My time with Hentai vs. Evil was thankfully very short and produced more head shaking and fewer smiles than the average episode of Dragon’s Den. Designed to appeal to an incredibly niche demographic, there’s a feeling that the lack of content or enjoyable gameplay will be quite simply ignored if you allow the players to ‘hur-hur-hur’ at animated breasts.
SENSEs: Midnight manages to take all of the ingredients that made 1990s survival-horror games fun and bake them into a hellish experience with few redeeming features. There’s zero atmosphere to accompany you as you (slowly) backtrack across Ikebukuro Park, avoiding bland, almost-invisible enemies as you go. With a protagonist who is entirely inanimate except for her breasts, dizzying camera angles and a complete lack of quality gameplay, SENSEs: Midnight should stand as a warning of what not to do for developers looking to capture 90’s survival-horror nostalgia. This is a huge step back from an opening title that, while flawed, at least showed some promise.
Corpse Killer is a decaying relic of its time, with few redeeming features that would encourage anyone to unearth it. The full FMV levels are hilariously bad and the point-and-click shooting is the dictionary definition of rinse and repeat gameplay. B-movie aficionados or former Sega 32X players seeking some nostalgia may be slightly more inclined to resurrect this one, but the cheesy plot, poor production, and miniscule amount of gameplay will not appeal to many modern players at all. It’s an amusing time capsule to my misguided, zombie-enthused youth, but this is one that should absolutely have stayed buried.
RWBY feels more like a proof of concept than a fully fledged game, and its origins as a fan project are evident. It shows off the raw ingredients needed to make a good game – strong visuals, a great soundtrack, and the basics of a solid combat system, but they’re pulled out of the pan long before they’re cooked into a tasty meal. Given more variation in the level designs, a bigger roster of enemies, and ANY attempt at storytelling, Grimm Eclipse could have been a delicious morsel indeed. Sadly though, I feel that the game doesn’t do the vibrant hit series justice in any way.
Save Room cleverly takes one of the oldest games in existence and makes it relevant as a stand-alone idea again, albeit only briefly. While the actual inventory management in a survival horror game is a massive pain in the backside, Save Room capitalises on the satisfaction you feel when you finally squeeze in everything you need and it’s legitimately good fun while it lasts. Fractal Projects nail the theme by adding in some ammo-management and health tricks that we’ve all used over the years, but perhaps missed the opportunity to use scenarios to add some depth (or even plot) to the otherwise simple gameplay.
She Wants Me Dead is a concentrated precision platform experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously and wins as a result. My dash through the game was a fun-filled and blood-soaked affair, and despite taking me just an hour, chasing perfection will pose a significantly sterner challenge for those crazy enough to give it a try! With some genuinely tricky patches, the makings of a great soundtrack and swathes of collectable options, this is a game that could (and should!) easily be built upon into a much fuller experience.
Yomawari: The Long Night Collection is an attractive but ultimately long-winded experience. The hand-drawn backgrounds are beautiful and, alongside the impressive sound effects, manage to build a wonderful level of immersion in the static environments. But with no combat to speak of and very little actual action, you’re forced only to run away from the host of spectres at an achingly slow pace. Stumbling through two disjointed stories is slow going since they hang on just a few scattered, but admittedly fun scares without much other meat on the bone.
All-in-all, Gang Beasts is a fun multiplayer romp that’s best enjoyed with a few friends after a couple of beers, but doesn’t hold up nearly as well once you try to take the party online. The derpy characters, intentionally awkward controls, and daft physics will bring plenty of laughs in a room full of pals, but become more frustrating as a solo experience. Ultimately, once you’ve played a few rounds in each mode there isn’t an awful lot of meat on the bone; Gang Beasts is an admittedly tasty morsel, it just carries the price tag of a prime cut.
I can’t call G-Darius HD anything other than a run-of-the-mill arcade shoot ‘em up. While the capture ball and beam duelling are fun wrinkles to the gameplay, they aren’t enough to make the game stand out against a myriad of other titles in the same genre. The achievements and graphics updates are nice but I struggle to look past its short run time and genesis as an arcade cabinet that’s designed to eat your money. Sadly, this just isn’t an ideal console title. Fans of the genre will be overjoyed to have G-Darius HD available in their games library, but I don’t think it will capture many hearts outside of those players who forever yearn for the glory of the arcade High Scores table.
Trying to replicate the adventure book style with a grisly horror twist and reality bending plot line is an admirable undertaking, but I’m afraid there isn’t enough attention to detail to pull it off without a lot of confused eyebrow raising along the way. I certainly applaud the attempt here, but I’d say that Retrace comes off as more ‘pick your poison’ than ‘decide your own fate’ in the end.
