Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Destiny Beta Impressions

The long-awaited beta for Bungie's incredible looking new IP, Destiny, is now available for PS4 owners. For those who don't know, Destiny is an epic sci-fi FPS/RPG, set in the distant future. When a mysterious, huge orb known as the Traveler is discovered on Mars, humanity thrives in a way nobody could have ever imagined. The average human lifespan is tripled, previously inhospitable planets become garden worlds, teeming with life, and for a while, everything is fine. But a mysterious evil arrived, and almost wiped out humanity. There would have been no survivors were it not for the Traveler, and to rebuild humanity, it used it's dying breath to create Ghosts, tiny robots that scour the solar system, looking for those with the Light in them, known as Guardians. You are resurrected by one such Ghost, and it's here that your epic journey begins. Now that the Beta is over, here's what I thought of the most anticipated game of the year.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Concursion review

Concursion is the first game to be released from the indie developers Puuba, and it's kind of impossible to define the genre, as the whole basis of the game is an interlocking mix of 5 different retro styles. Throughout the game there are platforming sections, hack and slash levels, side scrolling space shoot-em-ups, as well as both jetpack and Pacman-esque maze segment. On top of this, boss battles include elements of even more classic genres, such as turn based RPGs and 1v1 beat-em-ups. It's a solid idea for a game, and produces some truly challenging and inventive gameplay.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Valiant Hearts: The Great War review

Over the past year, Ubisoft have treated us to a few wonderful games using their proprietary UbiArt Framework engine, the most recent of which was the phenomenal Child of Light (read our review here). Valiant Hearts: The Great War, a 2D adventure/puzzle game set in and around France, tells the intertwining stories of a few brave individuals in World War I, and is the latest title to utilise the aforementioned engine. Does it live up to the ridiculously high standards set by the previous UbiArt titles? Read our full review below for the verdict.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Octodad: Dadliest Catch (PS4) review

Modern games, more often than not, task you with killing. Whether it's humans, animals, robots or aliens, your main objective is to wipe them all out. That's not even a bad thing, it's just we've seen it all before. The situation and characters are different, but the core gameplay is exactly the same. Imagine a game in which you kill nothing at all, and must simply complete mundane, everyday tasks. Thanks to the creative geniuses at Young Horses, Inc., that's exactly what we have, but with a twist. You play as an Octopus, or Octodad, masquerading as a normal human man with a wife and two kids. It's one of the most bizarre concepts ever, but does it work? Read the full review below to find out.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood review

There are countless puzzle-platformer games on the Xbox Live Arcade. Many of the best titles available on the service are in said genre, such as Braid and Limbo. The latest one to be released is Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (a sequel to mobile game, Max and the Magic Marker), in which you control the eponymous hero, in a quest to save his kid brother Felix, from the evil Lord Mustacho. After Felix breaks Max's toys, Max wants revenge, so in a fit of anger, he searches the internet for a curse to get rid of him, which unfortunately works. Is the resulting adventure a memorable one? Read on to find out.

State of Decay: Lifeline review

Just less than a year after its initial release, State of Decay's second DLC has landed, bringing a new city, and a new story, whilst keeping the core gameplay intact. The original release of the game received high praise from critics everywhere, despite it's many bugs and glitches. Is it worth going back for this new adventure? Check out the full review below to find out.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Monochroma review

Monochroma is a puzzle platformer from Turkish developers Nowhere Studios. 9 months ago, the game was successfully crowd funded on Kickstarter, and now the results are revealed. Was it worth the $84,644 that the developers raised, or should they have held on to their money?

The game is set in a bleak world, where two young boys must stand alone against a giant corporation who have a dark secret that they want to keep hidden. At least, this is what the Kickstarter page declares. There's no dialogue at any part in the game, so any plot is simply implied through what you see on the screen. While the game doesn't do a terrible job of explaining everything, it's quite easy to miss details if you're not paying full attention to what is going on in both the foreground and background.

The focus of the game is on puzzles. As you progress through the world, you will come across a number of obstacles that you are required to navigate. These are all very well done, and there is great variety to keep you going right to the end without getting bored. It could be argued that the majority of the puzzles are a bit on the easy side. Only a few pose any real challenge, requiring a bit more thought than just simple platforming ability. But at least it doesn't alienate players new to the genre, while not being too easy for those looking for a challenge.

The world is bleak, but gorgeous

Early in the game, your brother gets injured, requiring you to carry him throughout the levels. This adds an interesting mechanic to the puzzles, as carrying him hinders your movement. With him on your back, you move slower, and cannot jump as high. As such, to progress you must leave your brother behind, however he can only be put down in well-lit areas, which often put him in harm's way. Trying to solve these puzzles while keeping him alive can be a tricky task at times, but very rewarding when you succeed.

On the platforming side of things, Monochroma does well, without really excelling. Some of the controls feel a little awkward, especially when ladders or ledges are involved. Climbing a ladder and jumping uses the same key, which can make jumping off a ladder, or even just jumping near a ladder infuriating, especially when trying to complete a puzzle where you're racing against time. On top of that, there is a frustrating delay after each jump or drop, or when picking up or putting down your brother. While it fits in with the slow tone of the game, it can be a bit annoying. This aside, the controls are very simple, and don't require remembering a long list of inputs to complete the game.

You must protect your brother whilst simultaneously solving a puzzle

Monochroma is absolutely stunning. The game is mostly greyscale, with little bits of red here and there. This looks absolutely beautiful, and mixed with a very sombre soundtrack and minimal other sound effects, perfectly portrays the dystopian world the game is set in. The only real complaint is that the character models look a little off, but this is a very minor discrepancy in a game that looks as fantastic as this does.

All in all, Monochroma deserved the funding it received. At only 6 hours, it is a little short with no real replayability outside of finding a few hidden flowers, but the puzzles are challenging and well designed, and it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing games to be released so far this year.


by Mike Aitchison