Sunday, January 26, 2014

Defender's quest Valley of the Forgotten

So we have another game down on the steam Challenge, as we take a look at Defender's quest, Valley of the Forgotten (Link).  I picked this up recently since it was on sale, and I had a few steam bucks left over from selling off some trading cards.  So let'd dive in, shall we?

Defenders is a tower defense/rpg hybrid.  This entails that your towers are actually characters, and they have the ability to level up.  Each time they level, their stats increase and you can allocate a point to one of their skills.  These range from passive skills (more speed, range etc) or improving/granting them new attacks.  The one difference is your main character, the Librarian.  She can improve her spells only (at least to where I have gotten to in the game).  Her spells use psi points, which is your main resource in the game.  Psi points is what lets you place down troops on the field, cast spells, and boost troops on the field.  Boost is like upgrading towers in other games.  This will grant the boosted unit more abilities, increased stats and more health.  Along with this you collect scrap after battles, which your out of battle currency.  With this you can buy more troops to summon, and also buy equipment for them as well.  Each unit uses one type of armor and one type of weapon.  The final component is each level has multiple difficulties.  If you perfect a level on a certain difficulty, you earn extra scrap or even special items.

Overall the game has been quite fun.  The basic levels are easy enough to get through, while the higher difficulties present enough of a challenge to be fun, but not so bad as to only be winnable via one certain combination of troops (looking at you, crystal defenders).  Honestly, I'd say go get a copy of the game, the story is quite fun too.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Broken age

So now what alot of people (read 2) have been waiting for.  My review of Broken Age, the new adventure game released by double fine (Link).  Be forewarned, there may be some spoilers here, and I was also a kickstarter backer, hence why I was able to play it early.  There will be a second part coming eventually, and when it does I'll probably do another quick review update here.  So, let's dive right in shall we?

So the game involves two seperate characters, Shay and Vella.  They are played separately and you can play one through the end without playing the other until you have to.  It's an adventure game like the old school monkey island, or any of the new TellTale games, whereupon by talking to other characters, gathering items and solving puzzles your able to advance the plot.  Right off the bat, the graphics really impressed me.  They seem to be almost cutout pieces, but not quite, it's odd.  The music is also subtle and really helps with the mood, while the voice acting is superb.  Of course, the main two points of any adventure game is of course the story, and the puzzles.  We'll tackle the puzzles first.

One of the problems with alot of adventure games is they really on what has sometimes been called monkey island logic.  This is where you have a key, and of course it should open the door, but instead you need to trade the key for a bottle of spot remover, which removes a spot on the wall and lets you in.  This is not necessarily a bad thing for most adventure games,  but it can be very frustrating where it can turn into try everything on everything and see what sticks.  This game avoids that, with every interaction and decision making almost complete sense.  They even do a good job of letting you know what you can interact with, by changing the mouse cursor around.  Inventory is also handled nicely, by having a small area you can mouse down to, open it up and go with it.  You can't do multiple things with items (as in look, push pull etc) but this game doesn't need that.  It works with what it has, and does it well.

So onto the story.  This is where I may catch some flak, as it has to do with the kickstarter as well.  So the game is currently half done, with the second act coming later in the year.  So I had planned to only play a little bit of the game to review, but ended up beating the entire game in about four hours.  So the story for the four hours was quite enjoyable, and trust me, the ending will make you want the next act as soon as possible.  My concern is that the next act will be just as long as the first, and that would make an 8 hour game.  Of course, I have no doubt it will be a very enjoyable 8 hour game, but with the sheer amount of money they made from the kickstarter, the preorders and everything else, it almost seems like it will be too short of a game for all the hype.  Of course I may be wrong, and the second act will be so amazing I won't care too much about the time spent.  We're just going to have to wait and see.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Banner Saga

So the next game on the steam challenge I've set myself upon is one I backed quite some time ago, The Banner Saga (Link) . So keep that in mind while reading this, I backed this game, and actually put in a little more then the hour I've been doing so far for these games.  So let's get into the nitty gritty of this title shall we?  Please note, there will be some mild spoilers, so keep that in mind.

