Severed is one of these grand gaming experiences that could be enjoyed on consoles - and it is on Switch after all - but available on your iPad. This is a double edged sword. On one hand, it’s a fully featured -hardcore- game with enough content to last you a long while, deep enough mechanics, an interesting style and a cool soundtrack to boot, on the other hand, it’s not exactly the kind of experience you’re used to on your iDevices. If you only get a few minutes of play here and there during your commute you might have a weird time but if you manage to give this game the time it deserves, it’s just great! After catastrophe strikes your family, you set to find them in strange locales armed with a sword, fighting in first-person encounters by swiping at enemies and solving puzzles.
I’ve been a fan of Killer7 for a long while now (and other Suda51 games, in fact) when I heard that they were porting it to PC, I was cautiously optimistic; After all I was sure they would need to change some things here and there to bring this cult classic to computers, on the other hand I didn’t expect too much in the realm of bugfixes and other gameplay tweaks. I think I got almost exactly what I wanted, a modern version of Killer 7 that everyone can enjoy that doesn’t change a single thing about the gameplay, bugs and weird balance issues the game originally had.
2018 sure was a year for videogames! I’ve played plenty of Switch/3DS stuff and mostly plinked away at an impressively shrinking PC backlog. On consoles I’ve mostly played 80+ RPGs and adventure games at a very slow pace. It wasn’t hard to pick up a list of ten games for this year because I’ve only played twelve. Lack of free time, excessively long games, lack of motivation… It wasn’t because of poor quality, don’t worry! 2019 is going to be a bloodbath - I fear that I’ll have six games to play in the first three months - but for now, let’s look at 2018 and make a numbered list of games.
Konami Pixel Puzzle Collection is a game much like Picross - a style of game I simply adore - where you solve puzzles by filling lines and columns using numbers as clues. In this perticular version, you solve puzzles related to Konami characters and games and as a free product, it’s great. You only have to see ads after each puzzle, which isn’t too bad, and there is a timer on ‘boss’ puzzles which seems like it would make it take forever to go through them all, but otherwise I really recommend it.
Because of its name, I thought Infinifactory would be one of these games where you run a factory and need to expend infinitely in all directions, building more and more complex things in order to generate resources to unlock new technologies and all that. It’s not, instead I was faced with a neat puzzle game where you need to solve discrete problems by creating factory lines with blocks of various utilities. You can work to optimize the time necessary to solve them, the number of blocks and the space you take, but just solving each puzzle can be challenging while never feeling unfair, I really really liked Infinifactory!
Despite it’s extremely generic name, Crafting Idle Clicker is an okay idle game that caught my attention for an okay time. At its base, CIC is an idle game where you build nodes that produce resources which are then used to craft other resources or end products. You sell these things to buy more expensive nodes, which are in turn worth more money. You keep doing that while resetting your workshop to gain more levels, money multipliers and blueprints. It’s a fine idea for an idle game but after the luster of trying to optimize profits and production went off, there wasn’t much more in there to keep my attention.
I had heard glowing things about the new Wolfenstein game and decided to try the first one since it wasn’t super expensive anymore. How could they restart the Wolfenstein concept of nazi-killing destruction while following modern sensibilities of design and storytelling? It could’ve gone pretty wrong, but nah, Wolfenstein TNO is a great game, both as a first person shooter and as a story about a fictional World War Two where the nazis won because of stolen quasi-magical tech.
Missile Cards is somewhat a deck building game, somewhat a missile commander-like, but overall is more of a game of chance and strategy where you place cards in order to prevent hazards from hitting your base. Armed with a deck full of weapons, powers and hazards, you must clear out the deck in a few maps in order to win. Objetives are to be completed as well if you want to progress to the next map, and you can upgrade your base and buy some cards with XP and collected resources during matches. I really, really enjoyed this game.
I was a big player of the original Maple Story, so when I learned that Maple Story 2 was coming to our shores, I thought I would take a break in my excellent Wolfenstein playthrough to take a look at this sequel long in the making. My verdict is that it’s a fine game released at the wrong time in my life. I don’t have the countless hours to sink into a MMO like this one, even if it seems real good for the time I’ve spent with it! I would ultimately like to spend more time with Maple Story 2 because it hits all the beats of a f2p game while having new ideas.
Pokemon Quest is an official free to play mobile Pokemon Company game where you explore an island using a pack of pokemons that run around and defeat enemies automatically. By doing so, they find items to equip and food to cook in order to attract more pokemons for your roster. You can customize your base camp, complete quests and achievements and more. I think it's well made but I got stopped by an energy timer the moment I started really getting into it, which soured my opinion a bit. Combine that with the extremely simple and borderline boring battle system, and you have an okay game that won't steal any mainline franchise pokemon fans.
