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RaginRamen

57 Shards

My passion is helping indie developers get the exposure they deserve by reviewing their games and showcasing them in Lets Plays on my youtube channel found here: http://bit.ly/RaginRamenYoutube

I am but a single man, so, unfortunately, I don't have time to look at all the amazing games coming out every week. But I try my best to help the ones that really stand out for me.
  1. Developer/Publisher: Mooneye Studios Genre: Adventure, Exploration, Narrative Price: £25.99 PC (Steam, GoG, Humble) Console (PS4, XBOX1) TBA (SWITCH) Official Website Breathtaking Before playing this game, all I had seen was the trailer and it was absolutely gorgeous. The visuals and lighting were inspiring, and the music a beautiful melody. What struck me most is the concept of the game. Giving me the chance to not just run through fields of grass on four legs, but fly through the skies, trample down canyons and swim in underwater worlds. No time was wasted, soon as I could I jumped into this world. The story is told through memories of the past Reincarnation seems to play a role in this world as you are wolf now but was once a human in an ancient lost city. Your companion tells you as much and you learn a lot about the story and world through him while exploring. This floating light explains the memories you find and gives you an insight into the cultures and beliefs of the ancient civilisation. I won't go too into the story as I feel it's brilliantly told and has a beautiful message that is best experienced first hand. Fly, dig, crawl, climb, swim and run Lost Ember sure give you a lot of options when exploring its vast world. Now, this isn't an open-world game, it is a linear story. However, the world designed is so large and diverse, you would be forgiven to think otherwise. There are parts where you are directed to follow a pre-determined path or follow a cool fast-paced scene (some of my favourite parts). Those are only occasionally. A large swathe of the game is very open and I found myself getting lost constantly and finding secrets and collectables. This is where clever level design comes in, for even when I was lost in my exploration and curiosity, there are visual cues such as flower paths and light. I have great respect for when a game uses the environment to guide me, it feels so natural and freeing. Freedom of exploration is the big selling point of the game and Mooneye have succeeded brilliantly. To repeat an earlier statement... Breathtaking The music is wonderfully orchestrated and fits all the scenes and emotions you will feel as you learn more of the story. The final song at the end is the winner and a favourite of mine. You will want to buy the soundtrack (or at least listen to it on Spotify), trust me. There are not satisfied with just having beautiful sounds resonating in your ears, they have to create these awe-inspiring environments too. I will admit, the first half of the game was beautiful but repetitive in terms of colour, design and overall feel, but boy does it escalate. You will be leaving those lush greens behind to brave duststorms in the desert and canyons that evoked memories of Lion King (STAMPEEDDEEEEE), there's freezing blizzards that will white-out your screen and serene underwater worlds. The variety was very surprising and unexpected, which made me even more blown away. A nice touch was seamlessly blending the ruins of the lost civilisation into the environment. You truly felt like you stumbled on something great, it was organic. Replay Value Being a linear story there isn't too much reason to replay the game. However, I am sure many of you will be like me and would love to just dive back into the world and explore freely, jumping from animal to animal and experience true freedom (hmm I wonder if there is a free roam mode? I'll have to check). There is one thing that will keep you playing after finishing the story, all you completionists out there have a heap of collectables to find from mushrooms to lost relics. Final Thoughts This will probably be very predictable considering my use of words throughout the review. It's a beautiful, gorgeous crafted world to explore and live in. My expectations were met and then exceeded when I hit the midway point, the change of environments really did it for me. Music was consistently good and the story kept my attention with intrigue and curiosity and finally heartfelt and meaningful moments. I cannot recommend this game enough and implore you to go out right this minute and buy it. You will not regret it. FULL DISCLOSURE: Game was provided free for review purposes. I thank Mooneye Studios for trusting me in providing an unbiased and thorough review and for the wonderful experience. If any devs want to get their freshly made gems- I mean games- fully reviewed, drop me a message on here or on my email [email protected] I will check out your page and see what article or video I can make for you. Also can help with creating Presskits and Promotions for those that need it (whether being released soon or in the far future) Signed:
  2. Welcome, welcome one and all to Week 48 of 52 this year (25th November - 1st December). Bringing your weekly dose of IndieGems pulled from the forge that have caught my eye. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not played any of these (unless mentioned), my opinion is structured through watching Let's Play videos, and analyzing reviews and stats. Final week of November brings us another slow week. Not too many gems pulled out, but gems none the less. Some of my favourite are of the noodle persuasion (totally unbiased) The Sphere of Abyss (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: Crazy Bear Games Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG Price: £11.39 PC (Steam) Official Website "Faced with the challenges from the abyss, whether you choose to move carefully or dash forward, your strength and luck will be tested in The Sphere of Abyss!" NUVAVULT Developer/Publisher: Mim Hufford Genre: Puzzle Price: £2.09 PC (Steam) DEMO AVAILABLE Official Website "a perspective altering puzzle game where 2D and 3D collide." ERMO Developer/Publisher: Nonostante Games Genre: Puzzle Price: £1.99 PC (Steam), IOS, Android, Console (XBOXONE) Official Website "A logic puzzle game about harmony and inner peace. A journey through mind challenges surrounded by an ethereal atmosphere." Escape the Ayuwoki Developer/Publisher: Deadly Crow Games Genre: Survival Horror Price: £11.39 PC (Steam, Itchio) "A logic puzzle game about harmony and inner peace. A journey through mind challenges surrounded by an ethereal atmosphere." Beast Agenda 2030 Developer/Publisher: Ouch Giver Games Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG Price: £11.39 PC (Steam) Official Website "Gadgets and Hacking focused Action RPG with optional permadeath that encourages you to use your brain." ArtFormer Developer/Publisher: Buffa Software Genre: Action, Adventure Price: £15.00 PC (Steam) Official Website "Be the hero of history! ArtFormer is indie action platformer PC game with RPG elements evolving in each chapter." Story of a Gladiator Developer/Publisher: Brain Seal Genre: Action, Beat'Em'Up Price: £9.99 PC (Steam), Console (XBOXONE, SWITCH, PS4) Official Website "Fight against waves of enemies in the arena to earn coin and fame until you are strong enough to enter the Colosseum and become champion." Quantumleaper Developer/Publisher: Elias Sant'Ana Genre: Adventure, Puzzle-Platformer Price: £7.19 PC (Steam) Official Website "You can use your other self to activate switches, mislead enemies and block projectiles. Sometimes, even tunnel through walls." Neon Noodles - Cyberpunk Kitchen Automation Developer/Publisher: Vivid Helix Genre: Automation, Simulation Price: £11.39 PC (Steam) Official Website "Set in a dark and mysterious cyberpunk world, you are in charge of the futuristic food factory known as Neon Noodles." Ope Developer/Publisher: Campus ADN Genre: Automation, Simulation Price: FREE TO PLAY PC (Steam) Official Website "His quest will lead him through enchanted forest and temples where he’ll need to deliver shamans from corruption before the sun sets forever." Catch me again every Saturday for the weeks IndieGems that are fresh out the Forge. I brave the overwhelming out pour from Steam, so you don't have to. Last Weeks Releases If any devs want to get their freshly made gems- I mean games- fully reviewed, drop me a message on here or on my email [email protected] I will check out your page and see what article or video I can make for you. Also can help with creating Presskits and Promotions for those that need it (whether being released soon or in the far future) Signed:
  3. Welcome, welcome one and all to Week 46 of 52 this year (11th-17th November). Bringing you your weekly dose of IndieGems pulled from the forge that have caught my eye. All three of these games do storytelling in distinctly different ways, proving that games is an exceptional medium for narratives. It can be dug up and interacted with, created hand in hand with the developer or told traditionally through character narration. No method is lesser than the other, but the variety is why I love games when it comes to the power of telling a story. Below you will find my reviews of three games that caught my eye this week and hopefully (probably already has) caught yours. Top 3 IndieGames Developer/Publisher: WorldWalker Games Genre: StoryRich, RPG, Strategy Price: £15.49 PC (Steam, Itchio) Official Website "It empowers you to craft iconic characters who grow through deep, rewarding battles and interactive storytelling." REVIEW Anyone who is in love with storytelling like me will appreciate this game. From the very beginning, the characters you start with have randomly generated stats and traits. A very common mechanic these days to add flavour by creating a party as varied as the seven dwarfs. You'll have the grumpy one, the greedy, the cowardly and bashful one... except... this game also generates a full history for each of the characters. When first seeing this I knew I was going to enjoy the next few hours, my characters were already alive, I knew their dreams and likes and hates. Currently in Early Access, so some campaigns aren't available yet, but the first campaign is a rich and full one that left me excited to play more. Eager to jump back in after this review, but I promise to be disciplined enough to not rush through my thoughts on this gem. Going through the core mechanics, they are very much the same as many turn-based strategy games out there. You have your ability and movement points, your flanking, counters and area effect attacks. That hasn't changed here, so for any familiar with this genre, it should be a comfortable play style to jump straight into. What makes this stand out is how each characters personality and history effects their stats and even sometimes their abilities. For example, being a human (although I've not seen any other races... yet), gives different bonuses to stats and even a sense of wanderlust or background being a farmer, these are all factors that determine who the character is and what they can do. Alongside that, there are relationships with each of the characters, rivalries, friendships and romance can blossom between your characters leading to further influences. The depth of how your character can grow and become a living person is amazing and gives cause to an infinite amount of replayability and not to mention how attached you can get to them too. Yes... that's right, there is permadeath in Wildermyth. When their health drops to zero the first time you get to decide between letting them take a breather or die heroicly. If you let them take a breather they'll travel to the nearest town, patch up (get a cool hook hand sometimes, did I mention how your character develops in so many ways?) and they'll be ready for the next fight. However, if they are downed a second time, it's usually for good and you then get to choose if you want to memorialise their legacy forever on the Start Menu. Looking back on that paragraph I have a lot more to say, there are so many small details that I commend them for thinking about and it is those small details that bring life to the world and the characters in them. I won't take up too much of your time, so let me move on to another great addition to Wildermyth and that is the built-in editor. They have spent a great deal of time in tweaking the comic panels and how fluid the game plays so that YOU can create your own campaigns. Wildermyth, after all, is made by two great people (husband and wife team Nate & Ann) who have a tremendous love for pen and paper games where you create your campaigns and stories to share with friends. It was only natural to dedicate a big portion of this game into letting others have a play around too. The possibilities for the future will surely keep Wildermyth alive, especially with a growing community I envision it will receive. Developer/Publisher: Galvanic Games/Way Down Deep Genre: Narrative, Adventure Price: £9.99 PC (Steam), Consoles (SWITCH) Official Website "As you explore, the memories of the people who lived there come to life with the help of ARORA's Memory Reconstruction system." REVIEW I will start by saying I loved this game and the storytelling methods, but it won't be for everyone. Now for the hard part... trying to write the review without any spoilers. So, I think I can say this without spoiling as it is on the Steam Page, there has been a global catastrophe of which we could not imagine. The results are a post-apocalyptic world (a favourite setting of mine) in which the air is not breathable. But let out a sigh of relief, this isn't another run of the mill fallout photocopy, it's main focus is exploration and storytelling. Enter another setting I love, archaeology. The story and game revolve around you finding the Sunken city and exploring the environment. There is no combat, no inventory or anything, just you and the ancient world around you. This is where the diverge of opinions would come in to play, some would argue this has no gameplay, it is just a 'walking simulator', a term that I feel is used poorly for so many games. In a grain of truth, they are right that there isn't much gameplay, I find myself moving room to room, scanning clues and letters until my AI has enough evidence to recreate probable memories... then moving to another room and repeating. What kept me going was watching these memories build on top of each other, watching a seemingly unimportant past come to life in a story that I was urged to finish. Along with the past, there is a wonderful relationship being built between the two main characters. They are from different cultures and ideologies, meaning their comments and interpretations of what you find are interesting and at times funny. Again, without going into spoiler territory... it's worth it. There's very little to say about voice-overs, as there is none, you'll be doing lots of reading as you excavate the past. The music itself is also taking a little bit of a backseat, beautifully floating in the background. The strength of this game is weirdly the lack of sound. There are subtleties in the ambient sounds and music has very few crescendos to distract. For the most part, you are bathed in the silence of a place not explored for hundreds of years. It's fitting. In my final thoughts, I'd like to echo what I said at the beginning, this game isn't for everyone due to its lack of gameplay, but I still recommend it to anyone with a thirst for digging up history and observing life from the perspective or others. Developer/Publisher: Breadcrumbs Interactive / Versus Evil Genre: Adventure, Action, RPG Price: £15.99 PC (Epic), Console (SWITCH, XBOX1, PS4) Official Website "Smash, clobber and bash... in this darkly funny action role-playing game that changes every time you play." REVIEW The animation and folkloric setting were major attractions to me when scouting indie games to play this week. It keeps to that feeling and atmosphere throughout the game with its use of rhyming in the storytelling. The tropes of a greedy ruler sending you on impossible missions and the iconic Baba Yaga herself in a house on chicken legs. It brings me good feelings and memories from tales that I have read in the past. I'll say without any doubt that I have enjoyed this game and the journey it has led me on, BUT with all it's praise (that it deserves), there are some frustrations that I have been met with. Should I start with the good or the bad? Let's get the bad out of the way, for as frustrating as it was, it didn't stop me from continuing with the game. So here we go, the bad luck system. On paper, it's curious and fun. Adding that extra spice of challenge to make things interesting. As time goes by, your 'Bad Luck' meter increases. Other factors that will come in to effect depend on the weapon you're using and actions you decide to take when interacting with people and altars. Yes, there are ways to decrease the bad luck meter, so an attempt at balancing has been satisfied, but in my opinion, it requires just a little bit more tweaking. What's so bad about the meter getting more and more full? Well, constantly coins will be getting dropped, forcing me to backtrack a lot to retrieve them. At first, it was a cute and cool feature, "oh look, they really thought about this", it very soon became tedious. My greatest frustration, however, was when my weapon would just break in the middle of a fight. If I had no other weapon (like the first time this happened), then I would be left to fend with nothing but my fists. After the first encounter with this, I made sure to always carry at least 3 weapons with me in case it happens again. Now I call this a minor negative since it probably doesn't affect everyone, those with better skill than me will be scoffing at the remark and I'll not argue. Some will be fine with it, some like me might not be. Let's talk about the awesome stuff now. Foremost at the front is the art and sound design. I am absolutely loving both. As you can see on the image above, the art is magnificent and they have done wonderful research into the lore of Slavic Mythology. Whenever I encountered a new boss, I was always at awe of the detail in the design. Matching the art for greatness is the sound design. From very well done voice overs to outstanding music performed by Romanian Hip Hop band Subcarpați. Fusing modern urban samples with folklore instruments to create something quite astonishing. Even outside of the game I have listened to the soundtrack on occasions. On the surface, Yaga may seem like a cookie-cutter game where you explore procedural levels, kills beasts and then move onto the next one, but there is much more to learn. Some features