Monday
Nov142016

SkyHill Review

Many might recall that about a year ago I reviewed this game for the PC, well it turns out that the developers behind this game ported the game over to iOS. So you know I had to get my hands on it to see if the quality dropped or the experience changed. I'm happy to report that the randomly generated rooms, the adventure, the survival, the crafting, basically every aspect of the game is intact. Not only that but it feels natural on an iOS device. 

You are just your average guy who decides to stop in a hotel for the night. You awake to discover a nuclear bomb has gone off and you are on the top floor of the hotel, floor 100 to be exact. You will have to make your way down all the floors to make it out of the building and perhaps gain a better place to survive the fallout. There's only one problem, you don't have the elevator key and there seems to be monsters dotted throughout the hotel.

In SkyHill no games are the same. Sure there will always be 100 floors, and each floor will contain a elevator and stairs area and then two rooms, but what is in those rooms, what are in those halls, who might be lurking in the shadows, all of that is unpredictable. There will be times where the going goes smoothly, there will also be times where things couldn't go any worse.

You see there is one other thing that you have to account for and that is that you not only have to keep an eye on your health but on your hunger as well. You will need medical items, or rest to keep yourself healthy enough to keep going, but you're going to need to remember to feed yourself otherwise there is no amount of medicine or sleep that will keep you alive.

There are many different endings to the game as well, so even if you somehow find your way all the way to the bottom don't expect to find the ending you think you'll have. I've got to be honest this game works really well on a portable device, it is the type of game you can pick up and put down, but more than likely once you start you're going to want to keep going until you get in a jam. 

If you were waiting for this game to be on something other than PC, and you need to get it right now, seriously after seeing my score click on the link above and just buy the game. This game gets a 9.1 out of 10.

Tuesday
Nov012016

Kubo A Samurai Quest Review

Kubo A Samurai Quest is a game that comes straight from the highly successful movie Kubo and The Two Strings. In this iOS game you will have to battle in different ways utilizing a match 3 mechanic. You will have to harness the ability hidden within origami creatures in order to come out victorious.

There are a number of different types of levels that you will have to battle through. You will run into levels that will have you collect a certain amount of a specific color(s). You will also have to deal with levels that will have you trying to reach for a high score. There's also a type of levels that you will have to match a certain amount of a specific color, and after you have done that the color needed changes, but you have to be fast because you only have so long. The final type of level that you will have to deal with are origami creature battles. 

The creature battles are your average affair of trying to have the stronger creatures and of course the correct affinity (water, fire, earth, etc) to deal maximum damage. You will take turns with the CPU to try to create matches that will defeat your enemy. There are matches that can be made to replenish your health, attack your enemy, and power up your special attack.

One of the ways that you can help make sure that you have the strongest and the best is that you try to get origami boxes. Inside these boxes could be origami creatures. If you collect enough of a certain type you will have the ability to power them up to the next evolution. Now of course it isn't that easy, you'll also have to have enough coins to pay for the evolution, and the amount needed will only increase as you go through the game.

Alright, so now that I've laid out what the game is and how it works, lets get down to the part that most of you have come to read about. Let's talk about is this game worth my time or not. Well, personally there are definitely some things about this game that I really enjoy, but there are also some things that drive me nuts. 

Let's talk about the good to start. I'm always up for a puzzle game that throws a couple of wrinkles and twists into play. I also like that there are different creatures that you get to collect and each one feels unique when using them in combat.

Here's the deal, this is a free to play game, and of course this game definitely has micro-transactions in it. You will have 5 energy, or 5 pieces of origami paper that will slowly replenish over time. You will use 1 piece of paper per level to attempt it, and no matter if you win or lose they are going to take that paper away from you. As I've stated SOOO many times before, when it comes to games that have potentially very short levels I feel absolutely robbed when I can only play 5 attempts within a 10ish minute span. I'm looking for more bang for my buck (well not buck because I didn't spend anything, but you get the idea). The thing is because of the sheer amount of origami creatures coupled with the number of different affinities, and the very limited amount of playing time in a session I just don't see how people are going to stick around long enough to even think about spending some money in the in-app store.

