Monday, 8 September 2014

Bravada: Quick Look

Bravada distills classic RPG elements to it's bare essentials. Since the gameplay design is simplified, this turn based RPG can some times feel almost real time. Through it's mechanical simplicity the game strikes a balance of depth and accessibility. The game is easy to learn and understand, but when you get into it, it presents some pretty in depth gameplay. Learning how to position your squad and using your turn efficiently will be key to your success in the game.

The aesthetics and sound quality is quite good. It has a charming cartoony look with humor to match, and a fantasy based sound design to compliment it.

Though I found the game quite enjoyable, it could prove too simple for more hardcore RPG fans. Though even if you are into more hardcore RPGs, I'd still suggest taking a look at Bravada, as it is a very unique experience for any RPG fan.

- Simple and easy to understand mechanics
- Well designed with lots of depth
- Whimsical aesthetic design that helps promote the atmosphere
- Tons of variety and experimentation potential

- Could be too simple for more hardened RPGers
- If you didn't play efficiently through the level, it's possible to be stuck at a boss with no viable possibility of winning. (potential balance issues)

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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Savant - Ascent: Quick Look

Savant features brilliant visuals, audio, and simple but challenging and addictive gameplay. It's only 2 bucks, and the meat of the game is fantastic! Honestly, you can stop reading now, sacrifice just one vending machine trip, and purchase the game, it's good.

But if you want to know more, then know this. Though the game play is enjoyable, and the presentation top shelf, it's a small game. There's not a lot in the way of extra features, even the options menu is relatively lacking, and I suspect the difficulty, though satisfying, was cranked up to hide the game's low content. But with that said, know that what is there, is exceptionally well crafted! Think of it as fine cuisine. You get just enough to be full, and while you were tasting it, it was some of the best you've had, except this game doesn't come at the cost of fine cuisine!

If you've made it this far into the impression, just ignore every thing you read and buy the damn game. Once again... It's good!

- Simple but challenging and addictive gameplay
- Fantastic audio!
- Twitchy gameplay!
- Fancy buzzword visuals!
- It's the cost of a damn candy bar!

- Low price, means low content
- Options menu could use an overhaul

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Friday, 29 August 2014

Vertical Drop Heroes: Impressions

Vertical Drop Heroes take the traditional rogue-like/lite and turn it on it's side. Instead of scrolling left or right, your hero will be going straight down! This twist offers some interesting strategies, for example, planning where to drop down will be important. Since you can't go back up with out a special block, you could miss important loot if you went down the wrong path. The game does have a passive progression system, comparable to Rogue Legacy. You earn money to buy either in dungeon help, new abilities to randomly gain later, or save it up to earn permanent stat upgrades back at home base. It also plays like a standard Rogue-like/lite. Out side of the dropping down aspect, for any one who is experienced with this genre, this will feel very familiar (this can be taken as either a good or a bad, depending on what you're looking for).

The most addictive aspect of the game is certainly it's plethora of modular upgrades, giving players near endless combinations of characters and dungeons to fall through.

Though the game is quite fun and addictive, it's not with out it's flaws. The combat is very basic, simply mashing the attack near enemies or use 1 of the 2 specials your toon gets generated with. I'm also not really a huge fan of the visuals. This is a personal critique, as some will find it quite charming, but for me, it just doesn't float my boat.

Overall, The game doesn't do too much to evolve the genre, but what it does, it does it well. Vertical Drop Heroes is a fair price rogue-like/lite that's addictive and enjoyable.

- Tons of unlocks
- Great use of modular toon creation
- Highly addictive
- Fair price

- Not a fan of the visuals (Subjective)
- Combat overly basic

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Chess 2 the Sequel: Impressions

Chess 2 takes the classic game of chess and adds in a bunch of new armies and it's own flavor of new rules. Chess players should feel right at home, as chess 2 still keeps true to it's heritage. Besides a selection of armies to play as, one of the most significant rule addition is the new median line. Any king that passes it wins, essentially adding a whole new win condition to the classic game of chess. Chess being an hold as the hills game, the Sequel does a pretty good job at introducing new metas and strategies to really freshen up this ageless classic.

Visually the game goes with a realistic look. At first glance it may not have the visual impact of a more stylized game, but I think fans of chess will appreciate it's more sophisticated aesthetic. The pieces are well detailed with intricate trimmings and most importantly off all, the new pieces look like they belong in chess, and describe's it's characteristics well.

Though Chess 2's main meat is strong and enjoyable, it's not with out it's flaws. There are serious "quality of life" issues with the game. The lack of any sort of options, visual, audio, or even a menu is very odd. Even 8bit games have an options menu so I don't understand why Chess 2 doesn't. The game also focus on it's multiplayer. Though there is online play, there is no lobby system, no way to match with your friends currently. This is a huge over sight for a game like this. The devs did mention that they have an update planned for some sort of match making, which is great to hear, but it is missing on it's release so keep that in mind.

