Some games are inspired by the developer's deep, personal experiences. Others are sparked by real-world events, or love of other media. For Skatebird developer Megan Fox, it all began with a gif of a bird on a skateboard.
A man and his adopted daughter find their way through a whimsical, post-apocalyptic landscape. Frying pan and psychic powers at the ready, they might stumble into saving the world as they explore it. With all the stylings of a retro JRPG, you might expect Eastward to play like one, but this chill action-adventure is more Zelda than Dragon Quest. John and Sam's triumphs and mistakes take place in a charming pixel-art landscape that's rich with lovely characters and intimately designed places. Even where the story dragged for a time, or the simplicity of the challenges felt patronizing, the parts of Eastward that spoke to me more than made up for them.Our headliners are John – a silent protagonist wreathed in messy hair and a bushy beard – and Sam, an outrageously precocious girl with budding psychic powers and a penchant for getting the two into trouble. They're lovable characters with a bushel of personality and a kind of timeless appeal. They set off from their home under dubious circumstances, and, eventually, find their way... eastward. I loved switching between the two as they travel through a cute but dangerous apocalyptic world of small towns and dam-cities. Along the way you play through discrete story chapters and explore the stories of the people you meet. There are a lot – a lot – of silly little minigames along the way. Baseball, river rafting, slot machines, and ever-present cooking.The trek to the east is pretty linear, but the areas you explore are laid out like little dungeons, with curling paths to find your way through as you battle goofy monsters and solve simple puzzles. John does most of the fighting via simple but satisfying hack-and-slash action, but Sam's powers – like freezing enemies inside big psychic bubbles – are useful for fights and vital for puzzles.It took me a few more than 30 hours to beat the main quest, but I know there are secrets to explore and little NPC storylines I skipped over that are worth going back for. In fact, Eastward's overall story is good enough that I've judiciously avoided spoilers in this review, to the point of being overly vague in some spots, but trust me, that’s for your benefit. There's also a pretty detailed roguelite JRPG game-within-the-game, called Earth Born, to play – and it was fun enough that I spent about six additional hours on it.The vibrant pixel art landscapes are so creative and so packed with detail that I often found myself stopping to just look.Eastward's real draw is its world. The vibrant pixel art landscapes are so creative and so packed with detail that I often found myself stopping to just look at a city street or a new railway station. Much of it is alive with little animations like running water, glinting metal, or spinning fans. I loved details like laundry on lines between buildings, boats overturned and made into houses, and countryside in the distance from train windows.It's a loving rendition of a world that's somewhere between a Studio Ghibli film and a classic JRPG – Castle in the Sky meets EarthBound. It's all overlaid with a pretty low-key soundtrack that's nothing standout, but it’s good enough, with a variety of both instrumental and chiptune arrangements.My favorite robot runs a construction company and has a bad hip.It's not just the backgrounds that pop, though. The characters of Eastward have great sprites and animation that packs in a ton of personality. They're a cast of well-designed weirdos who all have something unique going for them, which is an animated style that's become all too rare. The style and personality of the people you meet differs wildly, varying from gruff ranch hands to a trio of lively aunties, a sleepy small-town mayor, or a cigar-puffing casino owner. That's not to mention the circus performers, train conductors, conmen, and funky robots. (My favorite robot runs a construction company and has a bad hip.)Little fetch quests make you run back and forth across the world, but that's not so bad when that world is pretty. A lot of the best Eastward has to offer is just smiling at the guy meditating on a roof as you pass by his part of town. I’ve passed him a dozen times now; what is he doing up there? I don't know. He's happy. Dude's just vibing and it's nice.Earth Born Review-in-a-ReviewEarth Born is Sam's favorite game, and she loves the tie-in cartoon, too. It's a retro throwback to the Final Fantasy 1 or Dragon Quest era of 2D RPGs with a randomized roguelike twist, and it succeeds in invoking that era while still being a modern game. Earth Born consoles pop up in most of the major settlements alongside token-operated dispensers that spit out Pixballs – toys-to-life doodads that give you reusable boosts while playing – which you use to get further and unlock new party members inside Earth Born. It's the icing on top of Eastward's cake, even though it's entirely optional. So I guess it's more like the chocolate sauce on Eastward's ice cream sundae.As rounds of combat go by, characters accrue action points that they can use to fuel their most powerful skills. Knowing when, and against what enemies, to use your skills is the key to progressing. As you explore Earth Born's little branching world you pick up new party members, and a