Rocket Riot is a joy. In a way, it feels like a game I could have been playing on my Amiga 500 in the early 90s -- the big interface coupled with the bright, blocky design reminds me of games like Worms and Lemmings -- yet feels fresh and enjoyable in 2016. The premise of the game is simple: it's a 2D shooter in a series of destructible worlds, where the aim is to destroy or kill everything. Whether wiping out the clouds of enemies, or tearing the terrain into plumes of bright 3D pixels, it is a enjoyable experience.
Overall though, The Bunker is an excellent game, and one that I'd glad to have played. The cast performances are terrific, the writing is sharp, and the mechanics are sufficient for the story it sets out to tell. It is a great example that FMV games don't have to be over the top and campy (as fun as that can be) to be compelling, and is a great example of this style of game.
I wish I wasn't so down on Seasons After Fall. It's a great looking game, and I really enjoyed being in that world. However, after about twenty minutes, that novelty starts to wear off and I found myself asking "What more is there to this?", to which the answer seems to be "not much". There are definitely worse platformers out there, and I certainly didn't hate my time playing it, but Seasons After Fall could, and should, have been so much more than what it is.
Hue is an excellent puzzle platformer, and I highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in the genre. The vibrant look and smooth difficulty curve make it a pleasure to play; coupling that with an intriguing, albeit light, narrative and an excellent soundtrack makes for an experience that is difficult to criticise. Indeed, I had no qualms about immediately starting a second playthrough to search for collectables that I has missed or overlooked, something that can be said about very few other games of this genre. This is a highly impressive game.
I'm glad that the developer of Lovely Planet Arcade chose to make significant changes for the sequel, but I'm not convinced that these changes were successful. Arcade doesn't scratch the same itches that the first game did, nor does the new gameplay come together in a satisfying way. It's certainly not a bad game, but it lacks the joyous free-form nature of the original game. I'd strongly recommend that newcomers to the series start with Lovely Planet, and only move onto Arcade if searching for a different type of challenge in the same style.
With such a low cost of entry compared to many other games on the platform, enjoyable gameplay, and a competent execution makes this an easy recommendation. There were a few minor annoyances along the way - mostly learning how to use the couplers and power-ups effectively - and the lack of online multiplayer is a shame, but overall I greatly enjoyed my time with Anode.
Inversus is an exceptionally well-crafted game, and the thoughtful touches and well-balanced mechanics elevate it far beyond its simple core. Pretty much every element of the game feels like someone spent hours thinking about how to make it just right. This is an excellent game, and I had a huge amount of fun playing it.
Coffin Dodgers is an interesting concept, but the game as a whole falls flat. The lack of content and the general unfinished feeling makes it an overall unsatisfying game to play. With some fairly major patches, Coffin Dodger could be molded into a reasonable cart racer, but the state it was released in is not that. As it stands, there is little reason to play this game.
Overall, Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is just tedious. The occasional combat feels bad, the puzzles are unsatisfying, and the narrative is just boring. In some ways, it reminded me of BioForge, but without the weird sort of charm nor the ambition and sense of scale that BioForge had. Without that, Albedo is just a poorly-playing, uninteresting game that I cannot recommend for any reason. It only takes about two hours to play through, but that time would be better spent doing pretty much anything else. This is a bad game.
The Magic Circle is a largely successful commentary on big-budget game development and the factors that conspire against making a good game: unattainable perfection, unrealistic fan expectations, business realities to name a few. Though it is not a perfect game by any means, arguable the take-home message of The Magic Circle is that it never could be. The mid-game spilt of free-form creativity versus a more linear guided narrative perhaps means that it'll be disappointing to players looking for either one, but The Magic Circle balances the two nicely, reflecting the game's message of how difficult it can be to build a balanced game.
Overall, Adventure Lamp is an excellent puzzle platformer. It is a charming experience, and its short length does not detract from the fact that the game is well-crafted. Each level feels unique, and there is a good variety in the 150 or so in the game. Though I would have liked to see some more challenging levels, and there are occasional technical hiccups, it is easy to recommend Adventure Lamp as the core ideas are strong and well implemented.
The Park is an interesting experience, and one I feel glad to have had. Somewhere within it, there is an extremely good horror experience, and with some narrative changes it could be a truly excellent game. However, The Park fails to reach these expectations, which is a shame given how good some aspects of it are.
Overall, Ninja Pizza Girl is a mechanically solid platformer that tackles difficult themes reasonably well. I want to applaud the developers for addressing these issues, but must also point out that gameplay occasionally suffers as a result. I am still happy to recommend the game, though the problems mentioned above mean it is a far from flawless experience.
Fragments of Him is a rare example of a game that is made worse by being interactive, and features a narrative likely better told as a short film. A strong core concept is stretched too thin; clunky mechanics and terrible pacing make the game's two-hour length feel far too long, and ultimately removes any emotional impact the game may otherwise have. It's a shame, as the game is tackling difficult concepts - the death and mourning of a loved one - that are not frequently addressed in video games.
Overall, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is an easy game to recommend, and is a well-crafted experience. Despite some minor flaws and repetition of content, the game as a whole is an excellent package, both for new players and fans of the original PS2 release.
Zero Time Dilemma is a hugely flawed game that, despite moments of brilliance (such as the coin toss at the start of the game), fails to come together. A game that can hold my attention for twelve hours in a single day should review well, but sadly too many of those hours were spent silently cursing at the ludicrous nature of the story, and basically begging for it to all pay off and it never did. At least Virtue's Last Reward, which I previously criticised for leaving so much up in the air, was asking interesting questions. Zero Time Dilemma failed to do even that.
The technical shortcomings do not overshadow the fact that the game is gorgeous, a fact that should be obvious even in screenshots. Though the landing is somewhat fumbled, the story wraps up in a meaningful way and achieves its intended effect. Coupled with excellent characterisation, it is a beautiful and painful look at how people try to hide from their problems, and the way people isolate themselves to hide their guilt and personal failings. Despite its issues, it is certainly an excellent game.
Cibele is a flawed game with a well-told story and certainly worth a playthrough. It didn't have any lasting impact on me, as the basis premise is well-worn territory, but that doesn't detract from the fact that this is both well-written and performed. I don't hesitate to recommend the game on a narrative level, but have some issues regarding the gameplay and presentation. Tightening up the controls, or tweaking how the game is presented, wouldn't have gone amiss.