Why You Should Back The Binding of Isaac: Four Souls Multiplayer Card Game

Binding of Isaac four souls multiplayer card game logo

Have I ever mentioned I’m a fan of The Binding of Isaac video game series? I’ve put in over 2,000 hours across 4 different platforms and the replay value still keeps me coming back regularly. Edmund McMillen has been teasing a new game on twitter for some time now. On Wednesday, we finally got the big reveal in the form of a Kickstarter for a brand new, Binding of Isaac themed multiplayer card game!

By the time I got the press release in my inbox, the game was funded 3x over. It has far surpassed that now, which should tell you a lot about the enthusiasm surrounding this series. The community is busting through stretch goals at breakneck speed!

 

I backed the game immediately at the Trap Door level for the playmat and expansion cards. What makes this so exciting for me is the opportunity to share the quirky aspects of a game I love with my friends. When I have friends over or go to one of my Nintendo Meet-Ups, I can bring up to 4 people into the dark world of Isaac with characters, themes and items I adore.

I also love the duality of the gameplay. We’ll work together to bring down bosses and find loot, but I’ll have to make decisions whether to stick to my alliances or betray my friends (I’m a backstabbing queen. Trust me at your own risk).

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I’ve always loved the simple, grotesque aesthetic Isaac employs so I’m eager to explore the more than 300 cards representing items, characters, monster and loot. No video game is more creative with power ups (or downs!) than this one. Let’s see how these items are used in new ways! The tarot theme has also appealed to me and is inspiring me to create a game of my own (someday).

The resurrection of card and tabletop games over the last few years (as well as physical game copies and collectible bonus items) has caught me in its grip. Just like my newfound interest in DnD, I think there are a lot of reasons card/tabletop games are so popular.

Binding of Isaac Four Souls Multiplayer Card Game Layout

Protype of what the game layout will look like.

I co-manage a Nintendo Meet-Up group and we’re often frustrated with the lack of local multiplayer video games. Online play is fantastic, of course, but sometimes you want to play with people IN THE SAME ROOM. Also, screen fatigue is real.

Adding card games to the meet up- and reviving them in entertainment culture overall- creates a connection we’ve been missing in the digital age. Also I get to look at people in the face! Imagine that.

If you have a dark sense of humor, appreciate loose biblical and demonic lore, want to fuck over your friends or have ever been a goth/emo, you’ll probably enjoy this card game. Like the Binding of Isaac Tarot decks, this game is bound to sell out of McMillen’s online shop (if it even stocks there). You have until July 27th to back the game and effectively reserve your copy along with the rewards. Or you can always come over and challenge me, if you’re sure you want to die.

What video games would you want to see as card/tabletop games?

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E3 Recap

E3 2018

E3 2018

I’m back from California, sun-kissed and head spinning with all the amazing things I took in. I’ll have a couple posts coming up about my trip, and as E3 was my main reason for heading to the West Coast, what better place to start?

First of all, I work in tech so I was able to nab a complimentary industry pass. I don’t recommend attending as a gamer. Glux had a rougher go of things with a gamer pass. Not only was the “gamer” community stereotypically smelly, rude and pushy-shovey, but once they were admitted they clogged up the lines and made everyone miserable. It was a much more enjoyable experience with Industry early access.

That said, E3 was like nothing I’ve experienced before. The booths, the swag, the calibur of other professionals buzzing around the show floor… It was so inspirational. I can’t even go into all of it, so here are my highlights.

Best of: Booths
Bethesda stole the show with an immersive Vault 76 walkthrough experience, complete with actors in each of the rooms to make it feel real. IGN got some amazing shots of the vault.

Vault boy at E3 2018

Well hello there, Vault Boy!

When entering the main hall of the convention center, Square Enix’s Mayan ruins-themed booth filled the immediate area. To celebrate Shadow of the Tomb Raider, they took us into Lara’s world, complete with a professional Lara Croft cosplayer stalking the grounds.

Of course, I spent a lot of time around the Jurassic World Evolution compound. Outside, there was a broken fence, presumably torn down by the velociraptor inside, as well as Denis Nedry’s Jeep. Through the looming gates, monitors showed the latest dinosaur creations and their specific DNA make up.

