500 word game reviews Watch

AngryJellyfish
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#61
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#61
New year, new page! :yay:

Despite the low number of replies / other reviews, I've decided to keep this going throughout 2019 too, since I enjoy writing them. However, unlike last year when I was posting them at least fortnightly, this time I'll aim for one a month. Writing 500 words doesn't take long, but playing the games does, which is why more recent reviews have all been quick puzzle games. Next one will be another RPG, all being well~
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noggins
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(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Thief Gold (1999) - Stealth, PC


As if the late '90s wasn't already oversaturated with entertainment featuring Nic Cage.
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AngryJellyfish
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#63
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Wizardry 8 (2001) - RPG, PC


Story: Aeons ago, the Cosmic Lords created the first planet, Dominus, using the power of three MacGuffins. Now, rumor has it that whoever finds these artifacts will be able to ascend to the Cosmic Circle, basically becoming gods - an idea which appeals to your party!


Gameplay: First, create your party! You can have up to six characters, selecting from the usual fantasy races (humans, elves, dwarves and more) and professions (fighter, ranger, rogue, mage etc). Or, if you've completed Wizardry 7, import your old party to continue their story~


The game begins with your spaceship crash-landing on Dominus. In front of you is an abandoned monastery – the first dungeon! You can move freely through the 3D environment, with all actions taking place in real-time... until you come across an enemy.


Combat is turn-based: you select actions for each member of your party (attack, defend, cast spell, use item etc), then click a button to start combat when ready. Who acts first depends on initiative, worked out based on Speed and Senses stats.


Party formation is critical. Opponents usually attack in groups, surrounding you on all sides, so sticking your close combat classes at the front and sides, ranged attackers at the back and spellcasters in the centre (for example) should lead to fewer casualties!


Once you're done with the monastery, you emerge into an open world... from there, you're on your own. The game gives you no handy map markers; you must speak to characters, find out for yourself what's going on in the world, choose which quests to take on, which alien races to ally yourselves with, and which NPCs to recruit as your 7th and 8th party members!


The difficulty also ramps up after the monastery. The road between it and the nearby town of Arnika (an obvious first destination for info and trading) is one of the worst areas I've come across for random enemies. Even if you survive the first two or three encounters, make sure you find a safe place to camp, because they'll attack you in your sleep too!


Controls: The game defaults to arrow keys for movement, but you can re-assign them to WASD or whatever you prefer in the options. Shift allows you to run away from the many horrible enemies – so long as you have the stamina! Mouse allows for looking around, picking items up, selecting from dialogue options etc. Very intuitive.


Graphics and sound: The graphics are of course dated – render distance is low, so imagine your party are all short-sighted. Enemies of the same type all use the same model, though their appearances do change to reflect damage. Despite this, I do like the game's fantasy/sci-fi aesthetic, and a few locations did impress me visually.


Music is passable, atmospheric, most areas have their own theme. It's the voice acting that stands out from an audio perspective – not only are all the NPCs voiced, but you can select from various voices and personalities for your own party too, and you'd be surprised how a small thing like that can help bring them to life.


Overall: A great game, so long as you don't mind hardcore RPGs, lots of grinding and backtracking, and the occasional feeling that you have no idea where to go next. 8/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 6 months ago
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AngryJellyfish
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#64
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Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne (2002) - Strategy, PC


Story: You play as a young man named Merlin, who in the opening cinematic is about to die in a storm. Fortunately, he is teleported to safety by Gabriel, keeper of the Wizard's circle, who needs a little help of his own...

There are seven circles of magic, and the wizard kings belonging to each have broken their alliance and started attacking Gabriel and each other. You must subdue these wizards and restore the balance, while trying to find out the reason for their actions.


Gameplay: Age of Wonders II can either be a turn-based strategy or a real-time strategy game, giving you the option to select 'classic' or 'simultaneous' turns before starting. As I only played it against the AI, and doubt I could think or act as quickly as a computer, I chose the former, but could see the appeal of the latter for faster-paced multiplayer games.


