Steam

RTX 2019 Indie Roundup!

What’s happening everyone? I’m fresh back from RTX 2019 and boy howdy was it great. There were some incredible panels, lots of things to do on the show floor, and I made some wonderful memories with some wonderful friends. But you aren’t here to talk about how much fun I had; you’re probably here to read about some VIDEO GAMES.

(Also shout-out to my friends at Pack O’ Geeks for letting me tag along with them while they took a look at these games. Go check ’em out!)

Without further ado, presenting my new, 1-part segment:

THE GAMES AT RTX 2019 THAT WERE PRETTY FUN TO PLAY AND THAT I WOULD LIKE TO PLAY MORE OF WHEN THEY RELEASE


Agent Reverb (Diogras Inc)
Android / iOS | Available now!

hexagons with lines closing down on them to the beat

Image from Agent Reverb Google Play page

As I walked up to the booth for Agent Reverb, the staff welcomed me with a warm greeting of “Welcome! Do you like rhythm games?” and I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I actually didn’t get a chance to really play this game on the show floor; there were some audio/visual latency issues since they had the phone playing the game mirroring the display and sound to a TV, so everything was out of sync. They handed me a card with the phrase “agent, we have reports that a dragon has staked a claim on the Washington Monument…will you accept this mission?” written in comic sans, and pulled out my phone right in front of them and downloaded the game.

Agent Reverb is pretty neat. It’s about 70% touch-screen rhythm game, 20% idle game, and 10% action B-movie, but it seems to work out! The story is ridiculous and silly, but the game absolutely knows this. Seriously, just take a look at the incredible website. You earn volts for hitting notes, which can be used to unlock new stages and songs. Those same volts can also be used to buy robots that passively generate volts for you over time. The base game itself is free, with ads after every stage you complete, but you can kick them $2.99 USD to remove those ads, gain some premium currency, and gain a permanent volt generation bonus. Some of the songs do feel like they go on a little bit too long for my tastes, but overall I’m enjoying Agent Reverb as a fun little thing to check in on every few hours.

Swimsanity! (Decoy Games)
Switch / Xbox One / PS4 / Steam | Available Summer 2019! | Trailer

a 4-player cooperative game in progress

Image from Decoy Games press kit

As far as the indie games at RTX goes, this one was always a packed house; for good reason too. Swimsanity! is an incredibly fun 4-player local multiplayer madhouse.  The game is a pretty floaty twin-stick shooter, but the floatiness really worked well here. I always felt complete control of my character, but it did take a second to get used to the feel. The demo we tried had both the local competitive and cooperative multiplayer options available. We started up with the competitive multiplayer, and true to its name, it got insane fast.

Before each match every player picks an ultimate ability they can use, and the game turns into this flashy madhouse with abilities and power-ups firing off constantly.  From there we moved to the cooperative mode, which was hands down my favorite. Each player picks their ultimate as usual, but you’re able to stack them if multiple players fire them off at the same time. Doing so earns your team bonuses towards your next ultimate, which really encourages communication within your team. Each wave of the horde of enemies you’re fighting off only has a 1 minute timer, meaning that in order to progress you have to defeat all the enemies in the allotted time. It was really cool to see the various ultimate abilities and power-ups work in concert with each other. Swimsanity! is an absolute blast and manages to stay afloat in the busy sea of local multiplayer games coming out lately.  I simply cannot wait for this to release.

Alluris (562 Interactive)
Steam / Xbox One | Available Summer 2019! | Trailer

event card showing The Kraken attacking, with the player leaning towards the decision

Image from Alluris Steam Page

Now Kam, you might ask, what if I love a good text adventure game AND the meaningless anguish of endlessly swiping on my dating app of choice? Are there any video games out there for me? Enter Alluris, a self-described “swipe-your-own-adventure” game that I think is going to be a real problem for me when it comes out. The game starts with you choosing a gender (male, female, and non-binary are options, which was great to see), race, and class. I rolled with a non-binary Dwarven wizard because I wanted how the game handled it and I was pleasantly surprised to see my choices come up quite frequently in my various adventures. For instance, I won every single drinking contest I came across because I chose a Dwarven character.

