Daredevil Season 2 Review: Lost in the Dark

In Daredevil, Matt Murdock stretches himself thin trying to be a hero, a lawyer and a friend all at once. He tries to do too much, and as a consequence, things are left unfinished or neglected. Just like its main character, Daredevil’s second season stretches itself across too many subplots, and it leaves the show muddled and shallow.

A big part of season one’s success had to do with the conflict between Daredevil and Wilson Fisk. That might seem obvious, but it’s precisely what season two was lacking. Everything that happened in season one could be boiled down to that battle between Daredevil and Fisk. In season two, the villains come and go, changing allegiances or disappearing in a flash.

Fisk worked so well as a villain because he had a clear goal: taking over Hell’s Kitchen. And that goal permeated the entire season. In season two, our first villain is Frank Castle, A.K.A. The Punisher. He’s one a one-man rampage against organized crime, and he even bests Daredevil right off the bat.

The back-and-forth between the two characters over their similarities and differences makes for some great dialogue. But Punisher is apprehended after just a few episodes, and the show suddenly turns into a legal drama.

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Sketchcross aims to fill void in PS Vita market

When Sudoku and crosswords collide, the result is Sketchcross.

The logic puzzle game for the PlayStation Vita from Tempe-based Spiky Fish Games, led by Kendal Cormany. He’s hoping to fill a void in the Vita market for a nonogram-based puzzle game with multiple game modes and a wide array of puzzles.

He said he was encouraged to make the game in part due to the success of a similar title, Picross 3D, for the Nintendo 3DS. That game sold more than 140,000 units in 2010, its first year of release, according to VGChartz.

“There’s a market for this type of game, and there wasn’t a type of game like this for the Vita,” he said.

Sketchcross uses nonogram puzzles, which feature cells in a grid that must be colored or left blank according to numbers at the side of the grid. When complete, it reveals a hidden picture.

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The numbers are ordered to correspond with number of unbroken lines of filled-in squares in any given row or column. So a clue of “3 5 2” would mean there are sets of three, five and two filled squares, in that order, with at least one black square between each group.

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Reflections: Bringing choice to story adventure games

Update: Reflections has been Greenlit!

In Reflections, story mirrors your decisions.

The real-world adventure game from Broken Window Studios is rocketing to the top of Steam Greenlight, having already cracked the top 100 after going live last week. It’s targeting an April release on PC, with a PS4 and Xbox One version confirmed to be in the works.

Reflections‘ similarity to titles like Gone Home and Dear Esther is clear, which developer Tristan Moore acknowledges.

However, Reflections separates itself by giving you more impact on the story, a dimension past titles have lacked, Moore said.

“It’s almost like a personality quiz,” he said. “Your choices say something about where your priorities are.”

The game puts you in the shoes of a young adult getting ready to leave home and start life as an adult. You have until the end of the day to pack your things, say your goodbyes or simply go exploring. The choices you make on how to spend your time will shape the rest of the game through Reflections‘ unique Storyteller engine.

Reflections3“We’re focusing on actual interactions with the space rather than a dialogue tree or something like that,” Moore said. “It’s an abstract game because it’s not about traditional gameplay mechanics.”

The game allows you a set time to interact with the environment, meaning you can’t do everything in one playthrough. Much like life, you’ll have to make sacrifices, and those choices will define you.

“It’s not the kind of game that waits for you to finish,” Moore said. “There’s a timetable for each act… and the game moves on whether you’re ready for it to or not.”

Reflections uses color to highlight interactions you make with the environment. A black and white scene will fill with life as the story progresses, with a basketball turning orange after being shot through a hoop or a family photo gaining vibrancy once it’s placed back on the shelf.

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In Deathly, you can’t escape mortality

The main character of Deathly,  AbstrAKT Games‘s work-in-progress, thinks he can escape death by living in a remote mountain cottage with his loved one.

Alex Uithoven, who runs AbstrAKT with his brother Kyle, says he’s wrong.

“He’s just so scared of all the things that he can’t control in the world, so he puts himself in a situation where he thinks he can control everything in the world.”

Deathly is a 2D platformer with an emphasis on exploration. Although visually similar to Terraria, Uithoven said it’s inspired by a game from his childhood.

“It’s not Terraria in the sense that you can dig up the ground and build,” he said. “It’s more along the lines of classic Metroid.”

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He’s designing the game to focus on exploration because that kind of depth something other platformers struggle with.  He thinks too many 2D games follow the prototype of Super Mario Bros., only traveling “from point A to point B.”

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Phoenix Global Game Jam 2015: Jan. 25

Teams are already organizing for the world’s biggest collective game jam.

The Phoenix branch of the event is kicking off at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, at Arizona State University. It’s hosted again by Game CoLab and will last all weekend at ASU’s Digital Culture Studio.

Teams of amateurs and veterans alike will have 48 hours to make a game following a to-be-announced theme. It’s a great opportunity for developers to make friends, work together and learn about making video games.

There were no prizes at last year’s event, but Game CoLab is looking for interested sponsors.

The event will wrap up on Sunday at Endgame Bar with a demo night for game jam entries and other titles from local developers.

Sandbox MMORPG Dwell hits Steam Greenlight

Gather resources, craft tools, find shelter and survive the night – that’s the typical experience in most creative sandbox games like Minecraft and Terraria. But the sense of danger on that first night is soon forgotten as strongholds grow more and more impenetrable over time.

Dwell: The Drifting Worldfrom Tempe-based developer Brady Welch, adds a new variable to the sandbox equation to keep things exciting: organized player-versus-player combat. The game hit Steam Greenlight on Oct. 25 and, if approved, should be released in early access by early 2015.

Welch, a student at Arizona State University, calls Dwell a creative sandbox MMORPG. While the game is clearly influenced by Terraria and Minecraft, Welch knew the game would need something new to avoid being just another clone.

The X-factor for Dwell, Welch said, is a PvP system that pits entire villages of players against each other in a fight for supremacy.

After surviving long enough to build shelter, players can invite others to build near them and eventually create a village. Players can then build defenses and use the “claim” system to help protect the village further.

“The level of complexity is pretty high in terms of village creation,” Welch said. “You can create your own walls, allow different permissions for players and you can basically have any style of government you want.”

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