Latest User Reviews

Review of Candle

Rating by no-cheating posted on Jan 20, 2017

Good but not great

It's a really nice game with lots of strong points. It has varied and challenging puzzles, an intelligent and well-developed story, gorgeous graphics of admirable non-banal aesthetics. The problem is that it still felt a bit disjointed and in general nothing new, just rendition of old patterns found repetitively in other adventure games, only this time with original and inspired audio-visuals. Also puzzles though varied and not as easy as they often are today, sometimes felt forced - e.g. you would know what to do easily and the difficulty laid only in finding right moment to do it/other things to do before that. Still I found it a worthwhile experience. Time Played: 5-10 hours
Difficulty: Just Right

Review of Grim Fandango Remastered

Rating by Respina posted on Jan 18, 2017

This game is my all time favorite. Time Played: Under 1 hour

Review of Day of the Tentacle Remastered

Rating by Respina posted on Jan 18, 2017

I played this game on it's first release. Loved it then, love it now. Time Played: Over 20 hours

Review of Why Am I Dead at Sea

Rating by emric posted on Jan 15, 2017

Way more engaging than I was expecting

I guess I was only expecting this to be a lite little mystery adventure, so I was surprised with just how engaged I became with it. Sure there's only half a dozen locations, but some unique point'n'click gameplay mechanics (2 different levels of character possession, individualised character abilities) kept the proceedings feeling fresh and fun. The plot was more developed and characters way deeper than I was expecting. The dialogue style rolled out like retro Japanese RPGs/Adventures—similar to 'To the Moon'. And the music was way better than I was expecting. My low expectations must've stemmed from the visuals which, even for a retro lo-res pixel style, are on the drab side—but this didn't turn out to be a hindrance to overall enjoyment. Time Played: 5-10 hours

Review of Machinarium

Rating by TimovieMan posted on Jan 13, 2017

A deliciously cute game that transcends all language barriers.

In Machinarium you play as a nameless (*) little robot that’s been expelled from the robot city and reduced to scrap (for reasons unknown at this point). You start by reassembling yourself and going back to the city, encountering a group of bullies on the way that have caused you and your girlfriend grief before, and that now plan on bombing the largest tower in the city. It’s up to our little robot to foil their plans and to undo the damages they’ve caused to other robots in the city. The best word to describe our robot protagonist is “cute”. With his bulging bug eyes, ability to stretch tall or compact small, and the way he moves around, everything about this guy is adorable. The cuteness factor is fueled further by a lack of speech - our robot only speaks in beeps and grunts or in thought bubbles that (telepathically?) show a small animation, often a flashback. These thought bubbles are done exceptionally well, and make the interactions with other robots very clear. They also fill in a lot of background story, showing heartwarming scenes of our robot and his (equally cute) robot girlfriend, or with scenes depicting the humiliations he had to endure from the bullies. The fact that no words are written in the entire game (apart from the title screen), and none are heard either, make this a game that totally transcends all language barriers. And its cute main character, as well as its family-friendly content, make this a game that can appeal to *everyone*. The game is meticulously drawn and has an amazing level of attention to detail. Every screen is more than just a backdrop, the entire place feels alive because so much is moving at all times. Wires sway with the wind, pipes leak, small robot critters (yes, even the birds and mice and cats are mechanical in this world) move around. Even our own little robot has plenty of idle animations. The design team went all out with this, and it adds tremendous value. The sound and music also add to the atmosphere, with a jam session by a band of busking robots as one of the many high points in the game. Puzzle-wise the game eases you into things by containing itself to single screens early on, and slowly expanding the number of screens you can solve puzzles in, before opening up an entire section of the city. The puzzles themselves have a lot of variety, often manipulating the environment to achieve Rube Goldberg device-like results, stretching or compacting your little robot where necessary (depending on if you’re reaching for something high or something low). There are even a number of inventory items (handily stored inside our robot himself) that can be used and combined, but these are not the primary focus of the puzzles. There are also a number of standalone puzzles in the game, that range from shout-outs to other works (like a blatant Space Invaders clone) to classic adventure puzzles (like slider puzzles). The difficulty of these vary the most in the entire game and some can be more than a little challenging at times. A variation on Connect-5 can be quite hard because the opponent AI is pretty decent and an in-game arcade game where you have to rearrange a bunch of blocks can be pretty devious, for instance. One minigame involves “shooting viruses” in a maze, and while it’s not particularly difficult, it can be quite challenging because of the awkward mouse-driven controls. And there’s even one timed puzzle in the game (where failure equals death - but no worries, you conveniently rewind to the start should you fail). The variety of puzzle-types is one of the games bigger strengths, but also one of its biggest weaknesses since most of these tougher minigames are mandatory for progress, and many of the other puzzles require quite an amount of cartoon logic to figure out, which may not be all that easy for everyone. One particularly devious puzzle requires you to go against your own instinct by answering questions incorrectly to get results. That one had me stumped for a good long while. Fortunately, the game comes with a built-in help system when you’re stuck. There’s a thought bubble available that shows a minor hint for a puzzle pertaining to the location you’re at, and a full-blown walkthrough feature shows a comic book-style depiction of the puzzle solution for the screen you’re on. The ingenuity of this walkthrough feature is the fact that you only get the solution for ONE puzzle, and you need to play a small minigame to unlock it first. This particular minigame may very well be the most boring one in the entire game, but since it unlocks a partial walkthrough, that may have been a deliberate choice by the development team. Another minor issue with this otherwise unexpectedly complex game, is its relatively short play time (I clocked between 7 and 8 hours) and a rather abrupt ending (even though most plot threads - and there are more than you’d gather at first - have been resolved at this point). The game is easily forgiven, though, because its high points are really high, and the atmosphere and protagonist cuteness will melt your heart anyway. It’s a unique little game that will definitely make a lasting impression. One could even say that it’s an instant-classic. Machinarium comes highly recommended to players of all ages and nationalities… (*) According to the game documentation, the little robot protagonist is called Josef and his girlfriend is called Berta. Time Played: 5-10 hours
Difficulty: Just Right

