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Posts tagged “Indie

Nex Machina – Review

Look, I told you that my opinion of Nex Machina might be slightly biased. There is no hiding the love I have of Housemarque products but at least you can say that I have been completely honest with you. Nex Machina is available on PC and PS4 and we will be using the PS4 version for our review.

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Video Game Review: Turmoil

There are few things in life more boring than the fluctuating market that is the oil industry. I mean seriously, prices go up, prices go down… And to make a full game out of that concept sounds like a dreadful idea. Or is it? Turmoil is a single-player oil extracting and selling game, which sees you buying the equipment to drill into and suck out all of the oil of a plot of land, then sell it on for a profit to Left Inc or Right Inc. Intrigued about selling oil? Then be prepared to check out Turmoil in this in depth review.

*No, this isn’t Turmoil from the ZX Spectrum.

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Not a Hero – Review

All hail the BunnyLord and his quest to be the mayor! Forget all other potential world leaders like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Teresa May and Kin Jong Un for they are all pretenders. Although worse than any Brexit back-pedaller, I will deny all knowledge. I’ll claim that I was used for political reasons when all the bullet cases finish hitting the floor and the corridors are filled with bloody corpses. Now before you think I have gone utterly mad I’m here to tell you about an awesome little side scrolling shooter entitled “Not A Hero”. Yep, another one of those pickups during a sale that I grabbed for £1.99, but it’s available at £9.99 RRP from Steam and HumbleBundle.

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Heavy Bullets – Review

Heavy Bullets

Heavy Bullets is not exactly a new game. Originally released in 2014, it was played by quite a few streamers at the time of launch. I remember buying it during yet another sale, after it had been sitting on my wish list for a while and I can honestly say that I still think it’s worth every penny of it’s retail price (£6.99 on Steam£7.49 on Humble Bundle).

Overview

You play a security program that has been sent in to restore order to a mainframe that has gone haywire. To do so you are equipped with a gun that only contains 6 bullets in some sort of Dirty Harry style gun. You must hold onto these six bullets as well as aim to pick up coins throughout the ten levels in order to buy some upgrades.
Welcome to Hell?

Looks

Heavy Bullets does not push the boundaries in aesthetics, but I really like the way it looks. It has a very distinct neon colour palette and is visually lucid and bright; the game nips along which is no surprise but it feels right at home at this speed. You can spot one of the bank or shop ATM’s immediately and the maps even randomly generate secrets, which I think is a pretty cool touch. I really love the way the graphics flicker whenever you get hit, along with the intentional  visual glitches when you are on your last life, making the whole thing feel more tense.Imp rush

The Game

It’s essentially a stripped down 3D-first person shooter, but there is something distinctly ominous about it. The music and general sound design certainly adds a lot to the atmosphere. In game it goes awfully quiet but as you roam around you get some very distinctive audible clues. The imps make a cute little chirping sound which you soon learn to be afraid of, as they launch themselves at you with great intensity. The game is rogue-like and so the enemies and the levels are randomised, which means that you have no idea what is around the corner. You may remember that I said that One More Dungeon really suffered from this, but for some reason it works in Heavy Bullets. There’s something about the smoothness of the game, along with the way it flows. I hate to put it down to feel but when you have played a fair few 3D shooters you begin to get a feel for which one’s work and which ones don’t.

Having a limited amount of ammo really adds to the atmosphere. I’m not sure how other people play it, but I end up paranoid reloading at every opportunity that I can. The first few enemies you meet are fairly easy, some worm like beasties that hide in the bushes which can sometimes be difficult to see, followed by some imps that run at you when they see you, which for me cause an instant amount of panic and tension. Further on you meet up with sentry guns that can only be killed if you shoot their battery. There are even flying enemies in the game. You can improve your chances of survival in further rounds by saving money in the bank, so the next time you play through you can dip into your account to help you out.

The money is generous enough, you don’t have to play 1000 games in order to afford one of the items. The shops can provide you with more health or upgrades to increase the radius of coin and bullet pickup, a discount in the shop and so on. The Steam community have put together a great little item guide so go have a look at them so you know what to buy from the ATM’s. Also a little thing I didn’t know is that you can blow up the ATM which gets you some extra cash. In theory you could do this early on to get extra cash and save up the money to make a proper attempt at the 10 levels.Pretty colours

It all comes down to the bullets though, they look and feel heavy when you fire them. When they hit something they lay on the floor and bounce their plump little form on the floor enticing you to pick them back up. Even when you reload them they make a satisfying thunk when re-entering the chamber. Upon reaching the end of a level, apart from me letting out a small joyous ‘whoop’, you’re not rewarded just yet. After all, you have a job to do here and need to get on with it. If and when you finish all 10 levels you are rewarded with $5,000 of in-game cash ready to spend to make your next attempt a lot easier, no doubt.

