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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/

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/

Dark Dream’s Don’t Die is an episodic detective adventure game where you play as david, an investigator with the ability to dive literally into the case and relive the experience through a supernatural ability to channel memento’s and relive the memories associated with it in order to investigate what happened, and while he is investigating a case revolving around a drug known as “real blood” he is also looking for information about his wife’s murderer and searching for a mysterious “D” who may be involved with this.

The game itself has some clever twists on the traditional episodic adventure narrative, intertwining plot around having to look outside of the box and seeing or noticing things other people might have missed, using leaning to change your perspective to find hidden secrets and focusing on certain exclamation points to gather clues and more information which while aren’t necessary to completing the game could provide further insights that may have been used to unlock additional endings. This fits in rather well with the theme of the game which is a cross between time travelling investigatory work and the alternative that might be that you’re undergoing surgery and stuck inside your own mind and memories with the slow talking doctor hinting that you might be under anaesthesia slowed down mid consciousness having brain surgery with the scar oh his head which he touches at times perhaps signifying a wound leading to surgery. (If you’re looking for a deeper meaning than the surface plot of the game shown) There are definite hints to things not being quiet what they seem when you are talking to the doctor who definitely has an otherworldly nature to him existing outside of the space time of the plot, but could perhaps be another with the ability to travel into the memories himself.

Playing through the game you do have limited stamina which you use to perform actions, and you can refill this throughout the memory itself, however if you return to david’s house you will find that there’s a lot to do outside of the investigation and sometimes it’s essential to find clue’s outside of the memory to take back in order to question and influence the characters in order to get the best responses, while this might have lead to alternative endings again this is something I will delve into later. One of the best scenes in this game will come from heading back to the house and talking to kaysen, as you will get to eat meal’s with him and replenish your stamina, these scenes are some of the most over the top comedic stuffing of as much food as possible into your mouth and something not to be missed if you’re playing this game.

Investigating david’s wife’s murder is definitely a secondary plot to this game and it can be easy to miss a lot of the special event triggers to gather information about this as many of them require you to head home to david’s during a memory and find hidden clue’s around the home, these will trigger some cutscenes and provide more information that might hint that perhaps the D you’re meant to be finding is in fact a daughter, which going along with the mysterious cat girl who’s around the apartment could also mean that in fact she’s grown up and a lot of time has passed, but kaysen is keeping it secret to not trigger perhaps an episode with david, but again there are plot hints to other things going on with a myserious perhaps future david visiting at the end of an episode but never being fully fleshed out, and also the girl with striking similarities being a clone of your wife but with less dots by her eye like that signifies versions through time travel and alterations of time.

There is a lot to this game with great potential to be a very interesting storyline, and it got me hooked and interested to hear more, however this game had the unfortunate nature of being limited to an xbox live exclusive launch and hidden without physical copy not really highlighted in the online indie marketplace of the xbox 360 and as a result has ended up being abandoned. While the game strongly emphasised the use of movement and even the kinnect to influence cutscenes with very action intense moments requiring heavy quick time events, but done in a very fun and active way which most games attempting to incorporate QTE’s seem to lack, this one was done in an enjoyable manner and ranked you on your capabilities to “synchronise” these as well as the choices you make with conversations during your investigation perhaps suggesting that 100% synchronising or failing to synchronise conversations could lead to alternative outcomes in later episodes.

The problem is however that because it was hidden on this platform and wasn’t as noticed future episodes didn’t get made, and even though it has now received a pc release and gained a lot of popularity on youtube it still remains unfinished, so all these questions around the plot are never truly answered because the game was never completed, the mystery of the game it seems will always remain a mystery forever. This goes back to where you can go and find additional information in david’s house and go back into the memories and complete questlines with this additional knowledge, however as the game was never completed you would have to ask yourself is there any point to gathering this additional information as the episodes just end short, with hints that the game is due further episodes and no true ending whatsoever, being only 2 episodes and a prologue in length the feeling is that there should be at least 1-3 further episodes coming up to complete the season and to end on a satisfying note.

