All posts by Will

Xbox Sales Week Of 9/3

Achievement Sales

This isn’t every game on sale, but a list of the best deals that also have easy achievements. Prices are what I see them as in the US store, and are subject to change.

Xbox One

Agatha Christie – $6.00

Arcade Game Series 3 in 1 – $4.00 (3000 relatively easy gs for $4!)

Conan Exiles – $29.99 (Still expensive for the amount of time it takes, but super easy achievements with console codes)

Knee Deep – $4.50

Little Nightmares Complete Edition – $12.00 (Includes all DLC and is a great game!)

Manual Samuel $3.00

Pac-Man 256 – $2.50

Soma – $15.00

SwapQuest – $2.50

The Assembly – $7.40

The Coma: Recut – $4.95

The Station – $8.99

Uncanny Valley – $3.25

Yesterday Origins – $6.00

Honorable Mention (Great Game, Not the easiest achievements)

Owlboy – $14.99

Xbox 360

JUJU – $2.99

Typoman:Revised Review

Typoman:Revised is a puzzle-platformer set in a world where words come to life. You play the game as the hero (Your character is actually the letters H-E-R-O). Along your journey you will come across various words to interact with, as well as enemies based on bad words. These aren’t the 4 letter words your mother told you not to use, but words with bad connotations.

The Good

Typoman is a great game , let’s state that up front. You begin your journey as a lonely ‘o’, and slowly transform to the one armed “H-E-R-O” throughout the prologue. Typoman has is a great platformer, with hidden quotes, which are the collectibles, spread throughout the levels. You will need to spend time exploring around each level to find all of these quotes, and most likely will miss one or two, but they are easy to go back and find thanks to a level select option.

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One of my favorite parts in the game is the personification of the words. If you create a word, the world reacts to that word. There are also close to 200 words, which I would call ‘Easter Egg’ words, that actually change the world other than just solving puzzles. Spell ‘hat’, and your character gets a hat, spell ‘old’, and the game turns on a filter which makes the game look like an old movie. There are too many of these fun words to list them all here, but try spelling as many words as you can, for sometimes hilarious results.

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The main point of spelling words is to solve the puzzles, which you will need to solve to continue on in the level. This ranges from spelling a word that raises a platform, to stopping something from crushing you. Don’t think that there is only one way to solve the puzzle either. There are multiple words you can use most of the time to achieve the same results. This allows each player to set their own path, and to build their own story while playing the game. There is even a character that will consume the word you created, and spit out the opposite of that word, and this has some interesting results.

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The graphics in the game are simple, but top notch. It is a 2-D platformer, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have great art. I was constantly surprised at how the developers used words to convey actions, emotions, and tell the story.

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And the story, with no vocals, and only letters to tell the tale, was actually quite engaging. It made me feel the feels in the end, which doesn’t happen often in a game. You meet other characters along the way which can either help or hinder your path, and while not that diverse, I didn’t feel anything was overused.

The Bad

No game is perfect, but this game doesn’t have many flaws. My main complaint is the way the word scrambler was used, and the controls while using it. Luckily there is usually not a rush to spell a word, so going slower helps in this respect.

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The game is also on the short side, and will only take you a few short hours to complete the first time, but I thought it was still the right length (I mainly mention it because some people only like longer games). Luckily the game does include side games which extend the value of the game.

The Achievements

The achievements in Typoman contain a variety of flavors, and are mostly easy. You will get roughly half of the achievements just from playing through the game to the end, and if you go back to collect all of the quotes and do the other easy cleanup achievements, you will have all but 3 or 4 left. There are a couple of achievements that are time consuming, or will require skill. One is for making 300 words, which can be done over time, one for completing the game without using the word scrambler, and there is another for completing the game with 5 or fewer deaths. After one time through the game, this shouldn’t be too bad, but may take some time to master. A final achievement, not related to the main game, is for beating the Antonymizer minigame, which will take some time and skill.

Final Verdict

This game is one of my favorite releases so far this year. And although it is early, I think it will still be in on my short list for indie game of the year. The gameplay is smooth and fresh, the art is fantastic, and the story is engaging throughout. The achievements are mainly straight-forward, and will likely require more than one playthrough to complete. I recommend adding this game to your collection. Word.

