Jumanji: The Video Game from Funsolve LTD
A 3rd person shooter movie tie in game
The game is either too late for the 2017 version of the movie or too early for the sequel in 2019.
The background graphics are decent but the character models need work. They are based on the 4 Jumanji characters first seen in the 2017 movie played by Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black. The character models are recognizable approximations despite being rather low res. They do offer some minor “customization” options for your character in the form of different colored skins for the characters and weapons.
The background audio is good but the voice over does not fit the characters. Since they made the game characters look like the movie characters they should have at least tried to make them sound like them as well. The only one that is remotely close to sounding similar is Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black’s character). Their dialog is bad and repetitive since each character only has 4-5 lines that they repeat regularly.
The controls are simple but do the job intended. You can shoot your weapon, toss grenades, run, hide behind or hop over cover, and use a melee attack.
Each of the characters has a Special Power/Ability that makes the rather simple combat even easier. Dr. Smoulder Bravestone (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) does a Power Smash aoe attack, Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) stuns the enemies using a boombox, Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart) summons a monkey that attacks the enemies, and Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black) emits a healing aura that heals himself and allies that are within its radius.
One interesting game mechanic comes in the form of a mysterious jewel. When your team spawns in one of you will have a jewel. This jewel is used to power an obelisk which is required to advance further in the level. More on that in a moment. The character holding the jewel will deal more damage but if you hold it for too long it will cause damage and automatically move to another character. It can be handed to other characters before this happens to avoid taking the extra damage. You’ll know you’re getting close to the end of your time as the jewel changes colors.
There are 4 different levels and 3 difficulties to choose from. Sadly the online community is already dead. It took hours to find another person to play with online. You can play by yourself with AI teammates or you can play solo in the online variant and hope someone else stumbles upon your lobby.
It does have a local co-op option but for unknown reasons it splits the screen vertically instead of horizontally. This makes no sense as you can’t jump, let alone climb, and there are no aerial attacks to be wary of. There are collectibles scattered around and some of them are placed in higher locations but that doesn’t seem like enough justification for such an odd choice in screen splitting.
There are only a few different types of enemies that you will see repeatedly on each of the levels. You will either find ranged enemies who shoot or throw grenades, and another type that will run up and melee attack you. There are also two different types of “heavy” enemies. One with a sledgehammer that deals a lot of damage if he can get to you, and the other has a minigun for ranged combat.
While replaying the levels over and over again we noticed that the 4 Jumanji game pieces in each of the areas will appear in different locations in the other areas which makes each of your playthroughs a “little” different.
Poorly timed for a movie tie in. Disappointing and confusing choices in many areas. Dead online and inconvenient local co-op.
Jumanji: The Video Game is available on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Windows.
Super Jumpy Ball from CasualGames.nu
A Simple 2D Platform Game
You play as a Ball and have to make it from one end of the level to a flag at the other end. The entire level fits on your screen at one time making it pretty easy to plan your routes. Each level has a single star that you can opt to collect on your way to the flag. In the early levels collecting them doesn’t present much of a challenge. This changes as you progress through the game and getting the star becomes the primary source of difficulty as simply getting to the flag without taking damage isn’t that hard on most of the levels.
There are a few different types of obstacles used on the levels; spikes, spike balls that get shot at you, and saw blades. The saw blades are either on a track that move up and down, left and right, or are on arms that rotate around a platform you need to use. They’re very reminiscent of a certain old platformer with a plumber, except the graphics here aren’t as good. You’ll need to avoid these obstacles as you make your way around the screen to collect the star and then get to the flag. A single hit from one of the obstacles will kill you.
There are 40 Levels and 5 Game modes to pick from.
Basketball – Where you jump off walls to rebound into the hoop.
Endless Survivor – You need to climb the platforms to escape the rising spike floor.
Spike Battle – A local Multiplayer game where you have to jump on top of the other players and pop their ball with the spike attached to your bottom.
Endless Running – A standard endless running mode where you avoid obstacles and can collect flags to extend your time.
And the normal “campaign” levels
The graphics are very Flash circa 1995 and the audio is repetitive as there are only a total of 2 songs in the game; one for the menu and another one for the levels.
The game describes itself as a puzzle platformer but sadly we couldn’t find any puzzles in it. We would say it’s more of a platformer/obstacle course.
It is rather short as you could playthru all 40 levels in about 15-20 minutes. It has local multiplayer modes only but does have global leaderboards which is nice. However, for some reason, only a few of the game types have leaderboards.
A puzzle-less puzzle platformer. Good for young gamers or when you want to just play something a little mindless.
Super Jumpy Ball is available on Xbox,Nintendo Switch and Windows. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Restless Hero from Restless Corp
A 2d pixel art Dungeon Adventure
It has a retro 16 bit art style reminiscent of Super Nintendo and a simple soundtrack. Sadly the soundtrack is the same for all of the levels which starts to become repetitive.
