Sunday, December 29, 2019

"Regions of Ruins"


"Regions of Ruins"
Reviewed By: Carless Yen
Platforms: Xbox,PC, Switch, PS4
Developer:Vox Games
Publisher: Poysky Productions
Release Date: Feb 5, 2018
Price: 11.99
Region of ruins is a 2D style of platformer plus town builder. It is a vast open world that really becomes more challenging to you, as well as your community as you progress. The map is hidden, and is opened up by you as you choose certain areas to discover. Each area as different building materials and other survival items.You open up the areas by spending food. Your main objective is to save prisoners, and destroy the bosses through out the area. The idea is simple, but the game offers a very nice challenge. You are a Dwarf that discovers the horrible happenings of late in your land when you come across a broken wagon and a caravan master. Your home will start with nothing but a simple campfire and a few NPCs to communicate with.
Yes the combat system is very simple. Just a basic swing of the sword, but it still is smooth and feels great cutting a enemy in half. You also get bonus points if you are able to do it stealth like from behind, It also feels very fluid traveling across the platforms. The controls of this game is really spot on , and although simple I really enjoyed the combat aspect.I feel it was a lot easier to play on console though. It was kind of a struggle on keyboard at times, but very doable.

There are so many things to find in this game we already talked about the building and survival materials but this game has a vast amount of armor as well. Some of it even has magical elements added to it. There are helmets, shields, amulets, and ring the typical RPG armor setup. Like other RPGs there are different levels of rarity by colors. The same goes for weapons. Swords do less, but move quicker, hammers more and slower but break armor. It really has the same feel as a lot of other RPGs in that area of play. You can also level up your character which is a fun grind. That is the thing about Regions of Ruins I liked more than anything the way it really calls you back to play more. It's a hard game to step away from, and when you do you can't wait to get back to it.
I loved the retro look of it all the towns, caves, and areas look so old school and unique as you travel across them. The games sounds very old school as well. I loved coming across new enemies, and creatures in the wild and discovering how to engage them. Some of the new creatures can be a huge spike in difficulty compared to others. Especially enemies like archers and slugs that hurl projectiles at you. So you must advance with caution when discovering new areas. You never know what is waiting around the corner. Maybe a giant troll waiting to gobble you up.

Pros:
Retro like look and sounds
Huge map to discover
Unique building element in a RPG
Fun attack effects
So much weapons and armors to discover
Really cool enemies to come across
Cons:
Combat system little to simple wish it varied a bit more
Overall: 8.2
Regions of Ruins is one of those games that is hard to put down, and hard to stay away from for long. The unique town building elements really brings something fresh to the world of RPGs.


"Fishing: Barents Sea"


"Fishing: Barents Sea"
Reviewed by: Carless Yen
Platforms: PC, XBOX, PS4,Switch
Publisher:Astragon Entertainment GmbH
Developer: Misc Games AS
Release Date: 12/13/2019
Price:29.99
Ever wanted the experience of fishing the Norwegian sea? Pulling in fish wow you look at the beautiful Looking up at those beautiful aurora borealis over Norway? Then Fishing Barents Sea probably has something for you. You are left with the task of following your families legacy when your grandfather passes and leaves you his officially licensed Hermes trawler along with his fishing equipment. You will start out really small but will earn officially licensed Scanmar Equipment as well. Will you be able to keep the families long history as fisherman a float. (Bad fishing joke) or will you fail miserably?

Fishing: Barents Sea is a simulation of real fishing so you won't be blown away with action at all times. A lot of the time you will feel it as a chore, as you should. It's the oldest profession in the world, and is really hard work. In a true simulation you should feel like this.You should feel you are grinding it out, and putting the effort in. The pay back in the overall experience is the feeling of a hard days work, and the bounty of what you were able to pull in that day. Not every day will be a winner, there will be some days that feel wasted where you didn't bring in what you expected and days where your boat is full of more fish than you could have ever dreamed. That is why I love simulations like this. When they can simulate the true work ethic and day of a actual profession. I know this will seem boring to some, not everyone has the same work ethic and not everyone will relate to that sort of grind. To some though it will be an addiction, I see a lot of Youtubers that have that same love for it all the time. They put weekly and monthly fishing episodes, and that shows the type of respect they have for this industry, and the game as well. I recommend checking some of them out as they are really done by some entertaining individuals.

