Super Destronaut: Land Wars from Publisher Ratalaika Games and Developer Petite Games
Repetitive but enjoyable retro FPS
A Neon First Person Shooter
The game is a First Person Shooter where you shoot enemies and pick up the coins they drop to buy upgrades for weapons and health. It has two game types: challenge, and arcade mode.
Challenge Mode has 30 stages to play and provides you with a specific challenge you need to complete before receiving your Gold, Silver, or Bronze rating. The ratings are based on how quickly you complete the challenge but there’s nothing to indicate what the requirements are for each rating until you complete the stage and see what your time was.
The first 15 levels or so, we didn’t find the challenges to be particularly challenging. Most of these stages were able to be completed in under 1-2 minutes. At times, the most challenging part is just finding the enemies.
Arcade Mode has 5 game types
- Classic Mode – Normal Classic mode
- Hardcore Mode – More Enemies with more HP
- Combo Breaker – You need to keep a combo going if it runs out its game over.
- Maximum Strength – You start out using a Rocket Launcher.
- Snail Mode – You move slowly and can’t jump.
We enjoyed classic mode and maximum strength mode the most.
The artstyle is a neon voxel and has a retro mid 80’s feel. Enemies look like they could’ve been taken right out of arcade classics like Space Invaders or Centipede. The level design and sound effects fit the game’s aesthetic and are in keeping with that retro feel. They chose dubstep for the music. While this is not exactly in keeping with 80’s retro it still feels like a good fit for the gameplay. While the controls are very simple they work nicely and are pretty responsive.
Sadly, there is only one map that is used for every stage both in challenge mode and in arcade mode. After about 15 minutes you’ll figure out the fastest way to make it around the map and where to take cover during combat. While this does help make the challenges a little easier since you’re familiar with the terrain, it also makes it more boring.
There is no story or narrative and the challenge mode (30 Stages) can be completed in under 1 hour. With no online leaderboards, once you complete the challenges you are unlikely to replay them unless you want to try to get a higher rating for personal reasons. The arcade modes were more enjoyable as the stages last until you die (or lose your combo in Combo Breaker). That at least kept things going longer than a couple of minutes.
Super Destronaut: Land Wars is available on Xbox One, PS4, PSVita and Nintendo Switch. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Hidden Through Time from Publisher and Developer Crazy Monkey Studios
A modern animated Where’s Waldo enjoyable for all ages. Wonderful relaxing music and animations that are both cute and entertaining.
A point and click where’s Waldo-esk animated hidden items game.
The game presents you with maps full of interactive objects and a list of items to find that are hidden on the screen. Each item on the list has a hint to help you locate it. Once you click the item it will put a temporary circle around it marking it as found and check it off of your list by changing the background color of the item from white to a nice bright green.
While playing the story mode you will travel through time from the Stone Age, to Ancient Egypt, through the Middle ages, and onto the American Old West. Each of the maps has its own look and feel and pretty much everything on the map interacts when you click on it. You’ll start out looking for just a few items on a smallish map. As you progress from stage to stage it starts to get a little more challenging as they add more items, hide them a little better, and make the maps larger. Depending on how you handle the challenge or frustration of searching for small well hidden items on a large map, this will either be tons of fun or irritating.
The graphics are delightfully stick figure cartoonish. It fits the game nicely and really nails the nostalgic feel of the Where’s Waldo books. They also have really gentle, relaxing, and peaceful music. We felt like we could happily spend hours exploring the maps and interacting with the different pieces presented while listening to the sound track and hunting down every last elusive little item.
There are a total of 26 maps in the story mode. They’ve also added a Map Editor mode where users can make their own maps and share them with everyone else. In this mode you have tons of options and can choose from everything in the game to populate your maps; structures, props, characters, animals, and the environmental elements (plants, trees, and rocks). Once you’re happy with your map you can play it locally or upload it for others to play online.
That leads right to the Online mode which lets you play maps created by other users and give them feedback in the form of Thumbs Up or Down. Some of the user made maps are very easy with only a few items placed and others are more elaborate where you can tell the creator spent some time to make a really enjoyable map or tell a little story.
We was surprised by the amount of options you have for searching the online maps. You can search based on like percentage, most played, most cleared, clear percentage, most recent and oldest. You can also favorite maps to find them again quickly if you want to come back to them.
The thing we loved the most about Where’s Waldo wasn’t finding Waldo. It was discovering all of the other little stories and activities that were happening on the page. This game captures that spirit perfectly. Every map had such interesting things happening and captured a little slice of the world with so many things to discover.
Hidden Through Time is available on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Steam, iOS and Android. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Bunny Parking from Publisher and Developer DillyFrame
Harder than you’d think for a cartoony “kids” puzzle game.
A Slide Puzzle Game
You play as a bunny who is a valet and needs to move a Red car from one end of a parking lot to the other. The lot is full of vehicles that are blocking the way. You need to kick the cars to move them and clear the path.
The game has 3 difficulty levels; Easy, Normal and Hard. You can start at any difficulty level you want to but you always have to complete the puzzles in order for each difficulty. As you progress through Easy they begin to introduce new obstacles and increase the difficulty of the puzzles. This prepares you for the increased challenge of Normal. Normal will likewise become increasingly difficult with more obstacles limiting your available moves. Before you even get to Hard you’ll find that you can no longer clear the whole pate. Instead you’ll sometimes need to move the vehicles blocking your path back and forth multiple times as you clear part of the path, move forward, and then move the vehicles around you to clear the next part of the path and exit. Jumping straight from Day 1 Easy, to Day 1 Normal, or Hard is a very steep difficulty ramp. Playing through all 100 levels of Easy first, makes for a smoother increase before starting Normal.
The graphics are pretty basic and simple, almost cartoony and very colorful.
The audio is simple and peppy there appears to be 3-4 different songs that will play while working on the puzzles.The songs are kind of an electronic polka and pretty repetitive. Fortunately, you can turn off the music in the menu if it starts to drive you as crazy as the little bunny valet. The vehicles will also honk when you kick them if they can not be moved in that direction. You will hear the car horn a lot. This is partly due to poor hit detection and vehicles not being able to detect which one you’re trying to kick and in which direction.
If you get bored of kicking cars you could play some soccer, jump on a trampoline, wreak havoc on some carrots from the patch, or go for a boat ride. There are a few other hidden things on the map for you to do if you decide you want to explore for a bit. We liked that there was more to do than just kick a bunch of cars and trucks around the parking lot.
The game does have a multiplayer/co-op option. We had a very hard time finding anyone to play with so we could test this out. When did finally find one person online to play with. The multi-player is indeed just co-op. One joins the other’s game. You can play soccer against each other or work on the puzzle together.
The controls are very simplistic but work fairly well.
The game is enjoyable and could be especially fun to play with younger gamers. We did run into a few issues with cars not responding to being kicked and a lot of unpredictability with kicking the soccer ball.
Bunny Parking is available on Xbox One and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Vasilis from Publisher Sometimes You and Developer Marginal Act
Kind of a weird story. If you’re looking for a slow paced game this is probably right up your alley. If you’re not a fan of walking simulators it may not be a good fit.
Hand drawn in black and white side scrolling adventure.
The story is based on political events in Ukraine during 2014. You play an elderly lady named Vasilis who is trying to locate her husband. While searching for him you’ll have to make your way through the troubled city. There are riots happening throughout the city as it starts to burn.
