Wednesday
Apr012015

QuestRun Review

Get a random party, and take to the battle. You will have to survive round after round in this fast paced game. This game comes from Cuve Games, the team behind Heroes & Legends: Conquerors of Kolhar. In this currently mobile only game, you will get a chance to utilize the system used throughout the previous game, with an extra emphasis on randomizing the battles.

Graphically this game, since it is using the same gaming engine, looks the same as Conquerors of Kolhar. There are more characters for you to select, and play with, but they all really break down to the usual stereotypes. You will get to use the fighter, the paladin, magic user, and healer. Now of course there are ways to unlock better versions of each of these character types, but you will first have to take on specific scenarios.

At first I was ready to put this game down with its constant randomization of party member. I knew what I wanted to play with, and yet the game kept choosing for me, and only giving me the chance to re-roll for an entire new party. Thankfully I found out that through playing enough of the game you can basically buy your way to having the ability to select your own party. I do want to point out that this isn't a pay-to-win ploy, you will be using in game currency to do so.

Something else that you will be able to buy with said currency is helper animals. These are a new twist to the gameplay. You will be able to feed them items from your ever growing inventory and they can do a wide range of things. There is one that will heal your party, there is another that will create a potion out of any item you feed it, there's also one that if you feed it it will give a small amount of experience, and of course there's more.

There's also merchants that you can purchase to allow you to gain some items before jumping into main quests, the only time you actually get to choose your party, which can allow you an early leg up on what you will be facing. The side quests are all setup with a specific party and sometimes help animal, which makes it all that much more challenging.

Alright so here's the deal, in the end, if you put some serious time into the game you are going to find that once you have everything in its right place, there's not all that much left to do with the game. You have an overview map that will unlock as you conquer enough of the challenges or main quests, but at the end of the day the name of the game is rinse and repeat.

I know that the developers were trying to make something that you can easily get into at any time and not get lost in what the storyline was up to this point, but I feel like this game feels hollow. They were trying to go for that rogue approach, a randomized experience each time, but as I stated before since I wasn't able to immediately choose my own party, I almost stopped playing the game early on.

The thing is that this is good looking game, it definitely has something going for it, but there's just not enough for me to constantly want to come back and play the game. I've gotten to the point where some of the randomization that takes place has just taken most of the fun out of the game, and its left me with frustration. Sure there was a time where I felt like I needed to rise a bit higher to meet the challenge, but that ship ultimately set sail without me even caring in the end. This game gets a 6.2 out of 10.

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Monday
Mar232015

Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries: Chapter 1 Review

Remember the tale of Little Red Riding Hood who went to see her grandmother, and unwittingly got into a race with a Big Bad Wolf to Grandma's House? Well this is a little bit of a different spin on things. In this first of two parts of Woolfe - The Red Hood Diaries, you will play the part of Red, an Axe-wielding, hooded girl bent on revenge for what a man by the name of B.B. Woolfe has done to her family. You will have to navigate your way through the town of Ulrica, a place where only mechanical toy soldiers prowl, and who will attack if someone past curfew is out and about.

Graphically this 2.5D game looked amazing. The drab look of the snowy city contrasted with the red of your character's hood definitely gave you the feeling of dispair in this locked up city, as well as a feeling of evil oozing just behind "the curtain". All though the enemy models were recycled for the toy soldiers, the rats, the winged creatures, and the wolves, it didn't feel over done. It all fit into place and add to the danger of the game.

Speaking of danger the second half of the game, in which you are going through a forest where some great magic has caused a huge disruption definitely gives you a ton of danger. Gone are the eaiser jumps and obstacles, and in with the spiky vines, moving platforms, and of course little room for error.

In a game that plays like a sidescroller with depth (hence the .5D part) there were a couple of times where I felt that it would have been nice to have the camera be able to follow you a little bit more into the background. Depth is something that plays a big role in certain parts and try to gauge your distance was a little bit tricky from time to time.

Now there was another portion to the game besides platforming, and climbing, and that was combat. Red is a very fragile young thing so you definitely do not want to take hits, and if you can I would highly recommend staying out of fights unless you have to. Sure as the game goes on you game some special moves to help dispatch enemies, but this is definitely not the game where you go out of your way to try to take on all comers. You will meet an early end, and let me tell you it really sucks when you've been through a section and you accidentally provoke some enemies just as you are about to get to your next checkpoint, which is always denoted by a picnic basket. If you die you have to go back to the previous basket, and there are times where you are really going to wish that you didn't have to do that particular section over again.

