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All 63 game Reviews


Agree to Agree Agree to Agree

Rated 4 / 5 stars

This game utilizes a 8-shaped branching logical model that creates illusion of choice while also subverting it. All possible choices lead to one "bottleneck", that leaves player with no options, but suffer verbal abuse from the interlocutor. It is interested how in this abstract model is used to convey an interesting ideological statement about the nature of politics: there are no right answers in politics, each of them can be considered wrong by the opposing party. So, in this sense, each person who participates in the "game" of politics by choosing one of the sides (left or right, pro Trump or contra Trump) and hoping that he has made the more decent and morally appropriate choice (just like a player in this game), should prepare to face strong opposition, because not all people think the same. It's a very sad game too, since it shows disappointment in any kind of political dialogue, but also a very promising, for the same reason.


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Traffic Collision 2 Traffic Collision 2

Rated 4 / 5 stars

This game is about directing a movement of an object, moving with a controllable speed, to reach certain milestones in a limited amount of time, while maintaining the object in the confines of a broad diagonal row and avoiding any obstacles, also moving along said row in the direction of the said object. To perform this task, player has three main resources to rely upon: time, life and nitro. Time is always given in the same quantity at the beginning of each level, drains continuously and can only be partially replenished upon reaching certain intermediate milestones; life is drained upon collision with other objects or edges of the row; nitro can be used at players will to increase car's speed to a certain limit. Each of the resources can be replenished upon colliding with special powerup objects, but life and time powerups are only unlockable after completing first and second levels respectively.
First obstacle at each level never moves on the right side of the row, thus providing a small handicap to the player who figures this out at the beginning. Also each level's objective is slightly easier than that of the first one, although it may not seem obvious at first; first level has the largest distance from the last intermediate milestone to the level's finish and the smallest variety of powerups available to the player (even nitro powerups seemed to be scarce to me, since once I've got all the way to the 7000 mark without ever seeing one). This game is all about training hard to fight easy, if by training you mean finishing first level. Not everyone will beat it, but those who do will be greatly rewarded. In my case, I spent about 40 minutes and countless efforts on first level, but after it was finished it only took me 4 attempts to complete 2-nd level and one attempt per 3-rd and 4-th ones! The trick is that to me the perceived difficulty of each subsequent level (set by its distance/initial time ratio) seemed higher than its actual difficulty, so each time I was expecting for a bigger challenge than I was actually getting, while my skills at manipulating game's core mechanics were getting higher and higher. Thus the dramatic leap in game's difficulty/skill ratio between first and subsequent levels may seem as an imbalance, but in my opinion, on the miniature scale of only four levels it serves to create a powerful feeling of personal accomplishment and empowerment in the player.


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Hero Agency Hero Agency

Rated 3 / 5 stars

At the beginning it requires player to efficiently distribute his limited resource on several investments. Depending on how well this resource was distributed, the game will either progress swiftly towards the end with a constant acceleration, or drag slowly to the inevitable dead-end. After efficient resource distribution, game requires player to attentively observe several colored indicators at the left corner of the screen and promptly perform certain actions (fulfill potions mostly, but also raise skills and hire new heroes), while also observing his resource status on the right side of the screen and planning his actions accordingly. As the number of indicators grows, the attentiveness challenge becomes more complicated, since player has to manage several sources of information simultaneously, at increasing speed and with additional audiovisual noise (camera shaking, colorful popups, sounds, etc.) At certain moment in the game resource's profits outweighs heavily its drains (hiring heroes, spending money on skills and potions) and the game pretty much plays itself from this point on, only requiring player to claim rewards in shops and occasionally refilling potions slots for his heroes. Additional challenge is revealed at the end of the game and consists of competing with other players online for the biggest overall profit. This adds new layer to the game, as it justifies sacking mechanic by giving it an economical purpose.
Choosing of a looting skill at the beginning seemed as a dominant strategy to me at first, but after finding myself in a dead end with two dead heroes and one unable to progress due to the lack of money on potions, I've understood that this is ultimately the ONLY strategy to successfully progress in this game. After realizing this, game ceased to be of any meaningful challenge, and, especially on the later stages, played itself for me. Shops' goals seemed distant and unobtainable at first, but as soon as the game sets on its rails are achieved with no sweat. Hero hiring cost, again, only matters at the beginning of the game and later loses any requirement for meaningful consideration doe to the giant profits your other heroes are making. Online competition component may be adding some "spice" to the game, but ultimately challenge of gaining the most profit seems like that of stubbornness more than that of skill, since the hiring/sacking mechanic allows for potentially endless play. Overall this game seemed to me all about starting right and then just enjoying a short, fast ride to the end.


