Review – Life Is Strange: Before the Storm

If you played the original Life is Strange game, then all you need to know for a review of Before the Storm if you’re thinking about buying it is: *in the tone of Arnold Schwarzenegger* WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, PLAY IT ALREADY!  STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND BUY THE DAMN GAME! GET TO THE CHOPPA! BLARGHAGALGLAGAH!?

Seriously people, this game is so great I need to scream about it in Schwarzenegger!  In order for you to fully appreciate it, below is a quick synopsis of the first game:

[MINOR SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL LIFE IS STRANGE BELOW]

In the original Life is Strange you play as Max Caulfield, the budding photographer who moves back to her hometown of Arcadia Bay and discovers her innate ability to control time as well as trying to make sense of a life she left behind.  Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been a teenage girl and can only control time twice a year when daylight savings decides to disrupt everyone sleep cycle for a few weeks; yet I felt so compelled by the characters and story in this game I think I may have come as close to understanding as humanly possible.

This is Max kickin’ ass and takin’ pics…

Just to briefly annotate the events of the first foray into Arcadia Bay (and in no way does this description do the game any justice whatsoever): Max and her family move back home to Arcadia Bay.  Max reunites with her childhood best friend Chloe at the Blackwell Academy where Chloe has been suspended for reasons unknown.  Chloe is also frantically looking for her friend Rachel Amber for more reasons unknown, and there is also a serial killer running around town serial killing…for yet some even more reasons unknown.  During all this Max figures out how to reverse time and change the course of history on a whim and their entire world starts going ape shit and it’s amazing, thought provoking, sad, happy, funny, scary…basically how I remember seeing the world when I was a teenager, minus the murdering and magic.  Throughout the tale you learn all about the main characters and their pasts together while hunting a mystery killer, which truly is a journey and the writers did an astounding job.  However, other than the serial killer mystery and Max and Chloe’s past being unraveled, a lot of backstory is left open and a lot of questions begged answering, such as: What was the deal with Chloe and Rachel?  What did Chloe do to get expelled?  Why is Nathan such a Mr. Creepy Pants?  Was Principal Wells head always firmly affixed to the inside of his rectum?  All these questions and more just kind of hung in the air as the credits (and tears…manly ass tears) rolled after the final scene, and I really wanted to fill in the blanks so much I played it again to see what I missed, but the open ends were still open after the second, even third play-through with different choices! I needed to know more and was at a loss, until about two years later; enter Before the Storm…

Friends till the end…

For all intents and purposes this prequel could have been called Life is Strange: Q&A in terms of answering the things left hanging from the first game; but it did that and so, so, soooo much more.  Beyond answering all the questions, Dotnod once again blew me away with a story so engrossing that there were times when it legit felt like I was inside the head Chloe and, often, I felt as confused as she did. Except where I had the luxury of being able to sit on a choice for a few minutes and ponder, Chloe’s choice was an instantaneous, life altering decision.  Even with that break in time for you to make a decision, the weight of it is felt as heavily as you would think Chloe was feeling it in that instant, but that’s the same magical writing that made me fall in love with the original. In order to write this without spoilers I will be as vague about story elements as possible.

[MINOR SPOILERS FOR LIFE IS STRANGE – BEFORE THE STORM]

The game opens up in a familiar locale with Chloe, our budding graffiti artist, en route to see a local band in an abandoned mill.  After a brief intro you quickly learn all the similarities and differences in game play from the original as you are faced with your first situational puzzle.  For one, instead of taking optional photos, you need to find places optional places to tag with your faithful big black marker.  One of my favorite things about this variation is that every time you find a spot to tag, you get to pick from 2 different graffiti options, from quotes to pictures, and they stayed through the future episodes. The biggest difference is the lack of rewind ability, and that doesn’t effect the game one iota.  It was after playing through the first episode that I realized that the missing rewind mechanic didn’t take away from the game at all because the world and characters themselves are the draw when it comes to LIS.  Although the rewind ability was bad-ass, it really had little to no effect on how much I fell in love and re-fell in love with the characters in the series.

