Hololens Super Mario Bros. Looks Dangerously Fun

GIF Designer Abhishek Singh created a first-person augmented reality version of Super Mario Bros.’ first level, which is very cool. Then he dressed up as Mario to test out his creation in New York City’s Central Park. That’s the dangerous bit. On one hand, Singh’s AR game does a great job of demonstrating the potential of Microsoft’s Hololens tech. In the video, recorded directly from his headset while a second camera captured his movement, pixel hills sprout from the ground, enemies shuffle about and the sky fills with blocky clouds and boxes. Using movement and hand gestures he stomps on goombas, shoots fireballs and avoids obstacles, ultimate capturing the flag and entering the castle beyond. At the same time, he’s walking down a path where real people are obscured by bits of Mario’s world while dressed like a video game character, wearing a very expensive piece of tech on his head. When he enters the castle at the end of the run he’s surrounded on three sides by orange walls only he can see. Note the guy walking by in the top corner. He has no idea what is going on. It’s the sort of augmented reality project that begs…

Ever Oasis: The Kotaku Review

The sad decline of the Mana series has been difficult to watch, and it’s equally unfortunate that its spiritual successor Ever Oasis suffers from similar problems—solid action RPG mechanics and moments of creative brilliance hampered by an experimental gameplay structure that drags everything down with it. Ever Oasis is the latest 3DS collaboration between Nintendo and development studio Grezzo, which also created the remakes of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask for Nintendo’s portable. Grezzo’s president is Koichi Ishii, who created the Mana series at Square, then produced the series until his 2007 departure. So it’s not too surprising that Grezzo’s first big 3DS adventure is pretty damned Mana-like, for better or worse. In one sense, it’s a fairly formal action role-playing game: Venture out into the world, find cute creatures, and hack and slash them to death. Your chances of victory in these battles is determined somewhat by your skill at twitch action but mostly by grinding, leveling up, and finding better equipment. The game’s two major phases are dungeon hacking (L) and oasis-building (R). Here’s the twist: Kind of like Majora’s Mask, the game’s world is centered on a single hub town, the eponymous oasis, which serves as…


Currently in open beta, Motiga’s animal-powered action MOBA Gigantic officially launches on PC and X

Currently in open beta, Motiga’s animal-powered action MOBA Gigantic officially launches on PC and X Currently in open beta, Motiga’s animal-powered action MOBA Gigantic officially launches on PC and Xbox One on July 20. Interested parties can pick up founder’s packs for the free-to-play game for $29.99 at its official website. Kotaku elder, lover of video games, toys, snacks and other unsavory things. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


XCOM 2's Upcoming Expansion Is Inspired By Shadow of Mordor

Image credit: Firaxis. Back when Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor first came out in 2014, people pretty much immediately started asking, “When will other games get Nemesis Systems?” Flash forward three years, and the most prominent game to do it is… Shadow of War, the sequel to Shadow of Mordor. But soon you’ll be able to add XCOM 2 to that painfully short list as well. XCOM 2’s War Of The Chosen expansion, which comes out this August, unfortunately does not add orcs (Firaxis has gotta save something for XCOM 3), but it does shake up the game’s strategic and tactical layers with persistent enemy aliens called “The Chosen” who remember and reference what’s happened in previous battles. They’ll mention how other Chosen are doing or taunt soldiers they don’t like. They can even kidnap your soldiers, and, if you rescue them, that Chosen will give your soldier shit for getting kidnapped. In an interview at E3, XCOM 2 designer Jake Solomon told me the dev team was inspired by Shadow of Mordor in ways both obvious and subtle. “We used [Shadow of Mordor] as a jumping off point,” Solomon said. “You’re playing that game, you’re developing these relationships, READ FULL…


Hands-On With Project Sansar, The New Second Life

In 2003, when Second Life launched, all it took was a few customization bars and the promise of infinite possibility to get users hooked on the idea of a virtual reality. Now, in 2017, our standards are a bit higher. “Immersion” isn’t as easy to sell with a microphone, an avatar and some content creation software. Project Sansar, made by Second Life creator Linden Lab, is striving to meet 2017’s standards—even if it may be getting ahead of itself. Project Sansar is a virtual world where users can build anything, just like Second Life. Three and a half years ago, publisher Linden Lab began crafting their own engine that lets users construct whatever they can imagine in VR. Then, basically anyone can hang out in that thing—a ball pit the size of a city, a nightclub with live DJs, a Russian language school, an underwater mansion or whatever else they fancy, with either a VR headset (or from their PC desk chair). At a New York demo today, Sansar director of communications Peter Gray called it “a WordPress for VR.” Project Sansar Right now, only 2,000 select virtual artists, builders and designers have access to READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!


