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]

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]

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

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

Jazzpunk Review

250260_20161230193415_1Developer: Necrophone Games
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Played on: PC
Release Date: February 7, 2014
Time Played (Steam): 4.0 hours
Played With: Mouse & Keyboard
Paid: $14.55 (Multi-game bundle)

Absurdist humour is something that can be very difficult to pull off.  If you push things too far, you risk alienating your audience, with the potential exception of the “lol, so random” crowd.  If you don’t go far enough, most, if not all of the jokes will just fall flat, since (as the name implies), their humour comes from how utterly absurd they are.  Add into the mix the complexity inherent in interactive media, and you have the delicate balancing act that is Jazzpunk. Continue reading

Pony Island Review

405640_20170103170535_1Developer: Daniel Mullins Games
Publisher: Daniel Mullins Games
Played on: PC
Release Date: January 4, 2016
Time Played (Steam): 2.7 hours
Paid: $4.94

After a long, tiring day, sometimes it’s nice to sit down with something simple; something that doesn’t involve lots of complicated mechanics.

Luckily, a number of these games have emerged over the last few years, many of them cropping up in the mobile space.

Looking at the vast catalog of such games, it is clear that one of the more common types is that of the endless runner, and it’s in this genre that Pony Island finds itself. Continue reading

The Games I Wish I Had Played in 2016

Well, it’s officially 2017 around the world.  The start of a new year.  Which means that everyone’s looking back on the last year and going, “Well that was a bit toss, wasn’t it?”  That is, except for the people who are taking the opportunity to look back at their fond memories from the year past, namely when it comes to video games.  There were countless fantastic games that got released last year, so many of which I desperately wanted to try out.  Unfortunately, as a university student, there are two things that I severely lack in: money and time.  As a result, it is incredibly common that I have to watch as new releases are hyped, released, and enjoyed by the masses, while waiting patiently for the day that they inevitably go on sale and I actually have the time to sit down with them.  Some of these games have been sitting in my library for months, awaiting their eventual installation.  Others are on my wishlist, hoping to one day be added to my ever-growing backlog.  Whatever the case, these are (in no particular order) the games that I wish I had gotten to in 2016.  You can also consider this to be a “To play in 2017” list, if that’s your thing.  Either way, you’ve probably all already played all of these and think I’m a pleb for not looking at them yet.

Okay.  😦 Continue reading