Fatal Frame III: The Tormented

I’ve talked before about Fatal Frame I and Fatal Frame II. The third installment on the franchise, Fatal Frame III barely makes the cut of my favorite PS2 horror games.

The story follows Rei Kurosawa, a photographer who has recently lost her fiancé in a car accident. During one of her jobs she believes she sees her dead lover, and afterwards she begins having nightmares of an old Japanese manor, and a mysterious tattooed ghost woman.

In the style of the previous two, the entire gameplay is based on you taking pictures of the ghosts in order to defeat them. The whole old Japanese setting is still as eerie as ever and serves to give you goosbumps all through the game, as does the modern one, for that matter.  As you advance in the story both Miku and Mio (from Fatal Frames 1 and 2) make appearances – a very nice way to tie up all the stories.

So what is different from the first two?

Well, not much, if I’m honest. The camera controls are fairly similar to Fatal Frame 2, not having any notable improvement, unlike the changes made from 1 to 2 which greatly improved gameplay.

The most notable difference then is on the split timing of wake/dream. Unlike the other two, you’re not physically going into the house and getting lost, but dreaming about it. During the times Rei is awake and at her own home it’s spooky and has creepy sounds and happenings, but can be considered the “safe” time, while the times she dreams about being in the manor are most certainly not safe.  Later in the story the lines of reality and dream get blurred, but the idea of having a safe time to explore and investigate was something I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, you never see much outside Rei’s home so it felt kind of boring in the end, and didn’t give as much freedom as it seemed to offer. For that matter, you never see much outside the (admittedly very large) manor, except for what’s considered it’s underground and surrounding areas. I do wish there had been plenty more to investigate during the time Rei is awake, and more proactive actions to take.

Another change to the game play was the addition of a gimmick; namely, candles. On the one hand, the idea was nice. On the other, I thoroughly hated it because it added a sense of rush that was not necessary on a game that to me should be slow, spooky exploration (as the first two were). This gimmick only comes into play after a certain point in the game, however, and it involves finding certain candles to prevent quite dangerous ghosts to appear around you at every turn. Should the candle run out these ghosts will appear to make your life impossible, until you find the next candle… or die in the process.

There are two endings to the game, which as usual is nice to have. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

All things considered Fatal Frame III is a beautiful third installment to the series, but I would highly recommend the second one over it.

4/5

Tricone Lab

Partickhill Games brings us Tricone Lab, a deceivingly simple, quasi-minimalist looking puzzle game that will make you use all your lateral thinking abilities in order to proceed though the increasingly difficult levels.

In Tricone Lab you interact with microscopic organisms in what appears to be a cellular-like environment. Your goal? To create as many “tricones” as the level needs to let you proceed. Tricones are created by joining three colored cones (red, green and blue) into a master template, but several things will get in your way: not only the membranes, but also other organisms that might either aid or hinder you in your quest to complete the levels.

The graphics of the game might be quite simple, but there’s a certain charm to the simplicity of the game, and I greatly appreciate the almost monochrome tonality of most of the game, for these type of puzzle games tend to end up in bright colors to make up for the lack of “proper” graphics. Not here! The graphic style seems to fit perfect with the game.

The music and sounds are pretty good, almost relaxing, I rather enjoyed them even if I kept them at a very low level.

Playing it is simple enough – you mostly will use your mouse to connect things and navigate, but there are also keyboard shortcuts should you not want to go entirely with the mouse.

The levels, as I’ve already stated, appear to be quite simple when you begin, but as you progress they get increasingly difficult, and often times I would get stuck by not thinking things through properly before launching into what looked like a simple puzzle, but ended up being something more… even when the difficulty was marked as low. So the game really makes you pay attention to what you’re doing.

There are neither tips nor guides in-game (there are tutorials though, like with every puzzle game, introducing you what new items do), though I’ve found often the level names are tips on their own.

