Digital Blend: Disney Infinity takes to the sky(landers) and The Cave gets a release date

disney infinity the challenges of straddling line between physical and virtual play

Happy new year! Welcome back to Digital Blend, our weekly look at the world of downloadable video gaming that exists at the fringes of the mainstream. That means we look at the hottest new mobile game releases, downloadable content drops on consoles and PCs, indie darlings that deserve your love and attention, and the best gaming values out there for under $20.

Keep your comments and feedback coming. We want to hear from you! Did you try something you read about here and enjoy it? Is there a particular game you think we’ve overlooked or news you want to share? Any questions you are dying to ask? Let us know! Your thoughts, feedback, suggestions and (constructive!) criticism are welcome, either in the comments section below or directed at yours truly on Twitter, @geminibros.

Making headlines…

* Starting next week, on January 22, 2013, CCP Games will swing the doors wide on the free-to-play PlayStation 3 FPS, Dust 514, with the launch of its open beta. The game’s EVE Online universe setting only recently hooked into CCP’s actual sci-fi MMO, which plays out on a single “shard” unlike other multi-server MMOs. This creates a unique cross-game dynamic, with players on the FPS side taking contracts from and being aided by players on the MMO side. The launch of the open beta is great news for fans who have been waiting to take the F2P action for a spin.

disney infinity preview the magic kingdom declares war on skylanders and minecraft* Disney made a lot of noise earlier this week with the announcement of Disney Infinity, an upcoming game that sounds like it’s equal parts SkylandersLittleBigPlanet, and Minecraft. There’s quite a lot to it, so your best bet is to check out Anthony’s preview. While you’re at it, take a peek at our chat with Avalanche Studios CEO John Blackburn. Avalanche is handling development of Infinity and Blackburn offers up a lot of useful information about how the game works and what some of the future plans involve.

* The National Rifle Association made the questionable move earlier this week of releasing the NRA: Practice Range reference app, an info resource for the organization that also includes a shooting range mode that allows users to fire a variety of guns — with others available as microtransactions — at virtual paper targets. The release turned heads because of NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre’s recent skewering of violent entertainment forms as one of the elements that led to Adam Lanza’s horrendous actions in Sandy Hook, Conn. Yes, there’s a world of difference between a game about shooting paper targets and a game about shooting people. Speaking as an ardent supporter of our Second Amendment rights, I still think it’s in poor taste that this shooting range wasn’t removed from the NRA app.

exploring the depths of cave double fines adventure game reinventionThe Cave arrives next week! That’s right, Double Fine fans: Ron Gilbert’s Sega-published, side-scrolling adventure game is coming to a video game platform near you on January 22, 2013. PlayStation Network and Wii U eShop come first, followed on January 23 by an Xbox Live Arcade release. Not caught up on what’s happening with The Cave? Check out our 2012 interview with Gilbert!

* The Behemoth is back. Castle Crashers was first released for Xbox 360 back in 2008, and while the game has since been ported to a number of other platforms, we’ve seen little from the developer beyond a couple of iOS offerings. That all changes next month. Starting at some undetermined point in February 2013, a select group of players will be able take The Behemoth’s upcoming Battleblock Theater out for a spin, compliments of a beta test. You can sign up now, and you probably should since only 10,000 candidates will be selected. Check out Anthony’s report for a rundown of participation requirements and a link to the sign-up page.

Top buys for the week…

borderlands 2 sir hammerlocks big game hunt dlc heads to new lands with threats  preview 1Borderlands 2 – Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt DLC :: PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / PC :: $9.99 / 800 MS Points

very light week for Digital Blend-y releases is highlighted by the Xbox 360 launch of Gearbox Software’s latest Borderlands 2 DLC pack, Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt. Travel to the Pandoran continent of Aegrus where you’ll hunt all manner of big game, take on a devoted Handsome Jack fan, and have your ass handed to you by a pair of new raid bosses. It’s glorious, and an easy choice for pick of the week. Just check out our review.

digital blend disney infinity takes to the skylanders and cave gets a release date temple run 2Temple Run 2 :: iOS :: FREE

Second verse, same as the first. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the fact that Temple Run 2 largely amounts to “more Temple Run,” though it’s hard not to be a little disappointed at the lack of evolution here. There are new characters and new character-specific abilities, along with some new environments, but one has to wonder why all of this content justified the sequel treatment. Oh, what’s that? Temple Run 2 is free-to-play and uses a microtransaction-based pricing model that allows players to spend money rather than time on content unlocks? There you go. Sequel justified.

Product Review

Digital Storm’s Lynx PC appeals to gamers with stylish, upgradeable design

Digital Storm’s Lynx provides an excellent alternative to gamers who don’t want to build their own gaming PCs. Equipped with powerful hardware and space for two graphics cards, the Lynx is a PC that’s capable of growing with your…

How you can share your best gaming moments with friends on the PS4

Check out Digital Trends' quick guide to everything you need to know to save your outstanding PlayStation 4 gameplay moments, share them online, and transfer them to your computer.

How to use Samsung's Bixby assistant for all of your smartphone tasks

Samsung Bixby is a powerful tool, but not the most intuitive one we've encountered. Here's how to set up and use every feature of Samsung's digital assistant, as well as what to expect in the future.

Here's our take on the best game-streaming services currently available

You can still get your physical video game discs or cartridges at your local store or download games digitally, but another option is even more convenient: Game streaming. Here are the best game-streaming services.

Walmart drops a rare deal on the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

When it comes to gaming, you're really only as good as the equipment you use. Which is why a lot of folks choose to upgrade to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller after buying the console.

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for March 2019

Looking to score Nintendo's latest console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on bundles that feature must-have games like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Zelda: Breath of…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Get Corsair’s best mechanical keyboard at a decent discount

From March 17 to 23, you can get one of the best mechanical keyboards around at a great price. The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is normally $200, but this week you can pick one up from Amazon for $160.

Overwatch League teams will host home games starting in 2020

Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer revealed plans for the teams to start hosting games in their home cities next year. The teams will play half of their games at home and the other half visiting other teams.

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?

Our Fortnite: Battle Royale building tips and tricks will help you survive

Fortnite: Battle Royale sets itself apart from PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds with its building mechanics. From gathering resources, to making cover on the fly, to building towers, here is how to build like a pro.

Apex Legends cheaters reportedly being kicked out with permanent hardware bans

Respawn Entertainment has reportedly started issuing permanent hardware bans against Apex Legends cheaters. The studio is raising the bar on how cheating in online multiplayer games should be dealt with.