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Multiplatform Game Review:- Stranded Sails from Lemonbomb Entertainment

Stranded Sails is an open world farming adventure full of discoveries, quests and puzzles! Along with your crew you are ship-wrecked on a mysterious archipelago. Now it’s up to you to secure your survival and solve the mysteries deep in the heart of the islands –and finally escape.

 

 

Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands is an adorable farming RPG from Lemombomb Entertainment. It begins with a group of city dwellers boarding your father’s ship to set sail for a new snow covered frontier. Unfortunately, things don’t go to plan and you sail straight into a storm and end up ship-wrecked on a group of tropical islands. Your mission is to reunite your crew, build temporary shelters, farm crops and explore the islands to break the curse that prevents ships from leaving.

 

 

The animation is bright and cute, and kind of reminds me of cartoon Link in the Legend of Zelda games. The story is simple, but fun and the dialog, though long, is entertaining. My favourite feature of the game was the controls. As someone who cannot use mouse and keyboard for gaming, the controller options were easy to master, replacing item bars with spin wheels to select and equip items.

 

 

The start of the game was actually pretty tedious. I didn’t mind the hand-holding to find and settle the crew, but the limited energy bar was a huge drawback. Your options are to walk from one end of the camp to the other (which becomes boring after the seventh time) or run, which depletes energy faster and means you need a nap halfway through. This became less of a problem once you discovered cooking recipes and had a good batch of crops on the go.

 

 

Your crewmates are pretty useless too. Crops need watering, so when you’re away on another island scavenging for their survival the neighbour overlooking the farm just watches the crops dry out rather than help. Even though there is a chef being amongst your number, she doesn’t cook despite the ‘Stew for the Crew’ mini game. Basically, you choose an ingredient for each islander and if they like it enough, you gain experience. Over time you level up and one of them offers you a free tool upgrade or similar.

 

 

Discovering new personal meal recipes was a lot harder than it needed to be. After randomly throwing ingredients together for about an hour, I finally caved and checked the wiki. It turns out there are rules to cooking, e.g. any meal below Level 4 will be vegetarian. It would have been helpful for those tips to appear on screen, even if just a pop-up tip. Luckily ingredients aren’t used up when discovering. Cooked meals replenish energy and offer boosts which become essential when exploring the further reaches of the map.

 

 

Once I got my crew settled, mastered cooking, fishing, and even managed to get a boat upgrade, I was finally able to explore the stormy islands. I was excited, the training wheels were off and I was finally going to make this curse my bitch, then disaster. As I landed on the beach, the game crashed. Well, not just crashed, it turns out I encountered a game-breaking bug that corrupted my save files. Loading up the game offered me a black screen with the normal overlay menus. I could switch tools, but couldn’t see my character to know what was going on.

 

 

I contacted the developers and have been assured the latest update now fixes that bug, but the heartbreak of losing the 14 hours I had played so far was too much. I couldn’t get passed my frustration to find out what had caused the curse, and how I could fix it. I wouldn’t now know if my crewmates could become useful members of a castaway society, or if we would reach the promised land of snow. I will replay the game once my annoyance subsides enough for me to get through the settlement part again, but for the time being my crew can starve.

 

 

A cute Zelda like game thats marred by tedium and game breaking bugs.  5/10
~Scarlet_Dragon

 

Stranded Sails – Explorers of the Cursed Islands is available now on PC (STEAM, GOG and Humble Bundle), XBox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch, for more info or to buy, head over to the games website here!


November 19th, 2019 by Scarlet_Dragon
Posted in Game Review, Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

Multiplatform Game Review:- Legend of the Skyfish from Mgaia Studio and Crescent Moon Games

Legend of the Skyfish is a beautiful level-based adventure puzzler with a unique weapon and tool – a fishing pole!

 

 

Friends, Romans, countrymen, I mean inmates and true believers! LEND me your ears! This is Darsch Pugs today with a review of Legend of the Skyfish developed by Mgaia studio and published by Crescent Moon Games. This is an interesting one folks! Legend of the Skyfish labels itself as a level based adventure puzzler,  but I prefer calling it a Zelda like lite if you would.

