Ruin of the Reckless - Indie Game Reviews 2017 Steam Screenshot

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).

The Good

  • 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 Bad

  • 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.

Summary

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.

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Feature Image taken from the game store page, here

Crawl - Indie Game Reviews 2017 Steam Screenshot

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.

The Good

  • 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

The Bad

  • 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.

Summary

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.

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Feature Image taken from the Crawl store page, here

I Am The Hero Steam Game Review Screenshot

Genre: Action/Beat-Em-Up Brawler
Game Page: Game On Steam
Should You Buy It: If you like brawlers/fighting games – go grab it right away. Otherwise – read below before buying.

Disclaimer: I got the game key for free.

I am the hero is a brawler with captivating style and an impressive mix of 2d and 3d graphics. You try to clear the levels “screen by screen,” meaning that you need to defeat the enemies on the current screen to progress to the next one. The mechanics are somewhat unique for a brawler: from my time playing the game, I got an impression that you have to hold enemy in the air and smash him there (aerial type of combat seems to be the most effective one). The game dips you right into action: the first few screens are going to be pretty easy, but then the challenge start to increase. The game is difficulty in a good way: if you die, you know that it was you messing things up and making a mistake, not just game dealing you a bad hand.

Pros:

  • Responsive Controls
  • Skill-Based gameplay
  • Very Challenging
  • Great graphics: original camera projection, rich backgrounds and awesomely-drawn visuals
  • Enemies have their own personalities, great variety of them appear as you progress
  • Fast-Paced combat
  • Great music/sound

Cons:

  • Occasional typos, translation quality is not very good (not critical though).
  • Might be too difficult for a semi-casual player
  • Sometimes you become “deathlocked” – enemies can keep hitting you and there’s little chance to recovery (The game gives a hint of pressing -> -> twice, but nothing was happening on my side). Maybe that’s just my poor skills though.

I Am The Hero Review Summary

Overall, I’d say that the game is somewhat a niche-game. If you are into beat-em-up games and fightings – you are not going to be disappointed and this will make a great addition to your library. If you enjoy more casual games or looking for an arcade/platformer – you might want to skip this one.

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Feature Image taken from the I Am The Hero store page, here