Oxenfree: Review

Oxenfree Review

Oxenfree is a 2.5D supernatural adventure, developed by Night School Studio in 2016. The premise, you ask? Well, the game is set on an abandoned island, where the main character Alex has travelled to for a party. Y’know, like all teenagers do. However, strange things start happening, and it is your task to solve the mystery!

Gameplay

The main gameplay consists of the choices you make as Alex, which can affect the entire game. Another large aspect of the gameplay is the puzzles you solve with Alex’s radio, which are done by tuning it to the correct frequency. What’s more, instead of long cut-scenes, Oxenfree incorporates use of speech bubbles popping up over character’s heads, which we prefer.

There are multiple endings too, which is a nice addition, and definitely emphasises the importance of all of your choices. Multiple endings make everything better (or worse)!

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One annoying thing with the gameplay is the vague choices you’re given when responding to things. For example, someone will say something, and you’ll pick a response, and it will end up way different to what it looked like! This can spit out loads of unintended consequences, especially because of Oxenfree’s multiple ending system.

Graphics

The graphics of the game are lovely. The characters are 3D models set against a 2.5D background, which adds a nice sense of depth to the game. What’s more, after each chapter, you get a Polaroid photo, which gives you a more detailed look at the characters. However, when you look a bit closer, these polaroids make the game a lot more sinister…

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We have no complaints about the graphics here! They’re pretty fantastic, and we love the 2.5D effect.

Music/Sound FX

The voice acting is one of the greatest things in the game. The characters feel real, and the dialogue can be pretty funny!

The soundtrack to the game is incredible, and extremely atmospheric. The sound FX are fantastic too, from the static of the radio to the creepy noises in the background! All of these little effects definitely enhance your gameplay, making it a much more enjoyable experience. What’s more, the soundtrack is available on Steam as DLC too, which is pretty neat!

One criticism we have with the noises and effects is the volume they’re set at. For example, sometimes, the music will get really loud, which is annoyingly obstructive to your gameplay. As well as that, in loading screens, the volume drops way down, when really it should stay the same volume all the way.

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In conclusion, we really like this game. It is an amazing experience, and would definitely recommend it if you are into puzzling, atmospheric stories!

N++: Review

If you’re a big fan of platforming games, then you will definitely have heard of the “N” franchise, a game series that revolutionized platform gaming. N++ is the third and final instalment to the award-winning series, and is definitely the hardest. So, is it worth your money? Read on and find out!

You start off, as many platform games do, with a level selection screen. What’s new in N++ is that instead of having one big expanse of levels, you have 3 different sections: Intro, N++, and Legacy. Each of the sections consists of several different chapters, with each one containing 5 different levels. Each episode’s levels range in difficulty, going from easiest to hardest, making each chapter unique.

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But what makes N++ different to its predecessors? Well, the biggest difference, apart from the lovely new design, is really is the huge amount of levels that come with it, as it features 2360 levels. Yeah. And that’s without factoring in the online levels, of which there are thousands!

What’s more, Metanet have made sure that not all its levels are the same things over and over again, as they consistently find different ways to have you play, be that introducing a new enemy, or even just with the layout of the level.

As well as that, each level has a name, most of which are funny! For example, one of our personal favourite levels, “Intro to accepting your limitations?”, is a room filled with gold. Not too hard, right? However, as you try and collect all this gold, you realise that the ones placed in the middle of the ceiling require some precisely timed jumps to acquire.

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This level took us ages…

Gameplay

Gameplay. The most important part of every game, and pretty much determines how good it really is. So how good is N++’s gameplay? We think, pretty good.

Of course, there’s only so much you can do to make a platform game’s controls the best they can be, because, let’s be honest, they’re mostly the same every time. N++’s controls are pretty standard: left, right, and jump. No sprinting, no crouching, and no special powers, which is what makes it such a tough game. It all depends upon the skill of the player. And the durability of your controller.

