Halloween MadNESs: Maniac Mansion (1990)

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"] Alright!  Last Halloween entry for 2017!  Here we go...

In the 80’s, Lucasfilm Games (later to branch off in the 90’s to who we now know as LucasArts) had built up a reputation as a quality games studio and were growing in fame for a number of adventure and puzzle games.  Maniac Mansion was the brainchild of one Ron Gilbert, who is now a legend in the annals of game designers having led the development of some of LucasArts most famous point-and-click adventure games including The Secret of Monkey Island and would also become lead designer at PC game house Humongous Entertainment.  Before all of these big leaps though, he made a strange horror/comedy adventure game inspired loosely by concepts from horror films from the 50’s and 60’s, drawing ideas from many of the same sources as his famous colleague, Double Fine’s lead designer Tim Schafer.

 

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"]

Maniac Mansion was ported to our favorite plastic grey toaster in 1990 amidst a bit of controversy.  PC games generally did not translate well to consoles, especially then.  The development process was different, controls were more complex on the PC, and the hardware was generally more powerful.  So, a lot of PC games never saw ports to consoles.  In fact the bevy of ports we see today is a trend that is relatively recent, due to the blending together of PC and console gaming over the years in terms of design and control structure.  Back in the early 90’s though, this was a big, scary deal.  Now, if you were to ask me, I’d say a point-and-click game with a controller is a failed idea at conception.  I personally hate moving a cursor around with a D-pad and even some games that I like do not implement this very well (I’m looking at YOU SNES SimCity).

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.71" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Mansion1.png" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" sticky="off" align="left" always_center_on_mobile="on" border_style="solid" force_fullwidth="off" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"]

Controller complaints aside, the conversion is actually quite good in Maniac Mansion.  Compared to the Commodore 64 version of the game it is a lot slower, and clunkier, but it is a more-or-less faithful recreation of the game from a design perspective.  The writing is the same, albeit somewhat toned-down to meet Nintendo’s stringent content standards, and there is a somewhat unique feel and mood you get from playing the game on the TV, as opposed to the old-school, yellowing 80’s monitor with that awful on-board sound chip (Sound Blaster gods be-praised!).

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="1_3"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.71" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Mansion2.png" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" sticky="off" align="left" always_center_on_mobile="on" border_style="solid" force_fullwidth="off" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="2_3"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"]

The story follows Dave, who resolves to enter the mansion of the mad scientist Dr. Fred to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend.  You can bring along two allies from a group of friends outside, each having their own skills.  The different skills allow the characters to interact with objects in different ways, and allows those characters to open different paths.  This forces you to base how you play through the game around the skills the allies you bring with you possess.  Like Sweet Home, it allows you to switch out allies, but only of one of your cohorts dies at the hands of the mansion’s many horrific baddies.  If an ally is captured and thrown into the dungeon, you are able to rescue them, if you can risk it.  Run out of allies and it’s game over!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"]

When it comes to visuals, Maniac Mansion looks great and I would contest it is one of the top games on the NES when it comes to graphics.  There is an attention to detail you do not see in a lot of NES titles, especially in ports.  Innocuous background dressing has lines and shadows that go above and beyond what is really needed, making the world feel more real.  The soundtrack is also top-notch, as to be expected from a LucasArts game, but there is something more sophisticated to everything aesthetically, as though it belongs somewhere outside the library of schlock movie licenses and cheap knockoffs in the NES library.  Everything sounds great, and the layers to the sound keep things from being too repetitive.  It never elevates to the level of a title like Castlevania III, but it is a well-made game and there was obvious effort put into making this things look, feel and sound as close to the PC version as possible.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.71" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Mansion3.png" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" sticky="off" align="left" always_center_on_mobile="on" border_style="solid" force_fullwidth="off" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.71" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"]

The good news for collectors is this game is pretty common.  It’s trending up in price due to some newly-found demand, but you can still net a copy of Maniac Mansion in solid condition for about $15.  There is a lot of interest in recent years due to the original’s 30th anniversary, and also because of the recent resurgence in popularity of the point-n-click adventure genre.  Still, if you’re looking for a fun adventure game that will make you think, laugh and even occasionally panic, you can’t really go wrong here, barring the slow-moving cursor doesn’t grate on you too much.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Le Tour de France 2017 Review

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.62" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"] As you look around, men and women are cheering, the buildings are climbing the horizon in front of you, and you can spot the pace car ahead. Your breath is fading, your chest is pounding, and that jerk behind you who has been using you to draft behind for the last stage is making his move. As you rapidly pedal as fast as you can you feel your muscles screaming in unison with the ever growing crowds of fans. You arrive at a cross road. Go for the win and risk a blow out? Or play it safe for the points? The decision is up to you.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.62" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/le-tour-2.png" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" sticky="off" align="center" always_center_on_mobile="on" border_style="solid" force_fullwidth="off" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.62" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"]

Over the past few years the Le Tour De France franchise has become a staple in my household. As a lover for all sports games, I just always felt it necessary to purchase and play. This edition continues down the same path as the others in that it tries to recreate a series of races that are almost 3000 Kilometers in length and have over a few weeks--not an easy task for any game designer. This years installment offers some very user friendly additions in the mandatory first tutorial which was done well and easy to grasp for new gamers to the franchise, the ability to save progress mid race allowing for easy pick up and play, and adjustable difficulty at the start of the race.

 

The Good:

  1. Easy gauge for race stamina is set in two circles Blue (overall) and Red (burst or attack). Your blue gauge slowly decreases during the course of the race and acts as an all encompassing stamina gauge. As your rider goes through the various stages, it will decrease. To boost it up takes the proper use of an aerodynamic pose on the bike or slower pedaling pace. The Red or attack gauge is smaller and is used to push for a lead, going up a tough hill, etc and is replenished for simply pedaling below max speed.
  2. The level design is beautiful. Great open landscapes, beautiful horizons, fun little cities with fans cheering. These combine to help make a great overall look for the game.
  3. Physics. Hills are tough, declines are easy, taking a corner too fast leads to slowing down or falling down. I never once ran into a bug that hindered me racing the roads of Europe, and I am appreciative of that.
  4. User friendly bike controls allow for players who have never played, to dive in and be able to navigate fairly well.

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.62" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/le-tour-3.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" sticky="off" align="left" always_center_on_mobile="on" border_style="solid" force_fullwidth="off" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.62" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"]

The Bad:

  1. Lack of customization. Every racer looked the same to me at the start of races. This lack of detail may not be the biggest deal as the bikes and outfits are very unique, but it really brought down the ownership for me as a racer. I wasn't able to go, yeah that's my guy! Lets do this. Instead I asked, "Is that me?" I would love to see a create a player option so you could play as yourself added to your favorite team or country.
  2. Team mechanics still a miss. The ability to interact with your team is something I have wanted improved in the Tour de France games. Its still a convoluted process that leads to more aggravation than anything. It's not easily explained even in the tutorials and the overall lack of explanation of these details on why its important is something that must be addressed.
  3. Lack of modes. Though you have several races to choose from, not adding to the race styles is a huge miss for this game. Yes, it is a Tour de France game, but you can add some fun games that allow for the player to learn and practice skills outside of the tutorial.
  4. Broadcast hurts more than helps. The broadcaster makes a lot of comments during the race. Some are helpful, some are jibber jabber that you don't understand because you aren't a bike racing aficionado. This drove me nuts and actually made me turn off the volume more than once so I didn't have to listen. It wasn't that it was mixed poorly, its that I didn't know what he was trying to tell me and it wasn't presented in a way that helped me change the way I raced.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.62" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/le-tour-4.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" sticky="off" align="center" always_center_on_mobile="on" border_style="solid" force_fullwidth="off" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.62" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" border_style="solid"]

Final Thoughts:

The team over at Cyanide Interactive has tried to undertake a huge passion project. Creating one of the biggest races (might be the biggest but my brain hurt even trying to consider doing the math between this and Nascar) is huge and they deserve a shout out for that. But with a race this big and their almost too-realistic interpretation of it, the races are long and very difficult to be competitive in even at the lower levels. The meters and refills come so sporadic that even drinking your boost (blue and red mini game in the game where you hold Y to drink/use it and it slowly replenishes) are too few and far between to help the gamer find footing in the uphill climb of a game.

