Salt and Sacrifice Reveal

For all of the Souls fans out there that have experienced Salt and Sanctuary, Summer Games Fest came out of left field today. Sony’s Shehei Yoshida announced that Ska Studios is working on a sequel Salt and Sacrifice that should be out in 2022. So for souls fans that have not played or finished Salt and Sanctuary, now is the time to do it. This game is so far confirmed to be available on the PS4 and PS5, and it looks just as beautiful as the first game.

For those that have not played it yet or those who have never heard of the first game, Salt and Sanctuary is a 2D action platformer inspired by the Dark Souls franchise. You play as a ship-wrecked sailor that finds they have landed on an evil purgatory-like island. You try to fight yourself off this island and come across terrifyingly brutal bosses and monsters that are engaged in an ancient war. Sanctuaries are the only safe haven to rest and level at, which serve as bonfires essentially. This game was developed by Ska Studios and released on March 15th.

Salt and Sacrifice thankfully is keeping the 2D action platformer style and overall Souls-like gameplay. From what was revealed, it even seems just as brutal as the first game and will be expanding upon coop and online multiplayer gameplay. The story seems a bit different, for after picking your class like the former game players will be tasked with tracking down mages so they can craft new items or abilities. While the game at a glance seems a bit more colorful, it is just as dark and depressing in the atmosphere.

Cannon Brawl: A PS5 Review

Cannon Brawl is everything you need in an action RTS for players new to the genre and veterans that want to rain hell on their enemies. With a beautiful art style mixed with endless mass destruction, this game has a lot to offer in terms of setup and artillery gameplay. While many RTS games tend to come off intimidating to some players, especially ones that tend to walk away at the mention of strategy, I highly encourage new players to pick this up for the campaign mode and seamless transition in difficulty with each level. Cannon Brawl was developed by Turtle Sandbox LLC, Blitworks, Theresa Duringer, and Pete Andstadt, as well as published by Turtle Sandbox LLC, Blitworks, and Temple Gate Games. This game can be bought on every platform for 14.99 USD for those looking for a new game to kill some time.  

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There were so many good qualities that this game had to offer in terms of gameplay when it comes to this genre. While the campaign starts fairly slow and simple, the possibilities are endless as far as the arsenal and setup options go. Players go against an enemy base in 1 on 1 combat on a smaller cramped map. Each map layout seems similar but placement ends up different every time, for example, one level your base could be on the left side and the enemy can be on the right, or your base could end up on the center ground and the enemy floating on an island on top. The bases are always present and the player can choose their character (airship captain) to play as such as the princess, prince, or king, and they all come with different abilities.

Players can fly around on an airship to place different items from the base, and they can consist of buildings, balloons to extend territory, weapons, and more. These items can only be placed within the marked territory that your balloons have been placed. What impressed me was how they pushed the limitations of the arsenal, for out of all the itinerary that is offered you have to pick and choose 5 items total. This forces players to try to create a plan ahead of time, and try to learn from each battle and mistakes made. Each item tended to be very unique in its respect and is upgradable. I found myself changing my setups fairly often as I went between using shields and lasers or changing it over to upgraded rockets and repair kits.

I also loved the fact that the campaign nailed difficulty transition as players progress through the campaign. Usually, with RTS games, most games have a huge jump or little to no tutorial. The campaign for this game is mixed with the tutorial in a story mode-like style and introduces a new ability with each level, and no explanation is usually needed because the enemy uses it before it can be unlocked so players can experience it first hand. This single-player mode is also excellent for new players due to the AI setting up various scenarios to teach players how to overcome them.

There were only a few things that I found to be an issue with Cannon Brawl but nothing major that keeps this game from being the success that it is. While the art style and music are fantastic, the layout for each level felt visually redundant. The scenery only changes every 10 plus levels or so which is why the feeling of redundancy slowly crept in after a while.

I would have also liked to see more balancing in the different abilities. While I did change weapons fairly often, the lasers felt a bit overpowered in the long run with the range they could hit and damage with each upgrade. You could nuke most of the itinerary with a hit, even maxed out shields. Banks also need a nerf in range in my opinion when fully maxed out, I should not be able to bribe anything on the other side of the map in 3 or 4 turns. While the game also has an incredibly balanced matchmaking system, unfortunately, due to the style of maps players are stuck in a 1v1 setting so variations in-game modes are sadly limited.

