Posts Tagged ‘Desura’

Airline Tycoon Deluxe Review

Airline Tycoon Deluxe Feature

Airline Tycoon Deluxe Boxart

Developer: Spellbound AG
Publisher: Black Forest Games
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS PC – Desura, GamersGate, GOG*, Steam

Airline Tycoon originally launched in 1998, and despite my own simulator addiction at the time, I was totally unaware of its existence. Instead, my time was split between DinoPark Tycoon and Sim City 2000. Apparently, I was years delayed from the current market. In any case, the ultimate version of Airline Tycoon Deluxe landed in 2003 – again, totally missing me. It appears not having access to the game in my youth has changed perceptions quite a bit.

When looking over fan comments when this title launched on GOG you see tons of excitement over this being the best simulation game ever! I don’t think it’s the best ever, but it is definitely charming and well thought out. You begin as an owner of an airline and, despite CEO status, must basically do all the grunt work as well. Hire staff, chart flight plans, and work with or against the other airline owners are just some of the tasks you’ll need to take care of.

Airline Tycoon Deluxe Feature

And, honestly, it’s overwhelming. Time and time again I found myself wandering the terminal in confusion… but some of that was my own fault. If you do take the time to handle every mission that comes your way first, you’ll be taught some of the basics. In any case, once you do finally get a handle on Airline Tycoon Deluxe it does make more sense – even though there’s still a ton of systems to manage.

I wish I had played Airline Tycoon Deluxe (or the original version) in my youth because it looks exactly like the kind of tycoon simulation that was so awesome at the time. The graphics are wonderful, the music is midi-tastic, and there’s so much room to take on the task of airline owner exactly as you wish. Just, at this point in my life, it seems that there’s a lot of preamble and studying necessary to get to the good parts.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system – *Affiliate link

Domestic Dog Simulator Review

Domestic Dog Simulator Featured

Domestic Dog Simulator Boxart

Developer: Surreal Distractions
Publisher: Surreal Distractions
Platform: PC – Steam, Desura

By now many abhor the “funny simulator” fad in gaming. Well, I’m not! Domestic Dog Simulator is a lovely little title I first discovered via Desura and was very excited to see it hit Steam. Having played again after my first foray a bit ago, some aspects have actually changed! However, the main game is still the same. You still play as a randomly generated doggy trying to survive.

Every time you boot up Domestic Dog Simulator you’re treated to a new alien/robot/whatever dog-like creature. Its goals are simple: Stay fed and hydrated, flea-free, get some exercise, and pee/poop on stuff. As you navigate around the tiny town you’ll discover odd, but cute things. For example, the arcade currently features three games to muck around with. The coolest aspect, however, are the secrets hidden right underneath the surface.

Domestic Dog Simulator Featured

At first glance it really feels like Domestic Dog Simulator is an incredibly simplistic, repetitive game. It is certainly repetitive in that you need to constantly refill your meters (lest the dog die), but play long enough and you’ll uncover new areas and other great Easter eggs. Achievements offer slight hints for what to do or where to go, if you need it. My biggest complaint is that every time you close the game you’re saying goodbye to that dog and its run. I don’t have the time to sit and game for hours on end!

With that said, the developer has shown that they are still hard at work on Domestic Dog Simulator. No, it’s not in Early Access but Surreal Distractions continues to add and tweak features in response to players. They’ve even addressed the complaint of new dogs on launch and may offer a solution. Controller support is incoming as well which is great considering the current keyboard controls are iffy. Domestic Dog Simulator might be immensely simple, but sometimes that’s exactly what I’m looking for.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Numba Deluxe Review

NumbavDeluxe Featured

Numba Deluxe Boxart

Developer: Cobra Mobile
Publisher: KISS ltd
Platform: PC – Big Fish Games, Desura, Steam

Fans of puzzle games are absolutely spoiled for choice on Steam – or really, any digital games marketplace. While looking for match-3 puzzle variations I came upon Numba Deluxe. The game presents players with a grid of numbers and simply asks you to line up three or more in some sort of order. As such, it’s a match-3 title which utilizes numbers instead of colored blocks to allow for “patterned” paths.

This means you’ll be able to create paths by linking together multiple of the same number but also match sequentially increasing values (1, 2, 3, 4), even ones (2, 4, 6), odd (1, 3, 5), or even multiples (2, 4, 8). Each can also be matched in backwards order as well. Despite the simple concept I often found myself sticking to the most basic of routes (repeated numbers or even). Of course, to succeed you must utilize all linking styles.

