Tuesday
Jul222014

Age of Zombies Review

Age of Zombies, for the OUYA, created by HalfBrick, is a game in which you will take on the role of Barry Steakfries a gun toting no nonsense man only looking to kill what is bad in this world. You might remember him from his debut role in Jetpack Joyride. Now in this game an evil scientist has created a time vortex that is allowing zombies to enter different historical points, and of course you are going to have to step in an save the world if there's going to be a tomorrow.

Graphically you are going to see what looks like a very well polished cartoony looking game with a variety of zombies. You are going to see ninja zombies, gangster zombies, your average zombies, cyborg zombies, zombie George Washingtons, cowboy zombies, and more. In this game you are going to find yourself in several different areas, each with about 3 to 4 levels to play around with. They will be themed for pre-historic times, the roaring 20s, feudal Japan, the Wild West, the future, and more. Every single piece of this game, artistic wise looks very well polished. Yes they are using sprites, and the game is in 2.5D, but at the end of the game this game, graphically flows.

The music of the game fits the comedic yet zombie killing rampage that you are going to cause. The thing is you are not going to be hearing much of it as the bullets will be raining, zombies will be gasping their last breath, and explosions are going to take lives.

The controls are really straight forward. The most common way I've seen the game played is through a dual stick approach, you can use just the left analog and then use a button to fire, but I find it more enjoyable going the dual stick route. Now there's also the shoulder buttons that you can tap to cause the secondary attack to occur, this is usually grenades, dynamite, and such.

This game really boils down to killing a ton of zombies while trying to stay alive. You are going to have several different weapons that you can use during the levels. You will notice that there's a gauge at the top of the screen that gives you an idea of how many more zombies are going to come at you, or how much more health the boss has before you can beat the level. I do kind of wish that there was some change in the gun's appearance when you pick up the flamethrower, SMG, rifle, and other guns, but it always stays the same. The only time I've seen it visible change was for the buzz saw. Funny thing about the Buzz Saw, and for those who don't want to know you might not want to read the rest of this sentence, but if you use it on a Boss, it is instant death to them.

So you are going to be traveling around trying to stop the zombie outbreak before it can take over the world. You are going to meet some interesting characters, and at least one will have made a previous appearance in another game. If you are looking for a hardcore storyline, this is not the game for you. If you are looking to kill wave upon wave of zombies, with no repercussions, this is the game for you. The main gun has unlimited ammo, and as soon as you pick up a different gun you gain it and can use it until the ammo runs out. I do want to point out that if you just picked up a SMG, and then immediately pick up a shotgun, the SMG is gone for good until you find another one, so use your more powerful weapons wisely.

There's also a ton of fun achievements to try to get, and I have to say that even after beating the game there's always survival mode, and the fact is that killing lots of zombies never truly gets old if you need a little stress relief. Is this game super difficult, no not at all, but that's just why I can come back to it and kill a ton more zombies. It is a the kind of game that you can pick up at any time and get right back into it. So in the end I have to say that this game is a solid 8.8 out of 10.

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Tuesday
Jul222014

Detective Case and Clown Bot in: Murder at Hotel Lisbon Review

In Detective Case and the Clown Bot: Murder at Hotel Lisbon, by Nerd Monkey, you take on the role of Detective Case, and soon after the start of the game Clown Bot. In this game you are approached by an old police colleague that seems to have quite the mystery on his hands. Apparently a man has committed suicide by stabbing himself in the back 14 times. Now of course he wants a second opinion on this situation, but I think its pretty clear that something fishy is going on.

Graphically this game is a throwback type of game, it kind of feels like it could easily be on a handheld device, but as I'm reviewing it for the PC, you can see the pixels, and the datedness of the game. Not that that is a bad thing when it comes to the theme and subject matter of the game. I think the style used in the game definitely fits, and the over exaggerating characters are perfect for the type of game this turned out to be. Even with the limited graphical look the majority of the items that you need to pick up in the game are easy to spot, or if they are not by hovering your cursor over objects it becomes very plain if the object is meant to be interacted with.

The music of the game kind of gave me an old school fake French cartoon vibe. You know the one with the skunk, Pepe Le Pew. There is no voice work in this game, but that continues to fit the theme and style that the developers were going for.

The controls are really straightforward, you are going to be using the mouse, and the left mouse button. Sometimes when you select an object or a character you will be given several options of actions you can take, but you will always be using the left mouse button. I do want to warn those out there with dual monitors if you are clicking near the edge of the game you might cause the game to minimize.

