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Recent reviews by Athravan

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Showing 1-10 of 67 entries
11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
I hope you like naked goblins. Who doesn't, right?

This is a cute, attractive, colourful, cheesy, funny and entertaining co-op dungeon crawler. You are an ugly little naked goblin who can partner with up to three more folks to work your way through a randomly generated dungeon, collecting coins, killing bosses and buying upgraded gear. It's a roguelike; if you die and your team mates can't resurrect you, you lose your coins and it's bye-bye back to the checkpoint. The checkpoint is the beginning of each dungeon level; so if you're still on the first set of rooms it's game over. If you've progressed a bit further, you will save some progress and your level.

Plenty of content

The rooms are varied, with chasms over lava, the occasional platform to jump on, obstacles to avoid and so on - allowing for plenty of kiting. And kiting is what you will be doing for the majority of the game. Most of the enemies are damage sponges but can be killed by evading them and using a ranged weapon. Some of them have different strengths and weaknesses, such as shields that need to broken, enemies that explode in melee, enemies that have ranged attacks or special attacks etc. There's also bosses which are pretty cool and unique.

By all that is holy, I need pants!!

You get a special ability that's on cooldown that is pretty powerful, and a weapon ability that's slightly powerful and on a shorter cooldown and can buy new weapons and armor from the shop after looting all the things to upgrade your attacks. I found some hats (top hat on a goblin?! Yes please!) and changed my chest, but I couldn't find any pants. This is actually quite critical in this game, since you're a naked, male goblin and I really don't need to see goblin ♥♥♥♥♥♥ (apparently steam censors anatomical words, okay) all day long. Is it really practical to be dangling that about with fire and swords and crossbows?

Trolling your "friends"

You collect mushrooms to heal and to throw at the enemies. If you get a bad mushroom, you also suffer the effects of it, so you've got to be careful you don't get poisoned or stunned or set on fire because those things really don't feel very good. There is an element of PvP in that you can actually stun other players too and then steal their money - quite rude. You can also mount your friends, if that's your kinda deal, and stacked on top of each other your special ability becomes more powerful. I don't know what kind of friends you have, but if I was going to knock mine out and then mount them, I'd probably get a few complaints.

The problem is in the playerbase, as is so often the case with any co-op game. I couldn't find many people to play with - I did host a game and have a couple of people join me, but they ended up snowballing (mushroomballing?) me at annoying times and I can only imagine they were giggling to themselves as I died thanks to my "team mates". I'm not sure that mechanic is well suited to random groups. I'm sure there are some players out there who aren't jerks, but the playerbase seems to be absolutely tiny so you've not got a lot to work with. You're also encouraged by the achievements to attack and steal from your fellow players, so I can't really blame folks for doing it - but when it's people you don't know and costs you your life, it can get frustrating.

Bring your own friends

Ultimately, you really need to bring your own friends to the party. You can always play by yourself, but it really feels like the game is designed to be played with a full party as you won't have any option to be rezzed, to upgrade your special ability or to work as a team when kiting, so loners may need to give this a miss. I did manage to get to the boss on level 2 by myself several times, but alas, he bested me repeatedly. I don't want to sound like a total pariah, I do actually have a few friends - but not willing to drop £10 on this game right now. Perhaps the playerbase will increase during a sale.

I do want to love this game; but a lack of friends makes it a lot duller than it should be for me. I'd love for this to get a big population so that there were easier ways of finding folks to play with.

I'm going to highly recommend it, but only if you have friends to play with.

♥♥♥ If you're a weirdo who wants to follow my reviews, please clicky some links: My Curator Page and My Twitter. Thanks! ♥♥♥
Posted August 18. Last edited August 18.
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11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
I'm following through with my 2017 resolution of "You buy it, you play it, you review it" in an attempt to cut down my excessive game-buying addiction. Spoilers, it's not really working, but here's a review from my ridiculous backlog.

You should Definitely Maybe buy this game.

If Steam had a neutral option or a "Maybe" then I would tick it, but Steam doesn't allow for purely informational reviews without a score. Give us an option in between that doesn't add to the review score but offers insight that potential buyers would like to read! Pretty please with a wizard on top.