NumbavDeluxe Featured

Numba Deluxe comes with three modes: Classic, Timeless, and Puzzle. Classic and Timeless are the same except, well, the first is timed. Considering the general relaxed nature of puzzle games, Classic isn’t an ideal play style. Puzzle presents a board which requires careful solving to clear. No matter what mode you select there are some issues inherent to the title.

Sure, the music is wonderfully calming but the board itself is lacking in flair. All numbers are the same color, leaving you to “read” each instead of get into typical puzzle flow. Special blocks (fire, ice, etc) change after a certain number of turns but don’t actually tell you how many turns are left. Finally, there’s little pushing folks to keep playing. Numba Deluxe is a competent little time waster but it doesn’t offer much staying power. If you’re in desperate need for a casual puzzle game allow me to suggest Puzzler World instead.


Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Abomination Tower Review

Abomination Tower Featured

Abomination Tower Logo

Developer: Adrian Sugden
Publisher: Adrian Sugden
Platform: PC – Desura, Humble Store, itch.io

I completely suck at platformers. Even ones designed to be family friendly often give me a run for my money. As such, it makes no sense for me to enjoy Abomination Tower. This fairly challenging platformer is procedurally generated with horrible spikes, fleshy monsters, and shooty globs that kill you in one hit. As you ascend the tower, each stage offers increased challenges to survive. And yet, I found it immediately enjoyable.

Perhaps it has to do with the humor inherent from the get go. The protagonist is an abomination in the most obvious sense. It is a being created by a mad scientist that moves and jumps but has no head. This no head bit actually has a gameplay aspect too. You see, after collecting enough eyeballs you unlock wearable heads. Each confers its own special ability – but you can’t stack heads. Even after unlocking a few more I still found myself sticking with “Save My Butt” since that allows the abomination two hits rather than one hit KOs.

Abomination Tower Featured

The humorous theme thrives thanks to Abomination Tower’s visuals. That aforementioned unlock, for example, actually places a round rump on the abomination’s head. Everything has a nice cartoony vibe despite the blood splatters decorating walls and floors. It’s also great that unlocks remain unlocked even when you die and/or restart. This is important when you (or me, in this case) die constantly.

Issues I noticed were that platforming is not as precise as it could be. Jumps in particular all have a minimum left and right motion, meaning you must account for these specifics when jumping through dangerous sections. Some procedurally generated bits also seemed to offer impossible fragments. Perhaps I’m not skilled enough yet, but they did seem problematic. Abomination Tower offers a quick burst of platforming fun in an inexpensive package.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

Words for Evil Review

Words for Evil Featured

Words for Evil Boxart

Developer: Dylan Loney
Publisher: Dylan Loney
Platform: PC – Desura, itch.io, IndieGameStand

RPGs usually seem a bit too unwieldy for me to play. I can’t help but view them as such long journeys with a requisite amount of dull grinding. Words for Evil, although a bit of an RPG itself, is much more my speed. This 2D pixelated adventure lets you and a band of adventurers explore new lands and vanquish enemies in your path. However, it does so with a Scrabble-like mechanic rather than turn-based actions.

You begin with a lone adventurer as they battle through countless enemies. Each battle presents a board of letters on the screen. Your goal is to make as many words from it as possible, by string adjacent tiles together in 3 or more letter words. There’s a wrinkle to all this. Certain letters are colored. Only breaking these special tiles allows your side to attack. So it quickly becomes a game of not only finding any word on the field, but making sure you get in a lot of attacks as well.

Words for Evil Screenshot 1

There are two control schemes: One designed for keyboards and one for mice. Of course, the mouse clicking and dragging one seems to emulate a touch screen control concept. Using the mouse was my preferred play style early on until enemies became stronger. When it became necessary to string words together super quick, mouse play bogged me down with errors. On the other hand, keyboard controls work quite well. Just start typing out a word you see and Words for Evil immediately finds where you are to clear that space. One issue I did notice were certain words were not recognized by the game’s dictionary. Those moments were unexpected (and frustrating).

Although there’s not much story, you’ll spy a lot of other RPG genre conventions. Monsters drop loot, player stats increase over time, and there’s even room to stock a few potions. A few minigames also crop up from time to time. While still word-based, they offer a varied form of gameplay. Words for Evil is a pretty simple, fun way to spend a few hours. It might even teach you a few new words along the way.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Finding Teddy Review

Finding Teddy Featured

Finding Teddy Boxart

Developer: LookAtMyGames
Publisher: Plug In Digital
Platform: Mobile – Android, iOS PC – DesuraSteam

When I started up Finding Teddy I really had no idea what to expect. It begins with a view of a young girl in her bedroom. While she’s sleeping a gigantic hairy spider limb reaches through her closet and steals her teddy bear. She wakes teddy bear-less and ponders for a moment before heading into her opened closet. From there, players are transported to some entirely different realm.

