All posts by Eric

One Hundred Ways Review

Remember Crazy Machines Elements and Switchball? One Hundred Ways takes the best of both worlds and put them in to one game! You need to make a ball reach it’s goal using the tools that you have available to you. There are different environmental obstacles that you will need to use to your advantage with some creative thinking.

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The Good

One Hundred Ways features over 110 levels sprawled out over a cute map that resembles the various obstacles you will face through your journey. You are greeted with a tutorial for the first 10 levels which is pretty easy as you’d expect. This gets you familiarized with how the different contraptions and obstacles work, while getting you used to the controls and menus.

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The presentation, controls, puzzle layout, and concept are all pretty straight-forward and don’t take much time at all to grasp. Each level has a unique layout and often times has more than one solution. There are about a dozen different types of obstacles that you will encounter, such cranes, fans, holes, and even fire.

Along with the obstacles, you start off each level with a preset inventory. The items in your inventory are similar to some of the obstacles you run into, but are to be used in conjunction with them. These items include things like speed pads that increase the speed of your ball when it passes over it, ball launchers that will launch your ball in a specified direction, teleporters, and more.

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There is definitely no shortage of puzzles to play. There is over 110, (133 to be exact) on the Xbox One version and 110 on the Steam version of the game. The difficulty and complexity increase as you progress, as you would probably expect. It could be just me, but occasionally I would run into puzzles that seemed to be a lot less difficult/simple than the level number would suggest.

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The Bad

My only major gripes are that there is no way to skip the level and there is no hint system other than the extremely vague tips you may or may not receive in the beginning of the level. Most of the puzzles are either pretty straight forward or just take a bit of trial and error to figure out. Occasionally you will run into ones that can be a game stopper for you and having some sort of skip or hint mechanism would really be nice to have.

There is also an issue with the overall physics. I can’t really say that it’s ‘bad’ but rather inconsistent. Basically, you can set up a puzzle and let it run it’s course and then rerun it and get a different result. It’s only really noticeable when it comes to speed or timing specific things, like having the ball make a jump or pass over a teleport pad. Sometimes it will go fine, other times the ball won’t make the jump or won’t teleport when it should. Like I said though, this isn’t necessarily bad because there was many times where it worked out in my favor.

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The Achievements

A very basic achievement list consisting of solving a series of puzzles mostly in groups of ten, like completing levels 1-10, 11-20, and so on. There are two for reaching specific levels like level 100 and level 133. If you manage to finish all of the puzzles, you will end up getting all of the achievements. Like I said, very basic which isn’t at all surprising for a puzzle game.

The Final Verdict

The thing that I really love about One Hundred Ways is that there is frequently more than one way to complete the puzzle. Overall it’s a fun, family-friendly game that will keep even the most casual gamers and puzzle aficionados entertained for several hours.

If it wasn’t for the fact that there is no hint system or way to skip the levels if you are having a hard time with one, I would have enjoyed One Hundred Ways a bit more. It didn’t really take away from the enjoyment, but there was several times where I ended up putting the game down for and extended period of time out of frustration.

One Hundred Ways carries a fair price tag of $9.99 for both the Xbox and Steam versions and is available now on both platforms.

3outof5

Developed by: Sunlight Games
Published by: Sunlight Games
Websitehttp://www.sunlight-games.com/
Xbox Marketplacehttps://www.microsoft.com/store/p/One-Hundred-Ways/BQSB9CXNFQ9Q
Steam Storehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/404630/

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

Toy Odyssey: The Lost and The Found Review

You are Brand an action figure come to life. You are in a battle to save your owner, Felix,  from the darkness. Every night the house layout changes if you die in battle. The map layout, enemies, and objectives all change. The only way you can keep the map from changing is if you return to the base without dying. To save Felix, you must destroy all of the bosses that are in each room of the house.

The Good

Toy Odyssey: The Lost and The Found gets you into the action pretty quickly. You are briefed on the backstory a bit, then you are guided through a quick tutorial on how the basics of the game works. Once you start to get into the story and missions a bit, you will be able to to upgrade your abilities which is something you’re going to want to do as soon as you have enough money (nuts) to do so. I loved seeing the all of the different combinations of outfits that unlocked as you upgraded each ability.

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There is a huge amount of different materials that you collect along the way, these are used for crafting weapons, armor, base defenses and many other things. If you get in a bind, you can transmute the materials into nuts for various different uses. Along with the materials that you collect, there is also blueprints that are used for crafting weapons, offhand weapons (throw-able weapons and spells), and gadgets.

