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Skelattack Review – Bone-Dry

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Lacking meat on its bones, Skelattack has disjointed pieces and parts that add up to create an awkward, though heartwarming, side-scrolling platformer. You can see snippets of a precise platformer in Skelattack, but they are too sporadic and underutilized to really make you sweat. In a game centered on a human invasion of the afterlife, there sure aren’t very many enemies, and most of them remain in place or move like molasses, emulating the dead far more than the warm-blooded humans they’re supposed to be. Skelattack’s identity crisis is further fueled by its far too brief length, which prevents any of its solid ideas from coming into their own.

Starring a chipper skeleton named Skully and his lovable bat-pal Imber, Skelattack tells the story of a peculiarly joyous world of the dead, dubbed Aftervale, that’s suddenly invaded by the wretched humans who seek immortality.

Developed by Ukuza, Skelattack is the debut title in Konami’s new push to publish games made by Western studios. And while your mind likely jumps to Castlevania when you think Konami, Skelattack doesn’t evoke the labyrinthine design of the publisher’s influential franchise. Instead, what you get is a linear world with few instances where you’re able to go off the beaten path to uncover hidden chests with upgrades or currency. The world is separated into a handful of different areas, each with its own obstacles to pass and enemies to either avoid or eliminate. All of them wind up feeling rather similar in practice, since Skelattack doesn’t really build on its mechanics over time.

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Skully can double-jump, an ability that is used in almost every room. Whether wall-jumping, vaulting through a maze of precarious spikes, or avoiding projectiles, Skelattack’s best segments ask you to be dialed in. In its strongest spots, you have to string together jumps while navigating minefields of dangerous objects. Carefully timing your jumps and double jumps to land safely on solid ground can be thrilling, especially when you’re forced to consider not only the current jump, but your next move, too. These great moments are all about committing to a plan and executing it to perfection. Unfortunately, the briefness of these tricky maneuvers and the absence of real stakes suffocates an adventure that shows glimpses of greatness and genuinely clever platforming sequences in places.

Even though Skelattack has tight controls and fluid animations, both the platforming and combat suffer as a result of the layout of many areas. Skelattack fails to capitalize on its pulse-racing sections by placing too much cushion between them. Or, in some cases, sequences are broken up by an excessive number of checkpoints, which are found in practically every room and in greater numbers in more taxing rooms. When the threat of instant death disappears, you’re left going through the motions in a world that is now strangely unthreatening. Occasionally, you take control of Imber to navigate through tight spaces, fluttering through obstacles. Though it’s a nice change of pace, these instances are also fleeting.

Death also causes you to lose a portion of the gems you’ve accrued. They float at the spot of your death, and you can retrieve them in full as long as you don’t die on the way back. Otherwise, you keep losing more and more with each death. This is complicated by the fact that if you’re impaled by spikes, retrieving lost gems is annoyingly challenging, because they float right above the spikes. This may sound like a big deal, but gems are trivial and the purchases you make with your fortune don’t matter much when death isn’t much of a punishment to begin with.

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Over the course of your journey to stop the humans, you can buy upgrades for your health and various abilities: heal, a projectile attack, a third jump, and a secret ability that comes into play far too late to make an impactful difference. All of your abilities use magic, but the only truly useful one is heal, which winds up negating the difficulty of what would otherwise be tough boss fights. Once you purchase an upgrade or two for heal, you can brute force every combat encounter–namely bosses–without having to worry about dying.

Skelattack has fluid, though rudimentary combat. You simply need to slash your sword and hop away to avoid attacks. And your only real opportunity to make use of the combat is in boss fights. However, because you can take a lot of damage and heal yourself instantly, these well-designed bosses–a flying archer, a powerful mage, a tag team duo of a warrior and lute player, and more–wind up being far less formidable than they initially appear. It’s disappointing considering that boss fights actually make pretty good use of the platforming mechanics, often taking place in dynamic rooms where you have to use the environment–platforms, moving conveyor belts, and spring-loaded mushrooms–to get hits in. Sadly, since you quickly become overpowered to physical threats, these fights don’t have the opportunity to shine.

Outside of boss fights, it’s surprising how few enemies are positioned across the map. Sword-wielding knights make up the bulk of the enemies, but they are so slow and unimposing that they might as well not be there. Other enemies, for the most part, act more as additional environmental fixtures rather than true threats, as they are seemingly incapable of moving from their positions. Magic-wielding enemies lob fireballs, while stoic humans playing lutes hurl sound waves that can push you off course while jumping around. If more prevalent in numbers and dynamic, these enemies would add a meaningful layer to Skelattack; instead, their minimal presence amplifies the uneven reality of this world, and combat gets pushed into the back of your mind until the next boss showdown.

