Author Topic: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread  (Read 86030 times)

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #525 on: October 22, 2018, 12:33:48 PM »
Sky Break delivers an interesting concept, but the follow-through gameplay is way too much of a grind.

A cut-scene reveals that Earth is in dire need of certain resources, found only at one far-off planet. Robots were sent ahead to prepare the planet for resource extraction, but somehow the robots gained intelligence and subsequently killed any colonists who landed. Now desperate for resources, your crew has been sent to that planet but something happened upon atmospheric entry. The game starts as you awake.

You have a drone assistant that can point out destinations of interest, but other than that, you’re on your own. Depending on which direction you head, you may quickly gain access to a landing pad in the nearby vicinity. This will also call down a “space elevator” that you can take to a station situated in the low atmosphere. Inside the station, you can heal yourself, upgrade your skills, plant various seeds that you can harvest later, upgrade animal-robots found on the planet, and call a spaceship to take you off-planet for good. You’ll quickly learn that you won’t be able to call the spaceship until you find the rest of your team, scattered all over the planet’s small islands.

Back on the surface, you will encounter robots in various animal shapes: cats, ostriches, giraffes, and a larger robot sentry. You have a gun that will lower these robots’ health and shields, and after downing all but the large sentry, you can try to hack them to follow you. However, you can only get one animal at a time to accompany you. And my experience was that they were much more aggressive on their own, than when they were supposed to be protecting you. So I generally had to hack a new animal about every third battle. When I did upgrade them on the station, it didn’t significantly improve any of their skills, and I instead lost lots of supplies that I had gleaned.

So yes, you will have to search for tons of supplies: scrap, plant spores and seeds, bullets, etc. And the more plants you gather, the more your Resource meter goes up and the more plans you unlock and can later upgrade. But you have to use all your bullets to stop the pest robots bothering you, while trying to gain resources to construct batteries to charge the weather towers scattered all over. Because if you don’t charge the weather towers, you’ll be battered and pelted by acid rain and tornadoes that quickly zap all your health.

After clearing out all the first island and unlocking a new location, I did make it to a third subsequent island before giving up. The scorpion robots were extremely challenging, and even when I added one as my accomplice, it never really protected me much. That’s when the grind set in: I had to gather enough resources to make some ammo and health packs to get just far enough to gather more resources to make some ammo and health packs ad infinitum. And the elevator back to the station was too far away to easily access.

Sky Break has some neat elements, including the ability to hack robot animals to accompany you, but the grind to get into later parts of the game were too over-the-top. 6.5 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #526 on: October 29, 2018, 09:45:48 AM »
Asemblance is very obscure about what you are supposed to accomplish and perhaps even worse than the old pixel-hunt adventure games.

At least the first part of the game – set in a dark lab – uses color and light to attract your attention. So you push a button and a VR world develops that you are able to enter. In this outdoor simulation, you walk a few paces and come across a fluttering butterfly, which produces a prompt to zoom in your vision; upon doing so, you are able to exit this area and unlock VR #2.

In VR #2 – an office – there is a flashing light on an audio tape, and a video screen flickers to attract you. It again prompts you to zoom in, which now unlocks VR #3, your home. Wandering through your family room to your bedroom, the simulation won’t allow you to proceed any further, so you must exit.

Here’s where things get hard, and I actually had to go to a walkthrough not even 10 minutes into the game. You have to return to VR #2 and zoom in to a clock’s numbers. Nothing tells you to do this. There are no prompts to suggest any possible reason to look at the clock, let alone to specifically ZOOM IN. But when you do so, the clock resets to an earlier time, and it opens up a locked area in VR #3. But before you go, a door has opened in your office. If you go in, you’ll see lots of file cabinets, a chalkboard with scribbles, and a flashlight that you can pick up and keep. Again, with nothing to prompt you, you are expected to ZOOM IN to a corner of the chalkboard, which will now unlock an area out in the main lab.

Other than clicking and zooming into every possible object, there’s no way to know how to proceed, and no payoff to your actions. It was at this point that I decided to just quit out of the game altogether. Those kinds of logic leaps are much more aggravating than fun. 5.8 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #527 on: November 05, 2018, 08:49:20 AM »
Runaway: A Twist of Fate is the third game in the Runaway series, depicting the strange lives of Brian and Gina. (I intentionally skipped the second game “Dream of the Turtle.”) And unfortunately, we start with the burial of Brian’s coffin, and Gina in mourning clothes!