As you get through the levels you will unlock keys that will allow you to open even more levels for a whooping total of 100. Yes, you read that right. Tricone Lab boasts of 100+ levels, and if that were not enough for you, they also have a level editor. You can upload any maps you create with it, and others will be able to play them. Can you see the possibilities here? I can.

And the game is still in development!

Tricone Labs is an entertaining, challenging game that, although it might not be a graphical masterpiece, is truly worth your time. I’m the kind of person that gets easily frustrated with games, and I have to say, while I did get stuck here and there, Tricone was never stressful nor frustrating to play through.

Do I recommend it? It’s a sound YES! You’re sure not to regret the purchase.

The Architect

Data Break Up
Game: The Architect
Genre: Indie, Puzzle
Developer: Spooky Star
Publisher: Spooky Star
Release Date: Jun 4, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  8/10
Graphics: 5/10
Controls: 8/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 10/10
Sound: 9/10
Story: 3/10
Replay Value: 7/10
Community: N/A

The Architect is a puzzle game of varied difficulties by Spooky Star. In order to understand how the difficulties work, you must understand how the game is played: You find yourself on a translucent board made of blocks, all of which are on different levels. You can’t jump up but you can drop to a different level. Gathering certain objects of one color allows you to bring a block one level up per object. Gathering objects of another color allows you to bring a block down one level per object.
Difficulties, then, are based on whether you need to gather all the objects or not before you exit the level.

Larger, harder levels are labyrinth-like, so that even in the easiest difficulty you will have to consider your moves carefully – after all, you have only a limited amount of objects in the board meant to raise or lower blocks, and you might end up walking yourself into a dead end.

The puzzles themselves are pretty great if you’re into harder puzzles that make you think through each step, particularly on the higher difficulty settings.

The controls weren’t too bad but they weren’t overly good, either. I feel like they could’ve put a bit more thought in them, and while it’s hard to describe precisely why, I’ll just say the combination of mouse and keyboard felt a bit awkward sometimes.

There was an attempt to put a bit of a story on the puzzle, but I don’t feel it’s that good nor that it was needed. I do appreciate the effort in trying, though. The basic idea of it is: you’re just a mysterious object tasked with bringing a world to life. It’s interesting and gives it a nice touch, but there was no need to try and add depth to it.

The graphics were probably what bothered me the most. They weren’t bad, but they were confusing. I do understand the need to make the blocks translucent so as not to block the view of lower levels, yet at the same time this made the puzzles much harder. It’s probably also part of it – to add difficulty to the puzzles – but at some pints it was just annoying, as most of the angles on larger levels became confusing – was that at the same level or lower? – more than once I fell on a lower level because of this and locked myself out of moves, or even lowered/rose a platform thinking it was going to be at the right level when it really wasn’t – or when I was really seeing one beyond.

All in all, The Architect is a really nice puzzle game but I found it hard from relaxing, and relaxing is how I like my puzzles best.

Tomb Raider

 

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Game: Tomb Raider
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Crystal Dynamics, Feral Interactive (Mac)
Publisher: Square Enix, Feral Interactive (Mac)
Release Date: Mar 4, 2013
Platform: PC / Played on Windows 7
Overall rating:  9/10
Graphics: 10/10 (Works on toasters, low settings, still looks good)
Controls: 9/10
Level/Puzzle Design:8/10
Sound: 9/10
Story: 6/10
Playability/Gameplay: 9/10
Community: N/A (didn’t try Multiplayer)

 

Review

I won this game here on WalaWalaGames and it’s by far one of the best games I’ve ever won.

Like all Tomb Raider games there’s a lot of platforming and accidentally jumping to your death because you miscalculated how far that other ledge was and well darn, now you’ll have to go back to the last checkpoint. Oh well. Game mechanics were simple, controls were quite comfortable, aiming was easy, and the upgrade system was decent, though I hardly had a need for the shotgun at all so it felt a bit wasteful to spend any salvaging on it. The saving (checkpoint autosave, camp site save) was pretty accessible and I was pleased with how far it went without save points (some games make it really really far to get to another save point so dying halfway through can make you rage-quit: not here, though!)

