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Balloon Chair Death Match looks brilliantly stupid

Imagine Pixar’s Up! combined with gentlemanly pistol duelling. Got it? Good. That’s literally what Balloon Chair Death Match amounts to.

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Balloon Chair Death Match

Imagine Pixar’s Up! combined with gentlemanly pistol duelling. Got it? Good. That’s literally what Balloon Chair Death Match amounts to.

Not doing anything to further the cause of VR games not all looking like experimental dalliances and speculative tech demos, UK-based indie developer Climax Studios have today released Balloon Chair Death Match onto Steam Early Access, for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets.

They do have a little bit of form in this area. having already released eight – yes, eight – VR titles in the platform’s short lifespan. That’s literally a game a month since the Rift released in March 2016.

On the one hand that’s great, because it means their room scale VR (can we call it that when you’re in the sky, aloft on a balloon-powered armchair?) chops are solid; they want to be, with all that practice they’re getting. But it does also contribute to the negative feeling that virtual reality is still more of a plaything than a serious gaming platform, which is a shame, because Balloon Chair Death Match looks rather fun.

You sit in a chair, suspended by party balloons on string, and endeavour to pop the balloons of other players before they pop yours. Essentially Balloon Chair Death Match is the Mario Kart balloon-based scoring system with a bit more peril attached to it. Obviously the key target here is multiplayer, but there will also be single-player challenges for when you can’t find friends or strangers to take pot-shots at.

While Balloon Chair Death Match looks brilliantly stupid – and stupidly brilliant – we can’t help thinking it would be even better if there was some form of local multiplayer possible. While playing VR feels like the injection to the industry that the Wii provided 10 years ago, it’s missing that social element.

If VR is going to exist on experimental titles and what amount to little more than fun party games, then there really needs is the ability to have multiple players in a room together. You know, in an actual party. Watching someone make a dick of themselves in VR and passing the headset around is fun for a while, but it’s hardly the karaoke machine-replacing prowess of Wii Sports or Mario Party.


Balloon Chair Death Match costs £18.99 / $24.99 US over on Steam in Early Access, currently with 40% off for early adopters.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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Excellent Xbox Games with Gold lineup for March 2020 confirmed

Microsoft reveals the four free games coming to Xbox Games with Gold in February 2020.

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Xbox Games with Gold
Microsoft

Microsoft has revealed the four free games coming to Xbox Games with Gold in March 2020.

Xbox Game Pass is quite rightly the focus of Microsoft’s subscription services at the moment, but it’s worth remembering that Xbox Live Gold subscribers still get a crop of four free games every month. Sometimes they are good. Sometimes they are bad. Sometimes they are March 2020. That’s not to say that we don’t like next month’s free Xbox games, it’s just that they don’t excite us very much.

Both Xbox One titles are certainly worth playing. Batman: The Enemy Within is an enjoyable comic book romp and one of Telltale’s last best games before the studio, in its previous iteration, wound down. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is also fun, as you’d expect from the always reliable WayForward.

March’s Xbox 360 games are Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, which is far from MercurySteam’s best work and Sonic Generations, which is fine, but no Sonic Mania.

The Xbox Games with Gold titles for March are available during the following dates.

Xbox Games With Gold – March 2020

Xbox One

  • Batman: The Enemy Within – March 1 – 31, 2020
  • Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – March 16 – April 15, 2020

Xbox 360 and Xbox One

  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – March 1 – 15, 2020
  • Sonic Generations – March 16 – 31, 2020

In the meantime, three of February‘s Games with Gold titles are still available to download. TT Isle of Man and the original Star Wars Battlefront are free until the end of the month. Call of Cthulhu is available until March 15, 2020.


Get updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 games from our new releases page. And follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily news updates.

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Devolver Digital announces stressful-looking Disc Room

Disc Room is a single-screen dungeon puzzle game, like Zelda. Except it’s a bullet hell. And the bullets are spinning circular saw blades. Obviously.

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Devolver Digital Disc Room
Devolver Digital

Disc Room is a single-screen dungeon puzzle game, like Zelda. Except it’s a bullet hell. And the bullets are spinning circular saw blades. Obviously.

One really nice thing about Minit, published by Devolver Digital, was that the game was credited really well. The four developers involved – Jan Willem Nijman, Kitty Calis, Jukio Kallio, and Dominik Johann – were all credited with their names. No funny studio names. No weird collective. No indie supergroup set up for that one game. Just their names.

It’s nice to see Devolver, and the team behind the game, are taking a similar approach with today’s announcement, Disc Room.