4.5outof5

$12.99 US

Buy this game on the Xbox Marketplace

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review

Mantis Burn Racing Review

Mantis Burn Racing,  developed and published by VooFoo Studios, is a top down racing game that is similar in style to the classic micro machines game, or rc pro am, without the miniaturization. If you are looking for a racing game, and Horizon 3 is outside of your budget, this game may fill that void.

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The Good

Mantis Burn Racing is a fun game. I enjoyed all of my time with the game, and it didn’t feel like the AI rubberbanded much, nor were they able to pass you if you didn’t make a mistake. If you were passed, or couldn’t get first place, you probably made a mistake, or were under powered for the race. Luckily, there are a wide variety of races in the game, with a good progression system that allows for easy upgrades to your vehicles.

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On each race, there are “Gears” to collect, which are basically optional objectives to do during the race. They are usually to get first place, don’t use boost, run over a certain number of objects, or take a shortcut so many times. They do vary, and some of them will take multiple attempts, but luckily you will obtain the majority of them through regular racing. There are certain stop points in the game that require a certain number of gears, but these are only there to prepare you for the next set of races. If you do not have the minimum number of gears, then you most likely need to go back and do some of the previous races again. For one, it increases your XP, and 2, you will most likely unlock upgrades that will help you progress. These checkpoints don’t feel tacked on, and have reasonable numbers to achieve.

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There are multiple varieties of race types, from regular racing, knockout, time trial, etc. Each season of racing unlocks more racing types, and increases the difficulty slowly. You will go through multiple seasons as you progress through this game, from rookie, to pro, to veteran, and along the way you will unlock a variety of cars to help you on your way. Each set of cars is geared toward their race tier, and some races require a certain car type (light, medium, heavy) to allow you to race. This works out because it forces you to try various cars and not just stick to one car for every race, which I most likely would have done. This also means you need to spread out your upgrades, and not give them all to one car.

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The types of upgrades can be stacked, but if you add all engine and boost to your car without a tire (tyre) upgrade, your car will be more likely to spin out and lose control. This requires some thought to be put in before you place the upgrades. You can discard upgrades, but it is recommended to get them right the first time. Upgrades are obtained by getting to a certain point on the XP timeline, or by completing sets of races. Some upgrades only require you to finish one race to unlock, while others you need to complete multiple races that surround the upgrades on the map to unlock. I think this works well, and you can clearly see how to obtain the upgrades.

The Bad

While the game is great, no game is perfect, and it does have a few minor annoyances. The first, and most obvious thing are the long loading times. Now these are not long compared to other AAA games out there, but because they happen so often, they are very noticeable. With each race having a loading time it kind of drags the whole thing down.

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There is also not a lot of variety in track locations in the game. While there are a variety of track setups, all of them kind of blend together over time. Also, some of the darker sections of the game seem too dark in transition. A larger variety of places to drive and varying scenery would have been a nice thing to have, but again, you will still have fun with this game, the tracks just get old.

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My only other complaint with the game is that it is fairly easy to get stuck on a wall, with no quick recovery option that I could see. Having to slowly reverse, then get back up to speed again almost always means you are playing catch up, for what should be a minor mistake. The devs might have been going for realism here, but a quick reset option would at least allow you to get back into the race faster.

The Achievements

I enjoyed the achievements in this game. When you start the game, you will be getting achievements left and right as you progress the early stages. Other achievements will come over time, and a few of them require skills like unlocking all 6 Gears 15 times, etc. I think the achievements in the game provide a wide selection of achievement types, and only include a few multiplayer ones. One thing to note though, is that there are 2 achievements for beating an online player with a higher ranking than you, so if you don’t unlock it early it could be difficult to unlock, and could even become unobtainable for you without a save reset if you progress too far in the game.

The Final Verdict

Mantis Burn Racing is a great, fun game that will give you many hours of enjoyment. If you like racing games, you should give this one a shot. The game provides a wide variety of races types and is genuinely fun all the way through. The progression system guides you along, and there isn’t a huge difficulty spike if you perform upgrades, while still being challenging. It does have some strange camera movements that take some time to get used to, but the game does provide camera options. The loading times are long, but not longer than 10 or 15 seconds. They just seem longer because they happen so often. Overall, I would recommend this game to anyone that likes racing games, or anyone that likes fun games in general.

