Monthly Archives: May 2016

Hey, Game Roomies!

I just wanted to give an update on a pretty sick opportunity that I’ve had! Here are some of the articles I’ve written for MMOExaminer over the past few days.

This is an article on a new game called Absolver! It’s being developed by former Ubisoft Paris employees, and here’s a look at it here!

This is an article on a sandbox MMO titled Landmark. It follows an update on the game’s launch, so feel free to check that out here!

This next post is a discussion of an old favorite of mine. Hearthstone, Whispers Of The Old Gods expansion. Here’s a look at the shift in meta brought on by C’Thun. Check that out here!

Next is a discussion of the delay of popular space exploration game, No Man’s Sky. This one was a big disappointment to many people…sad. So read about that sadness here!

I’ll continue to update as you go, but that’s four articles that I think you should give a read! Tomorrow, we’ll have another episode of the Mustapha’s Game Room Podcast! So thank you for reading and come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

Hey yo, Game Roomies! I have some huge news. Not gonna lie, I wasn’t expecting to have something like this to say for a while. But, I have my official announcement, that I have been picked up to do some freelance writing for a publication called MMOExaminer! They focus on gaming news more than reviews, but all sorts of Game Journalism content is present here. I will be linking some articles that I write there to this site. Does this mean that the flow of Game Room Exclusive content will decrease? No. I’m going to work diligently to ensure that the Game Room continues to grow. I really appreciate your support, as my following. You’ve all made this possible. I hope we can continue to make the Game Room an awesome place, for gamers of all ages and interests. In the meantime, here are some links I want you to check out.

For the website itself and a few articles that I’ve already written, head here!

For the crowdfunding video, head here! <If you love me, you’ll make a donation, because that will eventually increase my pay. This site is really legit guys, and I’m so glad to be contributing to something so cool. That being said, I’m going to take it easy for this evening, as I’ve been working hard all day getting logistics figured out and whatnot. Thank you all for your constant love and support, and come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

This isn’t a review. It’s a brand new segment. Basically, each week I’ll encourage you to check out a new set of games. For the summer, the theme falls under the topic we were discussing on my podcast last week. So this week, we’re talking about the easiest genre to pour your life into. That’s the RPG. I’m going to say five RPG’s I think are must haves for anyone who wants to kill a summer. So let’s get started!


  1. Earthbound

Earthound cast gathers around in Saturn Valley!

This game is a classic. I definitely think everyone should give it a try, as it did set a lot of the standards for modern RPGs like Undertale or Citizens of Earth. Earthbound is a game truly larger than itself. It deals with strong mature themes through the lens of a child, and thus, presents things in a pleasant way, but doesn’t stop you from thinking hard about them. Earthbound has a lot to do in the main story, but not a lot of side content. All the same, it’s an enjoyable experience that every RPG lover should try.


  1.  Dragon Age Inquisition

If there were ever a company that knew how to jam-pack world building into a game, Bioware is that company. DAI
They’re lovers of good strong narrative, and executioners in every sense of the world. They constantly deliver, and Inquisition is yet another instance of a world with tons of unique personalities, and is pretty easy to find at a bargain these days. If you’re a fan of meeting characters, consciously made, mature, realistic characters, play this game.


  1. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

TMSThis is my most anticipated game this summer. The genius developers at Atlas are making an RPG themed around the cast of Fire Emblem. While it’s a Shin Megami Tensei crossover, a lot of those elements are a little bit harder to find. With a theme on pop and style, this is definitely a weird one, but all the same, I expect it will have the charm that has drawn players to both series’ for all of these years. I expect this to be a day one purchase for me. If you’re interested in trying something weird and new, check this one out on June 24.


