Posts Tagged ‘review’

Eat the rich (flaky pastry): Pastry Lovers review


Join Ella McConnell for Waifu Material, a monthly column in which she navigates the murky, cherry-blossom-strewn waters of visual novels, dating sims, and everything in between (reader masochism not required but strongly recommended). [Content warning: brief discussion of sketchy consent stuff.]

Pasty Lovers is another game I picked up in the latest Steam sale after it wormed its way into my increasingly otome-flavoured recommendations section. Theme-wise, it’s perhaps one of the most masochistic purchases I’ve made yet considering I’m intolerant to pretty much everything in pastry. However, at the princely sum of 39p (£3.99 full price) and with the promise of being able to live vicariously through a fictional character who can inhale a packet of doughnuts without spending the next few days suffering, who was I to refuse?

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The Flare Path: Battle-Scarred

Check Your Six! vs Panzer Strategy. In the ‘Battle of the Wargames Wot Have Hit Steam in the Past Week and Feature Hexagons and WW2 and Suchlike’ there can be only one, two, or zero winners. If you’re happy to adopt the role of Reader for the next five minutes, I’ll don the mantle of Critic and, using screenshots and conglomerations of letters arranged in sequence and separated with punctuation marks and spaces of varying lengths, liberally dust you with my novichok-strength opinions. Read the rest of this entry »

Ghost Of A Tale is a stealthy RPG with bright whiskers

Ghost Of A Tale is out of early access, letting you squeak your way past an army of rats, in a rodent stealth-cum-RPG. Is it the big cheese, or lost in the rat race? And considering these incredibly obvious puns, why on Earth isn’t it called “Ghost Of A Tail”? Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Surviving Mars


I shed a surprising amount of tears during the founding of my first red planet colony in Surviving Mars. None of those tears had anything to do with the pipe leak that killed 58 people, I hasten to add. For those, I just swore at my repair drones and made more colonists work gruelling night-shifts at the polymer factory so we could patch up the air tubes.

My tears, I’m afraid, came instead at testaments to my own magnificence: when a dusty patch of sand patrolled by listless worker robots and automated factories saw the construction of its first bio-dome, when the first humans from Earth arrived to stake out a new life in this place I had built for them, when the first non-Earth baby was born. Live inside my work, ye Martians, and try not get caught inside a meteor storm.

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Wot I Think – Warhammer: Vermintide 2


I don’t tend to think about how many things I murder in a murder-related videogame. I just remove whatever obstacles are in the way and move on, in the time-honoured tradition of solving problems in action games. In co-op online stabber-shooter Warhammer: Vermintide 2, I’m unusually conscious of the body count. It is, if you’ll forgive a little early-90s melodrama, extreme. That’s just one reason why Vermintide 2 successfully escapes the shadow of ‘it’s just Left 4 Dead but with Games Workshop’ faint-praise damning that its predecessor stood within.

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Wot I Think: Northgard


My clan folk are starving, freezing and diseased. It was a harsh winter, and the rats that raided our food supply in January have forced me to butcher my only remaining sheep. The future looks grim, but my people’s suffering is curtailed when one of my opponents becomes so famous that he wins the game outright. Losing is a strange kind of mercy.

Despite its harshness, Northgard is a superb RTS that’s easy to pick up but difficult to master. That may be an overused phrase, but it’s justified here – let me tell you why. Hurry up, winter is coming.

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Wot I Think: Picrastination

I get quite a few picross/nonogram puzzle games sent my way of late, which is really quite a splendid state of affairs. One of the best puzzle types in existence, there have been few truly great versions, starting with Mario Picross on GameBoy, then Picross E on 3DS, and most recently Pictopix on PC. There are also an awful lot of duds, and out of kindness I quietly pass on most of them I see. Picrastination is a good, solid picross game that falls in the space between. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition


The story of Final Fantasy XV is a tricky one to unpick. There’s the story about how it took ten years to actually come out, transforming from a Final Fantasy XIII spin-off into the boyband roadtrip-stag-do adventure we know today. There’s also the story of what happened after it came out, where a large chunk of its third act was almost completely rewritten and streamlined after people started complaining about how linear it had suddenly become after spending hours and hours on the glorious open road.

