Category Archive: Review

Jan 22

RansomSummer

Coffee Stain Studios unleashes “A Story About My Uncle” on Steam!

Coffee Stain Studios, creators of the popular Sanctum Series, have teamed up with Gone North Games to bring you a new platforming title in 2014!  Cutting out the violence and explosive action and gore of most of today’s games, ASAMU creates a much more immersive experience by encouraging players to explore their environments and progress the story arc. Using the effects of the juggernaut of an engine that is Unreal, this games promises to satiate ANY and ALL of the players needs for amazing graphics, smooth gameplay, and unmatched responsiveness.

ASAMU is still in development, and so the company is very secretive about just how much of the game it reveals to the public. As of now, they’re telling of a story in which a young boy ventures forth to find his lost uncle, but in true Alice In Wonderland fashion, he stumbles into a world of pure imagination and wonder. Fantasy intertwines with reality to create an environment that only the most creative minds could muster up.

ASAMU is extremely motion-centric, encouraging the player to use the smooth and brisk movement to explore every nook and cranny of its fantastic maps.  A grappling-hook style of movement is going to be your greatest asset as you traverse the landscape like a modern day Spiderman in a world no less whimsical than Narnia itself!

“Concept Art of the Young Boy Protagonist”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ariablarg.tv/2014/01/coffee-stain-studios-unleashes-story-uncle-steam/

Oct 14

nekobun

Battling and Brewing – Charlie Murder Review

The beat-em-up genre has seen something of a revival in recent years with original entries such as Castle Crashers, franchise tie-ins like Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and both revisitations/retreads of classics of the genre including The Simpsons, Double Dragon and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games. A unifying factor of all these titles is a focus on narrative delivery through on-screen action moreso than dialogue or cutscene-based exposition. The plots of these games aren’t particularly complex in most cases: pound on some dudes, take out their leader in a given area, rinse and repeat until the world is saved or someone gets rescued.

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One of the newer entries into the beat-em-up realm simultaneously embodies both these elements while remaining quite a bit more mysterious than its brethren and paints a story that is fairly straightforward while leaving plenty of questions for the player to ponder. Twin tales of an undead-ridden end-of-the-world scenario and a quest for redemption in the face of revenge are told in a haunting fashion that makes it clear there is more going on than is directly addressed without being confusing or misleading. When blended with a solid side-scrolling slamdown, incentivising leveling and upgrade systems, and a host of references and borrowed mechanics contextualized to avoid a case of “familyguyitis”, you get an amazing full package that goes by the name of Charlie Murder.

The brainchild of Ska Studios, a now two-person team comprised of James Silva and playtester-turned-bride Michelle, Charlie Murder is a polished product that shows how much James has learned since his start with the smash Xbox Live Indie hit I M4DE A GAEM WITH Z0MBIES!!!. He also reflects the love of a wide variety of genres beyond those embodied by The Dishwasher, its sequel, and the lower-profile shoot-fest Zombies & Pterodactyls 200X. Michelle’s contributions also add some new twists on James’ already well-established visual style and flavor, showing a meeting of the minds that makes their marriage seem an inevitability.

Charlie Murder opens in media res, as up to four player-controlled members of the titular band find themselves battling demons in hell. A crash course in combat mechanics is suddenly interrupted by a case of the floaties, the result of defribulation rather than fizzy lifting drinks. The band, brought back from the dead for whatever reason, find themselves searching for answers as they piece together their lives, their reputation and the world around them with the powers of music, mysticism, merchandise, and good, old-fashioned meat-pounding.

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The controls of Charlie Murder are fairly intuitive for both beat-em-up neophytes and veterans of the genre alike. The button commands embody the jump, twin attacks, and grapple typical of most brawlers, with special abilities just a trigger or two away. Button prompts make it clear what items can be picked up as weapons or collected as inventory, and the directional pad controls the character’s cell phone which has several supplemental functions. In addition to tracking the character’s stats and abilities, leveling progress is expressed not as experience but as how popular you and your bandmates happen to be on the short-form status posting service, Squidd.lus. The phone’s camera can be accessed to photograph aspects of the background that demand attention, particularly QR codes tucked away in each stage that unlock new items or reward the player with cash money.

