Posts Tagged ‘2012’

Unemployment Quest Review

Unemployment Quest Featured

Unemployment Quest Boxart

Developer: Charles DeYoe
Publisher: Charles DeYoe
Platform: PC (Desura, Direct)

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

Chances are there’s probably been a time in your life when you’ve found yourself struggling for work. For me, the struggle is current and not something that should be desired by anyone. At the very least I’m lucky enough to have a place to call home until luck finally strikes. So maybe it’s because of my current state but I found Unemployment Quest to be quite a neat and unique title.

You start the game as a young guy who has apparently survived college but can’t find work anywhere around town or even at the mall. Some of his friends have found work and it seems only the main character is left out. Day after day, he must return home to his parent’s house to confront a supportive but disappointed mother and outright annoyed father.

Unemployment Quest Featured

So how does this factor into a video game form? You see, the player must battle those he wishes to give a resume to, and battle for increasing confidence (and gaining money). The fights are much like a typical JRPG and the art style meshes with this. It looks much like a 16-Bit game even if it has some different thematic elements at play. Leveling up helps a lot with fights but still doesn’t seem to change the mood of prospective employers.

In a way, I appreciate the commitment to making job acquisition an impossibility for most of the game. However, because of that, it seems silly that money is so easy to come by in the game. For a while you’ll be stuck broke, but soon enough there are treasure chests that start popping up with gratuitous amounts of money. Real life doesn’t work that way although I sure wish it did! Of course, the money is needed for buying new items a la every other RPG out there.

Once you get past the few iffy points like that, Unemployment Quest is definitely worth checking out. It’s cool to see the various ways the typical JRPG world was tweaked to service a story about the incredibly relatable task of looking for a job.

Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas

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Northmark: Hour of the Wolf Review

Northmark: Hour of the Wolf Featured

Northmark: Hour of the Wolf Boxart

Developer: Rake in Grass
Publisher: Rake in Grass
Platform: Mobile – iOS PC – Big Fish GamesDirect, Steam

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

Strategy RPGs are pretty popular but card-based counterparts are a bit rarer to come across. Still, when there are already such excellent card games out there such as Magic the Gathering it can be really hard to create something different. Northmark: Hour of the Wolf accomplishes making a sound card-based title without hanging onto other card games’ coattails.

The game begins with an attempted assassination. The kingdom of Northmark is in a panic because of it and you’re the one selected to basically carry out all their duties. Travelling from town to town you will come across helpful people, shops, and tons of opponents standing in your way. The only way to get past them is via fighting, of course.

Fights are when the game shifts into its card form. Both players select their warriors (cards themselves) and can then apply upgrades to them, as well as how they should be armed for attacks. You can tweak the fighters via cards which upgrade their defense, attack, and a number of other things. Weapon cards are used to actually fight the opposing cards, and all relevant information is weighed in order to see what attacks are successful and how much damage they deal.

Northmark: Hour of the Wolf Featured

It’s a surprisingly complex system and one that isn’t described very well by the in-game tutorial. Still, it’s not too hard to get a feel for it after a handful of battles. Between story mission, you can even jump into some prize fights to help level up your character and get more money. Said money can be used to pick up more cards for your deck.

Northmark: Hour of the Wolf also has some excellent presentation. The art looks great from the character models to world map view. Then there are the card designs themselves which look like they could be from a tangible product. Honestly, it’s surprising just how polished it is. The writing is a bit of a let down in comparison, although it has some nice snark about it.

Fans of card games will probably enjoy this interesting RPG-ized title. On the other side of things, those without a familiarity of card games in general should probably proceed with caution.

Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas

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Hack, Slash, Loot Review

Hack, Slash, Loot Featured

Hack, Slash, Loot Boxart

Developer: David Williamson
Publisher: David Williamson
Platform: PC

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

If you’re looking for quite the difficult dungeon crawler then Hack, Slash, Loot is likely up your alley. With a roguelike style, it appeals to the hardcore player but also anyone who has found themselves interested in the whole “die once – start over” mechanic. But this title isn’t a one trick pony. There’s so much to master that this game is likely to suck up hours and hours of time.

First, let’s start with the basics. You begin as a specific character class and choose the level you wish to undertake. In the beginning there are only three characters but there are a massive 32 in all. Each has their own skills and attack ranges. Of course that’s not all there is to it. There are a multitude of enchantments and the like which can be applied to your weapons, health, or defense. This is on top of the general stats of all your gear which you can change via new loot pickups.

Hack, Slash, Loot Featured

Loot is one of the most important aspects of any dungeon crawler and it’s littered everywhere in Hack, Slash, Loot. You’ll find a great deal of potions around, but also new weaponry as well as boots, shields, and more. Oftentimes, loot is worse than what you’ve got already, but some is incredible! Try to trek around an entire level before venturing to the next to make sure all loot has been uncovered.

There is a definite learning curve to this game. At the start I was lost but also entranced to keep playing, death after death. This is due to the simplicity of play. More than anything, it seems like luck is the biggest factor working for or against players as they start out. Simple to understand gameplay paired with deeper concepts and an attractive pixel aesthetic make Hack, Slash, Loot a roguelike that’s incredibly easy to recommend.

Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Review

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Featured

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Boxart

Developer: Red Wasp Design
Publisher: Red Wasp Design
Platform: Android, iOS, PC

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

H.P. Lovecraft was a 20th century writer who is desperately loved to this day thanks to his incredibly odd, and sometimes horrific, fiction. He is best known for being the progenitor of the Cthulhu mythos. A handful of games have attempted to make use of said mythology and some have been successful while others floundered. Where does Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land stack up?

You begin as a crew of four men who are engaged in World War I-era firefights. You’re on the side of the British and quickly realize there is something very wrong with the opposing force. Within the first mission there are zombie-like soldiers taking up arms! Thankfully, they are still able to be taken down with normal bullets.

How does the turn-based strategy title play out? On their turn, players can select teammates and tell them to either move, heal, shoot an enemy, or just stand still. Since each character has their own action points, refueled after a passing enemy turn, you have to make each action count. Assigning more action points to an attack can even increase the probability of a successful strike.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land Featured

After each successful battle, a shop opens up allowing each character to receive upgrades to their stats or to have their loadout tweaked. It might be hard to get to the end of a level though considering most have a second objective that opens up after beating the first one. It’s easy to be caught off guard and end up unprepared for the next objective’s enemies. There are also only nine missions available, but then again, this is a title that began on the smartphone platform.

There are a fair bit of quirks players will have to become accustomed to though. For one, you can only move one teammate at once. This means you also can’t start moving another before the animation of the previous character finishes. There is a fast forward button though. Also, the default zoom for isometric perspective is far too close. Battlefields often have enemies lurking in the corners, outside of the screen completely. Yes, you can look around it manually but it’s annoying the camera couldn’t be pulled back more.

The Wasted Land is not a fantastic turn-based game or even just as a title based off H.P. Lovecraft’s work. However, it is likely much better than a lot of the mobile market offerings. Instead of being a “click/buy to win” game it is something that requires actual strategy! Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land is fun while it lasts as long as you aren’t expecting the next X-COM.

Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas

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