Overwatch: New Skins, Map, and More

Blizzard just released their latest cosmetics update to Overwatch yesterday, and oh boy, is it something! Not only does it introduce 18 new skins (12 of them legendary!) but it adds 4 new emotes, 4 incredible highlight intros, and a spray for every single hero in the game to date. Oh, and a new map. Let’s get into it!

New Map: Blizzard World

Blizzard World has been a work in progress for a while, announced last November at BlizzCon. It pulls inspiration from all of Blizzard’s games, including StarCraft, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm.

It’s a hybrid map, meaning you’ve got to take a point, and then push the payload to the end, like King’s Row and Numbani.

Overall, it looks incredible, and is easily our favourite map to date. Don’t take our word for it though; take a look at the pictures below and let us know what you think in the comments!

 

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New Skins

If you thought the new map was amazing, you won’t believe this next part. Along with Blizzard World came 18 new skins, with 12 of them being legendary! Check out the slideshow below to see them in all their glory.

LEGENDARY:

 

EPIC:

 

New Sprays

What’s that? There aren’t enough sprays in the game? Well, it’s your lucky day, because every hero just received an adorable personalised spray based off one of their skins! They were made by Chie Boyd (@tinysnails on twitter) Here they are:

 

New Player Icons

All right, this one’s less exciting, but it’s still pretty cool! They’re basically much cuter versions of the regular hero icons, and although they’re a rather small part of the update, we’re glad they’re here!

 

New Emotes

This update, Genji, Tracer, Mercy, Moira, and Sombra each get a new emote. They all look fantastic, especially Genji’s, Sombra’s and Tracer’s. Hey, the more DPS you are, the cooler the emote is!

genji
Genji
mercy
Mercy
moira
Moira
sombra
Sombra
tracer
Tracer

New Highlight Intros

Another smaller part of the update were the four new highlight intros unveiled for Ana, Bastion, Soldier and Winston. These intros look way more cinematic and are much higher quality than anything we’ve seen before! Hopefully this is a new trend for the highlight intros, and we’ll get even more like these in the future.

ana
Ana
bastion
Bastion
soldier 76
Soldier: 76
winston
Winston

 

Read next: Overwatch Mercy Tactics

 

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Overwatch Winter Wonderland 2017: What’s New

Overwatch’s annual winter update was released the other day, along with 7 legendary skins a new game mode, and a winterified map! But what exactly do you have to look forward to this year? Find out what’s in Overwatch Winter Wonderland 2017.

Overwatch Winter Wonderland 2017: Skins

Alpine: 76

soldier winter skin

Soldier’s latest skin is quite possibly the best skin released for him so far! The gun looks sleek and the style is fantastic. Overwatch Winter Wonderland 2017 is off to a good start!

Snow Owl

ana winter skin

Ana’s Snow Owl skin. What can we say about it that hasn’t already been said? It’s a brilliant cosmetic, fitting perfectly with the rest of the Overwatch Winter Skin Squad!

Rime

sombra winter skin

Sombra’s ice blue Rime skin is the most supernatural of this years batch, with pointy ears and frosty smoke coming off her. Looks pretty *cool*.

Ice Fisherman

roadhog winter skin

Ice Fisherman, alternatively known as Overwatch’s resident walrus man, is Roadhog’s sweet new skin. It’s an awesome new addition to his roster, as we haven’t seen one for a while!

Avalanche

bastion winter skin

This year, Blizzard has decided to turn Bastion into a snowmobile for the winter event. Or at least, that’s how he looks! The most impressive thing about this skin isn’t any of it’s initial looks though; it’s the fact that in each transformation Bastion goes through, his little winter hat somehow stays on!

Casual

hanzo winter skin

Finally, a new Hanzo skin! No, it isn’t exactly like the reflections’ comic’s version, but it’s good enough!

