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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Thursday
Feb192015

Decay - The Mare Review

Your name is Sam and you have elected to enter a rehab clinic in New Jersey to get better. One night you take your usual meds and that's when things get weird. You are some how put into a slightly different world, where you will have to survive the night. Can you fin your way through, solve the puzzles, figure out the clues, or will you disappear, it is totally up to you.

In Decay - The Mare, developed by Shining Game Software, you are going to get to do just that. In this 3 episodes in one game you are going to have to solve the puzzles that block your path, and of course survive. Now there is no way of actually dying in the game, but there are a couple of jumpy moments that will make you wonder what will come next.

This is an interesting point click adventure game in which you are going to be interacting with rooms that a specific camera angle, and at times you will get to see different angles. This is actually one of the strange things about the game, its not that they have specific views of a room that you get to work with, its the fact that no matter how many exits to a room there are, and the views you have, you will always default to the first view of the room you see. This does make for a frustrating couple of minutes when you are trying to quickly move around an area, through different rooms, and you have to remember that you might automatically default to the view of the door that you just came through, instead of the view of the door that is defaultly behind you.

Another odd thing about this game is the episodes/chapters/whatever you want to call them. At the end of each one you're going to get credits, then you will be thrown to a chapter select which of course will take you back in game. You will then have to repeat the last set of actions you took right before the end of the last chapter to start the new one you are in.

To continue with the odd things about this game is that the second, or middle chapter, probably has the most to it. You are going to gain the use of a camera, a mechanic I really liked, to see what is hidden to the naked eye. There's also a slew of challenging puzzles in this chapter. The strange thing is that all of those mechanics disappear for the final chapter and you go back to the almost random clicking to figure out what to do next mode that I found myself falling back into from the first chapter.

The graphics for this game are not going to blow you away, but there is something about it that definitely gave me the vibe I was expecting to see in the game. That being said the inventory look was not my favorite. You are presented with a line of squares, each with an item on it and you have to basically move the squares until the item in the box you want is in the middle of the screen so that you can select it. I don't really understand why they couldn't just allow for more of a show all the squares on the screen in a different pattern look, and allow you to move the selection to the item you want to use, yes I know that the selection square allowed you a couple of options for the item, but you could have figured something slightly different to allow for that functionality (view, use, combine) to still be intuitive.

I am VERY confused by the voice acting in this game, there are times where you get a voice and other times where you're left wondering if someone is going to read the text on the screen, and you just end up voicing it yourself to keep the mood going. That to me felt sloppy, I've always been a firm believer in the all or nothing, preferrably all voiced, way of doing things.

So I guess we should talk about if you should check out this game, well the answer is yes, I still enjoyed the 2 and a half hours of gameplay it game me, and sure there were some strange things that I wish were done better. Is this a must have, by no means is it, but it is definitely something you should at the very least check out and see. It isn't for everyone, it doesn't feel completely polished, but it gets the job done. This game gets a 7.1 out of 10.

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Tuesday
Feb172015

Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock Review

Your starship gets caught in some sort of magnetic disturbance, and your ship is pulled down onto the surface of a planet that has a reputation of being 100% dead. Funny thing is that perhaps that's not completely true, but you are going to have to find your way through this point click adventure to find out what this planet has to hide, and are you going to be able to get off this planet in one piece.

Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock is by Red Herring Labs and will take you on an hour and a half ride where you will get to explore this "Dead Rock" and try to find anything and everything you need to potentially get off of the planet. You will have to combine items, find items, and fix issues in order to advance the game.

The one thing that I can honestly say that ended up bugging me about the game was the EXTREMELY deadpan voice of the lead actor in the game. He definitely had the almost monotone approach of not getting a damn about anything as well as never being shocked or excited about anything. That's not to say that the other voice actor was that much better, but at least they gave a little bit of feeling to the game.

I liked the look of the game, and it was pretty straightforward in how you navigated around. You are going to see almost always 1 single view of a room or an area, there might be deeper parts of the area/room that you can explore and get a new vantage point on, but this is definitely not a game where you are going to have to search every nook and cranny to find what you are looking for.