Alright so you are this detective, who apparently once upon a time was a great detective, but cigarettes and booze has done him in. If it wasn't for his friend who has risen up the ranks in the police department, he would have never gotten the chance to show everyone that he's still got what it takes to get to the bottom of a mystery. You are going to basically interact with six different buildings in the game, but there is always a need to return to them to seek out more clues or pump someone for more information. It was actually surprising that even in this little town there was so much to do. Sure there was a ton of backtracking in the game, but the taxi cab that can show up ANYWHERE to pick you up makes life a little bit more enjoyable.

There are definitely points in the game where I was totally lost and had to resort to returning to almost every location and click on everything I could think of to get that one item that I was missing, but in the end the story was good, the characters' reactions during interrogation were entertaining, and I think that I would definitely be up for another chapter involving Detective Case and Clown Bot. Oh that reminds me, probably the one glitch about the game is that the exe file is named CaseBot, which triggered my anti-virus a couple of times and caused the game to stop working upon loading.

All that being said you are looking at a game that is about 3 and a half hours long, and it probably is a bit shorter of a game, but I feel like I got enough of a game that, like I said before, I would definitely want to check out another game by this group, featuring at least the Detective and Clown Bot. So to get to the point, this game gets an 8.4 out of 10.

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Thursday
Jul172014

Wayward Manor Review

When I found out that Neil Gaiman was putting time into a game I had to know more. When I found out that the name of the game was Wayward Manor, and that it was going to be available soon, I made sure that I cleared my calendar so that I would be able to play the game. Now having said all of this I had no idea what I was in for when it came to the game. The game, it turns out, is all about a (manor) house, and you are the ghostly spirit that is going to help the manor.

Graphically this has some cartoony elements to it, but at the same time I feel like all the character models were based around a Russian doll type of body build. The different environments in the game that you will have to deal with are just different rooms in the house, and you will see that more gets added into the room the further the level progresses. There's also a lot of interesting items that you can interact with, and there's a variety of ways to use some of the items.

Musically this game gives you that kind of cartoony haunted house feel. It's sort of like a Saturday morning cartoon Halloween special type of music. There's also a very well narrated piece to the game, the thing that stumps me, though, is that there is dialogue that should be spoken after the cut scene, it SCREAMS give me a voice, but you can only read the text on the screen.

The controls are pretty straight forward, you are going to be using the mouse to click on highlighted objects in the room. This will in turn cause panic, or set the scene up for maximum panic.

Alright so lets get right into it. You are a spirit that is going to try to help the manor scare the current owners. The object of every level is to scare the human(s) in the level enough to cause them to flee the room they are currently in, and to have them never return to said room. There is quite a variety of special ways that you can accomplish this, and you get notifications at the end of the level if you do indeed do something special. There's seven chapters to this game, and there of course is a twist in the game where the final chapter really changes the game. To be honest, the seventh chapter was the WEAKEST by far, it didn't feel quite the same, and there was some extra elements that didn't seem to have the level of polish as the rest of the game had. There is one scene, have no fear I'm not going to spoil too much for you, where you are actually in a VERY big room, that would have been interesting if it appeared more than just that once in the game. The other thing is the character that gets introduced that we are not supposed to scare. This piece, I understood, but at the same time the execution wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it.

At the end of the day we are looking at a game that lasted just under 2 hours. I felt that there was more to the story than what you got to play, I felt that there could have been a couple of evolutions of families that you have to get through, having the twist in the game go the other way causing you to try not to let history repeat itself when the next family moved in, but as it stands this game was incredible enjoyable for the time I was able to play it, and it did leave me wanting more, but I think that there should have simply been more to this game, and then still have that hunger for wanting more. So with that I have to say that this game gets a 7.1 out of 10.

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Thursday
Jul172014

Reversion: Chapter 2: The Meeting Review

Reversion Chapter 2: The Meeting is the second in the Reversion series by 3f Interactive, and this time around there's a physical price tag on it to continue the journey. So you have just escaped the hospital and are now on your way to meet up with someone who might know about the mysterious man that is in a picture that happens to be on your person. Now of course you can't get a straight answer without a little bit of help in return. So this episode is basically all about finding out about the gentleman in the picture.

Graphically is the same game, so I can't say that there's any difference. Now that's not a bad thing, it means that they didn't go off the reservation and try to re-invent the wheel. Yet again you are going to be introduced to an assortment of characters which all look unique and really fit the parts that they will be playing in this game.

Sadly the voice acting does not get any better, its still almost robotic, there's no real emotion in the the characters. It almost feels like they are all so full on mood inhibitors that the only thing they can do is just tell you what is going on, but deadpan.

The controls are the same as well, and that of course, once again is a good thing.

