Absolver players around the world have been looking forward to the Downfall update for a plethora of reasons. With only a small to medium player base, Absolver boasts a quality of content on par with AAA developers. Like the EnomView team, players have been hoping that this expansion is exactly what the game needs to boost its player base to levels the game deserves. Personally, I think it’s a perfectly executed step in the right direction. Here’s what the Downfall expansion is bringing to the table:
From the Fold, an Etheran called Iktar contacts Absolvers: his sibling Arcell is spreading Gleam deep down in the Adalian mines, and gaining power over Lost Prospects. The barrier to the Fold could be shattered, imploding the physical realities into abstractions and concepts. A path to the Fold and to Arcell can be found, beyond the Underground Temples – the truth will appear there, in a place where the fabric of reality is being torn apart…
Battle deep in the mines of Adal as a solo warrior or in online cooperative play, collecting Gleam from infected Prospects and transforming it as a reward for your deeds. The more Gleam you capture, the more powerful you become in your struggle to defeat the Corrupted, and even Arcell himself. Each run through the Mines and Temples is a unique path through a variety of challenges and situations, facing upgraded enemies, and three epic boss fights.
Inspired by Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, the Faejin Combat Style blends defense and offense with percussive strikes and fluid power. The new approach is a complex style for experienced Absolvers, featuring different defensive abilities that depend on both input and stances. Faejin will feature 26 attacks for bare hands and wargloves, alongside 15 sword attacks.
In the Downfall expansion, we’re introducing a new way for players and Schools to compete with each other: School Challenges. Absolvers who have reached the Disciple rank in a school (or who are Mentors of their own) can participate in School challenges, by using their school’s decks and powers in 1v1 Combat Trials. All wins representing one’s school count in the School challenges, with individual and collective performances of the schools bringing fresh rewards every three weeks, at the end of the season.
Alongside the new Game Mode, Combat Style, and School Challenges, new equipment will be featured in the Downfall expansion, with six brand new full sets (51 total pieces of equipment), plus two prestige variants of existing sets to be found in the Essence Shop. New masks will also be found in the Mines of Adal, as well as new wargloves and swords. Finally, original emotes will also be found in the Essence shop: 6 new emotes and 3 new PvP intros.
Our favorite web-slinger first appeared back in September of 1962 in Amazing Fantasy #15. Since then, he has been beloved by millions as one of the greatest heroes ever created. He is relatable, funny, dynamic and an all-around decent human being… with radioactive spider powers. One draw to him is the fact that even though he is a superhero, he is not too overly powerful. He may be stronger than any normal human being, but there are several superheroes that are far greater in strength. He has his weaknesses and his quirks, but that only makes him more realistic and makes those tense scenes all the more fun to watch.
Being arguably the favorite superhero comes with yet another perk, though. The merchandise and paraphernalia are absolutely through the roof! You would be hard pressed to find some form of entertainment or toy where Spider-man is not prominently showcased in all his red and blue glory. Among these massively popular mediums is video games. Spidey has been featured in tons of games on a vast number of different systems (even systems you may never have heard about) and while some of them have the wall-crawler at his finest, some of them simply missed the mark.
First, we can get into more dismal views of the webbed crusader. He has no shortage of terrible games in his library and many of them can be found in his less recent video games. There was an era of games where the concept of a Spidey game was rather raw and unmolded.
Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six
One of the most well-known games in the old Spider-man era is the 1992 release on the NES, Master system, and game gear. We will be looking at the version of the NES console where we play a side-scrolling platform version of the old web-head. While the graphics are quite good for the time, that’s about all that can be said in a positive light. LJN is a company notorious for its bad video games and timely releases at the cost of quality. It boasts a great roster of villains, some of the favourites are showcased here, and while they shine in the comic-like atmosphere of the game, they are still overtly hated and despised for all the wrong reasons.
The controls of this game are absolutely atrocious! It is a very steep learning curve and the difficulty spike comes from the inability to pull off simple moves rather than the actual gameplay. The worst part is the hit detection. You can be right on target with your punches, which is your strongest attack and still completely miss the mark. You have to be standing in an exact spot and execute it just right to get the desired effect. The boss fights are tedious and completely unfair, rather than sporting a fair challenge. You have a hit bar of four squares while your enemies have a hit bar of seemingly ten or twenty.
The real terror comes in the form of your hit bar and making sure you do not get damaged by enemies. If you get even two hits from the underlings early on, you may as well consider yourself on borrowed time. You have two whole lives to play with, and after losing the second time, you have to start all the way at the beginning of the game. With the hit detection, wonky controls and the fact that you have very little health in the first place, you need to get good and get good quick.
