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Found 11 results

  1. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Reus

    Developer: Abbey Games Publisher: Abbey Games Platform: PC (Desura, GamersGate, GreenManGaming, GOG, Steam, Web)Release Date: May 16, 2013 ESRB: N/A (E suggested) A download code was provided by the publisher for this review What is the greatest appeal of a god game? It“s quite simple - to exercise incredible power on the world. We can“t make everything go our way in reality but god games offer us an avenue to make a wealth of decisions that will affect a virtual population. Reus shows itself off as the latest god game, but it seems to be a bit different from what we“ve come to expect. The question is, is that a good or bad thing? It all depends on the kind of gameplay style you have. The genre most befitting to Reus seems to be puzzle. You see, when you begin the game you are greeted with four powerful gods to control, but they aren“t really in control. Each god controls a specific biome (swamp, ocean, forest, desert) and these are used to generate the environment for your new world. Once you“ve set up a habitable space on the planet, a nomad will arrive and start up a village. This is the point that you“ll realize how little control you have despite being a hulking god. Each and every new civilization will have a great deal of needs and your role is god is to be entirely subservient to them. Sure, you can switch between who you help, or choose the way in which the goal is achieved - but you are still working toward their aims. In fact, even getting more features to unlock requires completing various in-game achievements which revolve around doing good by a society. How do players serve their people? Each god has access to their own abilities, such as changing land, planting fruits, plants, animals, and more. However, they are not corralled into these few choices. When gods interact with each other“s items, or place specific goods next to others, synergies form. This is when everything jumps into puzzle hyperdrive. Because everything the citizens want requires resources, you must simply give them enough of each. But doing so requires understanding how to place goods efficiently, as well as how to set off the best synergies. It“s all fairly complex stuff even after playing for hours so it would make even less sense to explain in further detail here. Suffice it to say that there is an official wiki available for Reus and you will need it if you intend to become skilled. If not, it“s possible to squeak by for a while, but not to accomplish much down the road. Puzzle/strategy play overwhelms the god aspects entirely and that will be appreciated by the kind of player who loves unraveling complex systems. Someone who wants to simply wreak havoc can do so, but won“t find much excitement in the game for long. Being a god in Reus is all about serving the people, after all, not about goofing off. With studied determination, those invested in the game will be able to appreciate how much time Abbey games must have invested in its creation. It was not necessary for the game to have so many varied aspects or synergies, but everything works together wonderfully just as long as the player understands. Reus also happens to be an entirely gorgeous title. The gods are giant and colorful and when they pound at the earth you can feel their power. One especially lovely aspect about the game is how the look changes as you zoom in and out. From far away, the world seems quiet aside from gods perched on its surface. Once zooming in though, everything springs to life as people mill about their cities and animals bound across fields. If anything, the bright visuals seem at odds with the serious complexity going on underneath. Reus is the kind of game that will either turn you away or get you incredibly involved in its processes. Players need to know that before buying because it could turn out to be either a bad or excellent purchase. For those that will be into it, the game is a well-crafted experience that will take hours to master. Along the way, you“ll be enchanted by the visuals and discoveries of your people thanks to your aid. Playing god is a lot of work, but it“s beautiful when it all comes together. Pros: + Great deal of content to unlock and discover + Tinkering is recommended and can yield positive results + Lovely visuals Cons: - Understanding the game“s complexity is outsourced to a wiki - Complexity will be off putting to those expecting something else from Reus Overall Score: 8.0 (out of 10) Great Reus is not the game for everyone but it does provide a complex god game in an attractive package.
  2. Marcus Estrada

    Indie Gala Dwarves Offers Up to 9 Games

    After a while, it's hard to come up with creative names for bundles. Case in point, the latest Indie Gala set is titled "Dwarves". Well, it at least makes a tiny bit of sense considering one of the games included is A Game of Dwarves, but still, not the most explanatory of bundle titles. Spend at least a buck and three games will be yours for the taking: Gettsyburg: Armored Warfare (Windows: Steam) Nosferatu - Wrath of the Malachi (Windows) Street Racing Syndicate (Windows: GamersGate) At $5, the rest of the bundle unlocks, adding six more games: A Game of Dwarves (Windows: Steam) Guilty Gear Isuka (Windows: GamersGate) Gun Metal (Windows: GamersGate) Warlock - Master of the Arcane (Windows: Steam) 2 games to be unlocked (Steam) A mystery music album is also included with either purchase, although is not unlocking just yet. The two secret games are also set to unlock during the second week. The Indie Gala Dwarves Bundle itself is running for a little over a two week period, so you can wait and see what these games are before purchasing.
  3. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Sword of the Stars: The Pit