Overall Chess 2 is a wonderful game that will have veterans giggling like school girls, delighted at the discovery of new metas. For chess fans, this is an easy recommendation, but if you are just the regular gamer, curious to chess 2, with out more features or an options menu, it's always good to do more research.

- Discovery of new metas
- Armies are interesting and unique
- Appropriate and detailed visuals
- New rules are enjoyable
- Still feels like chess, but new!

- No options
- No Lobby
- Low on features

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Special thanks to...

the Again...

and Josh from GamingFTL...

...for helping me test play this! You guys make wonderful human guinea pigs :D

Monday, 18 August 2014

NeonXSZ: Early Impressions

NeonXSZ takes flight gameplay into an open cyber punk world, with tons of upgrades and customization. The game can be challenging, with a robust amount of upgrades for the player to experiment with for a long long time. With excellent flight controls, exciting dog fights, and lots to explore, NeonXSZ is a game with a ton of "meat" and depth. There is a small learning curve to get over, but once you get the hang of it, the game opens up. NeonXSZ is also incredibly impressive with buttons on your ship's hud actually functional, to the overall visual and sound effects. I felt as though I was in the ship piloting my enemies destruction.

The Aesthetics and sound is well suited to the overall theme of the game. Though the textures are rather basic, the lighting, design, and style makes up for it. The sound of course is full of beeps and boops, and robot voices, as you would expect from a cyber punk game. It's done well, and works with the game's theme.

To sum how the game plays out in a nut shell, you go around, exploring your environment, hunting down enemy ships, blow them up, and collect their valuable. Then you take those valuable and make new upgrades for your ship. Rinse, find new space stations, and repeat. The game is quite grindy, and I would even argue that it's designed around the grind. People like myself who don't mind the grind as long as it's well designed will welcome this, but those who are more sensitive to grindy games, it's worth your time to do a little more research before committing to a purchase.

Overall NeonXSZ is an enjoyable exploratory flight RPG, with lots of customization. Even though it is pretty grindy in nature, the game is deep and versatile enough to hold my attention. I recommend NeonXSZ

- Deep and varied amounts of customization
- Challenging gameplay
- Easy to understand flight controls
- Very immersive
- Has that "addictive" quality
- Cyber punk your brains out

- Lack of graphical options
- Lack of side features
- People sensitive to grinds may be put off

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Steam Store page for NeonXSZ

Sunday, 17 August 2014

N.P.P.D. Rush the Milk of Ultraviolet: Quick Look

N.P.P.D. RUSH takes the duel stick formula, toss in some rock and roll and a bunch of cyber punk themed pixels in your face. It's a fast paced, challenging and overall enjoyable game. With that said, it's not with out it's flaws. There is a lack of features, as well as no controller support. As a twin stick, I feel controller support is quite important. There doesn't seem to be a huge degree in variety, as it's really just shooting a bunch of stuff, but luckily, shooting a bunch of stuff this game does well, and it is quite fun.

I'm not 100% if it's worth the full asking price, as low as it is, but if you are intrigued it's not terrible, just not perfect. Otherwise, I would recommend keeping an eye for a good sale, as it is at the very least, worth a check out.

- Suitable sound track for the game's theme
- Shooting dudes is fun
- Challenging
- Well themed

- Can be repetitive to some
- Lack of features
- No controller support
- Lack of variety

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Friday, 15 August 2014

Divinity Original Sin: Quick Look

Divinity takes PC turn based RPGs and modernize it with the shimmer and shine of today's graphical standards. Though the game looks fantastic, I would even go as far as saying one of the best in the genre, the core and mechanics stay true to it's source. The game is deep and will require dozens if not hundreds of hours from the player. If you are looking for a time sink, this one will do you just fine. The writing and story are equally as impressive as it's visuals. Characters are lively with humor and personality, and the narrative will draw you in with it's many incentives to role play.

Since the game is so large in scope, I found it to be slow at the start. Not just pacing, but also in understanding. It took me a few re-rolls before I made a game that I was happy with, and even then it took me roughly 3-4 hours before I moved away from the dialog heavy town, and into the more actiony bits. Of course my persistent demand to talk to every single towns folk before leaving may have contributed to more time than needed, and only serve as testimony in how engrossing the writing can be. Also keep in mind, you need to be able to enjoy reading... a lot. There is only limited voice acting and the majority of the game is told in written form.

Overall, the game is every thing I expected and more. It will probably go down as one of the great classics of our time.

- Excellent visuals and overall presentation
- Deep mechanics
- HUGE game
- Lots of customization
- Great writing
- Classic return to form, for this style of RPG

- Slow to start (potentially).
- Could prove too daunting for those who are short on free time.

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