Magicite “Redlight, Greenlight?” Review

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Type of Game:

PDL (Procedural Death Labyrinth) with a focus on crafting

Version Played:

PC version through Steam

Magicite Build 0.7.5

Similar Games:

Spelunky, Terraria, Rogue Legacy, and to a lesser degree Risk of Rain

The Good:

  • The overall sense of wonder and exploration as the player progresses in the game keeps it exciting and engaging
  • The crafting system is deep and relatively intuitive, which helps with the overall feeling of discovery that the game continually conveys
  • Experience point generation leads to leveling up the player’s skills in different manners that can complement a player’s style of gameplay
    • Current skill trees are strength, intelligence, and dexterity
  • Procedurally generated biomes that feature random enemies, resources, and loot drops
  • Weapon and tool crafting has the potential to attach bonuses to the stats, which can greatly improve a player’s chance of survival
  • Character creation has different benefits with each character that the player unlocks through game progression
  • The game is quite difficult, but as is the manner of this genre, it adds to the sense of accomplishment when the player beats a previous record or level
  • Multiplayer is a blast and can really encourage proper teamwork and planning due to the difficulty level of the game in general
  • The developer(s?) Sean Young is constantly responding to feedback within the steam forums and also implements many of the ideas brought up by the community
  • Updates and patches to the game are common and consistent, which keeps the experience fresh and exciting
  • Hats!

The Bad:

  • As expected there a quite a number of bugs in this version, which mostly reside in the user interface
    • As explained above, many bugs are known and are being addressed in future releases
  • While multiplayer is a blast, the process to start a network game with others is not very intuitive and may leave some non-techie gamers fustrated
  • When first starting out with the game, the crafting system and difficulty can seem overwhelming and may scare off players that don’t bother to hang with it. This could be remedied with a comprehensive in-game tutorial that explains the basics of the early gameplay.
  • Having a timer for each level can be a bummer as this is a crafting-heavy experience. Since crafting doesn’t have a craft-book or interfaced crafting system, early players will be spending a lot of time Alt-Tabbing between the game and the wiki figuring out what resources build different items. That time will cost them dearly as the “scourge” will inevitably destroy them before they reach the end of the level.
    • A streamlined crafting method would potentially address the feeling of a “cheap kill” and encourage the player to move swiftly through each level to avoid the scourge

Can you play it while the children are awake?:

Sure. The game is pixelated and does not contain excessive gore. There are blood sprites, but again the retro look diminishes their effect.

Did I make time to complete it?

The version I played did not have a final boss had a final boss on the 20th biome, so the levels repeated endless or appeared to do so which I never reached (Thanks to S3rvant for the update). I did, however, spend a lot of time playing the game with friends and found the experience very enjoyable!

Redlight or Greenlight?

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This game is currently at a greenlight.

Magicite will appeal to any gamer who enjoys a challenge. The sense of exploration and achievement really encourages that feeling of wanting to play one more game when your last one ends. As a fan of the PDL genre, I highly recommend our readers pick this one up.

Reviewer:

MisterS42

Game Information:

Link to Magicite’s Steam page for full game information

Pixel Piracy “Redlight, Greenlight?” Review

 

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Type of Game:

RPG Pirate Simulation with heavy PDL (Procedural Death Labyrinth) elements

Version Played:

PC version through Steam

Similar Games:

A mixture of Sid Meier’s Pirates!, Rogue Legacy, and to a lesser degree Terraria

The Good:

  • The pirate-themed survival aspect is riveting and keeps the player motivated to continue, much like the a fore-mentioned Sid Meier’s Pirates!
  • The light level of beginning customization is a welcome addition and can lend to the player’s attachment to his doomed pirate
  • Proper planning is key to survival, which creates an enjoyable experience around the idea of trial and error
    • Learning all the different skills and items is fun in its own right, but also a necessary means of progression
  • Procedurally generated maps/islands that feature random enemies, loot, vendors, and interactive items
  • Level progression is deep and really appeals to those who love to ponder statistical advantages (i.e. “Do I use this skill book on this pirate and then boost his health amount or just massively boost this pirate’s attack?”)
  • Collecting a crew and assigning them tasks is enjoyable
  • Building and upgrading your ship is intuitive and builds upon ideas already done by games like Terraria
  • The permadeath feature adds a fun sense of urgency and stresses the importance of preparation and planning

