When the Darkness Comes is not a game for everyone, as the warning says at the game’s start screen. The game delves into the psychology of anxiety and depression, and can therefore be upsetting for some individuates (this reviewer included). Please play with caution and remember, it’s just a game! If you find yourself needing to exit after starting I found that you will need to press CTRL-ALT-Delete, open Task Manager, and end the task from there.
Narration. This game, much like “The Stanley Parable” is narrated throughout by an unseen character. The narrator does a great job of drawing the player into the game world. The dialogue it well written and allows the player to feel like they are not just part of the story, but the story itself.
Lighting. Sirhaian did a great job using light and shadows to guide the player throughout the game. Additionally, there are small details in low lit areas, areas that are the wrong way, such as the words “wrong way” on a border block early in the game (see image below).
Music. The music in the game by Julie Maxwell sets the mood very well. The sound effects add to the pacing and help with amping up the horror aspect.
Single Developer. This game was made by one person who utilized Unity assets that he found online to help build the game world, sound effects from freesound.org and outsourced the music. That is pretty impressive!
No exit. Once the player starts the game the only way to exit that I found is to press CTRL-ALT-Delete, open Task Manager, and end the task from there. For a game that starts with a “Trigger Warning” that seems a little counter-intuitive.
When the Darkness Comes is a dark game that takes the player on a tour of the human psyche looking at depression, anxiety and suicide. While the game is not for all players, it is really well done and you can feel the passion that the developer put into his project. One of my favorite things about indie games is that they are made by developers who have a real passion for making games, for telling their stories, and for entertaining us, the players. Triple A studios could take a lesson from games like When the Darkness Comes; and I hope that, for the sake of gaming’s future, someday they do.
Does this weeks game sound interesting to you? You can pick up When the Darkness Comes for yourself on Steam or at Sirhaian‘s website for free write now and experience it now.
Game: Niche – a genetics survival game
Available Platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux
Price: $17.99 (USD)
Reviewed on: PC
Genre: Strategy Survival
Developer: Stray Fawn Studio
Release date: Sept 15, 2016
Niche is a turn based strategy survival game that allows players to breed and evolve creatures. This game explores the way that genetics work, and let players use strategy to build a strong pack of creatures capable of surviving the harsh world around them.
The possibilities. The huge combination of possible creatures that the player can breed is impressive. The player can add two potential mutations to each parent giving the offspring cool bonus features.
Adorablity. The creatures that the player can breed are absolutely adorable, even the inbreed and not all there creatures.
Challenging. This game uses a rouge like style that makes the challenge of the game massive! Between balancing food throughout the pack and the fast aging and inevitable death of the creatures, the chances of survival are not great.
Hexagonal. While historically video games have leaned toward a square/cube style world, more modern games are beginning to adapt a hexagonal map. This type of map is not by any means new, only becoming more of the norm. This is good, as it gives the player more control over where they can direct their character. In strategy games such as Niche, more control is always better.
Replay-ability. Every time that the player enters the world, they are fighting for survival. The choices that they make in breeding, exploration and foraging can mean the difference between life and death. Each time the player looses all of the creatures and the game ends, the player learns a new thing to not do. This learn-as-you-go, cause-and-effect approach tests the player’s ability to adapt and overcome, begging them to jump in and try again.
Graphics. While I’m normally not one for graphics in a game, this games graphics really are lacking. The game was released in 2016 but looks more like something from 2006.
Niche is a charming little survival game that mixes genetic and mutations with a fun survival game. The game allows players to plan the future of the pack by genetics manipulation, and targeted breeding.
Does this weeks game sound fun to you? You can pick up Niche-a genetics survival game for yourself over on their website or on Steam and join all the fun!
Game: Vintage Story
Available Platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux
Price: $12.50 (USD)
Reviewed on: PC
Genre: Survival Voxel Sandbox
Players: 1 or multiple on a server
Developer: Anego Studios
Release date: Feb 1, 2016
Hello and welcome to Jay’s Game Reviews! Today I am reviewing Anego Studio’s Early Access voxel survival sandbox game Vintage Story.