Game mechanics were a bit of a mix. Sometimes you had those quick time events which can be slightly annoying, but this game gave you enough reaction time to realize it’d suddenly switched from action to ‘press x key’, and at least said x key wasn’t really x, and wasn’t really halfway across the keyboard either. Some call that boring, I call that thank you for not breaking my fingers. The “mash E button to (insert action here)” was rather annoying, however, particularly in a couple places where you mashed it forever and you’d still not managed to get even halfway to what you had to do. I get it, the door you’re lifting is heavy, ok? Some of us have better things to do than break our keyboards to get past a point in the game. Other than that, the system was simple and enjoyable, with pretty basic action buttons to remember.

The game was beautiful graphics and sounds wise. Even in low settings it looked wonderful, and it was really wonderful to explore all the maps. It was, however, rather linear, which is to be expected in all Tomb Raider games. Big plus that it works in toasters with low settings and, when it lagged (particularly in very action filled parts), just lowering the resolution for the time of the action usually solved the problem. So it was very toaster-friendly and I love that in a game.

Fights could get a bit tedious when it came to those “defend this post until the enemy wave ends” schemes, but otherwise they were entertaining. Perhaps if I’d remembered more often that I had a grenade launcher they would’ve been easier. Oops. lol I do wish they would have also provided more freedom on what type of weapons you had to use where. I loved used the bow and frankly wanted to stealth my game through the entire game (well, maybe not during enemy waves lol), but I was often forced to switch weapon. It wasn’t a big con, however, just more of wishful thinking on my part.

The puzzles weren’t too difficult, in fact most were rather easy, which I rather enjoyed too (but I guess some people would like a challenge better).

Story-wise it left something to be desired. The basic story was good, but I didn’t quite fancy the tortured, inexperienced, whiny Lara (not that she didn’t have a right to be whiny, she was being tortured through most of it, but… )

Replayability is moderately high, though you don’t really have new game+ (which is a damn shame) you can at least go back on your save file and explore the island to complete whatever you missed on the first play through, so you can probably get most achievements, if not all. This mode respawns enemies, which is good for farming exp, but (there’s always a but) it respawns them at fixed points, so once you know where they are it gets kind of boring to hunt them down.

Bug-wise I only encountered one through the entire thing, which was apparently solved by just waiting for a minute or so before you made a jump.

As for the multiplayer, I haven’t played it so I can’t really comment on it. Seems like it’s PvP and I’m more into PvE and actual co-op where you co-op(erate) with people to defeat something other than people, call me a pacifist if you will. :P

Now, I know I’ve mentioned a lot of cons, but the game was still awesome and gripping. I loved the non-wave fights, particularly if I could stealth my way around them, and I loved exploring the bigger maps. I played it two days straight until I finished it and all I have left to do now is explore to finish collecting things I missed, so obviously, you can say I really, really enjoyed it!


Toaster graphics  8D

Grim Legends 2: Song of the Dark Swan

This review was originally written for WalaWala Games.
A free copy of the game has been provided in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Grim Legends 2: Song of the Dark Swan
Platform: PC / iOS
Developer: Artifex Mundi
Genre: Action / Casual Adventure / RPG

Part 2 of the Grim Legends series, Song of The Dark Swan is another wonderful Adventure and Hidden Object game from Artifex Mundi. I own and have played several of their games and I have to say, they’re my favorite in the genre. They just know how to mix story, art, and game-play wonderfully. So, needless to say, I was quite excited to be able to review one of their games.

In Song of The Dark Swan you step into the shoes of a healer gone to see a queen about her illness, only to have the queen be accused of dark magic. The healer must then set off to save two Kingdoms by undoing a family curse, finding the missing heir to the throne, saving the queen and finding the true dark sorcerer; and all of this in one day!

