Space Engineers Preview

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Photo courtesy of Keen Software House

Bryce Fraser, writer
Shiftsync Media

Armed with a welding tool, drill, and sometimes a sub machinegun the game Space Engineers offers a sandbox experience literally letting players create and explore their own universe.

Space Engineers is a game developed and published by Keen Software House that was released October 23, 2013 as an Alpha.  The game involves crafting and hording minerals collected to build structures and ships. The game has recently added Planets due to player’s requests.

The game allows players to build with their own design space ships. You can build a giant starship with rooms, welding ships, drill ships, or even fighter ships. You can also build ships for digging and collecting minerals. There are welding ships that help make repairs on other structures and ships. You are able to fly from the planet directly to space and even from space onto the planet.

The game offers players a chance to build whatever their imagination can put together. While testing the game I built my own small and it ship wasn’t very pretty but that was my fault. I and a friend attacked some computer controlled enemies on earth. We even jumped onto one of the drones and dismantled it by drilling off panels to find the remote controlled part and rebuilt it so we could fly it.

There are many different servers available for players to jump into. Some having their own rules to the world available for players to read when they first arrive. So far, the most fun from the game, however, is just building ships of your own and fighting with close friends in a private session.

I would like to see how the public servers will expand and grow as the game comes closer to an official release. The game is very solid for one that is in Alpha state, definitely fun for building and playing with friends. It will be an amazing game to see when it is finally finished.

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The Forest Game Review

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Bryce Fraser, writer
Shiftsync Media

Have you ever watched a horror movie about someone being chased around the woods by a bunch of cannibal mutants and wanted to be a part of the action? Endnight Games allows you to play out that fantasy in its new release open world survival horror game The Forest for steam.
The first cut scene starts you off in the plane with a boy huddled next to you, the plane suddenly breaks in two and eventually crash lands in the forest. A cannibal is now seen taking the boy and walking off into the woods.

Now you are on your own, starting off with only a lighter and items you find from the wreckage, including an axe, and it is up to you to survive. The concept of the game is to survive and you need to eat as well as maneuver around cannibals out to get you. You need to forage for food by hunting animals for food and eating nonpoisonous berries and mushrooms, or finding snacks from luggage bags scattered across the forest.
The game’s graphics are gorgeous and at the next gen level. Everything looks so real and the landscape itself can be breathtaking, full of giant redwood trees, and little ponds with fish swimming around so you could easily get lost in admiring the landscape and forget about the cannibal mutant behind which is intent on killing you.
When hunting you can use your axe but a spear works better. You can hunt lizards, bunnies, and fish.

The animals themselves look very lifelike and movement is real. You can even see how the lizards will try to chase the birds if they get close enough. The land is teeming with different life. Not only the huntable animals but there are birds, turtles, and I even was surprised to run into a spider crawling on the ground. One new animal to be aware of are sharks that have recently been added to the game. When swimming in a large body of water you will be able to see the fin of the shark and if the they bite you they can take all your health in one swipe. When you kill a lizard not only do you obtain its meat for food, but you can use its skin as armor to give you more protection.
After gathering your prey you will need to build a fire to cook them. Crafting a fire is also helpful for staying warm and dry when it rains which will drag on the player otherwise.
You are able to craft traps to catch the cannibals in, buildings, and even a wharf. To build you need to collect a number of different things, the most common are sticks, rocks, and logs. Sticks and rocks can be found along the ground almost every place, but logs are the result of chopping a tree down. You take your axe and chop all along a tree until it finally comes down, then it changes into about three to four logs that the player can collect. This is fun at first, being able to chop a tree down as realistic as the game does it, but the fact that the player can only carry one log at a time can be tedious when building a log cabin that requires 82 logs.
Other structures can be one part of a fence that the player can put together however they choose, making their own fort somewhere along the forest. The system is set up for players to build their structures is quite simple to use. You first look up what you want to build in your survival book, then click it and place it where you want it to be. It will be transparent until you find all the required materials.

You can also create storage for logs and sticks so you can store them for things you build later.
As items go in the game, you have an axe and you can also craft an axe out of rocks and sticks. You are able to use medicine to heal yourself and even find soda to recharge your energy level. I was able to find flares and a flare gun and you can use the flares like a torch as they give off a good amount of light. If you need light you always have your lighter and you may also find a flashlight. The flare gun is a really powerful weapon and seems to kill the regular mutants in one hit, though they take a few seconds to fall. One other item I found while playing was the cassette tape player which, if you equip it, the player plays an 80 style beat and restores your energy level. The music can really change the atmosphere of the game and is a fun little item to use while killing cannibals.
The mutants themselves seem to go everyplace. They are in active search parties mainly looking for you.

Their AI and movement is amazing sometimes they will just stand and stare at you and as you back up they get closer and eventually one will decide to make a run at you. They also at times seem to slowly surround you. They are able to jump from tree to tree if they choose to. There are two different main types of mutants, the humanoid ones that consist of males and females, and the bigger ones that seem like half octopus half human.
The game features no actual pause, so when you go to your inventory menu, which is your backpack laid out on the ground, you may even see animals nearby walk across your inventory while you are checking your items. Even the start screen I left on, thinking it was a pause, but came back to a starving character. Another challenge is the only way to save in the game is to create some sort of a shelter from the handbook and save there.
The game is very unique idea and very fun and interesting to play. The game, however, it is in early Alpha stage and even warns the player with a screen explaining it is an Alpha currently in development. So the game is not without its bugs.

I was welcomed with a grey screen when I first played which was easily rectified by exiting using the windows button and then returning and the problem has since not returned. Endnight Games have an email and blog where you can report any bugs you encounter. The game receives updates monthly and with each update not only fix bugs but also deliver more content to the game.
I believe that despite any bugs the game works fine and is quite fun to play. I am intrigued to see what Endnight Games has in store for the game in the next updates, and the game is well worth the $14.99 price.SCORE

Game Review: A Story About My Uncle

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Bryce Fraser, writer
Shiftsync Media

A Story About My Uncle is a game that is in the first person perspective but not a first person shooter, what it is more like a non-violent first person jumper and grapple game that the whole family can play if you were to try and catorigize it.

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Maddie

The game’s story has you taking the role of a young boy while the future version of that boy narrates the story as the game is a story being told to the narrator’s daughter.

As a young boy the narrator starts off looking for his uncle Fred and when walking around his house he stumbles upon a machine that transports him to a different world full of abstract landscapes.

There he must maneuver across a foreign landscape which are mostly catacombs full of floating rocks. He also stumbles upon a village full of blue humanoid creatures. One of the blue villagers is a young girl named Maddie who ends up showing the player around and seems to know a lot about Fred.
The game features acheivments to give more things for the player to do. There are also little Easter eggs hidden in the game that if found sometimes trigger audio of the narrator telling the story to his daugter.
The game is easy to play with a mouse and keybord or just plug in an Xbox 360 controller and it works automatically.
The game features rich graphics, and as you play through the game each level design gets more beautiful than the last.

Some levels including, illuminisent plants, really makes for a stunning sight.Your main gadget in the game is your suit that has a charged jump function used to get to high places. Another function is a beam that comes out that is used as a hook shot so the player drag themselves to parts of the land that would be impossible to reach otherwise.

The game makes the player combine both the beam hook shot, and charged jump to challenge them to get through obstacles paths that the world is made up off.
The game is a very unique first person experience, it is also a non-violent game and instead challenges the player instead by making them figure out how to get across the land using only the tools at hand.score