I have mixed emotions with Rock of Ages 3: Make & Break. There are nagging technical issues and the game design incorporates a game genre I despise, but I can’t deny how much fun I had with most of it. I got about six hours of entertainment out of the single player campaign alone, close to an hour of which was me begrudgingly playing the modes more focused on tower defense. $30 might be a bit much if you’re like me and aren’t as into the tower defense aspects of the game. If it goes on sale though, go right ahead and be prepared to rock and/or roll.
Indiecalypse stands as an example of misplaced effort. Instead of being one polished game, it’s a cobbled together mess of several different incomplete builds of games. Even the Kickstarter backer list seems rushed, since none of the names are in alphabetical order. The humor isn’t dark so much as desperate and annoying to a degree that even Meet the Spartans thinks it’s overdoing it. In a way its portrayal of video game fans and developers reminds me of the movie Ready to Rumble, which is about pro wrestling and designed for its fans, but ends up depicting those fans as dumb, immature, irrational troglodytes. This game isn’t even four hours long, but not only did it feel much longer, I had to keep taking breaks every twenty minutes or so. Sometimes I just had to play something else, but usually I laid in bed and stared at the ceiling because this game’s sense of humor has that effect. $12.99 is far too much, and I’m not sure any sale price could justify ever buying this.
While it’s functional as a game, I expected more from Habroxia. That may sound unfair, but my expectation was not to breeze through everything the game had to offer in less time than a Lord of the Rings movie and feel no urge to return to any of it. What it does right, it does with no particular finesse. It’s a shooter in which I was able to get away with not shooting anything, or mindlessly holding the fire buttons on way too many occasions. Considering what else is available, not just on consoles but on PC as well, I struggle to recommend this to anyone, barring a massive discount from its $7.99 asking price.
Treachery In Beatdown City well surpassed my expectations. I was skeptical of the combat system and how long it could hold my interest, but after nearly six hours I find myself wanting the second episode to drop the moment I finish typing this review. It scales up nicely in difficulty and sprinkles in new moves, new enemies and new tactics at just the right rate to keep things interesting the whole way through. I’m usually the “wait for a sale” type and not keen on episodic games, particularly ones that cost $20 on the Nintendo eShop, but even if the second episode somehow bombed I’d still be happy with what the first delivered. Here’s hoping that wherever the game goes from here, it involves even more fighting and a healthy helping of Farooq’s halal.
I want to like Bookbound Brigade more than I do. I like the concept of working in several references to classic literature and historical figures in a big ol’ side-scrolling adventure. As is, it’s a serviceable Metroidvania with somewhat awkward combat and levels composed of rooms that blend together and stretch on for way too long. It took almost 18 hours for me, in large part due to navigation problems. Like how every word in a good book is written with purpose, this game needs to better apply that methodology to its level design. It could easily scale back some rooms and/or improve navigation and trim a few unnecessary hours off its run time. If monotony isn’t an issue, you’ll probably find the $19.99 it costs to be worth it in the end.
As much as I like the world and story of The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters, as well as most of the gameplay, I can’t overlook how much it felt like the game was being padded with fetch quests and picky event triggers. I lasted eight hours on the first go, but had to keep taking breaks every 30-40 minutes or so because I could only do so much backtracking or scanning of every wall in every room for hints before needing to do something, anything else. For those with a higher tolerance for it, the $15 asking price (or about $23 for a deluxe bundle with the artbook, soundtrack and two DLC costumes) should be well worth it. After all, someone needs to help Mina out so she doesn’t have to settle for a disappointing B on her exams. Yes, really.
Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san! A River City Ransom Story is a fun, if not frustrating at times, spin-off of the Kunio-kun games. However, as a game designed to be played through several times, often completing vague objectives to get certain endings or rankings, it quickly lost its charm for me. If you’re confident the gameplay loop won’t get old, the $13.99 asking price will probably seem like a good deal. Otherwise, I’d look elsewhere to get your fix of high schoolers beating up other high schoolers and/or time travelers.
Devil’s Hunt is a game that knows the look of a high-quality video game, but stumbles on most other fronts. It has the skeleton of the game in place, but struggles to flesh things out beyond that. Clocking in at about six hours, it’s a mostly functional package that takes a grandiose story as its base and delivers something less bombastic. Hopefully Desmond can get his act together should another installment come to fruition.
Whether or not Jet Kave Adventure is worth it comes down to whether you think you’ll replay the stages to complete all the extra challenges. My initial playthrough lasted just short of four and a half hours, but I completed almost no challenges and missed several trophies. I want to recommend it to people who just want a nice platforming experience, but between its other shortcomings and the asking price of $19.99, I’m leaning more toward waiting for a sale. It’s functional fun, though not necessarily a total package.
Silver Chains is a story-driven horror game that almost immediately can’t keep its story straight. Even if it did, the aimless wandering and general lack of threat the two monsters pose make the already tired scare tactics at work even weaker. It’s competently made (which is rare nowadays for a Steam horror game) and has some clear inspiration, but badly needs a more creative take on its character design, setting and gameplay. As is, it merely blends in with the sea of Steam horror titles that use the same settings, scares and game mechanics. $25 is too much for this short, disjointed experience. Even with a price drop, there’s not enough to distinguish Silver Chains as anything other than another brick in the Steam horror wall.