For those unfamiliar with the gameplay of these type of games, and particularly the  Artifex Mundi ones, the mechanics are quite simple. In between story parts you will find several different game-play methods: Point and Click areas in which you will have to find small items in the environment for later use in puzzles; Puzzles, such as sliders, arranging puzzles, find-a-piece puzzles, follow-recipe puzzles, and the sort; and finally Hidden Object puzzles, in which you’re presented with a heavily packed screen full of items from which you’re provided a list, and you must find them in the picture. What I love about this developer is precisely this: they don’t just stick to hidden objects or slide puzzles, they mix and match and offer a great variety through the game.

You only need your mouse to play these type of games, and they usually don’t require high grade computers, either. Artifex Mundi is particularly good at this, their games tend to work in even the lowest end computers I’ve owned. The videos might get a bit choppy if you’re not in a decent rig, but I have so far only had that problem with one of their games, and this one wasn’t it.

And, before anyone asks, no, you don’t need to have played Grim Legends 1 to understand or follow part 2. They follow a similar theme, but they aren’t the same.

Let’s move along to the actual game!

Song of The Dark Swan doesn’t disappoint in terms of music and sound effects. The music suits the atmosphere perfectly, it’s beautifully eerie, truly giving you a feeling of being in a fantasy land touched by dark magic. The sound effects are quite pleasing to the ears, too. The voice acting, however, is hit and miss. It’s not bad, the voices are pleasant enough, and the intonation fairly good, but there was something lacking. It’s still improved plenty from the last games, however. Particularly, I was bothered by the sounds the fairies made as well as the children voices. The rest were fairly good.

Artifex Mundi is wonderful at their game art; as far as the world goes, the art is amazing! It’s full of small details and truly brings the world to life. I always enjoy going to new locations and discovering all the effort put into each and every piece – be it nature or indoors. It’s also very colorful and bright, even in the darker themed games such as this.

Characters, however, can be a bit hit and miss. Most are pretty beautifully rendered, but then you’ll have the slightly odd face or odd pose during cut-scenes, and they can get just a bit creepy. Still, their games hold some of the best artists I’ve seen.

Song of The Dark Swan is the same in both aspects. The world is represented in magnificent detail and it really helps bring it to life, especially if you take into account some things in the backgrounds are partially animated; the characters are fairly well done, particularly when static, but some are still better rendered than others. What differentiates characters in this one is that they’re more paint-style art than in their other games, and I found I rather liked the change.

The cinematic scenes have certainly improved plenty from past games, making the cut-scenes pleasant to watch and just short enough that you really don’t see the need to skip them – unless that annoying fairy is talking.

In Song of The Dark Swan, like in their other games, the world is full of little collectibles. In this case small symbols throughout the different areas. Some are easy to spot, some much harder. It makes for an interesting challenge to find them all!

The story itself is quite nice. It’s short and simple. It’s been obviously based off a fairy tale, but still manages to spin a story of its own; it has hints to background lore and legends within the story itself to give it depth, too, which is always a plus in any game, and makes the story engaging. There are darker parts to the story as well, but ultimately you get a relatively happy ending, and I do love my happy endings.

As for the game-play itself, I missed the ability to switch a puzzle for a mini-game from previous games, but it was also an option I used only when an item was particularly hard to find, so in the long run it wasn’t really that much of a drawback.

However, I enjoyed the variety of puzzles offered; in fact it seemed to be a bit more varied than in their previous titles. It’s one of my favorite things on this developer’s games, and Song of The Dark Swan didn’t disappoint. I also quite enjoyed the ability to have companions – the first time this was introduced in one of the developer’s games I fell in love with the idea as it added not only a friendly little creature with you, but a second level of challenge where you had to ponder just where the little animal might be of use. Here I could use not only one, but more, and that was pretty awesome. On the downside, even when replaying the game on expert mode, the companions made little sounds to hint where they could be used, which was slightly annoying.

There were a lot more locations to visit than in previous titles, which made me happy, and the developer has the wonderful habit of offering quick-travel if you’ve visited those locations, something I honestly love them for because the more locations, the more confusing it can get to get where you’re going. There was also less of a need to backtrack through maps, usually whatever you needed for that ‘chapter’ could be found within the map world.