Wizards are key to this game. They can play a long-distance support role, hiding away in their towers and casting spells to aid your armies, or they can lead from the front. If a wizard dies, they simply respawn at your nearest town with a wizards tower. Therefore, your goal is to capture any enemy towns with towers, then finish off their wizard who'll have nowhere left to run.


You spend the campaign mastering each individual 'circle' of magic. You start with limited, weaker spells from a circle, and must spend turns researching better ones. In the meantime, send out troops to explore, flag useful structures and build up your towns. By the time you have sufficient income to sustain a large army, you'll likely have some decent spells too! Unfortunately, you can only focus on one circle of magic at once, so will have to leave them behind as the game progresses.


Diplomacy is also an option in single-player. Some wizards will be willing to form full alliances, allowing you to share world maps and work towards a joint victory; others might not go that far, but may accept a temporary peace treaty, letting you focus on other threats first.


Controls: Entirely mouse-based, as far as I can tell – I always default to it in strategy games anyway, but couldn't find any mention of keyboard shortcuts in the game options.

The user interface isn't great – clunky, lots of windows, difficult to navigate, and it took me ages to work out where everything was even after playing the tutorial (which bombards you with information far too quickly). Then again, this is from the days when you'd still be expected to read the manual first, which I admittedly didn't.


Graphics and sound: Graphically, an improvement on the original Age of Wonders, as you'd hope. The character portraits aren't that great though, in my opinion.

The soundtrack is standard fantasy fare. Sound effects are basic (walking sounds when units move etc). Didn't stand out much. The voice acting in the cinematics was decent, though.


Overall: It has the same 'one more turn!' addictiveness as my beloved HOMM3, despite being far more basic, and certainly kept me entertained. Far more stable on newer machines than AOW1, too. 7/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 5 months ago
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AngryJellyfish
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Caesar IV (2006) - Strategy, PC.


Story: You are the governor of a new Roman city, which you must build and govern efficiently in order to contribute to the Empire. Succeed, and you will be trusted with greater projects, higher salaries and more important titles... possibly even the role of the Emperor itself!


Gameplay: You start each level with an empty landscape and some natural resources – from there, construct your city in a way that will allow you to meet that level's threshold scores in five different criteria: Population (the number of citizens living in your city), Favor (your approval rating with the Emperor), Prosperity (based on your city's income + the wealth of its citizens), Security (ability to deal with crime and outside threats) and Culture (provision of education and entertainment etc).


Begin by building houses, then set up the basics for survival (farms for food, wells for water etc). Third comes other natural resources, such as clay and timber, and the factories which turn them into usable goods. Most maps will be abundant in certain resources while completely lacking others, so set up trade routes to buy and sell. All being well, you should then be able to turn a profit from tax and exports, allowing you to focus on those five goals.


Caesar IV comes with two main campaigns, each seven levels long, though with a choice of two different cities at the start of each level – one will always focus more on the military side of things, the other on economics (I always opt for the latter, I'm here to build cities, not armies)! Once you've completed these, if you're really feeling up for a challenge, consider taking on... THE TUTORIAL!!!

...no, seriously. While the goals in the tutorial maps are easy on paper, the maps themselves are minuscule to the point where only the most optimally built city will allow you to clear them. Get passed these as a new player, and the rest of the game will be a walk in the plaza!


Controls: Use the mouse to navigate the map, click buildings or roads and place them wherever you desire. Unlike its predecessors, Caesar IV gives you much finer control over building placement, as well as building on diagonals, allowing for greater customization and more efficient use of space. Click to open other menus, such as the world map for trade, or the advisor screen to view your progress. All very straight forward.


Graphics and sound: Nice 3D graphics allow for full rotation, and a(n admittedly rather limited) zoom function – all an improvement on Caesar III, and to my eyes at least it hasn't aged that badly in 12-13 years.

The music is decent enough, though nothing special; what I do like is the citizens' voice lines when you click them, usually giving you helpful information about the state of the city or your popularity, but often worded in a way that references their job role.


