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Recente recensies door Audish

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6 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
2.8 uur in totaal
This one just breaks my heart, it really does. I love atmospheric platformers, especially ones with grand, compelling worlds. I love learning to deal with strange, hostile creatures. And I love having a cute protagonist like, say, a slugcat. But I can’t deal with this game. I can’t deal with the awkward controls, ponderous maps, and sudden, tedious deaths. I hope you can, I genuinely do, because it feels like there’s something special hidden somewhere in Rain World. It’s something I’m never going to find, though, because every hour I spend in this game is more frustrating than the last.

You, as you surely have gathered, are a slugcat. Your world was clearly once something else entirely, but has fallen into incredible ruin. That’s fine, though, because with your family of slugcats you can hunt and nest to your heart’s content. At least, until a terrible flood washes you far, far away from familiar faces. Now lost in the tangled wreckage of the old world, you must fend for yourself, scrounging up food and shelter wherever you can. These lands are teeming with vicious, ravenous creatures large and small, which you’ll need to avoid at all costs. And worse than them are the rains, which wipe out all life foolish enough to remain exposed when they pour down like divine judgment.

Rain World is equal parts platforming, exploring, and survival. The platforming comes from navigating the hundreds upon hundreds of ruined fields, chambers, shafts, and structures of the world with no upgrades or superpowers, just your nimble slugcat reflexes. Your platforming skills will help you explore the vast world before you, moving from one area to the next, searching out sources of food and locations to shelter in, and learning the patterns of predatory creatures. And the survival comes from needing to eat before making use of those shelters. If you stay out too long the rains come and wipe you out, so you’ve got to be ready to hole up and slumber before that happens.

It’s a compelling bunch of interlocking systems, all tied up with some additional details that are never explained by the game. Resting at a shelter advances a counter, for example, which is needed to get you through certain gates between zones. There are special foods you can eat that confer unique and powerful effects on your slugcat. And on a much more basic level, interacting with enemies, water, and even your own moves requires a surprising amount of trial and error. I understand a huge component of the game is discovery and experimentation but there’s more than enough of that in the world itself that basic gameplay elements don’t need to be so fully obscured.

This is the thing that ruined Rain World for me, how incredibly unforgiving it is about everything it does. All three of the features I described, the platforming, exploration, and survival, ended up frustrating me more than I ever thought possible. Getting around the world is needlessly difficult due to the noodley nature of your slugcat, who flops to and fro as you try to mantle up a simple ledge. His special moves like the long jump and wall jump are just as fiddly, and fouling them up can cost you tons of time or your life. In a game as ready to kill you as this one, precision is at a premium and what you have is hidden behind some terribly touchy controls.

The difficulty getting around makes the vast, sprawling world a liability, especially the way it’s paced out. In my hours with this game I’ve found ruined buildings, a sewer system, and very dark pipes. I’ve been waiting for something really interesting, some big hook or even small vista to promise something more, but it’s still all squalor and claustrophobia. The sewers in particular were a pain because everywhere I wanted to go required either precision jumps, long strings of awkward wall jumps, or swimming against a very narrow margin for drowning. Once I powered through all those dank pipes and cisterns, I ended up in an area of even denser pipes, half pitch-black, filled with enemies that would instantly kill me. Why in the hell would I carry on from there?

On top of all that, I’ve had too many experiences narrowly missing arrival to a new nest to save or having to backtrack through huge areas just to find food or a more reasonable path forward. I don’t know how much of my time Rain World has wasted by killing me, starving me, or washing me out, but I can’t point to anything that makes it feel worth it. Maybe you can, and if so, I honestly envy you. I’ve put several hours into this game because I believe there’s something good and worthwhile to discover here. It’s just that every time I look for it myself, I find no evidence it’s there. It’s sad, but it’s a cruel, unforgiving world, after all.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 19 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
3 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
5.6 uur in totaal
Recensie tijdens vroegtijdige toegang
There are a lot of factors that go into making a good game, but there’s one that I don’t hear about very often, perhaps because it doesn’t have a good name. It’s the chaos that arises from getting an insane build in Binding of Isaac going, or the chaos that erupts from grabbing a poorly-placed idol in Spelunky. It’s chaos that doesn’t always favor the player but wreaks absolute havoc on the game world, much to the delight of spectators. This chaotic special sauce can improve the fun factor of just about any game, and titles like Noita that build their action around it come out as some of the most fun of all.