There was also more interaction which characters and more parts where you had to uncover the story of the curse, which was done through finding golden feathers. I really enjoyed those little flashbacks, the art was pretty and the story in it was interesting.

Song of The Dark Swan had a better balance between puzzles and hidden object scenes. I guess depending on what you like this could be good or bad. I found I didn’t mind it.

The achievements are not too hard to get, which was both pleasing for me as a casual gamer, and yet slightly bothersome as someone who likes the challenge. There should be about 30 of them for you to gather though, so you won’t be bored.

As for the difficulty of the game, the puzzles aren’t overly difficult, and if you’re used to the developer’s games they will not be much of a challenge for you, as they’re not the hardest I’ve encountered in their games; but they’re pleasing puzzles nonetheless.

In a whole, the Collector’s Edition with its bonus story takes about 5 and a half hours to beat, perhaps a bit more if you’re a completionist. It’s an enjoyable fairy tale type story with enjoyable puzzles that are sure to please casual gamers, though I doubt even expert mode would challenge seasoned players. It would also make a great introduction to anyone just looking into starting with hidden object type of games.

Song of The Dark Swan is definitely recommended in my book!

 

Overall Rating: 9/10

 

Expand

 

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Game: Expand
Genre: Adventure, Indie, Puzzle
Developer: Chris Johnson , Chris Larkin
Publisher: Chris Johnson ,   Chris Larkin
Release Date: Sep 30, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  8/10
Graphics: 9/10
Controls: 8/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 10/10
Sound: 9/10
Story: N/A
Replay Value: 9/10
Community: N/A

 

Review

On steam the game is described as “a meditative video game in which you explore a circular labyrinth that constantly twists, stretches and expands around you,” and it is the best description you will ever get of how this puzzle game works.
Even the menu (which has a full range of options, from window to sound to resolution… ) is a little adventure on its own, as it serves as a quasi introduction to how you will be moving around once you start the game.

The labyrinth that is this circle seems to be in constant movement – and so will you be, as you navigate through it with a most delightful, relaxing soundtrack and sounds, solving puzzles and finding your way through the nearly seamless integration of levels.
The game ‘auto saves’ fairly often enough via various checkpoints, so that when you fail at a section the circles will swiftly return to the position of the last checkpoint, and move a bit as if to ‘help’ you get your bearings better (though I can’t say it helped me as much)… because you most definitely will need to get your bearings at first.

The controls are initially confusing because of the circular nature of the game area – what is up in one part of the circle will be down in another part as if you were gravitationally pulled, and so you must adapt as the circular labyrinth breaths. It truly seems to be alive, as it moves, expands and contracts depending on the areas and what you do.
You can play with a gamepad or with your keyboard wasd/arrow keys, giving you enough flexibility to try and find what’s most comfortable to you.

I didn’t find this one quite as relaxing as I found Hook, however, it’s still a beautiful puzzle game with a beautiful soundtrack that is visually very pleasant.
Do be warned, however, that in some of the levels the various moveable pieces will be rotating around and can make overly sensible people a little bit dizzy. They were going slowly enough that it wasn’t that much of a problem to me, but it’s a possibility.

Recommended:

Hook

Disclaimer: The developer has kindly provided a key in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Game: Hook
Genre: Casual, Indie, Puzzle
Developer: Maciej Targoni , Wojciech Wasiak
Publisher: Rainbow Train
Release Date: Jan 25, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  10/10
Graphics: 10/10
Controls: 10/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 10/10
Sound: 10/10
Story: N/A
Replay Value: 10/10
Community: N/A

 

Review

Hook is a very, very relaxing puzzle game. Minimalist in its design, with only a white background and black lines and buttons for presentation, you’re thrown straight into the puzzle without so much as a tutorial. And that’s okay, you don’t really need a tutorial. Every time a new item is added to the puzzles,  you’re given a very simple version to solve that teaches you what the new symbols do. The basic idea is that you will remove the items in order, taking care none will hook or get stuck with another.

