Defend the Homeland – Castle Crashers Review

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Your homeland is in grave peril! Your king needs your valiance! Take up your weapon and free the ladies of the land from the clutches of our sworn enemies! Destroy any that stand in the way of your might and valor! And look damn good while doing it!

Very little is needed to be said about the awesomeness of Castle Crashers, but sit down, we’re going to talk about it anyway! You are a knight whose sole duty is to repel the enemy and get your lady loves back, as they were kidnapped from the castle.

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While I will say that using the keyboard is not a good idea, using the controller is just as fluid as any other game you could ever find made from an AAA manufacturer. The controls are responsive, reliable and so very easy to learn by yourself. Still, it doesn’t care how easy it is to learn, the game still prompts you when you can use combos and what not while you play without stopping the game or halting your progress.

The colors and artwork are so very simple, but still beautiful to look at. The cartoony quality is charming and the humor matches it perfectly! While the humor can be a little juvenile at times, it still is worth noting that it can also be especially witty.

As for the difficulty, that’s probably the best part. It may not be considered extremely hard because there is a marvellous level up system that keeps the game progressing along with you, while not making the levels too easy for your character. There is no steep learning curve and you find yourself wanting to progress as long as you can! You’re not stopped between levels and forced to go to the map screen simply to select the next level on the list. No, you are simply brought to the map screen for the important decisions and crossroads.

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Combat! Smash your enemies’ faces in! No, seriously, you just push the buttons and dodge left to right, smashing your enemies to bits while you gain up levels, dodge and block their attacks, and kill them! It may sound repetitive, and in some ways it is, but it never feels stale because it’s always moving. You can’t really call this a pure beat’em up because it also has RPG elements, but it still feels like it belongs in the arcade where you can feed it a million quarters to keep it going.

That’s not the case, though. We are lucky enough to find this simple gem of an indie classic pretty much wherever games are sold for some pretty good prices. So, if you were looking for a beat’em up to relieve some stress, look no further! This will sate your hunger for blood and carnage! The boss battles will challenge you, but not to the level of absolute ragequit mode, you can learn their patterns and defeat them with your own skill, should ye be worthy!

Now go, hero! The homeland is counting on you! Slay thy enemies and drink thy water.

EnomView Score: 10 out of 10

Get the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/204360/Castle_Crashers/

Monster Tower Defense – Unleash Review

Unleash has a simple premise: build towers to defend your base and spawn monsters to attack your adversaries. The mechanics are easy to learn but hard to master, and with the sheer amount of variation for towers, walls, and monsters, it can be remarkably easy to find yourself knee deep in plans and combos, wondering where the time went. Hordes of monsters, strategy, epic base-building – these elements work in tandem to deliver a game greater than the sum of its parts.

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Sprawling campaigns might not be a thing in Unleash, but it’s bolstered by multiple game modes and maps to keep you occupied for a good amount of time. If battling a single bot seems too meagre an offering, don’t fret, because the game allows players to duke it out with up to seven Bots simultaneously. Those craving multiplayer experiences will also have their itch scratched as the game allows you to play with anywhere between one to seven friends. However you choose to play, either option is guaranteed to deliver an intense, competitive experience.

Unleash is a game where minutes can stretch into hours due to the ruthlessness of the AI. The road to victory is a rocky one, and even easy Bots can give you trouble if you’re unprepared. The more challenging ones could serve you on a silver platter, complete with rosy apple and curled tail. Beginners and veteran players can expect themselves to be thoroughly challenged.

My first match saw me going up against a bot, and I was confident I could win without effort. It had the word ‘easy’ tacked on at end of its name, so my expectations were low. I randomly inserted towers or walls into the grid-based map and hunkered down to await the horde.

The first wave wasn’t hard to defend against, but as the minutes ticked by and the number of waves climbed into double digits, monsters began to blitz past my walls, rendering my defence moot. I’d also neglected to build anything past the first few lines – convinced I wouldn’t need them – resulting in a panicked scramble to finish off those that got past. I restarted the match when the stragglers ended up biting off a decent amount of my health.

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Despite how difficult things can get, the game remains surprisingly fun. Being walked all over didn’t feel trying or upsetting, quite the opposite in fact. Losing just made me come back for more.

