Tag Archive: Video Games


Witch and the Hundred Knight

There are those that grow up with a gift for magic; usually gifted with a strain of magic so powerful that without a careful guided hand they may never truly achieve their full potential. It is then that these apprentice witches seek out a Great Witch where they will dedicate their lives to study for a number of years before they can then be affirmed as a true witch of their own. However, not all witches choose to walk this path. There are those who are simply born a Great Witch – whether officially recognized or not. The Great Swamp Witch Metallia is one such example of this rare breed.

Metallia is rather young, as witches go, having only walked the world for around 100 years and yet her power is incredible. Unfortunately, and this is no secret to her, she only has but a limited number of days before her life force is snuffed out for good. Metallia’s dream and goal is to see the world – or rather, control it! However, to make this slightly more difficult is the fact that Metallia can only tread on areas covered in her beloved swamp. It is then that she schemes the plan to make one of the most legendary creatures in witch lore become her personal familiar: the Hundred Knight. It is said that the Hundred Knight is a fierce deity with the strength and power of one hundred soldiers and fighters – well, this should make accomplishing her dream easier, right?

Witch pic

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition is a top down combat JRPG with visual novel-esque cutscenes that move the story along. The “Revival” part points out the fact that this is something of a remastered PS4 edition of the original PS3 version which released back in 2013. Players control the familiar Hundred Knight ordered around and guided by Metallia. It’s main mission being to travel the world seeking out Pillars of Temperance which, once destroyed and made to “bloom”, flourish and transform the land into something reminiscent of the swamplands Metallia holds so dear. This allows Metallia to travel the world, viewing the sights, gaining additional power and otherwise completely destroying all those who she deems enemies.

The game itself is broken down into 13 chapters with each chapter focusing on a different NPC character which may prove to be an ally of sorts or an enemy which must be reckoned with. Each small story arc aids in progressing the story along nicely as well as gaining insight into the various characters and personalities found throughout. It also grants the oftentimes rare opportunity at playing from the villain’s perspective – where numerous actions involved in the story and decisions made feel oh so wrong, yet are oh so right.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition_20160227171207

While there are certainly enough story cutscenes to go around (all of which can either be read at a normal pace, fast forwarded through, or skipped entirely – a rather nice feature for those who would rather get back to the action faster), it is the action and combat portions of the game that truly makes up its heart. Players control the Hundred Knight through a medley of colorful locations seen from a top down perspective – beautiful sunlit forests brimming with life, quaint little towns, castles made from a Valentine’s Day dream, windy canyon paths, dimension altering caves and even decaying mountain treks. While there is certainly a similar feel and grind to each location, it does a fairly good job in at least making the environments interesting enough to explore and spend time leveling up in. While the environment hopes to truly immerse the player into the game (and it does to some extent) it can get obnoxious at times as Hundred Knight runs under a tree and all visibility disappears; so forewarning, get used to working the camera joystick fairly often or simply swinging blinding in case something attempts to chew Hundred Knight’s face off while out of sight!

So now that the scene is set, let’s get into the actual combat of this title. As stated earlier, this is a top down dungeon crawler where various enemies will be stationed throughout the map waiting to ambush and be slaughtered by the Hundred Knight. In additional to larger boss creatures, usually the pillar’s guardians of each area, there are regular trash mobs to kill. These enemies usually can be found in small groups but also individually; some remain stationary until approached while others will have a limited area in which they roam. Enemies also respawn on their own after a short while which aids nicely when attempting to grind some levels – and grind levels you will be doing! Hundred Knight has 6 facets or forms, each of which can reach level 99; however, only one main facet (which gains 100% xp) and two sub facets (which gain about 30% xp) can be equipped at a time. These facets each have their own unique skills, perks and weapon prowess stats – so equipping the right ones for the correct situation can make all the difference!

Witch combat

So we have story and combat, but what is any kind of RPG without weapons and gear? Hundred Knight can be equipped with three different gear sets each made up of 5 weapons that can be strung together to make devastating combos. Of course there are various weapon types that each have a special attack rate and type (slashing/magic/blunt/etc) which will prove either quite useful or less than effective against certain enemies. Up to 4 additional accessories can also be equipped to help raise the Hundred Knight’s defenses and resistances. Additionally, each weapon and accessory has a rarity and the higher the rarity the more the weapon or accessory can be upgraded. There are also some specialized abilities that can be used called Tochka which vary from projectile attacks to bombs to small creatures that help fight or distract enemies.

It probably sounds like a lot is going on (and it is) but it is nothing that can’t be mastered with a little bit of practice – and there is plenty of that to be found! To make things a little bit more interesting, Hundred Knight has something called Gigacals which are pretty much the main resource that Hundred Knight uses to explore unknown territory, regain hp, use abilities, dodge, block and use special modes and attacks. Each area starts with 100% and it then decreases as Hundred Knight goes about the level. Should the Gigacals run out, Hundred Knight will start having some issues: HP will decrease, attacks will do less damage, all special abilities cannot be used and should HP run out completely there is no reviving. Luckily there are methods to replenish Gigacals but it is always a timer that players must keep careful stock of. Lastly, the no reviving part mentioned doesn’t mean complete game over; but seeing as Hundred Knight does not level up, obtain any items/weapons collected or have the ability to save until a level is left either via completion or manual warp back to base, it can be quite the devastating loss depending on the area and progress made.

witch chocolatta

On a different note, aesthetically the game is quite enchanting albeit simple. With the Revival Edition also granting a nice graphical overhaul, the art style can only be described as vibrant, magical and dark with a very fairy tale feel to it. The character design is also unique and varied and yet never feels out of place with the theme. Probably one of my favorite aspects of this game is its soundtrack. The overall atmosphere of the game is perfectly brought out by the numerous instrumental and vocal tracks found throughout. Each track helps bring out the emotions coming through the scene regardless if it is mysterious, dangerous, tragic or simply whimsical it is truly a highlight and joy to listen to.

Witch duo

While this game has quite a lot to offer both in overall experience as well as gameplay time and value, keep in mind it certainly is not for everyone. You will be grinding out a lot of levels (regardless if you plan to hit the 99 cap or not) simply to keep up with the difficulty of enemies and bosses – especially towards the end. Additionally, you will be getting bossed around constantly by a bratty, selfish and oftentimes snarky witch that uses plenty of colorful choice words. The game has quite a bit of content from the main story, multiple endings, level grinding, equipment upgrading and additional levels such as the Tower of Illusion. The challenge creep of being properly geared and leveled to handle new areas as well as learning enemy weakness all while keeping a watchful gaze on the Gigacals makes for a fun overall experience that adds a unique perspective to the genre.