 

 

The game shares many similarities with some Zelda games, most notably the fishing pole that functions as a weapon and grappling hook ala the hook shot and master sword in the Zelda franchise and switch puzzles to open gates and doors. The grappling hook function can be used to solve puzzles, jump over gaps, and pull and stun enemies so you can then whack them with your fishing pole. there are various fishing polls, hooks, and hoods to get throughout the game hidden in chests. the chest themselves are hidden but when you get close to one your bee friend starts making noise and flashing a treasure chest in a chat bubble on the screen so you know to look around for them, they are not too well hidden as they tend to be along the path you have to take since the game is linear.

 

 

Speaking of linear, it’s a pretty clean cut single path you follow, with plenty of backtracking in some levels to hit all the switches to solve the puzzles, more on them later. The game really lacks in the exploration department and that is something I feel it needed. The levels are beautifully hand crafted and hand painted but short and too linear to the point the game can become boring.

 

 

The game claims to be a puzzler, but the only puzzles is hitting switches to open gates, require very little thought and are more like running an obstacle course to get to said switches to press them or push a giant statue on them. This was a pretty big let down as I had expected a bit more in the puzzle department considering the game has 45 levels and touts having various puzzles to solve, but they are not really puzzles. The difficulty though is perfect for very young fledgling gamers trying out their first adventure game.

 

 

The game’s mechanics are spot on and pretty self explanatory, it’s fun zipping across gaps and smashing enemies with your fishing pole, they are simple, sweet, and intuitive, perfectly balanced as all things should be. Thanos joke aside I had a blast playing the game the first few levels before it turned into tedium for me. The mechanics are great, the game play loop is spot on, but it quickly gets boring as you follow a single path doing the same thing over ad nauseam with no reward except the thrill of victory that feels hollow as you really did not accomplish anything as there was no challenge whatsoever.

 

 

The games art is all hand painted and reminds me of watercolor and oil paint paintings with a touch of Picasso influences in the way the curves of certain details and the faces are painted. The Animation is fluid, and at times I was reminded of classic Disney animated features.

 

 

Legend of the Skyfish is a great game for beginner gamers, but lacks any oomph to keep the more experienced satisfied. I feel it is worth the small $7 USD price tag it currently has on STEAM. It’s not a bad game, but it’s not a great either and is best for younger audiences until the grow into their big gamer controllers.

 

 

Legend of the Skyfish is available now on PC (STEAM), XBox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and mobile, for more info, head over to the games website for more info.

 

I rate it a 4 out of 10
~Darsch


November 14th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Game Review, Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

PC Early Access Preview:- Encased

Encased is a tribute to “Roadside Picnic” and the original Fallout games. Fight enemies, explore anomalous wasteland, level up your character, join one of the forces in the ruined world in this new apocalyptic turn-based RPG.

 

 

Greetings inmates and true believers, this is Darsch again, and this time I bring you Encased: A Sci-Fi Post-Apocalyptic RPG developed by Dark Crystal Games and published by Black Tower Entertainment and currently in early access on steam. Encased is a tribute to “Roadside Picnic” and the original Fallout games and it shows from the turn based combat system similar to  the original fallout to the abundant dialogue options with npcs and event dialogue choices, some of which can kill you.

 

 

The very first thing you will notice in Encased is the deep character creation from choosing your color coded faction, tag skills, attributes all the way to your appearance. It’s deep, robust, and a real treat if you liked the character creation and level up systems of Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Fallouts 1 through 3 and New Vegas. Make no mistake, this is a very customizable build heavy rpg and that is always a good thing. For my first play through I decided to join the white, a scientific faction and focus on high tech weapons like lasers, the tutorial if you go white gives you a laser pistol for your troubles that does decent damage.

 

 

I dumped my muscle to 3, which is physical strength which affects carry weight and melee damage, guts to a 2, which is your health, brains is a 9, which is, as you might guess intelligence, luck is a 6 and works like you would expect with a small effect on everything in the game, Perception is 9 which is your character’s awareness of their surroundings, charisma is a 2 and is pretty self explanatory, it’s how well people like you, deftness is 9, which is a measure of your dexterity and reaction time, and psyche is a 1 which is your ability with psionics and resistance to psionics which currently are not implemented in game. There are too many skills for me to list off the rest of the build but I focused on all the science and tech gun savvy stuff with The idea being a big brainy laser gun hero. What I got was that but he dies in one hit,  so my next build won’t skimp on the guts or the muscle to be sure.