The game offers no tutorial but one can learn a fair bit from exchanging blows with Bots. It’s startling how often I’d get thrown for a loop. For example, I had no idea I could chain tesla coils until I saw my opponent doing just that. Placing two tesla coils opposite of each other produces a deadly chain of lightning between them. The bot’s base was structured in a manner that forced my monster spawns to walk from one end to another, and by putting three evenly spaced tesla coils, the effect it had on my horde was tremendous. They never reached the other end.

Sending monster spawns that require certain weapons to damage them is another thing the Bot did. It would spawn Snowrippers to attack when my base had no flamethrowers. Snowrippers need to be doused in fire before machine guns could hurt them, and I found myself scrambling once again to unlock the specified weapon.

Monsters can also be evolved, resulting in veritable tanks. Doing this early in a match produces spectacular results. It’s cathartic to see your horde waltz through an opponent’s defences without as much as a scratch. I really like how Unleash provides numerous opportunities for you to devise strategies and turn the tide in your favour. It can make a world of difference to familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of each monster, or tower.

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Pair a diesel shooter with a flamethrower to maximize damage. Send a Snowripper to attract gunfire while an acid spewing monster takes down walls. The possibilities are just waiting to be discovered.

The origin of events in Unleash are an intriguing read, but it never comes into play. Knowing X and Y happened is cool, but it doesn’t affect the player if they go into the game without knowledge of it. There is potential in its setting, it just isn’t fully grasped yet. Players wanting deep, engaging lore will be disappointed.

The story, as of now, is also non-existent. I enjoy the gameplay immensely but fighting faceless enemies can get old, I’d be more invested if the Bots have some manner of personality or backstory. DeSync studios seem to be in for the long haul, though, so things might change with future updates.

Overall, Unleash is a great game, well-worth your attention and support. It’s not the best looking title, but with such solid and addictive gameplay, I’d be a fool to dismiss it.

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Check out the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/621940/Unleash/

Exploding Rodents – Tooth and Tail Review

It’s time to rally your troops! We need a fighting force. A team of soldiers that know how to use their weapons and defend the base. They need to be fed, so it’s time to farm up some resources to suit their needs. We’ll need proper defenses and the leadership needs to know how to bring it all together to take the fight to the enemy! We’ll need all of the ferrets and rodents we can gather, and don’t forget the warthogs!

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Yeah, you’re using animals to fight a war full of pistols, mortar cannons, and strategic structure building. Sounds normal to me, what’s your deal?

“Tooth and Tail” is a real-time strategy game that is very reminiscent of the Red Wall Book series by Brian Jacques. The artwork for the game is quite beautiful, and the graphics are nothing special, but they do work for the game quite well. The gameplay is quite simple and very fast-pace. As soon as you start the game, you are treated to quite the simple tutorial that goes smoothly and easily without over-explaining anything. Given the fact that there have been so many tutorials out there that grate against your face like a brick full of holes and interrupt your gameplay constantly, it is worth taking the time to appreciate these pregame sessions that do it right.

Compared to the normal RTS, this one is pretty simple. It has its high points, and simplicity is definitely one of them. One thing that this does entail, however, is that the gameplay is extremely fast-paced. Sometimes a little too fast-paced. There are levels where the enemy comes at you with a decent attack every so often, then there’s a stage where the opposing team will charge you with copious amounts of suicide bombers one after the other. There comes a time where kamikaze attacks just cannot be repelled. Your troops and defenses can only shield you against so many explosions. These stages get especially frustrating, and just downright impossible.

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Unlike your normal strategy army games, this one has you controlling a single unit that acts as a commander for the rest of the troops. The controls are extremely simple, and the tutorial captures that simplicity very well. However, the vulnerability that this presents is concerning, as it means that a single wrong move could kill your leader at any point. Still, on the flipside, it’s a good bit of challenge overall and adds the need to maneuver your character to the list of unique mechanics. It keeps you actively involved, as keeping your protagonist safe is imperative.

Still, despite its shortcomings, this game is highly addictive. Like any good army building game, you want to push your army as far as it can go. The battle sequences are satisfying in their simplicity and you will relish each victory as your furry friends take down more savagely cute animals. As you may have noticed, if you’re an animal enthusiast, this may not be the game for you.

