Genre: FPS / Roguelite Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: Yes
In Rogue Islands you take control of a dwarf on a journey to save his tribe. It’s an FPS-meets-minecraft kind of game, with voxel graphics and heavy use of roguelite principles. You travel from island to island on your boat and complete simple missions: simply gathering enough fuel to move forward, visiting the “spirit tree” to meditate on top of it or fighting the boss. The gameplay on every island can be split into three parts: exploration, resource gathering, fighting. As for the gathering part: at the very least, you need to gather enough fuel to move to the next island, but there’s much more resources (food / magic gems) at each location. The monster hunting part is pretty straight forward: use your spells to kill monsters, they drop “souls” that can be used for upgrades later on.
The islands are huge. The random terrain generation is also very well done, generating caves / mountains / ponds and placing random resources. I don’t know how they did it, but most of the time you get the feeling that no way the current map you’re playing on could have been randomly generated. I’m very impressed.
The graphics are well done: very colorful, lots of effects and due to the right sound choice you get the feeling like you are in 8-bit world. The monster death effects deserve extra mention: killing stuff is just cool.
The FPS mechanics are alright. It’s not impossible to dodge the enemy projectiles, but you need to make an effort to do this. The projectile impacts are well done, but the weapon shooting does not always feel powerful. Don’t get me wrong, the weapons are in fact quite powerful, it’s just your first weapon, wand, which you are going to use most of the time, does not give impression of power. Projectiles just sort of fly away from it. It’s just an aesthetic feeling: impacts done right, shots – not so much.
The difficulty seems just right. If you make mistakes: you die and reset, if you play / dodge correctly – you progress further. There’s not much random involved in the combat itself, which makes it deterministic and not luck-based.
As of now, not big enough variety of monsters: first two boss models are the same. At the first ¾ islands, you are going to encounter 3-4 types of enemies at most. Again, this is OK for the early access title, but I think it’s fair that I warn you.
If you are playing with keyboard/mouse, but have controller connected, it’s still going to vibrate (which essentially means that you’ll have to disconnect it from your pc when playing).
No hotkeys to switch between weapons (spells). You have to press right mouse key, then the circular menu opens and you need to navigate to the one you need.
As of the current moment, the game crashed about 4 times upon my death within ~6h of playing. Not a huge deal (since you died anyway), but still gets on your nerves occasionally. After patch today I played for ~3 hours and did not encounter any crashes.
After alt-tabbing, the mouse pointer is not captured inside the game window (meaning it can go over the game window bounds if you have 2 monitors like I do – meaning you’ll probably die since the game is not pausing on alt-tab).
I don’t think it’s bad, but I have to warn you that it’s a roguelite after all, so all who like hoard resources are going to be disappointed as there’s really no easy mode 🙂 Despite the lack of content in Early Access version on launch and some inconveniences, the main gameplay loop is really well-done and I had fun playing for about ~9 hours at the current point. The terrain generation is really original and all the randomly generated landscapes/islands never felt repetitive, as I was eager to explore them and find the resources every single time. The game is really fun even at this point and I can confidently recommend it: there’s not much content yet, but the developers mentioned that it’s going to cost $9.99 during early access. For this price – it’s a steal and if you like the idea of it – there’s no reason not to buy it.
Genre: Platformer Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: Yes, if you are a fan of difficult platformers
About The Game
Shio is a platformer where your character jumps between lanterns to reach the unknown destination (which is gradually revealed to you by plot). If you have played “Ori and the Blind Forest” – remember the waterfall level? The one that did not have much checkpoints and was insanely hard to jump through? Yup, this game essentially evokes this same feeling, only gives different obstacles in much greater variety. You’ll often have to remember position/timing of every platform before you can succeed.
Great level design: each new mechanic is gradually introduced into the game. At first the jumping is trivial, but then it gives you much harder challenges that you have to complete using things that you’ve learned
Creative approach to obstacles: lots of variety that requires player to adjust his play style. Some notorious examples are lanterns that reveal obstacles for a small while, the ray that kills you if you stay in one place for too long, the platforms that you need to jump away from right before they disappear
The game is difficult, but because of that it is rewarding: you might want to smash your controller sometimes, but after 20 minutes of attempting the same challenge and completing it you’ll feel gratification. Completing the challenges is insanely rewarding
The graphics and style are captivating: the backgrounds are colorful and character animations are also well done.
