Spells & Secrets is a magical roguelite adventure where you must free the Academy of Greifenstein from the magical creatures that have overrun it. You’re a young wizard who’s just gone off to school at the esteemed academy to learn more about your magic. However, on your first night there, something strange happens and now the school is a mess. Magical creatures run amok in the halls, your fellow students are lost in the ever-changing rooms of the school, and there’s something a little more nefarious going on.
Spells & Secrets sets up a very basic story from the beginning. Again, you’re a young wizard who has arrived at the Academy of Greifenstein to learn about magic and improve your abilities. You’re then dropped right into the problem of the school being overrun with magical creatures. After that, the story unfolds as you progress through each dungeon level and encounter fellow students and even some of the bad guys. It’s a pretty standard “good vs. evil” situation. Someone has caused chaos at the Academy, it’s just a matter of sussing out who did it.
The question I have is why am I, a literal magical novice and child, the one who’s responsible for fixing the issue. I’m traversing the dangerous hallways of the school in search of my fellow students, fighting monsters, and encountering the bad guys. Meanwhile, the Spells & Secrets adult teachers are chilling outside in the courtyard prepared to sell me spells and upgrades so I can get further in my dungeon crawling. Surely one of the experienced people should help me! Silly adults.
Overall, I enjoy how the Spells & Secrets story unfolds as you progress. You don’t have all the answers, and you don’t always get them quickly. It takes time to earn enough for new spells and upgrades. Plus, without those upgrades and new spells, it can be difficult getting through dungeon levels. Some of those creatures are unforgiving! I also appreciate the lack of hand-holding. There is a tutorial, but you’re not interrupted frequently by cutscenes or new game mechanics. You just get to blast through some rude creatures.
I won’t pretend I’m incredible at fighting games, and Spell & Secrets has only proved that further. It took me several runs of the first floor before I managed to progress to the second floor. It can be frustrating, but that’s part of the draw of roguelites. It’s certainly easy to see when you’ve made upgrades to your repertoire, too. I went from struggling to blasting through creatures like they were nothing. So, it offers a very satisfying experience, despite the repetition. You feel like you’ve earned it once you progress.
I enjoy the variety of spells in Spells & Secrets, too. Each one has a different effect, while also deploying in a different way. Magic Missile is just a bullet of magic you shoot at the enemies. Freeze comes out in a spray of icy clouds, and so on. It’s easy to visually see which spell is which when scrolling through them or deploying them against enemies. Being able to build on their capabilities is satisfying too. Improving the power of Magic Missile absolutely made my runs easier to complete. And adding different spells that have different effects allows you to combine the powers of your arsenal to more efficiently defeat enemies. It lends a sense of creativity and strategy to the game.
enemies. It lends a sense of creativity and strategy to the game.
Besides the fighting, you can join what appear to be like school clubs. There are four for you to choose from, and it helps give you an objective outside the main storyline and dungeon crawling. You can even earn different clothing items to further customize your character. Spells & Secrets is overall a roguelite dungeon crawler with a sprinkling of socializing and other fun. I personally think it’s a fun combination!
I’d recommend this game to anyone who enjoys the idea of being a magic-slinging wizard. Overall, I’d give it:
Autonauts is a quirky little game with adorable low-poly designs. It combines the best aspects of farming, crafting, production, and resource management into one fun game. You’re a space explorer, and have set out traveling the universe to colonize new planets and automate production.
Start your Autonauts adventure by collecting sticks and stones. Your colonization plan begins with the bare basics! Craft simple tools using blueprints, and slowly build up your army of workerbots. These bots will help you in your efforts to colonize the universe. Use a visual programming language to teach your bots so they can be tasked with different jobs. Teach them how to cook, build, fish, farm, and care for your animals. Even expand your endeavors further by creating colonists that your workerbots can help through their jobs!
Now, Autonauts has some fun features that have been added since release. There are tons of bot scripting abilities, plus refinement updates that were requested by players. There’s a faster way to share bot codes, too. Upgraded storage transporters help level up your production. Then, there’s the Settlement Mode, which challenges players further. You’re must build a Metropolis with only 300 bots!
PlayStation’s State of Play just finished live-streaming today (December 10th, 2019) and if you missed it, you can check out the 20 minutes video below. Some exciting release dates were given, announcements of games coming to the PS4 were made, and one interesting new VR game has caught my attention.
State of Play kicks off with Untitled Goose Game. It has already been released on the Epic Games Store and I’ve had a chance to play it on the Nintendo Switch and really enjoy it. Now this hilarious stealth game is coming to the PS4 on December 17th, 2019! The more platforms the better!
