Game Warp Podcast: Interview with Spooky Doorway

Another Game Warp Podcast is live!

This episode, we sit down with three members of Irish game development team, Spooky Doorway. Spooky Doorway are the masterminds behind the upcoming pixelated point and click mystery adventure game, The Darkside Detective. Sitting down with us is their director and artist Paul, developer Tracey and writer Dave. They shed light on how the game as transformed from its first conception as a game jam project. They share how they each got into video games and game development as well as their views on the point and click adventure game market. Finally, we talk about The Darkside Detective and some of the decisions they made to create what they believe is a great gaming experience packed with humor and intrigue.

Thanks for watching!
The Darkside Detective releases on July 27th on Steam. 
You can try out their demo and their online case, Polterguys right now.

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Cover Reveal: The Last Dragon Rider

Reads & Reels Book Tours

Hosted by R&R Book Tours, today I joined in to share a cover reveal for an upcoming book release called The Last Dragon Rider by Errin Krystal. This upcoming book is all about fantasy, adventure and romance.

Without further ado, here it is!!

THE LAST DRAGON RIDER
By: Errin Krystal

The Last Dragon Rider

Synopsis

Trained as an elite warrior from childhood, the elven crown prince Flintathriël fights to bring a stop to a war that began before he was born. With the aid of his betrothed Sairalindë, a skilled mage and dragon rider in her own right, they must find the Book of Souls – an ancient and mysterious tome rumored to have belonged to the god Hath’Raal.

When the missing book turns up in the hands of Mnuvae, the bastard child of the dead king, Flintathriël finds himself fighting to not only save his people from this new threat but also trying to keep Sairalindë safe when Mnuvae takes over the dragons in her attempt to win back the kingdom she believes is rightfully hers.

The love Flintathriël and Sairalindë share shines pure and true, but when the smoke of the battle clears, will their hearts survive the aftermath of war or will their love become a casualty that cannot be revived?

Excerpt

She began wrapping the cloth tightly about her, binding her breasts firmly, criss-crossing the gauzy fabric around her torso and across her stomach, tying it off at her hip. She shimmied into a pair of leather leggings and reached for her foot wraps. To other races—like the dwarves and humans—the elves lack of footwear was strange. The elven people had strong ties to the lands, their magic and mystique were inexplicably linked. Even those who did not practice magic felt the connection to nature, and the elven people had maintained the practice throughout their long history.

After binding her feet and leaving only her toes exposed, she tossed an olive green tunic over her head before quickly weaving her tresses into a thick braid.

Sivath was waiting, and Flintathriël was late. Again.

She was reaching for her leather jerkin when he finally appeared in her doorway.

Arms akimbo, he slouched against the frame, all lean muscle and sharp angles beneath his leathers. Silver-white hair fell across his forehead, hiding the dark arches of his brows as he gazed at her with silvery blue eyes. The mop of hair barely touching his shoulders. His coloring typical of the royal family.

Her gaze traced his tattoos. Sweeping vines encompassed runic symbols, curling downward from his bottom lip, winding and weaving their way down his chin and neck. She knew every line that twisted and spread across his shoulders, and across his back. Etchings that disappeared beneath his tunic and reappeared along his arms. She still remembered the day he received the markings, branding him Nuvian. The day she first gave herself to him, the day she truly became his.

Author Bio

Errin Krystal

Errin Krystal is a fantasy romance writer who has been writing since she was a small child. Her head has always been full of stories. She began work on her first novel when she was sixteen.

She lives with her family in regional Victoria, Australia, and works as a chef. In her quieter moments, she loves to indulge her passion for storytelling, basking in the joy that comes from creating vibrant characters, fantastical worlds and all manner of magical creatures. Dragons and elves, mages and warriors, troubled princes and beautiful princesses, romance, magic, and adventure can all be found in her writing.