Personally, I was happily surprised by how easily The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition pulled me into its grasp. Even after all the hours I have put into this game over a short amount of time, I am still excited to go back and continue working towards that platinum trophy!

 

(My review was originally posted on Realm of Gaming…which seems to no longer exist. Here it shall live on!)

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Magical Eyes Title

If you pull the trigger of a gun, knowing full well what it is capable of, that is one thing; pulling the trigger when you do not know what will happen is something of a different nature. Does that make the one who does not realize what they are doing more or less guilty than the one who fully understands? It may be hard to discern between the two at times, but the end result is always the same. The past can never be undone.

When people hear the word “Visual Novel” many will immediately picture an anime style text based game usually falling under the Otome category (Otome translating to “maiden game” and usually being a harem romance themed game targeted towards females). However, this is far from the case as visual novels have greatly expanded their reach both in theme and audience. Magical Eyes – Red is for Anguish, developed by Pomera Studios, is but one such example that explores a much darker, mystery atmosphere more than anything else.

Red is for Anguish is but chapter one of a series of games to be released involving confounding crimes and incidents that occur within a particular town. Despite a significantly growing crime rate made up of smaller misdemeanors, the townsfolk remain mostly unaware of what is occurring around them on a daily basis.  However, one particularly violent crime has caught the attention of not only the police, but also of a group known as the Disobeyers. This group works covertly and from an outside viewpoint, all of its members appear just like any other citizen. However, those that know these individuals or perchance see them engaged in combat will notice they are anything but normal: psychic abilities, incredible combat prowess or even an impenetrable armored skeleton make up but a few of the abilities these talented individuals hold. These skills are not used for taking down mere inconveniences or petty thieves, but rather against something almost beyond human recognition – Variants. These variants are superhuman in their own right and will take a human or material vessel to exact their goals; oftentimes being born from an extreme outpouring of emotions such as a death of a loved one or extreme life change.

Magical Eyes Doll

The crime that starts it all involved a simple shop owner who specialized in random knick-knacks and trinkets. After a brutal attack that lost him an arm and left his shop torn to pieces, the only statement he gave police was that a Japanese doll in a kimono was behind everything. Likely the ramblings of a man still in shock over a traumatic experience – or so thought the police. However, there are those who could see the truth in his words…even if it was not the whole truth, and they knew a serious case was on their hands.

The visual novel involves numerous characters but the player will mostly see the story through the eyes of Yuu, a high schooler and elite member of the Disobeyers, and Chiharu, a classmate and close friend of Yuu. Although they make up two very different perspectives of the story, it grants an interesting view of both the business and personal side of all characters involved. From Pops, the disastrously horrific cook of a ramen shop called Noodle Graveyard (which also doubles as the headquarters of the local Disobeyers) to Yuu’s coworkers and younger siblings who each have their own unique sparkle and personality, there is never a sense of dread or boredom when certain characters take the spotlight.

Magical Eyes Mains

Unlike many visual novels that rely heavily on player choice to move the story in a certain direction, Red is for Anguish is more static. All players will reach the same end one way or another but hold the possibility of additional scenes and unlockables by excelling at a small quiz like section called Reasoning Mode. Gaining a perfect S-Rank score during each questioning period will not only help Yuu gain understanding of all the information he has discovered on the case but also serve as a way to show how much the player has paid attention to the story so far.

Without risking revealing too much, the story is really quite well done and has a good balance of mystery, suspense, action and humor to top it all off. In addition to that, the anime style artwork is truly exceptional and the soundtrack accompanying the game moves with the story with cinematic excellence. One aspect that I found particularly well done was the combat sequences – they were thrilling! The music swelled with the action; the words had an air of urgency, acceptance and even fear; and the characters and scenery changed every few screens really demonstrating what was occurring – for a visual novel made up of static images, it made it exceptionally easy to almost picture the excitement happening in live action.

Magical Eyes Fight

Of course, Red is for Anguish did have some flaws; but overall they were fairly minor and did not detract from the overall experience. The writing was very good, albeit with some oddly placed humor at times, but there were a few detractors present mostly in the visual aspect of the words: one was that as scenes would change mid text, all text would disappear and reappear on the screen often adding additional lines which would cause me to re-read things I had already taken in; second was the symbol chosen to indicate the end of a text break – a small animated flower which constantly reminded me of a loading symbol you might find downloading something on a phone or a webpage. It might not sound like much but it was enough to deter my attention for seconds at a time throughout and was something I never did get used to. The only other issue I found was buried in another very strong quality of the game: the music. As I mentioned earlier, the music is phenomenal, but at times would almost carry on its theme just a bit too long and when it stopped fitting the mood of the text it would pull me away from the immersion. Even with these small issues, every other aspect of the game makes up for it in stride.

While the story takes place over the course of a week, the game only takes around 4-5 hours to complete on average. It is a supernatural mystery that will pull you into its clutches until its finale…and even then leave you wanting more. The second chapter, Indigo Blue Heaven, is still in development but surely already has plenty of fans eagerly awaiting its release. Available on Steam, it is well worth spending some time delving into the lives and mysteries of those who Disobey what ordinary humans can only attempt to rationalize.

 

(My review was originally posted on Realm of Gaming…which seems to no longer exist. Here it shall live on!)

inside title

Why are you alone in the dark, little boy? Don’t you know it is dangerous out here? You could be hunted, killed! Those dogs will feel no guilt as they tear your throat to pieces; no remorse will those masked men feel as they gun you down. What is your purpose in this quest? What could possibly be so important that you must risk life and limb? …Do you even know?

A few years back, a young boy went through monochromatic Hell and high water to rescue his sister in 2D puzzle game Limbo; now that very same developer, Playdead, is back with a vengeance making gamers experience a whole new realm of horror in their recently released 2.5D puzzle-platformer Inside.

As a quick side note, this review will have minimal to no spoilers; however, let me say two things before continuing on: One, go and play this game (it is currently available on PS4, XB1, PC and iOS). Two, if you can go into this game with little to no prior knowledge, do so – the experience of discovery amplifies everything this game has to offer and you will not be disappointed.  For those of you still here, let us continue onward ~

For those that experienced Limbo, Inside will welcome you back with its grisly embrace through a basic familiarity in environment and control scheme. A grim, grayscale landscape (save for a few acute splotches of red – one being a piece of the main characters attire) is all that will be in view for the entirety of the game – so let your eyes adjust accordingly. As the title screen barely finishes loading, a boy will emerge from the side to begin the adventure. Aside from that initial intro, there are no loading screens to be found throughout the game, period. Darkened forests, shadow filled cornfields, decayed corpses and a factory of horrors both submerged and otherwise await the player as they traverse inside the 3-4 hour game.

inside bodies

The controls are simple, whether you prefer controller (my recommended) or keyboard input scheme. The character will move to the right and left and occasionally climb up or fall to the depths below (of course, the underwater segments will conveniently provide use of all directions). In addition to basic movement, the character can jump on top of objects or across chasms as well as interact with certain items via activating buttons, pressing switches, and dragging things. It is a simple design that gives the player everything they need to solve all puzzles and survive every encounter…though many times it will not be during the first attempt.

