• ThumbnailEver wanted to fly around in space? To build up a little squad of ships, equip them with badass weapons and take on the universe? Distant Star is a Rogue-Lite with Real Time Strategy combat that allows you to do […]

  • ThumbnailMassive Chalice is a game built around war. Not an uncommon thing for strategy games admittedly but rarely do they have a sense of scale like Massive Chalice does. That said, the whole game takes place on a tiny […]

  • ThumbnailAnd now for something a little different! Given the ease of screenshot taking on consoles these days (and how often I press that damn Share button on my PS4) I figured, why not make a silly Game Of The Year award […]

  • ThumbnailIt seems to be a running trend with indie games on steam recently to have great concepts, play well but to have so little content that it’s unjustifiable to pick them up out of sales. Unfortunately, clocking in at […]

  • ThumbnailIt has been just over a year since The Swapper first came out. It has been almost five months since I picked up the PC copy in a humble bundle and then proceeded to add it to my backlog and never play it. With The […]

  • Chronology2-560x315Chronology starts with an elderly inventor waking up to find the city in which he lives and works has been destroyed. He explains that it’s partly his fault and sets off to try and fix the mistakes he has made. It’s not a particularly story heavy game but what it does tell is simple and fun if a bit shallow, which is really a good summary for the rest of the game too.

    Early on the Inventor finds one of his previous inventions which allows him to travel backward in time to before the event happened. This introduces the main mechanic of the game, time travel. At any point at the press of a button you can swap time periods from “Before” and “After” the event which destroyed the city. Each time period is beautifully showcased with some fantastic 2D artwork which is striking, cheerful and has a good variety of environments.

    news_off_chronologyfeature-2wolysuo558fnc02cll7uyIn looking for a way to fix what he caused, the Inventor travels back through the city encountering light platforming and some adventure-game-like puzzles which use the time-traveling mechanic very well. There’s never a puzzle where the logic feels obscure or forced, everything makes sense and makes good use of time traveling. Not far into the game the protagonist makes friends with a weird snail with time manipulation abilities too, this snail can freeze time and also can stick to walls, allowing his shell to be used as an additional platform for extra height or range in the platforming. All these mechanics are used together in intelligent ways to create puzzles that are never particularly difficult but always feel like smart uses of the mechanics and never feel repeated.

    While these puzzles are fun and well crafted, they all feel pretty easy and I was left feeling like there was so much more that could be done with such a smart blend of mechanics. It’s good in some ways that the puzzles tend to each feel hand crafted and unique but some repetition is not necessarily bad especially in a puzzle game if it builds upon the easier versions of a puzzle.

    Chronology1One small addition that I feel is worth praising is, that at a press of a button you can teleport with your allied snail to almost all locations. In fact, there are puzzles that are built around this to some degree. It may seem like a meaningless thing to bring up, but it’s an effective way of avoiding the tedium that moving multiple characters around in a puzzle platformer can cause, like in The Cave for example.

    It’s a shame then that a game which is so well designed is hit by a pretty massive flaw, which is its length. My time with Chronology clocked in at just a bit over an hour and with no notable collectables or additional puzzles (or content at all) outside of the main story. It’s a shame to admit that Chronology might not be worth the asking price. It’s a really enjoyable experience, but it’s so short that I don’t know if I can recommend it to anyone but big fans of the genre. That said, it’s worth keeping an eye on for the inevitable inclusion in sales and indie game bundles, in which case it’ll be a purchase you most likely won’t regret.

    3.5 Teleporting Time Traveling Snails out of 5

  • Kieran is wary of the spirits in Sacred 3

    What happens when you take the loot out of a predominantly loot heavy genre? Can that even work? Well, that’s what developer Keen Games wants to try and prove with its take on the Sacred series and I got to go hands on with Sacred 3 to find out how it is shaping up so far.

    ss03_featThe most iconic parts of the Sacred series have been taking the Diablo loot-grind formula and making it bigger and crazier. Sacred 2 in particular featured a massive open world of near MMO size and so much loot it was almost obscene. Sacred 3, at first, feels a lot less ambitious than its predecessor, instead focussing on smaller more structured levels akin to Diablo 3. This change isn’t necessarily a bad one, the level design certainly benefits and the areas are a lot more interesting to explore and fight through than the sprawling world of Sacred 2.