It is clear that the developers were trying to come up with a system that would make the gameplay harder in order to make the time played longer so that you feel like you get more bang for your buck. However, there’s just one problem, the game is not good. You can grow to like it if you really try, but the vast majority didn’t feel like it was worth their time to perfect their craft of playing the game. It was too hard, too tedious, and there were just better games out there that were more worth your time.
The Amazing Spider-man 1 and 2
Now, we can look at the Gameboy entries of Spidey. These are some of the earliest titles in the gallery. The first one came out in 1990 and the next one coming out alongside The Return of the Sinister Six in 1992. Both of these games have been paired together for a reason which will become very clear very quickly.
The first game starts off with, once again, the controls. While we’re not going to judge it too harshly for the graphics (it’s Gameboy, guys, the graphics are going to be crap, get over it) we can very much lay into it for having some of the worst jumping mechanics ever made. Trying to jump over obstacles in this game are next to impossible in some cases, as you have to use a long jump in just the right amount of movement. This can be next to impossible when you are in between two very close crates and can’t gain up the proper momentum.
Once again, the game has been artificially elongated with overuse of difficulty in the form of close proximity in massive amounts of enemies! You can be on a screen for ridiculous amounts of time because of the line of birds above you and the men walking toward you trying to kill you all culminating in a frustrating conga line of stress. That added with the jump mechanic turn this game into a massive failure that is barely even playable from the start.
Spider-man 2 features Carnage on the cover. For those of you who are familiar with the comics, you will recognize the cover from Maximum Carnage in all its beauty and glory. After 2 years of silence, they finally come out with another Gameboy game to follow up the last one. This should be fu– oh who am I kidding? It’s even worse. Yeah, I know I said I wasn’t going to touch on the terrible graphics of the time, but I have an excuse. These graphics are even more abysmal than the first instalment! Spider-man looks like he’s made of flimsy clay and his walking mechanic is one of the most awkward things to look at.
Without a playthrough to follow, you will get lost. You have to watch a playthrough very, very closely or you are going to bore yourself by searching through the same hallways and staircases over and over, scratching your head to figure things out. Now, I don’t know what your cup of tea is, but if you want a straightforward game with action-packed mechanics, look away from this game. It’s a puzzle solving game. Yes, having Spider-man solve puzzles and use his wits to defeat the baddies is a good thing, but in small doses. You will be traversing these hard puzzles to get to the villains while clawing your eyes out.
The sad part about this is that the controls have improved somewhat. The hit detection is more well-focused and the jump mechanics have changed to make it much more intuitive to jump over boxes and obstacles. However, we trade one horrific trait for a whole nother one as this game is ridiculously boring and hard to figure out. Is it worth your time? Well, that’s obviously for you to figure out, but this game will be hard pressed to appeal to the masses.
So, all in all, we see that Spider-man has had a rough past (thanks in part to LJN) when it comes to video games. What brought all of these problems about? Controls, of course. Controls and the limitations of video games to bring about a travesty of problems when it comes to depicting the hero in his true form. Spidey is a mobile hero. His agility, flexibility and quick thinking are what many love about him when it comes to fighting crime, and back in the old side-scrolling days of video games, they just couldn’t go about translating all of that into games. The limitations of game consoles back then made it nigh impossible to do him justice and the games suffered for it along with their players.
Join us next time as we travel through the ages to take a look at more video games featuring the wall-crawler and his entire host of villainous misfits! There’s a lot of standouts that feature Spidey and while we can’t get through all of them, we can certainly take a quick gander. Remember to stay a true-believer, and remember to drink water.
The Switch is rapidly growing into the to-go console for platform games, and Spectrum is one of them. Set in an abstract world of vibrant colors and shifting shapes, players can enjoy eighty levels of pure, zen-like platforming. The game has four ‘worlds’, each with their own unique environments and obstacles. The minimalist art style was pleasing, but the color scheme a little too glaring for my tastes. It does improve as the game progresses, the palette shifting to darker colors like purple or orange.
Beginning levels are a cakewalk, training wheels to get unfamiliar players accustomed to the controls. It’s a little tedious if you’re used to platform games, but they’re short enough that you won’t get bored. That said, levels gradually become more challenging, some even requiring multiple runs to complete. I didn’t expect the spike in difficulty, but it’s not unwelcome. Compared to the starting levels, things get more fun from the second world onward. Depending on your tastes, this is either a good or bad thing.