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WORMBALL WORMBALL

Rated 5 / 5 stars

In the pinball game player gets an indirect control over a ball movement on a slightly sloped surface. His goal is usually to make it hit as many score areas as possible before inevitably falling into a gap in the lower edge of the surface by manipulating two stationary shutters above the gap, slightly distanced from each other. Game relies heavily on chance, but also requires a set of skills from the player, like ability to predict physical trajectories of moving objects, reaction speed, and, above all, promptness.
This game adds several twists to this formula. Firstly, it makes player score go higher every second that the ball stays on the field. This addition alone could have paved a way to the emergence of a dominant strategy, allowing the player to raise the score infinitely by tossing the ball into the nearest corner. So it was supplemented by the life draining mechanic, that forces player to play not only "defensively", but also "offensively", i.e. try to hit as many score objects as fast as possible. Secondly, it complicates the score objects smashing mechanic by allowing player to take benefit from the hit only by collecting small dots that are created from it and possesses the behavior similar to that of the main ball (and thus also replenishing the "hunger" meter and stopping "life" meter from draining). This additional mechanic incentivizes player to use shutters more frequently, but also reduces the requirement for player's promptness dramatically. In order to compensate this, it is balanced with the shutters lengths reduction mechanic: now the shutter's length is reduced every second player keeps it raised. This allows not only to compensate for the promptness requirement reduction, but also to create an interesting dilemma for the player: weather to play safe and only concentrate on reflecting the main ball and ignoring dots, or to reflect dots too, but risk exhausting shutters' length and losing main ball in a critical moment. In combination with the original pinball mechanics this improvements allow for very exciting playtime.
Overall, I think this game does a great job not only by adding new features to the pinball structure, but also by understanding ramifications of these additions very well and balancing them perfectly.


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Circus.Free! Circus.Free!

Rated 3 / 5 stars

This game is about developing patterns of tapping specific areas at the game's objects sprites at a limited amount of time with the risk of rendering object inaccessible. This type of procedure requires attention, precision and sensitivity. Mechanically it's as close to the pick pocketing simulation as I've ever experienced. The main interest of the game lies in the intuitive discovering of the ways the game objects (circus patrons) reacts to the player's inputs. While seducing player's attention with collectable objects and simultaneously fueling his need to collect them by setting severe time limits, game indirectly limits his actions by presenting a frightening-off mechanic. This creates a nice tension between player's greediness and caution and allows for an interesting satirical commentary on the subject of cheap attractions, freebie-hunger audiences and con artists.
With that said, however, game fails at presenting player with any interesting goals or challenges outside the main play mode. Thus the entire pick pocketing simulation aspect of the game loses its risk-and-reward structure, minimizing the risks and trivializing the reward. The performance sessions very quickly become repetitive and grindy. Not to mention that since any kind of punishment is virtually nonexistent, player soon finds himself in a loop of ever increasing power: each positive action leads to a cash reward that then can be subverted into an upgrade that only further increases effectiveness of that action, while none of the negative actions can lead to any sort of punishment. Also lack of the overall game purpose or goal quickly renders the core game activity pointless.


