Sunday, 25 November 2012

Unepic Review

Unepic is one of those throw backs to gaming years gone by. In this case it really wants to be a NES game. Done in a Metroidvana style Unepic has you playing as Daniel, an unlikely hero who basically just likes to play games and watch movies who gets sucked into the very game he is playing with his friends. Chock-a-block of movie and video game references Unepic parodies it's predecessors while at the same time bring a lot more than just laughs to the table.

Unepic has lots of items. And I mean lots. From different melee weapons to spells, pets, armour and more. There is plenty to collect. Plus you as you gain levels you can equip bigger better things as well as advancing specific attributes such as how well you use certain weapons. This is somewhat shallow an area but the wide array of equipment and items more than makes up for it. One downside to all this items is that the storage box can often not feel even nearly big enough and also you can find it gets very cluttered very easily.

The combat is rather basic of hit and do a number of damage but when you throw in fast weapon switching and ranged attacks you get a nice sense of freedom to play as you want. And really that is where Unepic excels. It gives you a bunch of items and says "how would you play this character" and it really does feel like an old school RPG. I know I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The playforming can sometimes but a little glitchey. Since you have to use a keyboard because of the number of items and quick switching you can do, the accuracy of your jumps can leave a little to be desired. However, once you get the hang of it, it really doesn't hamper than game all that much.

As you explore the 200+ rooms of the Unepic castle you come across numerous enemies and treasure to be defeated and collected (in that order). Also on your travels you will meet various NPC's that will sometimes give you quests, other times try to sell you something and one that lets you save the same rather handily.

Overall I would recommend Unepic as it really does deliver a NES experience but it vastly improves upon those basics with a wide repertoire of items and plenty to do. The writing and humour can be hit and miss but it often hits more than it misses.

Score: 80/100

General Information

Game Name: Unepic
Genre: Adventure, RPG
Bundle: Indie Royale The July Jubilee Bundle


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Mutan Storm Reloaded Review

Mutant Storm Reloaded is an arcade top down twin stick shooter by PomPom Games that pits you against crowds of grisly enemies in an adrenaline fueled conquest of...erm...the glowy light surrounded area you are placed in? Basically it has 2 modes of play Adventure and and even has co-op for even more longevity. Mutant Storm was part of the Indie Royale July Jubilee bundle and, yes, I know that was ages ago but I am slow at reviews... Anyway here is my take on Mutant Storm.

The controls are fine whether you use a controller or keyboard. It is my preference to use a controller because you are limited too much in movement with a keyboard but don't let that put you off if you don't happen to have a controller. However, you should be put off a bit by how boring it can feel at times.

Mutant Storms 'Adventure' mode puts you through 89 levels where some enemies try to shoot you down. You collect some power ups that do different things from give you homing rockets to a bit laser blast. But for me, the music lets the game down entirely. In a game like this you want some rocking soundtrack to go along side your blasting through levels of enemies. But instead you get a rather drab and boring soundtrack that if anything makes me feel like all I'm doing is pointing my analogue stick at something for a bit. It does makes the game feel like it has no soul. Which is stupid because it has loads of other stuff that should make me think the opposite. There are tonnes of difficulty belts that as you play through increase in difficulty if you are consistently good and thus scales to how well you are doing in order to make the game more challenging. In addition it throws in a multiplier bar that also racks up and stays high so long as you don't die. It is just a shame that I don't feel I want to do any of these things because I can't get over how bored I feel while playing this game. And another thing, having to take a break from the action so you can zoom out then back in on a new battle arena only helps to break up the flow of the game and again make me not want to play for that long at a time. Which is a real shame since generally I would love dodging enemy fire and weaving in and out of tiny dots. But in this case I just barely make it past the first 20 levels due to boredom.

However, everything is better when co-op in involved. This is generally a true statement for any game. Nothing beats you and your buddy shooting through level after level having a laugh and, in this case, playing your own awesome music while you try to climb your way through Mutant Storms difficulty belts. This is a game that really does just benefit from using the exact formula from the single player but adding in an extra ship to be controlled. And I was starting to think this game was a lost cause. How wrong I was.

The other mode in Mutant Storm is the Tally mode. This is basically the same as adventure but you choose your difficulty and play through each level separately. Not much to see here really just same as adventure. It would have been nice to see some additional game modes but having co-op means that it is a game I will continue to come back to whenever I find a willing person to play with me.

Score: 70/100

General Information

Game Name: Mutant Storm Reloaded
Genre: Shooter
Developer: PomPom Games
Release date: 22nd November 2005
Bundle: Indie Royale The July Jubilee Bundle

System Requirements

OS: Windows XP,Vista, 7
Processor: Intel/AMD 1.6ghz or better
Memory: 512mb of RAM
Graphics: DirectX 9.0c compatible shader 2
DirectX®: 9.0c
Hard Drive: 100 MB
Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible

Saturday, 10 November 2012

X-Blades Review

I know this isn't technically an indie game but it was in a bundle so that is good enough, right? Anyway, X-Blades is an action adventure game in which you take control of a scantily clad anime-esc character called Ayumi. And I am not even joking she is essentially naked and all you see for the majority of the game is her arse in the middle of the screen as you hit enemies, run around and well mostly just hit some enemies. 

I had hoped that X-Blades would actually be one of those games that had gotten bad reviews but much like Ninja Blade was actually some fun to play. I was horribly wrong... X-Blades is a fairly stale adventure in which you simply press the hit button till things are dead or if that doesn't work then you use some fairly overpowered, as in kill everything around you instantly, magic. One such magical ability you gain in the first few moments of the game his Ayumi smashes the ground thusly killing everything in a fairly hefty radius around her. So one reliable strategy throughout the game is to charge up you bar by just getting hit a few times or hit something once or twice then just punch the floor till everything is dead. Not the most exuberant of strategies I will give you but X-Blades doesn't give you much choice since it insists on throwing wave after wave of enemies at you. And wait if you are thinking that you can just skip a battle and progress to the next area well now you would be sadly mistaken because until you have routed out every last little critter and nefarious goon you cannot move from where you currently are. Sigh...

The story as far as I could grasp was that Ayumi wanted this artefact. So she went to get it. A cat man told her not to touch it. She did and it went all black and gloopy and she gains glowy eyes and super powers. This goo is really a curse that makes the 'light' want to kill her so she has to find a way to break it. There are 2 endings - 1 good and 1 bad. This is dependent on the skills you take during the game. If you take dark skills you get the bad and light for good. To be honest past hitting things the story takes a back seat since it is quite unclear why a lot of this is happening.

One good thing I will say is that the music however repetitive and annoying fits well with the fight scenes and to be honest is one of the few decent parts of the game. Another area that isn't too terrible is the upgrades. There are numerous magic abilities and basic ability upgrades to unlock and collect. Not that the game makes them all that fun to find since you almost constantly pursued by an enemy of some kind.

The combat is an area where this game should shine. It has all the right components. Lots of enemies, magic abilities, guns, swords, somebody to use these things. However, it gets it all wrong. You only have the same combo of hit hit hit or shoot shoot shoot and even then there is no feedback so you don't even really know if your hard effort of pressing a button is even working. To add even further insult to injury you actually have to stop shooting to use your magic or hit something. It is all just very clunky and annoying to play.

Personally I was thoroughly disappointed with this game. I know it got pretty terrible reviews and so I shouldn't have expect much else but there are a number of games that I have enjoyed that have also not gotten great reviews, Ninja Blade for one. Overall this game needed to really pull through on the combat to make it work since beyond hitting things it pretty two dimensional. A real shame really because with its wacky 'light' 'dark' motif it could have been a hit. Ah well. Maybe Ayumi just needed to actually get dressed in the morning and that would have helped a little.

Score: 39/100

General Information

Game Name: X-Blades
Genre: Action, Adventure, Hack n' Slash
Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Release date: February 20, 2009
Bundle: Groupees Be Mine 5
System Requirements
OS: Windows XP SP 2/Vista
Processor: Pentium 4 @ 1.5 GHz or Equivalent
Memory: 256 MB RAM
Graphics: 128 MB (ATI Radeon/nVidia GeForce 6600)
Hard Drive: 5 GB Free

Sunday, 4 November 2012

S.P.A.Z Review Part 1

Space Pirates and Zombies also known as S.P.A.Z is a top down space combat game. It does, however, involves some 4X strategy as you progress through the galaxy. With an entire galaxy to explore can this unusual mix of genre become an arcade space opera.

In S.P.A.Z you have a hub of operations where you siphon back materials in order to build various new ship models or additions to your mothership. In addition to this you also have goons. Goons are people who's ships you have shot down and have been "persuaded" to join you. Your Goons perform a variety of roles from manning additional ships to sitting on your mothership building stuff faster for you. So getting more of them is never a bad thing. Especially when you can sell of any additional Goons for money and other resources.

At any one time you can have multiple ships flying about performing different tasks but by going on the tactical screen you can direct what each ship does. While sticking to being a top down shooter this does bring in some elements of real time strategy and really gets you to make the best of each of your ship types. On top of this you can switch control of any ship at the press of a button so you can zip around a battlefield and play as different ships at any moment. A bit help if you just finished a skirmish at one half the map and need to help at one on the other.

S.P.A.Z has an upgrade system that lets you put skill points in the certain things such as increased firepower or shields when you level up. While there is nothing dazzling about it, it does serve it's purpose and makes you want to continue to level up so you can increase your spacely prowess.

End of part 1. Part 2 coming soon.

General Information

Game Name: S.P.A.Z
Genre: Action, Adventure, Strategy
Developer: MinMax Games
Release date: 15th Aug, 2011
Bundle: Humble Bundle 6

System Requirements
OS: Windows XP or later
Processor: 2.0 GHz
Memory: 1 GB
Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
OS: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
Processor: Intel 1.8 GHz
Memory: 1 GB
Graphics: 512 MB VRAM

Processor: 2.0 GHz
Memory: 1 GB
Graphics: 512 MB VRAM