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By Cataclysmic Knight On 9 May, 2017 At 03:48 PM | Categorized As Indie Spotlight, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Developed By: Fire Face Corporation
Published By: Adult Swim Games
Available For: PS4 (reviewed), Windows

One side of the second building.

I had never heard of Small Radios Big Televisions before I received a review code for it, but a quick glance online made it look like Fez if it was a point-and-click puzzler. Diving in, I was presented with a building against a rather plain red background and absolutely no tutorial or clue as to what to do. Moving the left joystick moved the cursor, and when it moved over the only door present it became clear this was what I was meant to do – open the door and begin. Exploration is unique: instead of being given a character to move around, you merely move the cursor and whatever room you’re currently in tilts to allow the cursor to reach everything. To enter a room or interact with things, just press X with the cursor over it. Some things, like cogs, require dragging to complete puzzles. This may sound pretty standard, but the fact that I never saw myself and the view was pulled so far out gave the game an entirely different feel.

It was when I found my first cassette that the game really became special. These cassettes are better than music (yes, even Star-Lord’s Awesome Mixes), they’re virtual reality! Each one has a very specific experience and is clearly labeled with things like Road, Forest or Stream. Like any VR experience these are all first-person, and while some of them offer automatic movement along a pre-programmed track you can’t actually control yourself at all. You can, however, look around with the cursor, and the goal here is to find green gems. To make matters even more wild you’ll come across magnets as you explore the main game which warp any cassettes you currently have. Idyllic, lovely settings become ruined and corrupted when entering them again which is necessary to find additional gems.

Your TD-525 provides some simple diversions, but at what cost?

After each area is completed there’s a mysterious conversation between two people. As a huge fan of story in games this was an excellent addition. They’re all very short, so folks who couldn’t care less don’t have to wait long, and they’re just long enough to tease at what’s going on. Between the lack of any kind of setup, the mysterious setting, the VR tapes and these dialogues the game’s world is constantly unraveling into something interesting. There’s also writing and graffiti on the walls of several of the rooms that elude to a much darker tone. It’s almost painful how much I want to talk about the story of this game! Unfortunately, this is one of those games where giving any details would hurt the experience.

Things get a little dark at times.

I am NOT good at puzzle games. A quarter or a half of the way in I typically start needing a walkthrough here and there, and by the last quarter or so I usually end up spending more time watching videos on how to solve the game’s puzzles than actually playing it. That wasn’t the case here, and while I ended up feeling rather smart a few times I worry that hardcore puzzle fans will be rather bored here. The difficulty in the game comes mostly from navigating through the areas and locating the green gems in the cassettes: as the game progresses rooms end up having quite a few diverging paths that make it easy to forget where to go or where you just came from. There is a map in the game, but I didn’t get any use out of it personally. The fact that doors are always closed until you first enter them and stay open once they’re opened helps, but the later areas require a fair bit of backtracking.

The audio and art fit the retro theme incredibly well. The 3D styles of the last century are evident here and the music is subdued and enjoyable, although one or two of the pieces may have been a little repetitive in the background as I hunted down gems. I also liked that the game took advantage of the DualShock speaker for inserting cassettes; as someone somewhat new to PS4 I’m always excited when a game takes advantage of it. It all came together to draw me far more into the world of Small Radios Big Television than I could have expected.

Small radios provide big insight into the plot.

I really loved that the game doesn’t hold your hand yet still ended up making perfect sense. It was awesome that even a mediocre puzzle gamer like myself could figure things out! Although the gameplay is rather simple and half the puzzles are just hunting for green gems in cassettes or navigating small labyrinths of doors the setting and story more than made up for it to me. I even felt compelled to go back through and find the two lenses I missed the first time around; completing the game unlocks the ability to go back and the doors are thankfully all closed once again. The mystery was a bit simple but deep enough to keep me excited about every scene, and the ending had a really unexpected, Twilight Zone-ish twist. If you’re a big fan of story games like me and have a few hours to spend on a unique little puzzle adventure title I’d highly recommend Small Radios Big Televisions.