You are able to purchase new boats I can't remember the exact amount. I'm going to say around a half a dozen. You can purchase these by how much time you put into sailing and collecting fishing licenses . That is a grind though so while you are out there your going to do some fishing I'm sure. To fish you play a mini game. The mini game changes, as you do different styles of fishing with different types of boats. They start off with really simple timing button hits, and then progress as you do to button combos. It is very easy to learn, but can be very hard to master. I love this aspect, because you will have to practice and learn. You aren't going to go out there, and just dominate your profession from the start. Like I said earlier the work and time learning will be put in and your bounty will be earned. It also keeps it from growing repetitive. Later on you can hire a crew to do this while you take on other duties. One of these is cleaning fish another job you can take on with a different style of play to keep from feeling the grind and repetitiveness.

The map is huge, and the different times of day and night really add to the beauty of the scenery behind you. I love the northern lights. I love how they look in this game. I'd say maybe the second best I've seen then in a title PUBG being the best. I loved running over the mountain in Vinkendi. and looking up at the aurora borealis while killing but let me get back to fishing. I believe it's a true recreation of the area, if not it at least seems that way. The area is just huge and can take forever to explore. One more way that the game beats the repetitiveness of the simulation. It could take hours and hours to truly explore the entire map, and in the winter the ice forms and blocks off certain areas. So you need to plan on where you want to explore based on the season as well. I told you it was a simulator the whole thing feels so real. It also looks beautiful. I've never seen a ocean look this amazingly beautiful on my One X except maybe in Sea of Thieves.

There is a DLC coming and I'm really excited they will add more boats as well as crab fishing. So I can't wait to get time to give that a play. There is also more styles I didn't cover because I could talk about this all day. Like trawling , I didn't even get into this, or the fishing radar system.This is a true simulation of fishing, and I could get into this for hours covering all the techniques and styles, but I'll let you go pick it up and experience it for yourself now. If you like hard work, and commercial fishing simulation you are gonna be addicted to this one.

Pros:
Beautiful Seas and Shores to explore
Realistic simulation of the worlds oldest profession
So many different boats, technique, and styles
Different mini games to keep the game feeling fresh.
Huge Map with different seasons that change it
It doesn't hold your hand can be difficult learning curve
Cons:
Some things could be explained more
The boats detail inside can be a lil bland.
Would like some coop added to fish with friends
Overall: 7.4
Fishing: Barents Sea is without question the best simulation for commercial fishing I have experienced. The real grind and learning experience of the profession really is portrayed in this game perfectly. So it might not be for just every one, but if you love the feeling of a good hard days work, and meeting a deadline or bringing in the haul. You are going to love Fishing: Barents Sea.

Friday, December 27, 2019

"Arise: A Simple Story"


"Arise: A Simple Story"
Reviewed By: Carless Yen
Platforms: Epic, XBox, PS4
Developer: Piccolo Studios
Publisher Techland
Release Date:12/3/2019
Price: 19.99
Sorry for a couple things before we start. Sorry for how long it took me to get to this review, I've been a little piled up plus the Holidays. Also let me apologize for how many times I might use the word beautiful in my review. I did a video, but the commentary on it I just stopped , because I hated talking over the beautiful scenes and music so I cut my words short, and mainly just left the rest of the video to be viewed and listened to. I will cover it however far more in depth in the written hopefully.
In Arise You can control the environment around this older gentleman to proceed through levels. He can do really cool things like raise and lower the water, control the snow, lightning, fire, and many more. It is a really cool concept, and I had a lot of fun using the ability. You must jump and climb your way through the levels until you collect all your memories. Let's get it out of the way though. That is the only flaw in the game is the controls at times. They can seem kind of clunky, and the jump can feel off at times. That being said it doesn't take much away from this title. It is easy to overlook when everything else is so flawless and beautiful. So let's forget about that, it's such a small part of "Arise" and the positives far out weigh any negatives with this title.

Now that we have got that small negative out of the way let's talk about where the game shines. I don't think I have ever played a game that made me say the word beautiful so much. In "Arise: A Simple Story" you play a older gentleman in his afterlife. He must wander the world he lived in to collect memories.The games story is beautiful and really sad at times. It's story is one of love and loss and you really feel all of the ma's emotions as you control him. The cut scenes really touch your heart every time you reach one. This game does a excellent job at making you feel something and that is very important. I can't remember that last time I felt this way playing a game. It was probably "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons". This game isn't as jarring and sad as that was, but it almost gets there. It really makes you think and feel and that is something that really makes it such a powerful story in my opinion.

