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]

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]

Immortal Redneck Review (GameSpew)

w1iOULb.pngDeveloper: Crema
Publisher: Crema
Played on: PC
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Time Played (Steam): 10.8 hours
Played with: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $0 (Key provided for review)

Move over, Indiana Jones. You too, Lara Croft. There’s a new tomb raider in town, and they’ve got one hell of a mouth on them.

That mouth certainly gets put to good use in Immortal Redneck, an Egyptian themed, rogue-lite first-person shooter. The titular redneck spouts countless quips as he traverses one of three pyramids, spewing everything from random expletives to Back to the Future references. Ordinarily, this would seem out of place, considering the myriad of mystical monsters in his way that would have most folks running in terror. Then again, most folks probably aren’t equipped with enough firepower to make Michael Bay shed a tear.

Read the full review here [GameSpew]

Standing Still to Move Forward

384190_20170304205607_1“Beware the barrenness of a busy life” is a quote that appeared on my new browser tab this evening.  In a way, it’s appropriate.  Here I am at 10 PM, realizing that I have no games ready to review, and homework that I should really be working on instead of fixing that.  The insanity of the last week has left me feeling at loose ends this weekend, despite knowing full well that I have work to do.  Maybe it’s warranted, though.  Multiple 1-2 AM nights, one 3:30 AM night (is it even considered night at that point?), and probably something like five litres of hot chocolate.  Thinking back, I barely know where half the time went.  There were frustrating university assignments, final classes that seemed to last for an eternity, and the joys of crunch time on a video game development project.  Yet it’s all just a blur.

On the other hand, I feel motivated.  I know that I’ll never truly stop being busy, yet it seems like the worst may be over for the time being.  Coming out of last week, I’ve realized that, aside from three exams and presenting the aforementioned video game, I have very little on my plate, at least from a school standpoint.  In its place is something that I find far more exciting. Continue reading