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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Absolute Drift: Impressions


Absolute Drift is an interesting top down car game, that focuses much more on drifting and the control of the car, rather than racing. You'll be doing your best to drift around corners, doing donuts, and fish tails in order to score as much points and to accomplish as much tasks as possible.

YouTube™ Video: Absolute Drift: Impressions (Drift driving adventure game, indie, gameplay, and review)
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Absolute Drift: Impressions (Drift driving adventure game, indie, gameplay, and review) Absolute Drift is an interesting top down driving indie game, that focuses on drifting more than racing.

Once in the game you'll be thrown into a somewhat open world where you'll be doing various tasks, such as ramp jumping, donuts, fish tails, and other drifting and driving challenges. Once the section of the map's tasks are complete, it'll open up new areas of the game. While exploring this semi-open world, you'll also be given the opportunity to enter one of it's many mini-missions where you'll be aiming for high scores on the leader board. The game also features multiple car models, and colour and pattern customization as well.

The biggest hurdle to Absolute Drift is it's learning curve. It's not an easy game to master and make little concession to beginning or even intermediate players. The controls are difficult at first, as the car feel very differnt from other driving games, and the ground feels something like ice. Spinning out and losing control of your car will probably be your first 30 minutes or more of your experiance. This might prove frustrating to players who don't play a lot of driving games (like me) but when you start to get the hang of things, and the small amounts of progress that you make in your driving ability really does feel rewarding. How ever, if you are a fan of driving games, it's focus on high teir play may very well be an attraction to you.

The game also looks great, as it's polished and clean look catches the eye, with it's minimalist design, with great music that suit the game's look and feel. Infact, the game's OST was one of the main motavators to push through the initial frustration of the controls. I just wanted to keep playing so I could keep listening to the amazing sound track.

Overall, Absolute Drift is an interesting car game that I mostly enjoyed. I loved the presentation, I love the music, I love the concept. The only thing holding me back from enjoying the game to it's full potential is my sucky driving in combination with the game's extremly high learning curve.

Pros
- Great visuals
- Amazing sound track
- An interesting concept
- High teir driving fans would probably love the challenge level

Cons
- Extremely high learning curve
- Frustrating at times

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Feist: Quick Look


Feist is a heavily stylized 2D platformer. It features a great looking art design with physics based platforming. You don't have a default attack, but you'll be able to pick up and push objects in the environment to keep foes at bay, and to solve puzzles.

The mechanics are very simple and because of this, Feist is a fairly accessible game. It's not a hard game to pick up and play on a whim. Though it's design is minimalist, the game is quite challenging. There were a few segments where I felt relatively frustrated. Some times the solution isn't immediately clear, or the game suddenly spikes in it's difficulty. Trial and error will be key to success.

The art, audio, and overall presentation is gorgeous. Strong silhouettes, and a pleasant colour pallet really help sell the game's look. The audio also adds a ton to the atmosphere and is quite easy on the ears.

Feist overall is a pretty enjoyable platformer. A few frustrating moments, and the mechanics are fairly simple, but it has it's charm, and I found it fairly satisfying.

Pros:
- Great art design and audio
- Good use of the game's physics
- Some interesting puzzle segments

Cons:
- Some parts frustrating
- Very basic mechanics

Sunday, July 19, 2015

No Time to Explain Remastered: Quick Look



No Time to Explain is a comedic puzzle platformer that features ridiculous amounts of "rocket jumping". You have an extremely powerful and exaggerated laser, though sometimes the game will change it up with different weapons, such as an equally powerful and exaggerated shotgun. Rather than using these weapons to combat creeps, you'll be using them to traverse and solve the level.

The mechanics are simple and easily understood. You can move left and right, jump, aim, shoot, and do a little jig (there is a dance button. Why? Reasons). It's really just that simple. You'll be using the game's weapon that it provides to work out a solution to the end of the map, with the map and the game's physics itself as your adversaries. As mentioned before, there are no mobs to fight (at least from what I've played). The only combat that I've experienced so far, with almost 2 hours in, is the boss fights them selves. The puzzles are satisfying and the map designs are smart, but I do feel the game could of gained rather than detracted if it threw in a few combat scenarios. It feels almost like a waste, that the player can't use these impressive weapons in more meaningful ways, other than traversing. Luckily, the puzzle and platforming aspect is quite well done and serves well as the game's main dish.