Where things end at present you’re left with a lot of unanswered questions and mysteries, no plotlines at all are resolved and if anything you’re left with a major plot twist on two of the characters as both the wife lookalike has an ulterior motive and secret identity, and the suspicious flight attendant who seems to be inhaling real blood turns out to be some super villain determined to take down the plane. And how is the jumping between two flights connected to all of this, and why does the doctor know more than he is letting on.

None of the investigative lines are completed and the case is most definitely not closed in this one and I hope that the game can gain enough momentum that swery may eventually finish off this game, as I’m sure he has the plot and narrative already planned out much as you would for a game like this, it just feels a little sad that such a good game is left open ended and incomplete. Even though this is most definitely not a finished game I would still recommend a purchase as it has a good plot and is a fun experience, I just wish that the plot wasn’t left unanswered and that you were given a satisfactory ending, even if it does leave room for a sequel at least some aspect should come to a satisfying end for it to be truly considered a proper ending.

Get D4: Dark Dream’s Don’t Die on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/358090/D4_Dark_Dreams_Dont_Die_Season_One/

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/


Warden Melody of the undergrowth is an adventure game very much in the style of old zelda games but released on the pc so you don’t need to own a nintendo system to finally play a similar adventure. The game is set over a persistent world where all changes you make stay in the world no matter if you travel to another area or play in another day.

The story revolves around the boy prince being trained and suffering an accident where he falls into a river and is washed up ashore lost and trying to find his way home, he is awoken by nyona who charges him with the task of being the next warden, protector of nature and to stop the king changing the world forever and destroying the balance of nature, but things might not be as they seem as you realise through the story progressing there are two sides to every story.

Along the way you uncover former wardens ghosts who have the ability to take hold of fabians body and then grant new powers and abilities to solve the puzzles. Mostly these powers are used to gain access to new area’s previously off limits, sometimes they just open shortcuts and are a requirement to defeat the boss of that area.

I will suggest that there are a lot of secrets that are never explained through the story progression and there are definitly area’s that were off limits and impossible to figure out how to get into, along with a seemingly pointless completionist task of lighting every single lantern and torch in the game which perhaps upon completion grants something special but I never completed this task. Also there are a plethora of seemingly pointless hats that perhaps when worn in the correct way with the right weapon and warden allow you to talk to the shadow beings you can “Sense” in certain circles, however if you fight them they are gone forever from the world, which could perhaps lead you to never being able to complete everything, unless of course simply eliminating every sense being much like pixel hunting in hotline Miami leads to a greater secret being unlocked such as an extra area or a modification to the ending it’s hard to tell from what is revealed in the game, and while some games like spelunky do this well with a hidden secret until the community finds it as a whole this is something I would like to be able to be uncovered through in game discovery as it feels more like something you should be able to ask in game characters about or find special in game lore that uncovers the secrets.

Having said that though the game itself is really good and definitely a lot of fun and I would recommend 100% that you use a controller as there are points where precise platforming would be required that would be a lot more difficult on keyboard and mouse. I myself put 12 hours into the game with my playthrough with a little exploration and discovery of secrets but mostly on a linear path to the ending as much as the game allows as there are progress gates which require a specific number of motes to be collected, which can lead to going off to find and collect the larger collectables in order to progress so it’s a good idea to collect any you go past on your playthrough if you want to avoid backtracking throughout the game. Travelling between area’s has a convenient fast travel system via a dream world by campfires so this isn’t as awkward as it might otherwise have been.

There are three main area’s all of which have their own guardians and their own unlockable warden forms with individual powers to help traverse the world, and the bosses of each area usually involve using that skill in some form to defeat that boss, and then obviously a final confrontation with whichever final boss you decide to go against, as nature and humanity clash. Your choice however is final as once you defeat the final boss returning to try and do things differently is impossible due to the global nature of in game elements and returning leads to a black screen of death glitch.

I still feel like there’s a lot I didn’t discover and a lot more to unlock with those hidden secrets and all the maths and translation puzzles I didn’t complete, but the in game lore and information about these tends to be lacking so knowing for sure what these would do for you besides complete achievements and give you a sense of completionism is something you would have to discover for yourself, but I do feel there are a few area’s I couldn’t gain access to, with the sewers and perhaps in the hat room, and outstanding lore with the witches who perhaps created the crystals which locked down nyona in the first place.