There is a interesting base defense system that takes a bit of getting used to because there really isn’t much guidance given to you as to how it all works. There are different things that you can build that will beef up the overall defense of the bedroom to prevent Lost Ones from raiding your precious materials and toys. As you journey through the house, you will occasionally run into Prisoners, which are actually Pawns (toys) that will both defend your base as well as serve as builders for the workshop and protectors for the materials that you have obtained. It’s a good idea to try and build up the base defenses as much and as quickly as you can, it will pay off in the long run.

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I really enjoyed the various different enemies that I encountered throughout the house. They range anywhere from really simple and easy to take down, to the more complex and annoyingly cunning. For the most part though, it didn’t take all that long to find all of the different enemy types.

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The Bad

I ran into a frequent lag when the back ground music queues. On many occasions it would cause me damage, a missed jump, or caused a fall that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Occasionally I entered a new room and would fall through the map endlessly. Had to quit and reload the save.

When I initially started off, I felt a bit lost with the crafting and base defenses. The extremely brief tutorial bits about them didn’t really give you a good feel for how the systems worked, but they really aren’t overly complicated – a bit more guidance would have help relieve some of uncertainty.

The Achievements

The achievements are very nicely balanced,  comprising of many that will come naturally from just playing through the game such as ones like “Boom shakalakalaka” which is for “Break 300 Breakables. On the other hand, there are a couple collectible related one like “Stay awhile and listen!” for getting all of the diary pages that are going to take a bit of time.

The hardest in the bunch are going to be “Mission improbable” and “The Artisan”. “Mission improbable” requires you to complete the game in 49 nights and “The Artisan” is for crafting 1,000 items, which isn’t exactly hard, but will take you a ton of time to do.

Overall, a full completion of the achievements is going to take quite a while and a bit of dedication, but is very doable if you want to spend the time.

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The Final Verdict

Toy Odyssey: The Lost and The Found grabbed my attention right away. It takes a story line similar to Toy Story and fuses it with gameplay like Castlevania which works great. Despite it’s flaws, I found myself really engaged in the gameplay and actually hard a hard time putting it down. I’m very hopefully that the audio lag problem will get sorted out down the road because it’s really the only significant flaw left after the various patches Hiker Games has pushed out.

Toy Odyssey: The Lost and The Found  is priced at $14.99 which I find to be a very fair price taking the content, replay value, and overall quality of the game into account.

 

4outof5

 

Developed by: Hiker Games
Published by: Digital Smash
Website: http://hikergames.com/
Xbox Marketplacehttps://www.microsoft.com/store/p/toy-odyssey/bnz03nt5pgh5
Steam Storehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/392410

 

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

Monochroma Review

Monochroma is a silent narrative about two brothers that live on a farm. On their way home one day, the brothers have witnessed a crime at a factory and have taken off to the city on foot out of fear. During their trek to the city, the brothers encounter several adversaries and will need to solve many different puzzles along the way. While trying to make the escape to the city, the younger of the two brothers injures himself and now you must carry him on your back.

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The Good

I found it really easy to jump right into Monochroma. Since there really isn’t a backstory presented to you when you start the game, you are basically just plopped right into the action and start off by learning the basics of how the game works while being guided through the start of the visual tale. The beautiful art style and simplistic monochrome color scheme almost made me feel like I was in an old movie and sets a really interesting tone early on.

Shortly after the tutorial stage, Monochroma’s industrialized 2.5D side-scrolling platformer core starts to take over. If you have ever played Limbo, you will feel right at home. Even after the first stage, there is still a bit of coddling as the difficulty of the puzzles are very low throughout most of the first chapter of the game.

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Overall I didn’t really find the puzzles to be overly challenging, but they were enough to keep my interest in them as they do somewhat play into the visual story and help you engage with the emotions of the two brothers. The soundtrack is beautiful, but I would have liked to hear more of it. Many moments where there was no background music when it would make sense to have it.

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I really loved transitioning to new scenes and environments, most of them had really good attention to detail, especially in the backgrounds. You do have to pay attention though, as you might miss out if you aren’t looking close enough.

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The last quarter of Monochroma is when the story really picks up. I found some of the best animations and scenes to be in this section of the game. I don’t really want to go too much into detail about it, but I really started to form an emotional connection to the brothers at this point in the story.