You have several locations to visit while exploring the town. The locations start to become weirder the further into the story you progress.
You’ll pick up items around the town to trade with the townspeople for other items necessary to continue the story and access new areas. There were a few times during the earlier “days” where we were unsure what to trade to whom in order to progress. We traded every item we had until finally finding the right thing. This was only confusing during the earlier parts of the game as it became clearer what you needed to trade with whom during the later days.
Most of the actual game play is walking back and forth around the town locating items to trade and going from location to location. It starts to feel like a walking simulator.
The controls are pretty simple but a little loose. We found the in game map to be pretty useless since you will be going to the same locations over and over again. You will also pick up a to-do list which will help you figure out what to do and where to go.
There were a few times we got stuck on invisible walls which became a little frustrating. Moving Vasilis around with the thumbstick seemed loose and it was very easy to drift up or down while trying to walk a straight line. We had better results using the D-pad to ensure there was no vertical drift when trying to walk horizontally across the screen.
The artstyle is hand drawn in black and white. Most of the animations are very simple with only a few frames that repeat over and over again.
The audio is very minimalistic. There’s not so much a “soundtrack” as there is different background or ambient noises for different locations. There’s no voice acting either. Just a “scratching” sound to represent speech while dialog boxes are on the screen.
The game is a little short and can be completed in just a few hours depending on how familiar you become with the best paths to traverse the town. After about an hour of walking back and forth you’ll wish there was the option to allow Vasilis to run.
Vasilis is available on Xbox One, PS4, PSP and Nintendo Switch. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
7th Sector from Publisher Sometimes You and Developer Носков Сергей
A really good and challenging puzzle game.
A side scrolling dystopian cyberpunk puzzle game.
This is a visually dark game with a correspondingly dark narrative. The lighting and color palette really sell the dystopian cyberpunk future. You’ll want to pay attention to what’s happening in the background of the levels as that’s where you’ll see the majority of the narrative taking place.
The story is elegantly told without saying a single word. It unfolds organically while playing the game, scanning HDD’s, and watching the background to see what is happening.
The sound track and graphics are very well done. They really capture the feel of a dystopian future. The soundtrack is never overwhelming. It subtly enhances the feeling of the environment and transitions from level to level.
You start out as a little spark of energy traversing your way around the levels using power cables strung along the floor, walls, and ceilings. You will need to jump between these to gain access to other areas in the levels. As you move through the levels you’ll take over different objects from a remote control car, a robot ball that rolls around the floor, a mech with a gun, and more. Each new form will introduce new unique mechanics that will be needed to solve the different puzzles.
The puzzles are typically math, logic, and physics based. Some of the puzzles or obstacles have an element of timing or luck involved which can be a little annoying after multiple restarts.You can brute force some of the puzzles while others require a little more time and effort as a wrong answer results in death and a restart from checkpoint. We found a few of them to be harder than they should be due to the “answer key” or clues being too small and hard to see due to the lighting or issue with the controls or physics. Most of the puzzles will have different solutions when reloading which will either keep you thinking or frustrate you depending on how you feel.
One thing is for sure, the developer does not believe in holding your hand. They give only the bare minimum of instruction at the beginning of the game. The rest is up to you to learn through trial and error. As a result, some of the puzzles will take a few deaths to figure out what you need to do.
The game has 4 different endings that are determined by the extra puzzles you solve or not while playing through the levels. It has 48 different levels and can be completed in a few hours.
7th Sector is available now on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Windows and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Music Racer From AbstractArt and Sometimes You
A futuristic driving rhythm game and light show.
You select your vehicle, the music track, the game mode, and the level. Your objective is to collect the notes by driving over them while avoiding red obstacles. At the end of the level you’ll see how many notes you hit, your combo, your score, and how many stars you earned out of 3.
The controls are simple. You only use the d-pad or the left thumb stick to move left or right on the road while driving. There is no acceleration or braking. You could play this game one handed if you wanted to.
It has retrowave style graphics with a lot of neon. The levels are extremely colorful and the game has a photosensitivity warning before you start the game. This warning is well deserved. If you have any issues with bright or flashing lights you should stay away. While our reviewer doesn’t have any issues with photosensitivity they did find that they could only play for a maximum of an hour at a time due to the eye strain from the light.
The audio is good and the soundtrack is enjoyable. The game has a large track list with 23 songs you can pick from.
There are 14 different levels you can choose from and you can choose any song to play on the level. You can also choose from any of 25 different vehicles; one of which is a giant bird.
Most of the cars will look familiar. They feature the Delorean from Back to the Future, KITT from Knight Rider, the TRON bike as well as a bunch of other well known vehicles. You can customize the color of the car and rims which adds to the enjoyment of the game.
The game has 4 different modes to fit your mood.
- Standard: You drive over the notes and try to avoid the red obstacles. Hitting obstacles breaks your combo, reduces notes collected, and slows you down.
- Hard: Same premise as Standard but with a greater penalty for hitting an obstacle. Instead of just breaking your combo it ends your run.
- Zen: A more relaxed game mode without any obstacles to worry about. You can freely “zen-out” collecting notes and enjoying the music.
- Cinematic: Puts you in the passenger seat instead of the driver’s seat allowing you to move the camera around and enjoy the scenery. There are no notes to collect. Just a relaxed audiovisual experience. It reminded us a little of the experience of watching the visualizations on media player or winamp in full screen.
We did wish that there was an option to create a playlist for the Cinematic mode as it would be a great addition to have playing in the background of a party. It would also be nice to be able to upload your own music and extend your playtime.
Sadly there is no leader board or any sort of internal tracking that shows what songs you have or haven’t played or what your current high score/star count is. Score is only used as ingame currency to unlock some of the cars and levels. Fortunately, you can replay the same levels and songs over and over and continue earning more currency.
A very bright audiovisual experience. Good music selections to choose from. You might need sunglasses.
Music Racer is available on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Williams Pinball: Volume 5 From Zen Studios
A DLC pack of 3 Pinball Tables for PinBall FX3
This is a classic pinball game that harkens back to long hours spent at the arcade. All of the tables let you toggle between a snazzy animated landscape and the original version of the tables at any time. Seeing the tables in the original version really adds to the nostalgia and captures the feel of playing the tables in person. The animated versions are fun and provide more interaction than their more static counterparts.
Each table has a great animated LED Score screen. They also each have a skippable intro that gives you history on the table.
No Good Gofers
A golf themed table that reminds me a little of the Caddyshack film as you are harassed by a pair of gophers. The table is really colorful and has a cartoonish look and the animated golfer freaking out breaking his clubs and tossing them around was nicely done and fit the table.
Out of the 3 tables in the pack this table seems to be the simplest and is the only table to have a 3rd flipper. That’s right, a 3rd flipper. It’s on the right side in the upper part of the table and is tied to the traditional right flipper. It’s nice having the assistance getting a little more oomph out of your shots but requires some quick reflexes to take the best advantage of it.
This table has a Circus theme. You have the option to change the color of the neon lights and the ball before you start the table. The table is very colorful and has more lights on it than the other tables in this pack.
