Posts Tagged ‘review’

Overgrowth doesn’t feel ready to leave Early Access

Overgrowth

The most satisfying moments in Overgrowth [official site] take place in mid-air. Rabbits are typically good at jumping, but they’ve got nothing on their anthropomorphic cousin, Turner, the martial arts master and hero of this critter-bashing romp. His leaping ability borders on the power of flight. During those seconds, suspended in the skies above the game’s largely empty battlefields, it feels like anything’s possible. Invariably the landing disappoints. Sometimes fatally. That’s Overgrowth: lots of potential, rarely reached.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: A Hat In Time

ahatintimeheader

Where Yooka-Laylee attempted to revive Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie formula, A Hat in Time [official site] strikes at a different vein of nostalgia. The 3D platformer attempts to split the difference between the open-ended adventuring of Super Mario 64 and the more guided point-by-point platforming of Super Mario Galaxy. The result is a work of obvious grace and imagination that never attempts to rise above its obvious inspirations, but still consistently delivers the same kind of warm fuzzies that its favorite Italian plumber deals in. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – South Park: The Fractured But Whole

SP

South Park: The Fractured But Whole [official site] is essentially the show’s greatest hits, with 20 years worth of call backs, characters and gags, all built around a LARP-inspired RPG that sees the town’s foul-mouthed kids beating the snot out of each other. If this sounds extremely familiar, that’s because I’ve also just described its predecessor, The Stick of Truth.

Crab People, magical farts, obsessively collecting social media pals, Morgan Freeman — they are all back. Only the switch from wizards and Elves to superheroes, something that could have been a superficial change, manages to keep it from feeling like watching a repeat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: The Evil Within 2

evilwithin2header-rec

The Evil Within 2 begins by wearing its heart on its sleeve; here’s a burning house, and oh no, the protagonist’s daughter is inside it. From the outset, it yells in your face that this is going to be a Tragic Dad story, the most beloved of videogame narrative tropes. And it never really rises above this familiar narrative conceit as Sebastian Castellanos explores a horror world filled with bad science and twisted terrors in pursuit of his kidnapped daughter. It’s predictable. In other hands, it could’ve been trite. But The Evil Within 2 revels in its horror b-movieness. It embraces it, telling a surprisingly heartfelt and sincere tale of a man who just wants the best for his loved ones. Even if he has to descend into actual hell and face off against some of the most hideous monsters ever conceived in order to achieve this. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Jydge

Jydge [official site] feels extraordinary in how, well, liberal it is with its format. Over the last few years we’ve become very ysed to top-down games demanding an enormoys amoynt from ys, in varioys splendid ways. Whether it’s Hotline Miami’s brytal timing, or any nymber of games’ reqyirement for meticyloys stealth, I’ve developed a keen sense of paranoia when it comes to sych games. So mych so that Jydge’s anything-goes approach tripped me yp at first. “Oh!” I realised. “I can jyst go bonkers!” Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Middle-earth: Shadow of War

ShadowofWar11

I never thought I’d be playing Pokémon with Tolkienian orcs, but here I am in Middle-earth: Shadow of War, standing with my army before the fortress of Khargukôr amid the snowy peaks of Seregost.

The orc in charge is a dainty fellow who calls himself Krímp the Rhymer, and I can’t help but admire his fashion sense in this grubby world. That immaculately crafted leather jerkin. That bycocket with the two red feathers that match the shafts in his quiver. Such style. I almost want to let him be. Fortunately he shatters that thought when we meet in person and he blurts the cringy battlecry “Your fate has gone from bad to worse / You face an orc who speaks in verse!” Some crimes can’t go unpunished. Read the rest of this entry »

Cheap Golf is daft, quite fun, and knows your name is Susan

Cheap Golf [Twitter page, apparently] was one of the first projects to try out Kickstarter’s week-long fundraisers, a silly scratchy project from Pixeljam offering a minimalist minigolf game, with extra nonsense.

It came out this week (in early access), having previously raised its $9,000 goal via a splendid figure of 666 backers, and it’s – well, it’s as silly as it looked. And quite fun. Read the rest of this entry »

Steamworld Dig 2 is a gentle jewel

steamworld-dig-2-lava

I’ve got a hookshot. Have you got a hookshot? I bet you don’t. I bet you’ve just got hands. Borrrring. Despite Steamworld Dig earning John’s admiration (so much so that he also used the comedy word “aplomb” when describing it) I had never played it. But I’m glad to have picked up its sequel, Steamworld Dig 2 [official site], in which a friendly robot called Dorothy goes looking for her uncle Rusty, the hero of the first game, in the deep mines beneath a western-style town. To get ever-deeper she has to dig, fight insects, plant bombs, and most importantly, hookshooooot.
Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Hob

Hob [official site] is immediately striking in its lovely decorative design. Torchlight was pretty in its own way, but here Runic have struck upon a gorgeous aesthetic, something that looks like it could be a Zelda spin-off (as in, not like any of the previous Zelda games, but could easily be the next one, complete with chopping grass). Your character, a hooded creature with glowing blue eyes, is accompanied at the very start by a large protective, gibberish-intoning robot, who very quickly sacrifices one of his enormous arms after yours is lost to a creepy purple infection. Equipped with a bloody great robo-arm, you’re then far better ready to charge about its ever-expanding lands. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Heat Signature

"Hello dad, yeah it's all gone a bit murdery"

The man who killed my mum is floating off into space. Should I feel glad? I was supposed to bring him in alive. I put a trap down in the corridor of his spaceship and the moment he stood on it, he was teleported into the void. That might not sound like the best way to bring somebody in alive, but it was part of the plan. Running to the nearest window and blasting myself out after him? Also part of the plan – my trusty pod would pick us both up before we suffocated. But then it all went wrong and now I am slung over a guard’s shoulders while my target is drifting away, dying.