I would Recommend this game to players of any original Ascii Rogue games for nostalgia value or those who wish to play a piece of classic gaming history.

I played LARN on and off for a few years, although my personal Rogue of choice was the Angband series (which was a little later on, coming out in 1990) when I was a kid. I had a PC very early as my mum believed it to be the next big educational thing (well she wasn't wrong!). I wasn't allowed games consoles, but I had a PC in my room "for schoolwork" and of course, I figured out how to play games on it pretty damn young! Yeah mum, I'm just doing schoolwork, don't worry about it. Nothing to see here at all. She didn't realize for years that you could play video games on a PC.

Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia.

I bought and played this game for the nostalgia and it definitely hit the spot for a few hours, but the fact of it is these games do not live up to modern quality of life standards, leading to frustration and confusion if you're not familiar with the flaws. In the 80s and early 90s this sort of game was ground breaking, but now there's a reason they've been left behind.

I'm not going to go into all the mechanics - you're in a dungeon, you're exploring, you kill mobs, equip items, drink potions, and try to survive. If you die, it's game over. The very definining feature of this genre. It's all about risk and reward. Do I quaff this unknown potion when I'm low on health? Will it heal me to full or kill me? Do I venture down a level, or stay up here and farm? Do I try to reach that treasure chest and risk that monster? The strategy is in the decisions you make. I must have spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours in this type of game and rarely actually reached the goal.

In 2017 it's nostalgia that reels me back in and if I'm brutally honest I can see why these games are relegated to the past. We have shiny things like graphics now, and developers who understand that most people like to feel a sense of progression, hence the creation of the "roguelike" genre. Retro gaming might be popular; but it usually comes with a whole host of modern upgrades even if it has a retro look and feel. Mindlessy walking into mobs a dozen times to kill them isn't very satisfying and the game has some line of sight issues as well as crazy RNG which make it a little unfair. The lack of classes or RPG elements never occured to me in the original, but now I'd prefer a bit of diversity in my game.

It's a big part of what helped modern gaming develop

There's no doubt that LARN made a big impact on the history of gaming and paved the way for the video game world we have today. XLARN is a fitting homage with some updates. It's nice to see a piece of history available on Steam and to get my nostalgia fix; but the original is still available for free (you might struggle getting it to play with newer versions of Windows though) should you wish to experience it in all it's glory (check out Angband too!)

At $5 the price seems somewhat steep but it is frequently heavily discounted in sales. When it's 80% off, add it to your library and experience a bit of gaming history. Young 'uns can marvel at the entertainment we had available to us in ye olde days before closing it and being grateful that gaming has progressed.

♥♥♥ If you're a weirdo who wants to follow my reviews, please clicky some links: My Curator Page and My Twitter. Thanks! ♥♥♥
Posted August 15. Last edited August 15.
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Recommended on Sale

This is a bubble shooter game - a casual strategy/puzzle genre where you shoot things at other things, if the colours match then they pop. The aim is to clear the level, in this case of cute (but evil) creatures known as the Minax. Supermagical has added some depth to the genre, with a simple story that drives the levels forward, and RPG elements such as (fairly limited) equipment (hats) and ingredients you have to collect to craft spells (character upgrades). You can use "soda" to activate special abilities, "sweets" to change the colour of your gun and "chococoins" to purchase quest items, crafting ingredients and more sweeties. Yeah, the whole thing just screams "I'M CUTE." There are a couple of mini-games such as a memory-pair game and hidden object games (find the treasure for each stop).

Bright and Happy

The art is great - extremely bright, attractive cartoon / comic book style. I love it, but in limited doses please. The animations are smooth and satisfying and the sound is appropriately upbeat to match. There are a lot of levels, and you can replay them to max out your stars (although this seems to be purely for an achievement) but after playing it for a while I did find the levels felt fairly similar. Definitely a game better played in small chunks than long gameplay sessions. The whole cuter-than-cute style won't suit everyone as well - but would definitely be a good family-friendly game and age appropriate for just about anyone. My four month old son watched me play this and was enthralled. Start em young, right?

Not catered to PC players.