 

 

The art lends itself well to a late 70’s era futuristic post apocalyptic setting, similar to how Fallout’s art was inspired by the 50’s and 60’s. The story is pretty interesting, it’s the late 70’s and a mysterious dome has showed up, and you are a member of cronus the group investigating the dome for scientific gain. your choice of white, black, silver, orange, or blue determines just where in the hierarchical ladder you sit within cronus. There are plenty of social interactions with npcs and events like an elevator breaking down for you to explore through well written dialogue choices.

 

 

Actual combat is a nice fun turn-based affair with you spending action points to move or attack or take cover, or you can bank them to save some for the next turn, its is satisfying and there are special abilities you can unlock through attribute point allocation, skillpoint allocation, and ability points based on your chosen weapon or play style.

 

 

Encased is going to be a title to watch, so far every second of it has been a blast, just the rpg i been hoping to get for sometime now and the game is still a good ways off from being finished, about half the abilities are not implemented yet but I expect great things, If I had to rate this I would give it an 8 out of 10.

 

Encased is available now on STEAM Early Access, available here


October 11th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Game Review, Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Real Time Strategy, Xbox | No Comments »

PC Game Review :- Swag and Sorcery from  Lazy Bear Games & Uroboros Games

Grind for resources, manage your own fantasy village, create and equip your heroes and send them to collect swag in Swag and Sorcery – a new streamlined RPG from the creators of Punch Club and Graveyard Keeper.

 

 

Swag and Sorcery is touted as a streamlined RPG developed by Lazy Bear Games and Uroboros Games, and published by tinyBuild. The latest game from the creators of Punch Club and Graveyard Keeper has received mixed reviews on STEAM, which seems to be a fair reflection based on my experience.

 

Your skills are required to track down the Emperor’s stolen suit which will fix all the Kingdom’s problems. (Damn, that must be a nice suit.) You hire adventurers and send them on dangerous quests. The intrepid travellers will complete the quest on their own, but this is far from an idle game. If their health runs out, the quest is failed and you lose any precious loot you picked up along the way. You can call them home alive and “supervise” by casting spells you research as the game develops.

 

 

Your hired heroes are far from just monster snacks, they are needed to craft items in the village, helping to unlock and improve more crafting buildings which in turn, allows you to craft bigger and better armour and weapons. You keep your workers healthy and happy by paying for time at the Church and Spa. Although I found the Church to be less essential as I discovered more craftable items, because your heroes regenerate health over time whilst in the village.

 

There is plenty to keep you busy in the game; between levelling up at the training camp, collecting loot on adventures, upgrading the village and competing in fashion competitions. Yes, you read that correctly. Periodically, fashion competitions crop up which you can enter for a fee. Judges have different preferences for colours and styles, and can be bribed with items. Bribing is a bit of a gamble though, as a liked item will help your cause, but a disliked item could ruin you. I think I found a bug in this part of the game though. The list of unlocked ‘Likes’ and ‘Dislikes’ for each judge seemed to reset before every competition, so unless I kept track it was a guessing game each time.

 

 

Gold is the main currency in the game, but recipes for more outfits and accessories are acquired with raw and crafted materials, so you can soon find yourself running low on essentials. While Reputation with the kingdom is earned by winning fashion competitions and working on improving the village.

 

As well as set goals to complete for rewards and advance the game, random encounters can occur at any time. This can be a travelling merchant offering an unknown item for payment up front, or a suspected thief captured by villagers who require you to pass judgement. These encounters are a gamble. The merchant could be offering a bargain or be ripping you off. Your reputation could suffer by releasing the thief, or you could be sued for wrongful execution. Either way, the random outcome definitely makes the game more interesting.

 

 

The game can be grindy and due to lack of information on some screens, you can end up screen-hopping and mumbling stats to yourself as you try to equip your heroes correctly for the upcoming adventure, or to remember who is the most efficient crafter for a certain building. Having loved Graveyard Keeper, I have no doubt that quality of life fixes will be plentiful from the developers, and at the time of writing this article, have already begun.