Links

Website: http://errinkrystal.weebly.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ErrinKrystal/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ErrinKrystal
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/errin.krystal.bookishwriter/?hl=en
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16828644.Errin_Krystal
Blog: https://errinkrystal.wordpress.com/

Remembering James Horner Blogathon: The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

As always, hitting the brink of the deadline, here is my entry for the 2nd Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon hosted by Film Music Central. Last year, I took a look at Once Upon a Forest for this blogathon and it was a great one to revisit. You can check out the review here. This year, I decided to check out another family fantasy film adapted from a children’s book series that I haven’t read called The Spiderwick Chronicles. I’m a huge fan of Freddie Highmore as a child star, even now in Bates Motel. I think he’s fantastic and for a while, I did take the time to catch up a lot of his movies a few years back and this was one of them. I’m excited to have a reason to revisit it and hope that the magic is still as charming as I remember.

Let’s check it out!

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

spiderwick chronicles

Director: Mark Waters

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Sarah Bolger, Andrew McCarthy, David Strathairn, Seth Rogen, Martin Short

Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures. – IMDB

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a fun little fantasy adventure children’s movie featuring a double dose of Freddie Highmore as both Jared and Simon Grace who along with their sister, Mallory (played by Sarah Bolger) are taken to a home that their mother inherited from their great aunt while she goes through a separation. Jared takes this the hardest and after a fight realized that there is something in the walls. As he chases it down, he finds a secret room accessible by a dumbwaiter and there he finds a book that warns him to not open it. Being a child, of course, he does. Whether it was an act of rebellion or thoughtlessness or curiosity, this opens up a realm of fairies and other more dangerous creatures that have been seeking this field guide of the magical creatures to use it as a way to control the world. This one dangerous individual is a giant ogre, Mulgarath (voiced by Nick Nolte). Some of the gentler creatures who create quite the comedic relief is Hogsqueal who looks like a hog and is obsessed with birds (voiced by Seth Rogen) and the protector of the book, Thimbletack (voiced by Martin Short). Its fun adventure with some pretty cool CGI effects and an all around entertaining story. While the start might show some over acting in Freddie Highmore, he soon settles quickly as they put away the family and sibling rivalry and jump fairly quickly into the meat of the fantasy world and its just a quick ride to the end.

Spiderwick Chronicles

As this is a blogathon for James Horner, its important to discuss the score. James Horner makes some of the best orchestral scores that help build the atmosphere. Here he carries mystery and suspense when the world is first discovered, then takes us on a musical journey that aids as the adventure picks up where these siblings bond together and truly find their courage as they plot their protection for their home. The score compliments and accentuates the adventure particularly. Adding onto a well-executed film to begin with, this makes it even more engaging to watch. Its hard to ignore the seamless score that James Horner puts together for Spiderwick Chronicles.

Sarah Bolger is a familiar face now. While I have yet to check out Into the Badlands, I’ve seen her as Princes Aurora in Once Upon a Time and especially in Emilie, a psychological thriller released last year that was very well put together. I can’t remember if I had actually written a review but its a great movie that truly showcases her acting skills and the potential she has. Her sister role as Mallory brings a sense of balance, not because she’s a girl but also because she’s very tough as she wield her fencing sword in all her fights. Its an impressive character.

Spiderwick Chronicles

In terms of the double Freddie Highmore, Jared and Simon have relatively different personalities and it gives them a more unique character and lets us see the difference other than how they dress. Freddie Highmore wasn’t great in the Jared role when he starts but it might just have to do with his difficult child act and once it was dropped, it was really fun to watch, even though Jared is more of the central character here.

 

In terms of voice actors, we have Nick Nolte as the baddie. For a children’s movie, it worked really well. I was pretty invested into the movie and the villain even if he didn’t really show up that much and there was one part where he was human and the transformation was pretty cool. Other than that, Thimbletack (Martin Short) and Hogsqueal (Seth Rogen) are really fun to watch in a silly way. Their creatures themselves are rather creative and in a somewhat adorable way, they are pretty appealing. I have to say that Hogsqueal could have had more screen time although as a non-Seth Rogen fan, I actually thought this was a great performance but it had to do with this silly character that added a lot of entertainment value.