The presentation is a little simplistic but it does the job. It goes with a flash cartoon look, something similar to say Castle Crashers, but the characters and animation has a charming appeal to it. The game's focus on comedy really helps out with it's overall feel and atmosphere. It's probably not the best looker of the year, but there's something really lovable about the characters and the animation.

Overall, No Time to Explain is an interesting take on the puzzle platform genre, with smart level design, charming animations, and ridiculous weaponry. I can safely say, I've enjoyed my time with the game.

Pros:
- Charming and comedic characters and animation
- The weapons feel very powerful
- Smart map design

Cons:
- Under utilizes the awesome weapons

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Last Dogma: Impressions


The Last Dogma is a slightly off beat narrative focused adventure game. There's very few combat sequences (less than a handful), and very little to interact with.

The game focuses instead on dialog and story, however the dialog choices given have no consequences and have no baring to the outcome of the game. It's also incredibly cryptic just for the sake of being cryptic with out any connection to the gameplay. The story is also incoherent and a lot of the story sequences are incredibly drawn out, long winded, confusing, and with no player interaction.

The Last Dogma: Impressions (Adventure, story driven, indie, gameplay, and review) The Last Dogma is a strange adventure game, that compares itself to the Stanley Parable. Does it compete?

The game is also plagued with technical hic ups, and poor presentation. There are parts of the game where the player can walk off the ledge of the map, visual glitches all over the place, and poor grammar and spelling just to name a few issues. The game also features a ridiculous menu system where you have to use the "F" keys to adjust your visual settings with the settings themselves vaguely labeled as anything useful. Also the game features inconsistent model quality and incredibly blurry textures when you get up close.

So I've pointed out a lot of issues with the game, is there anything at all redeeming about it? The Last Dogma is a one man project, so in that context some of the environmental design is actually pretty interesting, and sometimes even look quite good, as long as you don't get too close to anything. The game is also priced relatively low as well, at $7.00usd it's not an overly steep price for the most curious.

Overall The Last Dogma falls flat on almost every aspect. Inconsistent visuals, technical bugs, and presentation quality are all issues, but the one aspect that takes the cake is the lack of gameplay and the incoherent story.

Pros:
- Some interesting environmental design
- Reasonable asking price

Cons:
- Incoherent themes and story
- Lacks gameplay
- Short
- Buggy
- poor presentation

Friday, July 10, 2015

Spectra: Quick Look (Score Attack, Racing, Indie game)


Spectra is a flashy cyber punk score attack game that features simple mechanics, but challenging gameplay.

The game's premise is pretty simple. Keep your ship on the track, steer it away from danger, and collect points. Hit an obstacle and you lose your current score chain. The game focuses more on the score attack aspect than actually completing the track, though for obvious reasons, completing a track gives the player more opportunity to build his or her score. There's 10 tracks total, and a hardcore version of them as well, offering the player a decent amount of gameplay.

Visually the game looks great, with a cyberpunk, almost Tron aesthetic. The music and audio are great as well, with fantastic upbeat chiptunes that fit right into the game's atmosphere. Presentation wise, I have no complaints.

Though the game is simple, yet challenging, it does suffer a little from monotony. Though each progressing track get harder and harder, it's really more of the same, but with more obstacles, or an extra turn. As far as variety is concerned, the game lacks in the department.

Overall, Spectra is a very easy to learn, yes hard to master game. It has a nice polished presentation, and ideal for the who like score attack games, or as a distraction from your more main staple games.

Pros:
- Polished presentation
- accessible
- Challenging Gameplay

Cons:
- Repetitive

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Traverser: Impressions (Puzzle adventure)




Traverser is an interesting isometric puzzle adventurer, that features physics based puzzles as the player explore the game's dystopian world.

In the game you play as a young girl, who's a trained Traverser, special candidates who can manipulate objects with a special glove. In the beginning you'll find your father missing and that's where your story start. As you play you'll learn more about the wonderfully designed underground world, and it's many secrets. It's a story of dystopia set in a steampunk fantasy world.

The mechanics are simple enough. With your special Traverser glove you can pick up objects, have full control of the X, Y, and Z axis. You'll be using this very simple ability through out the game, stacking objects to get to ledges, dropping objects on weighted platforms, or even using it to build pipes. The game also features some stealth segments as well, having the player sneak past guards and cameras, as well as other segments where it'll require the player to explore the map. But to emphasis my opening remarks, it is the object manipulation and puzzle solving that takes focus here.