One of our favorite things about this table is the Greenfaced Ringmaster. In the animated version he taunts you and dances around on the side talking smack everytime you make a mistake. In both the animated and physical version of the table his head pops out at the back of the table and opens a target for you to shoot with your ball. After all that taunting it’s rather satisfying to knock him in the noggin a time or two when you get the chance.
Tales of the Arabian Nights
This table takes us through several of the Tales of the Arabian Nights. There is a huge Genie, a flying carpet, and fireballs in the animated version. The original version has a physical genie and both versions of the table have a magic lamp that spins around on the table when you hit it with the ball. The lamp is an interesting twist that introduces some extra challenge to the table. Depending on the position of the lamp, different pathways are either open or blocked. This introduced a much higher level of challenge for scoring but also a really fun mechanic.
With the addition of the extra obstacles on this table it requires a lot of skilled shots to make it through the challenges or to successfully complete any of the stories from the Tales.
Whether you’re a pinball wizard or not, this expansion offers something fun and can help you while away many hours.
Williams Pinball: Volume 5 is available on Android, Mac OSX, PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One and iOS. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
This review is based on a Preview copy of the game that was provided to us for the purpose of reviewing the game. The final version may have differences from what we experienced.
Don’t Die, Minerva! From Xaviant
A Rogue-lite, twin stick shooter, with RPG elements.
You play as a little girl named Minerva along with her stuffed animal companion, who finds a group of haunted houses. You have to make your way through 3 different buildings, clearing the rooms by defeating evil ghosts, collecting gold, and stopping the Master who is the boss character on the top floor of each of the buildings.
The game has a Luigi’s Mansion feel with the way you go into the rooms to clear out the enemies by using light. The primary difference is that here you aren’t vacuuming up the enemies.
The gameplay is pretty simple and becomes a little repetitive as there is no story element included at the time of this writing. Once you complete the game you are able to replay it on a harder difficulty while keeping all of the upgrades you unlocked during your first playthrough (New Game+).
They made an unusual choice with the soundtrack. There is only music while the enemies are on screen after that it fades away and you are left with nothing but the sound effects of your character walking around. The musical selections seemed incongruous. Sometimes it was what one would expect it to be, a little eerie and combat appropriate, while other times it was upbeat and just felt weird.
One of the most fun mechanics is the stuffed animal companions. They were a lot of fun to use, had good variety in their area attacks, and were my weapon of choice simply because of how much I enjoyed using them. They do have a cooldown period but it’s fairly quick to recharge, especially with the right upgrades.
They’ve also combined stamina and mana together into one gauge so dodging/rolling and attacking with your stuffed animal of choice or flashlight will all deplete your blue energy bar. Fortunately your energy regenerates automatically. Your health, however, does not. But they do give enough health pickups as well as energy boosters throughout the levels to help keep you moving in the right direction.
You get loot drops from defeating enemies and looting chests or breakable items. You also have the option to purchase items from the store; more on that a little later. You can use these items to swap out your flashlight, equipment, and stuffed animal companion for more powerful versions. Each item has base abilities/powers and the option to add a stone to add an elemental damage attribute. They also have a rarity mechanic that keeps things interesting and almost scratches that “loot collecting” itch of always trying to find better and more powerful loot. If you do an excessive (some might say obsessive) degree of looting and upgrading you might feel a little overpowered at some stages but it’s absolutely required in order to be successful against some of the more powerful enemies you encounter in later levels.
Each of the buildings has its own groups of enemies that you will kill over and over again. Every once in a while a new type or variant of the same enemy is added. Some of them can only be attacked a certain way as they are able to block damage. This adds a bit of variety and challenge to the combat and helps save it from what would otherwise feel rather stale and monotonous.
There also appears to be a limit on the amount of enemies that will spawn in the room at one time depending on the size of the room. This will be helpful during the harder difficulties or for younger players.
The whole map is procedurally generated. Each floor of the building is considered its own level. Each level has multiple rooms, a fountain, and an elevator that takes you directly to the next floor. You have one opportunity per level to return to the courtyard and buy items or upgrades. To do this, you’ll toss a coin into the fountain and open a portal. You return via the same portal and from there your only option is finishing the level by finding the key and reaching the elevator. The procedural generation adds some variety to the game. Each room has a unique look and feel. This also adds some degree of replayability to the game since it won’t be exactly the same every playthrough. Because of the limitations on returning to the courtyard to purchase upgraded items or skills, it’s important to loot the levels so you don’t end up underpowered.
The courtyard is where you can interact with the friendly ghosts associated with each tower you’ve unlocked. The ghosts have unique skills you can unlock by purchasing them from the ghosts using the “essence” you’ve collected. There is also a shop area in the courtyard where you can spend your coins on new equipment and stones. There is a good balance between the cost of items and the amount of coin you’re likely to have after completing the levels.
We have run into a few issues with the controls not responding for a few seconds here or there, clipping into fountains and getting stuck, and some audio issues. We know the game is currently in Game Preview and is not completed at this time so hopefully some of those issues will be resolved in the final version.
A simple and fun twin stick shooter. Sometimes feels like the game isn’t sure what genre it wants to be.
Don’t Die, Minerva! will be available on Xbox One and Windows. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
The Adventures of Elena Temple: Definitive Edition From GrimTalin
A monochromatic 8-bit retro platformer.
In typical platformer fashion, your objective is to explore and move around the level by jumping from platform to platform, collecting coins, gems, and chests, placing crystals on pedestals, and shooting jars for a chance to find hidden coins. You will also need to evade the traps (spikes, saws, and arrows that come from everywhere) and of course there are enemies to evade or kill (scorpions, snakes, and bats). There are a couple of special enemy types that cannot be killed and must simply be avoided; spiders and ghosts. The spiders have an interesting mechanic associated with them that makes them more of an obstacle than an enemy.
You can jump, shoot, and move left and right. As you might have gathered, the controls are pretty simple and they work pretty well. Your character will generally turn and jump the way you would expect her to. Your gun can only hold two bullets at a time and shoots straight ahead in whichever direction you’re facing. You’ll want to bear this in mind when planning your ammo pickups. You’ll also need to be careful not to waste too many shots. If you find yourself out of ammo and out of pickups, fear not, you can leave the room and come back to respawn the ammo pickups. Besides enemies, you can also shoot the many vases scattered around the levels as well as a few destructible walls.
There are platforms that will move left to right or up and down once you are standing on them as well as ones that will dissolve after a second of standing on it. We ran into a few issues with the moving platforms getting in the way and stopping us from being able to access the area we wanted to access. Traveling to a different room and back again reset them and we were able to complete the objective by trying a different method or order of steps. You’ll find that you often have to travel between rooms to complete puzzles because you’ll need an object from one room to trigger something in the next. This is especially true for accessing blocked off areas found further in on each of the levels.
In the first 2 temples you have unlimited lives, which is a good thing because everything in the game will insta-kill you. Picking up an item and traveling to a new screen both function as a checkpoint so when you die you will respawn at the beginning of that screen or wherever the last item pickup was located. This allows for some strategy to come into play which becomes important and useful in some of the later rooms.
The 3rd temple is different. There are fire pits around the map that serve as checkpoints when you reach them. You also have semi-limited lives. When you die, initially you will respawn the same way you did in the earlier temples. But when you run out of hearts, you’ll be sent back to the last fire pit you reached. These fire pits that serve as checkpoints also fully refill your lives. There are also items you can pick up to increase your total number of lives. Some of these can refill your lives when picked up.
