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Rants, Raves And Reviews

Party hard 2 is a casual game from pinokl games and tiny build where your mission is to eliminate noisy party members in order to get a decent nights sleep, except things might not be entirely as they seem as there is a plot behind the gameplay as well as a tonne of different objectives to achieve, through whatever means necessary from taking out specific targets to completely wiping out all inhabitants and witnesses in order to make your way through the game.

The difficulty of the game can vary depending on what challenges you want to undertake, and whilst most levels are fairly straightforward should you choose to take the easiest objectives others especially those that require stealth or have a vary collection of partygoers together which results in the police hunting you down can present a much more challenging time which will result in a number of attempts before you’re able to successfully complete the levels.

There are two very unique boss levels included in the game each with their own particular method to be defeated which isn’t overtly publicised for you but is laid out in a method for you to discover through experimentation in order to succeed and whilst proving challenging they’re not impossible to overcome and add variety to the levels as well as a sense of completion having a final boss in particular to defeat in order to complete the game. The final boss also has aspects which fit into the plotline as well as proving a unique problem to overcome which adds to the reasons the game has been well designed and thought-out rather than simply being a collection of levels and challenges to overcome as you do feel like you’re progressing forward with some purpose and some path and meaning to the levels you work your way through.

Each level has a variety of tasks from the ones overtly shown to you through hidden secret objectives which you have to discover for yourself through experimentation or by completing certain tasks within the levels which unveil further tasks to perform within the levels, and there are four varieties of tasks which exist within the universe from the stealth and carnage paths to the mystic (secret objectives) and I forget what the other type is but attempting to fill or minimise these paths adds challenges you can choose to fulfil in your playthrough as well as playing with each of the 4 available characters to unlock all with their own playstyles and skills.

While the playstyle is easy to pickup there’s plenty of nuance in the methods you choose to achieve the tasks through the use of items and in game props you can trigger in order to achieve your goals, along with simply dancing to avoid suspicion and detection (though not everyone will like your dance moves and this can lead to further trouble than you’re intending) The mix of challenge and variety of techniques you can choose to play through the game as well as the openness to play however you wish to play all adds to the fun and enjoyment of the game as you really are free to mess around and experiment and just have a good time with it, and if all goes wrong and the police are called it’s not all over until you’re caught and you’re free to go on a rampage whilst trying to run and hide through the specifically designed escape routes until the police inevitably giveup as things become more effort than they’re worth to capture you.

I have 14 hours of gameplay across 14 levels each ranging in difficulty and challenge, note that however I only have a 50% completion and more difficult challenges as well as the newly added community created content and levels would vastly increase the playtime of the game, and as the game is very enjoyable it’s definitely a worthwhile and recommended purchase.

Get party hard to for yourself on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/572430/Party_Hard_2

Game of thrones returned to our screens for the final season, where we would discover the final outcome of all of the events that had passed and whether life would win over the white walkers and just who would sit upon the iron throne as the dust settles at the end. However whilst the previous seasons had followed storylines established in the books this season was left up to the show writers to decide the fates and outcomes of our favourite characters, and as a result this has lead to a lot of controversy over the way things played out and how characters have acted in manners different to we have come to expect throughout the series’s lifetime.

The final season itself was only over 6 episodes where the previous seasons all had 10 episodes each filled with so much action and intrigue that it held everyone’s interest throughout the entire saga, filled with intricate plotlines and subplots as well as characters all acting with their own secret interests not so subtly hidden from viewers. I believe this was in part because the show writers didn’t want to introduce any new plotlines, but also because it was difficult for them to imagine how they could playout events as they were unfolding with character developments which had been occurring in the show, as a lot of these seem to have been ignored and thrown by the wayside, much as the episodes of the show seemed to simply put a wet cloth over everything and bring all of the events to as an abrupt end as possible just so there were no loose ends and they could consider the show closed and over.

Many of the main characters which were left in the show had began to unveil specific changers which were apparent in their nature and demeanour changes on screen in the previous season which was unveiling a path towards certain outcomes, however in season 8 any character development seems to have been thrown out of the window as though a big reset button was hit leaving all of the characters returned to an earlier state of mind just so the show could draw to a close without creating further plotlines or developments which could have lead to further episodes or seasons requiring filming.

In the final episode itself events were very unclimactic which was very disappointing for a show that had gained such a following for it’s spectacular action and highly intriguing plotlines, however things felt rather flat and dull as the events played out landing with as muffled an ending as daeneris dying softly and quietly in john snow’s arms. There seemed to be very little going on in the episode as daeneris began a speech in front of her armies (which had somehow risen from the dead after the battle with the white walkers where all of her dothraki forces and most of the unsullied were wiped out by the white walkers) and then john snow simply being allowed alone into daeneris’s chamber even though it was stated at this point she wouldn’t trust him and may want him dead as he’s a threat to her reign, yet allowed to simply assassinate her quietly. Other than this most of the episode revolved around cringe worthy politics and establishing how rule would be decided, even going as far as to having the most awkward scene where the show literally breaks the fourth wall and rubs dirt in the face of the book writer for not mentioning tyrion in the least in the first book. I realise this may be intended as a play to say an explanation for why he’s not in the books but really it comes across as an unnecessary dig at the book writer, which after the terrible writing and plot of this final season just leaves me feeling very awkward watching the show.

