Posts Tagged ‘review’

Premature Evaluation: Dead Cells

Every week we decapitate Brendan and throw him into the early access dungeons, and somehow he always comes back. He must have learned that trick from the promising and punishing Dead Cells [official site]

Life is good when you beat a boss. I’ve been toying with Dead Cells for the past week, relishing its roguelite slashing and crunchy pixel art. It’s a tough game, often punching you in the gut with powerful enemies and sending you slithering all the way back to the start with each death. But every time you die, you get stronger, along with a chance to re-roll the dice of fate to see what vicious weaponry you can gather this time. It styles itself after Dark Souls but, really, you should leave those assumptions at the gate. Just there, next to the pile of beheaded corpses.

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Wot I Think: Rakuen

Composer, performer and now developer Laura Shigihara’s first game, Rakuen [official site], is out now, and it is something truly special. In a To The Moon sort of way. A hilarious and heartbreaking tale of loss and redemption, with songs. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Scanner Sombre

A beautiful and novel game suffering from something of an identity crisis, Scanner Sombre [official site] is the latest from Introversion Software, making a play for artfulness after a few years of successfully popularising themselves with Prison Architect. But though Scanner’s central conceit – using a laser scanner to ‘paint’ dot-array colours and shape onto your pitch black, subterranean surroundings – is gloriously atmospheric, it lacks the lightness of touch needed to achieve the emotional clout it so clearly wants to have. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Stable Orbit

Every week we launch Brendan through the atmosphere into the cold, dark void of early access. This time, the realistic space station (mis)management of Stable Orbit [official site]

My first space station is called the Floppy Floater. It is a barren place, so bleak in demeanour that it fails even to qualify as a potential setting for a post-disaster sci-fi shooter, even though it has two whole dead bodies on board. Yet unlike Prey, no alien threat is responsible for these deaths. Only my own hasty and thoughtless decision-making. When will I stop accidentally killing imaginary people using only the dark negligence of middle-management? Never. God-willing, I will never stop doing that. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Birthdays the Beginning

Birthdays the Beginning

Birthdays The Beginning [official site] is a sandbox evolution game from Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada. The aesthetic is somewhere between Harvest Moon, Viva Pinata and a sugarcraft workshop. On paper it looks like the exact sort of thing I’d love – a biology-themed sim with collectible and ADORABLE lifeforms including ferns, velociraptors and turtles. In practice it can’t seem combine the ingredients into a satisfying enough dish. Here’s Wot I Think: Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Veil of Crows

Every week we launch Brendan from a catapult into the early access fortress. This time, the haphazard RPG adventuring of Veil of Crows [official site]

I’ve just murdered four villagers. I was grumpy and I wanted their village, so I went in with eleven peasants and killed them and took their lumberyard. To be fair, they murdered four of us right back. Sadly, all the bodies now lying on the village grounds are practically indistinguishable – all the same greyish peasant corpse. I own a village now, but I am still grumpy. Is it because the kingdom who once guarded the lumberyard are now sending an army to take back their rightful land? No. It’s just because Veil of Crows is messy, buggy and not very fun.
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Wot I Think: Flinthook

Flinthook [official site] combines everything I loved about Rogue Legacy with far slicker platforming action, based around some of gaming’s greatest icons: grappling hooks and stylish slow motion. It’s a tremendous game that I’ve been hooked on since launch.

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Wot I Don’t Think: Syberia 3

There is a group of people who are going to buy Syberia 3 [official site], and they are going to love Syberia 3, no matter what it’s like. If the released game were just a black screen from which only terrifying abuse were endlessly screamed, they would love it. If playing it caused them to develop sores all over their bodies, grow pustules that bubbled and burned, and wretched sickness and diarrhoea bugs afflict them and all their loved ones, they would refuse to hear a word said against it. If the game came to the homes of their families and stole all their valuables, and then sold those valuables and used the proceeds to take out an advertising campaign in which they stated, “Everyone who loves Syberia 3 is a paedophile”, these people would still love Syberia 3, and send threatening messages to anyone who disagreed.