The Bad:

  • Bugs are still an issue, but the developers are consistently pushing out updates that correct the high priority ones
  • The animations are pretty minimal and don’t really help in the immersion department (think early South Park)
  • Sound design is also basic, but the island tunes reminded me of the first Secret of Monkey Island game so there is that!
  • A more comprehensive tutorial would benefit the player’s early moments in the game

Can you play it while the children are awake?:

Sure. Most of the graphics and animations are pixelated, which covers up most of the violence. My children enjoyed hearing the pooping noises the pirates made after eating.

Did I make time to complete it?

This appears to be a game that doesn’t have a definitive ending (though I may be wrong). I played numerous pirates and “survived” for quite a long time with some of them. The playthroughs were all enjoyable regardless of their length.

Redlight or Greenlight?

redt

This game is currently at a greenlight.

To be honest I’ve played some “completed” games that haven’t been this polished or fun. While the game has its bugs, the gameplay completely out weighs them. As a fan of the PDL genre, I recommend this game wholeheartedly.

Reviewer:

MisterS42

Game Information:

Link to Pixel Piracy’s Steam page for full game information

Crawl “Redlight, Greenlight?” Review

Crawl

Type of Game:

Dungeon crawler with local-only multiplayer where the participants switch between controlling the heroes and monsters.

Version Played:

PC

Similar Games:

Gauntlet, Zelda, The Binding of Isaac, and to a lesser extent, beat ‘em ups.

The Good:

  • The switching sides mechanic is pretty cool – you get a chance to play as both sides, alleviating the boredom sometimes caused by being stuck as one character type in asymmetric multiplayer games.
  • The animations and overall art style do a good job of approximating an 8-bit system, while the main menu is a cross between something you’d see on an NES and arcade game.
  • Fairly original character creation with the “Who do you worship?” mechanic (although with a caveat – see The Bad).
  • Two-button controls are simple, yet functional even with the ability upgrades.
  • The enemy types you choose as you level up are varied in appearance and ability; not all choices are equal. This often results in the following:
    Player One: “I’m going to pick this guy, he looks cool.”
    Player Two: “Well…I’m going to pick *this* guy.”
    Player One: “WTF! That guy looks awesome!”
  • Slight spoiler – being able to control the final boss is a ton of fun.

The Bad:

  • Contrary to The Good: local-only multiplayer. Not everyone lives near their friends.
  • Sometimes the doors can be hard to locate, as indicators seem to appear only when there is a notable location elsewhere on the map (store, etc).
  • At present, the character creation is somewhat obscure. You pick who your character worships, but beyond that the options are limited to three-letter acronyms which aren’t explained.

The Writing:

Currently, Crawl doesn’t really have a lot in the writing department, which doesn’t detract from the enjoyability at all. It would be nice to have some explanation of the abbreviations during character creation, however.

Did I make time to complete it?

Managed to complete the current build with another player. Both of us were disappointed in the (currently) short length, but had a lot of fun.

Redlight or Greenlight?

redt

This game is currently at a greenlight. Although a bit short at the moment, the novel gameplay and replayability make this title worth picking up.

Reviewer:

Mudlab

Disclaimer: Gamer’s Glance was provided a review copy of this game.

Game Information:

Link to Crawl’s Steam page for full game information

Crawl’s official website

NEO Scavenger “Redlight, Greenlight?” Review

NEO Scavenger

Type of Game:

Turn-based survival game

Version Played:

PC version through Steam

Similar Games:

The overall hex map view is reminiscent of high strategy games such as Panzer General. The combat is a mix of JRPG elements and TBS games like Disciples.

The Good:

  • The various traits you assign to your character at the start of the game actually come into play in realistic ways, with a few exceptions (see The Bad).
  • The crafting is somewhat realistic, although having to know a recipe for extremely basic items is a bit much.