Chloe rockin’ one of the many outfits in the game…

A minor difference was the addition of the ability to pick outfits.  This really wasn’t a huge wow moment for me but it was a cool addition, and my girlfriend was thrilled since we play these games together, promising not to go any further without the other present (which was damn hard).  Even though it wasn’t huge for me I can’t discredit the addition and the outfits only added to the depth of the game.  The last difference that jumped out at me is the choice system.  The team really put some work into the different choices and endings you could have.  This is so much so that at the time I finished the third chapter and reviewed my choices, there were still 0% next to some options (and there were more choice trees than in LIS), which translates to the fact that of all the people in the world playing this game, certain endings, scenes and actions were still yet to be seen.  I’m waiting for the bonus chapter to come out before playing the game again to see what other things there are to discover.

The story itself is a harrowing one, even without the serial killer aspect.  The path that Chloe and Rachel find themselves on is unique to any game that I can recall.  Never have I begun to think about the struggles of a teenage girl discovering herself in a world that really isn’t fair, and the fact that the characters parents don’t shield them from the world and are more focused on discipline (or lack thereof) and protecting their children no matter the cost, lends to the interest in the game experience.  The voice acting and visual direction of the game is on par with today’s best and most engrossing films and the music is utterly haunting and perfectly composed.  In fact I would even go as far as to say that the music could stand on its own as a character since it pulls you into scenes as much as wanting to know the rest whats going on in Arcadia Bay.  If there was ever a perfect storm of a game, LIS: BTS is it.  Rarely can a sequel (or prequel) land with the ferocity of it’s previous and hit just as hard, if not harder, especially when one of it’s predecessors key components was totally absent. Which brings me to my only complaint of the game.

“We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.” – Victor Hugo

Here it is, my only con: It was shorter than the first one.  Even including the addition of the soon to be released bonus episode, the game is a whole episode short.  This isn’t really a complaint as much as it is an observation I suppose, since I would love to play new episodes endlessly, but I’m glad the team didn’t sacrifice quality for quantity.  Instead of dragging out the game over an extra episode, the Dotnod team focused on a meaningful plot line and did it the best way possible.  The broad range of subjects that were explored in the short time you played the game is as impressive as everything else in the series.

They address topics such as sexuality, bullying, friendship, infidelity, violence, drugs, humor (both light and dark), stealing, divorce, death, loss, privacy, hard goodbyes, new beginnings, and love.  All these are more or less MAIN themes in the game, and a lot of them are dark but real issues faced every day; and experiencing these through the eyes of a teen learning about the world only served to make it more dramatic.  Perhaps the paramount reason that the game works all these topics so well into such an epic story is because they attack these themes in a way that doesn’t treat you like an idiot.  In no way does this game ever feel like it’s condescending to the gamer, or preachy, or over the top , or politically correct ad nauseam as is the case in almost everything these days.  They treated these issues and these characters as normal people facing abnormal circumstances and produced a story that was so believable, heartwarming, heart-wrenching and brutally honest that I wouldn’t be surprised if they announced that the game was based on a true story (hopefully it isn’t, that would be shitty for some people).  Writing this well in any medium is hard to come by, and the team behind the Life is Strange series has some of, if not THE, best writers out there today.  Now all that’s left for me to do is patiently wait for the bonus episode to come out sometime in February, and pray to the gods of gaming that Dotnod is working on their next (in the words of Chloe) amazeballs story (or more from Max, Chloe, and Rachel).

Apocalypse Miner Review

Genre: Simualtor, Mining, and Post-Apocalyptic

Language: Game Marker Studio

Published date: October 2, 2017

Publisher: Mellogy

ESRB: E for Everyone

 

Apocalypse miner is a unusual and abstract game. Originally designed for the 72 hours #dreamhackjam! competition. There no official ending and the game can be spent in a 30 minute sitting or a gruelling 5 to 6 hours. The premise of the game involves a compact human mining and exploring the open 2d space. The controls are simple will makes it easier to grasp. With the arrow keys to move along with the E to interact and the X attack. The game even has a straightforward plot  to match the style and tone.