The choices you make and paths it can open up go even deeper than that; I found a lute during my adventures and about 50 or so days later paid for some lessons so that I could learn to play it. Since I had that musical skill, every single inn that I would stay at going forward was half-price since my character would perform for a discount. I absolutely wish I had some more time with this game. My demo session was around 45 minutes, but I kept thinking about wanting to try out a different race or gender tp see what types of things I could get up to. Alluris is currently set for release on Steam and Xbox One, but the developer working the booth told me they were targeting mobile platforms as well, which sounds absolutely perfect.

Swapette Showdown (3D Generation)
Steam | Available 2019!

four boards filled with puzzle blocks during a 4-player match

Image from Swapette Showdown Steam page

Hey, remember Pokemon Puzzle League and Tetris Attack? So does 3D Generation with their spiritual successor, Swapette Showdown! For the unfamiliar, you swap blocks left and right in order to match three of the same block together. Making matches and chaining them together sends blockers over to your opponents. Once the blocks in a board reach the top that player is knocked out, and last player standing wins! I never spent a ton of time with this type of puzzle game, I was always more into to Tetris or Lumines, but I did see some high-level play from some other convention attendees and was really impressed with the height of the skill ceiling.

The demo I played had five playable characters, each with a different offensive and defensive ability. One character in particular that I didn’t get the chance to mess around with too much, actually rotated four blocks at once instead of swapping two, which does have me excited about possibilities for other characters and how they could change the game. The staff member I spoke with mentioned they’re currently only actively working on a PC release for this title, but would eventually love to bring this to the Nintendo Switch, which I think could do this game a lot of favors. I enjoyed my demo with it and will definitely be picking this one up, if anything to try and improve my game.

Black Ice (Super Duper Game Company)
Steam / itch.io | Available now in Early Access!

first-person viewpoint of the neon shape-filled overworld

Image from http://superdupergc.com/

Y’all, this game is really cool. Black Ice is a first-person looter-shooter, shlooter???, set in an open-world cyberspace where you hack terminals and fight off the programs trying to stop you. I spoke to the developer before my demo and he told me that he played a whole lot of Quake 3 and it absolutely shows in Black Ice. The movement is very fast and frantic, the enemies are many and relentless, the environments have lots of versatility and encourage exploration. Every weapon, skill, or item you find can be bound to any of the hotkeys listed, so you can really customize how you want to play. The weapons that were available in the demo felt great to use and ranged from a burst assault rifle, to a shotgun, to a disco-ball shoots lasers everywhere. Seriously.

Ever since I was young, I always thought that a first-person shooter hacking game would be just the coolest thing. I’m one of the dozens of people that really enjoyed playing Coded Arms on the PSP, and while that game had the style I wanted, it was a nightmare to control with the limitations of the platform. Black Ice is an absolute blast and is definitely the game I have been wanting and thinking about for years, I just didn’t know it yet. I loved the demo so much that I immediately bought a Steam key from the developer, and I highly recommend that you do the same.


That’s gonna do it for me! Did you go to RTX and check out some of these games? Are there any on this list you’re looking forward to?  Let us know!

Have a great day friends!

Kam really likes video games and being excited about things. When not talking into a microphone for strangers on the internet, you can find him organizing his Pokemon card collection like a huge nerd, perpetually coming in third place at Dave Grohl look-a-like contests, or in a drive-thru for any Taco Bell or Raising Cane’s in the Kansas City Area. Check him out on twitter @TheKamdyman or at his website kamraderie.com.

RTX 2019 Indie Roundup!

Sweet T and Double K

When Kam can’t think of a title, he defaults to a dumb joke that was said during an episode. This is one of those times. Sorry.

