Author Topic: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread  (Read 73015 times)

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #480 on: November 28, 2017, 12:10:56 PM »
Although I got Emporium on Steam for only $0.99, I can’t recommend it even for that low amount. This “short interactive vignette” (a fancier term than “walking simulator”, I suppose), has absolutely no gameplay other than touching some items or people for a written display. It seeks to show the bleak despair surrounding suicide through imagery and poetry, but I didn’t catch that feeling at all in my play-through, and found the “poetry” to be confusing and nonsensical; e.g. “The tide was high and swallowed me whole.”

The imagery is definitely bleak, but as shown on screen, your avatar is absolutely tiny, and it’s difficult to see what few objects he can actually interact with. Finally, you can make it through one play-through in about 25 minutes, although if you’re an achievement hunter or seeking Steam cards, you’ll want to go through at least once more.

The author seeks to have us identify with the protagonist and “feel” something, but the confusing text doesn’t do that. I would rather have had a more heart-felt and honest approach where the person you’re talking with speaks directly about the pain he is feeling. I am more moved by real discussions than abstracts.

The look of the game is atmospheric, but that’s the only spot of praise I can give Emporium. 4.8 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #481 on: December 11, 2017, 11:32:01 AM »
Disoriented is a first-person 3D puzzler that requires you to navigate constantly changing perspectives to reach the exit. Set as a series of mostly interconnected walkways, Disoriented requires constant thought, especially in the later levels, to see how to reach the next walkway. Key to this disorientation is the use of curving right corners, which constantly change your ups and downs.

You’ll need to pull levers to change certain walkways, sometimes multiple times. You also may need to switch off the light, which turns various walkways on and off. And sometimes you have to hop in a hole to reach the next objective. Along the way, don’t forget to water the plants and get some easy achievements.

Graphics are clean and each map is set in an open space. Music is soft and ambient to minimize distractions. Overall gameplay at a relaxed pace was around 4 hours.

Short and sweet, Disoriented is a fun, thought-provoking puzzler. At $4 on Steam, it’s probably at the max on its pricing, but definitely pick it up if you enjoy games like Portal, and if the game is on sale. 7.6 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #482 on: December 18, 2017, 10:48:33 AM »
Yet another Steam Sale find, Fibrillation HD is one that’s actually worth paying its full price of $4, let alone on sale. This game (yes, it’s more than just a standard walking simulator) has you play across 18 varied levels that are surreal, cavernous and larger-than-life; probably the closest game comparison I can make is NaissanceE (reviewed here).

Fibrillation ties to the story of Ewan, who was in a car crash and his heart stopped for a minute. What follows are perhaps a mystic dream, or the horrific nightmares of being dead, and what your mind creates in that absence of life.

Initial levels find you in a hallway of office rooms, with some doors that will open and most that won’t – you’ll have to experiment. Inside, you’ll find small orange cubes that collectively will allow you to open locked doors. You also may find blue orbs, which serve no function within each level, but are required to open a locked door in the 19th level. These were sometimes challenging to find, but if you see a blue shining haze, you’re on the right track.

Within most levels are a variety of pretty freaky foes, all of which have a Mayan look and feel. When these arrive, your vision alters and the screen gets darker – it’s a very subtle sense of horror that permeates these scenes.

In the latest game updates, the author has created a few little fun additions. For example, if you click on the version number on the main menu a bunch of times, you’ll get a surprise. Also, if you click on the robot head on the main menu and then enter the 2nd level, you’ll have to find and lead 9 robots to the exit. Finally, if you have managed to find six secret areas, and wrote down the codes, you’ll be able to enter all of them into the password box on the scene select menu, which opens up three more levels!

