What will be your first game in 2019?

Happy New Year!

I was thinking about the blog and I realised something.
Often while I play a game I change my mind about it quite dramatically in a matter of hours. I am quite proud of my judgement ability and knowledge, yet I feel that exploring the thought process is much more interesting and can give more insight about a game than a simple review.

For this reason, I am thinking about changing the formula a wee bit, by introducing impressions along reviews, so I can talk about games I lik more than once.

Let’s see how it goes.

Meanwhile.

I don’t know what game I am going to start first in 2019. I was looking forward to play Xenon Valkyrie + which I preorder on Switch with a release date of 1/1/2019 which is today, but the game has not been unlocked yet. Why do preorders have to be such a source of disappointment?

I also have a craving for retrogaming. Let’s see where it takes me!

Into the Breach – Switch Review

First and foremost, Into the Breach is a Kaiju game.
Piloting giant mechs, you must fight equally huge monsters erupting from the ground.
People gather around the windows to watch the fight, as in a Ultraman episode. You can punch and shove the creatures into the buildings if necessary to inflict them a deadly wound, although it is not recommended.

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In order to win the war against the Vek, you need to fight your way through a series of chessboard battles, using a squad of mechs of different abilities. Always outnumbered, you need to find a way to minimise damage and manipulate the odds of surviving. There are several ways to do it: you end your turn placing your unit over a enemy spawn, preventing it to emerge, but damaging your mech in the process. Or you can choose to push an enemy unit into a building to inflict additional damage, but risking to damage the power grid that keeps everything together. Run out of power grid, and the timeline is lost. Another way is to force enemy into attacking each other, but it is tricky to achieve without suffering collateral damage.

Battles are all about tactics: each turn you can see in advance where the enemy will attack and where it will spawn, in order to plan carefully every move. Attacks also have a predetermined outcome, with a fixed damage, so no lucky rolls or grief involved. You can still modify the outcome by pushing/pulling units, using smoke bombs to cancel enemy attacks, and a variety of tactics that make the gameplay deep.
It’s a game of damage control, where you are often called to sacrifice something (a unit, civilian lives, a pilot) in order to live another day. A small mistake may not be instantly fatal, but might have strong repercussion later in the campaign.

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Randomness is kept where it works its best: enemy spawns, maps and loots, making every game unique.
Into the breach has an incredible replay value, beating the game is very possible in a matter of ours, but you will then want to unlock pilots, new squads with totally different attacks, approach maps in a different order, and so on.
A truly infinite game, polished and different from the usual tactical game.

+ deep, calculate but still unpredictable at times gameplay that always keep on your toes
+ Infinite longevity and replay value.
+ Gameplay perfectly matches the atmosphere of a Kaju-inspired game.

10/10

Watch me play and fail here

How mosquito Became Human – Review

How Mosquito Became Human sets the milestone of the first review code I receive for reviewing a game. So yeah pretty exciting, thanks guy for the trust accorded.

In How Mosquito (shortened) you start as a mosquito that flies around trying to abduct frogs with a short range tractor beam. Once you eat enough frogs, you turn into a frog that jumps around eating birds, eventually becoming one. The game goes on like this, I won’t spoil the surprise because the game is quite short, but its tale is told with humour while you progress through an hour or so evolutionary (?) journey of transformation in the ultimate life form.

The game was created for Ludum Dare, a competition that requires to create a game in just 48 hours. The build I have been handed for review shows a different level layout (you play in a single giant level) than the videos I have found online, and it features interesting secret passages and collectible object for you to gather for some reason, and it shows some work has been done in making the whole game more palatable. Unfortunately, the same care has not been put into interface: I found myself stuck in the bottom of a pit without any clear way to restart /suicide other than by rebooting the game itself, thus having to start from scratch, as the game doesn’t feature a full save system. If you die, you restart from the start of your current animal form, but there is no continue option if you close the game. In another instance, the game introduced a new mechanic that could be activated by pressing a button, but there was no hint of any sort in the game, and I had to resort to the classic keyboard stroll in order to find out how to proceed.

Otherwise, gameplay is simple but quite fun: each form has his own movement and abilities in a Monster World fashion, and I found quite amusing dealing with the hopping constraints of the frog jumps while navigating the platforms sections trying to catch those cheeky birds. At some point, I came to the conclusion that how Mosquito is designed to be one of those sadistic platforms meant to be frustrating at times and the game really works this way. There are moments of despair, deaths and frustrating hunt. It really captures the feeling of being prey and hunter at the same time, on your way to the top of the food chain.

Overall, it is an interesting tiny game, with an awesome title. I’d recommend to try if you are into super-niche games that favour the implementation of a gameplay idea rather than a polished experience. EDIT: but wait! at the time I’m writing this, the game is still broken! I was so close to complete it, and by digging some stuff I fell through the floor into a empty sky of sadness.

Please see a video of my demise below

+ gameplay is fun

+ presented with silent humour

–  annoying music

–  no saving system

– it’s broken at the moment

 IFSCOREHADMEANING: 6/10

Mysterious Forum and 7 rumors – Review


Mysterious Forum and 7 rumors tells the story of these 3 guys that run a mysterious forum club at their school. On this forum people post facts about scary urban legend that, guess what, the protagonists are about to experience themselves.

I am always surprised how eastern developers can come up with a very simple story and get you hooked in a matter of minutes. I think that it is due the perfect mix between slice of life with light comedy and super scary in-your-face horro, that my brain cannot resist. Mysterious Forum absolutely nails this, providing a well written plot about a boy and two girls running this mysterious forum club at their school, and experiencing first hand the creepy stories that are posted on it.

Speaking of arts craft, Mysterious forum features a masterful blend of high quality still graphics, atmospheric music and silences and a plot that manages to surprise and it is guaranteed to get you a couple chills down the spine.

Gameplay is quite simple: you read the story by tapping the screen, and everyone and then you are asked to make a choice than can result in a bad ending or advance you through the plot. Script always keep you on the toes, goes quickly without annoying with wall of texts, and it is fun trying to survive by picking the correct choice based on context and hints provided.

English translation is quite good, at least considering my non-native English. I could follow the story pleasantly, and we desperately need more visual novels translated in English.

While you investigate on the cases, the main plot unfolds and the ending is very satisfying.

Ads are practically non-existent and you are only asked to purchase bonus content at the end of the game, thus resulting in a very immersive experience without distractions. Game is great though, so you may feel inclined to supporting the publisher. A great visual novel that I recommend warmly, you cannot really go wrong here.

+ Great overall quality

+ Non-existent ads or paywall

-The quality of some bad endings is not as consistent

 

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