The Static Speaks My Name Review

387860_20161126165434_1Developer: Jesse Barksdale
Publisher: Jesse Barksdale
Played on: PC
Release Date: August 10, 2015
Time Played (Steam): 12 minutes
Paid: $0 (Free to play)

“Well then.”

That was all I could really say upon “beating” The Static Speaks My Name.  I have “beating” in quotes, as this was a case where it didn’t so much feel like I had beaten the game as I felt that it had beaten me.  I felt uncomfortable.  Disturbed.  Anxious.  I honestly considered not even writing this review, because I didn’t know if I could properly put into words how the game made me feel.  Plus, I wasn’t sure I wanted to dwell on it any longer than I had to.  But here I am, doing just that, so hopefully I can get some coherent thoughts out and not come across as much more pretentious than I usually do. Continue reading

Steppy Pants Review

headerDeveloper: S! Games Pty Ltd.
Publisher: S! Games Pty Ltd.
Played on: Android
Release Date: June 1st, 2016
Time Played: ~30 minutes
Paid: $0 (Free to play)

“Don’t step on a crack, or you’ll fall and break your back.”

Who knew that such a simple, silly, and utterly nonsensical children’s rhyme could turn into such a fun, addictive mobile game?  Certainly not I, who only installed Steppy Pants because it showed up on the Google Play Store one day for me and I vaguely recalled hearing about it somewhere from someone who had good things to say about it.  The next thing I knew, it was 15 minutes later, and I was trying (and failing miserably) to keep from screaming at my phone in a giddy rage (that’s a thing now) so as to not distract my girlfriend from her studying. Continue reading

Message Quest Review

408280_20161113184053_1Developer: Royal Troupe
Publisher: Royal Troupe
Played on: PC
Release Date: October 22, 2015
Time Played (Steam): 1.4 hours
Paid: $1.97

Short games present an interesting conundrum.  On one hand, they tell a brief, concise story that can generally be experienced in one or two sittings without overstaying its welcome.  On the other, they provide significantly less time for the player to actually get invested in the game, whether it’s the story, characters, or gameplay.  In some games, this can work well; games like Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist immediately come to mind.  However, others can feel like they’re over before they’ve even really begun; sorry, I don’t have some perfectly relevant example for this off the top of my head.  Interestingly, though, Message Quest manages to fall somewhere in between, feeling like it’s both over too quickly and not soon enough. Continue reading

Awkward Dimensions Redux Review

529110_20161106201425_1Developer: StevenHarmonGames
Publisher: StevenHarmonGames
Played on: PC
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Time Played (Steam): 1.5 hours
Paid: $0 (Free to play)

Dreams are weird.  Well, they can be.  They can also be exciting, frightening, sad, or all of the above.  But they almost invariably tell us something about ourselves.  Except for that one I had about Donald Trump eating a plate of pancakes.  That one was just weird.  Maybe I’m getting sidetracked, though…

Awkward Dimensions Redux is a short free-to-play game that takes the player through a series of short levels, each of which is meant to be a manifestation of a dream the game’s developer had.  Some of the levels have small sets of objectives built into them, such as navigating a platforming challenge or taking an object from point A to point B.  Overall, though, it is a linear “walking simulator”-type experience that gives you a glimpse into the psyche of a young artist.  It really reminded me of The Beginner’s Guide, both in the ways in which it took me through a series of minimalistic, often abstract environments to the ways in which it used said environments to tell a story. Continue reading