In addition to the standard mechanics, Charlie Murder bears several sub-sequences that pay homage to other games without feeling tacked-on or like a grab for extra attention. Several interstitial sequences relive the band’s history through a rhythm based minigame wherein each band member in the party mashes buttons respective to their instrument. One travel instance recalls shades of California Games or Skate Or Die, and more than one side-scrolling sequence had me squealing with delight, particularly a boss battle over a night skyline that had me squealing “Ehrgeiz! It’s Ehrgeiz! Omigawd it’s Ehr- I mean, Einhander!” Curse you, Squaresoft, and your throwing around of German terms in the PlayStation days. One chase sequence in particular has you rolling around at the speed of sound, and the game’s true ending can only be found by acquiring five body parts of a Count with a somewhat familiar-sounding name. While all of these elements are clear nods to different source material, they are all integrated into the world of Charlie Murder and in no way feel disjointed or take away from the game’s flow.

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New to the beat-em-up formula is Charlie Murder’s crafting system, presented in the form of beer brewing. Hops, malt and barley are among the items dropped by enemy assailants upon their defeat, and combining these at brewing stations at different points in the game produce stat-boosting brews with their own clever names and covering a wide range of beer styles. While a great little extra for beer fans and power-levelers alike, similar boosts are available from purchased food and beverages at stores throughout the game, and are often easier to obtain with money collected rather than trying to get enough stuff to brew something of merit. Each level caps how much buffing is possible as well, and not much room tends to be left after spending upgrade points each time. It’s a fun addition, but moderately superfluous at the same time.

In some ways, the game has too much to buy. This works fine though for the equipment system, as dropped and purchased outfit elements alike vary a character’s appearance and improve stats as well as imparting additional effects such as electrically charging enemies or setting them aflame. The wide range of healing items feels a bit excessive at times, and as mentioned, the buffs imparted by most of them are just as permanent as those that come from brewed beers, pushing the brewing toward obsolescence. While the idea of having a choice between nutrition bars, truck-sold Mexican delights, barbecued kebab and draught beer that miraculously does not spill while jammed in your pockets is fun and something of a nod to River City Ransom’s many eateries, many players will find the newest shop to be the best hangout or just keep visiting the cute redhead who works the counter at one of the drug stores and also moonlights at the taco truck by the construction site.

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Another slight demerit is the phone’s inability to shut up sometimes. When new emails are received, new abilities are available or a character levels up, a small bubble indicates the need to press a corresponding direction to one of those events on the d-pad. Similarly, new item acquisitions from enemy drops constantly inspire suggestions to check your inventory using the Back button. This is an excellent boon early on, but it would have been nice to disable or ignore such prompts after a certain point. Having the button prompts for liftable items such as weapons and the heads and/or brains of your fallen foes is handy, but the nagging and its partial obstruction of the screen gets tiresome once you know what you are doing.

These are the only real drawbacks, however, and both are incredibly minor and forgivable. The decoratable apartments the party finds eventually are also fluff but still fun, as acquiring decor is a matter of backtracking through other levels and smashing background elements with a hammer to take them home. This turns Charlie Murder into a two-fold quest for both vengeance and for free couches, televisions and standees, among other things. Completely unnecessary, but highly entertaining as it inevitably turns play into a hyper-violent take on the show Hoarders.

The audio, which is James’ fault as in prior Ska Studios outings, merges atmosphere and situationally-appropriate levels of action to be equally memorable and unobtrusive. The songs used for the rhythm-game sequences further characterize Charlie Murder’s titular band and provide at least one homage to the game’s great-great-grandaddy. The game is visually stunning as well, with a slightly cartoonier take on the dark style familiar to Dishwasher fans bringing in some more color and avoiding the brown- or grey-washing typical of other mid- and post-apocalyptic scenarios. Small details abound that often go unnoticed until multiple playthroughs are completed, down to the growing collection of tattoos unique to each character as they learn more special abilities and the collections of flash on the wall at the parlors where those tattoos are acquired. Such replays are much welcomed thanks to the robust multiplayer and the three tiers of game difficulty which allow players to bring along their old toys while ratcheting up the pain.

