We’ve come a long way since the days of Atari 2600’s Combat! Competitive remote control robot combat gets amped with augmented reality in the new MekaMon experience. It’s videogaming meets remote control robots. After over three years of development and 27 builds, Reach Robotics has crafted MekaMon. MekaMon uses your smartphone or TV to overlay graphic effects on the spider-like robots. Check out the action video segment below to see how MekaMon robots virtually launch missles and create explosion effects for a blended reality gaming experience that looks like no other.
Combat modes are available for single or multi-player. Single-player campaigns embark your MekaMon on a campaign where experience and upgrades can be earned for battling. Multiplayer mode include gametypes like Last Man Standing, Tug of War and others. Reach Robotics also notes that more than one smartphone can connect to the robots for co-op play. Spectators can also enjoy the augmented battle through TV casting.
“At the root of everything we build is the premise that gaming is an experience that goes beyond a screen. We imagine a world where things come to life in front of you,” says Silas Adekunle, CEO and cofounder of Reach Robotics. “Our inspiration came from building robots in STEM classes with underprivileged students in the U.K., and while we got our humble start there — we’re ready to introduce a new twist on hardware and video games and unleash our battling robots.”
Another cool factor is that physical pieces of the MekaMon can be swapped out to “add weapons or shields, enabling the creation of aggressive, defensive or technical specialists.” Infrared tracking and a smartphone provide the control scheme. A MekaMon weighs about 2.2 pounds and runs for about one hour per charge.
MekaMon is available to order now (website currently says shipping in January 2017) in a single or dual pack from MekaMon.com, in a variety of styles. Make sure to check the website for the latest price, which is currently discounted for the holiday. The first 500 orders are entitled to perks in the MekAcademy, which includes exclusive and early content. Looks like a promising new way to have fun with competitive gaming. Hope to bring you more details on the gameplay experience of MekaMon!
It’s about that time to wrap up another year of gaming – and tear up the gaming goodness! Whichever platform you get your gaming fix from, 2016 delivers many new options. Now is the time to grab some great video game system bundles, amazing breakout VR experiences, bleeding-eye graphic FPSes, and geek-out on gaming goodies. Keep it bookmarked here as game deals (hello, Black Friday!), last minute new game releases, special video game bundles and gaming goods will be updated in the weeks ahead.
Obviously this isn’t the end-all video game list – just a few biggies that are available now for your gaming appetite (ahem, if you can find the elusive NES 8-bit revival). Have any suggestions for the holiday gaming list? Send an email to email@example.com for possible inclusion in this GamingBits 2016 Holiday Video Game Gift Guide!
Make sure to follow @GamingBits on Twitter for the latest holiday video game and Black Friday deals as they happen during the week of November 21, 2016.
Geek Fuel What’s in the box?!?! A gaming and sci-fi bundle of goodies! Geek Fuel is the ultimate inner-geek care package, which you can delight in giving (or receiving) all year long. Geek Fuel packs a meticulous box of themed goodies that include items such as t-shirts, mugs, pins, and even video game download codes – at least a $50 value in a box! See these pictures for an example of the awesome items packed into a month’s delivery box. It’s the surprise gift that gives all year long, one which any fan of sci-fi, fantasy, comics and/or gaming will surely love! Thanks to Geek Fuel for the samples pictured here and the heads up on the awesomeness.
Some of today’s best VR gaming experiences are to be found on the HTC Vive. Room-scale motion tracking, included motion controllers and a headset with an external camera create an out-of-the-box virtual reality experience like no other today. Backed by a growing Steam game library and Viveport VR software, there is no shortage of what to virtually experience.
Steam Store VR recomendations:
– The Lab
– Job Simulator
– FATED: The SIlent Oath
– Tilt Brush(and checkout ReVive for using Oculus Rift games with the HTC Vive.)
