SORE – The Meaning Behind a Meaningless Game

I wonder if I got the job?     Did the interviewer like my resume?

I wonder if he enjoyed my personality?    Did he think I was boring?

I’m boring    What’s wrong with me?

Why am I so boring?    I need to change

 I hate myself

Without haste, people drift towards escalating problems easily to suit societies standards, similar to the example provided above. People always tend to search for the “bigger picture”, but when you look too much into the future, the smaller, simpler things can be overlooked. These insecurities can snowball until questions turn to issues, issues turn to actions, and actions can be fatal. Simple things can sometimes make the human mind very anxious and doubtful. Each case of anxiety is different, as the human mind is our most fascinating, yet fragile feature. Unless you suffer from the illness, you can never fully understand the heartache, but SORE gives you a taste in the life of uncertainty by providing just one task… simply leave a room.

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Before I continue, I must say that this review is based on my interpretation of SORE, the mystery behind the game is still unknown.

You begin this dark tale as a ghost stuck in a small room. The sounds of rain splashing against the roof fill your ears, accompanied by an occasional crack of thunder. Shadows engulf this chamber, with only a gleam of moonlight peaking its way through the one window in the room. Within the shadows sways a man, hung from the ceiling. It seemed as if suicide was his only option. The ideal scene set for SORE left me both apprehensive and curious in the best ways possible. Feeling uneasy but ready for more.

It will not take long to find out what your first objective is. Locate and use three keys to unlock the solid door restricting you from the neighboring room. SORE provides little to no information on why reaching the other room is of importance, making me feel no ambition in reaching my goal. SORE begins to get interesting once you peek your head through the window on the door. Interacting with the window allows you to see what the other room looks like. Is it gold? Is it a path to freedom? Is it an even more complex room? No… its a room just as simple, and just as eerie as the one you navigate through the whole game. The only difference is this room has a living man inside. He has the option of saying a variety of different phrases. Some are just random corny jokes, while others are clues to help you find the three keys. What lies in the middle of those two categories is rather disturbing nonsense. If you talk to this man long enough, he will begin to mention that we never talk back to him. It was then I realized something that made this game seem much more eerie… the man does not know we are dead. He cannot see us as a ghost, but instead a hanging corpse. Only his view of the rope is blocked by the walls of the room, so he can only see a motionless and silent man. To his awareness, we are very much alive and well.

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SPOILERS

The first two keys were uncovered rather quickly, but that third key kept me stumped. I spent about 45 minutes searching for the final key until I got hungry and retreated to my kitchen to make a sandwich. Upon my return, I saw the gleam of heavenly light shine out of the wall… the door was open. I entered to room with caution, expecting another set of challenges. The screen grew dark, and then an old-school computer crash screen appeared

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As anyone would be, I was left in confusion. I ran to my trusty friend, the internet, and read how to actually beat the game. The only answers I found left me in anger. There are two ways to beat SORE. You either stand still for six minutes or go up to the door and press “X”. Really? That’s it? Yup! From what the community has found so far, there is, in fact, no working key to unlock the door

I felt cheated…bitter…enraged! I just spent 45 minutes trying to find a key that didn’t exist. On top of that, the door leads to your game “crashing”, leaving you with numerous unanswered questions. I was ready to uninstall the game and abandon the review as a whole, but then I got to thinking. Yes, the game could just be bull**** to waste everyone’s time, or it could be much more profound. Upon looking deeper behind SORE’s unfulfilling story, I have come up with my interpretation of the ending.

Remember when I mentioned how “People always tend to search for the “bigger picture”, but when you look too much into the future, the smaller, more simpler things can be overlooked.”. That is exactly what this game intends for you to do, search for the bigger picture. Once I entered the world of SORE, I immediately started creating a checklist of what to do.

I have to search here, under that, and above there

No one would ever think that all you had to do was press one button, or stand still for six minutes. That would just be way too simple.

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SORE made me irritable. Not only at the game, but at myself as well. As each minute ticked by I was starting to blame myself for not being capable of finding this missing key. I finally gave up, thinking that this game got the best of me.

