The past few years has seen a rise in “walking simulator” exploration games. Personally, I haven’t minded them much, a handful of them conveying meaningful stories without doing all that much in the way of gameplay. KHOLAT changes that formula up a bit, but not enough.
It may have been Rock Paper Shotgun that recently posted an article along the lines of “Why Isn’t There More Surrealism In Gaming?”. I certainly didn’t read it, but the title posed an interesting question. Surrealism is something I admire, Dante’s Inferno being one of my favorite games visually, and though the style sees some success in smaller titles, “mainstream adoption” isn’t exactly in its vocabulary.
Maybe it’s for the best, as a plague of mainstream games that are even more troubling and confusing than they already are isn’t something I’m clamoring for, but it’s still something I appreciate seeing when it comes along.
Tormentum – Dark Sorrow is a game that revels in its boundlessly dark imagery and compelling surrealism. It’s the same sort of thing Dante’s Inferno was going for. Where Dante’s Inferno was a deliberately and shockingly twisted depiction of hell, Tormentum takes that same mission statement and applies it to a point-and-click adventure game set in an oppressive, nightmarish wasteland.
Some kinds of games I enjoy, some I don’t, and some just make me sad. Not sad because of a tragic ending, plot twist, or circumstance, just sad for the game itself. Destiny made me sad because of its wasted potential (and budget), Hohokum made me sad because its heart of gold was in the right place all along, and Gauntlet made me sad because it was doomed for mediocrity at the most.
A Druid’s Duel makes me sad because it’s a perfect talking point for what belongs on a PC and what doesn’t, and it doesn’t deserve to be.
In this age of so many throwback arena shooters coming out of the woodwork that no one really wants them anymore, Wickland stands apart by calling back to Hexen. Or… looking like it. It sets itself apart with unique fantasy-textured maps and an at least thought-provoking central mechanic, but doesn’t do the most important thing it could do to differentiate itself from the flood: it isn’t a very good game. Continue reading Wickland Review
Verde Station is the first game I’ve played in recent memory that has made me dread the thought of ever moving.
I don’t make a habit of playing horror games, so obviously I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I asked for a Verde Station code. It’s not a horror game. But it has something that any horror game should make its priority: a tense as shit atmosphere.
The Talos Principle fills a surprisingly sizable void in the market: the void of quality first-person puzzlers. One would have expected that in the wake of Portal’s success there would have been at least a few real gems, but outside of the occasional copycat of questionable quality and the occasional acid trip, the genre has been quite sparse. The Talos Principle, however, stands out as some of the best the genre has to offer, and one of the best games of 2014.
Click to enlarge the images in this review. You’ll need it.
I’ve reviewed a few indie games on this site that try to combine roguelike risk-reward gameplay with another genre for maximum indie game appeal. Coin Crypt tried to be an amped-up deck-building game with permadeath, Magicite tried to be an amped-up crafting game with permadeath, but few songs are sung for the indies that try to be a genuinely good roguelike. This is where Dungeonmans comes in.
Magicite is sort of the embodiment of current indie trends. It’s a survival/crafting game, the environments are randomly generated, it’s a “roguelike”, and there’s pixel art. It’s the all-in-one package, but it suffers from one fatal flaw: the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
When Activision found no buyers for and shut down Bizarre Creations in 2011, I was bummed for two names: Geometry Wars and Blur. I guess I shouldn’t have gotten so worked up, though, because one of those two names is back already, and it’s (almost) everything I could have hoped for. Lucid Games has been handed the keys to one of the most influential twin stick shooters, and what they’ve created is a bold entry to the Geometry Wars series that lives up to, and sometimes surpasses, the stellar reputation of its predecessors.
Shovel Knight is not a trailblazer. Shovel Knight isn’t going to be remembered for being the first of its kind in any detail whatsoever, but in 10 years, people will be playing Shovel Knight just because of how damned good it is.