  1. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade XI wouldn’t be me if I didn’t put in a plug for Xenoblade Chronicles X. While I much prefer the first of the series, and it’s cheaper to get your hands on, X is a very large and expansive game. For someone interested in exploring a vast world and watching it unfold before your eyes as you traverse varying terrain and overcome large enemies and obstacles. While the main story is simple, and can be completed in a twenty or thirty hour span, the amount of side content is incredibly large. There’s a lot you can do to benefit yourself as the game goes on. Things like, building new skells, or fighting tyrants, or doing squad quests all make you stronger. The stronger you get, the more you can take on, and the more the game grows. You truly are building the world as you go, rather than discovering it like you would have in the original.


  1. The Witcher 3

Witcher 3There are few games out there that have received as much acclaim as The Witcher 3. This Game Of The Year recipient will put you in incredible combat scenarios, interesting dialogue sequences, and a few spicy love scenes. This game has a very large amount of content, and while I’m partial to the Eastern RPG, this game does tickle my fancy with its vibrant art style and sheer versatility. If you want a game to explore, this is your pick.




Alright! That concludes this segment of “Top 5 Summer Picks.” If you enjoyed, feel free to come back next week for yet another one of these fellas. Themes will change in time, so don’t worry. We’ll never fail to spice things up. In the meantime, for more RPGs like Xenoblade and The Witcher 3, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

Today I’m going to talk about a game that I doubt a lot of you have heard of. I know that sounds really pretentious but this game unfortunately has not yet achieved its deserved level of commercial success, despite having some truly incredible examples of today’s Designer Talk subject. One refined mechanic can shape a game and truly give it quality.

Aaru's Awakening

This is a concept that can be most easily applied to action platformers and puzzle games. So the game I’m talking about today, titled Aaru’s Awakening, incorporates one of the most interesting mechanics I’ve seen in a game. Well to be fair, it’s awfully similar to Portal, but given a combination of good setting and style, this game utilizes a teleportation system that gives you full reign of the map.

In order to teleport Aaru fires an orb with one button, then launches to the location of that orb with the same button. I don’t know how intuitive I feel the controls are, but again, this isn’t a review. I want to discuss the factors that make teleporting work in this context. And why this specific form of teleportation is the only way it could possibly be done.

The use of the orb means that Aaru’s position is always important. Meaning you can’t teleport anywhere exactly. Everywhere you go, has to be relative to Aaru’s position. So you can’t use teleportation as a crutch to skip movement. It’s still important to keep moving and to be conscious.

Another very important aspect is that teleportation takes time to do. It takes time to fire the orb, observe where it’s going and teleport to it while avoiding hazards that will kill you on impact. So your position is important, but the positions of other things in the area is equally if not more important. So teleportation requires that you are very attentive before you fire the orb. Which in the beginning of the game, isn’t too hard to do. Most platforms aren’t moving, and one’s that are moving move slow, so you have plenty of time to react. And the checkpoint system makes each session operate in short bursts, so you’re able to learn from your mistakes as you go.

Once the obstacles start piling on, you really need control over the mechanics to progress.

Once the obstacles start piling on, you really need control over the mechanics to progress.

As you reach later points of the game, the ground collapses, there are toxic bubbles everywhere, enemies are far more aggressive. Your controls have stayed the same, and you haven’t unlocked any new skills, abilities or otherwise. This is a game where the only thing that stays stagnant, is the character you control. Why does this matter?

Unless you’re shooting for something completely narrative driven, every game should be built around its mechanics. Not aesthetic, not story, but mechanics. The world adapts to this particular control to make things more difficult. It’s the idea of accumulation, which I’m going to go over more in depth in another Designer Talk. Aaru’s Awakening is all about adapting to your environment, and you’re given the perfect playground to do just that. You learn enemies, their patterns, the world, different terrain. Shockingly, despite its beauty, the aesthetic is the only aspect of Aaru’s Awakening that hinders its mechanics.

Too many things look similar. Friend or foe, aspects of the environment blend into each other in a way that isn’t cohesive for a reflex based puzzle platformer. Enemies fire beams of light that look too much like your teleportation orb, and adds a lot of confusion to the screen. Even if that was intentional, it hinders this refined mechanic and prevents it from shining through to its full potential.

