Posts Tagged ‘3.5’

Super Amazing Wagon Adventure Review

Super Amazing Wagon Adventure Featured

Super Amazing Wagon Adventure Boxart

Developer: Sparsevector
Publisher: Sparsevector
Platform: Xbox 360 – XBLIG, PC – Desura, Steam (Reviewed)

Many of us first experienced the joy of actually playing video games in the classroom with The Oregon Trail. At least, there was some excitement before realizing that the title is actually pretty tough. In the end, the most fun many of us had with it was choosing awkward/irreverent names for the group. But what if it were an actually fun, arcade-style action game? Then we’d have something like Super Amazing Wagon Adventure which would absolutely never be allowed into school.

Things start off calmly enough. After selecting three travelers, they hop into a wagon and venture through the plains hunting animals. Once that’s complete, things start to quickly descend into weirdness. Buffalos or bandits might strike out at you, or sometimes, there might be tons of squirrels rushing at you. Other times, the old timey bandits might be firing at you with machine guns. One of your wagon-goers might eat some special mushrooms that cause a great deal of trouble.

Super Amazing Wagon Adventure Screenshot 1

Basically, things get all kinds of messed up and fast. But that’s obviously part of the fun. Although much of Super Amazing Wagon Adventure happens in the same general layout, the way that players work through them can change. Random hilarious events are interspersed within to keep it fresh. Much of these events are wonderful, such as discovering unicorns or special treasures underwater.

How does this game actually play? It’s about split between a side-scrolling shooter and twin stick shooter. In side-scrolling sections, you usually just have to maneuver around past dangerous things (flaming buffaloes, bullets, stinky skunk carcasses, etc) or fight back. The team has a measly gun to start but there are many gun power ups to find randomly. In the twin stick segments, you mosey around on one screen, shooting at whatever comes toward you. If you die, then the other members of the troop will investigate and have to undergo the same battle.

Gameplay itself is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. On the other hand, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure seriously tired me out after about an hour of play. Shooting up enemies while keeping your wagon team safe is a lot harder than you’d expect and there are many, many opportunities for death. As long as one player is alive then they’ll keep going, but even keeping one person alive is tough! One of the most fun (and morbid?) things to do is name your team after friends and watch the ridiculous or grisly ways they die.

Super Amazing Wagon Adventure Screenshot 2

So far, the experience is fun, if taxing. The simplicity is engaging and definitely hearkens back to earlier days of gaming. The visuals and audio definitely help in this regard. In particular, the visuals are defaulted to a mode that makes the game look like it’s playing on a CRT set. Edges are rounded and there are scan lines present as well. It’s lovely to look at the crisp pixel visuals through this veneer of authenticity.

I just wish there was a further expanded variety to make this an even more amazing adventure. For the most part, I’ve experienced dozens of playthroughs that all have to have specific types of events take place in a set order. Yes, there is a lot of variation, but these moments are additions to the existing formula. But when you consider the price of $2.99, it’s hard to suggest the game is lacking. There are multiple gameplay modes and wagon types alongside standard story mode! Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is a fun, bloody, and weird as hell journey to the American West.


Score: 3.5


3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate Review

Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate

Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate Boxart

Developer: Westwood Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC – GOG*

Westwood Studios crated an interesting adventure series back in the 90s via The Legend of Kyrandia. Spanning three games, it drew in existing fans of the point and click genre as well as pulling in new players. New fans were forged thanks in part to the fanciful visuals and was mostly free of incomprehensible puzzles. For many, The Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate stands as the high point of the trilogy. I’m inclined to agree!

Book Two begins with narration from previous protagonist Brandon. Out of nowhere, it seems that the realm of Kyrandia is slowly disappearing! However, Brandon can’t do a thing about it. This time, alchemist Zanthia must save her beloved home from being zapped into complete nothingness. Zanthia is a far more resourceful and endearing protagonist than Brandon and provides witty banter along her journey. Weirdly, the developers seemed keen on the running gag of Zanthia requiring costume changes at multiple points. At least there’s no pixellated nudity to speak of, since she is able to conjure up new outfits immediately.

In comparison to Book One, Kyrandia is now a much vaster kingdom. You aren’t forced to go through screens that are 75% forest now. Instead, there are now multiple, very different looking regions to explore. Each is distinct and includes different characters to interact with and puzzles to solve. Overall though, Zanthia’s main puzzle mechanic remains the same throughout.

