Get Sorted With Automation* of Sorts

Have you ever felt the uncontrollable need to work in a mail sorting facility where the sorting machines constantly break down? No? Well, I have the perfect game for you anyway! 

Automation* of Sorts is a multiplayer action/puzzle game where you try to keep up with the never-ending maintenance of the automated machines in a variety of poorly-optimized sorting facilities. And when I say poorly optimized, I mean it. 

“Let’s give 110% effort for 85% pay due to our lower cost of living!”

This game is 18 levels of pure blissful hell, all wrapped up with the label of “fun for the family.” Play with up to four people in this challenging game built for couch co-op. Using Steam’s Remote Play, you can play online multiplayer, but it can be tricky to set up. We had three people playing, and once you get the hang of where you need to go and what you need to grab or repair, it is actually quite zen-like. My OCD brain was really digging this game. FIX ALL THE THINGS! SORT ALL THE MAIL!

via GIPHY

“Hurry up! Your shift is almost over!”

The difficulty scales the more people you have playing, which means that the mail bags or boxes come faster and more machines break down. The more broken machines, the more screaming right? Right! You are equipped with a portal if you decide you would like to play by yourself for a challenge (you psycho). This allows you to get around much faster. So you would place your portal in a perfect location of your choosing and port yourself back and forth to get the perfect score. Outstanding!

“Please schedule all breaks for when we are not busy.”

I had the extreme pleasure of being able to chat with the developer, Adam Prack (Adam Creations), while we played his game. The first thing we noticed was how incredibly catchy the game’s music is. We felt like it had a bit of an Incredibles vibe. Adam himself created all of the music for the game! As a matter of fact, he made everything for the game from the ground up. He had no official training and decided that this was something he wanted to do and taught himself game design. There was a lot of sketching to design each level, and when you see the levels, you will understand why. Each level has a slightly different angle, so you have to figure out where your characters can go to get to other sorting machines or the mail hopper. The level design is one of the things that Adam enjoyed the most about making the game. 

In-game Screenshot

As you run around and the machines break, you may notice that the mail starts to bunch up. You have to fix those machines fast, or you may end up with letters flying everywhere. You will also hear “HR lady” as we affectionately started calling her over the loudspeaker giving all kinds of unhelpful advice.  

“To the owner of the gray, self-driving car, please tell it to stop intimidating the other cars.”

Here’s a fun little tidbit of trivia. Adam’s wife did the voiceover for “HR lady.” She does a fantastic job. Adam’s children were the game testers, so you could say it was a family affair. Kids tend to be able to break a game faster than anyone (unless you are Louie). Fellow contributor Louie Reza was playing while we spoke to Adam and managed to break the game not once but THREE times. This is a callout to indie developers who need people to break your game to find the bugs. Message Louie. 

In-game Screenshot

“Please do not bring personal items into the sorting facilities. There is a chance your lunch could be sorted incorrectly and sent to another location.”

We had a lot of fun running through the levels and passing mail bags back and forth like a well-oiled machine (which, ironically, this game does not have). If the machines were well oiled, they wouldn’t break as much? Just a thought. At the end of each level, you get a grade, but it’s not a letter grade like many games have. It’s positive reinforcement! Well done!

In-game Screenshot

“We are speeding up the line to help you!”

This game is a bit like Overcooked with the way things are set up, but it’s much less frustrating. The positive reinforcement at the end of each level makes you want to keep going and do better each time. This game definitely scratches that OCD itch. You will WANT to fix all the machines and get all the letters sorted. If you enjoy puzzles and working together, you will have a good time with this fun little indie game. It’s currently on Steam for a low price and remember that the more you purchase indie games, the better for these small developers. There are so many indie games on Steam now that it’s hard to get noticed, so if you find a game you like, make sure people know about it! Getting an indie game on console can be very difficult if the developer doesn’t have a publisher. Unfortunately for most indie developers, getting that publisher can prove challenging if they don’t have a known game. It’s a bit of a double edge sword. So many games end up lost in the sea of indie games on Steam. 

I did ask Adam what his next project will be, and he is beginning work on an action RPG-type game that is Zelda-esque. So keep an eye out for his upcoming work! For the full interview with Adam, check out the video below!

“Please complete all of your work prior to clocking out!”