    Where Sacred 3 differentiates itself positively from the games before it is the controls. At first glance it appears to be a Diablo-like loot heavy Action RPG but when I started playing, it became clear very quickly that Sacred 3 is going to be far more action heavy than even that. Each class has a regular attack and then a heavy attack which can be used to knock enemies out of guard stances and can also disable traps around the levels. Then there are two skills, that you can change out and level up. I spent my time playing as the Seraphim, who had a large energy wave that pushed enemies away and did a ton of damage. The second skill was a ball of lightning that was slow moving but did area of effect damage to everything as it passed, by default. Everything controlled really well and ended up feeling almost like a top-down God of War style action game. This comparison is driven home further by the bigger enemies occasionally getting stunned allowing for a more powerful attack involving mashing a button over and over (although I found in most instances you could do more damage using regular skills while he was stunned). The controls are so responsive and fluid and the combat in general just flows so well when you get the hang of it. It’s really all about crowd control given the large numbers of enemies that are thrown at you; it’s all too easy to forget about one heavy hitter in a group of 30 smaller enemies but it’ll come back to bite you if you do.

    ss05_featThe lack of “loot” in the build I played instantly felt strange. I got a couple of weapons from bosses and strange equipable spirits that give some bonuses like boosted damage or defence, but no longer do regular enemies drop anything but gold. In fact every weapon I got seemed to be gated entirely by the story with no way to even purchase or sell them. Enemies do however drop gold like crazy, which can be used to upgrade your skills and weapons as you level up.

    Levels are joined from a lobby system even in single player, helping push the co-op heavy focus of the game. It’s also where players can spend money to upgrade their skills and buy items, although the only item available in the preview build seemed to be healing potions. There were several levels available which offered fun variations of level design and objectives. Most of them were story based but there were a couple of optional side levels that had objectives that seemed to all have different variations of ‘Kill all the dudes in this level’, which could be played through to gain additional gold and experience. The story missions definitely seemed to be the focus however, with larger levels and more interesting environments to fight through.

    ss08_largeI enjoyed my time with Sacred 3; it looks really good and plays well. The only real worry I have about the full version is the structure of it. It feels in a lot of ways like a half-step, like this game was built to join the co-op resurgence that we’re seeing in the industry and wanted to hit a middle ground between Sacred 2 and Sacred Citadel (a surprisingly good beat-em-up that came out last year). The lack of weapon and armour loot could definitely limit the replayability depending on how well the full skill tree and leveling is handled. It’s definitely a game to keep an eye on, especially if you’re into co-op heavy games but in a lot of ways it could be disappointing if you go in looking for a direct sequel to Sacred 2.

    Sacred 3 is due for release on 5th August for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

  • ThumbnailMerging solid RPG mechanics with overly sexualised anime girls has been a winning formula for quite some time now in Japan and nobody leans into it quite as overtly as developer and publisher Compile Heart. Mugen […]

  • In the aftermath of Thanks Gaming we’re down a man, everyone is still sleepy and we discuss the terrible games we played for charity. Paul talks about the ever terrible Risen 2 and the lovably bad Pickers. Kieran […]

  • This week we have a super special episode with super special guests! In preparation for the Thanks Gaming charity event on 3rd of May (Donations here please) the regular cast have pulled in the help of Ally, Anthony and David as we try to discover the answers to questions such as “What bad games will be played?” “How will you be dressed?” and “Who are these so called Kids we’re helping anyway?”

  • For the second week in a row the gang is all here. Kieran is still in love with his 3DS XL, Paul plays the accidental tourist in Amalur and Mike kills some more defenseless creatures in the Kerbal Space Program.

  • This week all three of us return. Kieran tells the world of his Infamous Second Son, Mike gets all table top on us for international table top day and Paul is still busy with Kingdoms of Amalur. All this, […]

  • And we’re back!! The audio gremlins have been vanquished and Mike and Paul are chomping at the bit to go through their week in gaming. Paul replays Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning whilst Mike insists he is not […]

  • This week we’re still down to two men. Paul fights Nazis on the iPad using the power of hexagons while Kieran stealth kills people for an hour before finishing Ground Zeroes. We then discuss the magic of rocky […]

  • This week Paul has his Internet stolen and goes off to find it. Kieran and Mike in the meantime play loads of games. Unity of Command, Dead Nation, FTL and Final Fantasy XIV get discussed as well as the usual […]

  • This week Mike joins the PC master race and plays Sid Meiers Ace Patrol, rants at Microsoft and decides to stop supporting them… again. Kieran finds himself out of his depth when trying to talk in MMO terms […]

  • If you thought the AC IV chat was done, think again! Kieran finally finishes the campaign, Mike is still looting and plundering whilst Paul gushes over the game in general. We also chat about Nidhogg, Rymdkapsel […]

  • In our first podcast of 2014 we are joined by Luke Dicken, Paul forgets what year it is, Mike and Kieran play table top games and we talk about how good Tearaway is. Mike also enjoys more AC4 but not the assassins […]

  • Most improved franchise, Game Which Isn’t Pokemon Snap But Should Be Of The Year, Games We Wish We Played and Game of the year.

    Followed by Franchise Of The Generation, Best Developer, Most Anticipated Games […]

  • In part 3 we award Best Unfinished Game, Worst Game Of The Year, “Oh Shit That Came Out This Year?”, Most improved franchise, Best Boardgame & Best New Character.

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