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As stories go, it’s kind of lacking, but at the same time, it doesn’t get in the way of the enjoyment of the overall game. There are times when the game can be mercilessly cruel and unfair, but it is a lot of fun, especially if you are a fan of strategy games. Be sure to give it a look!

Enomview Rating: 8/10

AGDQ 2018 – Day Five!

Yume here, and we already got to day 5 of this years AGDQ.

As I had a non-existent amount of sleep, the coverage on tournaments will cut a bit short for once, but we’ll still talk puzzles for a bit.

But yeah, there’s a reason why the night was short and I had to sleep into the day. It was time for Awful Games Done Quick.

It is a kind of tradition where games with controls that are close to unplayable, or just really silly games, are shown in this block. It’s been a standing tradition over the last few GDQ events.

This year, the Awful GDQ could also be called “Animal Games Done Quick”, except for some games like Superman 64. Yeah, there are people that speedrun Superman 64.

Let’s go over some of the games though. And if you want to have a really silly and fun time with bad games, you should certainly watch and even play them at some point. The crowd is a big part of this as well. If you want to go over and watch the videos, the block started with Superman 64.

The first game I witnessed in the streaming room was the end portion of Arabian Nights. All I can say about this title is that it’s not really Rated-E and the dialogues are really silly.

After that, was the first game I saw entirely, Enviro-Bear 2000. Five speedrunners were chosen by the people that donate to the cause. The game’s graphics were made in MS Paint, and I’m not talking about the good version of it. You’re a bear that drives a car and has to eat fish and berries in a given amount of time to survive through the winter and enter your cave. “Eat the fish” and “To the cave” chants went through the crowd at appropriate times and made it a spectacle for everybody in the room. The atmosphere was awesome.

Following that, Dog’s Life was on stream. Standard setup: you’re a dog and your girlfriend was kidnapped by a cat lady to be processed into cat food. To be fair, this happens to me at least once a week. The game is rated E (3 years and older) but the dialogues and some cutscenes in the game are, well, questionable (for that rating to say the least). And as the first skip didn’t work as fast as expected, the dog we played was washed enough times so that fur and hide would have been gone. Also a great time and the runner made it a real blast to watch.

The last run I saw at the venue was Animorphs: Shattered Reality. It is a platformer with some kind of battle interaction that mainly consists of running into your enemy to deal damage and trying to not run into their attacks. The controls of the platforming sections were described by the runner Keizaron as this: “Take a Crash Bandicoot game and strip it off everything Crash Bandicoot does well and you have this game”. As a viewer, I have to say it couldn’t be more precise by what I saw. I also had a great time with watching this run, and it certainly deserved to be in this blog.

Next up, we head to the tournaments. Sadly, I slept in for the Puyo Puyo Tetris Swap tourney, where I saw a chance to be somewhat decent in. I caught some of the final rounds and the competition wasn’t really bad. But as a more or less all-rounder, this would have been my best shot at scoring a good placement today. For the ones who don’t know much about Puyo Puyo Tetris, Swap mode is where you play both games, Tetris and Puyo, in the same game. You have specific playing fields for each game and you play for 25 seconds on one game and change to the other until a winner is decided. The finals had some twist to it, PiePusher11 won the tournament. I’ll cover the twist in tomorrow’s article.

Right after that, the dedicated Puyo Puyo tourney took place where we played only Puyo from PPT. I kinda had bad luck with the bracket and got to play FFRPro21 right off the bat, and gave him a run for the money, but still couldn’t defeat him. In the losers bracket, I played against the organiser of the Puyo only tournament, HarpoonCanon, and tried to get around him with good tactics as I don’t hold a candle to him skill-wise. I can say I won 1 out of 5 games against him and gave him some problems, but I never stood a chance to win.

Also shoutouts to the Puyo Puyo Tetris community as a whole. They are a really nice and welcoming people. Be it speedrunners or online players of the game. Mainly, the respectful attitude towards others like me that are likely not the best players, but still give some top players a hard time.