As a lover of both wildlife documentaries and videogames I absolutely wanted to fall in love with AWAY, but the rough edges of the gameplay and some bugginess proved just too much of a burr under the saddle to be entirely enjoyable. The frustrating gliding controls, a rogue camera, and a smattering of weird and wonderful bugs throws salt on the rich earth of a great idea. The premise is a marvellous one and I applaud the team at Breaking Walls for doing just that – smashing down another wall of what can be made into a videogame. I hope that the team continues with their ‘Survival Series’ and works to bring more playable nature stories to life in the future – I have every faith that this could be a wonderful franchise with only some refinement.
Triple Take is a new school precision platformer with an old school vibe; fans of the 8-bit era will feel right at home with the blocky sprites, simple colour schemes and fun (but limited) soundtrack. There’s enough variety in the levels to keep you interested, though it does undermine the premise a little, and the physics aren’t as tight as I would personally ask for, but boy, does it deliver on storytelling. The plot of Triple Take carries so much more water than I expected from a platformer, and the immersive, fourth-wall breaking ride is an absolute treat. Whilst not without its flaws, I encourage platform fans to give Triple Take a go - it’s an experience that you’ll not forget quickly.
Egglia: Rebirth is a fun, if repetitive, turn-based JRPG that wears it’s mobile origins with pride. With some pretty graphics, catchy soundtrack and simple mechanics, it’s easy to lose an enjoyable hour or so here and there between more substantial games. Had the dungeons had less of a cookie cutter feel and shown some gameplay (rather than just aesthetic) differences, it could have been a great little game, but the repetition turns things stale long before you’re finished. That said, I’d still recommend this to players who are fans of a mobile RPG and looking to transition to console with something familiar, or to younger fans who are dipping their toes into RPGs for the first time.
My time with Umurangi Generation Special Edition was a little like discovering an old photo album in the loft and opening it to find pictures that remind you of a painful break up. There’s the spark of excitement at finding something out of the ordinary, and wonderment at what you might stumble upon next, but flicking through the pages of blurry images only leaves you pining for what could have been had things been just a little bit different.
I can certainly see why the game was lauded over in 2005 but looking at it with fresh eyes, it’s very much a product of its time. With the bulk of the gameplay somewhat repetitive, Republic Commando doesn’t give players too much to rave about outside of the squad mechanics and a good dose of Star Wars references. I’m excited for players who get to play one of their favourite games on a new platform – and with some nicely remastered elements, no less – but I think that newcomers may find that Republic Commando is not the game they’re looking for.
In the end, it’s clear that the Orlandi brothers have put in a lot of time and love into the creation of Killer Chambers, but the limited scope of the premise and the emphasis on difficulty over enjoyment ultimately left me feeling a little underwhelmed. It’s a game for the most dedicated of players, or those particularly keen on testing their patience with a series of punishing memory tests.
With a magnificent setting, well structured social mechanics and a really effective upgrade system, Gamedec brings a lot to the table. While held back by a muddy middle act, moments of ropey dialogue and some swampy movement controls, Gamedec has other areas that shine - exploring the mega-city of Warsaw and investigating its residents is good fun, and makes wonderful use of the rich source material. The lack of hands-on action will make this a non-starter for some players, but fans of old school RPG’s like the Fallout and Baldur’s Gate will find that the intrigue more than makes up for the lack of dice rolls.
Meet me at NooN is a unique and stylish puzzler that will be very popular among fans of the genre, particularly those who enjoy games at the higher end of the difficulty spectrum. It’s a pretty little game that will keep you on your toes with some very cleverly thought out mechanics, but the difficulty spikes and lack of variety in all areas might turn off more casual fans. Meet me at NooN has a great premise and execution but is ultimately pegged back by a repetitiveness that saps some of the enjoyment as things progress.
The Company Man is a short lived rage against the machine that is funnier than it is fun, if that makes any sense. I did absolutely enjoy my time with the game, and Forust’s beautiful cartoon styling that has made an accurate mockery out of big corporations is incredibly well thought out. But while hacking through familiar lackeys and poking fun at business tropes is uproariously enjoyable, beneath a veneer of well crafted jokes is only some pretty easy platforming and combat, and when coupled with a run time that’s shorter than some appraisal meetings, the gameplay ultimately keeps the overall experience from breaking the glass ceiling.
I enjoyed Gravity Heroes, but felt it lacked a really great multiplayer experience to flesh out the enjoyable, but short, campaign. The beautifully crafted pixel art and the groovy soundtrack admirably elevates some simple action into a really fun time, but it’s sadly over almost as soon as it’s begun and doesn’t offer nearly enough replay value. One for fans of quirky shooters and pixel art aficionados, Gravity Heroes offers a good time for a couple of hours but isn’t one you’re likely to return to again and again.