I would recommend the game and you’ll have plenty of fun with it exploring the game for yourself, the combat feels good and not too easy or too difficult and there’s always something else to do.

Check out warden melody of the undergrowth for yourself on steam now at https://store.steampowered.com/app/338310/Warden_Melody_of_the_Undergrowth/

Floor kids is an interesting twist on the rhythm game, where rather than having to input a precise series of button combinations to a precise timing you have the freedom to express your creativity to the rhythm of the game through 16 different movesets per character and what is stated to be hundreds of transitions between them. Having said that there are a few factors that do influence your scoring on the levels from keeping a rhythm, expressing your creativity, introducing hot moves, pulling off crowd requests in a timely manner and executing the chorus to perfection.

What does this all mean?

Well quite simply it means that while you are free to do whatever you want if you want the best scores you are going to have to try to do your moves to the rhythm of the tune, factor in crowd requests as this will be 1/5th of your score to adapt as quickly as you can to get their unreasonable requested moves pulled off. You do have a little freedom with your move as the 4 different sets have 4 moves and any of those moves within that style of move will work but you will have to account for how quick your character will transition as sometimes it takes longer than the patience of the audience on later levels making this a harder challenge than you would imagine.

The chorus of course twists the entire thing back on it’s head again with actual timing mechanics required to hit the beat on the correct time, that being said you’re still free to press any button to win here, and between each set there is a button mashing segment to hit everything as hard and as fast as you can, which makes getting a perfect score practically impossible for most people here, but still it’s a good segment to take out your frustrations for missing the beats on the previous segment. The chorus’s are pretty infrequent so they won’t be something that eats up your entire time of the gameplay but still count a significant portion of your score if you’re looking to perfect every level.

There are 8 characters all with their own movesets who you have to unlock over 40 different levels so if you want to unlock everyone and do everything there’s a lot of gameplay here as well as online multiplayer dance battles where you take turns to out score your opponent in the same track. Each character has their own specialisations and do have different styles of break dancing expressed through spins as well as holds and floor moves and have their own feel even though the gameplay mechanics remain the same.

I do also like the art style expressed using a hand drawn cartoony style that definitely fits within a break dancing game, and all the characters have their own personalities expressed well which fit their dance move styles expressed so a lot of consideration has been taken in expressing the break dancing genre in a rhythm game rather well.

But Is The Game Fun?

Yes, quite simply. You’re granted a lot of freedom to express yourself however you want, going faster or slower depending on how you’re feeling the rhythm, just don’t stop otherwise your character will literally stand still looking like a lemon in the middle of the dance circle, and you’re free to transition and vary your moves up as much as you want, adding heat and flare wherever you feel it fits and while you’re better off listening to the crowd and trying to hit all of the chorus beats you’re not going to entirely fail the level by ignoring or missing these, and they’re pretty infrequent so you’re not hemmed into following precise inputs to win while having short burts that do fit in because everyone knows the chorus right? And that’s why you’ve got to fit the exact known moves just to win over the crowd, whereas the rest of the song you get to express your creativity.

I enjoy the game and you’re going to have a lot of fun unlocking all of the characters, you might get a little unlucky with unlocks with the cards leaving it later until you get to unlock the majority of the characters, but getting a new character ads variety and you get to enjoy their different movesets and styles if you choose to go back and perfect previous levels to gain access to the final level, and it stands out from other games in the genre being quite different in it’s gameplay mechanics so it’s pretty unique in that aspect.

Get floor kids for yourself on steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/821640/Floor_Kids/

Juicy Realm is an action shoot em up roguelike over 4 biomes where you have to blast your way through waves of fruit and veg along with some other edibles trying to make your way to find out why all these fruit have become sentient and are at war with humanity.

It’s easy to make comparisons to the binding of Isaac and enter the gungeon, and these similarities aren’t entirely unjustified although the gameplay in this game is room to room rather than being over a procedurally generated floor, and the variety of floors and enemies at least at time of review is rather limited. Don’t put this against the game though as the binding of Isaac first started with a small selection of bosses and enemies and as the game became more popular more and more was added to the game to play on the variety and make sure replayability remained at the top of the agenda.