under the hood is the crafting system, where you pick the metal that your hammer is made from and then a selection of enhancements, and there are many to pick from. Your choices will determine the kind of person you are becoming, from greedy to smart to just plain dumb. All in all, there are five personalities and five different endings you can get. My favourite mechanic has to be when you choose what day to start your adventure and the different curses and gifts you can receive. They add so much flavour to the gameplay and changes how you fight your battles. Whatever day you pick, it can give you stronger attacks or health recovery when resting, among other effects. Curses and Gifts are creatively designed, taking the edge of some difficult situations. It's best to try and collect as many as you can as they stay permanently. In closing, I do recommend the game. The combat is really fun, rolling and attacking and throwing your hammer like Thor, only to be returned to you. It is very satisfying. The gifts and curses add that flavour I need and makes for very interesting playthroughs. And with your hand chopped off, it's always cool to see little Ivan get creative and Forge something useful as a replacement. I love the world and setting, music is amazing and the art just as beautiful. The only thing I would tweak is the Bad Luck mechanic, but as outlined before, that me personally. You should definitely go out and give it a go. With my "short" reviews not looking so short, from here on they will be posted for each individual game instead of as a Top 3. So keep an eye open throughout the week as I bring you my top picks fresh out the Forge. I brave the overwhelming out pour from Steam, so you don't have to. LAST WEEKS TOP 3 INDIEGAMES If any devs want to get their freshly made gems- I mean games- fully reviewed, drop me a message on here or on my email [email protected] I will check out your page and see what article or video I can make for you. Also can help with creating Presskits and Promotions for those that need it (whether being released soon or in the far future) Signed:
  4. Welcome, welcome one and all to Week 47 of 52 this year (18th-24th November). Bringing your weekly dose of IndieGems pulled from the forge that have caught my eye. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not played any of these (unless mentioned), my opinion is structured through watching Let's Play videos, and analyzing reviews and stats. This week has been slower then previous ones, but that hasn't stopped some amazing gems coming to my attention. Check them all out below! Coming soon are reviews for my top picks. Kyle is Famous Developer/Publisher: John Szymanski Genre: Narrative, Text Adventure Price: FREE TO PLAY PC (Steam, Itchio) "Take Kyle's hand through 21 unique endings, each determined by what Kyle has done and who he has interacted with. He needs you. Be kind." ANNIE: Last Hope (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: Pixel Rice Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG Price: £7.19 PC (Steam) "Love, betrayal, humanity and rule, conspiracy and choice in apocalypse, all waiting for you to reveal." Lost Ember Developer/Publisher: MoonEye Studios Genre: Action, Adventure, Exploration Price: £25.99 PC (Steam, GoG, Humble), Console (PS4, XBOXONE) TBA (SWITCH) Official Website REVIEW PENDING "Start as a small, defenseless blob. Grow legs, arms, a tail, a new head, wings and some big, nasty teeth." Miscreation Developer/Publisher: Chronicle Ltd Genre: Platform, Adventure Price: £7.19 PC (Steam, GameJolt) DEMO AVAILABLE "Start as a small, defenseless blob. Grow legs, arms, a tail, a new head, wings and some big, nasty teeth." MOLEK-SYNTEZ Developer/Publisher: Zachtronics Genre: Simulation Price: £7.19 PC (Steam) DEMO AVAILABLE Official Website "Create small molecules with various pharmacological effects from the comfort of your small Romanian apartment." Black Future '88 Developer/Publisher: Super Scary Snakes / Good Shepherd Entertainment Genre: Action, Rogue-Like, Shooter Price: £15.49 PC (Steam, GoG, Humble), Console (SWITCH) Official Website REVIEW PENDING "Shoot, slash, dash and upgrade yourself to survive the endless waves of Homicidal AI, Traps & Colossal Wardens... Before your heart explodes" This Land Is My Land (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: Game-Labs Genre: Action, RPG Price: £34.99 PC (Steam) Official Website "Experience the frontier as a chief of a Native American tribe and resist the onset of the settlers." Still There Developer/Publisher: GhostShark Games / Iceberg Interactive Genre: StoryRich, Puzzle, Adventure Price: £11.39 PC (Steam, GoG, Humble), Console (SWITCH) Official Website REVIEW PENDING "Evade the past, welcome oblivion, make the perfect Italian coffee... A psychological adventure game about grief, technical puzzles, wacky AIs and dark humour." Size Matters (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: Mazen Games / Grab The Games Genre: Action, Puzzle Price: £7.19 PC (Steam) Official Website "In Size Matters you take on the role of a scientist who has unintentionally ingested a chemical which causes him to shrink every second!" Bug Fables: The Everlasting Sapling Developer/Publisher: Moonsprout Games / Dangen Entertainment Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG Price: £15.49 PC (Steam, Humble, Itchio) Official Website "Embark on an epic quest in Bugaria in search of The Everlasting Sapling, a treasure that can grant immortality!" Guntastic (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: Ludicrous Games Genre: Action, Multiplayer, Brawler Price: £9.99 PC (Steam), Console TBA (XBOXONE, SWITCH, PS4) Official Website "Battle in lightning-fast, one-shot one-kill rounds that last only 25 seconds – after which anyone who's still alive is forcibly eliminated." Sigma Theory: Global Cold War Developer/Publisher: Mi-Clos Studio Fibre Tigre / Goblinz Studio Genre: TurnBased Strategy, Simulation, RPG Price: £15.49 PC (Steam, Humble, GoG) Official Website "In a futuristic global cold war... Recruit a squad of special agents and run your Intel agency to secure the control of the singularity." Catch me again every Saturday for the weeks IndieGems that are fresh out the Forge. I brave the overwhelming out pour from Steam, so you don't have to. Last Weeks Releases If any devs want to get their freshly made gems- I mean games- fully reviewed, drop me a message on here or on my email [email protected] I will check out your page and see what article or video I can make for you. Also can help with creating Presskits and Promotions for those that need it (whether being released soon or in the far future) Signed:
  5. Welcome, welcome one and all to Week 46 of 52 this year (11th-17th November). Bringing your weekly dose of IndieGems pulled from the forge that have caught my eye. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not played any of these (unless mentioned), my opinion is structured through watching Let's Play videos, and analyzing reviews and stats. This week has been so hard to pick my favourite IndieGames, some real gems found from epic adventures to simple meditative puzzles. There is something for everyone. Coming soon are reviews for my below picks. Sparklite Developer/Publisher: Red Blue Games / Merge Games Maple Whispering Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG Price: £19.99 PC (Steam), Console (SWITCH, XBOX1, PS4) DEMO AVAILABLE Official Website "An action-adventure set in a whimsical and ever-changing land. Battle foes in top-down action using an arsenal of gadgets, guns, and gear." MechCube: Escape (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: OGUREC APPS Genre: Point'n'Click Adventure, Puzzle Price: FREE TO PLAY PC (Steam, Itchio) "This is a non-linear point-and-click adventure with a lot of endings, secrets, easter eggs and references to modern pop culture." Infected Shelter Developer/Publisher: Dark Blue Games Genre: Action, Adventure, Beat'em Up Price: £7.99 PC (Steam), TBA (SWITCH, PS4, XBOX1) Official Website "Through randomly generated post-apocalyptic areas controlled by different enemy factions with brutal leaders and shelters occupied by infected creatures." Tales of Lazo Developer/Publisher: DYSTANT Games Genre: Adventure, RPG, Simulation Price: £3.99 PC (Steam) DEMO AVAILABLE "The game logic reads through your story and looks for certain keywords that make Lazo do different things." Discolored Developer/Publisher: Jason Godbey Genre: Adventure, Atmospheric, Puzzle Price: £5.19 PC (Steam), Apple Arcade Official Website "A lonely roadside diner in the middle of the desert. The locals say it’s lost all its color. You are sent to investigate." The Legend of Bum-Bo Developer/Publisher: Edmund McMillen Genre: Adventure, Strategy, Puzzle Price: £11.39 PC (Steam) Official Website "Bum-bo finds himself facing droves of deranged enemies, lost children, his fears, and eventually the beast that stole his beloved coin." Yaga Developer/Publisher: Breadcrumbs Interactive / Versus Evil Genre: Adventure, Action, RPG Price: £15.99 PC (Epic), Console (SWITCH, XBOX1, PS4) Official Website "Smash, clobber and bash... in this darkly funny action role-playing game that changes every time you play." RUNE II Developer/Publisher: Human Head Studios Genre: Adventure, Action, RPG Price: £23.99 PC (Epic) Official Website "Set in a dangerous Norse universe during the end of days... where