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събота, 9 декември 2017 г.

Divinity - Original Sin 2 - Some immpressions(And oh am I immpressed!?)



I delayed this article for long time and in general had my doubts if I will write it at all as I wanted to finish the game before writing about it. But as I was getting more and more into the game I realized that it will be one of my GOTYs. But if I wanted to include it in the Top 10 for the end of the year I will have to write on the blog about it. And here it is. Eighty hours into the game - what I think about Divinity OS2. Wait, I already said that...then let's try what is this game about. Because the game is really huge and I can actually talk about it for few days probably, here I will try to talk briefly about core components of DOS2. If you want more, go watch some gameplay or even better - go and play the game! Here it comes...


What is this Divinity thing?



The Divinity saga starts really long ago and it will take few articles to talk about the old games, so I will cut to the last two games by Larian - Divinity Original Sin and Divinity Original Sin 2. 
In the first game you played as a duo of Source Hunters which had the heavy task to rid the land of the dangerous magic called Source. Now you will have the chance to see things from the other side. Yes, you are a Sourcerer. As such you are captured by the Divine Order and are send to Fort Joy to be "cured". And there...no, no, this is lore rich and complex story and relations between characters is half of the game so I will stop here with the story. Find it for yourself.
"Ok, it has awesome story, but what else?" - you ask. Divinity OS2 is massive CRPG where you will recruit companions, explore vast territories, solve mysteries and grow to be the next Divine. As I mentioned I am eighty hours into it and I am barely in the middle of the second zone. This should give you some clue for how big and rich the world is. But let us put some order into this preview. 



Characters and Battles


At the beginning you will create your character. The character customization includes class and race but also background and several skills and perks which will be important for your interaction with other characters and the world in general. For example you might be Scholar and be versatile in several languages and know foreign customs which will allow you to know how to talk to other races or even how to handle ancient temples and the right prayers for them. Or you can be outlaw and be streetwise and know how to talk to other bandits and such or even how to scare them. These skills and perks will not just give you more dialogue options, but will also define how you will go through the world and how will interact with it. Your race will give you few race characteristics and skills and your class will define your starting skills and spells. The cool part here is that you are not bound to your class. Skills in Divinity are learned through skillbooks which can be easily bought from merchants or found in the world. So at any point if you do not like your class you just need to learn the appropriate General skill and buy skillbooks and voa la you have a new class. Or two...there is no other restriction than the amount of skill points you get on level up. 
One of the new things in character creation is that now you can be a Origin Character. That is someone well known in the world of Revelion with built relationships, backstories and skills. There is also a new race - undead which comes with few benefits and some severe downsides like taking damage from healing spells and items for example.  
In general they have taken the previous game system and have built on top of it giving it some more depth.



After you create your character you are free to go(in your current zone), act and fight however you wish to. Only bear in mind that people you meet during your adventures will remember how you have treated them and this have consequences. A lot of the characters are also part of factions so mistreating one of them may ruin your reputation with all of them. The opposite is also true - you might be their friend if you help them with their problems. If you act right you can even find love and romance in the world of Rivelion and having the key to someones heart can open more than few doors for you. You can be a hero or you can be a villain.
You will make many important decisions in the course of the game, but one which will define your whole experience you should make from the beginning - you will travel alone(with one companion maximum) or you will go with whole merry band of misfits. Both ways of play are viable and possible and offer different experience of the game. There are even skills which give you bonuses while there are only two of you. And while at the start those bonuses seem quite huge and overpowered, there are some really tough battles up ahead and you will need all the overpowerness you can get.
Something which I will like to see is more non origin characters for the player to recruit for the party. True there are two in Fort Joy and there is a lizard selling mercenaries at some point of the game, but there are also a ton of other fighters you meet and some of them are cools guys. Speaking about cool guys... As I mentioned the origin characters have their stories and relationships already built so it is absolutely possible for you to enter a town and if a certain character is with you, to get jumped by the guards because of that guy. Which is cool...and not. But enough about the characters lets talk battles.