Automation of Sorts - Indie Insights

What kinds of indie games do you enjoy? Is there any game you would like to see us take a look at? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Gaming Update: May 2022

May is a slow month for big releases, but there are still a few worth mentioning or at least taking a look at. Some games of note include a samurai tale straight from a Kurosawa film, Bruce Campbell’s beautiful mug back in a video game, and a vampire game, but not the one you've been waiting for. Here are the games for May. 

May’s Highlights

Trek to Yomi - May 5th ( PS4, PS5, Xbox, Game Pass, PC) 

Trek to Yomi is an interactive game inspired by 50s and 60s Japanese cinema and films like Seven Samurai. You are Hiroki, a young and lone samurai who vowed to his dying master to protect his village. Experience Hiroki’s tale through a classic cinematic presentation, complete with black and white film and no color. Using camera angles and striking visuals from the classic films, engage your enemies with streamlined combat centered on traditional samurai weaponry. Any fan of samurai games or movies will enjoy this cinematic adventure, especially if you are like me and couldn't get enough of Ghost of Tsushima in Kurasawa mode. For Game Pass subscribers, Trek to Yomi will be available on day one, Yatta! 

(That’s Japanese for hooray)

Evil Dead: The Game - May 13th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Shop smart, shop S-mart! The first proper Evil Dead game since 2005s, Evil Dead Regeneration, is here, and it looks amazing (at least for those of us that like graphic horror games). Evil Dead: The Game is inspired by the three films and the Starz series Ash vs The Evil Dead. You can play as a number of characters, including deadites, all with varying abilities for their role type. The game has 4v1 multiplayer gameplay similar to Dead by Daylight but also features some solo missions giving a little more to fans. Bruce Campbell plays a big part in the game and its inception, voicing several different versions of Ash. Many of the original actors return to voice their digital counterparts as well. So grab your boomstick and some friends to fight the hoards of undead when Evil Dead comes to swallow your soul. Groovy! (There, one last reference to the movies)

Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong - May 19th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch. PC) *UPDATE Delayed to June

A new vampire RPG set in the World of Darkness universe (Not to be confused with the forthcoming Bloodlines 2, which is the one I am waiting for). Anyway, Vampire: The Masquerade Swansong has you playing as three different vampires, each with a different set of vampiric skills, as you try to uncover a plot that might expose all of vampire kind. Swansong is a narrative RPG that focuses on storytelling and unique vampire abilities to navigate the world and the people of Boston. This particular journey into the underbelly of the supernatural hierarchy looks reminiscent of Detroit: Become Human, and fans of games that focus on dialogue choices over gunfire may take a shine to this one. As this is not me, I will be biting my tongue instead of necks until Bloodlines 2 appears.

May 2022’s Release Schedule

Dungeon Defenders Awakening - May 3rd (PS4)

Trek to Yomi - May 5th ( PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC) 

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters - May 5th (PC)

Elemental War 2 - May 6th (Xbox, PC)

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising - May 10th (Xbox. Switch, PC)

Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2 - May 10th (Switch)

Salt and Sacrifice - May 10th (PS4, PS5, PC)

This War of Mine: Final Cut - May 10th ( PS5, Xbox Series X|S)

Evil Dead: The Game - May 13th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Instant Sports - May 13th (PS5, Switch)

DEADCRAFT - May 19th (Switch, PC)

Deliver Us The Moon - May 19th (PS5, Xbox Series X|S)

Souldiers - May 19th (PS4, PS5, Xbox) Switch, PC)

Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong - May 19th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch. PC) Delayed to June

Cotten Fantasy - May 20th (Switch)

Dolmen - May 20th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Relayer - May 20th (PS4, PS5)

Touken Ranbu Warriors May 24th (Switch)

Sniper Elite 5 - May 26th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Kao the Kangaroo - May 27th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure -  May 27th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

Pac-Man Museum+ - May 27th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

SnowRunner - May 31 (PS5, Xbox)

That’s it! A bit of a short month, but I am excited for a few of them. Honorable mention to Sniper Elite 5 which is a fun series. Let us know what you'll be playing in the comments. 

Miss last month's update? Check out April 2022’s releases right here!

Monthly Gaming Update:  April 2022

April is a much-needed break in terms of high-profile releases after the past few months of knockout games. There are still some releases worth looking at, especially if you are as excited as I am for a remaster of a certain real-time strategy Gameboy Advance game. April may be your best chance at catching up on some backlog games before May and the slew of information that will be assaulting us around the time of E3 and the usual summer game press releases. Let’s get into those highlights for this month.