The supergroup, the indie dev dream team behind Disc Room is as follows:

  • Kitty Calis (Minit, Horizon Zero Dawn, Action Henk)
  • Jan Willem Nijman (Minit, Luftrausers, Nuclear Throne)
  • Terri Vellman (High Hell, Heavy Bullets, Mundo Lixo)
  • Doseone (Gang Beasts, Enter the Gungeon, High Hell)

But what exactly is Disc Room? We’ll let the reveal trailer handle that.

Forgive our language, but that looks stressful as fuck, doesn’t it?

Don’t mistake our distress for dislike. We don’t mean that Disc Room’s not also looking brilliant. It looks like a combination of retro-era Zelda’s dungeon puzzle rooms, with a modern aesthetic flavour like The Swords of Ditto, combined with a horrific bullet hell of flying circular saw blades. The titular disc(s) in the titular room(s), if you will.

According to the game’s Steam store page, Disc Room releases sometime in 2020. We’ll keep you posted with more information on this one as it becomes available, but it looks tantalising. And horrifying.


You should definitely follow Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle NewsTwitter, and Flipboard for the latest video game news. It’s not usually this stressful.

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Out of the Park Baseball 21 release date announced

Out of the Park Baseball 21 will hit PC in March.

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Out of the Park Baseball 21
Out of the Park Developments

Out of the Park Baseball 21 will hit PC in March.

Out of the Park Developments has confirmed that the 21st-anniversary edition of its baseball strategy game, Out of the Park Baseball 21, will be released on March 20, 2020.

The studio says the game will feature a wealth of new features and improvements, the most ever added to a single edition of the game in its long history.

It’s a long and impressive list, so here’s a quick rundown on some of the key features players can look forward to.

  • Game Flow – A new guide that nurtures players through the OOTP experience in a way that is helpful for newcomers and veterans.
  • Updated Live Services – Live Starts expands with the latest real-world team rosters, injuries, trades, and standings.
  • Improved UI – A revamped interface including customisable player page statistics and player lists.
  • New camera, animations and audio – New camera modes, angles and 3D player animations, as well as improved crowd and ambient audio during games.
  • 3D Ballpark Construction Kit – A new tool suite lets players configure their own 3D stadium from a range of ballpark layouts and architectural elements.
  • 2020 MLB rules, tactics, and strategies – The game reflects the new 26-man rosters, as well as the new 28-man September configuration.

Other improvements include a rebuilt scouting model and drafting mechanics. Add in customised leagues, updated AI, the addition of All-Star Weekend, and a host of under-the-hood updates. The online Perfect Team 21 card-trading game also returns with a raft of new features. All in all, the game promises to be a significant update for long-time players and a more accessible experience for newbies.

Speaking about this year’s game, studio COO/CMO Richard Grisham, says:

Out of the Park Baseball 21 shows what a dedicated and devoted team can put together. The investments in infrastructure, live services, and AI coupled with the daily interaction with our fans has resulted in a title that we believe everyone will love. Out of the Park Baseball 21 offers enjoyable, authentic baseball experiences for every possible kind of player – and it will evolve all season long.”

The game is available to pre-order now from OOTP Developments web store with a 10% discount. All orders include early beta access from March 17, 2020. It will also be available via Steam on the official March 20 launch day.


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Save up to 85% in this week’s Xbox One sales

Borderlands 3 and Nier: Automata are among this week’s new Xbox One video game savings.

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Xbox One - Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 and Nier: Automata are among this week’s new Xbox One video game savings.

This week’s Xbox Deals with Gold lineup includes a 50% price cut on Gearbox shooter, Borderlands 3. It’s not the most fulfilling FPS we’ve ever played, nor even the best Borderlands game, but it’s a heap of fun and worth picking up at a discount.

Other DwG highlights include the Batman: Return to Arkham bundle, Nier: Automata, and Mordheim: City of the Damned.

The new Play and Save sale is also impressive, with reductions for the likes of The Evil Within 2, Grid, and Descenders.

This week’s spotlight savings include Rainbow Six Siege and The Division 2, and the Anime sale continues for a second week, serving up big discounts on the likes of Code Vein and Dragon Ball FighterZ.

You can pick up the latest Xbox One deals until March 2, 2020. Head over to the Xbox One digital store or the Microsoft online store for the full lineup of discounted games. Here are some more of recommendations.