While not as blatantly nostalgic or new and experimental as Flashback or Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons, both of which share this year’s Summer of Arcade spotlight on Xbox Live, Charlie Murder is definitely worth checking out and quite worth the wait for those who were already aware it was on the way. Despite being Microsoft being under fire as of late for its early nebulousness regarding its indie game policies, both on the 360 and its impending successor, Charlie Murder is substantial proof that good things can and do happen for independent developers on Microsoft systems, even for the smallest of teams.

Charlie Murder gets a 9 out of 10 and is currently available exclusively on Xbox Live Arcade.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ariablarg.tv/2013/10/battling-brewing-charlie-murder-review/

Sep 19

Legend of Dungeon Review – a minimalist Dungeon Crawler

I always enjoyed Dungeon Crawlers. The challenge of getting past hundreds of monsters with a fight or flight mindset has always been a must when exploring the vast poorly lit rooms, while keeping an open eye for both foe and treasure.

Legend of Dungeon succeeds in implementing this type of mentality, although it took me a while to actually get to it as the first floors presented little to no challenge.

And then came the best thing about Legend of Dungeon: randomness. As I walked through one of the floors, I accidentally stepped on a floor switch, an invisible one at that and all of the sudden a large wall opened behind me, putting me face to face with an army of Nymphs. I immediately realized just how much screwed I was and as I tried to rush to a door to a different room, trying to fend off my foes, I died inches away from it.

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As you start your descent towards floor 26, where the treasure lies, you will find more foes both in quantity and quality. You’ll face from tiny foes such as rattle snakes to Ogres, Trolls and yes: the Grim Reaper himself.

In addition, the random generated rooms, may present you a challenge in the form of lava pits, that foes can (and will) push you towards if you are not careful and swift. To make things worse, you don’t just get to floor 26 and end the game there. No, the fireworks can only be lit when you bring back the treasure to floor 0, the Tavern, making your way back through every single floor a challenge in memorizing the quickest path to the upper floor, as well as which switches trigger hidden doors, traps and stairways, while the monsters you faced down start showing on upper floors as well.

And the randomness factor doesn’t end there. There are potions in-game. The problem? Their effects are too randomized. In one game a potion labelled with one name can heal you, in the next it may draw health from you, make you stronger or weaker, or confuse you which can be deadly when you are on a floor with a lava pit.

Therefore Legend of Dungeon also has a basic strategy players must take if they don’t want to get themselves killed: try to find a secluded area where to drink potions and memorizing which ones heal you in the current game and which ones you should drop because they are bad news.

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It’s not all bad news though: doors you tried get lit up with a purple light, with the door you last tried being orange lighted,

there are apples that act as the main healing item, beer that gives you XP in exchange for a bit of health and there is a ton of equipment you can get to replace your basic sword or to equip on your head. Although even some of these weapons are meant to be used carefully: there are summoning items that can either summon allies or summon foes that attack you.

The game supports a local co-op of up to 4 players, which is nice but would be better if it could also be online co-op, with the only online feature the game has being an online leader board where you rank according to the amount of gold coins you picked up on your journey.Graphically the game is aesthetically pleasant, with players being able to customize their appearance in the Tavern also randomly, as well as changing their gender between male and female. The monsters have good designs and they are varied with little repetition regarding “upper levelled” monsters of the same type. In fact the only instances of repetition I remember were the bats with the fire/lava bats. There are also a few minor graphically quirks that are awesome such as water collisions and dynamic lighting.

Controller support is nice and since it is customizable to the players choosing, it poses no problems. I tried the game both with the keyboard and an Xbox 360 controller and did fine with both.

