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Recensioni recenti di Audish

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7 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
0.3 ore in totale
I hold a lot of nostalgia for the horror films of my childhood, when literally anything could be the basis for a scary movie. I remember wandering through the video store, examining VHS cases for movies about murderous washing machines, tires, rabbits, and more. It seems I’m not the only one that yearns for this sort of hilarious schlock, because these days we get games like Coffin Mall. Miniscule in scope and light on gameplay, this nugget of horror nevertheless provides a thrilling romp as you struggle to survive against a foe both ridiculous and surprisingly terrifying.

Honestly, if you like retro horror and compact experiences, pick this one up right now and go in blind. Otherwise, I’m going to spoil just as much as the store page does, which is the entire hook of the game. You are a newly-hired night watchperson at the local mall, and things go completely to hell when a homicidal car decides that you shouldn’t be alive anymore. It’s a short, tense escape from the clutches of the car, requiring you to think quickly and use your surroundings to get away. But this cantankerous clunker isn’t about to give up on you easily, and your survival will soon hinge on more than just getting out of the mall.

If you’re still reading this, we might as well make sure you know exactly what you’re getting here. Coffin Mall will take you about 15-20 minutes the first time you run through it, with much of that time dependent on how adept you are at avoiding a speeding fender to the face. Gameplay is simply walking (or running) around, hitting switches, and solving one very straightforward puzzle. I won’t lie, this feels a lot like a game jam game, but it’s important to note that the visceral quality of the experience is top-notch. I’ve played through a lot of horror jams, and it’s not often that I come across games that make me as tense or as excited as this one. For as short and simple as it is, Coffin Mall is very effective in using the scant tools it has.

Obviously this will appeal more to fans of retro-style horror, particularly in the PS1-ish graphics. They’re not as stylized as some, and seem a bit unintentionally glitchy in places, but I’ll hardly fault a game of this scope for that. The sound design in contrast is on point, making you feel every lightning strike and engine rev in the pit of your stomach. It’s a game that knows exactly what it wants to do and executes it perfectly, and in that respect is very, very easy to recommend. If you miss the days of evil cars and killer appliances as much as I do, Coffin Mall is just the trip down that dark memory lane you want.



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!
Pubblicata in data 23 ottobre.
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7 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
3.9 ore in totale (3.1 ore al momento della recensione)
One of the wonderful things about gaming is the variety of ways you can approach an experience. There are plenty of folks out there more concerned with speedrunning or achievement hunting than with simply completing a game, and over time, developers have reacted to that in different ways. I mention this because Evil Tonight feels like it’s for a rather specific group of people: those who enjoy the challenge modes in Resident Evil. Even if you’re just here to experience the gameplay or story once through, the survival horror balance here is designed to seriously test you. And while it won’t take more than a few hours to see the tale to completion, there are some choices here that may hamper your enjoyment.

You step into the stylish shoes of Sylvia, a modern medium who battles evil by bringing the evil to her. During a job at an abandoned performing arts school, things go awry in a big way, trapping her and others in a complex full of nightmare creatures and unquiet spirits. Sylvia’s only chance is to scavenge what she can from her surroundings and fight smart against the darkness, but the bystanders caught up in the chaos may very well complicate things. As she explores the school, the secrets behind the haunting will be revealed, and Sylvia’s skills as a medium will be tested to the fullest.

Evil Tonight is very much a top-down Resident Evil, rendered in some of the most lush pixel art I’ve ever seen. I normally don’t mention graphics up front but the look of this game absolutely takes center stage here. All of the sprites, from characters to inventory, are clearly inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics, giving them a warm and inviting feel from the soft gradients used. They’re actually even warmer than that, due to a filter that adds the most subtle of soft blurs to the edges of the art. The end effect gives just a hint of beholding the whole thing on a classic CRT, without really affecting the sharpness of the image. Details like this make Evil Tonight an extremely pleasing game to look at, especially when combing through the immaculately detailed environments in search of key items.

But yeah, Resident Evil! I can’t let go of this comparison, because so much of the game feels like a love-letter to that specific brand of survival horror, and all that entails. You’ll have a small assortment of firearms to seek out ammunition for, but conservation of these resources is key because enemies can take a shocking amount of punishment. A combat knife serves as your main conservation tool, limited by a stamina bar that keeps you to four swings in a row. The most basic enemies can take up to ten knife swings to dispatch, which seems excessive especially when foes like that present little threat themselves but block access to narrow hallways you need to cross. Healing items are also at a premium because enemies do a lot of damage, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to reload saves just because I took too much damage on my way somewhere. The combat itself is nice and responsive, it’s just the details surrounding it lean pretty heavily on the difficulty.

