Capsule Reviews Are GO! (Part 3)

Back in 1995_01

Ever have one of THOSE days?

While I won’t be totally going this way in terms of reviewing bigger and longer titles, I’m finding it a nice challenge to play some of these shorter games and write less about them while trying to convey in a few sentences (well, two paragraphs) how well most of then do at delivering sometimes unique, sometimes similar gaming experiences to those that pick them up. Some of the games in this series might seem like just easy ways to earn fast trophies in a few minutes, but often there’s quite a bit of replay value under the hood or you get games that may SEEM simple on the surface unless you take a closer look and see what’s what. Granted, in some cases, a few things work better than others as you’ll see below:

Back in 1995 ps4Back In 1995 (PS4/PS Vita Cross-Buy, $9.99): Very much an intentional visual, aural, and gameplay throwback to the 32-bit era, indie developer Throw the Warped Code Out (Takaaki Ichijo) has recreated a game with both the look and feel of those old days of “tank” controls, fixed camera angles, and oddball “what the hell is that weird blocky thing coming at me?” monsters. While the game has flaws in storytelling and seems more meta exercise than “serious” horror game, the best thing to do here is take away more of the former meta feel than the latter serious horror thing and enjoy it for the nostalgia factor if you remember those not-too far away days. Ratalaika Games handled the console ports and publishing, but this one’s not your average easy Platinum, that’s for sure.

If you don’t remember or even like that era, expect some confusion and likely, frustration here. The game doesn’t break any new ground and isn’t supposed to, and I’ve the feeling that Ichijo was going more for evoking an particular atmosphere and sense of time more than making a game that would be “perfect” at the end of day.  It’s sort of like the scent of something familiar from the past one might recall when walking into a room, but it might end up not being a favorite scent when you stop and remember everything good and bad about it. I got it right away, so I’m scoring it accordingly with the big caveat that it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

Score: C+ (75%)

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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: Lornsword Winter Chronicle (PS4)

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Just out for a little cardio…

lornsword box“RUN!” Amusingly, I was thinking of the late Richard Pryor (I think it was from Live On The Sunset Strip) as I played this game because running like your character’s life depends on it (it does) is a big part of Lornsword Winter Chronicle, ($24.99) developer Tower Five’s pretty solid real time strategy/action game hybrid. My review’s a little late thanks to some illness, getting stuck in an area late in the game (I was having trouble in one busy area) and waiting for a patch that fixed some visual issues, but I rather liked the game overall. It does start out slowly, as tutorials tackle the basics and get you through the early parts before setting you free to experience things in its solo or co-op modes.

Story-wise, it’s pretty well written and straightforward with dramatic elements and a touch of wry humor every so often. As Corun Lan Ka, Lornknight turned general (sort of), you’re tasked with leading quite a number of disposable troops into battle as the story recounts your efforts. The game allows for offline co-op play (which works quite well), offering the ability for a friend or anyone otherwise interested to jump in and assist at any time. Given how hectic some battles are, that help sure comes in handy when its needed. Maps are both small enough to get you to targets quickly, but large enough that you can’t run continuously because you’ll be out of stamina. Corun is a capable fighter only when the enemies have been thinned out, so keeping him alive is key here. Running away to your base with a few enemies giving chase is both funny and frightening at times.

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Games I Need to Play 4: Chernobylite


Well, well… I guess I really need to play this game, too. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Chernobylite, a 3D scanned “science-fiction survival horror experience” from developer The Farm 51, who deserves some sort of award for exposing themselves to the probably still very irradiated location of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where some of the photo-realistic visuals and locations were derived from. I haven’t touched the Early Access build yet because I’m swamped with stuff to do and my backlog is somewhat long, but that sort of attention to detail makes me want to see what the heck this is all about from a few perspectives. If that trailer is doing its job on you, you can go pick up the Early Access version of the game either on Steam or gog.com.

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Just out for a little walk in the (radioactive) park…

I’ll shut up here and let you ogle more some screenshots and other media on the game’s official site, as I’m I’m the middle of a few reviews and today is extra busy for a Monday. This is also console bound at some point but as far as I can tell, it’s headed for PS4 and Xbox One only.

-GW

Kings of Lorn: The Fall of Ebris Gets A Wonderfully Depressing New Trailer

 

Geez. Take my time and money, already department, deluxe edition: Teamkill Media’s upcoming game, Kings of Lorn: The Fall of Ebris makes Demon’s Souls classic and mighty downbeat intro seem as if it’s unicorns and rainbows, but with a bit more winning on the part of of the lead here. I like it for that. That said, it’s hard to get a gauge on enemy difficulty in the newer game, as some enemies seem to go down too fast. Then again, this is likely the developer wisely hiding the challenge level until the masses get their hands around a controller when the PC version is released on November 22 2019.

