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Ostatnie recenzje napisane przez użytkownika Audish

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Wyświetlanie 1-10 z 827 pozycji
Według 2 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
1.5 godz. łącznie
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!
Opublikowana: 16 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 2 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
0.7 godz. łącznie
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!
Opublikowana: 15 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 4 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
2.4 godz. łącznie
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!
Opublikowana: 14 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 5 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
2.3 godz. łącznie
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!
Opublikowana: 13 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 3 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
3.6 godz. łącznie
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!
Opublikowana: 12 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 7 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
3.0 godz. łącznie
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!
Opublikowana: 11 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 5 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
1.4 godz. łącznie
Recenzja wczesnego dostępu
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!
Opublikowana: 10 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 3 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
0.9 godz. łącznie
It’s not uncommon for a middling game to be carried by its graphics. That won’t work for every game, of course, but there are plenty of titles out there that justify their existence with some particularly fine art. Harold is a special case, though, because it has one of the greatest gulfs between visual quality and gameplay quality I’ve ever seen. The graphics are truly remarkable, featuring animations that rival even TV and film, yet are used to bring to life an ill-conceived system that feels more like an indie experiment than a full offering. I almost wish the graphics could carry this one so I could enjoy more of them, but sadly the gameplay is about as fit as Harold himself.

You don’t play as Harold, mind you. You are Gabe, a hot-shot guardian angel-in-training that seems to breeze through every challenge put to him. That all ends when the forces that be decree that the angels must compete in a deadly race. Not directly, of course, but by guiding and protecting mortals who run the race through dark jungles and treacherous ruins. For this challenge, Gabe has been paired with Harold, perhaps the scrawniest, dippiest of the competitors. Regardless, if Gabe wants to pass the test and earn his wings, he’ll have to guide Harold safely past spike pits, crocodiles, and far worse things, and do it fast enough that the hapless human can rank in the top three.

All of this action is going to be presented in some of the brightest, most lushly-animated art you’ve ever seen in a video game. This is no joke, the hand-drawn animations for all the characters and traps are nothing short of incredible, every one of them silky-smooth and full of dynamic motion in the finest Tom & Jerry traditions. Harold competes with four other runners, each with a very different character conveyed entirely through their appearance and animations. The traps are no less impressive, with detailed water sprays, dust clouds, and shimmers. It’s a vibrant world being shown here, extending even to the many cutscenes that bookend the game’s races.

But the races are where the marvels end. Harold is a hands-off platformer, which is a genre that’s notoriousy tricky to get right. During each race, he’ll dink along at his own pace to the right, jogging haplessly into rope traps and spiked walls. All of the obstacles have interaction points that key off of different parts of your controller, like pushing left or right to move platforms or rotating the stick to lower a drawbridge. Before each race there’s an extended practice mode, where you have to pass each screen of the race by learning how the traps and timings work. This part of the game is a pretty fun puzzle challenge, honestly, because there are optional stars to collect and the short length of each section makes retrying painless. I’ve spent a decent amount of time scoring stars in this mode, which can require some careful timing and tricky button combinations.

The problem arises when you translate that into the actual races. Working out the trap puzzles one at a time is fun, but stringing them all together into a race turns it into an ordeal. Simply remember how exactly to pass each one can be difficult, given how tight some of the timing is and how the results of one trap can affect others. On top of that, there’s the pressure to actually place in the top three for each race, which requires collecting and strategically using boosts to pass the other races. Plus, there are additional interactions for sabotaging other racers, which is fun but massively distracts from getting Harold through tricky parts himself. All of this combines to make a big mess of gameplay that took me multiple tries just to pass the first race of a dozen.