4outof5

Developed by: VooFoo Studios
Published by: VooFoo Studios
Websitehttp://www.voofoostudios.com/game/mantis-burn-racing/
Xbox Marketplacehttps://www.microsoft.com/store/p/mantis-burn-racing/c4477gnrjptj
Steam Storehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/446100

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer for the purpose of this review.

Pinball FX2: Marvel’s Women of Power Review

Zen Studios continues to support its pinball juggernaut, Pinball FX2, with the new DLC Marvel’s Women of Power. Women of Power focuses on the often forgotten powerful women in the Marvel universe. This DLC includes 2 tables, each with unique looks and styles for your pinball pleasure.

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The Good

Women of Power continues Zen Studio’s great track record for their tables, with consistent physics and a good pinball feel. Both tables feel different from each other, with one having a retro feel with Ms. Marvel, while the other table is more gritty with Black Widow. I like the focus on the females of the Marvel Universe, and hope they continue to expand on the vastness of that license.

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All of the normal pinball rules apply, with a shiny new skin. Both tables are filled with various ramps, with Black Widow on the Champions table falling into an alternate universe when a cosmic cube is shattered. Ms. Marvel’s table is more lighthearted, with her losing the money made at the first day of opening her coffee shop. Both tables are fun and will keep you satisfied until the next set of tables release.

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The Bad

Not much bad can be said about these tables, but it did seem like it was easy to fall into the outside table holes, and it happened to me several times. I am not a pinball expert, but I can usually gain a fairly high score on some tables. These were lower scoring for me, but again, I still had fun with them. I would have also liked to see more tables than just 2. There are many other women in the Marvel Universe, but maybe the characters they selected were all they had available to them. I would like to see the women of X-Men, as those are the ones I am most familiar with.

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The Achievements

The achievements on Pinball FX2 have been the low point for me since the move to Xbox One. On the 360 version of the tables, they gave 3 achievements per table, with an easy, medium, and difficult achievement per table. Since the Xbox One release and port of the tables, all but a couple have one achievement per table, and it is usually a difficult achievement. I’m not against difficult achievements, but it would be nice to see more time allotted for achievements, and so I can work up the achievement ladder as I become more familiar with the tables. It seems now the achievements are carrots far off that most people will never reach.

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The Final Verdict

This DLC, as with all of the other Pinball FX2 tables, is great fun and should not be missed. I am glad that Zen Studios continues to support this excellent series, and hope they continue to do so in the future. With the price of $6.99, the tables will provide you with hours of joy. The great thing about Pinball FX2, with so many tables, you can go back to older tables, then continue with your newer tables at a later time, so you never get bored. This is recommended to those with an already existing large collection of Pinball FX2 tables, as well as newcomers to the series. These aren’t my favorite tables out of all of them released, but it is a good collection of 2 tables that may introduce people to new Marvel characters they haven’t heard of before.

 

3-5outof5

 

Developed by: ZEN Studios
Published by: ZEN Studios
Websitehttp://www.pinballfx.com/
Xbox Marketplacehttps://www.microsoft.com/store/p/marvels-women-of-power/bsql756pxz6f
Steam Storehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/529350/

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Speedboat Challenge Review

Speedboat Challenge, by WS net, started off as a free to play phone game. Speedboat Challenge is a boat racing game, where you have 4 of 5 main maps, with a few different configurations on each. You race against computer controlled AI as you work your way through 10 levels of races.

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The Good

The game features simple racing, and the racing itself isn’t that bad, as long as you are the only boat on the course. The boats control ok for the most part, especially once you are able to perform some upgrades. The upgrade system in the game is pretty standard, with various options to upgrade like increasing your engine speed, boat weight, etc. Each upgrade makes your boat faster, but you also have to increase your boat turning ability so you don’t easily flip over. As you proceed in the game, each level requires you to upgrade more and more.

