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.
MY LITTLE PONY: A Maretime Bay Adventure from Publisher Outright Games and Developer Melbot Studios
A fun game for kids of any age (even grown up kids) with great mechanics and in game guidance so you never get lost.
MY LITTLE PONY: A Maretime Bay Adventure is a third person Pony adventure game. You play as Earth Pony Sunny who wants to make the world a better place by hosting Maretime Bay Day, a forgotten celebration of friendship and magic. But some pony is out to spoil the celebration – and they’re stealing cakes, letting bunnies loose, and even spoiling Pipp’s paintings!
On your adventure you will meet up with other ponies from the My Little Pony universe and a very helpful butterfly. The ponies that you meet need your help with tasks and crime solving. Some of the tasks are as simple as finding items and using your magic powers to “uni”-cycle (fixing up or painting an object) or herding bunnies. The helpful butterfly will appear if you’re ever lost or “off course” for too long and will lead you to the objective that you should be working on. This was very helpful and great to see as the game is geared for a younger audience who may need the extra guidance. I would love to see something like this added to more games as it was very well executed.
The story and gameplay are pretty linear but you do have the ability to revisit places that you’ve previously been should you want to return and explore them further. While playing you will come across 5 different mini-games to play that will give you a star rating after completing them (up to 3 crowns). There is a timed bunny herding game, a timed obstacle course, roller-blading chase, flight academy (which is a flying obstacle course), and a rhythm based dance game. The mini-games are pretty short, enjoyable, and replayable in case you want to get a higher score or just replay them for fun. After completing the mini-games you will be rewarded with Star Magic according to how many stars you earn.
There are customization options that let you dress up Sunny with a variety of accessories when you visit the Magic Mirror. These are unlocked automatically as you collect the required amount of Star Magic. This is earned from completing mini-games and also collected on your travels (they are the pinkish-purple stars you’ll see all over the place). The changes you make to Sunny’s outfit are visible at all times, even in the mini-games and in cut scenes. We loved this attention to detail. It adds that little extra to your enjoyment of the game and makes the customizations feel more worth doing.
In the latter parts of the game new mechanics and new areas are introduced keeping the gameplay fun. You get roller skates which lets you move faster but they do take a little practice to get used to as Sunny slides around a bit. Luckily you do not have to use them and you can put them on or take them off with a push of a button. We used them most of the time but took them off for some of the area’s that needed more control of our movement.
Overall it’s a fun short adventure game for gamers of all ages and you don’t need to be a fan of My Little Pony to enjoy it.
MY LITTLE PONY: A Maretime Bay Adventure is available on Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Paper Flight – Speed Rush from Publisher and Developer EpiXR Games
A simple and potentially relaxing game for those that actually want to play it. Very quick and easy achievements for the gamerscore hunters who don’t.
Paper Flight – Speed Rush is a slow paced relaxing game. You pilot your paper airplane around different levels popping balloons by flying into them. The goal is to pop all of the “evil balloons” which requires popping the other balloons to build up your speed meter. How do you know which ones are the evil balloons? It’s easy, they have faces and horns. The evil balloons are scattered around the levels and will respawn in different locations once they have been popped. This is where the challenge comes in. You will need to complete an increasing number of waves of popping the evil balloons before you can access the next level.
Sounds pretty simple, right? Well it is, and that isn’t a bad thing as that’s what makes the game accessible for gamers of all skill levels. There are a total of 12 levels you get to fly around and explore from Childhood Room, Supermarket, a Space Station, and so much more. As expected the levels become larger and a little more challenging to hunt down the evil balloons as you progress but still pretty easy and relaxing. They even show you the flight path of where you’ve already flown previously in the level.
We did run into a few graphic issues but nothing game breaking.
Overall the game is relaxing, great for picking up and playing for 10-15 minutes at a time to complete a level and putting it down and coming back later. There is even a cheat code to let you skip levels which comes in handy for the achievement hunters that really just want the gamerscore.
Paper Flight – Speed Rush is available on Xbox, Playstation and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Flat Heroes from Publisher and Developer Parallel Circles
Not for the faint of heart or easily frustrated. Fast paced platforming with high degree of difficulty.
Flat Heroes is a fast-paced, minimalistic, intense, action platformer. You control a square just trying to stay alive. To do that, you need to jump from platform to platform, landing and jumping off walls to avoid being killed by the enemies and traps that appear.
There are 3 modes to play: Campaign, Survival, and Versus. Campaign is divided into two parts. Normal, which is the standard mode, and Heroes, which is pretty much equivalent to Hard mode. We suggest leaving Heroes until you have completed Normal mode. Most of the levels consist of avoiding the different types of enemies/traps and staying alive.
The game does provide a lot of challenges with 300 levels broken up into 20 worlds between normal and hero mode with boss battles at the end of each world (and we do mean battles). Some of the boss battles take a little bit of time (and many deaths) just trying to figure out what you need to do to beat the boss.
New mechanics are introduced every few worlds and new enemies/traps are introduced every few levels which keeps the gameplay interesting and keeps upping the challenge. If the levels become too challenging we suggest getting a friend to join as you only need 1 player to survive to the end in order to finish the level. Sadly, the game only offers local (couch) co-op. But, it does have drop-in and drop-out 4 player co-op which made it easier for a friend to drop in to help for a couple of levels and then drop out and we could keep going on our own. If you don’t have a local co-op player who is willing to join you there is an option to skip the level but it looks like you can’t skip back to back levels so be aware of that when choosing to skip or not. You are unable to skip the second to last level in the world (the level before the boss battle).
Survival mode, as you might have guessed, is a timed mode seeing how long you can stay alive. There are a bunch of modes to play but sadly most of the modes are locked behind SP, the game’s point system. You “earn” SP by climbing the leaderboards. There is a daily challenge that you can play once for free. If you would like to retry it to try and get a better time it will cost you some of your SP which turns it a little into a currency system. It does have online global leaderboards which is great to see as that adds to the replayability. We did notice that the top scores are all Dev accounts which should probably be removed or not included in the leaderboards.
Versus mode is a battle mode. Much like Survival mode, most of the versus modes are locked but can be unlocked after playing a few games. There is couch co-op for all of the modes and the option to add AI for the versus modes. We would have loved to see different options for the AI as it is no joke; they play to win.
The game carries its minimalist theme throughout from the controls and enemies, to the art style and music. All of this adds to that pick up and play feeling where we can play it for 15-30 minutes here or there, put it down, and come back another time.
Overall we enjoyed the game in spurts, some of the levels were very challenging and a little frustrating as we didn’t know what we were supposed to do during the boss battles. It is satisfying finally completing a level that you died a bunch on and that included the boss battles. The game does not hold your hand, you learn by dying over and over until you learn the pattern or figure out the objective. We would have loved to have been able to play more of the modes without having to grind points or battle the AI.
Flat Heroes is on Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, Steam, and Epic Games. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.