Tag Archives: Digerati

Korean Survival Horror “The Coma” will terrify us in August

Digerati and Devespresso Games are excited to announce The Coma: Recut, a manhwa-styled Korean survival horror coming to Xbox One in August. This game will appeal to the likes of our very own Editor-in-Chief, Dave Moran, who just loves a good horror game!

You are Youngho, a hapless Korean student who, after drifting asleep during his final exam, wakes to find himself trapped in a twisted version of his school, Sehwa High. And he’s not alone. Relentlessly pursued by a psychotic killer, Youngho must evade his hunter while desperately searching for a way to escape the dread-filled corridors and classrooms.

A remastered version of indie cult classic The Coma: Cutting Class, the game has been rebalanced and ‘recut’ with new and updated animations, mechanics, cutscenes and art.

  • Hide: Crouch in the darkness or cower in a closet to stay out of sight and evade the killer
  • Survive: Use your flashlight to search for useful items, but be warned – it can attract unwanted attention
  • Mystery: Discover notes and clues to uncover the twisted history of Sehwa High’s students and teachers
  • The cast of characters and creepy corridors of Sehwa High are brought to life in a hand-illustrated manhwa art style
  • Death: Beware the horrors lurking in the dark, lest you bleed out in some forgotten classroom…
  • Inspired by the real-world plight of Korea’s overworked high school students

Look out! Vertical Drop Heroes HD, incoming!

Vertical Drop Heroes HD

Back in 2014 Vertical Drop Heroes hit Steam as a procedurally generated down-scrolling roguelike platformer. It was a bit of a hit. Developer, Nerdook, took the decision to revamp and re-build the game for a console release this year and finally, we have a date for Vertical Drop Heroes HD on Xbox One.

So, what is Vertical Drop Heroes HD all about? Well, the game is a procedural platformer-RPG hybrid with roguelike elements. Your hero adventures through randomly generated stages, armed with a variety of skills and traits. You must use your cunning and reflexes to survive the dangers of each stage until you face the final boss and uncover the truth behind the game’s story.

The key to the title is that each level, enemy and boss is procedurally generated. This makes every play through different and can make for fairly infinite replayability. The game will feature a single player adventure and split-screen, local co-op play.

Each of your skills will have multiple uses, giving you plenty of options to approach different situations. This can also be complicated by destructible terrain. There are literally tons of skills, abilities, powers and character traits that can be unlocked during your adventures. This will allow a uniquely different hero to be created every time you play. Any upgrades are persistent between games as well, so you’ll be able to carry these forward with a choice of increasingly expensive persistent upgrades or generally cheaper temporary upgrades. That choice is yours.

Don’t think that you’ll be able to mash the keypad for combat either. Vertical Drop Heroes HD features a unique combat system, so proper planning is more important than quick reflexes. Each enemy and boss has been designed to provide a challenge and variety, further reinforcing the need to plan ahead.

So, Nerdook has rebuilt the game for consoles, featuring his unique artwork, coding and animation and you won’t have to wait very long for it to be an option to buy. Vertical Drop Heroes HD will be available from the 17th of February on Xbox One, priced $7.99 or local equivalent and if you’re of a mind to pre-order it, you can grab an extra 10% off the retail price on the Xbox Live site here.

Here’s a lovely trailer to give you an idea.

Slain: Back from Hell review

Slain: Back from Hell is essentially a modern take on Ghosts ‘n Goblins. You wander from left to right, platforming and killing spooky enemies, and dying a copious amount of times. Enemies will often follow you, encouraging you to thoroughly kill everything before attempting to move on, and there are cheap deaths aplenty. But with some excellent heavy metal tunes and highly intricate pixel art, does Slain offer enough to make the frustrations worth it?

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Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Despite strong presentation, mechanically it’s simple and dull and the difficulty feels harsh and unfair.

An intriguing start to Slain’s story sees you awaken from a deep slumber in order to battle the forces of darkness, with some dialogue pertaining to some character background and lore to the world. Moments later you’ll be platforming through a Hell-scape, slicing up a selection of undead and monstrous foes, and occasionally firing off a magical ball of energy. Later you gain a couple of new melee weapons and magical abilities but the gameplay-loop remains unchanged, with a focus on some tricky platforming courtesy of the abundance of beasties knocking you back, that frequently respawn, and a severe lack of checkpoints.

Enemies can really pack a punch and many have attack and defence stances that you’ll need to study in order to efficiently defeat them. And indeed efficiency is critical. The longer you dilly dally with an enemy, the more likely their friends will turn up, and once there’s a crowd it gets very difficult to manage them. This is partially due to the knockbacks that can push you into environmental hazards or straight into the path of another enemy’s attack or view, but also your limited health bar and lack of checkpoints or opportunities to refill it.

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On your travels you’ll occasionally come across health and mana pillars that restore you completely, and less often you’ll hit a checkpoint. Unfortunately, the two are uncommon enough to mean large sections of a level will need repeating over and over again each time you die. And you’ll die a lot; there’s Dark Souls level difficulty going on here. Additionally, much like Dark Souls, you’ll learn something different after each death, better preparing you for that particular foe, or that platforming section, or precisely what that object on the ground does when you walk into it. Unfortunately though, where Dark Souls taught you repeated behaviours of enemies and repeated aspects of its level design, Slain’s lessons are more specific, with enemy traits and level design changing quite drastically throughout the game and never referring to any set rules.

This, inevitably, starts to feel unfair. It does however, help with its nostalgic charm. The enemy and level design is reminiscent of Ghosts ’n Goblins and the original, linear Castlevania titles. Meanwhile, the gory, grotesque theme also draws a comparison with those classics, with its harsh difficulty taking it further into the 8-bit and 16-bit realm. However, whilst the visuals are indeed pixels, Slain sports some of the most impressive, intricate and detailed pixel art on the market. Environments are multi-layered to give a faux-3D effect that’s very effective, meanwhile, every aspects of the game is full of gory detail. Meeting a new enemy for the first time is quite the spectacle, killing them for the first time is equally a visual treat as their death animation delights with blood oozing out of them as they collapse, this is especially so for the end of level bosses. Furthermore, a heavy metal rock soundtrack takes the presentation to new heights. It’s terrific.

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However, the frustration of it all is brought home but just how basic the mechanics are. There’s no skill or finesse to combat. Despite five different attacks it all comes down to simply as whaling on an enemy with until they die. There is a defence mechanic but you’ll take damage regardless, albeit less damage, and whilst a well-timed press of the defence button allows you to counter, it’s so narrow a window it feels more like luck than skill to hit. Additionally, enemies are damage sponges and a chore to keep fighting.

Indeed, Slain: Back from Hell’s terrific presentation is a strong draw but it’s frustrating lack of checkpoints, harsh challenge, and simple mechanics largely undo the good. It can certainly trade a little on nostalgia for those in the mood for such a title, but it heavily features the worst parts of those games of yore.

Thanks to Xbox and Digerati for supporting TiX