All things considered, Risk of Rain is a lot of fun. Though it is held back by its technical faults (which can be reasonably expected from a project created by two students), it has the right stuff to elicit the "just one more run" response that roguelike games are known for. With a little more polish, it could be truly great, but as it is now, it's still totally worth checking out.
Adding to the old school woes is a small collect-a-thon element that could have been handled much more elegantly. Hidden throughout the tower are 36 capsules, each containing one of the aforementioned still images explaining Teslagrad's back story. Often, they are presented clearly in a room as a reward for completing an optional, more difficult puzzle than the standard one in that location. In that form, the optional capsules are great. Elsewhere they are hidden from plain sight and only attainable through tedious exploration of every room. Compounding on that is the largely unhelpful map screen, which gives no indication of even general areas in which any missed capsules reside. Toward the end, there are hints that something special happens if a player were to collect all 36 capsules, but only the most meticulous searchers would be able to find them all without outside help.Taking all of that together, it is not obvious for whom Teslagrad was created. It requires a very particular set of interests and skills to fully enjoy. The incredible artwork and wordless storytelling style invite those who want to experience a unique narrative, but the difficult action gameplay and tedious exploration for capsules actively work to keep players from that experience. For those who are interested in the history to be discovered and who are able to persevere through the products of old design philosophy, Teslagrad is highly rewarding and an ultimately fantastic game. However, I would not be surprised to hear of others unable or unwilling to see it through to the end.
In the end, I would not be surprised to hear that the Octodad community is thriving years down the road. It exudes a certain weirdness and charm that makes it stand out from a lot of other titles out there, and there are tools in place for it to live on past the point when the credits start to roll. Though it has some issues with framerate drops and its approach to control is definitely not for everybody, Dadliest Catch kept a smile on my face for most of its duration.
What it does to differentiate itself from previous entries in the series is mostly superficial, but Layton fans and puzzle lovers do not really need or want a great departure for the series. All we want is a puzzle-solving adventure, and Azran Legacy delivers a good one.
In the end, Constant C is a solid puzzle platformer that takes a few familiar ideas and mashes them together to create something partially new. The difficulty of the puzzles ranges from trivial to diabolical, with most falling somewhere in between. Its greatest sin is the repetition of certain puzzles, but if that is the worst aspect of Constant C, then it should still please fans of the genre.
Life Goes On might not start with the most mindblowing hook, but the idea is solid and Infinite Monkeys develops it well. By constantly adding new tricks into its repertoire and not dragging itself out unnecessarily, it maintains a good quality throughout. Puzzle difficulty ranges from easy to medium-hard; it rarely gets diabolically difficult, and when it does it is only when completing optional objectives. Although it is not particularly nice to look at, the underlying gameplay is worthwhile for any puzzle platformer enthusiast.
In the end, it is difficult to recommend Monochroma. Despite its impressive audiovisual presentation, it fails in the areas that make a game a game. It is beautiful in its own dismal way, and the story it tells is decent, but I could not wait for it to end so I would not have to deal with the frustrating control and dull design decisions.
In all, Tomodachi Life is filled with pure, unbridled joy. It puts a stupid grin on my face and keeps it there through its duration. Some might complain that it is "not a game," but they can go on hating. It does require the player to put in some love, flair, and wit, but what comes out is magic.
Still, most will come to MouseCraft for the puzzles, stay for the puzzles, and ignore the narrative (or lack thereof). To that end, it does an admirable job, constantly introducing new ideas so that each chunk of levels feels fresh. Over the four hours it takes to see the end, and additional time to complete entirely, it never overstays its welcome. The concept behind it is solid, and it has been developed well past that initial idea.
Though it is not bad, it is neither great. The basic gameplay concept is fine, and it works as a way to pass time in short bursts. It seems like it could work better if it were a pure skill game rather than the hybrid it is, and it surely would work better on mobile or handheld. The sheer volume of content available for the relatively low price is commendable, but while there is a lot to play in Squids Odyssey, there is not a lot to really love.