The battles continue the tradition of being turn-based, with each character having action points to spend on movement, attacks and skills. What I noticed is that here the battles are even more crowd control oriented or at least for me was easier to win when I knockdown, freeze, turn into chickens and stun my opponents constantly.  There are also few more types of "basic" surfaces which you can create by casting spells on the ground and a lot more "advanced" surfaces which you can create by casting spells of different elements on already created surfaces. The most notable being the cursed variant of everything which is more powerful often volatile and almost impossible to remove from both characters and from the ground and the blessed variants of some elements which heal and cure when you stand into them. Other examples for surfaces which will make both your life and the life of your enemies harder include steam, water, blood which can be electrocuted, frozen or in the case of blood absorbed to heal, oil which slows and burn, ice which forces a skill check and you might fall on your butt while trying to pass through it. But I derailed, the important thing is to experiment with surfaces they are useful and fun to play around with.
Big change is that to prevent dropping heavy objects on enemies and one hitting them now there are two new stats - magic and physical armor. Both are given by the equipment your characters wear. In general it can be said that equipment for intelligence characters give more magic armor and for strength characters give more physical. For characters which seek balance between the two like battlemages and some rogues there is balanced equipment too but is a bit harder to find. But these two stats does not just protect you from the their corresponding types of damage, but also resist effects from these types of damage. For example while you have physical armor you cannot be knocked down or while you have magical you cannot be poisoned or burned.  
The idea of "magical shield" given by your clothes is not new to the RPG genre, but here it has interesting twist which combines both armor and resistance in one stat. These two stats may also lead your characters builds as you may want to quickly destroy physical or magical or try to have balanced party able to shatter both.



With the new stats, surfaces, types of enemies and skills the battles have been brought to new height in Original sin 2, but they have also become longer and harder. Almost every battle will feel like a boss battle as all enemies after Fort Joy are strong and you will be often outnumbered. You will need to carefully plan each of your moves and take advantage of all weaknesses your enemies might have. Often you will even fail and replay battles until you learn the tricks of the constant flow of new monsters.
I have only one little complain related to the battles in the game(they can be reaaaally long and while this is annoying sometimes I do not really mind). There few occasions where AI controlled characters will fight on your side and they are really bad at prioritizing who to attack sometimes acting almost like they try kill themselves on purpose. This is especially true if the fight have some condition, for example protect someone for X number of turns. The AI does not care about the one you must protect and just attacks whoever they want.



Quests, Stories, World


As I already mentioned the world of DOS2 is separated zones. In which zone you will do part of your main quest. Аs usual despite the fact that everybody tries to convince you that your task is urgent have all the time in the world to explore the wondrous world surrounding you. And while it is not needed to see every corner of the map you will miss a lot of amazing places and characters. Whole parts of the map shattered bu usage of source, burning pigs pleading for help, silly cursed cows looking for your аssistance, demon ridden islands surrounded by deadly fog, undead looking for a way to kill herself(may be) a witch flying crucified on a burning cross and many more. The world of the game is grim with the danger of a apocalypse upon it, but at the same time is living breathing place filled with truly magical places and people each worth of visiting and meeting. To me there was pure joy in just exploring the world and seeing its wonders with the added benefit of a hundred side quest, each a fully fledged story. Mentioning quests here is the place to say that if you did not like the Log in the previous game you will not like here either as it is basically the same. Often it will even be of no use if you do not remember dialogues and such. As I said it is a Log, not a Questlog... 


Conclusion


How can I even begin this conclusion...Any explanation will fall short. Divinity is a game which creates not just experiences which is the point of most games, but it creates stories, memories. It is a world so vibrant and full of treasure, mystery and miracle that you want to see every corner of it, speak to every man, woman and animal just to hear their story and learn more about what surrounds you...
If you the time and like massive RPGs just go and play it. You will not finish it probably, but even 20-30 hours are worth it. Divinity OS 2 is like that place everyone need to see for themselves.  

And here I am not even talking about the modding which the game supports or the gamemaster mode where you create your own story campaign. Sadly I still have not tried neither of those...

Where to find:
GoG
Steam
Larian

събота, 7 октомври 2017 г.

Rime - It might include feelings(Spoilers!)