Outside of battles, you’ll mostly be crisscrossing the campus in search of keys and puzzle pieces to open up the next area. Puzzles are very straightforward affairs, and once you check a locked door, the icon of the key needed will hover over it whenever you pass by. Those icons will NOT show up on the map, however, because there is no map. It feels like a glaring omission at first, given how winding the hallways can be and the sheer volume of backtracking needed. Honestly I was able to manage okay without a map because of how compact the game is, but it’s definitely not a point in its favor that it consciously makes navigating harder than it should be. Also not a point in its favor is the writing, which is overly wordy and trying far too hard to be cute or clever. The main character Sylvia in particular has a terminal, absolutely deadly case of hot-girl-written-by-a-guy, constantly dropping cringe-inducing lines about how hot she is or how much some dude obviously wants her.

If you can get past all these player-unfriendly bits, though, I have to admit that Evil Tonight is a surprisingly compelling little adventure. The graphics do a lot to hook you, and the sound design matches perfectly will rich effects and a mostly-reserved soundtrack. I enjoy the action quite a bit, even if it does drag on too long in places, and it’s got a neat little mystery to unravel. The whole thing shouldn’t take you more than four hours, and judging by the achievements, it seems like no-save or no-healing challenge runs are the intended replay value. That doesn’t appeal so much to me, and if you’re not the kind of person to do more runs on higher difficulties, this one might leave you wanting. But for a charming, if flawed, survival horror adventure, Evil Tonight does enough right to be worth the trouble.



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!
Pubblicata in data 20 ottobre.
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10 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
4.8 ore in totale (4.0 ore al momento della recensione)
There are certain genres where I tend to bring up gamefeel a lot, because it has such a prominent effect on the experience. Platformers and fighting games are two in particular where the feel of your character as you control them is hugely important to the enjoyment, whereas in a puzzler or point-and-click adventure, the impact is lessened. I bring this up because despite the theme and atmosphere of CARRION being so solid, it’s the actual experience of controlling your terrible beast that sells it. As much as I love the concept of a reverse horror game, I didn’t truly fall in love with it until I was snaking tentacles up through pipes to vivisect hapless guards myself.

Plenty of horror games have that scene where, tucked away in some corner of a clandestine research facility, a containment pod ruptures and the thing you have to run from or desperately battle spills out. Well, this time that thing is you. Loosed from its prison, your horrific, amorphous construct of meat and bone must seek escape from the sprawling complex of labs and facilities. There are, understandably, more than a few gates, traps, and fleshy humans in your path, and all must be overcome with your litany of terrible powers. As you progress through the mazelike chambers, you’ll grow your abilities, spread your corruption, and also gain further insight into where you came from and where you’re going.

I mentioned gamefeel because from the moment you break containment in CARRION, the experience of moving your viscera beast around is a true pleasure. If you’re using a controller (as I did), simply pushing the left stick in a direction causes the creature to move swiftly in that direction, lashing out uncountable tentacles to buoy itself along. You can move freely across wide open spaces, down narrow shafts, and around tight corners. Mechanically, your being can move with no limits wherever there is space, but the game is careful to show tentacles connecting with surrounding surfaces and supporting your movement. It may seem like a small thing, but this attention to detail has a huge effect on the gamefeel, thoroughly selling the concept of piloting a horrible hellbeast around.

The other aspect of gamefeel that works in CARRION’s favor is the absolute chaos you can wreak on your foes and even the environment here. At its most basic, your creature can grab people and objects like crates or doors and shake them around like ragdolls. Humans can, of course, be devoured, which is also an important mechanic for increasing your mass and gaining access to additional abilities. However, some people are armed or armored, making them dangerous to deal with or hard to dispatch. In these situations, all those objects that can be grabbed can also become bludgeons or projectiles. This means that even simple encounters with just a few scientists or guards frequently descend into bloody havoc, with blood and limbs showering the area. And this is all before getting into the powers you develop as you progress, which I won’t spoil but will instead assure you that they offer even more thrilling opportunities for carnage.

If you’ve read my recent review of The Dweller, this sadistic glee might sound familiar. CARRION hits all the same notes and then some, edging more towards the insane gore of the likes of BUTCHER than the more contemplative carnage of The Dweller. There are puzzles here, but they tend towards very straightforward in light of the powers you have. It’s rare for CARRION to really tax your brain, and the most difficult sequences are often big battles, not puzzle challenges. There are some hidden goodies to find, though for the most part you’ll want to carry on in the directions the game points you. This one is very good about indicating where you need to be looking usually, which is good because the map for this game is remarkably confusing and has pretty much no conveniences added to help you navigate.