In terms of problems, the main one is the game music. Although it has different tracks, they are all so similar that the entire soundtrack feels like one track. And it can be a bit annoying to hear that same song for the entire journey. The monster sounds are minimalist but I don’t regard that as an issue.

Legend of Dungeon - Grim Reaper

The other issue I had with the game was the lack of instructions regarding both the keyboard keys and the player stats in the bottom left corner. I had to check the game page to learn them (for reference Z is jump, X is Use/Attack, A selects the next item, S the previous one, D drops items and you can take screenshots with F1). And although you can customize the controller keys, you cannot set a different keyboard layout. As for the stats I pretty much figured them out on my own(Health, Attack, Armor, XP and Gold) but it would be nice to get an explanation in the Tavern of these instruction sets, perhaps from the NPCs that are there.

 

Sound – Repetitive music but good minimalist aspect to monster sounds. 6/10

Graphics – Pleasant minimalist graphics and very good lighting effects. 9/10

Replayability – Random generated levels ensure each journey is worth it and challengingly different. 9/10

Gameplay – Randomized potions, levels and monsters add layers of complexity to the game and are both rewarding and satisfying, although some switches do apparently nothing. 8/10

Overall Satisfaction – The challenge of facing a different journey every new game makes it worth it to come back, again and again to Legend of Dungeon, while facing hordes of monsters hidden in the walls and darkness. 8/10

Total – 40/50

You can get Robot Loves Kitty‘s Legend of Dungeon from their store here or in Steam here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ariablarg.tv/2013/09/legend-dungeon-review-minimalist-dungeon-crawler/

Aug 19

danddjosh2000

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Review

cognition1I’m a big adventure game fan and when I got the chance to check out Cognition I was pretty excited. Just from initial information the game looked interesting and I couldn’t wait to dive in. Having played other adventure games I had an idea of what to expect so I dove right into this one.

Cognition is a point and click adventure game made by Phoenix Online Studios that as of right now is split into 3 parts, with a 4th coming soon. It has one overarching story with each chapter doing their own thing in the mean time. Each part leaving you with something to want to play the next episode. You play as Erica who is an FBI agent hunting down killers and trying to find who killed your brother.

The first thing that I noticed about the game is the graphic style. I really like the style chosen and the feel of it; it goes really well with the game. It really sets the tone of a lot of the areas and is very consistent throughout each area. You feel like it’s a whole world connected to each other. There were some graphical glitches in which people that are grabbing items looks weird and a few other places, but nothing really bad. While a lot of the character models are well done, I feel Erica’s face has a few odd looks at times.

image_cognition_an_erica_reed_thriller-20832-2633_0004The music was also really good at setting the mood. The game also has really good voice acting. Each characters voice fits perfectly with their characters and emotions. In general, the game’s music and sound does a great job setting the tone and immersing you in this world.

The game play is what you would expect from most point and click adventure games. You get to inspect objects, talk to people, solve puzzles and just figure out what to do next. Cognition, also, has a twist that makes the game more interesting. This twist is a special ability that Erica gets in which she can touch certain objects and see the past pertaining to the object. She later gets a few more abilities, like linking objects together to see something new and even being able to unblock regressed memories people have. This makes some interesting game play and makes you have to utilize more at your disposal to solve the cases. I did have a problem with it early on constantly forgetting to use it, but later in the game it just came as second nature thinking to use it in every room.

cog_10My only complaints with the game play is that while you can make Erica run by double clicking the ground, if you click on an object she will only walk to it. Also, some of the exits to the rooms are hard to find, hidden in corners, just making it difficult to navigate some times. My last complaint is that the loading times are kind of long at times. Sometimes it seems the game was loading for every action I took. The puzzles themselves were really interesting but some being a little difficult to figure out. The game does offer hints but there were a few times I was scratching my head. Last was that sometimes you could skip the text and dialogue by clicking and sometimes you could not, which made it weird; plus I think I accidentally skipped a cut scene without meaning to. All in all I really enjoyed the game play, classic point and click adventure with a twist.

cog_9As for the storyline, the story itself started a little generic, with a cop whose brother is kidnapped and you go and rescue him. It does get more interesting learning that Erica has that special power and the switching settings makes you have a connection with Erica. The story then follows a generic serial killer plot with a twist that only Erica could really solve. The story is not bad by any means it just feels that it hangs on forming an attachment to Erica. Some of the story I figured out a head of time, but the wanting to know who was behind everything kept me going. The game does also let you make some decisions that have an effect on the game play. I don’t know if they would make you want to replay the story as they seem to only add a little to the story and change some puzzles. With a new chapter coming out it will be interesting to see how that takes things.