Rime is one of those "personal experience” puzzle games which seem to become more and more popular recently. In it you are a little boy who traverse a mystical island in trying to get to the top of a tower. The game is intended to be played alone and to make whatever you wish from the ending, all while you solve some puzzles and explore the world around you. Have Tequila Works managed it? Read on.


At the beach (Or anywhere in the game, really)

The game starts with you, a boy, awakening at a lone beach after what appears to be a shipwreck. From here starts your adventure in one beautiful and mysterious world which for good or for bad does not really explains itself. And by that I do not mean that the game does not have tutorial or something, no, just that because of its nature of "experience" it leaves a lot to the player in the matter of story and lore explanation. In many places you will find drawings which tell you what have happened in the past or how to solve whole zones of the game by telling you bits of story. 




In each zone you will have to solve one big puzzle, made up of several big pieces each of which also is a puzzle by itself. To solve the puzzles you will have to use mainly your brain, but your character also comes with one special ability - his voice. For some reason which is not explained in the game the main character can activate certain types of triggers by shouting near them. Another helper in the struggle with puzzles will be small fox which will often give you hints where you need to go by standing somewhere and barking at you. 

Puzzles and difficulty

With so many things to give you hints not much is left for you to figure out and this comes from a person who is not good at puzzle games at all. There are few a bit...trickier puzzles, but that comes not so much from not knowing how to solve them, but more from the solution being tricky to do. As a whole the difficulty of the game left me with the feeling that it is made for younger audience. But at another hand the ending and the whole idea of a game which is like "experience" really contradicts that impression, because a child might not really get the idea or be affected by the attempt for a touchy end. May be it can be played by parent and a child and the ending is the "thing for the grown up". You know how they used to put subtle references in animations which only grownups can get, so they also have fun while watching movies with their kids. May this is the idea, I do not know. But these two elements - the difficulty and the ending really contradict each other. 



Uhmm...

Speaking about the ending, let me talk a little about what I did not like about Rime (yes the ending is one thing). The game is beautiful, great OST, decent puzzles which while not really difficult pleasant to solve and quite variable with new mechanics in each zone. And all this is ruined by the camera problems the game has. Rime does not have failure state, you just respawn, but it is more than frustrating to jump of a ledge to your death only because the camera have decided to lock itself under some strange angle and you cannot clearly judge the direction in which you need to jump. The camera have made me also fail few timed puzzles, because it zooms in at random. If there is one thing because of which I will not recommend the game is the camera problems it has. Rime has its decent amount of platforming which in some cases requires timing and precision and it is not hard to do those when the camera does not cooperate, it is frustrating to even try.



Aham...about the ending. SPOILERS!!! During most of the game you try to catch up with a mysterious figure which is not explained who is, but in the end it turns out to be your father and that the story while about the son is actually in the head of the father (or I did not get it...) and the son has perished in the shipwreck. And while this is indeed tragic on its own, the father appears in the last 15min of the game and you do not have time to feel any emotional attachment to that man. For me it was a lot sadder when the robot which you revive in the 4th part and which helps you through the whole level, sacrifice itself to open the last door on the next level than learning that this whole story is reminiscence for the lost son. END OF SPOILERS!!!

 It was really out of nowhere. And not only that the whole idea of touching story and "experience" which to be different depending on how the player interpret what happens around him is not realized well which makes the game half done. 


Conclusion

Rime is a puzzle adventure game, by Tequila Works. It has some really great sides - it looks beautiful and I still listen to the soundtrack. Also the game is really easy which combined with its short length makes it a good starter game for someone who wants to try and get into the genre. In the game you will need to go through the five stages of grief and it tries to be like an "experience"- different for each player, based on his/her interpretation of the events. But it is not... Or I am stone hearted monster. There were exactly two moments where I felt something, but is very far from other games which try to do the same, like Journey or even Abzu. All the things that define a game of the genre are not there or there is not enough of them to work. And do not even get me started on the camera problems of the game. And all this is sad, because the game had potential to be good. 



Where to find:

събота, 26 август 2017 г.

Pyre - Is basketball a ritual?