Most importantly, CARRION nails all the points it needs to for a thrilling, visceral experience. Your creature is such a pleasure to move and interact with, made all the more immersive by the truly excellent pixel art and detailed animations. Sound design is up to the task as well, adding to the creeping dread of the atmosphere and really punctuating all the inevitable violence. It may not go particularly deep with its story or mechanics, but I don’t think that’s the point here. If you’re playing CARRION, you want to make an absolute mess of humanity, and it’s more than happy to oblige you on every count.



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!
Pubblicata in data 9 ottobre.
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6 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
2.4 ore in totale
I’ve found that games can teach us just as much about ourselves as it can about the creator or the greater world. The Dweller, for example, has taught me that I am an absolute sociopath when asked. Not only will I devour people, crush them with boulders, and send them screaming off of cliffs, I’ll do it while cackling gleefully and extolling the virtues of my deeds to anyone who will listen. So, to add some context for whatever therapist ends up reading this review in a few years, let me explain how The Dweller makes horrible murder so much fun in such a tight little puzzley package.

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient, buried city, and they simply can’t resist the historical secrets buried within. Too bad for them, you are the eldritch guardian of the city, intent on allowing no one to escape alive. Burrowing through the earthen walls of the caves, you can devour these hapless fools in an instant. For those just out of reach, you can inhabit boulders and crush the interlopers beneath your merciless bulk. Even fear can be a killer, sending panicked researchers screaming away and into deadly drops. But not all of these intruders are in places that can be easily reached by your powers, and so will require a bit of puzzling to dispatch. As you clean ancient house, you’ll come across research notes and letters regarding their mission, and you’ll be able to follow along as the situation escalates in a direction you might not expect.

The Dweller is a very lean little puzzle game, packing everything I just described into 59 single-screen levels where your task is to extinguish the lives of every human dumb enough to wander within reach. Your eldritch horror follows your cursor through floors, walls, and ceilings, but cannot cross open-air gaps on its own. That’s where the power to possess boulders comes into play, not only for bridging gaps but also for turning archaeologists into erudite paste. You’ll get a few additional tricks in the later levels but I won’t spoil them here. Instead, I’d like to point out how clever the game gets with its simple mechanics, starting you off with puzzles that explain your tools without any actual explanations, and then ramp up expectations to push your understanding and creativity. It’s exactly what any good puzzle game should do, what the best of the genre like Braid and Gunpoint have done, and levels are presented in non-linear segments so you can leave one you’re stumped on and return to it later.

And that’s pretty much it! You’ll get lore as you go, expanding on the characters you’re devouring and pushing the plot in new directions across the two hours or so it’ll take to complete this one. It’s not revolutionary or sprawling, but puzzle games in particular really don’t need to be. I want games that present unique and entertaining challenges for a few hours, enough to get my fill but not enough to burn out on, and The Dweller fits that bill perfectly. It’s quite a bonus for me that the payoff is crushing and consuming tiny, hapless adventurers, as I just can’t get enough of that kind of carnage. But regardless of where your moral compass points, I can assure you that The Dweller is a fine way to tax your brain for a few hours.



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!
Pubblicata in data 6 ottobre.
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48 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
13.1 ore in totale
There are few games that have charted such tumultuous releases and receptions as No Man’s Sky, and fewer still that are worth talking about five years after the fact. By now, we all know the story, how it was hyped to high heaven despite no one really knowing what it was, how the disappointment over promised features crushed it at launch, and how it has tenaciously clawed back the good will of the gaming world over the course of half a decade. It was this incredible comeback that got me to finally give the thing a try, that and the desire for some epic, sprawling, open-space adventure. But after twelve hours in an unparalleled, infinite universe, the question of whether No Man’s Sky is actually good is as complicated as ever.

You awaken on a planet, one of uncountable number in the vast reaches of the cosmos. You don’t know who you are or how you got there, but your ship is busted and the hazardous atmosphere is eating away at your suit. Over the next few hours, you’ll learn how to survive on inhospitable worlds (which, it turns out, is almost all of them), maintain your ship, travel from planet to planet, and eventually escape the confines of the current solar system to explore the infinite reaches of others. You are guided on this journey not only by helpful tutorial messages, but also the vague and ominous portends of unnamed voices, whispering about travelers and sentinels and number sequences. Once you have a grip on survival and travel, perhaps you’ll make some headway into understanding these strange messages and the cosmic forces behind them.

