• In reply to: View

    Thanks so much for all the comments guys. I realise I’ve been lax in replying to many of them so for that, I am terribly sorry. I took a very different approach to writing this article from my normal, purely informative style as it seemed tob fit the subject matter better. Glad so many enjoyed it…

  • ThumbnailThis exhibit lasted from the 5 Dec – 20 Apr 2015 in The National Museum of Scotland and featured over 100 playable games, Game Masters showcases the work of more than 30 leading videogame designers.

    When he […]

    • Thanks so much for all the comments guys. I realise I’ve been lax in replying to many of them so for that, I am terribly sorry. I took a very different approach to writing this article from my normal, purely informative style as it seemed tob fit the subject matter better. Glad so many enjoyed it…

  • ThumbnailHow many of you have ever wanted to run your own company? Be The Boss? Tell other people they’re fired while looking sternly at them and pointing the finger of questionable justice/power?

    Well here’s your […]

  • ThumbnailLet me tell you a story. Are you all sitting comfortably? On a train to work? Or a bus? Or in a cafe much like the one I work in to support my need to spout random rubbish to you?

    Ok. Then let me begin.

    If […]

  • ThumbnailDISCLAIMER: I was lucky enough to get my hands on a release level copy of this game. I want to make you aware of the fact that I never experienced the Early Access version. I have no experience with the earlier […]

  • Mr Iain McCracken has been recording some of the nonsense going in in our Minecraft server. Here’s his first episode.

  • ThumbnailAncient Space

    Genre: RTS
    Developer: Creativeforge Games
    Publisher: Paradox Interactive

    Briefing dated 23rd September 2014
    Classified Top Secret

    Briefing begins

    10 years ago today the Ulysses I […]

  • ThumbnailBefore we start I’d like to give you some information about myself that kind of pertains to this game.. Sort of…

    One of my favourite types of game will always be arcade flight sim. Yes ACE Combat I’m looking […]

  • ThumbnailIain loses himself crafting

    At first glance, Lantern Forge seems to be another generic isometric craft-and-survive. For some this wouldn’t be a bad thing but I know that most of us tend to look for something a […]

  • Gabriel Knight is a classic point and click adventure originally written by Jane Jensen and released by Sierra On-Line. The 20th Anniversary Edition is designed to be a complete revamp of the game with updated […]

  • ThumbnailSo, for those who don’t know, Space Engineers is a space based resource collection and building game developed by Keen Software House that’s in Early Access. It arrived on Steam in a creative-only state in October […]

  • Ok. Let me first say this. This game is one of the scariest, most atmospheric horrors I have played. It’s up there with Slender. I have never been so genuinely uncomfortable while playing a game. Right. You want more? Here we go…

    2014-08-05_00001

    Does that give you some idea of what you’re about to read about? This health warning is the first thing you see when opening the game. Still here? Ok. Then on with the review

    Twenty years ago, you came to stay in a house on Pinview Drive with your wife Linda. She dissapeared. No warning, no nothing. For 20 years there has been no sign, no clue of where she went or why. Also, according to legend, nobody has survived more than 30 days in the house since. You decide to return to the house to see if you can find anything that might explain what happened. And so our journey begins.

    First let me mention the sound design, as this is a big part of any horror. What I can hear, but not see, is the thing I fear most. And Pineview Drive has you experiencing this from the very start. Rustles in the bushes behind you, footsteps that aren’t yours, random noises within the house. Once it gets dark the fear factor rises exponentially and it becomes really terrifying as you move onwards, desperately searching for light sources to try and make yourself feel better.

    2014-08-05_00002And here comes my first gripe. The first thing you’re going to need to do is find keys to open doors so you can explore more and more of the house. However, once you have unlocked all the doors you then spend the rest of the remaining days re-exploring everything you’ve unlocked. The first few times it’s not so bad but after many many iterations of the same rooms, again and again, it becomes boring. The sense of tension is still there, and you’re still completely terrified, but the actual gameplay becomes quickly stale.

    2014-08-09_00001The most interesting mechanic within the game is the health system. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t call it a health meter, more a sanity meter. The game keeps an eye on your physical and camera movements. If they become too rapid or jittery the game deducts a small amount of ‘health’ as it senses the build of tension and lets you release it through a scare moment. One instance of which was a bird hitting the window right next to me. I don’t mind admitting that I screamed like a little girl when that happened. This helps you carry on by releasing the tension the game has been building. It acts almost like a notification, punishing you for allowing the fear to take control.

    So to conclude, Pineview Drive is a very atmospheric horror game. It ticks all the boxes for tension, atmosphere and makes you jump at all the right times. The only two things I found letting it down were the repetitiveness of searching the same rooms over and over again and the ending (which, in the interests of no spoilers I will not mention here) which didn’t feel like it lived up to the expectations of the rest of the game. That being said, the game did everything I wanted it to do, which was scare the living daylights out of me.

    4 girlie screams out of 5

  • SoManyMe5So Many Me is a puzzle platformer from A.R.E.S: Extinction developer Extend Studio in which your hero, Filo, discovers he can control clones of himself. He must use these clones to save the world from a terrible evil. All with me so far? Good. Now here’s where it gets interesting.

    The cartoon style visuals and cutesy sound design had me thinking that this would be a fun plat-former for kids; one that I would recommend to my friend’s two young boys. I still would, however, within the first few minutes of playing I realised that there was an unexpected tongue-in-cheek humour element to this game. It made me smile, usually just before swearing profusely as Filo and his friends are vaporised by a turret or a row of nasty spikes.

