Way of the Samurai 2

 

Welcome to PS2 Review Week! Each day of this week I’ll be reviewing an old PS2 game I love and still play, focusing on the slightly lesser known or lesser played games and franchises (so no, even though I loved Final Fantasy, you won’t find reviews of it here).

For day 4 We have Way of the Samurai 2!

Following the Feudal Japan theme, Way of the Samurai 2 puts you in the role of a starving rounin who, having arrived to Amahara, must now make its way in the world and survive.

Way of the Samurai is mainly, but not entirely, a fighting game, and as such fighting is what you will be doing a lot of. However, you will also have choices to do other things, as well as choices on who you fight for, and against, by siding, or not, with the different factions.

Although I would have wished that this game was infinite play, it sadly has a time system. Each day is divided into five sections: Early morning, morning, afternoon, evening and night. Most of the things you can do, including traveling within locations, might take up time to achieve, so you have to manage your time carefully, for you only have a certain amount of days to work within. Because there’s a time limit, you will be left wanting to replay the game to accomplish things you’ve run out of time to do, or even to turn from a good samurai to a bad one…building your reputation and siding with different people and factions in each run.

Because of all the choices you can take, there are also several endings for each type of samurai you can become. You can become a lone samurai, a sort of police, a gang member, a people’s samurai, etc. It all depends on the quests, missions, and sides you take, and who you side or make friends with.

The controls aren’t the best, but they’re decent enough that you won’t find yourself troubled by them. There is some character customization at the start, letting you choose between male and female, a name, what starting weapons you’ll have, and a bit of variation in heads and clothes. While it’s not very vast, it’s nice to have various types of weapons and looks to choose from. If this is not enough, along your journey, aside from the typical consumables and story/quest-related papers, you will also find decorative items you can wear, sometimes quite funny, sometimes… really weird.

While Way of the Samurai 2 might not have a ground breaking story behind it, the sheer amount of choices you can make in your replays and the likeable characters, as well as the lovely typical music, make it a must-play for me.

 

4.5/5

Curse of the Assassin

A long while ago I reviewed Tin Man Games’ An Assassin in Orlandes, and I definitely loved it. Now the same developers bring us back to the city of Orlandes with Curse of the Assassin, another choose your own adventure game.

If you haven’t read my previous reviews of these games, then let me give you a small recap on how they’re played: These are text-based adventures, and the particular developer goes all the way out presenting it out to you as an actual, albeit digital, book. The chapters are short because each time you reach an important junction you’re offered a choice of moving or acting a certain way; as such, every time you make a choice you change your fate. The books have various endings, and Curse of the Assassin is no different. Combat, to spice it up, is mixed up a bit with tabletop RPG style by adding a dice – a roll higher or lower than a certain predetermined score will decide your luck.

Like in the previous games, before you dive into the game you’re given a choice of difficulty ranging from classic (with few bookmarks and stats granted by dice rolling), through Adventurer (with two base stats and unlimited bookmarks to retrace your steps), to casual (which allows you to better enjoy the story by providing you unlimited bookmarks, the option to go back, heal yourself not to die, and a button to unlock all choices).

This time around the story continues on from An Assassin in Orlandes. After defeating the last evil, you find yourself going through a patch of good luck, getting higher in your social status… until the strange death of an old friend sends you back adventuring. Though it has various references to the first game, I don’t think it’s truly necessary for you to have played it in order to enjoy the story.

So. What all is different from the first one? For one, the art has improved plenty. I was a lot more into the offered art this time around, both for mythical beasts and humans alike. The writing is still pretty good, but I didn’t enjoy it as much this time around – in some parts where I would have liked to make choices I was not provided those, and some of the ‘chapters’ (or sections, if you will) were a lot longer than in the previous installment… as in turn resulted the entire story. I did rather enjoy that they tempted adding in some romance and giving you a companion through your adventuring, which made it feel a bit less lonely. It also felt like there was plenty more to explore as well as plenty more choices to make, and I do love choices. But there were also a lot more fights too, and those I always find a bit annoying, if only because they can drag a bit with all the dice rolling.

