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Recent reviews by (J7) Dsp21

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Showing 1-10 of 38 entries
39 people found this review helpful
12.8 hrs on record
Enter the gruesome lands of the Roman Empire, become a lanista of your own ludus and train your gladiators to fight in the arena. Domina is mostly a management game than a fighter, but it manages to be enjoyable being both.

It takes a matter of seconds to start your journey, you're presented to your ludus, 3 starting gladiators and there you go. From now on it's your responsibility to train them, please the Legate and the Magistrate, hire up to 3 employees for your ludus and make sure resources aren't missing. The game isn't too overly complicated with what you have to do, which I enjoyed. It's easy to learn and not that hard to master, within a few battles and maybe some unwanted deaths, you'll start to rise and become the best lanista the Romans have ever seen!

You have exactly one year to train your gladiators until they are ready for the final games, hosted by The Emperor himself. Purchase slaves or already trained gladiators, upgrade their skills and equipment and keep their mood up high. When men are upset, they will ask for their freedom, and for a lanista, freedom is expensive. The skill tree is a set of abilities taught by the Doctore, while being a huge monetary investment, the improvements on the gladiators are drastically needed.

One of these skills is Mind Control, which is where the player steps in. This gives you the ability to control your gladiator and fight on the arenas yourself. The controls and gameplay are fairly simple but it surely feels good to decapitate someone with your overpowered fighter. In the midst of these upgrades, two of them include brand new fighting styles (or classes) for your servants. The default is always the Thraex - standard shield and sword fighting. Then we have Murmillo and Retiarius! The first is a dual-wielding making the shield absent. The latter uses long weapons, a shield and a net. When the 2 skills are explored through the Doctore, you can train your gladiators with whatever style you like the most.

Throughout of these 365 days of surviving assassination attempts, facing regional champions, behemoths and even lions, there's random events that can be outright funny, benefit you or really damage your progress. They're presented as text with multiple choices. These usually are connected to your relations with the Legate and the Magistrate. Displeasing these two isn't that wise of a move since they organize most of your fights.

Personally, I thought Domina was great. It's well-thought and simple, but it may punish you when you're reckless. It's all about learning what to and what not to do, and make your mistakes serve as lessons for your next battles. Believe me, you won't want to cover up a plan to assassinate the Magistrate... Believe me. Despite some minimal bugs and buggy achievement progress, it's definitely a game to play at least once if you're interested in the history of the Roman Empire. Special thanks to Chris Fifty-Two for the gift, it was a spectacle of violence indeed.
Posted October 10, 2017.
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40 people found this review helpful
87.1 hrs on record (76.2 hrs at review time)
I wasn't aware of SEUM up until I had played its demo (now removed from the Store). In less than one hour, I was completely convinced that this game had immense potential, so I added it to my wishlist and waited for a sale. Six months later, here I am writing a review for it.

SEUM is a first person platformer where you have to complete each level as fast as possible. Featuring a leaderboard system, you can track your times, your friend's and the worldwide records for every level. The scores are reset on every season, to make sure the top scores are fair without fixed exploits. It is technically an incentive to come back to it once in a while in case being on top is something you love.

Running on the Unity engine, the game does not look spectacular or revolutionary but what matters is that it plays wonderfully. Controls are simple but tight, and movement feels perfect for the genre. All controls are rebindable in case you want to customize them. Graphical options are very limited which is disappointing, but you can adjust the FOV from about 60 to 140, which in my opinion is a crucial option in a game like this, despite the max value being a little too much!

The first levels are fairly simple which mostly serve to introduce you to the mechanics, but the difficulty surely starts to increase on the third floor. With an impressive variety in level design and level variety, every level feels completely different from the others. That said, repetition doesn't feel frustrating in this game, it is the only way to learn and progressively get better. In total, there's about 150 levels on this game to be beaten, about 25 of them added in expansion packs (labeled as Extended Plays), completely free of charge! If you even want more levels, SEUM features Steam Workshop support and has a level editor to create your own demonic creations with ease! Within every level there are 2 different times to beat, and a beer hidden in it. Obviously, to get 100% completion all of this criteria is required. These beers do get very challenging to find on later levels! I have to admit the Steam discussions and guides surely gave me a hand. There's just tons of content in this game to discover and play through. About 10 secret levels, 12 bonus levels and 10 rituals to complete, which unlock 10 more secret levels.

