Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition from Publisher and Developer New Blood Interactive, Nightdive Studios, Apogee Entertainment
A remake of a cult classic 90’s first person run-and-gun shooter. Adrenaline runs high with crazy fast movement speed and occasional frustrations from not being able to find the exit for the level. Recommend giving it a try and blasting some enemies with your super bark of destruction or Excali-bat today!
Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition is the updated remaster of the cult classic 1995 game Rise of the Triad. It’s a retro First Person Shooter that actually lets you pick from one of the five Members of the High-Risk United Nations Task-Force (codenamed H.U.N.T.). Each of the characters has different stats in movement speed, health (or hit points), and accuracy.
As expected it plays like a 90’s FPS run-and-gun which is both a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. If you didn’t grow up playing these kinds of games you will get frustrated as there are no tutorials and there are hidden entrances all over the place. You end up getting stuck and have to just start spamming the A button against the walls hoping to find one of the hidden doors and open a path. Some of the levels feel like a maze where you keep going back and forth trying to figure out what you missed to find the exit. There is a map that is a little bit of help but there’s no mini map so you need to open the menu and check it all of the time or you risk having to run back and forth for something you missed. The story is about what you’d expect from a 90’s FPS game. There are bad guys you need to stop, that’s pretty much as deep as it gets.
As someone who didn’t play the original Rise of the Triad I was surprised by the crazy powers you get in this game, like being able to fly for a small amount of time, turning into a dog with a super bark, having a magic baseball bat (Excali-bat), becoming a god, and making people explode. The powers added some diversity to the game play and let you experiment with different play styles. Just like most good FPS run-and-guns, it’s all about the weapons. Along with the normal standard weapons like pistols and machine guns, they have some other interesting weapons with several of them firing different types of rockets.
Since it is a remake, we wish they would have added some quality of life improvements, like autosave. You read that right. It’s 2023 and there is no autosave, only manual saves, which is easy to forget to do nowadays as that has become a standard function in games for quite a while now. It’s frustrating when you forget about that and end up losing hours of gameplay. This happened to us as we stopped playing for a bit and when we reloaded, we realized that our last save was from hours ago. Another thing we would have loved to see is the option to change the controller sensitivity. It felt like it was set way too high which made some of the platforming parts much harder than they needed to be.
There are 4 different campaigns to play, with a total of 109 levels, giving you hours of gameplay. Just make sure you remember to save often (or at the very least, save before you stop playing). There is also the option to use the game’s original cheat codes if you remember them or you can look them up online. The game gets bonus points for letting you unlock achievements while using cheat codes. Unfortunately, the console remake did not include the multiplayer game type from the original game. But we hear the PC version does include this game type. Would love to see this come to consoles in a future title update.
Overall, it did hit that 90’s FPS nostalgia nailing the ever so classic look and feel of those games. The controller sensitivity was a challenge at times and made us feel like our character was speed skating on ice, but the option to play as different characters was a really cool option and we ended up playing as the character with the slowest movement speed to help offset some of the issues we were having with the controller sensitivity.
Rise of the Triad: Ludicrous Edition is available on Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, Steam and Windows. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
We Were Here Expeditions: The FriendShip from Publisher and Developer Total Mayhem Games
Short but fun puzzle game in the We Were Here franchise. Good for an afternoon co-op experience with a friend.
“We Were Here Expeditions” is a new series in the “We Were Here” franchise. “The FriendShip” is the first game in this new series and is a smaller game than the previous We Were Here installments. It also has a smaller price tag at only $4 US. It can be completed in around 1-2 hours depending on how good your communication, teamwork, and trust are with your co-op partner. Going for perfect scores on the 3 puzzles will likely require more time and practice.
Like all of the other We Were Here games this is a 2 player co-op game. You will need to work together to solve puzzles. Communication is key in these games as you will be separated from your partner with each of you only seeing part of the puzzle or clues. Each of the characters has a walkie talkie that you use to communicate with each other. So as you might have figured out, a headset with a microphone is mandatory if you want any chance at solving the puzzles.
The opening cutscene finds our intrepid duo on a ship in a storm-tossed ocean when they hear a distress call over the radio. They head toward the call and land on an island with an abandoned amusement park. As you may have guessed, the amusement park is Friendship themed. You and your partner will need to work together, relying on your friendship to make your way through the park. After navigating through the beginning area that teaches you the basics of movement and interactions, you’ll board a small boat and go on a long ride reminiscent of a certain pirate attraction at a certain magical mousey amusement park.