The map can be accessed by pressing the “+” on your Nintendo Switch. It is your friend and can be accessed at any time. You’ll find it very helpful for tracking where you are in relation to your objective. It is a very simplified map that really only shows the outlines of the rooms and where the doors are.
The chiptunes soundtrack and sound effects fit the retro feel perfectly and go nicely with the artstyle. They chose to do something interesting here with the visuals for the game as you’re playing the game on a system within your system. In game you can use the bumpers at any time to cycle through playing the game on a TV, a Computer Monitor, or an OG Gameboy among other options. Each game system has its own color scheme and backdrop of a different room. You can choose one based on which you prefer. You can use the triggers to zoom in or out depending on how much of the backdrop you want to see or how much of the in game screen you want filling your screen. So you’re playing on your real world gaming system and then on the virtual world gaming system inside it. It’s truly emulating the time period the retro graphics came from.
There are 3 different temples to play from and each one has its own gimmick. The first Temple “Chalice of the Gods” is relatively simple and a good beginners introduction to the game.
The second temple “The Golden Spider” builds on what you learned in the first temple. It is more challenging and becomes frustrating at times as you have to first locate orbs that need to be placed on a pedestal. If you die before placing the orb on the pedestal you’ll lose the orb and have to go back, sometimes several rooms away, to pick it up again. It also has platforms that move when you jump making you think before you jump to ensure you land on the platforms.
The third level “The Orb of Life” has an interesting twist with checkpoints discussed above and portals that allow you to teleport to other locations or rooms. We liked the additional puzzle elements introduced with the portals and checkpoints.
You are able to get different unlockables/modifiers like Double Jumps, Infinite Ammo, Rhino Armor, Campfires, and Limited Lives that can be toggled on or off at the beginning of the level and change the gameplay by making it easier or harder depending on which you have toggled on. Most of these will unlock by completing the temples. However, the Rhino Armor (which is SUPER handy and makes you unkillable) can only be obtained by taking a path that is outside the normal map.
A fun, classic platformer with a variety of obstacles and mechanics. A retro classic worth playing for a well done slice of nostalgia.
The Adventures of Elena Temple: Definitive Edition is available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Steam and Itch.io. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
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.
A Winter’s Daydream from Sometimes You and ebi-hime
A text based visual novel story by ebi-hime
The story is told by our narrator, 19 year old Yuu, who is a University student returning home to spend some time with his family over the holiday’s (New Years).
You start out with Yuu returning home and learn about his family relationships, mostly the relationship with his spoiled sister Otoko. As you guessed it Yuu can not stand his sister and how lazy, rude and spoiled she is and she can’t stand Yuu. While back for the holiday Yuu decides to go visit his Grandmother who lives in a distant isolated village. Due to a snow storm Yuu is forced to stay at his Grandmother’s overnight. This is where the story takes a weird change when Yuu wakes up and his Grandmother is young again.
The music is very relaxing and fits the atmosphere nicely.
They recycle the same backgrounds here or there with a character appearing, disappearing, and reappearing with a different expression or animation. This is common with most visual novels.
The game also has an auto-scroll mode in the options if you just want to just relax and enjoy the story without having to press anything on your controller.
It is a rather short story and can be completed in a few hours depending on how fast you read/scroll the text.
A visual novel with an interesting story. Auto-play mode is nice if you want to experience it more like a movie than a game.
A Winter’s Daydream is available on Xbox, PS4,Nintendo Switch and PSVita. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Niffelheim from Ellada Games
Norse Mythology 2D side scrolling action survival game.
You choose one of four different locations/tribes and one of four different classes for your character. Each choice has its own strengths and weaknesses.
While in the character selection screen you will see all four of the characters classes.
- The Viking has a bonus resistance to Bleeding and Stun. He does decent damage and has a slow metabolism which causes your satiety to deplete at a slower rate. Once all of your satiety has been depleted you will start to lose health.
- The Valkyrie has decent defense, low damage output, and a very slow metabolism so your satiety depletes at an even slower rate.
- The Berserker does great damage, has bonus resistance to Bleeding and Poison, but has a fast metabolism which will require you to consume more plants to keep your satiety in check.
- The Shaman is resistance to all damage types, has great defense, but deals the lowest damage of all of the characters, and has the fastest metabolism and will deplete satiety faster than the others.
The starting location does not seem to matter as each location has the same resources you will need to collect as well as the same enemy types to fight. It’s only the appearance of the backgrounds that’s really different.
The premise of the story is that your character died a true and glorious viking death in combat. But instead of the promised reward of ascending to Valhallen, you have instead wrongfully fallen to Niffelheim, the viking version of Hell. Your goal is to make your way out of Niffelheim and ascend to Asgard where you belong.
Once you’ve made your world creation choices (class and tribe/location) you are unable to make any changes to them. Each tribe has a designated starting location so choosing one dictates the other.
The artstyle is hand drawn and looks greats. The sound track is pleasant too. However, the audio is plagued with technical issues and does not live up to the quality that the art work deserves. While playing we found several issues where the audio cracks, pops, stutters, and cuts out. The beginning cutscene that sets up the whole story is a perfect example of some of the audio issues. These were consistent across every load of the game and across multiple consoles.
The game only allows you to have one game save file per gamertag. This is a little odd, very frustrating, and inconvenient. Having to delete your only save to try another class or clan seems ridiculous and makes you very unlikely to try different things once you’ve started playing the game and grinding to collect items and resources.
You will spend most of your time grinding for and managing resources. You be running around cutting down trees for wood, collecting plants, and killing animals. These resources are needed both to recover your health and for crafting. You’ll also use them for upgrading your castle inside and out. Outside renovations include adding walls, towers with archers, and even a Citadel. On the inside you are able to build a Kitchen, Alchemy Lab, Sawmill, and Forge.
You’ll also need to keep track of your resources to replace your tools and weapons as they wear out. They have a health bar to let you know when they’re nearing the end of their life. As you upgrade your base, you’ll be able to craft better quality items.
As you explore the map you will find new locations, crypts, mines, dungeons, and a town. The town is in the middle of the map and contains the only merchant. He will let you buy and sell items and potions.
You will come across a few different types of enemies including armored skeletons, wolves, and spiders. Most of the variations in enemies seem to just be a color swap as they are otherwise identical in appearance, take the same amount of damage to kill, and don’t have any differences in their attacks. You’ll also encounter some of the larger almost boss type monsters like Stone Trolls, Giant Wolves, and Giant Spiders while exploring the mines you come across in your explorations.
The combat is very simple. You use one button to attack and one to block. The animations for your attack are based on how far away from the enemy you are. Depending on the distance you might do a sword swing or a kick on the smaller enemies. They do have both ranged and melee combat options but you can only have one equipped at a time. The attack button will attack with whichever weapon is currently equipped.
Since you are already dead, when you die from starvation or combat you will return as a spirit until you reconnect with your body. While in spirit form you are unable to attack, be attacked, or collect/harvest anything. Death also carries a penalty in the form of a decrease to the cap on your max health. Every death further decreases your max health. This is a semi-permanent penalty as the only way to restore the original cap is by consuming a very expensive potion.