There are a few things to unlock beginning with additional gameplay characters, but also mid point bonuses between realms that aid you such as the gun shop and the upgrade store from defeating the first two bosses of the game, I’m unsure if there are further unlockables due to the fact that anything you unlocked is not stated or shown in any way and you simply have to discover that you’ve unlocked the extra playable characters on your own, there may be more added to the game as time progresses but even as it stands now it’s a very playable game and very approachable.

I would suggest if you’re an experienced gamer to start on the hardest difficulty if you want to get the most out of the game as it might be a little easier than you would expect but don’t take this as a negative because this game might have been designed for a younger audience with the colourful fruit and veg enemies and the easy gameplay mechanics without complex and numerous varieties of combinations of powers and weaponry.

It is worth considering that the bosses are also very unique each with their own mechanics to be dispatched, with a watermelon who has a hide too thick to be pierced naturally that you have to stun him with explosives and expose his soft innards in order to defeat him, and the method to take down all the bosses have their own mechanics you have to master and learn in order to progress.

The characters themselves have their own powers and unique abilities so they are different to simply cosmetic choices although the main path to victory is finding the best weaponry on your run and ensuring you keep your ammunition and health at suitable enough levels to defeat the game.

Every run in the game traverses four worlds each with their own boss and the length of a run tends to be under an hour of gameplay from start to win even on the hardest difficulty which feels about the right game length especially if they wanted to consider adding daily runs with high scores or fastest times, although the level and enemy variety might want a little adjustment if they were to consider adding such a feature so that runs feel a lot different, but you can understand that there are set groups of enemies in each world and those are the ones that you will always encounter and this isn’t an expensive game and adding such features and variety would take up a lot more work and really require the game to be more expensive than it is, so taking the game as it stands and at the price they ask for the game it’s very reasonable and a game worth a purchase for sure, and if you’re unfamiliar with this style of game it’s a great entrance into the genre as very much a roguelight with some very unique and fun gun styles, and remains a fun action blaster to fight your way through to win.

The storyline could come or go especially as the end of the run seems a little anticlimactic and like the whole lore was pointless and remains unexplained throughout, or like there’s more to be added beyond the dark forests at the end. You won’t be buying the game for the story however, you’ll be playing it for the gameplay and the fun you’ll get out of it and you’ll have fun blasting all the fruit with all of the weaponry available as you discover how to defeat the bosses and work your way to your first victory.

Check out juicy realm for yourself on steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/732370/Juicy_Realm/

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/

39 days to mars is a cooperative puzzle game with a Victorian papercraft style and a quirky storyline where two Victorian gentlemen decide to embark on a journey to mars on their home made airship.

The gameplay itself revolves around a series of puzzles designed to be awkward and obscure and require teamwork, so even though there is a single player mode available you will have to take along your trusty cat, and play both players in order to complete the puzzles (perhaps with a more lenient time factor) the game is quite unique with the fact that it is essentially a co-operative puzzle game with a series of quirky events which happen on your journey to mars trying to keep your poorly constructed airship from falling apart so that you can make it to your destination and be the first person to have a picnic on mars.

The puzzles are well designed and I do like the style the game has chosen to go down, and while you might think that the portion of the game that requires you to make a cup of tea before any puzzle is filler it definitely adds to the feel of the game because any true Victorian gentleman wouldn’t start their day without a good cup of tea, even if the only water available in space seems to be salt water.

The price might be a little offputting considering the game is very short and you’re likely to complete it in less than an hour, however saying that it is quite a unique experience so there aren’t many other options with regards to obtaining a two player puzzling experience like this. I would suggest as a single player you might have better options as this is definitely designed for two people to enjoy together and that is where the real legs of the game is, and once you know the puzzles it essentially uses up most of the replayability short of trying to speedrun the game or get all of the achievements. This being said if the price is too high for you I would suggest waiting for a sale until it comes down to a price you’re more happy to pay and then getting it then.

I did expect a few more hours of puzzles and gameplay out of the experience but still enjoyed very much what was there, and I can see that the multiplayer version of the game is very much the main selling point here.

If you’re looking for a casual quirky two player puzzle experience with awkward mild challenges then this is the game for you, and the fact that it has a quirky Victorian papercraft style is definitely a big positive for me.

