For what it’s worth, point-and-click adventures largely end up becoming a story. Encodya is exactly that. It’s a heartwarming story of life and lessons learned. The gameplay is largely incidental, but the setting, though derivative, is an absolute win. Players that are unfamiliar with the genre may want to forego it if they crave a bit more action, but it’s difficult to not suggest Encodya to point-and-click enthusiasts. It’s difficult, it’s enchanting, and it’s a bit odd—even if it isn’t wholly original. But, to be fair, the studio praised their inspirations more openly than most would anyways.
If you go into Eternal Hope with measured expectations, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story, first and foremost. Sure, the puzzles are interesting at times, but the gameplay largely feels like an afterthought. As it stands, Eternal Hope is probably best left to casual gamers who enjoy an atmospheric experience. Inveterate platformer fans aren’t going to find much here except frustration.
Kinetic Edge is a stripped-down platformer with a nicely balanced difficulty. Sure, the game is an effortless experience, but it’s unclear what atmosphere SCT was trying to achieve. To make matters worse, when the fundamentals are so simplistic, any missteps are hard to ignore. The mechanics are near perfect to what SCT was trying to achieve, but it feels like the bare minimum. It needs a stylistic overhaul to match. I’m not inherently against the cyberpunk approach, but it’s over the top. Without any change, Kinetic Edge will please only a handful of dedicated platformer players but will deter casual fans with its intense look.
As it is, ENDER LILIES is an expertly crafted but clearly early access game. Sure, it lacks a bit of depth, but the content that is there is encouraging. They’ve already managed to build a ridiculously forceful atmosphere and solid underlying mechanics. It’s polished well beyond most early release titles, but still lacks the depth of a full release. Now, the only task left is to add content. If Binary Haze can spice up their enemies a little more, and expand the game by a couple of hours, they’ll have a truly remarkable achievement on their hands.
Wet Dreams Dry Twice is an odd experience. It oscillates between totally enjoyable and completely tedious. I am either enjoying the challenge of a certain puzzle or flocking to the safety of a guide to get me through. Like most games, I can imagine a perfect audience for Wet Dreams Dry Twice, but to me it feels dated—and not in an intentional manner. Sure, loyal fans might be thankful that CrazyBunch has stayed true to their roots, but newcomers will find a game that feels too deeply couched in a bygone era. I haven’t played a point-and-click in over two decades, and yet the genre feels completely unchanged. Is that a good thing? Possibly to long standing fans of the genre. But to most, it’s all going to feel a bit stale.
Skul: The Hero Slayer isn’t perfect, but it’s getting dangerously close. The cynics among us could nitpick at the repetitive level design or the supposed imbalance found in the power-ups, but these criticisms would both be severe reaches. In truth, the game is a rare gem that sets a high bar for other Indie titles to aspire to. It’s the perfect blend of innocent and quirky. The combat system is fluid and responsive. Oddly enough, you just feel comfortable playing Skul: The Hero Slayer. It’s the type of game you could sink days into and not even notice. It’s truly effective.
That’s the issue here. Rise: Race The Future is simultaneously both extremely polished and not well thought out. You never experience glitches or bugs, and the controls, while occasionally difficult, are tight and responsive the majority of the time. But then you are confronted with the awkward level design and outdated AI, and you’re back at square one. If VD-Dev could delve back into the core of their game, and fix the underlying problems afflicting Rise: Race The Future, they could craft the game into an endlessly playable, simplistic racer that would appease most fans. As it stands, the game is plagued by basic problems that will leave most players seeking alternatives.
Override 2: Super Mech League is currently wasted potential incarnate. It looks good, and it has all the aesthetic bells and whistles one could ask for, but the heart of the game is lacking. The mechanics are stiff, clunky, and all too exploitable. The levels are unimaginative and feel even more unusual when compared to the wonderful character design. As it is, the game looks great, but is a glorified button masher that is in desperate need of innovation.
El Hijo feels a bit like an introduction to stealth games. It’s restrictively linear nature makes it an excellent choice for beginners, but a frustrating experience for inveterate stealth players. Still, its monotonous nature can, at times, be overshadowed by the cutesy, innocent spirit of the game which shines through in spite of gameplay concerns. Oddly, El Hijo might scratch the itch for players that have either never played a stealth or who have played nearly all of them. For those players in the middle of the pack, who still have plenty of options left, your time might be better spent elsewhere first.
For me, by the time I encounter my third bug, my time in Evolution has come to an end. With my interest already waning, these glitches are the final nail in the coffin. To be fair, I can imagine there are plenty of people out there who might love this game, but I can’t recommend it over the other quality board game ports that are available. Once the small issues are ironed out, Evolution could fill-in a niche spot for board game fanatics, but as it is even diehard fans would be hard pressed to ignore the problems.