Finally, the Largest Booth Award goes to Fortnite for being the single game with the biggest E3 presence. The back third of South Hall was essentially an ode to Fortnite. The Battle Bus was there with props for a photo opp. Staff in forts handed out branded cups. There was even a mechanical llama pinata! Rows and rows of demos filled the rest of the area.

Demo time!
The first game I played was Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate. In the 15 minute demo, 4 of us teamed up to take on one of three quests. Overall, it seemed the same as MHG on 3DS… just on Switch this time. Online play will be cool and there are some new monsters – my team of four was decimated by the new Elder Dragon Valstrax – but it doesn’t feel different enough to buy again.

Inside the Jurassic World Evolution booth, we sat down in a small theater where an Ingen executive gave a presentation about our mission as new park employees (and the risks involved). She told us we could choose to release and transport one of 3 dinosaurs into their designated pens… and then create a spectacle for park guests by provoking a dinosaur fight! Then we were ushered into the Jurassic Park compound where the demo stations were set up on three platforms. I played the Playstation version and enjoyed it. The dinos are so realistic and well animated. I’m not usually a fan of sims, but this is one I’m going to pick up when the physical release drops on July 3rd.

Jurassic World Evolution Jeep at E3 2018

… I think this was Nedry’s yellow rain slicker…

Luckily, Glux and I secured the very first time slots to play Super Smash Bros Ultimate. The standby line was… deterring to say the least. We got three matches so to make the most of it, we picked the two new stages first – the Sheikah Tower from Breath of the Wild and Moray Towers from Splaton 2. We let our random match up pick the final stage – he chose Donkey Kong’s Rumble Falls, which looked spectacular on the Switch! As for characters, I went with Bayonetta first and then loved the Inkling’s moves so much i played her twice. She’ll very likely be a new main for me. Glux tested the Inkling, then new addition Ridley from Metroid, and ended with Bowser. It’s worth the hype. I can’t wait to play again. As a bonus, we got Smash pins for being among the first to play!

Spotlight on Swag
Bethesda gave away the most swag. You couldn’t walk a booth-length without seeing 50 vault boy masks. Mine is hanging eerily in my office, successfully creeping out all who pass. They also had one of those souvenir penny presser machines set up with four different Fallout 76 designs. For 76Β’ (appropriately) I selected the tricentennial design and then immediately preordered the tricentennial edition. In celebration of “Reclamation Day” party hats and cups were doled out to potential Dwellers. All that was missing, was Rad-free cake!

Twitch gave out some of my favorite swag of E3. You can attribute it to my high affinity for the brand, but they gave out purple sunglasses that I’ll actually wear. The tote bags they gave out are compact and quality with the cute Glitch logo. I also really liked their simple, branded nametag stickers that said “My Twitch ID is” with a big blank for your handle. I grabbed a couple to stick on my laptop and bujo.

What Nintendo lacked in swag, it made up for in content and quality. The Smash Bros logo pin is simple and nice. I’ll treasure it. They presented a lot of great photo opps with classic relics from Nintendo games too. DK’s tie, the Master Sword, Pit’s bow, Cappy… Sandbag was my favorite forgotten hero. Glad to see him get some much deserved appreciation!

Overall, I had a great experience. The only real downside was the gamer-clogged lines and the location – LA was the dirtiest city I’ve ever seen and I didn’t feel safe there even in daylight. We Ubered exclusively after 7pm every day, not that LA was particularly walkable anyway. I’m hoping my company will have a presence next year so I can go back to the Expo, all expenses paid.

What were your favorite moments from E3 this year?

Shantae Half Genie Hero – 100%

I rarely finish games I start. It’s my biggest blocker when I want to buy a new game – do I want to spend money on something I’m probably not going to finish? I don’t buy books I don’t intend to read cover to cover so why do I do it with games? Well NOT ANYMORE! I 100% completed Shantae Half Genie Hero!

This year, I’ve finished every game I’ve started. I started Shantae: Half-Genie Hero last year, but then got distracted by other games. Coming back to it after so much time felt weird so I just started a new save and went back to the beginning. The very first stage (before the main plot starts) plays a super fun, poppy theme song as you run through the town defeating tinkerbats.

While many might see Shantae’s character design as sexist with her impossible proportions and skimpy genie outfit, I think she’s one of the best female protagonists in gaming. Yes, she’s sexy… and a total badass who is loyal to her friends and works hard at her job as Guardian Genie of Scuttle Town. She’s sarcastic, witty and doesn’t take any shit from her enemies. Her femininity is part of her power – those hip-shaking genie dances transform her into creatures that allow her to solve puzzles and save the day!

