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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/

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.

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/

I had the opportunity over the xmas period to go to the fireball fuelling the fire tour at the o2 academy Birmingham having received a promotional ticket, this wasn’t the first time I’ve been to the o2 having seen live shows and gone to their subculture nighclub like events in the past.

The fuelling the fire tour consisted of 4 bands touring the country for a variety of events and opening with a local band to the area selected from a competition for the chance to perform on stage. Being an event with several bands playing at the start there were only a handful of people scattered around the room with most people only turning up for the headliners later, and this had some factors over the performance and shaping my impression of some of the bands which played. Please note that in my video I reference the bands with the incorrect names as the band order I used for reference was incorrect, however the order stated in this article are correct along with the cards associated on each band in the video.

Wood and Nails

Wood and nails are a local band that were selected to play on stage through winning a competition and being selected as the best band to play, queueing outside in the press and guests line I was speaking to one of the band members girlfriends who told me how they’d won the chance to perform and they were very good, and as opening bands went they did come out strong, and I know it’s a little controversial for some people but I would describe them as an emo punk band, and having gone to nights out including new years where many people were getting up and dancing to the old emo classics I think the days are gone where hating on emo music is the done thing. They played strong with some very good tunes that all had their own things going on and didn’t sound the same and did a good job at lifting up the room into the spirit for the event and the audience seemed to be appreciating their style of music too. I couldn’t help but think how the lead singer of the band had similarities with looking like a content creator called uberhaxornova and I wonder if the singer knows how close his image looks.

You can find out more about wood and nails at https://woodandnails.bandcamp.com/

Lost In Stereo

~The second band on stage were lost in stereo and they were introduced as being the highlight of the hosts tour and as them being the band selected as the upcoming band and were granted some recognition for being a really good band, however at this stage the room was still pretty empty and people were coming in, they did look familiar and I think I may have seen them on smaller stages at some events I’ve worked at in the past perhaps at a festival, the big guy up front and the drummer with their smiles and faces they made seemed very familiar. They did however have a little offputting stance on demanding that the audience join in on the songs which perhaps they don’t know especially at such an early spot and did lose the audience a bit making these demands even when people were already joining in, they kept asking and threatened to stop performing if people didn’t join in which was a little bad. Perhaps it’s a punkish attitude and being a punk show it’s supposed to pull in the audience but I found that it was putting people back a bit from the upbeat mood they’d gained from the first band, and perhaps with a later spot with more people in the room they wouldn’t've had such issues however early on with very few people in the room it was a little much to be making such demands and felt a little awkward when the audience got quieter and quieter the more demands he made. Their music was fine though and they played well, they just needed to read the room a little better.

You can find out more about lost in stereo at https://www.facebook.com/lostinstereouk

Face To Face

The third band on stage were face to face they came on with some traditional pop punk music with some pretty strong guitar riffs and decent tunes all very danceable and enjoyable. At this point the audience was starting to fill up and there were a lot more people in the room, they did ask the audience to join in on one song with something very easy to join along with, which was a better way of doing it than demanding repeatedly through your performance and getting in a huff when not everyone joins in which had poisoned the audience and these guys did a good job at bringing everyone back into a good mood and bringing the show back together, this was the first time I’d heard of them and I was surprised they weren’t a lot more popular because they did have songs that would compete with many pop punk bands of the past which have reached number one or topped the charts and I feel these guys could do very well themselves, perhaps they just weren’t as well known this side of the pond and perhaps have had great success in America, either way I expect them to be able to reach big heights.

You can find out more about face to face at www.facetofacemusic.com

The Bronx

The penultimate band on stage were the Bronx, they were on the heavier side of punk and with a multi band show it’s good to have a breakup in the tempo and getting a little heavier and harder was a good way to progress the night, at this point the audience was getting pretty full and pretty rowdy and having a front spot at the stage I was getting bodyslammed into the metal railings pretty hard repeatedly with people at the front either not caring or deliberately ramming as hard as they could into people along the front, as the bands performance progressed the lead singer decided to go into the audience and perform in a ring of death around him, essentially performing while everyone around him moshed in a circle and he passed through the entire audience essentially vacuuming all the people up who were into the rowdiness and then deposited them on the other side of the room which made the night enjoyable again without getting slammed into a barrier, I could have gone further back to enjoy the show without the risk of that but it was worth putting up with at the time so I didn’t mind. They once again had a good variety in the tunes in a heavier format so maintained a good set variety.