Unfortunately, here's the reason I won't be recommending it at full price. This was originally released on the mobile market as a free to play game with in-app purchases. The developers say the controls have been changed to adapt to PC, but the UI has not been updated and it's clear that the "swipe and shoot" mechanic is very much a direct port from a touchpad and not the standard way you would expect to play a game with a mouse and keyboard. It's not an intuitive movement at all. Graphical improvement is listed for the PC - but it seems to be a simple upscaling to 1080p, there are no resolution options or window options at all. This must be played in fullscreen, as there are zero options, which does not cater to different monitor sizes or the fact that a lot of people like to alt tab and multi-task whilst PC gaming, especially when the game is this casual. It does not feel like any real effort was made to accomodate PC players and the basic updates I would expect from a mobile port are simply missing.

Something that I noticed is that the three reviews featured on the store page are from 2012 - 2 reviews of the mobile game and 1 from the PS Vita. The awards listed on the side are for the various mobile versions. I feel this is somewhat misleading. As a free to play mobile game I would definitely recommend this. That does not mean I feel the same about it being a $5 Steam game with no PC customization or options. It's disengenous for a developer to list a positive quote from a review or a sleugh of awards for a different version of the game and not clearly state that. This isn't the first developer to do it, and since Steam doesn't police the content of the store pages, it won't be the last - but it's something I think folks should be aware of.

Pros:
  • Bright and attractive art style
  • Cute names and story
  • Suitable for all ages, so a good family game
  • Simple gameplay that's easy to grasp
  • Lots of content

Cons:
  • Feels quite repetitive/grindy after the first couple of hours of gameplay
  • Controls not intuitive for PC
  • No graphics, resolution or windowed options for PC
  • Has the feel of a direct mobile port without adjustments

It is an enjoyable game if you are looking for a casual puzzle game with an upbeat soundtrack and bright graphics. My recommendation is to wait for a heavy sale / bundle.

I would like to thank Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team (try saying that fast three times) for giving me a copy of the game to review.

♥♥♥ If you're a weirdo who wants to follow my reviews, please clicky some links: My Curator Page and My Twitter. Thanks! ♥♥♥
Posted August 14. Last edited August 14.
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
66.9 hrs on record
Note: This is a shortened review. I wrote a much longer / more detailed review with screenshots; but no one wants to read a wall of text on Steam. Hasn't stopped me before, I know.. but this time I have the full version on my website[www.playwithath.com] should you want it, and this is a wee bit more concise for easy reading.

Despite the market being saturated, I love strategic card games. I play every single one of them, albeit sometimes only for a few hours. 50 hours in and I’m still playing Elder Scrolls: Legends. However, I do feel that there’s an almost arbitrary choice between a lot of the new generation CCGs and a lot of it may come down to personal preference based heavily on the lore of the universe and your connection to it.

I have a deep love for the Elder Scrolls universe, so I immediately liked the dark magic / fantasy setting and appreciate the gritty characters and graphics more so than the cartoonized CCGs. I enjoy the lane mechanic, which can really spice things up (usually in crazy PvE) fights and bring something new to the game. Talking of PvE, this game has it in great abundance, and the only real money I've spent so far has been on the Brotherhood campaign which I thoroughly enjoyed. I spend a lot of time in the PvE arena and I think it's a great way to farm vs the AI and an effective gold spender for getting more than a pack worth of rewards.

The runes and prophecy mechanic (you draw a card when you lose a rune at 5 health down and if that card is a prophecy, you play it for free) gives some scope for a comeback. This means even if you think you're dead next turn, a well timed prophecy draw can result in a turn around. It adds an extra element to deck building, too.

The game doesn't feel grindy - a combination of flexible quests that are fun to complete, Twitch drops and generous rewards for both PvE and PvP doesn't make me feel like I'm falling behind on cards or that I need to spend real money to have a good time.

Finally, it's a good package. An intuitive, sleek UI, beautiful graphics, easy mechanics with some unique features, customizable profiles and titles, short matches and an array of content all add up to a good package. Not a genre defining one, not that innovative perhaps, but fun enough to have drawn me in for 50 hours and hopefully many more in the future.

For those deeply invested in a different CCG, there may not be enough incentive to switch, but I'd highly recommend you give this one a go, whether you're an old hand to card games or just coming to the genre.

