Indieverse – The Weirdest Xbox Live Indie Games and the Stories Behind Them (@OXM)


“These days, so many new releases on the Xbox Live Indie Games Channel seem to fall into the categories of creepy dating simulators, zombie-apocalypse shooters, or blatant clones of other successful game formulas that it’s easy to miss out on the truly innovative indies. Thankfully, if you poke around beneath the surface, you’ll unearth some crazy, interesting stuff.

After diving deep into the XBLIG rabbit hole to see just what kind of wild creations are down there, we handpicked the three most unique and unusual offerings we could find — then tracked down their creators to gain some insight into each peculiar project.”

Check out the full article here at OXM.

Legend of Grimrock Hands-On Preview


“Drawing a wealth of knowledge from the good book of 1980s-era dungeon crawling 101, the folks over at Almost Human, Ltd. know their chops when it comes to exploring dank corridors, sticking it to drippy-mawed beasts, and scavenging for scraps of gear needed to survive. The indie studio’s upcoming Legend of Grimrock is absolutely awash in old-school nostalgia, channeling the spirit that made classics like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master so hard to step away from as a kid. But pushing deep into the monster-filled innards of the game’s ominous subterranean realm during my hands-on time revealed much more to this dungeon crawler RPG than mere retro charm.”

Check out the full article here at GameSpy. Dig this? Why not follow @nmeunier on Twitter.

Karate Chop Missiles In Cobalt (Preview)


“When it comes to sweet questions like “why dodge an incoming missile if you can punch it back at the metal jerk that fired it at you in the first place,” Cobalt has all the right answers. As the first third-party indie project published by Minecraft creators Mojang, this little battle-intensive platform shooter, with its wide-eyed and heavily-armed robots, is disarmingly cute for the brutal, cutthroat combat contained within.”

Check out the full preview here at IGN.

Review: FlatOut 3 – Chaos & Destruction

“There’s something infinitely satisfying about causing a 15-car pileup at 80mph that produces fiery explosions, sends twisted scrap metal rocketing in all directions, and flings drivers through the air like rag dolls. The FlatOut series has never been much for realism and instead has favored physics-heavy vehicular carnage at high speeds. And that’s exactly what you find in FlatOut 3: Chaos & Destruction–only it’s amped up to the third degree. True to its name, this arcade-style demolition racer is over the top in every way. Slamming into rival cars and smashing through the scenery en route to the finish line is packed with adrenaline-pumping thrills, yet all the chaotic fun unravels when it starts to get in the way of achieving the staunch precision that’s needed to win races and progress. ”

Check out the full review here at GameSpot.

Introducing: “Ask The Freelance Dude”

Greetings people of the Internet. You like to write. I like to write. That’s lovely. Give yourself a hug. I just did. You have questions about writing, freelancing, game journalism, or whatnot. Also lovely. I have answers. Except when I don’t, in which case I’ll put on my detective cap and get to the bottom of it for you. I’m going to try out a new thing around these here work blog parts that I’d like to call “Ask The Freelance Dude” where you, dear virtual reader person, can write in with a question or problem related to the aforementioned topics. I’ll answer it.

Here are few guidelines to follow:

1) Don’t be a dick.

2) Even if you’ve got a problem or story to share, please wrap it up by asking an actual question.

3) Try to limit your inquiry to around 100-150 words or one paragraph.

4) Please be patient, as I might not be able to get to your questions right away.

5) Don’t ask a (yes/no) question.

6) Please keep questions within the scope of writing, freelancing, game journalism, publishing, etc). I may expand down the road, but I want to stay focused on writing-related topics to start.

7) If you would not like your real name published, please provide a (non-offensive) alias.

Now that we’ve laid that down. Got a question or problem you’d like answered? Hit me up with an e-mail at: askthefreelancedude@gmail.com

Note- Depending on the volume of inquiries, I may answer several in each installment or one at a time. I’ll do my best to give an informative and hopefully entertaining answer, and I’ll publish the best questionsand answers here on a regular basis for all to see and benefit from. Kapich?

Also- Questions/inquiries may be edited for basic grammar and punctuation, though I won’t mess with it if I don’t have to.

Feature: Five Indie Games To Watch For


“It’s consistently impressive how many small game developer studios with meager budgets and limited resources are cranking out such awesome games. Some of the most intriguing and innovative titles to launch this year hailed from the indie scene, and there’s a lot of good stuff cooking just below the radar. Looking ahead at 2012 and beyond, quite a few sexy indie games are on the horizon for the PC. Here are five gems you don’t want to miss out on when they launch.”

Check out the full article here at GameSpy.

Shop Talk: Getting Down To Business

Dabbling in a little hobbyist video game-related writing on the side for fun and free games is all fine and good, but things start to change when you get paid for your work. Make enough money, and The Man takes notice. That opens up a Pandora’s Box of self-employment complexities to get a handle on. There’s a lot of nitty gritty that comes along with wrangling those beasties, but navigating the business end of freelancing doesn’t have to be a total nightmare.

Continue reading

Hardware Review – Maingear’s Vybe SS


“Serious PC gamers know it’s worth it to shell out a little more green for a gaming rig with enough power to last them a few solid years between major upgrades, but everyone has their limits. Maingear’s recent redesign of its upper mid-range overclocked Vybe desktop series takes this into account, offering a slick-looking updated chassis packing some real oomph at a price that won’t bust your budget. Coming in at just under $2,000, the Vybe Super Stock is a real workhorse.”

Check out the full review here at GameSpy.

Feature: Minecraft’s Top 5 Mods


“On its own, the ever-evolving world of Minecraft is already a wondrous place capable of consuming vast quantities of your attention with voracious abandon. But as anticipation builds leading up to the hotly-anticipated Adventure Update and the game’s official release, it’s tough to remain content with the limited scope found in the current Beta’s gameplay. Thankfully, Minecraft’s thriving fan community has taken things into their own hands, concocting an insane array of mods that change the game in mind-blowing ways. Riding a time-traveling pig to dino land, battling armed warriors, annihilating the blocky landscape in a Sherman tank, and taming a menagerie of beasts are just a few of the wild adventures awaiting you in this selection of killer Minecraft mods.”

Check out the full article here at GameSpy.

Review: Chantelise – A Tale of Two Sisters


“Made by the Japanese indie studio who crafted the clever and kooky Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale, Chantelise: A Tale of Two Sisters possesses a similar quirky vibe but lacks the unique hook that made its spiritual predecessor so interesting. Crawling through 3D dungeons to hack-and-slash throngs of blobs, floating eyeballs, and more brutal beasties starts off on the right foot, but it devolves into a repetitive grind early on. I’ll admit that the cutesy presentation won me over at first, and there is a certain draw to the way the game pushes you to keep trying even after you fail. However, irritating camera controls and other issues weight heavily on this fragile action-RPG.”

Check out the full review here at GamePro.