You can find out more about the Bronx at https://twitter.com/the_bronx

Flogging Molly

The final performance were flogging molly the headline act, a 7 piece irish American band playing a variety of different instroments with an irish punk twist. They had recently suffered a loss though I’m not sure if it was a band member or a family member however I noticed that throughout their performance people were being told they’re not allowed to take pictures so I assume it was a band member and I can understand them not wanting pictures taken to honour the lost band member and they had acknowledged through the night and dedicated things to his honour. The tunes they played were very upbeat fast tempo’d punk rock style and the additional instruments like violin’s and harpsicord (or whatever the wearable wind powered keyboard is called) definitely added to the celtic vibe and feel of the performance. The lead singer had a very vibrant and outgoing attitude and definitely showed off his star qualities elevating the performance beyond simply being music played on stage to turning it into a true stage show and his charismatic attitude definitely made the performance a step beyond anything else in the night showing why they were the headliners and as popular as they were.

You can find out more about flogging molly at https://www.floggingmolly.com

Overall Impressions

The event on the whole was pretty good and they varied up the styles of punk music available throughout the night so it was a good blend and an interesting mix of the variety available in punk music, from emo through traditional along to hard rock styles and folk celtic punk styles. The night was of course sponsored by fireball whiskey so they provided samples around through the night with 1/3rd shots and of course it’s a tasty whiskey and it’s a good way to get the audience mellowed out a little. For your entry ticket you got to see 5 band and they all played good music and you also had the opportunity to stay for free entry to the subculture night which stayed open afterwards so all in all it’s a pretty decent bargain for the going ticket price, and if future years offer the same variety in punk styles and as good a night out I would definitely recommend going yourself.

The fireball fuelling the fire tour is sponsored by fireball whisky https://fireballwhisky.com/

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/

Tasting and giving my opinion on an oreo coated doughnut as well as a lemon lime and cucumber sprite that I got at bargain prices I decided to start up a new series called “tasting treats” where I would try out nice nibbles and give my opinions on them as I give them a taste.

Starting off with the oreo doughnut I found myself disappointed that it didn’t have the crispy cookie crumbs coating the doughnut as expected, and the cream filling was so disproportioned compared to the stodgy chocolate flavoured doughnut that the balance didn’t portray the expected flavour or experience of oreo cookies as expected, admittedly I did pay only 11p for both doughnuts at 90% off so there is something to be said that perhaps the short dated nature could have softened the crunch but the fact that there seemed to be none at all suggests that maybe they hadn’t intentionally put crunch into the topping which would have made a big difference to the taste.

This wasn’t the only negative with the doughnut though as the icing on the coating was so thin and lacking that it didn’t feel as much of a premium doughnut as expected and definitely not on level with krispy Kreme doughnuts which have a much better balance, with the doughnuts being lighter and having more of a treat feel with high flavour content, which is what I expected from something like this officially branded oreo but I was highly disappointed to discover differently.

The other bargain I obtained was two 2l bottles of sprite for £1.50, but this was no ordinary sprite, this was lemon lime and CUCUMBER flavoured sprite, yes you heard right cucumber in a carbonated drink. I’ve had cucumber flavoured crisps in a pringles like container before and they were surprisingly alright and again I was pleasantly surprised with the carbonated cucumber flavouring which although being very forthright actually seemed a refreshing taste that worked as a carbonated drink.

I could see why they might have designed a cucumber based sprite having served many pimms cocktails in my time working at a variety of events with alchoholic beverages and these always included usually fresh chopped cucumbers but I can see why having it also inside of the lemonade you might use would be good for depth of flavour progression for cocktails and I would also see how this might make an interesting mixer with other alcoholic beverages as well as being a summer based unique drink to enjoy in the hot weather.

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the sprite cucumber lemon and lime variety as it did have a strong cucumber taste but after a few sips this fades to the traditional lemon and lime variety which gives an interesting drink on your palate that evolves as you drink it, and would definitely be an interesting weapon to add to your mixer arsenal for any summer events you might have, while the oreo doughnut just proved wholly disappointing, being too stodgy with the chocolate doughnut and a poor balance of flavours lacking the expected crunch of the oreo crumbs on top and just feeling like I would rather have had a fresh standard jam doughnut over it.

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/

I have been using these fuleadture headphones and while the sound quality is good, the noise isolation aspect seems to mostly just come out of the fact that it blocks out external noise rather than having any active noise cancelling as they may suggest, this perhaps comes via noise reduction of audio coming from the computer to clear up any distorted audio rather than active noise cancelling of irritating noises around you as it offered little to block out my heavy fan noise on my old computer, which was a primary reason for purchase of a noise cancelling headphone.

I would suggest that these also seem to be designed for a child or someone with a smaller head than me as although they offer resizing the actual ears are pushed in to such a degree no matter how you resize that it puts too much pressure on the headband that it inevitably snaps destroying the headphones, and the material for the band used seems to be 3D printed so it’s a flimsy and weak substance that snaps way too easily. This is probably the main downside as the quality and life of the headphones depends entirely upon whether you have a small head and won’t strain out the headphones headband, the other downside is that if you want to have active noise cancelling you’re better off looking elsewhere, and while these seem a bargain for active noise cancelling this is completely misleading as they seem to have no noise cancelling technologies at all, or at best they probably misunderstood the term.