The Bad:

  • Certain elements of the UI can be confusing – at one point it instructs you to “use/consume this item to return to the main menu,” yet this doesn’t work.
  • Some of the character traits are unrealistically/inconsistently useful, such as using Botany when you hear a monster approaching.
  • The UI has some other quirks; “take the abilities you want from the left and place into available spaces at the right” sounds like you’re supposed to drag-n-drop, but you have to click first, then release, *then* drag to get it to work. It’s not broken, but it’s not exactly intuitive, either.
  • You have to “take/drop” campsites to change them to your current location, even though you’re already at the campsite.
  • Sometimes encounters have no prelude at all – you can be sleeping in a campsite and then a “?” shows up at “?” range in “?” conditions, with your only option being “Confirm.”
  • The icons representing lootable items on the ground can be misleading. Yes, I know there are “trees” in a forest hex and “water” in a river hex.
  • Certain points in the game have no player interaction, which for a text-driven game feels very tedious. Screen after screen of reading sub-par text about what your character’s doing with only a couple chances to actually affect the outcome is not exactly fun.

The Writing:

From the opening scene to the descriptions of enemies, the writing is passable but feels like something from a young adult novel. Many awkward sentences and a few grammatical errors don’t help, either. Then there are the plot holes that come out of nowhere: at one point the game says, “You found a meat cleaver not long ago…” which never happened. Then there’s the line stating, “You have no idea who you are,” yet in your inventory is your hospital wrist strap with your name on it.

For a game whose main menu encourages you to “find out more about the world of NEO Scavenger,” the sub-par writing and inconsistencies don’t do a good job of enticing the player to do so, let alone devote time to finishing the game.

Did I make time to complete it?

No.

Redlight or Greenlight?

redt

This game is currently at a redlight.

Reviewer:

Mudlab

Disclaimer: Gamer’s Glance was provided a review copy of this game

Game Information:

Link to NEO Scavenger’s Steam page for full game information

Official Batman: Arkham Knight Announcement Trailer

Releasing on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2014.

Rocksteady Studios announces the true sequel to the fantastic Batman: Arkham City.

Take a glance:

Race The Sun Review

race-the-sun

Type of Game:

3D Endless Runner

Version Played:

PC version through Steam

Similar Games:

Temple Run, Bit.Trip Runner, and to a lesser degree Star Fox (in the graphics department)

The Good:

  • An immediately satisfying arcade experience that is very easy to pick-up and play at any time
  • Procedurally generated levels that are never the same layout each day
    • There are also “themed” worlds which mix up the environment when progressing in the game
  • Wide open racing area that gives the player the freedom to move wherever they would want, avoiding obstacles as they do so of course
  • Hypnotically relaxing soundtrack and sound effects that support the overall aesthetic of the game
    • Playing with a controller and headphones is quite a trance-like and serene experience
  • Progression is natural and during the earlier stages it helps introduce game mechanics that then eventually turn into cosmetic and power-up unlockables
  • While the game is relaxing in a Rez sort of way, it also presents quite a challenge in being able to “twitch” the ship out of the way of oncoming objects
    • Leader-boards are a welcome addition that will appeal to those high score achievers among us
  • The developers (Flippfly) do an excellent job updating the game and staying active within the Race The Sun community, which is always good to see for indie games
  • There is also a level editor, which adds to the replay-ability of the title

The Bad:

  • The explosion animations and physics are rudimentary and considering how often the player sees them it feels like they could have been more robust and interesting

    • Seeing the ship break into pieces and spread across the level would have appealed to spectacle-driven gamers
  • Replay-ability will be an issue in the long run for Race The Sun, as is common with most arcade “pick up and play” style games
    • The level editor definitely helps in this department

Can you play it while the children are awake?:

You sure can. The graphics are very Star Fox-esque and the content is mild. This could even be a game that they would enjoy playing with you, although there is no multiplayer outside of the leader-boards.

Did I make time to complete it?:

An endless runner really doesn’t end and that is the point. I enjoyed playing it for short bursts and imagine I will continue to do so during the times when I’m taking a break from a larger experience.

