Super Volley Blast

I’m going to be completely frank here, I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is completely buried by releases and deemed as shovelware.  But honestly judging this game at face value would be a disservice to this game which, believe or or not, packs in quite a punch (or should I say spike?) into an otherwise minimalist presentation.  The game shaves nearly all the fat, and while it has its quirks like Mario tennis style extra modes and what I almost would call a parody of the Smash bros/Soul Calibur character creation mode, the game is ultimately about its simple, yet refined controls/core gameplay.

Super Volley Blast is a 4 player couch multiplayer (no online as of this publish) party volleyball game that has an extremely low skill floor, yet shockingly high skill ceiling for how few options the game actually presents (think games like Divekick).  The game only has 3 buttons: a jump, a hit, and a set/intercept light attack.  As per mostly accurate volleyball rules, each game is played 2v2 (you have to autofill cpus to play).  In the basic gameplay, each team has 3 hits to clear the ball from their side of the field, and each player must alternate hits.  It is advised to set the ball up for one another until the final third strike, whereas the player presses the jump key, presses the hit key at JUUUUUUST the right moment, and WHAM!  Gets the strike – yeah by the way, the game has a spike move but it’s a combination of button presses.  Wow is this like a fighting game???   Kinda actually.  It’s a sports game at heart, but the unique aspect of Super Volley Blast is the ability to aim shots with the left stick.  By using numpad notation, the field is broken up into a 3×3 grid of sorts.

In this case, I held my control stick down and left to target where the reticle is pointing.  Not pointing the control stick would aim for the center, etc.  This mechanic is what makes the game feel the most like a fighting game: THE MINDGAMES.

While at first, it may feel nigh impossible to react, the game has a dashing hit similar to the Mario tennis games, and you feel quite masterful as you manage last second maneuvers.  You can even save shots from going out so long as it never hits the ground.  The quick nature of the gameplay, coupled with the tight controls really serve as a solid foundation for a sports title.  I believe this game was budgeted for its price: $10 gets you just enough: I would equate it a cheaper NBA Jam or Mario tennis.

LIGHTNING ROUND: game modes- GO!  Quick match: as basic as it gets: start a match with up to 4 players and play the standard game.  Tournament: basically the average arcade mode from an anime fighting game: wouldn’t fault you for skipping, but the writing is quirky and the gameplay is still solid.  Super blast: modifiers for the match.  Your special match from smash bros if you will.  Only modifiers I enjoyed were max 2 hits and chicken/bomb ball (both of which are VERY chaotic).  Avatar editor: deceptively robust and unexpected: I had a good time with it in that Mii maker way, and there aren’t any crazy cosmetic microtransactions, so yay.  Phew that’s the last of them: sounds sparse, but decent considering what you put in.

I think you’ll know if you’re the type of player to buy this game.  The game reminds me of a cross of Windjammers and Mario Tennis in a good way.  Those games have stuck with me for a while, so another new developer throwing their hat into the “kinda sports games but not really” genre is always welcome.  I think solid online could really make this no question, but your enjoyment of the game may vary.  As for me, this is my most reluctant gamer seal of approval, if only because I feel like opinions on this game will invariably be polarized.  If you want my opinion: I left pretty happy.

 

The Seal

Super Volley Blast – $9.99 steam version.

Publisher: Unfinished Pixel.

Release Date: Nov 1, 2018.

I was provided a review copy from the developers for the purposes of this writing.  My opinions are still my own.

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My Memory of Us

My_Memory_of_Us_Key_Art.jpgMy Memory of Us is a puzzle game. It focuses on a shared story between a young girl and an old man who is telling her a story about his childhood, and the girl he was friends with back then. Turns out the old man was once a young thief. And he met the girl after getting chased by soldiers for his thieving ways. It’s an exaggerated and fairy-tale like story about Poland’s invasion by the Nazi war machine.

 

MMOU_screenshot03_RELEASE.jpgMost of the game is fairly lighthearted in things you see and do it’s a good game for children in that sense. However, as adults you can see the darkness of the game because you know what the embellished things actually are, you know the monstrous things that actually happened. As such the story doesn’t have a lot to ruin since most of us know what the Nazis did. Many embellishments to the story are now that Nazis are a machine army and instead of the Star of David the people are just forced to wear red, whereas everyone else is just shades. Real or robot, Hitler is a cunt; you know just in case you were wondering.

