The Count Lucanor Review (Cubed3)

lucanor_poster_02Developer: Baroque Decay
Publisher: Baroque Decay
Played on: PC
Release Date: March 3, 2016
Time Played (Steam): 4.5 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Pulling off good horror with pixel art is difficult. Titles like Lone Survivor come to mind as somewhat recent examples of pixelated horror done right, but such games are far from the household names that Outlast, Amnesia, and even Slender have become. Part of the reason for that may be that it’s difficult to properly set up jump scares when playing from what is generally a pulled-out, third-person view; giving the player so much vision can undercut the effectiveness of such surprises. To combat this, many “bit horror” games choose the same tactic chosen by The Count Lucanor: the horror comes from the imagery and circumstances rather than their sudden presentation.

Read the full review here [Cubed3]

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series – Episode One: Tangled Up in Blue Review (Cubed3)

579950_20170524192200_1Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Played on: PC
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 3.4 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Telltale Games cut their point-and-click teeth on comedy, with Sam & Max and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People becoming early breakout hits. As time went on, though, they headed in a more drama-focused direction, with the most publicized catalyst being the first season of The Walking Dead. Its focus on life-changing decisions made under tight time constraints created an emotional rollercoaster of an experience, with a plethora of scenarios whose outcomes were a far cry from black and white.

With this pedigree behind it, Guardians of the Galaxy: Tangled Up in Blue feels like a huge step back. That’s not to say that it’s a wholly worthless experience, but it feels like a game that largely ignores the developments made by its predecessors.

Read the full review here [Cubed3]

OVIVO Review (GameSpew)

597700_20170519203239_1.pngDeveloper: IzHard
Publisher: IzHard
Played on: PC
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 111 minutes
Played with: Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

From its opening moments, OVIVO gave me a sense of déjà vu.

After getting briefly stuck, I learned that pressing the space bar caused my character to flip to the other side of the floor, turning what was once empty space into a new plane to slide along. Immediately, a slew of “yin-yang platformer” flash games came to mind, and I was worried that OVIVO would end up feeling like a generic clone of a tired (though still enjoyable) concept. Thankfully, it revealed itself to be a pleasant, bite-sized game that uses clever mechanics and clean visuals to create a thoroughly compelling experience.

Read the full review here [GameSpew]

Bokida: Heartfelt Reunion Review (Cubed3)

612740_20170518193321_1.pngDeveloper: Rice Cooker Republic
Publisher: Rice Cooker Republic
Played on: PC
Release Date: May 17, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 3.7 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

So many games focus on conflict. Light versus dark. Good versus evil. Bokida: Heartfelt Reunion, though, takes a different approach, with the nameless protagonist working towards the unification of the yin and the yang. For too long, the two have been separated, but it is time for them to be reunited once more.

Read the full review here [Cubed3]

The Dream Machine Review (GameSpew)

94300_20170512211835_1cDeveloper: Cockroach Inc.
Publisher: The Sleeping Machine
Played on: PC
Release Date: May 11, 2012 (Episode 1) – May 11, 2017 (Episode 6)
Time Played (Steam): 15.7 hours
Played with: Mouse
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Five years is a long time in the world of gaming.

Five years ago, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 only existed as prototypes. Games like Dishonored, The Walking Dead, and Hotline Miami were considered new IPs. Half Life 3… well, people were a bit more optimistic about its existence.

Amidst all of this, the first two episodes of The Dream Machine slipped onto PC. At the time, it probably seemed impossible that it would take until 2017 for the story to reach its conclusion, yet here we are. Somehow, it managed to avoid the encroaching grasp of development hell and emerged as a beautiful head-trip of a game.

Read the full review here [GameSpew]

Slayaway Camp Review (Cubed3)

SlayawaySky_1920x1080Developer: Blue Wizard Digital
Publisher: Blue Wizard Digital
Played on: PC
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Time Played (Steam): 3.9 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Free giveaway)

Video games have explored countless horror film tropes over the years: abandoned hospitals, possessed toys, and ghoulish monsters, just to name a few. Such games have, for the most part, taken themselves completely seriously, sometimes to their detriment. There’s been a drought of games that capture the spirit of schlocky, B-movie slasher films like The Evil Dead and Grindhouse. Slayaway Camp aims to fill this void with an interesting combination: the typically fast-paced thrills of the genre mixed with the methodical pacing of a puzzle game.

Read the full review here [Cubed3]


Age of Rivals Review (GameSpew)

titleScreenDeveloper: Roboto Games
Publisher: Roboto Games
Played on: PC
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 3.4 hours
Played with: Mouse
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

City-building strategy games have a storied history of complexity, offering a plethora of options for players to take over the world or run their burgeoning empire into the ground.

It’s odd then, that Age of Rivals takes away so much control, favouring a scaled back and largely randomised approach to empire-building. Of course, there’s a good reason for this: being a two-player card game with limited scope, simplified gameplay is necessary to keep matches down to a manageable time of around ten minutes.

Read the full review here [GameSpew]