Legend of Kyrandia Book Two: The Hand of Fate

Players must flip through Zanthia’s spellbook/cookbook which allows her to conjure up various spells. So far as spells go it is pretty easy to know when you need to cast what. The issue lies with collecting all the ingredients necessary! Sometimes this can be tough, but usually you can find all ingredients with a little ingenuity. Players won’t have to worry about rifling through massive inventories either because Zanthia regularly empties her inventory when entering a new area, signifying the old objects are not needed from then on. Of course, sometimes you’ll still need to find new items to replace the old ones (such as flasks to hold the potions).

It seems Book Two is so loved because it improves The Legend of Kyrandia in the most important ways. The expanded world looks fanciful and creative, just as it should. With a simplified main puzzle mechanic it’s also easier to know how to resolve most problems. Finally, we have the heroic Zanthia who saves Kyrandia all the while still taking the time to laugh at the entire ridiculous predicament. As far as new fans are concerned, it also serves as an excellent starting point as it only has a slight connection to the first (and third) games.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Unholy Heights Review

Unholy Heights Featured

Unholy Heights Boxart

Developer: Petit Depotto
Publisher: Active Gaming Media Inc.
Platform: PC – Playism, Steam (Reviewed), Xbox 360 – XBLA

When you first look at Unholy Heights it seems like an adorable version of SimTower. After all, it appears to have some of the same gameplay based around increasing your tower while providing adequate housing for tenants. Once actually playing the game however it is quickly revealed that Unholy Heights is far more devilish than its cute chibi artwork lets on.

In the game, players are the Devil. But instead of wreaking havoc, eating people or something generally evil, the Devil simply focuses on creating a monster-only housing unit. You take the executive role of letting new tenants into your rooms, redecorating said rooms to please your customers/attract new ones, and slowly expand the building to increasing heights.

Unholy Heights Screenshot 1

This is no easy task, even for the Devil. It’s a hard life for monsters which means human adventurers, townspeople, and heroes will routinely come to harass them. Sometimes, this leads to your customers being killed and other times they simply steal money. In either case, this is where Unholy Heights requires players to think strategically and fight back! If a tenant is home, you can summon them from their room to have them fight against the invaders. Each monster has their own health bar and they can be sent back home if it gets too low. Otherwise, the poor little monster will get killed.

How do you make sure your monsters are tough and healed? A monster’s attack and defense levels are based on their happiness levels. If they’re stuck in an ugly old room they won’t be happy at all. However, if you heed their requests and buy them what they want then they’ll have increased power. If and when the monster finds a mate and has a child, that child can benefit and be born with higher default stats than the parents. Unfortunately, there are some odd issues with monster happiness. The main one is that monsters have biases against other monster types and therefore won’t ever be completely happy if they share the building with one of those types. So far, I have found no way to counter this aside from restricting certain monsters housing.

Unholy Heights Screenshot 2

Battling is easy enough to understand but taking out enemies efficiently can be pretty tough. You’ll have to develop strategies to attack because each monster type has their own range. You have to unleash them in the proper order to make maximum use of ranged attacks. Secondly, it’s often useful to surround the enemy on both sides, or even crowd them by the stairwell (once you have a second floor). When there are a lot of enemies, it can be hard to tell who your monsters are. Sometimes I left tenants to die simply because I couldn’t distinguish them in the line of my monsters and enemy humans. Every so often, the game would also refuse to accept my click to send one back to their room. It’s likely this was caused by characters overlapping but is an annoying way to lose a character.

In order to build new apartments the player must first have enough money for each successive floor. The best way to gain money is by doing quests, but they increase in difficulty quite fast. Some of the best strategies for generating powerful monsters are ones you must devise yourself since Unholy Heights never goes to great effort to explain them. Basically, players should take things slow by cultivating strong children instead of immediately rushing through each mission. If you don’t, things quickly become rough and you have to hang back for a while anyway.

Unholy Heights Featured

Even though the game is quite tough it is still a lot of fun. Primarily this is due to the simplistic nature of the game as well all the charm it exudes. The graphics are adorable and so are the little bitty monsters who inhabit your building. Funnily, the translation is good but perhaps raunchier than would be expected. Items such as erotic cakes exist to make your monsters mate, and at times, the monsters will spend their free time in humorous ways. Definitely check out what they’re up to from time to time for a laugh.

Make no mistake, this is a difficult game. Still, the easy to understand gameplay, graphics, and music help make it a tremendously charming experience. Definitely give the demo a look to see if this is the kind of game for you. It’s also very fairly priced at $4. Normally I wouldn’t care about a strategic apartment sim but I’ve found myself adoring the vast majority of Unholy Heights.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Review

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Featured

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Boxart

Developer: The Dreamers Guild
Publisher: Cyberdreams
Platform: PC – DOS, GOG*

During most of adventure gaming’s history there were many great titles released. The most popular tended to be from Lucas Arts and Sierra and often were comedic. Those looking for more “adult” fare were left with a much smaller library to choose from. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, based on a short story by Harlan Ellison, attempted to push that envelope when it launched in 1995.