♥♥♥ If you're a weirdo who wants to follow my reviews, please clicky some links: My Curator Page and My Twitter. Thanks! ♥♥♥
Posted August 10. Last edited August 10.
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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Let's start off with a bit of flagellation

My morbid mission seems simple. Keep my village in shape (aka cowering) for three years (twelve game turns) so that we can appease the demon Chernobog and be ushered into the apocalypse whilst in his favour. The end is nigh, and as cult leader I must decide which villager to sacrifice each year. Sometimes that’s an easy choice. This young Cadwell was an artist, polluting minds with her creativity and we simply cannot have that. Sometimes I have only a few minor transgressors to choose from, yes, he asks too many questions and ugh, she seems to be sympathetic to others whilst this one likes reading books… but is that really punishable by death? Well.. someone has to go and I’m certainly not going to kill the Sadist, he’s working miracles!

Balance the scales

You have to work out a delicate balance. You must keep each house happy or they will revolt, you must keep your five important stats balanced and of course most importantly, you must ensure you follow the dark whispers that Chernobog utters. Ignorance, fervor, discipline, penitence and obedience, you can’t be a good cult without all those in abundance. This is a dark, brooding and depressing Lovecraftian management simulation. The art is a simple monochrome aesthetic in three hues, each more ugly than the next. Delightfully ugly though, which really describes the game throughout. The music is jarringly appropriate and the overall atmosphere is one of evil and malevolence. That’s pretty impressive considering this is a 2D text management game with three colours and almost no animations. My 4 month old son is not very well at the moment and his grizzling cries as we sat together playing this game (another game for my “one handed mouse gameplay list”) added beautifully to the ambience.

Gameplay

Each turn has you choose 5 advisors from each house. From these five, someone will die. They will also be the ones who take actions for this turn so you must choose a careful balance to ensure that you have advisors who can meet your current status needs and to be sure to have a worthy sacrifice afterwards. Each house member has a perk and a vice – randomly generated. These start out hidden, then you get an idea for the category they’re in and finally unlock the specific trait. If your reputation with that house is high enough, you’ll get the option to discover a trait from someone, otherwise they can be randomly discovered whilst taking actions. After choosing your five, you begin the turn. You now have three months and must choose between one and three advisors to take their house action each turn. The aim is to balance everything perfectly – your stats and your reputation, through the months and years, whilst discovering who has the most murderable traits. What fun!

Limited playtime

It does have one major flaw; a single game should last about an hour. You can complete the game and not “win” (get the good ending) and then start again, but once you’ve won once or twice and discovered most of the vices and experienced the events, this is going to have little replayability. With RNG involved, it’s possible to die a lot in the first year – or get a combination that makes the game seem easy. Getting “lucky” in this game could actually drastically decrease your playtime. I enjoyed the challenge at the start, but having played it for a few hours can get through one game quite quickly now.

At £7 / $10 it’s up to you whether you feel this is good value for money. This is not a game you’re going to sink a ton of hours in, but I felt far more evil and creeped out by the end of it than most of the horror games I’ve played. It’s certainly a memorable and unique game, getting a big thumbs up from me.

♥♥♥ If you're a weirdo who wants to follow my reviews, please clicky some links: My Curator Page and My Twitter. Thanks! ♥♥♥
Posted August 9. Last edited August 9.
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20 of 20 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Imagine if Monkey Island, Blackadder and the X-Files had a threesome…

We play Detective Francis McQueen, a police detective who is into “spooky crap” (as Officer Patrick Dooley puts it), aka investigating crimes where there is an element of the supernatural – the Darkside – with his fairly useless and slightly corrupt sidekick. The dialogue is sharp, to the point and extremely witty throughout. Almost the entire game is written with humour. Sometimes silly, sometimes downright farcical and often clever. Peppered with smart linguistics and pop culture references, it was a real delight to read. It had me smirking in the very first interaction and that keeps up throughout and it reminded me in many ways of the Discworld game, which is a real treat since I’ve been a hardcore Terry Pratchett fan for two decades.