In general, I feel that the game holds true to the point and click adventure series while trying to change it up a little. It does a lot right with a few minor problems here and there.

Sound – I feel like it does what it’s set out to do and the voice acting was done really well. 10/10

Graphics – The graphic style was done really well despite a few weird quirks. 9/10   

Story – This is probably one of the weaker points while still having something that keeps you wanting to play more. 7/10

Game Play – Classic point and click adventure game with a small twist. Minus the few problems I had with it, it was done well. 8/10

Overall Satisfaction – I really enjoyed the game and excited for the 4th chapter to come out. 9/10

Total - 43/50

While I did enjoy the game the few quirks detract from it a little. I am really happy I got to play this game and look forward to the upcoming chapter.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ariablarg.tv/2013/08/cognition-an-erica-reed-thriller-review/

Aug 18

AidenPhenix

Do Not Fall Review – Return of Challenging Arcades

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In recent years, I’ve seen a resurgence of the challenging platformer, but most of them, such as Super Meat Boy and I Wanna Be the Boshi (or I Wanna Be the Guy even) are so far out of my skill level that they aren’t my kind of game. I enjoy a challenge yes, but I’m not a masochist, I don’t want to bang my head on the same level death after death. However, I’ve discovered a really fun game that gives the challenging platforming, without the frustration.

Created by XPEC Entertainment, and published by Reverb Publishing, Do Not Fall-Run For Your Drink is a return to the challenging, arcade style platforming that I grew up with in the era of games such as the original Sonic the Hedgehog, and the original Super Mario Bros. However, Do Not Fall (only on Playstation Network) stands apart from them in it’s modern style mechanics, while still bringing something to the table for platforming fans.

Do Not Fall-Run For Your Drink is set inside the world of a vending machine, players will begin playing as FiFi, a rabbit who is trying to get the ingredients for each of the drinks (worlds) in the vending machine. Do Not Fall is divided into 7 “Drinks” which are comprised of 10 levels each (with challenge levels unlocking as you progress.) The really cool part of this platformer though, is that as you move through the levels, getting keys to open doors, as well as bolts and screws (which help you unlock all sorts of unlockables, such as concept art, characters, and other mystery unlockables.) the ground beneath your feet falls, making a normally simple platformer into something a little more frantic. There are certain tiles that don’t fall, but in order to get the higher rankings on the levels you have to collect as much in a level as you can, in as short of a time as you can, while avoiding obstacles (some of which may make you fall) in the attempt to completing the level. It sounds complicated and difficult, but really it mixes the Collect-a-Thons of a bygone era, with platforming, and a little bit of the challenge of modern gaming.

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The Single Player mode has both a Normal and a Hard difficulty, so that people who like the Super Meat Boy style difficulty will have sadistic gameplay to enjoy. Normal difficulty can be rather challenging as well, but it’s not impossible once you get good at the controls, such as the jump, dash and other game mechanics that make this game so unique and fascinating. There is also both a Local and Online Multiplayer mode however, which has 7 different modes that seemed rather Mario Party-esque to me (which is fantastic since I LOVE Mario Party.) The multiplayer modes are as follows:

 

Soccer – Players will compete, trying to shoot the ball into the goal to win points, The player with most points when time runs out wins.

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Crown Grabber -Players will need to grab the crown and keep the crown as long as they can to gain points, if a player falls, the crown becomes up for grabs again. The player with the most points at the end, wins the match.
A Cold Wind Blows – Players will need to reach the safe area before the tiles disappear, if they do, the player will gain points, if the player falls points are deducted. Players can also gather gems to gain extra points. As with the other modes, the highest number of points at the end of the round wins..