Dreams is finally releasing!
Another one of my favorite surprises was that of a release date for Dreams. Dreams, by Media Molecule, allows you to basically create your own game for yourself and others to enjoy, and has been in Early Access for quite some time now. However, look forward to exploring worlds of limitless imagination on February 14th, 2020.
A couple of other wholesome game mentions where that of Superliminal, a puzzle game inspired by forced perspective, which is not only available now on the Epics Game Store, but will be available on the PS4 sometime in 2020. We also have a date for Kingdom Hearts III’s DLC, Re-Mind, which is January 20th, 2020. This new DLC will feature new playable characters like Kairi! You can play a free demo of Kingdom Hearts III if you haven’t played it already, with more information on that here.
Paper Beast is a VR adventure game coming soon in Q1 2020. We got to see some footage where you can immerse yourself in a simulated living world. You can interact with the environment and what appears to be origami-like creatures! To learn more about Paper Beats, go here.
Sony has recently announced that its next-gen console will be named PlayStation 5.
Big surprise, there (wink). Not only that, but we also got the official release date as being the holiday season of next year. Looks like we can already start planning our shopping lists. From the recent news release, we got lots of great details that tell me I know for sure its going on mine.
First of all, the fact that the new gens will be switching to SSD’s (solid state drives) is already enough to convince me. Loading times didn’t use to exist back in the day, and may finally be disappearing again. The solid state drives will be dramatically faster than the hard-drives that we’re rocking today, to say the least. The PlayStation 5 will revolutionize gaming, and surely be the big ticket item of next Christmas.
The new feature that I am most excited about is the evolution of the PlayStation controllers. The PlayStation 4 already switched things up with features in a controller that had never been seen, like voice controls and a motion sensor pad.
The new controller will have “adaptive triggers” that can alter the sensitivity and resistance of your triggers and joysticks based on the actions being performed. For driving games, this will mean that you can actually feel the difference between wet terrain and dry. You will really notice the difference when you hit a puddle at high speeds now.
For all you crazy shooters out there, you will now feel the difference of trigger pull depending on what gun you are using. This will add a level of immersion that I can only dream of as of yet.
For more in depth details about the PlayStation 5, you can check out the exclusive interview on about the console on the official Wired website!
Concrete Genie is a new action adventure game exclusively for the PlayStation 4. The game is being developed by PixelOpus and produced by Sony Interactive Entertainment. I simply can’t wait to play this beautiful game starting October 8th.
About Concrete Genie:
The game follows Ash, a bullied teenager. Ash lives in the
former fishing town of Denska. Denska is all but abandoned thanks to an oil
spill. Now, the town’s water is inky and poisoned and the town is covered in a force
Ash is creative and spends his days working on his sketchbook. After bullies snatch the book and rip out the pages, Ash embarks on a journey to save them. Along the way, he discovers his creativity might just be what saves Denska.
You will follow and control Ash with a 3rd person
perspective. You’ll use his magical Living Paint to paint creatures, called
Genies, on the town walls. By creating colorful street art, Denska will slowly
be restored. You will also find the lost pages of Ash’s sketchbook. Each page
will expand the design toolset.
According to developers, each creature you paint will have
its own personality and abilities. This is thanks to each one having its own A.I.
The game will launch with both a VR Experience Mode and a VR Free Paint Mode. In VR Experience Mode, you will follow a Genie and help it discover a new, mysterious power. This mode will then unlock VR Free Paint Mode. In VR Free Paint Mode, you’ll move your paintbrush by using PlayStation Move Motion Controllers. How awesome is that!
In our last article here on this life simulation game about owning your own sushi restaurant and getting to know your customers, created by indie studio Catch & Release, we had mentioned that the crafting mechanics were getting an overhaul. Now when you make your sushi, the flavor, richness, and complexity will change when you switch ingredients. With the most recent Patreon post, Matthew Taylor goes into details with the revamped Customer I.D. card and the “Mood” section.
Customer I.D. Card
As stated, “All of these changes are in an effort to make furniture, food, and customer interactions (both with you the player and with other customers and the environment) as meaningful and interesting as possible.” See below for everything that will affect your customers’ moods and expectations when visiting your sushi restaurant. We’re also loving the wicked name of this wizard character if you catch our drift.
Has the customer been standing for a long time waiting for a seat? You’ll see their comfort level fall steadily. Look for some comfy furniture when you’re shopping in town. Customers will be thankful!
Although the act of expressing yourself through customizing the restaurant’s interior is already fun, knowing that your customers appreciate the carefully crafted ambiance is a big plus.
In Rolling Hills, you serve a wide variety of customers. That includes children (and playful adults) who value having fun and being entertained. The most obvious examples here are music coming through a jukebox or a pinball machine in your waiting area, but even chatting with customers and serving extravagant dishes can make things more fun for your clientele.
Saved the best for last! Managing a customer’s hunger is your #1 priority in Rolling Hills. Richer dishes will fill this bar even faster, so keep this in mind when crafting your next masterpiece!
This combines all of the previous stats, weighing food a little more heavily than the rest (it is a restaurant, after all) so that you can see at-a-glance how your customer is feeling.
Appetite and Budget
They are similar in that they determine how much a customer can consume. When a customer has a full belly or an empty wallet, it’s time for the check!
These are kind of like the customer’s difficulty level. The reason we display each subcategory is because different customers expect different things. The Caveman character won’t be too concerned about the ambiance of the restaurant, but he’ll have high expectations when it comes to food. After all, he’s used to the freshest ingredients possible!
The developer has noted that there is an “Info” and “More” screen where the former is a summary screen with all the things you’ll want quick access to, and the latter is a secret for now which you’ll unlock as you level up the customer. We’re definitely looking forward to trying this game out on either Steam or through the PlayStation Store whenever it releases!
Rolling Hills is a sushi simulation game where you own a restaurant, meet new characters, and form friendships. The game is created by indie developer Catch & Release who have done a complete overhaul of the previously mentioned “mini-game” players had to complete to make their sushi. Although many things have been changed or added, as explained in detail in their June Devlog, there has also been some work done on the conveyor belt we here at myPotatoGames where excited to learn more about.
“What felt like a big change a month ago now seems like small potatoes! When I talk to people about Rolling Hills, they normally say what excites them most is the prospect of being creative with their sushi making.”
Conveyor Belt Sushi
Instead of someone coming in and telling you exactly what sushi roll they’d like to order, you’ll get to be more creative and find out what kind of ingredients they either love or hate. If you make a dish with that in mind and place it on your conveyor belt, customers will consider all dishes as they pass them by. Therefore, not all customers will be terribly picky unless they make a specific special request which you can either accept or refuse.
New Cooking and Crafting Gameplay
The old way of making your sushi was to play a timed mini-game and then place the dish in your menu. As long as the dish was in your menu, you didn’t have to replay the mini-game. This was to give you the feeling of physically making your sushi by chopping/rolling. However, the developers say it lacked creativity that the fans ultimately wanted.
Now, as you are crafting your sushi and you add or take away ingredients, you can actually see the results of that change in your dish. You can even add condiments that change the dish in a variety of fun ways. This is definitely what was more exciting about Little Dragons Café in our opinion; changing the ingredients around.
If you mess up adding a dish to the menu, you can recall it from your conveyor belt! Phew, it won’t go to waste!
Customer I.D. Cards
Customers no longer shout out their order so now there’s an I.D. card that displays when you interact with them. It shows their name, some stats that are still subject to change, and their ingredient preferences. The blacked out ones are ingredients they haven’t been served yet. It’s up to you to experiment and see what they like!
Rolling Hills is a simulation game about owning your very own sushi restaurant, created by indie developer Catch & Release. To get all of the updates on this game you can follow the developers on Twitter here and their Discord channel here. You can also see below on everything we know so far with tons of new screenshots!
Here are some of the bigger changes coming to Rolling Hills this month:
Conveyor belt sushi! We’ve finally come up with a fun way to learn what each customer likes while still letting you flex your creativity as a sushi chef.
Procedurally generated customers, therefore a sci-fi convention might bring a dozen different robots to your restaurant instead of just the one.
Occasional special orders that you can fulfill for big bonuses.
Plates that need to be collected and washed for a more realistic restaurant sim vibe.
Super cute receipts at checkout and lots of ways to reward different play styles (rewards for quality, for variety, for speed, etc.)!
Once all of these changes have been implemented, the developers plan on working on their long-term goals; the storyline, lots of recipes and ingredients to discover, and new people to meet! By people we mean adorably weird humans and talking animals.
Feast Your Eyes on This!
Below are a few animations from the prototype of the game to tie us over until we can get our hands on it for Steam and the PlayStation Store. As you can see, we have been shown three customers: a chicken wanting our recommendations, a caveman that’s free at last, and a wizard making ‘punny’ jokes. We also get to take a look at the overall aesthetics of the restaurant so far and what seems to be the way we can fill our displays with sushi. Moreover, that making sushi will require you use your skills at pressing buttons just at the right time.
Want more games with sushi in them? Check out our most recent article on The Sushi Spinnery, and own another restaurant. Because sushi is yummy.