What I would love to see in the future for this franchise is customization of the racers allowing the gamer to feel a part of the action and make a stronger connection to the team, adding more boosts (drinks) to help with stamina management, a user friendly team communication set up, and two game modes for each race; realistic and a sped up version to condense overall race time for gamers with less time to devote to the game.

Though, I did have some fun moments playing the game overall, there is a lot that needs to be fixed in this very niche game to make it more user friendly. This led to a lot of frustration on not being able to understand what the game was asking me as someone who isn't a huge racing fan but instead wanted to jump into a sports game.

Thank you for your time and reading my review and let me know if you play Le Tour de France 2017 and your thoughts below.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.62" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/le-5.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" sticky="off" align="center" always_center_on_mobile="on" border_style="solid" force_fullwidth="off" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Review: That Dragon, Cancer (PC/Steam)

See the source image Seldom does a game come around so powerful that it leaves a long-lasting impact on the player. An experience so dramatic, that is forces those who played it to reflect on their own lives in the real world, outside of the game. That Dragon, Cancer is that game. That Dragon, Cancer is a two hour-ish click adventure game that you can play on PC via Steam or iOS device around $10. That Dragon, Cancer focuses more on narrative than it does gameplay, a trend that has led many titles being dubbed as walking simulators (some positively, others not so much). That Dragon, Cancer however is one walking simulator you should play. It's true, there is not much more to do in That Dragon, Cancer besides walking around and interacting (point & click) with objects. In the short time you’ll play the game you will encounter a curveball here and there that spices up the fun. Whether it is a kart race around a room, some interesting puzzles to crack or a side-scrolling retro platformer, there are parts in the game that add enough interaction to warrant That Dragon, Cancer classified as a video game and not just a visual novel.

Gameplay, however, is just the means used to convey an engrossing story which is the focus of That Dragon, Cancer and yes, I’m trying to remain vague as to spoil as little as possible. What I want to tell you is that the story is gripping, grueling, unsettling, warm, and overall paints a pragmatic and unidealistic portrait that conveys the love a parent has for a child. I can honestly say that That Dragon, Cancer is the hardest game I’ve ever had to play through. Not because the the game is difficult to play or understand mind you. As a father myself, the narrative is so harsh and down to earth, it brought me to tears. Not necessarily because the tone is grim, which it is through more than half of the game, but because very few times have any of my experiences struck a cord so close to home. I, as I’m sure many of you, have all been affected by this unbearable disease. What I love most about That Dragon, Cancer is that at no point did the game become a billboard soliciting support. We all have been inundated with the global outpouring to rally and fight for the cause at some point, which is very admirable. But I will at least admit that it's very daunting to keep up with.

That Dragon, Cancer aims to provide a window through gaming into what it's really like to deal with cancer on the home-front. In this case, a child named Joel, who isn’t a fictional character at all. Ryan & Amy Green (the designer and writer for the game) actually lived this experience with their real life son Joel who was diagnosed with cancer (atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumors) when he was just 12 months old. Joel would struggle and fight his diagnosis until he was 4 years old, overcoming the original 4 month diagnosis. This is their story. An unabashed, tearful, but real look into your worst nightmare as a parent. The personal notes, letters, and dialog all meld together to convey the strength and endurance that proves the power of true, unfaltering love. The moment I realized my experience was related to someone’s real life, everything immediately became less video game, and more storytelling. At times, I felt like Ryan & Amy were telling me their story in person, like we were having a Skype session on my computer.

Human: Fall Flat (PS4) Review

Physics-based puzzle games are a tough nut to crack. Make the game too hard and the player leaves the game frustrated, never to return to the thumb contorting nightmare they just experienced. Make the game too easy and the player leaves disappointed, thinking about the untapped potential of the game they just played. Human: Fall Flat attempts to balance this difficulty teeter-totter by keeping the mechanics simple (all you can do is grab things and jump) but increasing the complexity of the situation you need to apply the mechanics in. While there is the occasional stumble, Human: Fall Flat manages to stay on its feet to the end. Jumping in, you take control of Bob, he is a builder, but I do not believe there is any relation to the other one. The first few levels are increasingly complex tutorials, but even as the difficulty grows, the answers are straight forward. Eventually, you get to the first "real" level and you are immediately challenged to put together everything you have learned to solve a more complex, and far less straightforward, combination of puzzles. These levels are where the game really shines. Though there seems to be an intended way to solve each stage, you do have significant freedom in how you approach each situation. There are areas to explore that have nothing to do with solving the puzzles to escape. On the other hand, if you are skillful in your approach and have mastered locomotion, you can skip entire parts of puzzles on your way to the exit.

When controlling Bob, you have only a few options of what you can do: grab things and jump. On the most basic level that is it. However, the possibilities are quite vast. Each arm is independently controlled with the right and left trigger. You will grab at wherever you are looking with the trigger you pull. So, you can look right and grab a lever, then look left and grab a separate lever, and then twist your body to move them each a different direction. Or, commonly, look up and jump to grab a ledge with both hands. Then use the sticks to pull yourself up and let go of the triggers once half of your body is up to stand-up. In trying to write this it is confusing, but I have included a video of it in action as it is quite intuitive once you learn it. Now, intuitive does not mean easy, or that it works the first time, but if you think something will work, it almost always will.

If you miss a jump, or drown, or do something else you are not supposed to, your body will fall back down onto the level crumpled in a heap back at the beginning of the puzzle. Though death happens often (at least to me) it was rarely frustrating, and thankfully the checkpoints are frequent enough that I never felt like I lost significant progress on my quest. Only one time was I repeatedly failing at a task when I was trying to do the "right" thing. Often what you need to attempt to do is easily teased out. Occasionally you have to try a couple of different techniques to make something work, but more often than not, if you fail numerous times at a task, you are likely approaching it wrong. Knowing this helped keep the game from getting frustrating and helped ensure I was regularly making progression toward the end of the level.

While puzzle games have been lookers in the past (The Witness and more recently Rime) the presentation here is not something to write home about. That is not to say the game looks bad, not even close, but there is a minimalism to the presentation that will not appeal to everyone. Additionally, the sparse soundtrack led me to do something I almost never do...listen to podcasts while playing. I felt a bit guilty about this the first time I did it, so when going back to the game, I tried to listen to the audio again. I just could not do it and went back to listening to podcasts.

One advantage Human: Fall Flat has over many puzzle games is a co-op mode that is likely more fun than playing alone. While I spent the majority of my time in single-player, I was able to partake in a bit of local co-op, and the emotions ranged from slightly irritated to uncontrollable delight. While the wonky physics can be humorous individually, they are significantly amplified when you have another person trying their darndest to help, but they make things considerably more complicated. If you are short on patience, this may not be a great mode, but I found myself having the most fun when I had a partner.

As a complete package, Human: Fall Flat delivers a simple concept in a way that was able to balance the frustration with the fun. It is not going to win awards for presentation, but if you can navigate an occasional control struggle, and you enjoy solving puzzles, there is enjoyment to be found. To amplify your fun, find a fellow builder to join in your adventure.