Noita might still be too Early Access for a story, but wizards don’t need much of an excuse to ruin ♥♥♥♥. You start your journey at the mouth of a cave, adorned with some very helpful runes that inform you of the controls. Descending into a network of disused mines, you find all manner of zombies, goblins, and gooier things in your way. The first of your two wands will make short work of foes, while the second will make short work of the environment in spectacular fashion. These tools are only the tip of the magical, exploding iceberg, though, as you find grander wands that scatter fireballs, launch black holes, summon acid clouds, ignite everything on the screen, and more. If you can manage to defeat your foes and not vaporize yourself in the process, you might just find what lies at the bottom of these caverns.

Admittedly, there’s not a lot of direction to Noita at the moment besides going down. Each level is a large, sprawling complex of tunnels, shafts, and chambers that eventually lead to a portal at the very bottom. The portal always leads to a temple where you recover your health and spell charges (if any), buy new wands or spells, and get a perk to make your little murderwizard even more murdery. Once in a level, you’ve really just got to survive, and enemies are only half of the threat to your survival. Every pixel of the environment is modeled and is ready to collapse, drain, burn, or flow at the slightest provocation. You can imagine what happens when you drop a lantern into a pool of oil, or blast out the supports for a tank of acid, but watching the chaos unfold is a whole new level of fun, and surviving it is a whole new level of challenge.

This is the core of the Noita experience, taking ridiculous weapons into ridiculous levels and watching ridiculous things happen. You can absolutely play it safe and cautious, mitigate risks, and focus on reaching the end of the game, and at some point you’re going to want to do that. But honestly the real appeal is finding a wand that fires six nuclear warheads in 0.1 seconds and finding out what happens to the entire level when you push the button. There are wands that shoot lasers, wands that shoot eggs that hatch into flesh-eating monsters, wands that are actually chainsaws, and wands that do all the of the above with each shot. You’ll find wands that do crazy things but they’re really just containers for spells, which you can pull out and affix to other more appropriate wands to make whatever implement of chaos you desire, like burning sawblades that explode into acid clouds.

The catch is that you have to find the odds and ends to do that, and it won’t always happen. I’ve had runs in Noita go absolutely bonkers with wands that could instantly vaporize half the screen, but those are the minority compared to how many runs I’ve played straight with wands that shoot arrows or bouncy balls. Make no mistake, this is a solid roguelike platformer with excellent movement, controls, and combat, but the real magic is left for the RNG to give to you, and it won’t always deliver. And maybe it shouldn’t, considering how potent the biggest, flashiest spells can be, but I can’t deny how many runs I’ve been on where I was left wishing for more bombs or more chainsaws or just that wand I found last time that I killed myself with all too soon.

There’s still plenty of ground for the developers to cover in terms of fleshing out the game world and balancing the tools available, so if you’re more in the market for a full game experience there’s no harm in waiting. But you can’t look at the gifs on the store page and tell me that doesn’t look fun, because I can assure you it is. Some of my new favorite game experiences have come from my worst Noita runs, like hucking 4x dynamite all through the ice caves or shattering an entire shelf of potions and rolling in the magical runoff as it enchanted me with everything at once. The potential for hilarious chaos here is at a record high, and as long as the rest of the game coalesces around it eventually, Noita is sure to be a classic.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 18 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
2 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
1.2 uur in totaal
It’s hard to review games you suck at. For starters, you have to be honest about why you suck at it, whether it be flaws in the game or flaws in yourself. Here I can tell you it’s a little bit of the former and a lot of the latter, because Umihara Kawase is a game that is not shy about its challenge. From the moment you first cast your line and try to swing from or scale an obstacle, you’ll be wrangling tricky physics and perilous drops every step of the way. Even the most basic crossings will make you sweat, and once you see how many levels and paths through them there are, you’ll be wondering what kind of superhuman could even hope to ascend them.

Umihara Kawase is a young girl and sushi chef, out on a momentous journey to… collect fish to cook, maybe? Her trip takes her to some rather odd collections of floating platforms and doors, populated by giant fish and crustaceans she can stuff into her backpack. She’s wisely brought along a fishing rod for this expedition, which allows her to catch things to stuff into her backpack and also grapple along the many platforms in her way. Depending on how handy she is with her rod, she’ll find many paths through this fever-dream land and face larger and larger sea life that stands in her way. Only by mastering the use of her fishing rod will she have any hope of making it through to the end.

