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Mask of Mists Review

Mask of Mists from Publishers Sometimes You, Stately Snail and Developer 9 Eyes Game Studio

Minimal combat challenges, some relatively easy puzzles, not a lot of story. Enjoyable but short game.

First-person Adventure Puzzler

You are a mercenary who has been sent to locate a missing person, the Archmage. This is where the story starts and stays until the end of the game. There is very little story development in the middle of the game. The majority of it is revealed by finding and reading things found through exploration. You will need to find clues, collect items, loot chests, find stone masks, solve puzzles, and explore the colorful magical world all in search of the Archmage. 

The combat is pretty simple and can be rather repetitive. You only have a single sword and pistol for your melee and ranged attacks. There are only 3 different types of enemies in the game and a single boss fight. With so little variety in your enemies it is easy to figure out how to avoid their attacks. Given that the game is set in such a magical world we would have loved to see the option to use magic in one way or another.  

There is a crafting mechanic for potions. Before you can craft the potions you will need to locate recipes and the ingredients for them. Some of these are hidden in chests while others are out on a table waiting to be picked up. They did a good job making sure you never felt like you needed to hunt down the items. You could just pick them up while on your way to the next location and there were extra in case you missed a few.

The artstyle is a pleasant Disney-esque fantasy cartoon-scape. They did a great job capturing the look and feel of the indoor, outdoor, and underground areas with changes in lighting and color. 

One of the nice touches they added was the Navigation Crystal mechanic. These allow you to leave a ruin after reaching the end of it without having to make your way all the way back through the level. Activating these is also a requirement for moving the story forward and unlocking the final area.

Most of the puzzles are easy to solve. They can often be solved with minimal trial and error. However, the game also provides an answer key nearby, sometimes in the next room. There are a few puzzles that require platforming. These can be a little difficult due to the inherent challenges of platforming from a first person perspective.  

All in all, the game can be completed in just a few hours and was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

Mask of Mists is available on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.

Ascendance

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.

Vaporum

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.