This week, your heroes talk about Apex Legends season 2, Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled, Slay the Spire, and a few cool games that Kam got to check out on the show floor of RTX 2019!

Got questions to ask the hosts?  Hit us up on twitter (@GamerHeroesPod) and we could talk about it on the show!

Feel free to give us some love on our socials! You could even just forget we’re playing on your phone all day while your headphones are plugged in at work.  That’s cool too, we won’t mind.

Don’t forget to subscribe! We’re available on iTunes Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker, Google Play, or you can use our RSS Feed to plug into any podcast app. Links are below!

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Not looking for a long-term commitment? No problem. Every dollar truly helps, so buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts!

Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Produced by GGKC

Hosts Kam Konek & Thomas Egan

Editor Kam Konek

Executive Producer Derreck Mayer

Music by Lifeformed

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Social Media @GamerHeroesPod | @GG_Kansas_City | @tegannotsara1 | @TheKamdyman

Rings And Pings

Buckle up and get ready to drop! We discuss our hands-on impressions of Apex Legends and why its sum is greater than its parts. 25 million players in 1 week?! Apex embodies the growth of the games industry in myriad ways; giving us high hopes for the future.

Are you playing? Which of these quality of life improvements do you want to see from other game devs? Let us know!

Don’t forget to subscribe. We’re available on iTunes Apple Podcasts, Spreaker, Google Play, or you can use our RSS Feed to plug into any podcast app. Links are below!

Find more about the GGKC folks at gg-kc.com.

Sign-up for our weekly newsletter! Head over to heroespodcasts.com/newsletter to sign-up today.

Help support the show by becoming a Patron and get access to our exclusive Patron Lounge on Slack! – patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts.

Not looking for a long-term commitment? No problem. Every dollar truly helps, so buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts!

Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Produced by GGKC

Hosts
Thomas Egan
Kam Konek

Editor
Joshua Welch

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Music
Lifeformed

iTunes Link
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Blog Talk Radio
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@GG_Kansas_City

Rings And Pings

GH74: Joe Executive, CEJoe

This week, there’s Discord among the ranks as we discuss the digital gaming marketplace. Then we (Let’s) Go headfirst into the latest Pokemon game as we round out the year and look forward to one last episode to round out the year!

Don’t forget to subscribe! Find us on iTunes Apple Podcasts, Spreaker, Google Play, or you can use our RSS Feed to plug into any podcast app. Links are below!

Find more about the GGKC folks at gg-kc.com.

Sign-up for our weekly newsletter! Head over to heroespodcasts.com/newsletter to sign-up today.

Help support the show by becoming a Patron and get access to our exclusive Patron Lounge on Slack! – patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts.

Not looking for a long-term commitment? No problem. Every dollar truly helps, so buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts!

Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Produced by GGKC

Hosts
Thomas Egan
Mike Madsen
Joshua Welch
John Marney

Editor
John Marney

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Music
Lifeformed

iTunes Link
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Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gamerheroes

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Twitter: @GamerHeroesPod and @GG_Kansas_City

Connect with GGKC and the community at GG-KC.com

GH74: Joe Executive, CEJoe

North by Outlands – Review

North is an Indie video game by Outlands that was originally released in April of 2016 on Steam. On March 6th, 2018, it releases on Nintendo Switch. The Switch is quickly becoming the go-to platform for Indie console titles, so North is in good company. Now, North is a relatively short game. In fact, if you know what to do, you could probably finish it in 30-40 minutes but the game anticipates that it should take you about an hour. With that in mind, I am going to do my best to avoid spoilers in both written and visual mediums. It’s a linear story with very few variations and I would prefer not to ruin it for anyone who is looking to pick it up.

Outlands describes the game as:

In NORTH you play a man who applies for asylum in a city filled with strange creatures and strange customs.