There are quite a few subtle character differences I would like to raise where I feel certain events seemed to be playing out towards which were completely ignored in this final season, often flipping personalities of characters entirely upon their heads. Starting with arya stark who in the last season had been acting out of character much like she was dead inside and simply there to fulfil her deathlist, and this seemed to play towards a plot where arya had been eliminated by the female many faced god servant and was simply fulfilling the bargain made with the many faced god to wipe out those on her deathlist, where ultimately it would be revealed that arya was just a face on the many faced god’s wall all along and her persona was being worn to fulfil this promise of servitude. Instead the show had her return to a more carefree state wishing to explore and become more human again, with a seemingly pointless sex scene doing nothing other than reveal Maisie’s boobs to the world and doing nothing for plot or character development in the show.

Another character who had made significant progress in their personality arc throughout the show was Jamie Lannister who had discovered essentially his soul as he had fallen for brianne of tarth, and had changed everything he did in his quest to ensure that she was kept safe and alive, even trying to manipulate his sister into sending her forces north to protect winterfell against the armies of the undead, and through sleeping with her he was hoping to manipulate her to desire to keep him alive, and he was working with the idea that having the armies of the capital there brianne’s chances of survival increased, however in this season whilst there are still redeeming moments like him knighting her, he simply reverts to “I’m just an arsehole” and rides off to save his sister and run away with her which doesn’t seem to fit in with how things play out in this show.

Daeneris herself was twisted to be an evil dictator rather than the true ruler of the 7 kingdoms which had been the entire story arc of the show to date, and a lot of her actions within the show this season were very questionable in my opinion. I realise they had to follow this path in order for her not to be ultimate ruler over the seven kingdoms, however it feels that simply they have done this in order for the least likely potential candidate to be the one who ends up ruler of the kingdoms, almost to the degree that it feels someone has placed bets on the longshot and thrown the fight in order to make a lot of money on a rigged gamble. Even her final scene just seems so anti climactic like a puff of smoke as a matchstick is extinguished, which isn’t how such a pivotal character deserves to go out in the finale of the show.

While there are a number of other things that don’t fit with the show’s established lore like her advisor who was destined to betray the one true ruler of the seven kingdoms and be reunited with his testicles in a magical manner he ends up simply being eliminated for betraying daeneris who turns out not to be the true ruler of the seven kingdoms, as established bloodlines would make that john snow but neither ends up on the iron throne anyway, especially as the throne itself gets melted symbolically during a scene in the finale. They did do some things right like arya fulfilling her prophecy to eliminate many white walkers and at least that got fulfilled in what seemed to be correct, which maybe makes it worse as some established lore and prophecies are followed whilst others are twisted or ignored in a show that’s always had this magical lore as an underlying backbone to it’s story.

I feel that the final season has been very disappointing overall and hasn’t fit in with the rest of the show in the slightest, however this could work out very favourably for the written works of game of thrones, as many may turn to purchase the books in order to discover how the plot actually plays out and how the show was destined to truly end. I understand that the show wanted to hold it’s momentum and finish off the series having already delayed a whole year for the final season as it was, however I would have preferred to wait until the books were written and released and had the show follow the ultimate true storyline and watch the true ending of the show. I doubt that the show writers would ever return to remake the show should the books plotlines differ vastly from how the show did end, however I’m sure that there will be many people who would wish it to be so especially as many are already petitioning for the final season to be changed and how much disappointment there is all over social media at present.

Game of thrones has been a show I have enjoyed through it’s lifetime from having watched the first 6 seasons on binge 10 hours a day before season 7, then having been hooked since, and everything but the final season has been of a vastly greater quality which is probably why so many people are disappointed and raising all of the issues they’ve had with the final season because it just doesn’t live up to the rest of the show’s history, and the finale especially being filled with so much politics and drivel rather than being a true climactic ending with a satisfying outcome is why I feel the show just ended with a fizzle rather than the dragons fire it had held throughout the rest of it’s lifetime.

Clocker is a puzzle game set in two universes essentially as after receiving a mysterious broken watch to repair a father jumps to save his daughters life further breaking the watch and as a result both knocking himself out of time but also his daughter into a completely separate and phased timestream, and as a result of this puzzles must be solved in order to progress through the game through the manipulation of individuals by simply playing out and rewinding their timestreams causing interactions with the objects and individuals around them being altered by events as they currently stand. Furthermore these events continue to playout after solving the puzzles in the daughters timeframe where time passes as normal in close proximity to her, but passes slower the further away from her it gets in a doppler like effect.

The puzzle element of the game involves rewinding and fast forwarding the individual timestreams of individuals one at a time in order to create an outcome in the world that allows you to traverse to missing pieces of the clock which have been scattered around the world while you are stuck in a dome like structure unable to progress outside of a very narrow part of the city, and through solving these puzzles and collecting all of the pieces you’re able to progress to the next area. There are a number of puzzles in each zone which require solving and whilst your actions may appear limited it’s rather surprising how much of a difference things can make by having certain events playout in a slightly different order or position.

The interactions are said to have some very complex AI mechanics behind them and this is apparent due to the fact that not only must interactions between all of the elements be recognised within the dads timeframe in order to solve the puzzles, but also the effects of time passing in the daughters timestream afterwards as time continues to progress is rather difficult to picture as time continues passing onwards, and characters and events passing by depending on who encounters what and how fast things are travelling is a requirement in order to ensure things progress as you hope they will in her timestream.

