Posts Tagged ‘impressions’

Eight Years Later, Owlboy Has Landed

To borrow a line from Graham, there’s a parallel reality where Owlboy [official site] came out before Braid, earned mega-bucks and now Norwegian devs D-Pad are making elaborate and beautiful 3D follow-ups. But now, eight years later, there’s a seething, pixellated mass of neo-retro-platformers and Owlboy is no longer the slam dunk it might have been.

Whatever its fortunes now might be, it’s almost unbelievable that I now actually get to play Owlboy, a game I can remember posting about on RPS back in our earliest months. It is not a disappointment.
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Impressions: This Is The Police

I was waging war against the mafia – and they did not know it. The idiots kept telling me any time they had a ‘big job’ planned. They would then offer me big money in a brown envelope to ignore it. But as the chief of police, I could not be bought. I would use their little pre-warning to make sure I had enough officers in the station. And when the crime went down – a casino robbery, an assault, whatever – I would storm in, yelling the game’s title, This Is The Police!

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No Man’s Sky Impressions

I am having a tremendously good time playing No Man’s Sky [official site], but I’m really getting annoyed by No Man’s Sky. Such is the dichotomy that’s central to this most peculiarly hyped of indie projects, that it is at once magnificent and mundane, breathtaking and benign. It is very much what everyone feared: a massive concept with no ideas to go in it. And yet it seems, from my first couple of days with the PS4 build, to be enough. I had to tear myself away to write this, what with a few quintillion stars I’ve still yet to explore.

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We Happy Few: Wonderful Setting, Tired Structure

We Happy Few [official site] is a singleplayer, first-person survival game, set in an alt-history, 1960s-esque England in which the well-to-do all scoff ‘Joy’ pills to ensure an ordered society, while the less fortunate ‘Downers’ are locked out and left to live in squalor and madness. You play as Arthur, a clerk off his pills and starting to glimpse the stark truth of things, and cast out among the Downers as a result. There, you must craft and fight to say alive, and find a way to some presumed better place.

Strange timing. There am I thinking, “hey, We Happy Few owes quite a bit to Sir, You Are Being Hunted,” and then Big Robot (headed by Jim Rossignol, formerly of this parish) only go and announce their new game. The cosmic ballet continues.

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Impressions: The Temporal Invasion

A conspiratorial mystery, set both in-game and in your real-world browser, The Temporal Invasion [official site] is exactly the sort of game I’ve been crying out for since 2003’s In Memoriam. But perhaps not exactly the game I was crying out for. This is well worth your attention, at least for an example of how closely it skirts around being excellent, especially at under £2. Here are some thoughts about how it almost, but doesn’t quite, work.

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American Truck Simulator’s Free Arizona DLC Makes The Game The Size It Always Should Have Been

I’ve rhapsodised in the past about American Truck Simulator [official site]’s many moments of zen, but I confess that I may be guilty of glossing over its many moments of hard, thankless work too. The Arizona DLC, a substantial free add-on due whose open beta is due for launch today, brings the expected dramatic scenery, but also increases some of that hard work – in interesting ways. Also, there is a canyon which I suspect one could safely describe as ‘grand.’

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Impressions: Life Goes On: Done To Death

I think I’ve become a little wary of puzzle platformers. Too much block pushing busywork, not enough intriguing dilemmas (great cars, I hear) to solve. So I looked at Life Goes On’s [official site] expanded re-release with a sceptical eye (the other eye was watching a passing bee). And then immediately fell for it. Coo, this is a rather splendid little game, where death is very much your aim.

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Impressions: TASTEE: Lethal Tactics

I’m surprised it took the world this long to do a smash’n’grab on Frozen Synapse‘s extremely clever ‘turn preview’ approach to turn-based strategy. Mode 7 themselves are working on an open-world, slightly more singleplayer-focused follow-up to their ‘simultaneous turn-based tactics’ squad shooter, but in the meantime we get the rather more colourful, appallingly-named TASTEE. For once, I’m not going to hurl XCOM compari-bombs around the place, and look instead to another old dear of TBS: Jagged Alliance.

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Impressions: Flying Tigers – Shadows Over China

One of my favourite games ever is 2007’s Attack On Pearl Harbor. It was an arcade WW2 dogfighting game, that managed to cunningly strip away all the technical complexity of flying a plane, and just have it be pure shooty fun. I’d love to recommend you play it too, but it has entirely vanished from existence. Once on Steam but there no longer (due to “various legal and business reasons” I was once told), I’ve deliberately kept it installed on my PC so it cannot disappear from my account. I am one of very few people who can play this game, and that’s a crying shame.

So it was with buoyant heart that I noticed developer Björn Larsson, then of Legendo Entertainment, now of Ace Maddox, has returned to the genre with the Early Access release of Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China [official site]. It was last year, but I just noticed. Well, he only just told me. It’s his fault.

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Impressions: Hyper Light Drifter

Right, so I messed up below. I could have gone in other directions and played more of the game. I’ve done that now, and my mea culpa and further thoughts are here.

I’m so furious. I’ve ranted about boss fights SO many times, and argh, it’s happened again. A game I was absolutely adoring is now a game I can’t play at all, because of a wildly difficult boss fight. Hyper Light Drifter [official site] is absolutely wonderful. Ridiculously lovely pixel graphics that are constantly breathtaking, a clever world that evokes classic 8- and 16-bit classics, elements of Zelda, but with a hefty focus on Nuclear Throne-like combat. And it’s tough. The fighting is surprisingly tricky, waves of enemies in small locations, early on when your arsenal is limited and your skills unhoned. Exploration is key, discovery is splendid, and it’s all a really rather superb time. I’ve been playing since yesterday, having such a brilliant time – then the first boss fight happened, and now it seems I’ll never get to play most of the game.

