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Recent reviews by Marc

Showing 1-7 of 7 entries
2 people found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Really dull and uninspired horror experience. You basically sit in a chair (and by sit in a chair, i actually mean hover a foot above a chair due to the bad floor detection) while doors and drawers open and shut and low poly count, badly scaled objects move about around you. There's a dog that slides instead of walking naturally, a pram that hovers a few inches above the ground (uninentionally) and also happens to be about the size of a car, a chair which seems to increase in size exponentially the closer it gets to you (again unintentional), missing sound effects for supposed jump scares, and many more cookie cutter horrror movie tropes that somehow manage to completely miss the mark for one reason or another. There's also an almost uncomfortable amount of time between events which had me considering quitting on several occasions, but i hung around in the hopes that it would improve. It didn't.
Posted April 25, 2020.
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9 people found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
If you like this review, please check out my Curator page, Engage Brain. Dedicated to reviewing games that challenge the grey matter. not the reflexes.


Iris.Fall is a puzzle adventure similar in gameplay mechanics to Contrast, where you arrange objects in a certain way to allow you to make a bridge out of their shadows, and while there is certainly some good here, it unfortunately does not manage to live up to the standard of that game.

The art style is very nice, with a mostly monochrome colour palette, especially early on, and this simplistic style worked well for the game as it meant it was easy to draw the player's attention to specific things just by adding a splash of colour to highlight something. This was not really used much at the start of the game, but as the game progresses a bit more colour starts to appear and this is when the game starts to look at its best.

The sound effects are minimal but good, however the best part of the audio was the music, which was extremely good and complements the game well.

The puzzles in the game do have a lot of variation, which is a good thing, but that does also lead me onto the negatives about the game.

The puzzles are for the most part, extremely simplistic. There are 7 chapters in the game, and a chapter could just be a single screen with 1 or 2 puzzles in it, which might just involve moving a lever once, and placing an object. As the game goes on the puzzles do get a little more complicated, but i would say there are only a handful of puzzles in the game that it took me more than 1 or 2 minutes to solve and these all came in the later of the 7 chapters.

This all contributes to what is a disappointingly short game length. I was up to chapter 4 in less than an hour and completed the entire game in 2 1/2 hours, then replayed a few chapters to collect missing achievements which took my total playtime to 3 1/2 hours. I did appreciate that you can replay chapters in any order once you have finished the game, and that if you mess up trying to get an achievement, you can reload a checkpoint, as this made getting those final few a lot quicker.

The variety of puzzles in the game paired with the small amount of overall puzzles, almost makes the game feel like one big tutorial. You'll finish a level, playing with a new game mechanic, and then you might never see that mechanic again. This happens probably half a dozen or more times during the game, and is a real let down. There are also some really nice uses of the shadow mechanic in later levels that it's a real shame weren't expanded upon with a few more levels.

Overall this is a recommendation, but only barely. I wouldn't recommend it at RRP, but if you can get it on sale for a couple of pounds, it will give you some enjoyment, just not for very long.
Posted December 11, 2018. Last edited December 13, 2018.
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4 people found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
If you like this review, please check out my Curator page, Engage Brain. Dedicated to reviewing games that challenge the grey matter. not the reflexes.


The Initiate 2 is an Escape Room type puzzle game, played from the perspective of three different people trapped in what looks like some kind of bunker. You can switch between the characters at will, and pass items from one character to another to help solve the puzzles.

Overall the quality of the puzzles in the game are very good, making good use of the environment and multiple characters but a couple of rather obtuse riddles brings down the overall quality a little bit. A couple of the puzzles I solved by accident just by clicking on items to see what they did, which did rob me of some of the enjoyment, but i guess that was just bad luck rather than bad game design

There are also some minor bugs in the game such as multiple interactive items being triggered at the same time if you are standing near more than one, or objects resetting their state when you load a saved game, or cutscenes you've played past retriggering when loading a saved game, but nothing game breaking.

Graphics are good enough, though sound effects can be a bit annoying and the voice acting, especially for one of the characters isn't much good but for the most part there is just ambient sound which itself is fine.