It’s important to note that Umihara Kawase was originally a Super Nintendo game, because it’s going to feel like one of those free Japanese games you downloaded from some untranslated site in the 00’s because your friend heard from a friend on the internet it was good. Everything about this feels impossibly niche, from the tiny resolution to the lack of options to the inscrutable mechanics. There’s a lot that’s never explained here, like why you can reel enemies in and stuff them in your backpack (I will never get over this), or why enemies spawn constantly out of nowhere, or why you have such a tight time limit to get where you’re going. This also isn’t a linear game, with multiple exits out of most levels and virtually no logic to the numbering of levels at all.

Some folks will no doubt be captivated by all this weirdness, but for everyone else, the gameplay provides the real appeal here. Your little chef can run and jump but her real method of conveyance is her fishing rod, which can be cast in all eight directions and hooks onto any surface or enemy. Once attached it acts like an elastic grapple, swinging and bouncing Umihara hither and thither. Swinging across gaps is the obvious utility here but the springiness of the line can launch her onto all sorts of platforms. You can hook onto conveyors to get carried around, latch onto the undersides of platforms to swing around, and dodge enemies by hooking the floor and leaping away. And of course, you can do away with foes by reeling them in to be consigned to the abyss of your backpack.

Hooking a platform and swinging to safety is a real thrill, and chaining swings together to traverse large portions of the level or skip areas entirely is immensely gratifying. The challenge is gaining a command of your rod that actually allows for that. In my brief time with the game I managed a handful of breathtaking acts, and spent all the other time eating ♥♥♥♥. Levels are not designed to be clear or forgiving (and neither are the aggressive enemy spawns) so you have to be ready to experiment and confident in your skills. I am clearly not, since I couldn’t even get past the first boss which had perfectly clear mechanics I couldn’t execute.

If you want to enjoy Umihara Kawase, you have to be ready to get good at it. This isn’t a game you pick up for a few minutes at a time and play, this is a game where you practice routes and maneuvers until you can execute them on command. The speedrunner crowd can surely have a field day with this, while the rest of us mortals have to consider how much effort getting through these 50 or so levels is. For my part I love the mechanics and the satisfaction of nailing swings, but I’d rather not contend with the eternally-respawning fish and nonsensical level progression. This is a clever, gratifying game that not many people will be able to hang with, and I’d like to imagine I’ll be one of those people someday.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 17 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
4 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
1.5 uur in totaal
My biggest gaming disappointments tend to be titles that have all the appearances of something I’d love, and then are no fun to play. As a fan of pixel art and puzzle mechanics, you can imagine this happens a lot. Sometimes the mechanics aren’t so much fun in practice, sometimes the art isn’t so good in motion, and sometimes there are other unexpected factors that ruin the experience. And sometimes, it’s all three. PONCHO had the look of an absolute gem to me, with wonderfully detailed art and the promise of clever platforming challenges. And then I played it.

The world ended again, this time in a vague Calamity that left only robots to cast about in its wake. One of these robots is our chonky little friend Poncho, so named for obvious reasons. Poncho has something of a great destiny laid out before him, something to do with the Calamity and how the world may be able to move past it. But before that can happen, Poncho has to move past a lot of pits and walls. His ruined world is a tangle of precipitous drops and locked doors, and only by scouring its surface for keys and clues will he be able to find what he doesn’t know he seeks.

At first blush, PONCHO appears to be a 2D collectathon, with you scooting around levels to find red gems and keys. The former of those can be spent at a trenchcoat-wearing robot (whom I assume is named Trenchcoat) to get more of the latter, but it seems most of the keys you need to progress can be found in the wild anyway. What complicates your travels are the three parallaxed layers that stages are found in. Poncho can shift into the foreground and background at will, allowing you a three-dimensional route around pits and walls. This is used to great effect in some stages, once you realize you can platform across layers by shifting mid-jump.

That doesn’t mean the platforming itself is good, though. It wasn’t long into PONCHO that I noticed my controller presses weren’t always being honored. Sometimes my little robot would just keep going after I stopped pressing left, sailing into an abyss. Or sometimes a jump wouldn’t register at all, to much the same effect. Moving platforms had some wonky hit detection that would make the poor dear vibrate or become entirely unable to jump. This is on top of some poorly thought-out levels where the foregrounds cover up important platforms and paths in the background, making it even harder to get around with the janky controls.