Of course, there has to be more to the story, and what transpires over the next 6 hours is a mostly relaxing, but sweet romantic comedy, with some splashes of humor. Gina has to of course get Brian out of the coffin, as he faked his death in the previous game to escape some bad guys. This sets up a series of humorous encounters starting in the cemetery, but expanding to an asylum, a wilderness cabin, and a downtown hotel. The asylum especially is a highlight, with lots of humor and an elaborate escape plan.

Visually, the game has removed the wonky 3-D graphics found in the first game’s cut-scenes, and is solely animated in style throughout, with bright, popping colors. You only interact with a few elements and they are all critical to your at-hand mission. The voice-acting work is especially well done by all the characters. And I was never really stumped, or if I was, the hint system mostly answered my needs.

This was another enjoyable adventure with Brian and Gina, and recommended for adventure gamers. 7.4 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #528 on: November 12, 2018, 10:29:15 PM »
Surprisingly, I cannot find a written review for Watch This, so I’ve linked to a pretty good YouTube review. Basically, you’re trapped on a space station with a maze, and to get out, you must earn coins and please your family before they will allow you to return. And the whole thing is being broadcast as well to a global audience.

Graphically, the game is built on the Unreal 4 engine and looks really good. The level layout (I only played the first of the two options) has lots of traps like saw blades, acid pools, spike pits and more, and you can either circumvent them by using jump “boosts” or navigating the appropriate path.

Within the labyrinth, you must collect coins while avoiding several different types of foes. When they do see you, they will follow quickly, so your only option is to run away and hope to lure them to some sitting mines. These instances definitely got my heart racing. You can survive a few hits from these creatures, but to regain health, you’ll need to drink some coffee found around the maze.

Upon various walls are a list of prizes that you can purchase for your family. Weirdly, your family won’t allow you to leave until you at least buy them some prizes – I guess that’s your whole purpose for being on the TV show. Once done, and once you find a keycode, you can finally escape and (presumably) head back to earth.

Fun for a couple of hours to navigate and get some cheap scares, but there’s nothing of much substance here. 6.2 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #529 on: November 19, 2018, 11:15:33 AM »
As an interactive story, 1979 Revolution Black Friday is extremely successful, but as a game, not so much.

I’m old enough to remember when Iran’s Ayatollah held 50 Americans captive for over a year during the Carter presidency, but like most Americans, had absolutely no idea what happened to fan the flames of revolution. This game, created by an Iranian developer, brings that period to life in an easily understood way. It also relates how the U.S.’s actions in trying to prop up the Shah of Iran led to the overall revolution that took a progressive nation toward a religious theocracy.

In the game, we take on the role of Reza, a photographer who has been asked to record the actions of the revolution. Stylistically, the game apes Telltale (RIP!!) with both cel-shaded texturing and quick-time gameplay situations. When you walk about the streets, you are prompted to take photos; in doing so, this action also pops up a comment on the history of the revolution. Some of the photos you take are dead-on with the historical photos, creating an eerie symbolism that heightens your understanding of the moment.

Reza eventually gets caught up in the machinations of the student-led revolution that has been brewing, with strong discontent about the U.S.-backed Shah versus the Muslim teachings of the Ayatollah. Would the students have been so passionate if they knew that the Ayatollah would later crack down on all Westernized aspects of their country, including removing women’s rights to vote and drive, closing movie theaters and stoppiing Iranian-produced films, and ending international university learning? It’s hard to say, but the game at least presents the desire for many of the revolutionaries to revert to a more traditional Muslim nation, regardless of what might be lost.

Broken into five separate acts or episodes, the game again emulates the Telltale model, but the gameplay is stunted by the actual historic notes that intrude upon every scene. And perhaps that is the key to “playing” 1979 Revolution – be a participant in this historic time that impacted so many lives globally, without worrying whether it’s a “fun” game or not. Regardless, you will learn something you probably never knew. 7.3 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #530 on: November 26, 2018, 07:54:54 PM »
A Girls Fabric Face (I double-checked and there is no apostrophe in “Girls”) is a very slight “game” barely clocking in at an hour, and I only played it since it came in a cheap bundle.