larger party lets you swap through more characters during each combat and start with more characters each run. They've all got something unique going on: there’s the Monkey, who helps even when not on the front row during fights, or the Merchant, who doesn't use the action-point system but instead uses accrued gold to do battle.I quite liked the tactics available in the turn-based combat, though if it were a real-world game it’d quite honestly be a "pay-to-win" experience because getting more Pixballs makes it easier and easier each time you start a new run at it. It's hard to be upset when the bonuses are something you earn in the course of finding secrets in the main game. Either way, it's a welcome change of pace from Eastward's more sedate stories or fast-paced combat. For some, I expect it might even be the highlight of Eastward.It's a relief that the world is so attractive and the characters are so appealing, because Eastward's greatest weakness is its writing. Character dialogue is hit or miss, with more than a few cliche lines and real stinkers. I'm talking about unironic use of lines like "I've been running my whole life." Frankly, it's because the writing doesn't know when to step back and let action or movement convey words. It uses two sentences when one would do – or, more often, one sentence when none would do. Dialogue that should pop up in the background – laughter, exclamations – is more often than not in a bubble that requires a button to progress. The only time I felt impatient or bored with Eastward was during the drawn-out dialogues.Fights are simple, and most enemies can be easily defeated with judicious application of John's frying pan. Exploration and combat are a welcome break from all that staring and reading. Fights are simple, and most enemies can be easily defeated with judicious application of John's frying pan. Everything else is susceptible to the neon-colored shotgun or flamethrower. There are lots of weird enemies though, like a giant frog person, tentacle plants, or ultra-tough zombies, and they've all got their own attack pattern – but I usually took them down the same way, no matter what they were. But let me be clear: Simple isn't always bad. It was fun to weave around attacks, smack mutants with a pan, and blow them away with the shotgun.It's weird that while you swap to Sam pretty often to do puzzles, I rarely felt the need to use her in combat; her ability to put monsters in frozen bubbles comes in handy for a few things, but you don't absolutely need it to win. If you had a psychic sidekick, wouldn’t you want her to do a bit more?Likewise, it’s a bit of a downer that the puzzles Sam’s instrumental in solving are never too complex, only ever getting difficult when it's a challenge of timing or skill – or to get at a few tricky hidden chests. Most often, you'll have to notice something like a wall to blow down with a bomb, a puzzle of which cables to connect, or which obstacles to remove so a raft floats where you want it to. The harder puzzles will have a timing element – moving quickly after triggering a switch, or golf-swinging a bomb into a narrow opening from a moving platform. It’s not complex stuff. The simplicity did bug me sometimes. While parts of the fighting are good in their straightforwardness, others are just basic. Partially it’s because the single-stick controls feel inadequate for aiming weapons. It's fun to bash with a frying pan, not so fun to make sure the characters are both dodging incoming projectiles. The relatively infrequent boss and miniboss fights are an exception there, requiring a bit of finesse and switching between both John's weapons and Sam’s powers. I liked them a lot more than the platforming and puzzle bits, and a lot of them really tested my ability to use every tool in my arsenal for a clean victory. One in particular stands out, an enemy knocks away bombs that you try to place at a vulnerable point. To win, I needed a deft hand at dropping bombs as John, then to switch to Sam to use her powers to distract the enemy, then back to John to dish out damage after the bomb went off. That’s the kind of synergy Eastward’s combat needs more of.
What better way to mark a decade of massive growth (and F.U.N.) than with the expansion of some of THQ Nordic’s most popular franchises to the PS5? SpongeBob SquarePants? Check! Crypto? Check. Cutter Slade? Check. Bikes, ATVs and UTVs? Check, check and check. Here’s a quick recap of all the first looks rolled out during […]
Email us at PSPodcast@sony.com! Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google or RSS, or download here So many games coming next week! And so many games we’re already trying to keep up with! Join the PS Podcast crew as they talk Tales of Arise, Deathloop, F.I.S.T., Life is Strange: True Colors, Death Stranding Director’s Cut, Lost […]
Last week, we asked you to share moments in the shade of purple using #PSshare #PSBlog. From violet space vibes to plum portraits, here are this week’s highlights: Sefwick shares the dancer of Bound surrounded by purple shapes. Photoingame shares two whales swimming in Beyond Blue. stabbed_jawa shares Rivet jumping for joy in Ratchet & […]
The affordability of Sinclair’s revolutionary 1982 home computer let a generation of young bedroom coders make anarchic, punky games, and its hardware limitations merely fostered extra creativity• Clive Sinclair dies aged 81 – reportOne day, in the bit...