Even if you can wrangle your controller to do what you want, PONCHO just isn’t that compelling of a journey. I was expecting something metroidvaniaish or at least open enough to explore, but levels are all this weird in-between thing where you can wander to the left or right to find more baubles but still beat it in just two or three minutes. Along the way I unlocked some new powers, but they really just exist to gather additional forms of collectibles which you then have to replay old stages to get. There’s no reason to explore unless you’re a super gem completionist, and if you are then the controls are sure to frustrate your efforts.

The screenshots might look good, and indeed the pixel art itself is lovely and the environments look great with the parallaxing effects. Later areas are very sparse, though, and the amount of repeat in textures and characters becomes extremely noticeable. I didn’t mind the sound design but that’s not exactly much of an endorsement, as it didn’t add anything to the experience. It’s kind of tragic what a hollow experience overall this one is, with its few bright points marred by a lack of polish and some actual glitches. I’ll never be able to answer the question of who is Poncho, but from what I saw it can’t be that interesting of an answer anyway.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 16 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
3 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
0.7 uur in totaal
A lack of ambition isn’t the kiss of death for a game, but it isn’t going to help it, either. I look for games that have something to say, or new ideas to share, or just a really compelling gameplay loop. I don’t normally end up with games like Serious Scramblers, little more than a score attack platform dash, not because I dislike them but because I’m not looking for the very specific sort of mastery challenge they offer. If you do, this will be a fine little diversion for you, otherwise there’s not a whole lot to attract folks here.

With no story to clutter the proceedings, you are simply a ninja descending a series of platforms into a nigh-bottomless cave. Some of these platforms have coins on them, others have enemies, and many more still have traps like retractable spikes and fire bars. Descend far enough to the flag and you earn the privilege of moving to the next stage, but the spiked ceiling is following you down so there’s no time to dawdle. Coins can be used to unlock new characters or start right back from where you died instead of resetting the level, but other than that it’s a straight shot down the hundred or so levels to the end.

There’s little else to talk about, really. The screen wraps around the outer edges, so you can use that to dodge danger or reach tricky platforms. Supposedly there’s a boss at the end of all this, but without much to the levels, I didn’t see much reason to get to it. With no jump button or attacks, all there is to learn is the timing for traps and the accuracy to goomba-stomp enemies on the way down. Different characters can behave quite differently, like falling slower or having permanent speed boosts or being lifted wholesale from SUPERHOT. Still, you’re liable to find one that works for you and stick with it, particularly the ones that make more coins appear regularly.

Again, Serious Scramblers isn’t a bad game. It sets out to do one simple thing, and it does it admirably. I just can’t say I’m very interested in the thing it’s doing. If you’re here for a very focused, specific challenge that you’re somehow not getting from Downwell, then you’re bound to get more mileage out of this than I. The faux-CRT pixel graphics are decently colorful and the sound design gets the job done, just not in a memorable way. And doesn’t that seem to sum up the situation here? Serious Scramblers gets the job done for simple platforming that ratchets up the challenge, but there’s nothing about it that’s going to stick with you.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 15 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
4 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
2.4 uur in totaal
Despite the prevalence of modern Marios and high-profile successes like A Hat in Time, the 3D platformer genre is a small one. It’s not hard to see why, because engineering clever levels and satisfying movement is far harder in 3D than 2D. Even some big franchises like Sonic had a tough time bridging the gap, but not Spark the Electric Jester. As decent as the first game was at being a spiritual successor to the Sonic of old, this sequel manages to outshine its inspiration in Sonic Adventure, and improve on an impressive amount of the design. It also falls into its own pitfalls, but none so deep that they’d keep you from enjoying this high-speed adventure.

You might remember Fark as the mechanical imposter who hounded Spark all through the first game. Well, Spark is a hero and the evil Freom is gone, which doesn’t leave much for ol’ Fark to do. He’s been hanging out with Professor Armstrong, who recently came up with a way to access Fark’s lost memories regarding his origins. Unfortunately, the good doctor is whisked away by a new cadre of meddlesome robots, leaving it to Fark to get him back. He’ll speed his way across the many plains and cities of their idyllic, high-tech world, before discovering more about his past than he might like, and uncovering a new threat to all life, human and robotic, on the planet.