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While the game does have a lot to offer in terms of being an entry RTS for new players, and even serving as a good way to kill time for veteran players, the game is limited to a shorter shelf life. That being said I loved the game and respect the little things that it brings to the table. Cannon Brawl honestly stands as a great example of what new RTS games should implement going forward in terms of progression and tutorials. It’s games like this one that could end up bringing on more players rather than scaring them off because of difficulty and stress. Great job to the developers and publishers!

DVS Score: 7.5/10

Better call Saul….but don’t.

It’s been a hell of a day is putting it lightly. Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is your run of the mill of husband, father, and oh yeah local “spook”. Hutch is truly a unique fella, trying his hardest to maintain the life he has even though, my man here is looking super miserable with him doing the same thing over and over again wake up, miss the trash, go to work, and having a pillow put up between him and his wife Becca Mansell (Connie Nielsen).

As the old saying goes ” all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is what we can relate to this “FAT LIP” of a film, starts slow only to throw us into what we think is just a husband gone loco cause they came for his family. That’s only part of it but the only thing I will say to this is (kitty bracelet).

Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) takes us on a wild ride from almost touching your soul (as a father I felt this hard) to what the ever-living f*** am I watching, the swap from an almost cliché movie of just another father doing the “right thing” to this is pure gold… take a gander at this most tasty “BUS SCENE”.

Little by Little do we get a taste of who Hutch was in his past only to lead us to a whole new rabbit hole. All of sudden the movie takes the all-or-nothing feel to it. After a few encounters with “THE BAD GUYS,” he then incurs the wrath of Russian mobster Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov) who has just the perfect amount of swank and ruthless killer… the man has class and that is class is MAYHEM!

This is about all I can tell you without spoiling all the cool little details that took this old format of a loco dad who wants vengeance yada.. yada… to a fresh take on it. This is going to give you a black eye and some booboos and your gonna like it and want more after you see what Hutch does to make sure his own is safe.

Okie one last thing “DOC Brown” (Christopher Lloyd) takes the role of Hutch Mansell’s retired FBI agent father David Mansell. The way they put him into is truly a chef’s kiss of gloriousness a sight to truly witness. All and all, I loved this movie so much and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

4.5/5

Valheim: PC Vikings!

The Viking Survival Game

Valheim is a newly released survival RPG for PC available on Steam for $20. More recently moved from closed beta to early release, I was quite surprised to find that the game was more finished than anticipated. As is with most of these early-release RPG games, there’s always something to go wrong. So, let’s start with what was done right.  

Valheim starts with a quick written story, which is appreciated. As someone who hates sitting through 15-30-minute-long intros (I’m looking at you Elusive Age), it was fantastic to get a quick cover story. The game visually is like any other PC RPG style early-release. The graphics are blocky and a little hard on the eyes, less detail more overall experience. The game itself runs beautifully on most PCs as the requirements are amazingly low.  

This aids in the overall experience of the game, allowing for a fast render as you sprint through the woods chasing after your first hunt. Valheim is pretty much Vikings in a PC game. The story isn’t about the life of the Viking, but the death and worthiness to enter Valhalla. Create longships in honor of Odin, delve into the dark arts of the gods the choices are seemingly endless. As I just started my adventure in Valheim, I cannot spoil the story too much for everyone, but there are Gods you can summon to fight and prove your worth.  

There are loads of trees, plants, and distinct biomes within the world itself. As you travel through looking for the best place for your first home be careful of your surroundings. Enemies become more aggressive and dangerous the darker it gets, making a lovely walk in the woods a dangerous escapade. There are a few different kinds of enemies that you’ll face off right away in Valheim, but none that should over level you right off the bat. As long as you follow the hints and guidelines set by the game, you’ll be able to make a home before freezing or beaten to death. There are quite a few things you can do right off the bat as well, like mine for ore and harvest enemy parts like bones.  

FIRE. MAKE FIRE.  

As most of you know playing these RPGPC games, fire is important in keeping animals away at night and cooking food. But what you may not know, is that there are special events that happen depending on how close you are to a boss ritual stone. Fire is more important than you know, as it could save your buildings and chests.  

Now let’s get down the nitty-gritty with this game. There aren’t very many serious issues with this game, as long as you can finesse a few things here and there. The most common issue that is floating around the Valheim Discord, is the listing and finding of dedicated servers. When creating a dedicated server for Valheim, it is recommended to go into the Discord and ask the right questions.  There are a few ways of creating a dedicated server, and if you are familiar with Steam, you know how difficult it can be for these to pop up in the server list search engine. It is recommended to use Valheim‘s Dedicated Server software and not the Steam CMD as it’ll make the process more streamlined.  