The music in this game despite being very short and limited, is great! The tracks are either rock or metal songs with no vocals, that will have you humming along while dying over and over again. At the time I did the Hardcore Speedrun, I had it turned off to listen to my own music, but bear in mind I had about 25 hours clocked in at this point. There's some great tunes in this title, definitely a game to NOT mute while playing!

Five powerups may be present in the levels: Teleport, Anti-Gravity, Split, Spawn-Platform and the Booster. The last one is just a temporary speed boost so it's not like the others. You can have one powerup equipped at a time, and this means you have to plan your strategy on levels with various powerups. Bear in mind you spawn with no powerup, it must be picked up every time. There's definitely a learning curve in each of these powerups and it will take a while to master them.

If the clock ticking on each level isn't enough for you, there's also an Endless Mode that randomly generates an infinite hall with traps with a deadly machine right behind you to make sure the player doesn't slow down. Run, Marty, run! And if the Endless Mode is still not enough, you also have a Speedrun mode where you can speedrun entire floors at a time... or even the whole bloody game from start to finish! Not to mention that there is an option to enable the Hardcore Speedrun mode in which you have to complete the whole game without dying. It was a tough and lengthy challenge, but completing felt overwhelmingly satisfying. Still not enough content to convince you? Well then... just go find the secrets and Easter eggs scattered around!

It took me 35 hours to complete everything in the game, including the Hardcore Speedrun. Of those 35 hours, none of them were tedious, I cannot find a section of this game that I utterly hated or despised for being too hard, too frustrating or just boring... except Level 70 - Lamb of the Spit, of course. It is safe for me to say that SEUM: Speedrunners from Hell is a formidably astonishing gem in the gaming industry. That said, it's completely worth getting it even at full price for it's excellent blend of platforming and fast paced action.
Posted April 11, 2017. Last edited April 11, 2017.
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36 people found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Abzû is a great experience that a lot of people wouldn't consider to be an actual game, just like a lot of people don't consider games like Journey or any walking simulator as games, but instead a sort of interactive experience. That's fine by me and I agree to an extent, but even if you don't think Abzû is a game, it's still great in what it delivers. This is an ocean exploration adventure game set in colorful waters full of diverse fish to meet. You can grab yourself into bigger fish to get a ride and even discover new species as you go through different areas of the ocean. It is even possible to find Relaxation Statues and just sit on them to observe the places you discover. Just like these statues there's other sorts of collectibles to find which do help in stretching out the game's length a bit if you're interested in them.

The main aspect is the relaxed nature of the game, there's no challenges or hardly any difficulty in the game at all. It's not a survival game like Subnautica is or a rogue-like of any sort. It's a game where you sit down to relax and chill out with the visuals, encounter new species and explore the environment. In what it does, it does it right.

Needless to say, the music is simply wonderful. Great orchestrations with operatic vocals that fit the sections as you progress. In case you do play Abzû I recommend you play it with headphones at a high volume, so you listen to the music in detail and you let it sink in. Personally I found the last chapter to have the best musical pieces which made the chapter so much more powerful to play, with a big sense of a climax in the game. It's amazingly composed and deserves a mention on it's own.

Do not buy this game if you're looking for difficulty, you can't even die in it! However, buy this if you're looking to relax, explore, enjoy a simple (but vague) storyline with beautiful music. I'll have to give a shout out and personal thanks to Danii for the gift! As a completionist, Abzû won't take you more than 4 hours. As someone simply playing the game, it'll last about 2 hours maximum. It's a short game, sadly. Seeing this is Giant Squid's first game on Steam, I hope there's more of these to come. Despite being a work of art and featuring such well composed music, it's still a short game that could had been bigger with some more gameplay variety. 7.5/10
Posted March 1, 2017.
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14 people found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1.6 hrs on record
Cube Runner is a very simplistic platformer, dodge whatever's red and reach the finish line. The cube only goes forward, unless you go over the "power-ups" that change your direction or even invert the gravity. Another thing that's interesting in the game is that the platforming is not just 2 dimensional. You can shift between the blue and orange platforms by teleporting. It does seem confusing, even on the trailers but while playing it feels pretty natural. The real problem with this mechanic is that you will die a lot while the camera spins,