Human: Fall Flat was reviewed using a PS4 code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy on our disclaimer page here.

A  fine entry into the physics-based puzzle genre, Human: Fall Flat will give you occasional control quirks but typically provides a fun experience.

 

Nathan's Take on Xbox Play Anywhere

See the source image Xbox Play Anywhere was announced at E3 2016, and was met with some criticism as well as some praise. The program entitles gamers that purchase specific digital games to access the game on both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One, allowing your achievements, progress and saves to travel back and forth between your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One.

Critics of this program say that this proves that Microsoft is distancing themselves from the console market, or that now there is no need to own an Xbox One since more titles (some exclusives) can be played it on PC.

To me, however, I don’t see this as Microsoft exiting the console space, but trying to widen their net so more people can experience great content and use the Xbox ecosystem on their PC. In this article, I wanted to share my experience with Xbox Play Anywhere.

Before I go too far down this path, I should probably share some of my PC specs: 4GB GTX 980, 32GB RAM, SSD for Windows 10 OS & 7200RPM for game install, playing with an Xbox One S controller on a Samsung 4K 28” monitor.

Most of my experience with Xbox Play Anywhere comes from Forza Horizon 3. That was one of the first titles released with this feature (ReCore was the first). As you may have seen from yesterday’s Top 25 Xbox One Games article, Forza Horizon 3 is among the best offerings on Xbox One. The fact that it is also available to PC players on Windows 10 just makes it so many more people can enjoy this fantastic game.

I began playing Forza Horizon 3 on my Xbox One console, racking up all those miles and skills on my TV from the comfort of my recliner. A few days later, my wife was watching a show on the TV via my Xbox One, but I felt the need for speed! Since I bought Forza Horizon 3 digitally, I had access to it on my Windows 10 PC. I went to my office and began the install, wondering how well this whole thing would work out. After installation, I clicked play on the Windows 10 Xbox app, and Forza Horizon 3 booted up. The first thing I saw was a box pop up, saying it was syncing my save data from the server. Indeed, a few seconds later I was loaded in to Forza Horizon 3 exactly where I left off.

Forza Horizon 3 looked great on my Xbox One, but it looked even better on my PC! I was able to kick up the graphics and play in 4K at about 30 FPS, or I could knock down the resolution and get to the 60FPS mark for an amazingly smooth presentation. It felt good to finally use my PC for some gaming, as I had upgraded it earlier, but never really put it to task. I saw a buddy pop online, and wondered what the experience playing together would be like. To my amazement, it worked without issue! I was playing on my Windows 10 PC, and he was on his Xbox One, we were in a party chat and racing around, as if we were both playing on the console! After played an hour or so on the PC, and called it a day.

Returning to play on my Xbox One console, when loading the game a familiar box came up, telling me that it was syncing data from the server. Again, seconds later, I was able to pick up where I left off on Windows 10! For me, this was a seamless experience, and made me wonder about the possibilities this feature could unlock in the future.

After this positive experience, I began looking to see if a game was Xbox Play Anywhere. If it was, I bought it digitally, because of the freedom of playing back and forth between Windows 10 and Xbox One. The only thing lacking right now, in my opinion, is the number of games available for Xbox Play Anywhere. As of this writing, there are nineteen currently available, and seventeen announced. Most of these titles are exclusives, but there are a few notable third party games such as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Middle Earth: Shadow of War in the program. I would love to see Star Wars: Battlefront 2, Madden, or Injustice 2 as part of this initiative in the future, as I believe expansion into third parties would be a shrewd move by Microsoft. This would serve to unify the player base, and make a case for PC gamers to eventually get an Xbox One if they want to game on a TV as opposed to a monitor.

In all, the Xbox Play Anywhere feature is a great benefit if it is included with a game purchased digitally. If you have a Windows 10 PC and an Xbox One, this may be something you want to consider when purchasing games in the future. The freedom offered, as well as the cross-play between Windows 10 and Xbox One is well worth it!

Have you tried Xbox Play Anywhere? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet: @VoicedByNathan!

Tango Fiesta: The Greatest Action Story Never Told

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Tango Fiesta is a sly top down twin stick shooter that places you in every single 80's action flick all rolled into one. It's greatest strength lies it's absolutely absurd and hilarious story. If you are familiar with any of the action flicks of the 80's then you will be right at home and chuckling away at the silly dialog and main character John Strong who looks Bruce Willis as John McClain in die Hard. John Strong is the greatest action hero you've never hear of. Has he defeated the Russians? Yup. Did he squash the Middle East? Been there done that. Save the planet from Aliens? You bet'cha. Tango Fiesta is his untold story.

Every level in Tango Fiesta is randomly generated, and is based off of some action movie. This greatly lends to its replay value. There are also multiple characters you can play as each with their own stats and attributes. Sadly no matter who you play with the game is still narrated by John Strong. It would have been nice to have multiple retelling of the same story from diff points of view.

Your load out consists of a main and secondary weapon as well as an explosive. The guns run the gamut of what you would expect from AK's to Uzis to shotguns and you can purchase new ones over time with the loot you collect from the levels. You have the same options with the explosives which range form simple grenades to . As far as the twin stick mechanics go you don't quite have a full 360 range of motion when shooting just up down left right and diagonals. So you do have to do some navigation work and line you shots up to be effective. Outside of that you do have your typical ammo packs health packs and you do have to reload which depending on the weapon determines how long the animation is. So combine all of that and you do get a bit more strategy than a standard twin stick space shooter for example. Lastly there are bosses each with their own ridiculous action movie villain name. The boss battles are nice in that you have the entirety of the level to play in complete with additional enemies, health packs and ammo to try and be the last man standing.

 

 

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_circle_counter admin_label="Circle Counter" number="70" percent_sign="on" background_layout="light" bar_bg_color="#ffcc00" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Tango Fiesta is great addition to the twin stick shooter genre. It has a colorful story, fun characters, and is downright hilarious. Add to it the fact that you have multiple characters, you can play it in a single or 4 player setting, there are a ton of weapons to buy and every level is different every time. It's fun its frantic and it's hilarious. If you've got a weekend and are looking for something to just pick up and play this is a great entry for that.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Tango_Fiesta_SIEA.mp4" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_gallery admin_label="Gallery" gallery_ids="9895,9896,9897,9898" fullwidth="off" orientation="landscape" show_title_and_caption="on" show_pagination="on" background_layout="light" auto="off" hover_overlay_color="rgba(255,255,255,0.9)" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Coach Mo's Thoughts

Tango Fiesta made me laugh out loud almost the entire time. The dialogue in game and  during the cut scenes is one of the best things Merge Games was able to do. It is a nod to all those 80’s action movies we loved to mock and imitate in our youth. It made me want to watch some old movies in the middle of playing to satisfy that nostalgia.

When you jump into the game and we move past the humor, the game play was good. Please don’t read that as me not liking it. It was good for being a twin stick shooter. However, in playing solo my first run through I was able to beat the first levels and boss fight in less than 10 minutes rescuing John’s girlfriend who was kidnapped by his old partner. I found that if you run through the level to the objective, dodging enemy fire, and then shoot the objective from a far then you are able to destroy the objectives with out alerting the near by enemies.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

This Week's Xbox Gem

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] The gem that rises above all others this week isn't a stand alone game, but an expansion to one of the best games on the Xbox One and Windows 10!

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Forza-Horizon-3-2012-Hot-Wheels-Rip-Rod.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

For me, this release came out of left field, but I instantly fell in love with the idea of racing on Hot Wheels tracks, with crazy loops, fire jumps, and amazing new Hot Wheels cars! This is the latest expansion for Forza Horizon 3, and is included in the Expansion Pass. If you prefer to buy this DLC by itself, outside of the Expansion Pass, it costs $19.99.

The Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels expansion races on to Xbox One and Windows 10 (remember, it's a Play Anywhere title!) Tuesday, May 9th!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

[et_pb_section bb_built="1" admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Many times during the game, your character asks, “Why did you come to Andromeda?” That same question can be asked of the player of any game, “Why are you playing this game?”

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/mea1.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Mass Effect Andromeda is the fourth installment of the Mass Effect lineage, technically taking place a few hundred years after the events of Mass Effect 3, but the characters are unaware of anything past the beginning of Mass Effect 2, since that is about the time that they began their journey to Andromeda.

In the course of the game, you get to see the new galaxy through the eyes of Pathfinder Ryder, the human responsible for finding and taming a new home for the human race. You have a set of “Golden Worlds” that were selected from the hundreds of possible planets in Andromeda, which could support human life. Your mission starts out as you try to identify the best option of these “Golden Worlds” for the human race to begin anew, but you quickly discover that it is not going to be an easy task to do so.

As you discover new planets, you also discover new threats, possible friends or foes, species and others that wish to join you on your mission. To enable you to effectively explore these new, vast worlds, you receive command of your spaceship, the Tempest, and a planetary rover called the Nomad. For me, planetary exploration is a hallmark of the Mass Effect series, and this entry has some of the best exploration, whether it is going to clusters and exploring the planets on the Tempest, or driving the Nomad across various environments. Driving the Nomad is fantastic, and harkens back to the Mako (in a good way) from Mass Effect 1. The Nomad does not have any weaponry, but features an all-terrain mode that enables you to climb the highest mountains, a booster to move you quickly around, and thrusters that let you hover for a short time. All of this combines to make one of the best vehicles I have used in gaming!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/mea2.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="right" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

As with any Mass Effect game, there are branching decisions to be made that will shape and tailor your personal journey. At least twice, I encountered a choice that made me set the controller down and think about the possible outcomes, and how I wanted Andromeda to be shaped. You could make a choice that one of your crew absolutely do not like, but you know it would be better for Andromeda. Those kind of decisions can make it difficult to choose, and really, there sometimes are not “correct” choices, just the lesser of two evils. This made me really invest more in Ryder, my crew, and Andromeda as a whole.

As mentioned above, the crew of the Tempest is a motivating force behind some of your decisions. As you progress through the narrative, hear their back-stories, and go on missions with them, your crew feels like a family. I genuinely began to care about their stories, and as the crew grew together, I wanted to make sure I was a good leader for them. After a shaky start, my progression as their leader felt earned, not given. Most of your crew could accompany you on missions, as you can take two companions with you. Obviously, you would want to consider which companions would augment your selected abilities, and create a formidable team. On the other hand, if you do not really care about those tactics, grab your two favorites and listen to their conversations as you explore Andromeda, hear their reactions to your decisions, and even get their thoughts before you make those decisions.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/mea3.png" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="bottom" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

When you put all of these things together, you get the sum of what a Mass Effect game is, and it has been done well in Mass Effect Andromeda… for the most part. Quite a few flaws mar this otherwise gem of a game. Most noticeably, I encountered quite a few issues with graphics, textures, and lighting. During a conversation, I spoke to invisible characters (that were not making use of cloaking devices), characters with obstructed faces due to improper placement of light sources that would cast an unfortunate shadow, and I had to exit out of the game completely a few times because I was not able to select dialogue options to progress the game. I also have a number of missions or tasks that I cannot complete because of some bug in the mission. Achievements are also not popping for feats that I know I accomplished. It is quite frustrating to see these types of issues in this otherwise great game, but I am hoping that with patches, most of these issues could be fixed.

When you tire of exploring Andromeda with the crew of your Tempest, you can switch over to multiplayer and run Horde-type missions with up to three other players. Its wave based, and cycles through hacking, survival, and VIP type waves, leading up to the final extraction wave. The missions can prove to be intense, especially when trying to get a full team extraction!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/mea4.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="fade_in" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

In all, this is a fun and engaging game. As of this writing, I have spent over 90 hours with the game, and have really enjoyed it! It is unfortunate that this game has the technical issues, because I would definitely score it higher if I experienced them with less frequency. The story is worthy of entry into the Mass Effect canon, while I personally don’t think it’s as good as the Shephard storyline, it’s still compelling in its own right.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below, or hit me up over on Twitter @VoicedByNathan!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label="Divider" color="#ffffff" show_divider="off" height="5" divider_style="solid" divider_position="top" hide_on_mobile="on" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][et_pb_circle_counter admin_label="Circle Counter" title="Flawed Beauty" number="75" percent_sign="off" background_layout="light" bar_bg_color="#7cda24" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Ghost Recon Wildlands - The Ultimate Review

Ghost Recon Wildlands will be one of the most underrated games of 2017, but offers the player one of the best MilSim experiences ever built in one of the most beautiful environments crafted in gaming. Whether you are a shooter or an explorer, an adventurer or an achievement/trophy hunter, the Wildlands offers a reward and exciting experience that must be enjoyed one province at a time. And yes, even though it is awesome to play solo, it is better with others.

Read More

Review: Sublevel Zero Redux

Greetings Koopalings! Donnie here from Play Some Video Games to review a new addition to consoles - Sublevel Zero Redux. I used this review opportunity to dust off the Xbox One in the office, but you can play Sublevel Zero Redux on your PlayStation 4 or a PC using the Steam client. I streamed the game three times using Beam on Xbox One, but so far have had difficulty downloading them to add to our YouTube page. When I get this ironed out, I'll add the Let's Plays to this review but thanks for those that tuned in to watch. Sublevel Zero Redux is a new first person shooter / procedurally generated roguelike from independent studio Sigtrap Games (@SIGTRAPgames).  The big sell with Sublevel Zero Redux is its six-degrees of freedom (6DoF) in which you're piloting a gunship both left, right, up, down, forward and back in three dimensional space. As with many roguelikes of recent memory (Don't Starve / Binding of Issac), Sublevel Zero Redux also features permadeath which means no lives & no saves. It's not a style of game I would recommend to all gamers, even I can't claim to be a fan of the genre, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the experience.

Presentation

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider color="#000000" show_divider="on" divider_style="solid" divider_position="top" divider_weight="1px" hide_on_mobile="on" admin_label="Divider" disabled="off"] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" admin_label="Text" use_border_color="off" border_style="solid" disabled="off"]

The game features a tron-like art style of neon glowing retro-bit blocks and warm colored environments. The use of color and contrast is very attractive. Its a modern take on classic game art and it is quite enjoyable even if simple.  Aiding the presentation are some sweet, sweet tunes. The music and sound effects definitely help to sell the the sci-fi setting. Weapons also fire with great visual and audio effects which continues to build an immersive experience. I definitely recommend pulling out some headphones so you never miss a beat.

Equally good as the audio & visual direction are the mechanics. Guiding a ship with six-degrees of freedom in 3D space isn't something often implemented in video games. The sheer amount of negative combinations that could result in a player trying to harness such movement has to be a nightmare for any developer. I'm happy to report that Sigtrap Games has largely pulled it off. Controlling your ship through the winding hallways and connected rooms is pleasant from the start. It wasn't until my 4th or 5th run with the game that I began to really settle into the groove, but once it clicked, it was very rewarding to zip in and out of doorways blasting away with mini-guns and rockets before switching to grenades while dodging on-coming attacks with a barrel roll. There were a few occassions where my ship turned it's axis when I didn't specifically want it to, but it never impeded my progress or adversely affected my playtime.