N++ comes with 3 different game-modes: Solo, Co-op, and Race, with each section containing tons of levels to play. So, what do you do in each of these game-modes? Good question! Here’s an even better answer.

“Solo” is the game-mode for most platform games, where, you guessed it, you play by yourself!

“Co-op” is also pretty self-explanatory. You play with up to four of your friends in local multiplayer! Of course, if you have any…

“Race” is the game-mode very similar to co-op, except instead of working with your friends, you’re racing against them!

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Of course, there are a few little tricks you can do. For example, more experienced players will be using what’s known as “corner jumping” to enhance their gameplay, and even skip parts of levels with it! If you hadn’t already figured it out, corner jumping is where you jump off the corner of a block. You didn’t really need an explanation. It’s not too hard to do, and only requires a little bit of practice, but it can make beating levels a lot easier, and is incredibly useful whilst speed running.

Another little technique is slope jumping. Yeah, we just made that name up then and there, but it pretty much describes what you’re doing! Sometimes, levels will have a slope in them, which the player will use to launch themselves off and over some kind of death inducing obstacle. By running and jumping up that slope, you’ll gain an incredible amount of speed, and you will fly across the gap!

Our main criticism with the gameplay is the restarting aspect of it. For example, if you’re halfway through an episode, and then quit, reloading it doesn’t place you back into the level you left from. Nope, you’ve got to replay the entire episode again, which becomes incredibly frustrating when you’re playing some of the much harder episodes, such as those in the legacy section.

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What’s more, another criticism we have is the progression aspect. Currently, in both versions of N++, you have to beat an episode level by level. This can really slow down your gameplay, especially with the really tough levels, as it can take you ages to complete. Of course, you can always move onto the next chapter and play in that section. Maybe it’s just us, but it’s much more preferable to beat the levels in a linear fashion!

Graphics

Interesting levels and fluid gameplay is all well and good, but how does it look? In N++’s case, pretty damn great! Metanet chose to use vector shapes and a flat UI to create a clean, sharp environment for their little stick figure to leap around in, and with over 8000 colours and 50 colour combinations, the levels look even more fantastic.

But it’s not just the flat shapes that look awesome: it’s the animations too. The fantastically fluid effects look lovely set against the minimalistic design, and it really shows you how much time and effort the devs put into making this game perfect.

We absolutely love the colours and art of N++, and honestly have no criticisms. They’re brilliant.

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Music

Ok, we’ve got some neat graphics, well designed levels, and smooth gameplay, but what about the music? Does N++ lay down some sick beats to run and jump to? The short answer: Yes. Definitely. Absolutely! Featuring just over 40 artists, N++ has a great soundtrack to run, jump, and explode to, and will have your blood pumping as fast as your stick figure is moving!

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Rival Consoles’ “I Left The Party” is our favourite!

Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and for N++’s soundtrack, one of the things we’d like to see improved upon is just the overall feel of many of the songs. We have no problems with how they sound, not at all, just that when you’re sprinting through obstacles, you don’t want slow music to go along with it. Although the songs do pick up their pace, it would be great to see some more super-fast music with it, such as some of F-777’s tracks.

Apart from that, we’re fans of the soundtrack, and would love to see a digital/hard copy of it!

Online Features

Beaten all of Metanet’s pre made levels? Well, pop over to the online levels section, and browse some of those! There are some incredibly tough levels on there, so you’ll definitely be provided with a challenge!

But how did people make those? Why, the level editor of course! The level editor in N++ takes a little while to get used to, especially on console, since so many buttons do different things! However, once you master it, you’ll be creating and sharing awesome levels in no time.

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Unfortunately however, the level editor does have a few flaws. For example, the biggest, most annoying flaw, is the fact that you don’t need to verify levels before they’re uploaded. So, essentially, you could upload an impossible level. This can be pretty annoying, as we don’t want the online levels to be filled with a load of unbeatable ones.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we are huge fans of this game, and the franchise as a whole. We love the graphics, the music, and the gameplay in general, and would strongly recommend N++ to anyone looking for a challenging solo platformer, or some friendship testing local multi-player!