The sounds and music are pretty good, as expected it can get a bit annoying as you play, so in the end I muted it, as I usually do in most games.

Would I recommend this one? Definitely, with a top rating despite the few shortcomings. I would also recommend that, despite not needing it, you play An Assassin in Orlandes first, if only to get your bearings (plus, it’s shorter and you’ll find out if you like these types of games or not with it).

 

5/5

Dishonored

If you don’t know Dishonored at least by name, then, my friend, you’ve been sorely missing out.

Arkane Studios and Bethesda brought to us one of the most amazing stealth games I’ve ever played. Biased? Maybe a little.

I don’t think I need to start with what Dishonored is about, as it’s such a well-known game already, but in case you’ve been living under a rock (admittedly as I was until I got it, haha), then here: Take on the role of Corvo, the late Empress’ bodyguard, now framed for her murder and deemed an assassin. As you search for the ones who are truly at guilt and try to regain your good name (or make a new name for your own), as well as get revenge, you go through the most amazingly crafted story and world, finding out about the plague that has struck the city, as well as many other things I shall not spoil for you.

Onto a more technical aspect: Dishonored is a first-person stealth/action game set in a steampunk type of world with some fantasy/magic/supernatural elements in it; I found it quite reminiscent of Bioshock in some ways, and it is an amazing, amazing] game. And this coming from someone who normally doesn’t like first person games that much, and who really sucks at stealth. The only thing that would make Dishonored any better to me right now would be if it had an option for third person.

So, what’s so great about this game, you ask? For starters, the graphics are breath taking, even in the lowest settings; and it works on lower end PCs without a hitch, which goes to prove you can have pretty cool graphics without sacrificing playability on toasters.

The sound in the game and the voice acting too, is beautifully done. The voice, the music, everything seems to fit just perfect with the setting and characters. What’s more amazing is that the sounds your character makes when moving aren’t just filler for your enjoyment. If you’re far too loud, enemies will hear you, and will find you.

Dishonored provides you with a varied style of gameplay, not the least of which is the supernatural aspect. It has many powers to choose from, and using them is not as hard as it appears at first. Once you get used to the controls, you find they’re reasonably comfortable, although not all of them precisely handy.

But my favorite thing of all has to be the many ways you can play this game, and many ways you have to approach a mission, which just ups the replayability up to a hundred; you can try different power combinations on different playthroughs, approach everything in a rather YOLO kind of way or try to stealth your way around and be a ghost, you can even mix and match! Choose to use or even not use your supernatural powers at all, and make several moral choices that will determine what kind of ending you get after all, and what kind of person Corvo becomes. Every moral choice you make, every person you kill or not, will change how people perceive you, how you as Corvo see yourself, and the ending you get. You also have more than one path to choose for each mission, which makes it feel far more like an open world, even if it’s not really an open world game.

I would definitely recommend everyone to play it at least once; it’s too much of a fantastic game, you simply can’t miss it.

An Assassin in Orlandes

Data Break Up
Game: An Assassin in Orlandes
Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG
Developer: Tin Man Games
Publisher: Tin Man Games
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Controls: 9/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Replay Value: 9/10
Community: N/A

An Assassin in Orlandes by Tin Man Games is a text adventure/choose your own adventure game that mixes the dice rolling of RPG with the path-choosing style of CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) books.

If you’ve read my previous review I’ll be repeating myself here, but: Mixing dice in with this means you will also be rolling for stats, and that most fights and encounters are purely luck based. That said, I quite enjoyed the mix of these two game styles, it makes for very interesting gameplay that mimics the board RPGs quite well, and reminds you very fondly of CYOA books.

If you’ve never read a CYOA book, it works like this: You reach a point in which you’re given two or more choices, and it indicates what page to turn to continue the story on the proper path. There are several different endings, some failure, some death, and a ‘true’ one.