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Why The Division Is Better Than You Think

Graham: Tom Clancy’s The Division is out. It’s a mish-mash of genres: a cover shooter, with realistic weapons, an emphasis on multiplayer and co-op, in which you kill enemies in order to level up and find new loot as in an RPG, set among the looted streets of a post-viral collapse New York. It feels like a collection of well-observed trends, packaged together under a covering of very pretty snow. It’s much more fun than I, at least, was expecting.

If I wanted to make you click the read more button, I’d say it was a better RPG than The Witcher 3. Our full review will be along early next week, but until then you can come read me justify that statement in conversation with Adam.

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Impressions: Need For Speed

None can know the minds of EA. We were sent review code for Need For Speed [official site] yesterday, plenty ahead of its release… and told that the review embargo for this online-enhanced game would be 8am the next day. The game’s not out until the 17th. A very strange situation indeed, to be given less than 24 hours to review a large, involved driving game, over a week before the servers would be populated. Keeps us on our toes, I suppose. But obviously we’ve not rushed anything. Below are some extensive impressions of this year’s reboot of the franchise based on my first 12 hours with the game. We’ll update this into a full review for you once the game is out, and we can actually play all its aspects.

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The Solus Project Casts You As Humanity’s Only Hope

Humanity no longer has a home. Earth has been destroyed, and all that remains of it is on a nomadic fleet of ships searching for a place to rebuild their civilization. In The Solus Project, you take on the role of a surveying team charting an Earthlike planet that may just prove suitable for humanity’s resettlement. Disaster strikes suddenly and you find yourself marooned on the surface of Gliese. Armed with only the most basic knowledge of the dangers the planet holds, you must set out to solve the mystery of the destruction of your ship, and contact your fleet for rescue.

The Solus Project could easily be mistaken for another sci-fi themed survival game.

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Impressions – Dungelot: Shattered Lands

It is most misleading that the bumph for Dungelot: Shattered Lands [official site] claims it’s a combination of Minesweeper and a roguelite dungeon game. And a shame, too, as the idea of taking the puzzling element of one of the most flawed and awful puzzle games ever to have inflicted the Windows PC and using it properly, while at the same time having you battle monsters, use potions, improve weapons, and so-forth, sounds like a rather intriguing game someone should make. Red Winter Software have instead made a far more familiar, decent-enough grid-based dungeon that really rather could have done with such a twist.

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Poop And Profit: Slime Rancher’s Fantastic Farming

Slime Rancher [official site] is the cutest game about selling shit ever made. Admittedly it’s probably the only game about selling shit ever made, but I don’t know for certain and googling “Shit­selling games” tends to bring up commercial flops like Bulletstorm rather than games that literally involve the flogging of faecal matter.

If you’ve seen anything of Monomi Park’s debut, which slithered onto Early Access a couple of weeks back leaving a silvery trail in its wake, then its love for excrement may come as a surprise. Aesthetically Slime Rancher is a thundering wave of colour, like a circus struck by a tsunami, and the eponymous slimes are so clearly designed to be child­friendly that it’s surprising to discover they have any orifices at all.

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Impressions: Between Me And The Night

Out of Early Access and into our screens is Between Me And The Night [official site], a peculiar and sombre adventure that at least seems to explore a childhood. Or ghosts. Or weird freaky something. Look, I’ve been playing it for ages and I’m not sure.

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Nine Observations About American Truck Simulator

American Truck Simulator [official site] has quietly been one of RPS’ most-anticipated games of 2016. Its predecessor, Euro Truck Simulator 2, has been an office favourite for a while – what, at a passing glance, might seem to be incomprehensible HGV nerdery is instead a therapeutic indulgence. The open road. The refreshing lack of urgency. The sky. Choosing only the jobs that take you where you wanna go. The tranquil click-click-click of the indicators. Freedom.

Transpose that to California and Nevada – small towns, big cities, bigger deserts and even bigger skies – and the promise is irresistible. The quintessential truck driver fantasy. Can it be true? I spent a few hours on the freeway to find out.
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Impressions: Fear Equation

Fear Equation [official site] is a game set aboard a train and that train is one of the last safe havens in a world consumed by a terrifying mist. You play as the engineer and as you ride the rails, you’ll attempt to pick up survivors, scavenge supplies and survive the dark. The mist manifests the fears of your passengers, so you’ll have to monitor their nightmares in order to figure out what each night may bring. Oh, and those survivors will form factions based around their beliefs about the mist’s origins and purpose. Sounds great, right? There’s a catch.

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Early Access Impressions: Force Of Elements

The very best thing about Force Of Elements [official site] is that each character has a set of stock phrases, set to the number keys, that can be barked during play – such that throughout multiplayer battles, I have my big gruff man-thing hero say “I put the cute in execute!” over and over and over and over and over.

Admittedly, this is the very best thing about Force Of Elephants rather by default, as it’s the only thing that stood out. FoE is a puzzle quest clone that wasn’t paying attention while it was copying someone else’s work, resulting – in its beta launch state – in a weirdly shallow game with very little to do. Other than try to drive random opponents into insanity.

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