When I say the game is minimalist, I do mean it’s minimalist: it doesn’t even have a menu. Normally I’d be pretty annoyed without control over the sound, but in this case, I didn’t need it. Hook’s sound effects and backgrounds music/sound are soft, pleasant, and as relaxing as the rest of the game is.

The puzzles themselves aren’t difficult, in fact, the game is quite easy and short (just under an hour to complete) with only 50 levels, and only the last few levels are more complicated (because of all the ramifications, and not because they’re actually hard) The game even offers you 3 tries on those latter levels, so that you won’t lose at the first mistake.

The only complaint I had was the windowed mode. Alt+enter did take you out of fullscreen and into window mode, but at the same resolution. I made the mistake of resizing the window on the hopes it would help the resolution aspect, but it only cut off part of my puzzle area; alt+entering back to full screen did not reset this, nor did resizing the window again, so I was forever left with a thin black line at the top and bottom of my game screen that cut off a tiny bit of the puzzles.
Still, it wasn’t game breaking as I didn’t resize it too small (thankfully).

If you like these kind of puzzle games (and even though you might not find a huge challenge in this), if you need something relaxing to play then I definitely recommend it. It’s worth the money.

 

Concrete Jungle

 

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Game: Concrete Jungle
Genre: Indie, Strategy, Puzzle, Card Game, City Builder
Developer: Cole Powered Games
Publisher: Cole Powered games
Release Date: Sept 23, 2015
Platform: PC / Windows 7
Overall rating:  9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Controls: 10/10
Level/Puzzle Design: 10/10
Sound: 9/10
Story: N/A
Replay Value: 9/10
Community: N/A

 

Review

Concrete Jungle is a very simple, yet very difficult puzzle/card game by Cole Powered Games.

Unlike free builders where you can more or less place things wherever you want so long as you keep everyone happy; Concrete Jungle leans more into puzzle aspects than city building. It brings the level of difficulty up by adding to the mix a deck of cards; the cards feature buildings, each with pros and cons.You can only place buildings dealt from your deck, and you have a limited space to place them in – think of it as a deck and a board. Meanwhile, you must add up to a certain amount of points to ‘clear’ the first area of the board (called a column) so you can continue on building to the finish line. It might not make much sense explained like this, but once you look at the screenshots, you’ll surely understand better.

The game is very addictive. It offers a campaign mode, where you more or less follow a small story while you play through each stage with various different goals; and it also offers a “custom game” mode, the custom mode allows you to play solo (customizing how many lines or columns you want to make to the finish line as well as a few other things), play versus (local co-op or online), a luck-based version of solo (in which you have no deck, but random buildings to place on the board), and the ability to load a previous save file.

I found that it was easy to pick up and leave at any given time – maybe not so much if you’re doing latter campaign stages, but if you play custom solo you can make quick games, and play in short little bursts or for longer periods of time according to your mood, so I think this game would be apt for casual gamers as well as those that like to play for hours on end. Unlike other games, where normally I get tired of trying to re-do a failed stages over and over, I didn’t have that reaction with Concrete Jungle. The modes offered a slight level of randomization when repeating a stage (some things were fixed, others weren’t), so that it didn’t really feel like a repeat each time.
The versus sessions can get a little ‘intense’ when both players are of a similar skill level, making for entertaining matches. Yet, I found the (forced) versus matches on the campaign mode a lot less fun to play through than the solo campaigns.

Whether you play solo or versus you gain exp and level up, thus unlocking new cards to play in your deck.

The art of the game is very appealing, the soundeffects and music are pleasant and relaxing, and the voice acting surprisingly good. The puzzle aspect got increasingly difficult as the stages advanced and more game options were given to me: such as getting different cards or skills once I reached a certain amount of points, or when target rises if you use too much of another type of points, and so on… You have “lives”, too, which help you along the way if you can’t clear a column.

The mix of city building (although it’s arguably more of a puzzle than a city builder) and cards was very well executed and I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised by Concrete Jungle.