Here we go with the word beautiful again. The level design of "Arise: A Simple Story" are pure development perfection. Everything around you just grabs your attention and makes it hard to play at times because you just want to look at everything and take it in. Every area even the ones that are mean't to be dark and scary are just so easy on the eyes and I marveled looking at each one. Snow covered worlds, dark caves, stormy woods, sunflower gardens, streams and so on just really pop and make you sit and stare. It was really one of my favorite worlds to experience this year in a game. I really have to give hats off to this team on it's level design. It isn't only easy on the eyes, but it is also well developed as far as how it is setup. You really have to look around to find your way and hidden objects. You don't mind doing that though and that is what is unusual. You will want to take in as much of each level as you can. It will take you a little over 3 hours to complete your journey, and leave you wanting more. If you are an Achievement hunter you will prob dive right back in to grab the ones you missed. You can level select once it's completed so you'll have no problem getting back in there. I really can't wait to hear others opinions on this after I'm done writing mine up. I plan to go read other peoples views. I hope some of you play it, and leave me comments on what you thought as well. There are parts of this game where I was just mind blown at how beautiful it was. Like on one of the levels it's dark and these creepy guys are approaching and you can control the lightning to scare them off and it was one of the most beautiful things I ever seen in a game.

Are you ready for the world beautiful again? Well it's coming. You can not talk about "Arise" and not talk about it's soundtrack. You can't talk about "Arise's" soundtrack without using the word beautiful. It is without question one of my favorites of the year. If I had heard it before doing my Game Awards no one reads, I would have gave it best soundtrack no question. I will remember it come next year's though. The music is just so elegant at times you sit down your controller to take it all in. I stopped talking on my review and cut it short because It felt disrespectful to talk over it. The word beautiful really doesn't even cut it. It just fits perfectly within the story, and makes you feel so much. Arise is just a perfect overall experience of feelings, and I highly recommend it to any one. I really hope some one reads this, and gives it a try and loves it like I did.

Pros:
BEAUTIFUL Perfectly designed world
BEAUTIFUL unforgettable soundtrack
BEAUTIFUL thought provoking story
Fun Achievements and hidden items to collect
Lovable Protagonist
Cons:
Controls and jump can feel clunky at times
Overall: 9.2
Arise is a can't miss experience in gaming, from it's beautiful world, soundtrack, and heart warming story it leaves you wanting more from this team at Piccolo. 3 Hours just isn't enough from these guys, and their amazing developed developed game.I will certainly be watching out for more from these guys in the future.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

"Cold Silence"


"Cold Silence"
Reviewer: Carless Yen
Dev: Half-Face Games
Publisher: Xitilon
Release Date: 12/20/2019 console
Price: 4.99

I'll start out by saying don't go by the reviews you see in console marketplace. It isn't that bad of a game. There are people giving it 1 out of 10 because you have to give it permission to your account. Kind of a trend for these cheap indies from some Publishers that they need to scrap. it's really hurting their reviews in Marketplace. It isn't an amazing game don't get me wrong, but it's not as bad as review scores may be reflecting because of this issue. It's certainly worth a play, and will fill a evening quite nicely for people who enjoy simplistic, affordable, horror titles.

The games design is made up of just 3 different colors. At times that can make it hard to tell where you can go. That is probably the most difficult thing about "Cold Silence" is figuring out what to do and where to go,or how to defeat the bosses. The puzzle solving isn't really all that challenging, and most the hidden items are usually found just trying to figure out how to get out of areas. The enemies are fairly simple to stop. There are items to find to help on your journey. Boots to help you jump higher, rope, a radio to use on towers to make you able to use them as blocks to jump off of. a shotgun and grenades for blowing holes in barriers.

The controls are spot on. I never had a single issue with making jumps or escaping attacks. They are really smooth which will come in hand when trying to jump on different platforms, or escape Boss attacks. I did experience bugs though with falling through the floor. More than once I hate to say. You have to completely start from last save if playing on easy. I'm not sure how this would hurt you on harder difficulties though. Could be more of a issue, as I don't think the levels save or are limited.
I enjoyed the music a lot it changes in each area pretty much which is nice after having to play "Aery" where the same song played over and over the entire game. The visuals though aren't much to look at though. I know it is supposed to add to the horror experience of like a white out or what ever, but really just left me wondering if this game would been a lot better with less simplistic backgrounds. As I spent a lot of time missing areas, because it's just hard to tell what is what a lot of the time.
For such a simplistic title i'm surprised about how much I have written on this one. I expected this to be a short review, but shows if you really go in depth you can really cover a game no matter how small. I really wanted to think of comparisons on this one, but I really couldn't think of much. Closest I could come up with is like a modern day "Pitfall" except with a lot more depth as there are boss fights, and items that help you complete your journey. The exploration though felt a lot like Pitfall, trying to figure out my way through the caves.