This is a point and click adventure game, so we must work our way through a series of interactions and logical puzzles to figure out how to progress and solve all six of the Detective’s outstanding cases. There were some moments of guesswork for me – but ultimately everything was entirely logical and made perfect sense, even if I didn’t always quite get it until I’d tried quite a lot of things. Through talking to folks, investigating items, combining things and a couple of simple puzzles, we progress through each spooky story. The gameplay is very minimalist and relatively fast; you don’t control or move your character, only scene changes and there is very little animation. This does mean you move through it at a pace and the bite-size episodic cases make it easy to play in short bursts but still feel very satisfied with what you’ve achieved.

The graphics are very much stylized block pixel 2D graphics, which won’t be for everyone. My husband, for example, hates this graphical style and would never consider playing it – aesthetics is definitely a strong personal preference. I like the graphics and felt they fit well with the overall atmosphere of the game, which is also heavily reinforced by the appropriately spooky soundtrack. The music is serious and really creates the setting for the scene changes – this works incredibly well with the humorous dialogue and gives the game a more cohesive feeling. You are at the end of the day, solving crime here!

The game is short; taking me just 4 hours to complete all six cases (and if you’ve played the demo, that will be five). I didn’t find all the hidden achievements there so there is perhaps an extra challenge for hardcore completionists, but on the whole there is very little replay value so some may question the value. On the settings side this game is bare bones; there no resolution options, no window size options and the game is played in full screen mode which might frustrate those who are used to running multiple monitors and alt-tabbing. The only settings are for sound.

I enjoyed every minute of this game though and would highly recommend it to fans of the genre, or newcomers who like amusing dialogue. A thoroughly engaging and entertaining game from start to finish. Need more!

If you’re not sure if this is for you, check out the demo which is the first case. Like right now. Go, go, go!


♥♥♥ If you're a weirdo who wants to follow my reviews, please clicky some links: My Curator Page and My Twitter. Thanks! ♥♥♥
Posted August 3. Last edited August 3.
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20 of 22 people (91%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Fidel: Dungeon Rescue is a strategy/puzzle dungeon crawler in which you play a dog called Fidel who is attempting to get through the dungeon to rescue your human. There are 16 levels and each one has a different type of monster and different concepts. In order to survive, Fidel has to find the most efficient path. He cannot go back across his own trail and must try to get to the end whilst gaining as much experience and coins as possible so that later levels are easier, but with limited health and a lot of monsters in the way this can be a real challenge. Some monsters have different tactics that you need to get around them, for example the man-eating plants which need to have their flowers killed first, forcing the main plant to close so it can be killed or the three-headed turtles which can be attacked without taking damage from the tail. There is a reasonable range of opponents, with each level being quite different to the last. There are also buttons and switches, traps and walls to navigate.

You can take your time to try and find the most efficient strategical path to the exit and if you make a minor mistake you can go backwards and try again. If you die however, you have a very brief window before your ghost catches up with you to make it to the exit. Failure results in starting from the entire beginning, giving it that roguelike quality. As you progress through the level, you can unlock useable items (with coins you pick up) and level up, giving you more health - but nothing persists through death.

It's a quick game. You can play for a few minutes, die and put it down. Playing it in short bursts was the most fun for me - perfect considering I'm currently on maternity leave looking after a tiny angry human, so my choice in games lately is definitely more on the side of things that can be picked up and put down very quickly. I'd like to see this on the mobile market - I'd definitely pick this up on the iOS store. The main downside I can see is that some people may not consider it amazing value and depending on how smart you are, this could be a fairly short game. At £5.99 it's a little more expensive than I expected and some may prefer to wait for a sale. There are also no resolution settings; although you can change the size of the window.

Other than that, this is a fun, fast, casual strategy game with decent retro music.

My verdict - recommended to anyone looking for a casual game that still requires a decent amount of brainpower. If I had to give it a score rating, it'd be a solid 4 / 5.

♥♥♥ If you're a weirdo who wants to follow my reviews, please clicky some links: My Curator Page and My Twitter. Thanks! ♥♥♥
Posted August 2. Last edited August 2.
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24 of 28 people (86%) found this review helpful
19.6 hrs on record
This is a tentative recommendation of a 6/10 game for fans of the genre.