The player has three objectives. Finish the level within the time limit, remain unharmed, and gather all the orbs. Fulfilling the objects is entirely optional, and there is zero punishment for not completing one, or all three. If you’re competitive and want a rival to outscore, you can do so by checking the leaderboards. For players who aren’t interested in speed runs, Spectrum also allows you to take as much time as you need to beat a level. I thought this was a nice touch, neither completionists nor casual gamers will lose out.
The gameplay is fun and annoying in equal amounts. You control a wispy, three-eyed tadpole that can jump and dive indefinitely. Navigating levels tests the player’s reflex and sense of timing with ever-shifting death traps in the form of brightly colored platforms. Anything colored can harm you. Dull colors take one-third of your health, while bright ones’ end in instant death. In addition, collecting orbs will replenish your health bar, and this can alleviate tense situations if your blob is one touch away from extinction.
Level design is decent with some repeating gimmicks. Despite this, each level has enough differences that the game doesn’t feel too repetitive. There were platform puzzles I really enjoyed, where I needed to keep my three-eyed blob suspended in mid-air as I sped through the space between rippling, revolving patterns.
If there’s one thing I found lacking, it’s the music. I think the game could have benefited from a more varied soundtrack, but as it was, I didn’t find any songs particularly impactful. They suited the aesthetic but started to get on my nerves if I failed a level one too many times.
All in all, Spectrum is a competent platformer, a good choice for people looking for something to tide them over before the next big release. However, the Switch’s eshop price might be a problem if you’re on a budget. If you want a meaty, challenging platformer with a plot, this game will likely disappoint. But if you’re interested in an entry-level platform game with tight controls and don’t mind dipping into your wallet, then Spectrum might interest you.
Earth Atlantis is a side-scrolling shooter that has you hunt fearsome, mechanical monsters in a dreary, post-apocalyptic underwater world. Machines have adopted the forms of marine animals, and the ocean is full of these deadly hybrids. Unlock submarines with unique weapons and abilities to challenge the game in Quest and Hunter mode. There are four playable ships, with only one unlocked at the beginning.
In Quest mode, you go around hunting monsters stationed at different parts of the map. Despite the gorgeous art style, exploration isn’t one of the main points of the game. It’s quite unfortunate as I would have liked to experience exploring uncharted waters. Hunter mode is unlocked once you complete Quest mode. It’s a ‘time attack’ mode where you have to kill random monsters. I didn’t play much of this mode since it felt too repetitive, but if you like this style of gameplay, then you’d probably enjoy it.
I found both modes lackluster. The only hint of a story is the opening lines of text you’re shown when you start a mode. That wouldn’t be a big deal if I were given enough to feel occupied, but the time I spent going from Monster A to B is mind-numbingly dull. Tinier, less intimidating monsters swarm you as you swim around, but it feels like filler and I wasn’t particularly engaged. Battling against boss monsters feels excellent, but the build-up to reach them isn’t worth it.
One of the game’s selling points is its unique and artistic ‘Old Sketching’ visual style. The art, coupled with the idea of exploring a dangerous, uncompromising sea, remains a draw few people can resist. It’s partly why I bought the game, after all. But there’s a drawback to the limited palette. Submarine and monster designs are visibly detailed, but because enemies, background objects, and bullets have the same beige color, it’s hard to tell them apart.
I got attacked or hurt when I least expected it because I never spotted the enemy settled between a crevice or hanging from a wall. It can get annoying, especially when you’re trying to dodge attacks. The last thing on my mind while avoiding a spray of bullets is to scope out my surroundings carefully. Still, this aspect is a minor inconvenience rather than a devastating drawback. Overall, environments are beautiful to look at, from the vague mossy outlines of the seabed to the gentle swaying seaweed dotting rocky surfaces.
Unfortunately, Earth Atlantis let me down with its gameplay. The biggest problem I had with the game was the rigid control scheme and mushy bullets. The first thing I noticed when I start playing was how boring fights were. I shoot at an enemy and get visual feedback in the form of it exploding. But the lack of sound effects completely deadens the experience.
I hold down a button to fire at a swarm of creatures, but feel like I’m watching paint dry. Getting power-ups and increasing the number of bullets my submarine can fire doesn’t change anything. Even when using missiles, fights still lacks impact. The bullets lack weight. To make things worse, the music in the background plays in a loop, making everything seem so dreary and repetitive.
Finally coming across a boss monster is a stark relief. It breaks up the monotony, each boss monster with their own music, giving you a chance to actually get play the game instead of just holding down a button. Sadly, after you beat a boss, you’re back to blankly swimming through another area for the next target.
If you’re looking for a good side-scrolling shooter, I can’t recommend Earth Atlantis. If you’re morbidly curious about the game or have money to burn, then by all means, take the leap to see if you’d enjoy it.
What would your life be like if you ended up in a coma right now? Would your family be the same, or would they be changed? Gates of Horn and Ivory is a simple game that takes you through Jack’s immerse experience in his comatose state after a car accident driving his wife and daughter to the hospital. Jack ends up in a dream-like world where he runs around searching for sparks of light to guide him out of his state. If he collects all the sparks of a specific color, he can gain new abilities which are needed to wake him from this nightmare. Meanwhile, his family still lives on, and he knows because he finds items that are scattered around the world, small clips of his wife talking to him, explaining to him highlights of important events.
The game is filled with numerous puzzles which can only be solved through working out riddles and finding hidden clues throughout the world. Some problems are much more difficult than others, and some are simple enough that you don’t even need to find the solution to beat them. These puzzles unlock new areas and allow you to see more flashes of light which will, in turn, unlock more mysteries.
The beauty of this game is it isn’t just limited to the story. The artwork is impressive; awe-inspiring can only describe the background. The fluid movements of the dangling chains and moving steps work perfectly in time with the rhythm of the music as well, very light and peaceful, that can also have moments of suspense mixed randomly in.
Gates of Horn and Ivory is a beautiful game that teaches a valuable lesson about life and how we seem to always forget about how magical it is. Also, the devs have decided to have a small contest with the game’s release. There will be a speedrun competition starting on September 7th until the 30th, during this time the game will be on for a 30~% Discount and you can submit runs to speedrun.com to enter the contest. The best run on each category will receive a key for the game to give to a friend, and anyone who participates will receive 50~% off of their next game, TBA this year.
Graveyard Keeper has been an exciting experience so far. I was drawn in by its gorgeous pixel art aesthetic and the promise of managing my cemetery, but like any wary gamer, I didn’t let myself get buoyed by the hype. Fortunately, the game has proved to be a pleasant surprise. I enjoy management sims, even more so if it has a medieval setting, and I think Graveyard Keeper has done an excellent job in making the occupation more fun than it sounds.
To start with, although your primary objective is to keep the graveyard spiffy and well maintained, while you harvest meat from fresh cadavers on the side, there is a lot more to be done as you progress. With each NPC introduced, you get saddled with more tasks. I’d admit that it gets tiring. Keeping track of quests, trying to recall where and when you can find NPCs or objects, can turn ugly quickly, especially when you’re still learning the ropes and figuring things out.
After fumbling in the dark in the beginning hours of my playthrough, I wish some things in the game were made more apparent from the start. Here are things I wish I knew before I started playing:
It’s embarrassing, but I once played for twenty minutes and exited thinking that the game would autosave. Luckily, I’d only just started, so I didn’t lose much progress. It pained me to earn back my lost momentum, but I’m thankful I learned the lesson sooner rather than later. Some gamers might scoff and think it’s stupid not to know from the get-go. In my defense, the only reason I shut off the game without bothering to check was because I had a piping hot pizza waiting in the living room.
Stardew Valley employs a similar save system, but in Graveyard Keeper, you have the ability to save anytime you’d like. It makes your in-game daily schedule flexible and less stressful. This is a definite positive; there might be moments where something essential crops up and you won’t have the luxury of waiting for the day to end before you can save. If you run out of energy, remember that jumping into bed for a quick nap is an option.
If you’re the type who likes to explore and don’t mind spending time looking for items or objects, you can skip this tip. The map isn’t exceptionally large, but it can be a hassle if you want something before the day goes dark. There are also some items that can’t be found, only made.
I played for two hours without realizing I could find iron behind my house. Don’t be me.
I’ve seen several user reviews on Steam saying they wished the game had a quest log. There isn’t a dedicated quest log, which is a little unfortunate. However, the quests you get can be viewed in the Known NPCs menu option, under their respective NPCs.
In addition, the days on which certain NPCs will appear can be found just on top of their character. It’s hard to notice it when you’re continually flipping through menus since they’re pretty tiny.
Overall, I hope these are helpful to anyone who’s just started the game. The learning curve is steep, but it gets a lot more fun once you get into the swing of things. If you’re thinking of getting the game, check out Justin’s review of it here!