 

“ The world has succumbed to nuclear annihilation, but that doesn’t mean that your livelihood has! Mine out resources, defend against monsters, and recruit settlers in Apocalypse Miner!” – Mellogy.

The game mainly empowers you to do anything. To building turnets to even drills to help you mine. There even a chance to build huts for NPC’s, which make the game even more beneficial. The slimes are subpart and kind of creepy but make the game a bit more difficult. Mainly due to the fact they keep killing the NPC’s.  The graphics I adore a lot and this mainly pulled me in. The stark 4 color Gameboy aesthetic.

Over time I did come to play this game a fair bit. Mainly because it launches quick and can run on most windows computers. There is only one sound throughout the game which is composted by t4ngr4m on OpenGameArt. The candid chip tune melody is makes the game atmosphere pleasant but eary also. The lying under fact that the world has been annihilated by nuclear bombs. Personally if your looking for a plain sailing game Apocalypse Miner is that game. Mine coal to Uranium build Huts to nuclear bombs. This game is a proud concept that works fundamentally and smoothly.

 

Positives

+2d free exploring landscape full of ores and monsters.

+ Wide range of options to do, think and try. There endless possibilities.

+ simple controls and easy to grasp playing style.

Negatives

+ Wider range of monsters. Maybe even a boss fight, would of been cool to seen.

+ The Drills don’t always work. They take a while to set up and could of been explained better.

+ sometimes pop-up windows don’t close. I think it just a glitch. However it doesn’t ruin the game. But this expected due to the short space taken on  the game.

 

LINK

https://gamejolt.com/games/apominer/286683

https://gamejolt.com/@Mellogy

 

Old Dog, New Tricks: Assassin’s Creed is Back and Better Than Ever

GAME PLAYED ON: XBOX ONE S, SAMSUNG LED SMART TV

When it comes to sequels in gaming, there are three obvious ways they can go.  First off they can flat out suck. Thankfully in gaming, sequels rarely are so God awful that they kill an entire franchise; even Duke Nukem Forever couldn’t ruin all the nostalgic memories of blowing warthogs to a million pixels with my dual rocket launchers.  The second and most common way is for them to be carbon copies of the last. As is the current trend with the Call of Duty series, and was the trend with the AC series since Ezio was cruising around in Leonardo da Vinci’s “Flying Machine”.  The third and best way to go is for a sequel to breathe new life into a series to the point where it’s familiar enough to make sense, but new enough to stand on it’s own; and that brings us to *drumroll* Origins.

Assassin’s Creed Origins is the best and most innovative Assassin’s game since AC2 (arguably AC: Black Flag was decently innovative with the intro of water battles and mechanics, but Origins…it’s soooo damn good; just play it or read on, you’ll see).

I am a lifelong fan of the series, having played all the core games since they first debuted 10 or so years ago.  As a lifelong fan of the series, I acknowledged its shortcomings with each new game, but devoured every title anyway.  Unlike the above mentioned Call of Duty, what kept me involved with AC was the lore, the ability to walk through extremely detailed, historically accurate cities from the past, the ongoing saga of Desmond Miles and friends and beyond, and, of course, being A BAD ASS MO’EFFIN ASSASSIN, SON!  I found the repetitiveness, well, pretty repetitive but it didn’t take away from everything else since they weren’t tied to the story.  Graphics improved slightly or stayed the same with each title (at least until recently) and the collectibles became overwhelming at times.  But when you’re pumping out a game a year, it’s got to be hard to reinvent the wheel every time.  Well, with the extra year of development put into Origins, Ubisoft not only reinvented the wheel, they also slapped a twin turbo engine and wings on it! There are so many little details that just bring an immense smile to my face as well as massive ones; Origins has by and far surpassed all the other games in the series in every way.