Disclaimer: A code was provided for the purposes of this review

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 Jan, 2016 At 05:15 PM | Categorized As International News, News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarAmazon UK  is listing The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 for Wii U with  Nordic Games as publisher. For those who are unaware, The Book of Unwritten Tales is a point and click adventure series set in a fantasy world. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 came out in 2015 for PC and later came to consoles. The game has also been rated by the ESRB for Wii U so it seems to be true. The game is also very long for point and click adventure games, coming in around 20-25 hours with a lot of replay-ability. Nordic Games has been very supportive of Wii U including repeatedly putting the THQ games on sale, bringing Legend of Kay to the system and now this.

 

For those who want an idea of what the game is like, please see this video.

 

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 23 Jan, 2015 At 02:19 AM | Categorized As Featured, Indie Spotlight, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIsabel Heyninck

What is Richard & Alice? Well it’s a game that is not gameplay driven, but mostly about narrative the same way visual novels are.

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It’s a point and click game but at its core is a modern work that uses the video game medium to tell its tale.

The scenery is dreary and lifeless, unimaginative at most, the pixelated characters and scenery leave much to the imagination that itself doesn’t make the world it brings forth much more exciting. This works in favor of the game.

Richard & Alice is about the struggle of a woman to survive after a cataclysmic change. She is Alice, and the other titular character Richard is the character you use to learn about her. Richard and Alice both find themselves in prison for very different reasons and since he finally has a cellmate and hasn’t talking to anyone but guards since his arrival he eagerly tries to learn about her. You can play as both Richard and Alice, with the game going through days and the same pattern of action taking place. Play as Richard in the prison and then play as Alice when she continues recounting her experience.

Alice’s story is one very much like The Road, a book Richard actually has in his cell, since it shows the strain a guardian must endure to protect a weaker and innocent child from a harsh reality and how to bring one child to adulthood without damaging them in the process. Where The Road had ash Richard & Alice has snow. Blanketing the world, delegating it to a reality far from the one that used to be.

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My only real critique is getting places takes a long time since your characters move rather slow and the character illustrations next to the dialogue look rather amateurish. I really think having the characters better drawn wouldn’t have taken anything away from the dreary pixelated scenario and made the game stand out more. Other than that not much else. The writing is superb, the characters multidimensional, and based on your actions there are various endings with realistic outcomes. I recommend this for literary geeks like me, and gamers who want to play a great story driven game.

No GravatarIt’s been a while since I’ve played point and click adventure games; they were a childhood staple for me. Most kids had either a Gameboy or a console, both if they were lucky, for me it was adventure and educational computer games. I grew up in a strict household where if we were having fun we better be doing something that wasn’t making our brain rot so that’s how I ended up playing lots of point and click games. From what I remember most of those games probably wouldn’t be much fun for me today, but those mystery and puzzle games had always been fun to figure out. Apart from Nancy Drew I hadn’t really ventured in the point and click adventure game genre since but Broken Sword 2 has refreshed my curiosity.

smoking mirror 2 title

Definitely not for kids it’s the second game in the Broken Sword series which revolve around the adventures of George Stobbart and Nico Collard. The remastered game is available in both PC and mobile devices in download format. In this installment Nico goes with George to investigate a carved Mayan stone she came across while investigating a drug ring. When she goes to a professor’s house to get more info George is knocked out and she is immediately abducted. The game has you step in the shoes of both Nico and George to unravel a strange conspiracy that puts their lives in danger and might have the fate of the world rest in its balance.

The controls are easy to figure out in both mobile and computer with options to look, talk, pick up, and interact depending on the nature of the thing you’re clicking on. With simple controls you’re free to examine and figure your way through the game. One of the things that has always been frustrating for me was the common stuck feeling I always got when playing through these types of games, but Broken Sword 2 has hints to help you through the game when you need a nudge. My favorite thing about the hint feature is the games give you escalating hints that go from slight nudges to detailed instructions on what to do the more hints you ask for, which allows you to still get the satisfaction of figuring things out and not have to consult walkthroughs if you hit a brick wall.