To recover health you can eat meats, vegetables, or drink potions. Eating the meats and vegetables will also increase your satiety meter. They also provide another interesting way to recover health besides consuming things. Near your camp and in other areas around the map you will see thrones. Sitting on one of these will also cause your health to regenerate for as long as you remain seated.
One of the more confusing mechanics in the game revolves around the tutorial. There isn’t one. Except there is. Much of the time you’ll just be pressing buttons because they’re on the screen and just sort of figuring out what things do as you see the effect of pressing the indicated button. There is no on screen prompt or dialog to help guide you and introduce mechanics as you encounter them for the first time. We only found the actual in game tutorial when searching for the menu that was hidden in the back.
The game also gives you quests that you can complete for rewards like weapons, gold, or potions. Most of the quests are pretty simple and have basic requirements like collecting a certain amount of eggs or toadstools. You’ll end up completing some of the quests without ever even knowing they were there. Once you find the tutorial, if you browse around there is also a page where your quests are tracked.
Grindy 2D dungeon crawler-esque game. One part dungeon crawler, one part resource management grind-fest. Great art. Audio issues. No co-op or multiplayer on consoles. Single save file limits options for trying different things.
Niffelheim is available on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
2064: Read Only Memories from Midboss
A cyberpunk point and click visual novel.
The story is set in Neo San Francisco during the year 2064; just in case you couldn’t guess by the title. You are met by a Relationship Organizational Manager (ROM) named Turing. Your friend Hayden, who is Turing’s creator, has disappeared and Turing is requesting your aide to find him.
While playing you will meet up with a massively diverse cast that you will need to interact with. These supporting characters have their own personalities that you can discover during the conversations you have with them. Some are one time characters, others are recurring.
During your conversations with the NPCs you will have several different dialogue options to choose from. The choices you make during these conversations will affect the outcome of the conversations and determine the nature of your characters relationship with them. If you successfully befriend the NPC’s they will be more willing to help you and will provide you with additional dialogue that reveals more about their back story. Some of the back stories and pretty messed up and will pull at your emotions. You cannot choose every possible conversation option. Some of them will end the conversation immediately or lock out other paths of dialogue.
The pacing is a little slow during the first few chapters but starts to speed up towards the later chapters. You will spend a lot of time reading and or listening to the conversations in game. While they do give you the option to mash a button and skip through the dialogue we recommend taking the time to listen to or read the conversations as that is how the story is told to you and the voice over work is very well done. The game also has a good soundtrack that fits nicely.
We noticed a few issues with the dialogue selection. If the dialogue choice you wanted to make was already selected and highlighted it wasn’t always clickable. Another choice needed to be selected before the choice you wanted to make would become clickable.
True to the cyberpunk genre, science and technology are a big part of the story. From Turing being an AI who develops a personality to genetic modifications using animal DNA to find cures for diseases you see the emphasis on futuristic sciences throughout. Sadly the genetic manipulation has repercussions causing the people who undergo it to manifest animal characteristics. The resulting chimera are called “hybrids” and treated badly. Some are even sterilized. There are also “pure humans” which are humans that have not been modified in any way.
And you guessed it, there is a divide between the “hybrids” and “pure humans”. While playing through the story you will need to interact with NPC’s from both sides to get more information to help with your investigation.
There are several locations to visit some are based on real San Francisco landmarks and locations. This was an interesting choice and great to see.
The pixel art style is nicely done but sadly it doesn’t come close to filling the screen. There is a lot of unused space above as well as on the left and right side. The lower area is used for the dialogue choices so we understand having that space available but it feels there is a lot of wasted space that could’ve been used for .
The game is more of a visual novel then a point and click as you will spend most of your time reading/listening to the game than playing it. Although, like some point and click games it does have some puzzles/mini games which are simple and pretty easy to figure. A few towards the end start to become more challenging.
This game does not have auto save at all so make sure you remember to save. This is something we forgot to do the first time playing and it necessitated replaying several hours of the game…
The game has multiple endings depending on the choices you make during the conversations with the NPC’s and Turing. Which is another reason to save often and make a secondary save.
A futuristic cyberpunk graphic novella. Great cast of voice actors. Arcade art style and soundtrack.
2064: Read Only Memories on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PSVita, Steam, iOS and Android. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
We Were Here from Total Mayhem Games
An Online only Co-op Puzzle Game
You are one of a pair of explorers who got lost in a blizzard. You found and entered a castle to escape the storm only to wake up separated from your partner.
One of the players will be the Explorer and the other player will be the Librarian. Communication is key in this game. The Explorer is presented with several puzzles that must be solved but they only have access to part of the information necessary. The Librarian will have the other parts needed to find the answers. Without good communication about what you’re each seeing and able to do, you won’t be able to make it through. Each of the roles provides a different perspective of the levels and a unique game experience.
The game has an interesting mechanic surrounding communication. When you first wake up, each of you will have a walkie talkie nearby that you have to pick up and use to communicate with each other. You’ll need to press a button to pull up the walkie talkie and speak to the other player. This can become a little frustrating at times if/when you forget to push the button and wonder why your co-op partner isn’t responding to what you say or ask.
There are a total of seven puzzles in the game. The early puzzles are relatively easy and fun with good communication between partners but the later ones start to become more challenging as they have more steps involved to locate the answers to solve the puzzles. They also introduce the possibility of death from obstacles or timed events that happen if you don’t finish the level quickly enough.
The game does a good job creating a haunted castle look and feel. There are torches for light, stone walls and floors, and things disappearing just out of sight around corners and on the edge of your field of view. The music and audio effects are also very effective at setting the mood. Each level has different music and the sounds experienced by each player are different from each other.
It also has 2 different endings depending on what choice you make at the very end of the game.
Like most puzzle games, once you know the puzzles you are able to run through them pretty quickly. But be careful, just because you already know the answer doesn’t mean you can do it without your partner still doing their part. We suggest playing the game twice so you can play each of the roles to get the full experience of the game.
An enjoyable puzzle game that is HEAVILY dependent on clear and precise communication between teammates. Online only co-op.
We Were Here is available on Xbox One and Steam
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.
Riverbond from Cococucumber
A simple hack and slash dungeon crawler.
The game has a system called “Rally Points” that will save you time when you respawn as you will respawn at the rally point instead of at the beginning of the level. They are respawn points only and not checkpoints.The game does not save your progress until you fully complete all of the levels in a world. The final level is always a boss fight. The good news is, when you die and respawn the enemies health does not reset and any enemies you already eliminated do not respawn. This is helpful for younger players or people who don’t want to grind kills.
The controls are pretty simple as you only need a few buttons; press 1 button to attack, hold the same button for a stronger attack, another button to do a special attack, a third button to interact with items, and the fourth to jump, and one more to roll around the levels.
The soundtrack is clean and simple which fits the colorful voxel based art style.
It has 8 different worlds that you play through, each with its own look and feel, challenges, and enemies. Each of the worlds has 4 or 5 levels.
You can recover health by picking up red potions that are dropped by killing enemies, destroying the environment (boxes, trees, and so on), or unwrapping presents.
While playing you will find chests that give you weapons and skins for your character. The weapons are an interesting variety from swords to lollipop’s to bear claws and rainbow umbrellas. The weapon classes are swords, spears, clubs, slap weapons, dual wield, and guns.
When starting a new world you start with a sword and a gun. The weapons you unlocked from the previous worlds do not carry over. Every new world resets you to basic equipment.