There's 75 levels to complete, however the difficulty scaling felt weird, some later levels felt too easy compared to some earlier levels of the game, although this might just be a personal thing. Being completable in 1 hour and despite it's music that I do not enjoy very much, it's actually a decent game that could end up being way worse. What really matters is that it ends up being fun for an hour, unless you start dying so much like I did on the final levels... But hey, that's part of the challenge! 6/10

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Posted January 26, 2017. Last edited January 26, 2017.
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21 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.7 hrs on record
From the developers of Limbo comes INSIDE, another platformer from Playdead studios which features some horror elements and fantastic gameplay. This is a videogame that you won't forget for a while, not for its innovation in terms of gameplay, but for its innovation in terms of subliminal teaching and visual storytelling.

Every puzzle in INSIDE must be deciphered by you, the player. A lot of puzzle games start with a tutorial of the controls and the mechanics, INSIDE starts by basically being simplistically intuitive and builds up the difficulty and complexity over the course of the 67 chapters. It never goes out of its way to teach you or show you something useful, you must do that on your own. This lack of hand holding, makes the game feel good to play and more rewarding when a challenge is completed. This is an aspect I've always preferred in terms of gameplay although INSIDE isn't the first and definitely not the last that does this.

One of the first things I noticed in this game is the animations. They're absolutely stellar! The movements of the main character, how well everything moves and its motion are greatly designed even if the characters in the game are faceless, you can still feel emotion from their body movements, that's quality animation right there! It also adds to what I've already mentioned in terms of visual storytelling, there's no dialogues and there's hardly any voice lines throughout the game, this meaning that the whole story must be told with imagery and animations only.

The look of this game really strikes as unique. The constant use of lights and shadows, the outstanding background scenarios and the constant moody and upsetting mood of every single chapter that adds to the tone of the game and its ambiguous but seemingly bizarre storyline all add up to a very memorable looking game. On a quick note I also need to mention that the chapter select is really well done, while picking the chapter you see pictures of them, but the moment you pick a chapter to play the picture changes to gameplay quickly and smoothly, great touch.

In terms of sound design, I really have nothing to point out. The almost absent soundtrack adds to the sounds of the surroundings and these same sounds end up sounding like they belong to the soundtrack too, they're both kind of in sync with each other. INSIDE's silent approach is meant for the tone to be darker, if not dreadful, which it captures really well.

I'm all for ambiguous stories and being left surprised, although a lot of people may not like that. First thing I did when I finished the game was to get the secret ending (of course). But then I spent at least half an hour trying to find an explanation of what I've played. That just means that INSIDE, although it doesn't explain a thing, is still a good videogame. I'm not gonna spoil anything for the game obviously, although I'll just have to say the ending will leave you shocked, and that's all I'm going to say.

Everyone could be wasting 20€ on whatever they want, but speding 20€ on INSIDE is money well spent albeit it being a very short experience for this price range. I have 4.7 hours clocked, so even if you're playing it real slow and dying numerous times, I doubt you'll get more than 6 hours of content. I'm not the one to question the value aspect because I did not actually buy INSIDE, it was a gift from my friend Kappa (that's her online name, not the twitch emote) thanks a lot, Kappa! Comparing INSIDE to Limbo is a tough call, they're both platformers where you can jump and drag things back and forth, that's about it. They're both unique in terms of artstyle and gave us a breath of fresh air for their genre. 9/10
Posted January 19, 2017. Last edited July 8, 2017.
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45 people found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
34.7 hrs on record
We could call it the generation of the 3 REs. The Remakes, The Reboots & The Remasters. We can only expect some of them to be worth checking out. When I read that a new Wolfenstein game was being made I was not only surprised to notice the franchise was coming back, but also fearful in terms of what to expect. Wolfenstein 3D created a genre on it's own, it was a sub-type of First Person Shooters that has gone under the radar for the last 15 years or so (sadly). The now called Old School Shooters were more focused in killing stuff without much of a story, and relying on the player to find secrets scattered through the levels, a vital point to survival since these often had health items or new deadly weapons.