That's all to say, the game really impresses "for an indie game." I don't mean to sound derogatory at all, we all know independent studios have largely taken up the non-AAA video game scene. However, even with that said, there are very few indie games I've played that have this level of polish regarding performance. I didn't experience a single frame rate stutter, a crash, or any other technical issue worth reporting. Considering how ambitious the goal to deliver six-degrees of freedom is, Sigtrap Games deserves some major kudos for a job very well done.

Gameplay

The game begins with a small cinematic explaining that the universe is literally falling apart. Wormholes open randomly, swallowing galaxies, planets, ships, people.... you get the idea. You enter an ancient facility that is behind all of this chaos in an attempt to save the galaxy. Ultimately the story is a forgettable one and is probably the easiest stone to throw at Sublevel Zero Redux. The world is so well constructed, it feels like a missed opportunity not to have some dialog between characters or more cut-scenes in between levels. I could imagine some Firewatch like dialog from your gunship back to homebase or an operator really adding some depth to the adventure.

Death is permanent with this game and you're going to die at least a handful ,if not a couple dozen of times (at least I did). The maps are procedurally generated after each death which keeps the game feeling new every time. As you progress through each labyrinth, you encounter several floating robot combatants that move as you do and also fire projectiles for you to doge. It's pretty standard shooter stuff but it makes for an enjoyable loop due to the superb control you have over your ship. The hook here is Sublevel Zero is one of those 'Just One More' type of games. You'll never feel as if you were robbed from glory or that you weren't good enough. There's always a hint of... "I can do this, just one more go" with Sublevel Zero Redux that will bring you back beyond your first successful run.

To add just a little more flavor to the dish, you can upgrade and outfit your ship, as well as unlock new ones. As you progress though each sublevel, you'll acquire materials and weapons that you can use to equip and upgrade new weapons and hulls. You can equip two sets of primary and secondary weapons which you can quick swap in combat with the right and left bumpers. Honestly I found crafting mostly a random affair as I never truly knew if I was actually upgrading over my previous tools. I was largely just clicking menu options periodically as they became available as there's little in the way of guidance and instruction for this portion of the game. Additionally, the loot drops found in chests throughout campaign never seemed to really upgrade my ship in a tangible way.

Value

Sublevel Zero is unlike anything out there and there isn't a strong direct comparative for Sublevel Zero Redux on consoles. At best, this game compares to Forsaken on Nintendo 64 or the niche-popular PC game Decent from the 90s. I imagine many other reviews for Sublevel Zero Redux might mention that the game is short as some negative statement. While it is true that this game can be beaten fairly quickly (3.5 hours for me on my first day) it is a rogue-like and meant to be played through multiple times. This is where my biggest flaw with the game comes into focus. The loop began to grow stale on my third run through the game, which isn't the best criticism for a Roguelike. The game is fun to play but has very little motivation or purpose for completing the quest let alone completing it for a second, third, or multiple runs. There's little diversity in the environments making everything feel the same no matter how many different times you die and hit the reset button.

I'd offer that the amount of gameplay available coupled with the better than average music, style, and control justifies the Andrew Jackson ($20) out of your wallet.

Conclusion

Sublevel Zero Redux is the type of game that coined the phrase "for fans of the genre/series." I wish there was a lot more here from a plot perspective, even an occassional boss battle would have been a welcome addition to the formula. It's just unique enough that I'd recommend this game the next time you're in-between big releases and want to get into something new. It's a wonderful option available that won't require a 60 hour (or dollar) investment to enjoy.

Sublevel Zero Redux is a great example of why we have come to love independent studios. With Sublevel Zero Redux the Sigtrap team attempt to bring something fresh and new to the often "too-similar" first person shooter market and the experience is worth taking a flier on.

 

Sublevel Zero Redux was reviewed using an Xbox One code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy on our disclaimer page here.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Destiny 2: Electric Boogaloo

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] So yesterday at 10am PST we got the full reveal trailer, and man what a hell of a reveal it was. The last city has been stomped by the Cabal and their leader Ghaul (Gary), and we have had to retreat from the city losing pretty much everything in the process. If that isn't a brilliant way to reset everything without resetting everything I don't know what is. Bungie found a way to keep all of the lore and story beats intact, but still manage to do away with all of the systems and things that were just way to convoluted. This soft reset manages to keep the essence of what Destiny is. It's not unlike say any sequel where you are stripped of your powers after becoming all-powerful in the previous entry. So with that being said...

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://youtu.be/ZJLAJVmggt0" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

So here's what we know so far: The Cabal came saw and kicked us out of our home. The remaining Guardians and survivors have fled the city into the wilderness to regroup and prepare to take back our home, and presumably the Traveler. It seems as though we will have to acquire new powers, which will require travel to new places in our solar system (can we please go to Europa already). From the absence of any Ghosts in the reveal we can only assume that we are without them for a period of time. However it has been confirmed that Nolan North will be reprising his role as the Ghost (I miss Dinklebot). The Vanguard has survived the attack, but it looks like they are split up into two camps. Lord Shaxx has survived as well and you can see him in the trailer. There will be new foes from the Cabal. A dual sword wielding monstrosity that we assume is part of the red legion. Some new Cabal Phalanx shield toting guys and what looks to be some kind of dog like creature. Last but not least the Cabal leader Ghaul (I will be calling him Gary till the end of time) who looks to be more metal than space turtle. What is of interesting note is that there is no sign of Eris Morn, The Speaker, The Cyrptarch, Tess Everess or any of the faction leaders so we are unsure of their fates. We also know based on the image of the expansion pass (yes they are doing that again) it looks like one with deal with Osiris and the other with Rasputin.

Story wise that's what we know so far. Other than that Deej gave us a nice neat little timeline. May 18th will be the gameplay reveal, the beta will be in the summer, there will also be more info during the summer and it launches Friday September 8th which means my family will be missing me that weekend lol. Lastly for you Master Racers out there it will be on PC, PS4 will still have timed exclusives and there is a $250 Collectors Edition that I will probably make Coach Mo do an unboxing video on. So let us know what you think. Will you be jumping back into Destiny, starting fresh, playing the wait and see game or just not interested? Keep it locked here and on our twitter accounts (@PSVG, @PSVG_PSIsland)  for more news and updates on Destiny 2 as it drops.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_gallery admin_label="Gallery" gallery_ids="9006,9008,9011,9012,9013,9015,9016,9017,9018,9019,9020,9021,9022,9023" fullwidth="on" show_title_and_caption="on" show_pagination="on" background_layout="light" auto="on" hover_overlay_color="rgba(255,255,255,0.9)" caption_all_caps="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

HOMEBOUND Review (PC VR)

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] It seems to me that nothing good ever comes from being in outer space. Whether you’re on a ship or a space station, some bad stuff is going to go down at some point. It could be aliens blasting first and asking questions later, it could be asteroids just shredding your hull to pieces, or maybe you just forgot to bring extra fuel and now you’re stranded. No matter what the issue, space is like one big bad luck charm.

Things are no different in HOMEBOUND, a virtual reality title from Swedish studio Quixel. You fill the shoes (or space suit) of an astronaut on a space station orbiting Earth. An on-board AI guides you through a few tasks on the ship, familiarizing yourself with the controls and mechanics of the game. You’ve got two hands for grabbin’ and a flashlight for shinin’ and that’s it! After you complete a couple of mundane tasks things get real. An unknown object strikes the station! Before you know it you’re blasted out of the room and fighting to get back.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ss_20ed0a2683498b95d19ac703276df039bcd139d0.1920x1080.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="top" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Now, here’s where things got a little confusing for me. During my playthrough, I could hear the HAL like companion talking, but I couldn’t make out anything being said over the noise of the station going down. There are objectives to complete, even once all hell breaks loose, but they made no sense. I got back into the ship after being blasted into space and my objective was to find a book. Well screw that, I’m finding the escape pod! So that’s what I did. I got myself in the escape pod and left, and that was that. You are treated to a nauseating ride back to Earth and boom, end of game.