There are a lot of character skins in the game in the shape of food or animals. They even have some skins from other games like Bastion, Guacamelee, Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, and Enter the Gungeon just to name a few.
The little amount of story is uncovered by speaking with characters around the levels.
Sadly, the game is pretty short and can be completed in under 5 hours. It is couch only co-op and has little to no replayability.
A 3D voxel hack and slash dungeon crawler. Has convenient respawn system, simple controls, tons of skins, lots of crazy weapons, couch only co-op, and very little “story”.
Riverbond is available on Xbox, PS4 and Steam
The Tower Of Beatrice from Sometimes You
A single screen point and click puzzle game
The game starts out with a few pretty simple puzzles that are easy to figure out but becomes more complicated and difficult with each proceeding level as expected. After a few levels the puzzles start to require you to complete a puzzle to get an item that you will need to complete another puzzle.
You will need to locate ingredients while searching around the levels for a Potion. Each of the levels requires a different potion to solve one of the puzzles before being able to complete the level.
The controls are simple as you move your cursor around the screen clicking on items to interact with them. You can zoom in on items, interact with an item by using or moving it, or pick up an item to add it to your inventory. Even though the controls are simple, they are a little finicky as they don’t always respond in the way you intended.
Most of the puzzles are pretty easy to figure out and you can get hints by pressing the appropriate button on your controller. When you do, a “?” pops up on screen next to the items that have hints available. When you click on the “?” it will give you a hint with how you should interact with it. As you progress through the puzzle new hints become available. All that said some of the puzzles just seem to be a lucky guess. We ran into issues with one puzzle in particular that once entered could not be exited without successfully solving it but no clue was ever given for what the solution was.
Like most point and click games you are able to solve some of the puzzles simply by trying every item in your inventory on another item until it is solved.
There doesn’t really seem to be much of a story. You go into a tower to recover a book and becoming trapped, then solve puzzles to make your way back out of the tower.
The art style and audio are both simple and clean. It’s reminiscent of the old flash games with objects on a background that move in specific, limited ways.
The game is a little short as there are only 6 rooms. Depending on how quickly you are able to figure out the puzzles you could complete the game in under 4 hours.
A short Single Screen point and click puzzle game with simple controls and weird puzzles.
The Tower Of Beatrice is available on Xbox, PS4, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
OVIVO From IzHard
A simple momentum and gravity based platformer that mixes art and gameplay.
You play as OVO, a color changing ball with an antenna. Your objective is to reach a spot in the middle of the map. To do this you make your way around the level by moving between colors, using momentum, sliding down slopes, altering gravity, avoiding spikes, or falling off a cliff. After reaching the objective the screen zooms out to display the full map revealing the piece of art that it is.
The gameplay and controls are very simple as the game only has 2 colors in it (Black and White) and uses 1 thumb stick and a single button to switch colors and move between the Black and White areas.
The music is simple, clean, and relaxing which keeps you calm during the later more challenging stages.
Most of the levels are pretty simple and have more than one route to get to the end. It makes traveling around the levels easy and fun during the earlier levels. The levels start becoming more complicated and challenging when new mechanics and obstacles are introduced. Some of the new additions are moving platforms, floating flowers, and color changing spheres. There’s a small learning curve at the start and it returns with a significant difficulty spike on the later stages. It is not always clear what to do or where you need to go and there are many chances to die by falling off objects into spikes or sharp edges. The check point system is pretty good which only has you backtracking for a few seconds which helps to offset the difficulty spike by minimizing the penalty for sudden deaths.
Sadly the game has no story; no spoken or written words at all. It is more of a short experience as it can be completed in about 3 hours.
A simple black and white momentum and gravity based platformer that mixes art and gameplay with a relaxing soundtrack.
OVIVO is available on Xbox, PlayStation 4, Steam and Nintendo Switch. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Adventures of Bertram Fiddle Episode 1 – A Dreadly Business From Chorus Worldwide
A point and click murder mystery adventure game set in Victorian London.
You play as Bertram Fiddle, a Detective, explorer, and adventurer with your trusty man-servant Gavin. While trying to look for an adventure you stumble across a Murderer and the adventure begins.
The game starts out holding your hand for the first chapter and after that you are on your own to figure things out other than a few hints here or there by repeating an audio clip. The Gameplay is pretty simple as everything is done by moving the cursor back and forth and using a single button. Most of the items you pick up are used within a few minutes if not less, which makes the puzzles pretty easy to solve.
It has an art style reminiscent of Ren and Stimpy, Cat Dog, or SpongeBob and a very tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. It does not take itself seriously at all with numerous puns and meeting characters with “interesting” names to say the least.
The audio is good with a very fitting soundtrack and good voice over work.
Gameplay is pretty simple as everything is done by moving the cursor back and forth and using a single button. Most of the items you pick up are used within a few minutes if not less.
The game is pretty short and can be completed in 2 hours or less. Keep in mind that this is an episodic game and this is just the first episode. We hope the next episode is longer.
A simple point and click murder mystery, with a interesting look and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
Adventures of Bertram Fiddle Episode 1 – A Dreadly Business is available on Xbox, Windows and Nintendo Switch. 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.
Fade to Silence from Black Forest Games
An open-world survival game with some RPG elements, a hint of base building, and resource management.
It is set in a post-apocalyptic winter. Snow and ice cover the landscape.
You have to deal with starvation, hypothermia, monsters, and the weather. From tornados to blizzards, it all takes a toll on you and can become deadly fast.
The in-game resources are used for crafting and upgrades. You have access to a simple crafting system from the get-go. As you progress and upgrade your camp, more advanced crafting becomes available.
You are able to find and rescue followers in various locations around the map. You will also have followers that will randomly show up at your base/camp and you have the option to have them join the camp or send them on their way. The followers help by maintaining the camp’s resources, building structures, and they can join you on your missions but they also consume resources from the camp. If a co-op buddy joins your game, they will play as one of the followers.
Combat is limited as you only have a few weapons to choose from (melee and ranged). You also only have a light or heavy attack with each melee weapon and can parry or block with them if you time it correctly.
The weapons and armor can be upgraded by crafting a higher level version. These higher level versions unlock as you upgrade your camp and gain access to more advanced crafting.
The environmental and set graphics are great but the facial animations could use some work. The audio is good as well and fits the atmosphere.
The game has a bunch of bugs. Your followers can get stuck in areas, they can freeze to death by not coming into the shelter to warm up, and there are collision issues when riding on the dog sled. They can knock you off and make you have to replace the sled which slows down your travel or escape and sometimes gets you killed in the process. The developers are working on fixing several issues and a patch has been promised. But there’s no word yet on when it will be dropping.
The story is interesting but a little vague in its telling. It’s largely told through visions or flashbacks and you see them seemingly randomly while resting at camp.
The game is slow at first due to the resource management burden and starts feeling like a chore. Once you start getting followers to join you in helping with the little things and gain the dog sled which lets you travel around the map at a decent pace, the whole thing becomes a lot more enjoyable and feels less like a chore and more like the game it’s supposed to be.
Overall the game has an interesting concept, the execution leaves a little to be desired and could’ve benefited from more time in development and/or testing. Even with its issues and bugs, I still find myself going back and playing it more. I’m looking forward to the update.
Ascendance from ONEVISION GAMES
A colorful First Person 3D Platformer.