The Pokémon GO Plus is an accessory now available to accompany your Pokémon GO gaming. The small bluetooth device is simple to use, featuring just one color-changing button on the face. It pairs up with an iPhone or Android phone and the Pokémon GO game. The Pokémon GO Plus can be clipped on or strapped to your wrist with the included adjustable wrist strap.
Pairing Pokémon GO Plus is done through Pokémon GO’s settings. Once you pair it, you will see the Pokémon GO Plus icon on the gameplay map. If a Pokémon is nearby, the Pokémon GO Plus button flashes green and the device vibrates. On screen, you see it point out to an estimated area where the Pokémon is with a red line. Click the button and it will start to pulse white, where you have a random chance to catch the Pokémon. If you’ve successfully caught it, the button will flash in different colors. If you miss catching the Pokémon, it will pulse red a moment and will let you know onscreen that the Pokémon got away. The Pokémon GO Plus will also light up in blue when a Pokéstop is nearby. Click it and it easily collects items at the Pokéstop. The other useful function, and phone battery saver, is having the Pokémon GO Plus count steps while your phone is in your pocket (good for your Pokémon buddy and egg hatching). That’s about all the interaction with the game and the Pokémon GO Plus device. So what are some advantages, and disadvantages, of using the Pókemon GO Plus?
The Pokémon GO Plus is a quick and easy way to capture those pesky and repeated Rattata and Pidgey Pokémon. But don’t expect them to be dead giveaways. In fact, it seems the odds are against you in randomly being able to successfully catch them, versus you trying with your own Pókeball throw. You also lose the visibility of what’s happening on screen. When you click on the Pokémon GO Plus, you don’t see anything on screen change, other than a small notification that says whether you were successful or not in catching the Pokémon. There aren’t any animations or indication of experience points earned (but yes, you still do get experience points for catching Pokémon with the Pokémon GO Plus). At times, the Pokémon GO Plus did point out there was a Pokémon nearby before the Pokémon appeared on screen. Yet, at other times a Pokémon was on screen and the Pokémon GO Plus took a few seconds to acknowledge it. If you also attempt to catch a Pokémon the old school way (with a finger swipe), the Pokémon GO Plus will have to be paired again via the on screen Pokémon GO Plus icon and a button press on the device. When you click on the Pokémon GO Plus when it is blue, for a Pokéstop, it will show the items you got from it onscreen. Note that one regular Pokéball will be used per Pokémon encounter with the Pokémon GO Plus. You have that one random chance to catch it or not. There are some inconsistencies with what shows on screen, but that may not be a deal breaker, being that you probably have your phone tucked away when using the Pokémon GO Plus.
So the Pokémon GO Plus has it’s advantage in helping you save phone battery life by not having to access your device all the time, avoid the bother of a Pidgey or Rattata encounter, and sometimes helps to discover a nearby Pokémon quicker. There are inaccuracies sometimes in when it detects Pokémon and the catch rate feels lower than usual for common Pokémon. Having a Pokémon GO Plus doesn’t provide a surefire way to catch a Pokémon. I doubt you would want to take the risk of catching a rare Pokémon with a Pokémon GO Plus. The Pokémon GO Plus has a clip on the back or you can unscrew it to place a wrist strap backing on it. The wrist strap is a multi-colored cloth material and considerably thin – not a particularly cool design. The Pokémon GO Plus is powered by an included, replaceable battery (CR2032).
The Pokémon GO Plus has a $34.99 MSRP and was released on September 16, 2016. Initial inventory on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2cSxHn3) and GameStop seems to have sold through quickly. So demand was, unsurprisingly high at launch (and there is definitely eBay price gouging happening at launch).
Livelock Official website: www.arcgames.com
Developer: Tuque Games
Publisher: Perfect World Entertainment
Release date: August 30, 2016
Available for PS4, Xbox One and PC
Reviewed on PC (Steam)
Following a cataclysmic event, corrupted AI machinery overuns Earth. Humanity is on lockdown. Three “Capital Intellects” (aka, robots with big guns) are awakened and released to the surface to reclaim humanity’s freedom in Livelock. Find the encryption keys to Eden, humanity’s sanctuary, with the guidance of Satcom in this sci-fi action top-down shooter.