I really enjoyed Fibrillation’s grand design and scope of levels, as well as the intimate scenes that inject some horror into the gameplay. Finding secrets and blue orbs was a nice reason to scour levels, and the author’s addition of “freebies” in terms of additional fun elements and extra levels was greatly appreciated by this player. 8.4 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #483 on: December 25, 2017, 03:03:52 PM »
Small Radios Big Televisions is an indie game crafted by one person, but it still manages to imbue a pleasant gaming experience. The game takes place mostly in a 2.5D environment, with you opening various doors in factories and offices. You are seeking out tape cassettes, which, when played, reveal a whole new world. You can’t explore these locations fully, but cut-scenes between sections allude to a world of people in the past that did so.

Inside these worlds – which are known by one-name identifiers such as “Mountain”, “Ice”, “Cave” – are crystals that you must acquire to open locked doors in the facility. If you scrub a cassette against a strong magnet, you’ll enter a changed version of the original world, and you may again find additional crystals. A couple of puzzles such as missing gears, locked cabinets, overgrown plant life and flooded rooms may occupy your brain momentarily, but the whole game can be completed in about 2 hours. Secret vents lead to glass ovals that can be used in the cut-scenes, but the story doesn’t really give you closure on their use.

Level design is simple but descriptive, with bold color schemes and a unique focus that puts objects in the background at a blurry focus unless you change what you’re looking at.

All-in-all, Small Radios Big Televisions is a decent puzzle game that won’t tax your brain; just get it on sale. 7.3 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #484 on: January 01, 2018, 03:22:14 PM »
I’m normally not interested in tower defense games, but when I got Sanctum 2 for free, I figured I had to at least give it a shot. What makes Sanctum 2 unique is that it is played from a ground-level first-person perspective. You can place barriers and weapons (cannons, assault guns, etc.), or remove them between rounds if they don’t seem to be working effectively. Then, when all is in place, you start the round, and you can attack your foes in the first-person as they march along.

Sanctum 2 takes place in both interior and exterior locations, and it looks really pretty. There are also some fun little secrets to find in every location. Between location changes, you can switch to one of 4 characters, each with slightly different weapon load-outs and physical attributes. A comic-book story also plays in some cut-scenes to provide some context of your mission.

The learning curve gradually ramps up, and the entry point of your enemies switches around – sometimes coming from multiple points at once, so you have to hope that you planned your layout strategically. And then at the end of the 6+ rounds, a boss comes out, who might have different skillsets than you’ve previously experienced.

Overall, it was interesting to play, but I got bored after the 4th location and quit. There was just too much “sameness” in replaying the same level multiple times to keep me interested. 7.2 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #485 on: January 08, 2018, 09:22:13 AM »
Wasted is a first-person, roguelike, permadeath dungeon crawler set in an apocalyptic wasteland, a la the Fallout series, but with an art style somewhat reminiscent of Borderlands. Despite its difficulty, it is oddly appealing in its gameplay.

You appear out of the wastes and can change your body type (but it doesn’t really matter, because if you die, you are randomly replaced by a new avatar). After that, you must enter a “Cooler” (think Fallout’s Vaults), to receive your starting gear. The only way to exit the Cooler is to either try to reach the end of the cooler (approximately 10 levels) or jack yourself out via consumption of green bottles of booze, which revert you back to your residence with all your gear intact. Once in the residence, you can stash currency (toilet paper rolls!) and extra gear. Because if you die – and you will die a lot – there’s no way to retrieve the equipment you had.

After reaching a certain level in the first Cooler, you access a courier from the postal service, who invites you to visit him at the nearest town. Inside the town, you can access additional quests (including one from Richard Nixon with Henry Kissinger as his talking … nether regions), sell/trade gear, purchase buffs, and even listen to a local resident’s story to try and gain a good weapon. It’s best to get to town at the first opportunity to access all of these elements for the next try on the Cooler.

Once back at the Cooler, you’ll have to make it through each level within a certain time limit. If not, an “S.O.B.” will come after you, and they are impossible to kill, although sometimes possible to outmaneuver. If you don’t make it to the level’s exit, you can try and go for one of the booze bottles, but besides losing all your progress within the levels, you’ll also probably add some negative effects to your permanent stats. [Some mystery bottles exist on different levels that often provide positive effects, but you don’t know what they’ll be until after taking them.] So each level is a risk-return proposition: can I make it to the end of the level with everything that I’ve gained, or do I need to jack out by taking the booze bottle, which will require me to start all over?

