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.
If this were just a review of the first ninety percent of Unruly Heroes I’d give it a higher score. It’s enjoyable and challenging enough to keep wanting to see what’s next. However, the perfect storm of problems near the end left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s still a fun experience, one that lasted almost seven hours for me, though one that comes with a big asterisk. If having friends along for the ride helps, there is local and online co-op, inexplicably called “Player Vs Player” in-game, for up to four people (though I couldn’t find anyone to try it with). At $20 across all storefronts, I’d recommend it as long as you’re patient enough to make it through the endgame.
It seems like the narrative is supposed to carry the day, what with the gameplay being rather uninspiring. However, after a little under five and a half hours, I got an ending which left several plot points unresolved and felt like sequel bait. There’s little reason to go back to it, outside of finding the collectibles. Even then you can’t see them outside of when they’re picked up, so it’s just for those desperate to say they accomplished everything. In the end Close to the Sun is a competently made game, but one with more style than substance. Its backstory and setting end up being the most engaging parts, with little else to keep the player slowly jogging deeper into the bowels of the Helios. For $30, there are more fulfilling and better executed experiences to be had.
It only took me about an hour and a half to finish Classic mode on normal, then another half-hour to get the other secret items and finish the final stage. That doesn’t sound like much, but there’s enough to do in Venture Kid that I played through it a couple times and went through Survival mode too. Also, there’s next to no downtime in this game; it’s almost constant action, and it just feels good to clear a room of spike pits or avoid flame jets and the like. It’s a pleasant retro-styled experience, one worth the $10 price tag if you’re planning to do all there is to do. Whether a veteran of the genre or just getting into it, there’s room for both to enjoy this.
Sweet Sachiko’s Hysteric Birthday Bash may hold appeal to hardcore Corpse Party fans, giving the chance to see several characters from different schools meet or reunite and interact with each other. Beyond that, the story can’t figure out what it wants to be, tries to be everything, doesn’t do anything particularly well, and ends up undermining what it does right. Padded out to about 10 hours in length, it’s at least worth the $20 price tag in that regard. I’ll still play the regular Corpse Party games some time, but ultimately I took little away from this spin-off.
All in all, I spent over 15 hours going from Zama to the farthest reaches of the game’s world and back. It’s extremely ambitious for Kiro’o Games to dive into the deep end with a game of this scope right off the bat, even with the framework they built up from years prior. Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is a game which shows tremendous heart and dedication to making a legitimately fun and beautiful game, but also some of the pitfalls of a developer’s first big title. That said, in spite of the technical issues, I do recommend playing Aurion. It’s available right now on Steam for $14.99. For those who want more of the lore behind the game, there is also a comic which delves deeper into the game’s events.
All said, for $25 it’s hard to go wrong with Distance. The intensity and challenge are there, but don’t feel overwhelming outside of where it’s expected like, say, in Challenge mode. While the campaign’s attempt at storytelling can be hit or miss, the strength of its gameplay across all modes carries the day for it. Reckless and wild in all the right ways, Distance is the change of pace in racing games I didn’t realize I needed.
With the main game split into eight acts, it took me a little over four hours to get through Engage mode. There is some enjoyment to be had floating around a derelict space station for a bit, but in the end it comes off as a game which isn’t bad per se, doesn’t particularly excel at much. The various design pieces don’t quite fit together, but are forced to fit like an impatient kid with a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle. For $19.99, considering how short the game ended up being and the technical issues affecting the experience, I’d give Downward Spiral: Horus Station a chance if there were a decent sale, but a pass at full price.
This is unacceptable for a $5 game, let alone Crimson Keep’s $20 asking price. After dozens of attempts and five hours I will never get back, I managed to get to the third level once, then almost immediately starved to death. Crimson Keep is a thrown-together mess that feels like it only got halfway through its development cycle before being shoved into the limelight. The only people I could possibly recommend this game to are the most hardcore eShop collectors, but that’s only if my conscience stops screaming at me to take that statement back. I don’t know if the Steam version is any better, but because of this I have no desire to find out. Give this a hard pass and randomly generate your way to something better.