Review: Lydia (Switch)

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Lydia_SwitchA short, haunting and intense game about an unhappy childhood leading to destructive teen years and an adult redemption of sorts, indie developer Platonic Partnership’s striking Lydia ($4.00) isn’t either a happy-filled “fun” experience or a game that’s easily forgotten once played. It’s a slice of life story where a little girl goes through a troubles with her alcoholic and otherwise less than perfect parents and as she grows into her teens, things go from bad to worse as a key event takes place that changes a few lives forever.

There’s a use of time as a storytelling element along with the stylized visuals that may go over some heads, bit it’s a simple thing, really. As the game covers snippets of Lydia’s troubled life through adulthood and the ending is a conclusion that’s somewhat of a direct one, it’s a case of seeing her world through her eyes. Her visions go from childlike in her younger years to to more or less her view of reality as seen by someone who’s not an artist, but more a realist in how she deals with a particular and sad issue many go through. The level of humanity here is somewhat intense, as the game’s not shy at using raw language throughout as we see Lydia’s plight unfold in dreams and the real world. Adults can be more monstrous that an imagined creature in a closet.

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Hyper Galactic Psychic Table Tennis 3000: You’ve Got To Have Balls

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Yeah, yeah. So do I, buddy.

The team at Blue Wizard Digital (Slayaway Camp, Friday The 13th Killer Puzzle among many others) is at it again. This time, the classic game PONG gets the treatment and as you can see, well, if you’re a fan of vintage PONG or even PONG-curious. you’ll see even better that the vintage game has taken on a whole new life. Hmmmm, every time I type the word PONG, there’s a weird sound effect. Hear that? I should go put some music on or something.

I’ll keep this preview as short as can be because I need to go play this and review it, but if you got a grin going at that video, you’re on board the hype train and I’b about to come by and collect your ticket. The nice thing here is the game is a mere two bucks on Steam, but until March 10, it’s 34% off, so even the cheapest-minded cheapskate can buy and play this. Not that I think you’re all cheapskates mind you – budgeting correctly is important in this day and age, correct?

-GW

INFINI: Pardonnez mon français, mais ce jeu est bizarre (et doit être joué!)

Barnaque_LOGO-Nouveau2017MiniWell, to be honest, my French is perfectly awful, but Montreal-based art team/development studio Barnaque has me completely intrigued with its new title, so It’s making me feel inspired enough to drag out the Google Translate language mangler thing. INFINI, set to release on PC for Steam and itch.io March 4, and on Switch a bit later this year. Here’s a video and screenshots along with a description of the game from the developers, David Martin and Émeric Morin:

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Review: Dawn of Fear (PS4)

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How come no one has a sledgehammer handy so they can bust the heck through those locked front doors in these games?

DOFYou’ll either like or not like Dawn of Fear ($19.99) for a few reasons. You’ll like it if you’re a big of the classics for the strict, stick to the script “survival” horror gameplay borrowed liberally from the first Resident Evil, with a touch of the more unsettling Silent Hill for good measure, very limited save function, static to a fault camera angles, blind spots, rigid aiming, low ammo counts and all. You’ll not like it for all that if you’re a newer survival horror fan or an old fan of the genre that’s moved on to games with more freedom of movement and a plot that makes more logical sense. Plus there’s a somewhat spotty localization that needed a bit of work, as it’s a bit cringe-worthy on the grammar side. Oh, and there were some pretty awful bugs and glitches at launch, some of which stopped the game cold and either forced a restart, or had you go back to an old save to hopefully restore things.

A recent patch helps a great deal, though. It turned the sluggish movement speed to an always run animation that helps a tremendously (even though the instructions still state holding the Square button runs, when it now doesn’t). Although you’ll now zip into camera angles that switch so fast it’s tricky to not run back into an area you just left. Glitches that were major visual and technical ones seem to be stomped out, but sometimes areas you explore still load in pieces. For example, you’ll be walking running into a dark room in that mansion and the lights suddenly switch on, but it’s not the lights, just an area on the map that’s loading in its pre-rendered details (oops).

 

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Review: 3000th Duel (Switch)

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Well, that’s true in real life, as well…

3000thWhat’s in a name? Well, If you take things way too literally, Neopopcorn sounds like a really bad time at the movies if you choose to munch on what’s in that box as a substitute for the real thing (well, minus the nasty, salty fake “butter” glopped on top these days) and 3000th Duel sounds like a straight to cable flick you’d accidentally find on a random channel at about 3 am or so. Fortunately, neither of these are true and you have some shopping to do on Steam or the eShop now.