Great ambient music that enhances level traversing experience
If you are playing with controller: left stick is used for movement (the usual way), but for some reason if you press up or down – your character keeps moving left or right (depending on your previous direction I think). It might not seem like a big deal, but you’re probably going to instinctively press “up-right” when you are jumping right for example. This is when it will get tricky, as the system somewhat gets confused if you’ve been going left before. Worse news if you are used to pressing “up” when jumping, since the character will simply divert to previous direction. I had to switch to d-pad, which was ok, because it’s easier to avoid up/down buttons.
The door-opening lanterns are often unresponsive: they just don’t activate the same way as the ones that help you jump. You’ll often miss them at first because they seem to require different timing when you jump towards them (which will mess up your mechanical memory / control expectations).
Apart from controls (which are troubling but not unbearable), the game offers a great jumping/platforming experience. It’s not for everyone, but if you enjoy high difficulty games which require perfect performance from the player– this one might just be for you.
Genre: Action / Platformer Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: Yes
Disclaimer: the game is in early access, so a lot of things are probably going to change/improve. The review is actual for the 4th of May 2017.
In MegaSphere, your character is investigating why are the stars of Solar System are going dark. It is an action-platformer, where you explore massive randomly-generated levels with well-defined objectives and progression.
Challenging difficulty. The game feels really skill based. When you die from the enemy attack – you know exactly how you messed up.
Plenty of weapons with different shooting patterns and tactical uses. Weapons can also be upgraded by putting special modules in the slots. I.e. reflection that makes bullets bounce from walls. Shooting also feels nice: the weapons you get at the start are by no means powerful, but it’s a great feeling when you hit something successfully and then finally destroy it.
Great lightning and particle effects: the backgrounds are dark, and they make a great contrast with explosions / other game effects, which are masterfully made. These are hands down some of the best effects I’ve seen in a 2d game.
The music and sounds are OK. Not exceptional, but not bad: music does not feel repetitive and gives a good background for playthrough.
Environment with destructive elements: some parts of the levels can be destroyed, there are also explosive crates which you can use strategically to damage enemies.
The beginning is a bit slow and somewhat boring. There’s a good idea about gradually introducing game features by continuously unlocking them to the player (dash -> gun -> upgrade menu -> codex -> map, etc), but right at the start you need to traverse large spaces without much stuff going on. It gets much better when you enter the second location though.
No pausing the game when you open codex / equipment window. It’s probably by intention, but it often prevented me from reading codex / equipping stuff when I felt like it.
Maybe a bit more explanation about how saving works? I.e. codex record about this: right now even if I reached the checkpoint before boss, died, then respawned at the same checkpoint a few times, then exited the game – I still get thrown one level back to the checkpoint there.
Navigation tab could really use a legend somewhere, because icons of the map are not really obvious (i.e. at least in codex, where weapons are described; the game could do the same with navigation icons: icon – description).
AI is sometimes easily fooled (especially with destructive environment) – but in all honesty it does not make the game any less challenging
I think the game got my attention by its difficulty. The no hand-holding approach definitely works here, making fights and exploration entertaining and victories rewarding. Due to this, I can strongly recommend the game.
Genre: Action Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: Wait for 50% discount
About The Game
In Riptale you take the role of the swordsman, a dragon hunter of sorts. You go through randomly generated levels and hack/slash through the enemies. Literally. There’s lots of blood and when you strike an enemy, you really go through him. Non-boss enemies die from one hit, but you must plan your attacks carefully, because it’s pretty easy for them to hit you too.
Hitting enemies feels great. The blood, the slow-down of time at the moment of impact that allows you to start another combo.
Challenging Difficulty: the game is really hard
Good selection of music and sounds. The music can get repetitive after a while, but it never felt annoying. The hit sounds are very satisfying: it’s exactly as you would imagine when you think about something alive that got hit by a sword.
Customizable attack combos: you don’t have a traditional attack cooldown. Instead, you have three attacks (gems). Each attack costs one gem, so you can do three rapid attacks at once. Gems replenish over time though, so you can’t combo immediately. The interesting thing is you encounter shops as you progress in the game, and those sell special gems that can alter your attack pattern and make you stronger. This is the main way to change your strategy and playstyle. For example, as you play, you discover that placing some gems in first position makes charging harder, so you put them in second attack position (i.e. your first attack remains normal, but second attack becomes homing, allowing to kill the enemy quickly if he dodged).
Collisions could be better. Occasionally you go through flying enemies without damaging them.
Gems are not recharged when you enter new room. If the game expects to have a fast gameplay, it’s a bit counter-intuitive to have player stand in one place and wait till the gems are refilled.