April’s Highlights

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga - Apr 5th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

https://youtu.be/syvicyCN_lw

LEGO Star Wars is back, and it’s about dang time. Originally slated for a 2020 release date, Lego Star Wars the Skywalker Saga had been severely delayed due to COVID and a few other development setbacks. BUT it’s here, and it looks amazing. Fans of Lego games, shows, and Star Wars have a lot to look forward to as the newest game will have you playing through all NINE Star Wars films with the signature brand of Lego style and humor. This will also be the largest Lego game to date, with dozens of planets to explore, side missions to complete, and lots and lots of collectibles. Skywalker Saga is also breathtaking to look at and may very well be the most comprehensive Star Wars experience you will find. 

MLB The Show 22 - Apr 5th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)

I’ll be honest with you, I am not a baseball fan. I do respect sports games and play them from time to time, and MLB The Show has done that, standing up to time as the greatest baseball series ever. Plus, it’s on every console now! Players across Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation can enjoy America's pastime with MLB The Show 22 featuring Shohei Ohtani (I’m not gonna pretend I know who that is). The most amazing thing to me is that MLB 22 will feature full support from Cross-Play, Cross-Saves, and Cross-Progression, meaning you can play your saved games and progress across all platforms. You could be playing on your PS5 or Xbox, then grab your Switch and pick up where you left off on the go! This should be how all multiplatform games are, and I hope the rest of them are paying attention. Anyway... Get your yearly baseball fix when MLB The Show 22 drops on April 5th or a few days early if you grab one of the special editions.

*UPDATE Advance Wars 1 and 2 Re-Boot Camp - Apr 8th (Switch) Indefinitely Postponed

Advance Wars was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2001 and holds a Metacritic score of 92. Now, finally, after much demand, Nintendo is releasing Advance Wars 1 and 2 Re-boot Camp for the Switch. A completely overhauled remaster of both original games, featuring a new take on the original art style and animations. Advance Wars is a beloved strategy game, and fans have been pining for a new entry, enough so that indie developers made their own versions and love letters to the series like Wargroove. I personally loved Advance Wars on my Game Boy Advance back in the day, and I am very excited to get back to the battlefield to command my troops and crush my enemies (maniacal laughter). If you are feeling nostalgic or want a truly great strategy game, then check out Advance Wars™ 1+2: Re-Boot Camp.

Nintendo Switch Sports - Apr 29th (Switch)

Everyone has a relative that bought a Wii to play and probably still plays Wii Sports. Nintendo is going for gold again with Nintendo Switch Sports, a new version of the classic Wii game utilizing the Switch’s Joycon Controllers. Nintendo Switch Sports will include six games, including new versions of old favorites like Bowling and Sword Fights, now called Chambara. Sadly, Golf is not available but will be coming as a free update in the fall. The Switch allows for online play to face people around the world. You also earn points to unlock new customizations for your avatar cause we all know you play better when you look good. Let’s hope this new version can live up to the legacy of Wii Sports later this month.

April 2022’s Release Schedule

MLB The Show 22 MVP Edition - Apr 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga - Apr 5th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

MLB The Show 22 - Apr 5th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch)

Outbreak: Contagious Memories - Apr 5th (Xbox)

Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition - Apr 7th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Advance Wars 1 and 2 Re-Boot Camp - Apr 8th (Switch)

Skul: Hero Slayer - Apr 8th (PS4, Switch)

13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim Launch Edition - Apr 12th (Switch)

After the Fall: Frontrunner Edition Virtual Reality - Apr 12th (PS4)

Epic Chef - Apr 12th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

Road 96 - Apr 14th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)

Ikai - Apr 15th (PS4, PS5, Switch)

Neptunia x SENRAN KAGURA: Ninja Wars - Apr 19th (Switch)

Moto GP 22 - Apr 20th (PS4, PS5, Xbox)

Ganryu 2 : Hakuma Kojiro -  Apr 21st (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

Nintendo Switch Sports - Apr 29th (Switch)

Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth - Apr 29th (PS4, PS5, Switch)

Miss last month's update? Check out March 2022’s releases right here!

Monthly Gaming Update: March 2022

All the video games going straight into your backlog this month! If you thought February was an intense month, here comes March swinging with some out of nowhere heavy hitters. Ghostwire and Kirby, both getting surprise date reveals, have launched March into the stratosphere like a homerun bat smash in Super Smash Bros. 2022 is already shaping up to be one hell of a year with Elden Ring receiving high praise across the board, and we don’t even know most of the games slated for the holiday season. OK, I’m going back to playing Elden Ring before these bad boys drop.

