Review: Yaga (PS4)

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For all that balalaika ringing out, this beastie just wants to keep you warm inside its stomach…

So, I wrote a poem as a game review again, or a game review as a poem. Cover your ears or something:

It took a while, oh yes, it did.
But this review’s now just un-hid
It’s for a game named Yaga ($24.99), see,
in some ways, it’s a victory.

Delivered in verse, the story is.
A nice choice, but it’s not for kids
Some blood’s here (you can turn it off)
Plus dark content might make some cough.

The brilliant writing and voices match
the music here, your ears will catch.
Painterly graphics wrap up this show
where myths from Slavic lands will flow.

You play a blacksmith with such bad luck
he’s one-armed ’cause he didn’t duck
and now is cursed to walk the land.
Problems he’ll solve with one good hand.

He’s fated to spend his bad time here
with witches binding moves so clear.
You pick a fate to trouble him
and then you set off with that whim.

That random nature hurts, but helps
you beat the foes, rescue the whelps.
It surely keeps you on your toes
wherever that cursed blacksmith goes.

While fixing things, he’s also tasked
With his Grandma’s most constant ask:
“Go find a wife to share your life”
(As if the Tzar’s decrees aren’t strife).

A black-bird will tell you to craft
So listen well, now – don’t be daft
You’ll make some gear to turn the tide
or be in for a tougher ride

But, weapons break via bad luck curse
Sometimes it seems, the timing’s worse.
Until you see that fate is tied.
All magic makes that meter slide

Now, even with less magic use
That bar will fill, and cook you goose.
Your carried weapon will just break
(and swapping it won’t make it fake).

You learn to deal (well, you’d better fast)
Escape that curse? Nope, that won’t last.
Get Yaga her gifts, aid folks you meet
Or else, it’s doom, right on the street.

Four times, you’ll play this game at least
Four paths to choose, from man to beast.
All these are based on choices made
so pick the path you’ve not yet played.

While levels could be better here
And combat seems to have less flair
The things I liked made this stand out
So buy this game! Oh, yes, I’ll shout.

-GW

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Yaga Calls, So Let’s Follow, Shall We?

Bad poetry for a good game alert (I guess that’s a trigger warning for some):

YAGA 4

What’s a Yaga you ask?
Is a Q fit to task
Here you go,
so you know
what lies under the mask:

It’s here via some Breadcrumbs,
and Versus Evil‘s fine hands
and sure looks like fun
So, there go your plans
(I’ll say that to those who’ve now become fans)

The art is quite lovely,
the music is prime,
that animation is yes, what I’d call sublime
All together, I’d bet it’s a great, super time
(I’ll need to post a review not in rhyme)

So, if you’re in the mood
for great Slavic themes
and want a fine game
That won’t cause bad dreams
Well, this one’s for you- I could call you “dude”
but that’s too exclusive and I’m not that rude!

YAGA 2

(Surviving to the end of my lousy verse gets you more screenshots, by the way):

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-GW

Review: Lost Ember (PS4)

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Might as well jump…

Lost EmberFor the record, I’m a Kickstarter backer of this game, but to be perfectly honest, I never review any game and give it an automatic positive score whether I get code for free, buy a game outright, or write it up based on a (very tiny, in this case) pledge or reward as if it would make the game “better” if it turned out not to be. That’s a weird way some look at crowdfunding games (or any funded product, for that matter), especially when there’s NO guarantee the project will be fully funded or even produced. Besides, as it says on its site, Kickstarter is not a store. That said, I found that briefly chatting with someone at developer Mooneye before and I think after I pledged some years back sold me on the game’s concept and freed a loose buck from my wallet. Funded or not, I felt that what they were working on was a nifty idea.

With that said, reviewing Lost Ember on PS4 ($29.99), turned into a fun exercise for the brain as the game is mostly flawless in execution, but is in need of a few technical fixes I found that hamper the experience (a patch is in order to clean up a few things). It’s certainly quite lovely to look at once you get out of the intentionally dull-ish (but very nicely lit) cave the game starts out in. Then it takes cues from a few open-world titles where stepping outside shows off the game world to be a wide, wondrous place worth fully exploring. “Where do I go now?” will be the question many have (I’d skip any walkthroughs posted this early in the game’s release, frankly). But the game points you in the right directions by making where you need to go a map’s focal point, and then leaving it up to you to choose how to get there.

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The Wanderer: Frankenstein’s Creature – Arte For The Masses

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This one’s special, folks.

Publisher and co-producer ARTE and indie game studio La Belle Games have a really surprising treat for gamers and non-gamers who just might be intrigued by a wonderful take on a literary classic. The Wanderer: Frankenstein’s Creature ($15.99) is out now on PC and Mac on Steam and coming soon to mobile platforms in November. In addition, ARTE is bringing the Nintendo Switch version of the adventure in Q1 2020. There’s a playable prologue here (click, scroll, enjoy) that does a wonderful job of giving you a taste of the experience as well as introducing the writer and a few important acquaintances on one fateful night where a few terrifying tales were told.

Here’s a trailer to peruse – screens and game info are are below the jump.

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Lost Ember Gets a November Release Date

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“All the animals come out at night…” Well, to be fair, in this game they’re out anytime they want to be.