 

The story dialogue is witty, but forgettable and the gameplay can become frustrating. For example, you have to complete a quest level several times to even get a chance to face the boss. If you forget to equip a health potion on the boss quest, and fail horribly, you have to keep replaying the same quest over again to be able to fill the boss battle opportunity bar. That said, the game is saved by it’s cute cartoon styling and massive range of activities. You will not be lost for something to do in this game.

 

 

I am definitely looking forward to more updates and bug fixes, and this is not a game I will be giving up on just yet. I can’t wait to see Swag and Sorcery reach its full potential.

 

Swag and Sorcery is available now on STEAM. and at only £9.99, not a bad investment

 

 

As it stands at review, a solid 6 out of 10 from me and at only £9.99, not a bad investment with regular updates still coming.

~ScarletDragon


May 23rd, 2019 by Scarlet_Dragon
Posted in Game Review, Gaming, General, PC, Real Time Strategy | No Comments »

Multiplatform Game Review: Vaporum by Fatbot Games

Vaporum is a grid-based dungeon crawler RPG in an original steampunk setting, inspired by old-school classics of the genre. Stranded in the middle of an ocean, in front of a gigantic tower, the hero has to find out what the place is, what happened there, and most importantly, who he is.

 

 

Vaporum is developed by Fatbot Games and originally released on PC in 2017. Key Features of the game include: First person real-time combat, Puzzles and level-wide objectives, Gadget-based RPG system, Lots of exploration, loot, plenty of character customization, a mysterious storyline filled with secrets, fully voiced main characters, and an Immersive steampunk setting.

 

Combat in Vaporum takes place in real time. Each enemy type has a distinctive set of strengths and weaknesses, and various kinds of attacks and defense mechanisms, so you have to employ different tactics to beat each one. A Lot of time is spent fighting progressively more difficult enemies on a grid based movement system which limits you to simple left, right, forward, and backwards movement and 90 degree turns. This leads to you being able to hit an enemy, step backwards and force a melee-only enemy to step forwards so you can hit it again and move before it can hit you, effectively killing it. This is simple versus a single enemy, but much more daunting versus multiple enemies and mastery of the tile based grid movement system is a must as jarring as it is. Combat is quick and lethal with little opportunity for healing. If you get backed into a corner, it easily becomes a situation of standing there taking turns hitting each other until one of you are dead. The gadget based system is more accurately a steampunk version of spells and is very fun and satisfying to use to defeat enemies.

 

 

The movement system is jarring at times and clunky. It did give me motion sickness due to the way the character moves. The character’s head bobs down and then looks back up after each move, and turning is a sudden start then stop that can disorient you. It must be stated this is one of only two titles to ever give me motion sickness, and even with developer help I was not able to prevent it; only limit it by turning off the options for headbob, screen shake effects, and idle camera animation. The head bob while moving was still there as was the up-down motion of the character breathing, but this did help to somewhat mitigate the motion sickness.

 

 

Most mechanics in Vaporum are very simple. However, combining these mechanics creates intriguing puzzles and level-wide objectives where you have to use both your wits and reflexes. While most puzzles and riddles are contained in a single room, progression objectives can span an entire level or even multiple levels. The puzzles themselves can consist of finding the button, moving crates in set patterns and triggering pressure plates in a specific order, with later levels adding lethal traps and teleporters. While solving the puzzles feels rewarding, it is a double edged sword as completing the puzzles are required for progression, but it is very frustrating when you get stuck on one, and they quickly become monotonous and boring at that point.

 

 

The games graphics and Audio are top-notch and perfect for a steampunk title and really help to immerse you into the game world. The voice acting is pretty good for the most part with only a couple lines of dialogue that felt off. The story is good even though it is set up with the stereotypical woke up with amnesia trope. The controls on the other hand make it clear this was a title ported over from the pc, and while clumsy and clunky and frustratingly annoying at first, once you learn and memorize them they no longer present as much of an issue.

 

Check out the video version of this review here –

 

Or check out Lone’s stream of the XBox One version –

 

For more info on the game, head over to the Vaporum website.

 

I give the game a solid 5 out of 10, it stands good on its own merits, but as a port it feels lacking in the quality of life department.

~Darsch

 

[Here Darsch reviews the PlayStation 4 Port of Vaporum, released early April 2019, also on XBox One and Nintendo Switch. ~Lone]


April 25th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Game Review, Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Xbox | No Comments »

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