Hello Neighbor Launches Alpha 2, Releases Two New Trailers

Hello Neighbor, a stealth-horror game in which you infiltrate your neighbor’s house to find out what he’s hiding in the basement, has released it’s Alpha 2 build, along with two new trailers showcasing a glimpse of the story and a new way of distracting your antagonist.

The new build went live on 22nd November, with the story trailer showing us sections of the introduction to the game, playable in this latest Alpha update, wherein the player moves into a new house, and experiences what appears to be a home invasion from the infamous Neighbor character. This introduction shows off the ‘tutorial house,’ an area that allows the player to get to grips with basic mechanics, like removing the nails from boarded-up doors and picking up/moving objects.

Also revealed is a new mechanic that can be utilized in countering the Neighbor’s pursuit; fireworks. Setting off these fireworks disorients the Neighbor and allows the player to escape and find new locations to hide.

The new update features more than just more story and new distractions. There have been graphics updates that include depth of field, and a big improvement to the AI of the Neighbor, such as the registering of scenery changes and a tweaked field of view that makes sneaking easier. A full list of updates can be found in this blog post on TinyBuild’s website.

Alpha 2 is a larger step towards the final game compared to it’s predecessors. As quoted in a press release from TinyBuild: “Everything you’ve seen before regarding Hello Neighbor is throw-away, used for testing & evaluating the direction for the full game. Today’s Alpha 2 is a glimpse into what the final game looks, feels, sounds & plays like.”

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I’ve yet to dip in to Hello Neighbor, but now seems like the perfect opportunity to do so as the game starts becoming a better reflection of what the full release will be like. I’ll be sure to share my impressions in the near-future.

 

Frozen Synapse 2 Unveils New Units, Game Mode, and 2017 Delay

Mode 7 Games have released a trailer for their upcoming tactical turn-based strategy game, Frozen Synapse 2, that unveils a handful of additional units and a new game mode called ‘One Turn.’

The reveal comes along with an announcement that the game will be delayed until 2017 in order to make improvements.

‘One Turn,’ the newly-announced game mode, allows two players pitted against each other one turn in their combat. These single turns can then be taken and tried against the turns of every other player that has also engaged in ‘One Turn’ mode. This, along with every multiplayer mode in the first Frozen Synapse will be in the sequel, with more to come.

The sequel is quite a significant evolution, taking place in a procedurally-generated mega-city, Tactical encounters, that which comprised the bulk of the first Frozen Synapse, can occur in any building and any location in the game.

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Another newly added mechanic is the ability to customize your squads with different units, of which those unveiled are but a few, each with unique abilities and characteristics.

I was quite a fan of the first Frozen Synapse, and have spoken with Managing Director of Mode 7, Paul Kilduff-Taylor, in an interview that briefly discussed his and co-Director Ian Hardingham’s hopes for the sequel, so I’ll definitely be sharing my thoughts upon the official release.

Top 5 Depictions of Communism in Video Games

Hello, comrades! Not only am I a games journalist, I’m also an Anarcho-Communist. It’s massively different to the USSR’s Leninist-Communism, but, I like to live as a parody of myself. So, here are my top five depictions of FULL COMMUNISM in video games, with provided accompanying listening material, in no particular order so to equally-distribute the credit that they’re each due.

 

  • METRO 2033

In Metro 2033, you assume the role of Artyom, a twenty-year-old survivor born before the bombs fell in a nuclear war that occurred in 2013, living in the underground Metro network of Russia. Your way of life is being threatened by a mysterious phenomenon referred to only as the Dark Ones, and you must travel through the Metro in order to seek help from the rest of society.

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In your travels, you encounter the ‘Red Line,’ a large group of Stalinist-Communists occupying sections of the Metro of the same name. There are problems with the practical application of their ideologies, and in many ways they mirror the conditions of Stalinist Russia back in the day. But the mobility of their movement, adding fuel to the revolutionary fires of nearby Metro stations and smashing down the Fourth Reich (a faction of Nazis present in the underground) whenever they possibly can, are aspects to be admired.

 

  • DEMOCRACY 3

Democracy 3 is the latest in a series of government simulation games that puts you in charge of a nation. You decide policies, trying to keep your people happy and maintain healthy relationships with each demographic present in the country, and can shape the political landscape into any ideology that you could possibly imagine.

