Endless Legend is an engaging and enjoyable 4X strategy game with a sharp and appealing interface and interesting creative content that is not taken advantage of to the same extent as the skill and empire upgrade systems. Coming across a new minor faction of strange frozen giants or fire-possessed skeletons is interesting before you eradicate the flock; at this point you’re left with the same empty piece of lore-ridden land in any case. The different factions you can play as, however, are explored in greater creative depth and add to replayability – it is unfortunate the same cannot be said for your enemies. Walking the well-trodden path, Endless Legend still manages to tell some interesting stories and throw some enjoyable challenges along that pleasant, well-designed path.
This may come as a surprise, but A Story About My Uncle was the first game I ever heard described as a ‘non-violent first-person platform adventure’, and as soon as I heard that description I was excited by the prospect of what that could mean. Portal without the constant harassment by GLaDOS? Flying through the skies with a sense of childlike whimsy and without worrying about being horrifically attacked? The possibilities were great. As it turned out, I managed to work out how to predict how much someone was likely to enjoy ASAMU by boiling it down to a simple question: how much do you like to grapple? If the answer is ‘so very much! I could grapple all day!’ then (spoilers for the direction of this review) this may very well be the game for you. If not, you might be in for some frustration.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard as much negative hype about a game leading up to its release than I did with the Sims 4. Almost everything I read about it was to do with the countless removal of features from past iterations in the series, or the endless bugs that apparently rendered it completely unplayable. As someone who hasn’t really invested much time in any of the Sims games after the very first, the removal of toddlers wasn’t something that particularly bothered me. Even so, after spending a bunch of time in this entry as a relative newcomer to the series, I found the pre-release negativity to be wholly without grounding–the Sims 4 not only works, but works brilliantly. There’s just something about creating your character and have them do all the things you know you should but are too lazy to do in real life, like get a job you actually enjoy or go jogging once a day. Not many other games are capable of causing an existential crisis by realising that my character has developed the same body type as me in real life.
In June of last year I made my Select Start Media debut with a review of a charming (if slightly wacky) “classic point-and-click adventure with a black African twist” called The Journey Down. With the music and atmosphere of Monkey Island and style and character design I’d never really seen before, the game felt familiar but fresh and I enjoyed the time I spent with it. You can imagine my excitement, then, when I found out that chapter two of this interesting tale had been released more than a year later, and I was able to revisit this dark and mysterious world with the bumbling protagonist Bwana.
The first Memento Mori game came out in 2008, and until about six months ago it was one of those games that sat in my Steam library unplayed and unnoticed. When I found out I’d be reviewing the second one, I thought I’d do the fair thing and give it a playthrough, so that I could truly give Memento Mori 2 the thoroughly researched review that it deserved. As it turns out, I think I would have been better off if I hadn’t, because maybe then I wouldn’t have noticed some of the blaring flaws with this frequently confusing and inconsistent game.
It is much easier to write a negative review than a positive one. With this in mind, this one was honestly pretty easy to write, and I’d better just note the things I liked here while I remember: music is sufficiently funky and aesthetic quality ideal, despite the low production value on each.
For whatever it is worth, Growing Pains is a technically well-made arcade platformer with strong variation in difficulty and an attempt at a unique idea. Realistically though, it is yet another addition to a sorely saturated market; the masochistic and unnecessarily timed trial-and-error competitive flash games played by school students in class and no one else; in a perfect world, anyway. With the number of these games being pumped out by independent studios that could be otherwise producing actual entertainment, it appears there is some sort of market for this trash, which saddens me deeply.
Independent games were once renowned for the extra effort invested in original plot, characters and at least an attempt at interesting dialogue, while triple-A titles pushed forward interesting gameplay concepts. With big-name developers now competing to see who can be as derivative as possible, we rely on independents to conceive gaming elements intriguing enough to prevent the gaming world from becoming an industry-servicing industry, pumping out bland, generally acceptable titles that appeal to wider audiences to maximise sales, using the profits from last year’s sequel-fest bland-o-rama.
Project Temporality investigates some potential game-saving concepts but is one of the most derivative independent titles in regards to the extra-curricular gaming elements that we’ve ever seen. Somewhere along the line, tables have turned.