There are 3 stops along the ride where you’ll both deboard and work together to solve puzzles and earn a bronze, silver, or gold ticket to upgrade your ship. You can keep retrying the puzzles as many times as you want in order to obtain a maximum score and the corresponding max level upgrade. The first puzzle is based on Communication, the second is based on Teamwork, and third is based on Trust. These 3 things are the central themes of the game.
After completing the game you are provided with a QR Code to scan which takes you to a site where you get a little video of your upgraded ship going through the end of the ride as well as your Friendship Results. This was a nice addition to the game. The video is different based on your performance and has the classic freeze frame souvenir photo that you see at most amusement parks. If your Friendship Results are less than perfect, this addition might be enough to make you want to replay the game to increase your results and see the different ship upgrades and endings. They also have a custom story relating your adventure in the amusement park that includes a lot of little details about what happened during each of the challenges.
Overall, as fans of puzzle games we enjoyed the game even though it was a little short and we look forward to seeing what the next game in the series has in store.
We Were Here Expeditions: The FriendShip is on Xbox, Playstation, Steam, and Epic Games. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Antstream Arcade from Publisher and Developer Antstream
Nostalgic retro games galore. Cloud hosted so can have some latency issues at times.
Antstream Arcade is your home for playing legal copies of Retro games with over 1300 games available to play anytime. Sounds a little too good to be true right? So, what’s the catch…? Well, first off, you are buying a subscription/license from the service to play the games. There are currently two options; buying a 1 year license (that you would have to buy again if you wanted to access the games after that 1 year is up), or a lifetime license. At the time of this review the 1 year is $30 USD and the Lifetime is $80 USD on Xbox (it is also available on PC). The second catch is that all of the games are cloud only versions that are streamed to you and not installed or run locally on your system which can lead to a little lag with your controller input at times. But, at least it saves hard drive space, right?
When you first access the arcade you might be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of games. 1300 is a lot of games. If you were gaming in the 80’s, 90’s, and even the early 2000’s you will find tons of games that will bring back memories, some good and some bad. There is a search option to help you find games to play but you need to know what you are looking for to make it helpful. We noticed a bunch of times that the same game appeared more than once since it was listed separately for different systems/consoles (ie: Skatin USA for the Spectrum and for the C64). We would have loved the option to make our own playlist. You can favorite a game by clicking on the star but you need to go into your profile to access your favorites. Having that on the main Play Now screen would have been a better choice. We would love to see this changed in an update to the arcade.
Going through the games we instantly found a few games that made us stop everything and play. The music, the sound effects, and the look just hit us with all of the nostalgic feels. Replaying these was both good and bad as it seems some games weren’t as good as we remembered them being and would’ve been better left safely locked away in our fond memories. It also took a little bit of getting used to trying to play the old games with a modern controller as most of the games only use a few of the buttons since that’s all that was available when the game first came out.
In all of the games we played we were able to make a save at any time and had 3 save slots. This was a welcome change from the original versions as a lot of the older games were known for being harder than they needed to be and not being super forgiving with checkpoints. Being able to save at any time lets you take a break from that game to play something else or just put it down for a while without losing your progression. For anyone who remembers playing early console games you know that saving on demand was not an option.
Just playing the games can be a little boring after a while which is why Antstream added Mini challenges, weekly tournaments, and community challenges. These are great additions to the original games and completing the challenges rewards you with a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Medal as well as some system currency. You even get a daily login bonus just for loading the game. You might be a little confused about the system currency since you already have access to all of the games. We were confused too at first since we couldn’t find anything to buy with it. We eventually found where we could use it to unlock new challenges, join the tournaments, or create challenges against a friend or the community. This extra layer of gaming on top of the original games was really interesting.
Overall, we enjoyed playing a lot of games from our childhood and discovering new old games to play. If you are an older gamer with young kids it would be fun to show them a bunch of games you played when you were growing up. For anyone who missed gaming in the 80 and 90’s this is an easy way to check out the games without spending a lot of money on the retro hardware and games.
Antstream Arcade is available on Xbox and PC. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Rabbids: Party of Legends from Publisher Ubisoft and Developer Ubisoft Chengdu
Rabbids are up to their usual hijinks in this minigame filled party game. Can be played solo or local co-op.