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Despite its balance and progression woes, Skelattack still manages to sneak in some charm in spots. Lighthearted dialogue between Skully and Imber and the other denizens of Aftervale is often humorous and flies in the face of what’d you expect from skeletons, rat kings, imposing rock beings, and sentient flames. There’s a kindness in Skelattack that is cozy and infectious. Its welcoming personality combined with colorful visuals and melodic soundtrack make even damp sewers, a fiery cavern, and a literal dungeon seem rather pleasant. It’s just a shame that the moment-to-moment gameplay doesn’t live up to the endearing atmosphere.

Skelattack moves quickly toward its conclusion, with the adventure to stave off the invasion winding down in about four hours. There’s nothing wrong with short games that can be played in an afternoon or two, but what’s here never becomes a fully realized experience. The length wouldn’t be a problem if Skelattack delivered a fully realized experience, but it fails to do so. Skelattack has flashes of excitement and delight, and there’s no denying that it feels good in motion, but lackluster level design and inconsequential combat let its sound platforming down. Unlike the inhabitants of Aftervale, Skelattack lacks soul.

Source: https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/skelattack-review-bonedry/1900-6417486/?ftag=CAD-01-10abi2f

Gaming

Stack Sports and Battlefy Partner to provide sports organizations…

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Stack Sports and BattleFy Logos

“It’s really amazing to see the world of sports and esports coming together,” said Jason Xu, CEO of Battlefy.

Stack Sports and Battlefy are Partnering up to provide sports organizations an all-in-one technology solution for esports tournament and event management. This partnership brings together the platinum standards of technology in sports and esports, to help organizations deliver professional and safe programs to kids around the world.

Battlefy is home to over 230 thousand independently operated esports tournaments and leagues across the globe. Their platform makes it easy for anyone to create, manage, and market tournaments for a huge variety of game and competitive formats. Battlefy provides full flexibility to design and monetize the perfect experience, using features such as automated scoring, match stats, and solo/team competition modes, as well as sponsorship management, loyalty programs, and full service event management for organizations looking for amazing tournaments that are fully managed.

With existing clients such as FIFA, Bundesliga, Turner Sports, Vancouver Canucks, and Red Bull; Stack Sports is confident that Battlefy’s innovative technology is perfect as it’s premier partners in the professional and amateur space. With the growing popularity of esports, partnering to provide innovative technology to traditional sports franchises fits well with Stack Sports mission to increase participation and transform the sports experience.

“Following the addition of esports to the Stack Sports ecosystem and CaptainU recruiting platform this year, we’ve seen consistent growth in these programs,” said Jeff Brunsberg, Chief Revenue and Strategy Officer. “We intend to continue to invest in this space and offer sports organizations the very best tools available and we believe Battlefy will help us do that.”

The Battlefy team provides the best-in-class service for event organizers with an open communication platform and a full white glove support team. With a global footprint, the staff offer a level of support unmatched for brands. Spanning from Vancouver all the way to Jakarta, the team operates across New York, Paris, London, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, and more. This allows them to help organizations think globally about their esports events and activations. This Partnership will continue to grow the capabilities Stack Sports offers while meeting the need for more remote and contactless programming in traditional sports.

“It’s really amazing to see the world of sports and esports coming together,” said Jason Xu, CEO of Battlefy. “I was an active kid growing up, playing soccer and badminton competitively. I learned a lot of life lessons on the field that I applied to playing esports and vice versa. Battlefy and Stack Sports have the opportunity to bring out the best of both worlds, and help kids continue to experience competition and sportsmanship in these trying times.”

About Stack Sports

With nearly 50 million users in 35 countries, Stack Sports is a global technology leader in SaaS platform offerings for the sports industry. The company provides world-class software and services to support national governing bodies, youth sports associations, leagues, clubs, parents, coaches, and athletes. Some of the largest and most prominent sports organizations including the U.S. Soccer Federation, Little League Baseball and Softball, and Pop Warner Little Scholars rely on Stack Sports technology to run and manage their organizations. Stack Sports is headquartered in Dallas and is leading the industry one team at a time focusing on three key pillars — Play, Improve, and Engage. To learn more about how Stack Sports is transforming the sports experience, please visit http://www.stacksports.com.