Recommended: I definitely recommend this game if you like puzzles, card games, or strategy type games, but it’s probably not for hardcore city builders.

Stacking

 

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Game: Stacking
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Release Date: Mar 6, 2012
Platform: PC / Played on Windows 7
Overall rating:  10/10
Graphics: 9/10
Controls: 7/10
Level/Puzzle Design:10/10
Sound: 10/10
Story: 10/10
Replay Value: 9/10
Community: N/A

 

Review

Stacking is one of the most original games I’ve played to date, and one of my favorites. I just cannot tell you how much I love this game.

In Stacking you take the role of Charlie, the youngest in a family of Chimney Sweepers. His relatives are all taken away to work for the Baron, an Industry leader. Your task? To find and rescue your family, and while you’re at it, free the children that are being used in child labour by the Baron.

The game is just super charming: the visuals are pretty stunning, the nesting dolls are adorable, and they all have their own powers and personalities. You, being the youngest of your family (and thus smallest) will need to solve puzzles (how to get into and out of places, unlock stuff, etc) by getting into different dolls and using their powers to achieve your goal. You have to respect the sizes, so sometimes to solve a puzzle you have to get inside various different sizes of dolls.

What’s best about it, besides the originality of it, is that:

  • All the puzzles are very logical, thus making them both challenging but at the same time not impossible.
  • All puzzles have more than one way to solve it. Meaning you can go back and find all the other ways in which you could have solved the problem. in fact, you will definitely want to do this.

I found the humor utilized through it to be quite adorable and funny too.

The cutscenes are all made like little theater plays, and the music is just beautiful and very in tune with the game’s setting and style.

The only downside I could find to this game, though, is that the cutscenes are almost unskippable (you can actually double tap esc to skip them, but apparently that works only at certain points because most the time I just couldn’t skip them).

I would definitely recommend this game to everyone, regardless of age and gender.

Whispering Willows

 

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Game: Whispering Willows
Genre: Adventure, Indie
Developer: Night Light Interactive
Publisher: Night Light Interactive
Release Date: jul 9, 2014
Platform: PC / Played on Windows 7
Overall rating:  9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Controls: 8/10
Level/Puzzle Design:7/10
Sound: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Replay Value: 5/10
Community: N/A

 

Review

Whispering Willows is a Horror(ish)/Adventure puzzle game by Night Light Interactive. In it you play as Elena, who is looking for her father. Elena has powers that allow her to spirit-walk (or astral-project, as you may want to call it), which will help her solve puzzles, talk to ghosts, and help them move on. The game has some basis of Native American folklore, which might make it of particular interest to some.

Although the game is fairly simple and short, it has a lot going for it.
The story is interesting enough, though to get the full impact of it you really need to read all the notes you find, and not just skip them. The 2D graphics quite beautiful in their simplicity, yet still detailed enough in the backgrounds that you find yourself noticing all those little special things. The soundtrack and sounds are quite fitting the mood of the game throughout.

In Whispering Willows you’re searching for your missing father at the Willows Mansion, which is full of secrets and ghosts and passageways. You will spend most of your time moving around the maps trying to find items, secrets and such, sometimes on your body, sometime by spirit walking.
The puzzles aren’t too easy, but they’re also not incredibly hard, making them just about the right spot where you won’t necessarily feel compelled to quit or look up the answer, but will also not find it immediately for most of them. Some do require quite a bit of backtracking though, and when I played the game you could only walk and not run. I hear this has been fixed now, as the developer is very present on the forums.

It can be a bit easy to get lost as it has several locations, and at the time of playing it the game had no map system (I don’t think it’s been added, but I’m not sure) which had me backtracking and getting lost in a few parts.
The game might also seem a bit slow to some, though if you’re used to Adventure games, the pacing shouldn’t be a problem.

The replay value of this game is decent – you will probably want to play it again at some point, but likely not soon after finishing it.

All in all, I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a short, more paranormal than horror story with a good story.