The movement in the game is simple but effective. You move around the level jumping over enemies and obstacles, and scaling walls to get to higher areas. Water is also an obstacle since your character can’t swim and you will be insta-dead if you land in any.
The controls are very basic. One button for jumping and another one to use your super power. Combat is almost non-existent given that your only options are to jump over them and run away or use a super power to blow them up.
The super powers are pretty straight forward. The first one restores your health, the second one lets you destroy enemies and traps when you come into contact with them, and the third gives you a shield that lasts for a few seconds and lets you come into contact with the enemies without taking damage. This gives you three strategies for getting through the levels.
While moving around the levels you will find a variety of pickups to assist you. There are green potions which are the in-game currency, hearts to refill your health, lightning bolts to refill your super powers, and two chests per level that give you a gold bar when opened. The gold bars are almost equivalent to player levels. When making purchases there is a minimum gold bar requirement along with a price in potions but the gold bars are not spent; you retain them. They’re just there to make it harder to grind out a bunch of stuff early on since you have to play further and find more chests to collect more gold bars.
There is a shop located on most every level. They are where you can purchase items or change which super power you have equipped and make a one time purchase of an additional gold bar. Shops are the only way you can swap out your powers after your initial selection.
Every few levels you’ll meet up with a witch. She’ll ask you a question and you’ll have two options to choose from for response. The final choice is the only one that makes a difference in which ending you see.
The 22nd level (out of 30) was different as it was a kind of a race level. You are being chased by the smoke monster that you see on the title screen when loading the game. The smoke monster will one hit kill you and you are unable to kill it.
The later levels become harder by adding more enemy types as well as removing mid-level checkpoints. Choosing the correct super power becomes much more important at this point.
While playing on Xbox we noticed an interesting twist for the achievements. They do not auto pop like most other games. They need to be “claimed” from the main menu in the store before they will unlock.
The game is fun and enjoyable for a pick up and play game if you have 15-20 minutes here or there to play through a few levels. Completing a level and collecting both of the gold bars hidden on it will award you with a medal for the level. After earning medals for every level the game loses replayability. The only reason to keep playing it after that would be to collect more potions to spend in the shop and finish upgrading your super powers.
Fun retro platformer. Basic controls and repetitive soundtrack.
Restless Hero is available on Xbox Play Anywhere, IOS and Android. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
The Church In The Darkness from Fellow Traveller
A top down stealth game about infiltrating a cult’s compound to rescue someone.
In the late 1970’s your nephew has joined a religious cult and moved with them to the South American jungle to become a part of Freedom Town. Your sister, Stella, asks you to infiltrate the cult’s compound to find, convince, and escape with your nephew Alex.
While walking around the compound you meet both friendly and hostile NPC’s. The hostile NPC’s will chase after you and shoot at you, while the friendly NPC’s will provide you with objectives or challenges as well as information on where your nephew Alex is through conversations. The friendly NPC’s can be identified by the green circle around them and the speech button prompt when you approach them.
You can fight the NPC’s by shooting them at a distance if you prefer lethal ranged combat or you can sneak up behind them and choose a lethal (kill) or non-lethal (subdue) takedown. When choosing the non-lethal takedown the NPC will wake up about 10 seconds later and start trying to hunt you down. If you choose this option, make sure you clear the area quickly or find a hiding spot. If you are able to locate Chloroform it can be used with the non-lethal takedown to extend the amount of time the NPC will stay unconscious.
You can search desks, closets, cupboards, and dead or knocked out bodies for weapons, ammo, food, and medical supplies. While searching the desks around the town you find letters to and from the NPC’s.
Limited customization’s allow you to choose your character’s sex and race as well as the difficulty level.
The graphics are basic but the top down angle that puts you above the tallest trees can still be a little vertigo inducing for anyone with issues with heights. The sound is ok. There are some sound effects related to your movement and in world actions and dialog options with NPCs but the majority of what you hear is either preaching or singing over the loudspeakers.
The game has a Permadeath system. Once you die, your only option is to start the game over again. When you start a new game, your spawn location is randomized as is the locations for some story objectives. The game also has different endings based on the choices you make and the difficulty chosen which all adds to the replayability of the game. Depending on where you spawn in and where your nephew is located, a playthrough takes about 20 minutes to 1 hour; less if you get killed.
You are able to see the NPC’s field of view by holding a button, though doing so makes you crouch and move slowly. This makes it easier to avoid detection and know where to hide or disappear when/if you get spotted. You can also find Townsperson Clothing to disguise your character and reduce the detection radius.You can still get spotted though and once you are, you lose the disguise and it disappears from your inventory so you can’t even reequip it after escaping.