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Luckily there are treasures that can be unlocked which provide you with bonuses to help you upgrade. One map is provided to you from the beginning, which unlocks 2 free upgrades when you touch the chest. I would recommend upgrading your engine twice. The remaining treasures provide you 5000 coins each, and there are 3 to unlock. You do not need to unlock the map to find them, but just need to know their location. You can apparently unlock them during a race, or in practice, but I would do it in practice so you don’t mess up your race. Sadly, there are only 5 treasures to find. I wish there were more, because they were the highlight of the game for me.

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The game also includes practice mode, so you can get used to the races, as well as some leaderboard and player customization options. The leaderboards show the top record breakers, the top player time on each track, and the local times for each track. The player customizations include the option of being a male or female, choosing your boat color, and choosing your country’s flag.

The Bad

Well, this game for the most part, is bad. Some of the issues could be fixed with a patch, but it isn’t likely that it will ever be patched. To start, for some reason, the devs thought it would be a great idea to make the left trigger be the accelerator. I’m not sure I have ever played a racing game since the adoption of triggers that didn’t use the right trigger as the accelerator. The AI in the game is programmed to pretend you don’t exist, and when you race with them, they will drive right over you. They have their set programmed line, and they do not stray from it. Even if you are in front of them, they will plow right through you and wreck your boat.

This leads me to another major issue with the game: there is no reset option, and no warnings when you begin to go off course. This means if you crash once and are stuck, or your boat is flipped, then your race is over. Also, if you ever leave the imaginary boundary for the race, or accidentally go past a cone, your race is also over. Most games allow you to easily reset your boat, or force restart you back on the track if you go past a boundary. There is also no ‘restart’ option. If you false start twice (which will happen to you at least once, I’m sure), you are required to start over.

This part wouldn’t be so bad, but every race after Level 1 requires a coin deposit to start the race. If you crash, get stuck, cross a line, or are just behind and want to restart, you are required to use another coin deposit to start the race over. Not that big of a deal, right? Oh wait, each level increases the number of coins required to start a race. Toward the end, when each race costs 1000 coins or more, while you are trying to save up for upgrades, all while having to repeat each race multiple times due to the AI slamming into you and flying past you like you are sitting still on the last lap of the race, means that you will be doing a lot of grinding of lower level races to save up enough coins to continue.

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Along with the other issues, and the left trigger as the accelerator, the B button is the pause button. If you happen to press it twice, you are backed out of the race. Even if you press B twice by accident at the beginning of a race, you just wasted whatever coins it cost you to start it. There is no way to change any of these controls, other than by utilizing the Xbox reconfiguration option. I didn’t feel like changing my controls for every game for this one game, so I just dealt with it. Control options would be a great addition. Also, for some reason, both analogue sticks work as acceleration, braking, and steering as well.

When you are in a race, the game gives you a heads up display that shows your speed, position, and a generic mini map. This map could be improved by actually showing a map of the track with your spot on it. Even if it was a dot, it would be helpful. Instead, this map has an arrow overlay that moves with the direction you need to go. Only sometimes it isn’t helpful at all. The tracks are sometimes coned off for where you need to go, but other times they are not coned off at all. You will go the wrong direction, and then you will be instantly disqualified. It is very annoying and frustrating. Want to know what lap you are on? You better look as you start a new lap, because that is the only time it shows. It would be great to know what lap you are on further into the race. If you happen to be focusing on the race at the moment it pops up, you missed out, and have to wait to learn what lap it is.

So, you are now in a race, and you are in first place! Congrats, you are 10 seconds ahead of the second place racer on the last corner, so it should be an easy win, right? Well, not in this game. The rubberbanding in this game allows a race to speed right behind you, and will most likely pass you right before the finish line. It seems the AI has a few preprogrammed options, and likes you to finish second or worse a few times before you are allowed to win. This may not be the case, but this is the way it seemed to me.

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Navigating around the menus in the game are near impossible to get right without multiple tries. Someone had the idea to make the highlighted color menu option be only 1 shade different than the rest. If it was a few shades darker, or a different color, it would be much easier. This way you aren’t moving around trying to figure out where the cursor is or accidentally selecting the wrong option and wasting valuable coins.