There were at the time of my review being recorded only 3 area’s to the game, and there was around 2 hours of gameplay for me from beginning to “end” however this is a single playthrough without fulfilling the true ending which is clearly designed to be returned through and play out other outcomes and investigate thoroughly in order to find the solution for a true ending. On top of this they have also since added additional content to the game since my playthrough so actual playtime may vary especially if you have a more difficult time than me in solving some of the puzzles which is easily possible. The third area however was essentially a prologue and there was little to it at the time of my review, I know they’ve published changelogs showing additional content since so who can confirm how much there is should more content be added again, but saying that playing through different solutions and trying to gain the true ending would add even further gameplay time to the game.

The story and narrative of the game were very fun and entertaining and the puzzles presented a challenge in solving and took more thought than a cursory glance in order to achieve so I would recommend a purchase especially as the mechanics and interactivity between both time universes in order to solve the puzzles provides an interesting and unique problem solving nature you’d struggle to find elsewhere and as a result I think the game is definitely worth purchasing and playing through.

Get clocker for yourself on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/916050

Booksmart is a coming of age comedy movie revolving around the exploits of two American high school girls coming to the end of their final year having dedicated their entire lives to studying and furthering their path forward to their dream careers ahead of them. Whilst the film opens up with some highly caricatured stereotypes from the overtly rich daddy’s boy to the significantly overdramatic gay guys in drama club, and though this might seem a little over the top you will realise later into the movie why certain individuals have been portrayed in these ways for the sake of the unveiling comedy ahead.

The film blossoms once the main character overhears other students slagging her off for dedicating her life to her studies which causes her to attempt to rub it in their faces that she’s going off to yale while they’re going to have terrible futures ahead of them (which lets face it as millennials the struggles are real) However it turns out that not only is one of them also going to yale but they all have bright futures ahead, including the seemingly dimmest who’s been hired by google due to his specialist skills, and causes her to have a breakdown and start asking literally everyone in the school and it turns out everyone has lived a full life of partying but also managed to study so well that they’re also all going to fantastic and renowned colleges and universities as well.

As a result of hearing this the lead character decides to make changes, and whilst the camera angle and cinematography suggest she’s going to become a serial killer and have a psychotic break the movie takes a more comedic turn following previously successful movies such as dude where’s my car, Harold & Kumar as well as even the hangover all of which follow a formulaic structure of a single night of calamity moving from one event to the next as everything doesn’t quite go to plan but leads to the hilarity resulting from the misadventures.

Without spoiling the movie essentially the plot follows the two girls as they attempt to make their way to the graduation party all of the students are posting clips having fun at, determined to live the full experience and have some significant memorable event and having been to a party before graduating to make up for having neglected that part of their lives in favour of their studies and gained nothing extra out of the sacrifice, and whilst they think they’re heading to the big party they end up going from one minor party to another through misunderstandings and people wanting them at their party rather than the main one.

There are plenty of laughs to be had throughout the series of calamities which unfold as well as a few emotional moments towards the end as the jokes build up and escalate as the girls make their disastrous night one to be remembered and cherished, and at the end of the movie you feel that everyone is a more rounded filled out character beyond their caricatures, and I had a good time laughing out loud at several points throughout the movie, and feeling emotional towards some of the events towards the end of the movie even if they were obvious to spot coming and as a result I would recommend going to see the movie if you’re looking to be entertained and have a good laugh. There are some adult jokes and adult natures (well a fair few) but that’s what you have to expect in a coming of age sort of movie right? Either way the comedy vibed well with me and I would recommend going to see it when the movie comes out near you.

Find out more details about booksmart at http://www.booksmart.movie/

Lucius 3 is the final part of the movie inspired horror adventure trilogy where Lucius has to return to his home island to fulfil 7 prophecies in order to open the gateway to hell and potentially bring an end to the world. Featuring an open world layout it’s up to you to explore the world and try to piece together the clues from the scroll in order to enact specific pre-ordained acts of violence against people in order to bring forth the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Whilst the open world nature adds more freedom to explore the world there are a few issues that result from the way things are done, as whilst some games like the old silent hill games would lock off area’s with finding specific keys prompting you to return to specific area’s this game relies upon activating specific cutscenes and triggers in order to allow access to certain area’s prompting that you’re not allowed to enter yet if you try to go to key area’s too soon. Whilst this prevents solving certain puzzles early it does create issues that mean if you hear one trigger hint and go to a certain area before hitting another specific prompt you’re going to end up stuck pretty early on and presuming you’re locked out of doing a certain action to get into the mayors house, and this lead me to go on a wild adventure lost unable to progress for a long time in my gameplay.

This isn’t the worst thing that could happen however as there are a number of side plots you can pursue along the way if you go off the rails from the main track with special events to eliminate the townspeople in a variety of ways some of which add further nods to horror movies with easter eggs. I tried to avoid this on my playthrough though as there’s a big theme throughout the game where Gabriel is constantly telling you it’s not too late to turn things around and abandon the path of evil, so I was trying to make my playthrough a chaotic good playthrough (with some accidents happening) and embrace the side of light only taking out those who really were evil and deserved it.