Is it for you? I don't know if you like small indies and collect Achievements probably yes. It has some really fun Achievements to figure out. Might be one of the things I enjoyed about it the most. Figuring them out. I think it gives it replay value, and purchase value as well. At 5 dollars it's going to give you a decent evening's worth of fun just trying to get all the Achievements. There is a lot for different deaths, and you get different death screens for each type which is really cool. I think that might have been my favorite part of this game just trying to figure them out or the funny moments like when you get your legs blown off, and the guy on the radio has a pretty hilarious wit to him. It's no question worth your time if you are looking to grab some thing cheap to play one evening.

Pros:
Really Fun Achievements
Smooth controls
Cool Death screens
Affordable
Nice soundtrack
Epic Boss battles
Cons:
Bland to look at, hard tell where you're going at times
Glitches Galore
Having to give Permission to app
Overall: 5.5
Cold Silence isn't a bad game at all. It is actually a fun and affordable experience. You may not play it over and over, but it's going to entertain you for a evening at least. For some of us that is just fine. Some people Don't have time to give a game 60 hours. Some people like a short game they can grab cheap, and 100% it in a night. Cold Silence is fits that crowd really nicely.


Saturday, December 14, 2019

"Externum Ex"


"Externum Ex"
Developer: Zerouno Games
Platforms: XBOX, PC, Switch
Release Date: 12/10/2019
Price: 12.99
Externum Ex is a modern Retro title that does a very excellent job at looking like a 16 bit classic title you'd play on a SNES or in the Arcades. It really looks the part, and the colors and textures all take you back to that time. When i saw this in the store I was really excited to give it a try. I collect retro games from this era, and Love them, so when someone releases a modern game with those look and feel I usually get excited and enjoy a lot. There is just something about that era, that the games look beautiful, and just never feel or look dated. You see a old 64 game or PS1 when they first converted to 3D graphics and such, and they just look so dated. Most old disc consoles do to me. There is just something magical about the 8 and 16 bit era to me. So was super excited when we received a review copy for this.
I will warn you this review might sound like I'm being negative or I didn't have a good time with Externum ex, even more with my video review, but that would be untrue. I had a fairly good time with this title, it all just seems really repetitive though. After a couple bosses, really cool ones I must say it just starts to feel like a chore collecting the same Chests over and over. If this was like a multiplayer game where you battled to collect more chest then your opponent I could see it having replay value or being more fun. After 25 levels of just collecting chests with very little difference between the levels you won't be wanting to see another chest again for awhile. I did enjoy everything else about it though. 

   So don't think it isn't worth your time, or it isn't fun because that isn't what I'm saying. There is fun to be had, I just suggest playing it in small sample sizes. If you played maybe like a boss a day, or something. The bosses are really cool and unique, I couldn't wait to see the next one. You get into this amazing epic boss battle, that you have to learn how to take damage from him. You finally defeat him, and then you are collecting red and green chests again. It starts to feel like a chore more than it does entertainment. It isn't really complicating either so you aren't like taking your time using strats, you are basically just running around doing the same thing over and over. There is a leader board if you are into being at the top. I just don't see many worrying all that much about that.

Enough about the negative though, Externum Ex does an amazing job in it's development. The enemies, bosses, and levels really look like something out of Ghost and Goblins arcade classic. You really feel like you are playing a classic title, and retro fans should certainly try it out at it's affordable price. You may feel totally different then I do about it. I enjoyed it, but you may love it. Every one is different. I might feel it feels repetitive at times, but I can say with out question if this was a SNES or Genesis it would be in my collection. As a modern retro fan, I love it being in my collection as well. There are a lot of positives that out weigh the repetitive feel of it. The way it looks, sounds, and runs so smooth like a classic platformer alone makes me glad to have had my time with it. I really look forward to seeing what else this development team does next. They really know how to capture that era in gaming, and hope to see more from them soon.

Pros:
Looks and Sounds amazing
Plays and feels like true arcade title
Cool bosses and enemies
Neat power ups, and hidden items
Affordable
Easy Achievements
Cons:
Not very difficult
Repetitive at times
Not a lot of replay value
Short

Overall: 6.5
Externum Ex delivers the look, sounds, and feels of the 16 bit classics of the past, but after awhile starts to feel like your doing the same thing over and over. It will excite you once you get to the epic bosses, but bring you back down when your just collecting the same red and green chests over shortly after. It is worth your time though, and I do expect real quality modern retros from these guys in the future, because Externum Ex is just almost there.