Verdict

I already said at the top of the review that I think Heavy Bullets is well worth the money. Its slick feel takes me back to early days of Quake which makes it pure simple 3D-shooter fun. In a recent sale I saw it on offer for a mere £2 which is a total bargain. The soundtrack is well worth the extra money although trying to use Steam to play it filled me with rage, but this is more of a problem I have with Steam rather than the game. Unlike some rogue based games, Heavy Bullet punishes you in the right places and the right way, making you, the player, determined to improve your skill and ability to defeat those damn worms. In my opinion… just buy it already!

Can you see the worm

Can you see the worm

Medibay ATM Bank ATM

Have you played Heavy Bullets? Do you also feel it’s a great example of a 3D shooter? Have you managed to finish it (I haven’t!). Give us all of your comments below or contact us in one of the many other forms of Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


UnEpic – Review

Unepic Title

Available on Linux, Windows and OSX via Steam and HumbleBundle £9.99 and GOG $9.99 (USD)

Overview

You play Daniel, general geek and nerd who while playing a DnD game with his friends goes to the loo and somehow finds himself in an alternate universe actually taking part in a real RPG. His body is possessed by a shadow demon who is unable to take control of Daniel and becomes trapped inside his body.

Intro cartoon

Intro cartoon

The Game

I picked up UnEpic during a sale for $1.99 USD (who buys things full price anyway) as I was curious as to what it was like. When you start the game you get to choose what sort of experience you would like, either with or without swear words. Now I’m not against swearing in games, but I appreciate the option to not have them. I decided to opt for it for my play through, but actually I quickly regretted it. Not because the swear words offended me, but they feel forced and felt as if they merely were implemented to add to the “humour”. I use the word humour in quotations for a very specific reason; I am sure that the dialogue between Daniel and his new shadow co-traveller is funny, if your 14 years old, but for me they really added nothing to the game at all. I’m not against toilet humour (and there seems to be a lot of it here), but toilet humour only works given the right circumstance. Conkers Bad Fur Day is a game that was full of toilet humour but also quite enjoyable at the same time.

The save point

The save point

The game itself is a cross between an RPG and a jump and run, where Daniel runs through the castle that he has found himself in. Your main goal is to survive each room killing any enemies, surviving traps and lighting torches in order to fulfil the various quests that you find along the way. Whilst doing so you gain experience points for killing enemies and lighting all the torches in the room. In some rooms, you will find chests with loot in and even some side quests that can distract you along the way. With every major level, you gain six points that can help you customise what specialities Daniel has. Putting some points into a ranged attack is generally a good idea, as I found that later on there are some enemies you can only reach with spells or arrows. There is no point here in being a full on tank and the rogue backstabbing ability is a welcome addition but did not really change your play style that much. To enable you to move around the castle a bit faster you can open up shortcut gateways that take you to a central room. These are really useful for getting to and from a save point which to begin with there is only one until you solve some of the quests to open up more. The game does autosave, but there is no indication of when you pass one of these checkpoints which I found quite irritating.

Castle lighting

Lighting the torches

Once you open up a bit more of the map you get a boss battle, which was fun, but is too few and far between from my experience. You spend a lot more time running around the castle trying to find the relevant items needed to complete the next mini-quest so that you can get on with the main quest. If you’re going to play UnEpic I have one major piece of advice for you, make good use of the note making function on the map, there were a few times where I had finished one of the quests but I could not remember for the life of me where I got it from, so spent the next hour or so re-visiting most of the rooms I had gone to in order to find where I cash it in. The game does allow you to keep track of what is left to find in the quest and whilst I don’t expect it to tell me where to get the pieces to the puzzle, I did expect it to guide me back to the quest source. UnEpic does have multiplayer capabilities all hooked up through Steam, which I have not been able to test out.I had a conversation with Timlah to see if he thought it might be a fun to do a video series of it. He had tried it before and thought it to be “dull” which I was disappointed to hear but something in me still wants to test it out a little.

Inventory

Inventory

Roundup

Visually the game looks okay being sprite based is good for this sort of game but it does nothing really special or endearing to make it stand out. The audio is quite nice, footsteps have a hearty echo at first but could do with changing based upon the environment. This is going to be one of those games I have got so far and I find myself having no real desire to go any further. I’m sure there is more hilarity to be had between Daniel and his companion but it would help if I found any of it actually funny. If I had finished it then I would certainly not bother with a second play through. So I’m afraid it will most likely sit on my Steam shelf gathering dust. It was certainly worth what I paid for it in the sale and I would happily pay a bit more but not much more.

Let us know if you have played UnEpic and what you thought of it. Did you manage to play the multiplayer? Do you think Timlah is right? Tell us what you think in the comments section or via Reddit, FaceBook or Twitter


Video Game Review: Wild Animal Racing

Steam Cards are a good way to find out about hidden gems on Steam, titles that wouldn’t have ever been discovered without them. Wild Animal Racing is one of these hidden gems, which are locked away so tightly, that you’d never imagine you would be able to play Mario Kart on your PC. Well, you’re not, but you are playing a great game of a similar vein. Join Timlah as we look through the wonderfully silly Wild Animal Racing.

