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Reviews

Video Game Review: The Elder Scrolls III – Morrowind

Remember the days where slashing at a Mudcrab was infuriating? Me neither. If you’ve ever been through the realm of Tamriel before, but you haven’t experienced Morrowind, then you’re in for a treat. However, I thought I would do something different for this review. Welcome to Morrowind, made much prettier with the Morrowind Graphics Extender.

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Review – Layers of Fear

October means horror games, and it doesn’t matter how much I love horror, I really have no stomach for horror games, I’d play Amnesia in twenty minute chunks, Little Nightmares gives me the shivers, and I’m stuck on Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder… but it’s also very creepy so I’m glad I’m stuck.

But when I tell you that I have just finished Layers of Fear, don’t think that it just didn’t grip me as much as other horror games, it certainly had me on edge, but I found that I was taken in by the narrative that was unwinding as I stumbled through rooms and corridors, and the difficulty was moderate enough that I could get through a single playthrough with a minimum of effort, but to play again will prove a lot harder. (more…)


Heat Signature – Game Review

I remember seeing the Beta of this Heat Signature and was really interested to see what it was like, once it was complete. Now that it’s out of Beta, I’ve gotten my hands on a copy of the game. So we ask the age-old question, was it worth the wait and more importantly is it worth the money?

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Mobile Game Review: Hyper Heroes

Ever felt that heroes weren’t active enough? That they were all a little too sluggish; a little too slow to the action? Wouldn’t it just be better if you could fling a champion at a situation and let them do all of the hard work? Well then, this very specific scenario has finally got a solution, as we check out the mobile game for Android and iOS, Hyper Heroes. Is it any good, or is it a little too charged with sugar?

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Serial Cleaner – Video Game Review

Cast your mind back to last year, when I reviewed a game called Party Hard that had nothing to do with the Andrew WK song of the same name. As you may remember, Party Hard is the game where you play a serial killer and are tasked with taking out as many of the partying people as you could, so you can get some sleep. Did you ever wonder who might come and clean up after you? If you set Party Hard in the seventies and toned down the violence a bit, then Serial Cleaner would be the game to compliment Party Hard.

Specifications

  • Developed by: iFun4All
  • Publisher: Curve Digital
  • Platforms: Windows, Steam, PS4, XBox One, Mac
  • Release Date: 19th June 2017
  • Rated: Steam: 71 (Very Positive) & Metacritic (PC) 68%, user score 7.5
  • RRP: £11.99

Design

The game has a very unique style and takes full advantage of being set in the 1970’s, where almost every male person in the game has a fine full moustache and sporting some Ray-Ban Aviator shades. Your main character, a Mr Bob Leaner, lives with his mother and makes his living by cleaning up crime scenes. In between missions, there are storyline moments that relate to history. I really like the design line the developers have taken, everything feels right at home.

The colours are really something to behold, the art style is similar to papercraft, almost cell shaded in a way. I’ve not seen that many games that follow a similar art style and for that, I give the game a lot of credit. The design of the levels themselves had a lot of love poured into them. They start fairly simple, giving you a nice introduction to the controls and concept without holding your hand at every turn, as well as having a nice challenge curve.

There are several obvious design decisions made during development and they all feel like they add to the gameplay. Players are punished for taking risks and being caught, given that there are no halfway checkpoints being caught means everything resets. Yes, this causes many moments where you may find your patience being tested and it’s probably because you just were not good enough on that occasion. The great thing about getting caught is that restarting the level is instantaneous. Having a significant reload time for a game like this might be the tipping point that makes me stop playing. Being made to wait several seconds or minutes to have another go of the same level is not acceptable in a game like this, so I am glad they made it instantaneous.

Gameplay

You control Bob, using the cursor keys to guide him. Your task for each mission is to not get caught trying to mess with the scene of a crime. You do this by using your “Cleaner sense”, which gives you the ability to see the whole map, where all the hiding spots, bodies and bits of evidence are. The second tool in your bag of tricks is the ability to hide in things and activate various bits of scenery to help lose/confuse/distract the cops from finding you before you complete your mission.

