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.
Having just finished playing Outbreak: The New Nightmare a couple days ago, it’s almost impressive how forgettable it was; I had to keep going back to the game to remember what I saw and experienced, even after going through every Campaign and Experiments mission, each of which lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Sadly, this has the look and feel of an incomplete Steam game, and I had to triple check the price for this because I couldn’t believe that it really is $13 on PS4. Given the short amount of time between most releases in the Outbreak series, I can only recommend that the developer spend much, much more time on each entry. That way, maybe the next one will play better and the visuals might not only look better, but consist of way fewer reused assets that didn’t look so good in the first place. I realize this will fall on deaf ears since Outbreak: Lost Hope, the fourth game in the series, will likely be out on PS4 by the time this review goes up. Maybe (or should I say, hopefully) the later releases are better, because this is priced way above what it’s actually worth.
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.
It’s disheartening to see a game with a solid concept that badly needed more work before being released. With how exploitable the AI is, I wound up needing less than nine hours to finish Story Mode, four of those coming after discovering the “V” strategy. Even if the bugs were fixed, Ganbare! Super Strikers has some glaring problems in its game mechanics which lead to lopsided teams and unbalanced matches. The limited customization and lackluster Story Mode are the missed penalty shot that seals it for me. I do hope the developer keeps updating and adding onto what’s here as I did enjoy the core gameplay. However, for $10 I can’t in good faith recommend this in its current state.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.