I have a couple of problems with Wasted. First, the constantly changing level design meant that you might get too tough of enemies at the start, or you might hit a dead end towards the end of the level, and if the SOB is on his way, there’s maybe nowhere to run. Second, these are the same levels and level elements over and over and over and over and over and over ad infinitum. Third, you have to go through each Cooler all at once or you’ll lose all your level progress; I reached the Overseer’s level midway through the first Cooler and thought maybe there might be an express elevator that would allow me to exit to the surface and get rid of supplies and restock, but no such luck. And finally, the good buffs that you access disappear in the early levels of each Cooler as you access them, so that your later incarnations don’t have the same chance for success as your early lives.

Wasted is a good example of the rogue-likes, and the gameplay is really decent, but my own personal dislike about playing and replaying levels meant I didn’t have the desire to finish this one. 7.4 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #486 on: January 15, 2018, 09:43:43 AM »
Cayne is a FREE sequel to Stasis, a hard sci-fi adventure game that I truly enjoyed. Both are similar in design, employing an isometric top-down view of each “scene”. Within the scene, you can click on various objects – either taking them into your inventory, or being able to interact (e.g. computer screen) with them. You also can take items from your personal inventory and use them on each other, or upon hotspots within the scene.

Story is Cayne’s strongest component, starting with a voice-over and cut-scene showing us Hadley, a young woman who goes in to have an abortion, and then wakes up 9 months later in a nightmarish operating room, her swollen stomach the proof that a baby is imminently on the way. So Cayne marks the first game I’ve ever played as a pregnant woman! Hadley is of course incredulous about her new circumstance, but needs to get free to find out how this happened.

Hadley has a strong personality, and her dialogue feels authentic. Along the way, she starts hearing a voice of a man trapped somewhere else in the facility. Their conversations are thought provoking as they discuss family and the need for connection with others.

Par for a modern adventure game, as Hadley makes her way through the facility, she tackles a number of puzzles. Some of these are relatively simple, while some are just bizarrely obtuse. The worst offender is a fuse that you have to create using four separate steps, none of which are alluded to in-game, but which you must somehow try to combine everything together that you can. These difficult puzzles forced me to seek walkthrough assistance, pulling me out of the game. The walkthrough was also critical if you wanted to get full achievement completion, with a couple of hidden secrets that are only accessible if you know exactly which location you must click on-screen (and for which there is no on-screen description).

You’ll also read a number of PDAs, giving you a taste of the facility’s other inhabitants. And what a wretched group they are! It’s a wonder the facility made ANY scientific progress. You’ll also learn about how you came to be in the facility in the first place, with a nice reveal at the end.

Cayne is an imperfect adventure game, with some nitpicks that take down the final score, but since it’s FREE and continues a side-story in the Stasis universe, it’s definitely worthwhile to give it a shot. 7.5 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #487 on: January 21, 2018, 11:04:13 PM »
Kingdom is a side-scrolling resource game where you as a queen ride your horse either left or right, and assign tasks to peasants by dropping gold coins. After creating a campfire, your kingdom officially begins; now you must expand your empire and protect your citizens! You do this by investing some of your gold coins in different tools (hammer for tradesmen, bow for hunters/watchmen, and hoe for farmers), and then telling your citizens to chop down trees, build walls of varying levels, convert land into farms, etc.

But all of this needs to be done during the day time, because at night, ghouls and ghosts arrive to start attacking the walls of your kingdom. Basic barricades suffice in the early days, but soon enough, more and larger foes arrive, so harder (and more expensive) walls are required if you hope to last through the night.

