Game release: “Strange Horticulture” (PC)

Bad Viking and Iceberg Interactive‘s occult puzzle game Strange Horticulture presents plants and people in a different light.

Being a witch or someone who knows about the power of plants can be a daunting task, especially if one lives in Undermere where people come to the titular shop for help that might have a rather dark purpose. Getting to know the customers and what plants can do to them or their friends and foes soon turns into a mystery that is slowly unraveled.

By finding the right plant and adding it to one’s collection, learning about their effect on people by persusing one’s encyclopedia, progress is made and the story changes depending on one’s decisions. Of course some places are more dangerous than others, so the horticulturist should think before traveling there for a certain plant.

The game is out now on PC with a 10% launch discount that lasts until January 28, 2022, at 2 PM UTC.

Buy the game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Official website

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GOG releases 6 new retro games

GOG delivers on its name’s promise and brings back 6 good old games from yesteryear.

First up is action-platformer Jim Power – The Lost Dimension, which has quite a confusing development history. Originally made by Loriciel SA in 1993 for the SNES, it was later published by Piko Interactive in 2015, including both the DOS and Nintendo version, but also adding gameplay and video tweaks. The GOG version goes even further, because it has the NES and Megadrive conversions, too.

The game stars the titular special agent who has to prevent alien Vaprak from destroying Earth. Going into a dimensional vortex, this obviously means the hero uses more weapons than words to convince the villain to do otherwise.

Soccer Kid is a cartoon platformer, developed by Krysalis Software that came out in 1993, but with a silly twist, as one takes control of a young boy who uses the ball to hit people and animals as well as to jump higher. But it’s for a good cause, because the World Cup has been broken into pieces by an asteroid and it’s up to the kid to find all the pieces around the world.

It’s certainly a hilarious story, and the gameplay delivers even more weird moments that would be out of place in the real world, be it England, Russia, Italy, Japan or the US where the adventure takes the hero.

Head Over Heels is another classic game that Piko Interactive revived, this time from the 80ies (1987, to be precise) and put into interactive motion by Retrospec in 2019. It’s about the characters Head and Heels who have to escape the castle of Blacktooth who imprisoned them.

Being a puzzle-platformer, the title requires skills in jumping and thinking, with many rooms to explore and objects to pick up along the way without dying. As the two heroes are first separated, they have to join forces and work together if they want to fight against the oppressor.

O.D.T.: Escapeā€¦ Or Die Trying is a 1998 3D action-RPG from Psygnosis and throws the player into a tower full of enemies that have to be shot or beaten up, in addition to other dangers to overcome, all because one has to find a magical pearl that can help saving millions of people from being decimated.

What sounds rather ridiculous and also looks like it in the first seconds of the CGI trailer turns out to be rather impressive, at least in how hand-to-hand combat and the characters’ smooth animations are concerned. The RPG elements can be seen in the 4 unique characters with their individual attributes and many spells to learn, too.

Action-platformer Switchblade was originally developed by Core Design and published by Gremlin Interactive in 1989, taking place on the cyber world of Thraxx where Hiro, the last of the Bladeknights, has to enter the labyrinth of the Undercity to piece together 16 fragments of the Fireblade that gave them their powers.

Despite having become famous with the Tomb Raider games, the company’s beat-em-up/platform mix doesn’t look particularly exciting. Maybe it’s because how it’s played without any skill in the video (which also made Soccer Kid tedious to watch) or because the level design and gameplay is really this dull. However, the 80ies synth soundtrack is catchy and there seems to be a bit of metroidvania in there as well.

Last but not least (this time without Piko Interactive’s involvement), turn-based fantasy strategy game Hammer of the Gods was developed and published by Holistic Design Inc. in 1994 and shows a world where deities have real power over the Vikings’ endeavors.

Combat is important, as it to be expected, but choosing which Norse god to serve and which path to take (Human, Elf, Troll, Dwarf) leads to different experiences. If a glorious death is timely or untimely depends on the player’s strategic skills, too.

All six games are now available DRM-free on GOG with their individual launch discounts that last until January 24, 2022, at 2 PM UTC.

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Game release: “Startup Panic” (PC)

Algorocks and tinyBuild‘s management simulation game Startup Panic adds some much needed humor to the business.

Most games focusing on money-making processes can be a bit dry, and while the realism of juggling the numbers as well as employees can be found in this title, there’s more to rising from a bedroom programmer to the CEO of a thriving company.

Earning money is obviously the order of the day, but so is training and taking care of people working together to finish projects in time. Of course competing against rival CEOs soon makes things more difficult, but with its cute pixel art style and some surprises, like ghosts and other incidents, it’s a rather different experience than what one is used to.

The game is out now on PC with a 10% launch discount that lasts until January 27, 2022, at 5 PM UTC.

Buy the game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Official website

If you liked reading this article, make sure to LIKE it or comment on it on EMR’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG link and buying the product also helps ;).

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Epic Games Store free game: “Relicta”

Epic Games Store‘s new freebie is Mighty Polygon and Ravenscourt‘s first-person sci-fi puzzler Relicta.

Relicta was already covered in this GOG release article and is about a physicist who finds herself stranded on the abandoned moon base Chandra which might hold the life of her daughter or the entirety of humankind in its craters.

One doesn’t rely on firepower, but on one’s wits, which means solving physics-based puzzles that can also become a bit nauseating with gravity-defying moments. It still looks rather pretty, even if it is very reminiscent of Q.U.B.E. 2 in terms of presentation and gameplay.

The game can be added to the Epic Games Store account for free until January 27, 2021, at 5:00 PM.

Official website

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Game release: “Aquamarine” (PC)

Moebial Studios and Hitcents‘ survival adventure Aquamarine is a surprisingly relaxing experience.

With so many survival games forcing the player to act fast or make tough decisions, it’s a nice change of pace to be a space traveler called The Seeker who finds herself on a planet solely consisting of water. As one tries to reach the starcraft that crashed there, the emphasis lies on exploration and trying to understand the alien environment.

Being a mix of classic 70ies/80ies sci-fi adventure, open-ended survival and exploration simulation as well as strategy game, one collects food and tools by diving underwater. The obvious reasons are to stay alive, but also to have enough materials to upgrade the escape pod that is used to traverse the ocean.

The game is out now on PC with a 10% launch discount that lasts until January 27, 2022, at 12 AM UTC.

Buy the game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Official website

If you liked reading this article, make sure to LIKE it or comment on it on EMR’s Facebook page :). Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG link and buying the product also helps ;).

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