The art style is a minimalistic, low poly with very colorful platforms and backgrounds. The audio is calming, relaxing, and adds to the atmosphere.
The gameplay is simple. You traverse the three levels by running and jumping from a stationary platform to collect orbs around the level. Once an orb is collected it reveals more of the level. While moving around the levels you will be using jump pads to access higher areas or platforms. Some will drop when you touch them which keeps you on your toes. Once you collect all of the orbs you are granted access to the next level. All three of the levels have collectible presents that can be found in hidden places around the maps (around corners or behind objects).
Each of the three levels is unique; not only visually but with new mechanics added to the mix which add a nice bit of variety.
The controls are simple as you use the thumbsticks to move and look around, and just two buttons are used for the rest; one for running and one for jumping.
What little bit of story the game has is told by finding Crystals around the levels. When you approach them, text will appear on the screen with the next installment of the narrative.
I encountered an issue with parts of the map not loading/rendering after hitting an orb/checkpoint and exiting the game then reloading the level at a later time. This was game breaking as it was not possible to complete the level and progress further in the game without the map rendered correctly and it was ultimately necessary to delete all saves both local and in the cloud and start the game over from the beginning.
I reached out to the developers to let them know about the issue. They responded that a patch is in development to address it but is not ready for release at the time of this writing.
Overall the game is fun, simple, relaxing and enjoyable but just a little short. More levels, mechanics, and a timed mode is planned with future updates.
Jack N’ Jill DX from Ratalaika Games S.L.
A 2D platformer, controlled by a single button. You are able to play as Jack or Jill and need to get through the level to the other character all while navigating the environmental obstacles, avoiding hazards, collecting coins and temporary power ups, bouncing off walls, and squishing enemies by jumping on them.
It has simple grey-scale monochrome color, pixel artstyle, and a chiptune soundtrack that reminds me of the old NES Games.
It has simple yet fun mini-games that you unlock by completing Worlds but that cost coins to access. You can purchase Hats and different color schemes for your screen using tickets that can only be earned in the mini-games. The game has no narrative at all.
Overall the game is fun. The levels are short and can be completed in about a minute or less. I also enjoyed the variety added by the mini-games and the way that the later worlds become more challenging.
Daggerhood from Ratalaika Games S.L.
A Pixel art, side-scrolling, platformer. During the level you will be collecting treasures and fairies before they disappear, killing enemies and trying to complete the level under the levels par time. The faster you complete the level the higher chance you have to earn a 3 star rating.
You traverse the levels by jumping, double jumping, wall jumping, and by throwing a magic dagger to teleport to the location the dagger was thrown. During the later stages temporary power ups are required to complete the levels; from a hammer to break blocks to a feather that gives you a floating ability for a few seconds, shields to keep you from taking damage, and gravity reversing magic bean.
The game has little to no story outside of the intro cinematic.
The audio is simple and fits the art style but has issues where is cuts outs at times.
Daggerhood is fun to play and becomes challenging during the later stages due to adding more difficult traps, more enemies, and narrower areas to platform and maneuver between.
Each of the 5 worlds has a unique boss challenge. Replaying the levels trying to get all 5 treasures, the fairy, and earn 3 stars can become addicting.
Super Weekend Mode from Pixelteriyaki
An interesting looking game with very simple and clean controls. Most of the game is played with just 2-3 buttons. Bumpers control left and right shiny shooty shuttle positions and another button fires both simultaneously. There is also and auto-fire option that I highly recommend.
Your goal is to destroy the boss before you get killed. You destroy the boss by shooting it with one of your two shiny shooty shuttles. While trying to shoot the boss you also need to dodge insta-death falling skulls, bump off the dust bunnies, and catch all the hearts. Missing a bunny or heart will shrink the field of battle and bring you closer to being crushed. Catching a bunny will cause insta-death like a skull.
The game nails the retro feel with the colorful pixel artstyle. The 8-bit soundtrack and effects all capture that old school feeling.
You can select which outfit your princess will wear. The outfit you pick determines which bonus you’re awarded after beating a boss. The bonuses could be more lives, more speed, or a barrier for your shiny shooty shuttles that lets you take one hit before insta-death. You can’t change your outfit mid game so choose wisely.
The game is fast paced, simple, fun, and easy to pick up and play.
Crashbots from Sometimes You
An Auto-runner were you make your way through the levels as a robot collecting stars and coins, finding power to keep your robot alive, and picking up robot parts to build/unlock another robot.
As the robot you can jump, slide, and shoot. Each action consumes energy as does taking damage.
There are traps all over the levels to damage you. Some can trigger chain reactions causing you to get hit more than once. Once your power is depleted you die.
You need to collect the stars scattered on the levels to gain access to the other worlds.
You also collect coins by finding them during the race and by earning them by completing challenges during the levels. They are used to upgrade your robot to reduce the amount of energy consumed per movement or reduce energy drained by damage taken.
It has 2 modes; a World mode and an Endless mode. The endless mode allows you to keep playing and trying to increase your distance.
The controls need some work as they aren’t always responsive and can end up getting you damaged or dead and become very frustrating.
The artstyle is clean, simple, and colorful.
The audio could use some work as it seems to use the same music on every level.
I found the game to be good in short sessions but too frustrating to play for longer periods. If the controls were better it would’ve been more fun and less aggravating.
Vaporum from Fatbot Games
Single player, First Person, Steampunk style, grid-based, RPG, dungeon crawler.
You start at the base of a tower in an Exoskeleton Rig and work your way up to the top, floor by floor. Each level of the tower and has its own challenges, puzzles, secrets, and enemies. As you advance through the game and gain xp by killing enemies you get to level up your Rig with different powers and abilities.
You gain your weapons, ammo, and abilities by looting while exploring the maps and killing the enemies. Each floor introduces new enemy types and variations of previously known enemy types scaling the difficulty up as you progress and become stronger yourself.
The puzzles are challenging and sometimes frustrating and become very satisfying to solve.
The controls are good but have a few issues that take a little bit of time to get used to. The atmosphere and audio are great and really capture that Steampunk feel.
Overall, the game is both frustrating and enjoyable. You may want to use a guide to help with the secrets and puzzles.
Metagal from Retro Revolution
16-bit sidescrolling platformer with a Megaman feel. You make your way thru the levels as a female cyborg traversing platforms, hitting a sporadic check point or 2, defeating enemies, and end up in a boss battle. Once you defeat the boss you gain their powers/weapons and use them against the other enemies and bosses.
The controls and mechanics are simple and they work as intended, the soundtrack fits nicely and adds to the enjoyment of the game. The story/campaign is a little short but has level time and letter rank which adds replayability to the levels as you can compete with yourself to beat your best score. The levels have their own unique environments and are nicely designed.
Generation Zero from Avalanche Studios
An open world FPS set in a 1980’s Sweden that’s ruled by robots. You explore the world looting cars, trucks, backpacks, toolboxes, houses, and all types of building looking for items and weapons to help you survive and fight the robots. The story is told through reading notes and listening to recording on answering machines.
It has a decent amount of character customization right off the bat as well as a lot of clothing items to make your character look the way you want; some even provide perks. It has a hint of an RPG element with skill trees to unlock and help level up your play style.