The sound, graphics, and AI require other work as well. The sounds in the game are like the default sounds from Unity. The splashes and crashes all sound the same, and just don’t have any pop. The music tracks that play in the game seem like something from a 70’s porn, and there are only a few tracks in total. This game would be a good time to try the new background music feature added to the One. The graphics are also very generic, and trees pop up as you pass them. The sky is pasted on, and every bird all over the world seems to be a crow. The AI names were thought out. Names like ‘Computer 5’ and ‘Computer 17’ are some examples. I know this is a minor issue, but anything would be better than those names.

The Achievements

The achievements in the game are very straight forward. Basically, complete each race that it moves you to and you will unlock all of the achievements when you complete level 10. This may seem like an easy feat, and although seemingly simple, it will take many hours based on your luck with the AI. Other than that, there is nothing special with these achievements.

Final Verdict

Reading back up through my review, as you can see, there is much more Bad than Good. This game could be a nice simple racing game with a few fixes. The AI needs to be improved to react to the player, there needs to be an option to restart without costing more coins, and there needs to be control options. Although there are many other things wrong with this game, with those 3 changes, it would at least be playable and somewhat fun.

To top everything else off with this game, they are charging $13.99. This was a free phone game (which I imagine was pay to win and most likely charged for coins)…but $13.99 for this? If this game was $5, or even less, it would sell many more copies. As of the time of writing this review, 15 people have started it, and probably half of those were review copies. I think a price change and patch to fix the major issue is in store or this game is going to go stale quick.

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this game. If the devs can prove they can fix the issues and the price, then I could at least recommend it to the achievement addicts out there. But for now, alas, I can’t. I have played worse games, but this game is so frustrating and broken, that it isn’t fun. There are much better games for the same or cheaper price that are much better value.

Speedboat Challenge is priced at $13.99

1outof5

Developed by: WS net
Published by: WS net
Website: http://games.ws-net.net/SpeedboatChallenge/
Xbox Marketplacehttps://www.microsoft.com/store/p/speedboat-challenge/btc15pqntk9n

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Firewatch Review

Firewatch is what I call a walking simulator, and while that may not make the game sound that exciting, keep reading. Firewatch is set in Wyoming in 1989, and you are a man on your own in the wilderness, set with the task of watching for fires. The game begins with some flashbacks and life decisions, mainly in text, but don’t worry, this just sets up the background for the main character, and you feel connected to them before even setting foot in the main game.

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The Good

Your first job in Firewatch is to make it to your tower, which is your base of operations for the game, and where you will find your trusty ‘weapon’ for the game, your radio. Yes, that is right, there is no fighting hordes of zombies, evil overlords, or demonized bunnies in this game. Your main weapon is your voice (although, you will carry other items, including an axe…but, still no zombies).

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When you pick up the radio, you get to listen to my favorite aspect of the game, the voice acting. If you were a fan of Mad Men, when your character first speaks you will instantly recognize the voice behind Henry, the protagonist. The other main character in the game, Delilah, your sidekick who is in another tower, can only speak to you over the radio. This dynamic of not being able to see your main contact in the game is nothing new, but the back and forth communication between the two, to which you can usually choose your reply is amazing. The voice acting is so well done that it feels like a fluid conversation between two people, which is rare in a video game. The writing is also dynamic, and changes based on your choices and what you say in the game, but you probably won’t notice unless you play through the game more than once.

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The landscape and art style of Firewatch are nothing to shield your eyes from either. In fact, the sun is almost a character in the game. You can almost feel the heat of the sun, and when it isn’t there you feel even more isolated. The mountains, the trees, the rivers and grass, all come together to put you in the right state of mind to enjoy this game. There are no vehicles in this game, so you will be getting your 10,000 steps in, all the while surrounded by this amazing scenery.

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I could go on and on about various little things I love about this game, from the ambience, to the music, controls, etc, but the main thing a lot of people play games for is the story. Luckily, the story in Firewatch is great throughout. The game plays out in Days, and on Day 1 Delilah spots some fireworks, and it is your job to put a stop to them, with entertaining results. As you progress in the game, you go on various quests, full of intrigue and conspiracy, all while working through the summer in the wilderness of Wyoming. Even though the game doesn’t have shooting or crazy explosions left and right, I found the game to be intense, and couldn’t put it down.