This simple introduction really excited me to sit down and play the game all the way through in one sitting. Of course, it’s a fairly short experience (one to three hours) but neat nonetheless. Finding Teddy is a point and click style adventure game with a couple of puzzle types. There are the standard item puzzles which require you to use a certain object with the right thing to make something happen. However, there are also puzzles related to repeating back songs in the right place.

Finding Teddy Featured

It’s the musical puzzles that help set this game apart mechanically from others. Each music note stands for one of the letters of the English alphabet (and even have similar shapes). Through music the player conveys words and ideas to the world’s inhabitants. This could mean you ask for “help” from one or tell another to “dig” a hole. I liked this concept and was sad to see how short the game is.

Most puzzles make a lot of sense just as long as you’re very aware of weird bits in the environment. Also make sure to use your fly and/or cat partners once they’re added to the team. Finding Teddy is a brief but very nice adventure game. It’s obviously optimized for touch devices (as you click on edges of the screen to move) but the PC release better showcases the pixel art. Basically, you’re in for a treat regardless of the platform you choose to play Finding Teddy on.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Ampu-Tea Review

Ampu-Tea Featured

Ampu-Tea Boxart

Developer: ProjectorGames
Publisher: KISS ltd
Platform: PC – Desura, GamersGateGreen Man Gaming, IndieCity, Shiny Loot, Steam

It’s not like I keep this a secret, but I loved Surgeon Simulator 2013. Sure, the whole concept was fairly creepy but for some reason games where you have too precise control over things entertain me. That’s the main reason I checked out Ampu-Tea. The developers acknowledge their inspirations and have tweaked them into an odd tea-making sim.

Players control a robot arm. They can bend the fingers and thumb (although pinky and ring finger are activated by the same button). Beyond gripping with fingers, there’s also the option to angle the wrist in different orientations, and move up, down, left, and right. The controls are fairly simplistic and feel a lot more manageable than Surgeon Simulator 2013.

Ampu-Tea Featured

Upon starting the game there are five or so tasks (less if you’re playing on easy) related to making tea. These can involve adding a tea bag, sugar cube(s), hot water, and milk. Once all that’s taken care of you place the cup on a serving plate. Of course, getting any of this accomplished is difficult. However, after playing for only 20 minutes I was able to finagle my way to victory. Or, I would, if Ampu-Tea ever acknowledged my actions.

The biggest issue with the game is it appears in need of a few patches. For example, when given the task to add a single cube of sugar it fails to recognize when I do it in-game. An achievement popped up, but nothing else. Of course, after adding a few more sugar cubes the game failed me for adding too many. This, paired with a very short game once you figure it out, means that Ampu-Tea is not nearly as successful at the whole wacky hand control formula as its inspiration.


Score: 1.5

1 1/2 out of 5 alpacas


About our rating system

Noir Syndrome Review

Noir Syndrome Featured

Noir Syndrome Logo

Developer: Dave Gedarovich
Publisher: Glass Knuckle Games
Platform: Mobile – Android PC – Desura, Direct, Steam

Do you fancy yourself a detective? In Noir Syndrome, you get to put on your best detective garb and get to work solving a murder before many more victims surface. The supposed Anubis Killer is incredibly smart though, able to lure even the best player around town to dodge arrest. Even so, a good bunch of clues should make it very apparent who the killer is in town.

Noir Syndrome tells one basic murder story again and again but changes the clues and murderer each playthrough. You start off in your tiny apartment with cute cat and (hopefully) a chunk of cash. The player then weaves through various buildings to collect clues, talk to townspeople, and maybe nab a bite to eat. Some characters drop hints about shady locations while others name suspects.

Being a detective apparently makes one quite hungry. After a bit of searching, the game alerts you to a constantly depleting hunger status. Those who ignore it beyond the announcement of “starving” will actually die before solving a case. This, along with a two-week timeline, make Noir Syndrome a bit too difficult. Sometimes finding enough clues and names isn’t possible if you go to one or two “wrong” locations.