This game is hard enough to not be a one sitting game, requiring me to stop playing halfway through so I don’t finish by the time the sun rises again. According to Steam I played for 8 hours, your experience may vary.

smokingmirrordialogue

Perhaps what made my game drag out so much was the witty dialogue and excellent voice acting, which had me pick every talking option with the other characters. If you’re like me in that aspect you’ll enjoy some of the jokes throughout the game, one of my favorite involves a tequila worm I picked up, and you have the option of showing it to most characters you encounter in the game with Stobbart himself seeming to notice his strange attraction to the worm as the game progresses. Everything else is top notch too. This game came out in the 90’s so there’s only so much you can remaster until it loses its old fashioned charm, and to me it seems tweaked enough to still feel like a game from the era but enough retouching to make the game look like a really good version of its old self. The cut scenes are some of the most gratifying things you get out of the game and push you to see how the story ends. The new game even comes with a prequel comic, a great bonus for such a satisfying game.

Smoking Mirror 2 bonus comic

So what I’m saying is you should definitely check out the remastered version of Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror, it’s a great game. If you want to watch the trailer be mindful that it might contain some spoilers.

By otakuman5000 On 3 Feb, 2014 At 11:28 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Games You Slept On, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Growing up I had no set preference for games except they had to be playable on my computer. Aside from that, if a game looked interesting (I had to judge by cover art mind you) I would do my song and dance until my parents gave in and bought it for me. I don’t recall ever playing a bad game, and that is interesting to 25 year old me. In the past two or three years I’ve walked away from games feeling like my money was entirely wasted. But back in the day I played some great games.

One, or should I say two, of those games was called Syberia.

Syberia_Coverart

It’s not a play on Siberia, though that is a destination in the game, but a mythical island somewhere deep in Eastern Europe. Of course, you don’t really find this out until quite a ways into the first game, but that’s ok and I’ll tell you why.

To start, Syberia focuses on a lawyer named Kate Walker. The opening scene shows Kate arriving in a small town you soon learn is called Valadilene (Vala-da-len for pronunciation) while a funeral procession passes by. There’s something odd about this procession though, the pallbearers are not men, but automatons. As Kate enters town and makes her way to the inn you take control. From here on out, you are going to enjoy a grand point and click adventure.

Part puzzle solving, part character reveal, part exploration, Syberia is fun from start to finish. The majority of the first game is all about discovering Kate. You know she’s a lawyer and has come to Valadilene to talk to the owner of the automaton factory about signing contracts to sell. However, Anna Voralberg has just passed and Kate has arrived just in time for the funeral. Of course Kate thinks everything should still be in order, but Anna has confessed on her deathbed that her brother Hans is still alive and will be in charge of selling the factory. Sounds simple enough, but no one knows where he is.

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Kate sets off through the town to uncover the past in order to track down Hans. She discovers Hans left behind amazing creations. A train, and an automaton named Oscar. The only way to find her man is to start a trek across Eastern and Western Europe. Initially she is set on completing her business deal, but her adventures uncover more than just where Hans Voralberg is located.

Kate is hounded by her boss, the aggressive Mr. Marson, her mother, her friend Olivia, and her fiancé Dan. Despite risking everything for her job, these people constantly call to tell Kate how selfish and unacceptable her behavior is. She begins to feel distant and hurt, and learns a lot about who she really is. Who she wants to be.

And that’s why it’s ok it takes so long to learn about Syberia. Because you are learning about Kate. That’s also why this game is split in two. Syberia is all about Kate, Syberia II is all about completing her adventure. Her boss and family are hunting Kate down while she is simply looking for her better world.

The greatest thing about this game is its story, but there are plenty of good things otherwise. Syberia was released in 2002 and Syberia II was released in 2004. In my opinion they were well made and hold up graphically. While I love both, Syberia II is, as far as game play goes, the better of the two. A number of the inconsistencies of Syberia are corrected, the color is more robust, and there are some updates that make things operate more smoothly most notably the system used in  guiding Kate around areas.

With that said, Syberia is filled with better content. The puzzles make more sense and require seeking out information. Syberia II gets a bit sloppy and requires a stupid amount of luck while you guess your way through. I get frustrated easily with these games as missing a simple click can cost you more time than you’d like to admit searching around, but in the second game that is less the issue than facing a puzzle that you’ve seen no notes on beforehand and you must solve by pressing buttons until they work.

