Tyranny Screenshots

Much like Pillars of Eternity, I went into Tyranny with almost no expectations. The early artwork I saw of it was depressingly bland, and that initial reaction was yet again proved wrong as the game ended up being surprisingly colorful and interesting. Arguably even more interesting than Pillars, in fact. That is, until the end. “End.” I’m sick of developers not finishing their stories, and having this game give you Fallout-esque “this is what happened to these places you intervened in” and cut to credits before anything has actually been resolved (and before you’ve managed to learn a single thing about the character around whom the entire game and game world revolves) is a giant middle finger that ruined all of the promise the rest of the game had. Locking story resolution behind sequels or DLC is the kind of scummy business practice that’s strangling the life out of this hobby, and for all of the entertainment Tyranny can provide, I can’t recommend something so blatantly unfinished. Especially since its incomplete nature seems to be deliberate rather than a problem of money or resources; numerous characters are in a position to reveal things to you, and simply don’t for increasingly contrived reasons. Read more →

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara Screenshots

Side-scrolling beat-em-ups aren’t exactly my forte, nor do I have a wealth of knowledge about D&D (in fact, outside of what I picked up through the Baldur’s Gate games, I don’t know a single thing about it). That proved to be a bit of a handicap when playing through a game that stays loyal to its little eccentricities. “Why doesn’t magic work against this guy?” Because they’re apparently immune, and you’re just supposed to know that. That’s hardly the only thing this game leaves you to figure out on your own, either. Character-exclusive paths? Only know about them because I stumbled on a few myself and then looked them up. Sliding to quickly pick up dropped loot (basically necessary since you rarely have enough time after finishing off a boss to pick everything up normally)? Only know about it because I watched someone good at this game play through it. The so-called “ultimate spell” only existing in multiplayer despite hinting at it when playing solo and never making it sound like others are necessary to use it? Had to look it up, and I’m still irritated by that. For all of its annoying little problems, however, Chronicles of Mystara is a surprising amount of fun, even for a newcomer. Read more →

Fatal Labyrinth Screenshots

It’s been a rough month where I’ve had a lot of trouble finding games that actually appeal to me. Ordinarily, I’d use the occasion to replay something I enjoyed in the past and haven’t yet reviewed, but something about Fatal Labyrinth pulled me in. It’s a weird little RPG/roguelike for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive with randomly-created levels, and the goal is basically to get to level 31 of the tower and kill the dragon there. It’s also a fan of using cheap tricks to artificially extend your play time. Trap doors? Check. Sleeping spells that allow enemies to mob you? Check. An enemy spell that randomizes your directional buttons each movement, sending you helplessly in circles until the spell effect wears off? Check. It’s dumb. Games that screw the player over randomly like this are dumb and should be hated. Read more →

Cthulhu Saves the World Screenshots

The sort-of-sequel and companion to Breath of Death VII, Cthulhu Saves the World is a game that improves on its predecessor in several areas like art direction and text variation (no more identical gravestones!), but sports the same basic problems that made the previous game start to feel like a slog. The mazes in particular are still an issue here, and while they’re set up to be a little more intuitive with one or two glaring exceptions, areas are now so long that the end result ends up being the same. It gets very exhausting very fast, and doubly so if you have the same completionist urges that compelled me to play the Cthulhu’s Angels alternate game mode immediately after finishing the main game. It has an altered story, two new characters, and some different boss fights, but none of that does much to sugarcoat the fact that it sends you through the same mazes all over again. The humor here is arguably improved (depending on how much you like/dislike the previous game’s more referential humor and Cthulhu moving away from that to something more meta), but there’s a lot of really tiring gameplay between bits of dialogue. Read more →

Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader Screenshots

Something you’ll immediately notice about Lionheart is that it’s incredibly bland-looking. Lots of brown and black and contrast, nothing too visually interesting standing out. Its gameplay and story are equally bland, both going through the motions of an isometric western RPG while mostly forgetting to actually make the experience enjoyable. There are huge difficulty spikes throughout the game, and entire play styles have been rendered more or less invalid (or at least wildly impractical) by some bizarre design decisions. For example, the final area has rooms where ranged enemies can attack you from above, and if you specialize in one-handed weapons like I did rather than focusing on ranged magic/weapons or the sneaking skill, you have to dash across the room as fast as possible and get to the exit while constantly pausing and wasting the game’s rare healing potions. That’s just one of at least a dozen completely unforgivable moments that saw me consider giving up on Lionheart before the end on multiple occasions. Read more →

Zenge Screenshots

The last game I played was Tengami, which I hated because of its pretentious non-story and bad puzzles. Zenge also has a pretentious non-story to it, but it’s 500 times the game Tengami is because its puzzles are actually designed incredibly well, quickly (and wordlessly) teaching you the ins and outs of each new puzzle mechanic before asking you to leverage those mechanics to solve its more involved puzzles. In a lot of ways, this game reminds me of Zengrams; both have 70 levels and rely entirely on their clever puzzle designs to entertain, and while Zenge is probably the easier of the two, it proves to be just as rewarding. Read more →

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