Spiderwick Chronicles

Overall, The Spiderwick Chronicles is a fun and fast-paced fantasy adventure movie. It has great performances all around and a good balance of comedy and adventure, making it incredibly entertaining and engaging to watch. The CGI is done very well and not to mention, a well-executed story that is accentuated by a great score.

Have you seen The Spiderwick Chronicles? 

Game Warp Podcast: ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’ Review

The next Game Warp podcast episode is here!

This time, Elwood and I sit down to talk about the independent game by developers The Chinese Room called Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture. This is a first person adventure game where you walk around a rural English countryside where everyone has mysteriously disappeared. As you follow a light, it guides you to uncover fragments of memories that piece together the story of what happened. We look at gameplay, visuals and the score. We discuss the story and what we think about the ending. There are some spoilers here but the footage gives you a good idea of the environments and the tone of the game.

Hope you enjoy!

Thanks for listening!
Have you played Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture? What did you think of it?

If you liked this, remember to subscribe. We release episodes biweekly!
March’s featured game is Batman – The Telltale Series! 🙂

No Return Land by Jeff Storm (Determine Your Destiny #2)

No Return Land was the book I bought at Montreal Comiccon. The question is: how would it feel to feel like you are playing a video game while you read. You know, capture the feeling of being in control of your choices. When I met the author Jeff Storm at their booth, his enthusiasm for this idea sold me on it almost right away. Determine the Destiny series recently released its third book. I still need to read the first one since I decided to pick up this one. However, the stories are not linked together. Most of you are thinking Choose Your Own Adventure series right now (or if you are old enough to remember it like I was) but this has a little twist. Hear me out, okay?

No Return Land (Determine Your Destiny #2)
by: Jeff Storm

No Return Land

The deadly flooding of our planet… an evil lady with astounding mental powers… a desolated island faraway… an army of crazy fanatics… and YOU…
This time you must fight to determine our world’s destiny. Your decisions and exceptional skills will decide the fate of the Earth. Only YOU can succeed. Get ready to defend the lives of seven billion people and hang on to yours! – Goodreads

 Determine Your Destiny takes what we remember as Choose Your Own Adventure and adds in some gaming elements. It is also the reason why they were the only book showcased in the indie game zone at Montreal Comiccon. How do you make that happen, you ask? Every book starts with a different story. Before the book starts, the author makes sure we know what we are getting into by telling us how to read the book. Then he proceeds to tell us our character’s story, our mission, and what we are about to face. But, that still doesn’t make it a video game yet. What makes it filled with video game elements is that he presents our character with magical skills. There is a list of magical skills that we can choose from. In No Return Land, there are fifteen. Each with their own description so that we can weigh the pros and cons when we choose which five we want to accompany us on our mission. These skills come into play as you make choices. Having certain powers will grant an extra path you can take. You can see how this drew me to want to read this even if it is geared towards kids. But hey, I’m a gamer (officially since Game Warp started) so there’s this child in me that is reignited and this appeals to me even more.

No Return Land is the first book of the this series that I’ve read even if it is the second adventure. Right off the bat, it is definitely geared towards children because it feels like we are controlling the life of a skillful protagonist facing an enemy that might not be all that brutal in adult eyes but suffice for kids to really feel the danger and want to save the world. Our antagonist in this one is Zenkay who believes that technology is destroying the world because of something that happened to her so her goal is to give the world a reboot. The journey there is challenging. In my story, my character had the skills of Invisibility, Heavenly Shield, Eternal Breath, Tight Web and Laser Eyes. I feel like a superhero just saying those powers and I questioned at the beginning if they will all come to use as choices and they did. Effectively, when the choice was available, I’d choose using magical skills. However, even so, there are choices like Choose Your Own Adventure that is just simple choices and these sometimes are the tricky ones that can lead to death. I died probably a little over a handful of times and went back to backtrack and go down another path. Exploring those paths was what made this book even more fun to read.

No Return Land is a short and quick read. Flipping through them is easy as it is manages well to jump through the parts.  The story is simple and engaging. That particularly helps in feeling the need to make the right choice and weighing the options before choosing. Everyone can play a game or read a book but putting in elements of the best parts of both world into one is a truly fun, engaging and especially unique idea. I look forward to checking out the other two books in this series and whatever else comes up!