Auto Chess is going to bring you a fresh gaming experience with a whole bunch of new content in the upcoming version. The brand new version comes packed with a formidable new chess piece from a mysterious race, a fire-new Big Winner mode, as well as the war-themed Season 14. Plus, PS teaming function will […]
In Versus Mode, characters from the anime, including Tanjiro and Nezuko, can be freely matched against each another in a 2 vs 2 setting with up to 2 players on or offline! Enjoy this simple but exhilarating battle system, and become the greatest demon slayer you can! Tanjiro Kamado（Voiced by: Natsuki Hanae） A kindhearted boy.He […]
Idea generation, not hardware or software, needs to be the bottleneck to the advancement of AI, Bryan Catanzaro, vice president of applied deep learning research at NVIDIA, said this week at the AI Hardware Summit. “We want the inventors, the researchers and the engineers that are coming up with future AI to be limited only Read article >
The post Pushing Forward the Frontiers of Natural Language Processing appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
The top downloads charts for August are here, revealing the top performers on PlayStation Store last month. Madden NFL 22 took the crown for PS5 and PS4 downloads across US and Canada. In Europe, Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut grabbed the top spot on PS5, while Grand Theft Auto V secured a number one position […]
Karla Polo is a Senior Product Designer on the Economy team at Roblox. Learn about how her work shapes monetization in the metaverse.
The post Working at Roblox: Meet Karla Polo appeared first on Roblox Blog.
Besides captivating gameplay, Housemarque is known for over the top particle effects. Titles such as Resogun, Alienation, Matterfall and Nex Machina all used proprietary VFX technology to bring colorful explosions to the screen in order to reward players for destroying enemies or completing levels.
Want to play awesome PC games for free without having to buy an expensive gaming rig? This GFN Thursday takes a look at the 90+ free-to-play PC games — including this week’s Fortnite Season 8 release and the Epic Games Store free game of the week, Speed Brawl, free to claim Sept. 16-23 — all Read article >
The post GeForce NOW Members Are Free to Play a Massive Library of Most-Played Games, Included With Membership appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
Ember Lab is very excited to share our first game with the world next week. In the game, you play as Kena, a young Spirit Guide who travels to an abandoned village in search of a sacred mountain shrine, and who must help the wandering spirits trapped there. Kena’s original character designs were created by […]
Highlighting NVIDIA’s fast-growing impact, Time magazine Wednesday named NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang to its list of most influential people of 2021. NVIDIA has enabled a revolution that “allows phones to answer questions out loud, farms to spray weeds but not crops, doctors to predict the properties of new drugs—with more wonders to come,” Andrew Ng Read article >
The post NVIDIA to Drive “Advances for Decades to Come,” Time Magazine Writes appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
Imagine trying to make contact with super-intelligent beings. Now imagine they’re not from space. Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, boast enormous brains, explains David Gruber, a professor of biology and environmental science at the City University of New York. Their brains weigh 20 pounds compared to our three-pounders. Perhaps more important: their Read article >
The post Whale Hello There: NVIDIA Intern Part of Team Working to Understand, Communicate with Whales appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
Decades-old video game consoles such as Atari 2600, Mega Drive and NES are seeing a wave of new games released on old-school cartridges. Who’s making them, and why?This year, veteran video game developers Garry Kitchen and David Crane released a new ga...
A multi-hospital initiative sparked by the COVID-19 crisis has shown that, by working together, institutions in any industry can develop predictive AI models that set a new standard for both accuracy and generalizability. Published today in Nature Medicine, a leading peer-reviewed healthcare journal, the collaboration demonstrates how privacy-preserving federated learning techniques can enable the creation Read article >
The post Medical AI Needs Federated Learning, So Will Every Industry appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
When you take a bold step forward, people notice. Today, the University of Florida advanced to No. 5 — in a three-way tie with University of California, Santa Barbara, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill — in U.S. News & World Report’s latest list of the best public colleges in the U.S. UF’s rise Read article >
The post AI Vision Guides University of Florida’s Rise in College Rankings appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
An invisible AI-enabled keyboard created in South Korea accelerates one of the most ubiquitous tasks of our time: grinding through texts on mobile phones. The Invisible Mobile Keyboard, or IMK, created by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, lets users blast through 51.6 words per minute while reporting lower strain levels. Read article >
The post Researchers Use GPU to Train Invisible AI Keyboard appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
This peculiar game offers a peaceful escape to a gentle life as a bus driver – if you can avoid mounting the curb and smashing into pagodas, that isMy first day as a bus driver did not go well. Just three stops into my inaugural route I was already run...
Imagine you’re sitting in Discord chat, telling your buddies about the last heroic round of your favorite game, where you broke through the enemy’s defenses and cinched the victory on your own. Your friends think you’re bluffing and demand proof. With GeForce NOW’s content capture tools running automatically in the cloud, you’ll have all the Read article >
The post How to Use NVIDIA Highlights, Freestyle and Montage in GeForce NOW appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
AI is at play on a global stage, and local developers are stealing the show. Grassroot communities are essential to driving AI innovation, according to Kate Kallot, head of emerging areas at NVIDIA. On its opening day, Kallot gave a keynote speech at the largest AI Expo Africa to date, addressing a virtual crowd of Read article >
The post The Bright Continent: AI Fueling a Technological Revolution in Africa appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
Tech giant ordered to let developers steer buyers elsewhereJudge finds Apple engaged in ‘anticompetitive conduct’A US judge on Friday ruled in a major antitrust lawsuit against Apple’s App Store, striking down some of Apple’s restrictions on how develo...