You are trapped in a haunted house as some sort of paranormal investigator, but maybe you also have some history with the house?? The rest of your time is spent looking around for spooky stuff, interacting with highlighted objects, finding keys, and looking through your video camera. You also have to juice up the battery on your lights … a lot. Eventually, you will be able to enter the basement of the house, where you learn a few more details about the history of the place.

Graphically, the game is a bit low-fi, but works in the haunted house scenario. You’ll experience a few jump-scares, and the ambience is appropriately creepy. But the gameplay is especially drawn out and bland. Where other reviewers have finished this game in even 30 minutes, I sometimes had to visit every room to figure out what might have changed since the last time I visited. After you find all the changes, it might be time to rest, and let your night-cameras capture any possible ghosts.

The story is not extremely interesting, and I think only the game’s spooky atmosphere saves the game at all. 6.3 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #531 on: December 03, 2018, 12:43:51 PM »
Chaos on Deponia is the second in the Deponia series, and continues the goofy antics of Rufus and his “girlfriend” Goal, as they attempt to save Deponia from total destruction.

The bright and colorful graphics of this point-and-click adventure enhance Rufus’ antics as he again gets into one problem scenario after another. Starting with a professor’s admonition for Rufus to collect a high-quality hard drive (lest disaster befall Goal upon being rebooted), we can see the writing on the wall when Rufus is instead tempted by the low-quality drive because it comes with a free lollipop. This blunder manages to separate Goal’s psyche into three distinct parts, and unless they can come together, Deponia is surely doomed.

Over the course of the 7-hour game, you as Rufus will have to win each of Goal’s parts to your cause. This might mean joining and starting a revolution, discovering how dangerous platypuses (platypii??) are when threatened, reuniting with your long-lost father, training missile-porpoises, and more. And having a ton of fun along the way. Occasionally you’ll be tested with some challenging mini-games, but the developers have handily provided a Skip button if you just can’t get it right.

I had many laugh-out-loud moments with Chaos on Deponia, as I marveled at how inept but sweet Rufus could be. You should join in the fun. 7.6 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #532 on: December 10, 2018, 04:29:16 PM »
I was immensely satisfied with Near Death, and it is probably best suited for a long afternoon of continuous gameplay to really craft the best experience.

Near Death finds you as an Antarctic pilot named Kate who has crashlanded. After waking, you realize you need to find shelter quickly in the sub-zero temperatures, or else you will freeze to death. Upon locating a communications building and gathering a propane heater, you’re ready to take stock of your situation. A teletype machine allows you to communicate with your dispatcher at home base. Unfortunately, the dispatcher warns of a coming storm that will keep any aerial rescue at bay, possibly for weeks. You will need to hunker down and survive on what remains at the station, although it has undergone stripping of its resources in order to be closed.

Thus starts a frantic 5 to 6 hour game, where you must explore other parts of the station to see what remains, and how you will survive. Are there enough water and food resources, or will you have to find an alternate means of leaving? Collecting wire, electronics, tarps, rope, tape and more will enable you to craft items you’ll need to block windows, restart downed generators, and even craft warmer clothing to protect your internal heat. You’ll also need propane bottles to ensure your heater never runs out. But once you turn on a building’s generators, and ensure all the windows are blocked, they will generate their own heat.

I really enjoyed the challenge presented by being in such a dangerous destination. Several times I got lost and had to re-acquire my path before I froze. I also run out of supplies at the start of the game and actually died in between buildings. And a windy cable-walk late in the game left me sweating in reality at how close I’d come to dying.

Near Death utilizes the sub-freezing temperatures of the Antarctic as a credible foil for all your efforts at survival. Being alone, other than some teletype conversations with your dispatcher, plus the oppressive darkness and howling wind, really brought the game to life for me. Highly recommended. 8.6 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #533 on: December 17, 2018, 11:27:47 AM »
Dangerous Golf is brutal and pretty, but ultimately boring. Basically it’s “bull in a china shop” gameplay where you have a flaming golf ball that you can hit at various everyday objects. I got bored 5 minutes in, but to get my Steam cards, I had to play for an additional hour.

