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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 Game Review :- SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech from Image & Form Games

Lead a party of aspiring heroes through a beautifully hand-drawn world and intense battles using only your wits and a handful of cards. Take on whatever threat comes your way by crafting your own deck choosing from over 100 unique punch-cards!

 

 

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is a fun RPG game with an interesting card based gaming mechanic. Starting in a sort of jolly romp in the forest our first of six main heroes are on the search for an item that you battle through various wildlife and a small boss to get to. This serves an interesting tutorial and introduction to the personalities and dynamic between the two characters: Armilly a brash fighter with a heart of steel and Copernica a powerful spellcaster with a passion for discovery. The two bicker in a friendly manner as they exposit about their life, how Armilly wishes to be in the hero’s guild, and basic mechanics of the world explained through lore such as the save points being statues in honor of the mightier warrior Gilgamech. Using these can heal you but at the cost of respawning every enemy in the area, something that can easily be used to grind for experience early on.

 

 

After the tutorial boss you’re expected to have an understanding on the card mechanics but have no fear for they continue to slowly add more to the basic knowledge of a card has it’s attack and abilities with other addons such as elemental bonuses/resistances, character abilities that get triggered when you play three of their specific cards in a turn, and crafting of new cards.

 

 

The story is fairly straight-through with a terrible evil militant force having attacked the town Armilly and Copernica reside in and taking all of the heroes from the previously mentioned guild and lighting the town on fire. With this sad destruction we’re introduced to Galleo, a somewhat timid and hesitant friend of Armilly and Copernica whose main abilities for the group are a strong defensive character and added bonus as the resident healer. His water abilities help stop the fire but they do not save the heroes and follow in pursuit after another battle.

 

 

Throughout each area are chests containing gold and sometimes healing items. With these, there’s no real serious punishment early on for rushing into fights without thinking. There are also quite a few game mechanics that you get introduced to in a short time span that they make up for with streamlining as you go along and having a help option always available.

 

 

After a few mini boss fights, you leave the town and follow the villains into another forest, in which you come across a mysterious retired hero, Orik, the once side hand to Gilgamech. He’s trapped in a cage and you must battle your way through a mine slowly going above ground to pass a locked door to open it on the other side while chasing a small goblin who’s got a key to Orik’s cage. This part may get repetitive but only if you’re like me and level grind in each area to make sure you’re above the expected level cap.

 

 

To keep the rest of the story a fun mystery I’ll stop here but the story maintains an interesting atmosphere throughout.

 

 

Personally, I found the game very enjoyable having been introduced to the series with steamworld dig. They did well to give each important character a unique and lovable personality while sprinkling in fun side one-off characters you may interact with. The gameplay can get repetitive if you are someone who min/max’s their build early on and level grinds. If you enjoyed the previous titles in the series I recommend you check out SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech as it’s creative use of card-based battle and quirky world features made the game by far one of my favourite to have played this year.

 

 

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech i available now on PC, XBox One, Playstation 4 and Nintendo switch, for more information head over to the games website and check out the trailer below –

 

 

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech gets a card carrying 8 out of 10 from me, enjoy!

 

~Reviss

 


September 7th, 2019 by Reviss-DragonLord
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, Nintendo, PC, Playstation, Xbox | 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 »

Reggie Fils-Aime to step down as Nintendo President, names Bowser as Successor


(This article begins with a dramatisation which is for comic purposes. The main news article begins after the line)

 

A conference room inside Nintendo of America’s offices. Redmond, Washington. February 21st, 2019.

 

Reggie Fils-Aime: Friends, investors, esteemed colleagues. I think we can all agree when I say that over the last decade, Nintendo has grown from strength to strength. We have seen record breaking sales from the Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch systems; and our moves into mobile gaming and film are beginning to also pay dividends. True, it hasn’t all been plain sailing (takes a picture down from the wall of a blue “U”); but one thing has never been lost: We are a company of individuals always moving forward and innovating with fun, dynamic new ideas.

(The entire boardroom cheers)

Reggie: …Which brings me to the point of today. After more than 15 notable years at Nintendo of America, and nearly 13 as your President and COO, I believe the time is now right for me to pass on the reins. I therefore wish to inform you that I will soon be stepping down from the chair.

(The entire boardroom gasps)

Reggie: I called this meeting today in order to name my successor. Step forward… Bowser!

(All heads turn towards the doorway as the door to the conference room swings open, The floor shakes audibly with each step as the spiky-shelled King of the Koopas steps in to the room)

 

 

Bowser: That’s RIGHT! I’m taking control of this Airship, and you all will bow to me from now on! For my first act, I demand a meeting with your precious poster child who has so often foiled my plans. Bring me Mario this instant!

Reggie: Not you, Bowser…

Bowser: WHAT?!?

 

A picture of Doug Bowser
Image courtesy LinkedIn

 

(From behind the large, intimidating Koopa, another man steps forward. As Reggie shakes the man’s hand, the entire room applauds)

Reggie: I of course was referring to our current Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Doug Bowser. Effective April 15th, I am officially promoting him to my now-former role as President of Nintendo of America.

Doug Bowser: It has been my great fortune to work with and be mentored by Reggie for four years at Nintendo of America … And rest assured, we will continue to build on his work to evolve and expand our brand, furthering Nintendo’s global mission of creating smiles. There are millions more of those to come.

Bowser: BAH!!! This pipsqueak is not even worthy of the Bowser name! (He storms out, as the rest of the boardroom congratulate Doug)

 


 

Yes, it’s official. After more than 15 notable years at Nintendo of America, and nearly 13 as its President and COO, Reggie Fils-Aime will retire. His successor, Doug Bowser, is an industry veteran who joined NOA in May 2015 as the Vice President of Sales before being promoted to Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing the next year – and now, starting April 15th, he will now hold the esteemed title of President of Nintendo of America.

 

While the name may not be familiar to everyone, Bowser’s business acumen is certainly powerful. Doug Bowser is an industry veteran who joined NOA in May 2015 as the Vice President of Sales before being promoted to Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing the next year. During his time at NOA, Bowser led the sales and marketing efforts for Nintendo Switch, which became the fastest-selling video game system of this hardware generation through 21 months, according to The NPD Group. Even before his time at Nintendo, Bowser has held major roles at Electronic Arts – where he last worked as Vice President of Global Business Planning.

 

In announcing his retirement, Fils-Aime said:

 

“Nintendo owns a part of my heart forever … It’s a part that is filled with gratitude – for the incredibly talented people I’ve worked with, for the opportunity to represent such a wonderful brand, and most of all, to feel like a member of the world’s most positive and enduring gamer community. As I look forward to departing in both good health and good humor, this is not ‘game over’ for me, but instead ‘leveling up’ to more time with my wife, family and friends.”

 

Responding to the news, Shuntaro Furukawa, President of Nintendo Co., Ltd, had this to say:

 

“I really appreciate everything Reggie has done for Nintendo. Inside and outside our company, Reggie is known as an exceptional leader. We are grateful that he is leaving the business in good shape with strong momentum. While we will miss him and we wish him the very best in his retirement, we are also pleased to have such an able successor ready to step into that role. Doug Bowser and the rest of the team will ensure a seamless transition and continued momentum for Nintendo.”

 

So long as this Bowser doesn’t share the famous Bowser’s fiery reputation, Nintendo of America should remain in safe hands.

 

Bowser, the King of Koopas, breathes fire
Image courtesy Super Mario Wiki


February 21st, 2019 by CrimsonShade
Posted in Gaming, General, Nintendo | No Comments »

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