So why is it important to have one refined mechanic? Simply put, it isn’t. Every game doesn’t have to be built around one concept. Look at The Last Of Us. That game has a bunch of different mechanics working cohesively from its “hearing system” for stealth to the ability to craft with materials. But a game that does have that level of focus on one mechanic can truly refine it. And refined gameplay is fun gameplay. Focus, scope, and refinement make games like Aaru’s Awakening a pretty awesome game to play.


Phew! Another Designer Talk: By Mustapha. I apologize for the drought of content this week, but I assure you that will change in the coming days. I have a few things in the works to make this week a great one. So for more Designer Talk and games like Aaru’s Awakening, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

No written review to accompany this one, but I think you’ll find I deliver the information well. Sorry, but there’s a watermark. It will be fixed by the next video review, hopefully along with some other things. In the mean time, thank you for watching and come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

Don’t worry loves, the cavalry’s here….with Overwatch! That’s right, this is the day everyone has been waiting for. Blizzard’s FPS is finally here! Move over, Battleborn because your time to shine is up.

Overwatch's Tracer strikes an awesome pose!

For months we have been getting animated trailers that tell the story of all of the characters in the game, and each one has generated more and more hype for the game. Now that the game is finally here, does it live up to the hype?

Yes. Yes it does.

I played the open beta that happened a few weeks back, and even though I know I absolutely sucked at the game, I enjoyed it. Though I didn’t see any of the story depicted in the shorts anywhere in the game, I still felt closer to the characters I played because I watched them. I had a lot of fun with Tracer, Reaper, and D.Va. I tried to play as all the characters, but these three were the most fun to play as. It took some time getting used to all the controls for each characters, especially Tracer with her teleporting ability, but after a few rounds I was able to get some things down.

If you like Team Fortress 2, I highly recommend picking up this game. The missions that need to be done in Overwatch are the same as the ones in TF2. It really is the same game just with better characters all around and better environments. Each character is so unique it’s hard not to play as just one. The stages are gorgeous, and I loved all of them.

I know this isn’t much about the game, but I hope you all enjoy it! Have fun playing as some great characters, and make sure you all play as D.Va at some point. She’s great, I promise. For more on Overwatch and other amazing games from Blizzard, make sure you come back to the GAME ROOM!!

The mystery genre is one that seem to be left out when it comes to triple A games. The only mystery games out there seem to be hidden object games which I adore, but it seems like I only share that with moms and the elderly. Sure, the Sherlock Holmes games exist and are great, but I only started playing them recently because Crimes and Punishment was free with Xbox Gold.

Though, there is still hope for the genre and it lies within the murder mystery, adventure, and visual novel game DanganRonpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. The Japanese game was first released on PSN but recently was released on Steam with its sequel. The game has taken off in recent months and it’s for a good reason. The game is amazing journey that every fan of the mystery genre needs to play.

DanganronpaThe game follows a group of teenagers who are locked in a high school with no memories. They are tormented by a black and white bear, named Monokuma, who tells them that in order to get out they must murder each other. The catch, however, is that there is a trial held after each murder. If the murderer is rightly accused then they will die. If the group guesses the wrong person as the murderer, they all die and the murderer is set free. You play as Makoto and must solve the murders of the people around you. The objective is to find out who is behind all this while trying to not be murdered.

The game sounds weird, trust me it is, but it is such a good kind of weird. The characters are so unique and fun. You’re going to be devastated when characters get killed off because there’s going to be a void. All the characters bring something to the story and whenever one gets killed off it’s just not the same without them. Though, the story is great throughout the whole game. Killing off characters do not hurt the story in any way. What’s also interesting, and another part of this game that is just weird and fun, is that each character has their own title. One character is known as the Ultimate Supermodel while another one is known as the Ultimate Shaman. These are little things that just add so much life and story to the characters of the game.

Another great thing about this game is that you don’t know what’s going to happen. Nothing is predictable. You’re going to walk into a crime scene and not know who did it until you collect all of the clues. There are some mystery games that are really bad at trying to hide who did the crime, but DanganRonpa is not one of them. There were several cases where I had no idea how it was done and who did it until I started the trial. Sometimes it’s hard to put all the pieces together until you have your other teammates help you put them together.