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Sacred Treasure Sacred Treasure

Rated 3 / 5 stars

By simplifying reaction-based challenges and exploration elements of a dungeon crawl RPG, this game emphasizes its economical element with three major resources: experience, equipment and currency. The feel of progression from one level to another is nice, and the loot variety allows for a constant distraction and provides a somewhat engaging strategic challenge.
Tactical elements of the game include attack positioning (a simple logical puzzle) and skill usage (potions can be counted as a special case of a skill). Good level design in combination with a skill points earning economy allows for several interesting instances, where the player has to strategically arrange his attacks in order to get to a powerup, avoid ranged damage or minimize healers influence, or to get skill tokens required to defeat large monster by defeating all the small ones nearby. As the difficulty increases, these instances are becoming more and more common: the game forces player to make more elaborate decisions as the healing potions are becoming less and less available, while balancing logic-based choices with reliance on luck. In my opinion, challenges, posed by these instances, form the most entertaining part of the game.
Unfortunately, though, they fail to compensate for the repetitiveness of the player's actions, as well as for the repetitiveness and hollowness of the environments. Creating replayability by forcing player to repeat same levels with same buffed enemies in order to get more stars or special currency points feels like a poorly concealed extortion or just a lazy game design. The sound effects could use lot of polish, and the art style feels very generic and boring. Turn-based combat encounters are needlessly slow and not engaging, since during them player can only drink potions and watch: due to the limited amount of skill tokens and the way they are produced (via killing monsters, i.e. after battle) player can only use one or two skills once per battle.
Overall this game feels as if it has fallen somewhere in-between the Diablo and some fighting-based clicker game: the reaction-based real-time challenges are gone, but some of the tactical challenges were left, the economical and character development aspects are pushed to the fore, but the uninspired setting and visual style fails to make them very engaging.



Flatwoods Flatwoods

Rated 4 / 5 stars

This game is about exploring interactions possibilities, offered by a two dimensional, grid-based surface, by navigating a rectangular character block with limited actions (walk, describe, pickup, open, transfer, etc.). The character is the real eyes and senses of the player in this game, since he only deals with character's descriptions of the surrounding objects, while looking at simplistic, abstract models of absolutely identical images. That is why this game relies on its character's personality, expressed through his words, portraits and cut scene animations, and provides a pleasant experience on this behalf. Each description and its delivery adds to the uncovering of a story with some detective elements (like the connection of a shooting star to a lumber-mill day off), but also with many questions left intentionally unsolved (where did Lemon's father go, and why? What is the old man's story with the tractor? Who used to live in the abandoned cabin? etc.). This creates a feeling of a larger-than-this-story world and adds to the immersiveness of the game. It also emphasizes sense of a spooky adventure, mystery and unknown (the fantastic music and animations are largely to blame for this), while also staying warm and childlike with its light humor, friendly animations and cartoony appearances. Throughout the whole play I was expecting for some dark turn in the story, but thankfully author has wisely decided not to play this card and instead focused on a more subtle feeling.
The game itself provides little to no challenge, which, in the case of this particular story, seems appropriate. The game's only real puzzle is the forest, but it literally solves itself due to a good level design: from the very first location player is told to be on a lookout of an item, that will allow him to remove the trunks in order to get to the sparkly things; next few areas show him where all the items that he want are situated, so he can easily come back to them later; finally, the way wraps in a big loop, allowing player to instantly return to the initial location after acquiring the required item.
Overall, this game is very simple in terms of its mechanics, but this simplicity is compensated and ideologically justified by the story, since it paves the way for precisely the experience it strives for.


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Gerkinman responds:

This review is super in depth and I cant thank you enough for taking the time to write up something so well thought out. I am glad you had a good time! :)


Wickebine Kigyouden Wickebine Kigyouden

Rated 3 / 5 stars

The game is about unlocking, memorizing and performing time-sensitive key combinations at required moments of gameplay to defeat enemies with different attack and movement patterns. Game delivers well at this regard: the sheer kinesthetic feel of each combo is very attractive, and the reward-punishment system seems fair, also it took me some time and a lot of frustration at first to adjust my senses to the animation delay. I had no to test if all the skills are well balanced, but upon completing first area I failed to found any useful application to one of them (sliding). Overall graphical style seemed inconsistent, especially if characters models and animation are to be contrasted with somewhat clunky backgrounds and dry, businesslike menus.
With all that said game is full of frustrating bugs. One of the most common ones is caused by jumps/meteor attacks and is sending my character through the floor and eventually killing him. The other one sends character at the beginning of the level under the similar circumstances. The second area (swamp) was especially full of these bugs. Eventually, they've spoiled my experience and made mw quit the game.