Her strong cast of supporting characters add to the story too. So much so, that the developers created new game modes to feature them. The Friends til the End expansion allows players to play as Shantae’s friends -Sky, Bolo and Rotty Tops- to save Shantae’s corrupted mind. Pirate Queen’s Quest features Shantae’s nemesis – Risky Boots – on a mission to create the final boss of Shantae’s storyline.

Every stage is incredibly detailed and beautiful. While the story requires you to revisit all the worlds several times throughout the game, Shantae’s ever-growing list of transformation dances make you see each world in a new way, sometimes from an entirely different angle. So it feels new every time. In fact, where stage repetition gets tedious and frustrating in other games, I’ve grown to love each of the stages in HGH. There’s always something to discover, which probably motivated me to reach 100% completion.

The Mermaid Factory is one of the most creative and fucked up stories I’ve ever played and it LOVE it.

The Shantae series is one of my favorite stories for sure. The costume DLC packs bring 3 new game modes into play that seem perfectly designed for speedrunning. That’s my next goal! My hope is that we will see her in the new Smash Bros for Switch (and maybe an amiibo of that cute curvy figure too!).

What games have you completed this year?

My Summer: Dead. Jurassic World: Alive!

Did you guys know about my borderline unhealthy obsession with Jurassic Park and dinosaurs? I just realized JW releases the same weekend I was supposed to visit home and guess which thing I’m choosing?

On Wednesday, I finally got a release notification for Jurassic World: Alive! and I’m just now coming up for air.

Basically, JWA takes what made Pokemon Go great and makes it so much better. You wander around the real world and encounter dinosaurs along the way. When you see one you want, tap it to initiate a mini game where you shoot DNA collecting darts from a drone. The range options are pretty great. The dino doesn’t have to be within your circle, but the battery life on your drone lasts longer the closer you are. On my way to work, I changed my route to catch a velociraptor on 9th Street. You can see how much battery you’ll have before you launch the drone. Once the drone is up, aim the crosshairs at the moving dot on the creature to collect DNA samples, which allow you to create and evolve your dinosaurs. So unlike pokemon, I don’t have a bunch of the same creatures junking up my inventory.

Collect enough DNA samples from a species, you head into the lab to create your dinosaur. Some are rarer than others and require more DNA to create. Level up enough and you can create HYBRID DINOSAURS.

You’ll want to keep an adequate dart supply for drone hunting, you spin supply drops. Sometimes you get cash or coins as well that you can use to evolve your dinos or speed up incubators earned from battle.

Yep. When you’re not hunting for DNA, you can pit your flock against randomly matched players. Obviously every creature has it’s own attack and defense style – smaller ones like dilophosaurus and velociraptor are super fast with high attack strikes, but low HP and defense. Some of the big carnivores will counterattack. Herbivores have higher defense and some have stunning attacks. You can have a mix of 8 dinosaurs in your lineup, but once in battle they’re randomized to a set of 4 you can use. I think this randomization goes a long way for keeping matches as balanced as possible

The battle objective is to defeat three of the opponents dinosaurs. When you do, a JP medallion at the top keeps score. The first to three wins! Toppling your opponents earns you coins and incubators that take from 15 mins to 8 hours (the highest one I’ve seen so far) to mature. Opening incubators nets you cash, darts, and rare dino DNA to help strengthen your line up. You can use cash to speed up the time.

The AR feature is one of the best I’ve experienced. I find it endlessly amusing to bring my brood to life in MY world. Here’s a dilophosaurus and a nundasuchus in my office, a majungasaurus asking some folks for money in Tompkins Square Park, and an allosarus picking up my MealPal at 5 Napkin Burger. The graphics and details are pretty insane.

It’s a hell of a battery drainer, but I’m enjoying it so far. Now I have an excuse to get outside and wander new neighborhoods with Muldoon. Because I can’t go hunting dinosaurs without Muldoon to protect me!

Visiting Alternate Dimensions

Yesterday after work, my friend Maria and I were in need of an escape. From ourselves. From this planet. So we checked out VR World in midtown- a virtual reality arcade. It’s the largest on the planet, in their words.

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Checking into a Pixar-like animation about an old man who fixes broken dreams.