    Developer: Kerberos Productions Publisher: Kerberos Productions Platform: PC (GamersGate, Steam) Release Date: February 22, 2013 ESRB: N/A (E10+ suggested) A download code was supplied by the publisher for this review Sword of the Stars is an interesting series that has remained out of the mainstream since its inception in 2006. Since then, Kerberos Productions have catered to niche 4X players nicely with a handful of games, although not all were received highly. Sword of the Stars: The Pit is their latest effort to addict gamers but isn“t a space 4X game like the rest. Instead, it“s a spin off into the world of sci-fi roguelikes. Interestingly, The Pit is an example of what can come from games that do not get successfully crowdfunded. The developer initially placed the project on IndieGoGo where it failed to reach its goal. Fans were not ready to see it lost though and neither were the creators. As such, the game has continued to see work until it finally released this February. With all that said, the game is still not perfect, but it manages to be a great experience all the same. The Pit slips you into the armored shoes of one of three playable characters attempting to descend to the very bottom of an alien-filled facility. Through one of three character classes, you venture past increasingly difficult enemies and search for the way down to the next level. There are thirty at all, at which point you are to find the so called “Pit” for which the game is named. What“s there? You“re going to have to spend a fair bit of time to find out. The gameplay is roguelike to its core. Players much pay attention to their health bar as well as hunger bar at all times. For if you die, either due to aliens, poison, or starvation, the game will end. From there, all one can do is simply start over again from square one. Nothing is carried over between plays aside from a scoreboard which keeps track of how well you did in previous games. There“s only one way to win and that“s through careful planning and understanding game mechanics. Players simply won“t survive if they don“t have a plan of action. Everything in the world is aided or hindered by how characters are leveled up. There are the obvious ways to level, such as increasing strength or intelligence, but there are many facets of intelligence to choose from. For example, you may spend points to be knowledgeable about computers, electronics, lockpicks, or many more. Each of these has its specific use as you find locked crates and doors in the environment. For example, with the right skillset you can gain use of medical bays, labs, or simply unlock doors. Without special interest paid to the various stats you“re going to be feeding yourself a highly difficult game. Although it is possible to craft things like lockpicks, there are still many environmental objects that require a certain amount of skill. At the very least the game puts a statistical value on how likely you are to open something versus breaking it. Again, none of a character“s level progress will be brought over to a new game. Keeping track of what needs leveling is really the least of your worries. More important is the enemies to be faced who lurk in hallways and rooms throughout. At least battles in The Pit aren“t hard to understand. There are a variety of melee weapons and guns to use, many of which are discovered later. When an enemy is in range for a particular weapon you simply need to fire. Both auto and manual aiming are accommodated, although some items see better use with one or the other. The entire game is turn based, although this is not shown directly. There are no markers telling whose turn it is; instead, the game will simply pause you as the enemy takes its turn. If there are no enemies around the game simply feels fluid. It“s when they are nearby taking turns that the character may appear to pause every so often. It“s a bit jarring when not in combat, and may annoy players. However, during a fight it“s easy to see how the turn based play works and it is helpful with planning your next move. As you engage in fights, weapons and armor start to degrade. From there, you can find new items or ways to repair them. One exciting aspect of The Pit is that there“s rarely one way to do anything. There are various bays that may be used to craft new goods, or others to heal and repair things. Of course, as many good things as exist to aid players there are also bad items such as traps around every corner. Crafting is an integral part of completing the game. Although you can craft curing potions or new gear, the most important is food. As your hunger bar dwindles, searching out a place to cobble up a meal becomes the only goal. Unfortunately, the game only provides one recipe (if you play the tutorial). There are over forty in all but the player is tasked with uncovering them all. As cool as this sounds, it plays out in much meaner fashion as failed attempts at making meals result in losing ingredients. At the start, ingredients are fairly rare to come by and it is almost painful to lose a batch due to a failed recipe attempt. This is true of using lab benches to craft other goods as well. How are you ever supposed to learn how to make things? The game actually has a way to do so, although it is a bit cumbersome. You see, there are pieces of information you“ll find around. As they are written in the alien Zuul language though they must first be translated. These Zuul documents provide important information, but some players may not recognize how to make use of them. The Pit makes no accommodations for newbies. This is a hardcore roguelike and as such it is sure to please fans. There is such a wealth to do and upgrade that it never feels like you“re saying the same game twice. Levels only grow larger and tougher the further you descend. This is a game that requires tons of time and dedication to make it to the bottom. Players who enjoy this sort of thing will find themselves spending hours trying to build characters just right so their next mission will succeed. Sword of the Stars: The Pit is just the game for those roguelike fans who enjoy statistics and unfriendly aliens. Pros: + Wealth of ways to build a character + Massive amount of crafting recipes to get new goods + Variety of weapons and modifications Cons: - Discovering recipes wastes many supplies - “Invisible” turn based system is annoying during exploration Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Definitely check out Sword of the Stars: The Pit if you enjoy roguelikes with a sci-fi twist.
  4. Marcus Estrada