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Step on the Floor – By far one of my favorite multiplayer modes, the goal is for players to step on floor tiles to gain points, if a player falls, they will lose points,
Occupy the base- you gain points when you occupy a base, occupy more bases for more points, at the end the person with the most points wins
Mark the Territory – As you step on floor tiles they will be marked by your color, after taking a key (of your color) to your base, you can gain points from your territory. Most points at the end wins

There are plenty of Multiplayer modes to enjoy, and with it being compatible for local as well as online multiplayer, there’s tons of challenging competition to be had.

Where the fun really hits for me though, is in the Collect-a-Thon portion of the game, during each level you can pick up golden bolts, as well as gray knuts, which can be used to unlock concept art, extra characters for single player, and mystery “Special” unlockables. For someone such as myself, who loves collecting things and unlocking things in games, it added a new layer of awesome fun for me. The sheer number of collectibles and unlockables also adds tons of replay value to the levels, as well as the drive to get the max rank on every level (which is no easy task I might add.)

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Now that you know more about the game, let’s get to the scoring here.

Accessibility & Controls – The controls for this game are pretty straight-forward and simple, but the fast paced nature of the game can be a bit daunting for people without fast reflexes. Being a disabled gamer, though my reflexes are fine, I know people with some disabilities (and some non disabled people) who would have a hard time with Do Not Fall. Though it has very easy controls to learn, because of the reflexes needed I give Do Not Fall a 9 out of 10 in the Accessibility and Controls category.

Multiplayer & Connectivity – I had a TON of fun playing the different modes of Multiplayer, which blended the Do Not Fall mechanics and gameplay with Mario Party style mini games, It’s fun, it’s silly and just plain cool. I give Do Not Fall a 10 out of 10 in the Multiplayer and Connectivity category.

Replayability – With all the things to unlock, collect and do in the game, there is quite literally hundreds of hours of playtime in the game if you really want to work at getting everything (In my opinion anyway) so I can whole-heartedly give Do Not Fall a 10 out of 10 in the Replayability category.

Difficulty & Gameplay – Do Not Fall is a challenging game, sometimes it can be incredibly unforgiving and just downright mean, however…it’s a LOAD of FUN! And if you like being challenged and don’t mind dying a few times to get it right, it’s a fantastic experience, so for the Difficulty and Gameplay category I give Do Not Fall a 9 out of 10

Overall Satisfaction – With so much fun to be had in this game, and so many hours of gameplay, both in multiplayer and out of it, I can’t in good conscience give Do Not Fall anything other than a 10 out of 10 in the Overall Satisfaction Category, it just wouldn’t be fair, and I quite honestly wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I did give it less.

This gives Do Not Fall – Run For Your Drink a 48 out of 50 total score, which is definitely a worthy score for such a fun game. Sure there are a few places where people might be turned off, but for the vast majority of people that like this sort of game I think it’s a great, whimiscal adventure.

I think gamers really should be giving Do Not Fall a try, and I thank XPEC Interactive and Reverb Publishing for releasing such a hidden gem of a game on the Playstation Network. I highly recommend you give it a try, it’s a difficult game, but it’s a rewarding, adorably fun experience.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ariablarg.tv/2013/08/do-not-fall-review-return-of-challenging-arcades/

Aug 14

AidenPhenix

Guncraft Review – Call of Duty Meets Minecraft Edition

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I was (and still am) a huge Minecraft fan, I feel as though Minecraft changed the face of what sandbox building games could be, from the womb of Minecraft and games such as Bioshock and Call Of Duty, comes Guncraft, a mixture of Minecraft style creativity with First Person Shooter styled Multiplayer gameplay. Guncraft was developed by Exato Games and published by Reverb Publishing. Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty, what we’re all here for is the review right?