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Punch Club – Review

Punch Club Logo

Available on Steam or Humble Bundle for OSX, Windows, Linux (£6.99), Android (£4.15) and iOS (£3.99)

In a recent bout of sales, I picked up a few games on my wishlist one of which was Punch Club. Now this is one of those games that I knew very little about when I bought it, I didn’t watch videos, read other reviews or anything. I thought the game might be some sort of boxing management simulation, something akin to an old game I used to play Barry McGuigans Boxing where you controlled a fighter moving his way up through the ranks to fight the champ. I was wrong, so very very wrong.

Barry McGuigan Boxing

Barry McGuigans Boxing on C64

The game is more of a street-fighter management/strategy game where you take control of the life of a fighter in his quest to rise through the ranks to stardom and maybe get involved in some interesting side quests along the way. When you start you are shown a storyline cut scene that sets the background story with your father being brutally murdered. Then several years later you start in your house and after a telephone call, you are allowed to start to roam the city which opens up more as you play. Now I hate to criticise a game so early on but I can’t help but feel that the developers missed something by not allowing you to customise the look of your character.

Your begin to manage the day to day routine of your fighter which consists of juggling time and money between training at the gym to increase your stats, earning money (which can also increase your stats) so that you can train, sleeping and eating to revive your energy so that you can train more and fighting to increase you rank and try out new skills. When one day rolls into the next you lose a bit of your stats. This makes days that you cannot or don’t train really expensive and made the game feel like a bit of a grind. With every fight that you take part in you gain skill tree points that can be spent on learning new moves or focussing your fighter into one of the major disciplines of Bear, Tiger or Turtle. This is where Punch Club will get it’s replay value in that you can play the game through several times and change the focus points for your fighter. You could make them a powerhouse by putting a load of time and energy into weights and focussing your skill points on power or aim for a more speed oriented fighter who might focus more on kicks and their dodging ability. Whichever road you choose for your fighter you need to choose it early on because being equally balanced is not the way to go here. However given the fact that the main storyline does not seem to change between one play and another I probably would not bother with a second play though unless I am missing something.

Punch Club Skill Tech Tree

Punch Club Skill Tech Tree

Money plays a very serious part in the game and I think (although yet to prove it) the faster you can save up for your own gym equipment you will begin to feel the benefits in all areas. A session in the Gym costs $10 per time which means you should try to go there when you are full capacity to get the most out of it. Doing this is a lot harder than it sounds as I found myself always timing it wrong at first and my first fighter suffered from it greatly. But you don’t want a game like this just to give the answers to you straight away. The fights themselves are automatic and the only influence you have is at the end of every round where you can change your fighters tactics. Graphically the game has a polished pixelated 1980’s style. I think if it went a different way with super high resolution graphics it may even lose some of the appeal. My brain complains that there is no day/night cycle, time and days do pass but locations always seem to be the same, beautifully sunny at home while at the bar it’s perpetual night, it just feels weird. Adding a very subtle weather change or day/night cycle might have added to the immersion for me.

Punch Club - Fight in progress

Punch Club – Fight in progress

I really enjoy the amount of references to TV and film that there are in Punch Club. The Quick Store which never shuts is owned by a certain Apu, outside the store are two recognisable figures that look and act an awful amount like Jay & Silent Bob. Your mentor is Micky, which reminds me very much of Mickey from the Rocky series. The Pizza store is owned by Casey who is the spitting image of Stephen Segal and looks handy with a knife. Then you meet Biff, the mutant Crocodile who loves Pizza and not so subtle references to Fight Club. There are a lot of these dotted about which makes the game feel a little familiar, if you know any of the references that they point to.

Apu being robbed

Apu being robbed

While playing the game I found myself asking the question “am I having fun?” which is never a good sign. To be honest I have to say that for me it was not that fun. Maybe I just have the wrong sort of mind to care about the stats? It feels like a grind without a real purpose, the lack of interaction with the fights and the training just mean the game misses with me. At times it feels like an improved and less pay to win version of any of the free to play farming games out there which may sound cruel but that’s how I feel about it. I don’t find myself being drawn into the world but if you’re into stats based games and don’t mind a bit of a grind then I am sure you will love it.

TLDR: Graphically nice, good potential for storyline but lacks interaction and involvement.

Overall score: 5/10

Have you played Punch Club? Tell us what you thought about it or this review in the comments below or you can start a conversation with us via TwitterReddit or Facebook.

Love and rockets

Chris


Hacknet – Review

Hacknet is available for Mac, PC and Linux via Humble Bundle or  Steam for £6.99.

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Comics: Silvertongue Issue 2 Review

Last year, we reviewed a comic called Silvertongue – It was a really fun read, so I implore you to go and check out our review from last year ASAP. This year however, the creator of the comic Fernando, has come back to me with Issue 2. Does the second issue meet the expectations set from the first? Join Timlah as he reviews this indie comic!

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Is SUPERHOT super hot?

SUPERHOT is Available for Windows, SteamOS & Mac via HumbleBundle & Steam (RRP £17.99)

SUPERHOT has been on my radar for some time. I played the original demo probably two years ago and was very impressed so when they decided to Kickstarter the game I went ahead and backed it. I must admit I was really looking forward to play the final release, so I picked up my copy on it’s official release of 25th February 2016.

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