Spoilers, it’s hard not to go into a specific part of the game where later on events occur however I feel the spoiler is actually something that will free you up in your gameplay allowing you to go explore further and pursue the alternate elimination plots. Obviously I stated that I was trying to save as many of the townspeople as possible only pursuing those who deserved to be taken out, whilst accidentally flinging someone off a fort and perhaps ending someone’s life trying to open a portal to another dimension. The spoiler is that none of this matters, whilst I did seem to get a bug that jumped one of the prophecies straight into the church confrontation by wearing the white clothes too early (again from a clear hint in game to do so) there’s a scene where everyone in the town have decided they have to take you out in order to stop bad things happening in town.

At that point you’ve got to start literally vaporising everyone as they rush you down and whilst it’s an interesting minigame trying to catch out the people sneaking around the edges you do end up with regrets for deciding not to eliminate other people or pursue and search out those plotlines when you’ve been presented the opportunity. Taking them out would make this scene easier but that’s not the point, it’s the disappointment to miss out on all of the special scenes and sidelines that really hit you as you’re going to get a lot of enjoyment from pursuing those storylines and seeing all of the movie based easter eggs revolving around them.

I focused on following the plotline directly after the initial problems caused by getting sidetracked, though I don’t think there’s much of an issue after the first incident and even after you move on through the chapters of the game you’re going to be fine to explore the island for additional plotlines is going to add a lot more length to the game as well as enjoyment, without effecting the outcome for the end of the game and the ultimate decision over good and evil.

The game took me around 7 hours to get through however you have to account for getting lost in the first act due to events being locked off from activation and then looking over them repeatedly, but balance that with rushing through the rest of the chapters you could get more playtime exploring and looking for all of the additional actions you can do throughout the game and for the price of the game you’re getting a decent horror narrative adventure with some interesting puzzle mechanics. Whilst I feel that some of the progress related boundaries can cause some issues they’re relatively minor and I did get a funny bug where all of the towns people started sinking through the ground into hell perhaps because I took too long or maybe because of finding some drugs in a bag in the game but these are easily overlooked and not majorly gamebreaking.

If you’re looking for a new adventure game and enjoy horror movies this is a pretty good game for you as it’s crammed with references from a number of classics as well as being an enjoyable game. I would recommend giving the game a try.

Get Lucius 3 for yourself on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/513290/Lucius_III

Battle princess Madelyn is a retro inspired action platformer inspired by one of the developers daughters as well as being written by a professional childrens author.  The game itself comes in two game modes and whilst the regular gamer might believe story mode is the preliminary game mode it seems arcade mode is actually something quite different and the designed primary mode.  Where arcade mode comes across 10 worlds of 5 levels each (according to the steam page but seems 2 and a boss), where weapon drops come from the sacks of enemies permanently replacing your main weapon until you find another, whereas the story mode is very different with actually shorter and different world levels all tied together with an exploration factor and unlocks involved which I played through believing this to be the primary mode and arcade simply being a level select of these and not a completely different entity which plays entirely differently.

There has been a huge patch to the game which has made some significant changes to the story mode through a number of issues experienced throughout by players, and at the time of print of this review there are some other issues I will bring up which would really change the quality of life of the game mode as well as one significant bug with fritzy which I will bring up with the aim of these being fixed in a further update and perhaps never being experienced by yourselves should you decide to go ahead and purchase the game.

Gameplay

Levels in the game involve a variety of enemies each with their own unique attack and movement mechanics spawning at various points in waves whilst you take them down with the arsenal of weapons you’ve collected attempting to traverse through the platforming challenges the area’s offer trying to find the boss keys and possibly finding secrets and additional powers along the way.

In story mode you have to complete side quests or defeat certain bosses in order to obtain additional weapons and powers like a double jump and whilst the area’s have been changed to be more linear initially and avoid a large number of very difficult challenges at the start there are a few additional balance changes which could be implemented to make progression feel a bit more natural.  For example you find a quest to obtain a hammer for the blacksmith so you can upgrade your weapon and armour however by the time you finally collect this half way through the game you can fully upgrade everything, whereas if you were offered this opportunity earlier in the game and naturally slowly level things up the quality of life and pace of the game would feel far more appropriate, and whilst you have the opportunity to press a button in the menu to unlock everything at the beginning this is cheating and defeats the purpose of the mode, in which case again it feels like arcade mode is the way the game should have perhaps been played and released.

Another major bug in the story mode is that your companion fritzy lacks his powers until you obtain the pogo ability which is if played linearly 80% through the game, and if not at least over 50% of the game and it feels like this should have been unlocked from the very beginning and not tied to the pogo ability (which also grants you a wand weapon and no explanation that you must use down attacks on enemies to bounce of their heads at time of review and I had to ask the developers about how to use the ability thinking it was bugged and I hadn’t been provided the ability)

Some other gameplay bugs have been fixed and as stated earlier the developers do care and are trying to make the story mode as tight as it should be, and whilst they’ve made the earlier levels more approachable they also fixed actual bugs from sidequests which had prevented you from being able to even fight certain bosses.  This shows that the developers are addressing issues with the game mode, so perhaps expect in the future that fritzy’s powers might actually work from the beginning of the game as expected, and if you could unlock some armour levels sooner in the game incrementally it would make quality of life so much better, so whislt there are bugs at the time of review I do expect these to be resolved.

