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Recent reviews by Zombra

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Showing 1-10 of 135 entries
3 people found this review helpful
15.0 hrs on record
I liked it.

This is a super atmospheric story game about a small-town woman named Rania, making her way as a delivery driver in a colossal dystopian cyber-city.

There is very little proper "gameplay" - in fact this can barely be called a game. Your time will be spent driving from waypoint to waypoint and having conversations with the many, many characters you will meet. Conversations do not branch; instead the story is guided by your decisions about where to go. Will you deliver a suspicious ticking package to the heart of a busy commercial district? or will you dump it down a trash chute to be swept out of the city? Will you flip the switch to help a rogue AI commandeer the system controls for an infected apartment building? or access the terminal that shuts the AI down?

While some of these choices will show repercussions down the road, this is not about trying to get the "best ending"; it's about how you feel about your own decisions along the way and what kind of person Rania becomes. Responses to your actions usually take the form of later reminders about the aftereffects. For example, if you are unable to help save a woman's life, her husband may contact you to accuse you. If you do save her, he might call to thank you.

The story itself ranges widely and deeply across the city, involving the rich, the homeless, the privatized police, the criminal underworld, the androids, the humans, and the artificial intelligences that are entwined into everything. It beautifully reflects And aside from the main story, there are dozens of small one-offs, people you meet with their own lives and interests that have nothing to do with the larger plot. This gives the city a "million stories" vibe which is lovely to explore. Over 15 hours I wanted to see what would happen to Rania next, and never lost interest in how she would react and what choices she might make.

Again, if you are looking for skillful or challenging gameplay, you will not find it here. Come for the atmosphere, the music, the story, and the characters. Think of this as a long movie, or a miniseries if you like, with an interesting tale in each "episode" (delivery job), decision points about how to resolve many of them, and a good overarching plot that ties it all together.

tl;dr: watch the preview videos here on the Steam page. If you like the "vibe" of what you see and hear, consider a relaxing cruise through this game and help Rania get through her long first night on the job.
Posted May 15. Last edited May 15.
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117 people found this review helpful
14.9 hrs on record
Below Zero is a letdown as a sequel to the brilliant original game.

Starting from nothing again, building the exact same tech tree over again, I mean fine, but somehow the world isn't sucking me in like it did the first time, and none of the few changes and additions feel like improvements. (Except the jukebox in your base which allows custom playlists. That was a great idea.)

It really is a huge problem that there isn't a vehicle as fun as the first game's Seamoth, and it's very demotivating that the more I upgrade the Seatruck, the worse it is as a vehicle, as it becomes increasingly impossible to maneuver in enclosed spaces. In the first game, every upgrade gave you more options or better performance, but not here. I guess I'm supposed to dump my upgrades every time I want to go into a cave? So is this an exploration vehicle or not?

More and more, the game seems to get in the way of what I want to be doing, and I just want to get each task over with. Despite my disappointment at leaving a game only half played, when I start feeling this way it's usually time to abandon and move on.

Subnautica was lightning in a bottle, and for me it simply wasn't captured again.
Posted April 11.
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1 person found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
I mean, it's fine. It's a puzzle game, where you find the keycodes, arrange the books on the shelf, turn the dials so they line up, place the candles in the correct pattern, etc. If that's what you want, and it's all you want, this game does do that.

My interest shriveled up after the first hour because the setting and story are utterly devoid of charm or interest. You're some nondescript dude in some nondescript town that seems to be evacuated, so instead of picking up a phone, you start breaking into every building in sight to stack blocks and do sudoku, because that's how one gets clues out of the town's bank vault. Nothing about this is motivating.

The puzzles themselves are pathetically easy, except when the game doesn't communicate well and you can't mind read what the developers expected you to do - and when you are blocked in this way, there's a huge help button right there to give you instructions. Of course you can choose not to click that button, but the general vibe is that you're not supposed to try very hard.