Battle for Azeroth is a weird WoW expansion that continues the game’s spiral into conflicting design decisions; As with the previous two expansions, the content you had experienced before becomes quickly obsolete instead of being built upon and new mechanics are trusted at you whether you had time to experiment with previous systems or not. I’m not saying that I dislike the new setting and ideas they brought into BfA but at the same time they went really hard on making the previous systems that made Legion cool obsolete. I got to the end game of this expansion - something I usually don’t do - and found the content there to be fun, but ultimately too grindy and reliant on cooldown timers for my tastes.
Exception is a puzzle game based around programming where you control a fleet of robots and must accomplish certain objectives like defeating all enemies or moving a robot to a certain point. The type of puzzle programming in question here is all about setting triggers and actions in order to react to the condition of the level. I had a very limited time with it because I felt that the puzzles had a very small solution set (unlike programming) and I had to look at many answers on the internet and even then I couldn't figure out -why- they worked. A few interesting ideas bogged down by the lack of support and kinda bizarre engrish text, then.
Cuphead is a neat little platformer featuring creative and colorful boss fights that reminds me of Contra and other run-and-gun games of old. You go through a world map - that looks like the one in Commander Keen 4: Keen Dreams - and fight through stages and bosses, getting coins and buying powerups, getting new weapons and uncovering special moves in order to save your soul from the devil. I've played through most of the game in co-op, and even if it became a bit frustrating because of the difficulty, I would still recommend it. Just know what you're getting into!
Dawn Of Crafting is an interesting game where you craft your way through a tech tree by using various tools and combining elements to create different recipes. You need energy to do pretty much everything, so you have to gather food and craft it into better food items. It's a neat little game that I would've played way more than I did if it had been a full paid product and not a free to play game with hooks to make you spend money into figuring out what you need to do to progress through the main quest. It's a bit grindy but otherwise it was really fun!
FURI is an amazing boss rush game where you use a small but useful array of skills in order to defeat a varied array of bosses, each with their own gimmicks and patterns. The main drive of this game are the bosses themselves, with small tidbits of story being drip-fed between fights. I had a wonderful time with this game and I managed to beat most of it as intended - although I dropped the difficulty on the last boss after three hours of fighting seemed like too much.
Vignettes is a neat little puzzle experience where you rotate objects around and poke at them in order to find more objects, mainly by mimicking the shape of other things with them. Ultimately, the goal of the game is to find all objects and it doesn't wear out its welcome. I had a ton of fun going through the whole thing and I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
Else Heart.Break() is an adventure game where you... hack... stuff. I'm not sure. You play as a newcomer in a strange town, sent there on a job by a soda corporation, and you must... Do your job, I guess? If this intro couldn't convey it, I didn't get into the meat of EHB at all. After wandering for what seemed like hours in an interesting but aimless town, I managed to stumble into a very cool mechanic, then tried to see if I could get some manner of plot going on, without succeeding. I still think that the ideas in EHB are really cool and the style pretty nice, but I kinda wish it had been a puzzle game instead.
The Guides is an iOS puzzler that I haven't spent much time with. It was just too difficult and frustrating to use at times. While I appreciate the straightforwardness of the game's presentation and type of puzzle, I didn't have fun at all with it. Build around a series of logic puzzles, Vignettes has you try and decipher layer upon layer of mysteries in a series of screens that have only a vague link between them; Not letting you appreciate each mechanic of the puzzle long enough before moving on to something else.
Zombie Night Terror is a puzzle game somewhat alike to Lemmings where instead of harmless creatures stumbling around to their death you control a horde of zombies going through a rampage in a series of progressively more difficult missions. You start with a few zombie types and a lower number of actions you can do, but as things go forward you get more and more options that serve to solve puzzles - mostly getting zombies to some part of the map or killing a certain number of humans. I liked some of the ideas in ZNT but overall I found that the game was too difficult and didn't use it's own mechanics enough to create a feeling I would associate with leading a zombie apocalypse.
Splitter Critters is a neat puzzle game where you try to move aliens on a map so they get to their spaceships by avoiding hazards and moving around platforms. To do so, instead of controlling anything directly, you can just swipe around the screen to cut it and move the different pieces around, doing so makes characters follow various paths. It’s a really cool puzzler and it kept me engaged for most of the game.