The game provides you with a few options to try to distract the NPC’s and make them change the route they are traveling or move from the location they are guarding. You can throw stones or turn on a radio, both of these options will send NPC’s to investigate what is going on. This becomes very helpful on the harder difficulties since being as stealthy as possible will help keep you alive.
The religious cult has two leaders; Isaac Walker who is the Preacher and his wife Rebecca. You will hear their voices over the loudspeakers around the town as they preach propaganda and “brainwash” the NPC’s. After about 4-5 times it starts to become repetitive and makes you wish there was an option to lower the loudspeaker volume.
As mentioned, the game has different endings depending on the choices you make and the difficulty you selected but there’s also a seemingly random component to the different endings centered around Issac’s actions. The permadeath mechanic does you no favors if you want to see all of the possible endings.
Short campaign, Permadeath, top down, stealth game with multiple possible endings that have a random component to them.
The Church in the Darkness is available on Xbox, PS4,Nintendo Switch, Windows and Mac. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
A Plague Tale: Innocence from Asobo Studio
A 3rd person action adventure stealth game.
You play as Amicia de Rune, a young teenager and the oldest child of a Lord, during the 14th century in France at the height of the deadly Black Plague. Her mother, Lady de Rune, is an alchemist and has spent all of her time for several years trying to treat her son Hugo. She has isolated both herself and her son from the outside world. Amica resents her younger brother and his sickness for stealing their mom away. During that time, Amicia was mostly on her own but learned some highly useful skills from her father which are all about to come in very handy.
Your objective is to avoid the Inquisition, guards, and rats, lots of rats; all while trying to find help for your brother and his condition.
While traveling around the levels you lead Hugo by the hand. While at times it does feel a little like an escort mission that feeling goes away fast and seamlessly. You are able to provide commands to Hugo for him to get items, open doors, stay put, or follow you. You also meet some other companions on the way who help you through your journey. Each of the companions have unique commands/skills from picking locks, breaking down doors, or knocking out enemies. You also learn how to craft different items from your companions.
During the story you get to watch the brother-sister relationship develop between Amicia and Hugo. As the story progresses you see them grow from being basically strangers that wouldn’t recognize each other on the street to one in which they have a genuine bond. Both the writing and voice acting capture this relationship so well it feels very natural and believable.
While playing you will come across 3 different types of collectibles, Gifts, Curiosities, and Hugo’s Herbarium (Flowers). I really enjoyed the unique dialog that accompanies each of the Collectibles. The herbarium collectibles allow Hugo to tell you a little about each flower and their medicinal qualities or history that he learned from their mother. The gifts help to showcase the growing relationships between Amicia and the others. And the curiosities are all narratively appropriate and allow a little deeper glimpse into the time period and setting.
While exploring the levels you travel past some interesting locations with great views. The visual styling chosen for the game is great and very well done with very nicely done environmental effects.
The audio is clean and simple and works well for setting the mood. Playing with good headphones adds a wonderful immersive feel that is very well balanced but the sound is good regardless of using a sound bar or the TV speakers. You can even specify your audio setup in the options for the best possible experience. I really appreciated the realism incorporated through the sound of Amicia’s breathing as you traverse the levels. The tension and fear you can hear in her not only serves as an indicator of guards being nearby but also adds a beautiful emotional element that makes it feel so much more real.
The game play mechanics are solid. You can choose your play style and either tackle things purely stealth or take out some of the opposition using your sling. However, since your combat abilities are limited to what you can do with a sling, a somewhat stealthy approach will get you farther as open conflict often ends in a swift death.
The checkpoint system is very forgiving with frequent saves. This minimizes the penalty of death from failed stealth or wrong turns. They also have a lot of little quality of life finishing touches mechanically that make the combat system easier to use.
There are 4 boss fights during the game. They’re each unique and will require different skills and strategies to win. Once you learn the patterns, the boss fights become more fun than difficult.
The maps are littered with resources which make it easier to craft the ammunition you’ll need and lessen the penalty of bad aim. You never feel like you’re having to be stingy with your resources except when keeping an eye on some of the rarer resources needed to upgrade your equipment.
There are several stages with puzzles and obstacles that help with the pacing, add variety to the gameplay, and are fun without being too difficult. Many of them require giving commands to your companions and working together with them to complete the challenge.
In a recent update Photo Mode was added to the game which lets you pause the game and take control of the camera to capture some great looking photos. You can move the camera freely to gain a completely different vantage and really appreciate just how pretty or dark some of the scenes are.
A 3rd person action adventure stealth game that is so much more. It has an action filled and emotional story with solid mechanics that won’t piss you off, a generous checkpoint system, as well as interesting visuals and solid audio.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is available on Xbox, PS4 and Windows. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.