Hamburg-based Mooneye Studios absolutely gorgeous looking game, Lost Ember, now has an official release date (November 22, 2019 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One), a nice new trailer and more lovely art to look at. I’ll just shot up here and let those images and trailer do all the talking:

Some images for you? Okay, then:

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There’s a load of other images to run, but I stopped with these because I was taking too much time poring over the rest. I’ll get the rest up closer to the games release. Oh, a Switch version is in the works, so we’ll see how that turns out at some point.

-GW

There’s a Dreadful Bond Tech Demo. Go Take it For a Spin, Please

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With its Kickstarter in its final week, developer Clod Studio has released a gorgeously gloomy tech demo for Dario Argento’s Dreadful Bond which makes for an excellent look at the game’s environments as well as some impressive audio design in the form of a haunting piano tune and some appropriately unsettling sound effects. There’s no “action” here to speak of, but I’m betting some of you easily frightened types will feel more than a little creeped out by the strikingly realistic visuals and those assorted ambient sound effects that will have you stop moving your mouse around because it feels as if… well, as if something is watching your every move or worse, is lurking in the same space you are just over your shoulder.

 

 

Wait, that’s just me – I was hungry, poked around in your fridge and made myself a sandwich while I was waiting for you all to download that demo. Er, I hope you don’t mind? Anyway, I’m going to exit, stage left. Go check out that tech demo for Dreadful Bond and pledge towards its completion, I say. Also, you need a new loaf of bread and maybe some Colman’s English Mustard because that boring bright yellow stuff is kinda tame. Okay, Okay, I’m going!

-GW

Review: Feather (Nintendo Switch)

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Because sometimes you really really need to relax, games such as Feather ($12.59, $9.99 on PC) exist and should thrive because they do what they do well enough to recommend to those with more open minds. Melbourne-based Samurai Punk‘s super-chill experience is as much of an art project as it is a highly playable stylized bird flight simulation and it works on a few levels some won’t immediately grasp. Its open world setting couple with the simple to pick up controls allow free exploration of the map which reveals a few nifty secrets for those willing to take the time to dive in and discover.

This is a game where the intentional low-poly look blends seamlessly with its lovely soundtrack that does a great job of transporting you and your brain into a comfortable place for as long as you need that respite. As there are no big goals other than enjoying the ride and locating all nine music tracks (accessible via circular gateways placed in select locations), it’s a case where if you want to end the game, it doesn’t mind when you quit because any “progression” you’ve made isn’t saved. Yes, that seems strange in this era of auto-saves or games recalling your last position before a huge event. Feather itself is the event, and it’s a low-stress one at that. Jump in at any time and fly until you’ve had your fill.

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Oh, the places you’ll go: Just explore everything, as you’ll fly into some odd spots worth seeking out.

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Dario Argento’s “For Bridget” is Just The Thing to Coax A Kickstarter Pledge

dreadful bond logoSo, Dario Argento’s Deadly Bond now has a nicely unsettling Unreal Engine 4-powered short film attached to it and at just over six minutes long, it’s also a nifty means of getting people to pledge to its Kickstarter. It’s a bit of a slow burner of a short, but has a nice payoff and will likely make a few of you want to see more in a playable form.

I’m waiting for a payment to come through for some work I did elsewhere so I can toss a few coins into that particular fountain, but you (yes, YOU) can go on ahead of me with your wallet out if you’re into the man’s work as well as all the effort Clod Studio has put into both the game and short film.Uh, mind the steps leading to that basement, as they’re a bit loose… oops, um… well, that looked painful, ouch.

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While you’re recuperating, I think you could use a little movie to watch… Here you go:

Sometime in 2020, you’ll want to set aside time for a little bit of dread, I’ll bet…

-GW

Dario Argento’s Dreadful Bond: When Supporting a Nightmare is a Good Thing

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Oh, it’s real, alright.

Normally, this would likely classify as an April Fool’s gag of the highest order… save for I got this announcement yesterday and it wholly checks out as legitimate. Yep, Dario Argento has given his blessing to and is the Artistic Director for what’s shaping up to be a rather impressive looking Unreal 4-powered psychological horror game that just so happens to be up on Kickstarter as we speak. Let’s go take a look at the work in question as a work in progress, shall we?

The project is far enough in its progression to be worth a look when the game is eventually released next year and I definitely want this to succeed just to see how well the dev team translates Argento’s visions into playable form. Yes, it would also be totally cool if the PS4 goal tier is met and surpassed just to play this on my system of choice. Granted, the PS5 is very likely to be a thing Sony either teases or announces outright within the next year, but I think developer Clod Studio is well on the way to making something quite artful and memorable no matter where it eventually ends up.

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Now, I just need to decide on my pledge: funding a simple name in the credits, or a digital download version of the final g\build, as those are my current budget limitations. There’s also a little something extra coming from Clod, but we’ll discuss that project once I get the clearance to do so.

-GW

Lost Ember: Making Mooneyes at This Great-Looking Game

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I’d been quietly following Mooneye Studios upcoming Lost Ember for a few years with the hope that the dev team would be taking their time to make an already gorgeous  game even more so. So this new trailer and actual launch date are making me really happy:

Lovely, isn’t it? Well, that July 19 release date for PC, PS4 and Xbox One is indeed a good thing, and with a Switch version also in the works, it’s safe to say about the only folks who might be a tad perturbed will be Mac and Linux die-hards who have to be a bit less grumpy unless their wants are taken care of. Anything is possible, so who knows what will happen in the future, I say. Go stick this one on your watch and wish lists, folks.

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A wolf whistle to the art team for such spectacular environments might not be a bad thing here.

– GW