The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain is a game that reminds me of a choose-your-own-adventure book (and has the creative pedigree of such works, also has some Dungeons & Dragons baggage). You play an adventurer that goes into a vast dungeon to try and accomplish some personal objective while avoiding traps, fighting monsters and exploring the bowels of the mountain. I thought the core concept was neat, but the finer mechanics didn’t click at all for me. For a game that you need to replay multiple times, it quickly becomes a chore and the battle system feels random and unfair.
Postknight is an idle game where you fight across sidescrolling 2D maps as a young Postknight - a knight that delivers mail - by killing a bunch of mosters. The game is pretty simple, although maybe not idle enough and the barrier of free-to-play limits gets pretty rough after a while, but I enjoyed the bit that I’ve played. It’s not my favorite idle game of all time, however.
I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into with Invisible Inc. On one hand, the game promised a deep tapestry of lore and intrigue set in a futuristic world ruled by corporations and filled with hackers, military drones and assassins while on the other claiming to be a roguelike where you would lose constantly, crushed by the might of the corporations before you would finally have enough characters, skills and AI programs to finally win by the skin of your teeth. I’m not sure I got either of these because my first playthrough went pretty well, didn’t take that long and I still managed to win, uploading my AI into the corporation’s server. The game kinda expected me to retry on a harder difficulty, but I was left wanting for a reason to do so; Either from a gameplay or story perspective, I felt I was done with Invisible Inc. after that run.
H3H3 Ball Rider is a mobile arcade game where you control a ball going through some levels by hurtling yourself forward via a stream of sweat. Most of the game is trying to get the highest score in each level, although there are special events where you are timed. You continuously lose energy - which can be recovered by following trails of small orbs which are always laid out on the critical path, but you ultimately get hit with obstacles and miss orbs and lose; There are power-ups to help you along the way and you can equip upgrades to help you. Ultimately I grew bored with the lack of variety in gameplay and the so-so controls, so I didn’t get very far.
Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is a strange idle game that has an interesting core gameplay concept - leveling heroes and moving them around on a hex grid to maximize their killing potential and survivability - bogged down in microtransactions and weird systems outside the main gameplay. I think that I completed one (1) quest before calling it quits, but it could’ve been more since that world map was so confusing. Ultimately there are some good things in ICotFR, but not enough to keep me hooked.
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.
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.
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.
Westerado: Double Barreled is an interesting game with a lot of style and charm but frustrating mechanic implemented weirdly. I wish I could've gotten into it more, but after about three hours I was ready to throw in the towel. You play a cowboy whose ranch was burned down and your family was murdered as you go along the west, helping people by doing various quests, shooting your way around and figuring out who did the horrible deed. I didn't manage to complete it, but I suppose I couldn't let it frustrate me any longer.
Bounzy! is a neat iOS game where you shoot balls, breakout-style, at enemies coming toward your wall. If they make it, you lose health and eventually lose the map. In order to defeat increasingly powerful foes, you need to upgrade your projectiles and acquire new spells, like a poison effect or piercing shots. You also can use more powerful spells like meteors and electricity a few times per map. All of these systems are okay and the core gameplay of Bounzy! is actually really good, the problem is that you are drowned in ads, micro-transactions and gameplay balance obviously skewed towards taking forever if you don't spend money on the game.
AdVenture Communist follows in the style and concept of Adventure Capitalist, a game I have reviewed a few years back. An idle game that's trying to do some things differently, I had some fun with it, but I lost interest quickly. It's a very pyramidal game; You have basic resources like potatoes and ore and you have production resources like farmers and miners. You need to spend farmers and miners in order to get other production resources that create farmers and miners automatically, which you then spend to get another layer of resource that produces more producers. It's a neat idea, but I hit a wall of not being able to upgrade fairly quickly, so I stopped.
The latest Grim Dawn expansion didn't fix everything that bothered me about the action RPG; I still don't like how skills and masteries synergize with each other and the two new classes - Necromancer and Inquisitor - don't fix that much. They add some interesting mechanics to the game, but otherwise it still feels like a slog to play. I managed to get through the new story content, but I'm not chomping at the bits to go back to more Grim Dawn.
While Diablo 3 remains one of my favorite games right now, the Necromancer pack wasn't the greatest thing in the history of the universe. It adds a new class and a bunch of other cosmetic things for other blizzard games, a few new areas and some items and quality-of-life fixes to go with all of that. We're very far from Reaper Of Souls, an expansion that brought a ton of new gameplay systems, fixed itemization and made the game endlessly enjoyable, alongside a new act of story content.
Layton's Mystery Journey is an iOS/Android version of an upcoming 3DS game featuring the daughter of Professor Layton as a detective going around the Level-5 version of London, solving puzzles and figuring out the implausible logic behind a series of weird cases. It's a good version of such a game, although it's clear that they haven't put enough work into making it a complete mobile experience. Not to say that LMJ isn't good, but it's for sure not exactly at the quality of a DS or 3DS game.
Gigachess is a small puzzle game where you need to defeat pawns with a team composed of rooks, towers and knights. there are three modes in this game and I have felt that all of them are lacking in some ways. I don't think that Gigachess is a bad game, it has neat concepts embedded in it. but overall I felt like I was done with the game more quickly than I thought I would. Some more depth could've been given to the endless mode while the more puzzle-based needed a bit of tweaking on the navigation side.
Poly Bridge is a really nice bridge building simulator in theory. While it brings a great number of puzzles with increasingly complex constraints and challenges, backed up by leaderboards and money limits to have you surpass yourself, it failed flat for me in the lack of help I was given once I just struggled endlessly on the same level. Going overbudget didn't help, not caring about the state of my bridge didn't help. I was just stuck and there was no real help in-game for me, which soured my experience and made me stop.
Swap Sword is a little puzzle game where you swap tiles to create lines and clear them. Depending on the cleared tile, you either get some mana, hearts, keys to open doors to the next level, or money. You can also clear enemies that way, although a difference in this game is that while you can only swap identical tiles, you can move your character around in order to defeat enemies and collect gold. Once the ending door is opened, you have a set number of turns to leave before death arrives. New mechanics are slowly introduced and you get upgrades between each level. I probably could end my review here because that's all there is to Swap Sword, and that's why I was kinda bummed by it.
The Silver Case is one of Suda51's old games - a visual novel - that was remastered and brought back on Steam this year. Being a big Suda fan, I decided to check it out. The end result is a bit too weird for me - probably due to its ancient roots in the PS1 era - and I really couldn't get into it. Is The Silver Case interesting? Sure! It's also pretty stylish and you can see blobs of 'typical' Suda51 themes and touches here and there, but at the same time, I found it very confusing, both in the story and gameplay sense and ultimately it felt more like a chore than a fun game to spend time playing.
Solitarica is a Solitaire-based RPG with some roguelike mechanics where you fight enemies by playing solitaire, casting spells, using equipment and defending yourself against their attacks in order to reach the end of a 'run', after which you get some currency you can use to unlock permanent upgrades for various decks, all with their small quirks. I tried it because it got raving praise by some people I follow and there are also no in-app purchases. It should've been a really cool game, but alas, a few design issues combined with the age - now more and more showing - of the equipment I use to game made the whole thing a frustrating slog.