Graphically, the game is B-E-A-UTIFUL.  I’m not one to complain or lower a score if a games frame rate occasionally sputters, if my protagonists hand clips through a wall, or if the textures take a few seconds to load, yet thankfully all of those we’re issues that almost never occurred.  In the 90 hours (and counting) I have put into Origins, I can recall two maybe three instances of frame rate issues, textures and draw distances were almost always perfect, and even if there was clipping I didn’t notice it.  What I did notice: Grass and whey blowing in the wind, each individual strand seemed to move independently (and if you walk slowly through them you’ll notice a pretty spot on Gladiator reference), the Great Pyramids of Giza built to scale and glistening in the sun from half way across the map, spiderwebs igniting in flames and burning away as you pass under them with your torch, sunken cities and shipwrecks that glow in the sunlight or moonlight from their depths, a night sky so vibrant that I wanted to mount my TV to the ceiling over my bed and pretend I was camping.  The graphics were sharp, clean, and gorgeous.  The only complaint, and it is a minor one, is with the character models during in-game conversations.  It’s nothing crazy, but the scripted interactions between Bayek, Aya and other NPC’s was reminiscent of character interactions in the Sims.  They would rigidly stand and wave their arms around with stoic faces and the lip syncing on par with the 1954 Godzilla’s dubbing. Again, this was only really noticeable during the in-game cut scenes and it wasn’t at all detrimental to the game or story. Also, I wasn’t playing on the One X with 4K everything, so maybe that accounts for some of it.

The biggest plus, and most noticeable difference, in Origins is the collectible system.  Gone are the days where you have 10 chests in 10 square feet to find, all at different levels of the world (oh, let’s put this one on the roof, this one on the porch, and this one in an alcove below…then do it again a block away) or a couple hundred feathers to jump off a roof and miss by an inch even though you swore you grabbed the damn thing.  Now, collectibles come in the form of locations; sure the chest’s are still there, but appropriately placed as opposed to crammed in like they were trying to set a world record.  The locations are either small battles with humans or animals, some type of puzzle, or exploratory/investigative.  Aside from adding a depth to the game that wasn’t there before, it’s also A LOT less daunting and it creates a desire to see them all, never knowing what you’ll find, and if you don’t find that desire, they aren’t required to complete the story.  The game is big enough that you could probably sink 40 hours in with just main and side quests and not even attempt the extra locations (but why the hell would you do that?!)  There’s also the fact, that as beautiful as this game is, it’s also the “flattest” in terms of architecture to climb, and that is in NO way a bad thing.  I was quite surprised at how little I used fast travel, opting to cruise around the deserts and mountains on my trusty camel or horse (or chocobo for those in the know…), watching the varied hallucinations dance across my screen.  Which brings me to my next point…

It’s the little things in this game that really made it amazing to me.  For example, when you are sprinting through the desert terrain and decide you need your trusty steed you can call him and, mid sprint, jump on without a moments hesitation or slowing down.  Read that sentence again slowly and really think about how great a mechanic that is.  I can’t recall a game where this was ever a thing; usually you need to stop, then there is some animation and then you resume your journey.  Or it’s a choppy slow transition that causes you to slow up anyway, but not in Origins.  Now, you can run, run, run, mount horse mid step, then go faster than you were before without skipping a beat or recalibrating your direction.  Call me petty but this was probably my favorite mechanic in the game.  Then there is the new fight system that removes the old timed button mashing and replaces it with a sleek new “smash the shit out of everything” mechanic (that’s the industry term for it in…my head).  Now you have more control over your assassin as he dispatches the never ending droves of guards, lions, hyenas, and leopards (OH, MY!)  It took some getting used to (as does anything new) and garnered some grief from gamers, but it honestly made the game more enjoyable and less frustrating.  So I had to learn something new, but the game really was all the better for it. Of course there were the kinks, specifically when switching targets during a large battle or hacking away at a wall when I was trying to bring sweet death to a pesky guard, but the pro’s outweigh the cons by far, once I learned the controls these things rarely happened, the change is totally worth it and welcome.  This also helped with the pacing of fights, they didn’t seem to go on forever as they used to when you could literally watch the baddies line up to wait their turn to eat blade; and it helped illustrate the themes of urgency in the story (sorry for my English major interjection).