Overall: A challenging city builder, with a tutorial that literally throws you in at the deepest end possible, but that aside from that is difficult to fault. 8/10
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AngryJellyfish
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#66
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Legend of Grimrock (2012) - RPG, PC


Story: You play as a party of four prisoners, thrown into the dungeon at the peak of Mount Grimrock. Descend through this labyrinth to freedom, and your party's crimes will be absolved... of course, nobody has ever actually managed this.


Gameplay: LoG is a grid-based RPG. Your party are chained tightly together in a square formation, meaning that the two in the back can't reach to attack unless they use ranged weapons, magic, or long spears. Bear that in mind when choosing classes and skills.


Click your characters' weapons to attack, then there will be a short cooldown period before they can act again. Your enemies will also attack once, then wait awhile before making another move. Keep clicking weapons until your foes explode into a cloud of sparkles. Predictably, they get tougher the further down you go (faster, more health, ranged attacks, poison damage etc).


Grimrock isn't all about hacking and slashing, though. The dungeons are filled with riddles and puzzles. Press buttons, flip levers and weigh down pressure plates to open gates or close trapdoors. Some of these are timed, forcing you to carry out actions perfectly to within a fraction of a second in order to progress. These too get more challenging as the game progresses.


As with most RPGs, you have HP, mana and EXP. Armour found throughout the dungeon will help protect your party, but will slow them down if they aren't proficient in using it. Resistances (to cold, fire, poison etc) also impact how much a certain attack will hurt.

Your party needs to eat. Fortunately, there are plenty of snail chunks and fungi lying around! Initially, at least. Conserve food for later levels! Your party also needs to be able to see where they're going, so keep an eye on the condition of your torches, and switch them for new ones in any wall sconces you see.


Controls: You can only move in the cardinal directions. By default, you do so using WASD (+ Q and E to turn left and right respectively). Simple in theory; in practice, the fact that turning takes time and an extra button press, means that you'll be forced to strafe through some of the harsher timed puzzles without being able to see where you're going.

Oh, and 'sleep' is set to R by default. You won't believe how many times I tried turning right to face an opponent, only for my party to spontaneously take a nap instead. If your co-ordination is as bad as mine, get that rebound fast!


Graphics and sound: LoG looks a lot better than the usual old RPGs I cover here! Lovely 3D maps and mobs, though enemies of the same type do all look identical. No pixel-hunting here, except when it's deliberately for a puzzle.


The game makes good use of sound, with things like the grinding of a stone wall moving after you flip a lever letting you know what that action achieved. The skittering or clunking of enemies also serves as advanced warning of what's behind the next door or corner.


Overall: Very reminiscent of older 90s grid-based dungeon crawlers, so it appeals to me greatly. I'm not a fan of the timed puzzles though, far too many of them, with little to no leeway. 7/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 3 months ago
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AngryJellyfish
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#67
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#67
The Incredible Machine 3 (1995) - Puzzle, PC


Story: You have a mission to accomplish. Perhaps you need to set off some fireworks, or boil a kettle, or maybe even help a small person get home safely. Only one thing is certain: it'll involve building an Incredible Machine!

...this is another casual puzzle game, there is no plot.


Gameplay: TIM3 is a series of stand-alone levels. Each features a 'playfield' window full of objects that you can't interact with directly, a separate 'parts' window full of other objects that you can place in the playfield wherever you like, and a simple-sounding goal to achieve. You do this by creating a Rube Goldberg device, using a combination of existing and new parts.

The game has a huge number of different parts available, which it introduces over the course of a 35 LEVEL TUTORIAL... fortunately, these levels are quick, easy, and very fun, so that's not as much of a slog as it might sound.


Some parts are affected by gravity, falling downwards if placed in the air, rolling down slopes, or floating upwards in the case of balloons. Others will stick wherever you place them in the playfield. Some require electrical energy from a power socket, or mechanical energy from an engine. Some will destroy each other... and sometimes, that's exactly what you want them to do!

