After playing through certain games, I get all emotional and dazed because the experience, even with some issues along the way, has been so exceptionally strong. The Medium is one of those games. Its distinctive art and sound design, bare-bones gameplay, Marianne’s tender persona, and stripped-down story create a poignant tale.
Olija’s atmosphere is spot on and despite its huge pixels, the game manages to channel Hugo Pratt’s fabled Corto Maltese graphic novels that take place in similar exotic corners of the world. The gameplay also works most of the time, but as is often the case with indie games, the authoritarian developer has gone overboard. The less is usually more but here, the style simply went over the substance and 12 hours of playtime more than overstays its welcome considering the game's ultimately shallow bounty.
Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy is a great entry point for those unfamiliar with JRPGs but who would like to get acquainted with this perhaps mythical genre. At the same time, you also have to learn and put up with grinding, because now and then you will encounter bosses that are a bit too much for an under-leveled party. Thanks to the snappy combat, quick gameplay and easy traversal, you are back in the home base in no time for another go. Ryza’s bright attitude will rub on you and make it easier to go through chores and grinding of real life.
It took about 15 tumultuous hours to see Blacksad’s investigation through, including repeated quick-time events. Years’ worth of reading and watching detective stories didn’t go wasted as I figured out early on who must be the mastermind behind the crimes and in the end, I was really pleased that I got it right. I was happy how my story concluded but there’s a lot of variation how individual scenes or even bigger lines can turn out based on choices you have made along the journey.
Crying Sun is stylish, fast-paced and simple to play but its content runs thin and it can also be often unfair because of its high reliance on random factor. It may be true that half of everything is luck but in the long run, it doesn’t always turn into meaningful gameplay.
If the game features a trophy for dying 50 games, you will know that it won’t be a walk in the park. Especially when you’re most likely to score it early on and there are even no difficulty levels, putting everyone to face the same ordeal. It’s an entirely different matter whether the challenge is fair or unfair, though. After all, the line between the two is notoriously thin.
I love the game that is bubbling under all the excess garbage. This year’s MyPlayer is pretty much what I would have liked to see before in the series, even though I had to play it with Plan B characters as photo uploading in-game didn’t initially work. Despite its crappy presentation, MyCareer is also endearing and inspiring.
Including all unavoidable failures and retries, it only takes two hours to play Stela through. In that sense, the asking price of twenty bucks is a bit too steep. However, the game is well done and the gameplay focuses only on the essential as there’s nothing extra to distract you.