That’s as far as I’m getting into the story, because much like the first game, it’s a mess. Unlike the first game, though, it’s not told by an embarrassment of cutscenes, and honestly that might be part of the problem. Spark 2 introduces a whole cast of new characters, but limits their appearances to just a few establishing scenes. The dialogue tends towards cryptic as well, so it’s remarkably hard to follow who’s loyal to whom and who all wants to kill Fark. These scenes are also uncomfortable tonal shifts from the technicolor zaniness of the levels, often leading from childish insults to a character getting dramatically stabbed and dying a tragic, tearful death.

But it’s fine if you’re not here for the story, because the levels more than make up for it. The original Spark did a good job of having huge, sprawling levels to speed through or explore, much like the best Sonic levels. Somehow, the developer effectively translated that into three dimensions for Spark 2. The game’s dozen or so levels are remarkably huge, filled with platforms, towers, tracks, traps, and secrets. Seriously, if you see something neat off in the distance of a level, you’re probably going to end up over there after a few spring launches and loop-the-loops. Gems, health, and powerups dot the many paths and platforms around you, along with disks that unlock a proliferation of concept art. You could spend 20 or 30 minutes in each level just exploring, looking for odd paths, or checking out the scenery.

You could also fly like the wind and beat the level in 2 or 3 minutes, too. Fark is insanely mobile in this game, with a lightning-fast run, a dash to get up to speed, a huge double-jump, and a lock-on attack that makes bouncing off of enemies or springs a breeze. The main paths are usually dotted with accelerators to get you up to speed, and once you’re there it’s easy to keep up the pace as you leap and soar across the level. You’ll find plenty of curving, looping tracks connecting larger platforming areas too, which are incredibly fun to zoom along. Or at least until the final levels, where most of the platforming falls away and you’re challenged with staying on thin paths with no walls. The graphics help a bit, with the bold colors and simple shapes making it remarkably easy to see where you can and should go. I should probably mention here that the sound design has suffered since the last game, with few memorable musical tracks and some very underwhelming effects across the board.

You’ll notice the sound the most when running or in combat, but taking the high-speed approach also removes most of the enemies from consideration, as there’s nothing forcing you to fight common foes. It’s almost a bit of a shame, because Fark has a decent 3D combat system based on basic combos and parrying. You can find powers along the way and hold three at a time, though I think there’s only like six total in the game. Some are clearly dominant over others as well, not that I didn’t expect that after the first game. Bosses are where your skills will be tested, particularly your ability to parry, because you can stun even the toughest foes with a well-timed block. Most of them are pretty fun, though the train boss was a bit confounding and things take a decidedly Dragonball Z turn for the finale.

If you haul ♥♥♥, you can easily beat Spark 2 in like 2 hours. Obviously you’ll miss out on huge swathes of the levels, but it’ll also be some of the most rewarding, fast-paced platforming you’ve done in 3D. There are plenty of difficulty levels to choose from, six in all, and I can vouch for Easy making combat mostly a non-issue for the first two-thirds of the game or so. Beating the game unlocks some unreasonable challenge modes, so in terms of replayability you’ll want to focus on collectibles and scoring medal times on stages. It’ll be worth it to revisit these worlds, though, because they are beautiful, fun-filled spectacles. Spark 2 is a big step forward overall, bringing the series into a fantastic world of 3D action and mayhem, with very little holding it back.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 14 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
5 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
2.3 uur in totaal
It’s been ages since I last played a proper Touhou game, but the insane bullet hell action has stuck with me all these years. All that dodging and weaving and grazing prepared me well for other future bullet hells, but I never expected it to prepare me for a metroidvania. Whatever Touhou Luna Nights is to the rest of the franchise, it’s as perfect a translation of the gameplay into platforming as I can imagine, bringing with it some wickedly clever new mechanics that other games would do well to borrow. It really deserves to be bigger than what it is, but with action this good, I’ll take whatever I can get.

Sakuya Izayoi is a maid, servant to a vampire named Remilia Scarlet. On this particular day, she finds herself in a place very similar to her home of Gensokyo, but now filled with strange and aggressive spirits. Worse than that, though, is how her powers of time control seem to be failing her. After a kindly kappa helps her recover her temporal abilities, Sakuya sets off to find her mistress and uncover the true nature of this parallel world. Along the way she’ll meet several familiar faces, and expand her potent powers to make herself more than a match for anyone that stands in her way.