Even with these bugs the game is very playable and enjoyable, in story mode you have a compressed taste of the levels with the challenge of having to find all of the unlocks and keys in order to fight the bosses.  Boss fights are well thought out holding onto that retro feel with learnable boss patterns and a variety of mechanics involved in taking down the bosses as you progress so they all have their own ways of being defeated rather than just dodge and attack where possible often subtleties are involved to get the best patterns to avoid getting defeated in order to progress.

The story mode has an interesting way of subverting expectations as you expect the game to be coming to an end through the building of stitchbot actually you unlock the second half of the game and additional area’s to explore previously inaccessible offering a pleasant surprise with additional gameplay.  (Which also allows you to finally complete some of the earlier side quests previously impossible to achieve should you desire a 100% completion rate)  Collectible stuffed toys are provided to you as you complete the game, which I initially confused for some form of monsterpedia type thing, and whilst the game begins with some of your collection already filled out (which if you read descriptions suggests you’ve already encountered them) I feel it would have been better to collect everything from an empty state to avoid confusion, and this doesn’t even have to be through side quests it could have been achieved through defeating the first of these enemy types or additional drops from existing quests/chests/bosses.

Overall Impressions

At the end of the day for the price you’re paying you’re getting a pretty fun action platformer for the price, and while the arcade mode is the definitive version with all of the polish you would expect from the game they are making efforts to polish the story mode to ensure that there aren’t major bugs and gameplay issues and giving it a more progressive arc into the gameplay showing that they do care about the title and want it to be the best that it can be. The game would have been good enough value with the arcade mode alone, and the fact that you have additional modes as well as the story mode there is plenty of gameplay to be experienced, and depending on whether you want to battle through waves of enemies and challenging platformers or explore to complete quests in order to get to the bosses there’s a game mode for you. The bosses also offer plenty of variety as opposed to simply learning their patterns some often involve some extra aspect in order to be defeated adding a greater challenge and more interesting factors to the gameplay.

If you’re looking for a good retro inspired action platformer this is the game for you. Check out battle princess Madelyn for yourself on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/603930/Battle_Princess_Madelyn/

Metamorphosis is a play based upon the franz kafka novella of the same name and is a story of transformation both of gregor from travelling salesman to insectoid creature, but also of the transformation of his family and their behaviour and attitudes towards him and their family roles as they all cope and adapt around his transformations as they progress.

The Old Rep Theatre

This was my first time visiting the old rep theatre and it’s located in the area’s behind Birmingham new street central, whilst previously in a part of the city rarely visited due to the layout of the town it now benefits from the newly opened nature of the train station and perhaps might become a bigger venue as this side of the town gets regenerated with businesses taking advantage of the expansion to this area.

Inside the venue itself it is essentially a single production establishment with a small side café, the view of the stage is ensured through the chair layout so you’re able to take in the show without distractions. The lighting and fog effects of the venue made it a very atmospheric show, and if it wasn’t for the occasional eye contact with the actors on stage you could compare it to a close up experience of a movie at the cinema, except with true 3D because actually it’s a stage show for those who have never been to a play themselves.

The Metamorphosis


The show opens with a little transitional white noise and flickering of lights as the actors scurry into position, this is both a moody way of establishing time passing but also a convenient way of masking scenery and actor changing transitions as well as maybe establishing something isn’t quite right and this effect is used throughout the show to great effect. I do believe there’s one point later where perhaps the transition was missed or should have been there during the performance I saw however that’s probably the only gripe I would have with the show as overall the actors put on a great performance and it was a very enjoyable show.

All of the actors portrayed their character roles very well putting across suitable emotional levels for each stage of the performance in both their voices and mannerisms and in particular the main character of gregor was well performed throughout his transitions from self sacrificing brother through to his insectoid nature and inner thoughts grasping onto his humanity until the end all of which were acted out expertly from his insect like slight buzzing and struggling to his voice through to his final transformation with shoulder blades sticking out in very insect like manners and creeping around cautiously like an insect trying not to get spotted as he desired to hear his sister sing one last time, something he always loved as a human and had actively sacrificed his life to ensure he could afford to send her to the conservatoire; a famous and renowned school for the performing arts. Clearly showing that even at the end he was still grasping onto his humanity and simply wanted to hear her singing voice closer and be closer to what was the core part of his humanity.

Transformation is a key part of this play and whilst you might presume that the show alone is about gregor and his transition into an insectoid creature there are many more transformations to consider throughout the show. Whilst initially I presumed he was transforming into some sort of corporate individual as the actor who portrayed the face of many roles wore a white face with black eyeliner in a style I would associate with “we happy few” which may indeed be Kafkaesque but I may be unfamiliar with or perhaps even be theatre commonality for someone who would be playing many roles, however this was put to rest pretty soon as the boss with this makeup visited gregor at his home stating he would need to see a doctor about the matter.

During his transformation process gregor loses his job, perhaps as a result of his illness or perhaps resulting from being late to work one single time when he had an illness who is to say for sure, however this leads to his family having to take over his responsibilities to earn money as he had essentially giving his life working non stop to ensure they could live the lives they deserved, wishing to fund his sister to pursue her dreams, and ensuring his parents could enjoy their retirement without worry and providing additional funds for them in case of emergencies all without ever complaining despite only getting 4 hours of sleep per night.