 

 

Want to check out the game yourself? No problem! Go here to buy it on steam, or go here to buy it on PS4. Oh, and if you’re interested in some more of N++’s art style, just visit their Tumblr, here! It’s filled to the brim with development graphics, early design ideas, and some awesome gifs!

Kingdom Rush Frontiers PC: Review

Kingdom Rush Frontiers, the long-awaited sequel to Kingdom Rush, has finally hit the Steam Store! But what is it? Well, as Ironhide put it, a Fantasy Action Tower Defence Game. Basically, that means you build towers to kill enemies. So, what’s it like? How do you play? Is it worth the buy? Read on to find out!

You start off with a short intro, essentially telling us to defend Hammerhold, which I’m sure is a city in the game. In the first level, you’re also given a brief tutorial, on what to do and how to build towers. The towers are pretty much the same as in the original game, up to Level 4 Towers, which have some different abilities. Obviously, as well as that, Frontiers has different art for the towers, most of which we think is awesome!

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After you beat a level, you’re awarded stars depending on the amount of hearts you have left. 18+ hearts, 3 stars, 6-17 hearts, 2 stars, and 1-5 lives, 1 star. You can use these to upgrade your towers in the “Upgrades Section”, where you have a choice of 6 different things to upgrade.

So, what are the best things about the game? Well, our favourite thing about Frontiers is the art. It’s amazing! The art for individual levels is amazing, and the entire map is stunning. You can tell they spent a long time on it, and it most certainly pays off.

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What’s more, this isn’t even the full game! Of course, there are drawbacks to it not being the full game, but we’ll come to that later. So, what possible advantages might there be to this not being the full game? Well, now we know the best is yet to come, as every new update comes with a free expansion to the game!

Unfortunately, though, there are downsides to that. Currently, it’s incredibly short, and if you’re a seasoned player, you’ll breeze through the levels. Fortunately, as mentioned earlier, Ironhide have an update schedule for it, which will bring new expansions! You can find that here.

The other main downside to the game is that the bosses are too easy to defeat, especially with good tactics, which can make the game kinda boring after a while. However, new enemies and bosses do make it more interesting, and the story will keep you playing!

Overall, I think Kingdom Rush Frontiers is a huge success, with amazing art, even more heroes, and entirely new enemies to discover and defeat. Definitely worth the buy, and for just £6.99, this game is a bargain!

Disco Zoo: Review

Do you love pixels? Do you love patience? DO YOU LOVE ANIMALS? If the answer to all those questions is “Yah bro” then this is the perfect game for you! But what’s it about? How do you play? When will there be an update? The answers to all (most) of these questions are in this review!

Disco Zoo’s an awesome game, but what’s the best part about it? Well personally, I think the coolest thing about it is the art style. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m a pretty big fan of anything pixelated! That’s why this game caught my eye. The art’s awesome, and all the little animals look amazing!

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Another awesome thing about Disco Zoo is the hidden minigame “Funky Bus”. It’s basically just a harder version of Flappy Bird, but with a bus. On a motorway. With lots of animals inside. Not interested in secret minigames? Ok then! Why don’t you check out the huge selection of hats you can buy for your animals! There’s no better way to show your affection for your pixelated pets than to buy beautiful hats with your hard earned money!

But how do you rescue animals? Well, after you’ve set off in your vehicle of choice you’ll be confronted with a 5×5 grid and some tiny pictures of pixelated animals at the top. What you’ve got to do is tap those 25 tiles until you find an animal! Once you’ve found one, you’ve got to work out it’s pattern. Once you’ve completed the pattern, the animal will be added to your zoo!

Unfortunately, not everything about Disco Zoo is perfect. For example, to get the most out of it you’ll need to have a lot of patience. The game starts very slowly, and it takes ages to build up enough money to keep rescuing animals. Because of that, the game only appeals to a certain kind of audience: people with a lot of time on their hands. Of course, the more animals you collect, the more money you’ll make, but it can take a very long time.

