Odd Realm, by the game’s own admission, is very much inspired by Dwarf Fortress and Rimworld. Unknown Origin Games thankfully knows that any good inspired game needs to still fill its own niche or tell its own story to not just be some lame ripoff. It’s clear from this very early point in development that Odd Realm is comfortable being in the same setting as Dwarf Fortress but can do its own thing without having to totally rely on its inspiration for where to go. The only “issue” is that it is very early in development, and the rough around the edges definitely shows.
Charming, cutesy games flood the indie market, half because indie developers don’t have the resources to make super ultra high-resolution graphics that dip into the uncanny valley for some people, and the other half is because they’re usually the only people who want to make small, cutesy games. Greg Lobanov’s Coin Crypt is a wonderful example of the small, charming indie game that fills its own niche and has gameplay with a surprising amount of depth.
If you’ve ever played and loved games where you set up a factory or automated system that runs itself after a time, you know that these sorts of games are in short supply. Good examples include Factorio and Dwarf Fortress (if you’re into that sort of thing), as well as Rimworld and Oxygen Not Included if you expand the definition. Positech’s (responsible for Gratuitous Space Battles, Democracy 2, 3) Production Line, a game that tries to distill the formula down to just the production aspect and removes any resource gathering, unfortunately, fails to live up to the standard set up by the other competing titles. Continue reading “Production Line Review”
Celeste, winner of “Best Independent Game” award from The Game Awards 2018 and from the creators of Towerfall: Ascension, came out early in the year to a tidal wave of praise. It’s a near-pixel-perfect platformer akin to Super Meat Boy or I Wanna Be The Guy but if the developer didn’t hate humanity and wish for its demise. Deaths are expected and counted, but evenly spread out so as to make sure the player never gets so frustrated that they quit. Even for the players not accustomed to platformers, there is an Assist Mode that allows you to adjust the game speed, your stamina, how many jumps you get, and can even make you invincible. Continue reading “Celeste Review: A wonderful revisit to retro platforming”
In Darkwood, you are lost deep in the Russian woods sometime after World War II, and you play as an unnamed Protagonist trying to discover the mystery of the rapid expansion of trees plaguing the area. Spoilers will be kept to a minimum for this review, but much like Dark Souls, lore is learned primarily through r̶e̶a̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶k̶i analyzing items left around the map, picking up on context clues, and piecing together stories. Only the most eagle-eyed of players will come out of a blind playthrough knowing the full story. Continue reading “Darkwood review: Dark horror done properly”
Oxygen Not Included is Klei Entertainment’s newest game in a long line of strong titles. It keeps their signature art style, which is reminiscent of old cartoons with painted backgrounds and cell shading on anything that moves or can be interacted with. Klei hasn’t stuck to one genre for long, going from action games (Shank) to more strategic games (Mark of the Ninja and Invisible, INC.), and finally to survival games (Don’t Starve and Oxygen Not Included). In a strange move they seem to have kept to the same genre, but Oxygen Not Included is more like a scientific survival game when compared to the more well-known examples in the genre. As the name suggests, the availability of oxygen is limited and must be controlled, along with all the other normal survival elements. Continue reading “Oxygen Not Included review”
Graveyard Keeper is the perfect example of what not to do when creating a video game. While it is technically a game, that’s about as high of praise I can give it. At every point it seems to make the wrong decision about how the game should work, making for an overall very disappointing and un-fun experience. The gameplay is slow and meaningless, it breaks often even after months of patches, and I get the feeling that these game developers are very confused about what a video game is actually supposed to be.
Nimbatus – The Space Drone Constructor is a game we probably all know from their self-advertising campaign on popular image-sharing website and giraffe-worshiping cult Imgur.com, even if the name does not immediately bring to mind images of the game. It’s one of those quirky ‘build-your-own-solution’ games not unlike Besiege. Nimbatus, as the full name would suggest, says, “what if those games, but in space?” Fuel, variable gravity, and giant space bugs are thus the name of the game for Nimbatus, as all games that go “what if those games, but in space?” seem to fall back on.
Note: This article was specifically written to NOT contain any spoilers nor any solved fates. The final paragraph will give hints on what to look for, but will still not give any answers.
Alone on the Obra Dinn, a ship full of corpses, and equipped with your journal and a peculiar pocket watch, you are tasked with solving the fate of each of the ship’s crew members and passengers. You’re given no backstory or prior knowledge of what occurred, meaning the entire story of the game is there for you to piece together by yourself. It’s no surprise that this game, with its incredibly unique game play (which initially sounds very menial and boring) and art design was made by the same man (Lucas Pope) who brought us Papers, Please, another game that shares these two characteristics.
Continue reading “Return of the Obra Dinn review”
Few games manage to incorporate a console (Command Prompt console, not an Xbox console) into their game while maintaining very fun and engaging gameplay. Sure, games like Hacknet and Uplink can simulate tense situations with increasingly faster beeps from your TRACE_TRACKER.exe, but Duskers does a wonderful job of making it part of the game without making it the whole game. Instead, the console is very synthesized with logistical and live-feed views and direct controls to give a varied approach to problems that arise in the game. Beyond that, it’s a fun rogue-like game about salvaging what little bits of scrap you can manage to find while (hopefully) escaping all kinds of creepy crawlies.