gods, beasts, and the last remaining humans struggle to survive." Superliminal Developer/Publisher: Pillow Castle Games Genre: First Person, Puzzle Price: £13.99 PC (Epic) Official Website "Explore a surreal dream world and solve impossible puzzles using the ambiguity of depth and perspective." Village Monsters (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: Josh Bossie Genre: RPG, Life-Sim Price: £11.39 PC (Steam, Itchio) Official Website "Set in a forgotten video game world. Make monstrous friends, pursue interesting hobbies, and explore strange lands." Draw Chilly Developer/Publisher: Josh Bossie Genre: Action, Arcade Price: £8.99 PC (Steam) Console (SWITCH) Official Website "Take on the role of Vladimir and raise a city from the depths of Purgatory at the request of your employers, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse." Tracks - The Family Friendly Open World Train Set Game Developer/Publisher: Whoop Group / Excaliber Games Genre: Builder, Simulation Price: £16.74 PC (Steam) Official Website "Create colourful railway systems, decorate beautiful towns, transport commuting passengers, and even ride your train in first-person." Woven Developer/Publisher: Alter Ego Games / StickyLock Studios Genre: Adventure, Platformer Price: £16.99 PC (Steam), Console (SWITCH, XBOX1, PS4) Official Website "Search for hidden secrets and customize your character with different animal shapes to solve puzzles." The Deed II Developer/Publisher: Pilgrim Adventures / GrabTheGames Genre: Adventure, RPG, Narrative Price: £2.89 PC (Steam) Official Website "Can you commit the perfect murder?" Between Two Castles Developer/Publisher: Daisu Games Genre: Strategy, BoardGame Price: £10.29 PC (Steam) Official Website "In this game, you cooperate to compete - or is it the other way around?" Between Two Castles Developer/Publisher: Sparse Game Dev Genre: Casual, Puzzle, Meditative Price: £5.49 PC (Steam), TBA (IOS, Android) Official Website "A puzzle game about water, erosion, and watching things grow. Manipulate the landscape and bring wildflowers to life on a peaceful mountainside." Catch me again every Saturday for the weeks IndieGems that are fresh out the Forge. I brave the overwhelming out pour from Steam, so you don't have to. Last Weeks Releases If any devs want to get their freshly made gems- I mean games- fully reviewed, drop me a message on here or on my email [email protected] I will check out your page and see what article or video I can make for you. Also can help with creating Presskits and Promotions for those that need it (whether being released soon or in the far future) Signed:
  6. Welcome, welcome one and all to Week 45 of 52 this year (4th-10th November). Bringing you your weekly dose of IndieGems pulled from the forge that have caught my eye. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not played any of these (unless mentioned), my opinion is structured through watching Let's Play videos, and analyzing reviews and stats. Action, platformer, management and strategy are some of the wide ranges of this weeks IndieGame releases. However, many this week are puzzling to say the least. So put on your thinking caps, some of these may look (deceivingly) easy, but you'll have many head-scratching moments. Return of the Zombie King Developer/Publisher: Adventure Mountain Genre: Platformer, Runner Price: £3.99 PC (Steam), IOS Official Website "Auto-runner where you use a reanimated royal corpse to collect gold to buy back your old body parts." IMBROGLIO Developer/Publisher: Rostislav Pogosian Genre: Sokoban Puzzler Price: £4.79 PC (Steam) Official Website "Solve sokoban-based puzzles scattered across multiple worlds" Mars: Power Industries Developer/Publisher: 7A Games Genre: Casual, Strategy, Puzzle Price: £2.09 PC (Steam), IOS, Android DEMO AVAILABLE Official Website "Power up the colony, uncover the Martian mystery and figure out what happened to the first colony! " Fated Kingdom Developer/Publisher: Game Liberty Genre: RPG, Strategy, Board Game Price: £7.19 PC (Steam) DEMO AVAILABLE "And if for success you need to substitute, betray, or even deliver a sneaky stab in the back, then why not do it?" Vecter (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: Taranasus Genre: Casual, Retro, Racer Price: FREE TO PLAY PC (Steam, Itchio, GameJolt) Official Website "You get in your ship, you push the throttle on max, rip it out of the console and then try to survive for as long as possible." The Story of Henry Bishop Developer/Publisher: Blazes Games Genre: First Person, Horror Price: £5.19 PC (Steam) "Explore the old mansion and learn the horrible secret of the family, which once disappeared without a trace in this house." Mustache or Revenge Developer/Publisher: Growfall Games Genre: Action, Platformer, Puzzle Price: £3.99 PC (Steam) Official Website "Challenging platformer taking you on an adventure through dangerous dungeons filled with ingenious traps." Ritual: Crown of Horns Developer/Publisher: Draw Distance/Feardemic Genre: Action, TopDown Shooter Price: £17.99 PC (Steam, Humble), SWITCH Official Website "A game about wrecking havoc on history, seeing through false narratives and embracing your inner monster." The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters Developer/Publisher: Devespresso Games/Headup Genre: Survival Horror Price: £9.99 PC (Steam, Humble), TBA (SWITCH) Official Website "You must precariously balance the urgency of exploration with your absolute need to survive!" Ghost Grab 3000 Developer/Publisher: Matt Glanville Genre: Action, Arcade Price: £3.99 PC (Steam, Itchio) Official Website "Chain ghosts together then pop them all at once for points in an endless 'bullet hell' arcade apocalypse." Basement Developer/Publisher: HalfBus Genre: Management, Strategy, Simulation Price: £15.49 PC (Steam) Official Website "You'll start in an old uncle's basement and quickly realize how complex and unpredictable the world of drug dealing business is." Down Ward Developer/Publisher: Fisholith Genre: Arcade, Puzzle, Action Price: FREE TO PLAY PC (Steam) "Venture into the haunted wilds with Gable, a little owl, as she sets out to rekindle the dormant relics of a land long abandoned to ruin." Catch me again every Saturday for the weeks IndieGems that are fresh out the Forge. I brave the overwhelming out pour from Steam, so you don't have to. Last Weeks Releases If any devs want to get their freshly made gems- I mean games- fully reviewed, drop me a message on here or on my email [email protected] I will check out your page and see what article or video I can make for you. Also can help with creating Presskits and Promotions for those that need it (whether being released soon or in the far future) Signed:
  7. Welcome, welcome one and all to Week 44 of 52 this year. Bringing you your weekly dose of IndieGems pulled from the forge that have caught my eye. Below you will find my Top 3 IndieGame releases this week, no surprise that they are mostly... actually all... horror related. Even though they are all horror games, they have different styles and ways of doing it. From messing with your mind, bringing slow dread or finding the beauty in whats monstrous. Some weeks (such as this one) there will be an extra review for a game that I had high hopes for, but has fallen short of my expectations. That review can be found at the end of the article. Top 3 IndieGames Developer/Publisher: Shadow Knights Studio Genre: Investigative Thriller, Horror Price: £18.99 PC (Steam, VR), Date TBA (XBOX1, PS4) Official Website "Uniquely crafted thriller with glimpses into psychotic and alternate dimensions." REVIEW For a game that is still in Early Access, I am massively impressed. The environment design is amazing with going as far as little details like cobwebs and door stoppers. Framing the environment is cinematic lighting, giving you an experience that is both beautiful and terrifying. Genuine tingles ran up my spine at times as I was truly immersed. Enough gushing about the visuals, I'm sure if you watch the trailer yourself, it'll be clear. What you really want to know is how terrifying of a horror it is. To start, this is one of my favourite types of horror themes. It is purely a psychological driven horror. No blood or gore, no jump scares. What you get instead is slow spine-tingling dread and surreal sprints through corridors that mess with your mind. In a way, it reminds me a little of Layers of Fear... if Layers of Fear had a huge graphical face lift. Puzzles are hit and miss for me. Some are well designed but a lot of them rely on you having a very keen eye for details rather than a sharp mind. Eventually, after searching every nook and cranny I would find what I need, but the time spent searching takes you out of the immersion and story. There it is, my only complaint. Oh, and it was much too short of a game, but... then I guess it is still in Early Access and not finished, so will hold my breath on that till future updates. Sound design is brilliant and atmospheric, music is lovely and eerie. I do recommend this game to any horror fans, especially those who love the twists and turns you get from psychological thrillers, just a word of warning that for its price, it is quite short... it's worth it because of the amazing work that has gone into it, but just fair warning. I still loved it. Developer/Publisher: Protocol Games/Raiser Games Genre: Survival Horror, Adventure Price: (Each