As much as I would like to say that this is a game you should get because of the movie, you might just be better off watching this amazing movie. Sorry, but even as a free-to-play game, there's just not enough here to sink your teeth into before you're going to have to deal with the micro-transactions to "really" get to play, and that, in my book, is something that didn't truly get completely thought out or tested. This game gets a 5.1 out of 10.

Tuesday
Oct252016

Two or More Review

Two or More is a free-to-play game in which you will be trying to draw a line to all blocks of the same color. You will be restricted to go in only up, down, right, and left directions, and you'll find that there are going to be plenty of times that you wish you were playing a game that allowed you to knock out the same connected colors instead of drawing the lines.

The problems with this game are numerous. The first big one is that this game really doesn't differentiate itself from any other matching game out there. 

You have 3 modes to play around with. The first is the classic mode where you are trying to get X amount of points to advance to the next level. The second is the 5 Steps mode where you will have to try to obtain the target number within 5 moves. The last is the 60 Second mode where you will try to collect as many points as you can. So as you can see all these modes are what you would see in any generic matching game.

As I stated before, you will be drawing your lines on the screen to connect as many of a certain color to get points. There is some strategy to this because sometimes you don't want to collect all of that color. The reason is you want to set yourself up for a bigger score with another color. The thing is that the line drawing mechanism is BEYOND frustrating. Now I can partially blame my large hands for this, but there's something not quite right with this game. There have been many times where I've tried to quickly draw the lines and have found that the game didn't pick up either where I started from or where I ended. There's also the fact that if you stray off that color while holding your finger down to do the trace and try to come back you might not be able to continue the line you will have to carefully retrace your steps so that you don't get robbed of points. The final thing I will say about the line drawing is that there's actually a second or two after the level loads that you can't actually draw anything, or you cause one of the blocks to change to a drawing point and you have to tap on it again so that you can actually start to draw.

Now up to this point I have to say that I do feel a bit bad going after every little thing, but this next "wrinkle" to the game really unnerves me. As I stated at the top of the review, this is free-to-play, however, there is a way to do a one time charge to make the ads go away, and if I'm being honest this game isn't worth the unlock. The problem is that if you don't pay that price you are going to be so thoroughly bombarded by ads that you're probably going to quickly move on from this game. Here's an example situation:

You just lost the level:

  1. Watch this ad and restart the level
  2. Go to the home screen, oh and you'll have to watch an ad first
  3. Retry the game mode, oh and you'll have to watch an ad first

With the sheer amount of ads being pumped into my face I had to find out what the hell is going on, and it turns out that, in my opinion, the developer is making DAMN sure that they are going to get some money out someone playing this game, even if it's not from the actual player. You see there's a chance that the developer will make a little bit of change every time an ad plays, and they could get a bonus if someone were to actually click through the ad. So I feel like I've been tricked, or I'm doing work to get someone else paid, it is not a good feeling.

So here's my conclusion, this game does not do anything to separate itself from the rest of the pack. There are plenty of games just like this one, and some play much better, and are more enjoyable. There's also the fact that I have yet to come up against a game that even comes close to the amount of ads being pumped into it as such a frequent rate. This game gets a 2.1 out of 10.

Home | Reviews | Apple

Thursday
Oct132016

MonoChroma Review

I have to admit, I was super excited to see MonoChroma by Nowhere Studios jump over to the XBox One. To give you a bit of a refresher the game thrusts you into the role of a young boy wearing a red scarf. You will have to venture through a world that is basically different shades of whites, blacks, and greys. You will find that your little brother needs you to protect him if both of you are going to survive what is ahead.

Even though this is my second go-around playing this game I still have to say that I love the noir look of the graphics. There's a certain level of complexity to the environment but you won't feel like you're having to struggle with the environment to play the game.  The subtle use of red throughout the game makes certain things pop. 

The music in the game continues to, in my opinion, enhance the game in a subtle way. It made me think of an old crime story where you just know there's some sort of evil behind the scenes.

