I’m not sure why the 2015 platformer Ink is suddenly coming to consoles, but it is. Whatever the reason, this is pretty great news becuase Ink was freaking phenomenal. The game was surprisingly challenging and a little too short in my opinion, but i still thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a platformer with an interesting set of core mechanics, i can absolutely recommend Ink. And hey, maybe if you buy it i’ll get the sequel I’ve been wanting for ages now.
Bleed and it’s sequel two of the best surprises I’ve played since i started reviewing games. They’re both a bit on the short end, but they are both marvelous little games. And luckily for you, if you missed the game when it was regionally released for the Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Indie Games service and don’t have a computer, next month the original game will be coming to both the PS4 and Xbone One. Xbox owners will even get a 20% discount if they pre-order the game. If you’re in the market for a really good action platformer that you can get on the cheap, i can’t recommend Bleed enough.
And if you want to read my review for Bleed 2, you can do that HERE.
I reviewed Talent Not Included back in November. While i apparently have it one of the harsher reviews it received, i did enjoy my time with it well enough. The game wasn’t life changing or anything, but it was fun enough to recommend if you’re in the mood for a platformed and have already blazed through the new Shovel Knight expansion (which i also reviewed). I don’t really have a hole lot to say about this one, just wanted to bring it to your attention.
Shovel Knight may very well be one of my all time favorite games. I liked it so much in fact that i played through “Plague of Shadows”in one go in order to get a review up for the team i was working with at the time. With that said i think it’s pretty obvious that i’ve been super excited for any and all updates as to what Yacht Club Games had in store. And holy shit did they deliver.
If there was one complaint to be had with “Plague of Shadows” it was that the levels felt way to similar to each other. While that did make playing as the vastly different Plague Knight easier as you were more learning how to get through the same environments in new ways, if it wasn’t for just how fun it was to play as the new character the game would have been rather samey. From the look of this trailer that doesn’t seem to be the case. Some of the levels look unrecognizable, and several of the bosses look like they’ve been totally reworked too. All of that plus Specter Knight looks to have his own vastly different skill set to set him apart from his playable peers. I can’t lie, that makes me really excited to get mu hands on this as soon as possible. Really the only disappointing thing about this and the rest of the planed DLC is that it means we have a good while to wait until we see what else Yacht Club has up their sleeves.
By William Shelton
Release Date: September 16, 2016
Systems: PC (Reviewed), PS4, Mac
Developer: Landfall Games
Obtained By: Review Code Provided by tinyBuild
ClusterTruck is an annoying game to try and review. While the game is truly great (in fact, it would make my top 5 easy if I bothered to do the whole “game of the year” thing), it only really does one thing throughout making it kind of a pain to talk about. Sure, the team at Landfall Games polished that one thing to a mirror shine and created one of the most fun and chaotic games i’ve every played…but how do I stretch that basic idea into a review worth reading? Truck if I know, but I’m going to anyways.
In ClusterTruck you play as Laurence Fishburne circa 2003 as he undergoes a verity of different stunts while the Wachowski’s slowly make up their mind on how they want the highway section of The Matrix Reloaded to end. That’s…not even remotely true. But it’s a better story than the one the game actually provides. When I said ClusterTruck sticks to one core idea I meant it, and that one idea is not “tell a compelling story.” Once you hit “Play” you’re thrown right into the gameplay with nary a rhyme or reason.
And what is that game play that I’ve been trying not to talk about in order to give this review a…semi….decent length? Well, it’s a platformer where you jump from one semi-truck to another until you reach the goal at the end. I know, that sounds suuuuuper exciting, but the real fun comes from just how much chaos the team at Landfall games manage to ring out of that idea. The trucks drive into each other, off cliffs and pushed around like paper planes in a hurricane. If you hit the ground or any other parts of the world, you start the level over. While this is already a pretty cliché way too put it, ClusterTruck really does feel like a particularly hectic game of “The Floor is Lava”. Be that as it may, I think the comparison is rather apt.
Really the only way I can truly describe ClusterTruck is “childish”. Everything form the core idea to the name of the game (get it guys, it sounds like FUCK, haha) feels like the kind of thing a hyperactive six-year-old would think up. And just like that hyperactive six-year-old, just existing in the lunacy is enough to have a good time. ClusterTruck isn’t deep or moving or emotional, but it is a blast. It is made with a childs energy and creativity and a professionals talent and skill.
The only place where the game falters, even a little, is in how unpredictable it can be. While the stages never reach roguelike levels of randomness, the physics engine doesn’t always react the same way to the same stimuli. While it was possible to plan out who to reach the goal, the in game trucks weren’t always were I thought they should be as they didn’t react to the hazards I was planing around the same way they did when I made my plan. This lead to a lot of deaths that I didn’t feel were my fault. But, while that could have been really frustrating the super fast respawn time gave me almost no chance to think about it. Save for those times when the respawn happened so fast that I ended up jumping or using an ability right out the gate and died instantly again.