Dealing with the issue of the contemporary refugee crisis while at the same time being deeply rooted in a classical cyberpunk atmosphere à la Blade Runner, NORTH features a dark synthpop soundtrack, a sprawling mega-city and weird monster-like inhabitants.

The gameplay is very straightforward and mostly consists of exploration and simple puzzles. The main difficulty is to understand what you have to do in order to get asylum. You’ve come from an foreign land in the south and find yourself lost and confused – a confusion you convey through letters to your sister back home. An important part of the gameplay, these letters help you understand your tasks while at the same time moving the narrative of the game forward.

NORTH is short (20-40 min) and comes with a full soundtrack (8 songs).

North hits some heavy notes and focuses on an intense topic that impacts millions of people around the world. As you complete the game, the overtones and concepts it relays become much more clear. The story really does all tie together in a fairly creepy and unfortunately real way. But let’s start with the basics.

North by Outlands - Mines

It is a first-person game. You do not have hands. You cannot see any part of yourself or anything you may be holding. While this cleans up the screen, I would have appreciated some kind of aiming cross-hair as interacting with certain objects was tedious when using the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. It is not immediately clear what you are supposed to do but that is the nature of the game. North doesn’t have a menu. You can’t pause or save. There’s no HUD nor indication of health, location, etc. aside from one specific life monitor when you are in the mines, as show in the image above. Instead, all you get when the game begins is what you see below:

North by Outlands - Opening

The graphics are relatively simple and look like they would have been great for a VR game. However, the loading between screens is a problem. It is very buggy. The beautiful soundtrack gets broken up on a regular basis when loading between screens which really takes you out of the moment and feel. With that said, the sound is truly beautiful and reminiscent of movies like Blade Runner and The Neverending Story, two of my personal favorites.

North by Outlands - First Floor City

Speaking of bugs though, I broke the game. You see, there’s a part when you have to go to work in the mines. The atmosphere is dangerous and you have to limit your time in there. My first couple of attempts led to my death and in dying, broke the flow of the game to where I was not able to complete the steps. The arrow markers that were supposed to lead my way to the mine locations I needed to work were no where to be found and I could not interact with the drink machines that were active prior to my death. I found myself stuck and decided to just close the game and relaunch it, starting over. Being that I was about half an hour in, this wasn’t the end of the world and now that I knew what to do, it was much easier to progress.

North by Outlands - Church

I did use some walk through from Steam because the whole Church conversion tied in with the street cameras was not immediately intuitive for me. I think that’s my chief complaint. The game relies a lot on you just figuring things out but since I essentially broke the game during my experimenting, I was also hesitant to do anything I wasn’t fairly confident in. Of course, there are the letters to fall back on. As mentioned earlier, you are sending letters to your sister and as you progress, they tell you vital information about upcoming tasks. Yes, it’s a little weird. Essentially, you perform an action and a letter becomes available to send your sister. In posting the letter, you get to read it and learn what… you… learned. It’s a little convoluted but it’s a solid mechanic that does help you along. So it works.

North by Outlands - Letters

In the end, it’s a short game that does have a solid message about the way many refugees are treated, the hoops we force them to jump through, and how we make them feel about their background and who they are.  There are some technical issues, specifically around loading between events and what happens if you die or do not convert correctly. Hopefully these things will be fixed with patches. I am playing pre-release, so I will cut them a little slack. Also, it’s a dirt cheap game, only $2.99 USD on Switch, making it easily one of the cheapest games on the platform and not a terrible way to spend an hour.

North by Outlands - Police Station

If you’ve played North by Outlands, please hit me up on Twitter @TheStarTrekDude and use the hashtag #northgame. I’d love to talk to you about it.

If you haven’t played and are going to snag it on Switch, also hit me up and let me know! It releases Tuesday, March 5th on the Nintendo Switch eShop.