 

In nearly the entirety of the game, you play as the old man in his young boy form and the girl he was friends with. Near the start and end you play as the other young girl who the story is being told to. Most of the game the young boy and girl of the past are together. You can flip between them as they both have their own abilities. The boy can crouch and steal things and eventually gets two items specific to him. The girl can run and gets a slingshot fairly quickly. Many times you use the characters together by having them hold hands, doing this allows the one that’s in charge to use their ability for both characters, if you hold hands as the girl both of them run together, if as the boy they both crouch together. They also get separated to help each other usually to get back to each other. The concept and follow through of this is absolutely fucking superb. It reminded me a little of A Tale of Two Brothers because of how they’re together so often, but it’s a lot easier to manage in this game.

 

MMOU_screenshot04_RELEASE.jpgThe only voice acting is the old man narrating at the start of every level, everyone else talks via voice bubbles that have pictures in them while making gibberish noises. There’s not a lot of active music in the game, instead it’s mostly ambient sounds, from people mulling about doing their work, soldiers looking for your characters, and vehicles moving around. Oh yeah did I mention that Patrick Stewart voices the old man, yeah that’s right, Patrick Stewart. If you don’t know who that is then… I just pity your entire existence.

 

There’s only one piece of combat in the game which is the last boss, beyond that it’s a puzzle and somewhat stealth game in some sections. For those of you who hate stealth don’t worry they’re not that hard I swear. The puzzles are usually pretty easy to solve but some of them are a pain in the ass because their solutions while right there in your face, are at the same time hard to see.

 

MMOU_screenshot08_RELEASE.jpgIn the game there is something rather unique that I really liked, in almost every level there is a ‘memory’ to collect which in game is just a picture. After you obtain it though it unlocks in the memory main menu area. Each memory tells you about a real person and a basic explanation of their exploits during the war. Each one of these people even shows up in the game to varying extents. After I beat the game I read them all and I’ll admit it was rather touching.

 

 

 

513605-my-memory-of-us-windows-front-cover.jpgMy Memory of Us was developed by: Juggler Games

Point of Sale: Steam, X1, & PS4

$18, $20, $22 (multiple prices, how do I deal with this?):Love conquers all but maybe unending friendship does more.

 

The Seal.pngA review copy was provided by (the publisher maybe? IMGN PRO or the dev Juggler Games, not sure waiting for Cathy).

darkmikasonfire has awarded My Memory of Us The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval

 

 

 

 

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Chasm

top.jpgChasm is a metroidvania type game which is quasi-procedural generated. In so much that there are rooms on the map that are in the same place no matter what but the paths to get to those rooms are changed with each game. Great thing is you can always play the same map as your friend if you want. The game gives you a ‘Seed” which is a code for that specific world’s map setup. When you start it gives you something random but you can always change the seed at the start to something else if you’d like including changing it to be the same map as your friend, or their map as yours. Now before I continue this let me dictate, I don’t like metriodvania games, I don’t like procedural generation, I don’t like platformers. As such this game is an entire bag of stuff I don’t really care for personally. As such I don’t play games like this often so some concepts that you might be familiar with or are common in these games, I… well I don’t know anything about them, so bare with me. Or don’t… it’s up to you.

 

You play as a knight in training that you get to name, the name isn’t really important since it’s only used like 4 or 5 times in the entire game. The main knights have been sent out to deal with some issue, who cares what it was, so the commander of the garrison decides to send you a lone… as in ONE SINGLE PERSON to go deal with a horde of monsters in a mine. Again, ON YOU OWN. Cause you know that’s smart. He even dictates he’d send the knights, as in MULTIPLE people, TRAINED, WELL ARMED, MULTIPLE FUCKING PEOPLE. So instead he sends you. JUST YOU. All you get is a sword, not even any fucking pathetic piece of shit armor or anything, just a sword. Personally, I’d of taken that sword back to him and stabbed him in the fucking face. That’s like sending a plain clothes officer with a taser into a war zone on his own to fight the enemy instead of the fucking military. But… that seems to be how these kinds of games are made so I’ll overlook the fact that this commander would be killed for incompetence long before stating something this stupid.

 

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See this shit, look at him he’s obviously evil.

Well you get to the mining town, which has one single, lone miner. Not one left all the rest died, noooooo, one period ever. That poor bastard. Anyways, everyone in the village which is group of people that are mostly in fairly good physical shape, they’ve all be kidnapped by monsters, the only guy left, is an old dude who can barely move and is asleep 90% of the fucking time. I’m still not convinced he’s not an evil mastermind who planned for everyone else to get kidnapped. Cause you’re not going to tell me the monsters will kidnap a fucking DOG, but not the old guy who can’t escape them but can talk and get aid. Now yes I know monsters are almost as smart as donuts, but if they’re smart enough to kidnap everyone then they’re smart enough to kidnap EVERY one, period. I don’t care.