Graphically, the game is very pretty, and manages the destruction elements nicely whenever your ball hits things. I only opened levels in a French sitting room and a commercial kitchen. Besides sinking the ball, you have additional goals for each level, and the more destruction you do, the higher your score (and thus medal type). After causing sufficient destruction, your ball may go “nuclear” and destroy all surrounding objects. But at the end, you still have to get the ball in the hole, whether as a straight putt, or maybe bouncing it off multiple walls (also with corresponding point upgrades).

Ultimately, it just wasn’t that fun, no matter how much destruction I caused. 5.7 out of 10

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #534 on: December 25, 2018, 12:52:27 PM »
How do revolutions begin? Sometimes all it takes is a plea from a young woman named Hope ….

The world of Republique Remastered is a bit dystopian, but certainly seeded in real-world issues that we currently see in today’s political climate. It was originally released over 5 episodes for tablet but has been “remastered” to take advantage of mouse, keyboard and a larger HD screen size. The episodic content also was compiled under one larger title.

Built in the Unity engine, Republique looks very striking, especially for its interior environments that you encounter in four of the 5 episodes. The 4th episode actually takes place in exterior surroundings and is acceptable overall. Each episode, except for the 5th, take place in a new area to provide some fresh details that you haven’t seen before. The 5th episode then takes you back through a number of previously visited locations.

The story takes a couple of episodes to coalesce into a coherent beat, but once it does, you’ll marvel at the world-building taking place. Mind you, you’ll need to read everything and listen to all the audio messages you can find for it all to truly make sense, and even at the end, I was left a little confused. The ending itself is quite controversial with both lovers and haters of what finally happens. But it certainly resonates with a powerful message.

In short, Hope lives in a sealed set of hallways in the new country of Republique, which was founded by a demagogue with some technical skill. The founder has been in touch with the U.S. government to provide them with some significant database, in exchange for the opportunity to work unimpeded by them. Only in the very last episode will you learn what Hope’s actual role in all this is, although you’ll get hints here and there throughout the previous four episodes, if you actually look and listen to all the informational cues. Along the way, Hope will encounter foes and friends, including some people who are not truly what they seem.

The game is played from the perspective of video cameras. You initially inhabit Hope’s cell phone, and although it’s never clear how you got there, it’s just assumed that you are an outsider who somehow hacked into the system, and based on her plea for help, you decided to stay. From the cell phone, you can “leap” to other cameras that you can see, all the while gathering info dumps from guards, posters on the wall, letters, and more. You also can upgrade your abilities to be able to read emails, listen to voice messages on phones, hack into electronics to pull guards away, and even determine how guards will react in certain circumstances.

As you move along in the camera world, you need to guide Hope safely into hiding spots such as behind boxes or short walls, or even inside lockers. You can unlock certain doors, based on your experience level, and move Hope through the hallways as she gathers information about what’s happening, and then later, how she can escape. Hope has some agency, such as if she’s hiding on one side of a pillar, she will move around based on the movement of the nearest guard. And if she has pepper-spray or a taser, she can use those if she is caught. She also can sneak up and pickpocket if you so designate.

I really enjoyed Republique. It’s a game that makes you think, while also featuring the unique (although not quite original) concept of using cameras to guide the action on-screen. And Hope as our protagonist is such an incredible person, so it was amazing to watch her growth over time. A definite must-play if you enjoy strong adventure games and strong story-telling. 8.8 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #535 on: December 31, 2018, 12:23:26 PM »
Hard to believe that I've done 500 mini-reviews now!!! I did notice that my game-playing has slowed down a bit over the past year, as real life intruded (darn you job and family!  :funup: ) -- but I also played some very lengthy games. Most pressing was Secret World Legends, which although it didn't make any of these lists, took several months of real-life to play through. I ended up with nearly 200 hours from start to finish. Overall, I'd recommend it to any RPG fans out there.

I started the year by playing Arkham Knight, but after my video card burned up, I put it on the backburner for a good 4 months because I couldn't get in the right frame of mind to play it. When I eventually did return to finish it up, I was satisfied, even though I felt it was a tad too long at 84 hours of gameplay.

Regardless, here's a list of the good, the bad, and the ugly from the past 100 games.