Artwork is pixelated, but with tons of gorgeous detail as day turns into night and back again. You never wonder exactly what you’re supposed to be seeing on screen. Likewise, the music is great and fits the mood, with soothing sounds during the day converting to more manic during the night-time fights.

My main problem with Kingdom is that I don’t have the temperament to keep doing the same details over and over again. Early levels ease you into the process, but later levels quickly pick up steam on how hard your enemies assault your keep. I was stuck in a never-ending rut of getting just enough coins from my citizens to fix the walls that had just been breached, only to see my ghoulish foes knock them back down again with an even stronger force. Since it takes all day long just to go back and forth through your kingdom, it’s a little too monotonous for my tastes.

And honestly, I never knew what I was supposed to do to “win” the game. I did find some ruins, a church and what appeared to be a portal, but didn’t know what to do. Maybe I had to “capture” the lands surrounding them??

Either way, Kingdom is interesting for an hour or so, unless you’re a hard-core resource grognard willing to put up with all the repetitious activities required to stay alive for yet another day. 7 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #488 on: January 29, 2018, 08:57:24 AM »
OMG, this game is so frustrating!! Human Fall Flat is a physics-based puzzler where you control your on-screen avatar, but each button controls a different arm or leg. So what is normally a simple task of climbing over a ledge requires you to raise both arms individually, move forward with your walk button, jump with another button, let go of the two buttons for each arm, push your mouse forward to “raise” your avatar, and then lift both individual arms back up to finally stand up. Yikes!

And I know this frustration is part of this genre of the game's “appeal”, but it just drove me bonkers crazy. My final straw was a map where I was supposed to navigate a boat through a bunch of pylons using a long stick/oar. Everytime I twisted around, the boat would change directions so it literally took 30 minutes and multiple deaths just to get the boat maybe 20 feet in-game. I just wanted to throw my mouse at the screen, I was so enraged.

What Human Fall Flat has going for it is an interesting premise, and some unique landscapes. I didn’t finish the game, but encountered a train station, mountain pass, factory, castle, and sea shore. In all of these, there may be multiple ways to accomplish your immediate goal, or there may be alternate pathways. In the mountain pass, you can either jump across a chasm, or you can find a rope and swing across. The factory has a reverse option if you break open a glass window and stack up some bags. The castle probably had the most options: maybe you walk across a bridge to pick a lock, or maybe you climb into a catapult and throw yourself across the map.

So the locales were probably the most interesting part of the whole ordeal, but in my mind, not enough to put up with the frustrating mechanics. 7.3 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #489 on: February 05, 2018, 09:28:13 AM »
Dead Age is a JRPG-style game requiring efficient use of survivors and the tasks you assign them each day. After battling through several “scenes” against 1 to 3 foes, you make it to your base of operations. At this base, you receive several requests/orders – some of which are mandatory, and some are optional. The mandatory requests advance the story, like finding survivors or supplies, or fixing broken antennas; the optional requests may have you craft items or kill a certain number of specific zombie types, upon which you’ll receive a reward.

Within your camp, if you have any survivors, you can assign them to various tasks, including guard duty, finding food, or crafting medicine, ammo, weapons or clothing/armor. Or you can have survivors come along on a raiding party with you. Each survivor (as well as you) can be leveled up in different skillsets, so probably the best methodology is to train each one to master one certain area. Keep two survivors as your always raiding party, and sub-specialize skills so that you can open locks, use medicine, hunt, and search for materials.

As the days go on, you have to assign up to 3 survivors as guards. If you don’t, raiders and zombies will attack and either kill some of your survivors or take much of your materials.

You will have to leave camp and explore various locales, including highway (day and night), forest (day and night), camp, and more!  ::)  Each locale features different zombie types, as well as different materials that you can scavenge. Fighting is monotonous, with similar battle screens with the same settings multiple times. You and up to 3 others stand on one side, and your enemies stand 3 to 4 on the other side, and then you specify which enemy you want each of your side to target. You can attack with guns, but ammo is sometimes scarce, so almost always you have to rely upon your melee skills to settle a fight.