Castle Cats Isn't Much Of A Game, But The Cats Are Excellent

The key takeaway from Castle Cats, a new free-to-play mobile game for iOS and Android, is that you can collect adorable feline versions of Harry Potter, Django, Katniss Everdeen and Cthulhu. Also, they are fighting an evil Pugomancer. The rest is a bit fuzzy. The game itself is pretty basic. Players form a party of cats and assign them to timer-based missions according to each animal’s special skills. There’s a mechanic that allows players to speed up battles by tapping on the screen, but once the limited tap energy tapers out, it’s back to just waiting. But while you’re waiting, you get to play with some awesome cats, like Barry here. Collected cats, earned through in-app purchase or randomly found in treasures boxes, begin as basic, unassuming kittens. One of the first major characters I received was Howard, and I had no idea who he was supposed to be referencing until I used a gem to evolve him. Howard P Lovecraft to his friends. How cool is Cathulu here? So cool that I can’t stop tweeting pictures of his tentacled little face. Advertisement READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Cooler Master MasterKeys L PBT Keyboard Review: A No-Nonsense Mech

Despite evidence to the contrary, a mechanical gaming keyboard doesn’t need to have bright glowing LED lighting. Cooler Master’s MasterKeys L PBT favors style over substance, losing the light show and adding some lovely thick keycaps to create an excellent sub $100 keyboard. Known for its computer cases, power supplies and cooling solutions, Cooler Master is also a big name in computer peripherals. Mice, headsets, keyboards—it’s a company that really wants to have its name all over your gaming PC, inside and out. The company has done especially well in the mechanical keyboard scene, where many mainstream mechanical keyboard manufacturers (Razer, Logitech) are regularly dumped on. The MasterKeys series is well-regarded, and mentions of the company’s high-end, hybrid capacitive Novatouch keyboards are accompanied by the sounds of singing angels from on high. Advertisement Most boards in the MasterKeys line feature LED lighting and thinner ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) keycaps to allow the light to shine through. The newly-released MasterKeys PBT boards, available in both full-size (L) and tenkeyless (M), do not have lights. Instead they feature 1.5mm thick keycaps made of PBT (polybutylene terephthalate), a pricier plastic that’s very resistant to wear and shine. The MasterKeys PBT boards also feature…

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NCsoft Launches A Slightly Different Sort Of MOBA

Launched today in Europe and North America, Master X Master (MXM) is an free-to-play PC action MOBA featuring WASD movement and a tag system that lets players bring their choice of two NCsoft all-star champions (Masters) into the arena at once, swapping them out on the fly. It’s hard to get excited for a new MOBA these days, but MXM has a few cool things going for it. The tag system sounds cool and should make for some really exciting gameplay moments between people much better at multiplayer arena games than I. It also features a cast of beloved characters from more interesting NCsoft games, like City of Heroes’ Statesman, Poharan from Blade & Soul and that one guy from that thing. Plus it has mini-games. What the hell is going on here? Here is an informative overview of how the game is played. And here is a much less informative cinematic launch trailer. Interested in giving it a go? Hit up the official MXM website and download the PC client for free. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

The Upside Of Making A Big E3 Demo

The developers of Days Gone spent nearly three months developing their big E3 demo, but it wasn’t just for sizzle. The game’s creative director says building the demo helped them figure out whether parts of their zombie game were actually fun to play. Speaking on an episode of Kotaku Splitscreen during E3 last week, Days Gone creative director John Garvin talked about what it was like to make their flashy E3 demo, why their zombies are called “freakers,” and how being in Portland influenced the game. You can listen to the whole episode here, or see a partial (lightly edited) transcript below. Jason Schreier: How long does it take to make a demo like this? Because you guys showed a six, seven minute demo — a solid demo. Advertisement John Garvin: I think we first started tossing ideas around for it back in March. Schreier: Wow. Three months. Garvin: Yeah, and we did a [motion capture] shoot, and captured some stuff. One of our goals was to not do stuff specifically for the demo—we wanted to make it real. So everything we were doing was going to be part of the actual game. We were polishing stuff that hadn’t been…

How To Unlock Swimming In Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood

