be back at it again, this time streaming Minecraft. We could’ve had some glorious world for you to see, or some cool game we made up, or even just the longest subway tunnel ever, but instead we’ve got nothing. We’re going to start from scratch and we’ll have some coop going again, just like with our Spelunky stream. Get your pick-axes and porkchops ready for the stream happening at 10PM EST/7PM PST on our Twitch.TV Channel. Things are probably going to get griefy.

If you don’t know what Minecraft is you’re probably crazy, but just in case it’s a game about blocks. You find stuff, use it to build more stuff, and kill things which try to prevent you from either. We’ll have a blank world, starting from zero. There’s no creative mode in the XBLA version yet, so it’ll likely be some poorly made houses and a lot of hilarious hijinks. We won’t have the mic running, but hopefully the action will speak for itself. Who knows, we might even give some stuff away! So tune in tonight.

Minecraft is out now for 1600 Microsoft Points with a 40-skin pack releasing soon for 160 MSP.

When: Sunday July 8 at 7pm PST, 10pm EST, for who knows how long

Where: XBLA Fans on Twitch.TV

What: Streaming Minecraft and building all kinds of things!

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Weekly Roundup: July 8

Weekly Roundup compiles all the biggest news stories, reviews, and releases from the week into one handy post on the weekends.


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Trampled under foot: Ascend: New Gods preview

Ascend: New Gods is an action game. The fact that players take control of gigantic warriors known as Caos that mow through hordes of beasts with magic and melee weapons while trampling the tiny, feeble humans under their feet as a man might a rodent, informs those who pick up the controller of as much. The fact that these towering, stout champions appear before the seemingly indomitable Titans of the game as not but rodents themselves, betrays that there may just be something more to Signal Studios’ game than the repeated mashing of a face button that could effectively get one through the title’s E3 demo.

Although Signal promises that more challenging enemies will turn up later in the game, the demo, while enjoyable, left one wanting to see what other tricks the studio has up its sleeve. Most of the encounters could be won by relying on basic attacks, the repeated swinging of a sword or war hammer until the foe(s) before the Caos were felled. Getting beyond the basic “press X to kill stuff” approach to battles is something that all developers of action games must work to overcome if they are to differentiate their work from that of the competition.

Signal has plans for that. A unique form of multiplayer (more on that shortly) and a slew of challenging beasts that may require a bit more cunning to overcome. “We have tons of different monsters in the game,” Signal Studios Lead Game Designer Ian Scott explained to XBLA Fans at E3. “As you saw, the humans are really small in our game; they’re kind of like rats. You can pick them up and eat them for health, but there’s obviously things that are a lot bigger than you and more badass. Well, I don’t know about necessarily more badass than you.” Scott isn’t sure whether or not the team wants individual non-Titan enemies to be tougher than a Caos, but he asserted that there are definitely enemies that can dole out a walloping.

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Straw Poll Wednesday: Multiplayer needs

When games have multiplayer, what do you require? (mark the highest)

  • Online + local, integrated (I.E. splitscreen while online) (40%, 43 Votes)
  • Online + local, but separated (I.E. online *OR* splitscreen) (23%, 25 Votes)
  • Online (22%, 24 Votes)
  • Local (typically this is splitscreen) (15%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 108

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The staff is split on this one. Many prefer online over local, but Todd, Perry and I love that one of a kind feeling you get with living room party gaming. But how much multiplayer does a game need before you consider it awesome? Speaking only for myself I want the whole shebang. Local and online at the same time. Every game I play avidly has both. I have friends and family over, we play on my machine, then hook up with online friends.

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Spelunky Guide – Tips, Tricks and Secrets

 

 

Spelunky, Mossmouth‘s gift to the platforming and roguelike world, is not easy. In no capacity is it easy, and in fact as of writing I have died ~600 times. Sure, a lot of that was just to find information, but we assure you the death counts for this game will be in the thousands for most players. While every adventure through Spelunky results in a score, and surely that is important, the real goal here is to make it to the end and get the treasure spoken of only in whispers in back alleys and on forums. This guide has a deluge of tips and tricks for you to employ in your journey through Spelunky, as well as an ever growing account of all the secrets and unlockables in this game. Here’s the disclaimer:

Spelunky is first and foremost about adventure. It’s about failure, about dying, about losing, about learning from each and everything you see that inevitably kills you. Part of the glory of Spelunky’s design is finding out how things work, the nature of the AI and of the ever-changing environments. You should experience that, and you should do so without this guide. We recommend you not look at this guide until you’ve died at least 100 times. That said, if you’re frustrated, or if you have to find the secrets right-just-now, we welcome you to enjoy our wealth of information.

We have no intention of spoiling the whole game for you, so the secrets and unlockables are on their own page, away from the tips and tricks. That said, there are plenty of spoilers in here as well, but we have separated each and every collection of tips by section of the game to which they pertain. Everything you’ll experience for the majority of your “newbie” experience is just below and none of it is entirely shocking, though there’s much useful information there. At the very bottom of this guide is our tips to completion, and they include information from every single thing, including the secrets, but they’re also our most comprehensive (and tested) tips for success. We wish you luck, adventurer. Read the rest of this entry »

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XBLAFancast Episode 68 – Successfully trolled

It’s the return of the regular four-man crew this week, and that brings with it a ton of discussion. First up Perry and Todd tell us about Spelunky (out tomorrow) which they’ve both been playing through the week. After that we hit last weeks releases, including of course Episode 2 of The Walking Dead.

Perry brings the news as always, Todd gives us a preview of a Todd Talk to come and Andrew rounds things out with the Community Corner.

Please subscribe, rate and review the podcast on iTunes. We appreciate it! Check us out on twitter (@XBLAFans) where you can win codes for games, give us feedback or just ask a question. We are also now on Stitcher, so you can stream the show on your smartphone, give it a go!

Big thanks to Chris Green for the awesome theme music, be sure to check out his site BlurredEdge and why not follow him on twitter too @BlurredEdge.

 

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Trials Tuesday: Week of July 3

Take a ride on the surface of Mars. Fall from great heights. Ride a Ferris wheel. Seven tracks are featured today–mostly Trials tracks, but we’ve thrown in a Supercross and Skill Game for good measure. To download these tracks by entering Track Central, selecting Get Tracks, then pressing X to search. Enter the gamertag below to find the track. Be aware that the search is case sensitive. A big thanks to the Trials Evolution community for the borrowed videos. Hit the jump to see this week’s picks.

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