Recommended Purchase Price:

The game is a blast and can be enjoyed by anyone. Flying your ship down a vast and infinite world is exciting and fun. The fact that the worlds change every day is a huge bonus and the progression system keeps you coming back to play “one more round.” Though the game may lose your interest down the road, the content and design are well worth the asking price. The developers will be a team to watch going forward, as well:

$9.99

or

100% of current retail value of $9.99

Reviewer:

MisterS42

Disclaimer: Gamer’s Glance was provided a review copy of this game

Game Information:

Link to Race The Sun’s Steam page for full game information

Gamer’s Glance Pixel Piracy Giveaway!

pixpiracy2

Thanks to nice folks at Quadro Delta our latest giveaway  is live on our Facebook page!

Check it out to win a copy of Pixel Piracy for Steam.

Link to Giveaway

- MisterS42

Small World 2 Review

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Type of Game:

Virtual Board Game

Version Played:

PC version through Steam

Similar Games:

Settlers of Catan, Risk, and to a lesser degree Monopoly

The Good:

  • An exact replica of the board game version, which means that the players get the same engrossing and competitive game they would play on a board
  • A wonderful multiplayer game (when it works – see below) that balances different strategy mechanics
    • Race and special power cards can really change the way that each gaming session is played and will also change the player’s choices
  • It is really nice not having to pull out all the physical pieces of the game to play a quick round with a friend
  • Being able to play against other players on different platforms ( iPad, Android, & Kindle Fire) is a definite plus
  • “Turn-by-turn” is a neat feature that lets players play their turns without having all players present. You can exit the game and continue at a later time once your opponent has finished their turn

    • Steam has a notification pop up when it’s the player’s turn

The Bad:

  • The online multiplayer is bugged and glitchy, which leads to dropped games and nonstarters
    • Seeing as most players will be picking up this game to play with friends, it seems as if it could have done with some more quality assurance testing in the online multiplayer department
  • The overall user interface is clunky and not very intuitive
    • Trying to get a game going has far too many steps and the lengthy registration requirements seem unnecessary
  • Sound design is awful and really could have helped with the immersion should some decent music and sound effects been utilized

Can you play it while the children are awake?:

Absolutely. Had a good time playing locally with my seven year old.

Did I make time to complete it?:

I played and finished five multiplayer games. I would have played a lot more, had the online multiplayer not had so many issues.

Recommended Purchase Price:

The gameplay is a blast just like the board game, but the online problems really hinder the overall experience. I applaud Days of Wonder for implementing the oft-requested feature for video game versions of board games (so many come out with just local play), but just wish they’d spent more time fixing the infrastructure before releasing the game.

$9.99

or

67% of current retail value of $14.99

Reviewer:

MisterS42

Disclaimer: Gamer’s Glance was provided a review copy of this game

Game Information:

Link to Small World 2′s Steam page for full game information

The Novelist Review

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Type of Game:

First Person Adventure

Version Played:

PC version through Steam

Similar Games:

Gone Home, Dear Esther, and to a lesser degree To The Moon

The Good:

  • An engrossing interactive story about the pressures of balancing work and family life
  • The ghost mechanic was a interesting way to observe the lives of the family
  • Watching memories was a really an intriguing way of understanding the characters motives and decisions
  • The voice acting was very well done and the emotions were clearly conveyed in the spoken word letters and dialogue
  • The soundtrack did a lot to add to the somber tone of the story
  • Playing the game stealthily can be quite challenging and being “seen” can affect what story portions you can observe

The Bad:

  • Being in the game as a ghost can make you feel disconnected with the characters in the story
    • A  strong narrative quickly helps you relate to the story, but since the “ghost” is never interacted with more than a passing comment by one of the family members if you’re seen , you never feel truly involved
  • The game mechanics were very monotonous and did very little to mix up the formula as the game progressed
  • The overall story was depressing and while I understand that one of the themes was to emphasize the importance of putting your family first, it was still difficult to continue knowing that you were affecting the lack of interaction between family members

Can you play it while the children are awake?:

The game was pretty tame when it comes to content, so I would say it would be something you could play in front of them. 