Much akin to Limbo, Inside falls into a style of game play categorized as “trial and death”. You will encounter a challenge, you will likely die, and you will learn how to survive on your next attempt. It is an excellent mannerism for a puzzle game in that it provides a challenge and some amount of brain activity to succeed but it never reaches a level of frustration or getting ultimately stuck at any given point.

Speaking of dying, the wide array of death scenes and possibilities in the game range from shocking to humorous to absolutely horrifying! Walking off a ledge and getting impaled on a spike is probably something you should have seen coming (I know that I grinned after falling into at least one of classic video game’s favorite death traps); however, tripping over a broken limb, getting caught by a masked guard and watching the boy get held under water until he breathed his last was probably more along the lines of something that will hauntingly stay with me for the rest of my days. As mentioned earlier though, the deaths are merely learning utensils. I can almost guarantee that you will never make the same mistake twice and the checkpoints are quite generous so that you will never have to repeat more than you absolutely have to.

inside spotlight

The puzzles themselves also never get repetitive. They always introduce an object that will need to be interacted with and then leave everything to the player to figure out how to use it and accomplish the goal. Although many of the same designs are used throughout, they add their own unique twist in getting things where they need to. Perhaps you once placed a box on a switch to open a door; well, the next time you might just have to utilize reanimated humanoids via a mind control helmet to not only place weight upon a switch but also to carry you over a treacherous chasm. As the game progresses, puzzles will even take on a healthy dose of physics prowess adding gravity, water, and other elements that will challenge what you are actually seeing on screen. You have all the tools at your disposal, how will you use them? Other puzzles may not give as much time for careful thought out planning, though: highly aggressive dogs and other creatures will chase you down (spoiler alert: they are always faster than you) and you will have to outwit them in order to gain the advantage and maneuver to safety.

In addition to the great playstyle, the atmosphere, ambiance and story of Inside is truly astounding unto itself. Small exquisite details can be found in every scene from dust particles glistening around old factory equipment to leaves billowing in the breeze to facility workers going about their jobs. A fully animated background and foreground envelop the player as they move throughout the game and don’t think for a minute that you are safe from what lies within those boundaries. Even the detail of how the boy reacts and moves brings a certain lifelike quality: the slight stumble after running and jumping off of a ledge, heavy breathing after an intense sprint, struggling for air while underwater for too long and it all builds up to the white-knuckled/forget to breathe exhilaration that accompanies so much of the game. It is an overwhelming sense of foreboding and not knowing what lies through the next door and it often takes until that next area is reached to realize just how tight the game’s hold had been on you.

inside witch

The story is dark, confusing, horrifying and simply drenched in the unknown. All the while, not one single line of text, nor word spoken, will you find in this game (save for the end credits and opening Title). Much like their previous work, the story is left up to interpretation – and honestly, it is perfect that way. In the few short weeks it has been released, there are numerous theories abound on what Inside truly means – both in regards to the regular ending and the secret ending. It is a presentation of themes taking cues from a mix of dystopian science fiction and horror that will leave you with far too much to consider long after the credits have finished.

Come experience what lies inside. Are you afraid of what you might find?

Good. You should be.

 

(My review was originally posted on Realm of Gaming…which seems to no longer exist. Here it shall live on!)

ffx title

“Listen to my story. This may be our last chance.”

A city dead for a thousand years. A small group of forlorn travelers sit just within its borders around a campfire, their weapons stacked neatly off to the side as if trying to forget – for just a moment – the last leg of the harrowing journey that awaits them. A soft, beautifully haunting piano melody gently threads itself into the hearts of all those who may happen to hear it. This was the first moment players witnessed as they stepped into the world of Spira all those years ago – and it is the first moment that greets them as they now return once again. With an evident amount of effort and care put into the remastered release, it is time to re-explore one of Square-Enix’s strongest entries into their long running series of beloved games ~

ffx tidus yuna

Before diving into the unique qualities each game brings, let’s take a look at what makes this version a worthy addition to any Final Fantasy fan’s collection (even for those, like myself, who still own and could easily dust off the original PS2 games for replay). First-off, this is a game made for newer gen consoles: PS Vita, PS3, and PS4 (actually, it is also available on PC as well now). The stronger capabilities of these systems truly showcase the graphic and audio overhauls put into the game – character facial features, backgrounds, NPCs, and monsters all appear much more vibrant and alive and textures have been enhanced as a whole. While I cannot speak for the PC port, the PS4 version certainly shows off the work put into it masterfully and would be my recommendation! Outside of what the games look like, this is also the first time NA gamers are given the chance to play through the International version of the games. For those who may not be aware, this adds quite a bit of additional content to the games: an expert version of the sphere grid, Dark Aeons, extra mega-bosses to unlock and kill, the short movie Eternal Calm (which bridges the gap between the two games), additional dress spheres, Creature Creator, Field Arena Tournaments as well as the Last Mission (which ties up the finale of the second game). If you were anything like me originally playing these games, by the time all side quests, weapons and extras were finished the final bosses of the story simply went down by you showing up to the party; so let me say that the additional content adds a very welcome challenge! For example, when accidently running into a Dark Aeon in FFX ends up with your party completely annihilated in one hit by a 999k attack, you realize you finally have something worth leveling up for!

ffx group

Final Fantasy X was the first of the series released on the PS2 and it followed in the heavy footprints of some of the series most beloved games: FFVII, FFVIII, and FFIX. Even despite that pressure, FFX managed to weave together a heart-wrenching story filled with twists and turns and characters that could be all too relatable. Seen through the outsider Tidus’ point of view, his monologues told a unique perspective and his optimism and determination were hard to hate, even despite his cluelessness. Each character was so unique harboring their own strengths, weaknesses and beliefs and it showed how each one of them grew as the journey continued; as beliefs were questioned, rights abolished and even entire religions shattered. It is a story filled both with tragedy and laughter and is some of the best storytelling to be found.