Initially his sister looks after him as he’s stuck in his room making sure he gets enough food to eat, and even ensuring it’s something he can enjoy as his tastes change during his illness. Throughout the play however this changes over time through fear and concern to an unwanted chore looking after what she considers an unwanted monster who has destroyed her brother believing there’s nothing left of him inside and wanting this reminder of what she believes to have killed her brother to just be gone from the house and to stop being a financial burden holding her family back from living the life she desires. Obviously there are a lot of subtle subtexts to read throughout the show from him only wanting the best for her and a lot to watch out for as the relationships between the two evolve.

The father has to take up the mantle of main producer for the family after gregor loses his job and whilst initially he takes up the mantle of gregor’s former position as travelling salesman he quickly becomes bitter about having to work non stop and never having any form of life only going to work and returning home to eat and sleep, and whilst this might fuel his rage towards gregor for letting him down by circumstances outside his control it also shows just how unappreciative his family are for what he had done up until now, having lived this job and life for 5 years prior to this transformation without ever a word of complaint and actually happy that he could ensure his family lived a good and simple life, yet having to do this himself for a short time the father instead blames gregor for what has happened and for not being able to retire and spend time with his family. This leads him to resort to leasing out a spare room to a tenant who demands further transformations to the house, leading to gregor being treated like a locked in animal stored with the unwanted trash of the house.

All of these transformations are well acted and well portrayed by the cast, and the pacing of the story feels pretty good along with suitable time wipe transitions showing events progressing, as well as the creature like hiding under the bed being used to good effect to allow the actor to escape off stage to apply further makeup and change into his next transition of the illness. Whilst I do believe there may have been more the family could have done throughout the story, from sending him to an uncaring doctor who seemed to care more about observing the novelty of the transformations than actually curing the condition along with his family keeping him locked up and treating him like a caged animal throughout rather than attempting to maintain his humanity. I’m sure that his family only acted this way initially out of fear and refusing to face the truth as they all avoided him as much as possible.

I do feel like the end of the story portrayed the family being quite cold about the whole situation without any residual care that gregor had died, instead being glad that they could move on with life and get out of the place though I am sure this is because in their hearts they felt he had died long ago and they were simply custodians of some form of unwanted creature I do feel like there could have been a little care or remorse there, perhaps some sort of emotional release, though this is down to the way kafka wrote the story as opposed to the portrayal of the actors.

Overall Impressions

From beginning to end the story and portrayal is very intriguing, and though there are some comedic characters like the doctors assistant for the most part it’s a gripping emotional story revolving around how the family cope with this unexpected transformation nobody was prepared for. As I have stated the actors convey this very well behaving as you would expect a family to behave through a range of emotions transitioning from shock and concern into being burdened by a problem everyone including gregor just wishes was over. And while there are deeper seeded subtleties to watch out for like gregor holding onto his humanity as much as possible unnoticed by his sister and family and their desperation for any sign of humanity from him along with not realising just how much he had looked after them and perhaps what was supposed to be a revelation that gregor had been saving up for his sister to study at the conservatoire throughout his job but had never mentioned (even though it was hinted at early and I had already caught on before the transformation even occurred.) the plot and acting are both very good and gripping and I would definitely recommend going to see the performance if you were considering it, and to go see for yourself the story unfold and make your own assumptions and impressions of what is going on and how the family are reacting to the situation unfolding.

Metamorphosis is on now at the old rep theatre in Birmingham and you can find out more about it at https://www.oldreptheatre.co.uk/calendar/?calid=2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,1,12&pid=3&viewid=1&event=97 and beginning a uk theatre tour which may be available in your area soon.

I’ve gone through a lot over the years and the quality and output of this site has been effected by a number of events throughout the time and I wanted to take the time to thank those of you who have stuck with me through all of the problems and changes, and while I expected getting rehomed to be a fresh start I’ve had a significant number of issues which have got between me and outputting the content at the quality I would like, from computer’s breaking to windows 10 updates becoming a nemesis breaking a number of settings and destroying quality of output in new and creative ways I have to work around (not always successfully) as well as the unending nightmare of being sleep deprived by my upstairs neighbour and the paper thin ceiling as they stomp and bang around all night in a drunker stupor never allowing me to sleep.

Thankyou for sticking with me as I’ve been through everything here and I’m working to resolve a lot of the problems, and while I can’t fix the problem with stream window size with whatever the windows 10 update did in November last year ruining my ability to stream directly off the gaming pc being beyond my ability to solve I have been working through streaming off my secondary recording pc, which only has 1gb graphics card and as it’s a budget motherboard despite being powerful it might not handle a graphics card upgrade directly on that so there are some issues with this out of my capability short of yet another upgrade which I’m not in the state of mind to go through all of the hassle for again at this time. You will notice that there was a time where the frame rate started to stutter which I failed to notice having only checked one video and it seeming reasonable I had to change from mp4 recordings to flv due to this update and I can’t preview these before uploading so it went unnoticed that actually most of the recordings weren’t great quality and while I have a backlog I’ve made some changes that should at least resolve this quality issue in the future.

I aim to get back to writing good reviews for this site as well as the well edited lets highlight video’s to fit the content I’m talking about from my playthrough of the games, and have been putting this off for a number of reasons mostly being sleep deprivation and not being in a good state of mind to write content in the quality I would like as well as spending a lot of time and effort to fight against this problem unsuccessfully, though adding webcam footage to my video’s has made this job also even more difficult needing to essentially edit the footage to fit around without showing the webcam.