Either way, for me it ended up a totally numb time waster of click this, then click this, then click this. I constantly felt that I just wanted to get it over with, and soon realized I shouldn't bother playing this at all.
Posted April 2. Last edited April 28.
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3 people found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Cute but a bad game.

Instead of something like Papers, Please, where you're steadily learning more and more complicated rules and every mistake makes you go "Aw, it's my fault!", this game progressively throws the rules out the window. Each level gives you less to work with than the last, until all that remains is sheer random guesswork. So you fail, and you have no way of knowing what you should have done differently.

Not satisfying. This could so easily have been made fun. Refunded to get my 57¢ back (I got it on sale!)
Posted March 28. Last edited April 6.
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No one has rated this review as helpful yet
0.2 hrs on record
Exhausting, in the same way that trying to have a coherent conversation with a small child is exhausting, and for the same reasons. The writing in this game is the pure unedited stream of consciousness of someone with nothing to say. After clicking through 30 lines of dialogue from a simple-minded sheep who wouldn't shut up about how wool is gross and they could use a haircut, I uninstalled.
Posted March 24. Last edited March 24.
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6 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
13.1 hrs on record
Aviary Attorney is a "must play" in my opinion.

The title brings to life a cast of characters at once odd, complex, and relatable, in a game about a sometimes bungling, sometimes brilliant lawyer and his gluttonous sidekick.

Gather clues and testimony across 19th century Paris, rubbing elbows with commoners, criminals, professionals, and even the nobility. Defend the innocent across four sprawling cases, each unique and more surprising than the last, through skillful examination of witnesses and triumphant (or disastrous) presentation of evidence.

Soak in the atmosphere, appreciate the visuals and the music, and most of all enjoy the exquisite comedy of the dialogue, by turns subtle and blatant, cleverly paced and never losing its sense of dignity even through its most boorish pratfalls.

This game is a pure delight, deceptive in its simplicity; for all its whimsy, it has its moments of brutal seriousness, which are not to be shied away from. There are things worth fighting for, and crimes worth standing against.

The story is concise and should very enjoyably entertain you for a few evenings. In my opinion the charming setting and dialogue alone are worth the full asking price.

Whatever the cost, don't miss this captivating tale of mystery, friendship, and justice.
Posted March 23. Last edited March 23.
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6 people found this review helpful
13.3 hrs on record
This game is a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ masterpiece and you should play the demo immediately.
And then buy the full game.

This is a brilliant throwback to Resident Evil style, fixed camera exploration/combat games, with a tighter focus and a great sense of fun.

The presentation is a delight: in contrast to all the smudgy, dark, high detail gore games of today, Alisa is clean and colorful without being garish. Enemies are porcelain dolls and creepy puppets - no rotting flesh or dripping fluids here - yet maintain the menace so fundamental to good survival horror.

Combat is challenging but fair. Many people complain about fixed camera games as too hard, how am I supposed to know when I'm fighting and where they are? Alisa's enemies give obvious sound cues when they appear, and the simple expedient of a HUD indicator lighting up will tell you when your weapon is pointed at something and when it isn't.

There are a wide variety of enemies, and even leaving aside the boss fights, you are constantly encountering new things. Every enemy type has its own special rules for mobility, attack and defense patterns etc. and you always have to assess and devise new tactics, particularly when attacked by a combination of foes. As you would expect, boss fights are even more unique and engaging.

Scarcity is real. Your playthrough will only have a single save, and ammunition and healing items are not generously awarded. In many survival horrors, by the endgame I am swimming in extra ammo and dozens of health potions. Not here. Certainly, you don't need to be a freak about it and reload a save every time you miss a shot, but you can't be wasteful either. If you run out of bullets and save the game, you may very well put your playthrough into an unwinnable state and have to start all over. Far from being a failure of design, I consider this a strong incentive to play intelligently. It's good to play old school style - with no safety net.