Beachrat

junkrat winter skin

Overwatch Winter Wonderland 2017: Maps

Just like last year, Blizzard has winterified one of their maps! However, it’s not as huge a re-do as last time, instead opting to give Black Forest a winter makeover! Check out some screenshots down below (yes, the GUI is still there. Unfortunately, Blizzard hasn’t added an option to remove it on PS4 yet, but hopefully it’s added soon! Sorry if it ruins the screenshots a little.).

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Overwatch Winter Wonderland 2017: Mei’s Yeti Hunt

What’s that? This year for Christmas you’d like a new winter themed game mode featuring everyone’s favourite ice demon and a big ol’ monkey scientist? Well, lucky day! This year came not only with sweet new skins, but a whole new game mode too! The 5v1 brawl consists of 5 Meis and 1 Winston, in a fight to the death. Kill the yeti before he can take out your team’s 5 lives, in Blizzard’s Animal Torture Simulation 2017.

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Overwatch Winter Wonderland 2017: Emotes

If you thought this update couldn’t get any better, think again! Blizzard has released another legendary emote, this time for Orisa. Is it adorable? Yes. Is it expensive? Yikes, yes! But is it worth it? Absolutely! And of course, let’s not forget Zen’s new snowflake emote. Even though it’s slightly overshadowed by Orisa’s, it still looks awesome.

We would have uploaded these as video files, but we don’t have videopress (wordpress’ video hosting tool, which you get with one of the plans). If you’d prefer to see them in HD, follow the links below (they open in new tabs)!

 

Orisa Puppy Emote
Orisa’s puppy!

Zenyatta Snowflake Emote

Read next: Overwatch: Mercy Tactics

 

Source for most images shown

Overwatch: Mercy Tactics

Mercy, a.k.a. Dr. Angela Ziegler, is one of Overwatch’s 5 support heroes, and a powerful healer. Via her Caduceus staff, Mercy can either buff or heal allies, making her a valuable component in any team. But how do you play Mercy effectively? What are the best strategies when it comes to healing or buffing? Here are our best tips to become the best Mercy you possibly can be!

Caduceus Staff

The Caduceus Staff is Mercy’s primary tool, used to heal and amplify damage, but how do you put it to it’s best use?

  • Both beams stay connected for 1.4 seconds after breaking line of sight with the tethered ally, so check behind you frequently in case the enemy is trying to flank your team.
  • Change the means of your beam depending on what kind of a situation you’re in, or which hero you’re tethered to. If you’re attached to a tank such as Roadhog, it’s a better move to damage boost them. Not only does Roadhog have self-healing, but he can also do massive amounts of damage, so amplify that to decimate the enemy!
  • When it comes to offense heroes, switch the tether depending on the situation. If they’re low on health or against multiple enemies, top them up, if they’re just one v one against another hero, amplify their damage.
  • When your Hanzo uses Dragonstrike, start amplifying their damage. Even though the dragon had already been shot, it still amplifies it’s damage, and could give the dragon just the damage it needed!
  • If you have a Pharah, focus your attention on them. Make sure to keep flying back to them, and hold down jump to delay your falling. Try and keep damage boost on, unless they’re losing a lot of health. Pharah’s rockets are powerful on their own, with damage boost they’ll obliterate the enemy!
  • Focus on damage boosting heroes ulting, especially Soldier, Reaper and Bastion.

Caduceus Blaster

The Caduceus blaster may seem small and weak, but in the right situations, it can be deadly to the enemy! Here are some tips whilst using it.

  • If separated from your team, switch quickly to your blaster. Don’t engage on your own, but if a one v one situation comes up, the blaster is an effective tool!
  • The blaster is especially useful when it comes to destroying turrets such as Symmetra’s and Torbjorn’s. From far enough away, it’s easy enough to take down one of Torb’s turrets, whilst keeping yourself safe!#
  • Don’t constantly go attack Mercy. At the end of the day Mercy is a healer, so keep the blaster as a last resort.

