What you’ll see in screenshots and clips of Over The Moon‘s debut game really won’t do it justice. On the surface you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s little more than a metroidvania style action sidescroller, reminiscent of Flashback or Shadow Complex (both great great games in their own right), but there really is more to The Fall than meets the eye. An engrossing story, strong and complex puzzle solving, and frankly the best ambient mood exuded in a 2-D game since Limbo, will leave you wanting for episode 2 despite the initial installment’s hearty substance.
Like many who’ve recently picked up a copy of Bioware’s third addition to the Dragon Age universe, I’m new to the franchise, but that didn’t stop me getting lost in its spectacle and grandeur. The thing that really sets Inquisition aside though, is that it actually seems to deliver on some of the breathtaking experiences its visuals promise.
This enigmatically titled game first found its way into my life after I’d purchased a Galaxy Note 4, and, being the adventure gamer that I am, Rivers of Alice appealed to me instantly. Here we have a high definition, stunningly rendered point-and-click adventure game which, from its title alone, promises to whisk you off into magical dreamscapes in unimaginable ways. But enough with the superlatives. I wanted a new adventure game to try out my Note 4, and this fit the bill perfectly.
Being a veteran of From Software’s Souls series, I approached Lords of the Fallen, like many, with some trepidation. Before I finally decided to part with the £49.99 burning a hole in my virtual wallet, I combed review sites and studied gameplay videos on YouTube to make sure I’d be getting a proportionate bang for my buck. I’d just finished a speedy run through of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor and was in the mood for something with a little more substance. Something which perhaps demanded a bit of discipline and some commitment, which didn’t hold my hand from start to finish. One of the biggest issues I had with Shadow of Mordor was that even in the final moments of the game with the credits screen beckoning, it still felt like I was playing a tutorial, the game teaching me how to pull off basic manoeuvres that I’d long since mastered. Not Lords of the Fallen. After several ‘game over’ screens and half an hour of dancing around the first boss Lord, trying to learn his attack patterns and how to break his defences, my sword finally struck the killing blow. I had to work for it.
As you leave the warmth of the camp behind and the remnants of flickering light are swallowed by the insatiable tunnel, your shaking hands clutch your torch and your footsteps echo ever louder. Your breathing is deep and slow, until a shadowy scuttle in the distance snatches it from you, and you reach quietly to check what little equipment you have left. The surface looms above but provides little respite; the city is alien. A radioactive urban wasteland, its unfathomable sun battling through the fog and snow to light your way. You know you won’t last more than 30 seconds without your gas mask, cracked and worn as it is. You take out your charger, pump your torch back to life, and you breathe in deep as you prepare to exit the tunnels…
Child of Light is a monumentally difficult game to rate. On the one hand, it’s a poetic masterpiece wrapping its arms around your inner child, bravely blurring the lines between some of the most coveted and sacred of gaming genres. On the other, it’s a firework whose ephemeral spark fades far too soon, feeling almost like an over produced beta, an indie experiment, an exercise in toe-dipping which doesn’t quite fulfil.
Okay, so I’m a little late to the table with my review of this charming, nostalgic sidescroller. I say ‘nostalgic’ because it really takes me back to my gaming roots, but for all of its hat tips and winks to the games of my childhood, it certainly doesn’t seem dated. Dust: An Elysian Tale is an impassioned, hand-penned love letter to fans of the Castlevania or Metroid sub-genres, and is a perfect example of where gaming could have gone had 3D visuals not completely taken over. I’ve always been a firm believer that 2D gaming never quite finished its time in the sun, and I’ve rejoiced at games such Shadow Complex and their loyalty to the genre and mastery of it. Thankfully, the Xbox Live Arcade is a veritable treasure trove of such examples, and Dust stands head and shoulders above many AAA titles that I’ve played recently. It’s also worth mentioning that Dust was hand drawn and animated by Dean Dodrill, a lone game developer with a big heart by the looks of things. Sometimes if you want something doing right, you have to do it yourself.
The first episode of The Wolf Among Us was certainly a very fine string to Telltale Games‘ already impressive bow, and Smoke & Mirrors takes us even deeper into the clandestine, noir depths of Fabletown. You don’t so much play The Wolf Among Us as participate in it, but it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. The characters, despite being plucked straight from the pages of Brothers Grimm, have intriguing depth and personality and their plights will leave you wanting more insight into the rugged fairytale necropolis. I played episode 2 on the Xbox 360 and while there are one or two lingering frame rate issues it did little to diminish the charm and the urge to push the story on.
In 2011, the excellent Wadjet Eye Games studio released its 8th title on the PC in the form of a cyberpunk-esque, point-and-click adventure game named Gemini Rue. It was met with fond praise from the nostalgic PC gamers among us who have been subconsciously seeking our next Beneath a Steel Sky type fix for years, and was arguably their most successful project to date. Broadening its appeal, Gemini Rue was ported to iOS in April 2013 and it’s about time us patient Android users finally got our gleeful, point-and-tap fingers on it.