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The Bad

There was some glitching and graphical snags here and there, occasionally causing missed opportunities like grabbing ropes. The upside is that the checkpoints are pretty close together, so it’s not a major loss if you end up dying. I found the death scenes are really generic, like a guy will run into you and that’s it, you die, no death animation – you just fall over and rag-doll. I also found the story line was slow moving sometimes uneventful, beyond that I don’t really have any major gripes that I thought detracted from my experience.

 

The Achievements

A good chunk of the achievements are story related and will unlock as you play though the game. There is also a handful that will most likely also unlock naturally as they are for dying in specific ways that are found through out the adventure. The only ones that might give you a bit of trouble are “Kite” and “Conscience”. Both of which have somewhat vague descriptions. If you are having trouble with either of these, you can check out our achievement guides for some help.

Kite Achievement Guide

Conscience Achievement Guide

 

Final Verdict

Monochroma is a beautiful narrative and provides a modest challenge; less so for those that live for puzzle solving platformers. You can easily get through the game in 5 hours or less and even gather all of the achievements in one playthrough if you are careful enough. If you are a fan of games like Limbo,  The Cave, or Never Alone; you will likely enjoy Monochroma.

One thing that I found quite odd is that the Xbox One version retails at half of the price of the PC version. The review was done on the Xbox One version, so I’m not really sure if there is much of a difference in the quality of gameplay between the two, but I can’t imagine there is enough of a difference to warrant a price tag twice as high. I found the $9.99 Xbox One price tag to be very reasonable.

 

3outof5

 

Developed by: Nowhere Studios
Published by: Nowhere Studios
Website: http://www.monochromagame.com/
Xbox Marketplace: https://www.microsoft.com/store/p/monochroma/brg6j553l5kt
Steam Store: http://store.steampowered.com/app/265830/

 

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

EVERSPACE hits Game Preview on Xbox One and Windows 10

EVERSPACE hit Game Preview on Xbox One and Windows 10 yesterday and is the first ID@Xbox title to support the all-new Xbox Play Anywhere program. It is availible through the Game Preview program now for $29.99.

EVERSPACE is a fast paced shooter that some are saying is what No Mans Sky could have and should have been. The full scheduled release is due in the first quarter of 2017 and will cost $39.99 / €36.99 / £29.99 once fully released, so if you intend on getting it, grab it now for a 25% discount through Game Preview.

Developed by: ROCKFISH Games
Published by: ROCKFISH Games
Website: https://everspace-game.com/
Xbox Marketplace: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/everspace/9nblggh4sf90

 

 

Nesbox Emulator on Xbox One

About a week ago today, Nesbox passed Microsoft certification and was on it’s way to be released on the Windows Store along with the Xbox One Marketplace. For those of you that aren’t familiar with video game emulators, they are basically programs that emulate gaming systems such as the NES, Sega, or Atari consoles. For the most part, these aren’t new or innovative and have been around for many years.

What sets Nesbox apart from the rest is two-fold. It not only supports NES, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis and GameBoy Color/Advanced games but it also allows you to create games (with some limitations of course). Nesbox took it a step further by attempting to reach the seemingly untouchable console gamer user base. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go as planned. The following day after it’s certification announcement, Nesbox again Tweeted that it the certification had been revoked and that it was no longer approved for Xbox support.

Although a massively disappointing and discouraging announcement, this did not stop Nesbox from dusting itself off. You would have thought this was the end of the road, considering there really isn’t any other options other than removing Xbox support and resubmitting certification. Two days later, Nesbox makes a completely unexpected announcement that it has completed a HTML5 build of the emulator that is compatible with the Edge browser on Xbox One with OneDrive support to be added soon.

An ingenious workaround after what had seemed to be a hope lost situation after having certification revoked. The gaming and Twitter community erupted in positivity after realizing the miraculous innovation that Nesbox had produced. The support and popularity was almost overwhelming.

After a week long roller coaster, Nesbox finally made headway in what has to be one of the most unexpected outcomes for such a controversial app being used on a console of conflicting interest. What’s next for Nesbox? New features, continual bug fixes, and the beginning of unexpected new platform for apps which were once thought to be unavailable on consoles like the Xbox One.

Emily Wants to Play Review

What’s scarier than delivering pizza to a house with boarded up windows and an overgrown lawn really late at night? Well, entering the house and not finding anyone home, that’s what!

You start off by walking through the front door of a house that you, the pizza guy, are trying to make a delivery to. While there isn’t any actual tutorials or completely obvious guidance, there are a few notes around the house that at least tell you the basics of what you need to be doing.