About Battlefy

Battlefy is the virtual YMCA for esports. Our digital platform is home to over 230 thousand esports tournaments and leagues from the popular game developers, consumer brands, sports organizations, colleges & high schools, professional teams, streamers, gaming communities, and fans. With competitions across every major game title, our mission is to help everyone with a passion for esports build an amazing and authentic experience for their fans, customers, employees, and friends.

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Source: https://www.prweb.com/releases/stack_sports_and_battlefy_partner_to_provide_sports_organizations_global_online_technology_for_esports_tournament_and_event_management/prweb17490991.htm

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AR/VR

League of Legends World Championship to feature immersive Mixed Reality experience through Rokid Vision glasses

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In Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality News

October 22, 2020 – Rokid, a provider of augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR) glasses, has today announced that its technology will be available for fans to use at this year’s League of Legends (LoL) World Championship tournaments and opening ceremony for the event finals held in Shanghai, China.

Fans of the popular MMORPG game will be able to use a pair of Rokid Vision AR glasses to experience LoL live at the event and to witness an immersive experience featuring a dragon from the game hovering over the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Tower and flying up to them in their seats, transforming the spectators experience and transporting fans to the Summoner’s Rift, an in-game location from LoL.

Furthermore, whilst wearing Rokid Vision, fans will be able to witness the space surrounding them change to include personalized features such as highlights of the game, close-ups of a favorite player, team names, logos, and other information.

Rokid first introduced its Vision mixed reality glasses at AWE USA 2019. Through a combination of Rokid’s binocular optics, AR and AI capabilities, the glasses extend existing user interfaces with augmented and mixed reality (via a USB-C connection) for devices including phones, laptops, gaming consoles, helping to enhance productivity, entertainment, and gaming. The glasses are also 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) enabled, allowing users to experience more natural interactions with the 3D virtual content that is projected within their visual field.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, there are limited seats at the 2020 League of Legends Global Finals, and many fans cannot attend in person to watch. This is therefore the first time that League of Legends fans will be able to use AR glasses to watch the finals, thanks to Rokid.

This is not the company’s first time employing the use of its AR and MR solutions to offer event fans new experiences though. In 2018, Rokid, in partnership with Teslasuit, created an immersive experience for Formula 1 fans. The experience utilized data and camera footage collected from Formula 1 vehicles, and using the Rokid Vision glasses and Teslasuit’s somatosensory haptic suit, reproduced tactile feedback that enabled users to experience the visual impact and physical experience of driving a Formula 1 car.

For more information on Rokid and its augmented and mixed reality offering, please visit the company’s website.

Image credit: Rokid

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he covers news articles on both the AR and VR industries. He also has an interest in human augmentation technology as a whole, and does not just limit his learning specifically to the visual experience side of things.

Source: https://www.auganix.org/league-of-legends-world-championship-to-feature-immersive-mixed-reality-experience-through-rokid-vision-glasses/

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Gaming

2020 Videogame Spending Reaches Highest Level in 10 Years

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Overall spending on total physical hardware, software and accessories, and digital console and PC content increased 25% over the same period in 2019, according to The NPD Group. In the most current quarter (July – September) sales were up 7% over the same time period last year.

Overall spending on total physical hardware, software and accessories, and digital console and PC content increased 25% over the same period in 2019, according to The NPD Group. In the most current quarter (July – September) sales were up 7% over the same time period last year.

Gains were seen across each of hardware, software and accessories. Strong growth across Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One led to an overall hardware category sales increase of 46% versus the same period last year. Sales of video game accessories including gamepads, headsets, steering wheels and other peripherals increased 39%.

“During the pandemic, many people have turned to video games not only as a source of entertainment, but as a way to stay in touch with friends and family with online play,” says Joan Ramsay, Industry Analyst for Canada Entertainment for the NPD Group. “What we’ve seen, in addition to new players discovering gaming, is more video game players playing for more hours, while spending more in the process. They are discovering that the industry provides a wide variety of ways to play to meet every budget, interest and device.”

Top Performing Video Game Titles

Among the best-performing titles so far this year are:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
  • The Last of Us: Part II
  • Final Fantasy VII: Remake
  • Super Mario 3D All Stars
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • Marvel Avengers
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
  • NHL 20

“We expect that these strong sales will continue through the end of the year, buoyed by the continued success of Nintendo Switch and the launch of the new hardware platforms for Playstation and Xbox next month,” says Ramsay.

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Source: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2020_videogame_spending_reaches_highest_level_in_10_years/prweb17493308.htm

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