The trials are great, and words cannot describe how much I love them. Basically you have evidence bullets that you have collected throughout the investigation, and once people start saying information that you can disprove, you shoot the statement with you evidence bullets. Along the way there are mini games, that mostly take the form of rhythm games, that come about when someone disagrees with you or when someone is being stubborn. The trial ends when you put together a comic strip of how the murder went. Then you get to watch someone get executed. It really is a fun time.

The game isn’t bloody. It can be disturbing because you are seeing someone who you’ve grown very close to murdered, but the blood is now a bright pink substance. Still, there are some gross parts too it. One character in the beginning is impaled by a multitude of spikes while another pleted with several hundred baseballs at once. The game is really creative with it comes killing off people.

What’s most fun about this game is uncovering the mystery of what is really going on within the school. You still do have to find out who murdered who, and that is still fun, but there is something sinister going on with the school and the bear that is locking them up there. With each chapter you think you’re getting closer to the solution, but then you realize that there’s another puzzle piece missing. There are so many clues to find and piece together. When you finally piece everything together, you’re going to feel sorry for these kids. The end to this mystery is a heart wrenching one. It’s such a fun ride that sometimes you forget that Makoto’s friends are actually dead and never coming back.

FYI, at one point in the game the developers will advertise for one of their other games. That is completely normal, just roll with it.

If you like mysteries, then you should definitely try this game! It’s a fun game that will give you a ton of emotions and will stick with you. DanganRonpa is an experience you will never forget. For more on DanganRonpa and other cool mystery games, make sure you come back to the GAME ROOM!!!

I have a special treat for you Game Room readers today! Some of you may remember my PAX East Roundup where I highlighted Moon Hunters as being the most interesting game I saw. For those who didn’t see that post, Moon Hunters is a unique multiplayer RPG with a versatile class system and smooth comfortable combat, with a lot of emphasis on decision making, and how those decisions might reflect a player’s personality. The game is available on Steam and is slated to launch on PS4 this spring. I got to talk to Tanya Short, a designer at Kitfox Games, and ask her questions about some of Moon Hunter’s highlights.

I asked the Game Room standard question, requesting a highlight of three key features that you can only find in Moon Hunters. When asked about this, Short highlighted three truly interesting features, that reflect the game’s tone and intent very clearly.

I think the three unique points of Moon Hunters are the randomly generated RPG world, the 4-player co-op, and the setting (not a lot of ancient Assyrian inspired worlds out there).”

A randomly generated RPG world certainly opens doors for replay value. The section of the game that I played at PAX had very strong pacing, separating combat heavy sections and instances for self review in a way that really allowed you to customize your Cutsceneexperience and play in a way that is thoroughly true to your own style.

When asked about her favorite part of the development process, Short found that one of the best experiences was communicating with supporters. “My favorite part of the development process has been talking with our Kickstarter backers! It’s made the whole process so much more enjoyable, to know that there are people out there who support what we’re doing and are cheering us on. It really takes a lot of the stress out of development.”

It’s noticeable that games are really starting to weave in this element of player psychology. This was very noticeable over the past year, where games like Until Dawn and Life is Strange have been taking center stage, allowing player choices to be the primary mechanic in the game. In a world where his sort of psychological emphasis is becoming more important to developers, it was important to me to find out what role Moon Hunters plays in that evolution? When asked about this, Short stated that the non-binary aspect of the game truly creates a fully fleshed out personality test experience.

The stunning stylized art direction really shines through during dialogue.

The stunning stylized art direction really shines through during dialogue.

“Moon Hunters is much more freeform than most other games’ personality systems — no traits are binary or mutually exclusive, because in real life, it’s entirely possible for someone to be known as a ‘nice guy’ to some people and a real jerk to others. The heroic equivalent is when some people call you a brave hero and others call you a vengeful destroyer. We worked really hard to stay away from “either/or” systems and let people express who they are and explore the consequences of their actions.”