Controls are simple: You just flip pages by clicking and click choices as they appear (some might be obscured if you are missing an item or certain knowledge, but otherwise you’re free to pick and choose). Should you need to, you have a bookmarking function to return to a previous point in the book, maps, etc.

At the start of the story you may also pick up the difficulty. Unlike The Forest of Doom, this one offers only two settings: A regular difficulty mode and a “casual” (cheat) one. The cheats are the same as in Forest: you can heal yourself or uncover options you might have not had otherwise, in order to get through the book.

The story is better written than in The Forest of Doom, though the main premise and how the character comes to be in troubles is still lacking a bit. Still, it’s a story I would definitely recommend for a younger audience. The fight style I found a bit more confusing than in the previous game, but it was otherwise equally luck based and mostly simple to learn.

The graphical aspect of the book was a bit more typical, but the images (in black and white) were so much nicer to look at, and the maps were also much better drawn.

Would I recommend it? Yes. But again, I’d recommend you grab it for at least half price.

The Forest of Doom

Data Break Up
Game: The Forest of Doom
Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG
Developer: Tin Man Games
Publisher: Tin Man Games
Release Date: Oct 30, 2014
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  9/10
Graphics: 7/10
Controls: 10/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Story: 7/10
Replay Value: 10/10
Community: N/A

I have a soft spot in my heart for CYOA books, and this one totally took me to the past.

The Forest of Doom by Tin Man Games is a choose your own adventure (CYOA) game, and as such, you can expect it is only a text adventure and there will be no fancy graphics beyond an illustration or two along what’s essentially just a digital version of a book, with some extra interactive perks.

The Forest of Doom mixes typical CYOA gameplay with the dice rolling of RPG games to decide whether or not you win or pass certain encounters. This means you will also be rolling for stats, and you can get either really good or really bad ones, depending on your luck. I honestly quite enjoyed the mix of these two game styles, even if the fights and encounters ended up being completely luck based because of the dice.

If you’ve never read a CYOA book, it works like this: You reach a point in which you’re given two or more choices, and it indicates what page to turn to continue the story on the proper path. There are several different endings, some failure, some death, and a ‘true’ one. Some of the choices might be obscured if you’re lacking in knowledge or items.

Controls for this are pretty simple: You just flip pages by clicking and click choices as they appear. You have a bookmarking function to return to a previous point in the book,  plus maps, art, etc.

At the start of the story you may also pick what difficulty you want to play in. The Forest of Doom offers 3, a normal (or “medium”) difficulty, a harder difficulty, and a “free read” difficulty which allows you to cheat – you can heal yourself or uncover options you might have not had otherwise, in order to get through the entire book.

The story is fairly simple (you’re a warrior who -rather randomly- decides to help some dying dwarf fulfill his last duty), and while it might be predictable and might not be a literary achievement, I think it’s a great story that younger people would enjoy, even if the ending(s) are lacking a bit.

The graphics were good as far as backgrounds went, the art was pretty good with places, maps and areas, not so good with human figures.

The music was good, but repetitive and annoying at the moment of reading, so I muted it. But then, I 99% of the time mute music while playing.

The only real disappointing thing was that you could not backtrack without using free read and cheating, you chose a path, east, west, north, but could not return where you’d come from, and thus you could easily miss the things you needed for the good ending without a chance of ‘exploring’ for them.

I did encounter one bug while playing: though my steam settings specified English the game still started in Spanish; after it downloaded an update it was half in Spanish, half in English, and I had to go into settings and re-set them to English for the game to take it. It was a silly bug, small and didn’t deter from the actual gameplay, but annoying nonetheless.

All in all it was a fun, quick read, and it brought back plenty of nice memories, but better grab it when it’s on sale, as I don’t feel with the length it’s worth the full price.