And then I made the worst decision of this AGDQ, tournament-wise. I skipped the Rocket League tourney and instead tried out the Yoshi’s Cookie for SNES one. NEVER…EVER…AGAIN. I want to say I’m decent at the stage clear mode, but versus is not something up my alley. Heck, I tend to be a loud person and curse sometimes, and I could keep it together even in the Pokémon Puzzle League tournament, but this game has the potential to make me lose myself within 5 minutes of Versus mode. I have to admit that the players I lost against had more skill and more knowledge about the versus mode than I had, so there’s simply no need to go further into specifics or hate the game at all.

Well, that’s it for the tournaments that I had an eye on for today.

As for closing words. some communities hold workshops to teach other people some games or techniques to help them get better at designated games. And even I got some private lessons from a person I look up to:

Blinzer, the winner of the Pokemon Puzzle League versus tournament, taught me some techniques and it fried my brain and thumbs. His playstyle and the marathon mode (High score game) were too much for me. The training was a really nice treat from him though and is very much appreciated. In a mere hour, I learned a lot about the basic skills that I still lack as a player that’s only been playing for a year. I could double my speed for inputs in this short time to get it consistently, over what I’m used to. Hence, my thumbs didn’t appreciate it as much as I did.

This is also one of the reasons why these meetups are a very nice event to attend. People help each other understand the games better and show them skills they don’t have right now. It is good to see that people inside a community care for each other and try to help them in person when they finally meet.

Guess I’m signing off for today to get some decent amount of sleep again. A Link to the Past randomizer race coming up tomorrow with a short interview with one of the participants, as I won’t take part in it myself.

Have a great day!

Heres Day Six with some closing costs!

Mighty Number Fail – Indie vs AAA (3)

Although there are innumerable times where AAA has defeated indie games in the rat race, there was one particular time where the failure was so great, it caught the eye of countless among the gaming community. Any retro gamer will tell you about Mega Man, released in 1987, and a great majority will tell you which one is their favorite, whether it be part of the original series of games or part of the Mega Man X series. Both parts of the franchise were legendary among gamers.

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Mega Man 2 is very popularly known as the favorite among the original series, while the first Mega Man X is held as the king of the second. Whatever side of the franchise they stand on, both factions will tell you that they were wholly disappointed by the crowd-funded passion project known as Mighty No. 9. Keiji Inafune had worked on the original Mega Man, and since Capcom hadn’t released a new Mega Man for several years (due to extreme franchise fatigue), he decided to take it upon himself to create what he called a spiritual successor.

The game was fully funded within just a couple of days and, by the end, it had reached around three million dollars, several times more than it was expected to reach. This is where a great deal of mystery enters into the fray. Despite infinitely more money than they could have ever needed, the scene became quite bleak. Though fans were still on the hype train with beautiful gameplay still frames, promising Kickstarter prizes and a game mirroring the greatness of the blue bot himself, they curbed their doubts. However, for reasons unknown, the game was met with numerous delays. Many questioned how they could be losing so much time with all of the budget they could ever want and plenty of time between the start of its production to its intended release. Still! They thundered ahead and readied themselves for the release!

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The fans were stomped with absolute disappointment. The graphics were not nearly as good as they initially looked in the original press release, the gameplay had very questionable extra, unneeded content, the voice acting rivalled Mega Man 8 for how terrible and stilted it was, and the story intermixed with constant interrupting character dialog was so very frustrating when you were trying to concentrate on playing the game!

Questions began flying at Inafune at a horribly extensive rate! His gross mismanagement of the game’s content and quality was called into question multiple times and their reaction to these questions boiled down to “At least you got a game.” Needless to say, contributors to the funding were not happy, and those old-school Mega Man fans were less than impressed with the game’s content. Mighty Number 9 reached the status as one of the Worst Games of 2016 across the internet.

Now, let’s be honest. It really was not a terrible game when you stand back and look at the forest for the trees. It worked, it was challenging, and the level design wasn’t terrible. Sure, some of the bosses were cheap and cringe-inducing in their tactics and while the story is abysmal, it still served its purpose for the most part. The reason the game failed in a massive cloud of hatred was because it tried to build itself as a return of a beloved franchise in the form of a fan requested game. It had all of the makings of a great game, but for one reason or another completely missed the mark.

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AAA titles have had their failures in the past, and many of them failed harder than Mega Man’s would-be successor. This should serve as a lesson on par with Icarus and the burned wings, but let’s face it, if they can build you up to their hype, development companies are going to do it. Inafune could have won big with this title but failed to pull it off in the end.