Gameplay wise, FFX maintained its JRPG heart in a turn-based combat system. While simple at first, it definitely rewards those with a strategic mind later on using advantageous turns, character switching on the fly and a plethora of abilities and attacks between them all to finish off whatever monstrosity the party is up against. Outside of combat, the game is quite linear for about 90% of it and involves talking to people, obtaining quests and items and moving to the next area to further the story along. It does a very good job of never getting the player stuck during the linear part of the game so long as they do not run away from every battle presented to them; even if a tough boss does gives trouble, the ability to backtrack to an area with monsters to grind on for a bit is usually close by. It is a very well balanced system that negates frustration and leaves the level of difficulty up to the player. Of course, there is always plenty of exploration and mini games to do as well (hello, Blitzball!) which now have trophies associated with them for a little extra motivation.

ffx yrp

Final Fantasy X-2 was one of the first direct sequels put out for a Final Fantasy game and while it held plenty of merit, it did receive its fair share of harsh praise as well. Taking place after the first game, players take control of the new and improved Yuna as she and her girl squad (consisting of the ever-so-peppy Rikku and tough-exterior Payne) run around Spira as Sphere Hunters and look for clues about Tidus’ whereabouts. The entire feel of the game is quite different from its predecessor – the somber, in depth story of FFX is no longer present and is instead replaced with a light-hearted, mostly non-serious gallivant around Spira. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and it is a fun, faster-paced game, but the two really cannot be compared in the story department. FFX-2 has it moments of seriousness as they discover a tragic past of two characters remarkably similar to Tidus and Yuna and the story unfolds itself from there, but for the most part it is simply a much lighter story to take in. It is interesting to see how Spira changed after the events of FFX and how people have both divided and come together since then; and of course meeting familiar faces is always fun!

Gameplay wise, FFX-2 also changed things up with ditching the conditional turn-based system and adding in a faster active time battle system. While this might take away some strategic calculations, it allows the characters (and enemies) to act swiftly in executing attacks, switching gears and even interrupting enemy actions. Based off of a time bar, it moves battles along quite swiftly and lets players really think on their feet. The addition of dress spheres and the garment grid system is also quite fun in that each of the three main characters can change their job class on a whim in or out of battle and learn to use skills the longer they use that class. Not only is it fun to see the girls change into their own variant style of dress sphere costume but they are all quite useful by themselves and in combination.

ffx rikku battle

All in all, both games are solid entries into the franchise in story, combat and overall enjoyment. Granted, even playing the remastered edition there is truly no denying that this was once a PS2 game. The controls still have their wonky moments (and forget about using the right joystick to move the camera around) and even though the graphics are greatly improved it still isn’t anything you could compare to what has recently come out on current gen. It is in no way a bad thing though! I want to play the games as they were originally intended – but of course, additional content and a bit of a makeover certainly doesn’t hurt – but it wouldn’t be the same if they completely remade the game, which is why a remastered version is perfect. Being able to listen to a remastered version of the soundtrack on my playthrough was a wonderful addition that didn’t have to be there, but it only made it that much more enchanting as I went through each new area once again.

Whether you 100% the PS2 versions when they originally came out or if you have never even looked at the series before, this is a game that is worth playing. Even I had held off picking this one up because of how much I had played the originals…and I cannot even describe the feelings I got as soon as the opening scenes began and as I replayed through the journey. Every aspect of both of these games – the good and bad – simply culminate into an unforgettable experience. An experience worth revisiting. An experience worth having for the first time.

 

(My review was originally posted on Realm of Gaming 01/29/2017…which seems to no longer exist. Here it shall live on!)

ENIGMA header

Somewhere off the coast of the mainland is an island that no one has ever heard about. It cannot be found on a map nor do any rumors travel amongst even the most hardened sailors of its existence. However, for those few that find themselves washed ashore to this small refuge, they will discover that Carlyle is just as cut-off from the outside world as the rest of the world is from it. There are no doctors, outsiders are mostly shunned or ignored and a blind eye is turned to even the most world impacting news – news such as the spread of an epidemic known as Enigma, a deadly disease that destroys the body completely from the inside out. Welcome to Carlyle: where quaint island life is the expected norm; where a wandering doll brings death and misfortune in her wake; and where a pure white forest is slowly transforming into a lush green…a forest that is said to devour people. A forest named Enigma.

ENIGMA Envirio

This is where our protagonist, Chester, awakens after a supposed accident at sea left him washed up on the shores of Carlyle. Saved by a young woman by the name of Colette and her brother Lauro, Chester is soon introduced to the island’s herbalist, Greta and given a tour of the small island. Although it is no news to Chester, Greta quickly discovers that he is infected with Enigma and has only a very short time left to live; but since this journey was his last breath of adventure as it was, he figured Carlyle would be as good a place as any to make his final destination. However, he quickly learns that Carlyle is something of a mysterious place that very few outsiders ever visit and of those that have, none ever leave. Chancing upon another outsider that resides upon the island gives Chester an alternative perspective of Carlyle’s everyday life and inhabitants, even mentioning that all of the adults seem to be missing “something” – a certain something that the children still seem to have intact, but he can never quite place it. Yet that is far from the only thing that is strange as the white forest and word of a doll wandering amidst it seems to keep everyone on edge with little explanation. It is from this point onward that the story twists and turns through various outcomes as Chester encounters and befriends different characters, impacts their lives and ultimately reaches the end of his own. The mystery has only just begun…

ENIGMA Play

ENIGMA: is a fantasy mystery visual novel developed and produced by Uzumeya and Fruitbat Factory that leads players through an emotional story driven game where choices can heavily impact the overall outcome. There are 20 different possible endings to encounter and unlock throughout the game; and while that may seem like a lot, every one of them flows synonymously with the story and never feels out of place or too far-fetched. Additionally, the natural flow in which players will discover many of the endings will give insight into particular points of information regarding certain occurrences, settings and characters which will be useful when later endings are discovered – meaning that the game will not needlessly repeat information that the player should have already picked up previously and will assume that it is known by this point. Of course, depending on order that may lead to a particular path being confusing for a time, but as visual novels usually come together once they are fully completed, it will all make sense in due time no matter which order choices are made. So worry not! Now onward to look at what this game is really made of –

Without going into much more detail than has already been mentioned, the story is truly the star of any visual novel experience and the writing for ENIGMA: is extremely well done. Sure, it has a fairly foreshadowing ending no matter what path is taken (the main character is infected with an incurable disease, after all); but it almost becomes more about how he impacts those around him and ultimately reaches that end rather than any attempt at trying to forestall or alter that outcome. The character cast is so diverse and they change and grow right before the player’s eyes through their words, their expressions and their actions. The fantasy and mystery aspects of the story shine through constantly as well with elements of magic, lost tribes, talk of heroes, the people of the island and so much more. Players are given information steadily but will never fully understand the why of everything until the very end and it makes each playthrough hold promise of some knowledge to gain as well as a new outcome.