Review of Portal

Rating by TimovieMan posted on Jan 13, 2017

Genre-busting game with a particularly well-executed physics-bending gimmick at its core.

You wake up in a confined "relaxation" room and are soon greeted by the computerized voice of GLaDOS, the resident AI. She says you're the new test subject in Aperture Science's Computer-Aided Enrichment Center, apparently a lab where you get to test a newly-developed portal-technology. And so your short and funny journey begins. The Portal principle is simple: a portal is basically a hole in the wall (or floor, or ceiling) that is connected to another portal. Entering one makes you exit through the other, regardless of distance, position and orientation. For instance, you can end up walking through a wall and falling down from the ceiling when you do. A portal in the floor and one in the ceiling could have you falling indefinitely. The possibilities are endless. The earliest levels of the game are very easy and simple and will often pose little challenge. They're designed to easy you into the physics-bending concept and introduce you to all the different obstacles you can encounter, one at a time. There are pressurized buttons, weighted cubes, energy balls that need to be guided to oddly-placed recepticles, and as the game progresses, even acid pools and gun turrets. At first when you get your portal gun, you can only shoot one portal (with the other one already in place), but every level introduces a new element or portal-possibility to the gameplay. Your own momentum when going through portals becomes increasingly important as the game progresses, for instance. This means that you often need to fall a long distance through one portal to be propelled over a distance at the other portal. As the game so easily explains: "speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out". The strength of the gameplay lies in its own learning curve. By introducing new ways to use portals, and slowly adding other game elements, the game ensures that you truly understand all the concepts before you can continue. This means that, when you upgrade your portal gun to allow you to shoot both portals at will, the difficulty can ramp up significantly without becoming *too* challenging. By the time you'll need all the available tricks in the book to beat the levels, you'll have mastered all of them. It's a testament to Valve's extensive playtesting that they more or less hit the perfect difficulty curve for the game. Of course, there's more to Portal than just its physics-bending gimmick. What makes this game stand out from other puzzle games is GLaDOS, the artificial intelligence that is your sole contact in the game. GLaDOS starts out as a sort of mentor, explaining the concepts, but there's more to her than that. The occasional malfunction, the constant mixed messages, the very insincere-sounding concern for your safety, and the promise of cake at the end will not only make you laugh but also indicates there's more to GLaDOS than meets the eye. As the game progresses, GLaDOS' comments become more sarcastic, sometimes even hostile and can be flat-out blatant lies, but they never cease to be funny, no matter how disconcerting they may be. Discovering what the deal is with GLaDOS and the Aperture Science Lab becomes a puzzle in itself and adds some much-needed story to an otherwise bare game. It's hard to pin down just what genre Portal belongs to. On the one hand it's a first-person platformer, but it's also a puzzle game, can be described as an adventure game, etc. It breaks a lot of genre barriers, and that makes it appealing to a wide variety of players. The understated but nonetheless present need for dexterity may dissuade some adventure gamers, however. It's not the most important skill you need in the game as it's primarily a puzzle game (in fact, very few sequences rely on quick timing), but it's still one you need. And that brings me to the game's short length. I clocked just over three hours for the main story, so this definitely qualifies as a very short game. The difference between the earlier and later levels becomes very apparent here: it took me just over an hour and a half to complete the first 17 levels, and then it took me another hour and a half to complete the final two levels and the endgame. Despite the game's short length, the endgame still felt like it was stretched a tad too long for me, so even with a mere three hours of gameplay, the central portal mechanism was nevertheless at risk of outstaying its welcome. For this reason, I've been reluctant to try the bonus levels (which are apparently revamped versions of some of the existing levels, with added difficulty), and I'm also not inclined to try out the (much longer) sequel within the first couple of months, for fear of overexposure. After all, Portal is an extremely well-executed game, but the core of the gameplay - while fun - is still just a gimmick... But hey, at least when the game ends you're treated to [del]cake[/del] an amazingly funny and memorable song by GLaDOS... Time Played: 2-5 hours
Difficulty: Just Right

Review of Kathy Rain

Rating by emric posted on Jan 13, 2017

one of the best

I'm a Point'n'Click Adventurer from way back and I'm glad to say that Kathy Rain sits very proudly up alongside some of my favourites like the Gabriel Knight games (and also some aspects of Jane Jensen's less popular title 'Gray Matter') and also the superb Blackwell series from Wadjet Eye Games. If you enjoyed any of those games then getting Kathy Rain is a no-brainer. The writing is inspired, the structure and design deftly executed; and the wonderful pixel art, music, sound design and voice acting all work together to create an absorbing atmosphere and engaging overall gaming experience. I look forward to whatever Raw Fury comes up with next—whether it's a sequel to this or another gripping original adventure. Time Played: 5-10 hours

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