How do I know this? Because, man, I was there for Syberia 2, man. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Everything

I am a spruce beetle. I call to two other spruce beetles nearby and now I am all of them. I tell them to dance and they begin to skitter of their own volition, making concentric circles and infinity signs and all manner of patterns. Each time a circle fills at the top of the screen – the only visible UI element – I press A in order to spawn another spruce beetle which joins in the dance. I do this for seventeen minutes, until there is a thrumming mass of spruce beetles. Eventually I’ve had enough and so I become a snowball.

This is what Everything [official site] is about.

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Wot I Think: Outlast 2

If you’ve ever wanted to experience crucifixion from a first-person perspective, Outlast 2 [official site] will let you scratch that one off your bucket list. Moving away from the first game’s psychiatric hospital, developers Red Barrels unearth another necropolis’ worth of horror tropes in a splatterfest about apocalypse, antichrists and clashing cults.

The most frustrating thing about Outlast 2 is that it’s few redeeming features deserve a far better game around them. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: What Remains Of Edith Finch

Whatever the screenshot above might have made you think, What Remains of Edith Finch [official site] doesn’t have very much in common with Dear Esther at all. It has a great deal in common with a lot of games I’ve played, but in the end doesn’t feel very much like any of them. It’s a walking simulator for about ten minutes, and then it becomes all manner of other things, including one of my favourite games in years. Here’s wot I think about this extraordinary family saga.

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Wot I Think: Little Nightmares

Little Nightmares [official site] is the story of a little girl in a horrible place. It’s a horror game but it’s mostly bloodless and doesn’t rely on jumpscares or sudden shocks. I’ve loved almost every minute of it.

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Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming review: cheapish portable power

My ongoing quest to find the perfect gaming laptop – at the conclusion of which I shall buy my favourite – continues. I should note at this point that ‘perfect’ can mean several different things in this case. Clearly, attractiveness, features and performance are the main draws, but this is by no means a money no object deal. If a decent lappie is cheap enough, the fact that I won’t spend months trying and failing to justify the cost to myself means it might tick the ‘perfect’ box despite falling short in other areas.

And so to Dell’s £1000 Inspiron 15 Gaming, aka the Inspiron 7567. A diamond in the rough, or a get-what-you-pay-for folly?
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Wot I Think: Warhammer 40,000 – Dawn of War 3

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 [official site] wants to be everything you like about the series, and its very different predecessors, in a single RTS. Missed the big armies and the base building? They’re back. Prefer fighting with beefy heroic units with lots of special abilities? They’re here too. It’s trying to be all things to all men, women, Orks and Eldar, and crikey does it come close to succeeding. So close you can hear the heavy metal roar of an Ork Waaagh tower and the thudding of Space Marine boots.

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Wot I Think: Odyssey – The Next Generation Science Game

Lots of people have tried to make educational games. Few have succeeded. Odyssey [official site] gets closer than most, in its efforts to teach about physics, astronomy and mechanics. It’s been in early access for a while, but comes out today, accompanied by a price drop. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy

The cassette tape in Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy [official site] is called ‘Rad Mix’ instead of ‘Awesome Mix.’ A crueller man than I might observe that this is all we really need to know about Telltale’s not-based-on-the-film-and-yet-kinda-is spin on the adventures of Rocket, Groot and chums. I.e., that it really, really wants to be be just like what is arguably the most purely entertaining superhero film on the past decade, but it can’t quite pull it off.

I’m not that cruel. Not quite. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Full Throttle Remastered

Full Throttle Remastered [official site] is the return of perhaps the most under-appreciated of the classic 90s LucasArts adventures. Double Fine’s remastering will hopefully go a long way to seeing it gain a reputation among a new generation. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator

Every week we pit Brendan against the thousands of half-formed games of early access in a doomed battle for supremacy. This time, the huge and ridiculous fights of Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator.

There’s not much in UEBS that isn’t possible in any of the Total War series. I mean, if you discount the ability to pit masterly Chickens against a force of Orcs. Apart from that, it’s still about arranging vast (or small) armies on large maps and having them go at each other until one force comes out of the meat grinder without losing all their wee men. In fact, it’s hundreds of times more limited than a real strategy game. But many would say that’s not the point. What you have here is a toy, something that aims for the simplicity of its Deadliest Warrior conceit and – just barely – hits the mark. But what kind of brawls can you create? Well, here’s four epic battles we threw together to find out.
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