Episode) £6.99 PC (Steam), Consoles (TBA) Official Website "Face the manifestations of the Presence, an unpredictable, eldritch AI that reacts to your way of playing" REVIEW Our second horror of the article is different from the first in many ways, but it does not hold back the scares in the least. An episodic horror game living up to its name by bringing its excellent sound design to the front and making us all paranoid with fear. I believe that the best horrors are not the ones that make you jump, but the ones that fill you with slow dread, making you second guess your every action. Your greatest enemy is yourself after all, and your biggest fears live within the realms of your imagination. Song of Horror takes advantage of this brilliantly. Highly recommend you wear headphones for this game. As you travel room to room, or down dark corridors, the sound of creaking floorboards and shoes scuffing in a hurry... but not your feet, these sounds come from upstairs. Or there is crying to be heard on the other side of a door. You can't trust your senses, but at the same time, you must rely on them to survive. Building this paranoia within you is fantastic and very Lovecraftian at its purest without relying on monsters and scares. Very few games make you doubt your choices like this one. There are two unique features in this game I have no seen very often. The first is a mysterious one, I have read that the 'Presence' is a clever AI that remembers what you do and changes their scare tactics based on it. Hard for me to judge or experiment to see quite how that works, but on paper, it sounds really interesting and cool. The second feature I can talk more on, instead of giving you lives or health bars, you are given a cast of characters. Each of these characters has a different personality in how they interact with objects and clues and also different stats. I played my first playthrough as Etienne (it goes without saying that he did not survive until the end). What is cool is that when you die, that character is gone for good. You then pick another character to enter the haunted house with and once you find the body you can pick up your old inventory. This is excellent and adds to how tense the game can become when you know it could be your characters last breath. Highly recommend this game, it's inexpensive and to echo many other reviewers out there, it has an essence of classic Resident Evil and Silent Hill, but with some new twists. Developer/Publisher: LaBelle Games/ARTE France Genre: Point'n'Click, Adventure Price: £12.99 PC (Steam), TBA (IOS, Android, SWITCH) Official Website "Play as the Creature, a wanderer without memory or past... A thousand miles from the horror stories" REVIEW Living poetry, a breathing painting that you experience. From the moment you awaken and open your eyes, the world is painted before you as you explore and learn what life is. You may be this huge creature, but your mind is like a child, seeing for the first time a deer and the flowers blossoming. To me, it almost doesn't feel like a game, it is much more akin to an experience. There are game play mechanics and puzzles to solve sure, but you are so absorbed in the story and the character, you forget it's a game you're playing. The art is a wonderful watercolour style and enhanced by the music that accompanies it. Even in the times of silence, it is filled with birds chirping or streams running, there is life in this enclosed world that you journey through. Headphones are a must when experiencing this story. Sound design is mastered perfectly, with silence being used to drive emotion when at times needed. As is to be expected, some will compare it to the original story, as is done with many works of re-interpretation. What makes this very interesting is that you are given choice over matters. The story itself is different from the book but no less heartwrenching as you see through the eyes of the creature and hear his inner thoughts. You begin to empathise with him and as you decide how he reacts to certain situations, you begin to live through him, for better or worse. Emotion is key to storytelling. It's a belief of mine that real art and a good story makes you feel and The Wanderer takes you through happiness, regret, sadness and anger. I can not recommend this game enough. Some may turn away because of its length (3hrs), but I tell you it is worth it. I hope that the developers continue to tell beautiful stories that we can experience and learn from, I'll be there waiting for more. Um... Meh Developer/Publisher: Night School Studio Genre: Point'n'Click, Adventure Price: £15.99 PC (Epic), Console £16.74 (PS4, XBOX1) Official Website "But there’s a loophole: outdrink Satan and he’ll grant you re-entry to Earth." REVIEW I have included this game in the article because it is a game I have been looking forward to for a long time. Like many, I am a big fan of NightSchools previous game "Oxenfree". The free-flowing conversations that touched on heavy subjects and themes so effortlessly and provided us with emotion in the story and characters that we loved. When I first heard the announcement of AfterParty and watched their first trailer, I was more than excited. It didn't look like it would be as deep of a story as Oxenfree was, definitely a more casual fun trip through hell with colours and plenty of humour and I was ok with that. What I didn't know at the time is that this casual trip would be a long walk with not much to say. Oxenfree, for those unfamiliar, is famous for their free-flowing conversations and well-written dialogue. In AfterParty, it is instead held back by a heavy load of exposition that doesn't go anywhere. Like a joke with no punchline, this exposition is then repeated on those long walks, thinking maybe the conversation is going somewhere... but no. Much of the game felt very flat to me, and if it wasn't for the conversations filling the void, I would not have made it to the end of the game. This is because a large portion of the game is walking from A to B and doing what you're told. There is very little choice to be made and what choice you do have is an illusion. Often this kind of railroading of a player can be forgiven in my eyes, many amazing games are extremely linear and make up for it in other aspects, usually story. Unfortunately, I have already mentioned how the story disappointed me, so combined with the very "go here do that" game style, it was a very slow crawl. There are redeeming parts of the game. The voice acting is brilliant and you could tell the little inflexions and range of emotions performed making it enjoyable to listen to. The characters have thought out personalities that lend to the voices and they're likeable. I grew to like many of them, even if the story did let it down. In conclusion, it's not a bad game, there were entertaining moments with some funny jokes, but I never felt like I needed to keep playing, I just felt... meh. Catch me again every Monday for the weeks IndieGems that are fresh out the Forge. I brave the overwhelming out pour from Steam, so you don't have to. If any devs want to get their freshly made gems- I mean games- fully reviewed, drop me a message on here or on my email [email protected] I will check out your page and see what article or video I can make for you. Also can help with creating Presskits and Promotions for those that need it (whether being released soon or in the far future) Signed:
  8. Welcome, welcome one and all to Week 44 of 52 this year. Bringing you your weekly dose of IndieGems pulled from the forge that have caught my eye. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have not played any of these (unless mentioned), my opinion is structured through watching Let's Play videos, and analyzing reviews and stats. For full reviews of my Top Picks of the Week, follow here So this week we have a range of interesting IndieGames that have been released, half of which are on the spookier side as can be expected for the end of October. Check them out below and let me know if you've picked any of them up and given them a go. Lee Inside TV Developer/Publisher: Kyrios Game Studio Genre: Adventure, Puzzle-Platformer Price: £1.99 PC (Steam) "Where gameplay is always changing and each level feels unique Raindancer Developer/Publisher: Strange Creatures Studio Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG Price: £0.79 PC (Steam) Official Website "A ONE-HIT-DEATH boss-rush action adventure" Spooky Station Developer/Publisher: Estúdio Vaca Roxa Genre: ArenaBrawler, TextAdventure, Action, Puzzle, Rogue-Like Price: £3.99 PC (Steam) Official Website "9 Ghostly games... this bundle is certain to spook your socks off!" Quest for Conquest Developer/Publisher: Pixel Pinecone Genre: Adventure, Caravan Management Price: £4.99 PC (Steam) "...the ruler is doing nothing about it, so maybe it's time to replace them." Ball-Pit Simulator Developer/Publisher: Drew J. Stivers Genre: Adventure, Platformer Price: £3.99 PC (Steam, Itchio, Gamejolt) "There is only one rule in the ball pit, don't touch the green balls!" Cathedral Developer/Publisher: DecemberBorn Interactive Genre: Action, Adventure, Metroidvania Price: £11.99 PC (Steam, GoG) Official Website "A world full of secrets, hidden rooms, dungeons and towns; Cathedral features a vast world, meant for exploring!" Pixamal Zoo (Early Access) Developer/Publisher: Twitter Monkey Maneuvers Genre: Tycoon, Simulation, RPG Price: £12.99 PC (Steam) Official Website "Only you can save the zoo! So, do you want the job?" Catch me again every Saturday for the weeks IndieGems that are fresh out the Forge. I brave the overwhelming out pour from Steam, so you don't have to. If any devs want to get their freshly made gems- I mean games- fully reviewed, drop me a message on here or on my email [email protected] I will check out your page and see what article or video I can make for you. Also can help with creating Presskits and Promotions for those that need it (whether being released soon or in the far future) Signed:
  9. Key Info: Developer/Publisher: Gabe Cuzzillo/Devolver Digital Genre: Top-Down, Action, Smash'em Up Price: £10.99 PC (Steam, GoG, Humble, Itchio), SWITCH DEMO AVAILABLE Official Website Ever have those moments of pure anger where you run away into your mind, turn into a huge ape and brutally pulverise everyone in the building into a pulp during a mad run to the exit? No?... Well if you did, it would look like this. - Pros Intense Bold Beautiful Art I could just watch for hours. Punch in the face Jazz Orchestra that is procedurally generated by how Apeshit (sorry) crazy it is getting. Simple Controls. Move. Grab. Punch. That's it. Satisfyingly Hard. It has that 'Just one more try' worm that burrows in your head, telling you, you can do it. Shakes it up every level. Enemies change, surprises come into play, your strategy must evolve as you progress. Angry Violent Ape (good stress reliever). - Cons Too Short (only took me 2 hours to complete). Ape in Cage. Ape Mad, Ape break out and go on a violence-induced sprint to exit This isn't really a narrative game and that's ok. It's not meant to be and I wouldn't expect it to. However, between the bloody corridors and guards running on fire, there is a very loose visual narrative. You start in a lab, you've been experimented on and later in the next few stages, there is a progression of sorts with each of the 4 stages occupying a different environment. All these stages (presented as Vinyl Albums, so cool) work as 4 different vignettes or slices of a great Angry Ape who just wants freedom... at any cost. You would think it is just a smash, grab, have a nice day kind of game But let me tell you about my first play-through. I was immediately engrossed in the carnage and the completionist in my head said to get revenge on every single one of these men for imprisoning me, hunt them down, rip them apart and be rewarded by the satisfying cymbal crash... But no, as I picked up a dismembered arm to fling at another incoming enemy, a spray of bullets from a shotgun burst towards me, and then it hit me. I'm meant to escape. In the beginning, I thought the game frustrating, but when I started actively trying to escape, it became the mad rush it was meant to be. New levels brought more surprises, in one level lingering close to a window meant getting shot by snipers, soon I encountered explosive experts, flamethrowers, mortars falling from the sky, the variation kept coming and made everything fresh, constantly pushing me to re-evaluate my strategy. "In most games, procedural generation is there to add replayability and add very divergent outcomes. In this game, it's about forcing you to improvise. - Gabe Cuzzillo You can't rely on knowing the layout of the building or position of the guards, you have to take each moment as it comes. For those that know me, I normally get turned off a game at the mention of procedural generation, there's no authorship to the design and structure, but in the case of Ape Out, it is for a reason and a reason that works for me. You've got to admit, the music is pretty fantastic So it's no wonder that during production, it became a linchpin and focus that Gabe Cuzzillo latched onto. "You've Got to Have Freedom" by saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, THAT is the linchpin that drove it home. "It really spoke to me on a deep level" - Gabe Cuzzillo But we're here to talk about the music in Ape Out, an algorithmic masterpiece of a score by Matt Boch. Double time drums set the pace and the rhythm of your heartbeat, growing louder and more intense as violence escalates. Loud cymbals crash into the track with every man you smash, ratatat of guns and explosions and the wet squishing sound of carpet drenched in blood. This is a symphony of carnage and the urgency to escape, blended into a head-bobbing jazz track that you control. Does it all fit and work? It most certainly does and it gives you the satisfaction that it was your rampage that created this soundtrack. On top of this amazing soundtrack, we've got the sharp colours and shapes that pull you in and compliment the harshness of the saxophone. The inspiration for the art style sits heavily with Saul Bass, who is famous for strong colour, simplicity in shapes and lack of tonality that creates a striking image. This was brilliantly re-created by Bennet Foddy. The tall parallel walls give that vertigo feel and tightness, making you feel like a rat, trapped in a maze as you scurry around looking for the exit and avoiding the dangers. This little detail took me a while to notice, but when I did I loved it. There is no health bar telling you how weak you are, but instead the more damage you take, the bigger the pool of blood that trails behind you. This is the kind of game design I love. When the visuals and music don't just look and sound good but work to make the game better. As mentioned in the Pros and Cons, this is not a very long game and depending on your level of skill, you could complete this game in a very short time. Thankfully there is an arcade mode that scores you for how far you can get without dying and a harder difficulty mode too. For me, those modes don't interest me. For others, it will add maybe an extra hour or two to your fun. Final Thoughts Ape Out is a hugely enjoyable game, it lived up to what I wanted and it gave me plenty of pleasant surprises that kept the repetitive gameplay fresh and interesting. The music is amazing (I'll be buying the soundtrack right after this) and the visuals were pure art for my eyes to drink up. My only con is that the game was too short, but in actual fact, its a double-sided coin for me. Yes, it did not take long to finish the game, but at the same time, if it had lasted any longer, it would have risked becoming stale. The game was exactly as long as it should be, despite the brevity. Still, I can't help but want more. More Albums and more music to smash people to the rhythm of. Highly recommend the game to anyone with anger problems, a love for jazz, or just wants a short game to enjoy. Or anyone really... I mean who doesn't like Apes, Jazz, and Violence?
  10. Game: Swords and Souls: Neverseen Publisher: Armor Games Studio Price: $14.99/£11.39 Release Date: 22nd July 2019 Genre: Adventure, Turn-Based RPG Multiple warnings were provided to me about the addictive nature of this game, but it wasn't until I found myself at 4 in the morning, birds chirping, and my alarm to get up for work just a few hours away... that I realised maybe I have a problem here. The story is a simple one that brings familiar tones and notes that are common with every fantasy story. You play a voiceless hero who has stumbled onto the island of Neverseen, only to be immediately approached with trouble and tales of a powerful witch in a tower. There is a mighty quest for magical items and weapons to defeat this witch and meat fodder sidekicks along for the adventure. What makes the narrative stand out particularly in this game is the characters and tongue in cheek humour. The sarcastic Sir Pupset who reluctantly trains you and Hop the Innkeeper with his monstrous pet Pupsy. It all may seem rather a cliche and that is part of the charm as it works more akin to a parody then a sweeping epic... plus the twist at the end will surely make you double-take and think back to clues that were placed along the journey. There is a 'kookiness' that I love and even when I was nearing the end of the game and was met with a few surprises, it kept that light-heartedness while still delivering a worthy antagonist and plot. At first glance, the gameplay may seem rather simple, but with every victorious battle I emerged from, a new mechanic was introduced, a new fun toy to play with. Whether it was mercenaries, taming wild beasts to raise as your own or simply investing into the town -maybe building yourself a new little house- there was always a sense of achievement. Furthermore, every time I played around with the new mechanics, I discovered that it isn't just aesthetic, it has a purpose. My investment has made me filthy rich, my house gives me XP bonuses, and fixing up the training camp helps you level up the ranks quicker to reach that coveted Soulmaster tier. This is a meaty game, for even after completing the story there are still more hidden secrets to uncover, fish and monsters to catch and pets to train up to be powerful allies. All this and I haven't yet mentioned the Endless Mode that you unlock once the main story is over and done with. Truly you will be occupied for a while, making this a good hearty purchase. There is always something to do in this game. I am never bored and every time I load up the game it sucks me deeper into a black hole filled with fun, and the thirst to train till I am the strongest hero of the land. This game really should come with warning labels.