I'm really excited to see where the game goes next, and part of me hopes that there are some more boss fights, even though those by far were the most stressful type of combat in the game. The reason being is that there is some trial and error to each boss, and so you're definitely not going to get through on your first couple of tries, and there's a chance that you are going to get hit during a scripted sequence and really use your cool, which happened to me twice.

All in all this is definitely a game that I enjoyed playing, like I said before I want to see where this game goes next. I could definitely tell that there was definitely more to what was going on than met the eye, and now I just have to play the waiting game. I recommend that you get this game, play through it, try to find the extras hidden throughout the game, and join me in anticipation for the next and from my understanding final chapter. This game gets an 8.8 out of 10.

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Monday
Mar162015

Frankenstein: Master of Death Review

Your friend Victor has reached out to you asking for help, but he has done so in a cryptic way. You must find out what ails your friend so you quickly go to where he is. You are to be met by the love of his life Elizabeth, but upon arrival a monster pulsing with electricity takes off with her, and closes the gate behind it. You will now have to find your way through this and many more puzzles as you try to unravel the mysteries surrounding not only this place but what your friend has been up to.

Frankenstein: Master of Death utilizes the same graphics engine as all the Jet Dog Studio games that we have reviewed, so if you are looking to a hidden object game sprinkled throughout with other puzzles that looks different, you are going to be disappointed. Actually to be honest with you I feel like this game was the least hidden object intensive game that we have reviewed by this group. 

Maybe I'm getting better at these type of games, but I felt like this one was pretty short. After an hour and a half I saw the credits rolling, and of course once again a twist right at the end. I wonder if any of these games will actually have a sequel?

One thing I have to say is that right off the bat I ran into a bug where I could not exit out of a zoomed in area, thankfully I was able to use the map and select another area than the current one I was in to keep the game going, but I did finally run into a zoomed in area that did not give me the map function and after trying everything I had to exit out of the game completely, and then re-enter. Fortunately this fixed the issue, and I never actually ran into that or any other technical issues the rest of the game.

One of the things that was so comically bad it was no longer funny was the voice acting in the game. Just wow, it was over the top and did not sound good. These voices should have portrayed serious tones but instead I felt like it was amateur hour where anyone who wants to give reading a script a try can have a go at it.

Although the game was short I did enjoy the puzzle solving, and the different puzzles that were put in my way. I did notice that there were quite a few times where I felt like I was going between the exact two places to unlock something or retrieve an item. I know that you don't want to just have a room that is done one time through, but it seemed odd that to unlock this room you had to go to another room and then go back, unlock something, and then go back to that other room to unlock something there in turn.

At the end of the day this game definitely allows you to dip your foot into something that can definitely keep you occupied, and for the most part entertained. Is this a must have game, no, but its not a terrible game either, there's just a couple of small things about the game that, in my opinion, keep it from reaching its full potential. The first is definitely the voice acting, the second is the length of the game, and the third is that I would have like to have seen items only used once.

I almost forgot that there were some items that seemed pretty important at the time that were one and done, but there were other items that definitely could have different uses that you just kept in your inventory forever. At the same time you would get to a point in the game where you are still toting around a lot of the reusable stuff that you have now gotten used to and magically it would disappear after you hit the limit or the usefulness was magically up. There was one other thing a hatchet to cut through boards, why did I need that when I had a saw in my inventory that could saw through metal?

Alright so here it is the final verdict for the game... ... I've got to give this game a 6.8 out of 10.

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Wednesday
Mar112015

Tormentum: Dark Sorrow Review

You have been captured and placed in a cage below a zeppelin, little do you know that this is the start of something that can decide your fate. Well I guess now you know, or do you? Come journey through this dark world of twists, turns and decisions, and see what might be lurking, waiting for you. 

Tormentum: Dark Sorrow was really a breath of fresh air, well actually to be honest given the feel of the game it was probably slightly poisoned air, but that doesn't mean that this game was here to kill you, then again maybe it was. Wow, this is one of those games where I want to tell you about all the interesting little twists, but to do so would ruin it for you.

What I can tell you is that this is a bloody point and click adventure. You are a nameless, hooded, being that has been captured by a group that is hell-bent of purifying the world, and the way to do that, of course, is through torture. 

There's going to be many obstacles and different types of puzzles put in your way, but I'm confident that if you pay attention to your surroundings you might be able to find hints to help you conquer some of the more difficult ones.