Rabbids: Party of Legends is a party game with a crazy story. If you’re familiar with the Rabbids you would expect no less. It has local co-op for up to 4 players and is better when played with friends. You’ll start off picking your mode, either Adventure or Party mode, select your Rabbid from the 22 available to start out with (another 23 can be unlocked by earning XP through gameplay). Each Rabbid has a different look but they play the same way. There is no difference in abilities, just pick the one you enjoy the most.
Adventure mode is the story part of the game where you will play through 50 minigames. Most of these are fairly repetitive standard issue minigames but there were a few that stood out as better and more enjoyable. You can either play solo or couch co-op. If you are playing solo, you will play against AI characters with 1 of 3 difficulty options; Easy, Normal, and Nightmare. We found the Easy and Normal difficulties to be pretty much the same but, Nightmare really ramps up the difficulty. It seems like all of the AI players go after you more often than they do each other making it basically a 3v1 whereas on the lower difficulties everyone goes after everyone in a more balanced way. If you are finding Nightmare a little too hard, you do have the option to change the AI difficulty between levels. Once you select the difficulty options it is set for everyone and cannot be changed mid-game. Some of the games are team based, matching you up with another player.
Party Mode lets you create a playlist by picking a bunch of levels or a single level that you want to practice. Not all of the mini games are available at the start, you will need to earn Enlightenment XP by completing levels to unlock them in Party Mode. This makes it very helpful if you missed an achievement or trophy since you can keep replaying a level until you complete the requirement to unlock your achievement or trophy.
Overall it’s a fun party game with crazy colorful characters but we do wish there was an online option as not everyone has people local enough to come over for couch co-op.
Rabbids Party of Legends is available on Xbox, Playstation, Ubisoft Store, and Nintendo Switch.
We Were Here Forever from Publisher and Developer Total Mayhem Games
Possibly the hardest co-op puzzle game we’ve ever played. Creepy AF Jester included.
We Were Here Forever is a cooperative first-person puzzle solving adventure and is the 4th game in the We Were Here Series. When we say cooperative we mean it as there is no single player option. It is a co-op only game like the previous games in the series. You don’t need to have played the previous games before playing this one but there are some easter eggs referencing the previous games that you’ll spot if you’ve played them.
You and your partner must work together to escape the realm of Castle Rock. To escape you will need to explore several locations in the frozen realm and find the clues needed to solve the puzzles blocking your exit. It sounds pretty simple working with a partner solving puzzles, doesn’t it? But, wait! What if each of the players takes a different route seeing only what is in their area and the clues you need for your puzzle are in your partner’s area and vice versa? And what if sometimes those clues are auditory and only one of you can hear them? Not quite so simple anymore. Needless to say, a good headset for each of the partners, a healthy dose of patience, and good communication skills are mandatory if you want to be successful in this game.
The puzzles start out pretty easy, giving each of the partners the clues to each other’s puzzle. After solving a few of the simpler puzzles the game throws you into the deep end for some complicated ones which can be stressful as you will need to be working with your partner and communicating all of the time. This can be difficult if your partner does not share information and communicate effectively. Some of the puzzles were pretty straight forward for what you need to do to solve it, while others were not so much and kept us stumbling around trying everything we could just hoping to get lucky and happen upon something that worked. To say that the game does not hold your hand at all is an understatement. At times it feels like your hand gets slapped away.
This brings us to the game’s hint system that is not helpful at all as the hints are very general and more about the area that you are in and general gameplay tips instead of about the puzzle you are trying to solve and might be stuck on. We stopped even trying them after a few levels because they were useless. We would have loved to see the hints be more specific to the puzzle or current objective.
With communication being so key to just playing the game we found ourselves getting a little frustrated at each other. We realised that part of that was due to a lack of communication between us as partners while others had to do with the puzzles straight up not giving enough information or not giving clear enough information to solve them.
In a few of the later puzzles you needed to explain to your partner what you are seeing and hearing as well. This added to the challenge and frustration of the puzzle solving as trying to explain what a sound effect sounds like is not easy. Since some of the puzzles are timed you will need to clearly agree on the language you’ll be using to describe objects and positions/orientation/direction to let you communicate the information faster.
Overall we did enjoy the game but really wish the hints would have been helpful and that the direction/clues would’ve been a little clearer in some parts.
We Were Here Forever is available on Xbox, Playstation, Epic Game Store, and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.