Never Alone – Kisima Ingitchuna

Data Break Up
Game: Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
Developer: Upper One Games, E-Line Media
Publisher: E-Line Media
Release Date: Nov 18, 2014
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  7/10
Graphics: 9/10
Controls: 7/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 6/10
Sound: 9/10
Story: 9/10
Replay Value: 6/10
Community: N/A

Never Alone is an action-adventure puzzle platformer in 2.5D that will take you through a wonderful folk story told by the Iñupiat (Alaska Natives) through the ages. While I’m not familiar with the story itself, so I can’t speak for how close it is to the original or how well adapted it was, I can say it is (at least in so far as I played it) definitely a very beautiful story, with gorgeous graphics and sound effects/music to match.

Visually, the game is striking. Playing it… it leaves a lot to be desired.

In Never Alone you switch between two characters: a young girl named Nuna and an Arctic Fox, who go in search of the source of a neverending blizzard in order to stop it and save her people. The puzzles are fairly average, and the controls for the game aren’t what I would call the most comfortable ever but they are also not too bad (WASD, space, and a couple other keys)… when they work. For you see, as beautiful as the game is, the performance leaves a lot to be desired.

It took 4 levels of menu to reach the detailed video settings, and even at its lowest, it performed poorly on my computer. This is rather undesirable, particularly when your introduction to the game involves being chased by a polar bear who likes to glitch back and forth when performance falls, and having to jump lots. Failure to run from it or jump properly results in your death and having to begin from the last checkpoint. Or, you know, glitching the game and running as an invisible form until you reach the fox and then running on and on and having to restart yourself because that’s clearly getting you nowhere…

The game does have many glitches and annoyances. Walls are sometimes impossible to jump onto, the camera can become uncomfortable, the fox can become a little bit unhelpful, you may fall forever from the map, and you will die because of all of these… a lot. It’s one of those games that when it works, it’s a wonder to play for the story and visuals, but when it doesn’t you just want to flip a table and never touch it again.

Never Alone Kisima Ingitchuna Review

If you manage to get through the entire eight chapters, you will be rewarded by unlocking the entirety of a documentary on the Iñupiat. What little I managed to unlock of it looked both interesting and very well done, but as beautiful as the game was, the annoyances were much greater than my desire to watch the documentary.

All in all, for the story, looks and sounds, and the documentary, as well as the obvious interest in making more people aware of the Iñupiat, I would like to rate this game higher; but the amount of times low performance and glitches caused my death ended up bumping it down quite a bit. If you have a low specs PC I would definitely not recommend you try it. If you have a decent PC you may still get some glitches, but if you’re interested in the story, it might be worth seeing if it works.

Perils of Man

Data

Break Up

Game: Perils of Man
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Developer: IF Games
Publisher: Vertigo Games
Release Date: Sep 10, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  7/10
Graphics: 9/10
Controls: 10/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 8.5/10
Sound: 9/10
Story: 9/10
Replay Value: 8/10
Community: N/A

The Point and Click adventure game Perils of Man (or The Perils of Man, if they make up their minds), by IF games, takes you on a journey through time. You play as Ana: after getting a present from her missing father, she wants to learn more about the gift, about him and try to find where he is now.

The game in itself is nice and short, controlled mainly by the mouse, though you can use your keyboard to call up the inventory, which was handy. The graphics might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I rather liked them – they have a bit of a cartoony look to them, and also reminded me a little of Coraline for some reason (however, Perils of Man has nothing to do with it). The 3D renditions of them move nicely, though I did miss the ability to run on double click, and in a couple sections they did bug out and ‘slid’ rather than walk. But I’ll go more on that later. The music was a delight to listen to, although I do wish it would have stopped when the game wasn’t in focus or was minimized. The sound effects and voices were really, really nicely done, making the game quite charming.

The dialogs and just the overall feeling of it all was reminiscent of the adventure games of old, just in a slighter… easier way. The puzzles weren’t as challenging, but they were pleasant to play through all the same. There was no oblique thought going into it about forming strange things to use as other things, all item mixing was logical and/or explained somewhere if it didn’t seem overly logical.