ENIGMA Happy

In relation to the story, one feature that really stood out was how you truly come to know the characters through their interactions with each other. Take for example a small moment from the game in which Chester meets with a newly introduced side character named Lyona. In but one short conversation, players not only discover a depth to Lyona’s character but also see a glimpse of how quickly Chester can relate and make a significant positive change in that character’s life and viewpoint.  It doesn’t have to explain why Lyona is there or what makes Chester special, it just happens and the player can feel it effortlessly. Much like the entire story itself, the characters are so much more than simply two-dimensional. They may appear as one thing at first, but as Chester begins to interact with them more, their personalities seem to blossom and their true intentions come to light – whether that be for better or for worse. An overprotective younger brother may come to understand his shortcomings and learn to stand up for himself and embrace his yearning for knowledge and adventure or perhaps a misunderstood individual grows into a most trusted companion and friend with a quirky sense of sarcasm to accompany his mysterious nature. Even Chester, with his constant smile and positive outlook, holds far more troublesome secrets than just his swiftly deteriorating life force. The characters are beautiful, fun, mysterious and adoring and their personalities speak for themselves without anyone ever having to point them out. Bringing characters to life so naturally can be a hard thing to come by; but in the end, the characters not only became a joy to experience throughout the game, but remained long after it was over as well.

Another aspect that can aid in fully encompassing you into a story lies within its music and art style. From serene and haunting piano melodies dancing throughout the piece to slower, darker tones as the mood requires to playful wind and string accompaniments that easily fit within a fantastical forest setting; the music seamlessly transports the player directly into whatever setting the characters are currently in. Additionally, the opening and ending themes are simply magical and capture the essence, beauty and emotion of the game perfectly (and bonus: they are included as a mini soundtrack when you purchase the game). There are a few different art styles utilized throughout the game as well and they all meld wonderfully from the main in-game character and background designs to the full CG scenes. Softer anime styles are used at times as well as almost tribal, dreamlike images and despite the content varying from comedic to quite gore intensive it never feels out of sync with the overall feel and style of the game as a whole. The gallery holds over 5 pages worth of CG art to unlock throughout all playthroughs of the game and every single piece of it is worth discovering!

ENIGMA Gun

Keep in mind this title is rated Mature for a reason. There is quite a bit of colorful language throughout its entirety, but this rating shines through in other aspects even more prevalently. It weaves a beautiful and emotional tale and while a majority of the content remains at a more moderate level, it is within the endings that there is a drastic shift from sweet and sad to truly dark and twisted. However, while there is no doubt in my mind that this rating is deserved, the content earning this warning is never thrown directly into the players face; oh no, it is expertly implied in a way that leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind as to what truly has occurred. It is written in the characters dialogue and in the expressions on their faces. The player knows exactly what is about to be revealed. When the CG scene at the end finally shows up it never depicts the entirety of the truth, but it is always enough to solidify whatever guesses were made as fact. It is extremely well done and there are a few endings in particular that have stayed with me long after they finished simply because of how they were executed – disturbed expressions, shifting eyes, an eerie calmness and it all built up to that final scene that perfectly set it all into place. A truly rewarding – and at times disturbing – experience that makes every twist, turn and replay of the story well worth it.

ENIGMA War

Sometimes it takes someone who is dying to make others realize their own potential to survive and truly live. Death is something that takes us away from our lives against our will – a step into the unknown that even those who have come to terms with it may never be truly unafraid of. Who would have thought that a war-torn soldier who felt he spent his entire life running away could have such an immense impact on those around him – more than he could ever know. In the end, ENIGMA: offers a truly enchanting experience with plenty of replay value (taking around 12-15 hours to 100%) and will be available on Steam November 15th with achievements and trading cards.

Come and listen to a story: A story of strangers and friends drawn together by death and life. All waiting for the day when a true hero would arrive; and knowing when that day came that they would be there to guide them.

“Those that remember me…will keep me alive.”

 

(My review was originally posted on Realm of Gaming 11/14/2016…which seems to no longer exist. Here it shall live on!)

 

Forget title

The tree of life.

It is said that any who discover the true heart of its being would truly inherit the power of the gods. The gift of life. It is something so precious that it is nigh unfathomable to even consider the possibility of its creation by almost unusually normal means. But what if…what if it were possible? Just imagine the difference it could make…

In one of the most vibrant, dark and quirky titles that I have played recently, Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden by Cavyhouse and Playism creates a glimpse of a world unlike anything you have ever seen. The view from a small town shop where a young witch performs alchemic experiments, a young boy wishes only to be strong enough to play with the other children, a girl wishes to talk with her cat and a ferret wishes only to feeds its family. That is but a small glimpse of the cast and clientele that come into this particular shop and they all come for one extremely rare and unique ingredient: organs (yes, the human kind – what were you thinking?).

Forget witchIrene’s shop has its own brand of alchemical and magical flair to it in that she has discovered a means of growing organs through a special variety of trees raised carefully in her greenhouse. As her apprentice, Organa, it is your job to care for these trees and harvest organs for the shop while filling customer’s orders. Organs can be harvested in Excellent, Great or Normal form while the scraps make the perfect meals for small animals – let nothing go to waste! However, as with most dealings with alchemy there is always a risk and reward to keep in mind: you may transplant a new organ in a living or non-living being and it may gain new life and/or abilities but it may be at the cost of its original soul.

Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden may be described as a uniquely spirited organ clicking game (or perhaps a very dark humored gardening simulator). As Organa, players will slowly but surely grow and learn to care for this unique garden. Starting with one tree and learning how to water and when to harvest it will then transform into quite the undertaking once the entire greenhouse is filled with various organ plants and other creations (such as a meat mincer and pickling jars). Various animals can be bought to help aid in the process of growing, ripening, pickling and mincing the organs to place various orders of variety, size and quantity that customers request. There is but a small amount of timing actually involved and most of the harvesting can be done at your own pace. As the garden grows and things become more hectic, Irine will often grant Organa new ways to mass water or harvest organs and help make the entire process less tedious.

This all probably sounds quite odd and there is no denying that fact. The various characters that come in and out of the shop  are so very twisted in each of their own ways that it comes full round from psychotic to endearing in a way that you will likely never quite understand. They are a small sampling of stories that truly paint a picture of what having such a resource can do for society – the good and the bad.