Dead Age was interesting enough to play for the first couple hours, but after that just devolved into the same fight and battle scenes over and over. I made it to Day 20 in my play-through, and understand that the Desert and the City would have opened up for me, but by then I was too bored with it all. 6.7 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #490 on: February 12, 2018, 11:35:48 AM »
As a teen in the 80s, heavy metal music was my gateway to life. Many of my greatest high school memories are of concerts and the hard-thumping music that came out. And playing Brutal Legend – DoubleFine Games’ ode to that era – was mostly satisfying at reliving those memories. Every element of the game, from the starting menu to the look and feel of the game world to the background music, is saturated with the trappings of what makes “heavy metal.”

Comedian Jack Black plays his typical role, this time as a smarmy heavy metal roadie. He is desperate to relive the glory days when he built massive sets with pyrotechnics, but is stuck with today’s sadsack bands who lip-synch and play keyboards – dissing the glory of shrieking guitars and booming bass drums. When Jack accidentally dies during a set, he is brought to a new land that is the embodiment of metal. Looking across the landscape truly is like looking at the artwork from metal album covers inspired by Dio, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, through the filter of Boris Vallejo. And the history of this new world is deeply entrenched in the metal atmosphere, with old “gods” who were killed, and now their metal corpses fuel this world.

What makes Brutal Legend unique is its blend of different gaming genres. You start the game as a typical 3rd-person action adventure, with your character hacking enemies with his guitar “axe”. After meeting another character who will later join your team, you build a car (you’re a roadie and can build anything given enough time and resources….) and travel to a starting base. From this base, you can now zip around a newly introduced open-world, doing the odd mission or race, or finding secrets. Finally, the game introduces a real-time strategy element, whereby you access “fans” and use their power to outfit your stage, your crew and your eventual army of rockers. This progression of features is slow but steady, although I admit that about 2/3rds in, the RTS elements grew too much for me and I couldn’t progress! Curse you, RTS games!!

The characters are absolutely incredible, with many of them voiced by their Earth doppel-headbangers. Ozzy Ozborne serves as a wizard/know-it-all that outfits your car, enhances your offensive capabilities, and gives you some fun extras, like a new paint job for your car, or a new tat or patch. Lemmy from Motorhead plays a pivotal role, as does Lita Ford. One of the main characters bears a striking resemblance to Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine. Another is a goof on White Lion’s lead singer. If you have any familiarity of the heavy metal scene, which moved into hair metal, and finally was displaced in the mainstream by alternative rock, you’ll get most of the references scattered throughout the game.

Storywise, I was bummed that I couldn’t get to the end and see what finally happened. We do learn why Jack Black’s character was brought to Metal-Earth, and see his character grow from a bumbling doofus to a warrior doofus. (You weren't expecting miracles, were you?  ;D  )

Perhaps my main gripe (other than the RTS thing) is that I had to do some accommodating with the keyboard to fit all of the buttons necessary. And for some menus, the mouse was challenging to use properly. Otherwise, I would certainly recommend Brutal Legend, especially if you were ever a headbanger. 7.3 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #491 on: February 19, 2018, 03:18:05 PM »
The Descendant is a five-episode adventure game in the vein of the Telltale model. In fact, the artwork, which uses a cel-shading technique, is very similar to the Telltale style. Regardless, the story revolves around a number of Arks (or “Vaults” if you’re a Fallout fan) that had to be used when a crisis destroyed the earth. Up to 4,000 people – representing the “best” of humanity – were placed in these Arks and cryogenically stored until it was time to wake up. Each Ark has several overseers, who are periodically awoken to ensure that everything is going okay.

As we start the story, Randolph (a former Senator in the past world) and Donnie (a former overseer at another Ark) are driving to an unopened Ark, to see if anyone has survived. All the other Arks have awoken, and they are on track to get civilization back in order. Randolph is a bit brusque, but informs Donnie that they need to get inside and see why Ark 01 didn’t wake up and connect with the fellow Arks.

