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Heroes of the Storm hands-on: learning to MOBA

I was as excited as I was nervous to play Heroes of the Storm.I know MOBAs, but I have limited experience with the multiplayer online battle arena genre. Developer Blizzard Entertainment calls Heroes of the Storm an "online team brawler," but it's the same idea you'll find in games like Dota 2 and League of Legends. You fight for control of lanes. Players control heroes. Battles ebb and flow as each side whollops other players, their AI minions and towers in a battle of attrition leading to the others' base. I know these games. I've seen these games. I've watched eSports commentary about these games. I've written about these games. What I haven't done enough of is play these games. So at PAX East, when I met to play Heroes of the Storm with the game's director, Dustin Browder, I was a...
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What can Sony do to save the Vita?

Welcome to Friends List!If this is your first episode, Friends List is a daily web series where we have one-on-one talks about a single question related to video games. The goal is to give both Polygon's many team members across the globe and those involved in covering, designing and releasing games, an opportunity to speak with you. Today on Friends List, Editor-at-Large Chris Plante and Editor-in-Chief Chris Grant ask: What can Sony do to save the Vita? The episode will begin at 2 p.m. ET (or thereabouts!) and will be available via YouTube following the recording. While you wait you can watch the previous episode: Is Dark Souls 2 an entry point for the non-believers? Enjoy Friends List anywhere, anytime: Bookmark the Friends List video page. Subscribe to the audio-only podcast:...
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Cult of the Wind is about people who pretend to be airplanes

If you're one of those people who enjoys zooming around the house, arms aloft, pretending to be an airplane (and, really, who isn't) there's a game coming out for you. Cult of the Wind from North of Earth Games has just launched a Steam Greenlight campaign along with a trailer, showing people-based airplane combat and level editor footage. Set in an art deco environment, the game is based on people who pretend to be airplanes, as part of a cult. "Players compete and cooperate in ritualistic multi-player human dogfights, complete with imaginary weapons, pretend explosions, and airplane noises made with their mouths," according to the game's Greenlight text. Cult of the Wind will come with a point-and-click level editor. "You can also craft a personalized appearance for your character...
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Skylanders game for 2014 set to be revealed later this month

Activision plans to unveil this year's Skylanders game later this month, according to an invite the publisher sent to Polygon recently. The invitation, which was sent to our news editor, Brian Crecente, included a personalized video message featuring two of the opposing forces in the Skylanders universe: Eon and Kaos. You can watch the clip above. Activision will hold a media event in New York on April 23 to debut "the latest innovation from the franchise that created the toys-to-life category." Three main Skylanders games have been released, including the franchise's debut: 2011's Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure, 2012's Skylanders Giants and 2013's Skylanders Swap Force. The publisher said earlier this year that Novato, Calif.-based Toys for Bob will handle development on the 2014...
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Child of Light's latest trailer walks viewers through the world of Lemuria

The latest trailer for Ubisoft's fairy tale-inspired Japanese-style role-playing game Child of Light introduces players to Lemuria, the world in which young pink-haired heroine Aurora sets off on her journey. The video above briefly flies through a handful of environments Aurora will travel through — villages, forests filled with insect-like enemies, damp caves, rocky cliffs and ancient ruins. The little girl will run, float and fly through this world, collecting treasures, fighting off beasts and looking for a way to return home to her father. Child of Light will launch on April 3 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Check out previous videos detailing the game's artwork and soundtrack, as well as our interview from PAX East with Child of...
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Is Dark Souls 2 an entry point for the non-believers?

Welcome to Friends List!If this is your first episode, Friends List is a daily web series where we have one-on-one talks about a single question related to video games. The goal is to give both Polygon's many team members across the globe and those involved in covering, designing and releasing games, an opportunity to speak with you. Today on Friends List, Senior Editorial Producer Griffin McElroy and Editor-at-Large Chris Plante ask: Is Dark Souls 2 an entry point for the non-believers? The episode will begin at 2 p.m. ET (or thereabouts!) and will be available via YouTube following the recording. While you wait you can watch the previous episode: How can game jams rekindle your love for games? Enjoy Friends List anywhere, anytime: Bookmark the Friends List video page. Subscribe...
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Age of Empires coming to smartphones this summer as World Domination

The latest Age of Empires release is a free-to-play mobile strategy game called World Domination that is slated to hit iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices this summer. Players can choose from more than 100 legendary heroes, allowing them to create distinct troop types from past civilizations. It features competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes, as well as a battle system designed for smartphones. The system allows users to execute battle tactics using mobile-centric controls such as touch gestures. Those interested can preregister to receive updates about the game via the official Age of Empires: World Domination website. You can see the game in action in the video above. Microsoft launched another free-to-play title based on the Age of Empires franchise two years ago...
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Watch Below from Capy Games in dark, atmospheric, dungeon-crawling action

Capy Games' Below, the stylish, atmospheric dungeon crawler coming to Xbox One and Windows PC through Steam, puts players in control of a tiny warrior exploring a sprawling land rife with mystery and danger. And then the game sets the player free to explore its plains, caverns and the decaying remnants of the land's previous explorers, with no clear direction, no explanation about why the wanderer is there or what he or she might find in its depths. Below is a quiet game that communicates much of its narrative and the finer details of its gameplay, like sword-based combat, through visual cues, not prompts and help text. Below doesn't lead you by the hand with tutorials, lengthy dialogue or coddling waypoints. It is, instead, a brutal but fair game, its creators say, where you play as...
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Hands-on with Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is familiar. The sequel to Dennaton Games' top-down, retro-styled, graphically and narratively brutal action game felt and looked just like its 2012 predecessor. This is a familiar, dire universe. I exited a car, grabbed some weapons from its trunk and entered a building filled with people looking for an excuse to murder me. To be fair, it's a Hotline Miami game, so I had an excuse to murder them, too. I first played Hotline Miami on PC. Truth? I was terrible. I have no reason to believe that it was the game. I've been a controller guy almost all of my life, and I just don't have the mouse and keyboard skills that it requires. It wasn't until I played the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions that I was able to live up to the game's demands. I...
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See Firaxis' vision for the future in Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth

Civilization's future lies among the stars, and for that to happen, the developers at Firaxis had to invent the history of the future for Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, rather than draw from a real past. Firaxis' Lena Brenk and Anton Strenger explain their studio's approach to Polygon's Dave Tach in this video, including the "tech web," which replaces the familiar, linear tech tree of the Civilization series. Players also must choose from three approaches to colonizing the new planet, and each of these "affinities" will have a different outcome for victory. For more on Civilization: Beyond Earth, see this interview with Strenger and Brenk. Additionally, Firaxis released these three screenshots below, showing what the playing area looks like.
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How can game jams rekindle your love for games?

Welcome to Friends List!If this is your first episode, Friends List is a daily web series where we have one-on-one talks about a single question related to video games. The goal is to give both Polygon's many team members across the globe and those involved in covering, designing and releasing games, an opportunity to speak with you. Today on Friends List, Senior Reviewer Danielle Riendeau and Editorial Coordinator Michael Moore ask: How can game jams rekindle your love for games? The episode will begin at 2 p.m. ET (or thereabouts!) and will be available via YouTube following the recording. While you wait you can watch the previous episode: What is indie? Enjoy Friends List anywhere, anytime: Bookmark the Friends List video page. Subscribe to the audio-only podcast: Friends List...
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Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming - Overview video

Genre-mixing isn't exactly a new video game concept, but Half Minute Hero has always taken it to new extremes.At its core, Half Minute Hero: The Second Coming, the unlikely localized sequel that launched on Steam earlier this week, is a role-playing game. Which is to say, there are stats, and swords and dragons — but that ignores its Pac-Man-esque path mastery, its puzzle mechanics, its shrewd (and occasionally punishing) economy. It's arguably more of a racing game than anything else, only, instead of a car, you're steering a heroic fantasy archetype. Or a walking castle, depending on where you're at in the game. In this Overview, Phil and I tackle some of these heady concepts head-on, taking much longer than 30 seconds to do so. We certainly tried to keep the video appropriately...
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Heroes of the Storm trailer shows off the power of Kerrigan in action

The latest trailer for Blizzard's upcoming multiplayer online battle arena game Heroes of the Storm shows off what playable character Kerrigan, of the StarCraft franchise, looks like in action. The battle arena game features a collective of well-known characters from Blizzard's roster of earlier releases, which players can select to fight against other users. Characters include Diablo of Diablo fame, Stitches and Uther of World of Warcraft and Raynor and Tychus of StarCraft 2, among others. Last month, Blizzard announced that it would be inviting select Battle.net users into the early technical alpha for the game, which was revealed last fall to be the rebranding of in-development MOBA Blizzard All-Stars. Heroes of the Storm will launch for Mac and Windows PC at an undetermined date.
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Robot Entertainment's Orcs Must Die! Unchained unveils multiplayer battles and enters alpha

Free-to-play multiplayer tower-battler, Orcs Must Die! Unchained, is the newest game in the Orcs Must Die! franchise and is now available via alpha access. A trailer for Orcs Must Die! Unchained was released recently, with the game due to be shown at PAX East this weekend. Today's trailer, which features third-person combat and character selection panels, promises that the game will be "bigger, deeper and meatier." Unlike earlier titles in the tower defense series, Orcs Must Die! Unchained offers 5 vs 5 multiplayer battles, with bots as optional human proxies. Beginning today, those interested can purchase one of three Founder's Packs at OrcsMustDie.com. For $149.99, the "Master" level grants immediate access to the alpha that launches today, five heroes, $200 of in-game gold, five...
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Double Fine's Hack 'n' Slash entry into Steam Early Access imminent

Hack 'n' Slash, Double Fine Productions hacking-themed action puzzle game conceived during the company's annual Amnesia Fortnight game jam, is just weeks away from entering Steam Early Access for Windows PC, Mac and Linux. First revealed last December, the game is slated for a full launch this summer where it will be available to purchase for $14.99. Double Fine has released a parody video featuring creator Brandon Dillon, gameplay footage and "an important message about the dangers of hacking." Players are placed in the role of an elf named Alice who "uses her computer hacking skills to cheat her way through a classic action/adventure game." Alice can hack in-game objects — such as blocks, barrels, moving platforms and enemies — and manipulate the world to reverse engineer the...
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Capy confirms Xbox One roguelike Below for Steam

The latest trailer for Below, the new "roguelike-like" from Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP developer Capy Games, confirms that the title will launch on Steam. The studio clarified last August that Below will be an Xbox One timed exclusive, and that after an unspecified period of time, Capy can bring the game to other platforms. Microsoft's self-publishing parity clause for independent developers requires devs to launch games the same day on Xbox One as other platforms; however, Microsoft is addressing the clause on a case-by-case basis. You can check out Below's environment in the latest trailer "Come in From the Storm" above, set to songwriter Jim Guthrie's composition. Previously released video "Pause" features Guthrie's "You, Me and the Sun Swallowing Sea." Guthrie, who...
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