Skylar & Plux - Indie Game Reviews 2017 Steam Screenshot

Genre: 3D Platformer / Action / Adventure
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: Yes, under 33%+ discount, since the game is pretty short

Skylar & Plux: Adventure on Clover Island is a homage to early 3d platformers. You control your feline hero and help her gather three relic parts to restore something that brings her memory back.

The Good

  • Game World and Graphics are top-notch: seriously, the character models / animations / level design is something you would expect from the AAA game.
  • Controls are very responsive (maybe except for jetpack jump) and controlling your character feels great. The jumping, which has often been an issue in the old 3d platformers is done surprisingly smoothly here. It presents a challenge, but you are fighting with the obstacles, and not controls.
  • Beautiful Sounds and Music: the Music fits the colorful game mood and enhances it.
  • More than anything, the game is fun to play. It gives a good mix of puzzles, jumping and destroying enemies, which makes the gameplay exciting, since you never get bored while playing.

The Bad

  • It often feels that together with early 3d platformer feeling the developers decided to bring in the clumsy camera controls which was often an issue back then. If you want to look up – the camera often shifts right to your characters butt. Turning during jumping can also be a bit painful experience (although it’s somewhat mitigated because the gamepad has the button that centers the camera behind your character).
  • The plot is somewhat cheesy (which honestly is understandable), but the initial premise was that the cat character had memory removed and was trying to restore it. By the end of the game, this completely shifts and it seems like nobody cares about restoring the memory anymore. After completing the game, you still don’t know what happened to the character and how she ended up being where she is.
  • Not much Content / Low Difficulty: there are about 5 different enemies and one boss. The game itself can take about 3 hours to complete if you just want to run through it (to counter that: there are multiple optional health unlocks that can greatly prolong the experience; 100% completion will take much more time; the lack of enemies is also compensated by puzzles and good level design that requires lots of non-repetitive jumping with different approaches to getting past the obstacles).

Summary

Despite the flaws, the game is still fun, but not for typical hardcore gamers who are nostalgic about 3d platformers. The length of the game might be questionable, but the experience quality justifies it. It’s the game that I’d buy for my kid, because it is very colorful, well-polished and reasonably challenging. For veteran gamers with 3d nostalgia though – I hesitate recommend it and I leave this up to your discretion.

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Pinstripe - Indie Game Reviews 2017 Steam Screenshot

Genre: Adventure / Platformer / Puzzle
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: Yes

Pinstripe is a game about ex-minister who takes a journey through Hell in search of his daughter. If the original plot does not intrigue you, there’s some more to it: you really don’t know why the minister is there and what’s going on, other than your daughter has been kidnapped. Encounter quite eccentric characters, solve puzzles, jump on platforms, and fight enemies. All that in order to reach the wrongdoer who took your daughter from you.

Pros

  • Amazing Graphics: the lighting, the particle effects, the backgrounds, the surrounding
  • Responsive controls: if that was a simple puzzler – that would not matter much. But in Pinstripe, you also encounter enemies apart from puzzles and will have to do some shooting. I’ve played the game with the controller and suggest you do the same.
  • The plot is not obvious at first: as you go through hell, you continue encountering some clues that build the full storyline in the end
  • Great Music and Sounds that help you feel the atmosphere of the game
  • The points mentioned above transform it into a spectacular combination of game and art. This is hands-down the most captivating title I’ve played this year. It catches your attention from the first seconds and does not release it until you are done.

Cons

  • The game is about 2, maybe 3 hours tops. After you complete it – there’s the “plus” mode, but it’s the same story, only allowing you to buy extra items to make it easier. To counter that: You’ll probably have to play one more time if you want to see all the references and understand everything better.