I haven’t beaten the game yet, I’m about half way through world 8 (each world have 10 levels) and I haven’t even touched the seasonal maps yet. That’s been making writing this review that much harder as every time I sit down and think about the game all I want to do is go back and play some more of it. The soundtrack is just as much fun to listen too as the game is too play, and the unlockable abilities (like double jump, “bullet time” (you are playing a Matrix character, after all), and a jetpack), while pretty much useless, offer incentive too keep playing. I can’t tell you if it’s worth the $15 asking price, but I wouldn’t have minded paying for it. Now, excuse me as I get the Truck outta here and go play some more.
By William Shelton
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Systems: PC (Reviewed), Xbox Live Arcade
Developer: Fun Infused Games
Publisher: Fun Infused Games
Obtained By: Review Copy Provided by Fun Infused Games
I can sum up most of my frustration with Volchaos with one line: it’s a game entirely set in a volcano that plays like an extended ice level. While the game does aim to be challenging, this dissonance (and the root causes of it, which we’ll get into later) stopped the game from being rewarding and instead made it as tedious as swimming in lava. But, as maddening as the game was I did find myself compelled to complete it.
You play as an unnamed man who decided that the most sensible way to pay off his alimony and other debts is to jump into an active volcano to collect the gems inside. What little story that’s here is all contained in one brief cutscene and pre-level screen caps, although these serve more as one line gags more than exposition. Some of those gags even manage to be funny. Ultimately, the stories biggest flaw is also it’s greatest strength: there’s just not much too it. That means that there’s not much to talk about, but it also means that it never manages to outstay its welcome. The game is much like a good Will Ferrell comedy in that regard: you’ll chuckle a few times but when you remember that you could be watching “Stranger than Fiction” or “Everything Must Go” instead you have to question you’re life choices.
As inoffensive as the set up was, the gameplay made me want to put my fist through my monitor in nearly every level. The major issue here is how floaty the controls are. Honestly, the controls are so floaty Pennywise the Clown could use the game to lure children into the sewers.
Gravity ranges from non-existent to “maybe there…possibly.” This is most prevalent in the jumping. There’s one late game level that’s mostly a strait line filled with Thwomp-like spiked walls that fall as you progress. Right at the start of this level is a pit you have to jump over, because falling into it means death. I died over a hundred times in that level (yes, I know that for a fact as the game keeps a death count) with most deaths coming from that point as even the lightest press of the space bar sent the character flying into the enemies above. Add to that platforms that were so slick that it was common for the character to go sliding off and into lava and you get can start to see where why I said it plays like an ice level. Not helping is the way enemies have a way of spawning in right in front of you. You die in one hit here, so when you have to make a blind jump (something you have to do often) and find that a group of enemy bats spawned in right above your head, the game swiftly becomes tedious more than anything.
The saddest part of it all is just how many better games Volchaos reminded me of while playing it. Like in Limbo death serves as your introduction to the puzzle. And like in….
WARNING! DARK SOULS COMPARISON INCOMING!!!!
….Dark Souls you’re never as far from the objective as it feels like you are. Unlike both of those games however, the mechanics just don’t stack up. Death taught me how to solve Limbos puzzles and I know how I made it through every boss in Dark Souls. There are more than one stage in Volchaos I don’t know how I made it through.
As much as I hated the game at times, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t some what obsessed by it. Maybe I just hate myself (I did admit to watching more than one Will Ferrell movie, after all), but I made a point of beating the game. I can’t say the game is good, but I also wouldn’t have been too pissed if I had dropped the $3 for it. The game has a nice visual aesthetic and the music…..well…..the music can be turned off at least.
There’s not a lot to like about Volchaos, but if you’re like me I think there is just enough to keep your attention for the 60 main missions. That took me about 5 hours and that feels like enough. I may (read: will) never go back to this once this review is up, but those 5 hours weren’t the worst thing I’ve been through.
I’ve liked the look of this game ever since i first heard about it, but this is the one thing i’ve always felt the conversations surrounding the game was lacking. Most if not all the videos i saw on the game were focused on it’s boss battles, which look great to be sure, but i’ve been wanting a look at the games actual stages for a while now. Now that i got my wish, let’s talk about it.
Aesthetically the games is absolutely amazing. The 1930’s hand drawn animation style is beautiful to look at and the sound track fits in perfectly, if a bit too jazzy for my taste. However my big take away is that i wished they had chosen a latter level to show off. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the games first stage as it looked just a little too strait forward and easy to get through. For all the fuss that’s been made over how challenging the bosses were i’d think the moment to moment gameplay would measure up to that, but i didn’t really get that impression here.That’s what leads me to think this is an early level, one meant to ease players into what the game expects from them. That’s all well and good, tutorials are a necessary part of gaming after all, but i was kind of hoping to see what the game will look like when it stops holding the players hand. Really the main issues with the footage shown is that it’s not the most fun to watch. It looks like a fun enough tutorial level, but not what i’d call the best foot forward in terms of what to show off when trying to promote the game. I’m still eagerly awaiting the game, but i’d also suggest putting someone else on promotion.