Or maybe you won’t, because maintaining yourself is a surprising amount of work. Those first couple hours are all about teaching you to shoot rocks and plants and crystals with your mining laser to get elements like carbon and oxygen, and then cram those into your suit or gun or ship to keep them working. Your life support needs to be maintained with elements, as does your environmental protection, your tools, your launch thrusters to get offworld, and so on. This is a survival game, after all, and survival games always require chores to keep you alive. So get ready to hoover up plenty of elements wherever you go, and make sure you have enough slots for them in your inventory as you shuffle them about.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to see when you travel to these mysterious worlds. Every planet is procedurally generated, populated by randomized flora and fauna, and dotted with unique rock formations. All of these can be scanned down for information on the elements you can vacuum out of them, as well as cash for discovering something that no one else in the universe has found. Additional features can be found dotted above and below the landscape, the latter being accessible by a terrain manipulator attachment that lets you tunnel straight into the ground. There are settlements, outposts, ruins, relics of the past, lost technology, and more to find as you scour planets, and between your scanners and helpful NPCs that will offer or sell coordinates, you’ll never run out of places to explore.

What became apparent as I tracked down more and more errant signals was the similarity between what I was finding. The first couple times I touched down next to a monolith or a listening station, I was pretty excited by the possibilities of what could lie within. Those examples in particular, it turns out, only really reward you with additional locations to check, which usually held artifacts to sell for money or extra resources. It was rare for me to find something of actual note, and the one time I did it was a sidequest to build a submarine and then drive it to like five different locations that were all minutes of boring travel between each other, all for a cosmetic helmet. The most disappointing discoveries were wrecked ships, which required absurd amounts of resources to get running again, except if I went ahead and claimed them and then returned to my original ship, the wreck would vanish and never return until I bought my own freighter much, much later in the game.

This is a big point I want to touch on, something that the experience with wrecks made very, very stark. I feel like immersion is an important aspect of survival sim, just to maintain a degree of fun as you go through the motions of gathering and crafting and other chores. No Man’s Sky seems like it tries very hard to create an atmosphere of immersion with its unique take on sci-fi stylings, but ultimately this is a very video-gamey video game. The stations you visit in each system are all exactly the same layouts with the same services. You can build teleporters to warp you (and your ship!) anywhere in the galaxy you’ve been, despite the difficulty baked into gathering the resources to hyperjump from one system to the next. Every alien you meet will teach you words in their language (which you have to collect diligently to have any hope of understanding them), every pilot will sell you their ship, and every captain will sell you their freighter.

All of these design decisions are there for the sake of content and player convenience, but they kill the feeling of exploring an actual galaxy full of mystery and wonder. Yes, every planet you land on has been unexplored by others, but in the context of the game that makes zero sense. You’re constantly making first-time discoveries on planets covered in ruins and listening posts, as fleets of traders hyperjump into low orbit. You’re supposed to be forging your way across an untamed universe, but there’s a major trade hub in every system and you can have your own bases and fleets within a few hours of starting the game. It’s hard to tell what kind of feel this game is going for at times, when you’re hunting for the raw elements to power up your thrusters to get off a hostile planet at one moment, and then spending ten minutes shuffling around your inventory the next.

Ultimately I think this is what kept me from really connecting with No Man’s Sky. This is a game that knows what it wants to be, the One True Space Sim that has something for everyone, but it doesn’t know how to be that. The design is all over the place, sometimes with little connection between elements. For example, if you want to build bases, you have to spend your time digging up lost tech buried on planets to unlock new components. Like…why? Why is unlocking new base bits not a component of actually building bases? If you want to explore planets far and wide, you need to constantly be crafting fuel for your thrusters that gets used every time you take off. I have no idea what purpose this mechanic serves other than to slow down exploration, because it really puts a damper on checking ruins and points of interest when you’re constantly weighing the cost of just landing.

I know this review doesn’t sound like much of a recommendation, but despite everything I’ve laid out here, I still think No Man’s Sky can be a good time for a lot of people. What Hello Games has accomplished here, both in the scope of the experience and in the improvement of it over five years, deserves recognition and a chance to impress. Folks not as concerned with immersion or survival chores will find a lot to do here, even if none of it goes particularly deep. And for aficionados of my reviews, this hits very different from Starbound, which was out to stop the player from having fun at every turn. There’s none of that malice or contempt here, just a confused attempt at giving you the galaxy but also making you work for parts of it. I’ve taken a rather winding, meandering path to a lukewarm recommendation, but that seems terribly appropriate for a game that sees you winding and meandering just as much.