Friday, December 13, 2019

"Don't Die, Minerva"


"Don't Die, Minerva"
Reviewed By: Carless Yen
Developer: Xaviant, LLC
Platforms: XBOX Preview and PC
Release Date: Dec 5, 2019
Price: 19.99

"Don't Die, Minerva" is a little cute rogue-like experience where you play as a little girl named Minerva. You go with her into creepy little houses, and fight tons of Ghosts and Goblins. With only a trusty flashlight and a teddy bear. This one really caught me off guard, and I loved it it from the start. The way it looks just screams Halloween. I wish they could have got it out before then, because the Halloween game I reviewed for Playstation around then was just horrid. This one is just so addictive , and loaded with replay value and cute moments. The first thing you notice is just how good it looks. The areas really give you the Halloween feel. The art is so colorful and bright, and pleasing to the eyes.The enemies and Minerva are just the cutest, and I know from the very start you will fall in love with them like I did.

The game sort of reminds me of Luigi's Mansion with a mix of Binding of Issac. You fight enemies with a flash light, and with a friend like teddy bear or dragon. When enemies are around you throw them down and they attack, and you shoot the light at them as well. It takes both to really clear out the rooms. When you clear a room doors open, and you choose which one you go to. They are randomly generated so you never know where your going. You also never experience the same game twice. It always feels different. Enemies will drop crystals that can used for upgrades, but if you die before you get to the area that allows you to use them you lose them. The same with your coins. If you get to the place to use them though the upgrades will carry over , just not the items. That really encourages multiple play through. You will get things like finding a health potion at the end of levels, or being able to sell unwanted items. These come in handy, so be smart with your choices. Also be smart when picking up upgrades because there are some that give you a bigger health bar or energy bar, as well as different attack levels and styles. It is very easy to swap out the wrong ones, and then scrap them. i'm speaking from experience as a guy that did it many times not paying attention and rushing it. These boost also come in the form of crystals you equip in your weapons as well, and pendants, back packs, boots, and more. You really have to pay attention to what you pick up, and throw down.

If you make it through so many levels of the house you will fight a boss, he you can defeat him he will throw down a ton of items and gold to pick up, and it will also open a new area. The different areas have different and unique enemies to. You really never experience the same thing twice with this , and it's one reason I really loved it. I almost forgot when you get to the areas where you can upgrade, you can also buy items in a shop. If you don't like the items you can buy the clerk to re-roll them for three new ones. Shop wisely, but not to wisely because you don't want to die and lose all that money. There are also upgrades though that let you hold on to some of your coins after death as well. Don't Die, Minerva really keeps you thinking about your choices. I highly recommend this one to people who like dungeon crawlers and rogue-like experiences.It's a game that is going to really take up a bunch of your time, and give you your money's worth. At 19.99 you really can't ask for a better Halloween/Horror experience that's loaded with replay value and cuteness.

The game is in preview program for the Xbox right now, and I guess regular release on PC. I could be wrong on that info for PC, but I don't think either have any issues any ways. Seemed very well developed in my opinion. I played it for a few days and hours each day, and never had any issues. It can be tough I recommend starting on easy to get the game down and it's controls. You are going to be playing it a bunch anyways, and probably on all the difficulties. So get off to a nice start on a easier level, and up it as you go. You can change the skill on the same run anyways, so it doesn't really hold you back. I did my video review a little different this time. I did more of a let's play with a score at the end. but hope you still check it , and the game out and let us know what you thought about it. In my opinion if you don't have a Nintendo, or just looking to save some money "Don't Die Minerva" really gives you a lot of the same experience. In many ways I actually enjoyed it more, and I'm a huge Luigi fan. " Don't Die, Minerva" is just a great experience for all ages,and we enjoyed every second with it.


Pros:
Beautiful Halloween like Backgrounds
Tons of replay value
Awesome Protagonist
Bunch of different ways to play and levels randomly generated
Cool upgrades to unlock
Bosses/enemies are fun to learn patterns, and are adorable
Runs great even in preview

Cons:
Honestly I didn't experience anything I didn't enjoy

Overall: 8.2


Xaviant really delivers a fun adventure for the entire family that will keep you coming back to it over and over. It's great to see them come back so strongly after the Culling issues, and their new title really deserves your attention.