The game is quite a looker, with a great art style that capitalizes on the game's low poly look. With hand illustrated textures, dramatic lighting, and a delicious color pallet that you can almost taste. The voice acting and sound track are of equal praise. The actors portray emotions and character, while the ambient sounds and subtle music adds to the game's well developed environment, all of which, are stylized in a wonderfully steam punk manner.

The game looks and sound great, and the premise is simple enough, but how does it play? To put it bluntly, the game is very simple. Most of the puzzles aren't overly difficult, and the combat consist of little more than moving some objects and bumping it into enemies. For gamers that want complex, multi-layered gameplay, Traverser might not be suitable, even for those who are looking for a challenging puzzle experience, I feel Traverser may disappoint. How ever, I feel Traverser was never designed to be a brain teaser type of puzzler, rather, a more relaxed approach is taken. For those who just want to chill to some satisfying puzzles, that won't frustrate too long, while offering a wonderfully designed world to explore, Traverser can be a great experience. It wasn't the puzzles that kept me interested in the game, rather, the story and the sights. I enjoyed exploring the world and learning more about the situation, characters, and environment that it takes place in. It was my biggest incentive to keep playing.

Overall Traverser is an interesting physics based puzzler, where I feel the story and world, carries a large portion of the game.

Pros:
- Great design and aesthetics
- Very Accessible
- Great story and characters
- Great voice acting

Cons:
- Very simple mechanics
- Isometric view can hinder precision

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Postal 2 Paradise Lost: Impressions


Postal 2 Paradise Lost is an expansion to an eleven year old game. Not often this happens but I think it was a pretty interesting and a smart idea by Running with Scissors. Postal 2 was definitely their greatest hit, and with Postal Three being panned by both critics and fans a like, Paradise Lost proves to be a worth wild experiment.

Paradise Lost being an expansion to an eleven year old game, there's going to be some issues that comes with that. The most obvious one is the visuals. Since it's not a remaster, It definitely looks dated. Also, since it's an expansion, it needs to remain consistent to it's base game. Because of this, it uses eleven year old design philosophy. There's no iron sights, no reload, and the player can carry what seems to be a fright truck's worth of inventory. To newer gamer's this might actually be a charming factor, as games today simply don't feature what feels like dinosaur mechanics. Though it comes with a cost, which is the overall gameplay. The gun play is obviously lacking, and if you don't voluntarily cause mayhem as you play, it does turn into something of a walking simulator.

With all that said, luckily for the game, the gameplay and visuals are probably not the incentive for most who would be interested. What Postal 2 Paradise Lost does well is it's humor, and the amount of room it gives the player to goof off. Although it's not required to cause chaos as you play, Postal 2 Paradise Lost fills the world with open levels and a ton of tools and NPCs for the player to play around with. The game gives the player a huge amount of inventory space to give incentive to play in the sandbox. Wasting a few rockets for no reason carry little penalties as sequences where you'll require the lost ammo to accomplish a boss fight, is often littered around those areas. The tools provided for the player to play with are as absurd as the concept of the game. Diseased cow heads, hedge clippers, a d!ldo grenade, hell, you can even unzip your pants, and urinate on people to "stun" your opponents, causing them to vomit in place.

The game also features a no apology approach to black comedy. It's not afraid to poke fun at touchy subjects, make jokes that the more sensitive would find offensive, and simply put, is lewd, crude, and rude. For any one who's sick of all the politically correct games out there, Postal 2: Paradise lost will be a nice refresher. It's also really interesting to see the Postal brand of humor being applied to more current themes and subjects. When you see a certain famous journalist prancing around the game that's eleven years old, it's almost a surreal feeling. Just a PSA though: If you ARE one who has a steak of being offended by entertainment, stay away. Stay away for the sake of your own sanity.

Overall Postal 2 Paradise Lost is a hilarious trip down memory lane. It keeps to the spirit of the original Postal 2, and succeeds in reproducing the magic that captivated audiences those eleven years ago. Those who like their comedy raunchy, and their gameplay chaotic, Paradise Lost will not disappoint.

Pros:
- Hilariously offensive
- Tons of room and tools to experiment with in causing mayhem
- Charismatic characters and story
- Captures the essence of the original Postal 2

Cons:
- Dated Graphics
- Dated Mechanics
- Not for every one