Then there’s the story of the game itself, which, at this point, has been spread across so many different forms of media, including a film, four anime episodes, four bits of DLC, a mobile spin-off and a multiplayer expansion (with even more to come, no less), that only three people in the entire universe actually understand it and would be able to recite it to you from start to finish.

But the story of four lads saving their home from an invading imperial army isn’t really what Final Fantasy XV is about. In fact, it’s arguably the least memorable thing about it. That might sound blasphemous for a JRPG, where the story is traditionally one of the most important parts of a game, but every conservation I’ve had about Final Fantasy XV over the last sixteen months always boils down to one of three things: food, photos and friendship. And it’s those that make it one of the best and most interesting goddamn JRPGs of the last decade.

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Super Seducer is a blancmange of ineptitude and misogyny

Super Seducer is a game made by self-described “pick-up artist” (PUA) Richard La Ruina, aimed at teaching straight men so-called seduction techniques for attracting women. The result is a farcical and disastrous laughing stock of a game. But PUAs aren’t a funny joke, rather they’re a frightening reality of a deeply misogynistic culture that in its less PR-friendly moments has frequently advocated sexual assault against women.

Super Seducer is clearly intended to be part of the PR exercise, an attempt to portray PUAs as just guys looking for ways to convince girls to like them, albeit through techniques that are primarily focused around lying and manipulation. It’s an attempt to put a friendly mask on an ugly face. What’s so peculiar about it is that it’s not only bad at its attempts to do this, but it’s cringingly bad at everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: All Walls Must Fall


Bullets tear across a sweating dancefloor, heaving with bodies. Flashes of metal and flesh, lights pulsing and skittering across glistening bodies. All Walls Must Fall’s nightclub shoot-outs are a devilish dream, capturing at once the brilliance of Terminator’s Tech Noir horror and the actual punk in cyberpunk. I just wish there was more to the game than a thousand murders on the dancefloor.

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Wot I Think: Chuchel

Chuchel is a tour de force of animation, every scene so vibrant and hilarious, colourful and manic, the slightest tweaks in character facial expressions eliciting guffaws. Every new scene is a glorious delight just to look at, before you even start playing with it. And then, as you click on every element on the screen, delightful, silly and gorgeous things happen. This is a game where I find myself trying to work out what is the correct solution to any given puzzle, just so I can avoid clicking on it before I’ve clicked on everything else. I exhaust every repeated joke until it loops, don’t mind when they do, and call people in from other rooms to see the funniest moments. Chuchel is, beyond belief, wonderful.

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Wot I Think: Way of The Passive Fist

Way of The Passive Fist

If Way of The Passive Fist were a true brawler in the vein of Streets of Rage, I would forgive people for being disappointed in it. Taken at face value, it doesn’t quite live up to the heady standards set by the likes of Konami, Capcom and SNK back in the day.

It’s a good thing, then, that under the familiar 90s arcade facade lies a satisfying game of memorization and rhythm that (while not without issue) makes for a very respectable debut title from new studio Household Games. It’s out today, and here’s Wot I Thunk of it.

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Wot I Think: Ion Maiden

Ion Maiden Preview Campaign is, without question, brilliant. A mad-speed Build engine project that feels like it was made by present-day time travellers who went back to 1996 to make a game. It’s stupid and crass and loud and gory and everything else you could hope for. And this is just the two-mission mini campaign while they finish the full game.

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Wot I Think: Pit People


Equal parts absolutely delightful and absolutely infuriating, turn-based strategy-RPG/surreal cartoon Pit People probably couldn’t have a chosen a worse time to lumber out of early access. The reason for that is Into The Breach. I came to Pit People straight off the back of my Into The Breach review, which means I’d just experienced a revelation in how brisk and elegant the age-old formula of taking turns to shuffle a small force of units across a set of tiles to bash or shoot enemies can be.

Because of that, it’s hard to forgive Pit People’s drawn-out, slow-motion wars of attrition. But it’s even harder to put it down, because it’s such a firehose of ideas, visual gags and spoken comedy outside of its cold and chewy tactical meat and potatoes.

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Wot I Think: Metal Gear Survive


There was a point early on in Metal Gear Survive where I thought that, despite its annoyances, Konami’s zombie spin-off was actually going to be quite good. It came about an hour in when I had to sneak into a base packed with shambling horrors, using stealth and distraction to outwit the hordes. It was tense. It was exciting.