In the Commonwealth everyone live happily together. Different races, but no hate and no discrimination. Or at least it sounds like that, but if so why people are send to the Downside into an exile? This and many other question appear during the game and some are even answered, others not and the answers of third create even more questions.

The Story, The World, The Characters

You awake in a dessert like area and hear voices around you. Other exiles. Your first companions. But who are you? Why you are the soon to become Reader or the Reader of this band of exiles. Readers are people who, despite of it being forbidden, learn to read. Not clear does they learn to read in general or read only special books, but as a Reader you are the one who will command the team during the Rites. You have no other name than Reader and you have no face. Everything is shown like you are seeing it first person through your own eyes. Which is great touch, because Pyre in many ways is a personal experience. For both you as a Reader and for your companions.



After you have enough strength your companions explain to you who they are (The Nightwings), where are you and ask you to become their Reader. Becoming part of the Nightwings is the first step toward regaining your freedom. Or what you thought is freedom. This is a spoiler to some degree, but may be one of the most precious things about Pyre is its musing about freedom and what it is, and how the player sees it. But that I will leave to you, to discover in more details. Back to your objective in the game. To have the chance to return to the Commonwealth you have to take part in Rites and defeat the opposing teams. Do this enough times and you will return to civilization. Before speaking about the Rites though I like to mention few things about the world and the characters you meet.



In Pyre you will move between nodes in the area you currently are. Usually you will have a choice which way you to go and there are slight differences between what will happen and what you will find there. You might want to choose carefully though as you will not be able to come back soon and visit the places you missed. The way traveling happens is one of my biggest problems I had with the game. Nothing happens while you travel. You just travel from point A to point B and that is. Truly the surrounding world is beautifully drawn with great amount of detail, bright colors and imagination, but the pure uneventfulness of traveling make it tedious and boring. It felt like a missed opportunity. To me the only good thing which came from those travels (other than the beautiful world and amazing, amazing music!!!) are the dialogues with the other characters. These are one of the two sources of lore and information about the world. And as someone who loves delving into game lore those were great.

Speaking about the characters...

Because all the characters you meet are part of the story and I hold pride in my fairly spoilerless ( it is a word now) reviews let me tell you how the creatures you meet fit in the world. The world of Pyre is colorful and a bit quirky, but at the same time serious and a bit gloomy. Its residents are the same. You will meet speaking dogs, sentient trees and demons as well as many others weird creatures, but all of them have their own tragedy, their personal story and reason why they should be the ones who are going back to the Commonwealth. Each character is distinctive and well-built with their own specific temper and drives. But other than lore source and something to talk with, the characters you meet will also be your adversaries or your teammates in the Rites. And this brings us to the most controversial part of the game - The Rites.



It is ceremonial basketball 

The Rites are the action part of Pyre. They are your objective and your sole purpose. They are the way to return to the Commonwealth. But only if you win enough of them.  During a Rite two teams of three characters meet in an arena. Each team has a pyre at certain health. In the middle is dropped a fallen star which you should bring into the pyre of your opponents effectively quenching their pyre until you extinguish it. Your adversaries are trying to do the same. 

All the characters you have managed to convince to come with you will form your rooster and after you have more than three, before each match you will have to pick a team. Each character has a special ability and is useful in a team. Some are small and fast and hard to intercept, others fly, some are big and stompy, but slow, etc. There is something for each style of play and each is viable. Aside from special abilities each character can jump, dash (in some form) and release his aura (in some form again) to damage enemies. Each character, depending on their size, deal different amount of damage to the enemy pyre. 



Now I said this is the most controversial part of the game. What I mean? The Rites are interesting to play especially against some harder opponents and it is satisfying when you win or when you turn around a Rite, but...it did not feel ceremonial to me. It did not feel like a Rite. It felt like a sport match. Fun, but not in the right game...

Conclusion

Pyre bears many of the Supergiant's typical characteristics. Great music, good atmosphere, interesting story (reminded me a bit of “Fahrenheit 451”), looks gorgeous and alive. At the same time it is not on par with Transistor or with Bastion. It felt a bit repetitive and on rails. True, the world opens up a little after certain point, bit it turns into a grind basically which is bearable only because more lore is revealed during this part. On another hand it is a short game with its 12-15 hours length. 
The strangest part? I loved it. I did not like some things, but the more I played Pyre the more I liked it and I do not know why or how it happened. I guess Supergiant is Supergiant after all.