While some levels might be easy to clear if you had, say, an anti-gravity pad or two, you have no control over which parts you'll be given, so may have to make do with a series of pipes and springboards instead.


Occasionally, you'll be given 'red herring' parts. These might be completely useless and easy to dismiss (e.g. a power socket in a level with no electrical tools); others might seem useful at first, but don't quite fit in with the rest of the machine, over-complicating things and distracting you from the true solution.


Controls: Entirely mouse based. Click an item from the parts window, then click wherever you want to place it in the playfield. Some items will allow you to click to rotate them, or click and drag to resize them. Other options (hints, reset etc) are available by clicking buttons at the top of the screen. Really straight-forward.


Graphics and sound: The look of the windows and buttons gives me nostalgia for early Windows operating systems. But aside from that, the parts themselves are 2D, cartoon-like, and it's probably thanks to this simplicity that it doesn't look too dated (by puzzle game standards).

The soundtrack (in the digital version I have, at least) consists of several different MIDI tunes... which absolutely date the game to the early 90s. Bizarrely, the original CD release included CDA music, which sound much better even to my nostalgic self. Ah well, unofficial fan patches exist.


Overall: Simple, often frustrating, but addictive. No doubt I'll keep coming back to it. 6/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 2 months ago
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Fullsend
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#68
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I really like the idea of this but maybe if you try to focus on games which have been recently released or games that you know received a lot praise such as "The Last of Us" and review them it get more replies. A recent game i played is called "The Plague tail innocence" and i really liked it. I do not have time to write reviews on it but i suggest you check it out.
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AngryJellyfish
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#69
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(Original post by Fullsend)
I really like the idea of this but maybe if you try to focus on games which have been recently released or games that you know received a lot praise such as "The Last of Us" and review them it get more replies. A recent game i played is called "The Plague tail innocence" and i really liked it. I do not have time to write reviews on it but i suggest you check it out.
I *think* I have one game from 2018 lying around somewhere... plenty of the ones I've reviewed received lots of praise in the 1990s/early 2000s, though! :p: I can't really justify spending big money on newer games when my PC probably won't handle them, I've got a ~100 game backlog as it is, and it still wouldn't guarantee replies. :no: I was hoping that a few more people would jump on the idea, providing some more variation.
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ThunderBeard
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#70
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I was wondering how one could get this?
(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Wizardry 8 (2001) - RPG, PC


Story: Aeons ago, the Cosmic Lords created the first planet, Dominus, using the power of three MacGuffins. Now, rumor has it that whoever finds these artifacts will be able to ascend to the Cosmic Circle, basically becoming gods - an idea which appeals to your party!


Gameplay: First, create your party! You can have up to six characters, selecting from the usual fantasy races (humans, elves, dwarves and more) and professions (fighter, ranger, rogue, mage etc). Or, if you've completed Wizardry 7, import your old party to continue their story~


The game begins with your spaceship crash-landing on Dominus. In front of you is an abandoned monastery – the first dungeon! You can move freely through the 3D environment, with all actions taking place in real-time... until you come across an enemy.


Combat is turn-based: you select actions for each member of your party (attack, defend, cast spell, use item etc), then click a button to start combat when ready. Who acts first depends on initiative, worked out based on Speed and Senses stats.


Party formation is critical. Opponents usually attack in groups, surrounding you on all sides, so sticking your close combat classes at the front and sides, ranged attackers at the back and spellcasters in the centre (for example) should lead to fewer casualties!


Once you're done with the monastery, you emerge into an open world... from there, you're on your own. The game gives you no handy map markers; you must speak to characters, find out for yourself what's going on in the world, choose which quests to take on, which alien races to ally yourselves with, and which NPCs to recruit as your 7th and 8th party members!


The difficulty also ramps up after the monastery. The road between it and the nearby town of Arnika (an obvious first destination for info and trading) is one of the worst areas I've come across for random enemies. Even if you survive the first two or three encounters, make sure you find a safe place to camp, because they'll attack you in your sleep too!