Livelock’s story is very much inspired by elements of The Matrix. You may even catch a few references, like the kill speech of one of the Intellects, “Not like this.” The story unfolds throughout the gameplay and a few cartoon animated cutscenes in between. The animated cutscenes are a treat and look great, with no skimping on the audio and a killer soundtrack to boot. Livelock’s action takes place in the semi-destructive environments of war-torn New York, Tokyo and Moscow. Initial levels are not too long – all of which are linear. But boy, are they beefed-up with detail. Some levels are primarily boss battles while others may feel a bit more open for exploration and tearing walls down for some secret bonus discoveries. You’ll want to enjoy the sights. The attention to detail on the environments, animations, enemies and the player’s characters are incredible and run smooth and silky. You can feel the inspiration from Diablo games, but with a detailed sci-fi spin. Enjoy the lighting and detailed environments – there is lots of eye candy and visual effects to absorb. Livelock is a refreshing change – harkening to classic gameplay with 3d graphical goodness. Livelock truly is a beautifully detailed, chaotic world.
Select from three different character types, which include Hex, Vanguard or Catalyst, each with their own class traits, weapon stock and visual customization types. Hex is a nimble marksman, Vanguard a brawler with big guns, and Catalyst is flanked by combat drones. You can upgrade and store up to five different Chassis types to stock up for different multiplayer experiences.
Whichever of the three chassis you choose, there is a big variety of weapons, class-based skills (Functions), and visual appearances (Firmware) to dominate with your Capital Intellect. Weapons include the infinite ammo primary type, a secondary type for a bigger punch, and a mow-down big-gun heavy duty launcher type. Each weapon stock is distinct to the Chassis you choose. Functions, which are class-based skills, allow for up to three loaded special skills. The Catalyst can drop down a Drone Gun with a shield for attack and defensive support and combine that with a Temporal Rift to suck enemies into a vortex magnet. Maybe finish the enemies off with a carpet-bombing Drone Storm. There are many functions and weapons to find and upgrade to take down corrupt robots by your preference. Finding Carbon-caches throughout levels will help in upgrading weapons. Enemies will attack in huge waves in some areas, where they present the biggest challenge to stay alive. From clusters of small and speedy types, to larger bosses flanked by heavy shielded bots, Livelock features an array of enemies to tear through, or tear you down. So stocking up on the most compatible weaponry to your gameplay style is essential – or teaming up with the right Capital Intellect online. Find yourself in a heap of scrap? Throwing down a drop pod easily continues the action.
Livelock’s game options include the primary Campaign Mode or the how-long-can-you-last survivalist Open Protocol Mode. In Campaign Mode, you can select from four gameplay types: Public, Friends Only, Private and Offline. Online multiplayer will allow up to 3 Capital Intellects to battle it out together. The main Campaign Mode game is about under 10 hours, but Livelock offers three different difficulty modes for each level. Difficulty varies from Autonomous (Easy), Emergent (Normal) and Singular (Hard). Starting out at Emergent feels balanced enough for new players. A high score leaderboard is tracked for each level, so once you get your Intellect up to speed, you will want to revisit higher difficulties for more rewards (and leaderboard bragging rights!). There’s a time-completion bonus too, so you can always put your speed-running game skills to test. Completionists will want to revisit levels to discover secret areas and Audio Logs, which is easily doable from a level selection screen. Once you complete a level you can revisit it. Plus there are different kinds of visual gear you can find and unlock to customize your character’s Chassis. These include custom parts for your head, body and cape. There is a plenty to discover and to be rewarded with for players who like to dig deep. Getting to 100% completion for each Capital Intellect is a challenge and will take some time.
Open Protocol gameplay mode tests your Captial Intellict’s power against endless waves of enemies. How long can you survive and topple the leaderboard? It’s a smaller combat arena that sends wave after wave of ever-challenging enemies. It’s just another way to enjoy a bit more gameplay from Livelock.