Graphically I was really surprised by this game, there's not a whole lot of animation to this game, and it is very side-scroller-ish in appearance. The thing is that each scene looked so polished, and yes many times slightly creepy, but that just fit the feel of the game perfectly.

This game is around 2 and half hours in length, and when I got to the end I was both relieved and saddened. I wish that there was more because I was so invested in the game, but at the same time I was relieved that I had reached the end. Speaking of ends, there are multiple endings to this game, so if you are looking to maybe correct some of the actions you did in the game, you might be able to change your ending.

With all this being said, I have to say get this game. It might not be for everyone, but those looking for something polished that has just the right about of twists and turns, and difficult decisions, this is a game that you can't afford NOT to have in your collection. This game gets a 9.4 out of 10.

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Wednesday
Mar112015

Wooden Floor Review

You find yourself in a house, or is it a house, where you can't seem to remember what is happening. There's a door to get out, but there's something odd going on. You soon find out that sometimes, when you close doors, and then reopen them the rooms change on the other side of the door. Reality seems to be changing as you move through this place, but what is it, and will you be able to escape it?

Graphically Wooden Floor looks really generic, and I feel like a lot of the game consists of sample pieces that came with the graphics engine. That is not to say that the game looks bad, but it just seemed like there was a lot of duplication to try to fill the game.

There are several parts of the game where there's actually some skill involved in getting through a section, and these are actually the sections that I liked the least as I felt like these were the sections where I was at the mercy of the physics engine/collision detection, and it was frustrating. There are times where you have to time jumps, land just perfect, or beware of objects that could slightly move you to a position that would spell your death.

The sounds of the game were interesting, there was a TON of creaking wood, which I guess is just a result of the title of the game, but after a while the constant creaking probably should have changed rhythms or fade in and out to break up what was going on in the game. The best music in the game had to be in the room with the crying mask, I couldn't put my finger on it but there was something very familiar about it and at the same time it was something that I had no issue to listening to over and over again.

Ironically that part of the game, if you are like me, will be played over and over again because of the difficulty of that section. The thing is that all of a sudden you absolutely have to pay attention to all that is happening around you, something you really never had to do throughout the rest of the game.

The thing about this game is that its only about 43 minutes long, and at the end I kind of felt like there should have been more. I'm of the opinion that if you are going to use some sort of mechanics or have a difficult part that you're going to use that concept more than once, but the developer never did that, which kind of left me wondering why there wasn't more of the game.

Don't get me wrong, I liked playing that game, and yes I had some frustrating parts where I was about ready to strangle someone, but it was interesting. I would have really liked to have known a little bit more about what the heck was going on, but I did like the fact that there were helpful notes scattered around that kind of kept you on the right path. In the end I'm going to have to give this game a 6.9 out of 10. There's just not enough, and except for the very end there was no really substance to the game.

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Thursday
Mar052015

Lucius II: The Prophecy Review

Have you ever wanted to play the son of the devil? Do you have this desire to find creative ways to kill all that stand in your way from achieving your goals of showing the devil how much you love him? Well if you said yes this is the game for you.

Lucius II: The Prophecy, developed by Shiver Games, takes a page right out of the movie The Omen, and puts you in the shoes of Lucius an unassuming boy who has a very dark past and intent. You will find yourself navigating through a hospital, as well as a local town. Somehow you have lost your devilish powers, and you are going to be hell bent on getting them back. There's only one issue, you are going to have to first escape the hospital. Once you do that there's a little twist and perhaps some competition waiting for you.

Graphically this game looks great, it uses the Unity engine, and you can definitely tell that it uses it well. I was a bit concerned about the random male nudity that was sprinkled through the game, especially a specific locked bathroom door scene, but other than that the game looked great.

I just wish I could say the same about the game mechanics. There's definitely the option to customize your evil powers so that you can play to your strengths, but there are definitely some skills that once I got them I never used them, or I could never figure out how to use them. Basically the first fire skill till the end of the game I couldn't figure out how to use. 

There's also the fact that when you pick up items you automatically levitate them in your hand, my problem is I really wish that items/weapons that you use that could use an actual touch were held. It just looked strange to use the nail gun, or the water container as it is suspended in air.

Speaking of suspending in air the whole throw mechanic was just strange, would it have been too much to ask to just have a straight shot with gravity taking effect after some distance instead of the constant rainbow throw that the game gave you. It was just a little awkward to aim for something straight in front of you or right above you, if you were standing close.

