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  1. The game has some pretty good pixel art and a story that unfolds well enough, but was over a bit too quickly for me. Has some puzzle solving elements that are fairly accessible. Lots of backtracking/exploration to find key items. Kind of straddles the line between Hazy and Good/Great.
  2. A decent puzzle, adventure game that really nails a dark and eerie atmosphere, despite that it's not really a scary game. The abandoned town hub area, at night, with fog everywhere almost gives off a "Silent Hill" vibe. Short game, coming at around 2 to 3 hours of play time. Good voice acting and the story kept me hooked all the way through. Rating: Good/Great
  3. Left Alone? Good advice.
  4. An interesting story about dealing with Psychosis, told through the lens of a deep sea dive under an ice shelf. The atmosphere is dark, creepy and all around unsettling. Good music and voice acting. Story became more and more enrapturing than I ever expected. Load times are a bit too long and having to toggle the "Invert Y-axis" function on and off each time I loaded the game was a minor annoyance. Navigation becomes a bit annoying when the squid ROV's pathfinding fucks up, leaving you both figuratively and literally in the dark. Overall rating: Between Hazy and Good/Great
  5. The premise of designing the game around Norwegian mythology was interesting. Some beautiful, mountainous regions in some of the later sections of the game. Mostly a dark forest walking simulator, even though it was clearly trying to invoke something deeper than that. No combat mechanics, but enemy encounters were almost a non-factor. Voice acting was not that great and cutscenes felt weirdly paced and framed. A lot of areas felt unnecessarily dark and lost some of the levels' atmosphere. Ending was kind of upsetting and perhaps one of the few memorable moments in the game. Frame rate can lag at times, loading screens are a bit too long for my liking and I got 2 crashes to dashboard playing this on Vanilla Xbox One. Overall rating: Doubt.
  6. Highlight of the game was definitely the world they've created within the game. A really unique, colourful, beautiful alien world that shows off the games art direction. Main campaign felt kind of threadbare; was done in just under 7 hours and that was with me getting stuck/dying on a few platforming and puzzle sections. Exploration is really fun when the game opens up via the double jump and grappling hook upgrades. Simple and effective core gameplay loop. Post campaign content is mainly just collectible and crafting related, but with no real way of tracking their objectives via a map or nav icons. There's a good game here, overall, but I don't think this one's for me. Overall rating: Hazy.
  7. Definitely Games as a Service, so this WILL die. Feels like yet another third-person, cover-based, looter shooter.
  8. Went for a magic and guns build. A decent, fantasy RPG title with a 12-15 hour story that got stretched out to a 30-35 hour game. Fairly easy to pick up and play for some one who isn't all that familiar with these types of RPGs. Kind of reminds me of the early Dragon Age games, so I get where the comparison to "OG Bioware" come from when describing Greedfall. Kind of straddles the line between Hazy and Good/Great.
  9. Basically if Deus Ex or Bladerunner were reimagined as a 2D, pixel art, side scroller. Art Direction is great; it really captures that dystopian cyberpunk aesthetic. Combat is kinda 'meh'. Guns don't feel all that powerful and basic enemies take more than a few shots to go down. Hand-to-hand combat is very simplistic and kind of repetitive. Overall size and scope of the game is quite good. The story kind of lost me at certain parts. Overall, I'd give this game a rating of Good/Great.
  10. I can absolutely recommend playing Stories Untold for it’s strong overall creative direction that involves telling a great, thrilling story while presenting it in well designed, genuine retro environments. This sort of game is highly unlikely to have any mass appeal, but at a fairly low cost and a short playtime of maybe 3-4 hours long, it’s still worth a try. You might end up like me and be pleasantly surprised by this game. I'd give this game a rating of Fantastic.
  11. The best way I feel like I can sum up the game’s overall motif would be: shoot “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the style of “Paranormal Activity” where you take control of “HAL 9000”. Puzzles are fairly straight forward and while the game won't hold your hand during any of them, they kind of boil down to just instruction following. Audio design is fantastic. The game really does a great job of conveying the sense of deathly quiet isolation in the seemingly limitless emptiness of outer space while also dealing with an impending doom. Everything from the crackly radio communications to the sounds of airlock decompression all give off the expected muted sounds that make the whole thing feel authentic. I'd give it a rating of Good/Great.