Get 39 days to mars for yourself on steam at https://store.steampowered.com/app/504920/39_Days_to_Mars/

Peregrin is a narrative driven story with puzzles and synchronized turn based combat throughout. The game itself took me around 3 hours to complete, and whilst having a nice story the puzzles and combat felt a little constrained.

The game itself revolves around a post apocalyptic world where you play a girl on a quest to explore an area that takes away the memories of those who venture into it to discover and hopefully put right whatever caused the world to fail as it stands. You have taken on this quest as one of the few with the ability to take control of creatures and this is how you not only solve the puzzles of the game but also succeed in the combat scenes.

The puzzles of the game involve the possession of three native creatures, a troll who can pick up heavy objects and also heavily weigh down buttons, a bull like creature who can bash objects and bridges around, and a frog who can carry attraction points of creatures and tnt as well as trigger switches from a distance, and through a combination of possessing the various creatures and activating the totems which amplify your control ability and in essence create the area you can navigate the creatures around you have to solve the puzzles to allow you to progress to the next area’s. This is interlaced with combat scenes against native elementals, however the combat scenes are very constrained, often only allowing you to take control of one specific enemy which you then use to take down enemies creating shields and follow a very obvious combat direction which destroys any replayability to the game as well as potential to fail and experiment in combat which would also add to the game length, add to this the fact that the creatures puzzles is also very constrained with what you can do I felt a little let down where the game had so much potential and a promising premise that the actual gameplay elements were so restricted that in essence you were playing a very on rails experience.

The puzzle elements have very specific places you can move objects and they haven’t allowed for you to place things in an incorrect area or to really fail at the puzzles so for the most part these weren’t too much of a challenge to an experienced puzzler and it would have been nice to have more options on where to place objects and more ability to fail in these aspects.

The combat as stated through most of the game restricted which enemies you can select often to only one enemy that it became no question what you should do in order to progress and to fail in the combat would be more of a challenge than succeeding, unless you were planning on playing through without the obviously signposted possession mechanic as perhaps there are ways to defeat the battles without possessing any enemies but it was so signposted that this was what you must do that you couldn’t fail in most instances, and I didn’t fail in combat until chapter 5 the final chapter where the mechanic had changed slightly to possess then attack then possess and perhaps if there had been more variation and more choice in enemies the challenge might have been more enjoyable but I was left constantly feeling restricted and that it should open up at any second and allow me to fail and make my own decisions in combat but this never really opened up the gameplay as much as I expected.

All in all it was an enjoyable experience, the story did make some references at times to things abi had encountered which were never actually visible on the screen and never signposted, including where she references how she’s stopped counting the steps when it never gets mentioned that she is counting her every step, also it implies that she was given a seed that eventually becomes a branch or a tree and implies a much longer time passing than you will experience but this isn’t overtly explained in the storyline.

The ending of the game does perhaps allow for dlc to explore all of the other quests who had previously attempted this adventure and perhaps activated the four previous monoliths and satisfied the steps necessary previously for abi to succeed in her own adventure as nobody alone could atone for what had passed. However the ending also provides a secondary story for the entire game told from a more scientific point of view where you had played the faith side and followed a storyline of that nature.

All this being said I would still say the game is a fun experience and worth playing, however the £11 price tag might be a little high and for what you get it might be more reasonable to pay £8 as the replayability is definitely effected because of just how constrained the puzzles and combat is that you would only play again if you had planned to run speedruns of the game, and I note that at least one combat scene can be completely skipped and simply walked around.

The story is touching and emotional and combines science and faith as well as consequences for humanity reaching too far and being too greedy for what really I don’t understand why people desire so much, without spoilers. And the main enjoyment of the game is going to come from keeping your eyes out and discovering the storyline as it progresses and putting together the mystery of what happened, and it would be nice if some of the things stated to have been found could be seen beforehand even as a brief mention, and if you could perhaps go back at the risk of spending too much time and failing entirely in your quest because you must press onwards and complete your journey without looking back at the risk of losing all of your memories, but these don’t take away from the enjoyment too much just a few nice touches that could have been added.

Check out peregrin for yourself on steam now store.steampowered.com/app/573080/Peregrin/

Also available on green man gaming at https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/peregrin/?tap_a=1964-996bbb&tap_s=4707-cadadd