 

You have to travel into the mines and free them, then go on innocuous fetch quests for them that are mostly asinine. A kid wants a toy, a guy wants his deck of cards, no nothing useful like hey bring us something to help us board up this place, or bring us weapons so we can protect ourselves so we don’t get kidnapped again, or help us get stuff so we can GTFO. Nah, get me some playing cards… did you hit your head dude? If not, you have a serious fucking gambling problem, seek fucking help. So yeah serious common sense issues from a story standpoint, but none of that shit seems to matter in this genre.

 

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TITAN HAMMER TIME BITCH!

Now, when you’re in the mines, you unlock other areas to go to, and enemies and chests sometimes drop weapons, armors, and accessories. YAY you get gear… something you should have gotten from the fucking garrison, but whatever. Some of these weapons are useful, lots of them… not so much. Granted this also mildly depends on your playstyle, there are super short range daggers, medium range swords, long range swords, heavy long range swords, and magic that opens up eventually after freeing one of the people. I found the daggers to be useless cause you had to be so close that by the time you hit the enemy once they would be fucking up your entire day, and you’d have to hit them a lot. I personally went most of the game with a medium range sword because they’re fairly quick and obviously have range. The heavy weapons while I found one that I fucking LOVED the Titan Hammer, most of them were so slow that using them was a chore. Long range swords aren’t very common and usually they’re other weapons of the other types that you have that outclass them in damage in every way. Which sucks cause they’re fairly fast too.

 

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Fucking cults.

Eventually you find a cult was responsible for this shit, you know, like always. Fuck cults. They were serving a shitty demon god and were just kissing a ton of ass for seemingly eons, going so far as to even allowing themselves to be turned into monsters to add to the demon god’s army. Cause you know, cults always want to be turned into fucking monsters. Seriously what’s with that? And it’s never like, yeah we’ll turn you into succubi and incubi, no it’s always some ugly ass monster. The hell man, if you’re going to turn me into one of your demon army, at least let me choose what I turn into so I can be sexy as hell; pun fucking intended. But no they just wanna serve, not a care in the world if they’re turned into a demon that’s just a giant ass on legs that spews liquid acid shit on everything, they’re cool with that so long as they can serve. The hell is wrong with cultists?

So your task is to free everyone, do their side tasks, and the better part, go find this demon god and give him a good solid ass kicking instead of an ass kissing for once. To do these things though, you have to find artifacts which let you do various things like a parachute, diving gear, climbing gear, a glove that lets you hang on ledges because having hands doesn’t do that in metriodvania games for some reason, among other artifacts. This game isn’t as annoying in that aspect as I view most metriodvania games to be. Many have large maps and require a lot of backtracking time and time again to get to different areas witch each artifact or upgrade you get, this one the maps aren’t huge, they aren’t small by any means but they’re not huge either which makes it a lot easier to get around and most levels only require a couple upgrades in a later level to fully open their whole area. So you don’t end up getting to damn near the end of the game getting the last artifact then going back to the very first part of the game to get to new paths, thank fuck for that. I would have quit if that happened, just no I’d of lost my fucking mind.

Combat is… difficult for me anyways. In this there’s no shield to wear, there’s no blocking, there’s next to no long range combat, so you have to be in striking distance from the enemies to strike them 90% of the time. There’s a backwards dodge though that you have access to from the get go, that’s how you fight, hit an enemy then dodge away before they can cut your face off. I’m legally blind, combat like that… not exactly my strong suit. I think lots of people will like it, me not so much though. My save has 10 hours on it, I’ve played the game for 25 hours. That’s a lot of time dying and a lot of progress being lost, on a regular basis. You’re health doesn’t regen, ever. You have to get to a save point instead which tops your health off. There is only saving at save points, no autosaves which I’ve personally gotten way WAY too use to having, which was a big problem with that 15 hours of lost time.

Lastly there’s the platforming aspect, it’s really good especially after you find some artifacts, specifically your first one the spiked glove that lets you grab ledges and much later the winged boots for double jumping and climbing gear that lets you slide down and jump off walls. Only a couple platforming bits annoyed me and they were specific areas. There’s a rope swing that’s hard to time correctly to get on and sometimes if you hit the edge you fall off, which doesn’t happen anywhere else. There’s a couple areas with spiked balls on chains swinging completely 360 around blocks you have to jump on, and sometimes they seemed to hit in such a way that you couldn’t get onto them without taking damage no matter how fast or careful you were because the timing of them was just saying fuck you to the player. And in the last level embers are shot out of walls and the like and they hit platformers, if you get hit you take damage, it’s not a big issue, just an annoyance to me.