The pain and anguish could have all been avoided if I took my time and stuck simply. Overthinking can lead to much more pain than a problem has to be. While SORE may have been unfulfilling and quick, this dark mystery teaches a valuable lesson. The lesson is deep and is only understood if you take the time to attempt the impossible… finding that last key.

Enomview Score: 5 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/690060/SORE/

The Tear-Jerking Story that Helped a Man Understand Death – The First Tree Review

We’ve all been through the rebellious teenage years of our lives. The times where you would much rather be out with friends. The times where your home life matters little to you. The times where you refuse to notice the sacrifices made by mom and dad. Your thoughts… your actions… all things you regret and wish you could take back in your adolescent years. If this has any meaning to you, then you are not alone. Follow both a fox determined to save her young from a hungry wolf and the touching story about a son’s attempt to cope with the loss of his father in the relaxing adventure, The First Tree.

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You begin your journey in the eyes of a fox. Your children have gone missing and it is your job to find and save the poor innocent creatures from the threats that lie in the wilderness. Within the first few minutes of this visually astonishing story, you see a flock of birds fly off from a corpse on the ground. That ate-out rotted body is sadly one of your young. You sit in sorrow but have no time to grieve since your mission still stands. One more child is in jeopardy, and he will not suffer the same fate as the last. Without haste, you begin your journey in locating and saving your only other beloved child.

As you wander the beautiful verdant forest and pass the scurrying bunnies and birds, you will find beacons of light in the distant. Make your way to those and you will find the true story behind The First Tree. You can interact with the foot of these beacons to dig up an artifact that has a specific meaning to a certain someone named Joseph. Joseph is the unfortunate individual who has recently lost his father. Whether this fox digs up a wooden train or a toy car, each item has a meaning and a story. Joseph is narrating these experiences to his wife, Racheal. At the start, the stories seem mundane. Ones about a show and tell, and gifts from dad. I found The First Tree tiring, spending three minutes running from one beacon to the next, just to hear a common school tale. I simply found the game… boring for the first ten minutes, but then the story starts to get interesting. Each story begins to tie with the next and leaves you in suspense until you find your path to the next beacon. I soon found myself hooked and engaged with Josephs sorrow.

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There are no complex controls in The First Tree, but with the few the game offers, I found the movement buggy and some obstacles that should be resized. You can only run and jump, but if needed, an extra jump is granted while airborne to carry you further. If you use your second jump late, then you will travel a great distance, but a low height. If you rapidly use both jumps, then you can achieve a great height, but risk losing the distance. The choice is yours depending on the obstacles present. The only problem is that I found a couple vertical walls difficult to scale normally. I had to find unconventional paths or angles to achieve the height needed. While it may have been an issue on my understanding of the controls, I found myself in unnatural places attempting to hop a wall.

While some walls may have stood out of reach, most of the others where scalable through power-ups. Actually, I should rephrase. The one and only power-up in the game… butterflies! Yep, you heard me, colorful butterflies. Along the course of your journey, you are bound to cross paths with a circle of purple butterflies. Walk through this circle and the butterflies will follow you as you walk. Once you take that leap of faith, you will rise in the air higher than you ever could with the standard double jump. Using these butterflies will be essential at some points to progress further in the story

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During your adventure in The First Tree, you will encounter light enhanced orbs. These can be collected and presented in a counter displayed on your screen. While me revealing the use of these orbs will spoil a piece of the ending, I will say to collect as much as you can find. What you do with these orbs makes the game so much more special and unique to not only you but other players that choose to tackle the game.

While the controls felt unnatural and buggy at times, it should not undermine the heartfelt story and beautiful graphics of The First Tree. The land is vast, and the mountains are wide. The world is yours to travel and uncover the meaning of understanding death. You may come to find that Joseph and the fox are not so different after all, and the more you play, the more you will understand the true purpose of The First Tree.