  11. RaginRamen

    Quench - Papercraft Pilgrimage

    Game: Quench Publisher: Axon Interactive Price: $19.99/£15.49 Release Date: 7th August 2019 Genre: Puzzle, Adventure, Story Rich When it's been a long day at work and I just want to relax, I just want to do one thing, listen to some good music and drift away into another world. This can be done with a good book, movie or occasionally an FPS if I'm in a bad mood. There are, however, times when a puzzle game is just the ticket. Quench was that game for me this month, its beautiful soundtrack and art took me away and the puzzles kept my attention and challenged me as I journeyed through on this virtual pilgrimage. I've yet to witness the ending at the time of writing this review, but the narrative is very poetically written. A story of a variety of animal herds migrating from polluted and drylands to reach greener fields. The word pilgrimage is used very often and it has that spiritual essence to the dialogue and the narration. To help them on this pilgrimage is you. The fruit of the elder tree brought forth you as a spiritual bird to guide the 6 herds of the kingdom. It really makes you feel involved, you end up caring for these animals and grow an attachment to the leaders. Their safety is your main concern. We all know that in real life animals migrate year-round and that often pollution and blocked rivers are dangers to them. This story pushes the envelope in getting you to empathise more, getting the animals from news headlines to a bird's eye view of the struggles you will save them from. This game was made with a message, but that didn't stop the developers from forgetting that it's still a game and needs to be fun. I am truly delighted with this. Too many games have focused too hard on story and art, only to forget they are making a game. Being a puzzle game, I will focus on that aspect. There are 4 different powers you can use in different situations. To clear paths, block enemies and support your herds. Each power is surprisingly versatile in what it can do and they are introduced one by one to learn them all effectively. Quench doesn't hold your hand with the tutorials or ever give hints as to what to do to solve puzzles, but they don't leave you guessing either. I'd say that is a well-designed game, wouldn't you? As mentioned when I was talking about the story, the game is very good at building empathy. When clearing the path for your herd, it switches to a lemmings style mechanic where they will blindly trust you and keep moving (so you better have done a good job removing obstacles). Unlike lemmings, these are your children, your babies, you care for them and if even just one dies?... well I've restarted many times to rectify that. Not many games are good at generating empathy... sympathy maybe, but not empathy. Matching the sweeping poetry of the writing and story is a lovely soundtrack and a beautiful art style I've not seen often. It's almost like pixels, but it's not. Opting for shaded triangles instead of squares gives it a unique look. Most of the game takes place overhead, seeing as you are a spiritual bird, that makes sense. When it is time to dive into the narrative, it takes a cinematic approach with very little animation. To me it resembles a tapestry, a story told from one painted scene to another with colours to match the tones of earth and nature. Although no voice-overs were recorded for this game, they had done a wonderful job of creating motifs to accompany each different character, bringing personality and voice to them without actors. Papercraft! That's the word I was looking for to describe the art, gorgeous is another word. After experiencing the story and thoroughly enjoying the puzzles, I have to wholeheartedly recommend this game. The story is truly as beautiful as the music and art. Not just beautiful but subtle and I love that about it. If you enjoy relaxing with a puzzle that isn't easy, but it's just hard enough to satisfyingly complete, then throw away that Sudoku and get started on this pilgrimage.
  12. TOP 3 NEW INDIEGAMES JULY 15TH-21ST I will be posting once a week with my Top 3 New Releases every Monday and my Top 3 Early Access games every Tuesday. Meet a carpenter wolf, large giants, and stags with bling, Summer Catchers is a very interesting runner game with an adventure to 'catch the sun' as the title suggests. Its crowning achievement has to be the adorable and charming art style. Probably my favorite of these three is Horace, the story has so much heart and it has left me with a mile-long smile. He is an astonishing character that I've grown to love and the world Horace lives in is one I want to learn more about, the characters he meets I want to meet. Come explore this world through the eyes of a robot that wants to clean the world. I've waited a long time Nowhere Prophet, the art style and theme of Desert Punk or Sand Punk or any other variation of punk (or diesel?) that has been thrown around. It's unique and different, the only thing left that the game needs is a brilliant card mechanic. It's almost there. So close. Check them out below and tell me what you think. Any of these grab your attention like it did mine? Summer Catchers (http://summercatchers.com/) Genre: Action, Adventure, Racing Price: $10.19/£7.89 (-15% until July 23) Developer: FaceIT Publisher: Noodlecake Studios Release Date: 16th June 2019 Available on PC ►Steam Store Steam Bio "Take control of Chu, a young girl who lives in the frozen north and has never seen summer, the ocean or anything but the snowy forest. With her trusty wooden car, you must travel to distant lands full of mystery and strange creatures who ready to both help and stop you from completing your quest of finally seeing summer. The journey won't be easy though. On your way through shadowy forests, dark swamps, vast valleys, and underground cities you will encounter obstacles and larger than life situations you will need your trusty travel bag to help overcome. By equipping the right tools at the right time, you can work your way through these uncharted lands and just like in real life, find a few friends and secrets along the way." Review The first character you meet is a wolf in a sweater doing a bit of carpentry. If that strikes you as odd, just you wait to see what else this game has in store for you. So it starts off with the wolf building you a cool little buggy and taking you through a short tutorial to teach you to jump, smash and boost. Sounds simple, you can buy these between runs at the store with... well, mushrooms. Now here comes the little kicker, the wolf has swindled you, for you can buy as many items as you'd like, but beware the tricksy RNG. Mr wolf never told me about the RNG (Random-Numerical-Generator). Lots of fun still had on this game, more interesting characters met such as a crystal disco stag and a rude yeti that would not leave me alone. It's only the start of the game and I believe there is lots more to be enjoyed and experienced. The music and pixel art blow me away, the colour palette is gorgeous and I really really do want to see more... but this RNG, it makes it tiring. Playing a game should not be tiring or a chore, it should be fun. Looking at other reviews of the game it seems to be a common observation from bad as well as good reviews. I'm conflicted. I do really like the game and enjoy it... but can I recommend it when an aspect (a big aspect) of the game is bringing it down? Horace (https://twitter.com/horacedev) Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer Price: $14.99/£10.99 Developer: Paul Helman, Sean Scaplehorn Publisher: 505 Games Release Date: 18th July 2019 Available on PC ►Steam Store Steam Bio "Learn how to master your strongest robot abilities and reunite Horace with his long-lost family. Adventure across the world - and time and space - to save mankind from total destruction. Run and jump your way through a comical but touching story told by the charming robot protagonist and use your wits to overcome classic 2D platforming challenges, all whilst cleaning up the mess left behind from the Robot War! Experience tons of variety along the way with parodies of classic mini-games ranging from rhythm action to FPS." Review I was expecting a standard platformer, similar to many others that I have played, but after several deaths and my unwavering determination to push forward, I soon realized its almost morning and I have been playing for too long. It grabbed me, it has that perfect just one more feeling and tickles my need for tidiness as Horace (the robot) is striving for his life long mission to clean 1 million items. A herculean task that will surely keep you playing for a long time. Anyone out there a completionist like me? The story is brilliantly written with characters I adore, from the Old Man to grumpy Dent and the mischievious Silton. Obviously cannot forget the charming daughter Heather. There are twists and turns and plenty more interesting characters along the journey with hilarious British humour and pop culture references that had me pointing with nostalgic glee. Running through all this is something much darker though, the world changing and a war that had started while you were 'asleep'. This mystery kept me intrigued and searching for more clues to what happened. As a platformer, you have to do more than the standard run and jump and the mechanics introduced in here are really well done. The antigrav shoes make for really good puzzles (and dizzying runs... don't play when sleep-deprived, you've been warned), they were challenging but not impossible and although I got frustrated, I never felt like giving up, especially when it gave me extra lives for dying so many times. Finally the music, ooooh the music. It's gorgeous. You know that face he makes when Horace plays games for the first time? Oh right you haven't played it yet, you're reading this first. My face people, when the music dropped for the first time. Mozart but played in retro chiptune, it was a whole new symphony to my ears and fit the aesthetic of the game perfectly. So go buy the game, trust me, it is worth every penny. You'll be playing for hours... Just don't blame me if you lose sleep. Nowhere Prophet (http://www.nowhereprophet.com/) Genre: Strategy, Card-Based, Rogue-Lite Price: $22.49/£17.54 (-10% till July 26) Developer: Sharkbomb Studios Publisher: No More Robots Release Date: 19th July 2019 Available on PC ►Steam Store Steam Bio "Take on the role of a powerful leader and mystic. Empowered with the gifts of technopathy, the ability to sense and affect electrical currents. You are the last hope to a band of outcasts and refugees. Lead them across the randomly generated wastelands. Pick fights with greedy slavers and crazy machines using the turn-based card combat. Can you survive long enough to reach the mysterious Crypt?" Review It's good being a powerful prophetic leader, especially when the world has been reduced to a wasteland. So as I traveled with my entourage of followers, seeking out justice for myself, it became a constant thirst for more power. You would guess correctly if you assumed my playthrough was the opposite of altruistic. Now it may be that I haven't played enough of the game to learn more, but the story isn't so deep yet. The little mission dialogues are cool and give a sense of a harsh world, but they haven't given me signs of a grand scheme. The lore of the world expands and yet I am a wandering man with followers foolish enough to join me. Maybe I'll get more story as I move forward in the game. So the FTL aspect of the game works and is enjoyable, the navigation is smooth and the UI is very readable and easy to follow. However, there is one game mechanic that falls short and it's a big one... The deck building and the combat AI. It's not terrible, but it could do with a lot of improvement. Let us start with deck-building. You need to be able to create a deck to suit your strategy with cards that synergize and this isn't always the case. There are over 300 cards to pick and yet the most effective deck is an agro deck, its worked for me many times almost too easily. Getting the battle over quick is better than suffering repeated damage chipping away at my health, so throw away those long strategies just brute force it instead. Which brings me to the combat AI, their choices seem to be at times really bad or pretty good. It's a constant see-saw that confuses me and makes it seem incredibly random, and with this randomness, you'll be lucky to face an enemy that knows the meaning of strategy as no moves seem to be thought ahead. This puts me in a predicament. I love the game and have had hours of fun, its addictive and I want to keep playing it, but I'm not sure why. The art style and music is really awesome, maybe that is what's keeping me playing... I'm not sure. I'll cautiously recommend the game in the hopes that some changes will come to the Enemy AI and maybe even changes to how the deck is built. It has huge potential and I'm not sure it's there yet. Check back every Monday for my Top 3 New Releases. Thank you and till next time.