North by Outlands – Review

A Case of Distrust Review

As soon as you enter the stylish, monochrome world of A Case of Distrust, you can immediately feel the mood this game is trying to set. It’s the 1920s, you’re a down on your luck gumshoe with a troubled past, a former cop who interacts with the seedy underbelly. There’s a lot of fun and winky nostalgia as you talk very seriously to your cat as you lament your empty fridge in the game’s clever tutorial phase.

The game has virtually no user interface. The only persistent element on the screen is a small tab in the corner that allows you to review your notes. It’s a great touch and lets you entirely focus on the story being told through the game’s text blocks and static images.

Case of Mistrust

There are three ways to interact with A Case of Distrust. There are large scenes with objects you can click on that will give you clues or flavor text, there are conversations where you can pick from multiple dialog options, or there is the “Show Notes” interface where you can press for more info or contradict someone’s story by presenting something from your detective’s notebook.

For anyone that’s played L.A. Noire or Ace Attorney or any number of detective games, this will all seem very similar. That’s really the problem with A Case of Distrust, though. The more I played, the more things felt familiar. Not a new take on an existing genre or a nostalgic look at a foregone period, but a tedious attempt to capture the feeling of something else while doing none of the work.

Case of Mistrust

The art for the still images is crisp and stylish and the writing is a fun homage to detective writers like Dashiel Hammett or Raymond Chandler, but when all is said and done you’re basically paying $15 to read a short choose-your-own adventure detective story with pictures. Your notebook fills up with red herrings as you try and press the game’s few characters for information, all of which return stock responses. Progression is linear, there is no fail state.

The game is cute and interesting, but it never quite justifies it’s price tag. The main character’s backstory is a fascinating look at a female cop in the 20s, but you never feel like you get a strong sense of who she is under the layers of PI tropes. Going from place to place can trigger a neat little conversation with a cab driver, but it never amounts to anything. It’s like an informational loading screen when nothing is loading and the information isn’t germane to the game being played.

A Cast of Distrust would be a great game for anyone looking for an introduction to the detective/noir genre in either novel or game form, but it might be a little too familiar for anyone who’s spent some time with Phoenix Wright or Humphrey Bogart.

A Case of Distrust Review

GH41: Narcosis, Doom, and Microtransactions

Star Wars: Battlefront II lands in some hot water, Marvel shuts down Heroes, Derreck plays the underwater horror game Narcosis, and Jon checks out Doom on Switch!

02:00 – Battlefront II & Loot Crates

10:20 – Marvel shuts down Heroes

16:45 – Xbox One X is Selling

25:55 – Sony Pays for Trophies

31:45 – Narcosis: the underwater horror game

44:55 – Doom for Switch Impressions

59:55 – Black Friday, Video Game Contesnt, and Show Details

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Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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GH41: Narcosis, Doom, and Microtransactions

GH33 – PUBG and SteamWorld Dig 2

SteamWorld Dig 2 lands, PUBG bans, and Sony slams… okay, so Image & Form’s latest SteamWorld game has hit Switch and Steam with PS4 to come, Player Unknown’s Battleground starts having banning issues and trouble with streamers. Meanwhile, Sony has their Tokyo conference and announces new games including one that is already available right now! Plus, we talk a bit about other games including Project Octopath Travler and Metroid: Samus Returns.

01:15 – Seedi Retro Gaming Console

07:10 – Sony’s Tokyo Playstation Conference

17:15 – Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG)

29:30 – SteamWorld Dig 2 from Image & Form hits Switch and Steam

44:00 – Playing Now: Injustice 2, Project Octopath Traveler, Metroid: Samus Returns

48:00 – Personal thoughts, our new video series, video game contest and more!

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Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

Google Play Subscription Link
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GH33 – PUBG and SteamWorld Dig 2

GH30 – Do You Even Half-Life?

We’ve got tons to talk about this week including more details on the upcoming Ataribox home console, tons of Indie games at Nintendo’s Nindie event including SteamWorld Dig 2, Sony’s PSVR gets a price cut, Microsoft discontinues the OG XBox One, Overwatch makes massive changes to Mercy and D.Va, plus our thoughts on Half-Life with special guest, Ryan of Screen Heroes and Buster Props! So Stay tuned!