Aven Colony is a sci-fi planet building simulator - similar to the Anno series, or perhaps if Tropico was set in space (but alas, without the humour). It follows a very structured format and the challenge often comes from resource management and your building efficiency. It's quite a niche genre which often has high levels of micromanagement and this sort of game often gets a mixed reception. Those who enjoy the game will sink a hefty amount of hours into it, but many will struggle to get past the few hours.

Aven Colony is a very restrictive game and you have to be willing to play by their rules. Those rules don't always make sense, such as the way air quality works, or how angry the AI gets at the police coverage. If the AI is flawed; you have to play to the flaws to win. It took me a while to realize this and I had some frustrating moments of not understanding why certain things were happening. This can lead to it feeling boring, grindy, and every game the same.

You start off with a very simple colony and you build it up in a fairly traditional way. You provide housing so people will come and live there, they dig your mines, run your electricity plants, staff your farms and repair your network of tunnels. You have to trade for whatever resources your planet is lacking. Your people have needs, so you have to make sure they feel protected, that they don't have to walk far to work (and they are really lazy), that they have entertainment and food variety, recreational drugs and medication. At every step of the way you need to micromanage your power, your air quality and your employment locations. These three things are critical and one wrong step can lead to a critical breakdown.

As your colony expands you must defend it from giant worms, ice shards and lightning strikes and the campaign takes you through the exploration of alien artifacts across a variety of different maps, each with strengths and weaknesses... but still at the heart of it - power, air, location. It ends up feeling like you're not really expanding and exploring to find anything new and interesting, but merely to provide more power and more resources. There never quite feels like there's a purpose, even in the campaign. Eventually you will get to a point where you have "beaten" the map - you have a thriving colony that has more resources than you can use. You have perfected your power grid and your people are happy. All negative events can be handled automatically. There's nothing more to do. The question is whether you will enjoy getting there.

I mostly enjoyed the journey; but I know that I'm a heavy fan of micromanagement games, even at extreme levels and where some may see "boring", I often see "relaxing."

Pros:
* Game looks and runs great.
* Good selection of attractive buildings.
* 8 different difficulty levels.
* A competent management game at the core.
* A good length campaign that progresses through different maps.

Cons:
* The game holds your hand every step of the way with constant simple tasks.
* Large amount of notifications that aren't really necessary which can hide the important things.
* Limited maps with limited resources.
* Resource generation can force you to play a certain way.
* Games all end up playing out quite similar - nothing unique.
* Quite a high price tag for a niche indie game - £24.99

Despite what might read as a fairly negative review, I would recommend this game very specifically to people who like the genre and feel starved for their management fix. It is definitely not everyones cup of tea and the game has some limits that might frustrate even colony management fans.

To get the best sense of value; it'd definitely be worth waiting for a sale.
Posted July 31. Last edited August 1.
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21 of 24 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
5.5 hrs on record
Ever wanted to be a Ninja Bug taking on the world?

A tiny insect is watching his forest decay and be destroyed as it is invaded by machines and flooded with pollution. Setting out on an epic journey, he must discover the source and defeat these giant enemies. It's actually quite a moving tale when you think of it - especially when the environment is such a hot topic right now. It's also a great setting, with the juxtaposition between the light and airy forest and the machines that invade it. We journey through the forest, down the sewers and into the factory to find the source.

Pros:

* Beautiful artwork.
* Fluid movement and keyboard/mouse controls.
* Unique gameplay.
* Excellent level design with formulated progression.
* Good range of enemies with different abilities.

Cons:

* Fairly short game, completable in 3-4 hours (or hypothetically under 30 minutes for a full speedrun if you're God-tier)
* Limited replayability (once you have all stars per level, there's nothing else to do).
* Not good for controllers, ups the difficulty level by 6 billion.
* The final two levels are extremely difficult compared to the rest of the game.

Tight Gameplay

The gameplay took me a little getting used to but is very unique. It's a platformer that has no jumping ability (and trust me, I instinct-spammed space a LOT in the beginning, it won't help). Instead, your ninja bug can zip from enemy to enemy, moving and killing them in one stroke. You can walk back and forth using A and D, but the majority of the movement is made by targetting an enemy. You can then move in any direction at great speed, and control the direction of your descent. You end up bouncing from enemy to enemy in fluid, smooth motions.