March’s Highlights

Gran Turismo 7 - Mar 4th (PS4, PS5)

The Granddaddy of simulation racing is back! Gran Turismo 7 is car fans and stans dream come to life. Get behind the wheel of over 420 real-life cars and compete in casual, competitive, and GT career races on real tracks across the world. Showcasing some of the best visuals to date with ray tracing, 4k and HDR support targeting 60 fps. The PlayStation 5 version will feature haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, but not on PS4. We shall see how this PS5 brewed game holds up on the PS4 when it launches. The original GT 2 was one of the first racing games I ever played, and it made me a fan, so let’s see if they can recapture the magic.

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - Mar 24th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Borderlands DnD version is here. Wait, Wonderlands is here. This Borderlands spin-off that takes place in the universe as a DnD style board game being played by the characters… ah yeah, it gets weird. Like Borderlands, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands will have you choose from a list of classes to set out on a wild and zany adventure with an over-the-top twist on Dungeons and Dragons but played like a first-person shooter with spells and numbers flying out of people’s heads when you shoot them. Anyone familiar with previous games will be right at home with the rock-solid shooter RPG mechanics, and new players have a lot to look forward to.

Ghostwire: Tokyo - Mar 25th (PS5, PC)

From famed game director Shinji Mikami comes Ghostwire: Tokyo. This game looks like a Japanese horror movie come to life. Tokyo has been overrun by a deadly supernatural force that has made the population disappear, except you. Teaming up with a powerful spectral entity, you will wield devastating elemental powers and use ghost hunting skills to battle the supernatural. Ghostwire is labeled as an Action-Adventure game, but come on. Look at it, it looks terrifying, and it’s from the creator of Resident Evil and the studio that made The Evil Within! It’s going to be spooky, haunting, and beautiful! I have been excited about this since its announcement, and Bam! Now it is here!

Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Mar 25th (Switch)

Kirby, everyone’s favorite pink puffball that eats everything, is getting his own open-world adventure on Nintendo Switch. Kirby games are notorious for being baby games (super easy) besides Kirby’s Adventure on Game Boy; that game was hella hard! Kirby and the Forgotten Land looks to give Kirby the Mario Odyssey treatment allowing Kirby to explore large, open, and lush environments. We all know Kirby likes to suck up enemies and absorb their powers, but now he can take on huge things like cars, and you know, be a car or a vending machine? Kirby has always been one of my favorite characters to play in Smash Bros. The difficulty of his own games has made them a rather dull endeavor for a grown man to enjoy. Here’s hoping that this one has some challenge to it cause it looks fun.

March 2022’s Release Schedule

Conan Chop Chop - Mar 1st (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

ELEX II - Mar 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Far: Changing Tides - Mar 1st (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Game Pass, Switch, PC)

The Cruel King and the Great Hero - Mar 1st (PS4, Switch)

Shadow Warrior 3 - Mar 1st (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Babylon's Fall - Mar 3rd (PS4, PS5, PC)

Legends of Ixtona - Mar 3rd (Xbox, PC)

Gran Turismo 7 - Mar 4th (PS4, PS5)

Ryan's Rescue Squad - Mar 4th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

Triangle Strategy - Mar 4th (Switch)

Aztech Forgotten Gods - Mar 9th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC)

The Last Cube - Mar 9th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

RPG Time: The Legend of Wright - Mar 9th (Xbox, PC)

Submerged: Hidden Depths - Mar 9th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC, Stadia)

Century: Age of Ashes -  Mar 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: Dawn of Ragnarök - Mar 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC, Stadia)

Time Loader - Mar 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox. Switch, PC)

Hotel Transylvania: Scary Tale Adventure - Mar 10th (PS4, Xbox, Switch)

WWE 2K22 - Mar 10th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Disco Elysium The Final Cut - Mar 15th (Switch)

Five Nights at Freddy’s Security Breach - Mar 15th (PS4, PS5)

Grand Theft Auto V Next-Gen Upgrade - Mar 15th (PS5, Xbox)

Phantom Breaker: Omnia - Mar 15th (PS4, Xbox, Switch, PC)

The Cruel King and the Great Hero - Mar 15th (PS4, Switch)

ANNO: Mutationem -  Mar 16th (PS4, PS5, PC)

Tunic -  Mar 16th (Xbox, PC)

