Lately there has been no shortage of simplistic indie strategy games. Tower Wars is developer SuperVillain Studio’s entrant into the already flooded market that is indie strategy games. Tower Wars, as a strategy game, is a cross between traditional top-down tower defence and a MOBA-style game (multiplayer online battle arena, Defence of the Ancients-like) with a heavy focus on micro management and careful tech-tree advancement. The main game mode is competitive online multiplayer but also includes a co-operative wave mode and a single player classic tower defence mode. Tower Wars has a lot going for it with a low price tag and polished game play, but is it enough to stand out among the countless indie strategy games available?
If you’re a fan of indie side-scrolling shooters, you’ve probably already heard of Intrusion 2, the project of one-man team Aleksey Abramenko, and you’d probably enjoy it as much as any other decent title of the genre. This game delivers some scrumptiously fun run-and-gun gameplay, for about 4 hours (provided you are playing on High difficulty), plus another hour of rage-inducing trial and error, though anyone holding out for any extras such as an interesting protagonist or innovative story may be disappointed. For me, the reliance on clichéd puzzles and challenges was the major disappointment that brought down the overall game experience.
Since their introduction to the world way back in 1887, the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson have remained one of the few constants in the pop culture lexicon. Seldom a year has gone by without some sort of Holmes media seeing release. One contributor to this phenomenon is Frogwares, who, since 2002, have developed an almost-annual series of adventure games creatively titled Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps best known for 2006′s fantastic Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, the latest instalment in the franchise is also the first to have been specifically developed for consoles, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes.
Warfighter. Before we go any further, I would like you all to stop for a moment and take another look at that name. Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Isn’t it just the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard? “Yeah, the players will be in wars… and they’ll be fighting… I’ve got it! Warfighter!” And everyone in the office threw their hats up in the air and cheered, as they’d just came up with the name of the second butchering of the Medal of Honor franchise.
BIG Spoilers for episodes 1-3 follow.
When I closed down Around Every Corner, the penultimate episode of Telltale Games’ fantastic episodic adventure series based on The Walking Dead, my mouth was ajar. Totally ajar. Not slightly ajar, not partially ajar, but my bottom jaw was actually on my desk. It wasn’t perfect, by any means – Lee is still the clumsiest motherfucker in video game history – but Around Every Corner completely fulfils its duty, to provide a brilliant set-up for what is shaping up to be one of the greatest moments in adventure games, No Time Left.
Spoilers for episodes 1 and 2 follow.
A New Day was good. Starved for Help was excellent. But it’s the latest entry in Telltale’s adaptation of the popular graphic novel series The Walking Dead, Episode 3: Long Road Ahead, that really cements this episodic adventure game as the best zombie game ever made. Once again, I’m not going to go into detail about the mechanics or gameplay or anything, as I’ve talked about that in my review of episode 1. Episode 3 sees the series curve more towards that of a point-and-click adventure than an interactive drama, with an increased amount of redundant, clichéd puzzles that frustrated me in the other episodes. On the other hand, if you thought Starved for Help was a horribly accurate representation of the degradation of human behaviour in the wake of… well, a zombie apocalypse, then prepare to be shocked by Long Road Ahead. Never before has a video game been so bleak.
I think that I may have used this opening line in a review already, but video game titles are often vague. Deus Ex - what the hell kind of game is that going to be? How would you know without any prior knowledge? You wouldn’t. Every now and then, however, a game like this one comes along. A game like Alien Shooter 2: Conscription. A game in which all it takes is a quick look at the title to determine that it’s a spin-off of Alien Shooter 2, which is, in turn, a sequel to Alien Shooter. And do you know what you might do in Alien Shooter 2: Conscription? You shoot aliens. Lots of aliens. With lots of guns. Resulting in lots of blood.
There seems to be a general consensus among a large number of gamers is that horror games, as a whole, have been spiralling towards a slow death since 2002′s Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. Yep, looks like this is going to be one of those reviews in which I reference a whole bunch of other games. Apart from Condemned: Criminal Origins and Amnesia: The Dark Descent, horror fans really haven’t had all that much to satisfy their desires for the last decade; adding insult to injury is the fact that the period between 1998-2002 saw a huge number of blood-curdingly terrifying games released back to back. And now we have Lone Survivor. This strange amalgam of platforming, exploration and psychological survival horror (with an emphasis on the survival part) is the product of just one man, Jasper Byrne, and even if you walk away thinking you didn’t really enjoy it, you’ll be wholly unable to avoid the lingering feeling of despair that accompanies only the greatest of horror games.
In the contemporary video game climate (do I use that phrase too much?), there seem to be a number of common, yet largely ignored, plagues. Well, maybe plague is a very harsh word, but there are definitely a few infective diseases that are spreading like wildfire through the industry. Is that phrase too harsh as well? In my review of Krater, I briefly discussed the epidemic that is indie games releasing well before they’re ready and lacking a multitude of necessary features. Fieldrunners, recently released on Steam, is an example of a very distinct pandemic – portable games being ported to platforms which really don’t need them.
Way back in 2009, a strange little third-person shooter was released, called Foreign Legion: Buckets of Blood. I’m sure that the real foreign legion, the branch of the French army open to civilians of other countries (thanks Wikipedia), was thrilled to have their name on a game in which you attempt to defend a number of objectives (bus full of civilians, house full of civilians) from wave after wave of terrorists in as gory a manner as possible. Indeed, the more grizzly your method of dispatching your foes, be them soldiers or chickens, the more buckets of blood (or, score) you accumulated throughout the level.