As it turns out, MachineGames were able to craft a game that feels so good to play, while having elements from the old-school FPS formula that results in a perfect blend of old and new. I did mention that the storyline on older games weren't the focus, but as it turns out the story in The New Order is actually very decent and enough to keep you playing! It's full of interesting twists and charismatic characters.

Gameplay on The New Order is an achievement in itself. The HP and Armor has made a comeback at last. You can overcharge your health just like in the old Doom games too! The flow and satisfaction of killing every Nazi soldier never gets old! I never found myself ignoring one of the weapons because it was too weak or boring to use. Wolfenstein may have a limited arsenal but the weapon upgrades you find will make the arsenal triple the size without having new weapons at all. One of the most famous features in this reboot is that you can dual wield EVERY. SINGLE. WEAPON. It is crazy, it is silly, it is amazing and most importantly, endlessly fun. There's also a quite amount of unlockable perks (Stealth, Assault, Tactical and Demolition trees) which vastly improve the gameplay based on your playing type. Me being a Stealth player unlocked all of the Stealth perks first, which made stealth way easier. They're not hard to unlock nor very intrusive. Yes I did say stealth, in a Wolfenstein game. The player can choose to play silently or go guns blazing if he wishes to, having the option for both routes is what makes it so well crafted.

In terms of how good the game looks, I'll choose a word for it: Fascinating! It looks gorgeous from beginning to end! There is screenshot worthy content in every single level. The developers outdone themselves with the level design and different landscapes. Despite TNO having what is to me the weirdest Graphical Settings menu I've ever seen, it is still a beautiful game even on the lowest settings. Sadly, there's some optimization problems since I was able to run the game better on Ultra than on Medium settings, but it ran on 60 frames per second 99% of the time. Some drops could be noticed, although nothing notable.

It seems that Mick Gordon did work on this soundtrack, I think it's the weakest aspect in this release. Most of it is played at a very low volume and isn't there to stand out, it's there to just be there. There's no remarkable themes from this game, nor even an official soundtrack release to listen to like Doom 16 has, I would had like to see more unique music from Gordon in the game like we got on Doom 16.

I think it's safe to say that Wolfenstein: The New Order is probably one of the FPS I enjoyed the most in the last few years. 35 hours of pure fun in the alternative universe where the Axis have won the second world war. That being said, you have a ton of Nazis to slaughter with your duel wielded weapons, is there any need for more reasons to purchase this masterpiece? I wouldn't think so! A lot of the dialogue from your enemies is in German which I found to be really neat. I even learned a few new words like Achtung! The New Order is 20€ and it is totally worth it. I did not pay for it however, thanks to my mate Phantom who gifted me the game back in June 12th, 2015 and I am ashamed it took me 2 years to play it, thanks bud! Wolfenstein: The New Order is a game the old-school shooters fan should be fond of, it has secrets (like Nazi gold!), tons of Nazis to kill, Mechs, crazy scientists, amazingly designed weaponry and enemies, a huge retro easter egg that I'll never forget and the return of B. J. Blazkowicz. 9/10
Posted January 17, 2017. Last edited November 25, 2018.
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39 people found this review helpful
2.8 hrs on record
What made The Room so good in it's great formula of mystery and puzzle solving is back yet again for an outstanding sequel! If you're unfamiliar with the series, The Room firstly came out on mobile platforms, and was then fully remastered for PC. The original Room was released back in 2014 and The Room 2 released in 2016. The game's quite simplistic in it's concept. You have a safe, a box, or just a lock, and the player is supposed to open it. To do so you're gonna have to solve all of the sub-puzzles before cracking the big one.