First off, let’s discuss the simple stuff. As in all games you have your main menu, when you fire up Guncraft for the first time you will get two options, 1) Create an online account, which you can then use for online multiplayer, as well as uploading your creations to the Guncraft Foundry [which is where you will both create and upload your creations (guns, levels, character skins and more) as well as voting on others creations]. or 2) Play offline, and learn controls, build and do most of the same things you can do online (just on a single player basis.)

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There is one problem with this, however, once you set up your online account, Guncraft defaults to it, making single player inaccessible unless you have no internet connection (I could be wrong on this, but I spent 30 minutes trying to default to single player after I checked out the multiplayer, and couldn’t figure it out, so take that with a grain of salt.) You are still able to build and create custom content on a solo basis, however the only part of the First Person Shooter gameplay I was able to access is Online Multiplayer. However, certain multiplayer modes are scale-able for single player, so don’t be disheartened by the few single player options.)

Speaking of online multiplayer, fans of the first person shooter genre will be familiar with all sorts of various multiplayer match modes, including familiar ones such as Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, Capture the flag, and Onslaught (Guncraft’s version of zombie mode for Call of Duty.) There are unique modes however, such as the Racing mode (my personal favorite) which is a Mario Kart style mode, where you can shoot guns at other players while racing them, throwing grenades in their path and causing insane mayhem during the race.

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Other notable new modes include Lava Survival, where you must keep to high ground to avoid lava, touching lava meaning your demise, Meteor Survival, where you must survive a meteor storm which bombards the level, and Spleef, originally created in Minecraft, where you try to break the blocks beneath other players’ feet whilst avoiding falling into the pit below yourself.

There are multiplayer modes that can be played both solo and in multiplayer, including Onslaught, and Meteor Survival. There are also two ways to access multiplayer, online multiplayer and local LAN multiplayer, with admin controls and controlled mobility so you can create your own rooms and matches and decide what modifications are allowed so there aren’t people cheating in game. There is even a swear word filter so that younger ages can play the game without seeing the swear words in open chat.

Where the game REALLY shines however, is in the Foundry, which is split up into the Level Editor, Prefab Editor, Skin Editor, and Gunsmith Mode. With the Foundry you can create ANYTHING you wish, with tons of building materials to choose from, metal, lighting different colored woods and walls, everything is customizable. You can create guns, character skins, maps and anything you can imagine, all built in an easy to use Minecraft-style builder. The controls for building are easy to use and I’m sure over time Guncraft will get even more options for materials and things. The best part about it, is that you can share your creations for other players to use as well as vote on; and in return you can vote on other’s creations as well! Also, you can create any class you wish in the Class Editor! Taking preset buffs and bonuses from varying classes and mashing them together with weapons and skills to create a class that fits your playstyle, I made an “Assassin class” using some of the presets that were given, and found a class that really fit my playstyle.

Guncraft Asssassin

Now that you know a bit about the game itself, here’s my take on the game overall. I found that the multiplayer was a bit laggy, I saw characters running in place, enemies shooting and killing me before I even saw them in front of me, and found myself hitting placeholders of characters and players who’d already moved far off from where I was. However when I played the Racing Mode I had no trouble with lag whatsoever, and I enjoyed it immensely, so as far as the multiplayer Gameplay goes, I’ll give it a 7 out of 10.

The Foundry on the other hand is simply AMAZING, there is so much to customize and work on (in fact I plan to dive back in soon, it was so much fun!) It is something you can easily customize and adapt to your playstyle, so I wholeheartedly give it a 10 out of 10.

Now for something that’s a bit personal to me. I have a physical disability, that has given me smaller hands and causes certain control schemes to be a bit difficult for me to use on my keyboard. Guncraft, however, has fully customizable controls, and has made it incredibly easy for me (and would be incredibly easy for other disabled gamers) to build, fight, and race however they want. I want to give Exato Games a HUGE thank you for making the game so accessible, and I give a 10 out of 10 to the Accessibility and Controls of the game.