This wasn’t part of the plan, but in Heat Signature [official site] plans crumble like biscuits dunked too-long in tea. Technically, I’ve failed the mission, but at least my mum is avenged.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Total War – Warhammer 2

totalwarhammer2reviewheader

In three more turns, the ritual will be complete, and I’ll be one step closer to controlling the Vortex that holds the forces of Chaos at bay. In two more turns, Skaven and Chaos armies will be at the gates. I’m surrounded. By land and sea they arrive, this howling mass of warped warriors and chittering rat-men. Army, after army, after army, all attempting to stop the ritual. Total War: Warhammer 2 [official site] is a race, and it’s an utterly savage one.

From the safety of the other side of that campaign I can tell you that I survived. Just. Reinforcements made it in time, slaughtering the rats and warriors by their hundreds. It was touch and go for a bit, though, which is fairly typical of Creative Assembly’s bloodthirsty sequel.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Divinity Original Sin 2

divinityoriginalsin2reviewheader

We were supposed to be heroes. As you play through Divinity: Original Sin 2 [official site], your character and companions will be many things to many people: thieves, killers, saviours, fugitives, outcasts, demons, nightmares, lovers, traitors, jackasses, adventurers, pranksters and fools. But heroes? You can play through the entire game, multiple times, and never feel like much of a hero.

There’s just so much to do in the world that doing good can feel just a little to obvious.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Dishonored: Death of the Outsider

death-of-the-outsider-review-pc

Me: someone who believes that gothbro apparent trickster god The Outsider is the worst thing that ever happened to the Dishonored games, and thus positively relishes the chance to kill the blighter.

Also me: someone who is absolutely determined to play Dishonored games without causing even a single fatality.

Hmm. Standalone expansion Dishonored: Death Of The Outsider [official site] makes life pretty tricky for me, then. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Planetoid Pioneers

planetoid-pioneers-review

Every week we abandon Brendan on an early access space rock to test his resolve. This time, the janky, comedy physics of Planetoid Pioneers [official site]

My robot head is jammed in a gate. I idled too long by a giant steel door while considering my route through the tunnels, and now the door has closed automatically. My bonce is firmly trapped against the ground as if by a giant mechanical boot. By the time I wriggle free, my bot-body will be all scratched and scraped. I’d like to say it’s the worst thing to happen during my time with Planetoid Pioneers but this isn’t the only ignominy I’ve suffered in my exploration of the physics-based platformer. I’ve been roasted alive, crushed by a boulder, trapped under an elevator, gunned to shreds by turrets, and completely de-limbed by other robots. But I’ve also giggled quite a lot.
Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Rogue Islands

Rogue Islands

Roguelikes and roguelikelikes are not my thing. I get bored, I get frustrated, I absolutely hate the idea of starting all over again when I’ve finally had a good run and it goes sour, I hate Spelunky’s bats, I hate FTL’s fights and I would happily push Don’t Starve’s bees into a volcano. However, after making a video of the game last week, I have spent 15 entirely voluntary hours of my weekend in Rogue Islands [official site], a roguelikelike where you roam across a set of Minecrafty-looking procedural island levels deactivating demon portals and walloping hell bats. Here’s why:

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Project Cars 2

projectcarsreview1

Project Cars 2 [official site] threw me into so many different racing disciplines that I needed copious amounts of tea to reflect and recover. I got a taste of the game a few weeks ago and found it satisfying, but now that I’ve spent some time with the full version, due for release this week, I’m fully on board, in spite of a few significant flaws. Containing so many options and disciplines risks making it a jack of all trades, but there’s enough quality in the fundamentals to make the whole thing worth your while.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think – Ark: Survival Evolved

ARk 5

I had it all planned out. I’d reach level 21 and unlock tranquiliser arrows, which I could then shoot at a triceratops to knock it out long enough to tame it. Then I’d craft a saddle for my newly-owned Trike (as it’s known in the game) and stomp around collecting more berries than I could feasibly eat in a lifetime. I’d use those berries – including Narcoberries, which help keep dinosaurs asleep while you tame them – to breed a small army of raptors, more Trikes and a flying Pteranodon to transport me around this tropical island. It was one arbitrary goal among an infinite sea of possible arbitrary goals in Ark: Survival Evolved [official site], a sandbox craft-and-survive multiplayer game set in a world where dinosaurs can be mounted with cannons. The game left early access two weeks ago, and here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Startup Company

startup-company-review-1

Every week we give Brendan a small loan and tell him to invest in an early access game. This week, the Silicon Valley-ing of Startup Company [official site]

Okay, here’s the pitch. People love to share their photographs online, yeah? And people love to cook, yeah? Well, think of a food that people love to share, right? No. No, another type of food. No, okay, listen it’s stew, the answer is stew. Right, people love to share stew, that’s what we’re getting at here. All right, so what if you had an app, yeah, that dynamically and innovatively shared stew? Like, not real stew, not actual stew in a pot, but just like little pictures of stew. Collectible stew. Dynamically. I know! I know. We’re calling it StewPix. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Two-button metroidvania Necrosphere

I am completely and totally in love with platformer Necrosphere [official site]. I have also shouted at it so much that I now genuinely have a sore throat. I cannot remember a time when I’ve improved so, so much at a game in a relatively short space of time, to the point where completing certain sections has had me begin to imagine statues built in my honour. And then I come crashing down to Earth as I struggle with the very next moment. It’s a complete joy, a full 2D Metroidvania, and yet the whole game is controlled with only two buttons. Read the rest of this entry »