Note that at the time of this writing the game isn't totally finished yet! There are still some doors that don't open and a few other things that need fleshing out. Regardless, other than wondering "What's behind there?" this does not damage the experience at all. The game is polished and a complete beginning-to-end experience.

I paid full price and it took about 13 hours for me to complete the game, which was all quality time, no filler. No need to wait for a sale. Try the demo, and if you like what you see, you'll get your money's worth for the full game.
Posted March 6. Last edited May 15.
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8 people found this review helpful
8.8 hrs on record
Recommended without reservation.

If "more of the same" sounds bad to you, you didn't play the first game.

Mimimi Games has done it again, providing three more full levels and three smaller vignettes in the original Shadow Tactics style, with all of the atmosphere, music, gameplay, and excellent writing and voice direction I have come to expect from them after my experiences with Blades of the Shogun and Desperados III.

If $20 seems too much for just 9 hours of gameplay, I get it and understand if you want to wait for a sale. It'll still be there. But if you enjoy any of these games, Aiko's Choice is more top notch content and not to be missed, so don't wait too long.
Posted February 27.
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2 people found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record

This is a really stylish FMV-type game, in which the protagonist can change forms into any of the other characters, leading to numerous strange interrogation opportunities.

A game like this lives or dies by its performances and direction. I found the characters all charming and interesting, and their various secrets intriguing.

There were a few times when I ran out of ideas and spent some energy "brute forcing" combinations of disguise + interrogation suspect, so either I was a little dense or maybe the paths through the game aren't marked well enough. Either way, the story here was good enough to maintain my interest over these few stumbling blocks.

The game took me just over 3 hours to complete and it was time well spent. After completion, the player is granted the "new game +" power of skipping over previously viewed scenes, allowing one to buzz through again to see the results of different choices and combinations if desired. Personally I probably won't play through again as I was very happy with the story I came away with.

Note that I failed to guess correctly who the culprit was, but the ending of the game was still very fun and satisfying. I love it when a game lets failure be fun too.

I am buying more games from this developer. Thank you D'Avekki Studios!
Posted February 16. Last edited February 16.
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4 people found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Yep -

Atmospheric, quick detective story to be played over an evening or two.

The mechanics are simple and straightforward - you click on items to examine them for clues, and converse with suspects, asking questions and filing away the answers. Material or conversational clues go into your information bank, and you can ask any suspect about any previously learned piece of information. This gets you more information, and your investigation will naturally expand until you finally know enough to confront the guilty party and accuse them of the crime.

The gameplay comes in in deciding what is relevant to the case, and which critical question will open the way forward. The game is linear in this sense, with a single path leading you towards the end credits, and dozens of clues and several suspects to sift through. Despite this very narrow structure, the game does not seem constricted or unfair. Every new lead is sensible and will take you to the next breakthrough with a bit of thought, and there are enough clues to pick through that you will need to pay attention and think critically to find your way.

Also very important here is the presentation. You will see exteriors of buildings, silhouettes of interior locations and their clues, and (during conversation) very expressive portraits of your suspects, all trimmed with unobtrusive jazz music. The graphics and music are stylish and attractive, and the characters charming.

There are zero minigames, no side combat, nothing extra thrown in to distract you from the solid casework.

I liked the story overall. It won't win any awards or blow your mind, but was interesting and I cared about its resolution. The only disappointment was the final reveal in the case, which felt forced and unconvincing.

I completed the game in about 4 hours without having to consult a walkthrough. In my opinion, $15 is very steep for such a short, minimalistic game. I suggest putting this on your wishlist and picking it up at a better price. You should play it - when the numbers are right and you have a few hours to enjoy a good detective yarn.

The very ending hints at a sequel, which I would definitely want to pay money for and play.

The game has a demo. If you're reading this, you should try it.
Posted February 13. Last edited February 13.
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Showing 1-10 of 135 entries