Author Topic: Bobdog's Mini-Reviews Thread  (Read 84860 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

Offline bobdog

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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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