The game is certainly strange. It focuses on a supercomputer by the name of AM which grew in power enough to ultimately take over the world. Humanity is all but demolished aside from five different individuals who AM has decided to hold captive for over 100 years. They basically stand as AM’s playthings, and are tortured continuously in the most painful ways specific to their psyches.

As the game begins, you are tasked with playing a new “game” that AM has come up with. One by one, each of the five must enter into a simulated world which has to do with their lives. There they must relieve past nightmares and overcome them. While some characters perpetrated great evils upon the world, others were victims. In particular, the story of Ellen was especially worrisome due to the triggers it may set off in some people.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Featured

It doesn’t appear that I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream commits any of the cardinal sins of adventure gaming but there are still some niggling issues. One is based around the control scheme which has players first select an action (look, use, talk, etc) and then click on an object. On a few occasions, there were times when an item had to be used in a way atypical from the rest. This was confusing and led to a lot of backtracking at times only to realize the simple error. Also, it feels a bit cumbersome to have to reach down to the functions and click them every time, but that’s thanks to changes in modern adventure games.

With those issues considered, it still isn’t a bad game. AM is one spiteful, cruel machine but it also has a weird sense of humor. The characters also stand as interesting when you uncover their lives through play. Backdrops, too, are incredibly well done. Adding in the voice acting, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is a really impressive adventure game overall which helps it overcome aged gameplay mechanics.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Telepath RPG: Servants of God Review

Telepath RPG: Servants of God

Telepath RPG: Servants of God Boxart

Developer: Sinister Design
Publisher: Sinister Design
Platform: PC (Desura, Direct, GamersGate)

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

It’s possible that if you’re reading this review that “Telepath RPG” might sound familiar to you. Having never heard of Telepath RPG: Servants of God before, it was quite the surprise that there were actually two previous games in the series. Both appeared as free titles on Newgrounds. Those Flash titles appear to have set the basics for what the series would become in its third iteration.

Telepath RPG: Servants of God sets the stage in a fantasy Middle East where people have come to impose their religion upon the local people of Ravinale. You and your parents are sternly opposed to these new rulers and vocal enough that your entire family is imprisoned! But there are many others looking to kick these theocrats out of the city. With these soldiers at your side, the player must serve as a tactician to lead them to victory. Unfortunately, the story is static in that you can’t change the main character’s gender or race despite it not affecting much (beyond the obvious usage of “he” in voiced lines).

The game is played from a top down perspective where you control each of the teammates. Actions are always governed by the player and include positioning, attacks, and healing. Each character has a max number of places they can move per turn and distances for their attacks. With each in your hands, it’s required to keep track of positioning so that one character doesn’t block another out of attacking or anything like that. Play is pretty simple and that’s a big part of what makes it so fun. It’s incredibly enjoyable to control the team and keep them smartly placed for the most effective victories.

Telepath RPG: Servants of God

Beyond these main story battles there are also side quests to be completed. Regardless of what you’re doing, Servants of God is infused with tons of chatter. Characters all have personalities apparent through their words and the writing is a pretty good read. Many, but not all, characters also receive voice acting to speak their lines. It seems the voice actors might not be professionals, but they are (usually) not embarrassing to listen to.

One point that might bother some players are the visuals. The gameplay screens for battle and exploration depict characters as very cartoony. It definitely clashes with the otherwise high quality portraits. Some scenes have colored drawn backdrops that both look unpolished and like they were pulled from a fable. I’m not sure how that works out, I appreciated them nonetheless.

RPG players who are willing to spend some time with Telepath RPG: Servants of God just might find it to be surprisingly enjoyable. It’s not perfect, but offers easy to understand gameplay and a variety of difficulty levels so most everyone can play.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Gamebook Adventures 6 – The Wizard from Tarnath Tor Review

Gamebook Adventures 2 - The Wizard from Tarnath Tor Featured

Gamebook Adventures 6 - The Wizard from Tarnath Tor

Developer: Tin Man Games
Publisher: Tin Man Games
Platform: Android, iOS, PC (Desura)

This post is part of the Indie RPG Bundle review collection

Many of us have “played” gamebooks in the past whether or not we called them by that name. Perhaps you played Choose Your Own Adventure stories or the Lone Wolf series. Whatever the case, Tin Man Games have been focusing on creating gamebooks for the digital audience and they do quite well at it. The Wizard from Tarnath Tor is the sixth in their Gamebook Adventures line.