The story itself is great, although nothing really new in terms of a textbook tragedy.  The writers did a great job laying out the fateful story of Bayek and Aya and pulled me in completely, it just wasn’t anything too far off the beaten path in terms of drama, although it did get rather dark at times.  As an occasional writer of fiction I know it can be hard, and going back through a decade of games to make an origin story while still maintaining a concise timeline probably wasn’t the easiest, and the writers did a great job.  I might be more oblivious than others but I really can’t recall finding any plot holes (they even linked games outside the franchise) and the side missions add to the canon as much as the main quests.  If I were a creative writing teacher, the team behind origins would get an A+ and a gold star (also the generic participation trophy because every game is “special” in it’s own way).  To put it simply, the game is so good that when I bought it, I didn’t even bother to look at the season pass as I still haven’t gotten into Syndicate’s DLC, but after playing I bought the hell out of it.  Also, I’m still running around in the game having 100%ed it just taking in the sites (cant wait for Discovery Tour, I wish school was this exciting).

All in all Assassin’s Creed: Origins is the bee knees, the cat’s meow, and [insert 50’s phrase for cool here].  Ubisoft kicked in the door to the Brotherhood, burned away all the cobwebs with their torch, and breathed new life into a stagnating (although still fun) franchise.  I am currently looking forward to devouring the DLC and will have no problem waiting the extra time for Ubisoft to release as high a quality game as Origins is, even if it takes longer than a year.  Rockstar can do it and so can you, Ubisoft!  On that note, go pick up a copy of the game and kill some historical figures to start off the new year.  As for me, I’m off to Cyrene to cave in some gladiator heads and patiently wait for “The Hidden Ones” DLC to grace my dashboard.

Silver’s Review of Asymmetric’s Stick Figure RPG West of Loathing

Developer:  Asymmetric

Release Date:  August 10, 2017

Platforms available: PC, Mac, Linux, Steam, iOS (late 2017)

West of Loathing is one of the best games since the cows came home!

“West of Loathing is a single-player slapstick comedy adventure role-playing game set in the wild west of the Kingdom of Loathing universe. Its gameplay is a hybrid of point-and-click adventure and open-world RPG. The stick-figure characters advance through branching narratives and engage in tactical turn-based combat. Graphically, it transforms KoL’s hand-drawn art style into a 3D diorama (think Paper Mario) replete with animation, sound, and music.

Leave your family farm and head West to find your fortune! Traverse snake-infested gulches, punch skeletons wearing cowboy hats, grapple with demon cows, and investigate a wide variety of disgusting spittoons. Charm your way out of trouble as a silver-tongued Snake Oiler, plumb the refried mysteries of the cosmos as a wise and subtle Beanslinger, or let your fists do the talking as a fierce Cow Puncher. Explore a vast open world and encounter a “colorful” cast of characters, some of whom are good, many of whom are bad, and a few of whom are ugly.”

Go west young man, haven’t you been told California’s full of something, something, and something…

How often as a kid did you play cowboys in the backyard after spending Saturday morning watching The Lone Ranger or John Wayne? As an adult have you ridden a horse in the fresh desert air, checked your boots for critters, or went out to rope some cattle? Well, this is nothing like that. But it is fan-freakin-tastic in every way possible. At first glance, West of Loathing looks like a silly game with stick figure graphics, but take a few minutes to create your cowboy or cowgirl and you will soon find out that this game is fine as cream gravy.