I can’t speak to the greater Touhou lore or the depth of these characters, and while there’s a fair bit of dialog at points it tends to be simple and roughly translated enough to not make much difference. The focus here is absolutely on the action, which is a wise move because it absolutely steals the show. Sakuya fights with an absolute embarrassment of magically-conjured throwing knives, peppering foes and covering walls with blades. They do drain her MP to use and she can run out, but MP and HP can be recovered by grazing enemies and their shots. Indeed, you are encouraged and even required to stray close to danger, especially when enemies get fast and the bullets get thick.

What really makes this work are Sakuya’s two time powers. Holding the attack button down charges up a time-slowing effect, making it far easier to graze hazards without harming yourself. There’s another button that does a full time stop, allowing you to evade impending doom or fill an enemy’s face with a cloud of knives for them to eat when time catches up. The incredible control this grants you over battles can lead to incredible clutch plays, like freezing bullets in midair to vault behind an enemy, or slowing down a hail of shots just enough to slide under them. Naturally, these time powers also feature heavily into exploration and mobility, with a mid-game power even allowing you to jump off of time-frozen knives. The map is filled with puzzles and challenges that interact with your time control in devilishly clever ways, starting with doors and switches, leading into the peculiar behavior of time-frozen water, and ending with traps that behave differently when time is slowed or stopped.

The real culmination of all these tight systems are the boss fights, which are some of the most thrilling challenges in any metroidvania. True to Touhou roots, each boss is a young woman with magical powers, specialized in throwing hellish waves of bullets at you. Luna Nights is probably more reasonable about this than you’re thinking, sticking with modest but tricky patterns to dodge at regular intervals. However, the pace of the boss fights demands the use of your time powers to have any hope of surviving, and the further in you get the more time-based gimmicks they’ll throw at you. You’ve got to be on point through the whole fight, recognizing patterns, weaving through attacks, and opening up with your own barrages when the time is right. It’s one of the rare games where I’d always be looking forward to new bosses and the crazy challenges each offered.

Between intense action and clever exploration, Touhou Luna Nights offers a lot you don’t normally get from metroidvanias. The time powers are an absolute game-changer, providing new ways to interact with the world and enemies. Bosses and puzzles are singular pleasures to overcome with these systems, though I would appreciate having more to face off against. My only real complaint is how short the game is, easily beatable in three hours or so, with not much more needed for 100% completion. There are only a few map areas and none of them are too complex, though they may contain tricky puzzle rooms or secrets. The art and animation is fantastic and the music is all the pumping beats you would expect from a Touhou game. Really it’s all very much what you’d expect from a Touhou game, transformed into a super solid metroidvania that deserves to be longer for how good it is. Even so, you won’t want to miss out on what thrills there are here.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 13 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
3 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
3.6 uur in totaal
Dying in games is never fun. Some games like Spelunky can make it entertaining, and most games now seek to make it as painless as possible, but it’s still not something anyone wants to waste time on. Super Time Force knows this, and decided that you wouldn’t need to waste any time on death at all. In fact, if you die, you can just fix it! And fixing it will make you stronger! And then you can blow up all the angels or dinosaurs you need to in order to right all of history’s perceived wrongs! Never mind if they’re actually wrongs or not, because the insane, brain-bending action here is absolutely the star of the show.

Dr. Repeatski has made the discovery of all possible lifetimes, a formula that allows for time travel. From there he makes the natural supposition that time is a big ol’ mess that only he and his hand-picked super-soldiers can fix. Thus is born the Super Time Force, a team of gun-totting time travelers out to correct mistakes across history. Of course, these are “mistakes” like the dinosaurs being killed off and Atlantis sinking into the ocean. Not everyone agrees with these corrections either, as the mysterious Dr. Infinity appears across the eons with his army of Blounbots to halt all this temporal meddling. It’s stiff resistance for the Super Time Force to overcome, but they happen to have a few timely tricks up their sleeves.

Those tricks are precisely what make Super Time Force such a madcap adventure. Beyond the bonkers premise, the stages you battle through are pretty standard platform shooter levels full of enemies in awkward places and explosives in much handier spots. You pick one of your troops to control at a time, and while their regular and special attacks are generally solid, they won’t be enough to push back the tides of mutants, dinosaurs, and robots you’ll face. So, whenever things get too deadly (including actual death), you can rewind time, load another soldier, and join the fray alongside your previous attempt. By doing this you can save your last soldier from death, double up your firepower, or pincer enemies in ways you couldn’t on your own.