Livelock is a refreshing top-down action game with super sweet 360 degrees of action. The attention to detail, soundtrack, and most importantly the gameplay, is locked down for enjoyment. I really enjoyed Livelock. The sci-fi references, cartoon intermissions and soundtrack make Livelock feel like a classic rebooted with beefy graphics and slick animations. But it’s a new piece of action gaming that I highly recommend to gamers who want to enjoy something fun and different to what is out there today. Two bits up for Livelock! Go forth, Capital Intellect.
Livelock official launch trailer:
Thanks to Perfect World Entertainment for providing GamingBits’ Livelock review access.
Once a dream of Star Wars fans, gamers and Wookies, playing with tabletop holographic animated monsters is finally getting real. Monster-chess augmented reality gaming is just about here with HoloGrid: Monster Battle. Thanks to veteran visionaries Phil Tippett, movie monster crafter, and HappyGiant, an indie game developer composed of former LucasArts, ILM, Hasbro and Pileated Pictures vets. Today Phil Tippett and HappyGiant announced the launch of a Kickstarter campaign for HoloGrid: Monster Battle.This new augmented reality collectible card game comes from the original source of the holochess gaming concept in Star Wars. How exciting is it that we have finally have made it to the point of possibly playing it and on virtual/augmented reality platforms such as PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Magic Leap? Read on below for more details on HoloGrid: Monster Battle and how you can have a hand in making it real.
About HoloGrid:Monster Battle, from today’s announcement:
“HoloGrid: Monster Battle’s gameplay is similar to Collectible Card Games (CCG’s) such as Magic: The Gathering or Hearthstone, but uses physical playing cards to trigger Augmented Reality creatures and a gameboard. Players will be able to play head-to-head, either locally or remotely, and offline, non digital play is possible as well through a physical board that will come with the product. A “Hybrid” Board Game, Collectible Card Game (CCG), and Digital Game in one, it delivers to players a new type of gaming experience.”
Creatures are designed from the hands and imagination of Phil Tippett, who has created many of the memorable fantasy characters seen in Star Wars films, Jurassic Park, Robocop, The Force Awakens, and more. Using a very cool sounding technique called Photogrammetry, Phil Tippett and HappyGiant digitally capture the hand crafted monsters.
“We’d been doing experiments with Photogrammetry, but more on museum level artifacts,” said Mike Levine, President of HappyGiant. “At the same time we began exploring doing projects with Tippett, we had the idea, ‘What if we tried this on some creatures?’ The results blew us away. That’s really where this idea was born.” “And it’s the exact same technique we used on The Force Awakens,” added Tippett.
HoloGrid: Monster Battle pits players against each other with the goal of defeating Champion monsters. Unique spells and attacks enable monsters to unleash battle techniques. If you have played games collectible card strategy games such as Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, or Eye of Judgment, you may be familiar with some of the mechanics. Summoning monsters through the use of collectible AR cards, players will be able to take-on battles in local matches (and possibly online matches with Kickstarter goals reached). A boxed product containing cards, tabletop mat and phone/tablet stand help bridge the virtual reality space with the aid of your Android or iOS device.
“We’re excited to be launching this Kickstarter with Phil Tippett and his studio, and bringing to life a game so many of us have always wanted to play,” said Levine, “This is our first step into a new world of AR gaming, and while we are launching it on mobile initially so everyone can play it, our long term vision is to bring it to emerging AR and VR platforms.”
HoloGrid: Monster Battle is being crafted for iOS and Android platforms, but with the Kickstarter campaign the developers hope to reach stretch goals to propel it to platforms such as PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Magic Leap, PC and Mac.
Support HoloGrid: Monster Battle and visit the Kickstarter page here. Watch a trailer from HoloGrid: Monster Battle below. May the 4th be with HoloGrid: Monster Battle and make it happen!