One more thing to add, Guncraft has Twitch.tv Broadcasting Support, so any Twitch.tv livestreamer (or even someone who wants to get started, can easily stream Guncraft through built in Twitch.tv support on the main menu of the game. This, combined with being able to share all your creations, gives Connectivity and Sharing a 10 out of 10 rating.

Out of 50 points, 10 for multiplayer, 10 for customization, 10 for accessibility and controls, 10 for Sharing and Connectivity, as well as 10 for overall satisfaction, I give Guncraft a 47 out of 50, or an A+ grade. Exato Games has done very well with Guncraft, it is a well made and fantastic game. I highly recommend you check it out on Steam now, if you like the FPS genre or just want a new flavor to your sandbox experience, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ariablarg.tv/2013/08/guncraft-review-call-of-duty-meets-minecraft-edition/

Aug 10

Annie

Review: Hill Bill

Hill Bill Logo

Title: Hill Bill                                   
Platform: iOS (iPhone 4S)            
Genre: Action/Mini Game            
Developer/Publisher: Balloon 27
Price: 1.99$ USD                             
Release Date: August 10th, 2013 

 

 

Hill Bill is a new iOS game by newcomer Balloon 27 (otherwise known as B27). The hook is pretty cute: Bill’s a redneck hillbilly with big dreams — to be just like Evel Knieval, his motorcycle-jumping idol. Dressed in big ol’ blue overalls and a bare chest, he straddles his trusty 3rd hand garage sale bike with pride, he’s ready to set up his very own ramps and starts riding. Bill starts out a little wobbly, but soon enough he’s mastering jumps and tricks in a course containing plenty of old junk found around his yard. A few of Bill’s friends even stop by to watch…then a few more friends come…then a few more. His sudden local fame puts big ideas in Bill’s head, and he decides to take his show on the road!

Shiny contract!

The game’s controls are simple and intuitive: push the gas button to go go go. Bill can also perform a variety of bike tricks which build on each other — for example, swipe the screen across to the left to pop a wheelie, or left and down for a hands-free wheelie. To accomplish these tricks and keep a finger on the gas, the game does require two hands.  Each level is scored out of three stars, and fulfilling both the level’s requirements and pulling off some sweet tricks will increase the number of stars you receive! Ground tricks increase the speed of your bike, allowing you to jump greater distances with less of a start. Bill can also perform airborne tricks which share the same motions as ground tricks but are different actions — swiping the screen left while jumping will throw Bill into a superman pose; players can queue up a number of tricks by repeatedly swiping in various directions — just be careful that you time the end of your tricks well, or you’ll crash and burn!

Hill Billy 1

 

Environmental conditions can also change the way courses work, such as mud decreasing a bicycle’s speed and smacking the local wildlife such as birds and lightning bugs increasing your score (and thus your stars!). Tricks can’t be performed after you land. You can also pull your bike further back from the start of the jump, but be careful: if you overshoot the landing ramp, that’s a crash landing too. With six full areas with ten levels apiece, there’s plenty of different regions to explore and perfect your Knieval jumping skills.  Several missions will require a careful balance of ground and air tricks to crack open all three stars, so experimentation is a must.

The game does have some minor frustrating points: the game doesn’t have the ability to re-orient, meaning if you prefer your volume buttons on the top you’re out of luck. Once you let your finger off the gas, you can’t re-accelerate, so make sure you press down firmly. Getting three stars on all levels will be quite challenging, as it’s not just performing tricks, but performing the right combination of tricks, air time, and bird-popping to get the best score.

Hill Billy 4

 

Overall, Hill Bill is a solid game — there’s nothing especially mind-blowing or new, but it’s all put together in a really fun package with great graphics, sound effects, and an ambiance that just makes you want to play more and hunt down all the stars for each level.  Perhaps the most exciting thing I’m taking from Hill Bill is the clear talent and potential B27 has, and as they have two additional games that will be coming for iOS and Android, I’m really excited to hear more about their future projects.

You can download Hill Bill starting today on the iTunes store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hill-bill/id673668830

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ariablarg.tv/2013/08/review-hill-bill/

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