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However, once again, at least we have our silver lining. Evidently, Capcom caught onto Mighty Number 9’s Kickstarter success and decided that they would release their own game and do it properly this time. Mega Man 11 is set to release later in the year 2018 and it already looks smooth! Inafune may have spent multiple millions of dollars on failure, but at least his failure managed to cause another AAA win.

 

Wait, what am I saying?

Through Silent Hills on Allison Road – Indie vs AAA (1)

The argument between the two forms of game development has been going on for quite some time. While it is true that there are pros and cons to both small house indie development teams and big name AAA companies, there has been a noticeable trend of the games they have been producing. Though it is quite often that the big name developers have stomped the indie game competition, the opposite has also been very true. Then there are times when both types of game developers have dropped the ball for one reason or another.

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A very infamous example of when both types of developers failed to produce a single promised product was the game demo simply known as P.T. (or Playable Teaser). Konami was in the works for the new project of the franchise Silent Hill, titled Silent Hills. The hype train was so huge for this game that many were already calling it the ultimate in survival horror without even knowing the actual core game mechanics. However, the P.T. was so innovative and so amazingly detailed in its tone, atmosphere, storytelling and graphics that no one could possibly blame them. It was a horror experience that did not rely on jump scares to creep a player out. Both Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro were matched up to produce this game themselves, and what they were planning was seemingly made of pure awesome sauce.

However, as many of you know, what the fans got was a big goose egg. Without warning or explanation, Silent Hills was cancelled and the fans were not happy in the least. Another party that was not happy about this was their shareholders, as Konami’s stocks plummeted as a result. Soon after, Hideo Kojima was fired from Konami… more or less sealing themselves to a fate of their own making. While they did survive the backlash from that decision, it was not a fun day for anyone.

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But alas! A ray of hope came about gamers in the form of a group called Team17 and their upcoming project, Allison Road. Gamers were treated to a brand new spectacle of survival horror very similar to P.T., in fact so similar to P.T. it was very quickly called the spiritual successor to the non-game Silent Hills. For an indie game, the preview looked amazing, creepy, and surprisingly well detailed. Beyond anything, Allison Road gave Silent Hill fans some solace from the heartbreak of Konami’s screw-up. After scaring the pants off of onlookers and showing us that we may still get a swell consolation prize, once again, fans were completely shot down by disappointment. Team17 cancelled production of Allison Road. Once again, fans’ faces hit the dirt with an audible THWACK.

Now there is something of a happy ending to that tale, as the project Allison Road was picked back up soon after its cancellation by another group called Far From Home. However, with very little to no updates on the production’s progress as of January 2018, it is clear that we will not be seeing Allison Road anytime soon.

The good news, though, is that after two complete failures by both an AAA Gaming Company and Indie Game group, a third and successful attempt was already in the works. The P.T. style of survival horror was noticed by yet another AAA Gaming company. Capcom took notice of P.T.’s success, and since Konami pulled the plug on their game, they decided to pick up the slack and produce one of the best games of 2017, Resident Evil 7.

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So, in the end, yes, it was an AAA Gaming company that saved fans from a completely dismal experience, but what a bumpy ride! You would think that such a focused concept would have been handled a little better, especially with such an enormous fan feedback. It got to the point where people started to suspect the whole concept was cursed; doomed to failure before its own inception. While the whole story is still fraught with unanswered questions, in the end, we got a game of the year out of the deal and the Resident Evil series has had a soft reboot to a seemingly much brighter style of gameplay. Let’s hope they can keep the ball rolling.

If you’re enjoying the launch of this series, consider checking out our Patreon, here!

AGDQ 2018 – Day Two!

Yume here with some more AGDQ behind the scenes things going on. Not as sleepy anymore, which is why there was no daily blog entry yesterday. But here it is:

Let’s talk a bit about the speedrunning marathon for a bit here, because I’ll have a short interview with one of the runners of the marathon right here for you. As part of the puzzle community, I could tell that hype was big for the Wario’s Woods run on the morning of Monday. The interview will be with our very own Peteyboo, who did that run at AGDQ.