Guardian Angel

Guardian angel is an ability of Mercy’s that allows her to fly towards an ally, dead or alive. It’s one of her most useful abilities, and when used right, can save your life!

  • Go into options > controls > Mercy, and change the setting “Toggle guardian angel” from On to Off. This means that instead of just hitting your guardian angel key to fly to someone, you have to hold it. Sure, this doesn’t sound too helpful, but if you decide midflight you don’t want to fly to the ally you chose, you can just let go and stop before you get there.
  • Keep an eye out for an allied Pharah. Flying to them whilst they’re airborne gives you both a height advantage and the opportunity to damage boost them.
  • Use guardian angel to get out of trouble. Hear a McCree or Soldier use their ult? Quickly lock onto them and fly away.

Resurrect

Resurrect is arguably Mercy’s most powerful ability, as it can be used to bring allies back from the dead!

  • Rez is on a 30 second timer, and you can only bring back one ally at a time (RIP 5 man rez), so you need to be smart about using it. Save it for when a tank is dead, or you’ve lost someone in the last few seconds of an attack. One person can make all the difference!
  • When you use it, don’t start going attack Mercy. Stay with your team, and keep healing, as they’ll likely still be in a dangerous situation!

Valkyrie [ULTIMATE]

Mercy’s new valkyrie ability pushes her suit to it’s full potential, giving you the ability to fly, heal multiple teammates, and boosts your healing and damage, with infinite ammo to go along with it!

  • Don’t forget about guardian angel! Yes, you can fly in Valkyrie, but not as fast as you can with guardian, so keep your hand over the button; you never know when it could save you.
  • Don’t always go attack Mercy. Yep that’s right. Valkyrie may boost her damage and supply you with infinite ammo, but you still a have teammates to protect. Don’t leave them to die!
  • That being said… sometimes it is wise to go on the offensive. If the opportunity presents itself, go for it! Take out the enemy and get on that objective!

What to pick up in the Steam Summer Sale

Every summer on Steam, there’s a mega discount sale on thousands of games across the platform. But with so much variety, what do you buy? Well, here are our picks on what to buy for the best price.

beamNG.drive                                                                                                 (£18.99 – £12.72)

One of the best car destruction games ever. Seriously, this game has one of the best physics engines we have ever seen! It has everything you could possibly want from a game like this: ridiculous physics, structurally unstable cars, and tons of levels to play! Don’t like any of the vehicles? Just visit the steam workshop and download some from there. Go wild.

Worth Rating:  7/10

Prison Architect                                                                                                (£19.99 – £4.99)

Ever fancied managing your own prison? Prison Architect is the best prison management game there is, and with the price dropping from £19.99 to only £4.99, this one is definitely worth it! What’s more, for only 50p extra you can get 4 more games bundled with it: Darwinia, DEFCON, Multiwinia and Uplink. Totally worth it!

Worth Rating 9/10

Fallout 4                                                                                                               (£19.99 – £9.99)

You’ve probably already heard of the wasteland roaming masterpiece that is Fallout 4, but if not, then we’d highly recommend you get it! Play as the “sole survivor” as you explore the dilapidated wastes around you in search for your kidnapped son. And anyway, reduced by £10?! You’re basically stealing at this point, go buy it!

Worth Rating 8/10

Half Life 2                                                                                                              (£6.99 – £0.69)

Even though this game may be over 10 years old, it still is one of the greatest games ever made. Become Gordon Freeman, and take on a mission to free humanity, using the range of weapons you accumulate travelling through the game. This first person shooter keeps you hooked until the last minute, leaving you wanting more!

Worth Rating 9/10

Sims 3                                                                                                                   (£24.99 – £6.24)

The Sims 3 is a life simulation game, in which you create a character/characters, and essentially play god to their lives! We suggest that you should definitely pick up this game up before the deal is over on the main game and all the DLC too.