Controls: The game defaults to arrow keys for movement, but you can re-assign them to WASD or whatever you prefer in the options. Shift allows you to run away from the many horrible enemies – so long as you have the stamina! Mouse allows for looking around, picking items up, selecting from dialogue options etc. Very intuitive.


Graphics and sound: The graphics are of course dated – render distance is low, so imagine your party are all short-sighted. Enemies of the same type all use the same model, though their appearances do change to reflect damage. Despite this, I do like the game's fantasy/sci-fi aesthetic, and a few locations did impress me visually.


Music is passable, atmospheric, most areas have their own theme. It's the voice acting that stands out from an audio perspective – not only are all the NPCs voiced, but you can select from various voices and personalities for your own party too, and you'd be surprised how a small thing like that can help bring them to life.


Overall: A great game, so long as you don't mind hardcore RPGs, lots of grinding and backtracking, and the occasional feeling that you have no idea where to go next. 8/10
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AngryJellyfish
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#71
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(Original post by ThunderBeard)
I was wondering how one could get this?
I managed to get it free as a Twitch Prime subscriber last year, but it's on both Steam and GOG. :yes:
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AngryJellyfish
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#72
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Here's a newer game, as requested!

one night, hot springs (2018) - Visual Novel, PC.


Story: Main character Suzuki Haru is a young trans woman. One day, she is suddenly invited on an overnight stay at a hot spring inn by her oldest friend, Manami. While the idea might be tempting in an ideal world, Haru is reluctant due to the very gender-segregated nature of hot springs.


Should she turn down the invitation, at the risk of hurting her friend's feelings? Or could things turn out worse for both of them if she goes along and inadvertently causes a scene?


Gameplay: This is a visual novel, so for the most part all you do is read the story, and admire the art. Occasionally, Haru will be presented with a choice (such as the one above), and that's where the only real gameplay comes in. Do you end things less than 2 minutes in by having Haru stay at home? Or will you accept the offer, and get a glimpse of what a transgender person in Japan might feel or experience?

...the correct answer is both, as there are multiple endings (seven in total, some good, some bad) depending on the choices you make, and seeing all story routes gives you a better appreciation of the characters. Plus, Steam achievements~


Back to the story: Assuming Haru goes to the hot springs, she meets up with Manami, and another of Manami's friends, Erika... who has no prior experience (to her knowledge, at least) of meeting a trans person, so has lots of questions. How will you have Haru respond to her?


And then of course, there's the hot springs themselves. Regardless of how daring you the player might be, Haru's anxiety means that marching straight into the women's baths isn't an option you're presented with, so finding a way in which both she and her companions can enjoy the trip fully might take a few attempts.


The story is short (took me about 30 minutes to read/play first time around), but is adorable, and handles this sensitive subject with plenty of respect. It can also teach you a bit about the laws in Japan regarding getting your legal gender identity changed officially.


Controls: Click when you're done reading the text on the screen, then more text will show up. Read and repeat until you need to make a decision, then click the option you desire. Really basic stuff.

On your 2nd(+) playthrough, you'll have the option (via a button next to the text box) to fast-forward through parts of the story you've already read, making it quicker and easier to experience alternate routes. You can also backtrack if you change your mind about a decision, or click too fast and miss what a character said.


Graphics and sound: The art is a cute, chibi, basic cartoon style. It does the job, and fits the feel of the story perfectly.

The soundtrack is very good on the whole, also helping to create a cute atmosphere... I'm not so keen on the tune that greets you on the opening screen though, don't know why, but the notes just sound really jarring to me!


Overall: Did I mention this game is free on Steam? With that in mind, the fact that it's so short isn't an issue. An enjoyable visual novel... on the less negative routes, anyway. 7/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 2 months ago
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shadowdweller
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#73
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(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Here's a newer game, as requested!

one night, hot springs (2018) - Visual Novel, PC.