It was a big highlight for all of the puzzle community members attending the marathon, as it is our only showcase for this AGDQ. But, the two runs afterwards were my personal favourites, and I couldn’t wait for them. There was a Donkey Kong Country 2 No Warps run and Donkey Kong Country 1 Reverse Boss Order. The first run was pretty high on my priority list as DKC2 has a lot of interesting tech and mechanics, as well as the two runners that raced it are very good at the game. Of course, KC1 was even more interesting as it showed a lot of Wrong Warps that are possible inside the game, which means you can skip levels, kind of at will, if you manipulate the game in the right ways. If you are a fan of the DKC series you should check out the videos on Youtube for sure.

But let’s cut to the short interview peteyboo (@peteybooLP on twitter) gave me for his run of Wario’s Woods.

[Start Interview]

What was your reaction when your run of Wario’s Woods was accepted for AGDQ ?

I was really surprised as I tried to get the run into AGDQ for years and it finally worked out. After the game appeared at last year’s NASA (North American Speedunner Assembly, an event held in Canada last year) it was much easier to get the game into an event like AGDQ. And of course I was really happy about it.

How did you prepare for your run?

For the most part I did no reset runs (Means that you don’t reset training runs when you get bad time and just wing it with how it is going), doing some practice with a fellow speedrunner, Montucky (AKA montySR), which also showed me some fast and easy solutions to certain patterns here at AGDQ to make the run even more consistent.

How did you feel before the run ? (As we checked the stream before his run there were about 88k viewers, just as a note)

I felt fine and just as usual. I wasn’t nervous after already doing the run at NASA last year, and with having a good coach by my side that would go over the games mechanics as me, I could focus on the run.

And how did you feel during the run?

I was very focused on the run and didn’t feel different than before the run.

How satisfied were you with our performance on the run?

I was pretty satisfied with the run. Getting a time that is just half a minute shy of the sub 20 minutes was pretty solid for a marathon run.

Any other things you want to say?

Not really much except a big thanks to the whole Wario’s Woods community and the crew I had in my back, as they helped to make it a great showcase of this game.

[End Interview]

That’s it with the interview folks and mostly with the blog post for Day 2.

And…Oh shoot, I forgot something about the general stuff in the Day 1 Blog post. Of course, besides all the “attractions” I covered there is one more thing I didn’t have on the plate that is pretty usual for a speedrunner meetup. Board games, and a lot of them. There is a whole floor of the openly accessible part of the hotel designated to board games of all sorts. There are even people that take care of you when you enter the room and can’t decide on a game to play. Which is good, as the pile of board games the attendees brought is huge. Oh, and like 30 different Rubic’s Cubes, of course.

But yeah, that’s it for real now with the Day 2 Blog post. Sorry again for being late with this, Day 3 will be up soon as well.

Have a good day.

Day 3, here.

A Profound Adventure That’ll Reach Your Core – Home is Where One Starts Review

Have you ever felt like no one cared? Like you were alone in a world much too big? That’s the feeling of your character while playing through Home is Where One Starts.

The journey begins one day as you wait at the end of your driveway for the bus you had already missed. After you wait for the bus, you’re allowed to explore the area around your house. All the while your character is reminiscing about memories of her past. You can interact with items that spur more memories or allow you to continue with your story. The game also has wonderful music playing throughout your play-through, which is soothing and helps to guide your mind to better understand the character you are being shown.

The world looks beautiful, but that beauty is overshadowed by the pure sadness shown through your characters voice as she relives her past. She talks about the good aspects of her home, but also the bad things. The very bad things. She mentions her father, who is never seen, but from the mass amount of cigarette butts and liquor bottles you can make a guess at what he’s like. Eventually, you’ll find a small graveyard, this allows you to remember something in your fathers dresser, something that will help you get away.


As for the areas, there is a small house which you and your father lived in, your shed in the woods, the hay bales across the street, and even a torn down house next door. Each of these areas help to further the story in their own way, but the one I liked the most was the field behind the house. There wasn’t much there, but just walking through the field was calming and felt almost like a break from the sadness in the game.

The game does have a deep story which will draw you in, but the problem is that there isn’t much to do and there is no guiding point on where to go either. It felt less like a walking simulator, and more like a wandering simulator at times. I stumbled around for quite a while before finding the final of my journey. But for all the wandering I went through, it was worth it to get to the end and see the final scene of the game, and the first bit of real happiness that your character is allowed to have.