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The Bad

Firewatch is amazing, but as with all games, it isn’t perfect. The game stutters a bit on loading, which happens quite often, but it doesn’t distract too much from the game. While this is a minor complaint, it would have been nice if this could be avoided. It also has a few graphical glitches and texture pop in. The game also ramps up with its story, but fails to fully capitalize the end of the story with the same excitement as the build up, and I felt the game ended abruptly, and too soon. This could be because I wanted to continue the adventure and didn’t want it to end, but I felt like I needed something more.

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The Achievements

The achievements in the game are mostly straight forward, with the welcome addition of a few side quests. I wouldn’t use a guide for this game. Enjoy it, and most of the achievements will unlock. The rest you can clean up on the second playthrough when you play with commentary, or use the open world option that is unlocked after you complete the game. Overall, this is an easy game, with easy achievements. Did I say this game was amazing?

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Final Verdict

Firewatch is one of the best games of 2016. Although it has been out a few months on other platforms, the Xbox One edition of the game has the new commentary content, as well as an open world when you beat the game (which was patched into the other versions). The commentary was a nice addition to the game, and allows you to go through the game a second time with commentary to get some background on the game. Of course it is recommended to not play with commentary the first time through so you can enjoy the great conversations between the main characters and not be distracted.

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This is a beautiful game that should not be missed. The voice acting is superb, and the visuals match it. The story is linear, but this game is about the journey. I highly recommend this game to all, but be aware this is an adult game, with adult themes. The price of $19.99 may seem steep compared to other indie titles, but this game shines above most of the other titles out there, even some with a cost of $60.

5outof5

Developed by: Campo Santo
Published by: Campo Santo
Websitehttp://www.firewatchgame.com/
Xbox Marketplacehttps://www.microsoft.com/store/p/firewatch/bqqkg9h2stc0
Steam Storehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/383870/

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

King Oddball Review

King Oddball, as its name states, is an odd game. Think Angry Birds, but instead of flinging a bird with a slingshot, you fling rocks with your tongue as I believe the man inside of the moon? It isn’t explained, but you are set on destroying the earth, and apparently lots of tanks and other army vehicles.

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The Good

The game does offer a good amount of content. It has levels that are broken up into stages. They are set in squares, and you must complete the square before moving on to the next designated one. Along the way you encounter squares that unlock new game modes that adjust the gameplay, like completing a set of levels with one rock, or with grenades, or some other power up. This extends the gameplay, and lets the player have a variety of modes to play, especially once the main game is completed.

The gameplay is very simple, and as mentioned before, is similar to Angry Birds. This makes the levels move quickly, and they are usually easy to complete until later stages. The main things this game has going for it are the number of levels, and the simplicity of the game to pick up and play. The game does add bonus rocks to be thrown for achieving combos, or for hitting the King with the rock by bouncing it off of something. My favorite thing in the game is when you run out of rocks, the king gets a sad face.

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The Bad

Unfortunately, because this game is so simple, each level looks similar to the last. There is no real defining factor between the levels that make levels stand out. They all have a similar background, and they all have various army vehicles you must destroy, with conveniently placed explosive boxes.

The music is the same track throughout, and does get irritating after a while. Even with the various challenge types, the game gets old quick. With more variety in the levels, at least changing the backgrounds and enemies more, it would have made the game more entertaining overall.

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The Achievements

The achievements in the game are pretty standard fare, and most will be obtained by just playing through the levels. You will need to play through all of the alternate game types as well to complete the achievement list. There are only 16 achievements overall, but they completing all of the levels will take some time, and later levels will take multiple retries to complete.

Final Verdict

King Oddball is a decent game, especially for the price of $4.99. If you need to scratch your Angry Birds itch, or want a distraction from the first person shooters everyone plays, this might be something you would enjoy. Don’t go into the game expecting much from it, and you should be pleased with the amount of content.

 

3outof5

 

Developed by: 10tons Ltd.
Published by: 10tons Ltd.
Websitehttp://www.10tons.com/Game/king_oddball.html
Xbox Marketplacehttps://www.microsoft.com/store/p/king-oddball/btk86t84dfsv
Steam Storehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/525450/

 

 

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas Review

When you first see Oceanhorn, you will immediately think, “Zelda”, and I’m sure the developers won’t deny that it was an inspiration for the game. While the game is a nod to one of the greatest game series of all time, it does have some differences.