That didn’t last long.

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Wot I Think: Where The Water Tastes Like Wine


In Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, stories are currency. You walk the backroads and fields of the United States during the Great Depression, occasionally freighthopping or hitching a ride from one town to the next. Along the way, you meet many people and witness many events, most of them insignificant in the grand scheme of history and the land, but all contributing to a complex tapestry of a certain time and place.

Everything that you witness and every conversation you have becomes a tale in your repertoire, and in retelling these tales you learn about the characters you share them with, around campfires that are dotted around the map. It’s at the campfires that stories become currency, and also where the game’s combination of folktale and interactive systems becomes muddled.

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Wot I Think: Into The Breach


Look not to what high-speed, turn-based, sci-fi strategy wonder Into The Breach shares with its timeless predecessor FTL: Faster Than Light, but instead to how aggressively different it is. Though they share a soul of permadeath and moment-to-moment dilemmas, entire limbs have been lopped off and casually thrown aside, teeth and hair uprooted and plugged back in at strange new angles, eyeballs moved to places that were never designed to have eyeballs. Not in merely superficial ways either. It has moved from space-bound chaos to ground-based decisions, from spaceship crew management to mech vs horror-bug warfare, even from real-time to turn-based combat.

Yet the really startling change is that, unlike FTL, Into The Breach is rarely a game of chance, of random, cruel loss or sudden fortune, but instead is almost pathologically fair, even if it often doesn’t feel like it. There is no calamity here that cannot be traced back to your own actions. In other words, you’ve only got yourself to blame for the total wipeout of humanity. But this particular end of the world is a glorious one, and one I will happily keep experiencing for years to come.
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Wot I Think: Yume Nikki – Dream Diary


Playing Yume Nikki: Dream Diary is like sitting across from somebody as they explain their dreams to you in great detail. No. Worse than that. It’s like listening to somebody describe an acquaintance’s dreams in great detail.

Every now and then, they pause and say something along the lines of, “you had to be there”, as people do when they’re telling a funny story that nobody is laughing at. In its transition from tiny sprites, abstract backgrounds and obscure free-form exploration to jerky 3d animation and side-scrolling running and jumping, Yume Nikki has lost almost all of its mysterious horror and charm.

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Wot I Think: Orwell – Ignorance Is Strength Chapter 1

Orwell: Ignorance Is Strength is being released, for some odd reason, in three chapters over the space of a month. The first is out now, and so I put on my best spying monocle to tell you wot I think.

Orwell was a game I thoroughly enjoyed despite its ludicrously silly conceit – a day one appointee at a secret government spying programme being given the reins to investigate a serious terrorist attack. So, with the arrival of its sequel, I hoped it was at least in a position to move on past this daft premise. But, no! Amazingly, you’re yet again someone who’s applying online to work for Orwell, and that same day you’re given access to techno-spying abilities that shouldn’t be in the hands of MI5’s highest ranking operatives.

When I reviewed the first game, I realised I was in the odd position of having this arm-long list of things that made the game seem fundamentally silly, but argued for how I’d enjoyed it so much despite that. In playing the sequel just over a year later, I’d really hoped to be saying how so much of these daft problems had been addressed, and that which made it such a good idea be pushed to the front. Unfortunately, not a single aspect of its conceit has changed.

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Wot I Think: Stellaris – Apocalypse


I’ve made a lot of galaxies and star empires this last week, and I’ve thrown most of them in the bin. The Stellaris 2.0 update and the accompanying Apocalypse DLC have blown this 4X game to bits, along with my fleets as I’ve tried to wrap my head around the almost-new game built out of its chunks. Though I’ve racked up hundreds of hours of galactic conquest over the last couple of years, I’ve had to start fresh and figure out how to run a stellar empire all over again.

The xenophobic Imperium of Earth fell behind the rest of the galaxy and quickly found itself boxed in, the possessive but friendly Automata Matrix got squished in a war between Federations, and the slavers of the Saarlan Ravagers just weren’t fun to play because they’re dicks. I should be a bit frustrated, but instead I’m hooked again. The DLC isn’t essential, but the free update completely revitalises Stellaris, and it takes big risks to do it.

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