The controls once again were the weakest parts of the game. They continue to just not feel precise enough. There are times where you have to make a jump, grab a ledge, or some other feat just right to continue through the game, and it was just a smidge off, just enough where frustration could creep in, especially if after doing the exact same type of movement in the game, you got different outcomes.

This game has challenging puzzles throughout. There are puzzles where you will need to move platforms, you have to clear the way for something, you have to swing from something just perfectly, you have to climb, you have to sneak, you have to push and pull, and more. The thing that I enjoy, yet again while playing the game, was that there wasn't this ever growing curve of difficulty. That's not to say that there weren't puzzles that were difficult, but there was something about the way the puzzles were laid out that you never knew what type of obstacle you would run into next. I felt that there was this hidden balance where no matter the difficulty if you kept an open mind you were going to be able to complete the puzzle/obstacle.

If you are looking for a game that differs from your average game, one that uses a great art style, and challenges you to take actions that will draw you into a story filled with danger. This was a pleasure to play, I have to say that I enjoyed playing this game again, so with that I have to give this game an 8.6 out of 10.

Home | Reviews | XBOX ONE

Thursday
Oct132016

Puzzle Monster Quest Review

Puzzle Monster Quest, for the iOS, has had me hooked since the day I got my hands on it. Now it might have been the simple fact that I'm a sucker for RPGs with a puzzle component to it, or maybe it was the fact that coupled with that was a free price tag. In this game you will be creating a group of creatures/monsters/heroes to battle through different levels, special events, and group activities. 

You will get to level up your party to make them stronger, and eventually you will have the chance to see some of them evolve into an even stronger version of themselves. Now there is a catch with the leveling and evolving and that is that you have to sacrifice other creatures to accomplish the tasks. You will also notice that you have a limited amount of space that you get to work with when it comes to the number of creatures you can have in your inventory at one time.

Now the interesting thing is that your hero also gets some love from the leveling up and evolving mechanics in the game, but this time it doesn't take sacrificing creatures. You will be able to create weapons, armor, and helmets to better your character. Each of these items can be leveled up and/or evolved. To accomplish these tasks you will have to use ingredients that you have collected through your adventures in the game.

There is a lot to like about this game, you do burn energy to take on areas, and there isn't a set number of energy needed to complete the levels, so you'll have to keep an eye out for that. There's also the daily quests, tasks to complete, and the daily sign in bonus that will definitely keep you coming back at least for a short time to rake in some of the low hanging fruit. 

The battle mechanics work like this, you will have your character on a grid with different colors on it. You will then draw a path of like colors around the board, once you've gone as far as you can you will simply lift up your finger and your hero will walk the path. Now you must be wondering what about the creatures in my party, well if the color you are walking on is the same as one, some, or all of the creatures in your party they will walk the path as well doing damage along the way. 

Speaking of damage, there are several different types of damage found in this game, you will do damage simply by walking by an enemy, but if you walk enough in one shot you can unleash a special attack, this also applies to your creatures. So I think it's pretty obvious you're going to want to try to find the longest paths and walk them so you can unleash true power. There's also one other thing, you see as you are moving around the board you're also accumulating color points and if you have enough of a color you can unleash a special attack, or a creature can unleash a special attack. The best part about this is that each creature and your hero have a separate collection pool. So if you have a bunch of fire creatures and you walk along a red path all of them get the same amount to fill up their gauges and when one uses their special it doesn't affect the others.

I will say this, it does require an internet connection, so there's not going to be any playing of the game if your connection sucks. That being said, this is a fun game, there are TONS of different types of creatures, there are different special events that will unlock special creatures and ingredients for you. Actually, every time you complete an area you do get a random selection of creatures, gold, and ingredients, so don't think that the only way to get stuff is special events.

