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Brigador: Early Impressions

Brigador is a tactical isometric shooter where every thing in the environment is destructible. At the time of this review, the game is still incomplete but shows a lot of promise in it's well designed gameplay.

Brigador is a challenging game to say the least. A player's first inclination is to shoot everything in sight, but you'll quickly learn that strategy will get you killed pretty fast. Your ammo is limited, your HP don't regenerate, and the game features a perma-death system. With out careful planning and strategic thinking, you'll become scrap metal in an instant. The game has a high learning curve, and an equally high skill ceiling. The game makes no concession to casual players.

The goal of the game is to enter an enemy territory, shoot out 3 of their cannons, and then get the hell out of there. It sounds simpler than it actually is. In any given map, there will be tons of enemies swarming to blow you up if you're not careful, as well as environmental hazards. Gas pipes, oil stations, and other things can easily blow up in your face ending your run. Then there are mud, tracks, and sand that will slow you down. Though there are hazards, the environment is completely destructible, allowing you to make your own path to the goals, avoiding the dangerous main roads.

Before even starting your mission, you'll be able to pick your vehicle, weapons, and special abilities. there are 6 different vehicles that are variations of 3 different types, tank, mech, and hover. Tanks have good Armour and speed, while mechs can use a powerful stomp, and hovers can strife and are the quickest, but they're balanced with low armour and HP. They all have their own unique characteristics and stats, and the same can be said about the weapons and specials as well. The game offers a fair degree of customization and experimentation, allowing the player to tailor their ship to their play style.

Brigador also features detailed but visually clear sprites in an isometric environment. The aesthetics have a classic PC look to it, and it's one of my favorite elements of the game. The art is interesting, full of nuance, and does a good job at communicating it's overall theme and atmosphere of a dystopian future. The sound design is also quite pleasing, with an appropriately futuristic OST and sound effects that has impact. However, since the game is in early access, some sound effects aren't implemented and is distracting from what is an otherwise polished presentation.

There's a lot of stuff to like about the game, it's presentation, it's skill oriented gameplay, and the destructible environments, however in it's current state, the game does feel incomplete. Currently, there is only one mode to play, endless mode, nothing to unlock, no stat tracking, and no story mode. So basically, the game is bare bones feeling very very beta. Of course it's in early access and these things are to be expected, but it is something worth mentioning for any one expecting a complete game. Bragador does not feel complete. There is a lot of room to grow and I am excited to see where it goes. One feature I really would like to see added is some kind of multiplayer. But until the game is further updated / released, it doesn't give much incentive for the player to keep playing, other than it's core gameplay, and maybe experimenting with different combinations of weapons and ships.

Overall, Brigador is a very promising game, that in my opinion, has the potential to be a cult favorite. All the game need to do now is to fill itself out a little. Give the player a reason to come back regularly. We'll see how it'll turn out once it's a full release, but so far, so good.

- Great classical looking visuals
- Challenging and rewarding gameplay
- Destructible environments
- customization

- Missing sound assests
- limited game modes
- Feels incomplete

Brigador hours played: 3
Completion Status on Brigador: N/A
This copy of The Brigador was given by the developer

Jotun: Quick Look

Jotun is an isometric hand animated adventurer. The game features great art and animation, and impressive boss fights. Though it may look like a brawler on first impression, it's not at all.

In Jotun, you play as Thora, who has to go through multiple levels of Valhalla to prove her worth to the gods. She can accomplish this by choosing which level to tackle, in which each will feature 2 stages, then a boss fight. The stages usually play out like a maze or a puzzle, where you'll be finding your path to the end while tackling environmental obstacles. There are some light combat scenarios sprinkled in between, but are often optional, or are set up more as a set piece to break up the stage, than an event to challenge the player's abilities. Once 2 stages are completed on a given level, the entrance to the boss is unlocked and from there, you're greeted with an impressive god like being, much larger than you in scale, and often has a challenge or "gimmick" that echoes the level that proceeded it.