Where to find:




четвъртък, 3 август 2017 г.

Kingsway - Is this the dream operating system?




Kingsway is a roguelike game, coming from Adult Swim and Andrew Morrish. The game did not look like that much to me, but it made some noise so I decided to try it and see what all the ruckus is about.



This Good old Roguelike is...


The game starts pretty standard - you choose a face for your character, class(warrior, rogue, wizard, beastman(the exact name escapes me) ), name and you are ready to go. Kingsway take place on the map of the world and you will move between nodes on it. Even if you enter a dungeon the movement system remains the same. While moving between nodes you will have the chance to have an encounter. Either with another wanderer which will give you some options to interact with him or you will encounter a monster. When the encounter is finished and you are not dead(which might happen with both types of encounters) you continue to your destination. Your goal lies to the East and while nothing stops you to rush to there, you will probably die if you try to. And while on the topic if you die you are death for good(for bad I guess, but...), but you can leave something for your next character who is brave enough to venture into Kingsway. 

Kingsway is so rouguelike-ish that even its graphics are in retro pixel style.





 ...not like the others?


If you want your game to be seen and people to talk about it(which Kingsway managed) you need to do something if not unique at least different enough. The different about Kingsway is that it is like an OS. Yes, you read that right. Everything is happening in windows on the desktop of a retro OS. Your Inventory is a folder, Start menu is the Main Menu of the game, your quests come as e-mails, progress while traveling and attacking is shown with loading bars, etc. And you can open all these helpful windows all at the same time and just put them around the map or order them in any way you want on your desktop effectively ordering the UI of the game in the most comfortable for you way. 




But the most interesting part is the battles. When you encounter an enemy he will pop up on your desktop into a separate window with a picture of the monster and your skills as buttons at the bottom. Here comes the tricky part - the monster window unlike any other windows will not stay stationary letting you choose skills and hit the monster. Oooh, no..it will move and bounce around making it really hard for you to click that skill button and because that is not enough some enemies and traps will throw projectiles at you which in their turn will pop up in little moving windows with "avoid" button on them and you will have to click it if you do not want to get hit. It is really, really chaotic and tough. It takes more than little to get good at this game.






Conclusion


While the fighting mechanic is unique indeed and there are huge amounts of nostalgia with its pixel graphic style and retro OS-like environment, Kingsway has nothing much else to offer.You make a character, make a run find cool items, reach fairly far, you die. Rinse and repeat. Now do not get me wrong all roguelikes are like that and I like the genre as I have said many times. It is just that the game did not seemed that different or original to me. It felt like any other(good) roguelike out there. That may be good thing or not, depending on what you are looking for. 

Where to find:

Official site
Steam Store
GoG
Humble Store

вторник, 18 юли 2017 г.

ABZU - A dive into a beautiful world



I have always been afraid of deep waters. When someone mentions how deep is the Maraiana Trench the hair on my neck stands up. The lone thought of such depth terrifies me. And ABZU did not help me with this problem. It might even made it worse. But you have no idea what is ABZU, sorry. Come, let me show you.





ABZU is "experience" a lot like Journey (after all it's from the same director), but underwater. Because of this here and now I will say THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!! Knowing that let us continue.




In the game you are scuba diver who awakes in the middle of the sea. There is only water around you. Water filled with life. If you are sea life enthusiast this is probably a game for you. You will see all kind of known, unknown and supposedly extinct sea life while you explore the vast seas of the world (which is probably Earth, bearing in mind that the animals you meet have earthly names).




But I derailed. What is ABZU about? That is for sure left for debate, but you will find two lost civilizations under the waters, both of which not in their prime, but with a lot of mystery surrounding them. Following a mysterious shark you will learn more and more about both, their clash and their differences and in the end you will stand against one of them. For good or for bad there are no choices in the game and while there are some puzzles they are more than trivial and will give you no problems. It is purely an experience in a world which you will have hard time to see otherwise.