In my playthrough, it took me around 20 hours to 100% this game and complete all quests, stories,Forget ferret objectives and both endings (which just let me say, the true ending is adorable). It is a simple concept overall that you will tweak into your own form of perfection in gathering the various qualities of organs needed for quests and moving the story forward. I will forewarn you – it is a point and click grind of soft music and random birds chirping for about 90% of the game. Personally, I enjoyed the weirdness of the story and just overall atmosphere of the game – it is such a brightly colored game and yet the content is something you might hear of in a horror story just before everything goes terribly wrong. It was worth it to grind through the quests and they really required very little thinking to accomplish (i.e. it was perfect to play in the background while listening to music, watching a movie or even just to play by itself in a weirdly therapeutic way I suppose).

It may not be action intense, puzzle heavy or in-depth story driven but it is a unique experience for those willing to give it a chance. Perhaps it is simply a dark and playful side of my spirit that found the charm in this game but it won me over despite its slow start and grinding repetition.

In the end, you have to admit there may be a small part of you that has been missing out on growing life granting organs from trees alongside hummingbirds, lizards and humunculi to fulfill the wishes of your fellow townspeople. Or maybe not, but that is for you to decide.

Forget garden

If you could go back and change something, would you do it?

Would you risk everything for simply a chance?

Is that truly your wish?

amnesia wall

What could be more difficult than waking up into a world where nothing makes sense? Your work, your school, your friends, your interests, your dreams – why can’t you remember? It seems like there is something you should not have forgotten, no matter what happened. What…or who…could it be?

Opening your eyes for the first time you come across a strange looking boy with horns – a spirit named Orion. Barely remembering your own name, Orion explains that he accidentally crashed into you – literally – and fused with your subconscious, knocking your memories and personality to the winds while doing so. How unfortunate, but luckily he vows to stay with you until your memories can be found and returned. Now, where to start ~

amnesia memories orion

Amnesia: Memories by Otomate and Idea Factory is a beautiful visual novel in which a young girl, the player, returns to her life after an uncanny turn of events and attempts to recover everything about herself that she lost. Reliving the month of August within 5 different timelines – the places remain the same and so do the people around her – but not everything is just as it used to be.

Although waking up with amnesia is certainly terrifying, staying locked inside is probably the worst possible scenario: no outward stimulation means no chance of triggering a memory returning. Only once these precious significant memories are recovered can Orion finally be separated from you and you can begin to live your life as you used to.

amnesia memories suits

Your apartment, your work, the hospital, the theater, the park – these are all places that mean so much to you for various reasons both past and future, yet they always remain static; it is the people you surround yourself with that have the biggest impact, and also provide the biggest danger. There is Shin (the harsh but caring suit of hearts) and Toma (the protective suit of diamonds) that have been your closest friends since childhood; Ikki (the compassionate playboy suit of spades) and Kent (the methodical suit of clubs) who you know from work and school; there is Sawa, who one of your best friends, and Mine who is a younger co-worker and occasionally a friendly rival; then of course there is the manager of your work, Waka, who has unique quirks of his own (military style run maid cafe? Sure, why not). Last but not least there is one other individual (the joker) – his appearances are rare and usually veiled in mystery, yet he almost seems the most important…but why?

amnesia memories others

So you must relive and relearn life as you once knew it five times over; but fear not, although the faces and locations remain familiar, the events that occur within each story arc vastly differ and are never easily overcome.

Each of the five arcs hold numerous bad endings, a normal ending and a good ending; which although may seem like a lot (26 endings in total) they truly leave you with a thorough understanding of everything around you. Initially, the first four arcs (heart, spade, diamond and club) may be played in any order; once completed, the final arc (joker) may be played. After viewing all the other stories, the final arc is almost a culmination of aspects the other four possess and represents the place where you truly belong.

amnesia memories heroine

Amnesia: Memories is truly a captivating experience and never seems like you are simply reading the same things over and over again. How you react and the answers you give to those around you can make a huge difference and change how the story plays out in drastic ways. Attempting to hide your amnesia but poorly masking it may lead others to become suspicious of you or even acting so off course to how you used did (which who really knows how that was until someone tells you) may become a good or a bad thing. However, even though you go to and from your apartment and work so often throughout the month, don’t think for a second that it is just an average slice-of-life playthrough. Each route holds its own suspense and in each one there are attempts on your life through various forms of dangers and harassment. Perhaps it is a jealous fan club that wishes you harm for dating their obsession or maybe it is being pushed by an unknown source into an oncoming train or traffic. Orion and those around you try to help as much as possible, but it is never easy to know the future or react fast enough when the time comes.

amnesia memories group

You may think this sounds familiar, and perhaps it is; there is an anime of the same name that follows a similar premise (If you’d like to see my review of that, click Here). However, the downfalls of the anime are almost entirely replaced within the visual novel on so many fronts. For one, the visual novel requires self insertment meaning that you, the player, become the protagonist/heroine and you decide what is going to happen and how to answer; in an anime, the viewer has no input and therefore the heroine became a blank slate with no memories, no personality, no brain (or so it would seem) and was simply frustrating to watch at times. The VN also is able to place far more detail into the story – almost akin to how reading a book and watching a movie based on the book will be similar, but not the same. The VN explains that it was her personality as well as her memories that were pushed out by Orion fusing with her and it also goes into far more aspects of the other characters that simply could not be conveyed in a 12 episode series adaption.

An aspect of the anime that did transfer over from the VN would be the exquisite art style and the beautiful soundtrack. From the ornate and detailed outfits and look of all the characters to their multifaceted eyes, the art style is mesmerizing. The music adds its own opening and closing themes and the instrumental backgrounds that accompany the scenes simply meld perfectly – from gentle, unknown melodies to beautiful piano arrangements to suspenseful rhythms which all somehow never take away from what it actually happening on screen. The voice acting is also superb and really brings the characters to life no matter what change of atmosphere may occur.

amnesia memories shin

One thing that caught me off guard in a good way was how consistent the story remained in its finest details. Many games that have multiple endings will change them drastically and leave you wondering which is truly the correct ending – which one really adds up all the details and makes sense 100% and which ones don’t quite fit right. Within each arc there are 4-5 different endings, yet the story never deviates from its ultimate path. For example, in the heart world you are pushed off a cliff by someone and wake up in the hospital. Shin is suspected of having done so but was let off after many interrogations and your own support to the police claiming that he did not do it. As the story goes on and you, as well as everyone who was present that night, go back to investigate the incident the paths begin to diverge. However, even though all of the endings come to vastly different finales, the culprit who pushed you remains the same…although that may not necessarily be the same person who kills you or attempts to interfere or otherwise. On a larger scale, even throughout viewing the stories of the other worlds so many things remain the same. Each characters personalities never falter even if their type of relationship with you changes, who they are friends with, who you are friends with, the types of dangers and atmosphere at present – they all exist in all of the worlds, it is how they affect you and what you are involved with that changes the outcome.