The real kicker is that you can do this over and over and over again. There’s a limit on how many rewinds you can trigger but it’s something absurd like 30, allowing you to keep re-writing the same scene until all of your troops survive and all of your foes die instantly. You also get a bonus for saving someone from death, allowing you to combine their special attacks and take extra hits without dying again. Stacking up character is pretty necessary in some stages because you’ll have a strict time limit that’s essentially impossible without clever rewinds. Bosses also have absurd health pools intended to be melted by a dozen or more of you shooting at once. The utility of power like this is obvious but the sheer extent of what you can engineer is not, and some of the more puzzley bits of levels like trying to snap up fragile collectibles can really push your four-dimensional logic to the limit.

You’ll get plenty of chances to test your wits and reflexes across six eras, each containing something like three levels and a boss. There are more characters to unlock too, and not just conventional soldiers. Salarymen, dinosaurs, and even characters from Valve games will make an appearance, each with their own handy powers of destruction. You’ve probably gathered that Super Time Force doesn’t take itself too seriously, what with its ridiculous premise and journey, but if you didn’t then the writing would pound that point into your face. It’s probably the weakest part of this package, too, because it’s really, really, really trying too hard with the monkey cheese approach. Sometimes you’ve just got to let temporal mayhem speak for itself, without so much additional nonsense.

Lame dialog should be the least of your concerns when platforming, though, and Super Time Force offers a unique spin on the genre. The time rewinding is an incredibly gratifying mechanic to master, replaying scenes over and over until you get them just right in a perfect performance of violence. The art style is perfectly evocative for a game as silly as this, and the sound design goes out of its way to really immerse you in the temporal chaos. This is a thinking person’s platformer, with enough challenge and variety to keep you busy for hours, though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise from the writing. If you need a new take on temporal action, though, it’ll be a real good time.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 12 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
9 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
3.0 uur in totaal
Do you play games to beat them? In the past that was an important goal for me, but these days I’m far more content to just exist in a compelling game world. Open world games that give you plenty of options are some of my favorites, allowing me to go where I want and see what I like freely instead of trucking along towards a set objective. That’s why games like A Short Hike are such a treat for me, games that are entirely about the journey and not the destination. It’s a central theme of this game, and its brilliance comes from how completely it expresses that theme in every corner of its cozy world.

Claire has been whisked away on a trip with her aunt May and her siblings to Hawk Peak Provincial Park, an idyllic island topped by the aforementioned peak. It’s a lovely day to kick back but Claire is restless, waiting for a particular phone call to me. There’s no reception at their cabin, but according to May, there might be a signal at the top of Hawk Peak. With nothing better to do, Claire sets out on a short hike up the mountain, and into the lives of dozens of colorful characters dotting the trails. Everyone has a reason for being there, some more relevant to Claire than others but all of them compelling stories to share. Eventually she might just make it to the top of that mountain, but what she finds along the way could be more important.

I definitely put too much stock into howlongtobeat, because it told me this would take about 90 minutes to finish and I believed it. If you book it up the mountain that might be the case, but I spent three hours exploring Hawk Peak and its environs and I still don’t feel done. It’s a big island, and Claire being a bird offers you some very fun options like flapping and gliding to get around. The only thing that gates progression at all is golden feathers, which work like stamina for flapping and climbing, but you only need a fraction of those available to reach the top. Exploration turns up more than you need, along with money and all sorts of items that your fellow travelers might be interested in.

It shouldn’t take you more than one or two encounters with folks at the park to see what’s so special about this game. A Short Hike is very much presented in the New Sincerity style that so many earnest, heartwarming games like Celeste and Oxenfree make use of. The characters you meet have very natural opinions, problems, and responses, even on absurd topics like beachstickball and sandcastle politics. The people you meet are unsure of themselves, need encouragement, or put up walls that need to be broken down, and it all happens in silly dialogue bubbles over quests to go fishing or find a headband. One encounter touched on talent and self-doubt in a more poignant way than I’ve ever seen a game handle it, becoming an emotional moment that decades of dense RPGs and dialogue-heavy games never really matched.

I can’t stress enough how much of a pleasure it is to interact with the cast of A Short Hike, and exploring the island to find them is almost as much of a pleasure. There are trails and ledges leading to all sorts of places, including abandoned buildings, graveyards, and hot springs. Secrets are tucked away everywhere, whether they be in out-of-the-way chests, buried in conspicuous dirt patches, or at the end of a treasure map’s riddle. The further I got, the more it reminded me of a Mario Odyssey level, a fully-realized world jam-packed with things to find and features to experiment with. You can collect feathers, gather money to spend, go fishing, run races, dig up the beach, and so much more. And all the while you can glide freely, and fly or climb incredible distances once you get a few feathers.