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Save points: pray, get healthy, and SAVE ALWAYS SAVE!!!

Now, as stated I don’t like these kinds of games, however that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun playing them. For a good chunk of this game I had a lot of fun. I like exploring, I like opening maps and finding pathways. I like open world games for that reason. I also even get into the platforming, there’s no real pinpoint accuracy needed in this one, as long as it’s close you’re mostly fine when it comes to the platforming which for people like me makes it well not just more fun but it makes it playable. However the fun factor faded a bit during boss fights and the very start of the game cause it is HARD at first you have little health and enemies do a shitton of damage to that little health, near the end of the game they can barely scratch you but at the start it’s so so hard. Since you haven’t learned the controls very well, you also end up dying a lot, which for me, pissed me off a bit especially if it was a boss fight, cause I always forgot to manually save, and save points aren’t close to boss battles anyways so you have to fight through enemies to get to a boss. Also later in the game you’re trying to find crates to break and chests to open in hopes for good loot, more money, items, and an achievement, and finding them all is kind of a big time bitch. On top of that, I’m use to games with a lot of story a lot of narrative, I mean look at my reviews on here, mostly visual novels. This is a metriodvania game, it’s story is told in like 20 second chunks after each of only a small handful of boss battles. Because there wasn’t a story gripping me I started getting bored too. However that’s a non-issue for metriodvania fans cause that seems to be how all of them are set up really. For me the middle of the game was the best part of the game, at that point I was strong enough and understood the controls well enough not to be dying fucking constantly, I was remembering to use save spots fairly often, and I hadn’t yet gotten fatigued looking for stuff.

That’s the rule if you like it more than you didn’t then it gets a seal of approval. I did enjoy it more than I didn’t even though this isn’t a genre I like. If more games in this genre were easier like this I might like the genre a bit more, I’d still like combat to be easier though. But that’s always going to be the case since I can’t see for shit.

header.jpgChasm was developed by: Bit Kid, Inc.

Point of Sale: Steam, X1, PS4/Vita (cross-play enabled), Switch

$20.00: Even a noob like me can play it… kinda… sorta… fucking hell I suck at this game.

The Seal.pngA review copy was provided by the developer Bit Kid, Inc.

darkmikasonfire has shockingly awarded Chasm The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval

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MotherGunShip

If you know me, you could be forgiven for thing i’ve been too busy to review MotherGunShip over the last few months, and that’s why I haven’t reviewed it yet. However, that’s not true this time. No, i’ve been sitting on this one for a while to figure out what to say. See, I know how I feel about the game, but i’m still not sure why. I kind of hate MotherGunShip, and i’ll be the first person to tell you I don’t think I should. It’s not broken in any meaningful way; it’s the game I was promised in the trailers, the very ones that got me hyped to begin with. But the second I got my hands on the game I just….didn’t like it.

My big issue with the MotherGunShip is the movement. See, much like the developers last game, Tower of Guns, this bills itself as a first person bullethell. While i’ve never been the biggest bullethell fan the idea did intrigued me. But once I started playing I found the character moved too sluggishly. There were a lot of hits and deaths I felt could have and should have been avoidable, but I just couldn’t motivate the player character to move his fat ass fast enough. Hell, I think you could have stuck my literal fat ass in the game world and I could have more easily avoided more of the giant lumbering bullets the game throws at you. I was expecting a much faster paced game, and not getting that pretty much single-handedly killed the game for me.

 

The levels are also a huge issue. MotherGunShip suffers from the roguelike problem; i.e. in order to make the game repayable, the levels need up feeling repetitive and never stand out. I don’t think any of MotherGunShips levels are randomly generated, but they feel like it. It’s one metallic hallway after another. Now, I play and like plenty of roguelikes, but this is always a hurdle they have to overcome to be enjoyable to me. They gave to do something to make the game entertaining. And like I said earlier, I just didn’t find MotherGunShip all that fun to play. So all this did is exacerbate my not liking it.

 

Again, I really, really wanted to like this. I was super excited for the game when I saw the trailers. The game does seem to be doing well with other critics, and I can’t say I don’t see where they are coming from. I know I didn’t say much about the game, but I just don’t have much too say. I just did not have fun with MotherGunShip. I know this is the single most useless thing a critic can say but: if you’re interested in the game, see if there is a demo.

 

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