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3.5 stars 3.5 Stars Average score of 24 user reviews

Rocket Riot is a joy 0

Disclosure: PC download codes (Windows 10 and Steam) were provided by the publisher for this review]Rocket Riot is a joy. In a way, it feels like a game I could have been playing on my Amiga 500 in the early 90s -- the big interface coupled with the bright, blocky design reminds me of games like Worms and Lemmings -- yet feels fresh and enjoyable in 2016. The premise of the game is simple: it's a 2D shooter in a series of destructible worlds, where the aim is to destroy or kill everything. Wheth...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

2016's Best Use of FMV? Maybe. 0

Disclosure: An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewPsychological horror plus FMV is not a combination that immediately seems like a good idea - the horror relies on instilling a feeling of tension and anxiety in the player, and the hammy, campy tendencies of many FMV games would undercut that in an instant. Fortunately, The Bunker plays it straight and handles its narrative well, and it joins a growing set of titles, such as Contradiction, that can be considered g...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

Visually stunning, but the gameplay is lacking 0

Disclosure: A PC (Steam) download code was provided by the publisher for this review*yip*Seasons After Fall is a beautiful game. The painted art is stunning, the music fits the tone and style appropriately, and it is clear that significant work went into making the game look and sound fantastic. Unfortunately, the rest of the game doesn't reach that standard, and ultimately Seasons After Fall feels like a game of wasted potential.Seasons After Fall is a 2D puzzle platformer, telling the story of...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

An excellent, well-crafted, puzzle platformer 0

Disclosure: An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewHue is a great example of a game where it all comes together - the controls are tight, the art is stunning, the music is fitting, the puzzles are well crafted, and the narrative is intriguing. Every element feels considered, and the result is a truly excellent puzzle platformer. Though this is well-worn territory, Hue feels fresh and exciting, and it far exceeded my expectations.There's always a lighthouse...Hue i...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

An excellent idea, but the execution is lacking 0

Disclosure: A Wii U download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewPerhaps the biggest complaint regarding the Wii U is that the gamepad is woefully underused. Outside of Super Mario Maker, very few games make good use of it, and it feels like a burden on the system. 3Souls, a three-part episodic platformer from Red Column, seeks to fill that niche. Designed from the ground-up to take full advantage of the hardware, 3Souls is an innovative puzzler-platformer that makes the gamepad ma...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

An interesting, but frustrating, sequel to Lovely Planet 1

Disclosure: A PC (Steam) download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewThe first Lovely Planet was a intense twitch shooter wrapped up in a beautiful pastel-coloured abstract world. Lovely Planet Arcade takes that same art-style, but makes a numbers of changes to the gameplay that, on the whole, make for a worse experience. It has some decent ideas, but never feels as cohesive or as fun as the original game.Lovely Planet clearly took some inspiration from games like Quake and Unreal...

4 out of 4 found this review helpful.

A combination of innovative gameplay and elegant minimalism 0

Disclosure: A PlayStation 4 download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewUsually when I pick up a game, if I know the genre, I have a rough idea what I'm in for. Inversus defies that convention; I simply can't think of another game quite like it, nor do I even really know in what genre I'd categorise it. The only thing I could come up with as a concise description is "minimalistic top-down twin-stick(ish) real-time strategy game", which is possibly the most precise yet useless thin...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Not the most original idea, but a fun twist and good execution makes for a great game 0

Disclosure: An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewFalling block puzzles are far from rare. From the main stays of the Tetris and Puyo Puyo franchises, to the less frequent series like Dr. Mario and Columns, these games are popular for a reason: they are easy to pick up, fun to play, and have a high skill ceiling. Anode retains these all-important qualities whilst adding its own twist to the gameplay.The gameplay in Anode is perhaps most similar to Puzzler Fighter...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

An amusing premise can't save this cart racer from mediocrity 0

Disclosure: An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewEdit: 2016-August-03 - Images removed due to upload issuesCoffin Dodgers is an interesting game. It made a strong first impression - the visual style is pleasing albeit basic, and its narrative framing is unique and amusing - but once that first impression wanes, there is very substance to the game to back it up. More than anything, the game feels thin and lacking in content.Coffin Dodgers is a cart racer in the v...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A bad game 0

I never enjoying writing negative thoughts about a game, especially when the game comes from a small team. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find anything positive to say about Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space - nearly every facets of the game frustrates in some way, and the experience as a whole is profoundly disappointing.Albedo is a science-fiction first-person adventure game, and it clearly draws inspiration from 1950's B-movies. That in itself is not a bad thing - a adventure game take on a sc...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

An occasionally aimless, but always interesting, take on the game development process 0

Disclosure: An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewThe unfinished fantasy worldThe Magic Circle is the tale of an unfinished game, trapped in development hell and straying from its original vision. Finally taking shape as a fantasy first-person RPG, its creative team are split: the series veteran is aiming for a lofty, nigh-unreachable vision, the title's director just wants something that'll sell in today's market, and the new intern/long time fan is determined t...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A well crafted, charming puzzle platformer 0

Disclosure: An PC (Steam) download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewAdventure Lamp is a deceptively simple puzzle platformer from indie game developer Ryan Davis. Though the basic mechanics of the game are limited - move, jump and throw hat - great level design results in an enjoyable (albeit short - my playtime after completing the main campaign was between two and three hours) experience.Adventure Lamp began life as an entry in Ludum Dare, where the theme was "unconventional w...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A deeply unsettling experience, let down by uneven pacing and a lackluster narrative 0