EnomView Score: 6 out of 10

 

Cooperative Madness – We Were Here Review

Co-op mode has been pervasive in video games for as long as we can remember, tracing back to the dawn of modern gaming back in the 80’s. Although there is a smattering of game titles that do this mode justice, cooperative modes often seem tacked on and insignificant. A lot of times a game’s design simply wasn’t built around the experience of multiple players. Not so much for We Were Here, an indie game by Total Mayhem Games that’s built around pure co-op and is not playable alone. While the game is rather short, clocking just over 40 minutes for us, it feels refreshing.

After connecting with a friend through a lobby (you can play with strangers, but a close friend is preferable) and watching a short cutscene where you and your friend travel through a snowy valley into an ominous looking building, the game sets you down into either a library or a medieval-looking dungeon. I say ‘either’ because you don’t actually start out together. You only get to meet up again at the very end of the game, and up until then, you’ll have to communicate through a walkie-talkie, guiding each other through a variety of puzzles looking to escape.

The beauty lies in miscommunication, the difficulty in communication truly creates a bond between players. If you start out in the library it’s your job to help the other player solve their puzzles so that person can, in turn, open doors for you to progress. Neither of you has all the pieces to the puzzle, so the game quickly turns into a game of 20 questions where you are both frantically describing your surroundings before one of you meets an unfortunate end.

Some of the puzzles are quite ingenious. They’re hard to describe without spoiling too much, but one puzzle has one player blindly grasping for levers that move theatrical set pieces on a stage in the other player’s world. That player has to listen to a narrator describing the story and communicate with the other player to move the set pieces in the right position throughout a five-act play. Be fast though, because a shadowy figure is moving up through the audience to kill you.

The back and forth puzzles between two players are fun and engaging. Too bad it doesn’t last too long because it’ll all be over in about 40 minutes. But it’s hard to fault the game for this since the game is free! Do you have a friend and some time to spare? Try out We Were Here!

EnomView Score: 8 out of 10

Check the game out: http://store.steampowered.com/app/582500/We_Were_Here/

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AGDQ 2018 – Day One!

Well, that was a blast. Yume here and I’m gonna talk a bit about my experiences behind the scenes of Awesome Games Done Quick 2018, the winter edition of the biggest speedrunning event nowadays, over the course of this week.

Honestly, this day had a real slow start and there were not much “attractions” around yet, so I’ll cut to the general picture that I saw about the event today. Over this week, there will be a lot of events of different speedrunning groups that make a big part of these kinds of events in and of itself.

Being stationed in close distance to the international airport of Washington, the Hilton Washington is the location for this year’s event. The massive hotel offered space and everything needed to pull off this big event.

WelcomeDesk.jpg

The whole hotel is full of “Welcome to GDQ” posters. There’s a desk located in front of the streaming room where your badges are ready to get grabbed. For today, I’ll only have my attendee badge. I’ll organise a picture for a runner badge as well over the week, just because they are well made and look awesome in my opinion.

AttendeeBadge.jpg

Getting a bit of a look behind the scenes is a lot of fun, especially when you’re early on the first day. You see the organisers and crew getting ready for the first take before the speedruns start. Making jokes and refining their choreography to give out the best possible performance to the audience.

StreamingRoom.jpg

As we are located in a big hotel, there are a lot of rooms this event can call their own for (these few days), like preparation rooms for the runners where they can practice for their runs that will take part in the event a few hours later. Casual gaming rooms, where people meet up to just play games with each other and talk, can also be found. This was kind of was where I got stuck for a long time. On day one I met a ton of people from communities I am part of for the first time.

There are also designated rooms where the community tournaments will take place and an arcade room with older and newer arcade machines. Sadly, it opened relatively late on this first day, but more will certainly be covered on one of the blog posts of this week, so stay tuned for that as well.

One event already took place on the first day though, the so-called Quiz-Bowl. Teams play against each other and answer questions to different gaming-related questions; a very interesting idea and sub-event of AGDQ.

As most of the stuff wasn’t accessible today or just didn’t take place on the first day, I’ll leave it at this. More stuff coming over the next few days while this amazing event continues!

Have a great day and stay tuned for more AGDQ 2018 blog posts!

Day Two, here!