I do have to say my computer, as it’s not extremely powerful, tends to lag a bit on videos, and unfortunately lagged on Peril’s videos as well. Normally I try to skip them (which you can do here) and watch them later (after I’m done with the game) on youtube, or make a second play-through if the game wasn’t too long to see it with all the laggy cutscenes, but I found it hard to do with Perils, for the cutscenes contained only not parts of the story, but entire clues on what you had to do next. This was quite troublesome to me. As much as I love to watch carefully crafted cutscenes, what I like more about games is often to play them, after all. However, the cutsecnes weren’t too long, so if the videos work well for you they are worth a watch for the clues and the story alike.

As for everything else, Perils of Man ran quite fine in all chapters except one when she’s on a ship in the sea; the storm in the back lagged it terribly and it was quite a torture to get through it. It lagged even when the storm wasn’t seen through any of the ships windows or portholes, which was even more annoying.

Another thing that was really bothersome was a section in the theater, there is an area that links the furnace and cisterns, but unless you click in a very precise area, the camera won’t follow you even when you hear Ana walking away out of sight. I was pretty sure I clicked all over to no avail, and in the end had to turn to the forums for help. It wasn’t really a bug, but it wasn’t very well thought out either. What was a bug though was getting stuck in a couple areas on invisible walls, just because I tried to do two actions too fast. Then she would refuse to walk but you could still hear the steps sound effect. She would also end up walking but then not want to accept any further commands – no leaving the area or clicking on another item unless you reloaded the game. It wouldn’t had been so annoying if it hadn’t all started happening after I got “stuck” trying to enter the cistern, which had already frustrated me quite a bit.

Fortunately the game auto-saves (apparently) fairly often, so I didn’t experience any loss when I had to do the reloads.

Those little pesky bugs ended up taking away a good deal of my enjoyment of the game, hence I give it a lower rating than I would have if my play-through had gone smoothly. (I would’ve probably gone for a 9/10 instead of 7/10)

Despite that, the game is fun, the story is interesting and the ideas in it good, although I do feel like the ending didn’t quite resolve things entirely… and it reminded me of the good old adventure games of old, which is always nice.

I definitely recommend it, and hope you don’t encounter the bugs I did.

Showing Tonight: Mindhunters Incident

Data Break Up
Game: Showing Tonight: Mindhunters Incident
Genre: Adventure, Casual
Developer: Phime Studio LLC
Publisher: Phime Studio LLC
Release Date: Nov 12, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  7.5/10
Graphics: 7/10
Controls: 10/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 8/10
Sound: 7.5/10
Story: 7/10
Replay Value: 6/10
Community: N/A

Showing Tonight Mindhunters Incident Title

Showing Tonight: Mindhunters Incident is a Point and Click game with some Hidden Object scenes and undertones, created by Phime Studio. I say this is more a P&C game because really, there’s only about 3ish HoG scenes, the rest I wouldn’t consider to be exactly hidden object per se.

In this game you take the role of a man who falls asleep watching the movie “They Ate My Clapper”, and thus wakes up in this movie world, tasked with finding the missing crew. To be honest, while the story on paper sounds good, in game it was rather confusing. Alien artifacts, mind powers and mind control, horror? I’m not sure if it’s going for paranormal (which was my original assumption) or something else, and by the end of the game I’m still unsure of it.

The game has various chapters, all interconnected in locations (you’re not locked out of any of the areas), and a final bonus chapter which you can only access by completing the entire game. It’d be nice if they’d put an option to play the bonus chapter separately from the main story, and if they had asked/warned you about playing it instead of tossing you into it right after the main story’s finale, leaving you even more confused.

That said, and despite the occasional item appearing out of what I felt was thin air, the game was fairly logical. Meaning for most things you needed actual tools (a shovel for digging something up) rather than finding an oblique way to go about it.

The puzzles varied in complexity, some really easy, some much harder, some seemed to be more trial and error than anything, which was a bit disappointing. The main ‘thing’ of the game seemed to be the silhouette puzzles, in which you were to match an item with its silhouette via turning it around with arrows. It wasn’t too difficult, but after the first two or three times it lost its novelty and having to do them in nearly all the important puzzles got quite bothersome, to the point where some I just skipped to move along the story faster.