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!
Pubblicata in data 24 settembre.
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42 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
2
4.4 ore in totale
There’s a small selection of games out there that I just love being in. I’m not talking about enjoying the challenges or the gameplay, I mean I love loading up the game and simply wandering around in it. Games need a special aesthetic or atmosphere to draw me in like that, and among this unique subset of games, Manifold Garden may be my favorite. I’m a sucker for fantastical vistas and clever architecture to begin with, and offering that within the context of the sprawling infinite should make it obvious why I connected with this one so much. Mixed with the solid puzzling, it’s an experience that more people need to share.

The story in Manifold Garden is very much open to interpretation, so I’m not going to try guiding your thoughts on it with my own suppositions. Instead, I’ll just mention that there are six colors from which a grand garden can be cultivated, and it’s up to you to make that happen. Making that happen involves navigating vast structures hanging in an infinite, repeating world, one that you can fall through indefinitely until you get bored and decide to land back on an iteration of the level. Adding to this mind-bending premise is the ability to flip your own gravity to align with any of the six directions that comprise the cubular architecture, allowing you to wrap around towers and explore the undersides of walkways, to name only a few of the incredible possibilities open to you.

So there’s the infinite, and the ability to scamper all over or fall through it while orientated however you like. What’s one to do with such powers? Well, besides taking in the breathtaking scenery from all angles, you do have a garden to grow. Throughout the world of Manifold Garden you will find blocks of six different colors, and those blocks can be used for a wide variety of purposes, from opening doors to forming platforms to directing water, and so on. The trick is that these blocks have their own gravitational alignment as well, and you can only interact with them while aligned the same way. This, again, expands the puzzling possibilities as you start mixing different colors of blocks and working out how to get one to one place while the others are frozen in their alignments. The game does an excellent job of easing you into this mindset, and continues to do so as it adds more and more twists on the formula, but it does get devious in some parts that can leave you scrambling for some time.

While there is certainly more ambitious gameplay to be found in this surreal genre of puzzler, I can think of few games that can match the visual flair that Manifold Garden has. The spectacle of a massive complex of chambers, windows, and platforms hanging in space, surrounded by an infinite field of itself repeated, never gets old. Every area feels so much more massive, so much greater in scope, than any other first-person game I can think of. And the simple color schemes give the aesthetic an even bolder look, drawing the eyes towards the shapes and details that comprise every structure. What’s even more impressive is how every few areas, the game manages to surprise you yet again with what it offers visually. I knew about the infinite staircases shown above long before I reached them, yet the experience of being there and navigating them still knocked me off my feet.

Really, with visuals like these and clever puzzles dotted throughout, there’s not much more you can ask for. It’s a tight package, offering about 4 hours of infinite journeying before concluding in a way that was fitting, if not particularly revelatory. There are certainly secrets to find, and in fact there’s apparently a way to complete the game without doing any of the key tasks for each of the areas you end up in, so the replay value is there for intrepid types. Tied up with some excellent minimalist sound design, Manifold Garden is exactly what it sets out to do, and it does it incredibly well. As good as the gameplay part of this game is, it’s the experience of touching the infinite that makes this what it is, and it’s an experience I can whole-heartedly recommend.


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!
Pubblicata in data 17 settembre.
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10 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
1 persona ha trovato questa recensione divertente
15.7 ore in totale
I think we can all agree that “Zelda, but a coloring book” is a gem of an idea. I don’t mean an actual coloring book, I had that when I was a kid, and I must say I preferred the genuine NES article. No, I mean taking the adventuring, puzzling, and fanciful stylings of Zelda and wrapping them around the ability to paint your surroundings in a game. Chicory pursues this idea with all the light and heart it can muster, giving you not only command of the world’s hues, but also every opportunity to solve puzzles or problems with a stroke of your brush. And if that’s not enough, the story takes on themes more meaningful that I was ever expecting of such an adorable outing.

Chicory is the Wielder, the most recent in a long line of artisans who command a magical Brush that can bring color to anything. It’s a big job, maintaining the very appearance of existence, and it becomes dreadfully complicated by a sudden disaster that saps all the colors from the world. You might think that correcting this mishap would fall to Chicory, but it doesn’t! It falls to you, the faithful janitor of the Wielder’s Tower, as you discover the Brush left unattended and set off on a journey of hope and discovery. Along the way, you’ll learn more about the Brush and its many capabilities, meet tons of residents who may help you or require your help in turn, and uncover the source of the strange malaise that has cost the world its colors.

I know I mentioned Zelda a lot earlier, but I want to be clear on where the similarities end. Chicory is a top-down adventure game where you travel the world in search of new powers that let you into new areas and so on. Your main method of interacting with the world is the Brush, controlled by either the right stick on your controller or the mouse. With the Brush, you can freely paint any object or surface on your screen, choosing colors from the immediate palette for that region, and laying down strokes in any way you want. Characters will react to your painting, certain objects will change based on their painted state, and as you gain more abilities, you’ll be able to interact with your own paint in new and exciting ways.