Alright so in this chapter, in which you have to put money down to play, you will be running around doing puzzles, and solving a couple of mysteries. You will get to see a college, a subway, a grave yard, a broken down building, a ransacked house, and you will get the chance to revisit the hospital. Once again there will be a good balance of combining objects and puzzle solving involved to complete this chapter.

Now I know there are a lot of you out there who want me to cut to the chase and tell you is it worth the money to play the next chapter. Well here's the deal, even though the developers are charging you for this chapter the game length does not increase, well I think it increased by a whole 4 or 5 minutes. Honestly I was really disappointed in seeing this. I now understand that the chapters are indicators of when the episode will end. In the first one you escape, end of chapter. In the second one you are building up to a meeting, and of course as soon as that happens, end of chapter. This game looks too good, and feels like there is so much more there to be SO short when it comes to game play, but sadly that's what it appears that the developers are doing. Here's hoping that the next chapter has a couple of big moments that will allow a player to really get emerged into the world before closing the chapter. With that being said I have to give this chapter an even lower score and put it at a 5.6 out of 10. I hate to do it, but when you put a price tag on a game, people expect more, especially if you gave the first chapter away for free.

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Wednesday
Jul162014

Reversion: Chapter 1: The Escape Review

Reversion: Chapter 1, is the first of many chapters in the game series Reversion, by 3f Interactive. In this game you will be taking on the role of a character who has no memory of his past. All he knows is that mysteriously 20 years seem to have disappeared, and he has no idea what his name is. You will find yourself in a hospital that has seen better days, and it appears that there is a group of mercenaries determined to keep you right where you are.

Graphically I think this game looks solid. The characters all have that unique feel and look. The cast of people you interact with is small, but that doesn't mean that this game falls flat when it comes to variety. Sure this chapter takes place solely in the hospital and you are only going to be able to interact in eight different scenes, but they are all very well crafted, and they look polished. It is also refreshing to see that you are going to be dealing with characters that are not all the same body type of height. 

One that I thought was not close to what I would have expected was the voice acting, or should I say the almost monotone variations of voices. It was not the easiest thing to get through, and there was definitely some missing context in some of the conversations. Now I fully understand that this is not a game that was first created for English speaking individuals, and perhaps they didn't have anyone who really knew English grammar all that well, but for an English speaker, it was a bit difficult.

The controls were your average mouse adventure game. You are going to click to move, hold the click to find out what type of interactions you can have with what you have chosen (touch, look, talk). The right mouse button opens up your inventory. There's also a button that kind of looks like a radar screen that when clicked upon will highlight all the objects that you can in some shape or form interact with.

Alright so lets get into this game, you are a person who knows some stuff, but doesn't know the important stuff, such as name, or the actual year. Something big has happened and the city of Buenos Aires is not only in chaos, but it would appear that there is no true leader. You were found unconscious and were brought in for examination and interrogation. You start the game before the second part. Now knowing that this chapter was free I was not expecting much, and to that end when the first chapter did end at the 45 minute mark, I was a little confused but at the same time I let it slide. There was definitely some depth to the game, there was some combining of items to defeat a puzzle or obstacle, I just wish that there was more to this chapter.

So if you are looking to see what those developers outside the US are capable of I would recommend taking a look at this game. If you are looking for an episodic point click adventure game with a strong first chapter, you are going to be left wanting when in one sitting you have already conquered the entire chapter. Sadly because of lack of content I have to give this game a 6.5 out of 10.

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Thursday
Jul102014

Long Night: Episode 1 Review

It all starts on a nice summer night where four best of friends are sitting around telling ghost stories. One of the group decides to tell the story of something that happened right there at the camp they are staying at. Now of course you know they have to see if the story is true, and what ends up happening will have all 4 separated from each other, and lost. You will play the part of one of those characters, the one that actually told the story. It is up to you to try to figure out what is going on and where everybody went.

Graphically I have to say that I was pretty impressed with this game. The cut scenes that were done in a mature comic style looked amazing. There was also a lot to the models used in the game for the main character as well as the camp setting. One of the things that I have to say was a nice change of pace was the fact that even the mundane items that you will not have to interact with looked just as good as the items that you are going to interact with. Also, as much as I hated to see them, the death screens were also very well done and some were quite creepy.

Now this being a game that has gone through some crowdfunding I can kind of understand that there is no voice acting in this game. They didn't meet that stretch goal, but I really really wish they had some voice acting in this game. It would have added an element that would have caused a deeper immersion into the game.