Upon starting West of Loathing, you name your character and choose between male and female (and partake in a point and click arcade shoot in the process) and then you get to pick your class, since it is an RPG after all. Your choices are Cow Puncher, Snake Oiler, and Bean Slinger. Now, to you city folk that would be melee master, pistol packer, or magic… something. Anyways, once you pick your poison you get to begin wandering around your house. No matter where you are, check out everything because it may provide you with some XP, an item, or some serious laughs. Leaving the house, you say goodbye to your family (don’t forget to check the hay bale) then, go west young man into the first city, Dirtwater, where your adventure really begins. And make sure you stop and chuckle at the SHERF sign on the jail.

West of Loathing makes sure to include all of the types of people you would, and probably wouldn’t, see out in the wild west, so you will see plenty of stumbling drunks, guys focusing on growing their beard, ladies that only seem to glare at you from the bar, and plenty of people and critters that want to see you six feet under- even those who should be there themselves.

What kind of RPG adventure would West of Loathing be without combat? And what good would those classes be? I guess you could just use them for the different hats… I dunno… Anyhow, the combat system in West of Loathing is turn based, and you may use your mouse or keys. Some of the battles require some strategizing, utilization of your pardner’s abilities, and even some properly used XP to toughen’ up an attack or ability of your own in order to win. As adorable as the enemies are, it’s easier than you might think for them to clean your plow. That being said, don’t use all of your XP focusing on your Muscle and Moxie. You will find areas in the game as you go where you need skills in things like Lockpickin’, Hornswogglin’, and Dickerin’. You earn perks from various activities, too. Talking to certain folk, doing some book learnin’, or just running into a cactus over and over can get you all sorts of fun, useful, and just downright ridiculous perks. And if you search real well in the beginning of the game you can get my most favorite perk under character settings- Stupid Walking. Don’t ask, just do. Trust me on this one.

Quite possibly the best part of the game- aside from Stupid Walking, that is- is the dialogue. Whether you are talking to someone (or something) or your character is commenting on something (or someone), the dialogue is riddled with bad jokes, puns, and odd references. Unless you’re some cold blooded stick in the mud, you will spend the majority of your time in the west laughing your keister off. It’s worth having multiple characters just to try the different dialogue choices.

West of Loathing does have a storyline, plus many sidequests and areas to check out even after you complete the main quest. If you forget what you were doing, just ask your pardner and they will remind you. It is easy to tear through the main story, so kick back, take your time exploring, and don’t forget your #3 pencil. Ah… You’ll see. I currently have 3 characters I keep going back between and I love them each the same. Well, except maybe Colt. That guy is pretty ruthless. And stupid. Though I made him that way, but who cares.

I myself found West of Loathing at PAX West this year, and I loved it so much after 5 minutes that I downloaded it as soon as I got back to the hotel. It is easy to see how it made PAX 10 this year, and the Indie Megabooth in both 2016 and 2017. It’s charming, hilarious, and downright fun. It’s a true blue, boot scootin, hoedown of a time if you ask me. Okay, I’ll stop now, but seriously. I know some gamers can be easily turned off by the graphics of indie games but the drawn stick figure style of West of Loathing adds to the charm and hilarity of the game. You wear boots and pants, but no one would ever know if you didn’t! Who could ask for a better thing in life than that? West of Loathing is one of the best games since the cows came home.

Download West of Loathing today from Steam for only $10.99 USD. Coming to iOS soon!

Features

  • A sprawling open world
  • Quests, puzzles, and mysteries galore
  • Dozens of NPCs and hundreds of enemies
  • Nearly 100 unique locations to explore
  • Thousands of jokes, gags, and goofs
  • Liberal use of the Oxford comma
  • Lush hand-drawn black and white graphics
  • Crunchy turn-based combat (but only if you want it)
  • Over 60 hats
  • Disreputable saloons
  • Several gulches
  • A drunken horse

By the way, did I mention there’s a Petting Cemetery? You heard me.

Review of the Satisfingly Eerie Count Lucanor on the Nintendo Switch

Baroque Decay’s The Count Lucanor was originally released on Steam in March of 2016, but on October 18th it was launched on the Nintendo Switch eShop. Also coming soon to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita, this title is a horror adventure that is not to be missed.