Bottom-dwellers (<6.0):
- The Swindle – 4.0 -- Sucky platforming mechanics and permadeath made this side-scroller no fun.
- Dark Years – 4.1 -- I wanted to play a game about the Iranian uprising, but after getting stuck in a bed, with no way to escape other than restarting the whole game, I decided to quit instead.
- Emporium – 4.8 -- This walking simulator missed on so many fronts.
- Prospekt – 5.2 -- This would be sub-par for a free Half-Life 2 mod, let alone for a paid "game."
- Alekhine’s Gun – 5.7 -- As the third in the Death to Spies series, this Hitman clone is a very poor, buggy substitute.
- Dangerous Golf – 5.7 -- Whacking golf balls and destroying things is only fun for about 5 minutes; after that, it's monotonous.
- Asemblance – 5.8 -- Too smart for its own good, Asemblance asks players to click on every possible object and removes all the fun.
- UnderDread – 5.8 -- Atmospherically, UnderDread scores big, but in the gameplay department falls woefully short. So many things wrong with this game, it's hard to even start criticizing it properly.
- Clive Barker’s Jericho – 5.9 -- Way old-school and linear in its gameplay, even for when it first came out, and boring as a result.
- White Night – 5.9 -- Constantly shifting camera angles means you have to creep forward in one direction until the camera changes, and then move in a new direction.

Honorable Mentions (8.4-8.9):
- Fibrillation HD – 8.4 -- Surprising indie effort with huge scale in its backgrounds, but a thoughtful storyline as well.
- Mini-Ninjas – 8.5 -- A very cute hack-and-slash platformer from the makers of the Hitman series -- great for kids with lots of characters to play.
- Technobabylon – 8.5 -- Extremely unique cyberpunk pixel adventure game -- with an incredible story.
- The Magic Circle – 8.5 -- So clever in the way it allows you to "modify" the game code to affect your character.
- Dex – 8.6 -- A near perfect side-scroller set in a cyberpunk future.
- Dying Light Enhanced Edition – 8.6 -- Probably the most perfect FPS parkour game yet, set in several sprawling locations filled to the brim with really challenging zombies.
- Near Death – 8.6 -- A great 5-hour experience in how to survive in the harsh environment of Antarctica.
- Firewatch – 8.7 -- More than just a walking simulator, you'll experience the glorious colors of the Rocky Mountains while investigating a mystery both in the real world, and in your soul.
- Republique Remastered – 8.8 -- An incredible story surrounds the mystery of Hope, and the ability to modify your view by bouncing from camera to camera makes it a lot of fun to help her out.
- Tormentum: Dark Sorrows – 8.9 -- The fantastical imagery of H.R. Giger meshes with a nightmarish Point & Click adventure game to form a world you'd never want to encounter, but can't stop looking at.

Top rated (9+):
- Batman: Arkham Knight – 9.0 -- Perhaps more lengthy than it needs to be, Arkham Knight nevertheless takes Batman to his darkest point, while surrounding him with support. You will never want for something to do, either investigating Riddler missions, fighting hordes of bad guys, or just flinging the Batmobile around the city streets.
- Lethe: Episode One – 9.0 -- I eagerly await a sequel to this FPS, with strong horror elements, great graphics, and some unique powers.
- The Book of Unwritten Tales – 9.1 -- A cute, funny point-and-click adventure with lots of creativity.
- Tales from the Borderlands – 9.3 -- Just when I had written the Borderlands series off entirely, Telltale Games (RIP) had to create this hilarious adventure for me to reconsider.
- Grand Theft Auto V – 9.4 -- Just ... wow.... From a unique storyline led by three lead characters, to the opportunity to drive or fly any vehicle, to great gunfights and escape plans -- this one has got it all. My only regret was that there weren't MORE jobs to undertake.

And so we move on a new year (2019) and new challenges. I'm excited to finally get to play The Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid 5, Assassins Creed Syndicate, Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Hitman Season 1. Yes, yes, I know I'm behind, but I'll eventually catch up.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 08:31:19 PM by bobdog »

Offline Starfox

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #536 on: December 31, 2018, 02:18:53 PM »
Wow, if you think you play too lengthy games, with The Witcher 3 you're going to hate Poland  :lol:

But hey, can't wait to read your opinion about those games so... get to it  :ok:

Personally I have a huge backlog of games to play and/or review (including games I already finished but still have the review to write) but I don't have a list of games I will play. Currently I'm in the process to finish Thronebreaker: A Witcher's Tale... I'll possibly start Shadow of The Tomb Raider in a few days or a couple of weeks... Beyond that, I don't know.