Summary

Despite the short length, the game turns out to be a unique work of art. For some of you, 15 EUR for 3 hour entertainment might seem too much and I can understand. But it turns out to be a rare combination of both solid gameplay mechanics and immersive storytelling: the jumps between platforms / destroying enemies feel good, but it is never overshadows the most important thing: plot. It feels like an experience to live through and the game to play at the same time. Honestly, the game has so much going in these 3 hours that it feels totally worth it in the end. It is what it is: a sequence of breathtaking experiences that does not release you until you figure out the mystery in the end.

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Feature Image taken from the Pinstripe store page, here

Echo Lake Steam Game Screenshot 2017

Genre: Puzzle/Adventure
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: with the current feature set, wait for 50%+ discount; yes if everything that’s promised has been added / or you like to help on early access, because developers are really responsive

Disclaimer #1: I got the key for free
Disclaimer #2: The game is in early access (I’m reviewing the version 1.0.3) and has lots of upcoming plans, you can read them here: http://steamcommunity.com/games/553740/announcements/detail/240217180986153974

Echo Lake is an indie game by Capsule Three studio. It’s a puzzle game that offers a meditative puzzle-solving experience. Row your boat, move from location to location and try to light up all of the stars. As a nine year old, explore the lake at night; jump into the atmosphere of wonder and calm; embrace tranquility that follows the puzzle solving

Pros:

  • Immersion: the game builds a great atmosphere: if you ever go for a summer walk during a starry night – that’s exactly the feeling that you experience when playing the game
  • Beautiful Art
  • Great soundtrack, relaxing music
  • Innovative approach to puzzles
  • As you progress, puzzles really become challenging

Cons:

  • First levels really feel to easy: new mechanics are being introduced, but often not explored enough. The „putterfish” levels (after lvl 4) is when challenge begins.
  • At the later levels, there’s so much synergy between elements that sometimes you just don’t realize how you solve the puzzle: the huge chain reaction starts (especially with dolphins) and then suddenly, the path opens.
  • Hints are useless: if you are stuck, it just gives a generic advice that might not even apply to your situation (instead of showing the next move, like it usually is in puzzles)

 

To sum it up, if you plan to buy it at full cost: wait until all features are complete (unless you have lots of feedback that you like giving). It’s a decent puzzle game, but the price is a bit steep for now. Definitely grab it at 50% discount, but otherwise: consider waiting to see if developers deliver.

Once the game has planned features implemented, I’m sure it’s going to be worth its money. But for now, if I’m honest with you, I’d feel bad if I paid 10.99 for it.

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Feature Image taken from the Echo Lake store page, here

Pressure Game Review Screenshot

Genre: Racing/Action
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: Yes, On 75%+ discount.

Pros

  • Action Packed
  • Looks Really Good
  • Polished effects, a lot of stuff happening
  • Enemy Variation
  • Responsive Controls
  • Lots of upgrades / customization
  • Game Has Its Distinctive Style, you can see that a lot of effort went into it

Cons

  • Feels Repetitive
  • Feels outcome independent, no matter what you do
  • You’ll be fine as long as you reach the next checkpoint: there’s simply not much space to strategize, firing bullets does not cost anything and you can boost infinite amount of times

Feature Image taken from the Pressure store page, here

Full Video Review:

QuestRun game review screenshot

Genre: Turn-Based/Casual RPG
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: Yes, On 50%+ discount.

Despite having a mobile game feel, the game is actually fun to play and it offers challenging gameplay mechanics. To sum up the gameplay: first, you have a row of units. You do not need to click your units for them to attack. They attack automatically. However, you must swap the units for the best possible strategic position and level them up / use abilities wisely.

Pros

  • Mechanics: the developer tried to make a good unique mechanics. I think this is why we play indie games.
  • Involves lots of planning when it comes to character levelling, have to figure out the best strategy stat-wise if you want to win.
  • Difficulty. It is hard to play, but it is also very rewarding.

Cons

  • No settings, resizing game windows makes game blurry
  • Some stats feel useless (Charisma? Only to get a chance for better look @ one random game event?)
  • … Difficulty. I loved it, but it might be too much for some

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Feature Screenshot Image Taken from the QuestRun store page, here

Full video review: