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Browsing Posts tagged IStar

Blackhole is a 2d physics based puzzle platformer with a compelling narrative storyline behind it, the game see’s you “crash” into a blackhole abandoning you the coffee boy with the ships AI to try and find all of your missing crewmates and rebuild the ship so that you can escape the anomaly you find yourself in.

The game promises more than 90 levels across 6 dimensions and over 15 hours of gameplay and that isn’t including the free challenge vault update that essentially added daily challenges with difficult levels into the game. Outside of the levels themselves there are heaps of secrets to discover in the overworld which can be quite challenging themselves.

Each dimension has it’s own theme and it’s own special item that modifies the puzzles in unique ways making the challenges of each of these varied across the game. From EMP pulses to effect lazers and doors to simple wall jump boots allowing you to hop off the walls like Mario.

The physics of the game are some of the best designed I’ve seen in a game of this type, allowing you to start off grasping the simple but once you realise you can use gravity transitions in the level to conserve momentum and fling yourself across to new area’s you can learn whole new ways to progress through the game and perhaps get those selfburns that seemed out of reach earlier in the game. They also do a good job of pacing out the new elements that you come across and scaling up the difficulty so you never feel too overwhelmed with the puzzles, another way they do this well is limiting the number of selfburns required to complete a level and progress through the story so you can finish a level and continue your progress without truly completing the levels and collecting everything whilst leaving a challenge to come back to later when you’ve mastered some of the more complex elements of the game.

Blachole’s story unveils itself as you progress through but if you want to know the true secrets of the anomaly you have to hunt down the black boxes in the overworld which can be in some very difficult to pass puzzles, as though whoever created the anomaly wanted to hide these as you, the AI and the crew all have no memory of what happened and how you got there, and if you haven’t seen the trailer you need to watch it for yourself (well that’s easier said than done, I tried to find the trailer I saw which showed the AI seeming to go a little crazy to link it here but I can’t find it anywhere…)

I am surprised how ridiculously cheap the game is and what a bargain it is for how much gameplay there is and how much enjoyment you’ll get out of it, not only in solving the puzzles but with the storyline and how well the voice acting is done (and you might recognise a celebrity or two in there) and if you’re into movie references and meme’s well there’s plenty in there from tetris to doctor who if you keep your eye out you’ll be able to spot them all, and may involve passing through a hidden wall puzzle or two at times.

This has probably one of the best games I’ve played in the past few years and I’m surprised it didn’t get more recognition and remains so unknown when it is such a well made game within the puzzle platformer genre, the game is so well done, has a great quirky storyline and good voice talent as well as polished well designed puzzles with great physics and a variety of gameplay mechanics throughout a lot of levels and different worlds as well as being a ridiculous bargain price as a result it has earnt itself an indelacio star.

Get blackhole on steam for yourself at https://store.steampowered.com/app/322680/BLACKHOLE/

Copy kitty is a modern retro action platformer from nuclear strawberry, having spent 7 years in development you can see how much effort has been put into getting this game right at every stage of the game from the sheer weapon variety, through the the many and varied bosses throughout the game.

This game stands out so much that I don’t hesitate to say you must own this game because not only is it a bargain at the price and you’ll get many hours of enjoyment out of it but there are elements that stand out above and beyond any other game in the genre. Many games with projectile weapons tend to be very limited in what they provide, whereas this game has the unique ability of combining many of the basic elements into what seems like hundreds of very different weapons from basic splitting and exploding weapons to super powered swords all of which vary depending on what elements you combine while also having solo weapons that can’t be combined.

The developers seem to have been quite clever getting guest developers in to design the boss battles, this not only helps make sure the boss battles feel very unique and different in style from the rest of the game and other battles, but also ensures you can include some special unique weapons for these battles also. Most developers would tend to have essentially reskinned versions of the same boss throughout with slightly different weaponry and fighting styles but the same repeating evil boss which can add to the identity of an evil you follow throughout the game trying to foil, like bowser or dr robotnik (also known as eggman) and this isn’t missed out entirely in this game either as a repeating miniboss half way through each stage inevitably becomes a greater evil towards the end and holds a following evil that gets more powerful everytime you defeat it, shadowing your copy ability in many ways.

There are two different playable characters and every effort seems to have been made to ensure they both play very differently to ensure much larger replayability when going through the same levels, in relation sonic vs knuckles did have a clever feature where knuckles was able to break through the walls and traverse a very different path through the game eventually leading to different levels and a different ending pioneering branching path’s in the genre this game does stick to the same pathing however because both characters feel very different you might not notice the similarities. Boki essentially is grounded but can gain access to special vehicles at times and has the ability to combine up to three powers together to create very varied and ultra powerful weapons whereas savant only has the ability to combine two powers together and is constrained to shooting them from his coding box. He varies by his ability to fly throughout the level and that his coding box is always separate from him so navigating the level and where your projectiles fire from becomes a bigger challenge throughout the game, also depending on which order you combine the weapons creates a very different outcome.

Another way that savant’s abilities vary is that the way his weaponry combines creates very different projectiles and weapons to what boki would create with the same weaponry, and these differences will make the playthrough feel very different without taking into account the fact that the storyline elements are different when playing through as boki and savant.

Separate to the main quest there is also an “endless” mode where you have to try and defeat 100 waves of enemies which become ever more difficult as you progress with only one life, and includes separate combination bosses to the original game and a hidden secret world unlockable by defeating a specific enemy within this mode. The difficulty of this challenge alone will add many more hours of gameplay to the game and you’ll be wanting to play more so it’s not an unwelcome addition to the game, and if that isn’t enough if you’re feeling up for a true challenge there’s not only harder versions of the main quest but there’s a marathon mode where you can play through the main campaign with only one lifebar and see if you can defeat the entire game without ever leaving it which would be a true challenge considering how many hours of gameplay the game itself has.

A final thought on the art style of the game, where many retro styled games would go down the route of saving graphics going 8 bit ignoring the fact that many retro games actually had very high res cute styles, this game creates a good balance between the high res and low res worlds with enemies having great art styles and very varied natures and looks while the world around can tend to be lower resolution much like the “simulation” world you’re stated to be in, of course it goes beyond this with the inclusion of a glitch world as a nod and homage to old games which would often glitch out and create obscure unintended elements, this game uses it to traverse from the simulation to what may indeed be a different reality in a different dimension which you may or may not be invading and defeating the boss to perhaps free savant from being locked in a simulated prison depending on how you take the storyline. I like that there does seem to be a hidden alternative ending if you give up to the final boss this is a clever feature, and when you’ve traversed the glitch world the nature of the universe seems a lot more realistic, and if you unlock the bonus world the nature of the way the game ends there certainly asks a lot more questions over the nature of the reality of the simulation.

I can’t wait for a sequel to this game, however you may have to wait a long time for this because of how long this took to develop. That being said with more funding and income from the sale of this and the essential ground work already in place a sequel may be able to come far quicker than another 7 year wait but even if it takes so long I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait indeed.

All of these features, with the great variance of gameplay and elements between the worlds and throughout the entire game and for a fantastic price is why this game has earnt an indelacio star, an award that only goes to something that is truly exceptional and goes above and beyond expectations. If you want a very fun and varied action platformer with great gameplay and a fun and cute storyline then this is the game for you and I would suggest everyone should own this.

Get copy kitty for yourself on steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/349250/Copy_Kitty/

Potential spoilers as reviewing this episode would be next to impossible to review without talking about issues and themes which reveal what happens in the episode, so if you wish to avoid spoilers watch and read no further.

Episode 2 of life is strange deals with some hard hitting plot lines dealing with issues from depression, rape and drugs to gaslighting and suicide throughout. The main plotline of this particular episode is kate marsh and how you have dealt with her in the past and throughout the current episode and the problems she has been going through with the release of a viral video, we soon discover that this isn’t illicitly filmed footage of her in her room with a boyfriend but instead out at a vortex club party where she has been drugged by nathan prescott. Of course proving this and simply knowing are two different matters which will pan out diffferently depending on the choices you have made throughout the playthrough as perhaps directly blaming nathan and confronting him on every instance could cause him to destroy any evidence you may have been able to find, whilst supporting kate and keeping things on the lowdown may be more likely to cause him to slip up in the future.

Divergent paths can be seen to begin as to whether you get a party invite finalised on the list, whether you choose to go on a date with warren or avoid him entirely, and also whether you actually suceed in saving kate marsh from the rooftop or not, and also who you ultimately blame in the final scene all have consequences, with mr jefferson losing priveledges if you blame him, perhaps the security guard losing his job or being put on repromand if you blame him and nathan getting suspended regardless of blame for simply being involved in the party.

The game begins to develop some new gameplay mechanics also, pointing out that noticing the little things which have cause and effect and also memorising the little details might be something immensely useful in future episodes, especially as you learn that you have a very limited time travel potential, not only the the ammount you can go backwards in time, but also that max’s health deteriorates if you use it too often, so perhaps adding a limited time travel potential per room which could cause the instances of missing possibilities for change even more likely in future episodes.

The ultimate reveal of the episode however is that max can also freeze time, or slow it down to such a degree that effectively time stops, whilst being very draining on her abilities and removing any ability to use them in the future this could become an essential mechanic later.

Regardless of how you have treated kate to this date she will end up on the roof, simply because mr jefferson gaslit her to end up there by being accused of making things up for attention and blowing everything out of proportion, this can be hard hitting if you’ve put everything into caring for kate but also reveals potential further involvement from mr jefferson, which I am happy to say isn’t highlighted to be something to rewind when they have a confrontation outside of the classroom and simply remaining as something you can learn if you utilise your ability to manipulate time correctly.

It would also appear that the security guard is simply misguided and overreacting in a protective manner to his daughter over the majority of instances as opposed to being more directly involved in the dissappearances of the students, and persuing things in an incorrect manner, because as stated he is not cut out to be a cop, and perhaps resents this and hopes to investigate himself without involving others, causing increased danger to the students at blackwell academy as a result where if he had simply handed in evidence to the police things might well have gone different, although the prescotts essentially own the town and may be able to get around police investigations confronting kate and simply gathering evidence rather than acting in her interest also did have some influence on her not being prevented from getting on the rooftop.

Chloe herself seems to be coming accross more unstable owing money to drug dealers and perhaps not being so honest with max as she comes accross, being far more invested in rachel amber than max and being selfish in many instances insisting max perform tricks for her and spend all her time with her instead of others, getting jealous at max taking kate’s call for example, and seeing max as a way to solve all of her own problems rather than simply being her former best friend.

I can see how the plot could be very different in future episodes depending on how you have played through so far, and I would be very dissappointed if they wrote kate out of the game entirely even with a win condition especially considering how much effort some people have put into saving her life and making her feel good about herself, and also that she could be the very key to getting a conviction on nathan and unlocking the whole mystery of rachel ambers dissappearence. I would hope she remains a full character in the game who you can interact with and even bring along on investigations, perhaps storming nathan’s locker or dorm room while everyone else is at a party as an option rather than ending up on a date with warren, or off helping chloe with her drug dealer debts.

Also at the end of the episode the mystery depeends around the flashes forward to inside of the tornado itself and a solar eclipse which could be a metaphore for max’s life light going out and dimming in a future where she may already be dead or on the verge of death having been knocked out by a falling lighthouse, depending how you interpret what has occured in the game to date.

I can’t wait for the next episode to come out, and so far to date this is definately an award winning work in my opinion, and if it doesn’t win an award from a larger institution at least it deserves an IStar, which any readers of my reviews will note I very rarely give out and are only awarded to the most very exceptional works in thier field, and this is something I believe definately deserves such an award.

Life is strange episode 2 is out now on steamstore.steampowered.com/app/319630 be sure to check you’ve unticked and reticked the dlc for episode 2 if you’ve purchased it and it won’t download.
life is strange IStar 9/04/2015