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Book Review: The Art of Professor Elemental

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“The Art of Professor Elemental” By Paul Alborough and Chris Mole Plus a host of hugely talented artists Review by Steve J. Ray It’s no secret that Fantastic Universes is a website that celebrates art, comics, music, whimsy, and fun. Few people truly encompass all those virtues more than our friend, Paul Alborough, AKA Profesor Elemental . The Art of Professor Elemental  is a tome that’s been 15 years in the making, and it was well worth the wait. I’ve collected most of the hugely entertaining comics that the Prof has released over the years, but sadly wasn’t there as a friend or fan from the very start of his career. Of, course, I've more than made up for it since. This gorgeous book not only collects every issue of the comics, but also features promo material, album cover designs, merch, posters, and a whole lot more. The list of artists featured in these glorious technicolour pages even includes the work of more than a few comic book luminaries, including Charlie Adlard and Pete

WASD Coverage April 2024 - Nano Apostle

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Article by Adam Ray WASD has given this game reviewer so many things to literally write home about. Games I'd never even consider picking up if it weren't there for me to sample in a hall of nearly one thousand other Otakus. Some games gripped my attention, and some piqued my interest. Some are not worth recalling. But there was one game that brought my attention back for multiple plays and utterly gripped the attention of my dear friend and Mystic Muses  teammate, DisAsteroth . Nano Apostle is a pixel art, boss rush action game by PQube. There is something about its deeply difficult, highly polished, and well handled combative gameplay that dug meat hooks into the soft tissue of my brain that had me and my friends hooked from the drop, determined to try our all to defeat the boss monsters. Fail, then try again. And fail again. In the story of the game, there is a young girl given access to nanotechnology and told she must rid the world of cybernetic abominations. Only then wi

WASD Coverage April 2024 - Inferni: Hope and Fear

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Article by Adam Ray It's no secret to any recurring reader here on Fantastic Universes knows I love card games. Whether it's talking about card games on the Fantastic Universes Podcast or even virtual or paper card games on this blog, I love card games. The only other genre that even comes close is tabletop roleplay . The newly formed Village Studio have taken a genre I love, a genre I've dabbled with with fondness, and given it some retro polish. Inferni Hope & Fear is the world's first battle royale card game. The battle royale genre has been dominated by games like Apex Legends  and Fortnite since their releases, but the style of gameplay is still seen here in this game. Sure card gamers may consider mutliplayer formats like Magic's Commander or Flesh and Blood's  Ultimate Pit Fight to be battle royale like. This game seeks to bring the battle royale experience to the card game genre. In Inferni , you play as one of a small pool of different class of b

WASD Coverage April 2024 - Battle Juice Alchemist

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Article by Adam Ray WASD was a truly phenomenal event, and one that we here at Fantastic Universes are always eager to attend. This particular event saw me play well over a dozen games during my three days there. Some of them were not worth writing about, but the very first game I sampled is an adventure RPG pulled right from my heart. Battle Juice Alchemist  - great name - is an adventure RPG set in a fantastical world. You are an alchemist you create them from the ground up in a very detailed character creator, and the initial tutorial sets the tone of the gameplay. As you navigate this fantasy landscape, you are constantly completing quests, looking for items, Gold, and other ingredients to brew into more powerful potions. At the start of the game, you get your standard attack in the form of a firebomb potion. If you're playing on PC, it's bound to number 1. It costs a little Juice to use, but a second potion refills your Juice quicker than usual, and that's on number 2.

WASD Coverage April 2024 - Awaken Astral Blade

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Article by Adam Ray The Metroidvania genre is well documented at this point. Taking its name from Metroid and Castlevaina respectively, it's a style of game with a sprawling 2d map that goes both up and down, as well as left to right. For many gamers, the genre peaked with Hollow Knight. Our good friends at ESDigital had their take on the genre, Awaken Astral Blade  on show at WASD. Awaken  takes place in the ruined landscape of a sci-fantasy world. You play as Tania as she slowly makes her way through the twisting jungle and ruined research facilities to get answers and to get stronger. There is a rich story hiding under the surface, and players are encouraged to delve deep as they can. During my time the movement between zones felt flowing and effortless. The team I had the pleasure of speaking with all assured me that unlike other Metroidvania style games, the movement between zones and the looping around on yourself to find things you missed is minimal. This is a welcome sigh