This almost looks too frightening to finish (and no, that fantastically dour music isn’t helping one bit). If that’s going to be the aural force that’s coming, the already mind-blowing visuals will have some stiff competition as far as what’s going to keep me freaked out the most. I can’t wait, but I also want to see how the console versions stack up (PS4 is my preferred way to play, thank you).  Oh, here’s the earlier E3 trailer (in case you haven’t seen it yet). Go wishlist this now… or it’s coming to get you.

-GW

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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Ghost Parade: If Ever There Was a Game Made for Halloween, It’s This One

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As soon as I saw Aksys Games‘ gorgeous looking game Ghost Parade (created by the fine folks at Indonesia’s Lentera Studio), I knew it was going to be something extremely cool and very Halloween themed with its mix of Tim Burton meets Vanillaware style artwork at the forefront. It’s also a peek into another culture, as Indonesian ghosts are the subject and yes, it’s a great thing to see some more of what’s scary overseas coming to US audiences. Granted, I’ve played a few games with some of that countries’ terrifying spirits or horror themes in them (DreadOut and My Lovely Daughter being the standouts), so this game is going to be right up my dark alley once I get to playing it.

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Love the art style here.

Here’s a look at the trailer. The game is out NOW for PC, PS4 and Switch and Aksys has run a nice digital comic on the game’s official site.

I hope this gets a wide enough audience, as I’d love to see Lentera become a household name among gamers here. As usual, we shall see.

-GW

FAITH: The Unholy Trinity – A Reflex Test For The Senses

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Creepy is coming a third time (and to consoles at some point, too).

I was jumping under the furniture a while back when I first played indie developer Airdorf Games’ Faith, a very frightening game that blended old-school visuals and the sheer shock of horror and jump scares plus some clever use of synthesized voices, all in the service of terrifying the player. Let’s just say it worked, as I’ve had the second game here for a while on my laptop, but haven’t touched it since I downloaded it. My excuse of having too many games to play in my backlog keeps me hiding from that sequel, but it’s now the case where there’s a third game in the series coming soon that’s probably goijg to get me to play all three in one shot.

Or, say hell-o to FAITH: The Unholy Trinity, coming to PC and eventually, consoles:

As you can see, it’s pretty unsettling stuff when you get hit with the blending of old and new here. There’s a nice layer of crazy here when the game comes at you and you don’t know what to expect next, but this is good in a game that’s a mix of horror, adventure and a few abstract elements that will have you hooked in and trying to run away simultaneously. Go wishlist this this one if you’re into the horror stuff – it should run on most Windows 7 and up (64-bit) PC’s with zero issues. I’m going to hold my breath until I turn blue that this is coming to consoles sooner than later (starts holding breath).

Faith 01

Appropriately Halloween color scheme? CHECK.

-GW

Games I Need to Play 3: The Beast Inside

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I’ll admit at first I thought it was a game about the wonderfully awful movie The Beast Within until I saw screenshots.

Well, what have we here? A photo-realistic horror themed mystery/adventure game that’s got a strange, sort of time travel thing going for it along with some amazing visuals and a lot of falling off stuff, for good measure. Oh, and it’s coming to PS4 and Xbox One at some point, which is good, as I hate upgrading my PC so frequently to play these games. Here’s a gallery and one of many trailers. You can see more on the Steam page where yes, you can buy the game and/or try the demo out.

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Developer Illusion Ray Studio and publisher Movie Games have quite the pair of fitting names, no? I’ve downloaded the demo, but haven’t gotten to try it yet thanks to a review backlog I’m sifting through, but this one will get some playtime soon, as it certainly had my attention as soon as I heard of it and looked it up. Here’s a look at a trailer (it’s all gameplay footage, too):

Alright, then. I guess I’ll get to that demo sooner or later (well, before the game hits consoles, at least).

-GW

Moons of Madness: It’s Not Made From Cheese, That’s for Sure

Funcom’s scary looking treat, Moons of Madness is out on PC for Halloween time (well, October 22nd, a week or so early), and there even a neat contest you can enter here with some frights to be had and awesome prizes to be won. But as good as it looks (and man, it looks really good), my poor backlog is telling me to wait for the console release in February 2020. It’s not that I don’t want to review it, mind you. In an effort to reduce my workload (and yep, stress level), I’ve decided to shift a few games to next year and while it’s a tough choice here, it’s also a good one at the end of the day, I think. I feel that a fresh review down the road gives a game like this a a nice boost if it’s one some console owners may have avoided because they haven’t a computer that can run it and might be keen on how it runs on their system of choice.

There’s also the chance that further optimization and any patches that a game needs will come to consoles that game a good-looking game such as this one even better (in terms of gameplay) as an overall experience. For the record, yes, I know the game might look less “perfect” as a console release. That said, the modern emphasis of graphics over gameplay with some makes no sense when a game manages to run fine and play well as a port (despite what one thinks about things like “perfect” resolution and the need to frequently tweak a PC to run things at optimum settings). “Blame the player AND the game”, as I heard an acquaintance say a few years back when a new PC game he’s bought was giving him grief when his driver-updated 3D card wasn’t capable to run a it without some figuring and fiddling.

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