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Another pesky thing about Disco Zoo is the cloud sync. Yes, it’s extremely useful, especially if you’ve got 1768 animals animals and are earning 1283.6 coins per minute (me). Unfortunately, what the cloud save service does not provide is sync across different platforms. That means that what you do on Disco Zoo on an Apple device isn’t transferrable to an Android.
This is pretty annoying, since you may have made a ton of progress that you can’t sync to your lovely new Android phone!

All in all, Disco Zoo is an awesome game, with awesome art, made by awesome people. It’s one of my favourite games, and probably the only app I open daily! Of course, it’s not for everyone. I’d recommend this game to anyone with a lot of patience and a willingness to sit around and tap  a screen for a day or so. So, although it starts quite slowly, Disco Zoo does have great pixel art, and the gameplay picks up after you’ve collected a couple o’ dozen animals!

The Binding of Isaac: Review

When Isaac’s dad runs away and leaves him with his hardcore-christian mother, young Isaac finds himself with time to spare. So like any other normal human, so he plays a game. The game he plays is what you play, just with more blood. And a whole lot more realism. And a dead cat called Guppy. As you traverse through the underground, you fight off deadly monsters that come racing towards you trying to kill you! Or hug you. I didn’t hang around long enough to find out.

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You use arrow keys to shoot and WASD to run about and to dodge certain death. E is used to drop a bomb, but beware: it drops directly at your feet and you can die from it. This game is about staying alive, just like every other survival game (duh).

The first thing you’re going to want to do is collect health. After that, I’d recommend you get upgrades. You don’t naturally regenerate health like that unrealistic game ‘Minecraft’. Health is really important, since without it you die. To collect health or HP you collect ‘hearth’, which gives you either ½ a red heart, 1 red heart, 1 soul heart or one evil black heart.

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The aim of the game is to kill your mum (no joke). First kill her body, then you dive down into her uterus to kill her heart. Finally, you can either kill the lamb and Satan or yourself and blue baby. Killing all this with every character will unlock new and cool items for you to have fun with!

Get Robotic with RoboCraft

Finding a decent game on Steam that’s free is nearly impossible, which is why my reaction upon finding this game was like, ”WHAAAAAT?? That’s nearly impossible! I must play this game immediately!”

At first glance, RoboCraft is just like TerraTech. You build a vehicle, add guns and destroy enemies. BUT this game’s different!  In RoboCraft there is progress system where you have to play matches against other payers/teams to earn level ups, and once you have built your perfect robot to travel the world in and wreak havoc in, you can paint it! Anything from grassy green to BLOODY RED.

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You may be thinking, “can I only build cars?” NO! you can build walkers, hovercrafts, planes, helicopters, spider/scorpion mech things or even all-terrain vehicles, and paint them however you want. Personally, I chose hot neon pink for my hovercraft.

The main complain I have with this game is to do with it being free. Although that sounds pretty good, it does mean that there is a premium upgrade you can buy, which is rather upsetting because with no extra purchases this game would be a really good, and many more people would play.

You can find RoboCraft on Steam here, for the low, low price of nothing!

The Escapists : Short review

Ever wanted to escape from a high security prison or build your own so other players can try to escape it? Well, if your answers to both those questions are ‘YES’ then read on! And if they weren’t, still, keep reading!

From starting the game, you are given options whether or not you want to play the game or build your own prison in the map editor. You can also change the language but usually, it automatically sets it for you. Upon clicking the play button, you are greeted with….

Nothing. My game just crashed.

After a few seconds, the game should load back up (phew) with some really groovy music playing in the background. From here you can select your character, choose their name and what prison you shall be trying to escape from.

Much like Chiptune Champion, The Escapists has an ever expanding workshop for you to download as many online prisons as you want for your amusement. You could download levels in which you could complete all 40+ achievements in one go, or you can have a go at the official prisons and try and escape one of them! Trust me, this is VERY VERY HARD to do (unless you’re a pro).