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Found 10 results

  1. The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk

    Earlier this year Headup Games brought the Studio Fizbin game – The Inner World to consoles from PC. This was done to prepare everyone for the release of the sequel – The Inner World : The Last Wind Monk. The wait is over, the game is now out and it returns to Asposia and follows the adventures of the original characters. The Last Wind Monk picks up about 3 years after the events in the 1st game. The world of Asposia is not as rosy as we might have wished. Robert, the rightful King, is missing and Laura has been captured by Emil. Emil is a Conroyalist that believes the flute noses summoned the Basylians, turned Conroy to stone, and are to blame for all the worlds woes. He has made it his mission to round them all up and throw them into the wind fountain. This dark tone emanates through most of the game. Citizens live in fear they will be discovered as flute noses while others blindly hunt them. Robert almost wallows in self-doubt, due to his upbringing by Conroy, and this taints his normally cheerful demeanor. Much of the fun and light heartedness of the 1st game is lost in the shadows of this new Dystopian World, but there are a few pillars of light to be found. As with the 1st title, this is a point and click adventure. You will have to talk to everyone you meet to get the clues needed to solve the puzzles for each chapter. It’s then up to you to collect the items needed, in some cases combine them, and complete the task at hand. Just like the previous game, the puzzles range from fairly simple to running in circles frustrating. There are a few puzzles that even when you get all the clues, you will be left guessing at the correct answers. There is one, which I would almost classify as a mini game, called Knock Knock, that seems to rely more on luck than anything. The music in the game works very well to capture the mood of the scenes. It easily transitions from the heavier story moments to some of the light-hearted moments. The voice acting is good, but occasionally you will notice that Laura has an accent that comes and goes. The graphics are just as crisp as inn the original. It is nice to see that they have brought back many of the supporting characters from the original, and that the quality is just as good. The Inner World : The Last Wind Monk is out now on XB1, PS4, and Steam. The puzzles are harder than the 1st installment, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The game is worth checking out – but I would recommend playing the 1st game so you can play through the entire story arc. 9/10
  2. Slayaway Camp : Butchers Cut

    There are tons of puzzle games coming out for consoles. Blue Wizard Digital created a mix of a puzzle game and ‘80’s slashers flick in Slayaway Camp – Butchers Cut. Originally released on Steam, Digerati Distribution has brought it to XB1 and PS4. The object of the game is simple – kill all the innocent people then escape. This is done by sliding around the board until you run into them. You will have to use the walls and objects in the environment to block your movement, or else you might end up missing a victim. As the levels progress you will also have environmental hazards to help you off your victims – holes, fires, electric fences. But beware, these hazards can also kill you if you are not careful. But sometimes you have to sidle up next to a victim to scare them into a better position so that you can complete the level. When you first start up the game you will get to choose between the PG and R rated versions of the game. They both play the same, but they sport different music and the PG version has 0 blood, the victims are just knocked out, and the victims in the mini game are replaced with targets. This means that the game can be played by any aged member of the family. The game is divided into 13 “movies” each with at least 10 levels with over 200 total for the title. Once you complete each movie it will unlock deleted scenes and NC-17 levels. There is also a movie that is just a mini game that tests yours reflexes to see how many kills you can get in a row. The more you kill, the more skull coins you can earn. Skull coins are used to unlock more gruesome kills, and can help you in case you get stuck. If there is a level you are having trouble working out, you can buy a hint for 25 coins or a full video walkthrough for another 100 coins. On some of the later levels you may have to watch the video a few times – but luckily you only have to pay once. You can also use the coins to buy extra killers from the mystery box to complete your collection. The graphics in Slayaway Camp are a bit blocky, but work well with the game. When you play you can pick between either a ¾ top down view, which will allow you to better see the victims and environment or a straight top down view. Both work well, so it comes down to personal preference. If you play with full gore, you won’t be disappointed, as blood splatters everywhere, and skulls roll when you slide back over them. The soundtrack, especially in the R rated game play, is totally addictive. Think ‘80’s hard rock that would have inhabited the slasher movies that the game parodies. Slayaway Camp : Butchers Cut is out now on XB1 and PS4. You can get the original game on Steam or purchase a bundle with all the extra levels. There is even a version you can grab for your phone if you want to try your hand at mobile homicide. 9/10
  3. Silicon Zeroes

