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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ubermosh: Quick Look

Ubermosh is a pretty simple game. Jump into it, use your giant blade to kill your foes and to reflect their bullets back at them. Pick up weapons from fallen enemies and use it to your advantage. Get as much kills as possible with'n the game's time limit with out dying, rinse, improve your score, and repeat.

Aesthetically I don't have much complaints. I like the pixel art and the sound track is amazing, it might be my favorite part of the game and hope to see the OST released for sale in the future.

Ubermosh isn't very expensive, about $2.00 USD, and the content reflect the price. There's not a whole lot here, no multiplayer, no extra modes or features, it's just going to be score attack over and over again. Luckily for us, what is here currently is great! The combat is a lot of fun and well designed. It's challenging with a high skill ceiling, and as mentioned before, the music is amazing. Ubermosh is currently in early access, so that could explain the lack of content, but hopefully we'll see much more added to the game as I feel like it has a lot of potential.

Overall Ubermosh has a lot of promise. The combat is exciting, the music is fantastic, and the challenge is enjoyable, I just want to see a lot more of all these things in the near future.

- Great visuals and audio, especially the music
- Very reasonable price ($2.00 USD)
- Fun combat

- Needs a lot more content

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Ubermosh hours played at recording: 1

Completion Status on Ubermosh: N/A

This copy of Ubermosh given by the developers for review

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Westerado Double Barreled: Impressions

Westerado is an interesting sandbox western adventure game. If you've played Red Dead Redemption it's along the lines of that, except more pixelleted. Like in Red Dead Redemption, the game offers an open world where you can interact with the people and the enviroments as you chose. You can explore the world and take on quests in any order you chose. You can even rob a bank, murder the towns folk, and accuse any one of hanous acts... or you might not. . It's totally up to you!

At the start of the game, you'll find your family murdered and your ranch burned down. The goal is to figure out who did it, and get your revenge. Here's the interesting twist, the bandit that wronged you could be any one, any NPC in the game. You'll be tasked with doing various missions to find clues to the masked bandit. As you find more clues that discribes differnt features, such as fat or skinny, color of his/her cloths, the type of hat s/he's wearing, you'll be able to accuse people of murder. You may accuse who ever you like and when ever, but if you're not sure, and you're wrong, the situation could turn south very quickly. Caution when accusing is suggested. You'll also be able to find more clues and hints through conversations with the townsfolks and though it does feature the usual "dialog choice A or B" design there is an additional option to draw your weapon in the middle of any conversation. Doing so could affect the out come. Besides talking to the locals and hunting down bandits, there are other mini games such as poker to help distract the player. The game has a vast open world for the player to discover, and offers a lot of content and things to do while adventuring.

Aesthetically I think the game looks wonderful. The game's pixel art does a great job detailing the game's enviroment. The color pallet is suiting and easy on the eyes, and there's a high degree of artestry being displayed here. The audio is equally worth praising, as it's full of memorable spegetti western themes.

The only part of Westerdo I would critique is how the game handles identifying the killer. The whole goal of the game is to identify a very spicific person with very spicific visual traits. Since the game is done in all pixel art, it could potentially make the task more difficult than it needs to be. There are tons of NPCs in the game, all looking quite differnt, but not THAT differnt, and telling the differnance NPC A's slighly taller hat than NPC B's could prove more challenging than need be. But to be fair, I haven't had that issue my self, but I can see it as a potential issue for some one else.

Over all Westardo is a wonderfully designed pixel open world western game, with a lot to like about it. The game is open not only in the world that you explore, but also in how the player explores it. Be a bandit, be a hero, it totally up to you. Either way, Westerdo is an easy recommendation.

- Well designed open world gameplay
- Very open to a variety of play styles (Be a bandit! be a hero!)
- Great aesthetics and music
- Encourages replay

- Pixel style could make identifying the killer harder than needed
- Lacks extra features and options

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Westerado: Double Barreled hours played: 3.5

Completion Status onWesterado: Double Barreled: Incomplete

This copy of Westerado: Double Barreled was given for review by the developers.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Square Heroes: Quick Look

Square Heroes is an multiplayer focused arena game where you take control of a square (literally) as it floats around the arena, taking out NPC enemies to collect the coins out of them. With more coins collected, you'll automatically upgrade your arsenal through out the match. You'll then take that newly earned arsenal and blast your player controlled enemies for points! It's an easy to get into multiplayer game that has a fair amount things to collect and upgrade as you play.

The game features a cartoony aesthetic with hilariously expressive characters, with a vibrant and bright color pallet. It also offers a variety of game modes to play through, such as death match, team death match, capture points, and survival. There's also lots of incentive to replay as you can upgrade your weaponary, as well as earning new cosmetic items to add in that extra spice of flavor.