Here I really want to tell you a lot about ABZU, share with you my thoughts about the story and what you will find under the sea, but all this will ruin your experience, so I will not do it. Here I can tell you how colorful and alive the world is, but I already said that. I can mention each specie you will meet, but that will tell you nothing about the game. Or go and talk how gracious you are, like a fish, but...I was not like that, mainly because the reversed controls. 
So I will stop here and leave you to find out more about the world on your own. But before that...few downsides.




First is the Menu of the game. It's not only the fact that it lacks some general settings like details levels, controls or even volume options, but every change in it requires a restart. Imagine you have a weaker machine and you are tweaking the game so it can run smoothly on your computer. This will be like ten restarts. The other thing which annoyed me is the fact ABZU is not patched since release and it does need some tweaks here and there. Not to mention while it is a beautiful game it has a peculiar graphic style which did not made me think the game will feell so heavy on my machine.



Conclusion

ABZU is exploration "experience"-like game in which you will dive in a vibrant, full of life world accompanied by beautifully written music. There you will discover the mysteries of two ancient civilizations. I cannot say for sure is it at the level of Journey as I have never played it, but people say while it is good, it is not as good as Journey. 
ABZU is a treasure if you are into scuba diving. You will swim along giant turtles, orca whales and even dinosaurs believed to be extinct for millions of years. The game has provocative story and ending, leaving a lot of space for pondering and discussion. 
It is a beautiful game, but I am not sure you will be impressed by it if you have played Journey, so play this first. 

Where to find: 

четвъртък, 13 юли 2017 г.

Dead Cells - Pixel jewel of hardship





Disclaimer: Dead Cells is still in Early Access.


Dead Cells is a rougelite game by Motion Twin. In it you are a headless prisoner who is trying to escape the prison? Or should I say you are a head using a body? Why are you escaping? How you got there? Those are question not explained by the game - the mysteries of Early Access. 






Despite being in early access Dead Cells offers quite the finished product gameplay-wise and lacks only more levels, story and real end. What it offers? Read on.


As in every roguelike/lite you have only one life. When you die, you start from the beginning and you lose money, stat upgrades and any items you have found or bought during the run. But Dead Cells also has a progression system to make the grind easier. When you kill monsters, you will get souls and between every two levels you will meet The Collector and be able to permanently upgrade items. After that you will be able to fully heal and fill your life flask (in case you have unlocked it) and then next level. As you can see almost classical roguelite formula. 





Unlike many games of the genre Dead Cells is not turn based. Instead it is metroidvania action-platformer combined with souls-like combat. So be ready to do some dodging! Honestly while I am huge turn-based fan the action platforming is done really well in the game and makes the grind not so tedious as you zap through the first levels and get to the interesting part quicker. Not to mention that the platformer gives freedom for a lot more interesting boss fights. 

Conclusions




It is impossible for Dead Cells to not remind you of the Souls series as it shares a lot of similarities to the evillest game ever (which is not a roguelike). In each fight, you should be careful. Boss or not everything can kill you easily because of this there is a lot of dodging. The boss fights are hard, but epic. And probably the best, bearing in mind you will see the same zones again and again, you can skip big chunks of the levels just by running, ignoring the enemies and mini bosses. In the spirit of the recently ended GDC I predict that we will see Dead Cells there as soon as it is out. 




Dead Cells has only one downside and that is its Early Access state, because of which you do not get enough for the price (Right now you can beat it for hour or two, the end is obviously work in progress and if you are not a completionist you will have nothing to do once you reach the end.). My advice is to wait until it is released and then enjoy the great game it will be. 

Where to find:

Official site

Steam

събота, 24 юни 2017 г.

Quick Opinion: Has-been Heroes, Old Man's Journey, Outland

After short content break we are back with a quick opinion about few interesting games. Some of which are older some of which are new. Here we go!