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One such ideology is the Socialist Paradise, in which nobody is poor or left behind, and the true socialist utopia that Karl Marx pined over is finally achieved. This might not be considered FULL COMMUNISM, but it seems mostly as such, just not in name, though the image for the achievement is a hammer and sickle, so it’s basically Communism. Democracy 3 finds itself on this list because it’s accurate simulation of the world of politics has led to it’s implementation in schools throughout the world. This credibility as a reflection of the real world aids in reinforcing the feasibility of a Socialist nation, as is possible in the game.

 

  • THE TOMORROW CHILDREN

The Tomorrow Children is an adventure game akin to Minecraft in it’s collaborative building. You are a citizen of a Soviet Union-themed nation that finds itself trapped in a dismal mass known as the Void. You, along with your fellow citizens, work for the good of the people to reach out and find resources that are used to rebuild society. The game is in very early development, but has a lot of promise.

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It’s undeniably a depiction of FULL COMMUNISM, from the iconography of the game title to the flagrant Soviet themes plastering the aesthetic of the game. It encourages togetherness and working together. And sure, it might not be too great so far, but it looks likely to blossom into something beautiful. Just like the world’s implementations of Communism in history up unto this point.

 

  • MARIO KART

Mario Kart is a spin-off series in the Mario Bros. franchise from Nintendo, pitting popular characters from the universe against each other in fast-paced go-kart racing. Players can choose their character and vehicle, and race one another on a selection of themed tracks, utilizing various special items in order to aid their progress and win the race.

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What about Mario Kart is a great depiction of FULL COMMUNISM, do you ask? Well, first we must look at Mario himself; Mario is a plumber, a profession commonly attributed with the working class. Mario wears mostly red, sporting overalls and a full, healthy, Stalin-like mustache. Comparisons can easily be drawn between his aesthetic and various Communist themes, and he is the main character of the franchise, revered as a hero by many. We can also look to the mechanics present in Mario Kart itself; look at Bullet Bill, for instance, an item that is only available to those in the last places in races, and gives them a boost in order to provide them an equal opportunity of success. If that isn’t Communist, I don’t know what is.

 

  • COMMAND AND CONQUER: RED ALERT 3

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 takes place in an alternate history from World War II in which the Allied Forces battle the Soviet Union. Facing defeat, the Soviets travel back in time to kill Albert Einstein, preventing his aid of the Allied Forces and securing Soviet domination. An unexpected by-product is the emergence of the Empire of the Rising Sun, and all three factions engage in mass conflict.

Why is this depiction of Communism so glorious? Well, aside from deadly Soviet secretaries in tight-fitting PVC uniforms wielding massive guns, the glorious leader of the USSR is depicted by the great Tim Curry. His performance is sublime, and his representation of FULL COMMUNISM secures Red Alert 3 on this list. We will meet with you in Communist space utopia soon, Mr Curry.

Leaked Reveal of Uncharted 4 DLC at Playstation Experience

According to an insider source at Sony, a standalone DLC for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will be revealed and playable at Playstation Experience this December.

The DLC will revolve around the adventures of Samuel, the brother of Uncharted series protagonist Nathan Drake, and Sully, a long-time cast member of the franchise. The reveal will consist of a gameplay segment, followed by a medley of cutscene footage, and concluding with the name of the DLC.

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The DLC is standalone, and as such is playable without needing to own the original game, and will tell a self-contained story, with Nathan Drake himself present to hand the reigns of adventuring over to his sibling. It has also been disclosed that Nathan’s daughter will not be present in the DL.

Both Nolan North and Troy Baker are reprising their roles for the standalone, which is reportedly longer than The Last of Us‘ critically-acclaimed DLC Left Behind, and it is internally projected for release in the first quarter of 2017.

The plan was to also talk about Uncharted 4: Survival here, but Sony seemingly wanted to get out ahead of us on that one. Might be because we tweeted we were planning to leak DLC today? Who knows.

UPDATE: It seems that sources were incorrect, and that the DLC, while standalone and single-player, it rather follows main character Chloe and Nadine after the events of Uncharted 4.

Review – Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt

The Steam Store is full of glistening gems. But those gems are often dusted with soot and unnoticed in a deep and swirling mine shaft, filled to the brim with slightly shiny rocks, discarded chunks of excrement, and the occasional glistening bright diamond. Which is a damn shame, because there are a lot of good gems there that are woefully under-appreciated. One of those gems is Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt.

