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]

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

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

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

Tsundere Sharks Review

unnamedDeveloper: MatWel
Publisher: MatWel
Played on: Android
Release Date: N/A (Last updated September 25, 2016)
Time Played: 17 minutes
Paid: $0 (Free to play)

Tsundere: [noun] A Japanese term for a character development process that describes a person who is initially cold and even hostile towards another person before gradually showing a warmer side over time.

– Source: Wikipedia

Tsundere Sharks.  The name alone got me, and it was further helped by the app icon, featuring a cute-looking shark with rosy cheeks and a sour expression.  Having flashbacks to my brief time with Hatoful Boyfriend (a pigeon-dating visual novel), I was instantly intrigued.  The store description furthered my excitement by promising the opportunity to “Find [the] best girl”, calling the game a “Super Realistic Harem-Shark Sim”.  “I am 110% okay with a shark dating game on mobile,” I thought.  I specifically postponed playing it until I was at home, thinking that it would be an amusing and entertaining experience deserving of my full attention.

I think that I maybe got a bit overhyped. Continue reading

Tomb Raider Review

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Developer: Crystal Dynamics, Feral Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix, Feral Interactive
Played on: PC
Release Date: March 4, 2013
Time Played (Steam): 14.9 hours
Paid: N/A

Tomb Raider is one of the video game industry’s more venerated franchises.  Since its inception in 1996, the series has seen many incarnations on many platforms, including home consoles, handhelds, PCs, and mobile devices.  However, despite all the different versions of the game, Lara Croft (the protagonist) has remained mostly unchanged.  Many are no doubt familiar with her classic outfit of a light-blue tank top and brown short shorts that are somehow classified as acceptable for the act of raiding tombs.  Her appearance and role as the sexy, badass archaeologist gained her quite a reputation in the gaming world, though not necessarily for the best reasons.  As a means of remedying this, Square Enix decided to take the Hollywood approach to the Tomb Raider franchise and give it a gritty, realistic reboot; the hope was to establish Lara as a strong-willed survivor who was defined more by her skills and personality than her looks.  And thus, 2013’s Tomb Raider came to be. Continue reading