Harold isn’t really a bad game, but it’s designed to appeal to an incredibly small and specific demographic of gamers. I’m sure there are people out there who are looking for puzzle challenges with tight, dynamic timing and near-perfect execution over long levels, and for them this is going to be the holy grail of games. I’m not one of those people though, and for my part I find it frustrating that the breathtaking art is spent on something that’s going to be tedious for almost everyone that tries it. I wish the gameplay was even half as good as the animations, but when it’s so hard to get anything fun or rewarding out of Harold, it’s no surprise that it’s going to finish last.



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!
Opublikowana: 9 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 6 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
1.1 godz. łącznie
Let’s say you wanted to make a rhythm game. What’s the most important part? The music, obviously. If your gameplay is going to integrate with the music, expecting players to bop along with the beat to succeed, you need those tunes to slap. So I’ll make this one easy for you: the soundtrack in Runner3 does not slap. It does not bump. It sucks. I feel like that alone should be enough to condemn a rhythm game, but it’s not even the first thing that turned me off to this one. I even had to revisit the original BIT.TRIP RUNNER to confirm I wasn’t losing my mind, but nope, this third installment of the series is but a pale shadow of its former glory.

Commander Video and CommandGirl Video have decided to chill for a bit, and nipped off to Foodland to take in the giant tubers, I guess. But the Timbletot is returning to foul up everything good and cool about the world, so the hero’s journey continues for our rhythmic friends. Across Foodland and beyond, you’ll guide the pair in running, jumping, sliding, kicking, bouncing, and more as they traverse courses full of foes, traps, gaps, walls, and worse. All the while you’ll have the music urging you on, with every bounce on a spring and gold bar grabbed adding its own beat to the rhythm. And there’s plenty more to find in each level than just gold, with all sorts of gems and collectibles on the line.

That’s as flowery as I’m willing to get in describing this game, because there’s a lot wrong with what I just said. For starters, I want to reiterate how bad the soundtrack is. Yes, it has a strong beat to help guide you, but the tunes sound like something belted out of a bad flash cartoon. Gone are the bangin’ electric beats of the first game, replaced with cartoon percussion, farts, and slide whistles. It’s genuinely bewildering how bad the music is, and each world only gets like three tracks to share across its many, many levels. Worse than that, though, is how little impact you have on the music with your actions. I’ve never felt like the rhythm was all that important to the Runner series, since the beats fall on things you touch and obstacles you pass, not on the button presses themselves. But in Runner3 there’s less feedback than ever, with really only gold and gems adding anything to the deficient music.

There are problems across the presentation, and not just audio. I really, truly do not understand the art style of this game, or why it’s moved so incredibly far away from the clean pixels and polygons of the original. The clean look of the first Runner helped players plan and time their moves. In Runner3, everything is beset with this grotesque, waxen look of hideous faces and meat. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly what the aesthetic is, but it reminds me too much of cheap parody games cobbled together in the oily, high-contrast forges of Unreal 4. Everything is simply unpleasant to look at, and the scenery often gets in your way either because it’s over-designed or because the camera likes to swoop around at dramatic and painfully unhelpful angles.

Even drilling down to the core gameplay, you’re going to hit rough patches. Levels have confusing alternate routes that don’t unlock until you beat the main route, leaving your trail covered in ugly barriers. There are new flying sections that really add nothing to the game, aside from reminding you that you could be playing a better side-scroller. And a shocking number of hazards come out of nowhere, like meatballs streaking at you from off-screen and a giant octopus randomly deciding to smash holes in your route. I could go on about the lame jokes, the annoying unlock conditions, the brutally unfun secret levels, or how terribly wasted Charles Martinet is, but I don’t want to distract too much from the real takeaway. Runner3 barely resembles the game that put this series on the map, and fails to live up to any of those expectations.



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!
Opublikowana: 8 lutego. Ostatnio edytowane: 8 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
Według 4 osób ta recenzja jest przydatna
1.7 godz. łącznie
I don’t ask much of the really indie platformers, just that they offer a unique or quality experience. You can hang with an amazing game like Hollow Knight for dozens of hours, but I’m just as happy with the wide range of experiences found in the indie scene. What makes MagiCat so special, then, is how it offers that unique experience within a remarkably broad package. And within the huge array of levels and challenges, it still manages to switch things up and keep you engaged. Honestly this one could’ve gotten by just on cuteness and presentation, but there’s a vast game here that’s waiting for you to get your paws on it.