Monster Energy Supercross 5 - Mar 16th (PS5, Xbox, PC)

Gal Gun: Double Peace - Mar 17th (Switch)

Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin - Mar 17th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Grand Mountain Adventure: Wonderlands - Mar 22nd (Switch)

Grow: Song of the Evertree - Mar 22nd (Switch)

Rune Factory 5 - Mar 22nd (Switch)

Relayer - Mar 23rd (PS4, PS5)

The Ascent - Mar 24th (PS5)

Oddballers - Mar 24th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC, Stadia, Luna)

Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - Mar 24th (PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC)

Dodgeball Academia - Mar 25th (PS4, Switch)

Ghostwire: Tokyo - Mar 25th (PS5, PC)

Kirby and the Forgotten Land - Mar 25th (Switch)

Skul: The Hero Slayer - Mar 25th (Switch)

Stranded Deep - Mar 25th (Switch)

Crusader Kings 3 - Mar 29th (PS5, Xbox)

WRC 10 - Mar 29th (Switch)

Ikai - Mar 29th (PS4, PS5, Switch, PC)

CRYSTAR - Mar 31st (Switch) 

Shredders -  Mar TBD (Xbox)

Weird West - Mar 31 (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Miss last month's update? Check out February 2022’s releases right here!

Which of these will you be playing? Which are getting added to the pile of your backlog? Let us know.

Under the Radar: Before Your Eyes

Back in April Before Your Eyes was brought to my attention and immediately piqued my curiosity. Upon looking into the game, I found that it was developed by Goodbye World Games, a small team of about nine people that started life as a student project called Close Your. This very unique game may have gone under your radar, but it is worth looking at.

Life Flashes

The highly unique feature of Before Your Eyes is that you play the game with your eyes. The game, only available on PC, uses your webcam to track your face, and more specifically, your eyes. This tracking technology allows the game to see when you blink and have your eyes open and closed. You literally play the game with your eyes and control the story’s progression by looking and interacting with various objects. To engage with the items, you use your mouse to control where your character is looking, but then you blink on the items to interact. There are moments in the game where you are tasked with keeping your eyes open to see what is happening, but when you blink, the game jumps to the next scene. Time usually jumps forward every time you blink, sometimes months, or sometimes years, which adds a whole new meaning to the expression blink, and you will miss it. Inversely some moments have you close your eyes and listen, and if you open your eyes, the scene restarts or ends. This mechanic makes you really focus on what is being presented to you. See it for yourself with the trailer.


They Grow Up So Fast

Beyond using your eyes to play, the game is a rich narrative-driven story. Without giving too much, you start on the boat of a “ferryman dog” who wants to know who you were in life. You then proceed to live through the life of Benny, starting on his first birthday. You learn about your parents, their passions, worries, and ambitions. You see Benny choose what kind of person he will grow into, who and what he loves. You make life decisions to determine where your character spends time and focus as you grow up. Sometimes there are some dark spots in your memory that are difficult to see and pass quickly. All of this is done with your eyes and focusing on people, objects, and observations. You can learn how to play piano, draw in different styles, or play video games; you decide how Benny grows up.

Before You Know It

As of now, Before Your Eyes is only available on Steam for a reasonable price of $10. As of this writing, I had spent roughly 5 hours in the game on my first playthrough and started a second playthrough to experience some of the different outcomes. There is a lot to appreciate in this small package, from the voice acting to the music. The audio experience is exceptionally well done and crucial to the game’s overall tone (definitely wear headphones for the best experience). Throughout the game, a very emotional story presents some challenging moments that for some, could hit home with a lot of life’s nuances and struggles. The feelings and emotions that go along with growing up, first love, and dealing with loss, are all presented in a very interesting and unique way and played in a way never done before.

Before Your Eyes is a heartwarming, emotional, and wholly unique gameplay experience. If you are a fan of story-centric games that focus more on the experience and less on gameplay, you might want to check this one out.

To Look Back 

An aspect of this game I had not considered until after playing was the accessibility options that this game presents. Many gamers struggle with a disability in one form or another, and accessibility in games has become a major push by many studios and platforms. Check out Xbox’s Adaptive Controller, which allows the use of a vast assortment of peripherals to give disabled gamers the best experience possible. Before Your Eyes may be presenting yet another new technology to help expand the roster of options for those that need it. 

This one may have gone under your radar and it may not be a game for you. However, it could change the way people experience video games in the future.

Have you played Before Your Eyes? How do you feel about a game you play with your eyes?

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