The game follows a group of vikings, living in a world where the sun never moves, it's almost always perpetual winter and these large, golem like creatures called the Dredge are waging war on everyone.  You begin the game controlling a large caravan of Vurl (giants) and humans as they are leading a caravan to the Vurl capital (believe it's that) to cement a full treaty between the races.  After playing as this group a bit, you move over to Rook and his town.  Now, this game was made by former BioWare members, and this is where it begins to show.  You begin to have to make choices, such as what to defend, how to react and actions you take between combat.  This will affect your supplies, party members and your renown.  I actually lost a party member at the beginning of the game due to a choice I made.  This will more then likely lead to the game being able to be played multiple times through, as your choices do seem to have consequences.

Now to combat.  It uses a grid based system where enemies and allies take turns.  It always goes ally, enemy, even if there are more allies then enemies, or vice a versa.  Every character can move, rest, use a special ability, or attack if something is in range.  When attacking, you can choose to damage armor, or strength.  Armor will help shield you from damage, while strength is not only your health, but how much damage you do with hits.  So by lowering an enemies strength, you not only kill them quicker, but reduce their combat effectiveness.  Along with this you have a special stat called willpower, which can be used to move further, hit harder. and is also used for your special abilities.  As you kill enemies, you earn renown, which is your currency.  It can be used to buy items, supplies for your caravan, and also to promote your troops.  Once a hero has killed x number of enemies, they can be promoted, which increases their stats and special ability.

So with the time I've put in so far, I'm definitely interested in continuing to play this game.  The story so far has me intrigued, combat is nice, and the music is excellent.  I'd recommend picking up this game if your a fan of BioWare games at all.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Deadly 30

So this time on the steam challenge, we have the zombie survival shooter game, Deadly 30 ( Link).  This is going to be one of many zombie style games I'm going to try, as I am a sucker for most anything zombie like in nature.  So let's get down to the meat and potatoes of this review shall we?

The game involves three soldiers in World War 2, trapped by a horde of undead monsters that seeks to kill them.  You begin the game as a rough and tough America soldier with an assault rifle.  Along the way, you have the chance to find and add to your team, a female German soldier with a shotgun and frying pan, and a Russian soldier with a bolt action rifle, and a combat knife.  You have the ability to switch between all three of your troops at any given time, and when not in control, the others will follow suit and kill anything that gets close.  You also have a home base, which you can upgrade, put defenses around, and stay in during the night.  This brings us to the day/night cycle the game uses.  During the day, the zombie hordes are much less, so your able to scavenge for scrap and ammo to help survive the night, where huge waves of them will begin to assault you.  As the name suggests, the goal is to survive for 30 nights, each day adding new types of zombies and increasing what comes at you.  You can also gain levels during the game, which gives you the option of acquiring more powerful weapons, armor and turrets for your base.

So not going to lie here, this almost seems like it should be a flash game that you'd find on NewGrounds or Armor Games.  It's simple enough to get interested, but doesn't seem to progress much beyond trying to get better items to defend yourself with.  Also your AI partners don't seem to interested in defending key positions, seeming to just wander around the base a bit and shooting if things get close.  Honestly, this game wasn't too bad for the price I paid, but if it was a bit more expensive I'd probably steer clear of it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Valdis Story, Abyssal City

Here we are, a few days after the holidays and some gaming has been done.  Here we are with another steam challenge down, Valid Story, Abyssal City ( Link).  So this is a metroid style castlevania esc game, where you traverse a city, collecting upgrades, defeating enemies, leveling up and exploring the game.  As you find new items, spells and abilities, you get the ability to unlock new, and rediscover older parts of the game again and acquire even more items and abilities.  With an hour into the game, I've already fought three bosses and learned three types of magic.  It seems like there is a crafting/trading system in the game, but I've only just gotten to the vendors that handle this and so far have been unable to do much with them.  I'm hoping they provide some more worthwhile options in terms of managing your gear and abilities.  The game also has a stat/skill system, where you can build and customize your toon to your playstyle.  If you want to go heavy hitter or magic user, this is how you do it.  It also seems to have a ranking system for bosses, giving you bonus HP based upon how long it takes you to fight the boss, damage taken and items used.

I will say, the controls seemed a bit...too fluid for me if that makes any sense.  I've already had to do some time based jumping puzzles, and it almost seems like my toon moves around a bit too much when trying to make the precise jumps.  It's also odd that on some walls I seem to be able to double jump from fine, but then another only certain spots seem able to let me do so.  Not a game breaker at all, just something I noticed.

I'm hoping to have some more reviews up soon, talk about some board games I got to play, and even put up my list of games to play and see if there are any in particular people want to see played.  As always, thanks for reading.