On the puzzles that require some note to complete, while you can’t hold the note up at the same time of the puzzle, accessing it is still easy and not as bothersome as in other HoG games. You also don’t have to wait to collect every piece of a puzzle before you put it in its place, which is quite nice.

My only real complaint was the jukebox puzzle, in which either I was missing something obvious or you weren’t really given a hint on when you were sort of heading in the right direction with it, which ended up making it quite frustrating for me. It was probably user error, but there you have it.

On the other hand, Mindhunters also had a couple mini-games which were fun to play.

Showing Tonight Mindhunters Incident

The sound effects and music can get a tad repetitive, but they’re relatively nice and seem to fit the game okay. The voice acting, however, left a lot to be desired, even if they aren’t precisely the worst I’ve heard.

The graphics are quite nice, particularly the detailed backgrounds; the animations aren’t too bad, even if they could be a bit more fluid. Some of the scenes could benefit from a bit more research on how things look – for instance the driving scenes in which you saw the people from the front inside the car.

I rather liked the quick travel map, even if I wished each section would have had its sub-sections as quick travel as well.

All in all, I quite enjoyed my playthrough and would certainly recommend it to HoG and adventure fans, even with the small downsides. I’ll be looking forward to see what else Phime comes up with in the future.

Showing Tonight Mindhunters Incident

 

[Early Access] Erwin’s Timewarp

 

Data Break Up
Game: Erwin’s Timewarp
Genre: Adventure, Indie, Strategy
Developer: Jayanam
Publisher: Jayanam
Release Date: Sep 21, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  4/10
Graphics: 7/10
Controls: 6/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 3/10
Sound: 2/10
Story: 2/10
Replay Value: 1/10 (at current state)
Community: N/A

 

Erwin’s Timewarp is an adventure game. You play as the pet dog of some scientist who built a time machine and sent you to the past, and you’re tasked with finding various pieces of this machine in order to return to the present.

Starting the game you’re able to put it in various resolutions of window mode, and you can also choose to play at full screen; this is something I usually really appreciate as I don’t always like to play certain games in full screen. However, there’s little else in the form of proper menu and options. The only sounds to be found in the game at its current stage were also only in this menu, and unfortunately, the music was completely awful to me. I could not click out of the menu fast enough.

Visually the game is kind of cartoony. It’s relatively good looking and the textures are nice, as well as the details on the areas; for an indie unity game in 3D/top-down/isometric view it ran surprisingly well on my computer, so kudos to the dev for that accomplishment. I usually have a lot of optimization issues with indie games on unity.

As I mentioned before, there’s little in the way of sounds or music outside the menu, and that is almost a blessing considering my dislike for the meny music.

You’re also tossed into the game with little in the form of tutorial, explanation, or back story. In fact you’re only told a couple times about what’s going on and what you’re supposed to do and find. If you didn’t read the description on the steam page, you’d have no idea what you’re supposed to do until you encounter that alien – which btw, I’m still wondering why there’s an alien there.

The puzzles are fairly easy to follow on what you need to get in order to do what, but the way of interacting with things is a bit uncomfortable. Sometimes objects will highlight but not pop up hints, the icons offered as menu aren’t clear on what they do until you click them and find out, and they won’t appear until you’re in some particular range and angle from the item. Still, the rest of the controls (mostly movement wise) are fairly good despite this.

What makes the game a bit harder is that you have to spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out what to do at the start, and you CAN die (and you can save, too, so be sure to save): some characters will hurt you, and you must also keep yourself fed through the game, which I guess is an interesting twist for an adventure/puzzle game, but frankly I’m still unsure if it works.

The character animations for the dog and companions are fairly good, but the human animations leave much to be desired. There were also some bugs in which, for instance, you’d get stuck against certain things.

All in all it seems like an ok game, and I can see some potential in it which is why I would recommend to keep a watch on it if it sounds interesting; but it really needs a proper introduction and a brief tutorial. I understand Early Access is expected to not be completely functional, but there’s “we’re still testing out things”  and then there’s “this shouldn’t really be open for sale and/or the public as a whole yet”.