Overall i would rate this about 7/10. It has its faults, and it's not particularly long but it is an enjoyable experience.
Posted September 2, 2018. Last edited December 13, 2018.
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5 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
22.1 hrs on record
If you like this review, please check out my Curator page, Engage Brain. Dedicated to reviewing games that challenge the grey matter. not the reflexes.


Introduction
Flood of Light is a charming and experly designed puzzle platformer that challenges you to light a series of lanterns in each level, to proceed to the next. The lanterns power monoliths which lower the water level in an abandonded flooded city, and your ultimate aim is to save the city from the flood.

Gameplay
You are able to absorb light from one lantern and transfer it to another, or if lanterns are close enough together, you can transfer light directly between them. Later levels introduce even more variables such as different coloured light, pressure plates that move lanterns, water that can extinguish light and lanterns you can place yourself, which prevents the game from ever getting stale and also keeps you having to find new ways to complete each level.

The puzzles vary from easy to extremely challenging. There is also the added award of an achievement for completing each level with an "S Rank" which means doing it below a certain number of moves, and also lighting some optional lanterns along the way, which really ups the difficulty, but also gives a great sense of satisfaction when you finally figure it out.

Going for the S-Rank really made me appreciate how intricately the levels were designed, so that every lit lantern, unlit lantern, switch, platform and monolith were laid out in such a pixel perfect way that there was only ever one solution. My hat goes off to the developer as it's rare to see a puzzle game with such tight design.

Story/Plot
The story isn't one of the games strongest points, and takes a back seat to the puzzles. It is relayed to you by robots that you repair, and terminals you find throughout the game and is all text/picture based. Howver, story is not generally of great importance to this type of game, and I was personally happy just going from one puzzle to the next.

Audio/Visual
The game has a beautiful 2D art style, and the sound is also of a high standard. It has nice relaxing music which helps keep you calm during those moments where you just can't find the solution, and although the sound effects are quite minimal, the ambient sound such as rain/thunder really adds to the atmosphere.

Controls
If i had one criticism of Flood of Light, it would be that the controls can be a bit finicky at times, and you may occasionally find yourself having to replay a level because you accidentally absorbed a light you didn't want to, made the character walk when you didn't mean to, or placed a lantern in the wrong place.

However, this is a minor ♥♥♥♥♥♥ and one that certainly didn't spoil the game for me, and to the developer's credit, they have included a mouse control scheme and a keyboard control scheme, and for me the keyboard control scheme did alieviate most of the issues i had controlling the character. There are however a few puzzles where using the mouse gives you more fine control over which lights you absorb so you may want to use both together for the best experience.

Summary
Overall, this is the best game i've played for quite some time. I enjoyed it from start to finish and was really pleased when I managed to get 100% of the achievements as it felt like a real accomplishment. It is also a massive bargain at £2.79 (I paid £1.39 in the Steam 2017 Winter sale) as it has provided me with over 20 hours of absorbing and challenging gameplay for that low price.

10/10
Posted December 29, 2017. Last edited December 13, 2018.
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17 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.4 hrs on record
If you're a fan of the voice work of Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty fame, or the kind of humour found in William Pugh's former games, Dr Langeskov or the The Stanley Parable, then you'll instantly feel right at home with Accounting, a short, but very funny comedy VR experience about a VR accountancy experiment gone wrong.

I have started watching Rick and Morty quite recently, and I really like the stuttering, almost adlib style Justin brings to his voice work, and that is very evident here, with one of his characters in particular sounding very similar to Morty. It's also just as blue as your average episode of R&M with plenty of F Bombs throughout.

The game says it requires the HTC Vive but it worked fine on the Oculus Rift, however the whole game was designed for Room Scale VR, and for the most part you'll be facing away from the sensors which did for me, cause the occasional issue with occlusion, but nothing that ruined the experience. There is no teleportation so you will need an area of around 2m x 1.5m to be able to reach the corners of the room, but again, there aren't really any situations where this is required.

The game itself is a linear experience where you move between a series of VR worlds and have to try and find your way to the next one, which is usually only a matter of doing one simple puzzle, but the fun of each zone for me was to hang around and listen to all the dialog. You could probably finish the game in 5 minutes if you are rushing through, but there is 20-30 minutes of content there if you take your time and listen to everything.

Overall this is one of the better free VR experiences i've tried and though there isn't really any reason to play it a 2nd time, it put a smile on my face for 25 minutes, which is good enough for me.