The game is definitely multiplayer focused. The single player that is available is little more than a basic tutorial to teach you the game's mechanics. The single player in the game to be honest isn't all that engaging, it's all about shooting your friends and strangers online. That's where the potential problems may come. Though the game itself is quite fun when playing with real people, it can be difficult finding any one online to play it. From my experience with the game on day one of it's release, I've had over a dozen games and only about 2-3 of those games had actual players in them. The majority of my experience were with bots. This isn't really a negative point on the game itself, but is something people need to be aware of before investing money into Square Heroes. If you have a group of friends who are willing to all get the game, you'll have fun. If this impression is incorrect by the time you read this, and the game explodes in it's player base, then you'll have fun. BUT if the game still has the same population online when I played it, it can get a little boring playing with bots 80-90% of the time

Overall Square Heroes has some interesting ideas, my favorite being the arms race in the beginning to mid portion of any given match, and can be a whole lot of fun with some friends or strangers you'll meet online. But be aware, the game is relatively mundane when playing with bots, and from my experience with it, there were more bots than players online. I really hope that changes because I think Square Heroes has some real potential

- The arms race mechanic is very interesting and a lot of fun
- Lots to collect and upgrade
- Very accessible and easy to learn
- Good aesthetics

- (from my experience) low online population
- Might be too simple for some

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Square Heroes hours played at recording: 2.5

Completion Status on Square Heroes: N/A

This copy of Square Heroes given by the developers for review

Monday, April 6, 2015

Captain Forever Remix: Early Impressions

Captain Forever Remix melds the idea of perma death and random generation from the roguelike games and the customization of ship builder games. An interesting hybrid, one that I feel worked out!

When you first jump into the game you'll be able to do a quick build of your ship from an assortment of different starting kits. Each kit will have their own type of blocks, and already in it's early access form, there is a large variety of blocks and gizmos to discover and build out of. Once the ship is ready to go, you'll head out into space to do battle with other ships. If you managed to destroy the enemy, what parts they had left over you'll be able to scavenge and use for your own ship to grow it in power and performance. But be aware, this game is all real time, so you'll have to quickly attach parts, often while under enemy fire. This help keep the game feeling frantic, and multitasking skills will be tested.

The controls of the game will take some getting used to. The game has a physics system that takes into account your ship's weight, balance, and inertia. Because of this, depending on how you build your ship, it can move very sluggish, and can feel floaty. But once you get adjusted and can factor it's physics you'll be sailing the 7 galaxies in no time!

The visuals and audio is just fantastic in this game. I love the cartoon style, and the audio is great as well. Wonderful music with all the appropriate beeps and boops that you would expect.

I don't have too much negatives to point out about the game so far (this is a good thing of course), but I do have a couple of suggestions. Though the game works perfectly fine as a single player game, I can also envision this game as multiplayer and imagine it to be a lot of fun! Shooting each other's parts off, building from your enemy's ships. I think the game would be well suited for it. Of course, at this time it is only single player, and I don't think there is any plans for multiplayer, but it is something I would love to see in Captain Forever Remix.

Overall, Captain Forever Remix is an interesting blend of genres that looks great, plays great, and really taps into the player's creativity when constructing a ship. For an early access, the game feels very complete and polished.

- Great visual and audio design
- Fun, creative, and challenging
- Accessible and easy to learn
- Feels very complete and polished for an early access

- Could use a better options menu
- Lacks extra features

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Captain Forever Remix hours played: 4

Completion Status on Captain Forever Remix: Incomplete

This copy of Captain Forever Remix was given for review by the developers.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cities Skylines: Quick Look

Cities Skyline gives the player everything you would expect from a proper modern city builder game. It has expansive maps, detailed cities and population, intricate micro management, yet it's accessible and easy to pick up.

Graphically the game is a looker. With detailed models, atmospheric filtering effects, and all the little things happening when you zoom in, the game look and feels alive. The audio design is immersive with the hustle and bustle of the crowds and traffic pulling the player in. Though the music seems over dramatic and on default settings it's strangely loud, but it does the job at keeping the player company.

Mechanically the game can get deep when you learn all the details, yet the basics to get going is pretty easy. With that said, the game still requires a degree of self research as all the finer details in it's mechanics aren't always fully explained.

Overall Cities: Skylines is a very enjoyable city builder, and at it's core, every thing I wanted from a modern Sim City.

- Easy to learn
- Lots of fine detail to micromanage
- Great looking, very immersive
- Supports mods
- Huge map to build on

- Finer detail mechanics aren't always explained well
- Some quality of life issues could use smoothing out

Cities: Skyline hours played at recording: 22
Completion Status on Cities Skyline: N/A
This copy of Cities: Skyline was purchased on Steam

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Resident Evil Revelations 2 - FULL CAMPAIGN (revisited)

When I originally played RE:Rev2's first episode on PC< it was a buggy mess. Frame drops, crashes, there were problems. Now that the whole game is released in it's entirety I'm glad to see Capcom have fixed many of the problems that plagued the game at the start.