When these broke within the first few weeks of use I was very disappointed and they did send a replacement product so the 1 year warranty was valid, and I did continue using the broken set to utter destruction, and then the replacement headphones also snapped in the same place within a month also but I’ve only just started using the replacement, and claimed my warranty early before perhaps newer models were released, passing on my feedback about the flaws with the product to the manufacturer.

True active noise cancelling detects the noise around you and emits a counter noise that makes it so that in your ears you don’t hear that noise around you, and I’ve used a few different noise cancelling headphones at shows such as the gadget show, often they have a button on them that activates and deactivates the technology but you can tell distinctly when it’s active, especially if you hold them slightly off your ear, and I can confirm that these headphones do not have any active noise cancelling, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t passive noise cancelling with the thickness of the padding, but this states to have active noise cancelling which is incorrect.

I will state that at time of creating the video and my purchase this was the case, however looking at the amazon page for the most recent version of the product they seem to have resolved the problems that I had with my purchase, the headband is fully coated in what looks like a more durable and flexible material so fitting to different size heads may result in the product not breaking and being more durable which is my major complaint on the quality, so this seems to have been resolved, also despite my purchase claiming to have “active noise cancelling” and lacking it, the product shown on amazon as the latest version of the product in fact has an active noise cancelling button on the product and seem to actually incorporate correct noise cancelling technology so may in fact be what I was expecting previously but didn’t receive in the product I purchased.

I would suggest that feedback I made on my purchase has been taken into account and the products they are creating have resolved the complaints I had with the product, but without being able to test out a more recent version I couldn’t say for sure and I am a little pessimistic on making a purchase with how easily these broke through use with my head size, but by looks alone the product does look a lot more durable and that it now offers true active noise cancellation rather than in line cancellation of noises from the pc calling that active noise cancelling.

Feel free to make up your own mind and check out the latest product below.


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/

The main phone that I use is getting fairly old and I’m overdue upgrading to a phone that could run apps and I decided to try out the Vodafone smart 6 because there seems to be a huge leap in price but little difference in specifications besides the outdated operating system.

A lot of features most phones seem to have are irrelevant to me as I have a decent camcorder which I use for recording and don’t really need a great camera on the phone and if I’m accessing the internet I prefer to do things on my pc so that I can actually use a keyboard and type quicker and navigate better so for the most part this is fairly pointless to me and the only thing I would additionally want is to be able to run mobile specific apps and games that you cannot access via the pc.

While the specifications seem to match up to be able to run some apps that I wanted to access like onion force actually running the game it had a tendancy to crash and revert to “desktop” for lack of a better word, and in other games like arcade math pro the inputs were so delayed that you couldn’t really play such a timing based game effectively. I tested out some other games such as matching blocks games and the like as anything beyond simple games just wouldn’t run despite seeming to be within the specifications listed on the product and the amount of space you had to store any apps was severely limited and seemed not to be improved by inserting a memory card for additional storage so if you’re attempting to use this for apps in any way you’re unlikely to be able to have any success which defeats the purpose of it being a smart phone at all and if you’re looking to get a mobile phone one with an easily accessible screen that often unlocks itself in your pocket is not ideal and I would rather return to the days of a flip screen that’s hidden and protected so it doesn’t do unwanted things in your pocket and don’t tell me you haven’t called or had calls from someone not knowing they’ve set off their phone in their pocket it’s happened to everyone.

As a result of this not really working effectively for apps I have been put off purchasing any better phones for using apps and instead opted for a tablet which I will review separately but I’m sure you’ve already seen the unboxing video of by this point. This is part of the problem, if you have to get a tablet to separately do all the things your smartphone should do but isn’t powerful enough to do or lacks the storage for then perhaps phones alone need to revert to just offering the basic phone and text services for those who want a basic phone and don’t need all of these apps as they don’t work anyway on the phone.

At the very least I expect to be able to run fairly common apps and store enough space to have multiple of the essential apps on a smartphone otherwise you’re just needlessly adding features that are unusable anyway, and this phone cannot do the most basic of apps I would expect any smartphone to be able to run and as a result of this I would prefer that it was just a standard phone and offered shielding in my pocket from accidental unlocks and phonecalls.

As a phone yes it works and it does the job, but if you’re looking for a smartphone to use apps and everything you would expect I would suggest you look elsewhere and pay a little more as this is only a phone and that’s all you’ll ever use it for, but if you get this and a tablet it’s probably the most cost effective way of having a phone and access to the apps you want to use.