Right away, the gameplay has us do a Quick Time Event, but it’s always the same button. I like the simplicity of it, but it misses some of the directional cues that similar adventure games might employ. Otherwise, you may have some conversation options that you have to choose within a certain timeframe, or you simply have hotspots on the screen to mouse over. When not in conversation, you click with your mouse to move to a location on the screen.

The Descendant then moves 70 years into the past, where we encounter two overseers for Ark 01 just as the Ark doors are closing for the final time. Our last straggler is Mia, and she seems way outside of her comfort zone. She is welcomed by Silas, a doctor. Almost immediately after settling in to their cryotubes, they are awoken by the Ark – something is wrong, and they need to fix it.

The game bounces back and forth between both timelines, and in each, we generally have to solve a problem that the Ark is experiencing. I did like that all the “puzzles” were unique and were generally solvable if you looked at all the surrounding details. This is a game where everything you need will be located in the general area of the problem – no need to hold items in inventory across the length of the game.

At the heart of The Descendant is the inherent mystery of why Ark 01 did not awake. Randolph has his reasons for wanting to ensure the Ark is opened. Donnie is insistent that they help the survivors wake up. Silas seems to take the Ark’s protection personally while Mia struggles with her tasks. The flashbacks between both time periods flesh out the story and make you want to see what’s coming next.

The Descendant is one of my few Steam games where I achieved 100% achievements. Some of the achievements are story-related and automatically occur, while others are missable and must be played a certain way – either in your conversations or in your actions. I found this really helpful game guide: http://astats.astats.nl/astats/Steam_Game_Info.php?AppID=351940&Tab=5.

Built in Unity, the game looks decent graphically, although several times I had some weird artifacting take place in several of the chapters. Otherwise, the cel-shading is attractive and effective.

I liked The Descendant, and enjoyed the story, but I’d probably recommend getting this on sale. It’s not nearly as good as a Telltale adventure, but it does a good job at providing a unique sci-fi story. 7.4 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #492 on: February 26, 2018, 09:51:58 AM »
I’d never played any of the Deponia adventure game series, but Steam offered a great deal on the original Deponia, so I figured I’d give it a shot. The games have an attractive color palette and expressive animation, and a whimsical, sarcastic bent to the writing.

Deponia is a point-and-click adventure, but luckily, pressing the spacebar will highlight hotspots on the screen where you can interact with people or objects. You can pick up items, speak to people, or look at things. I love when adventure games give you the “highlight hotspots” option, so you don’t have to stupidly mouse over and click everything on the screen.

Our protagonist – I hate to call him a “hero” – is Rufus, a self-centered so-called “inventor” on the trash planet of Deponia. His sole goal in life is to get off the planet and live in Elysium, a far-off city in space that he thinks his father somehow escaped to, while leaving Rufus behind. And maybe he did… after all, Rufus is a doofus in the biggest sense of the word. He knows enough just to be dangerous, and his methods are all pretty unorthodox. Which of course lends itself nicely to an adventure game, right?! 

Like all adventure games, you’ll encounter many puzzles. Some are simple, most are complex, and a few are so down-right obtuse that I had to run a Youtube video as I was playing. I try not to resort to the video, otherwise, why am I playing the game? But sometimes I need a lead in the right direction.

Rufus does manage to get off Deponia, at least for a little while, but when he comes back to ground, he has inadvertently brought a young woman named Goal with him. And Goal knows things that the people of Elysium need. So you have to make Goal well (she’s unconscious upon landing), find out who’s looking for her (and how much they’ll pay), kidnap her, and get her to the folks from Elysium.

The artwork is straight from a Saturday morning cartoon, and has a very “LucasArts” kind of feel to it. As I said, the puzzles range all over the place, but generally every item that you require to solve a puzzle is in the near vicinity – no lugging a red herring around through the whole game. Sometimes, you may click on a hotspot, and you can’t do anything with it until you’ve triggered the game further.