Got a PC or Nintendo Switch? Go get this game, pronto. Indie developer Neopopcorn’s mostly excellent 3000th Duel ($14.99) is a nice surprise overall and well worth a few plays because you can tailor your hero’s skills to your liking through a deep series of upgrades and multiple weapon choices. The game is more or less, a side-scrolling Dark Souls-like or similar challenge where the smallest foes initially take off large chunks of your character’s health, and bosses? Well, you’re going to be enrolling your hero into a health plan and double dipping on a life insurance policy here until you upgrade weapons and skills.

 

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Deliver Us The Moon: Because It’s There, Right?

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That’s going to be a hefty Amazon bill, but shipping might be free, at least if you use Prime.

I’ve yet to play KeokeN Interactive’s fantastic-looking Deliver Us The Moon, but it’s a title I’ve been following since about a year back when I stumbled upon it as a PC game. Now coming to consoles in April (PS4 and Xbox One) and Summer 2020 on Switch courtesy of publisher Wired Productions, this epic adventure game looks like the it’s right up my alley.

Well it’s also the closest I’ll get to leaving the planet anytime soon and going to the Moon, but one would guess at this point that any space travel is going to fall outside of the very, very wealthy or those interested in mostly scientific pursuits, as space isn’t for totally clueless people because of too many variables (such as “Hey! Let’s play in the airlock!”) preventing them from a successful trip there and back.

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Preview: Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards

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Well, I just discovered two things buried in my ever-packed email inbox: Ember (reviewed here in its PC incarnation) is on Switch and I need to get this at some point because it’s a good game worth a few replays. That and developer N-Fusion has teamed up with another indie developer, NY and LA-based Digiart Interactive to bring the comic-based game Aluna Sentinel of the Shards to PC and console players. It’s set for release this year on PC and consoles, but I’m just getting to seeing the news and yes, I’m sharing.

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Soon to be everywhere you get your games (and thankfully in a physical release as well as digital)

Here’s the trailer in case you haven’t seen it yet:

 

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Rustler: Get Medieval in This Hilarious GTA-Inspired Game

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Yep. This needs to be played for this reference alone.

 

First of all, when I went to install the Rustler Alpha demo on Steam, I was greeted with Grand Theft Horse as a title on the game installer, which was magnificent. Indie developer Justus Games knows which side of the bread their butter in on. Second of all, for an alpha, the game is coming together pretty well. It’s just up on Kickstarter now and is there waiting for you to pledge or the drunken sot with the sword in the banner above may come for you. He’ll be right up your alley if you’re not right up his, as it were. That alley will be dark ad have a few rodents in it, most likely.

Gameplay is much the original Grand Theft Auto and GTA 2 isometric top down stuff but rendered in a nicer game engine with some lusher environments. As with the aforementioned games, there’s humor in all the mayhem you cause and yes, the old ultra-violence means it’s not a child’s game for sure. But there’s that nifty cathartic thing going on here that just works because you get immediate results from your attempts at criminal behavior (or, assorted guards and villagers don’t just stand by while you crime away), so expect to fight as you run run or ride a swiped horse away from trouble, or cause more pain for as long as you can. It’s your choice, but the lead’s character’s seemingly perpetually drunken state can cause him to fall off a horse or otherwise be dismounted.

 

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Here Be Dragons: Insanely Good (So Far)

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Too good to be true, so it must be false!

 

How does one properly describe a game where you play as a few somewhat (okay, VERY) off-kilter pirates in a turn-based strategy game that features a dice-spitting cherub, sea monsters of a few types, gameplay on a “living map” and a reworking of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World? Yeah, you can’t, but you sort of just have to watch this trailer first to see why:

 

 

Red Zero Games? Congratulations are in order as you win the prize. What prize it is will be determined at a later date, but you win something for this pure madness in my book (Memo: give Red Zero Games a prize but not the stale popcorn from last week, that’s not a prize unless they’re dead parrots). I’m actually still playing Here Be Dragons (my laptop has been in haywire mode this week), but so far, this game has had me laughing with it constantly because it’s got easy to pick up, tricky to master gameplay, other than a few glaring typos is extremely well written, and its humor is right up my alley.

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Dawn of Fear: Some Residents Are Quite Evil Here

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I like the PlayStation Talents program, as it’s been bringing a few games to players from quite a few indie developers in Spain that might otherwise be ignored in a market crowded with new releases every week. Survival Horror fans have a new game to look at with Dawn of Fear, from indie team Brok3nsite. Take a look at this trailer and get the warn and fuzzy zombies coming after you feeling once more:

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