In the end, Amnesia: Memories is a romance and mystery visual novel with dabbles of supernatural (I mean, you are fused with a spirit after all). I suppose something that should be explained for those who may not know is what a visual novel actually is: it is an interactive fiction game usually using anime style art and still images. For anyone who may have only seen the anime or is interested in this series, I would highly suggest playing the visual novel. It is not a game for everyone, but if it is you will certainly not regret it. Give it some time and let the story truly encompass you. Let the fear, the sorrow and happiness pull you in. Experience the journey. Remember the good and the bad. Simply, feel.

amnesia memories pretty

never alone title

When times are at their worst, often that is when evil will choose to strike. Where blizzards never cease to bellow their wintery wilds and frostbitten winds tear and rage at everything in its path, a young girl ventures away from the safety of her starving village to see what could be causing the devastating weather. The path ahead of her is laden with trials and dangers from the deadly jaws of polar bears to strangers ransacking her village to sinking ice caps and tumultuous waters. With naught but her courage and her new found arctic fox companion, they traverse the dangers together with the aid of helpful ancient spirits to see what lies in wait at the end of the blizzards roar.

never aloneNever Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna), developed by Upper One Games, is so much more than just a beautiful puzzle/platformer – it is a collaboration of gaming and Native Alaskan folklore told through an interactive experience. The game, however, was not simply a product of devoted research and interviews; but rather had direct involvement with over 40 Native elders, storytellers and community members of the Iñupiat people creating not only an atmospheric and endearing gameplay experience but also including an informative documentary on the culture.

Never Alone allows players to take control of both the young Iñupiat girl, Nuna, and the arctic fox either by switching between the two in single player mode or allowing (and encouraging) playing with a friend through local co-op. The playstyle of each character is different enough to keep things interesting and add an extra layer to the puzzles as each cannot always reach places via the same methods. Nuna has the ability to push objects, climb ropes and use a bolas weapon to break through certain obstacles; whereas the fox has a much better jumping and climbingnever alone 3 ability, can fit in small tunnels and also communicate with ancient spirits that aid the two in their difficult journey for survival. The controls are smooth and easy to grasp as Nuna and fox jump, climb, shatter ice and branches, and out maneuver creatures that wish for their demise, though that is not to say there aren’t times where what the characters should do and what they actually do differed (usually leading to a swift, and slightly heart-wrenching death on one part or the other). Luckily, check point saves occur fairly often so there is not much backtracking to be done if a more difficult or timing induced area is encountered.

Aesthetically, the game is absolutely gorgeous. From the airbrushed art style of the main game to the simple sketches of the story’s cutscenes, it all comes together fluidly. Faded out and cloudy edges of the screen give sense of the all encompassing blizzard surrounding everything while soft and vivid tones accentuate danger and safety – a subtle hint that speaks volumes. The overlying story itself is narrated in the Native Iñupiat language almost giving a feeling of listening to a folk tale by the light of the fire as the images come to life in front of your very eyes.

never alone 4Never Alone offers players a unique chance to experience a culture so very few know much about and does so in an artistic way that really brings everything to life. Available on PC and next gen consoles, it is certainly worth at least one playthrough to experience the beauty and artistry of the game and story (although perhaps not for its full price tag). The game may take a couple of hours to 100% and finish with about 30 minutes of documentary unlockables to be viewed as well either during the playthrough or afterwards. For those with Playstation Plus, Never Alone is free to download for the month of April; so do yourself a favor and spend a little time with this one. Between the endearing affection and trust between Nuna and the fox and the overall passion the developers imbued within every moment, it truly speaks for itself.

never alone 2

 Always remember that no matter what happens, you are never truly alone.

evolve title

 

Behold this beautiful living planet! A place unlike any other with an abundance of exotic wildlife and fauna nearly untouched by human population and advancement. There is, of course, the small detail that everything existing on this world has a strong penchant for death and dismemberment – but that’s all just part of the fun! Oh, and let’s not forget the slight problem of enormously overpowered monsters that inhabit the world and aim to make it their own. But enough idle chit chat! Go and enjoy the beauty that abounds under foot, overhead and all around. Keep your weapons loaded and your wits about you. Welcome to Shear, Hunters!

Most people who see the words 4v1 will instantly have numerous thoughts fly through their heads such as ‘There is no way that is fair!’, ‘Someone must think themselves elite as all get out to expect to win solo against 4 people’, ‘This sounds totally AWESOME!’ Well, the creators of the much adored Left 4 Dead series have brought about a new world for fans of cooperative and versus multiplayer to annihilate each other in with Evolve.

evolveInstead of the usual 4 person cooperative against AI or 4v4 matches, Evolve introduces an asymmetrical fps experience that works amazingly well where no matter which side is represented, they will have to use every ability and know how in order to outsmart, out-maneuver and overpower the enemy before they end up gazing longingly at the winners circle just out of reach. Currently, there are 12 possible hunters that can be chosen from to include 3 assault classes, 3 support classes, 3 medic classes, and 3 trapper classes. The beauty of it lies in that each of the hunters all have unique weapons and abilities which can aid their team in different ways (however they do all share the same class ability whether that be a shield, invisibility, regen field, or mobile arena). This allows for numerous combinations and strategy when it comes to completing the objective or destroying the monster for that particular match. The monsters have similar options, though seeing as they are solitary hunters, there are only 3 variances as of right now to include the Goliath, the Kraken and the Wraith – each with their own devastating attacks and abilities.

Before even deciding which hunter or monster is to be played, there is the choice of map and objective which can greatly alter the outcome of the match if not taken into account. Evolve is so much more than simply the hunters and monsters going after each other for the kill. The heart and soul of the game lies in its Evacuation mode – a 5 map alternating circuit where the outcome of each match has the potential for beneficial or detrimental effects going forward for the winning and losing side, finally leading up to a finale where the fate of the planet is decided. Additionally, each map mode can be played on its own or rotating. There is hunt mode – where hunters track the monster throughout a decently large map and aim to kill it before it kills them; Nest – where hunters aim to destroy monster eggs before the monster hatches or kills the hunters in the process; Rescue – where survivors scattered and injured throughout the map must be revived and escorted to the dropship to safety before the monster kills them first; and Defend – where the monster (and its powerful minions) aim to destroy generators and ultimately the power ship as the hunters work to thwart its destruction.