In all, I enjoyed this first short (6 hrs) adventure on Deponia, and will look for the other games Chaos on Deponia, Goodbye Deponia, and Deponia Doomsday. 7.6 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #493 on: March 05, 2018, 11:56:38 AM »
Lethe: Episode One says it’s the first in a series, but honestly, at 6 hours this game provides a self-contained story and doesn’t end on a terrible cliffhanger. The authors say any future episodes may not even continue the story of the first protagonist.

Lethe is very similar to the Amnesia games – a first-person horror game where you are weaponless and unable to defend yourself if you are attacked. But it also adds an interesting element of “magic” – about two-thirds through the game, you gain telekinetic powers, mostly using them to reach switches just outside of reach, or to carry large objects through each map.

Graphically, the game excels. From the first moment that you awake on a moonlit beach, the waves lapping at your feet, until you enter a series of mines and tunnels beneath the ground, with deep crevasses separating you from your next objective, you’ll feel the reality of these locations.

As for story, you have just learned that your whole life was a lie – that your parents are not your blood relations, and that you came from a distant island. You of course seek out your past, which is teased in scraps of letters found the deeper you go into the mines.

And finally, you learn of the horrible disease that struck all the miners, and the desperate lengths that they went through to ensure that someone would survive. Occasionally, you meet these “someones” – and they are not happy to see you. The chases are frantic and frightening, and always sent shivers up my spine.

Lethe is an excellent example of how to do a first-person horror game right. 9 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #494 on: March 12, 2018, 09:41:38 AM »
Clive Barker’s Jericho is a wholly inconsistent game. I admit to only getting halfway through the game before I realized that I had had enough.

I was interested enough in the story: Jericho is actually a group of paranormal weapons and “magic” experts who have been training in secret for years, in order to fight the supernatural enemies that the rest of humanity doesn’t even know exists. But all of those fights are nothing compared to the ultimate evil of The Firstborn – God’s first creation, who went rogue and is unfortunately unable to be destroyed. And now someone is trying to unleash The Firstborn against the world. But until then, Team Jericho must journey to Africa, and enter a pocket-universe that will take them through World War 2, the Crusades, ancient Sumeria and Rome, and more.

The game does a great job of slowly introducing your team of 7 people so that you know their traits and skills – both mundane and magic – which was really nicely done. Because the further into the game you get, you need to know which team member to bring to the fore to counter the threat at hand. Unfortunately, when the team gets split, some of the scenarios are almost impossible to survive with the team members that you have access to. Further, when you’re playing one of the team, the others are almost absolutely inept at keeping themselves out of the line of fire.

This problem is exacerbated by the awful level design. In almost all cases, your party follows a linear, narrow path that is lazily put together – without any enemies in the way, you probably could walk the whole level in 30 seconds. The developers instead throw way too many waves of enemies at you, half of which consist of exploding demons that will down any team members near them. The sniper is worthless in most scenarios because there is no distance separating you from your enemies.

The worst offender I experienced was a boss fight midway through the game. All of your team are unleashing your weapons and magic upon the boss up to a point where he has an instakill blast; if you aren’t hiding behind anything, you’ll be killed. So during the point when the boss is most vulnerable, you have to run all around the arena to heal your teammates, rather than concentrate on hitting the boss with your weapons. After 30 minutes of this, I called BS and shut it down.

My other great offender was in the key mapping. Besides not allowing you to remap the mouse buttons, the programming would not accept any substitutions for the arrow buttons when Quick Time Events came up. I would have to drop out to menu, change the key maps to the arrows, come back, complete the QTE, drop back out to menu, remap the keys how I wanted them, and then come back to the game. This sucked.

Great graphics, interesting story and unique weaponry/magic can only go so far when piss-poor level design, shoddy team AI, and crappy key mapping constantly pull you out of the game. Not recommended. 5.9 out of 10