7.5/10
Posted December 22, 2017. Last edited December 29, 2017.
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9 people found this review helpful
7.3 hrs on record
SteamWorld Dig has been described as a Metroidvania exploratory platformer crossed with Terraria, but the only thing it really has in common with the latter is that your main action throughout the game is digging, so if you buy this expecting a sandbox game you may be disappointed.

However what SteamWorld Dig does, and does quite well is offer a charming and quite addictive, if brief exploratory platforming experience that plays directly on the popularity of collecting loot, by quite literally having you spend a lot of the time mining for it!

The 2D hand-drawn graphical style of the game is simple, but attractive, with a clear definition between different types of rocks which means you are left in no confusion as to what you need to do to advance, and the robot characters, somewhat reminiscent of the movie 'Robots' all have their distinct styles and personalities.

Sound is also fairly understated, but again, it is used to good effect, with rumbles warning you of an impending rock fall or a metallic ♥♥♥♥♥ to let you know you can't break through a particular type of rock.

Throughout the game you will regularly find upgrades that allow you to jump higher, run faster, break through new types of block etc, but unusually for this type of game, many of these are not really necessary for completing the game, and you could even skip unless you want to try and get all the achievements.

Similarly, many of the upgrades you can buy from the vendors back in town are completely uneccessary, for instance you can buy maybe 6 or 7 different qualities of pickaxe, but once you've unlocked the mining drill fairly early in the game, the pickaxe becomes fairly redundant. That being said, it is still nice to have options, and returning to previous 'puzzle caves' with a new ability that allows you to reach a previously unattainable cache of ore is a nice touch, it's just a shame that it wasn't expanded upon more.

The game also offers a basic level of resource management, with water to power your tool needing to be refilled by standing in pools, or the light that powers your vision underground needing to be recharged by returning to the surface, but rather than add something to the game, it actually detracts from the experience as you may on occasion find yourself quite literally stumbling around in the dark forced to spend ages trying to break through rocks with your pickaxe as you've run out of light and water. Annoyingly you have to return to the surface to refill your light gauge, but can not refill your water gauge there, so it can sometimes mean a lot of uncessesary backtracking, and feels like a tool to artificially extend the playing time of the game.

In addition, the game offers little in the way of real challenge, either in the sparse combat or the handful of puzzle based rooms dotted about the three distinct levels of the game, so any semi competent gamer will find it a breeze to complete in a few hours. To properly explore every nook and cranny will take a little longer, but there isn't really a great deal of incentive to do so.

Despite the negatives though, I enjoyed playing through SteamWorld Dig, and feel that if the planned sequel is longer, with more advantage taken of the skills you earn while playing, then it would be a worthy purchase. As it stands, this game does feel like a missed opportunity, but the potential is definitely there, and I would recommend it to players who want a light-hearted and stress-free gaming experience, or to younger players.

7/10
Posted December 16, 2013. Last edited December 16, 2013.
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1 person found this review helpful
10.7 hrs on record
The Swapper has a thought provoking premise. The action of effectively killing clones of yourself over and over just to proceed, the philosophical argument about who is the real you, are you you, or are you a clone? Does it matter?

Ultimately, that's for you to decide, but the most important thing is how the game plays, and happily, it is a truly great experience.

The puzzles are excellent from start to finish. There are some really difficult ones in there, but they're never unfair, and because the game doesn't punish you for trial and error, other than by having you restart the room you're in, it hardly ever gets frustrating.

Then there are the graphics. The Swapper has a really unique style, perhaps somewhat similar to The Dream Machine, with some excellent lighting and particle effects which really make this game look fantastic.

The story isn't bad either. Aside from the aformentioned philosophical elements, there's also an interesting sci-fi tale going on in the background, and throughout the playthrough there's an excellent sense of mystery and isolation.

The only real negative I can think of about The Swapper is that the achievements are terrible. All of them are for accessing terminals which are hidden in such obscure places that you wouldn't even come close to spotting even one of them on a normal playthrough.

But that's a minor complaint in an otherwise excellent game, and most certainly one of the best in the puzzle genre, so I highly recommend you give it a try!

9/10
Posted October 4, 2013. Last edited December 9, 2018.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 entries