Within each match there are also additional things to keep in mind besides hunters and monster killing each other evolve huntersand trying to complete the main objective. Hunters must be wary of the environment as well as each other as wildlife can easily incapacitate a hunter whether it is by elite albino creature or by man eating plant. Monsters have the additional tactic of up-keeping the games namesake and evolving by consuming fallen wildlife throughout Shear to reach the coveted and extremely volatile stage 3 monster.

The variances in maps, matches, monsters and hunters lead the game to having over 800 thousand possibilities with no two matches every being quite the same. But wait, there is even more! Each hunter can be leveled up in their unique weapons to become even more powerful and useful to the team; where monsters can do just the same to reach that ever desired Elite status of mastery. An overall leveling system unlocking hunter and monster perks as well as badges and other accolades are also tracked; and lets not forget the bragging rights on how high each class or monster is ranked on the leaderboards.

Looking past the concepts that make up Evolve, its core makeup is pretty solid in itself. Gameplay wise, the controls are smooth and fluid whether it is using the jetpack to traverse cliffs or get a birds eye view of the terrain to switching weapons and aiding teammates in need. Running, jumping and jetpack evasions all but scratch the surface as even the great size of the monsters is attributed in their great leaps and span over the land. Visually the graphics are beautiful from the plants and creatures found on Shear to the harmful effects of acidic gas flooding from destroyed power plants and airships flying overhead. The only problem is taking a second to actually enjoy the beauty all around as you careen across the landscape in hot pursuit of death itself. Evolve is truly a solid gaming experience all around no matter if you prefer playing solo with extremely intelligent AI bots or with friends and strangers through multiplayer rounds.

evolve wraithNow let’s take a moment to explore the more controversial side of Evolve: the reviews! If you look around the Internet, likely you will come across a huge array of reviews having outstanding scores to dismal ones. How could this be possible? Well, there are two sides here – those based on gameplay experience and those based on sales experience. The gameplay experience reviews will likely be the higher of the two in regards to the actual gameplay, graphics, sound, replay-ability, controls, and ingenuity (basically, everything the developers worked hard to implement into the game); the sales experience reviews will be the lower tier, most not even giving the actual game much chance because of disagreement with involvement from a monetary standpoint. What is frustrating is that for those gamers on the fence about trying this game, it leaves them little help in what to think when enough negative reviews may make a large enough impact to scare them away from trying a game they might actually truly enjoy.

So why the money issues when it comes to Evolve? Well, it mostly boils down to the $60 price tag, day one dlc, a season pass and pre-order bonuses. I will honestly say that I can see their point, but I wholeheartedly disagree with where they are coming from. Here are some thoughts on it –

The price tag: yes, it is the full price that most new games retail at. Take into account the amount of time, effort and resources the developers put into creating a game such as this and it does add up. If it is too much, simply wait for the price to go down – it will.

The day one DLC: I agree, it is frustrating to see at times. Why put out a game when there is still additional contentevolve creature that should be implemented into it originally and force gamers to pay extra for something that could have simply been launched from the start? I get it. However, the day one DLC complaints are really not an issue at all because of one simple thing: what could be bought had zero impact or advantage to playing the game. If buying weapon and character skins is really that big of a deal, well then just don’t buy them – they certainly won’t make you play better and is just for those who like to stand out from the crowd a little bit (something that most players will likely not even notice amidst everything else going on).

The season pass: Most games these days are coming out with them, however it comes down to each individual game if paying the extra for all additional content is truly worth the price. Take Borderlands 2 for example, is the season pass worth it? Most definitely! What about a season pass for a game that simply offers a couple extra maps and weapons? Well, maybe not so much. Evolve’s season pass is hard to pinpoint right now as nothing additional has come out for it yet. More monsters and hunters have been announced and speculated and perhaps even additional maps or game modes, but we will just have to wait and see what lies in store.

Lastly, the pre-order bonuses: How this is even an argument baffles me, and yet I have seen it mentioned. In today’s retail world, pre-orders are what guarantee sales for companies and in return they often offer free exclusive content to those purchasing the game. Taking advantage of this benefit is not only held by a particular group of people – anyone can do so simply by pre-purchasing or putting a small amount down on the game before its release date. That said, the bonuses for doing so are non-game changing: skins, extra characters, a map or maybe a weapon. Most games coming out have pre-order bonuses linked to them, and whether people decide to take advantage of it or not is purely up to them.

evolve goliathSo take what you will from media and user reviews and decide for yourself what is truly worth your hard earned time and money. Not every AAA title with great reviews is loved by all and not every low scoring game is a complete waste of time. Play what you want and then make your own opinion of it. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what the game is so long as you are having fun with friends.

Regardless of it all, Evolve is a solid multiplayer experience for next gen consoles and pc that already has accumulated over 100 years time in gameplay since its launch a couple weeks ago. Whether it is fighting and dying with friends and strangers or showing off solo superiority, there is much awaiting on Shear for all.

It is out there. Waiting. Fighting. Hunting. Dying.

Evolving.

Melody Title

Please don’t stop the – Please don’t stop the – Please don’t stop the music!

Moving to the beat of your own music is probably one of the best philosophies that a person can have in life. Whether someone is happy, sad, playful, angry or nostalgic, music simply has a way of impacting people inside and out.

So how awesome would it be to gauge a game off of the very tracks that make up your own music library?

MelodyDoing just that, indie developer Icetesy’s Melody’s Escape is a runner/rhythm PC game that feeds off the music found on your own computer and creates a unique fast-paced quick reflex course for Melody to traverse for each track that is played. From the slowest sonata to the fastest techno beat, each track becomes an instinct based battlefield of directional and specific button sequences for the player to navigate – with perfection being the ultimate goal!

At the end of each music track a rating of 1-5 hearts is given as well as the highest chain sequence and a breakdown of how each obstacle was hit or missed. Additionally, achieving that perfect chain score proves to be no easy task on any of the four difficulties ranging from relaxing to normal to intense and finally to overload!MelodyThumbnailAnimated200px

Similar to other music based games, Melody’s Escape is primarily based on quick eye-hand coordination and fast reflexes. What makes it truly spectacular is that it does not submit the player to its own quirky nondescript electro-beat music but rather utilizes the players own music library – adding not only enjoyment but additional replay value in seeing what new tracks and courses may be created.

Overall, Melody’s Escape is a simple yet challenging and enjoyable game that spices up simply listening to music to experiencing it. The game can be purchased through Steam and played via keyboard or controller.

To see some of my own gameplay, check out the video below: =)

Music: Choir Jail by Suzuki Konomi
Official Site: http://www.melodysescape.com/
Steam store: http://store.steampowered.com/app/270210/

(Only thing owned by me is whatever skill (or lack there of) seen above!)