While I do get frustrated a lot of times in puzzle games, I feel the difficulty for The Room games isn't too hard but also not too easy, it's perfectly balanced and is able to be satisfactory throughout the entirety of the game. It lasts about 3.5 hours total if you don't rush through it, just like the first one. While some people may not like the short length, I think a short game fits the genre better than a longer one. There are 6 chapters in this sequel, one of them lasts a minute and another one is a tutorial, so in the end we have 4 chapters with challenging rooms to crack.

I was quite surprised by the creepy atmosphere in The Room Two, it certainly felt darker than the first game while the main objective is pretty much the same between the two. However, there's a slight difference in this installment, instead of being focused on just one safe or table, now there are multiple places in the room to explore, so moving around with the mouse is possible now.

The port is really well made but I did have some slight annoyances. Sometimes I wanted to move a drawer and the game decided to move the camera instead. Also, it should be possible to type on the typewriter with the keyboard. It's nothing game breaking or too frustrating, just little details I'd like to point out.

The Room Three is already out on mobile, but I do hope it is ported to the PC just like the first two games have been. This is two of my favorite mystery/puzzle games of all time and having to pick between which one is the best is a tough call, they stand on equal ground in terms of quality, challenge and entertainment, two phenomenal games I'd recommend anyone to check them out, even if you're not into point & click / puzzle games. 9/10
Posted November 12, 2016.
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24 people found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
2.9 hrs on record
The Park is a first person walking simulator mixed with a quite amount of horror. You play as Lorraine, searching for your missing son who runs into Atlantic Island Park, a place that might seem normal at first, but is definitely a very unwelcoming location. Filled with stories of murderers and coincidentally uneventful accidents, Atlantic Island Park is not what the average park seems like, this is a much darker place to explore. While exploring as Lorraine, the desperate mom to find her son, you can shout for Callum in which you're given a visual tip of where to go or what to read around the park. It's an interesting mechanic to avoid the usual waypoints or mini maps with marked objectives. It is worth mentioning that this shout will change throughout the game, adapting itself to Lorraine's situation, making it creepier at times.

This is a nice looking game powered by the greatness of Unreal Engine 4. It ran mostly fine on the highest settings on my gaming laptop. The atmosphere is creepily haunting and darkly uncomfortable throughout the entirety the game, with off-putting sound effects and authentic-feeling voice acting that helps set up the feel of Lorraine's journey. While I haven't played the game in VR, I'm honestly interested in trying that out in the future. The atmosphere sucked me in well enough in a simple monitor, it must feel great with a VR headset.

Story-wise it's a confusing game. Obviously I'm not going to spoil anything crucial to the story, but the game has an abrupt ending that leaves you questioning what have you played for the last hour and a half. Of course there's theories, but nothing is a definitive explanation of what you've experienced. However, this park is actually part of The Secret World, another game. You can visit this same place on The Secret World and have some more input to this story and even do quests related to it, so it is possible this story will make a bit more sense in case you played TSW before.

I do have to write about the second but shorter section of The Park named the House of Horrors. This section of the game is absolutely phenomenally inspired by P.T., a demo I never got to play (I say that with a deep sadness of mine). Approaching the end of the game during this section, the rooms change each time you go by them, and these changes may be subtle, or noticeably severe. The House of Horrors is what made me realize this wasn't just another one of those walking simulators, or another one of those horror copycats that we see every day on Steam nowadays. The sudden shift in level design from open areas to closed spaces while still having the creepy atmosphere, concludes the game on a high note, which I personally prefer compared to walking around exploring the park and looking for Callum.

The first and most exploration focused "level" is good, don't get me wrong, but the second part is just miles better for me. Not to mention that dreadfully long section about Hansel and Gretel right at entrance of the park. I do know of it's importance for the game's story and how it unfolds, but that section is 7 minutes of doing absolutely nothing, just the story of Hansel and Gretel being narrated to you with voice recordings. While I was able to tolerate it in the end given it's importance, it's by far the least enjoyable part of the game.