Aiming controls felt subpar quite a while: the 45-degree directions are fine, but enemies that are located at a different angle from you are frustrating to hit.
Slow-mo during falls could be useful. From time to time you get into situation when you jump down a platform and collide with a monster below (but there was no way to see it).
The levels are randomly generated. Traversing some rooms is not very pleasant due to a huge number of obstacles or maybe randomly placed stuff. The level compositions seems to be a bit broken and the gameplay speed gets hindered because of that.
What game excels at is the feel when you kill something: once your character cuts an enemy, you know this was for real. The time slows down for a split second and you just know that you’ve delivered a crushing blow of unstoppable force to something. That feeling of speed, action and being in the center of the events is something. Due to the other flaws and pretty simple graphics – I suggest waiting for 50% discount before grabbing the game; It gave me ~2 hours of good gameplay, but I doubt I’d return to it later.
Genre: RPG / Strategy / Tactics Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: Yes
Expeditions: Viking is a Strategy/Tactical RPG game where you take control of a band of Norsemen in 790 AD. The game process is split into three parts: global map (of Denmark and England), questing locations (think Neverwinter Nights) with real-time movement and conversations, and then same locations that switch to turn-based combat when battle starts.
The world is really big and there’s lots of things to do. However, when I was playing, I never felt swamped with quests: it’s like every location balances on what it gives, so you don’t have a 20+ quest log, but receive them gradually instead.
The quest themselves offer a good diversity of choice: there are multiple ways you can solve most of them, violent or not. The dialogs between characters remind heavily of Neverwinter Nights, and the actual quest plot quality is close to that level too.
Lots of possible character builds and interesting levelling system: there’s no levels per se, but you get the special upgrade points after questing / combat. As you gather more points – you can invest them in specializations for your crew: weapons, skills, utility stuff and some special perks. Overall more than 100 skills that you can level.
Deep turn-based combat: the tactical element of positioning your characters and using appropriate skills in the combat makes the game challenging, but not impossible to beat.
Solid graphics; the game has its own distinct style that puts you in a dark world of 8th century Europe.
Great music and sound effects that make you feel immersed in the game world.
The biggest thing that breaks the immersion is lots of bugs in the quests: it seems that they often were made with assumption that player is going to take one exact sequence of actions. As an example, there’s a quest about Roman cult that is split into two parts: there are multiple branches, but overall if you descend to the dungeon and kill one branch leader and then pick his banner (without meeting the second one at first) – you’ll be asked to go to the dungeon again, pick the banner. Except there’s nobody there anymore, right? You killed them. Then the combat sequence starts, but there are zero enemies. After that: the combat instantly ends and another copy of the “unique banner” appears. Nothing gamebreaking (well, except for one in the beginning, when you can’t talk to Gunnar after killing him when I had to replay it, but it was fixed) – but that gives an impression that game did not have enough quality control.
Quest Locations could really use a minimap (like Diablo style). Pressing “M” all the time to open the map (and then close it) is really troublesome.
Loading times for large locations seem to be quite long
Overall, if it was not for the multiple minor bugs in quests: Expeditions: Viking would feel like a top quality AAA game. Everything is there: character build possibilities, diverse quests with lots of outcomes, resource and group management, global map with occasional random events. If you think you can look past through occasional bugs in quests – I highly recommend the game to tactical / strategy game fans, as well as people who just enjoy good plot and captivating quest writing.
Genre: Action / Roguelite Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: No
Think of Ruin of the Reckless like Nuclear Throne with melee feel. Traverse the tower levels, kill the monsters, get the key to go to the next floor and then escape via elevator. All that until you are free! As you progress through the tower, gain levels and collect “power orbs” – the orbs that amplify your abilities / enhance your character. Think of those as of mostly passive skills: vampirism, pet follower, “more money drops. You can also gather new spells that are more like active abilities (but you can have one at a time).
Good item / spell variety. You can also unlock different cards that affect the gameplay: be it a new starting item / spell loadout, more enemies on levels (for harder difficulty) or more money drops to make the game easier.
Characters / Monster are very well-detailed for a pixel art. You can see that a lot of effort went into this.
The music/sound effects are decent.
Interesting approach to difficulty: no traditional difficulty settings per se, but a special “cards” that you can equip in the game lobby. Those cards affect the gameplay modifiers, making the game easier or more difficult: your character can have more hp, more monsters can spawn on the level, levels become easier, etc.
The tower that you are climbing feels like a part of its own world: the characters you meet have their own personality and it adds to immersion.