Worth Rating 7/10

Geometry Dash                                                                                                    (£2.79 – £0.69)

If you have ever been on our blog before, you might have seen a couple posts on this game. Geometry Dash is a fast paced, 2D, rhythm based platformer, where you traverse levels using a range of different vehicles. If you can’t tell, we are massive fans of Geometry Dash, and would honestly recommend this game to anyone, especially as the price has dropped in the sale.

Worth Rating 10/10

 

 

Blackbox: Review

If you’re a fan of frustrating games and beyond-meta challenges, then undoubtedly you will have heard of Blackbox. In a nutshell, it’s a puzzle game which uses iPhone features in ways you didn’t even know you could, bending your mind and ruining your life as you play. It is definitely one of the best puzzle games out right now, so let’s get into this review!

Gameplay

The aim in Blackbox is to turn on all the ‘lights’, which are little squares with rounded
edges. To light them up, you must complete the puzzle inside of that light. Simple enough,

File_001
Midday is a great time to play Blackbox.

right? Wrong. These aren’t crosswords or word searches, these are problems solved by literally using your phone. They range from using your camera, your microphone, even to the buttons on the phone itself, not to mention things hidden outside of the app too!

 

One criticism we do have is that some of the puzzles are actually too easy! For example, there’s a puzzle in which the solution is holding your phone still for a short while. This doesn’t take a huge amount of brainpower to figure out, just a steady hand, and such simplicity takes away from the satisfaction of the solve.

Graphics

Blackbox features incredibly simplistic, minimalist, graphics. There are no intricate details, (unless you count the puzzles themselves), and most of the designs are made up of simple vectors, which is quite ironic considering the complexity of the game. This gives it a lovely, clean look, so 10/10 for aesthetics!

The colours chosen for each puzzle work great together on the home screen, especially

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It’s not always good to have such a great connection with a game.

set against the dark grey background, and make it much nicer to look at, especially when you’ve completed them all!

 
Now, the animations. Are they good? Yes! Of course, they’re very simplistic, just like the art style, so they fit in perfectly with the rest of the game’s aesthetic. So, they look great, and perform very smoothly. Unfortunately, however, nothing’s perfect, not even the puzzle game by Satan. One improvement we’d suggest would be to optimise their performance on the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c, as they’re not the best they can be, especially when compared to those on an SE or higher.

Music/Sound FX

So, what kind of music can you expect from one of the best puzzle games the App Store has to offer? Nothing! That’s right, Blackbox is as devoid of music as the developer is of emotion! However, what it does have are some lovely little sound effects, so let’s talk about those.

File_004
Gyroscopical!

Blackbox has a multitude of different effects, with most of them like a sort of ‘click’ sound. One of the best things about them is that they are very satisfying to listen to, especially the ones that play when you open and close the hints section of a puzzle!

In this particular aspect of the game, we have only one criticism, which is as kind of scratchy sound that plays just after the click effect when you open a puzzle. Of course, this might be an intentional effect, but either way, we feel as though it could be improved by being taken out.

 

In conclusion, we love Blackbox. It makes for a fantastic puzzle game, and certainly tests your intelligence, making you use your iPhone in ways you couldn’t imagine you could! So, if you have an Apple device, we would highly recommend you go for this app, and convince your friends to as well! Seriously, get your friends to. You’ll understand later.

Oxenfree: Review

Oxenfree Review

Oxenfree is a 2.5D supernatural adventure, developed by Night School Studio in 2016. The premise, you ask? Well, the game is set on an abandoned island, where the main character Alex has travelled to for a party. Y’know, like all teenagers do. However, strange things start happening, and it is your task to solve the mystery!

Gameplay

The main gameplay consists of the choices you make as Alex, which can affect the entire game. Another large aspect of the gameplay is the puzzles you solve with Alex’s radio, which are done by tuning it to the correct frequency. What’s more, instead of long cut-scenes, Oxenfree incorporates use of speech bubbles popping up over character’s heads, which we prefer.

There are multiple endings too, which is a nice addition, and definitely emphasises the importance of all of your choices. Multiple endings make everything better (or worse)!

20170217233511_1

One annoying thing with the gameplay is the vague choices you’re given when responding to things. For example, someone will say something, and you’ll pick a response, and it will end up way different to what it looked like! This can spit out loads of unintended consequences, especially because of Oxenfree’s multiple ending system.

Graphics

The graphics of the game are lovely. The characters are 3D models set against a 2.5D background, which adds a nice sense of depth to the game. What’s more, after each chapter, you get a Polaroid photo, which gives you a more detailed look at the characters. However, when you look a bit closer, these polaroids make the game a lot more sinister…

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We have no complaints about the graphics here! They’re pretty fantastic, and we love the 2.5D effect.

Music/Sound FX

The voice acting is one of the greatest things in the game. The characters feel real, and the dialogue can be pretty funny!

The soundtrack to the game is incredible, and extremely atmospheric. The sound FX are fantastic too, from the static of the radio to the creepy noises in the background! All of these little effects definitely enhance your gameplay, making it a much more enjoyable experience. What’s more, the soundtrack is available on Steam as DLC too, which is pretty neat!

One criticism we have with the noises and effects is the volume they’re set at. For example, sometimes, the music will get really loud, which is annoyingly obstructive to your gameplay. As well as that, in loading screens, the volume drops way down, when really it should stay the same volume all the way.

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In conclusion, we really like this game. It is an amazing experience, and would definitely recommend it if you are into puzzling, atmospheric stories!

N++: Review

If you’re a big fan of platforming games, then you will definitely have heard of the “N” franchise, a game series that revolutionized platform gaming. N++ is the third and final instalment to the award-winning series, and is definitely the hardest. So, is it worth your money? Read on and find out!

You start off, as many platform games do, with a level selection screen. What’s new in N++ is that instead of having one big expanse of levels, you have 3 different sections: Intro, N++, and Legacy. Each of the sections consists of several different chapters, with each one containing 5 different levels. Each episode’s levels range in difficulty, going from easiest to hardest, making each chapter unique.

n-title-screen

But what makes N++ different to its predecessors? Well, the biggest difference, apart from the lovely new design, is really is the huge amount of levels that come with it, as it features 2360 levels. Yeah. And that’s without factoring in the online levels, of which there are thousands!

What’s more, Metanet have made sure that not all its levels are the same things over and over again, as they consistently find different ways to have you play, be that introducing a new enemy, or even just with the layout of the level.

As well as that, each level has a name, most of which are funny! For example, one of our personal favourite levels, “Intro to accepting your limitations?”, is a room filled with gold. Not too hard, right? However, as you try and collect all this gold, you realise that the ones placed in the middle of the ceiling require some precisely timed jumps to acquire.

N++_20150727201639
This level took us ages…

Gameplay

Gameplay. The most important part of every game, and pretty much determines how good it really is. So how good is N++’s gameplay? We think, pretty good.

Of course, there’s only so much you can do to make a platform game’s controls the best they can be, because, let’s be honest, they’re mostly the same every time. N++’s controls are pretty standard: left, right, and jump. No sprinting, no crouching, and no special powers, which is what makes it such a tough game. It all depends upon the skill of the player. And the durability of your controller.

N++ comes with 3 different game-modes: Solo, Co-op, and Race, with each section containing tons of levels to play. So, what do you do in each of these game-modes? Good question! Here’s an even better answer.

“Solo” is the game-mode for most platform games, where, you guessed it, you play by yourself!

“Co-op” is also pretty self-explanatory. You play with up to four of your friends in local multiplayer! Of course, if you have any…

“Race” is the game-mode very similar to co-op, except instead of working with your friends, you’re racing against them!

n-main-menu

Of course, there are a few little tricks you can do. For example, more experienced players will be using what’s known as “corner jumping” to enhance their gameplay, and even skip parts of levels with it! If you hadn’t already figured it out, corner jumping is where you jump off the corner of a block. You didn’t really need an explanation. It’s not too hard to do, and only requires a little bit of practice, but it can make beating levels a lot easier, and is incredibly useful whilst speed running.

Another little technique is slope jumping. Yeah, we just made that name up then and there, but it pretty much describes what you’re doing! Sometimes, levels will have a slope in them, which the player will use to launch themselves off and over some kind of death inducing obstacle. By running and jumping up that slope, you’ll gain an incredible amount of speed, and you will fly across the gap!

Our main criticism with the gameplay is the restarting aspect of it. For example, if you’re halfway through an episode, and then quit, reloading it doesn’t place you back into the level you left from. Nope, you’ve got to replay the entire episode again, which becomes incredibly frustrating when you’re playing some of the much harder episodes, such as those in the legacy section.

n-level-example

What’s more, another criticism we have is the progression aspect. Currently, in both versions of N++, you have to beat an episode level by level. This can really slow down your gameplay, especially with the really tough levels, as it can take you ages to complete. Of course, you can always move onto the next chapter and play in that section. Maybe it’s just us, but it’s much more preferable to beat the levels in a linear fashion!

Graphics

Interesting levels and fluid gameplay is all well and good, but how does it look? In N++’s case, pretty damn great! Metanet chose to use vector shapes and a flat UI to create a clean, sharp environment for their little stick figure to leap around in, and with over 8000 colours and 50 colour combinations, the levels look even more fantastic.

But it’s not just the flat shapes that look awesome: it’s the animations too. The fantastically fluid effects look lovely set against the minimalistic design, and it really shows you how much time and effort the devs put into making this game perfect.

We absolutely love the colours and art of N++, and honestly have no criticisms. They’re brilliant.

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Music

Ok, we’ve got some neat graphics, well designed levels, and smooth gameplay, but what about the music? Does N++ lay down some sick beats to run and jump to? The short answer: Yes. Definitely. Absolutely! Featuring just over 40 artists, N++ has a great soundtrack to run, jump, and explode to, and will have your blood pumping as fast as your stick figure is moving!

n-music
Rival Consoles’ “I Left The Party” is our favourite!

Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and for N++’s soundtrack, one of the things we’d like to see improved upon is just the overall feel of many of the songs. We have no problems with how they sound, not at all, just that when you’re sprinting through obstacles, you don’t want slow music to go along with it. Although the songs do pick up their pace, it would be great to see some more super-fast music with it, such as some of F-777’s tracks.

Apart from that, we’re fans of the soundtrack, and would love to see a digital/hard copy of it!

Online Features

Beaten all of Metanet’s pre made levels? Well, pop over to the online levels section, and browse some of those! There are some incredibly tough levels on there, so you’ll definitely be provided with a challenge!

But how did people make those? Why, the level editor of course! The level editor in N++ takes a little while to get used to, especially on console, since so many buttons do different things! However, once you master it, you’ll be creating and sharing awesome levels in no time.

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Unfortunately however, the level editor does have a few flaws. For example, the biggest, most annoying flaw, is the fact that you don’t need to verify levels before they’re uploaded. So, essentially, you could upload an impossible level. This can be pretty annoying, as we don’t want the online levels to be filled with a load of unbeatable ones.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we are huge fans of this game, and the franchise as a whole. We love the graphics, the music, and the gameplay in general, and would strongly recommend N++ to anyone looking for a challenging solo platformer, or some friendship testing local multi-player!

 

 

Want to check out the game yourself? No problem! Go here to buy it on steam, or go here to buy it on PS4. Oh, and if you’re interested in some more of N++’s art style, just visit their Tumblr, here! It’s filled to the brim with development graphics, early design ideas, and some awesome gifs!