This obviously is a time intensive process as I not only have to edit the footage together to look good I have to sift through all of my gameplay to find the appropriate moments I’m referring to and still have a decent output of a product, as well as all of the processing and time spent writing the article in a meaningful and appropriate manner without forgetting things or being so sleep deprived you’re not in a good mood to write a happy article and this has not been possible during these times, and especially when I was in my last job overworked and underappreciated essentially spending my entire life in that restaurant or travelling to and from it and never really having the free time I needed to spend on the site and as a result content did drop off entirely.

Throughout the years obviously the site has evolved from simply being written articles to attempting to switch to video content alone through a partnership with blip.tv and realising that most of my readership were more into reading articles than viewing video’s to ending up on the hybrid content we have today.

Problems with life began in 2011 when my benefits were being illegally withheld and this lead to me losing my home and floating around often without internet between locations attempting to get rehomed and the 4+ years of nonsense I had to deal with tyring to get rehomed and it was supposed to be a new beginning and new hope to get here, yet I’ve had more problems than anticipated which have stood between me and the output of quality I’m aiming to achieve.

Upgrades have occurred through the years as we’ve moved from the old VHS tapes I use to record on (an artistic choice) to the 4k video I’m able to record on today (though youtube seems to just downscale it annoyingly) though changing all of the sites embeds from blip video’sto youtube after they shed all of their content creators was a bit of a pain and rebuilding a subscriber base on there after years of hiatus quality is hopefully getting back to the level I hope to achieve, as I’ve said though windows 10 update seems determined to be my enemy, having broken my ability to use my sony bravia tv resulting in a tiny screen being used until I find a replacement but putting it off to avoid stress as I’m going through enough and on a short tether with sleep deprivation anyway, to sound being broken in another update not noticed for 2 weeks of recordings along with the months of video quality suffering after having changed to flv trying to defeat current issues caused by updates.

Ideally I would be able to make enough money to fund a solution to all of my problems and fully upgrade my recording setup to match my gaming setup and have two top quality rigs so no issues would be experienced and output would definitely be of the quality expected and maybe even record separate gameplay footage without webcam and microphone so I an isolate the gameplay footage and use that in edited reviews with sound but without my VO. Another good thing would be I would be able to buy a home and get away from this nightmare of being tortured all night kept awake by a horrible neighbour who refuses to sleep at night often having loud conversations all night long directly above my bed as well as slamming around in what I recently discovered was an alcoholic stupor which explained a lot but doesn’t make things better.

Effort will be made to start getting the reviews back up in a timely manner, although I still want to maintain the quality of actually playing through the games to a significant enough standard to give a well rounded and considered review of the game perhaps along with an expected length and replayability standard, along with due consideration of other products and events I will be reviewing all with the quality standards I aim to achieve.

Obviously during my homeless nature without the capabilities of recording and editing to the standards I wanted to it was difficult to achieve reviews of a lot of events I wanted to put out, and after getting rehomed and going through all of these current issues I’ve put off attending any events and not attempted to put out any content for these even as press releases with information about the event, however I’m definitely going to start making efforts into getting back into this.

I have a small backlog of events I attended over the xmas period close together I have recorded video’s for and uploaded, not in the full expo style with editing and scenes from around the event as these were music events I wouldn’t have permission to record music footage at, but nonetheless I’ve got my views and I aim to give a written output on these events, and I’m also planning on attending some future events in the coming year including visiting insomnia64 in april and putting up some content around this on the site.

So while I have been ignoring and putting off a lot of issues and neglecting the site to avoid stress as I’ve had a hard enough time dealing with my antisocial neighbours and the nightmare in attempting to get anything done about this, along with the stress of rebuilding my life and putting a home together and getting any compensation above £20 for the years of suffering I was put through and the fact that I lost everything in my life has been very difficult to cope with. I feel like I’m ready to start pulling things together again here now I’ve got a bit more free time and attempting to solve some of the problems again (until inevitably another windows 10 update breaks everything again and I have another nightmare to deal with) so I would like to thank you for sticking with me through all of this as I hope to resolve even more of the problems, and while I know there are still things not as I would like it to be I have to take things one step at a time to avoid being overloaded with stress and get so depressed I’m not able to function.

You can look forward to at least 6 lets highlights coming very soon once I’ve edited them together and reviewed them as well as around 4 gig reviews I need to write the articles for as well as the upcoming events I’m going to be attending over the coming year and stepping back into.

Once again I apologise for neglecting the site and you whilst I’ve been going through all of this and I’m glad a number of you have stuck with me through this time and I aim to output content at the quality and level you deserve though it may be a process to get there fully due to things beyond my control or ability to fund I do aim to keep things up and get back into updating the site regularly, without lazy playlist posting and short written reviews rather than a decently edited and considered video review.

Deadbeat heroes is a frantic action game from some of the developers behind the marvellous miss take, except rather than stealth and puzzle solving to complete the levels this game it’s all about effectively taking down criminals in the most stylish way possible preferably without getting hit, except you aren’t the typical superhero, no you’re just some deadbeat with a special engine attachment on his arm granting you abilities beyond the basic human allowing you to take on crime in the name of a retired superhero.

