Sunday, 16 June 2013

New Review Rating System

The new rating system will hopefully streamline the current one. Instead of a final something/100 score, I am going to make a something/5 system instead. This will rate the game in various areas such as graphics, plot and gameplay. I will then tally up the numbers and work out the average. This should give a more representative score for each game I review. This in the hope that the scores will make more sense. I have had a lot of feedback saying that the number at the end of the review is too vague. The reviews themselves will be unchanged. See below for an example of what the new score system should look like.

Graphics - 4/5
Soundtrack - 3/5
Gameplay - 4/5
Overall - 4/5

The number of scores will vary between games. I may add in enjoyment or plot depending upon the game, but the end result of and 'overall' score afterwards that is the average of those above will not. I have yet to decide whether I will be being a decimal point and it might be something that appears rarely or something that becomes a staple. We will just have to wait and see.

Anyway, there we go the new system for reviews in all its shining glory.


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Along Came A Spider Review

Along Came a Spider is a platformer that, as you may have guessed, you play as a spider. The aim of each level is to collect the 3 flies dotted around the map and reach the end web. You have to run, climb and run your way along the thin spider web while enjoying the slightly psychedelic music and visuals. Along Came a Spider takes the standard platformer formula, of reach the exit, and runs with it. The major difference with Along Came a Spider is that you play as a spider. Using your spider-ly powers you are able to climb surfaces. In fact, the game hangs a lot of its gameplay and platforming on this concept. For example, you may need to jump, hang upside down and run along for a bit before jumping back off again. Your spider can hang on any white surface (presumably webbing). There are some other surfaces, but spiders apparently hate them. With all these white lined surfaces I keep expecting line runner to come sledging down on me at any moment.

While attempting to reach the end of each level the games asks you "please collect some flies". These are optional collectables required to unlock further levels. Bit of an oxymoron and it would have been nice if the flies unlock extras, such as different skins for the spider. Actually, Along Came a Spider doesn't have anything other than the platforming levels. I know that is what the game is all about, but I am a sucker for unlockables.

Along Came a Spider has some interesting level designs and as I said before the ‘climbing' ability can shake up the standard platforming gameplay. Unfortunately it doesn't help it that much. The game can get a bit samey, but I really enjoyed it in small chunks. Gradually playing through it over an extended period, instead of having a massive gaming session on it. One reason I had to stop playing was that; the jumping physics are really floaty, for a game based on being able to time and aim jumps well, this is an issue. Frequent checkpoints make this a tad more manageable, but it is still frustrating to miss a seemingly easy jump own physics engine. Then again, the ‘floatyness' could be intentional as it really combines well with the psychedelic soundtrack.

The game's soundtrack makes for a rather dream like experience . When you add in the glow effects and you have something that is really trippy. I may have missed a trick by not playing it while in a drunken haze. So there you go the perfect game to accompany your excessive alcohol intake. 

Score: 75/100

General Information

Game Name - Along Came A Spider
Developer - raoghard
Genre - Platformer
Bundle - Indie Bundle - Ultimate Bug Out Bundle

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon Review

Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon is one of those games that can get away with being really cheesy and over the top games because it is madly addictive and incredibly fun to play. Throw together, blasting your way through a horde of alien invaders, that coincidently look like various insects, with massive boss fights and insurmountable odds and you have a winning combination. For lack of a better comparison think of Earth Defence Force as like Lost Planet, but without all that nonsense of fighting other humans. Combine all these features with co-op, character upgrades and replayability and you would think it would be amazing, right? Well let’s see shall we?

Firstly let’s focus on what Earth Defence Force is all about: gameplay. At its core, Earth Defence Force is an objective based third person shooter. The enemies range from ants to spiders, but they also throw space ships and giant robots at you. The game can have loads of enemies running you and your comrades down at any moment from both the air and ground. Oh, and by comrades I mean either AI players or if you jump online you can grab a buddy and charge through both campaign and survival maps.

Weapons. What more could you want to devastate your foes that a massive range of weapons? Earth Defence Force comes with a range of classes in the form of armours. The armours are: Trooper, Jet, Tactical and Battle. Each one fills a role in the battlefield and the game works best if you have one person playing as each. However, if (like me) you can rarely coordinate your pals, then the game's AI takes the place of the other three soldiers and you can still enjoy the game. Like I said before, each armour has its own weapon set and play style. Such as, the Jet Armour is all about flying about and raining down fire from the skies. Whereas, the Battle Armour sits you under loads of health and a big gun on the ground. So as you can see, there is a lot to play about with in Earth Defence Force. Alongside, the ability to upgrade your suits by gaining XP and the choice to buy and equip a range of weapons before each mission. This gives you a lot of customisability. As you upgrade your armour and it becomes more powerful and better weapons become available. You are however limited to 2 weapons per hero for the mission and this means if you make a bad choice then it cannot easily be swapped.

Earth Defence Force might not be the prettiest game, but it does manage to have tonnes of enemies on screen at once without any issues. The textures are a bit flat and there isn't much in the way of detail. However, since you are about to kill hundreds of enemies in a matter of minutes you don't even get much chance to take in the details of your enemies. Most things in Earth Defence Force are destructible. This includes: buildings, cars, trees and whatever else gets in either sides way. However, they just crumble and it isn't exactly the most beautiful and lifelike demolition. Again though, the sheer scale of the maps and the amount of destruction means you don't really mind. Especially, if you are about to be overrun by ants.

Missions in Earth Defence Force set you and your squad to help clear out the city by closing ant hills and clearing out areas. The missions that do not involve the massive bosses, that make Earth Defence Force shine, can get a little boring. Go here, kill that, and activate this. It can be a little uninspired at times. As you crank up the difficulty this can make it more interesting, as the insects become more difficult to kill. Although, overall gameplay is the same apart from harder difficulties meaning you can upgrade your armour to higher levels.

Alongside the regular missions there are a wide number of survival missions that throws greater and greater numbers of enemies at you and making you try to live as long as possible. However, this doesn't differ any from the campaign except that the bugs don't run out. This mode is best played with friends because otherwise it can get stale quickly.

While regular missions can get a bit boring and repetitive, boss fights are exciting. They generally involve something that is massive and seemingly invincible. When you reach your first boss fight in Earth Defence Force it is such a massive creature. It stomps about the maps making you feel tiny in comparison and there is a great sense of achievement when you finally defeat it. This feeling is sustained through further boss fights throughout the campaign. Each boss and some other smaller enemies use 'weak spots' that must be attacked in order to do any damage to them. The fact that you can only really damage them at a certain time and only in short bursts can be irritating, but it means you need to play tactically in order to you defeat it. 

I would like Earth Defence Force to only be the boss fights, since I began to find the regular missions too repetitive. Although, when playing with other people this is mitigated because competing to get the highest number of kills is brilliantly fun. I would prefer it to have had local co-op so I could play the co-op more often. A great amount of customisability and explosive gameplay makes for a wickedly fun game, which is best played with friends.

Score: 79/100

General Information

Game Name - Earth Defence Force: Insect Armageddon 
Developer - Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.
Genre - Action, Adventure, RPG,
Bundle - Indie Bundle - Ultimate Bug Out Bundle