When you get to a body you pick it up and then hot foot it to the nearest body drop point, which could be your reliable Station Wagon or maybe even feeding it to a Crocodile. Finally, you have a vacuum to suck up some of the blood, which is a requirement on some of the levels. The levels are really well designed; police seem to always be in the same spot while the bodies and evidence seem to rotate around a bunch of predesignated spots with every try. If a police officer spots you then you need to find the nearest hiding spot and wait for them to give up looking for you, before you continue with the job in hand.

Verdict

If you are looking to 100% complete this game, it’s going to take you a while. There are costumes to be found so you can put Bob Leaner in a Saturday Night fever style suit, or stockings and suspenders to name a few. There are also a lot of challenges for each level so you can replay them to make them more difficult. The game also includes 10 film specific scenarios to work your way through as extra content, so there is plenty to keep you occupied. For a little over £5 more than the RRP, you can optionally grab the music as DLC. I must say that it encompasses the era the game is set in perfectly, with some big hair, shoulder-pad style schlock rock, to funk and disco.

I have a few criticisms.

Even though I think the art style is nice, it is at points difficult to understand where you can and cannot run. I got caught more than once by thinking that I could escape the cops through a certain route and come to a dead end. I also think that you could add a hell of a lot of replay value if there was a level designer. You could happily hook it up to Steam Workshop to share levels between your friends, or the public. There have been a few times where I have managed to glitch through the scenery and actually appear on the other side of an external wall with no other choice but to restart, but in fairness, there have been few and far between.

A lot of other reviewers have picked up on the fact that there is no multi-player but I don’t think that a multi-player version of the game would work. I like the game as is, I’ve not managed to finish it as yet but I have seen enough to be able to say it’s a game I have enjoyed being frustrated by and having that feeling of elation when you get a level right and manage to move onto the next one. It’s certainly worth the money in my opinion.

Have you played Serial Cleaner? What do you think of this wave of games that implement very simple rules with a definitive art style like Hotline Miami, Enter the Gungeon etc? Give us your feedback via the comments section or over on Facebook, Reddit or Twitter


Video Game Reivew – Alice: Madness Returns

“You’re back in Wonderland, Alice.” – But this time, things aren’t the same. Things have gone quite mad. You could say that all of the time Alice has been stuck in an orphanage, has only made her more derranged, or at least more cynical. Now we must return to Wonderland, where a train has been seen destroying the imaginative world. Why has this train taken off? What has happened to the laws of Wonderland and more importantly, can we see that amazing Vorpal Dagger once again?

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Card Game Review: Unusual Suspects

Looking for a card game where you get to judge cartoon characters? Looking for something quick and easy to set up and play? Want a game with lots of unique looking characters, random questions to ask about them and to be co-operative? Well, I think you’ve just described Unusual Suspects; a game where you see a bunch of suspects and ask a witness a bunch of random questions, from if the suspect is interested in politics, to if they have a record player. Sound strange? Well the clue was in todays title!

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Pocket Mars – Board game review

Pocket Mars is a card game that boasts simple rules, and packs a lot of gameplay. I’ve had a copy of it for a while now and remember talking to the publishers Board and Dice about it back at UKGE, and at our recent September Meetup, I finally got round to playing it.

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Card Game Review: Bears vs Babies

When I first heard about Bears Vs Babies I had no doubt that the team at The Oatmeal would put out something worth while. Given the incredible success of Exploding Kittens, they did have some pretty big boots to fill. Back in October of last year was the first we saw of it, let’s just say that it did not take me long to actually invest.

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Video Game Review: Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy

A nostalgic blast from the past, presented by Vicarious Visions Studios, it’s Crash Bandicoot – Oh god, please, if I hear that opening to the game just one more bloody time, I swear I am going to explode! Just as well the games that opening is concealing are excellent – as we check out this self-proclaimed nostalia induced trip. So if you’re a Crash veteran, or completely new to the franchise, is the N-Sane Trilogy right for you?

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