There’s a lot you can do here, but what you may have noticed I didn’t mention was combat. There’s no fighting in Chicory, no monsters roaming the countryside to dispatch or dungeons to clear of evil. There are… events that occur that I don’t want to spoil, but they provide a welcome and impactful counter to the generally chill and light-hearted exploration that comprises the vast majority of the game. There’s no end of collectibles to find laying about, from garbage to outfits to new Brush styles to use in your work. Side quests abound, ranging from finding lost kittens to taking entire art courses. That last one is particularly illuminating of how detailed this game gets with its immersion, as your teacher and classmates will comment on the exercises you participate in with wonderfully insightful feedback.

It’s not just the details that contain such insight, either. What starts out as a quest to save the world from some unknown menace evolves into something far more likely to hit close to home. The themes of this game go into some very personal vulnerabilities, and touch on topics like self-esteem and personal motivation. It can actually get pretty heavy at times, balanced by the charm of the world and the writing but still cutting right to the quick. I wouldn’t warn people away from this one, there’s definitely an overall positive and supportive message to the game, but just be aware that there are very real feels in this one, and they’re not always going to match the adorable atmosphere.

Personally I see the depth of Chicory’s message as a huge strength, and it’s just one of many to be found in this wonderful adventure. All of the characters you meet charm with their own distinct voices and engaging writing. Your powers expand far beyond what you might imagine, and enable you to reach some unexpected secrets. And on top of it all, it’s simply a relaxing, pleasant journey. The world of Chicory is serene, beautiful (as much as you make it), and open to all sorts of wanderings and explorations. It’s a fantastic game to just be in, and every part of the design supports that warm, wonderful atmosphere.



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!
Pubblicata in data 10 settembre. Ultima modifica in data 10 settembre.
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21 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
1 persona ha trovato questa recensione divertente
17.3 ore in totale
Review copy provided by developer

Do you remember the first time you watched Blade Runner or Ghost in the Shell and beheld those towering, cyberpunk metropolises? Sure, they’d be absolute dystopian hellholes to live in, but surely those smoking, neon vistas set your imagination ablaze with thoughts of the adventures and intrigue you would find in every squalid, seedy corner. More than a few games have sought to evoke those dismal future environs, but I’m not sure any game has done it as viscerally as The Ascent. It’s a fittingly brutal and, at times, confusing adventure, set in an unmatched cyberpunk wonderland.

Humanity has spread to the stars, only to find that aliens do soulless corporate drudgery better than we do. The galaxy is ruled by megacorps like the Ascent Group, which has founded the impossibly huge arcology that you reside in. As an indentured contractor or “indent”, you find yourself performing menial tasks in the stinking underbelly of the megalopolis when disaster strikes. The Ascent Group has defaulted, the arcology has no official leadership, and the other megacorps will be showing up at any moment to pillage the place. You just so happen to be in the right place at the right time to make a difference in all of this, and perhaps uncover what terrible (if not deserved) fate befell the executive board and the corporation that owns you.

It’s the stuff of dystopian nightmares, and the tone of the game maintains these grim excesses in every part of the design. Anything sewer-ish threatens to be a cliché, but starting your adventure off in the cramped, stinking bowels of the arcology really sells your status and the state of society. It also makes the first vista of the thronging city that much more breathtaking, and from there your journey takes you to ever more cluttered and glitzy regions, surrounded by dizzying twists of conduits and buildings. Without question, one of The Ascent’s greatest strengths is in the visuals that assault your eyes no matter where you are. Hordes of people, piles of refuse, impossible tangles of pipes and wires, and so much more fill every single screen of the game. The attention to detail is frankly incredible, and has such a powerful effect on immersion despite the arcadey action the rest of the experience is built around.

I was a little unclear on what kind of game The Ascent was at first, honestly. Billing itself as an “Action-shooter RPG”, I assumed it was some sort of cyberpunk Diablo. In hindsight, I’m not sure why I thought that because it is very much a top-down shooter with light RPG elements. The gear you find, including guns, pants, track suits, and hilariously stupid VR headsets, are not randomized but they do drop randomly, meaning sometimes you’ll find a vicious shotgun in an early area, while other times you might score a buzzy SMG or a workhorse of a rocket launcher. You can equip a rechargeable tactical grenade with all kinds of entertaining effects, as well as both passive and active cybernetic skills capable of punch a foe’s skeleton entirely out of their skin. Leveling your character comes mostly from quests and side quests, and gets you skill points that really just improve your attributes in areas like weapon reload and dodge frequency.