    At heart, I’m a programmer. I love to write code, I enjoy the challenge of trying to take many small actions and intertwine them to accomplish a larger goal. That’s why when I heard about Silicon Zeroes, a new game by PleasingFungus Games, I just had to check it out. This is a puzzle where you take simple modules and connect them together to perform more complex tasks. This game does a great job of easing you into the concepts. The first few puzzles teach you have to use the basic modules, and then have you combine them into something you’ll use in future puzzles. The first set of puzzles are not bad, the difficulty ramps up into the second set, and by the third set, I’m starting to pull my hair out trying to figure it out. There is a ‘story’ to each puzzle, as you are working for a company in the 1960s, trying to build a CPU. The story isn’t really engaging, as it’s just a bit of text before and after the puzzles. The charm of the game is in the challenging puzzles. I don’t care for some of the parts restrictions that are imposed on the puzzles. Certainly makes the puzzles a lot more difficult. This game is not for everyone. If you like logic puzzles and doing trial and error testing to complete a task, you’ll find this game a good conceptualization of that. If the idea of that gets your frustrated thinking about it, you may want to steer clear of this title.
  4. Maize

    I have been playing games for over 3 decades and in that time I have seen puzzles games take many forms. Computerized Rubiks cubes, Tetris, MYST, Lemmings, and even games like Portal. But never in the thousands of titles I have played have I ever come across a game like Maize by Finish Line Games. Maize is a 1st person adventure puzzle game. I know what you are thinking – that doesn’t sound that different, that sounds like MYST. Well, MYST didn’t have sentient corn. Now you are thinking “that has to be a serious typo” but my keyboard is working fine and I am actually taking my meds. Corn that can walk, talk, and even help you figure out what you need to do next on your adventure. Oh, and don’t forget your Russian, robotic, bear companion that is along for the ride. Told you it was different. You wake up in a corn field with no idea how you got there or what you are supposed to be doing. After a bit of exploring, you find a large door that requires 3 keys to enter. A bit wandering reveals a farm house and starts you on your journey into the lab that lays behind the door. In the lab you will start to uncover answers to some of your lingering questions like how did the corn get this way, what is their fate, can corn dance? You will also learn the history of the lab and the two doctors, Ted and Bob, who ran its experiments. To progress through the facility, you will have to solve a series of puzzles. Most will require you to use objects that you have acquired from your surroundings. But not everything you grab is useful. There are 75 collectables that are stored in your folio that only count towards an achievement / trophy. Each of these items has an interesting description, so they do bear a once over. But there are at least that many with a purpose in the game. The graphics in Maize are spectacular. No matter if you are exploring the secret underground lab or wandering through the large corn field you will want to take a moment to admire the amount of detail that was included. Even the shadows on the induvial kernels of corn are almost mesmerizing. The audio is great. The voice acting is amazing. Face it, when you have a Russian, robotic bear insulting you and sentient corn leading you through a game what can go wrong? Maize is out now on XB1, PS4 and Steam. It is a great puzzle game that will keep you in stitches. There is also an achievement for completing the game in under 2 hours, so you can even speed run it if you have big enough cobs. Personally I am hoping for a stuffed Vladdy. 8/10
  5. Eventide 2 : Sorcerer's Mirror