I highly recommend doing it this way, as I’ve been able to create multiple servers without using a ton of my PC’s resources. Then comes the next issue, how do we find you in the server listing. Some people have an easy enough time, searching the outbound IP for the specific server and hitting refresh until it populates. Others have an easier time going through the friend invites on the Steam UI. There are a few different ways to find your server, and hopefully, you do. As that is the most frustrating part of this game. As fun as it is, as beautiful it can be. If you can’t play with friends, your overall experience will go down. So, don’t get too frustrated when you can’t find a friend’s server. Take a deep breath and jump into the Valheim Discord, there are so many people there willing to help.  

Honestly, this game works as intended. It has hiccups as all early-release games do and its main hiccup is the server search/multiplayer aspect of it. Personally, I haven’t had many issues with multiplayer, even on multiple LAN connections. This game has been beautiful, time-consuming, and a lot of fun with my friends. For $20 you can’t go wrong.

Grade: 6.5/10

Indivisible Nintendo Switch review: it’s all in your head

Finding a good role-playing game is one thing; but finding one that retains that level of excellence while, at the same time, doing something groundbreaking with its gameplay…well, that’s something else entirely. Not many RPG’s take chances these days when it comes to a product outside the box. And that, friends, is where Lab Zero Games’ Indivisiblestands out.

Previously released for other consoles and PC, the game received a surprise release on Nintendo Switch, even throwing the development team for a loop. But it turned out that they had nothing to worry about, as the game retains every bit of its quality as the other ports. In fact, being able to take it on the go just might be the ticket for hardcore RPG fans looking for something off the beaten path.

A Unique Girl With a Talent For Gathering Allies

The game revolves around Ajna, a woman consistently getting battle training from her father. In fact, that’s how the game begins, before an evil warlord by the name of Ravannavar shows up to wreak havoc. In a flash, he destroys her village and kills her pop, but manages to leave behind one of his warriors – who ends up in her head.

That is quite the battle group.

It turns out that she can “absorb” these special helpers as part of her battle group, without them running alongside her. However, in the heat of battle, she can call upon them to appear out of the blue and fight, making for a great group-based experience.

Combining inventive role-playing battles and typical, well-polished platforming, Indivisible pulls off a nice trick. But we’ll talk more about that with the gameplay.

Everyone Gets In On the Fight

The gameplay revolves around a real-time battle system, where each character has button prompts that you can press to unleash attacks on foes. At the same time, you can also hold down their respective buttons to enter a defensive stance, though some boss enemies will certainly test how well you do with it. There are also special attacks, which are quite useful against those with a somewhat larger energy bar.

This is a splendid system, and it combines with the game’s platforming segments rather well. Here, Ajna runs around, using wall jumps and other moves to get to her destination, while occasionally engaging in a real-time strike to prompt a new battle with an enemy. Though not entirely exciting, these segments frame up nicely with the fights to create a worthy, well-rounded experience.

There’s something here for everyone, even those who wouldn’t normally get into role-playing games. And the fact you can grow with your characters and make them more powerful over time – a nice touch considering the odds you’re up against – is pretty cool as well.

A Strong Shift To the Switch

With the developer not even knowing about Indivisible’s sudden release on the Switch (did 505 Games not send the memo…?), there were concerns that the port may not quite be up to snuff. However, worry not, as the game looks just as good on this platform as it does the other.

One huge benefit is the game’s gorgeous art style. Granted, this is the same studio that worked wonders on Skullgirls; so with that in mind, it may not entirely be a surprise. Still, the gorgeous colors, beautiful attention to detail and stunning animations are a delight to look at, whether on the go or playing at home. The battles can be a little hectic, but the same could really be said for any RPG, so it goes with the territory.

Even the platforming segments are fun.

Indivisible also features charming music to go along with the action, along with voicework that’s nothing short of top-notch. Each character has something to contribute here; and actually gives you a reason to stick around, rather than skipping over everything (though you still can if you want). It’s a journey that’s well worth the time, from beginning to end.

Don’t Be Divisive, Get This Game

In the end, Indivisible has proven its worth on other platforms. And we’re happy to report that it does so on the Switch as well. Despite no one really expecting its release, Lab Zero Games’ work continues to shine with its innovative gameplay, sparkling presentation and well-told story. Even those that aren’t into this sort of game should find something to like – and that’s hardly something we’d call dividing. Pick it up, you won’t be sorry.

RATING: 9/10

A splendid action/role-playing tour-de-force, Indivisible puts on a show on Nintendo Switch.