Anime Sale Highlights

  • Code Vein – 40% off
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ – 75% off
  • Dragon Ball Xenoverse – 85% off
  • Jump Force – 60% off
  • Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom – 50% off
  • Naruto To Boruto: Shinobi Striker – 85% off
  • Sonic Mania – 50% off
  • Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition – 60% off
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4 – 50% off

Deals with Gold Highlights

  • 39 Days to Mars – 33% off
  • 7 Days to Die – 40% off
  • Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey – 25% off
  • ARK: Survival Evolved – 80% off
  • Batman: Return To Arkham – 60% off
  • Blood Bowl 2 – Legendary Edition – 75% off
  • Borderlands 3 Super Deluxe Edition – 50% off
  • Brief Battles – 40% off
  • Doom 3 – 70% off
  • Doom II  – 70% off
  • Graveyard Keeper – 65% off
  • Monster Energy Supercross – Special Edition – 60% off
  • Mordheim: City of the Damned – Complete Edition – 75% off
  • MotoGP 19 – 75% off
  • Mr. Shifty – 70% off
  • NieR:Automata – 50% off
  • Portal Knights – 60% off
  • Project Highrise: Architect’s Edition – 75% off
  • Space Hulk: Tactics – 75% off
  • The Jackbox Party Pack 3 – 45% off
  • Tools Up! – 20% off
  • Train Sim World 2020 – 40% off

Play and Save Sale Highlights

  • A Plague Tale: Innocence – 60% off
  • Age Of Wonders: Planetfall – 50% off
  • Descenders – 40% off
  • Dishonored 2 – 75% off
  • Doom – 70% off
  • eFootball PES 2020 – 60% off
  • F1 2019 – 50% off
  • Frostpunk: Console Edition – 30% off
  • Gravel – 80% off
  • Grid – 60% off
  • Mutant Football League – 33% off
  • Prey – 75% off
  • Prey: Digital Deluxe Edition – 75% off
  • Prison Architect: Xbox One Edition – 65% off
  • Super Mega Baseball 2 – 60% off
  • The Evil Within 2 – 75% off
  • The Walking Dead: The Final Season – The Complete Season – 40% off
  • Ultimate Danger Bundle – 60% off
  • Wreckfest – 20% off

Spotlight Sale Highlights

  • Attack of the Earthlings – 50% off
  • Crimson Keep – 75% off
  • Dead Alliance – 85% off
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Deluxe Edition – 70% off
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – 85% off
  • Troll & I – 80% off
  • Zombie Party – 50% off

Visit the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 games. You can also follow us on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

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New PlayStation 4 releases – February 24-28, 2020

A refreshingly eclectic lineup of new PlayStation 4 and PS Vita games is coming to the PlayStation Store this week.

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New PlayStation 4 game releases
Sony / Thumbsticks

A refreshingly eclectic lineup of new PlayStation 4 and PS Vita games is coming to the PlayStation Store this week.

We like weeks like this. A week where there’s a wide range of video games to enjoy from a wide range of genres. And just thinking about our pick of the week gives us a fever, especially as it’s Two Point Hospital, the marvellous medical simulation game from Two Point Studios.

Pitched as a spiritual follow-up to Bullfrog’s iconic Theme Hospital, the game found a rabidly enthusiastic audience on its 2018 PC release. If the transfer to PS4 is as successful we’ve seen with other PC sims – like Cities: Skylines – we predict it will be a big hit.

An old favourite also returns with the Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection. The package brings together remasters of six classic games staring the mighty Blue Bomber. A cult Dreamcast favourite also gets a modern update in Space Channel 5 VR Kinda Funky News Flash for PS VR. Remember to wipe that headset clean after dancing.

Other new releases include Spike Chunsoft fighter One Punch Man – A Hero Nobody Knows, and Khud0’s endearing low-fi platformer, Grizzland. It’s also nice to see Mega Cat’s retro-style brawler Coffee Crisis finally make it to PlayStaton 4.

Here’s the current lineup of this week’s new PlayStation Store releases.

New PlayStation 4 releases – February 24-28, 2020

Monday, February 24, 2020

  • No releases

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

  • Covert
  • Ganbare Super Strikers (+ PS Vita)
  • Grizzland
  • Hayfever
  • House Flipper
  • Infliction: Extended Cut
  • Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection
  • Space Channel 5 VR Kinda Funky News Flash!
  • Tempest
  • Two Point Hospital

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

  • Amoeba Battle
  • Hero Must Die. Again
  • Vasilis (+ PS Vita)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

  • Diadra Empty
  • MX Nitro: Ultimate Edition
  • Overpass

Friday, February 28, 2020

  • Bloodroots
  • Bucket Knight
  • Coffee Crisis
  • Chop is Dish
  • Don’t Even Think
  • One Punch Man – A Hero Nobody Knows
  • Ritual: Crown of Horns
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV
  • Spartan Fist
  • Stab Stab Stab!

Visit our new releases page for regular updates on the latest PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch games. You can also follow Thumbsticks on Flipboard, Facebook, Google News, and Twitter.

Thumbsticks needs your support

We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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