    SoManyMe3Filo is a character that everyone can easily love and his ‘So Many Me’ are introduced with various personalities, again using the same comedic lines and actions that are guaranteed to make anyone laugh. Each one is also customisable using costumes, adding to their distinct identities within the game. The controls and the platforming aspects are nice and responsive too; the downside of this is that you can’t blame anyone but yourself when you inevitably allow your small army of Me’s to plunge to their death because you missed a platform by nano-meters.

    The music and sound design within the game add to the cutesy feel of it. I once heard a friend say that the best music for a game of this type is music you don’t notice until it’s gone. It adds to the atmosphere but doesn’t intrude on your gameplay, distracting you from the puzzling at hand, and Extend Studio have nailed it completely. The music relaxes you as you fail miserably to make a jump, or accidentally press the wrong button and get utterly decimated by an enemy. The result is that it never really frustrates you, keeping you going until you finally manage to nail it, usually accompanied by a loud Woohoo!

    SoManyMe2The puzzle elements in the game are as simple as getting from A to B. However, naturally, this is never as easy as it sounds. You must use your army of Me’s to either bridge the gap, or as a trampoline to reach a higher point. Each time the solution seems simple but eludes you long enough to make you think.

    This brings me to the boss fights. I found them almost too easy. I found myself being challenged by the puzzles within the levels, always edging ever closer to that Eureka moment where I finally figured out how to get Filo and his friends into the next area. However, the bosses were some of the least challenging parts of the game. Figuring out how to beat them was as simple as noticing their flaw and exploiting it. It may have just been the way my mind works, spotting certain patterns easily while others took me much longer, but it made the boss fights feel underwhelming. That didn’t stop me from wanting to beat them so I could move on to the next area mind you.

    SoManyMe1All in all, this is a wonderful game. Very well designed and highly playable. The only thing letting it down (and this is probably merely a matter of taste) was the boss fights. I can easily see myself losing several hours to this game as I try desperately to wrap my brain around it’s puzzles. It never feels frustrating or impossible, it merely makes you feel good when you eventually see the pattern on screen that some small part of your brain has been trying to point out since you first entered the level. If puzzle platformers are your thing then you could do much, much worse than to join Filo and his So Many Me on their journey to save the world, kill the baddie, and get the girl.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m sure there’s a way past this blasted spike pit somewhere…

    4.5 Me’s out of 5

  • Iain Mccracken changed their profile picture 1 year ago

  • AbyssOdysseyAbyss Odessy is a 2D Rogue-like adventure game for both PC and consoles by Chilean developer Ace Team. Having never played the console versions I cannot include them in the scope of this review, however, if they’re even half the game that the PC version is then I recommend trying them out. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So What’s the story behind Abyss Odessy?

    The game is set in 19th Century Chile. A powerful warlock has fallen into a deep sleep and his nightmares are becoming physical manifestations which are terrorising the townsfolk of a nearby settlement. You play as one of the warlock’s manifestations. One who would delve into the depths of the abyss and kill/awaken the warlock, thus putting an end to the suffering.

    There are three main characters with which to hack/slash and generally maim your way into the abyss, each one with it’s own play style. Katrien, The Ghost Monk and La Pincoya. Each one has their own back story and you discover more about each character as you play and explore the game. They also have six possible special moves for you to collect and upgrade, of which three can be in use at any time. And this leads me onto the combat.

    AbyssOdyssey1How many fans of beat-em-ups are currently reading this? Mortal Kombat anyone? Street Fighter? Imagine your favourite punch-kick-kablam game went on a date with your favourite platformer. That’s how this game feels. The combat is a well balanced mix of easy to learn, but bloody hard to master that will keep you coming back for more. My lack of ability with that style of play hasn’t even put me off, this game just makes me want to get better, then giggles maniacally at me when I inevitably fail.

    Death of your character is not quite the end of your journey. You can collect, or buy, the souls of the enemies you encounter and use them as a second life. Each enemy has their own move-set and play style that makes playing them add to the variation in the combat you encounter as you make your way down through the map and when they die, you lose the soul but continue on as your original character. Even if you don’t have one of these ‘get-out-of-death-free cards’ one of the local soldiers turns up and can pick up your dropped items and carry them to one of the shrines dotted about the map, allowing you to be resurrected and keep any nice shiny weapons you may have picked up along the way… assuming he can survive that long of course.

    The Map itself is small enough to be manageable but the procedurally generated sections within it mean that every run is different. The general theme of the area you’re in will remain but the layout will always be different.

    AbyssOdyssey2The final feature, and in my opinion ‘icing on the cake’ of this game is that ACE Team have implemented a system that allows them to know how many people have actually managed to beat the Warlock. As more people manage this titanic feat, more new shiny things will be patched into the game. Whether that be new areas to explore or new enemies to fillet is, as of yet, unclear. I would also like to point out that I have not yet managed to beat the game even once. The closer the community gets to the target number of wins, the more knackered the mask on the front of the game’s golden tome opening menu becomes

    So to summarise, a slick combat system and beautiful visuals help blend with an unobtrusive yet uplifting musical score to make this a wonderful little title. The promise of new and shinier things to come quite frankly has me waving my shiny sword around with gleeful abandon. Well done ACE.

    5 sword flourishes out of 5