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #537 on: January 07, 2019, 08:59:09 AM »
Time for another update of free Steam games that I thought were relatively good, if not great. Since they’re free and most take only a couple hours max to play, they’re all recommended.

Scorch takes place in a state forest. Graphically, the game is akin to Firewatch in look and feel with bright saturated colors, and stylized object textures. For the story, you are a police investigator looking into an unsolved arson-murder case. And apparently this is your last chance to show you have what it takes, so you better look through everything for possible clues. I liked that the game had you collect clues, and then asked you to solve what happened, who committed the crime, and their motive. I would really love to see more from this developer in this style.

We Walked In Darkness is a side-scroller set on an 1800s plantation in the Southern U.S. Essentially, you play as two slaves who are trying to escape and travel North via the Underground Railroad. During the game, you can run, jump, duck, climb and activate objects. Graphically, the game is acceptable, but what makes this important is more the hand-drawn cut-scenes that are voiced by authentic sounding people of color. This period of slavery may have ended 150 years ago in the American past, but we continue to feel the results of the racial animus from our own political leaders, as well as people who just cannot get past their own racial bias, myself included.

Mercury Blue: Mini Episode is a preview teaser of a new episodic adventure game called Mercury Blue. During this mini-episode, you play as both Jake and his trusty rusty sidekick FU-2, as they pilot the stars in their ship (the Mercury Blue), trying to find the man who killed Jake’s girlfriend. Within the teaser, you get an idea of the kind of humor and graphics that the finished product intends. After landing on an alien planet, you need a special mineral (like a dilithium crystal?) to initiate interstellar launch. Jake spends a little time tooling around the ship and clicking on everything, sometimes to humorous effect. Meanwhile, FU-2 has found the crystal, as well as some challenges in getting it back to the ship. The whole thing plays as a fairly simple point-and-click adventure, with some humor along the way. Although it’s pretty casual for gaming, I would be interested in seeing how the final episodes turn out.

I cannot state enough how incredible a short game The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is. Set in the Life Is Strange universe, you play as Chris – a 9-year-old with a great sense of imagination. We first listen to Chris talking about his alter-ego superhero Captain Spirit, and he really plays with the idea of having super-powers. After that, we explore his room and gain a checklist of fun things to accomplish over the rest of the game, including making his costume, defeating his enemies, finding his own team of superheroes, exploring a maze for treasure, and more. All of this is made real by Chris talking throughout his experience.

However, after we leave his room, the reality is that Chris lives in pretty crappy conditions. His mom – an aspiring artist who encouraged his imaginative tendencies – died in a tragic car crash. His dad – a former high school jock who just can’t let go of the past, and who denigrates Chris’ fanciful dreams – is also an alcoholic, and we’re led to believe he may have abused Chris. Their home is certainly lacking a woman’s touch, and Chris’ dad gets by through watching basketball games and keeping stats. It’s a sad state of affairs all around. And the game is richer for it – don’t miss this one.

Even though I understood Let It Die was supposed to be a grind-y affair, I was at least intrigued enough to give it a shot. Make sure you have plenty of space because this thing takes like 35GB on your hard drive. The first half hour is geared toward setting up the story – that an unknown tower arose in the heart of Tokyo and everyone is trying to get to the top for a possible treasure hoard – and the gameplay mechanics of a hack-and-slash game. I played up to the 3rd floor and never quite felt like I was hitting where I wanted to hit, or I was delayed in my actual response – gameplay felt “sticky”, in other words.

The bigger problem with Let It Die is that everything is geared toward microtransactions. You want to level up or access your weapon cache? Fine, but you can only do it every 5th floor, so you either have to trek back down through all the areas (refilled with foes) that you’ve already completed, you have to trudge forward and hope you don’t die getting through the next few floors, or ... you have to give up some valuable tokens that are only earned through extreme luck or by paying for with real cash. Not to mention, if you die, you can buy “insurance” (with real cash) to appear on the same level where you died.

The story is unfortunately the most interesting thing about Let It Die. After just getting up to the third level and already started to see duplication of level design, it showed me that the game designers only had one thing in mind: getting my cold hard cash into their hands. I don’t really recommend this one unless you have a treasure trove and immense patience.