You’re a magic cat, you have a magic gem, and a magic monkey steals your magic gem. That’s the whole plot. You’ll get the occasional cutscene or dialogue with a world boss, but everyone speaks in miaos and squeaks so there’s nothing to follow. This does punch up the adorableness of the game even further, which is already at dangerously high levels with your little peep that summons your attacks and your little kicky feet when you flutter in the air. Really the entire presentation deserves recognition for being such a bright, fanciful 16-bit package. There’s that indie sparseness with details that leave levels feeling a bit empty, but the colors and and clarity of the game really pick up the slack.

In terms of structure, you’re starting at one end of the world, and you’ve got to get to the other. There’s seven worlds of nine levels each, connected by a web of trails and bridges and islands on the overworld map. You can wander this freely to pick up coins and hunt for secrets, but the real treat here is how none of the worlds is entirely linear. All of them branch at least once, allowing you to pick different halves of the world to tackle. They also split into different thematic zones, so you might get a choice between a grim castle or fluffy cloudlands. The shops dotting the land offer new powers as well, some of which allow you to skip around or mess with stuff on the overworld.

Once you’re in a level, you’ve got a lot that’s familiar and a few unique features. Your enchanted kitty can run, jump, flutter for extra jump distance, and miao at enemies in explosive fashion. Your attack actually arcs, and offers a few angles of launch, so there’s some strategy in deploying even basic attacks. There’s a dash as well, but the uses are limited to potions you find during levels. You’ll find a good two or three dozen along the way, but there are bonuses for not using it, and they also trigger the mid-level checkpoints. That’s right, you have to pay to use checkpoints, and they’re priced such that you may not even be able to activate them all. Levels are pretty short, though, and if you decide to cheap out and then die, you can spend another currency for on-the-spot revivals.

Some might balk at limited dashes or optional checkpoints, but they give MagiCat a really clever sort of custom difficulty. If you like dashing, you can lean on that at the expense of checkpoint security. If you’re frugal, you can trigger more checkpoints. If you decide to live on the edge, you can power through with revivals. Or you can say no to everything and ironman every stage for score bonuses. This system also encourages taking on the challenges to get potions in the first place, giving the game a little added direction. There’s a wealth of challenges beyond this even, with three tricky gems to find per level, time attack modes unlocked after beating a level, and special recognition for beating bosses with no revives and no hits.

All that being said, the game does start out in fairly simple territory and ramp up the challenge hard by the end. You’d be forgiven for thinking MagiCat is tuned for younger audiences in the first world or two, but in the last few worlds it goes full-on precision platforming. Dashes and checkpoints help, of course, but you do need to be prepared for the overall difficulty curve. On the bright side, the game gets very creative with its challenges. You’ll come across all kinds of clever traps and arrangements with switches, push blocks, special powers like becoming a ball, reflecting lasers, and more. They even went as far to stick a boss at the end of every single level, over 60 in all, each with its own attack pattern or gimmick to contend with.

I have to say, I’m terribly impressed with how much quality and creativity is crammed into this budget platformer. I expected a cute, simple adventure, and what I got was a sprawling quest with dozens of diverse levels, bosses, and challenges. It’s still very much an indie game, with simple graphics and something of a weak soundtrack, but those details are easily overlooked when there’s so much more to really dig into. You’re getting a crazy amount of content here, and really, even without that I probably would have told you to play the game with the cute hat-wearing kitty.



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!
Opublikowana: 7 lutego. Ostatnio edytowane: 7 lutego.
Czy ta recenzja była przydatna? Tak Nie Zabawna
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