The melee mechanics just do not seem to work. Technically, everything is there, but the process becomes pretty straightforward and repetitive: go to the monster and kill him. If he rushes – stay a bit back, wait until he attacks, find an opening and perform your own strikes. The weapons do not feel different: they have different hit patterns, but mostly the attacking process feels the same over and over again. Spells save the situation a bit, but this is not enough (charges are limited and you are holding 1 spell at a time, right?).
Backgrounds / Tiles are rather bland. They do the trick and they fit into the style color-wise, but overall they are not detailed well-enough compared to other characters.
The Game is made in Game Maker, which might not be the best choice to show so many details / monsters on the levels. My setup is I5-4670 @ 3.4GHz / 8 GB Ram / GTX 760 – the game’s fps would drop significantly when a lot of monsters appear.
I really wanted to like the game: you can see how much effort went into making it. However, the core idea of melee combat just did not seem to work well. It is done with a lot of attention, but that does not make it interesting or exciting. If we compare it to the Nuclear Throne: there, you have different weapon shooting patterns, but so do enemies. You need to get creative when dodging the attacks and shooting on the run, trying to avoid the enemy touches / bullets like a plague. On the contrary, the process here feels repetitive and not captivating: there’s some dodging involved, but most of the time (when you are not using spells) the end of the combat is the same. You need to approach the monsters and hit them in melee. You don’t care much about the environment / hiding like you did in Nuclear Throne. The challenge of masterfully evading and keeping the distance is gone here, and while it seems like a minor thing, it changes everything. Because eventually the ending of every melee combat is the same: you need to approach the enemy and hit him. Because of that, I can not recommend the game.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Genre: Racing / Action Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: Yes
Battle Riders is a racing game. Plot twist: there are also weapons involved. You race around in your car while trying to destroy other racers. There are multiple game modes and three bonus types (ammo, boost, health) spread across the tracks. While the premise sounds simple, the execution is surprisingly fun.
Old-School racing feel and great car handling. The car really feels good to control. And the game is just fun.
Decent AI opponents: the AI is not unbeatable, but you’ll definitely need to practice and you will get surprised a few times when it takes you down right before the finish line.
The car models are great: those feel like a battle cars on the track. The feeling of car weight is also there, which really makes you feel like you’re driving a heavy, albeit fast, vehicle.
The cars are also upgradable, which gives a sense of progression for the game.
The music and sounds are alright. It puts you in the racing mood + engine roar/tire screech is really well done which is detrimental for immersion in the racing game.
No joystick/keyboard control in menu: you’ll have to put your controller down and navigate with mouse
Can Get Repetitive: there are 9 tracks for ~100 campaign levels. Might not seem that bad, but campaign split into 3 parts. First part only features 3 tracks. That means those 3 tracks repeat over 32 missions. Yes, I enjoyed riding on those tracks for the first ~5 times. After that: that’s the first time I seriously wished that the game I like was shorter rather than longer. And to get all tracks / cars in solo racing mode – you’ll need to grind through all these 100 levels.
The backgrounds are somewhat bland. There are track surroundings, but behind them it looks like an infinite empty space, especially noticeable in the city tracks.
Extra mention goes to the strongest weapon, railgun: the shot does good damage, but it not feel powerful at all. It’s just a small red dot that appears/disappears when you actually expect something like a railgun from quake 2, leaving a good trail of particles for a few seconds.
What surprised me about the Battle Riders is the car handling. It just feels really great to drive and succeed on turning. It reminded me of driving in Need For Speed 2 and Need for Speed 3 – when you get so excited that your body literally follows the cars turn direction (I’m sure you know that feeling if you played racing games when you were a kid). The only serious drawbacks is the lack of multiplayer (would be tons of fun) and a small variety of tracks: there are 9 tracks, multiplied by two (the reverse directions are also possible). It might sound a lot, but first 32 races happen on 3 of them and it really starts to feel somewhat grindy to go through the same road over and over again, even if it includes reversed tracks. Other than that – the description of the game mentions “adrenaline pumping, high octane action and a lot of fun” and I agree to it. Despite the flaws – I can strongly recommend the game. If you love racing games and aren’t afraid of practicing the same track over and over again – that’s the game for you. If you are simply looking for a good game but maybe lack patience – that’s also a solid choice, but wait for 50% discount.
Genre: Dungeon-Crawler / Local Multiplayer Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: Yes
Crawl is a peculiar game. It recently left early access, entering the fully released stage. The game’s idea is really original: four players (either bots or humans) are playing at the same time. One of them gets the role of dungeon explorer, going through the dungeon. Other take the roles of ghosts, who can spawn monsters or possess the traps across the rooms. If someone manages to kill the dungeon explorer, he takes his role, while recently deceased player becomes a ghost. The player who manages to get level 10 and kill the dungeon boss wins.
