A blistering, brutal battle from start to finish, Astalon: Tears of the Earth is not for the fainthearted. It rewards talent and curiosity as frequently as it punishes inability and complacency. It will test your patience, abilities, and resolve, but the journey through the Tower of Serpents is so worth it.
I enjoyed Bob Help Them’s wholesome nature and the action/puzzle/time management dynamic is an interesting idea. Unfortunately, the gameplay is too simplistic for its own good. Every action is performed the exact same way, and the gameplay doesn’t evolve over the course of its thirty-five levels. You’ll do the same thing in level one that you do in level thirty-five. There’s just nothing to spice up the gameplay, and the only real challenge is time management. It’s not a bad way to spend a lunch break, but it’s difficult to not want something more from it.
Habroxia 2 is a solid shooter but with unspectacular levels and bosses. Its mechanics and objectives result in plenty of shooting action, but it’s still missing a key component of the shmup experience. I enjoyed my time with Habroxia 2, and I do recommend that shmup fans check it out; however, hardcore arcade shmup fans might find the experience a little shallow. Still, this sequel fixed many of the original’s mistakes. Here’s hoping that another sequel can address what’s left.
Legends of Ethernal is a starting point for an even grander game. All the pieces are in place. The compelling narrative, captivating visuals, and engaging soundtrack all help to create a vivid and living world that’s enjoyable to experience. While the gameplay can lag at times, the aforementioned elements admirably make up for these small deficits. A cliffhanger ending all but ensures the developers have something else planned. Wilfred’s journey has really just begun as the game ends, if that historian in the opening is any indication.
In the Space Invaders Forever collection, Space Invaders Extreme is obviously the star of the show. If you haven’t played it yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Arkanoid vs. Space Invaders is a fun inclusion, but its handheld-mode only gameplay isn’t entirely ideal. And while Space Invaders Gigamax 4 SE is an interesting idea on paper, its player requirement and simplistic gameplay make it more appropriate as an occasional party game. You’re unlikely to play this collection forever, but there’s a fair amount of high-quality shooting fun to be had while it lasts.
Picklock’s journey ends after thirteen levels, which is unfortunate because I enjoyed my time with him. He might not have…stolen…my heart, but he did keep me busy for a few fun hours. If you enjoy strategy or heist games, or amorality, then Picklock is certainly worth your time.