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In the beginning of the game, you are basically just exploring while trying to figure out why no one seems to be home. You find all sorts of cryptic and seemingly random messages placed or written in places that you can’t miss. It’s like someone if trying to get your attention, eh?

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After some trial and error (or for the impatient, some research on the internet), you will eventually figure out how Emily Wants to Play works. The idea is pretty simple, but execution can be a challenge. You need to last for an hour (6 in game minutes) without getting caught by any of Emily’s “friends”, herself included. Each doll has it’s own particular way you go about avoiding it which you will need to figure out.

There are a total of 4 different types of dolls that you will need to learn tactics for (pro-tip: the whiteboard is your friend). Each stage is a different hour after midnight (12:00 – 06:00) and to reiterate, the hours are only 6 in-game minutes. Once you figure out how each doll works, the real challenge awaits you in the later hours of the game, particularly the 05:00 and 06:00 hours.

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Emily Wants to Play is filled with some awesome jump scares, but it doesn’t do a great job getting you to understand the story behind what is going on in the house. Yes, there are random recording scattered around the house that help clue you in to Emily’s story, but that’s about it. This really isn’t a big deal though because it’s more about the jump scares and gameplay than it is the story.

The achievements can be a bit difficult to figure out without looking up a guide to figure out exactly what the descriptions mean. At the time of writing this review, I was still working on “MLG Pizza Delivery” which is easily the most difficult achievement in the game. It requires you to outlast all of the dolls at once with the lights off!

Being a huge fan of horror movies and games, Emily Wants to Play satisfied me with what it set out to do and that is to scare and entertain. The graphics are a bit dated and there isn’t really much in terms of music and sound effects, but it really doesn’t need it. There is about 5 hours of gameplay depending on how quick you can figure everything out. It is very nicely priced at $4.99 and if you like horror games or are looking for a good spook, Emily Wants to Play will definitely deliver.

 

3outof5

 

Developed by: Shawn Hitchcock
Published by: SKH Apps LLC
Website: http://www.emilywantstoplay.com/
Xbox Marketplace: https://www.microsoft.com/store/p/emily-wants-to-play/c2rq137hs8l4
Steam Storehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/416590/

 

 

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

The Final Station Review

In The Final Station you play as one of the world’s few remaining train conductors who’s mission is to protect and deliver cargo trains to their destination as well as try and keep the passengers on board safe. You travel from station to station fighting off the infected in a post-apocalyptic world that is shrouded with mystery and abandon. Supplies are very limited and survivors will either help or hinder.

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The Final Station has a unique two part gameplay style in which you are either on foot or on a train. The majority of the gameplay is spent on foot making your way through derelict towns, trying to scavenge supplies while fighting off the mobs of infected. In each town, your main objective is to find the Blocker’s Code that allows you to leave the station.

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Once you’ve located the Blocker Code and you manage to depart to your next destination, you will be tasked with managing both the health and hunger of your passengers as well as performing maintenance routines on the old, run down Belus-07. Maintaining the well-being of your passengers can be quite the juggling act, as you are very limited to what you have for supplies. You will quickly realize that time is more of a curse than a blessing. Being careful on your travels through the infected towns and learning to conserve your resources for these train rides is key.

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The infected can be quite persistent at times, but you need to conserve as much ammo and many med-kits as possible, so learning to use the melee action and making as many headshots as possible is your best tactic. It doesn’t take long for the ‘stonger’ enemies to start appearing, but they honestly don’t prove to be that much more of a challenge.

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With 5 chapters, more than 30 train stations and railway levels, a well written ghost-like narrative, and a simple but unique concept; The Final Station offers a fresh mix of classic ideas. I really enjoyed watching the story unfold and wanted to explore every nook and cranny of each station.

The Xbox and  Steam achievement lists are short, but sweet. Out of the ten achievements, there are a few challenging ones such as the 3 achievements for taking 6 passengers to the certain cities, but with a bit of familiarity with the game and some good supply management they won’t be too elusive.

Overall I think The Final Station does what it sets out to do and it does it well. It’s short, but sweet and worth the fair price tag of $14.99

4outof5

Developed by: Do My Best
Published by: tinyBuild
Website: http://thefinalstation.com/
Xbox Marketplace: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/the-final-station/bx8hv1b694pc
Steam Store: http://store.steampowered.com/app/435530

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