Game Warp Podcast: Interview with Maitop Games

The new episode of Game Warp is here! This month we were lucky to invite an independent gaming company Maitop Games to join us. One of the developers, Jonathan Gelineau joins us in this interview to talk about his latest mobile puzzle adventure game, Bomb Conflict as well as his previous game, Gravity Bounds. However, we didn’t only about his games and also discussed with us about the mobile game market and more specifically the indie game market. We even have a chat about the retro inspiration behind this game.

Bomb Conflict is a mobile game where you play as the God of Gravity which has descended upon the invaded world to try and aid the citizens in detonating the scattered bombs in different areas to rid the world of danger. Enjoy gameplay footage of Bomb Conflict and Gravity Bounds as we have our chat.

Thanks again to Jonathan for accepting our invitation to the interview and sharing his thoughts! We wish him the best of luck and look forward to what else to offer in the future.

In the meantime, let me get back to beating this next puzzle on Bomb Conflict. 😉

The Tale of the Golden Pirate by Anthony Renfro

Today’s book review is for a book sitting in my Kindle for a little while from a fantastic blogger and author Anthony Renfro over at Poetry, Books, Movies, and Music. I’ve read a few of his short stories before and read his first full novel AWOL as well. I’ve reviewed all of them here. This is the second novel I’ve read of Anthony’s called The Tale of the Golden Pirate, previously called as I realized Ghostly Visitations and Southern Destinations.

The Tale of the Golden Pirate
by Anthony Renfro

The Tale of the Golden Pirate

An Action-Adventure tale about pirates, ghosts, buried treasure, doomed love affairs, double crosses, drug deals, and creatures made of slime. An eclectic tale combining the world of Jimmy Buffett and Stephen King. Follow Parson’s journey as he is pushed into endless peril, and asked to do things most people are rarely asked to do. Does he get his buried treasure? Does he get that easy life so many of us dream about? The answers lie within the pages. –Goodreads

I haven’t read a lot of books about pirates. There’s a little bit of paranormal factors in here. The Tale of Golden Pirate is definitely an adventure. There are some little bumpy patches here and there but overall, its an enjoyable read. The story is pretty much about being introduced to man called Parson, a jogger and uncommitted sort of guy to his job or the girl he is with. I can’t say that Parson starts off being a really likeable character but in the course of the story, the readers learn to warm up to him a little more. The best thing that Anthony does is set some interesting characters and here, he does a good job at it. Parson’s character has good development while also keeping up with injecting various characters throughout to make it not just a solo journey but one filled with worthy encounters. Even the pirates who are ghosts of the past pose a mystery that keeps us guessing what the deal is and why Parson was chosen.

The Tale of the Golden Pirate does have a few clunky bits. Its not enough to put off reading but there were awkward parts. In rare places, we’d jump to talking about jogging which somewhat breaks the momentum of the adventure on hand. In later bits, there are parts of talking to the readers which I’m not sure how I liked it. I think if it was done throughout the book, it would be more effective and add a little fun twist to it. Maybe give it a consistent character. However, I do like the addition of haikus throughout the story. It was a nice touch especially since bloggers who know Anthony know that he writes a lot of haiku posts on his site and he is really good at them.

In a whole, The Tale of the Golden Pirate was a decent read. It does start off strongly and sets up a good pace for the novel. The pacing does lose a little steam in the middle bits. Whenever we are in the main adventure mode, the story is tight knit and absolutely engaging to read however, it does tend to veer off a little in parts. At times, it felt a little like I was missing the point of it or maybe it was to add a few casual moments in there. I’m not sure of the reasoning behind it. However, once we enter into the last third or quarter of the novel, things really pick up quickly and it is one big well-written page turner sequence.

Even with some rough patches, The Tale of the Golden Pirate has something different. The ending is well worth the scattered slow bits in the middle. While I might not recommend this as highly as his first novel, AWOL (review HERE), The Tale of the Golden Pirate deserves a chance. Its still an overall pleasant read.