Unto the End does a great job at capturing the struggle of survival and returning home, but is the struggle worth it? There isn’t a huge epic within Unto the End. There is no dialogue and the story is simple. The actual game in length is fairly short, but the repeated deaths due to brutal combat significantly lengthens the experience, if you even finish it. The story’s depth comes from the player’s emotions as they struggle to master the gameplay mirroring the hero’s struggle to make it home. But not everyone plays a video game to feel that kind of frustration. I sure don’t and though there were aspects to like about Unto the End, the combat was overall what ruined the experience for me.
What sounded like the combination of a management game, Animal Crossing, and The Sims turned out to be barely influenced by all three. If you’re looking for a relaxing Switch game where you can collect clothing, decorate your home, and hang out with animals, there is already the perfect game for you: Animal Crossing New Horizons. If you’ve already played it to the point of needing new joysticks, then there are plenty of other indie alternatives to pick up before giving Calico consideration.
Ultimately, Kolumno is an interesting concept and will likely be appealing to some players. There is gratification to be had when completing the levels and watching them play out perfectly feels like viewing a satisfaction compilation video on YouTube. However, the frustration in repeated failure on the same level or the controls that are awkward enough to break the relaxing feeling of the game overshadowed the positive moments.
Though it isn’t the perfect space game, it’s a pretty darn good one. It gives you so much to think about, but it never feels overwhelming thanks to the three difficulty settings. A casual player will have a great time with the Explorer setting, whereas fans of resource management games who love to strategize will enjoy the Veteran setting. The game is also educational and a great way to get newcomers interested in space.
I play a good amount of indie games yet this game, I believe, is the first game I have played by a Peruvian game developer. My first playthrough left me scratching my head at the cryptic story. It was only after reading an article on Peruvian funeral traditions did I begin to see the story and its metaphors with more clarity. It is experiences like this that make me happy as both a gamer and an anthropologist. As barriers for video game development become less and less of an obstacle, gamers are more and more likely to come across games made from cultures they have never been in contact with.
I would love to visit the charming island of Shelmerston. Clearly a lot of thought was put into this game and it is enjoyable to discover that. Unfortunately, I Am Dead’s repetitive gameplay, awkward controls, and short story that left me feeling discontent made me overall a bit disappointed.
Though A Short Hike doesn’t bring much new to the table (many elements will feel similar to Journey, Celeste, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing, or Stardew Valley), the game combines familiar mechanics so well that A Short Hike, despite a few small drawbacks, is a well put together, relaxing game you shouldn’t miss out on.