The chunky 3D pixels and colorful models only add to the whimsy of this experience, giving the whole game an Animal Crossing-esque sense of welcome. The soundtrack is just as fitting, with comforting tunes and more upbeat pieces playing as you reach different parts of the island. This is a total package designed to make you happy and see things maybe a little differently, and it’s very effective at doing both. Really it’s exactly what I was hoping it was, a rich, beautiful world to poke around in and simply enjoy. And enjoy it I did, because few games are as charming and meaningful as A Short Hike.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 11 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
5 gebruikers vonden deze recensie nuttig
1.4 uur in totaal
Recensie tijdens vroegtijdige toegang
I have a great respect for games that manage to be compellingly weird, because it’s a tough needle to thread. I can’t even really say what it is that separates a game from being the interesting sort of weird and the plain obtuse kind. That’s why I enjoy Caiysware games so much, because they manage to put out games that genuinely have their own alien logic to them. They also look great and play well, and Spirits Abyss might be their best yet. Taking a page from Spelunky and scribbling neon nonsense all over it seems to really work here, especially once you start digging into how broad of an experience it is.

Atop a distant mountain there is a chasm, said to lead all the way down to the gates of the Resting Realm. Legend has it that a child consigned to the abyss beneath the blood moon may return wielding the power of the undead. Apparently your mother thought that sounded like a pretty good deal, because she chucked your naked ♥♥♥ down that hole right quick. Beset on all sides by restless souls, undead wraiths, mutant spores, and far worse things, your only hope is to descent to the mythical gates and pray the legend wasn’t some fever dream invention. But what will you find down there? And will it give up its terrible powers so easily?

The answer to that last one is no, of course. Spirits Abyss is functionally cut from the same cloth as Spelunky, with each level being a large area of destructable terrain filled with monsters, loot, and traps. You’ve got to get from the top of the level to the exit pit at the bottom, but you’ve only got a few hearts and the threats are rather adept at taking them from you. My first half-dozen attempts at the game didn’t see me escaping the first level, as I learned the extremely fatal language of enemies and traps. Turns out a lot of stuff in this game explodes, or contains enemies when it might have loot, or is absolutely ready to kill you if you do the wrong thing.

Part of the confusion is because yes, this is a Caiysware game. All the text is in their kitschy house style of pseudo-babytalk, and goodies often look just as threatening as baddies. Compared to Spelunky the gameplay is less technical, thanks to the absence of fall damage and a much higher proportion of powerful abilities. Your basic attack can be powered up to remarkable levels with perks offered between levels, and it starts out pretty strong anyway. Bombs are plentiful, jumps are high, and enemies aren’t really dense enough to stop you from blazing through a level if you want. You won’t want to, for the most part, because of all the weird, wonderful features levels have that can push your power level to even crazier heights.

Really the main learning curve is sussing out what is super dangerous and what isn’t, and once I had that down I was able to beat a run pretty quickly. There’s not quite the challenge or compelling mayhem of Spelunky here, and the devs seemed to know that because they papered over that fact with tons of modes and secrets. You’ve got several classes to challenge the abyss with, including alchemists, ninjas, and miners, each with different weapons and bomb delivery systems. Aside from the normal 10-level descent, there are also challenge modes, online score attacks, horde battles, and an actual card battling game with some pretty neat mechanics. Add to that a wealth of special levels and collectibles sprinkled throughout, and it still comes out as a pretty compelling package.

Tied together with colorful, crunchy pixel art and solid sound design, Spirits Abyss is a great addition to the ranks of platforming roguelikes. It takes all the important parts of Spelunky and uses them as a base to wander off in different directions, and the result is charming, challenging, and compellingly weird. This one lacks the depth of mechanics or challenge that some might, but more than makes up for it with the variety of experiences included. I still don’t fully grok what’s happening or what that ending was, but I’m more than happy to keep abyss diving to see what else I can find.



Did you enjoy this review? I certainly hope so, and I certainly hope you'll check out more of them at https://goldplatedgames.com/ or on my curation page!
Geplaatst 10 februari.
Was deze recensie nuttig? Ja Nee Grappig
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