Here's the deal, if you like match-3 games with RPG mechanics and a ton of different party customizations to play around with, and the chance to find ultra rare ingredients or creatures, you will eat this game up. I have to say that for me personally, it is a bit difficult to play energy based games, but this is one of the few that I feel like I'm getting my money's worth. This game gets a 9.2 out of 10

Home | Reviews | Apple

Monday
Sep262016

Primal Legends Review

This free-to-play game, Primal Legends, with in-game transactions, brings the match 3 mechanics to an RPG environment. You will control four of 50 different characters, that you will unlock throughout the game, and it is these four that will bring you to victory, or have you crushed. There are 200 levels of questing that you'll take on, many of which have different scenarios needed to complete the level. There are also levels that have more than one wave to take care of.

Graphically I love the look of this game on my iPhone, the setup of the town, the map of all the levels, the character design, they all look great. This is a gorgeous looking game. The issue is that this game isn't just about looks, does this game have the innards to make it an amazing game, and to be honest it's mostly swings and misses. 

One of the biggest problems is that these levels are one and done, sure you can play them again, and maybe try another configuration of heroes to see how they work together while not trying to tackle the latest level and getting your ass handed to you. I do love the fact that you can play until you just run out of want, but I'm going to be honest, I usually had to stop playing either to wait for the latest free treasure chest to unlock, or because I was going to throw my phone through a wall in frustration.

A core mechanic of this game is leveling up your characters, to do that you have to gain a certain number of points for specific characters to then spend money on them (in game currency) to level them up to their next powerful iteration. The thing is that you can only get these buy either using the coins in game, or hoping that you get a treasure chest that contains a certain number of them. 

Now you do get treasure chests for the first time you beat a level and the level of that chest or type of chest depends on the level you just beat, and a little bit of luck. You then collect chests and once you have 6 spots full you have to wait for one of them to open. This requires time unless you want to use crystals, that rare currency that the developer is going to want you to use your real money to buy. This is another reason why you'll take time away from the game.

There is a PvP element to this game as well, but I never really play it a lot. One reason is that I didn't seem to quickly find opponents when I was playing early on, the other reason is that I usually suck when facing a real opponent.

So here's the deal, this game, which is free-to-play, is probably better suited as a pay as you go game. Personally, this is the only way that I can even imagine having fun with this game. It kills me because I love the look of this game, I'm a sucker for pitting RPGs and match-3 mechanics together, but it just doesn't quite work as a whole in this game.

There's also the fact that no matter how strong your characters are your opponent is going to be able to do things quicker. Out of sheer frustration I counted the number of a certain color collected that I needed to pull off a special move, and then I also kept track of my opponents. Every single time their number was always much lower than mine and for some reason there were many times where magically they were able to fill right back up again and do the same attack causing me to just want to throw in the towel.

I'm really sorry but this game isn't one for me, and I don't know if this game is going to be for anyone who isn't willing to put some money into this game. This is a pass for me, and it gets a 5.1 out of 10.

Home | Reviews | Apple

Sunday
Sep182016

Zealeus plays Eternal Senia

Eternal Senia is an action RPG, developed and published by White Priest.  Video gameplay from yours truly:

From the "about this game" on Steam:

I believe that gaming should not be anything complicated or difficult, 
but a relaxing and pleasure experience. 

Therefore, I designed this ARPG 

battle system which requires no attack button to play. 
The simplicity brings a fluent and interesting gaming experience. 

Eternal Senia does indeed fit this description.  Most importantly, though, is it's just fun to play.  While it's a pretty simply game to play, it keeps the right balance of simplicity and making the game engaging.

Combat takes place by simply moving towards your enemies on a grid arena to attack.  You will unlock some special abilities for enhanced attacks.  There's also a major and interesting storyline to get wrapped up in.  I rather enjoy the boss fights in the game.  The add the extra challenge to the game, but are also scripted enough to create a pattern players can figure out.  Again, fun combat with some challenge, but not to the point where it's frustrating.

Now, that's not to say you don't have to think while playing.  As enemies get harder, you can't just RUN RAMBO into combat without any stratgey.  Enemies will start deflecting your attacks, have specials, etc.  There are also puzzle aspects to open up the next area.

It's also worth nothing Eternal Senia is 100% free.  No DLCs or microtransactions!

Home | Reviews | PC