Leveling and growing stronger is particularly important here, because of of the open and often confusing nature of the world. The arcology is broken into several levels, with huge interconnected districts on each, and right from the start you are free to wander far and wide in search of quests, treasures, and upgrades. If you do that, however, you are almost sure to die to enemies far beyond your capabilities. My one big problem with The Ascent is that the levels of enemies in areas make absolutely no sense, with level 20 murder machines literally down the stairs from level 4 starter foes. It’s particularly brutal if you’re the kind of person who likes to do side quests the moment you get them, because most will happily send you into hopeless meat grinders long before you’re ready for them. If I have one piece of advice for anyone starting out in this game, it’s to stick to main quests almost exclusively until you really have a feel for what the game expects.

It’s totally worth sticking with, too, because the brutal combat and cyberpunk trappings make this a very special thrill ride. The story is solid, told through clever dialogues and voiced by hilarious characters. Guns feel meaty and impactful, battles can rage across neighborhoods with explosions and blood everywhere, and the pumping soundtrack never lets you forget about the action. And in between visceral shootouts, you’re wandering around one of the most well-realized sci-fi dystopias in gaming. I really can’t stress enough how amazing it feels to just wander the arcology, taking in all the loving craftsmanship of the world as you uncover secrets and challenges in every corner. Cyberpunk hellholes rarely look and feel this good, and if you’re the type who’s always wanted to visit, this is your chance.



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!
Pubblicata in data 3 settembre. Ultima modifica in data 3 settembre.
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13 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
2.7 ore in totale (2.2 ore al momento della recensione)
It’s a pretty good time to be a fan of finding tiny hidden objects, honestly. Hidden Folks appeared to usher in a small new wave of finder games, distinct from their cousins of the hidden object genre in their focus on traditional Where’s Waldo-style searching. Some games have stayed closer to the Hidden Folks mold than others, and one look at Hidden Through Time will tell you where this title falls. But the addition of a level editor and user-created level sharing make this one an entirely different beast, even if the gameplay remains firmly in the pocket of its predecessor.

Hidden Through Time’s gimmick is, unsurprisingly, seeking out specific people and objects in different time periods. The base game is spread across four eras, including the Stone Age, ancient Egypt, the medieval era, and the wild west. Each era contains six or seven levels designed around a theme, like hunting dinosaurs or a jousting tournament. You’ll have a bevy of targets to find in each, from unique folks to tiny critters, towering monuments to a single vegetable. These are often tucked away behind other objects or hidden inside houses you can open up, and with the scope of some of the levels they can blend into the landscape quite easily. However, each item to find has a short text clue if you mouse over it on your list, which generally gives you a very good sense of its whereabouts.

You could also just click rather wildly on the landscape, if you like. It won’t accomplish much in terms of finding items, but it will produce a wonderful array of sounds an animations. One thing that Hidden Folks spoiled me for in these games is its high level of interactions, where virtually every object and surface gave its own charming, unique sound effect and often animation. Hidden Through Time smartly follows this example, granting all sorts of grunts and squeaks and squishes to the many things you can click. The interactions here aren’t so varied, mind you. Only a few structures like houses and tents open up, and some chests can be searched, but mostly you’re getting cute sounds for clicking around. With how cute the whole game is, though, that’s really enough to keep me happy.

It’s a good thing this one carries so much charm, too, because it takes some serious shots at you with its challenge. Hidden Folks could get pretty hard at times, thanks in part to its monochromatic presentation, but Hidden Through Time gets downright devious with some of its item placements. Plenty of levels ask you to find slightly different rocks from the others scattered across the map, or tiny carrots tucked into piles of pumpkins, or green bottles nestled in tangles of vines. Some of these border on the absolutely absurd, and while I wouldn’t call any impossible, they tend to be notably harder than what you’ll find in similar games. The text hints help, of course, but they can only help so much when you’re looking for an arrow stuck in the ground at a particular angle in a field of arrows.

The other pitfall games like this face is how their replay value suffers once you work through the levels once. Sure, the pyramid and castle scenes are lovely to look at, but once you know the trick to finding things, there’s not much left to do. Here, though, the developers smartly added an incredibly intuitive level editor and sharing service to allow players to keep the fun going indefinitely. All of the game’s assets are there for you to arrange into your own devious puzzles, and sharing them with the world is as simple as a few clicks. The online library of user levels is vast, so once you tire of the few dozen levels in the base game, you have literal hundreds more to choose from. Don’t expect the same quality from all of them, of course, but people do seem to take this seriously enough to make plenty of really fun levels.