ShadowWhoWalks responds:

My bad. This engine is poorly optimized (written in AS 2.0) so it interacts horribly on some browsers. You're not supposed to get input delays, it's supposed to play smooth like butter.

If you're willing to give it another go, I strongly recommend downloading the offline version in the channel description.


Blackstorm II Blackstorm II

Rated 3 / 5 stars

This game is about intercepting projectiles that move along several vertical lines by moving a pad along a single horizontal line, while protecting a horizontal line beneath it (supposedly). This setup sets two challenges that player is to accomplish simultaneously: to protect a lower horizontal line from projectiles and objects, leaning onto it from above and to collect green projectiles in order to harness energy and ultimately progress through the level. This combination of challenges (protecting and collecting) and mechanics (sliding alone the horizontal line, shooting alone the vertical lines) composes an engaging experience. Also different enemy types and movement/shooting patterns, different types of weapons and upgrades enhance this experience greatly.
Collected projectiles produce energy, while projectiles that hit the ground drain energy. Energy can be used to charge shields, charge level-finishing gun and charge player's weapon. Each way of energy distribution is supposed to be useful, but in my experience I was only using it to charge gun and weapon, since shields can repair themselves over time. The projectile collecting mechanic creates a nice little economy, that player has to manage on the fly, as he shoots and slides from side to side. For me this was the most interesting part of the game: forcing me as a player to look at each enemy and projectile from both tactical and strategic points of view, i.e. both as a threat to be dealt with and as a source of energy to harness in order to finish the level.
In my first hour of play I was very nervous not to miss any projectile since I thought that alien ships pose some actual threat to the city below. But after surviving some vicious onslaughts and reaching wave 11 in one go, I decided to test game limits. I stopped and did nothing for several minutes. Enemy ships continued to bomb my city, but nothing indicated that my progress was under any threat. Later I repeated this experiment on a higher difficulty with the same result. Discovering that game has no losing conditions have significantly decreased my interest in playing, since it eliminated essential part of the challenge: protecting the lower horizontal line from invading projectiles. It made enemies look less like a threat and more like a mere nuisances that slow down your progress towards the next wave by draining your energy.


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AleGui responds:

That's a very complete review, I appreciate it.

I think it's fair, you just forgot one element. When the city takes damage the canon energy drops, if it drops enough the game goes back to the previous wave. It can revert up to 3 waves, so for instance if you were in wave 10 and go AFK you will go back to wave 7 after taking enough damage.

But you are correct, taking damage does not kill you, it just slows or reverts your progress.


When Goats Join Cults Demo When Goats Join Cults Demo

Rated 4 / 5 stars

I enjoy games that encourage player to explore all the possibilities they offer and reward him even for failure. This kind of encouragement allows for a more saturated dialogue between the player and the game designer, as some of the player’s actions and challenges that he seeks to accomplish in the game's environment echoes with a reply of some sort. Some games (like this one) take this premise even further and make this kind of expiration the sole goal of the game, thus encouraging players to experience it in many different ways. This makes interaction with the game's system especially playful, as there is no right or wrong answers, only new ones and old ones.
This game utilizes this kind of structure to create an interactive equivalent of a dark joke. The first layer of this joke is the premise that a goat wants to join the goat-eating cult. The second layer is the sham hospitality of the cult members, intended to poorly disguise their true intentions. The third layer is the fact that no matter how well you perform, if you followed the first order that the game gives you (to enter the room and to sit at the table) you end up eaten. It's a joke based on a false misconception: we see something from the very beginning but doubt whether it really is what it looks like; after all though it turns out exactly what we were to expect based on its appearance: goat eating cult that eats goats. What's truly funny about this game, though, is that it continues this joke throughout each and every ending: no matter what you do and how sophisticated your actions are, you will end up eaten - since, again, it's a goat eating cult, after all, and you are a goat. This makes for a great joke, since this game mocks the very principle of its gameplay: it offers variety of possible actions with seemingly different outcomes, but ultimately brings player to the one result that was obvious from the very beginning.
Some technical notes: I've experienced some lags in the hall (initial area of the game). Also some of the platformer mechanics could have been little more responsive and less clunky. Also, it would have probably subtracted from the overall zany feel of the game.


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