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The Good

There is a lot of good happening in Oceanhorn. It is an 8-12 hour epic ride (depending on how much exploring you do, and how good you are at puzzles), where you travel to many islands on your quest to save your father. The game sends you on your main quest, but does offer some side quests that you can do later on to pick up additional collectibles. You are encouraged to talk to the various people inhabiting the islands, as they give you tips on where to go, and what to do, as well as unlocking new islands. Boss battles happen now and then, and most are not overly difficult, but if you do happen to die, the game has a very forgiving checkpoint system.

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The music in this game is great, and each track goes with the theme of the island or boss fight.The music reminds me of the old days of playing video games, and the many great tracks that went along with that.

As you continue your quest and unlock emblems items, you gain new powers that help you on your way, and allow you access to new areas you could not reach previously. The islands you find are rather small, but they have many levels and depth which increases their size. The goal is to island hop, fulfilling missions as they are handed out, and ultimately complete the main quest, and find out the fate of your father, as well as save the land from the evil invading it.

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The Bad

While the game overall is great, there are some things I had issues with. The main thing you must get used to, because the game has a set camera angle, it can be hard to distinguish what you can and can’t climb up, or jump off of. Some of this is due to invisible walls that the developer put when creating the game to keep you from falling off ledges, but there are some low drops that are blocked to keep you from progressing further in the game too early. I’m sure this was a decision they made to keep the game flowing forward, but is sometimes annoying, but you get used to it.

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The voice acting in the game, although a nice surprise, feels flat. I feel the game could have been just as powerful with text, or a made up vocal language. Most of the game is text, so when a voice over happens, it is startling. This is minor, but something I noticed.

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One final gripe with the game is that once you pick a new island to go to, you move on a boat, which is fine, but you have no control over the boat. This is overlooked for the most part, since you are required to shoot things on your path to the new island, but could have been more fun if free roaming the seas was allowed.

The Achievements

The achievements in this game, besides the final few, will be obtained by progressing through the game. They are usually tied to challenges or game feats, and the game throws them out at a steady pace. The collectibles and challenges don’t seem to be missable, so you should be able to play through the game, and once you beat the final boss you are allowed to continue exploring.

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Final Verdict

Overall, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is a magnificent game, that shows what an indie title can be. The game started as a phone game, so there is simplicity there, but it still is a great action/adventure title that no Xbox gamer should miss. Priced at only $14.99, it has a huge amount of content compared to other indie titles, and with 8-12 hours or more of gameplay, you can spend some time with this. The unlocks progress at a steady pace, and unless you are stuck everything moves quickly, so you won’t get bored. If you are a fan of the Zelda games, this is an insta-buy, and even if you aren’t, I’d suggest giving it a try. I don’t think you will regret it.

4-5outof5

 

Developed by: Cornfox and Bros.
Published by: FDG Entertainment
Website: http://www.fdg-entertainment.com/xbox-one/oceanhorn-xb1.html
Xbox Marketplacehttps://www.microsoft.com/store/p/oceanhorn-monster-of-uncharted-seas/c1zsx0z50vw2
Steam Storehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/339200/

 

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Unnamed Fiasco Review

Unnamed Fiasco, published by Unnamed Fiasco Team, is an arcade style multiplayer deathmatch game. This game requires at least 2 controllers to play most of the game, but does have a single player portion. The game sets you up against up to 3 other players, with various game types. It also includes clones, which are reenactments of your previous life when you die.

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The Good

If you have 3 friends or family members to play against, this game has a lot of good things going for it. With the addition of up to 5 clones, and 4 human players, there could be 9 players on screen at once causing all kinds of mayhem. The game also has an option to change things up every minute, with all kinds of crazy powerups, like rocket packs, upside down mode, and a variety of other options that keep you on your toes. It also has a variety of lively characters, including a granny with a mustache! The game’s graphics and gameplay all seem very fitting for the game, and it works well. The game also features a set of tough single player challenges, but they only seem to be for the most experience players.