Princess Remedy in a World of Hurt is a charming one-stick shooter with JRPG elements, and a loving dose of bullet hell injected directly into it’s veins. Made for the ‘Games Against Ebola’ game jam by Ludosity, you assume the role of Princess Remedy, who, after only just graduating from healing college, must venture forth into the world of Hurtland; a continent plagued with mild illness and negative thoughts,  the ultimate goal to successfully heal Prince Hingst, who suffers from every ailment known. Hurtland contains within it a number of villages, cave systems, towers, and portals to strange dimensions. Within these locations, Princess Remedy finds various quirky and whimsical characters, each with their own unique dilemmas. They are sad, and it’s up to you to make sure they get better. To do this, you engage in brutal combat with the physical manifestations of their negativity, mercilessly destroying them with your projectiles of good health.

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And we’ll start off by addressing this brutal combat… excuse my French, but holy fuck, Princess Remedy is a mercilessly tough game, in a very good way. At times it feels a tad artificial in it’s difficulty with the titanic quantity of foes you’ll encounter in some fights, many firing their own projectiles that all converge in on you like a sweeping mist of suffering. But a vast majority of the time, there’s near-enough always a way to dodge and weave and decimate with quick succession. It’s painful and it’s unforgiving, but Gods is it fun as all hell.

Something else this game nails is the cuteness factor (a big reason behind my love of Undertale, which came out to critical acclaim a year after Princess Remedy’s release, surprising as both titles share a few big themes) The characters are adorable, the solutions to their problems subverting the player’s expectations, a few of which are quite chuckle-worthy, most of which left me with the same sort of dorky smile I get when I hear a child talking nonsense about something. This left me curious to discover more of the little guys, eager to hear what comical lines of text they’d throw at me.

princess remedy dialogue

Based on a glimpse of the Steam reviews, I was expecting to finish the game in little over an hour, which at first concerned me, as the content was thoroughly enjoyable and I didn’t want to feel starved upon completion. But by the time I powered through the final boss battle, I very much appreciated the quick and concise packaged nature of the title. It was just as long as it needed to be, and I’m quite thankful that the developers didn’t feel any need to extend the longevity of it, as this could have run the risk of the game dragging on and feeling bloated, both factors that would have hindered my overall opinion of it.

Aside from the occasional artificial difficulty bump as mentioned, one of my biggest complaints about the game will seem confusing; it’s free. Why is this a complaint? Looking at it sitting in my library, I almost feel this sense of guilt. I valued my time with Princess Remedy to the extent that it feels like I should have paid for it. I wish I could have paid for it, even a small sum like £1-2, any contribution that I could have made to the developers of this world of hurt that I cured and enjoyed all the way. And for that to be my biggest complaint speaks numbers for the quality of the product, a product that I’d wholeheartedly recommend giving a go. If everything I’ve described here sounds like your sort of thing, then I assure you, you’ll have a blast.

princess remedy

It’s probably also worth mentioning that you’ll feel like Daniel Freaking Bryan when you take out that final boss. Gods damn, it’s a great and fulfilling feeling.

Welcome to Jaffameister.com!

Hi everyone! I’m George, a non-binary, filthy SJW games journalist. My career began in January of this year, when I wrote a guest feature for Laura Kate Dale about butts and how they’re the exception to the uncanny valley phenomenon in video games. I soon went on to become a contributor at Indie Haven, where I made someone cry by writing about Undertale, and talked to Thomas ‘TomSka’ Ridgewell about the diversity present in KatataK. And now, I’m the proud owner of jaffameister.com!


What should you expect from the site? Well, I’ll be producing a variety of content, ranging from long-form features to industry leaks. I’ll be posting pieces every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, of varying different flavours, with an indie releases round-up every Sunday, summarizing what exciting indie titles will be released in the proceeding week.

I’ll be covering press events, conventions, and showcases whenever I’m able to attend them, and unique, situational content will often crop up if and when it becomes relevant. Basically, expect a big mish-mash of everything that’s happening in the world of video games.


Of course, the existence of this website, the contributions that I make at other publications, and the various freelance pieces that I produce are all there in the hopes that I will one day make this into a viable career. As such, I’ve also launched a Patreon! So, if you happen to particularly enjoy my content, my personality, or my existence as a human being, a dollar here or there would mean the world to me, and will also aid in improving the variety and the quality of the content that I’m able to provide!

I’ve been nervous and excited about the launch of jaffameister.com, and it’s been a long time in the making. So, I look forward to bringing you all on this journey with me, and I hope you all enjoy the ride!

The Real Heroes – Episode 1: Mario

On the first episode of the Real Heroes podcast, Elodie and I take a look at the Mario franchise, in order to seek out who its real heroes are.

The Real Heroes is a podcast starring George Johnson and Elodie Cunningham, dedicated to seeking out and identifying the real heroes of gaming. Often minor characters and usually very strange, it’s an abstract and comical show that occasionally hosts guests.