Old Man's Journey



I had really hard time with telling what this game is, so I decided to call it...a journey. And the more I think about it, the more I like this definition. You play an old man who receives a letter contents of which you don't know, bit this letter pushes you to go on a journey not only through the country, but also through your memories. Because of this I feel like this game is a personal experience something which you want to experience alone and see for yourself. The Old Man journeys alone and one's memories are something also personal and something you want to sometimes review alone.
First I want to say something here just so I do not forget it. Old Man's Journey is fabulously looking game. So colorful with rich pallets fitting to every mood and moment of the game. The game is visual feast. That said let me tell you how the game works as there are also some interesting mechanics in this small two hours game.
Old Man's Journey is separated in chapters and in each chapter you need to "find" a memory. To achieve this you need to traverse the area by solving puzzles. All puzzles are connected to the main mechanic of the game - you have the ability to change the landscape of the area by moving hills around and making them lower or higher. There is even slight color coding indicating that you can move the different parts of the hill to different altitudes. For example you can move one part of a hill (color x) higher and another lower (color z) which is impossible to do with single color hills. Using this and by aligning hill's altitude you will need to find ways around fences, herds of sheep, waterfalls and even scale cliffs or make way for a train.

Old Man's Journey is amazing, charming, filled with bittersweet feelings small game which might make you think about life in different light. Give it a chance it is barely a two hours journey each minute of which is worth it.






Has-been Heroes


By the creators (Frozenbyte) of one of my favorite platformers - Trine comes Has-been Heroes.  Has-been heroes is a party based real time RPG with tactical pause and roguelike elements. But this is not accurate description so do not quote me on it. "What is it then?" you ask well... Here comes the hard part, but let me try. You are three heroes which are trying to escort two princesses to school (mhm, exactly...). You do that by moving between points on the map and on each point you can find different things - shops, treasure, special items like keys or candles or rest camps etc. You cannot backtrack! You cannot visit a place where you have been already so you will have to plan from where you want to go. On the maps you will also find fights. Which are what the game shines with. 
When you engage into battle you will have to either survive for certain time or defeat all enemies. Here comes the interesting part of the game. Your opponents have stamina and if you want to damage them you need to drain their stamina by hitting them. The thing is when you manage to damage the health of an opponent he is knocked back and his stamina RESETS. It does not matter how damage you deal when you hit stamina. One hit will remove one stamina. The interesting part and the one thing you will need to learn and get used to it is the tactical lane based aspect of the game. Each hero has a lane and enemies coming at him/her. When one hero attacks and strikes he is not on his position and while it is empty you can swap him with another character which now can attack the same opponent combo-ing the two. Basically you want to drain the enemy stamina and then hit them as hard as you can to deal as much damage as you can. 
At the end of each map there is a nasty, nasty boss. You lose the game when ONE of your heroes die. How they die? Heroes also has stamina and when something reaches them it hits them reducing their stamina. Heroes’ stamina is not recovered between battles. 
There is a lot to get used to and learn in the game as it has quite unique approach. But there is also possible to not like the battle system and therefore hate the game. Another downside is how hard the boss is and if you do not manage to beat him in few runs you will feel like the game is not progressing at all. But if you manage to beat him and get his 80+ unlocks well that is a different story.

Has-been heroes has intriguing battle system, but sadly I did not saw anything else in the game which to keep me playing it. Also go and watch a video of it, it is impossible to explain how the game works with words alone.



Outland


Now I know that Outland is a bit older than the other two, but I always wanted to cover or remind you of old but good games so here it is - Outland. In Outland you are a simple boy which escapes from the hut of his teacher and goes on an adventure led by mystical light. On this adventure he will need to rediscover the powers of hero of old, because a horror is upon this world. The game sports very interesting art style, but what is really interesting about the game is its core mechanic which is color switching. Outland is puzzle platformer with bullethell moments, but all this is mixed up with your ability to change your affinity between blue and red. Everything in the game is related to those two colors. For example red projectiles can be absorbed if you are red, but blue enemies can be damaged only by red. Also there are color coded platforms - you will be able to stand on blue while you are blue and you will fall through them if you are red. Now this does not sound that cool but the game will force you to dynamically change colors while jumping, fighting or dodging obstacles which creates amazing dynamic gameplay keeping you on the edge all the time.


While not impressive with its story or visuals Outland is great action platformer and while might be a bit too hard for people not experienced in the genre it can offer some really good fun to fans of platformers. 

Oh...and it has co-op.