The transportation industry is adding more torque toward realizing autonomy, electrification and sustainability. That was a key takeaway from Germany’s premier auto show, IAA Mobility 2021 (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung), which took place this week in Munich. The event brought together leading automakers, as well as execs at companies that deliver mobility solutions spanning from electric vehicles Read article >
The post Autonomy, Electrification, Sustainability Take Center Stage at Germany’s IAA Auto Show appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
Taking the greatest bits of their source material, these games allow players to enter the worlds they love via epic lightsaber battles and balletic flights of fancyWhile TV shows and movies adapted from games remain, generally, rubbish, there is no suc...
Speedy diagnoses are critical, especially when a loved one seems to be slowly losing their cognitive abilities. Researchers from the Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania report they’ve developed a deep learning-based method able to predict the possible onset of Alzheimer’s disease from brain images with an accuracy of over 99 percent. The impact of Read article >
The post GPU-Accelerated Deep Learning Can Spot Signs of Early Alzheimer’s With 99% Accuracy appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
I’ve talked a lot about how the complexity of what we’re building requires an extremely talented team—and that team doesn’t just include the talent we have today. “Take the long view” is one of Roblox’s values and it’s a phrase you’ll hear all the time in the company. Nowhere is that value more applicable than […]
The post Celebrating Our 2021 Interns appeared first on Roblox Blog.
Two of Ubisoft’s biggest upcoming games will join GeForce NOW the day they’re released, and you can get ready to breach in a new season of Rainbow Six Siege with a free-to-play weekend. Plus, it’s time to find your true colors in the newest entry in the Life Is Strange series, one of the 10 Read article >
The post GFN Thursday to Stream Ubisoft’s ‘Far Cry 6’ and ‘Riders Republic’ at Launch appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
PlayStation 4/5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC; Deck Nine/Square EnixInteractive possibilities make this dorky tale about a small-town psychic musician strangely absorbingThe idea of moving somewhere picturesque for a fresh start is fast becoming as common...
Understanding speed limit signs may seem like a straightforward task, but it can quickly become more complex in situations in which different restrictions apply to different lanes (for example, a highway exit) or when driving in a new country.
The post Performing Live: How AI-Based Perception Helps AVs Better Detect Speed Limits appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
Harrison Kinsley and collaborator Daniel Kukeila created a neural network that generates its own gaming environment modeled on ‘Grand Theft Auto.’
The post GANTheftAuto: Harrison Kinsley on AI-Generated Gaming Environments appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
Join Grammy Award-winning duo Twenty One Pilots on an electrifying musical adventure where you decide how the concert unfolds!
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With persistence and the right tools, Deborah Tylor was able to do the impossible. A data scientist, she was tasked to comb a 3+ terabyte dataset at the Internal Revenue Service for patterns that might help uncover fraud. But even when she let the job run all night on a large bank of CPU servers Read article >
The post Sparking Transformation: How GPUs Busted Through a Once-Impossible Analytics Job appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson is injecting data science across its business to improve its manufacturing, clinical trial enrollment, forecasting and more. “I actually like to call it decision science,” said Jim Swanson, the company’s executive vice president and enterprise chief information officer, in a panel discussion at the most recent NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference. Read article >
The post Down to a Science: How Johnson & Johnson Boosts Its Business With MLOps appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
GFN Thursday is here to wake you up when September begins because there are a bunch of awesome day-and-date launch games coming to GeForce NOW this month. September brings 16 new day-and-date games to the cloud — including the anticipated Life is Strange: True Colors. They’re part of the 34 games being added throughout the Read article >
The post Streaming in September: GFN Thursday Welcomes 16 Day-and-Date Game Launches, Including ‘Life Is Strange: True Colors’ appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.
At Roblox, we believe that the metaverse is for everyone. It follows that the communication capabilities we create must also be for everyone. In this blog, Chief Product Officer Manual Bronstein introduces Roblox’s vision for the future of communicat
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Accelerated computing is humming in the background, making life better even on a quiet night at home. It prevents credit card fraud when you buy a movie to stream. It recommends a dinner you might like and arranges a fast delivery. Maybe it even helped the movie’s director win an Oscar for stunning visuals. So, Read article >
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Luna Sun shares her experience as a Senior Software Engineer on the Game Engine Rendering team, where she focuses on the visual quality of Roblox experiences.
The post Working at Roblox: Meet Luna Sun appeared first on Roblox Blog.