    If you have been following my reviews for a while you will have noticed that I have a fondness for hidden object / puzzle games. These titles allow me to slow down, focus on all the minute details of gameplay and story. They also remind me of the hours I would spend with those paper puzzle books before the release of the Atari. Artifex Mundi is the leading publisher of hidden object games and they have just released another title from their catalog to the XB1. Eventide 2 : Sorcerer’s Mirror continues to follow the adventures of botanist Mary as she explores the Slavic countryside. The game starts out with Mary rock climbing with her niece Jenny, and everything seems well. But soon you encounter an evil sorcerer who kidnaps Jenny and plunges you into another adventure. It is up to you to save your niece, discover the sorcerers plan, and save the country. This is done by solving puzzle mini games, using magic potions, and uncovering the secrets of the past. Gameplay is very similar to other games from the publisher. One new feature is a moral system. Throughout the game there are a total of 5 choices that you must make that will affect how the game plays out. The choices have a minimal effect on your playthrough, but you will have a few different conversations because of what you pick. If you want to get all the achievements, you must playthrough at least twice, so you will get a chance to see how everything plays out. The title also includes a fair amount of inventory crafting. This means that you will find a group of items and then need to assemble them in the inventory bar. This brings a little more thought into the game as you must figure out what is needed to craft the different items. The game also brings back collectables. There are 2 separate types of collectables that you have to search out while playing – cards with Imps on them and gleaming mirrors. While these are only required for achievements, it still adds a bit to the game play. Don’t worry if you don’t find them all on your 1st playthrough, when you play through again the items you have found will already be collected, so you just need to grab the few you missed. Graphics in the game are great as usual. The areas you visit are beautifully rendered, and the hidden object puzzles are challenging. The soundtrack helps create the tone for the game, be it a peaceful waterfall or sneaking around the sorcerer’s castle. The music and sound effects help to immerse you into this world of magic, where things are not always as they seem. Eventide 2 : Sorcerer’s Mirror is out now for the Xbox One. You can pick it up for around $10 or you can grab the bundle that includes both Eventide titles for $15. If you are a casual gamer that is looking for an interesting story I would recommend this title for you. There are some fun puzzles to solve and the game will keep you entertained for several hours. And if you are an achievement hunter, this is a title for you as well. 7/10
  6. The Escapists 2

    You spend the bulk of your time playing video games doing things that would land you a pretty hefty prison sentence. Speeding, robbing banks, fighting, and of course shooting enough rounds into your foes to kill them a dozen times over. Team 17 and Mouldy Toof Studios have decided to toss you back into the clink for your miscellaneous crimes in The Escapists 2. You may start out in a cell, but like the original Escapists, the goal is to regain your freedom in the shortest time possible. Tunnel, fly, chip through walls, cut through wires, or sneak out any way you can. Each prison – there are 10 total – has multiple escapes including ones that can only be accomplished with an accomplice. That’s right, this time you can bring along a partner in crime. Gameplay is very like the original game. You get tossed in prison and you must find a way out. You can gather supplies from inside the prison and craft them into useful tools for your escape. But, in order to craft items, you will have to spend some time in the library reading to increase your intelligence. If you are going to fight, you had better hit the gym to build your strength and stamina. One upgrade from the original is that in fights you no longer just smack your enemy, you can charge up your strikes to do more damage. A big addition to The Escapists 2 are mobile prisons. These are lock ups that you have a limited amount of time to escape from, and very specific escape routes. There is no routine to follow while transported, so you are free to focus on your escape. The main thing you must watch out for on these prisons is the guards. If they find you out of your cell, they will instantly chase you down and show you who is in charge. Multiplayer adds a whole new dimension to the game as well. You can play local or online co-op games, where you try to work together to escape. One nice feature is that you can have friends drop in and drop out as they want – they don’t have to play through an entire prison with you. The one disadvantage to this is that if you drop out, when you return to the prison you have lost all your hidden items and personal stats. If you are more of a lone wolf, you can play versus mode. In this mode you not only have to be the 1st to escape, but you have to deal with others trying to sabotage you at every step. The wide variety of prisons adds a lot of depth to the game play. You start at a simple prison and before you know it you are in a World War 2 prison camp, stuck on an oil rig, or even somewhere out of this world. The way you escape from one prison will be vastly different from the next. There are nods to some Great Escape movies tucked in as well. The developers wanted to make sure that you didn’t get lonely while you were serving your time, so they added a few YouTube stars into the mix as fellow cellmates. The Escapists 2 is out now on XB1, PS4 and Steam. You can get the digital version on any of the platforms for $19.99. If you are looking for a physical copy, you can grab one of those for a little more. If you are a Nintendo Switch owner, don’t fear – the game is slated to come to your console soon. If you are a fan of the 1st game, scooping up this title is essential. If you have never played the title before, this is a great introduction to the series. 10/10
  7. The Crow's Eye!