Did I make time to complete it?:

I did not. I could not help but compare this game to Gone Home, which I felt had a more interesting mystery theme that kept grabbing me along the storyline. I just didn’t feel compelled to see this story through, but I would encourage fans of the genre to check it out if they are interested in dramatic themes.

Recommended Purchase Price:

Your mileage with this game will really vary depending on your interest in the subject matter. My recommendation would be that if you enjoyed Dear Esther or Gone Home you should pick this up at a slight discount:

$9.99

or

67% of current retail value of $14.99

Reviewer:

MisterS42

Disclaimer: Gamer’s Glance was provided a review copy of this game

Game Information:

Link to The Novelist’s Steam page for full game information

Dungeon of the Endless “Redlight, Greenlight?” Review

Dungeon of the Endless

Type of Game:

Dungeon-crawler meets tower defense meets roguelike

Version Played:

PC version through Steam

Similar Games:

The Binding of Isaac, Sanctum/Defense Grid/other tower defense games, and Nethack/Diablo/Gauntlet/other dungeon-crawlers

The Good:

  • This is by the same studio as Endless Space, and shares some of the same UI/music design aesthetics.
  • The “one more room” factor keeps the player interested, and does a good job of making time fly by.
  • The animations and lighting are really well done; even though they stick to the current retro trend. There is an exceptional amount of detail everywhere, from the player breathing heavily after a fight to the dynamic lighting of the rooms as you move through them.
  • There’s an interesting resource mechanic – as you take over rooms, you can choose which resource each will generate. Leaving one of your heroes in a room increases the amount of that particular resource, leading to the question: do you forge ahead with a full group, low on resources? Or do you have a lone wolf exploring, while the rest stay behind?
  • The items you find range from standard fare (swords, spears, etc) to the silly (“Ricewind” is a rice-shooting machine gun; “Tutu” is a piece of armor). Their descriptions usually stray toward the latter.
  • Each hero has distinctive strengths/weaknesses which complement the group (with a caveat; see The Bad).
  • This studio is known for their community involvement (called “Games2Gether”) during development – many features in Endless Space were the result of suggestions from players. Dungeon of the Endless is no different, and I’m eagerly anticipating their planned features (tech trees, science upgrades UPDATE: recently added!, etc).

The Bad:

  • Some UI elements could be easier to access, for example the inventory. I instinctively hit “I” to bring it up, and nothing happened. UPDATE: True to their reputation for community involvement, you can now hit “I” to bring up the inventory.
  • When moving your hero, you can only tell them to move to a room – there’s no positioning within each room.
  • There isn’t a “move entire group at once” command.
  • Sometimes your randomly-given starting team members are both melee or both ranged, which (while not crippling) feels more difficult than being given a balanced group.

The Writing:

The hero descriptions are well-written and do a good job of attaching significance to each one. If you lose a hero, a message appears saying, “So-and-so was killed. Let the tears flow,” and, unlike many other games, you actually do care when they die (which is often).

Did I make time to complete it?

If you’re a fan of tower defense and dungeon-crawlers, this game is a lot of fun. I’ve died and restarted this game many times; was able to make it to the third level, but I’m going to keep trying.

Redlight or Greenlight?

greenThis game is currently at a greenlight.

There are currently two tiers available – the Pixel Pack for $12.99 and the Founder Pack for $19.99. As I mentioned above, if you’re a fan of tower defense and dungeon-crawlers, this game is definitely worth $12.99, just expect a few features (which are clearly marked in-game) to be implemented in the future. If you’re interested in Endless Space, it might be worth grabbing the Founder Pack for the included 50% off Endless Space and its DLC, as well as the “Vaulters” faction for Endless Space and a skin for their upcoming Endless Legend. Either way, I consider this game worth the full asking price.

Reviewer:

Mudlab

Disclaimer: Gamer’s Glance was provided a review copy of this game

Game Information:

Link to Dungeon of the Endless’ Steam page for full game information

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