Story: Main character Suzuki Haru is a young trans woman. One day, she is suddenly invited on an overnight stay at a hot spring inn by her oldest friend, Manami. While the idea might be tempting in an ideal world, Haru is reluctant due to the very gender-segregated nature of hot springs.


Should she turn down the invitation, at the risk of hurting her friend's feelings? Or could things turn out worse for both of them if she goes along and inadvertently causes a scene?


Gameplay: This is a visual novel, so for the most part all you do is read the story, and admire the art. Occasionally, Haru will be presented with a choice (such as the one above), and that's where the only real gameplay comes in. Do you end things less than 2 minutes in by having Haru stay at home? Or will you accept the offer, and get a glimpse of what a transgender person in Japan might feel or experience?

...the correct answer is both, as there are multiple endings (seven in total, some good, some bad) depending on the choices you make, and seeing all story routes gives you a better appreciation of the characters. Plus, Steam achievements~


Back to the story: Assuming Haru goes to the hot springs, she meets up with Manami, and another of Manami's friends, Erika... who has no prior experience (to her knowledge, at least) of meeting a trans person, so has lots of questions. How will you have Haru respond to her?


And then of course, there's the hot springs themselves. Regardless of how daring you the player might be, Haru's anxiety means that marching straight into the women's baths isn't an option you're presented with, so finding a way in which both she and her companions can enjoy the trip fully might take a few attempts.


The story is short (took me about 30 minutes to read/play first time around), but is adorable, and handles this sensitive subject with plenty of respect. It can also teach you a bit about the laws in Japan regarding getting your legal gender identity changed officially.


Controls: Click when you're done reading the text on the screen, then more text will show up. Read and repeat until you need to make a decision, then click the option you desire. Really basic stuff.

On your 2nd(+) playthrough, you'll have the option (via a button next to the text box) to fast-forward through parts of the story you've already read, making it quicker and easier to experience alternate routes. You can also backtrack if you change your mind about a decision, or click too fast and miss what a character said.


Graphics and sound: The art is a cute, chibi, basic cartoon style. It does the job, and fits the feel of the story perfectly.

The soundtrack is very good on the whole, also helping to create a cute atmosphere... I'm not so keen on the tune that greets you on the opening screen though, don't know why, but the notes just sound really jarring to me!


Overall: Did I mention this game is free on Steam? With that in mind, the fact that it's so short isn't an issue. An enjoyable visual novel... on the less negative routes, anyway. 7/10
PRSOM, this looks fab and I'll check it out soon!
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AngryJellyfish
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#74
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(Original post by shadowdweller)
PRSOM, this looks fab and I'll check it out soon!
Awesome! :yay: Apparently a sequel game got released in April, too.
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AngryJellyfish
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#75
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It's a double this month! :yay:

Orwell (2016) - Simulation, PC


Story: Following the passage of a new 'Safety Bill', which grants the government additional powers to spy on its citizens (in the name of public security, of course!), you are selected for the role of investigator, using the surveillance system 'Orwell' to collect information on 'people of interest'.


Your first day on the job gets off to a dramatic start, after a bomb explodes at a busy public plaza, killing several people. Security cameras have identified one potential suspect, Cassandra Watergate, who has a criminal record for assaulting a police officer at that very same plaza...


Gameplay: Begin gathering information on your first suspect by looking up her social media profile. Details such as her address, names of friends or family, her interests, things she has said etc. all appear as 'data chunks', which you can add to Orwell. Add things such as phone numbers, email addresses & instant messenger usernames, and you can even eavesdrop on her conversations. Your Advisor colleague will use any information you provide to dig up further relevant sources.


Some of these data chunks have to be added to progress the game, but the majority of the time it is up to you what gets added. A joke among friends could be interpreted as a serious threat out of context - context which Orwell doesn't have. Some data chunks might also contain conflicting information, and you can't add both. Which ones do you believe, or think are relevant?