The art is absolutely fantastic, and that should go with out saying. It's advertised as a hand animated adventurer, and the game certainly does a damn fine job at fulfilling that description. The animation quality is on par with classic animated movies of the past, while it's art design reminds me a little of old school Disney. It's beautiful visuals are complimented with an equally impressive sound design. The voice acting in the viking tongue is a nice touch to push the theme of the game further, while the music and sound effects are both appropriate and of a high quality. I love the OST of Jotun.

My favorite part of the game is easily the boss fights. They are impressive in design as well as in scale, often towering the player. Think Shadow of the Colossus kind of scaling, but in 2D hand animated form. The bosses also draw elements from the stages that you've completed in order to reach it. The ones I've defeated were very satisfying to fight.

Though there is much I liked about Jotun, there was one thing that really frustrated me. It's inconsistent level design. This is not to say all the levels and stages were unenjoyable, some were actually very smartly designed in it's puzzles. However, the ones that I didn't enjoy frustrated the ever living hell out of me. Back tracking, confusion, paths that lead back to the beginning, and the feeling that it's there simply to pad out the content before reaching the real treat of the game, the boss fights, these were all issues I drew from the game.

Though I feel like some of the levels I've played over stayed it's welcome, my overall experience with Jotun was definitely positive. It's eye catching art and animation, it's impressive sound design and boss fights were definitely highlights.

- Great art and animation
- Impressive boss fights

- Inconsistent, sometimes frustrating level design

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Jotun hours played at recording: 4

Completion Status on Jotun: incomplete

This copy of Jotun was given by the developers for review

The Beginner's Guide: Impressions First 10 min pure,

The Beginner's Guide is a surreal and immersive narrative about Davey Wreden's (Stanley Parable) developer friend, and why he retired. The way the game takes full advantage of what a medium like video games have to present is interesting, and smart.

So let me get this out of the way first and for most "Hold W to game". That's it. It's even less "gamey" than the Stanley Parable. I want people to understand this before even considering the Beginner's Guide. There's no mechanics, there's no real choice, it's very much a linear hour and a half trip being lead by Davey Wreden as the narrator. With that said, The Beginner's Guide really can't be told in any other form than through a video game.

The Beginner's Guide: Impressions + First 10 min pure, (gameplay, and review) Relevant information and links below The Beginner's Guide is the follow up to Davey Wreden's Stanley Parable.

Since the story is about Davey's developer friend, it takes you on an interactive tour through his friend's past games and levels. The game's aesthetics and concepts progressively get better and complex over time. The game is also very forth wall breaking, immersing the player into the narrative as a character in this story itself. Davey will often make reference to you, as you play through the game. It's a surreal experience, and it certainly breaks all sorts of video game norms.

If you're looking for a unique experience or just like really well told stories, The Beginner's Guide is an easy recommendation. However, if you're looking for a game, even for an off beat game, The Beginner's Guide might disappoint. As mentioned above, there's really no mechanics to speak of, other than hold W to game. In Gone Home you have to look for keys and can interact with objects all around. In The Stanley Parable you have a pseudo fail state and an Easter egg hunt for all the endings. Even in most other "Walking Simulators" you have some kind of puzzle, or obstacle along the way. Not in The Beginner's Guide. There's only 1 puzzle in the game, and that's solely there as a story element. There are dialogue choices to be made, but they have no significant (or any) effect on your game. It's very much a guided tour through an interactive narrative. It's also relatively short at an hour and a half (I finished it at exactly 91 minutes). But if you're able to focus on the quality of the experience the game tries to deliver, and willing to let go your previous conceptions of what to expect from a video game, The Beginner's Guide is top shelf material.

Overall The Beginner's Guide is a story that could only be told through a video game, yet ironically is one of the least "gamiest" game I've ever played. The story is surreal, immersive, and certainly something to be experienced for fans of great narratives, but the title of "video game" will be controversial to some on this one.

- Amazing Story
- Good use of the medium
- Surreal and immersive

- Hold "W" to Game
- Less incentive to replay than The Stanley Parable

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The Beginner's Guide hours played: 1.5

Completion Status on The Beginner's Guide: Complete

This copy of The Beginner's Guide was purchased on Steam