    The Bridge Screenshot 3

    From the album: Review Images

  5. Marcus Estrada

    The Bridge Screenshot 2

    From the album: Review Images

  6. Marcus Estrada

    The Bridge Screenshot 1

    From the album: Review Images

  7. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Eryi's Action

    Developer: Xtal Sword Publisher: Nyu Media Platform: PC (Desura, GamersGate, Web) ESRB: N/A (E suggested) Release Date: 9/14/12 In this day and age, we“re not really being presented with tons of difficult video games. Yes, some come up from time to time or offer up an incredible difficulty setting, but most don“t force players to work at levels over and over again in order to proceed. If you“re a gamer who laments the death of true difficulty in your media then take a look at Eryi“s Action. It isn“t a typical tough game that simply requires great reflexes and carefully planned moves. Instead, it is outright unfair, but still a blast to play. The game starts off with an incredibly simplistic story in an attempt to lull you into believing the game is easy and cute. Basically, lead character Eyri is about to eat a melon when she finds out it“s missing. Apparently the evil fiend Farta (yes, that“s the name) has stolen it. Of course, your goal is to lead Eryi back to her melon! Now how could anything difficult arise from such a sweet beginning? You“d be surprised. At the start of the game you are plopped into Eryi“s room. All you have to do is get out of the house to begin your journey. Upon attempting to exit the room, a giant metal pan will fall onto her head and it will be game over. Eryi“s Action gives no real lead-in to the game“s difficulty. The real meat of the title is not that it“s a sidescrolling platformer, but that it“s a platformer filled to the brim with traps. If you were expecting anything else with the corny story then the very first trap should wake you up. Once the game actually begins, the real cruelty starts. Although some traps include obvious spikes or water hazards, many are ones you“ll have to spring to realize are there. For example, early on there is a trap which activates when trying to use a ladder. The previous ladder worked fine, but the next throws some spikes down to crush you. Other traps include blocks that disappear as soon as you step on them, enemies popping out of bushes, and a whole host of other stuff. Traps can come in at any point, and one right after another. You will even find them in unexpected places like the world map. Now one might assume that there“s only so many traps that could be thought up. Through playing the game, I can report that there“s always something new around the bend. It“s also impossible to know just what is going to happen next. You may try to walk cautiously past a wall of spikes, but it will hardly protect you. The game often even fakes players out by making things look dangerous. Only when you get past the “scary” part and let down your guard will the real trap set off. The only real way to get through the game is with loads of persistence as well as remembering what trap is where. Levels themselves are fairly short and even include autosave flags. This is the one kindness that Eryi“s Action affords players. Everything else is up to you mastering the sections in order to get through them. What is so incredible is how perfectly traps are placed. Xtral Sword must have put a lot of time into testing to see just how players would move through the worlds. For example, one funny trap early on is a platform with a diamond just beyond it. Players jump to the platform in an attempt to get the shiny item, but a wall suddenly appears before they can get it. The next thought is obviously to go back off the platform from the other side. Just as that happens another, smaller wall pops up to block escape and spikes fall from the sky. You“re smushed. The trap design is absolutely ingenious and worth experiencing even if platformers aren“t your thing. That“s not to say that every bit of cruelty the game unleashes is a joy to experience. I felt that the first level was a bit too unfair, although once you pass it you know what to expect in the future. This is due to the fact that Eyri“s Action doesn“t completely explain what freedoms you have. There was an item earlier in the level that could be used at the end, but this didn“t even cross my mind for the longest time. Perhaps if it had better tutorial boxes (or at least hinted more blatantly) it would be easier to accept. For the most part though, the fun comes from accidentally tripping traps and attempting to best them. The "game over" jingle is rather annoying with its mocking tone, but beyond that, dying is part of the enjoyment. The game teaches you right at the beginning that you“re going to die but not to take it seriously. Instead, enjoy the hilarious traps and work on overcoming them. Beating a level feels good, especially after some of the more diabolical trap setups. Unfortunately, the game is not massively long. Each level is fairly brief (once you“ve spent handfuls of minutes or hours to beat each) and there are not tons of them. Some players may be able to more quickly assess and traverse trap-filled landscapes while others will have a much harder time with it. Either way, once the game is over it doesn“t feel like something you really need to sink more time into. At the same time, it“s only five dollars though which makes it a fairly great experience for the low cost. If there“s anything Eryi“s Adventure is lacking, it is a bit more polish. The characters look fine but the world isn“t the most creative-looking out there. The music is pleasant, but not something you want to hear over and over again. Then there“s that damned "game over" sound, which sounds completely ridiculous. None of these pull away from the experience though, and you can always turn off sound effects if you really need to. Fun comes from playing the game, and it would be fun regardless of presentation. There could certainly be more added to the game as well but that goes back to the point of it“s price. How much do you really require a $5 game to have? The experience players have with Eryi“s Action is hugely entertaining. Although it won“t last for months and months, it is something worth experiencing at least once. To try playing a game that is purposefully out to get you is creative, and strangely enjoyable. Those who love platformers deserve looking it over, but so too do gamers who want to play something difficult. There is no lack of “hard platfomers,” but most allow for player skill to trump them, instead of forcing players to conform to a smartly hostile world. Eryi“s Action is the kind of game that people may like even if it“s not typically the type of game they would play. Pros: + Incredibly smart trap placement + Never know what“s going to happen next + A joy to beat levels and die dozens of times trying Cons: - Short once you master it - Little replay value - Lackluster audio design Overall Score: 7.5 (Out of 10) Good Eryi's Action is the perfect title for gamers with a masochistic streak.
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