If you like adventure games and want to support the dev, I’d recommend it, it’s an ok game with what it has so far. I can see potential in it, but currently it’s not something I’d recommend to just about everyone.

Black Sails

Data Break Up
Game: Black Sails
Genre: Adventure
Developer: Deck13
Publisher: Deck13
Release Date: Sep 17, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  6.3/10
Graphics: 8/10
Controls: 6/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Story: 6.5/10
Replay Value: 1/10
Community: N/A

 

Black Sails is a point and click styled horror(ish) adventure game that kind of reminds me of older console horror games, only without the action, and the horror. You are Anna, and along with some dude named Lex who has the manners of seal, you’re shipwrecked and… er… somehow find another ship and manage to climb on that one. Yu must now find a way off that ship in turn.

Let’s get on with the more technical aspects first. The game ran fairly smoothly through the first two hours, but after that it started randomly crashing, which was a bit annoying. I couldn’t quite pinpoint what caused it, but I’m almost certain it was related to having alt-tabbed out of it at least once each time.  Other than that it was pretty smooth sailing on my older computer.

The only real downside I found tech-wise was the lack of a windowed option.

The game plays simply. You point and click at things to interact with them, have an inventory on screen at all times, and the whole design aspect of it is rather nice, including the character models (even if the little kid was a little unintentionally creepy). The point and click aspect worked fine for the most, but some of the smaller items on screen (and a section where you had to click on words) seemed to be a little hard to get right, because the hit box was just too small, making you have to hunt for juuust the right spot to click. As an added bonus, you have the chance to save anytime you want (so long as it’s not a cutscene or a character is talking), which I always quite enjoy.

Graphics wise it was pretty pleasant to the eyes, some of the camera angles, however, although quite pretty in a cinematic sense, were very uncomfortable. They didn’t really block anything, but they weren’t really useful either, so you’d be walking and trying to click ahead and the camera changed just before the click finished so by the time the click went through the angle had changed and you were walking (or running, since you can run by double clicking) back to where you were coming from.

The really big miss, however, was the font choice. The font was completely and utterly unreadable. And tiny. I read around and it seems like you can lower the resolution to get a larger font but… why should you have to? It seems a bit extreme.

Sound wise, the music was good and the sound effects were as well. The little ‘horror’ bits to build up tension did create the tense, eerie atmosphere at the start of the game, but after a while they became a bit tiresome and annoying.

The voice acting is surprisingly good, even if it’s not perfect.

Moving on to the game itself, the idea of not having you (entirely) alone all through was nice. Unfortunately, Lex, your unfortunate shipwreck companion, is very annoying and highly unlikeable. Theory says the way you talk to him affects the way he talks back to you through the rest of the game. Practice says it hardly does. And even though I used the friendly options instead of hostile ones (which he totally deserved, btw), he was still a prick.

He was also not overly helpful, but I guess that’s to be expected by now of these type of games. Can’t give you a buddy that will solve all the puzzle for you now, can we? Heaven forbid they have a brain.

The game pushed you into forcefully talking with him in several parts whether you wanted to or not. Since he was quite annoying, I didn’t quite enjoy that. It also spoon fed you half the puzzles and showed you every single room, some of them quite at length with slightly dizzying camera pans, which as (again) cinematic as they were, they were completely unneeded and I wished they’d stop and just let. Me. Play. If I want cinematics and unskippable scenes, I’ll watch a movie. (You *can* skip most the dialogue btw, in case you were wondering)

Like with the starting dialogue that sets the mood of Lex, supposedly what you reply to him at the end of the game also affects the ending, but on my play-throughs the differences really were quite minimal and didn’t really merit replaying the last bit just for it. (The ending was also slightly disappointing.)

All that said, I did enjoy the game, though it didn’t offer much on the horror aspect and doesn’t offer much in replayability. The puzzles were decent and with just over 3 hours of gameplay, it’s not too bad, but you do need to be able to put up with the little annoyances.