The controls are decent and the atmosphere is great as you explore the Swedish Countryside and everything that comes with it.The game does have some bugs from getting stuck in/under the map as well as quest items sometimes being missing. The navigation system needs work as well as there were mission objectives with no indication of where to find them.
The online co-op is a game changer taking the player from defensively avoiding the robots to proactively hunting them down. The co-op option is needed when coming up to the larger robots on the more difficult later stages.
Hell Warders from Anti Gravity Game Studios
Classic Tower Defense game mixed with some RPG elements and a hint of dungeon crawler feel for aesthetics. You play as 1 of 3 Heroes to place your defenses, level up, and aide in fighting off the waves of enemies. Each of the Heroes plays a little differently; from the weapons they wield to the powers they have. Most maps start out pretty easy before the game ramps up along with periodic spikes in difficulty. The game provides a decent variety of defensive units that you unlock during the story/levels. It has boss battles and supports up to 4 player online co-op which you’ll need to take advantage of if you want to get 5 stars on the later levels.
Beat Cop from Pixel Crow
A pixel art adventure as a Cop in NY during the 1980’s. The story starts off with your partner getting murdered right before retiring like all good 80s-90s cop movies. The gameplay is fun but gets repetitive as your days consists of writing tickets, having cars towed, busting criminals, getting donuts, working with the Mob or not, taking bribes or not and a few other tasks. The game nails the 80’s feels with the music and the little bits of humor (some crude, some not) throughout the story and during some of the side missions/tasks.
RICO from Ground Shatter
A Procedurally-generated FPS, where you play as a Police officer is a RICO task force taking down criminal gangs with many different weapons. You move around the levels breaching doors, killing bad guys, defusing bombs, collecting intel and money. It has a few different modes including a horde mode called Lockdown, daily challenges Local and Online Co-op campaign, leader boards which all adds to the replayability of the game.
An Endless Zombie Survival Wave game with a hint of Tower Defense. You can build traps as well as buying, leveling up both traps and Weapons to help kill the Zombies and survive. The Game takes place in one room for all waves. The controls (for building and Weapons combat) are okay but could use some work and there is no story.
A simple clean platformer with simple clean controls. It has a old school Gameboy art style, soundtrack and feel. Easy to pick up and play but a little short on levels.
A Twin-stick shooter with a pixel art-style and good controls. It has an addictive grind to get enough gold to unlock and level up the characters as most of the characters have an extra ability. It also has power ups and a hint of RPG. It has interesting levels, crazy bosses and a few different game play modes.
A walking sim puzzle game that uses time manipulation to solve the puzzles. It has simple controls, a great art style and a good story.
A Retro style shoot-em-up that has that old school feeling. Simple controls, rock music soundtrack and power-ups. A few different kinds of enemies keeps the game from going stale.
2D Side scroller, Ghost and Goblins on easy/fun mode, it has Crazy Bosses, PUNS, a Mermaid and Farts.
A 2D space explorer/walking sim. It has an old school art style, simple controls and a short story and short game play but interesting ways to Die.
A side scroller music based game with a single button controls, crazy soundtrack and a simple yet great art style. The game play is fun and frustrating at the same time and hitting a checkpoint never felt so good as well as needed.
A side scrolling shoot-em-up, with a hint of RPG in ship upgrades and skills. You can replay levels for earn other rewards as well as the option to re-roll the level rewards for something more useful. The controls are good, the combat is hard but gets better the more powerful your ship becomes and the soundtrack has a retro feel to it.
A fun couch co-op platformer with several levels, cute characters, crazy hats and combat. The online has a bunch of options including Custom games. Sadly the online is a little dead at the moment for this fun game.
A twin-stick strategy shooter with Awesome Music, really fun to play and an addictive “just one more try” feel. As well as online leaderboards for beating the level as fast as possible, which added to the one more try addiction.
A point and click game with an fun art style, a crazy sense of humor and an interesting story. You get “hints” from eating cookies that you find in random places and sometimes places you would hope never to find a cookie. It has mini games that you will enjoy and drive you crazy at the same time as well as some crazy Game Over screens that will make you laugh and wonder what just happened.
Just like the first game Energy Cycle its a clean looking puzzle game and uses the same mechanic as the first game. They have added a lot more puzzles (44), more colors for the orbs and now the options to rotate the puzzles which add to the difficulty. The puzzles become very challenging and frustrating but are rewarding to complete. If you liked the first game and want a challenge check it out.
A clean looking puzzle game that uses orbs of light that change color to complete the puzzle. It starts out simple to let you learn and understand what is needed to complete the levels (28 in total) and ramps up the difficultly at a nice pace. It becomes very satisfying to finish the later puzzles.
Another classic game in the Virtua Fighter series, it has a simple art style, simple combat and several game modes to practice and learn the game.
A crazy game where you get pulled behind a sentient motorcycle. It has crazy combo’s, counters, even QTE moments and a lot of comedy. Bunches of upgrades for the motorcycle, tones of extra, behinds the scenes videos, pictures, audio and Concept Art.
All of the mini-games from Boss 101 with some interesting twists, Co-op, VS, AI and New modes for the games. If you enjoyed the mini-games this will put a smile on your face.
Side scrolling shmup with a build a boss feature. Very addictive gameplay with a lot of replay-ability with an endless boss room, huge amount of weapons, character customization (hats&powers), pets, arcade mini-games and a room to relax and fly a kite.
A fun claymation world with challenges, great levels and the ability to reshape the environments.
An open world survival with a big map, fighting, building and bad frame rates.
Very colorful, twin stick shooter, fast short levels, slow-mo powers and a lot of fun to play.
A nice relaxing swimming sim with a lot of different sea life to explore and enjoy. It even has meditation spots and lets you ride a shark.
Even faster paced FPS, more factions, more game modes, more weapons, awesome new abilities and new titans.
Fast paced FPS, wall running, bunny hopping, lots of weapons, 7 different game modes, 10 maps and Titans.
A very colorful fast paced running platformer, a lot of crazy characters and some from characters from other games you might know and like. Lots of levels and lots of fun
A 2D Side-scrolling Brawler with a ton of Final Fantasy characters , crazy combo’s, challenge rooms and an awesome art style.
Walking Sim meets Psychological Horror with a few twists. Interesting story with several options to explore.
Good platformer, great art style, really good story, great characters and a fox. What else could you ask for.
Crazy Songs, simple controls and a hell of a lot of fun.
Point and Click game with even crazier characters, crazy story and a flute nose.
Point and Click game with crazy characters, fun story and a drunk worm.
Now with everything you love about Fallout PLUS everything you hate about the Sims.
Smashes and Crashes and Boosts oh my
Fast Cars, driving up walls, so many customization’s and a lot of fun.
Taking people out with balls, main menu mini-game and easy to play
Portal Gun’s, Crazy puzzles and co-op fun
PacMan on drugs, huge ghost chains and so much fun it hurts
Beat ‘em up, fun with friends and now online co-op
3 character dungeon crawler, easy boss fights and decent to play with friends.
Next level lego, tones of crafting and building cool things.
Crazy Whip, Crazier Skill Kills and a bunch of fun.
Crazy story, odd paintings and a few jump scares.
MORE GUN’S, MORE LOOT and so much fun
SO MANY GUN’S, interesting art style, a lot of fun and better with friends
Good story, decent ending and fun multiplayer (horde mode)
Really fun, fast paced and great to play with friends