EnomView Score: 8.5 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/555150/The_First_Tree/

 

NakedMan vs The Clothes – A Humorous Battle Between Mankind and Their Wardrobe

Remember those embarrassing dreams where you walk into school naked, being laughed at by all of your peers. Well, NakedMan vs The Clothes brings that embarrassment out of the mind and into your PC. The only difference is… well… your clothes have kinda developed a mind of their own and have taken over the world. The world has been left in shambles as articles of clothing rule from the green plains to the white artics, attacking every nude human that comes within sight. Luckily NakedMan is here to reclaim the world back to the true leaders, the righteous humans.

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Purchasable for $1.99, NakedMan vs The Clothes offers six worlds to navigate and end the plague that is our clothing. Each of the pixelated worlds is of different terrains, making me feel as if I am the “knight in see-through armor”, travelling the entire world for the justice of the fellow man. In each world, you must complete three levels in order to advance to the next. The first two are levels filled with difficult jumps, an abundance of woven enemies, and a golden door you must reach to conclude the course. The final level pushes your skills to the limit… it’s time for a boss battle! Each boss battle with NakedMan vs The Clothes caused more deaths than I’m comfortable to admit. I was forced to create different strategies since each boss was challenging in their own way. The bosses range from a lava throwing pyro to a race with an ice skater.

AWzy99.pngOne thing I did find rather disappointing was the characters used as bosses. While they may have been unique, I felt as if they didn’t fit in the world of NakedMan vs Clothes very well. You would expect that after fighting through pants and rugs, you would be forced to fight the “King of Suits” or the “Jester of Skirts”, but no. Instead, we face scuba divers and flame-throwing mages.

The controls are fairly simple and easy to master. You can either attack or jump. While NakedMan vs The Clothes offers both keyboard and controller support, I found the quick movements needed to duck and dodge easier to perform on the classic controller. These evil pieces of fabric can be eradicated with… well, what is that?

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I couldn’t figure out the weapon for the life of me, so I reached out to the developer. The weapon is a “water atomizer (the “crystal cleaner spray” kind) loaded with bleach!”

While ripping apart clothes have been fun, I got frustrated at the bugs in this game. NakedMan vs The Clothes offers a mechanic where if you press the “down” control on a specific surface, you will fall through the floor. I found frequently that I would randomly fall, causing me to die and restart the course. While it wasn’t too frustrating for the majority of the game, there were certain boss battles that prioritized the flooring to be traversed through. You can imagine the headaches in randomly falling through a floor when the boss was two shots away from death. While I do believe this is a negative trait, I enjoy that this adds but another piece of difficulty to this already challenging masterpiece.

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Do not let the humor of NakedMan vs The Clothes distract you from its difficulty. Although the game may be short, it spares no sympathy in easing you into the game. Straight from level one, you are put into difficult scenarios, oddly placed enemies, and only three hearts to your health bar. You heard me get hit three times and you must repeat the course. While the game saves once you complete a world, you will not receive that benefit if you leave before annihilating the boss. If you choose to exit before the boss is dead, you will be forced to start the world from course one.

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It seems like games nowadays spoon feed its players with an abundance of save points, and easy to defeat enemies. While games like Dark Souls still provide players with a challenge, most games offer quantity over quality. More world with less difficulty. NakedMan vs The Clothes takes no chances. Its six worlds offer more difficulty and strategy needed than any game I have played in a while. I enjoy a game with a challenge, but if that is not your cup of tea, then I would skip out on purchasing this game. NakedMan vs The Clothes can be purchased today in the steam marketplace.

EnomView Score: 8.2 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/592130/NakedMan_VS_The_Clothes/

 

Dungeon Rustlers – The Revival of Old-School Dungeon Crawlers

Remember the pleasure of the old-school 8-bit games you would attempt to master at the arcade after school. The enjoyment, yet simplicity, of slaying the visible pixels that stand before you. Dungeon Rustlers brings that nostalgia out of the arcade and into our homes. Choose between a Knight, Archer, or Mage to take on 50 levels, and the 7 unique and challenging enemies of this retro epic of a dungeon crawler. Dungeon Rustlers challenges worthy players to hack-and-slash through waves upon waves of tenacious enemies. Although you can only begin your anticipated adventure on PC, it does offer full controller compatibility for those console players who are willing to attempt the vigorous task of reaching the 50th level.