Precision and Speed

It's both a precision and a speed game. You have to be exact or you're going to be devoured by creepy creatures, impaled on thorns, sliced by spinning blades or trampled by machinery. At the end of each level you have a score. One star for completing it successfully, two for completing it under an allotted time, and three for collecting enough power ups. Sometimes it's simply not possible to both speed run and power run so it adds that extra challenge and replayability, with some levels having secrets to be found. A speedrunner will enjoy the challenge immensely.

Level Design

There is a decent range of enemies, many of whom have unique abilities, such as plants that spit venom at you, or the birds who pick up spiked seeds and drop them in inconvenient places, such as on your head. As the levels progress, minor new mechanics are added that give a little bit of extra depth and complexity each time. From swinging spikes and levers, to keys and unlockable doors, to moveable boxes to... well, I'll let you discover for the rest. You're drip-fed the changes so as each new things is introduced you have time to naturally learn how to respond until you're dealing with everything at once like a pro. Well, that's the idea anyway. My execution was a little bit off to say the least (400th death inc...)

Challenge

On a difficulty level I found the game fairly easy until the final two levels. Although I did die a LOT, the game has short levels and very frequent checkpoints, meaning it's easy to have a stab at the same section multiple times very quickly until you get the hang of it. I'd say it's challenging enough to keep you interested, tax your fingers and get those brain cells whirring... until you get to the last two levels. The difficulty ramps up to insane and I did find the final two levels frustratingly challenging. It took me 2 hours to complete levels 1 through 34 and then 2 hours to complete levels 35 and 36 - levels that should be able to be speedrun in a few MINUTES apparently. Well then, screw lasers, seriously.

At £4 for a 3-4 hour game, some may feel the sense of value is lacking. Personally I'm still happy to highly recommend it - quality over quantity!

♥♥♥ If you're a weirdo who wants to follow my reviews, please clicky some links: My Curator Page, My Twitter, the Welsh Gaming Network[www.welshgamingnetwork.co.uk]. Thanks! ♥♥♥
Posted July 22. Last edited July 22.
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82 of 97 people (85%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
7.6 hrs on record
This is a fairly simple but effective and well thought out city builder with combat.

Kingdoms and Castles allows you to create a city using colourful voxel pieces, make an efficient working supply chain, ensure your citizens are happy, command a small army and defeat rampaging vikings and creatures. There is a fairly small and limited set of buildings so I found it fairly easy to get my supply up and running efficiently, but then a plague wiped out half my citizens in one year. Damn, should have built that hospital sooner. You have to contend with winter, fires, disease and rampaging enemies.

Bands of Vikings will periodically raid and terrorize your city, whilst a dragon flies overhead and targets buildings to burn to a crisp. I even had an ogre destroy an entire section of wall, which I thought was quite rude. The Vikings will go around walls, so you can build your city to kite them through archer towers and ballista, ensuring that they're dead before they reach your population. Don't leave the centre undefended though - because of course, a dragon can simply fly over your fortifications!

You can build an army and you can control them (well, you can control a general and his recruits will follow), so there is an extra level of action to the game there.

Pros:
* Attractive voxel graphics
* Simple, but fun gameplay
* Static defenses such as archer towers and ballista
* Commandable units through an army
* Extra strategy required from both land and air units attacking.
* 3 difficulties, with easy having no attacks - so a relaxing city builder, or a more taxing RTS.
* Planned updates already listed so looks like it will only improve in the future.

Cons:
* Very small maps with odd shapes, a world editor or larger maps would be good.
* Most maps feel very similar (developer has said adding random "unique" things is on the table for an update though!)
* Eventually you will hit the limit for what you can do on a map. It certainly has replayability - but it's not endless.
* Very experienced city builders may find the game a little too simple.

For me, sometimes it's nice to play a city builder that is engaging but not too complicated. I'm really looking forward to the future updates!

It's very fun to play and set at a price point that makes me highly recommend it to fans of the genre.


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Posted July 21. Last edited July 21.
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