I’ve only slipped into VR a handful of times because I find it dangerously addictive and a little nauseating if I stay too long. This is definitely the future of gaming, entertainment and probably human living.

We walked in and were presented with three options, a 2 hour, all day and moveo access. A 2 hour pass was $40 so we went with that. Our wristbands allowed us to scan into the queue for games with our gamer tags. But we could only be in one queue at a time so if we scanned into one game and then went to another while we were waiting, it canceled out the first game. So it took some strategic planning on our part. Luckily, none of the lines were very long. Mostly we were able to scan right in and play.

VR World hosts over 50 experiences ranging from games to 360 movies and music videos. The “museum” on the mezzanine had several different experiences that allowed us to explore the planet or disappear into different stories from the comfort of swivel chairs so we didn’t risk wandering off down a flight a stairs.

We warmed up with a plank walking experience. It was freaky. We walked out onto a beam high above the city and then stepped off and fell to the sidewalk. My heart rate shot up to 84bpm from 60. Maria was also not a fan.

From there, we teamed up to take on some robots in a shooting game. It felt crazy. I screamed out loud when a robot snuck up behind me and I could SWEAR I felt one crawl over and grab my leg. I’m terrified of robots so that didn’t help, but I was astonishingly good at the game.

They also had Job Simulator, Rick and Morty Virtual Rickality, Zombie games, an archery game and so much more to explore. I’ll definitely go back next week to try out more experiences. It’s a great little escape in the middle of the realest city in the world.

 

 

Nerd Crossover: The Wizarding World of Splatoon

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Since Nintendo has crossed realities between Inkopolis and TMNT, let’s invite a little magic in. If inklings faced the Sorting Hat, what would their house culture look like?

Ravenclaw – My house first! Since we’re smart, resourceful and creative, Ravenclaw inklings would be versatile players. Intuition would drive their ability to read other players’ styles and pick up the slack to optimize teamwork (and win ratios). They’d be agile with a bit of a creative flair in their battle. You’d find them studying (and writing) playbooks, reviewing matches, or hanging out at the museum for inspiration and re-calibration.
Stages: Shellendorf Institute, Inkblot Art Academy, The Reef
Weapons: Dualies, Splat/Splash-o-matics, Brellas
Position: Versatile

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Hufflepuff – The Puffs would take a much more laid back approach to battle. They’d likely be squid partying or blazing at the Kelp Dome. If they were taking a match seriously (or as seriously as they can) they’d focus strictly on coverage. They’d be super fun and easy-going. No rage-quitting or squidbagging from these inklings.
Stages: MakoMart, Kelp Dome
Weapons: Rollers, Sloshers, Splattershot Pro
Position: Objective

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Slytherin – This inkling house would be full of squid-bagging, bragging, panicked and reactionary players. Always up to no good, they’d rock their death eater masks proudly… from a distance though. Most likely, they’d be charger mains or carry the giant Hydras, fueled by their desire to do as much damage as possible while staying far away from danger.
Stages: Snapper Canal, Walleye Warehouse, Port Mackerel, Sturgeon Shipyard
Weapons: Hydra, Chargers
Position: Defense

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Gryffindor – The few, the brave, the focus of 7 books and movies. Inkling Griffindors would be athletic skilled players. They would likely take an offensive role and prove to be fiercely loyal teammates.
Stages: Musselforge Fitness, Camp Triggerfish, Manta Maria
Weapons: Blasters, Octobrush, Shooters
Position: Offense

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Which house would your inkling be?

Looking for LA Recommendations!

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I’m heading to E3 in a few weeks, guys! Having never been to LA, Glux set up a map of things we should check out while we’re there, but we need help! I hatehatehate being a tourist, so I’d love to hear about the coolest local spots to check out.

Here’s where we’ve landed collaboratively so far:

I’m likely going out a little longer so I can take a day trip to San Jose and knock the Winchester Mansion off my life goals. And I’m working through my carney connections to get some access to Universal Studios (mostly to do some Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary shopping). Street artist, Invader is currently installing new pixel art on buildings around LA so I’d love to go hunting for some of them! The ones I’ve found in NYC have been all over #GamesIRL.

So where should we eat? Where should we stay? I’m looking at several retro/mid-century style hotels. What should we see? Any good witchy shops? And aside from the big guys and some of my indie darlings, what booths should we check out at E3?