The music in the game definitely gave you that anti-christ game feeling. I'm not saying screaming demons, or anything, but it definitely fit with The Omen type of feel. I did find it interesting that the voice overs in game tended to fade in and out which made me thankful there was subtitles so that I could actually pick up on what was being said.

This game definitely showed that there are many many ways to kill, and I have to say that the MOST difficult part of the entire game was the beginning, I spend hours trying to figure out how to kill people in the hospital because I accidentally screwed up a chance to kill someone. Hell I ended up possessing people's minds and had them continuously walk into the open elevator shaft because I couldn't get anything else to work. 

I do wish I was able to play the first one so that I could get the whole story, but then again this is probably a game with three parts as this game will give you a cliffhanger at the end. I can say that you can jump right into the game from this chapter, thanks to the opening credits. 

In the end this game is frustrating, feels clunky, and there are certain things that aren't 100% clear on what you are supposed to do that will leave you scratching your head and maybe ultimately reaching out to the gaming community to figure out a solution. So with that being said this game gets a 7.1 out of 10.

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Wednesday
Feb252015

Supreme League of Patriots Review

You are just your stereotypical over-weight janitor with aspirations of being a super hero, so you decide to test the waters by applying to "Superheroes have Talent" a show where the winner gets endorsed by the network and you get to be a real life super hero. There of course is only one problem, you are a wannabe and don't really have any powers, or at least that's what you believe. Come on this three chapter journey of becoming a super hero, fighting crime, and easily some of the most offensive and had to be there jokes there are.

Graphically the game, Supreme League of Patriots, in all its chapters looks great. I love the character designs, and the fact that the main character truly does undertake a transformation between Kyle, and his alter-ego The Purple Patriot. The one thing that I thought was bizarre, but was a nice shortcut was when you had dialogues going. You see you get to see the characters mouth the words as the text is being read out to you, and the characters are actually doing the same motions in the background. So there are some times where it is beyond distracting. I can understand that the designers just decided to copy the character and have them mimic the action, but I would have rather seen the character in the background "greyed out", so to speak. Where they are paused.

There was another thing that I found a bit odd, and that was the amount of loading screens in the game. EVERY single screen incurred a loading screen, the only exception to the rule was when you pulled up the area map and then decided not to go anywhere.

Now lets talk about the voice acting, this was easily one of the strongest pieces of the game. You never interacted with a random person, and so every individual you interact with is voiced, and they all have very distinct voices. Now the unfortunate thing is that the script left a ton to be desired. I know that whomever wrote the script was trying to scream stereotypes and trashy humor, but you can feel the strain and most of the time I was left shaking my head thinking, "well that's a bit too much". Look I'm not easily offended, and I'm not saying that I was offended by what was said, but the drive to really hone in on stereotypes was alarming. There were a couple of other script choices that made me feel like I missed something in the paparazzi world and left me wondering, "what the hell are they talking about".

I know that some of you might be wondering why I didn't just do a review of each individual chapter of what could be the first season of many to come, well the answer is that I was kind of hoping that as time went on that the game would get better. The sad reality is it stayed the same with its dialogues as well as some of the mechanics that I just couldn't stand.

Let me give you the number 1 mechanic that I could not stand. I understand that voice acting cost money, but to force a player into having deep conversations, and select EVERY SINGLE option throughout the game so that you can advance the game gets OLD, dear God does it get old, and frustrating. This was really a "must complete B, C, and D" to get from A to E. There are times where you are going to be intuitive about what to do next, but to force the player to converse with your side-kick on EVERY LITTLE THING screws up the pace of the game and also causes for player drop off. What I mean by that is that since this is the core mechanic you are going to lose players between chapters. My guess is that there were more that played the first chapter than there was the last chapter, and it was probably by a sizeable amount.

Another mechanic that I didn't really understand is that you have a utility belt inventory, but you also have a more thorough inventory that you can get at by pressing F5, I found that out early on when I knew I had to combine something but clicking on the items on the utility belt only gave me the same explaination over and over again, so I resorted to random key presses until I found something that would work. I understand that the utility belt gives you faster access to items, but it is confusing, and left me with quite a bit or gaming rage until I found the solution.

The thing is that this game/series/season could be great. I like the fact that they are poking fun at the stereotypical nerd wanting to be a superhero, but there was just something off about the execution, and so in the end you are left with something that had potential but stalled.

If there is a second season, which I hope there is because part of me still wants to know what happens next, I hope that some of the behind the scenes logic gets cleared up, and perhaps less load screens. Until then, this series/season as a whole gets a 6.7 out of 10.

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