Really innovative and fun gameplay: there’s also no downtime for anyone, because all players influence the game in a way. It’s like telling a story from two different points of view
Lots of content and variety: different bosses, monsters, weapons and items. As you play more games, you get more unlocks, diversifying the randomized gameplay even further
AI is really good
The game has its own style: the pixel art is well aligned and fits the theme well
A bit of a snowballing tend to happen. If one player levels up while playing explorer, other players (ghosts) are getting stronger monsters. Technically, that tends to even out the disadvantages (weaker players have stronger monsters -> statistically they tend to kill explorer more and take its role) as the game progresses. But if weaker player gets the role of explorer – he still has to fight the strong monsters of at least two other ghosts which often won’t be in his favor. During the midgame this gap is felt the most, but then it evens out if the game drags on a bit. That’s really the only drawback I can name.
No online multiplayer: the game could really benefit from it.
Also, minor thing, but I could not switch active display on my machine (could not move the game to second screen). The option to do this is there, but it did not work if I changed it.
The game is good in singleplayer, because AI can use the surroundings well and both control and combat the monsters skillfully. However, Crawl shines brightest when played with friends: the hot-cold relationship that turns upside down when someone takes control of the explorer (and the old foe, in turn, becomes somewhat your friend) makes up for a lot of funny and exciting moments. The content unlocks also makes it really replayable. Overall, it’s a solid game with original premise and I highly recommend it.
Genre: Turn-Based RPG Game Page:Game On Steam Should You Buy It: Not while controls/UI are like that
When you hear about the game “Sonny” some of you probably remember your teens: that was a really popular flash game. The same goes for me: I still have fond memories of playing it. This game on Steam, however, is not exactly a direct sequel of sonny1/2 from flash to PC. It’s a port from the iPhone game, made by the same author, based on the plot of the first game. It’s a turn-based RPG where you clear stages with your party, acquiring new skills and items in the process.
Content is decent. Lots of items, engaging plot (who does not like zombies?)
The combat system is well thought out: it’s easy to learn but hard to master, offers a solid challenge
Talent tree + possibility to evolve your abilities during battle, adjusting to your playstyle and improving the ways to defeat your enemies
Combat feels well polished: there’s really no attack animations for the character sprites, but hitting the enemies feel really good: lots of flashy numbers and colorful effects.
Solid and colorful graphics overall.
Sounds/music are good
All cons for me are essentially associated with UI/UX. The game might be ported to PC in terms of graphics, but UI/UX is still kept from Mobile. No difference between left / right / middle clicks in battle: if you want to see ability descriptions, you have to hold your CLICKED mouse button on them which screams “touch” from mobile. No skill hotkeys. The first flash game had similar mechanics, but it did not open a new window when you clicked the skill for description. That makes a huge difference. Here, when you want to check your skill out during the battle, you’ll also need to close the window with description (in case you don’t want to use it).
By the way, using right click on skill upgrade window teaches your character skill instantly in your talent tree. Learned it the hard way. So yes, there is a way to read about the talent, you just need to LEFT click it. The inconsistency is killing me.
Shop: no buy-and-equip at once. You have to buy your item, close the shop window, go to inventory window and equip your item there.
Hovering on stats does not explain them. There’s “Stat” info button that explains basic stats.
Big one: some debuffs are not visibly displayed on your character (you can find out that he’s debuffed only by clicking on him). Might not seem like a huge deal, but there’s literally a debuff that kills you when you attack.
Essentially, it feels like a good mobile game that tries to find the way to PC. By itself, there’s nothing bad in the fact, but the laziness in adjusting the UX for decent use on PC really breaks the experience. The game screams “mobile” right now. Honestly, I this is the first time I loved the the setting and gameplay, but was absolutely frustrated by the controls, as playing it on PC felt like playing the game on an oversized mobile. This type of controls work on mobile mostly for one reason: buttons are not too far from another due to smaller screen, you can simply touch them and navigating is much more convenient with your fingers. On pc, you have to scroll your mouse and click more buttons than necessary. The lack of hotkeys also hurts the game that requires you to do lots of clicking on skills. Overall, get it if the control issues are fixed. The gameplay is OK, but the controls are infuriating. If you have an iphone: get it there or wait for fixes on PC, I would not recommend this game in its current state, especially to Sonny fans out there. Better go replay the first game on the publishers website