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I felt a strong attachment to this game the second I began my adventure in level one. As an avid player in games like Realm of the Mad God and Gauntlet,  I feel as if much of the world is missing out on these old-school adventure games. It’s not hard to see that the retro-90’s genre is fading away, and with new generations being exposed to the higher class games of today, pixelated dungeon crawlers could be pushed toward extinction. Luckily, companies like Zimventures brought us Dungeon Rustlers.

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Before you begin the climb to victory, you must first choose one of three classes. The bold and ruthless knight can unsheathe her mighty sword to make her enemies cower in the face of death. As you progress through the levels your sword acquires the ability to shoot arrows from its blade, causing the slaughter of annoying slimes to be much more satisfying. If you ever find yourself on the brink of death, do not be afraid to activate your force field and flea the scene to regain health.

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The archer, my personal favorite, weaves her frost arrows from her quiver, leaving her enemies frozen and slowed. While the archer is given less health than the knight, she is more than capable of conducting an equal amount of destruction. The Archer’s class ability allows you to heave frozen walls in both the front and back of your player, causing enemies to be halted and slowed where they stand. With her frozen bow in hand, no enemy would dare step in your path.

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The final warrior would be the fire conjuring Mage. Spitting fireballs out of each hand, the Mage can melt any enemy it may come across. If ever in a crisis, the Mage can activate his special ability and summon a ring of fire around him, damaging enemies and keeping them away. While the mage can easily shred through the skeletons roaming in the dungeons, you only need to be hit twice in order to die.

All three classes are capable of upgrading their basic attacks and summoning floating helpers to aid in the adventure. Upgrading basic attacks will increase both the effectiveness of each hit and the number of shots being volleyed out of your weapon. The purchasable helpers will stand by your side and synchronize their attacks with yours, causing two more bullets to be added alongside your barrage of attacks. All of these upgrades can be purchased with gold found within in each level.

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Dungeon Rustlers eases players into the game by providing appropriate increasing increments of difficulty, making each level seem accommodating, but no walk in the park. Around level ten, I did feel as if the upgrades for basic attacks made each level executable with ease. Similar to training in Call of Duty: Zombies, I would find myself dragging enemies behind me, eventually turning around and unleashing the power of my triple shot weapon. All of the enemies would perish, and I would repeat the cycle like clockwork. While many levels seemed like they should have been more difficult, I did find myself on the edge of my seat for a select few. Once you die, you are not brought to the title screen to replay the game right away. Instead, you respawn where you last were, but are missing all of the valuable upgrades and power-ups needed to withstand the forces of the current level. This shouldn’t pose as much of a problem during the early levels, but dying around level 30+ could be fatal. You begin with three lives and once all have dispersed, your journey is over. You can then attempt to climb the levels with a new character or beat your best times on the previous character.

Zimventures based Dungeon Rustlers on racing through levels and clearing them fast. They encourage players to repeat the game to shatter their previous times. After each level, you can view your best time, and where you stand on the compared to other players. I could imagine the replay potential, as well as the appeal to speedrunners in taking on Dungeon Rustlers and smashing the leaderboards.

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The music choice for this game was amazing and fitted the tone to appeal towards old-school players. The mix of an epic dungeon crawler and retro-electro style tunes and beats, made me taste the sweetened luxury of being in a 90’s arcade. I did stumble upon a few glitches that left me dead for no reason, but I do understand that the game is still in early access and is not yet fully patched. I do wish Dungeon Rustlers offered more playable characters and diverse combat styles between them. Dungeon Rustlers’ 50 levels can be purchased for $3.99 on the steam marketplace today.

Enomview Score: 7.2 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/713450/Dungeon_Rustlers/