  12. Love the premise of this game even though it can be a bit heavy-handed and lacking-in-nuance with it's story-related decisions and plot escalation. Gameplay loop is a rudimentary and less engaging version of Lucas Pope's "Papers Please". Likeable NPCs, has some replay value with an interesting meta narrative that triggers on your second and third play throughs. Art direction for the city and night time atmosphere are well done. Kind of straddles the line between "Hazy" and "Good/Great".
  13. A follow up to the previous game: Decay, Decay: The Mare is an episodic, first person, point-and-click adventure, horror game played from the perspective of Sam, who was recently institutionalized for drug abuse in a place called "Reaching Dreams". After taking some medicine that was left in his room and going to bed, his first night goes off the rails and Sam finds that his dreams and reality are slowly starting to run together in a seemingly endless nightmare. As the player, you'll spend 3 episodes controlling Sam as you explore the dark, decrepit, dingy environments that are very reminiscent of the early Silent Hill games where the graphics are kind of muddy, visually noisy and hard to make out clearly. The core gameplay loop revolves around pointing-and-clicking your way through static environments that mostly feel abandoned, derelict and creepy. You can also control Sam with the directional pad, making him turn left, right and behind him. The images are have a muddy, old-school VHS overlay to them and feel satisfactory in overall quality, if a bit sparse and lacking details. You move your mouse cursor around to try and find hotspots that you can inspect for clues, items, coins (which serves as the game's collectibles) and newspaper clippings for backstory. You can also combine certain items, such as a metal block and hammer handle, to create a sledgehammer that will break down a brick wall, so you can find a clue to progress the plot. There's also puzzle solving mechanics that, while not overly challenging, were still satisfying to solve and represent the only sort of "traditional" gameplay in the Decay: The Mare. In regards to clue and item hunting, you'll be backtracking through various rooms a lot and it can be a little disorienting and tedious at times, since it's largely the same hallways and rooms you're navigating through. There's not much in the way of animations, save for some cutscenes and a few in game moments. There's also not much in way of voice acting, save for the narrator who delivers lines rather flatly and monotonously. This is contrast the game's musical score, which is actually quite good. Specifically during the game's introduction and subsequent cutscenes. Overall, Decay: The Mare falls into a lot of horror clichés which doesn't help it stand out from the pack in any significant way. It has some genuine horror moments and doesn't rely too much on cheap jump scares (I counted maybe one per episode), which is perfectly fine. The game can be completed in about 2 hours, so it's not an overly hefty adventure. There's also a binary, good ending and bad ending choice you can make at the end of the game that provides an unambiguous conclusion either way. If you can pick up on sale like I did for about $7 CAD, then Decay: The Mare can provide a short, satisfactory horror experience. I'd give this game a rating of Hazy.
  14. Full disclosure, I genuinely dislike talking about political themes in games. It's not something I'm particularly well-versed in and such discussions can result in a lot of shit-slinging from multiple parties. In my experience, a lot of political agendas in games come off as heavily contrived and are often met player backlash as a result. With Black The Fall, however, I sort of have to get into the politics of the game since it plays a big part in it's striking theme. The game is an indie, puzzle platformer game that's set during the oppressive Communist regime in Romania. Further research turned up that the face of Romania's communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu is displayed on giant TV's throughout the game and you can even find a subtle outline of the country in the main menu, just off to the bottom right of the bike. The game supposedly draws a lot of references to Romania's dark past and provides an interesting "what if" scenario regarding the Communist regime not being overthrown in 1989: the end of Nicolae Ceausescu's term as Communist leader. The core gameplay loop revolves around using stealth and puzzle solving solutions to navigate through factory floors, secret passage ways, an abandoned wasteland, a prison complex and ultimately escape. Throughout the game, you'll experience just how far an oppressive regime will go to squash any dissenters and maintain order as NPCs are forced fed propaganda and are worked to the point of exhaustion and sickness. I felt that the games graphics were well done. The dark, imposing atmosphere that covers every colour on the grey spectrum do a great job of creating this drab and dreary environment that you want to escape from and never look back. The game also leverages the colour red to indicate security measures, which presents a threat to the player. Funny enough that the colour red has also been associated with Communism (the infamous "Hammer & Sickle"). The game's runtime on a single play through is about 3 hours with very little replay value. Despite the shorter run time, the game still tells a pretty compelling story about refusing to no longer be a cog in an oppressive regime and plotting an escape. The game has a pretty demoralizing ending, considering everything the player has to go through to get to the end. Overall, I'd give this game a rating of Hazy.
  15. BJ! We need you defending us with the MG42!
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