Being a first person horror game and also a walking simulator, The Park is a wonderful experience. As I mentioned previously, the game's weakness is length. If you don't read anything and keep running through most of the game (which is not the way to play it), it takes about 30 minutes to complete. I did a playthrough in 2 hours if I recall correctly, because I read every note and explored everything there was to explore. With a price tag of 13€ at the moment, it is definitely a game to grab on a nice sale.

"In my heart and mind, I always return to Atlantic Island Park" 8/10
Posted October 31, 2016.
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28 people found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Looking at the Distraint Steam page, it looks like a cute little horror game that maybe has some cute scares worth checking out, so that's what I did. What I experienced was a blood-pumping, dark, thrilling, serious-themed game that surely caught me off-guard until it's ending.

In Distraint, you play as a young man called Mr. Price, who has been promised a job promotion, but first he has to kick some people out of their houses due to the lack of rent payment (because that's his job). This is the whole concept of Distraint. Sounds simple and not engaging at all? It may be, until we realize that the game is not just about kicking people out of their houses, it's about the guilt of Mr. Price for ruining the lives of other people, just for his wage at the end of the month. Taking a trip through Mr. Price's mind resulted in what can be one of my favorite horror titles in recent years.

The bobble head looking characters with little arms and legs do make you judge the game prematurely and they do take a bit of time to get used to. I didn't even care about it when I got engaged into the story, it's really a good one. I absolutely love the retro look of the game, which reminded me of other indie horror titles like Home, Claire and Lone Survivor. Like those games, the gameplay is fairly simple. You explore 2D environments, you find an item, and you put the item where it should be or give it to someone. It's pretty much a stripped down Point & Click game focusing mainly on story with no difficult puzzles, only quick and simple ones.

The visuals aren't definitely what made this game so good. Story elements aside, it was the sound effects and soundtrack. My goodness, I can't praise the audio in this game enough. It's what got me anxious of what was on the other side of the doorways. The most atmospheric and tense sections of the game always had the help of an engaging soundtrack. The camera even zooms in and out sometimes automatically to make you feel tense and insecure, since you do not know what's behind you at all.

It's one of those games where most story elements don't make sense at all, but as you progress the bigger picture starts to reveal itself before you, and suddenly everything makes sense. The writing and story as I've mentioned is superb, and it's safe to say Distraint has one of the darkest endings I've experienced in video games yet. Players can complete the game in just 2 hours, so paying 5€ may cause hesitation, but it is definitely a good price. I got it in a bundle and it was totally worth the price I paid. At last but not least, quick shout out to the developer for having a great taste in music as shown in the credits! 8.5/10
Posted October 26, 2016.
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39 people found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
2.4 hrs on record
The Silent Age is a game which I started with low expectations, and ended up being quite impressed with it. It is a Point & Click adventure game with time travel mechanics, in which the main character can change between two different time periods. Sometimes it is required that you go back to the past, gather an item from the past, take it with you to the future, and solve a puzzle to progress through the story. With this gameplay mechanic, Silent Age becomes a very unique game.

The game's visually beautiful with simplistic artstyle, which can vary from very colorful and vivid in the past, and very dreadful in the future since it's a post-apocalyptic world. The simple visuals do lower the difficulty of the game in general. It's easy to notice which items need to be picked up or interacted with, making the puzzles not that hard but still fun to crack. The game's pacing is well done, due to the fact that most of the puzzles are intuitive if you're paying attention to details. While that may be a turn off for some people, I like the idea of basic puzzles to keep the story going, while still being engaging from chapter to chapter.

There are 10 chapters in The Silent Age, each chapter feels unique and not repetitive at all. Chapter 10 does have a bit of backtracking in the beginning though. I've played a fair share of Point & Click games in my lifetime, and this became one of my favorites. The story is great since I'm a sucker for time travel and dark themes, the visuals are simplistic yet gorgeous in it's way, the voice acting is above average and believable and the ambient sounds in an almost non-existent soundtrack helps to set up the atmosphere of The Silent Age.

The value of the game is subjective (as always), but I'd say 10€ is worth it if you are into Point & Click adventures and Time Traveling mechanics, although it is a short game and shouldn't take more than 3.5 hours to complete. 8/10
Posted October 26, 2016.
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Showing 1-10 of 38 entries