It's not often that you get to write here about games that aren't strictly "audio", as in developped by and/or for the blind. The few times that you do it generally involves games for phones, but less often the really popular releases... Let alone the Tripple A ones. And yet, here we are, writing about zombies and slaying things and... Why is my second news post in a row about zombies? This is so depressing. Or at least, it would be if the news wasn't so groundbreaking.
If you've been following the forums, or more particularly people into video games on social media, you might have noticed a trend of mainstream video games, both those for indie developers as well as high budget tripple A titles, have been increasingly getting more accessibility features. Things like closed captions, high contrast color schemes, button remapping, and eventually text to speech. In most cases however, even if a game had text to speech, it didn't automatically make it fully playable if you're blind because it still lacked in additional audio queues or aim/navigation assistance features.
Then, The Last Of Us 2 happened. The followup to the incredibly successful Playstation 4 hit from 2013, widely considered the last killer app for the console before its replacement comes out in a few months, TLOU2 is a massive, cinematic game mixing the horror survival, stealth, adventure and shooter genres with a gripping, emotional story. It also happens to be completely accessible no matter if you can see or not, or a number of other disabilities.
As detailed in this blog post from Sony the game includes over 60 accessibility features. Of particular interest to our readers is the previously mentioned text to speech available in just about every language, as well as a number of additional navigational aids and audio queues helping you locate items, jump over ledges, aim at and shoot or stealthily sneak up on enemies and more. For over 3 years, Naughty Dog worked with multiple consultants, including long-time gamer Brandon Cole to get these features just right and the results, quite literally, speak for themselves. This puts the game right up there with every other audio game in terms of playability, and while we already saw games become this playable, for example in the case of Sequence Storm or Skullgirls, this is the first time such a major, high budget title has received this kind of treatment and attention.
If you'd like to learn more, this forum thread is a must-read.
What if you don't have a PS4 or don't want to play such a game? Well, there is another game that has also become extremely playable, though this time it's thanks to capable modders.
A couple months ago, while in lockdown with his blind girlfriend, a person going by the nickname of Wensber decided to give her something fun to do by making one of the games he was interested in accessible. This game, called Slay the Spire, is a really popular and interesting take on the roguelike and card collecting genre. You can play one of several character classes, more of which become available as you play the game. You play by climbing up the floors of the titular spire selecting one of a few possible paths, which may either lead you to a monster encounter, a treasure chest, a shop or something far more dangerous. When you get into a battle, you can either attack or defend yourself by playing various cards. Defeating a monster will cause it to drop more cards that you can add to your deck, as well as the occasional potion or relic which gives you a more permanent boost. Finally, every playthrough is completely different as the cards you get, spire layouts and the bosses you'll be facing will be different each time.
If this sounds interesting, have a look at This thread for more details and links!
But as always, this is not all. If you have a look at our New releases forum you will find many more interesting titles coming out. Keeping with the mainstream theme this for example includes an extremely complicated space exploration and colonisation game Aurora, accessibility updates to Galactic Colonies from the makers of Crafting Kingdom. There have also been a number of new interesting audiogames released, featuring police chases, horses, spaceships, relaxing soundscapes and more!