    THE CROW'S EYE Set against a backdrop of psychological terror, The Crow’s Eye is a first-person puzzle adventure in which you will use your wits to escape the abandoned Medical University of Crowswood, while investigating the mysterious disappearances of students and faculty 20 years earlier. Developer: 3D2 Entertainment Publisher: Nkidu Games So while the wife and kid were taking a nap, I decided it was time to try out this horror game that I picked up the other day! At first glance I expected a game that was going to make me wake up the family with my childlike screaming and heavy breathing through dark and damp hallways. While this was the case in a few instances, overall the game did not have that scare factor that I had expected. (This is noted on the description of the game, that if you are looking for the surprise jumps and scares, you may be in the wrong place) I believe that I had roughly 2 instances of being actually startled by something in the game. One was when I was nonchalantly grabbing a key and a work jumped on my screen(in game of course) and the other when an ominous tone came into my speakers randomly. Unfortunately this game, while interesting and somewhat addictive (until you get too frustrated to continue) does leave something to be desired. The storyline is a bit hard to follow with the addition of multiple characters over time, and the random creepy guy who seems like he is from the past, but is talking to me as I am playing. I would have loved at least a few scary things around some of the vents and corners, but I can't ask for that if that is not what they intended. The quest line, while somewhat linear, does bring into play a bit of guesswork, and not in a good way. This guesswork created a very frustrating 10-15 minutes of sitting there wondering what I missed and where I have been on my very basic map. Overall, I would recommend this game to someone who enjoys mysteries, doesn't harp too much on the quality of graphics, and the person who wants to play a horror game without really being terrified. The Crow's Eye is available as a Steam Download! Check it out here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/449510/
  8. Shift Happens

    Deck 13 has released a new platformer for XB1 that shows that size does matter. Shift Happens is the story of 2 blobs that must make there way through challenging environments in order to survive. You can take on this challenge solo, controlling both characters yourself - one at a time - or have a friend hop on the couch with you and tackle them together. In Shift Happens - be careful when saying the title fast, people may stare at you - you control Bismo and Plom, 2 blob like creatures that have the ability to change size. When you start out, they can shift size independently of each other, but a strange lab accident soon links their transformations. This means that you will have to coordinate their size to clear puzzles and advance through the levels. There are 49 levels spread out among 4 very unique areas, plus several Bonus Levels for you to conquer. In each level you will not only have to reach the end, but you will have to try and collect all 75 coins that are strewn about. Most are in plain sight, but some will require you to solve extra puzzles or find hidden areas. Some levels also contain a bonus item that you must work together with your teammate to return to its proper location. If all of this isn't enough to keep you busy for a while, they have also tossed in Timed versions of the levels for you to try your hand at. The graphics are bright, sharp and fun. Bismo and Plom are strangely cute characters that will remind you of a less defined, liquid, gingerbread man. Switching their sizes is a fun animation to watch, and one that you will see a lot in the game as you progress through the levels. The levels are very well designed and a nice mix between platforming and puzzle solving. You will really have to have the characters work as a team in order to complete each level. While this is a fun game to work through on your own, the title really shines once you hook up that 2nd controller and play with a friend. Trying to work together, figuring out who will be what size and how to progress adds another level to this game. Solo, you can figure it out - but when you have to have 2 brains working together, in sync, there will surely be a battle for control. It is like a video game version of the 3 legged race - only those that get a rhythm down will win. Shift Happens is out now for XB1 and you can add it to your collection for $14.99. This is a fun game to play and really shows its greatness when you play locally with a friend. It can tax your mind and your friendship with the puzzles it holds. 8/10 Original Post : Here
  9. Toby - The Secret Mine

    Headup Games has released a new adventure, puzzle, platformer that will have you chasing after bad guys and searching for your friends. Toby - The Secret Mine tells the story of young Toby, one of the last remaining residents of his village. He must venture out into the dark, unforgiving world and rescue his 26 friends. You set out across the bleak landscape in search of your friends trapped in cages. Along the way you will have to solve puzzles to alter the landscape to allow you to pass and disarm deadly traps. But not all of your friends are sitting out in the open. You will have to poke into the darkness to try and see in the enemies have hidden any of the village residents there. The puzzles will make you rely on most of your senses. Besides the typical reflexes, you will have to have a keen eye to spy triggers for deadly traps, and be listening for strange creaking noises that might mean a loose floor board that can be broken. As you progress through the levels you will have to build on the the skills you have learned to solve more complex problems. Game graphics are, for the most part, dark and eerie. They convey the sense that you are on an overwhelming quest, that you are under prepared for in trying to save the village residents. Tihe stark palette really helps set the tone. The 1st half of the game most of the foreground is all black, so you get very accustomed to it, but suddenly you get thrust into a snow world that is blindingly white and it takes a little bit to adjust. The game music helps add to the spooky atmosphere. This game is a puzzle platformer at heart. For the most it is not really difficult, it will just take some trial and error. And those errors, while frustrating, will rack up a pretty impressive death count for most players. To be honest I wandered into several traps just to watch poor Toby bite the dust. But then again, Toby went into the beyond many times just because of my lack of skills at times. Death has little impact on your game progress. If you die you are transported back to the start of the last puzzle you have not completed. This makes it easier to push through the puzzles until you finally figure them out. Toby - The Secret Mine is out now on XB1, PS4, Wii U and Steam for $9.99. You can even grab it on Android or iOS.
  10. Pocket Kingdom Review