There aren’t very many options in these games in terms of graphics and audio, they don’t require them really. But the cutscenes are beautiful, the characters are quirky, the interactions are fun, and you fall in love with the clockwork origins of just about everything. There’s plenty to admire, as long as some mistakes in subtitles don’t bother you.

Kate-Hans-and-Anna

There are things you can find wrong with this game, most notably the treatment of the female lead by male counterparts, but they are easy to overlook. Kate is too strong and self-reliant to care about how others treat her.

If you’re playing this on a new system, and have two monitors like I do, this game gets confused. A mistaken mouse click off screen and you will find a number of highly hilarious but annoying glitches. Also, I ran into a problem where my anti-virus software would quarantine the .exe file of Syberia II and make the game unplayable, but the Steam version of these games might not have these problem.

All in all, Syberia and its sequel are great. The story, the world, the graphics, all is satisfying. If you love point and click, adventure, a good story, clock work and automatons, and discovery, then Syberia and Syberia II are for you. If you slept on these, wake up and try them out. If you do and like them, or have long since played them, the Internet says there will be another one this year or next. I’m excited.

The art for this game is beautiful, check it all out.

The art for this game is beautiful, check it all out.

By Amy McGarey On 6 Jan, 2014 At 06:46 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Bigby and Collin

The Wolf Among Us is one of my recent purchases from the Steam Winter Sale and one of the games I’ve been most excited about playing. Developed by Telltale Games, The Wolf Among Us is a point and click game set in the world of Fables, a Vertigo comic series. Just imagine Once Upon a Time had a baby with Taxi Driver and you’ve got Fables. The game is available as a digital download on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC/Mac.

The Story

The comic book series tells the story of all the famous fairy tale characters we all grew up with who have been exiled from their home kingdoms and made to start their lives from scratch in New York City. In this game, Ichabod Crane from Sleepy Hollow fame is running Fabletown, the underground community that the Fables reside in. He is very unpopular with the Fables, so he is aided by Snow White as an assistant.

You play as Bigby Wolf, also known as the Big Bad Wolf, who is the sheriff of Fabletown. One day he busts up a fight between the Woodsman and a call girl named Faith. Later on in the evening, Faith’s severed head is found on the doorstep of Bigby’s apartment building. With the help of Snow White, Bigby must crack the case to find out who did it. Was it the Woodsman, or did someone set him up?

 Bigby and Faith

Gameplay

If you’ve never played a point and click game before, the way it works is you control the choices that the main character makes, in order to drive the plot forward. For instance, you make a lot of dialogue choices. You can be nice, you can be intimidating, or you can say nothing at all or anything in between. The characters you interact with are smart and can form opinions based on your actions that might have consequences later on in the story. For instance, my relationship with Toad got off to a bad start early on in the game, and later when I needed information from him, he wouldn’t cooperate and had plenty of choice words for me.

Since this is a murder mystery, there is a lot of clue collecting and scene investigation that you click your way through. Sometimes you control Bigby’s movement. There is also some combat that is controlled by quick time events such as pressing Q, T, or E or clicking on a certain area of the screen at the right time.

Bigby and Snow White

Graphics and Sound

The graphics reminded me of Borderlands because of the cell shading and rough outlines. It really makes sense for the game, since it is based on a comic book. The colors are bright and vivid, but I still got a sense for the gritty, dark environment that the Fables live in. The incredible voice acting in The Wolf Among Us makes the characters seem more real, instead of cartoon-ish comic book characters. When I chose the more intimidating, violent dialogue options, I actually felt guilty about the responses I got from the person I was roughing up.

What’s Next?

The Wolf Among Us is an episodic game, much like The Walking Dead, which is also made by Telltale Games. Although I finished the game within two hours, this game has high replay value. Because of all the different choices you make on how to treat people, you can come up with many different outcomes that will carry over to the next episode.

When you beat the game, you get to see statistics on what percentage of other players made the same major plot choices as you. I thought this feature was interesting because it gave me a chance to see if I made popular choices or not. It also showed some inconsistencies to my play style. For instance, I accused one person of a crime, but arrested someone totally different.

