The Top 10 Cutest Games From E3 2017 (GameSpew)

imageVideo games have become increasingly dour over the last few years.

With a push towards more realistic environments, faces that are slowly crawling out of the uncanny valley, and the ever-popular greys and browns of most shooters, it’s easy to forget that video games were once primarily cartoony and colourful.

Thankfully, amidst the (admittedly gorgeous) vistas on display in games like Anthem and Forza Motorsport 7, several games slipped into E3 2017 that demonstrated the power of modern technology when it comes to creating imaginative, vibrant worlds. However, environment design can only get me so interested in a game; it’s what populates these locales that tends to truly make them shine. These are the games that had me clutching the sides of my face, ranting in all-caps to my friends, and trying not to squeal loud enough for my neighbours to hear, because OH MY GOSH DID YOU SEE THAT IT’S SO ADORABLE AND I NEED IT NOW!!!!!

Read the full article here [GameSpew]

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]

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]


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]

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

Reigns Review

474750_20170105220650_1Developer: Nerial
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Played on: PC
Release Date: August 11, 2016
Time Played (Steam): 3.4 hours
Played With: Mouse & Keyboard and Steam Controller (about 50/50)
Paid: $1.11

Simplicity in design is something that can be truly magical for games.  Sure, it’s possible to keep things fresh with complex, deep mechanics and ever-changing rulesets.  However, experiences that are equally enjoyable (or sometimes moreso) can often come from games that focus on a single idea and do it extremely well.  Reigns is a perfect example of this philosophy; the gameplay amounts to little more than “rule a kingdom via Tinder”, yet it still manages to be engaging and intriguing through much of its duration. Continue reading