Disclosure: An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewThe amusement park; the perfect setting for a family day out...The Park is a fairly brief, but generally effective, horror story. Though I found the narrative to be somewhat lacking, The Park manages to create a sense of dread and foreboding without relying on cheap jump scares.When I first started The Park, I was oddly reminded of Firewatch. At a basic level, there are some obvious similarities - both are first-p...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Multiple missteps mar an otherwise solid platformer 0

Disclosure: An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewNinja Pizza Girl is a game I wish I liked more than I actually do. It has a strong set of core mechanics, and a very positive anti-bullying message, but some stumbles along the way prevent it from reaching its full potential. It is certainly an enjoyable experience, but the rough edges are hard, at times, to ignore.At its heart, Ninja Pizza Girl is a relatively straight-forward side-scrolling platformer, focused o...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

A joyous blend of Animal Crossing, Pikmin, and French civil unrest 0

Disclosure: An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewAt first glance, Anarcute sounds like a terrible idea - it is difficult to think of a more clashing series of words than "cute riot simulator". Yet Anarcute somehow makes it work; good gameplay and a great sense of style come together to produce an engaging experience, albeit one with dark undertones.Set in a kawaii dystopia, Anarcute has the player control a crowd of rioters through a series of levels, battling t...

4 out of 4 found this review helpful.

A game about life has never felt so lifeless 0

Fragments of Him is a rare example of a game that is made worse by being interactive, and features a narrative likely better told as a short film. A strong core concept is stretched too thin; clunky mechanics and terrible pacing make the game's two-hour length feel far too long, and ultimately removes any emotional impact the game may otherwise have. It's a shame, as the game is tackling difficult concepts - the death and mourning of a loved one - that are not frequently addressed in video games...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

A delight in almost every way 0

Disclosure: A PlayStation Vita download code was provided by the publisher for this reviewFrom the moment I started Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, I was stunned by the visual presentation of the game. The gorgeous hand-drawn artwork fuses with a fluid combat system to make one of the most striking looking games I have played in recent years.The game is set in Erion, a fantasy world featuring several warring factions. Using the framing device of a child reading a series of books, five playable characte...

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Decision: Should you play this game? No 4

Before reviewing Zero Time Dilemma, I took a moment to reflect on what made the first game in the Zero Escape series, 999, special: the ending. The reveal in that game was masterful; it was entirely self-consistent, was subtly but convincingly foreshadowed, and built towards by the rest of the game. It also made fantastic use of the DS's multiple screens. To put it simply, when the reveal hits, it is impossible not to think "Oh wow" and marvel at how little pieces of the story suddenly fall into...

3 out of 5 found this review helpful.

A beautiful world hides troubled people 0

What is Firewatch? Beautiful.Firewatch in set in the late 1980s, and the main character Henry has taken a summer job in Wyoming. The job description is simple: watch the forest in near total isolation (save for radio contact with Delilah, a more senior member of the service), and report signs of fire to the park service. It should be the perfect place to escape, and hide, from one's problems, but mysterious events start to occur almost as soon as Henry arrives his lookout tower.From the first mo...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A deeply personal, but flawed, tale of online romance 0

Cibele is a strange game to review - as a stark, semi-autobiographical story, it sometimes feels that critiquing the game is in some way passing judgement on a person's life. That this feeling kept cropping whilst planning and writing this view highlighted the game's key strength - the main character, Nina, resonated with me so strongly (in a way that I did not expect) that I didn't want to criticise the game. Sadly, the narrative failed to have any lasting impact, and a flawed design hindered m...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A bold presentation that ultimately fails to satisfy 0

It's been nearly a month since I finished playing Her Story. Ordinarily, I'd consider that too long between completing a game and writing the review, but I couldn't shake the feeling I was missing something - for a game to receive near-universal praise, yet fall pretty much completely flat during my playthrough, didn't sit right. Sadly, I think it is a case of the game's narrative and game's structure being at odds with each other, and it undermines the game as a whole.On its face, Her Story tel...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

A surprisingly good take on the horror genre 0

Horror is not a genre I typically play - I frequently find jump scares to be silly, and whilst I appreciate psychological horror at times, I find it can quickly become uninteresting as maintaining the required level of tension over the course of a game is a difficult task. Until Dawn sidesteps these issues through a gleeful and liberal overuse of "teen horror" clichés, and it is clear that developers have a deep understanding of the genre. Though this use of familiar tropes makes the horr...

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

A science-adventure tour-de-force that is a masterclass in character development 1

I love time travel and time manipulation stories. Even when poorly executed, or lacking in scientific rigour, I am usually entertained by them if the central idea is sound. Steins;Gate is not that - Steins;Gate is a genuinely masterful piece of story-telling, that intelligently weaves hard science, interesting characters and great music into a both heart-wrenching and comedic look at the perils of messing with time.I went into Steins;Gate knowing very little about it - I had messed around with t...

9 out of 9 found this review helpful.

A poor ending ruins an otherwise fantastic game 3

Virtue's Last Reward is a difficult game to review - for the first 35 hours of my playthrough, I was enraptured, with the plot providing a sustained level of intrigue that is difficult to maintain for such a long period, and the puzzles being immensely satisfying to solve. Unfortunately, the final five hours of the game left me with such a bitter taste in my mouth that I felt almost betrayed by the game. Setting up such an intricate story and leaving the player wanting answers to so many questio...

2 out of 2 found this review helpful.