The perfect game to play over the Halloween weekend.

“Join Hans in a fantasy world and experience a unique adventure, full of surprises and challenges. Get hooked on an immersive tale, where every decision counts and every clue is a piece to solve the puzzle and get the treasure. Unravel the sordid secrets of the castle, meet colourful characters, and remember, horror always lurks beneath the surface.”

Developed by Baroque Decay, published by independent company Merge Games, and ported to the Switch by Ratalaika Games, The Count Lucanor plays great on the console/handheld hybrid. The graphics are described as “hallway between 8-bit and 16-bit,” (12-bit?) and are charming yet surprisingly make the game creepy because it goes from cute to horrifying in a flash.

“Inspired by classic games like The Legend of Zelda, Yume Nikki, Silent Hill and Dark Souls, The Count Lucanor is an amazing mystery and horror adventure set in a fairytale world.”

Riddled with puzzles, important choices, alternative endings, and weird happenings throughout the castle, The Count Lucanor makes up for its shortness with re-playability. When I began the game I found it to be adorable, with an awesome soundtrack- which is a chiptuned version of the works by Johann Sebastian Bach- and spent some time making decisions like whether or not I wanted to give up my only items. My casual enjoyment was quickly ruined when the game turned macabre and I was forced to run from a terrifying goat, of all things.

This certainly is not to say that this made me dislike the game, it just proved that looks can be deceiving and even the cutest game can scare the hell out of you. With most of the exploration areas being lit only by the candle in your hand, the farther you get in the story, the greater sense of impending doom and fear you experience. I made the mistake of telling myself that the creatures lurking in the dark would be rare and that I would have some sort of warning. I was wrong.

Not wanting to spoil anything, your goal is to explore the castle and figure out the name of the blue kobold that invites you to try and win the treasure of Count Lucanor. With interestingly odd characters, a merchant that sells corn, and a creepy raven that charges you one coin to save, the entire game has an archaic feeling that adds to the ambiance of the castle.

Exploration: Search Tenebre Castle placing candles on the ground to light up your path

Conversation: Talk to NPCs to get important clues and learn the hidden history of The Count Lucanor.

Stealth: Hide under tables and behind curtains to go undetected.

Puzzles: Use the items you found wisely to progress.

Skill: Avoid traps and enemies in the castle by anticipating them.

Due for release in Autumn 2017, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita.

At only $13.49 on the Nintendo eShop, The Count Lucanor is one of the best horror games I have played. It’s charm adds to the scare factor, rather than taking away from it, and it keeps you guessing the entire time. At the very least, it will leave you afraid of goats.

Did you play The Count Lucanor on Steam? Are you playing it on Switch, or waiting for the other console releases? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter, and follow us for more reviews!

Relive Your Childhood- Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic Review

Recently it was announced that Atari and game creator Chris Sawyer launched Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic on Steam for only $19.99. The title includes the best features from both Roller Coaster Tycoon and Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, as well as the add-on packs Wacky Worlds, Time Twister, and Scenario Editor Toolkit. 

The original Roller Coaster Tycoon released as a physical disc for PC in March of 1999, and I am pleased to say that I have been playing the series since. I spent a lot of my computer time growing up playing the Tycoon games, but Roller Coaster Tycoon was my first. I would spend hours free building and creating surprisingly extravagant parks for an 8-year-old, and proudly show my parents and best friend.

As an adult I enjoy the scenarios more than free building because I like the challenge, but it is just as fun to play regardless of which mode. There are tons of scenarios with increasing difficulties, and the two add-on expansions add even more to the game. Creating scenarios is the perfect way for me to pass an evening, and I have been wanting to have my spouse create something for me to play soon. Whether you play scenarios or just spend your time building as you please, Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic is just as good for endless hours of fun as it was growing up.

Being such an old title, it can take some time to get used to the limited turning when you are trying to see different angles so that you can build or check on your guests. It is limited to four specific turns, but it is so nostalgic that you get over it and find the best ways to place entrances and pathways in view.