The story focuses on your lead character, who begins the story stuck in a trap. You are saved by a wizard who then regales you with a tale about how he came to be there. According to him, he was a wizard from the great City of Tarnath. At least it was until it was destroyed in a rampage. This man asks for you to return to the city and fetch his wizarding tools because he senses that something evil has begun to take place there. And, of course, whether that is believed or not – that’s the journey you must undertake!

The Gamebook Adventure series pays great attention to keeping their games very book-like. Pages look realistic and page flips are animated as well. In a really useful move, you can also increase or decease the font size which is something that can’t be done with a traditional book. The Wizard from Tarnath Tor has a great deal of pages and choices to make along the journey.

As you might expect, it’s the choices that make these games the most interesting. After reading pages of text you are regularly presented with a new choice to make. Choices may reveal hidden objects, new dangers, or simply flesh out the adventure. Battles occur in turn-based fashion with dice rolls deciding the offense and defense of each side.

However, it seems something must have been amiss during its production because the writing does not stand up as well against The Siege of the Necromancer (the only other game in the series I’ve played thus far). No, it’s not necessarily the skill level because I was still curious to unravel the story. Instead, my eyes were regularly drawn to grammatical flubs. That, and the phenomenon of re-using the same word many times in a short span was also common. Even with these troubles, I still found the experience enjoyable.


Score: 3.5

3 1/2 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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Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Review

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Featured

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Boxart

Developer: The Chinese Room
Publisher: Frictional Games
Platform: PC – GOG*, Steam

In my opinion, Amnesia: The Dark Descent spurred a resurgence in horror games when it launched in 2010. There had been games where you were weaponless and pursued by monstrous beings before, but this one hit it big. Frictional Games became far more well known than they had been with their entire Penumbra series and we still see the results of Amnesia’s popularity today.

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Experiment 12 Review

Experiment 12 Featured

Experiment 12 Boxart

Developer: 12 different developers
Publisher: Self-published
Platform: PC

If you’ve been searching for something very unusual to play then Experiment 12 is something that needs to be on your radar. It is a collection of 12 games from different independent developers. For the most part, those involved are also well known within the community such as Jasper Byrne (Lone Survivor), Richard Perrin (Kairo), and Zaratustra (Eversion).  The multitude of developers decided to each create their own game in the span of 72 hours.

The main experimentation of Experiment 12 was not simply to make a game in a short period of time since that’s what game jams do regularly. Instead, each member of the team had to craft their chapter, pass it on, and the next person would continue the story from what was currently available. Therefore, the story was being generated bit by bit by each member on the team as they finally got their shot at making a chapter.

Experiment 12 Featured

Some of the chapters are longer than others but most take 5 to 20 minutes to complete. Things start out creepy and end creepy but there are definitely changes in between. For example, Ben Powell’s segment gives you gameplay like Missile Command in reverse. A few other sections completely change the “feel” of the narrative, but it’s not a flaw.

Only a few of the chapters are difficult making it a good entry point to indie games for many if they are interested. Experiment 12 is free and worth plunking an hour or two into just to see a creatively designed game. I would be interested in seeing more multi-developer work like this come out from far less ‘recognizable’ names.


Score 3:5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity Review

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon - Gates to Infinity Featured

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Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 3DS

The main Pokémon games always receive lots of love. The spin-offs, however… They can be hit-or-miss. Usually miss.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is one of those series that appeals to a very small audience. Others dismiss the games as too repetitive. Sure, Gates to Infinity can feel very tedious at points. But it’s a dungeon-crawler; what do you expect? In any case, I didn’t mind the repetitiveness much — Gates to Infinity offers a lot to take the edge off of that. The construction of your own customizable “Paradise” is especially appealing. You’ll spend quite a while playing Gates to Infinity trying to perfect your Paradise and make it beautiful.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon - Gates to Infinity Featured

One big thing that’s a problem for most people is the small selection of Pokémon to select as your player character and recruit. The previous Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games offered almost every Pokémon known up to that point to be recruitable. It is quite a shame that Spike Chunsoft wasn’t able to meet expectations, but I assume it might be an issue like having to create every Pokémon in 3D and animating them.

Gates to Infinity also offers some pretty gorgeous graphics and animation, as well as a touching plot (the ending seriously almost made me cry).

I enjoyed every minute of Gates to Infinity and there’s still so much to do. If you liked the previous Pokémon Mystery Dungeon titles, then give Gates to Infinity a shot.


 Pink Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


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