There you have it. Moon Hunters is a unique experience that avoids the trends often associated with “Game Morality” and allows you to make more thorough more human choices. Combine that with an awesome setting, well fleshed out mechanics and controls, and a beautiful score, and I’d say you have yourself quite a game. So give it a go!

Thank you all for reading this Game Room Exclusive! While I wanted to do a video today, I felt as though this took a slight amount of precedence. That being said, I do plan to have a video in the next two days. For more on sick indie titles like Moon Hunters, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

I’m a fan of game design journalism and whatnot, but I also double as a game developer when opportunities arise. Here’s a bit of a post mortem for one of my favorite projects that I worked on.

Over the course of my college years, I’ve worked on a few projects, but probably none are as near and dear to my heart as Pixel Commando. Pixel Commando was a 48 Hour Game Jam project developed by myself, Jeremy, and James. This was the second Massive Hawk game, and the first one where I got to play the role of 2D Artist.

Pixel Commando is a game heavily inspired by Paper Mario, in way of aesthetic. It follows Corporal Carnage, a soldier for the Bureau Of All Residing Districts (BOARD) and their army called the Emergency Task Force (ETF).The Roktarian Colony that he is trying to occupy is under attack. Kragosaurs, an army of anthropomorphic reptilian soldiers wielding guns. It’s funny that they’re lizards, because in hindsight it really didn’t add anything to the narrative.

The game uses 2D character sprites in a 3D space, but rather than role-playing elements we focused on making a visually appealing side-scrolling shooter. While in hindsight there are a lot of things I would change, it was a great experience, and I got to really understand the beautiful experience of having a strong development flow. We had some prime communication, and strong talent, with adequate division of tasks to make for an ideal development experience.

We developed Pixel Commando in a short 48 hours, and while it’s only three levels long, for one of our first ever projects, I think it really came out well. I always look at it fondly as my favorite of our works. Even over Pavillion Pummel, which actually won us an award.

When we started, we had a theme “command” which allowed for a few ideas, but most people instantly went for RTS style games. We wanted to do something that highlighted each of our skills, and since I had little experience 3D modeling at the time, I knew I wanted to do a game with sprites. James still wanted to do his little 3D cartoons, bless his heart. While researching games that used that art style, we came across my pride and joy, Paper Mario. The legendary RPG whose praises I’ve been singing since I started the blog inspired one of my first major 2D art projects. As time progressed, we zeroed in on the type of combat we wanted. I’ll admit we didn’t focus on mechanics as much as we should have, but that was a valuable lesson for us going forward. We spent a lot of time on asset creation, and what we were left with was a pretty good looking blueprint of an experience. But why take my word for it? Give the game a go! Play Pixel Commando here! Unity Web Player isn’t compatible with Google Chrome.

That was my first post-mortem on here. Tomorrow, another game review! I hope you’ll tune in. For more on my personal projects, and other hype games, stay tuned for more from the GAME ROOM!!!

Hello readers. This is a special post from me to you, extending my thanks for your support in this starting week. Last week I was a guy with an idea to start writing about games again, but to take things to the next level. My old blogger business wasn’t cutting it for me, and I wanted something I could point to and say “hey world, I can write and I know games.” Now I have that.

Over the past ten days, I started a website, wrote anywhere between 11-15 reviews, among many other types of posts. From critical analysis to designer talk. I made a video review using footage I captured from in game, and I started a podcast with some of the most trustworthy and charming people I’ve ever met. That’s a pretty big week. Over the next week I have even more plans and even bigger ideas. With any luck I’ll be coming through on my promise to deliver something pretty exclusive this week. We’ll have a few more reviews, another episode of the podcast, and definitely at least one more video review.

If there’s anything in particular that you would like to see, definitely follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and I will do my best to take all requests. With that being said, I know today’s post is a little short, but we’re diving back in tomorrow with all new content. So for more on things you could only find here, come back for more from the GAME ROOM!!!