It’s not often I see a demo that is just as good as some full-size, full-price games I’ve played, but the Luckless Seven Demo certainly fulfills that goal. This is essentially an adventure story with an accompanying card game called Ekosi, but the card game is quite fun – sort of like Blackjack with modifiers. Everyone seems to play Ekosi in your world, and you’re hoping to play in the national tournament. Your goal in each game is to get to 20 without going over, and you may use randomly selected cards from your own deck to add or subtract points, or even to play a tie-breaker. Graphically, Luckless Seven won’t win any awards, but the developers have created a “perspective” isometric game that is pleasing, and the accompanying story about a group of 7 friends is certainly heart-warming. I’m not sure if I want to play a whole game like this, but the demo provides a great option.

Gravity Bone is a quick but quite delightful game where you play an international spy. You only get two cases, so the game is unfortunately too short, but it’s still worth trying out.

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #538 on: January 14, 2019, 10:37:55 AM »
I’ve never really been into the Warhammer 40k concept, which started as a tabletop game series but has successfully added a diversity of desktop titles. I mean, the whole “what if Rome successfully made it to the 41st century” concept is definitely unique, especially when paired with magic and/or science fiction. Unfortunately (for me), most Warhammer 40k computer games concentrate on strategy, which are not one of my favorite game genres. However, when I got a free key to Space Marine, I figured I at least should give it a shot.

Space Marine is a third-person shooter/hack-n-slash in which you and your computer-controlled team must take back a powerful weapons facility. The prologue serves as a training mission, which was appreciated, but after that, you’re on the ground and need to find your team.

Levels are large and spacious and really show off a Roman type of sensibility, with soaring architecture and bigger-than-life (or necessity) buildings and structures. However, the level design essentially provides indoor or outdoor corridors to traverse, so you realistically only have one path forward, and you don’t get to explore all the world that has been built. Graphically, the game still looks good after being 7 years old, but the color scheme is fairly bland, with similar colors saturating each location.

The gameplay reminded me somewhat of Gears of War, but maybe that was just because it’s third-person and you’re controlling a huge armored fighter. I felt like movement was a little “goosey” and had a slight hesitation when I would change directions. This sometimes impacted my game as I’d get caught in a scrum of Orks and would be unable to extract myself or fight my way out.

One thing to note is that the designers want you to get your hands dirty. Yes, you do have some rifles and a pistol to fight off your foes, but when your health gets down, the only way to bring it back up is to attack someone and conduct a pretty nasty finishing move, usually with either a knife or a saw-blade. There are no health packs and squatting behind a barrier will only give your attackers more time to gang up on you.

Unfortunately, Space marine just wasn’t my cup of tea, and I got bored after playing a couple of hours, never finishing the game. But for what I played, I’ll give it an average score. 7 out of 10

Offline bobdog

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Re: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread
« Reply #539 on: January 21, 2019, 04:47:54 PM »
The Eyes of Ara bills itself as a modern-day Myst. Having played the original way back in the 1990s, I can agree with that assessment. Both are three-dimensional games with static locations, where you can look around within that specific location and fiddle with stuff. Then you “jump” to the next location, or to a close-up of an object with which you can interact. Ara just happens to be more pretty graphically.

The other thing Ara has in common with Myst is the gol-durn difficulty of all the puzzles. I got into the castle (the 4th actual location) and figured out all the puzzles up to that point. Then I started encountering a bunch of puzzles that were very much trial and error. I also started missing small pixel-hunt objects, like trying to find a certain number of coins tucked away. So, I opened up a YouTube video walk-through to help me get past that location.

Only to have to open it up again 5 minutes later when I got stuck again as I finally entered the main stairway of the castle. In all, I needed the YouTube walk-through a good dozen-plus times. I figure I completed maybe a third of the puzzles myself, but I certainly missed lots of little things everywhere, including Polaroid pictures, those aforementioned coins, faces on the wall, and more. And many of the puzzles must surely have had a solution other than trial and error, but I couldn’t figure it out.

When I have to use YouTube to play the game for me, I know when to butt out, and stopped about 2 hours in. Certainly, the game is pretty enough, so if you’re really into Myst-like games with obscure puzzles, I think this will be right up your alley. But for me, it’s a pass. 6.8 out of 10