The tiny people wandering your park are still fun to sit and watch, especially when you don’t hire maintenance to clean up after them and make the ride as fast as possible. A roller coaster that throws its passengers off into the void is still worth a good laugh, too.

Overall, Roller Coaster Tycoon Classic is a great re-release that any fan can get a lot of joy out of. Perhaps it will lead to other developers making classic games available on Steam or Origin, such as Zoo Tycoon or The Sims. At $19.99 on Steam, it is well worth the download.

Are you a fan of the series? Do you think other old PC games should be made available? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, and follow us for more reviews!

Silver’s Review of Davit Andreasyan’s New Psychological Horror Game Inmates

The most frightening thing about Jonathan’s nightmare is that he may not be dreaming…

You’ve awoken from a nightmare, Jonathan. But did it truly end? You are in a run-down
prison cell and have no clue how you got there. You’re terrified and confused, but you also
feel something else: a painful sense of familiarity.
You’ve convinced yourself this is all just a nightmare. Unfortunately, according to the voice
coming from the old radio, things are not as simple as you’d like them to be.
Discover the truth behind your predicament while trying to stay sane, in this most disturbing of horror games.

 

Published by Iceberg Interactive of the Netherlands, Inmate is a scary trip through the mind of a man named Jonathan after he wakes up in a mysterious prison, unaware of how he got there. You must traverse the dark, dreary jail and try to figure out why you are in it, how to get out, and what is going on as you explore and find eerie clues about where you are, and about the freaky other inmates that you encounter.

Inmates promises to set you in a suffocating atmosphere, and it certainly does deliver. Not only is it dark and difficult to see without the use of the matches you can find throughout the jail, but the sound provides that suffocating feeling. It cuts out, sounds like there is something wrong with your speakers because it gets so fuzzy. It threw me off at first, but once I realized that it was part of the game it became terrifying.

Matching the weird background noises is the way that you see the world through Jonathan’s eyes, especially in particularly confusing situations. The world can become blurry, and cause the writings on the cell walls to move around. Not only does this make the game unsettling, but it also helps bring a dreamlike feeling which reminds you that Jonathan is certain that he is in a nightmare.

I am a horror fanatic, whether it is video games or films, and I especially like psychological horror. I like to be confused by the surroundings and story, and have enough mystery to be willing to snoop around and inspect every corner, cell, and paper I come across. Inmates is the perfect title for this type of gameplay as there is something interesting or odd around every corner. I ended up keeping a notepad and pen next to me to write down anything that seemed to have a pattern, or appeared to be a list of sorts. It definitely came in handy whenever I encountered a puzzle. I enjoy puzzle and exploration driven horror games more than survival ones, so Inmates was the perfect game for me.

A small aspect of Inmates that added to the realism for me was the references used. Finding quotes from great minds such as Machiavelli and Rene Decartes, random Bible verses, and even a Stephen King reference or two drew me into the game because it put Jonathan in our world, rather than his own. And, honestly, that just added to the fear factor of the game. When you are looking through the eyes of Jonathan at a familiar quote, then turn around only to be startled by an inmate, it can really make your skin crawl.

Overall, Inmates is a great game filled with mystery that keeps you wondering, fear that keeps you on edge, and a story that keeps you captivated. The only downside to Inmates is the length, which is only around 4 hours. I got a little more than that because I spent so much time wandering and reading things I found, but still I wish it had been a longer title. But what is accomplished in only a few hours is more than some games can pull off in 20 hours.

Features
 Interact with the environment to unravel the truth
 Intense and mind-bending puzzles
 Suffocating setting
 Disturbing imagery
 High-quality graphics powered by Unreal Engine 4
 Full controller support
 Estimated game length: 3-4 hours

If you are a horror fan looking for a good story or have some time to kill, check out Inmates on Steam for $9.99 USD, releasing October 5, 2017.

Will you be downloading Inmates this week? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, and don’t forget to follow us for more reviews and news!