Immortal Planet Review: I-Souls-Metric

Screenshot_13Developer: teedoubleuGAMES
Publisher: teedoubleuGAMES
Played on: PC
Release Date: July 27, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 13.1 hours
Played with: Xbox 360 Controller
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Slow, stamina-based combat? Check. Enemies that respawn whenever you rest to heal? Check. Experience points that get dropped every time you die? Check. No, this isn’t some ill-promoted sequel to the Dark Souls series; it’s an isometric action game by the name of Immortal Planet.

To say that Immortal Planet draws heavy inspiration from FromSoftware’s famous series is an understatement. For the first half hour or so of the game, every time I asked, “I wonder if it does this thing that Dark Souls does?” the answer was a resounding, “Of course!” Thus, Immortal Planet takes place in a semi-open world backed by a largely vague narrative. As a mysterious Awakewalker, you are tasked with restoring the Cycles of the planet, the lack of which has caused it to turn to a frozen wasteland. In your way stand countless enemies with varying attack patterns, all of which need to be analysed and circumvented to succeed.

Read the full review here [GameSpew]

The Long Journey Home Review (Cubed3)

imageDeveloper: Daedalic Studio West
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Played on: PC
Release Date: May 30, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 15.1 hours
Played with: Steam Controller
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Randomness in games is an excellent method of promoting custom story generation. The fact that nearly everyone will have an experience that is at least marginally unique means that there’s always something new and interesting to talk about that many players may have never seen or heard of. That’s the goal with The Long Journey Home, a rogue-lite space game that channels FTL: Faster Than Light and No Man’s Sky into a challenging, galaxy-trotting, survival experience.

Read the full review here.

Sssnakes Review (Cubed3)

Developer: EnjoyUpGames
Publisher: EnjoyUpGames
Played on: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: June 2, 2016
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Snake has existed in one form or another for around 40 years, now, so it would be unsurprising if the classic “eat things to grow longer” formula had worn out its welcome by now. Evidently not, as Sssnakes seeks to add more to the game than just a few extra consonants in the title. Featuring a wealth of stages, new game mechanics, and colourful, updated visuals, the question remains: is it better to leave the classics untouched?

Read the full review here [Cubed3]

NEO AQUARIUM: The King of Crustaceans Review

355240_20170318213820_1.jpgDeveloper: Nussoft
Publisher: AGM PLAYISM
Played on: PC
Release Date: June 8, 2015
Time Played (Steam): 62 minutes
Played with: Xbox 360 Controller
Paid: N/A

NEO AQUARIUM: The King of Crustaceans is a game about cock-fighting with sea creatures.  Did I mention they’re armed with lasers?  Well, they are.

Now, chances are those sentences elicited one of two responses: an open-mouthed, “Um, WHAT?!?!”, or a smirk, followed by, “Now this, I’ve got to see”.  As you may have guessed, I fell into the latter camp.  However, I quickly discovered that NEO AQUARIUM’s scattershot, nonsensical ideas extend far beyond its basic premise.  Its gameplay, controls, and even performance are all over the place, making for an often chaotic, unpredictable experience.  For this reason, I find it all the more surprising that the whole thing is so painfully mundane. Continue reading

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Review

274170_20170301143000_1Developer: Dennaton Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Played on: PC
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Time Played (Steam): 9.6 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $5.49 (Digital Special Edition)

Those of you who follow my work somewhat regularly know that life hasn’t really been the greatest as of late.  Without going into the unpleasant details, let’s just say that there have been many days where getting home from class has involved a dramatic flop onto my bed, an arm draped over my forehead, and a long, heavy sigh.  Surprisingly, though, I found something of a cure to this funk: horrifically graphic killing sprees.  Thankfully, not in real life (I’m writing this in a Starbucks, not a prison cell or a safe-house), but in the neon-soaked world of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.  Despite the fact that it’s been awhile since I played the first Hotline Miami, diving back into its world of blood and carnage seemed to be second nature.  Unfortunately, part of the reason for this is that Wrong Number is just a little bit too familiar. Continue reading

I’m Not Dead

282140_20160916134549_1I mean, the title really says it all, right?  But seriously, I know that it’s been a while since I last posted.  If you follow me on Twitter (@Olivigarden, for those of you that don’t know…hooray, self-promotion!), you may have seen my tweets about how everything basically went to hell and back.  Well, at this point in my prolific (HA) games journalism career, I feel that it’s probably in my best interests to keep my personal and professional (HAHAHA) lives separate for the most part.  Unfortunately, certain events have a way of making it so that focusing on anything (including being a functional human being) is extremely difficult.  I’ll avoid going into the gory details, but since February 11, I’ve been dealing with some…ahem…distressing personal circumstances.  Don’t worry, nobody died.  But, well, something did. Continue reading

Alice: Madness Returns Review

splashDeveloper: Spicy Horse Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Played on: PC
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Time Played (Steam): 17.4 hours
Played With: Steam Controller
Paid: $6.50

Alice: Madness Returns is a game that attempts to convey the realities of a descent into madness to the player, and in that regard, it is an unequivocal success.  Unfortunately, that’s because it is one of the most maddening games that I’ve played recently.  It’s a game that feels like it had so much effort poured into certain aspects, while others were left to waste away in irrelevance.  And unfortunately, most of the latter were the elements that would make it a compelling and enjoyable game. Continue reading