The game ends on a major cliff hanger, so I can’t wait to see how my murder investigation progresses. Although there is no official release date, Telltale Games considers Episode 2 to be nearly finished with a possible release at the beginning of 2014.

 

By otakuman5000 On 29 Jan, 2011 At 02:47 PM | Categorized As Featured, Games You Slept On, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 1 Comment

No GravatarImagine waking up alone in your apartment with no recollection of recent events and only a mere idea of who you actually are. This is the desperate situation you find your character in when entering the world of Decay.

One of the greatest successes of Swedish developer horror game, Shining Gate Software’s Decay is the way the story is delivered. It is a point and click adventure game and there is very little written dialogue. It is through exploration and puzzle solving that you will discover what has happened and why. Through the opening credits you are shown images inside an apartment of a suicide note and a hanging body. The body appears lifeless at first but awakens. This is the only information you are armed with to begin your journey. Once control shifts to you, you will be viewing the world through the eyes of this awakened soul who wants desperately to remember how he came to be in such a state.

For the most part your character is alone. Other characters do play an important part in Decay, however. Game play reveals characters such as Martin Wallace, his daughter Emily and granddaughter Lisey, and Emily’s husband Jim. You will find out how their lives have all been affected by the dark character Mr. White through the help of a small helper appearing in a very curious form.

Interactive objects serve many purposes. Some will be cryptic messages leaving clues to more of the story others will be keys to unlock doors, tools for puzzle solving and other like items needed to gain access to new areas. One thing to make note of is the ability to combine objects held in inventory. Some items will be useless until paired correctly. This can be a bit frustrating if you are not aware that there’s still a missing piece to your tool and try to use it. That being said, the items are not too difficult to find and once you do find your missing pieces it should be fairly simple to determine where they fit in and what you should be able to do. Staying true to point and click adventure, your greatest challenge is to determine how your environment can be manipulated and how the tools you have been provided can work together to get the job done.

Puzzle solving is very well designed. You will find combination locks, matching, coded messages and even cameo appearances by classic favorites tic-tac-toe and Breakout. It is important to remember that the puzzles have an order in which they must be solved. Each solution triggers a new event. What this means is the environment is constantly changing and in order to keep progressing there will be times when you need to go back and re-examine areas where you’ve already been to look for newly unlocked items.

Such an amazing job went into Decay’s artwork and sound. The design team captured the feeling of being sad and alone so well in the environment from the derelict apartment building and dimly lit hallways to thumps and noises always just around the corner. The sunshine coming through windows has a grim appearance of its own. This was pulled off remarkably with darker shades of yellow and orange giving the feel of daytime slipping away. All around you objects which seem very much abandoned cast their long shadows along the walls and floors providing an eerie sense of something just not right. To confirm this, at the far end of a hallway riddled with graffiti stands the exit door to the building boarded shut.

The noises and fleeting “out of the corner of your eye” type images leave you certain that you are not quite so alone, however. It became questionable to me which would be worse, to remain alone in this horrible place and have to figure out the secrets it holds by myself or to actually catch up to the things that seemed to stay just one step ahead of me. As the game progresses and you fight your way to the truth the answer to that question will become more obvious. You will also find some comfort in getting a little help from an unlikely source.

Decay is an episodic game created by Swedish developer Shining Gate Software. Three episodes are available in the indie games section of Xbox Live. Episodes one, two and three have been released at 240 Microsoft points and each offers a free demo. However with the release of the third installment, Shining Gate also released an update for episode one which allowed them to drop its price to 80 Microsoft points. So, now is the perfect time to try it out. Episode four, the final episode, is in production.

This horror game is an excellent representative of its genre. It has many little surprise frights waiting for you. I spent quite a bit of time on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen. It was a very nice change from what has come to be horror in games today, blood and gore, to the psychological horrors of my own imagination working against me in an environment taken straight from a surreal nightmare. There are moments when your imagination will play a key part in stirring your fears and other moments when the game itself delivers the direct hit you’ve been anticipating.