You can see some similarities with the level designs between this and the aforementioned marvellous miss take, however the gameplay features of this game definitely leave it feeling a very different experience as you have to defeat waves of enemies in a variety of rooms whilst also potentially rescuing hostages for bonus points, though this isn’t essential to complete the levels it may help as it’s stylish to save the hostage right?

Your handheld engine has an additional special feature that allows you to clone supervillains powers which grants you time limited additional skills from freezing enemies to teleporting around the map and a wide range of skills between, some of which are more useful than others but do add variety to the gameplay of the levels and give you a fun way of taking down the plethora of enemies coming to get you.

Bonuses can be awarded for dispatching justice in a room without getting injured, while if you do get injured you’re rewarded with a health pickup to give you a better chance of taking down the next room. The true skill comes in combining running across walls and poles and diving from the skies to take down the villains preferably without getting hit, which is easier said than done when enemies can have turrets, rocket launchers and submachine guns all firing at you at once and while hiding could provide an easier way to win you’re not really doing it in a stylish way unless you’re doing it quick and chaining together those takedowns.

It took me 6 hours to complete the game from beginning to end playing just to unlock all the levels and defeat the final boss, where there are 35 levels all based around an old school London theme with typical british humour injected into the mix as you progress through the story taking down the 10 villainous area bosses along the way all with their own superpowers for you to use against them, and it’s not a true win unless you hit them before they even start speaking… Well that’s not entirely true but that’s a challenge I set for myself for humour and fun purposes.

The game itself can be single or a two player experience and can even be integrated with twitch so anyone chatting in your stream can become one of the hired thugs attempting to take you down along your path to dispense justice on the villainous prime sinister who has taken out every one of the city’s superheroes on his rise to power, just don’t question why it might look like he has the same sort of engine attached to his fist as you… I’m sure that there’s nothing deeper to that lore and that perhaps there might not be a spinoff story potential of what really happened with his rise to power and taking down all the superheroes, and don’t question your retired superhero bosses reasons for this quest and how he’s the creator of your fist engine….

Style is definitely a big part of this game and while it’s a gameplay mechanic it’s also very noticeable in the artwork and soundtrack of the game as it has an old school feel along with it’s cell shaded pseudo comic book aesthetic, it’s definitely a fun and interesting experience and even after you complete the game there’s scope for further replayability trying to get the highest ranks and scores across all of the levels and playing through with your newly unlocked character now out of retirement the only superhero remaining in the city. All of the characters play the same essentially being reskins so choice of character isn’t a limiting factor and unlocks are purely cosmetic, and while they could have given them different skills and added further gameplay mechanics as such I do like that instead they’ve made the powerups drop from dispatched villains in the levels so you can play through and perhaps compete over who gets to collect the powerup on the levels if you’re playing co-op and allow you to go through the entire game with your favourite hero.

I had a lot of fun bashing through the enemies in the frantic action levels and would recommend the game if you’re looking for a casual action brawler with a dash of british humour, or even if you’re just looking for a way to beat up your twitch chat viewers every now and then ;-) There’s plenty of silliness and the action gameplay is on the right level not being too easy whilst also being fun and giving you that feeling of wanting to keep retrying until you get through the game, and the boss powers do add variety between the area’s giving you more mechanics to play with whilst keeping the core game feeling, along with area’s becoming more difficult adding further and harder challenges the further you get into the game so I would definitely recommend the game as a purchase.

Get deadbeat heroes for yourself now on steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/614090/Deadbeat_Heroes/

Happy valentines day, and for those of you not with someone hiding your feelings away too scared to make a move, life’s too short so why wait forever hoping that one day they’ll notice you or be more than just friends. If you’ve got deep feelings for someone and you want something more then take the risk and let them know how you feel, if they’re a good friend it won’t matter as you’ll still be able to be good friends but if they’re feeling things for you too you might just get what you’ve always dreamed of.

You might ask yourself why certain people get the girl while you don’t and how some people bat way out of their league, it’s not magic it’s not trickery or “super seducer” nonsense, the simple fact is they’re at ease with themselves and not afraid to make a move, chances are you’d hit it off with that girl you’ve always liked from afar if you just talk to her, if you’ve got things in common that make you like them then they’d probably like those things in you and often it’s these connections that lead to better relationships than physical attraction as looks change over the years. Obviously you would like someone who’s attractive to you but attractiveness is always subjective and different people find different looks and styles attractive so don’t rule yourself out whether you’re ultra thin or plump and round, the most manly of men or androgynous there are people that like different things and I’m sure there’s someone that meets what you’re looking for who’d be in to you too so don’t rule yourself out if you’re not out there and trying to find your perfect partner.

The other valentines tradition is that it’s said to be the one day girls can ask out guys, I find this a bit silly in 2019 where the world is supposed to be even and not sexist sure it’s a tradition but you’re ruling yourself out of all of the days of the year you could ask out that guy you’re interested in and rather than waiting for him when perhaps he’s unsure if you’re in a relationship or remotely interested to put a move on you it might be an idea for you to make the first move, if you’ve got feelings for them you’re free to start making moves and ask them out on a date to see if there’s a future there.

Don’t think about what could have been and wish while keeping your feelings secret forever, if there’s someone you want to be spending valentines day with go let them know, even if it is getting them a card as if you’re extra shy leaving a card can be a good way to communicate your feelings without having to get nervous or scared. Just don’t leave it anonymous that doesn’t help anyone.