One of the coolest new features introduced in Final Fantasy XIV’s Stormblood expansion is the ability to swim and dive, exploring exotic underwater locales. Anyone can tread water, but to go deep you’ve got to talk to some turtles. Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood Spoilers Follow Just like learning to fly in the Heavensward expansion, gaining the ability to survive underwater environments without drowning in Stormblood takes a bit of work. The quest to unlock the ability is located in the game’s new Ruby Sea zone, which is only accessed after players complete the opening Ala Mhigo quests and take their first steps into the Far Eastern land of Doma. Initially landing in the island city of Kugane, players eventually find passage to the mainland with a lengthy layover in the Ruby Sea, an area featuring small settlements, volcanic islands and the underground city of Tamamizu, home of the turtle people. Cowabunga, dude. In order to end an age-old feud between the green turtle people and the red turtle people (they have a name, but they are turtle people), the player must be granted the ability to breathe and move underwater. A whole new world? For me? A quick fetch quest…

Every Big Game Coming Out In Summer 2017

Illustration by Angelica Alzona We already have more awesome games than we can possibly play, so why not add a bunch more? Here’s all the big games coming out this summer. June 23 Ever Oasis | Action-adventure | 3DS June 26 Secret World Legends | MMO | PC June 27 Valkyria Revolution | RPG | PS4, Vita, Xbox One June 30 Breath of the Wild: The Master Trials | Action-adventure, DLC | Nintendo Switch, Wii U Advertisement Advertisement Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy | Platformer | PS4 July 11 Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age | Fantasy, Remake | PS4 July 12 The End Is Nigh | Platformer | PC July 20 Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy | Puzzle | iOS, Android (3DS coming later) July 21 Splatoon 2 | Multiplayer shooter | Switch July 25 Pyre | Action RPG | PC, Linux, PS4 Advertisement Advertisement Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star | Action RPG | Nintendo Switch July 28 Hey! Pikmin | Puzzle | 3DS 2DS XL August 1 The Long Dark | Survival | PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4 August 2 Tacoma | Narrative | PC, Mac, Xbox One August 8 Lawbreakers | Multiplayer shooter | PS4,…

I played 20 minutes of Paradox’s new city builder, Surviving Mars, at E3.

I played 20 minutes of Paradox’s new city builder, Surviving Mars, at E3. The demo showed off different phases of planet colonization, from early moments establishing a livable area to later on, when I had multiple inhabited domes to work with. The game draws on real-world science and seems complex. If, however, you want more “fi” in your sci-fi, you can enable random events, like aliens. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Pillars of Eternity Comes To PS4 And Xbox One

Pillars of Eternity is coming to consoles, following in the footsteps of other big isometric role-playing games like Torment and Divinity. It’ll be out for PS4 and Xbox One on August 29. I got to play a brief demo of the PS4 version at E3 last week, and the new user interface seems like a nice fit. The text is sufficiently large, you can use character abilities via radial menus, and there are prompts that make it easier to select objects with joysticks and buttons. But Pillars on PS4 also felt a little janky during my quick hands-on with it. There was some sort of input lag as I played that prevented the game from recognizing when I’d stopped moving the joystick, which sent my characters walking an extra 2-3 seconds after I’d told them to stop. (The demo handlers mentioned that this could have been the controller battery, but I’ve had a PS4 since it came out and my controller has never done anything like that when it’s low on battery.) After the Torment console port (which, like Pillars, was developed in the Unity engine) turned out to be busted, it’s healthy to be skeptical of this one until it…

Fallout 4 Modder Makes Joke 'Creation Club' That Spits Out Random Items

Image credit: CDante and KingTobbe. Bethesda’s Creation Club is a new program that’ll allow select development teams and modders to develop, polish, and release Fallout 4 and Skyrim content alongside Todd Howard’s magical toy factory. Modder CDante’s “Creation Club” is a different kind of club entirely. A golf club. CDante’s new Fallout 4 mod The Creation Club adds a golf club melee weapon that spawns random items when you swing it. (Get it?) It can also be painted and upgraded, like any good golf club. Sometimes a swing will yield, say, a carton of cigarettes. Other times? A legendary mole rat brood mother. Something for everybody, really. While one could read this as a satirical jab at Bethesda’s controversial new program, CDante is adamant that that’s not the case. Advertisement Advertisement “I’ve never said anything about the actual Creation Club or Bethesda—neither in my video nor in my mod description, and that was intentional,” he wrote on the mod’s description page. “The mod does nothing that would cost money for the player or take money away from the player as a lot of commenters suggested. That was intentional as well. The mod is not meant to make fun of Bethesda’s…