    Pocket Kingdom is a charmingly retro puzzle-platformer that creates a deep and mystical world concerning sky habitats and slumbering gods, then fills that intriguing world with a variety of frustrating puzzles and lasers. Thanks a lot, slumbering Gods. In any retro-style game, the music is an absolute essential and needs to be considered first. It is obviously in the 8-bit, nostalgia fueled style of so many other games of its kind, but the overall tone is not one of easy-going adventure, but perhaps instead a dark, somewhat confusing journey. There are upbeat moments, crescendos that build towards relief, yet are then quickly replaced by the slightly claustrophobic tones that seem to subtly tell the player that he is trapped. And trapped he is; you are completely shipwrecked on a mysterious island created by a slumbering God. Others have crashed here and given up, seemingly making whatever life for themselves they can. The importance of the people other than as tutorial advice or guides is insignificant at best, but their presence helps to curtail the feeling of loneliness; without them, it’d be you, a strange Mario-man with a bunch of tools and a ubiquitous Wizard who seems to always get to a level before you. The puzzles are inventive; obviously, any game of this genre that wishes to stand out needs to possess this quality. However, they are a cut above other platformer puzzle games I’ve experienced. There’s the standard mechanic of using blocks to block lasers that inhibit your passage, but there’s also a surprising mechanic of using inverted gravity. In one puzzle, I had to reverse my gravity and then the gravity of one of a multitude of boxes, no less than 5 times to be able to solve the puzzle. The main character also possesses a Rocket Launcher to shove blocks and a Hookshot to… hook blocks. This allows you to manipulate the blocks and do some really interesting solutions to the puzzles. The entire experience feels this way, innovative and very interesting, but the limited application of these cool ideas starts to frustrate the player. That’s the key problem with Pocket Kingdom - it is incredibly frustrating. The puzzles are fun and they are engaging but, when the difficulty ramps up, it’s just too hard. I repeated one level about 40 times before I figured out the solution – there was very little satisfaction, only a crushing realization of the last hour wasted. Too many times I would finally discover the solution, yet be left with an incredibly disappointing feeling that the solution I found wasn’t right. It honestly felt like I had broken the game somehow; my solving the puzzle didn’t seem tied to a systematic application of learned knowledge and skills, but more a random variety of actions attempted in desperation until, finally, one of them solves the puzzle and I can get that damn key. The path of the game is also slightly confusing – it is clear that there is an end goal in mind, but the map that allows you to explore and go to each puzzle is quite open – it at first seems as though there are innumerable options and ways to win the game, but time and time again I kept coming up against an arbitrary barrier. “Oh, you need THIS tool to pass, check a few rooms west” or, after working my way through 3 rooms and finding a giant red demon who seems will help me, he says I need to buy him a key. He opens a portal to… the shop… that just has the key lying there. I go to buy it, turns out I need 3 coins. “Coins? What Coins? There’s currency?” I say to myself in confusion. Yup, guess I need to go to the rooms on my map that look… kind of like coins? Oh yeah, look, I did it, I get a coin! Guess I do this two more times until the red demon will open my arbitrary barrier. While I understand the desire to deviate from the ever-present linear puzzle path - solving one puzzle, then on to the next until finally the ending - but this somewhat pseudo-open worldness just seems half-baked. While Pocket Kingdom is absolutely gorgeous, sounds amazing and utilizes some really interesting mechanics, at the end of the day I am left feeling frustrated and confused. + Beautiful sound design and retro feel. + Innovative and interesting game mechanics designed to challenge the player. - Too much frustration, rather than real challenge. - The non-linear world feels forced and confusing.
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