Once again, perhaps its my time away from point and clicks until recently, but there is a hint system in place, and it was good to see that it was actually useful with out making me feel dumb. There were a couple of times where I struggled to find out what to do next, but thanks to the hint system I was able to easily get back on track.

I can honestly say the further I got into the game, the more I actually got into the game. What I mean to say is that it took me a little bit of time to find the pace, but when I finally found the pace of the game I was ready to move. It was unfortunate that once I got up to speed I found the end of the game, but hey it says something that I had no issue of playing the game straight through.

So I guess the question now is should you get this game... Well I think if you are looking for something light, has a futuristic space theme, is a point click adventure built around survival, you are going to enjoy this game. As I mentioned before the only big issue I had with it was the voice acting of the main character, and before anyone asks, there are really only 2 voice actors, so that sort of didn't do it for me, but then again it wasn't like he talked the entire time. This game gets a 7.5 out of 10.

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Saturday
Feb072015

Deity Quest Review

Deity Quest, by Fancy Fish Games, puts you in the shoes of a god fresh out of god school. Your first assignment is to reign over a world set for you. There's only one issue, you're the second best in your class, and the best wants to make your life a living hell by choosing the same world that you will be in. This of course sparks a competition between the two of you to see who is going to be the Overgod of this world.

Graphically I believe that the developers were going for a nastalgia look. The art looks like it was from back in the days of pixel art. There are tons of different companions/enemies that you are going to do battle with, or convert to your side. So the sheer number of different characters is impressive. You'll also be treated with an overworld map that will show you the sections of the world that are currently open to exploring, collecting items, and of course converting enemies to your side.

The music keeps with the old school theme and gives you that bit-beat to it that definitely feels like it belongs to an RPG, which of course this is basically a collect minions and level them up game, so that definitely fits the bill.

So here's the deal, this game has to have been for a mobile or tablet platform first. It does not feel like it was meant for the PC. That's not to say that the game doesn't merit a look, but if you are going to play this game the PC version just feels off. Unfortunately that's the version that I got to review. The issue is that there is a lot of depth to this game, and the unfortunate thing is that there's a lot of trial and error to it. What makes it slightly exhausting is that because of the art theme you are not going to see much of anything. Your "army" or group of minions do not move when you move around in an area. That goes for enemies as well. It mind of reminds me of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest where all the enemies are placed permanently in a set location, and they will be there every time you come back, or until you defeat them in battle.

Speaking of battle the system just doesn't work for me. It might just be me, but it is really odd to have a line of characters and have them literally facing opposition and only the character in the top right hand spot gets to attack. Yes I do know that there are ranged minions that can attack as well, but the fact of the matter is that most of the battles I've been a part of feel like 100% chance for victory, especially the important battles that you do against gods and other NPCs. The other thing is that when attacks are made the characters shift a couple pixels and then some pixel art flashes on the enemies. Even Final Fantasy, the original had a couple of extra positions for the characters to make them look like they are doing something like swinging a sword. Oh that's the other thing, once you enter into battle everything auto attacks, you do have the ability to attempt heal your companions or try to turn an enemy, but otherwise you just sit there and watch the whole thing play out.

I just looked over at Fancy Fish's website and have discovered that this game is indeed in the GooglePlay store, so perhaps you might want to check out this game. However, for me I think that this experience is going to keep me from trying that other version. This feels like a prototype game that showed the ideas of what could be an interesting game, but with the sheer amount of characters, algorithms to remember to find the best match us, the lack of actual visual movement in the game, and the fact that the battle system just did not rub me the right way, I'm going to have to say that this is one game you should just allow to stay on the shelf. This game gets a 4.3 out of 10.

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Wednesday
Jan282015

Trove - Beginning Playthrough

Recently downloaded Trove by Trion Worlds without really knowing what I'm getting  myself into.  Video playthrough, though my mic went out about 2/3 way through.  It was... interesting, and honestly didn't hold my attention so doubt I'll be coming back again.  It wasn't a bad experience, just rather that minecraft games aren't my style.

 

Skip to about 40 seconds - seems you can't use the "start at" URL for embedded Youtube videos.