HOMEBOUND is a visual treat. The space station looks excellent, with lighting effects that make the area feel realistic. It looks like something NASA would have put together. The sound also helps sell the realism factor, when it’s not fighting over itself for your attention. Audio levels seem to be a bit of an issue, as well as audio cues that might play at the wrong time, depending on how much you explored the ship.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ss_6f5a9f8a478b0553f59ce20ad5d962d5131cdf77.1920x1080.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ss_1cde4f90e1ba9d4da7f3ba04b969332c3cfde605.1920x1080.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="right" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Moving around the ship takes some getting used to, however. Because you are in zero gravity, you can move up, down, strafe left and right, forward and backwards, and turn left and right. The way these movement controls are mapped to the controller make it a little confusing. I found myself blasting upwards when I meant to go forwards, or strafing instead of turning, and since you are using both sticks at the same time to get around, I found myself having to stop, reset, and move forward, then up, then turn, until I got my bearings again. It proved to be rather frustrating, and since you are in a hurry, it’s even more so. All that moving around, especially while turning, can lend to a bit of VR sickness, even for someone like me who doesn’t suffer from it as much as some people.

Overall, I’m baffled by HOMEBOUND. What seems like it could be an interesting experience turns out to just sort of be confusing. One minute you’re gathering floppy disks, and the next you are scrambling to survive. It all seems very disconnected as an experience, almost feeling more like a theme park ride than a space-faring mission, and since the space station is limited in scope and lacks character, I couldn’t find a reason to return to the game. HOMEBOUND displays some promise from a technical standpoint, but as little more than a tech demo, the value of the game is diminished significantly. With other space adventures to have on VR platforms, I can’t recommend HOMEBOUND to anyone but the most space-experience hungry of gamers.

HOMEBOUND is available now on Steam. HOMEBOUND was reviewed using a Steam code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s review policy on our disclaimer page here.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_circle_counter admin_label="Circle Counter" number="42" percent_sign="off" background_layout="light" bar_bg_color="#000000" /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_blurb admin_label="Blurb" title="TL;DR" url_new_window="off" use_icon="off" icon_color="#000000" use_circle="off" circle_color="#000000" use_circle_border="off" circle_border_color="#000000" icon_placement="top" animation="top" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_icon_font_size="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

HOMEBOUND is not much more than a space themed tech demo with little replayability, but it sure is pretty to look at!

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Talent Not Included Sets The Stage For Its Xbox One Debut

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] HEAR YE, HEAR YE! TALENT NOT INCLUDED SETS THE STAGE FOR ITS XBOX ONE DEBUT

Frima brings their cylinder-based action platformer to Xbox One fans on April 5th

Quebec – March 22, 2017 – Places, please! Frima, independent Canadian game developer, has announced today that Talent Not Included, their theatrical drama-filled action/combat platformer, will be released on Xbox One on April 5th. After launching to critical acclaim on PC via Steam last August, Frima's creative team is delighted to invite Xbox One fans to the Talent Not Included stage for the performance of a lifetime, this April... Ready? Action!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://youtu.be/5rmJ51cM_6k" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

WHAT’S THIS GAME ABOUT Talent Not Included is an action/combat platformer where mechanical soldiers, animals, hard-headed monsters, and rotating cylinders will challenge you in one of the most demanding plays to ever hit the stage! Set in the fantasy land of Notthatmuchfurther, the game tells the story of three monsters: Zordok, Derp, and Kevin, all three huge fans of slaughter, bloodbaths, and Shakespeare.

One night, as they were bored out of their minds, they decided to put on their own play. Unfortunately, nothing went as planned…That’s mostly because Zot, a demonic critic hired for the occasion, chose three mediocre actors with strong personalities, hoping to sow hell on stage for the public and his own amusement.

Break a leg! As you will be playing these actors in hopes of making a nice profit out of your marvelous performance! Come on! Show's this way!

Talent Not Included brings a whole new platformer gameplay experience, with its cylinder-based action machinery! This exciting mechanic is suited for casual and hardcore gamers alike, as it introduces a completely innovative and never-seen-before kind of game.

If you're the kind of player that likes to go co-op, this game has it all! Go head-to-head with your girl/boy/undetermined/other friend(s) and show them the lovely paper craft-inspired art style that will have everyone talking. Seriously though, everyone!

When life just gets dull, let Talent Not Included be the change you need, a change that will have you pinned to your couch in hopes of beating a game that keeps on delivering!

BE WARNED: This is a fun game for fun people only. If you feel like you meet these qualifications, gear up and bring on the talent, for Talent Not Included is about to give you the time of your life, or your money not back (nice try, though).

Brace yourselves, for the play won’t exactly be a walk in the park.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Jason reviewed this title on PC back in August, you can read his full thoughts here.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Interview with Vladimir Piskunov, CEO/CTO of Bitbox Ltd.

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Life is Feudal is video game franchise set in a fictional Medieval world, developed by Bitbox Ltd. On top of their two flagship titles - Life is Feudal: Your Own and Life is Feudal: MMO, Bitbox Ltd have expanded the franchise by publishing other titles, such as MindIllusion's title, Forest Village. Below is the interview we conducted with Vladimir Piskunov who is the CEO/CTO of Bixbox Ltd.

What made you decide to develop games?

"I've been a hardcore gamer since childhood and I quickly progressed from casual/primitive gameplay types of the games to more advanced ones, ending up on Sandbox MMOs genre. I’ve played Ultima Online, EVE Online, Shadowbane, Darkfall and many other of similar or not so similar MMOs. After some time I realized that there was no game that would satisfy all my gaming needs and more importantly- there was no such game in development. I had nothing to play with and I had nothing to wait for. So I decided to make the "Game of my Dreams" by myself."

How did Bitbox come to be?

"Right when I was about to turn 28, I decided that I should actually try to develop the Game of my Dreams. In May 2010 I started a topic in a local game development portal looking for like-minded enthusiasts. People were coming in and out of our team, because enthusiasm is something that ends rather quickly from the most people. But I’ve managed to gather the team core of about 5 people and with this small team we created a technical demo of our game that contained a networked terraforming/tunneling system and free building systems. With this tech demo I started looking for investors for our project and found one small local investor in the Fall 2011. Thus, Bitbox Ltd. was born and we became a full time-paid game developers."

How do you decide what to design/develop?

"I basically looked around and saw that there was nothing made, or being made, that met with what I wanted from a game. And so, I said "I'll make my own."

Any plans to make the jump into console gaming or would you rather stick to PC and why?

"We prefer to stick to PC. Mostly because supporting different platforms is a quite a complex task, that has many demands on all sides of project: development, UI, controllers, and game design. Our games are already complex by themselves , and so porting them to consoles will take triple the amount amount of efforts we currently spend on the PC versions."

How did Life is Feudal come to be exactly?

"A realistic medieval setting something that appealed to me personally and to our team. It was 2010, and A Song of Ice and Fire was rather popular, but not at its peak, and we thought that it was a good reference, especially the first books, that contained no dragons and almost no Walkers :)"

"We had a couple of different titles for our game, all circling around a synergy of combat and peace, PvP players and crafting/PvE players. Thus we had the working title, "Craftsman", and "Marksman". But later on, once we found how really harsh, hard and unforgiving our game was, we decided to stick to the “Life is Feudal” title. Got killed 5 times in a row? - Life is Feudal. Forgot to feed your livestock and they all died of starvation? - oh well, Life is Feudal. And so on :)"

Life is Feudal was able to cover all development cost within 49 hours of releasing, that is amazing! What do you contribute to the success?