The game is spread over five 'days', each ending with some dramatic event. Here is where the information you have added to Orwell really becomes relevant. You have the power to prevent further loss of life... but only if you've found the critical details needed for the government to take action. And that's assuming you even want to add them.


The part I like the most is, you can paint any of the characters or their entire group as guilty or innocent, and that will change how things progress. Pile up incriminating evidence on the person you don't like. Add nothing but junk information to Orwell, and watch the chaos unfold. Or play the role of impartial detective, and find the true culprit. Ideally, do all the above on different play-throughs, to experience different story branches and endings (and get Steam achievements~).


Controls: Entirely mouse-based. Half the screen is taken up by the Orwell case files, while the other is where you do your information searching. Click through the pages that your Advisor sends you, as though navigating an actual web site, and drag data chunks of interest onto the relevant person's file. That's about all there is to it.


Graphics and sound: Static for the most part, all windows and text. You can add 'photos' of each suspect to their case files though, to give a face to the people you're snooping on. Those were nicely drawn.

Music was semi-dramatic, suiting a setting where things could go bad at any point, but aren't quite there yet. Then, when you do uncover something particularly big, the music changes instantly. Very nicely done.


Overall: Trawling through pages of text and dragging bits onto Orwell can get repetitive, so I'd suggest taking a break after each day ends. The story was worth it though, in my opinion. 8/10
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AngryJellyfish
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#76
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Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven (1998) - RPG, PC


Story: The Planet of Enroth is invaded by an alien race, the devil-like Kreegans. The King leads an army to fight them off, but is betrayed and captured.

Your home, the village of Sweet Water, soon falls to the Kreegans, but thankfully the warlock Falagar teleports you to safety, and trains you in the skills necessary to save the world. Now, you find yourself at the town of New Sorpigal, in possession of an important letter regarding the king's whereabouts. Where the story goes from there is entirely up to you...


Gameplay: MM6 gives you the choice of creating your own party (a good idea if you're an experienced player, or working from a strategy guide), or going with a default party (average, newbie-friendly, but might struggle in later quests). Usual stuff, pick classes, skills and sink points into basic attributes (Endurance, Might, Accuracy etc).


The world of Enroth consists of 15 overland map screens; doesn't sound like a lot, but each one is pretty big, and contains several 'dungeons' which is where the majority of enemies, quest items and nice loot can be found. The game has a really good automap feature, allowing you to easily keep track of where you've been.


The game is entirely non-linear, allowing you to go anywhere you like and tackle quests in any order... though since you start at a low level with really basic equipment and spells, maybe leave the dragons for later and take out the nearby goblin fortress instead. And if you want to follow the main story through to the end and actually win, certain quests are mandatory.


Combat features a really interesting hybrid system, giving you the choice of real-time (good for taking down lone enemies or weak mobs quickly) or turn-based (better for big armies where tactics will be key to victory).


Controls: Uses a combination of keyboard and mouse; the former is essential for movement, the latter for selecting certain options on the screen, but for most other things (combat, spell selection etc) you can use whichever you prefer.


Certain keyboard controls are somewhat dated (e.g. arrow keys for movement); other choices boggle the mind (e.g. Page Down to look up), and you can't change any of them... but they're easy enough to get used to, I've played far worse.


Graphics and sound: Backgrounds are 3D, and movement is fluid and free-scrolling; NPCs are 2D sprites, and all look the same (aside from the higher level ones, which might have different coloured shirts). Certainly not pretty by contemporary standards, but for the time it was fairly average. I find it charming, personally.


The music is great – ambient in peaceful towns, creepy in dungeons, VERY creepy in especially nasty dungeons. Largely the same composers as the Heroes of Might and Magic games, which I also love.


Overall: A decent late 90s CRPG; the lack of any real direction aside from 'these enemies are too tough, guess I'd better go somewhere else' can get frustrating at times, but the dungeons are well designed, and the hybrid combat allows for all kinds of fun tactics. 8/10
Last edited by AngryJellyfish; 3 weeks ago
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