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Ben Joy
Ben JoyBen keeps the Play Team ticking, helps clients define their digital offering and manages the unruly team. You’ll often find him hitting the golf course too.

In this week's Etch Play roundup we're excited about Cult of the Lamb, revisiting Spiritfarer (one of our top games of 2020), marvelling at anime inspired indie projects and asking why is no one playing Netflix games? 

Spiritfarer

I've been getting back into Spiritfarer this week, a fantastic game that made our "Games of the Year" list back in 2020.

Simply put, the game is extremely good. Ferrying the souls of the deceased sounds like it would be horrifying, and yet, it's wholesome here. It's relaxing, inspiring, thought-provoking and addictive. I've never understood the appeal of resource management and doing chores in games, but this just... Works.

Maybe it's because each repetitive task feels like a small piece of a big poignant puzzle. Every tree you chop down builds homes, gardens and photo frames to put memories in. Every vegetable grown in the field is one more step towards making your friend a final meal before they say goodbye. And you'll spend the time to pick the extra fruit for the recipe, because you know it's their favourite.

Elsewhere, I enjoyed this interview with Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez, who's recently begun streaming on Twitch.

Adam

Turbo Golf Racing

This week I've been playing a lot of Turbo Golf Racing, developed by Hugecalf Studios and published by our friends over at Secret Mode. The game recently dropped as a Game Preview on Game Pass and Early Access on Steam. I'd been waiting for this one as it combines two things I really enjoy, fast cars and golf! 

I have to say, when I first starting playing it, I hated it. I just could not get to grips with it at all, and the number of swear words coming out of my mouth was exceptionally high as I repeatedly missed the ball and couldn't understand why it was happening. I was as good as ready to the game down forever, until I noticed a tip pop up on a loading screen about changing the camera from "Ball Cam" to "Car Cam"... And let me tell you, game changer!

I now absolutely love this game. All my issues of controlling the car vanished the second I changed the way the camera behaved. Suddenly the way the car moved made so much more sense to me and I managed to actually get control of the damn thing and win a few holes! It got me thinking into how we all settle into games in different ways. Having spoke to other people about it, they can't understand why you wouldn't use the ball cam, and I can't fathom why anyone possibly would! But hey, I guess that's why the different options are added to games, thankfully!

If you haven't already, I really recommend checking this game out, it's a lot of fun (especially if you're a Rocket League fan). I can't wait to see what more comes of this game when it gets to full release!

Ben J

 

Cult of the Lamb

Today’s a good day because Cult of The Lamb, Massive Monster’s adorably gruesome roguelike about a little lamb who’s taking over the world, is out now!

With the visual presentation reminiscent of Animal Crossing and Cozy Grove, the tone and content of the game presents a wonderful juxtaposition - just look at the cute little sprites who you can turn to your religion and sacrifice if they displease you!

Fans and press alike have loved the game so far, with glowing reviews coming from far and wide. I absolutely LOVE the vibe of this game and if like me, you would like to venture into your own tale of world domination, religious zealotry, murder and sacrifice with adorable critters as following you can grab Cult of the Lamb on PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Series X and S and PC!

Taya

 

Anime inspired games

Recently I've found myself hooked back into anime. Just like the old days as a kid spending hours watching Dragon Ball Z and recreating the scenes with my cousins... Which never ended well 👀

I've been watching "Attack on Titan" a Japanese anime with a impressive IMDB rating of 9.0... To give a quick run-through of the anime, it is set in a world where humanity is forced to live in cities surrounded by three enormous walls that protect them from gigantic man-eating humanoids referred to as Titans. The story follows Eren Yeager, who vows to exterminate the Titans after they bring about the destruction of his hometown and the death of his mother.

What's even cooler, a Youtuber / indie developer named "Swammy" has decided to create a game replicating the immense combat depicted in the show. Games made off of movies typically never really deliver in my opinion, but this indie really captures the speed and versatility of the combat of the anime.

It's crazy to see how great one developer can be. I'll be keeping an eye on this and once I have more free time will definitely be checking this out!

Mehdi

 

Why is no one playing Netflix games?

Netflix has some great games but nobody is playing them. According to new data, less than one percent of subscribers are playing Netflix’s games.

Since last year, Netflix has offered its subscribers access to free video games. Those games have been downloaded over 23 million times, with a daily audience of 1.7 million. Whilst that sounds good, that’s less than one percent of the streaming platforms’ 221 million users.

Tens of millions of people must use the mobile app when they’re commuting, so why is the gaming uptake so low? I’ll admit that I had no idea that my Netflix subscription gave me access to games. I don’t use the Netflix mobile app - I watch on my TV - so maybe that’s why. But even those who do use it complain of poor discoverability, having to scroll past endless recommended categories before reaching the games.

Over 25 games are available to play, including the excellent Moonlighter by Digital Sun. And, all of the games are ad-free with no microtransactions. Netflix has committed to doubling its current game library by the end of 2022.

Ben G

Netflix logo with hands in front of it holding a gaming controller

Gamescom 2022

Gamescom is coming!

I know this is the case because of the amount of times the phrase "let's catch up after Gamescom" has appeared in my inbox this past couple of weeks. Gamescom is a videogames trade fair/festival held at the mega venue, Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany and gets a significant share of the industry and its audiences attention.

This year it's kicking off again with Geoff Keighley's Opening Night Live, which last year drew a global stream audience of nearly 6 million viewers catching exciting new game announcements. Following is the best part of a week of announcements, deal-making, networking and games playing. There's even a gamified adventure game to find out more on the website which is worth a look.

Dan

gamescom-epix

More Etch Play

You can find Etch Play on all the usual social networks you might imagine. In particular, we hang out on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube

We also have a live show every Thursday, where we recap the latest games industry news in video podcast form. It's a lot of fun. If you'd like to check it out, why not follow us on Twitch? Watch yesterday's show right here 👇

 

 

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