  13. TOP 3 NEW INDIEGAMES JULY 8TH-14TH So as the title suggests, I am doing things a little different from before. Instead of posting most days about releases as they come, I will be posting once a week with my Top 3 New Releases and my Top 3 Early Access games every Monday. Short, sweet and gorgeous. Atma is a game to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace with a casting mechanic to truly make you feel the magical abilities running through your veins. Life is breathed into the whole environment leading to your final choice... to save the village or to save your most loved. Far into the stars, we have a different story, less love and more death at the jaws of cute cuddly creatures with sharp teeth, its Professor Lupo and his Horrible Creatures to be precise. You're not even meant to be there, you hate this job, but alas the intern has no say and must follow instructions... until things went horribly wrong and now your top priority is your survival. Use your knowledge of the creatures to solve the puzzles and escape. I'm not sure what I am doing in this game every time I load it up, but I find myself constantly looking between two items in my hand and mashing them together to see if it does something. Or play around with air filtrations or drugs. Streets of Rogue can get pretty crazy, I've seen giants trample houses and werewolves maul someone to death, whilst not too much later I started a block party with my boombox. Like I said... I don't know what's going on, but I like it. Check them out below and tell me what you think. Any of these grab your attention like it did mine? Atma (https://twitter.com/atmagame) Genre: Action, Adventure, Puzzle Price: Name Your Price Developer: Team Atma Publisher: Rubika Supinfogames Release Date: 10th June 2019 Available on PC ►Itchio Store ►Steam Store In a world where spirits and humans coexist, Shaya, guardian of the unseen, keeps the safe balance between the living and its spiritual entities. She once was Atma’s eternal love, but as he passed away, she became the next Guardian. As she communes with herself at her beloved's tomb, Atma tries to reach out to her through her powers. He never met the spirit world and has been oscillating between life and death ever since, where he couldn't find peace. He asks one last thing from her: recollect his fragments of memory he shared with his relatives... But, In order to offer him the chance to return among the living, Shaya will have to make dangerous decisions. Here begins her desperate quest for resurrection. Will she betray her vows as a guardian to be reunited with the one she loves? Vibrant colours and gorgeous world designs coupled with lovely atmospheric sounds and music, all this makes for a recipe for a beautiful experience. Exploring this world and meeting the most interesting characters was a joy. Everywhere you go there is life breathed into the environment. Well placed light rays, wildlife just going about their business and leaves blowing in the wind. Truly remarkable. I'll have to also mention there was some familiarity with the art and that's when I remembered Aube and discovered they share devs (https://pataya.itch.io/aube). I could gush more about the art and music but let's move on to the gameplay. It's primarily a puzzle adventure game with very little in the way of combat (except for an awesome boss fight). You solve puzzles and traverse the environment by using different Mantras, this mechanic is so well done. You hold a button down to focus and then draw your mantra to cast spells. It may seem convoluted but the more I did it the more it felt right... like if I really was concentrating and casting spells like the character himself, adding visual interaction to immerse you. Loved the game and hope to see more. Seriously I want more, half an hour of this wasn't enough for me, you gave me a slice of the cake and now I want the rest... pleeeaase. Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets (https://www.professorlupo.com/) Genre: Puzzle, Adventure Price: $12.74/£11.46 (-16% till July 18) Developer: BeautiFun Games Publisher: BeautiFun Games Release Date: 11th June 2019 Available on PC and SWITCH ►Steam Store Professor Lupo is a space scientist who’s been traveling around the galaxy on the Aurora Space Station, gathering the most impressive collection of aliens: his Horrible Pets. Adorable and harmless at first sight, these aliens turn into nasty, lethal creatures once they sense a human being close by. The Professor is on his way back to the Earth to sell them to the highest bidder for weaponization. But something has gone terribly wrong, the Aurora Space Station is under attack by unknown forces, and now the aliens are roaming free! Your job as the Professor’s Intern has always been to act as bait for these creepy critters. Now, you will have to add a new task to your to-do list: find a way to escape, or become the aliens’ dinner! On your way, you’ll unravel the secrets hidden deep inside the Aurora Space Station, and if you’re lucky, maybe even learn something about your own past as well. I'll be honest, the creature designs are what brought me to the game and made me fall in love with it. Not just the detail in the art but the detail in the creature bios, this kind of attention is amazing and shows me the developers had a lot of fun creating them and a lot of passion and love. Playing as the disposable intern you now have to escape this space station full of cute but oh so deadly critters. With each alien type having it's own attack pattern and personality, it adds a nice layer to the puzzle solving. Most of the gameplay consists of opening and closing doors but behind every door is a surprise and challenge to handle. It may sound simple, but trust me, you'll die a few times before the eureka moment hits you. Being a puzzle game, that eureka moment is important. You don't want it to easy and yet it needs to be attainable. The developers have given a great balance to this making many of us feel smort when completing a level. All dialogue is fully voiced and the story seems to take as many turns as the corridors you navigate. This is one space adventure you'll want to be a participant of. Streets of Rogue (http://streetsofrogue.com/) Genre: Action, Adventure, Rogue-Lite Price: $19.99/£15.49 Developer: Matt Dabrowski Publisher: tinyBuild Release Date: 12th June 2019 Available on PC, PS4, XBOX1, and SWITCH ►Steam Store Streets of Rogue is a rogue-lite about player choice, freedom, and anarchic fun. The game takes inspiration from fast-paced top-down rogue-lites like Binding of Isaac and Nuclear Throne, and adds free-form, experimentation-driven, emergent gameplay elements of RPGs like Deus Ex. Rather than taking place in a dungeon, the game is set in a functioning, procedurally generated city, where complex AI informs denizens from all walks of life, who are just trying to get by in their daily activities. In order to progress, the player will need to accomplish specific mission goals in any way they see fit through the use of their special character traits, items, and the environment. I can not play this game too much for fear of being sucked in. It has that addictive just one more vibe to it and my curiosity at how crazy the game can get. The procedural creation of each level is brilliantly done with great attention to detail in the tasks created and the levels populated. It never feels the same and each NPC is completely different from the last. What truly blows my mind is the amount of space given to be creative, discovering things like combining drugs with a watergun, or sticking cigarettes into an air filtration system. When the limit is your imagination, then the game is really onto something. The humour only adding to the incredible fun I've had and I could honestly play this forever. Just as fun as playing it, is reading about other peoples playthroughs, the insane adventures they have gone through. This game is nuts and I love it. Check back every Monday for my Top 3 New Releases. Thank you and till next time.
  14. Wahey!

     

    Finally finished my profile... long time coming, but it is done.

     

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