"We attribute that to the interesting gameplay from this Game of my Dreams - gameplay that apparently others dreamed of, too. We had no budget for any marketing or PR, so it was all organic interest. And of course, without Steam we would not be able to achieve such exposure."

What is being worked on currently/next?

"Right now, we’re doing Closed Beta tests of our Life is Feudal:MMO right. Truth to be told, the Life is Feudal:Your Own we released on Steam in 2014 was just a "pocket" version of the Game of My Dreams, but the MMO version, with 21x21 kms map and up to 10,000 simultaneous players on it, well, that's truly a full vision of my Dream game. And I’m very excited and can't wait until we hit full release!"

 

(We hope to be able to get Vladimir on the podcast eventually, but in the meantime to learn more about Life is Feudal and Bitbox please check out: http://lifeisfeudal.com/)

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APL4r7p3vUg"] [/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_2cYpvjMp8"] [/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Review - Orwell (PC)

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Orwell takes place in a country called the Nation, led by a modern-day authoritarian government known as The Party in the capital of Bonton. In 2012, the Party passed the Safety Bill, a law expanding the government's ability to spy on its citizens in the name of national security. As part of the bill the Ministry of Security, led by Secretary of Security Catherine Delacroix, commissioned a covert surveillance system code named Demiurge (later renamed Orwell).

Orwell allows investigations into the private communications of people of interest, but doesn't allow any one person full access. Instead, Orwell's operation is run by two groups; Investigators, persons outside of the Nation working for the government who search through the communication of target persons and upload items of interest (represented as "datachunks"), and Advisors, people inside of the Nation who use the received datachunks to determine the course of action and to recommend actions to the authorities.

The player takes the role of an Orwell investigator, who has just been selected to use the system.

Now, let me be clear, if you are looking for a fast pace action game on PC, well go look at something Jason or Lucas would have played. My PC tastes are much slower than theirs and I generally look for something different and hopefully with an engaging story at the same time. This game explores a lot of themes that are relevant with what goes on (or at least we think does) regularly today. Throughout this game it's your job to comb through peoples private phone calls, text messages, bank accounts, blog posts, etc all in hopes to piece together what happened and how to stop it.

I will keep this review spoiler free - otherwise there wouldn't be much reason for you all to go out an experience this game. At first things seem to be kosher and you feel you have the right and authority to do what you are doing for the sense of safety, security, and to save lives. However after playing for an hour or more you start to feel "odd" and you may start thinking to yourself, "Should I be doing this? Should I be seeing this?" And it's moments like this where the game shines brightest for me.

 

 

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/orwell_4.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/orwell_1933013.png" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

The characters in the game are pretty fleshed out and don't seem to get repetitive or predictable for that matter. And considering your entire side of the story is uncovered by you spying on them, it was pretty essential to nail them down well which the game definitely does. The writers definitely tapped into how people communicate now a days through social media, text, etc and made it real for this game for us to digest.

Now as far as the ethics behind this game go: Since you are the one uncovering everything and submitting it essentially shaping the story the role of the Adviser becomes important, they do not have access to your systems and can't even talk to you  but they will judge evidence impartially, so you really have to pay attention to what data gets sent in and what you should ignore aka not relevant.

Now it is 100% possible for you to lead the investigation in the wrong way by submitting incorrect evidence or conversations. It doesn't seem to throw off the plot of the story that much overall but i may play through a second time to see how different it may be if at all. It's a hard game to really explain, it's more of an experience. It is a very simple game to play through mechanically, but it has a complex story that really pulls you in. Once you complete it, it will stick with you for awhile and leave you with plenty to think about after it's done.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/orwell-game-banner.jpg" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_circle_counter admin_label="Circle Counter" title="Review Score" number="90" percent_sign="off" background_layout="light" bar_bg_color="#000000"] [/et_pb_circle_counter][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://youtu.be/up-yaDbqH2k"] [/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Review: Bleed 2

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] Do you remember waking up early on a Saturday morning? Your parents are still asleep, you stumble downstairs into the kitchen and make yourself a huge bowl of whatever sugar rush providing cereal you can find. Plunking down in front of your television set, the sand fading from your eyes, the vibrant lights of cartoon action and wacky sounds engross your attention. With each bite you fall further into the void of childhood bliss. This familiar childhood dimension is where Bleed 2 resides. Bleed 2 is a fast-paced, arcade action game that never lets up.  Developed by Bootdisk Revolution out of Toronto ON, it is a follow-up to the 2012 release Bleed. First off, I have to give props to Ian Campbell and the rest of the small team for pulling this off. I love to see what quality can truly be produced out of a labor of love, and it is very apparent based on the dev blogs and just playing this game that there is a personal interesting in its development. Why keep you waiting, it’s time for my tried and true patented PSVG review breakdown!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/12.png" show_in_lightbox="on" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Story

The player assumes the control of young Wryn, the world’s greatest and apparently only remaining hero! You just had your latest video game session interrupted by space invaders bent on destroying the Earth! How dare they! Beyond this brief intro and some newsreel narration between each level, that’s all you get here. Honestly, you don’t need anything more. This game is not about the story, that’s merely a vessel to get you between each high-action and boss-butt-kicking sequence! Just jump in!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" show_in_lightbox="on" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/5.png"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" show_in_lightbox="on" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/6.png"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Gameplay

Bleed 2 features 7 level with over 25 boss fights to take on. This is what the game is all about, the actual gameplay. Wryn has a couple different abilities that you will really to master (I haven’t yet), in order to succeed at this game: shooting, reflect bullets, triple-air-dodge, and slow time. Be prepared to have a ton of enemy fire coming at you all at once and you must chain together these skills to not only survive, but to also get that high score. Reflectable shots are color coded and it was always easy for me to tell what I would be able to reflect and what I couldn’t. After an initial control swap, the game feels tight and responsive. Any deaths were due to my own error and I never felt like the controls were to blame. I ultimately felt most comfortable with mouse/keyboard as I really needed that extra aiming precision to feel confident. Gamepad controlled equally as well on PC, I just did not care for the twin-stick layout.

Deaths may occur frequently, but at least on normal difficulty, the player has unlimited continues and can jump right back into the action where they left off. The key to progression is accurate control input combined with pattern recognition. Two very key components of this genre. Bleed 2 succeeds in this area. In addition to the story mode, players can also tackle arcade AND there is even a co-op option, which as of this review going up, your author has not yet experienced. Arcade is essentially the same game as the story mode, however, you only have 1 life and can claw your way up the leaderboard. New to mix things up further? The game offers 4 difficulty modes that swap up set-pieces, enemy placement, and boss patterns! Very cool stuff.

Bleed2_Review_2

With that said, I’m not sure there if there enough here to keep players coming back for more. I was rewarded with unlockable characters and weapons after completing the story and with it only taking around 45 minutes to do so, there is opportunity to enjoy this game repeatedly, but will they do so? I think this will weigh differently on each individual player. I personally would like to improve my overall performance and would love to be able to put the game through its paces on a higher difficulty. Will that drive you as well?