This is ultimately a very familiar game for folks who have already sought out some hidden types, all the way down to the art style. I won’t deny that the lush colors and details are quite captivating on their own, but I couldn’t help but compare this to Hidden Folks the whole way through. Fortunately, the addition of user generated content really sets Hidden Through Time apart in a way that hugely benefits its replayability. The main game is still a quality, if challenging, series of puzzles to work through, and it’ll be hard not to do so with a smile on your face as you see everything these little people get up to in their kooky eras.



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!
Pubblicata in data 10 settembre 2020.
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17 persone hanno trovato utile questa recensione
4 persone hanno trovato questa recensione divertente
3.1 ore in totale
Nature has many ways to warn outsiders of danger. It could be a dog baring its teeth, a lion roaring through the jungle, or a crab the size of a battleship waving around a battle axe. In most cases, these natural warnings are answered with backing away slowly, but for that last one, you’ll want to respond with your own giant crab and lightsabers, or possibly guns. That’s the premise of Fight Crab, a colorful, chaotic brawler that pits crabs from all walks of the infraorder Brachyura against each other in brutal combat. Between the wild weapons, the bizarre locales, and the absolutely insane escalation of the campaign, this hard-shelled brawler promises plenty of fun within its notably narrow scope.

Surely you didn’t come to a game called Fight Crab looking for a story, and indeed all you’re going to get here are vague allusions to becoming the king of all crabs. That’s accomplished by beating the bajeezus out of any crustaceans in your path, of course, through a series of battles strung together into a campaign. From tidepools to avenues, restaurants to freezer cases, you’ll face every variety of crab imaginable and then some, armed with knives, clubs, swords, shuriken, flails, rockets, shotguns, and more. Your battles are not to the death, but until you or your challengers lie helpless on your backs, and proceed until you have bested the true king of crabs in fantastic fashion. To explain any further would be to spoil the awe-inspiring conclusion of your journey, so instead we’ll talk about the road to becoming the crustiest crustacean around.

I wouldn’t call Fight Crab a full QWOPlike, but the controls are definitely designed more for pratfalls than precision. The analogue sticks on your gamepad control your crab’s claws, with the triggers extending that claw to strike and the shoulder buttons clenching them to block. With skilled maneuvering you can perform uppercuts, parry blows, and grapple your foe, but for the first few hours you’re just going to be flailing wildly and hoping you land more lucky hits than the enemy does. It’s honestly a pretty deep and detailed combat system that can be mastered, and will require a bit of prowess to get you to the end of the campaign. But it’s also plenty of fun to swing wildly at crabs, pick up beer bottles and smash enemies off of dinner tables, and generally just stomp around like a big angry crab with a katana.

There’s a surprising number of weapons and wieldable… things in the game, which can be found in stages, taken from your foes, or purchased between battles to carry into combat with you. Weapons get fanciful real quick, with legendary weapons like Excalibur or some JRPG favorites appearing alongside more conventional nunchaku and guandao. The money used to buy weapons can also unlock new crabs to play as, each with their own stats and capabilities, and then to level those stats up for the more difficult later battles. You’ll even gain super moves in your journey, special techniques that borrow from the likes of Dragon Ball in the best possible ways. Helpful tutorials unlock alongside your new capabilities, concisely educating you in the ways of energy beams and divine blessings.

The sum of these parts is a thrilling, hilarious brawler that goes beyond the obvious hilarity of the screenshots. I had a genuine blast battling through the campaign, and the final fights were exactly what you think of when you apply the term “epic” to this outing. The charm of flailing around with giant, deadly crabs never really gets old, but the content does rather run out of steam after you beat the campaign only two or three hours in. From that point you can work on the blisteringly hard Extra stages, try to beat the campaign again on hard, or try to find someone in the world to play online matches with you. It’s a real crime that Fight Crab didn’t take off as the next big esport phenomenon, but regardless of the injustice done, I wouldn’t pick this one up for the multiplayer.

If you were a fan of Ace of Seafood or any other sort of off-kilter battler out of Japan, you’ll definitely enjoy Fight Crab. It’s a more polished and engrossing package than Ace or its predecessors, though I won’t deny the placeholder-looking UI is still a thing here. This one ends up being far more viscerally entertaining than other games of its ilk, but just for not a terribly long time. A bigger campaign or more game modes would have given Fight Crab longer legs, but the time you spend with it is still guaranteed to be quality. Really, I know you’ve always wanted to have a katana duel with a spider crab in a shadowy alley, and it’s not like you can look anywhere else for that kind of magic.



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!
Pubblicata in data 2 settembre 2020. Ultima modifica in data 2 settembre 2020.
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