Noir Syndrome Featured

Still, the challenge lends itself to a lot of humorous failures. I don’t know how many attempts it took to finally apprehend the correct suspect, but it was always entertaining to try again. After a while I became better skilled at finding food and items, and knowing what items might mean. Items being basically invisible on-screen (requiring constant pressing of the investigate button) is a pretty annoying design choice, though.

If you’re someone who enjoyed The Ship or are looking forward to SpyParty then this is another game to check out (specifically, try Dinner Party mode). Even if you aren’t, it still offers a murder mystery with arcade-style play. The short playtime each case also makes it a good choice for smartphone play. Noir Syndrome is an odd, goofy look at being a detective. Despite the steep difficulty, it’s worth a look.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

RefleX Review

RefleX Featured

RefleX Boxart

Developer: SITER SKAIN
Publisher: Nyu Media
Platform: Desura, GamersGate, Nyu Media, Rice Digital, Steam

Digital distribution is quickly changing the landscape of games available to players. In the days when arcades still existed, it was likely most had tried at least one shoot ’em up there. Afterwards, the genre trended toward niche with releases that mostly just fans were aware of. Nyu Media, known for their doujin releases, recently brought RefleX to a western audience.

Interestingly, RefleX is the second game in The Tale of ALLTYNEX trilogy by independent developer SITER SKAIN. Yet, it is the first released to Steam. The game includes eight stages complete with large bosses and tons of regular enemies. Of course, this is what is par for the course with shooters.

RefleX Featured

What is it that makes the game stand out against countless others? The most interesting feature is a reflect system. Using a shield during battle protects your ship but also reflects enemy bullets. Where bullets bounce back is dependent on the angle they struck your shield to begin with. So, in theory, these reflected bullets are a great way to weaken enemies. In play I found this hard to control simply because there’s so much going on.

Bullet hell shooters are famous for having tons of visual clutter thanks to ridiculous bullet patterns and enemies. With so much going on, using the reflective shield to its best is beyond my reach (at least right now). At least RefleX grants failing players extra continues! There’s a lot good about the game, but it seems opposed to novices, despite appealing to them with more lives. RefleX is best played by fans of the genre or those who really, really want to play a solid shooter regardless of difficulty.


Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system

Actual Sunlight Review

Actual Sunlight Featured

Actual Sunlight Boxart

Developer: Will O’Neill
Publisher: Will O’Neill
Platform: PC – Desura, Direct, Steam

Depression is difficult to comprehend for anyone not suffering from it. Even those who live with depression can find it incredibly difficult to pin down in any certain terms. Despite being an affliction that people all over the world suffer from, many even fail to recognize it as a real issue. It’s likely some with that mindset will somehow stumble onto Actual Sunlight. Perhaps playing the game will shift perceptions.

Actual Sunlight stars Evan Winters. He is not a spry, spiky-haired teen nor a grizzled marine as per gaming conventions. He sits somewhere in the middle as a dejected, completely average guy. Every day he heads to work in an office with people who he either dislikes, or likes, but they don’t return those feelings. If you’ve ever felt alone or like a loser then try and amplify that many magnitudes over. Then maybe you’ll have the slightest inkling of how he feels.

Actual Sunlight Featured

Evan is down and painfully so. Playing the game basically involves interacting with nearby objects and people, most of which gets Evan to discuss the item in question. Usually, this results in spiteful comments about himself or others. Sometimes darkly humorous, it’s easy to see that he’s far from a healthy mental state. Regardless of what he says the reader is left with a tangible feeling of hopelessness. As the game progresses you can see as daily life pushes him further down.

Actual Sunlight tells this story primarily through Evan’s thoughts and the brief discussions he has with others. Interestingly, the visuals recall retro RPGs, with a top-down perspective and NPCs milling about. However, beyond interacting with the surroundings there’s little traditional gameplay to speak of. I’m much more compelled to call this a visual novel, despite the direct control scheme.

10

Lately there have been games launching that focus on telling a story directly from the creator – likely sharing very personal details. If that’s not your cup of tea then that’s a shame because you’re missing out. It was hard to play Actual Sunlight to completion, even though it took only an hour. I ached, perhaps for Evan, but in part for my own lived experiences. I was compelled to see how Evan’s plight would play out. I wanted to hear his thoughts and experience second-hand what that kind of life was like for him. Because the narrative doesn’t offer some sort of sappy conclusion it felt all that more real.

I couldn’t care less about droll storylines that get pumped out in games continuously because they impart no emotional impact. Games like Actual Sunlight need to continue hitting the scene. Maybe we’ll eventually see other developers test the waters.


Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas


Review code provided
About our rating system