The controls are a bit odd if you are going to be using a keyboard, the preferred method of play was with a controller. You are going to be using 'E' to interact with your environment. You are going to be using WASD to move around, although you will notice that because of the way the camera is situated you are going to experience some drifting from side to side as you move. Finally you are going to be using the Enter key to pause and pull up your inventory.

Alright so you are at this camp that you and your friends have spent many summers at. There's definitely a sense of misfits banding together. Now this being the first installation of the game you are not going to solve every mystery that this game holds, but man would I have like a little bit more to play. I think it was really at about the 40 minute mark of the game where I caught my stride and wanted to see where the game could really take me. There of course is the scary ass bloody woman that will chase you down in a heartbeat that always kept me on edge. There was also a lot of items that I picked up that I guess will have relevance down the road, or maybe not. The biggest problem is that this game is barely over an hour long. I do understand that there's more to come, but I really wish that there was at least a little bit more to grasp on to.

This is a great looking game what closes the first chapter way too fast. I did like what I played, and yes I did die quite a few times in the game, more than I would like, but most of the time it was my fault for dying. I will say this SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, these are the checkpoints for most of the game and if you do not save you are going to have a lot of retracing your steps to do. Now comes the hard part, a grade, it's kind of hard to give this game a grade because I hope that there's something that is just around the next corner, something that I can get further into, but as it stands I just got into the game and then was thrown back to the intro screen having completed the first chapter. So I guess the best I can give this game is a 7.2 out of 10.

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Tuesday
Jul082014

Transistor Review

Transistor is the next game from the creators of Bastion, SuperGaint Games. In this game you are going to play the role of Red, the next big singing act in this messed up world, who somehow lost her voice. The man would protects you steps in front of a sword, transistor, just before it plunges into you. His consciousness transfers into the blade, and that is where the story begins. You of course are set on a crash course with a group of individuals who decided to attack you and also try to take over the city, but something has gone wrong. People are disappearing, and the city seems to be falling apart. You might be the only one who can figure out what is going on.

The art style was amazing. The use of color, or absence in some scenes drew me in, and it was very difficult to stop playing this game as soon as I started. You are going to see a lot of city-scape, as you try to get through this city. You are going to find yourself being attacked by quite a handful of enemies, and they all have their different attacks. Speaking of attacks I really did enjoy the way that combat worked in this game. You were put into kind of a stop time mode where you could plan out your attacks, and it was very clear, artistically, how everything was going to go down. The most amazing thing I found about the art was that it had the same rich colors and atmosphere as Bastion, but was futuristic and basically in the opposite direction of Bastion, and yet it looked like the only way I could possibly ever want to play this game.

Now comes the part of SuperGiant Games that by itself is enough to by their games, and that is the music. I don't know how they do it, but they have now knocked it out of the park two straight times. The really awesome thing, for me personally, is that I got the soundtrack with the game during a sale, and I have not been disappointed. Now I will say this, there is one thing a bit weak in this game and that is the voice of your "protector" he was a bit whiny and a little over the top, but if that's the only issue in the game, that's pretty damn good.

The controls in the game are pretty straight forward. You are going to be using either WASD or the left click of the mouse to move. You will use Spacebar when your meter fills up to go into a time stop plan mode. In this mode you are going to use the right mouse button to perform the attacks, and 1-4 to select which attack to perform.

As stated before you are going to be playing the part of Red, a rising star in this city, but something changes, something that a group of people take it upon themselves to try to fix, or perfect. They try to control something that should never be controlled. Now of course you can imagine what happens, things get out of control and the world changes, and since you have what that group needs, the transistor (or as I like to call it, sword), you are going to be hunted down. Now at the same time you are probably going to be doing some hunting of your own. As you progress through the game you are going to find more options to add to your selections. You will have the ability to open up extra slots for options, and you can also use all the options you pick up for different things. If you want to know the story of each character who has been reduced to an option what you will have to do is add it as the main option, an assisting option, or a passive option. You are also going to have to keep in mind how much memory each option takes, you only have a limited amount, and even though you might have the perfect idea for a setup, you might not be able to pull it off. Now of course as you level up you can unlock more, so have no fear.

Speaking of leveling up there's also limiters that you can add into your game to increase the difficulty but also reward you with more experience so that you can level up faster. Sometimes its worth it and other times it is not. If you do get over your head you are going to lose an option each time your health reaches zero. Once all options are gone you will have to start over again. So choose wisely.

Alright so I'm just going to be blunt, you are going to want to have both this game and the soundtrack. I loved it from start to finish. Like I said, the male voice in the game isn't the best, but it can easily be forgotten, and you can be lost in the melodies, and action of the game. So if you haven't picked this game up yet, you are going to need to correct that immediately this game gets a 9.7 out of 10.

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