WASD April 2024 Coverage - Sky of Tides

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Article by Adam Ray WASD 2024 has brought a treasure trove of new games to my mind. It's a real opportunity for new play experiences to come out to the masses, and Sky of Tides looks to offer players a deep and immersive story driven experience in a rich, sci-fi setting. Sky of Tides  is a rich narrative adventure, with isometric visuals for you to explore. You play as Rin, a young girl caught in the political drama of her family and numerous insurrectionist groups. This is a game definitely intended to be played longform and maybe over a few playthroughs. From the offset, Sky rewards you for your in game choices. As narrative games go, I haven't seen one go in as deep since Mass Effect . Each decision has immediate consequences to the ongoing story. Just like life! During the game, there are a selection of five stats that Rin has which all increase and decrease based on her choices and the items she picks up. The game's story is hugely effected by the overall level of Rin&

WASD April 2024 Coverage - Harvest Hunt

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Article by Adam Ray At WASD, games of all kinds were on show, and we had the rare treat of playing a truly remarkable, truly creepy game that rewards your creativity and lets you play how you want to. Harvest Hunt  has the full hits of the survival horror genre - the slow moving character set to do very niche and specific objectives all while something terrifying is on the loose. The combination of the visuals and the immersive, first person gameplay all comes together for a strong gaming experience. In the story of Harvest Hunt , you're the one the village has decided must walk around their corn field to find that magical Ambrosia and defeat The Devourer. Sounds fair. As you wander through the game's five nights, you have to collect Ambrosia, but the Devourer is always coming. After each night, at least during the demo, you were taught each game's key mechanics. On night 2, the actions of combat to attack and then banish the Devourer is on display. After night 3, you get y

WASD Coverage April 2024 - Last Spartan: Glory Over Madness

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Review by Adam Ray There's a certain appeal for me, a high level Dungeon Master, taking a warrior through a long string of battles and seeing how well they go when rolling dice. Last Spartan  is another Roguelike Deck-Builder that I sampled at WASD, but offers some familiar genre tropes but some wildly new takes. In the story of the game, with its strong and gritty pulp artwork, King Leonidas lost the war against the Persians because strange eldritch beings rose from the Aegean Sea and cursed the 300 Spartans with Lovecraftian Madness. Now he must walk alone to defeat these monsters. Instead of building a deck of cards, you take powers to meld onto a row of five dice. The dice represent King Leonidas' attacks, buffs he can apply to himself, and de-buffs he can apply to his enemies. The element that makes the decisions interesting, over the high luck factor of the dice, is that you can play exactly how you want. The dice are largely customisable. A visit to the blacksmith after

WASD April 2024 Coverage - Paper Trail

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Article by Adam Ray WASD in London is always a phenomenal event for any gamer of any kind to play the hottest new titles coming soon to a console near you. There are so many titles that you truly get to play all kinds of gaming experiences. Much like A Little to the Left  in WASD 2023, sometimes I want a jasmine pearl tea and the chance to let my mind expand in a peaceful game. Paper Trail is a quaint but thoughtful puzzle platformer game by Newfangled Games - their first title which has already had its praises sung with multiple award wins and nominations. It has the soft and relaxing colour palette of a meditation garden but the trippy, physics warping puzzle platforming gameplay of Portal  or Lightmatter.  For the tragically short time I played it, Paper Trail  hugged me with its visuals and confounded me with its excellent puzzle gameplay. The story of the game is surprisingly rich given the genre. We are constantly treated to the voiceover narration of Paige as she escapes her ho

WASD April 2024 Coverage - Zet Zillions

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Article by Adam Ray We here at Fantastic Universes just deeply love games as much as comics and the rest of the big bad things in popular culture. Twice a year, as part of the London Gaming Festival, WASD brings players like us a plethora of games for us to sample. This is the first in a long bevvy of reviews that we're going to you delightful readers. Zet Zillions I love me some card gaming goodness, Akhariou from the Fantastic Plays Podcast can definitely attest to this. At WASD, there was a curious little game, easy to miss, but one that immediately grabbed my attention so deeply that I had to play it twice. There were one other game that made me come back for more. The Roguelike Deck-Builder is a style of game I ought to love, but have had a lot of trouble with. There have been elements of the gameplay where the difficulty wall is so high or the rigid playstyle of the gameplay makes it hard for me to express myself as a card gamer. Zet Zillions fired all those expectations