Resident Evil Revelations 2 put you in the shoes of Claire and Berry, fan favorites from the classic era of Resident Evil. You're joined by Moira, and Natalia as secondary characters, who help you find hidden objects and to solve puzzles. The buddy system is something I'm not a huge fan of. The AI isn't great, and often stand around and take damage. From a mechanics perspective I wasn't a fan of having an AI partner the whole game.

Luckily for us, the poor AI partner doesn't do much to sully the overall experience. The game is well paced, and throws you into scenarios and presents elements that might be reminiscent to older Resident Evils, something that I really enjoyed. The story is also something I really liked about Revelations 2. Though I feel Moira and Natalia to be something of a chore to play with, they are welcomed additions in terms of narrative. These characters are less like super agents that are so prevalent in the RE series, and more human. You learn more about these 2 and how they're involved in the situation. They're also not shoe horned in, the story's main motivation is from these 2 new chanters. The Story of Rev2 also explores a bit of the series origins which was something else I appreciated.

The game also offers a lot of value as well. For $25 you can expect around 12 or so hours in the main campaign, then an additional 2-3 hours in the bonus campaign. Then there's also raid mode and unlockables which has potentially unlimited play. This is not a bad deal purely from a value proposition.

I feel like the game being released episodically overall hurt REV2 in the end. The first episode was by far the most uneventful and it was pleagued with technical issues. If Capcom released the game in full, and in an optimized state that it is today, I feel like there would of been much more excitement for Rev2, and more positive reviews. Capcom literally put their worst foot forward on this one. It's a shame because the game as a whole is actually quite enjoyable.

- Well paced campaign
- Great story (for RE standards)
- Great bang for your buck (good value)

- Poor AI
- Releasing this game in chunks (IMO) hurt it in the end.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Shelter 2: Impressions

Shelter 2 put you in the role of a mother lynx doing her best to take care of her baby cubs. It features amazing aethetics and a great sound track. The concept is interesting and the visuals are great, but is that enough for a fun game?

The visual design is something close to what you'll see in paper mache art. It's stylized and well conceptualized. It's a gorgeous game with a look that can inspire. The sound design is equally impressive. The SFX help immerse the player into the woodland environment and the music is very pleasant on the ears with it taking highs and lows as the situation requires it. From a purely aesthetic perspective, I have little to no complaints.

When you jump into Shelter 2, you'll quickly discover it's not like most other survival games you've played, infact I wouldn't even call it a survival game. You don't have to feed yourself, theres no crafting, the only thing you have to be concerned about are your cubs. Chase rabbits and deer to keep them well fed and explore the landscape. It's pretty simple, maybe a little too simple. There's not really a huge amount of variety in the gameplay. You just run around catching prey and avoiding predators and other environmental dangers. You'll be doing this over and over again with out much else. It is fairly repetitive.

There's also no real mechanical punishment for losing a cub either. The game wants the player to feel emotionally connected to your family and tries it's best to have the impact of losing a baby as the punishment itself, but I feel like it fails in this. Let's take the games Brothers a tale of 2 sons, or This War of Mine as examples of games that successfully instilled emotional responses from the player. In both of those games, when you lose some one both those games will communicate sorrow through visual cues, the characters will cry, show signs or remorse, etc. You'll get a tiny bit of that in shelter 2 as well, but because none of the cubs show any personality traits that separate them, it diminishes any potential emotions from the player. Also the 2 games I named as examples amplifies the intended emotional response from the player through mechanics as well. In Brothers, you literally lose half of your controls, in This War of Mine characters become unresponsive to your commands. In Shelter 2 it does nothing. In fact, if you lose a cub, the game actually (intentionally or not) rewards the player from a mechanics perspective. You still have your full abilities and control, and the game gets easier as there's less mouths to feed. Games aren't movies or books. You can't drive home emotional responses from the player simply through narrative or visual cues. It needs to be reflected in the mechanics as well, and Shelter 2 falls flat on this.

Overall Shelter 2 is a gorgeous looking and sounding game with an interesting concept. Unfortunately it seems to forget that it's still a game and it needs to be fun. With repetitive and uninspired gameplay, mechanics that fail to instill the intended emotions. At best, Shelter 2 is an interactive experimental art piece, at worst, it's a boring game with mechanics that are simpler than games you'll find on web browsers or mobile.

- Great looking aesthetics and sound design
- Easy to pick up

- Fails as instilling the intended emotions
- Extremely simple and repetitive gameplay
- A far shot from being a "survival" game
- limited content

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