02:58 – Ataribox Crowdfunding and Dates

09:00 – PSVR Price Cut & the State of VR

15:05 – SteamWorld Dig 2 and Other Nindie Games

21:45 – Overwatch Tweaks Mercy and D.Va, Big Time

36:00 – OG Xbox One is Discontinued

37:05 – Half-Life 3 and What Could Have Been

53:25 – Closing Thoughts and Contest Details

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Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer

Special Guest
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

Google Play Subscription Link
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GH30 – Do You Even Half-Life?

GH22: Classic Consoles for Days

Classic consoles are everywhere with announcements of the SNES Classic, Atari’s return and more! Plus, we talk Steam’s Summer Sale, Superhot, and Zelda DLC. First, we discuss some of the games we’ve purchased on the Steam Summer Sale, plus a bit about Best Buy’s latest pre-order deals. Then, it’s off to Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s first DLC pack which is officially live. Once we cover the latest, it’s on to our main topic: Retro Gaming and Classic Consoles. We dive head first into Nintendo’s SNES Classic, discuss how the NES Classic was handled, and talk about the significance of Star Fox 2’s long awaited release. Then it’s on to Sega Forever hitting mobile, Atari’s surprise console announcement, and finally, a little about Superhot.

0:30 – Steam Summer Sale & Best Buy Pre-Orders

05:30 – Crash Bandicoot Trilogy

7:40 – Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC Drops

9:50 – Impostor Retro Gaming with the SNES Classic

28:00 – Impostor Retro Gaming with SEGA Forever

37:20 – Atari Returns to the Console Wars

47:50 – Currently Playing

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Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

Google Play Subscription Link
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GH22: Classic Consoles for Days

GH21: Minecraft Story Time

Minecraft can be a dangerous place, corporate challenge can be a freeing experience, Mario Odyssey gets 2-player, and the Necromancer returns to the world of Diablo. We talk these topics, plus a few more across the gaming universe including the Steam Summer Sale, BlizzCon, and the Xbox One X!

2:00 – Story time with Derreck: Minecraft Happenings

11:15 – Steam Summer Sales has Landed

15:50 – Xbox One X held back by S and PS4

23:40 – Blizzard Stuff: BlizzCon expansion, Overwatch Prime Loot, and Necromancer’s return

36:00 – Super Mario Odyssey and weird Nintendo Switch online chat

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E3 2017 Predictions Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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GH17: Shovel Knight Interview

Yacht Club Games, makers of the smash hit indie title Shovel Knight were awesome enough to sit down with us for an interview! We talk with two of the original founders of the company, Ian and Sean. They’ve been with Shovel Knight even before there was Kickstarter. We talk about their contributions to Yacht Club games, what they do day-to-day, and then dive into Shovel Knight. We hit on the Kickstarter, stretch goals, initial release, expansions, bringing the game to the Nintendo Switch, and the newest release, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. Plus, Ian and Sean talk a little about the final two major components coming to the game slated for 2017.

0:15 – Introduction with me (Derreck)

1:20 – Interview begins with Yacht Club Games

3:55 – King’s Knight Campaign

7:00 – Expanding the game from Kickstarter

14:00 – Bringing Shovel Knight to Nintendo Switch

19:45 – Treasure Trove and new features like body swap mode

27:00 – Amiibo compatibility

31:00 – Ian and Sean’s final thoughts and Shovel Knight in 3D

35:30 – Contra NES streaming and closing

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Gamer Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Ian and Sean from Yacht Club Games

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/m/I6qwdjccfc4sxi5urxuebuisatq?t=Gamer_Heroes_Video_Games__PC_Gaming__Console_Gaming_Mobile_Gaming

iTunes Subscription Link
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RSS Feed Link
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Social Media
@HeroesPodcasts

GH17: Shovel Knight Interview