Audio and Presentation

Bleed 2 has a kickass soundtrack! That’s all I need to say. Each level gave me an accurate level of hype thanks to the tunes rocking in the background. Just watch this announcement trailer and you will get a pretty good idea of what awaits you:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUloJK7nw7g[/embed] I’m very much reminded of classic flash games on Newgrounds when I play this game. Very gratifying, short bursts of action. The art style appears to be 16-bit pixels and I feel that it fits the game perfectly. There was no slowdown on screen and the game flowed nicely. The action ebbs and flows and Bleed 2 definitely does not take itself too seriously. Re-read my Saturday Morning Cartoon intro once more and all the pieces will fall into place.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" show_in_lightbox="on" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/10.png"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/8.png"] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Final Thoughts

Bleed 2 is very enjoyable experience. The blast of music, colors, and action totally make this game a great palette cleanser to enjoy it short bursts. While it may not have the hooks to keep your attention in the long run, what you will be able to experience in short the term makes up for it. This is a great improvement on the groundwork that was laid during Bleed and I look forward to what this dev creates next!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_3"][et_pb_blurb admin_label="Blurb" url_new_window="off" use_icon="off" icon_color="#000000" use_circle="off" circle_color="#000000" use_circle_border="off" circle_border_color="#000000" icon_placement="top" animation="top" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_icon_font_size="off" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Quick Hits

+Gameplay             -Replay Value

+Soundtrack           

+Presentation

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][et_pb_circle_counter admin_label="Circle Counter" number="84" percent_sign="off" background_layout="light" bar_bg_color="#000000"] [/et_pb_circle_counter][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3"][et_pb_video admin_label="Video" src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pCJQiptvo8"] [/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Bleed 2 was reviewed using a Steam code provided by the developer. You can read additional information about PSVG’s  review policy on our disclaimer page here.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Ghost Recon Wildlands: Beta Impressions

Twelve hours later and having completed 99% of the beta content, I have put down my controller and taken off my headset feeling extremely satisfied. If the full GRW expands on its beta, then the gaming community can look forward to a rich and engaging open-world tactical shooter that will deliver exponential amounts of high-quality entertainment—playing with friends is recommended.

Read More

Wells Review (PC)

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"] There was a time, mainly during the 80’s and 90’s, when all you had to worry about was running to the right of the screen and shooting anything that crossed your path. It worked for Contra. It worked for Gunstar Heroes. Heck, it worked so well for Mega Man that we needed about forty seven games and spin offs. Now, about thirty some years later, Wells, a game available on Steam and Xbox One, hopes to revive the formula of the “run and gun” one more time.

This game comes to us from Tower Up Studios, a Brazilian studio formed in 2014, and is indeed their first release on Steam. In Wells, you play as, well, Wells, the titular steampunk… um… automoton man? It’s not particularly clear what he is, but he is steampunk and he wears a hat and wields a gun and that’s all you need to know! Anyway, Wells is “a notorious smuggler from Percepolis, the city of the new century” and he wants to “get even with the clients that tried to murder.” Right, so that was taken verbatim from the game’s website.

Murder who? Why? While there are cutscenes in the game that try to explain what is happening, there is a very large disconnect between the storytelling and the player. These cutscenes do not convey any actual story besides showing that Wells is chasing after someone. Part of this issue is also due in some ways by a language barrier. The game is in English, however, you’ll notice there’s just something off about what little dialogue and exposition Wells contains. With the small amount of story elements to be translated, it’s hard to give them a pass on how poor a job has been done here.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/vlcsnap-2017-02-02-20h55m11s236.png" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="fade_in" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" alt="Did someone order the brown level?"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Does this look better in all brown?

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/vlcsnap-2017-02-02-20h59m03s100.png" alt="Or the grey level?" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="fade_in" sticky="off" align="center" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" /][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Or all grey?

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

As a game that has taken inspiration like the aforementioned Gunstar Heroes, Contra and Mega Man, controls and design are everything. Wells controls well enough, if a little stiff. This is worsened by the choppy animation. Shooting with the mouse is accurate enough and moving around with the keyboard works fine. Oddly, I never tried using a controller and I don’t think I would want to. The enemy placement and level design make it difficult to imagine playing with a controller, since flicking back and forth from left, right, and above requires the type of reflex control afforded by a mouse. You also pick up four other guns besides your starting weapon, and each seems interesting, but there isn’t really any indication or reason for these weapons. They are just there. Here’s some guns! Don’t question it!

Enemy AI is fairly straightforward, and boss fights almost seem ripped from other games. There’s the airship ala Mario Bros 3, a large mechanical spider you might see in Gunstar Heroes, a giant robot you might have experienced in Contra: Hard Corps. It’s nice to go back to a formula where there are these monstrous bosses waiting for you at the end of the level, but it all seems so uninspired given the possibilities of the steampunk genre.  There are some moments that are challenging due to enemy placement, and it’s during these times you get a hint of that retro gaming difficulty that borders on unfairness. These moments require positional awareness, deft weapon switching, and accuracy, as well as an eye on your regenerating health bar. Level design is quirky, the game starts with the classic “run right” mechanic, but then starts to move into more of a “run right, now run back to the left, now zipline into the background and continue left, drop down and run right” type of design that seems nonsensical. The levels feel arbitrary set up, with no real reason for these winding paths. Feeding into this dizzying navigation are the graphics, which sometimes make it difficult to differentiate what you need to focus on from everything else.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image admin_label="Image" src="http://www.playsomevideogames.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/vlcsnap-2017-02-02-20h57m07s764.png" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" animation="left" sticky="off" align="left" force_fullwidth="off" always_center_on_mobile="on" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" alt="It's Bowser's floating airship!"] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="center" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Contrary to popular belief, this was not Bowser's famous airship.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid"]

Looking at Wells is a bit of an eyesore. It’s not so much what has been created that’s a problem; the design of Wells, and indeed the rest of the enemies and environments, translate well enough. However, the overall palette of the game, all browns and greys, combined with the extremely flat lighting, make for a look that seems very plain. This does a huge disservice to the game, where the success of this genre lies in it’s visual creativity and acuity to tell story through setting, ambience, and design. That might be one of my biggest issues with Wells, nothing here is memorable. Wells is just a steampunk man, the enemies are non-descript, and don’t seem to fit together, the city has no life or story to it. It all seems so empty and uninspired.

Speaking of uninspired, let’s spend a quick minute on audio. There’s not much to say, this was probably the most overlooked aspect of the game aside from story. The sound effects are weak, particularly with the guns. What few utterances Wells delivers are of extremely low quality and tell us nothing of the character. The music is largely forgettable, suffering from a lack of varied instrumentation. The exception being the Oil Platform stage, where mechanical ticks and clunks break up the monotony of cheap music production. Once again, completely uninspired.

Putting all of this together, Wells is a game that seems to have taken inspiration from games in the 90’s, but may have been shackled by those inspirations. The game lasts but two hours, which, for this type of game isn’t unheard of, but the price and quality for those two hours is severe. The threadbare story and overall design of Wells makes for a game that lacks any sort of character or lasting impression. For me, that is the real tragedy here. When playing Wells, I could sense the backbone of a decent game, there was some genuinely decent work put into it. Wells functions as the bare minimum of a “run and gun” shooter. Unfortunately, Wells suffers from an overall design issue that keeps the game from being memorable. I would be interested in the next release from Tower Up Studios, as there is a solid foundation to the game, but maybe next time the studio will release something a bit more polished. But for now, sitting at an overpriced $9.99 on the Steam store, it’s hard for me to recommend Wells.

Wells is available now on Steam. Wells was reviewed using a Steam code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s review policy on our disclaimer page here.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label="Row"][et_pb_column type="1_2"][et_pb_circle_counter admin_label="Circle Counter" title="Final Score" number="48" percent_sign="off" background_layout="light" bar_bg_color="#000000"] [/et_pb_circle_counter][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_2"][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]