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The Bad

The one major drawback to this game, and others like it, is that it is only geared toward those with multiple controllers, and multiple people available to play, as there is no online play. I like that they have couch coop, but an online option would broaden the games audience, and allow it to be enjoyed by many others. My other gripe with this game is that the single player challenges are overly difficult, and they turned me off of playing them after several tries.

The Achievements

The achievements in this game are all very easy to obtain (except one), and most will be obtained through normal gameplay if you are playing with others. The achievements are also easily obtainable by yourself with 4 controllers if you don’t have people available, but have the controllers. For the completionists, unless you want to go through a few controllers out of breaking them due to frustration, I would steer clear. If you are an achievement addict ok with knowing you can get all but one achievement, then this is a good game to pick up.

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Final Verdict

With 4 controllers, and a few friends, this would make a great party game, especially when you set it up with clones and final minutes. If you are a gamer who lives alone, this game is not for you. I’d like to see what else this developer can come up with on future games, and maybe they could add in online multiplayer in the future. I recommend this game to achievement addicts who know they may not get that final achievement, and to gamers who don’t look at achievements, and just want to have a good time with friends.

3outof5

Buy this game on the Xbox Marketplace

Buy this game on the Steam Store

 

A copy of the game was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review

Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call Review

Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call, is developed and published by Artifex Mundi, the prolific point and click adventure game creator. They have a long list of games already on steam and mobile, but luckily for console gamers, they are releasing their games as quick as they can port them. This game is a direct sequel from the previous game in the series, Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart. The story starts with an artifact found, and a Siren captured. It is up to you to stop the evil Mayor, and restore balance to the city.

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The Good

The game, like all of the other Artifex Mundi titles, is point and click adventuring at its best. All of their titles have a similar art style, but still feel fresh with their range of stories they come up with. There is a limit to what can be done with point and click, but they do a great job of keeping the pace of the game moving, and add in occasional jumps and cutscenes to keep pushing you forward. You are constantly finding new items, using those items to solve puzzles, and then finding a hidden object scene to complete. Like the previous game in the series, you have the option of the hidden objects or a game of mahjong. This is a good option for those that aren’t good at finding things, so it doesn’t slow the game down more than it needs to.

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Some of the puzzles to progress in this game are fun to figure out, and although convoluted and exact on their solution, they do work. It is fun to put pieces of objects together, adding lighter fluid to a lighter you find, or making makeshift weapons out of pieces found throughout the map. Nightmares has a fast travel system in place, like many of the games before it, that makes it easy to get where you need to go. The sparkling objects when the game thinks you are stumped also helps out, but that is only available in the easy mode. I recommend you play through the game on casual first anyway.

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The Not So Bad

This game doesn’t have a lot of bad qualities. This isn’t a first person shooter, it is a point and click adventure game, so don’t expect a ton of action. The story does drag on a little toward the end, but is overall a quick game to complete. The voice acting, although improved from their previous games, does still sound campy and forced. The mahjong game also has some control issues, when trying to select the tile you want, but on a game originally made for clicking with a mouse or touch, this can be overlooked. My only other minor gripe with the game is the fact that you are required to play through it twice for all of the achievements. While I do respect the devs for giving the option, I don’t like being forced to play a certain way.

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The Achievements

The achievements in the game are mostly story related, with a few that are time based, or completion based. The time based achievements are for completing a puzzle and mahjong game within a minute. The puzzles are normally not that complicated, but with the control issues with mahjong, completing a mahjong puzzle is quite a feat. Luckily there is a glitch where you can press down on the directional pad at the same time you select the last hidden object, and it counts it as completing the mahjong puzzle. The remaining achievements are for completing all of the hidden object puzzles, and completing all of the mahjong games.

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This game will require 2 playthroughs to obtain all of the puzzle achievements, so it is best to play the game on casual first, so you understand what you are doing, to make your expert playthrough more enjoyable. Of course, if you are a point and click expert, then go for it on expert on your first attempt!

Final Verdict

Nightmares from the Deep 2 should not be missed for those that love point and click adventure games, but if you are new to the genre, you can’t go wrong with any of the Artifex Mundi titles. The story pacing keeps you interested with rewarding puzzles and a bonus adventure once you complete the main game. I highly recommend this game! At $9.99 the price is right, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Buy this game on the Xbox Marketplace

4.5outof5

 

A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for this review