Vintage Story is a 3D voxel style survival sandbox game. Players will collect, craft and survive in a harsh but gorgeous world. The player will need to learn the unique crafting system by trial and error, using the wiki online, or watching other players through tutorial or let’s play videos.
Detailed graphics. The level of detail in Vintage Story is mind blowing! The game is simply beautiful from the leaves and grass to the sky and blocks, everything is masterfully designed to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
Charming avatars. The avatars is vintage story have an odd, yet charming look to them. They would be creepy if not so adorable, and yes, their elbows bend too!
Better with a friend. Vintage Story is a blast playing solo, but where it really takes off is playing with friends. Like other games of this genre, watching the development of the community over time is an amazing feeling. Players can develop a real sense of accomplishment too!
Helpful and friendly staff. I have contacted the team for support twice (not because the game was broken but because I needed help finding information) and both times the team responded within a few hours!
Small but diverse. Speaking of the development team, they are only 7 people from 6 different countries (Austria, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Sweden & the US) and I just personally found this to be cool!
Crafting system. The crafting in this game can be difficult to grasp at first. If not for the wiki and other player’s help I would have never learned to craft anything. That being said, the crafting system is very unique and helps to separate this sandbox game from the dozen or so others.
Vintage Story is an amazing survival game set in a beautiful world. It has a fun and interesting crafting system that will keep players entertained for a long time. I enjoyed my time in the world of Vintage Story and look forward to entering it again soon!
Does this weeks game sound fun to you? You can pick up Vintage Story for yourself over on their website and join all the fun!
Game: Bad Dream: Fever
Available Platforms: PC
Price: $9.99 (USD)
Reviewed on: PC
Genre: Point and Click, Horror, Puzzle
Developer: Desert Fox
Release date: Nov 15, 2018
Hello and welcome to Jay’s Game Reviews! Today I am reviewing Desert Fox’s Point and Click game Bad Dream: Fever
Bad Dream: Fever is a Point and Click, Horror style Puzzle game from developer Desert Fox. Fever shows a world that is being infested with ink and the player must try to figure out why and try to fix it. Fans of Bad Dream: Coma will recognize the way that puzzles can sometimes be solved unconventionally. For example: In Coma; players needed to cut out a drawing of the moon, and place it in the sky to make it night time.
A nice story. Like Coma, Fever offers players a fun and creepy story to follow as they try to figure out how to stop the spread of the ink plague. Who is the strange woman in the plague doctor mask? What it the deal with the robot that stops player’s progress? You’ll have to play and find out!
Challenging puzzles. Fever is a game full of puzzles that players have to solve to move forward. Most of the time players will have to think WAY outside of the box to solve the riddle. Like cleaning ink off of a map in order to unlock a location.
Simplistic design. There is something to be said for games that only require players to point at an object and click it. It is a very simple concept and players of any skill level can do it. You don’t need to be a great gamer to play this game and you don’t need fast reflexes either. Just point, and click!
Interesting world and art style. Bad Dream: Fever features a wold loaded with artistic backgrounds. Each screen comes to life with drawings of clowns, buildings, lakes and dead people.
No Direction. Players will often find themselves stuck and unable to progress. This comes from a lack of instruction on what players should do to proceed. This can frustrate most players and cause them to step away from or give up entirely on the game. Sometimes you just need to click everything and hope that something happens!
The Run around. A lot of the things the player must do in this game involve going to a place, getting a thing and returning. Then later the player has to return to the location for a second or more time for additional items. Fetch quests are rarely enjoyable.
Bad Dream: Fever is a great point and click game that you can complete in a day. I found it to be fun and entertaining for the most part. With a price tag of right around $10 USD it is not too expensive and good for people who like puzzles that make you think unconventionally.
Does this weeks game sound fun to you? You can pick up Bad Dream: Fever yourself over on the Steam Store and solve the puzzles too!
Hello and welcome to Jay’s Game Reviews! Today I will be talking about the game “Artificer Science of Magic” by the small (wife and husband) Polish indy team Psilocybe Games.
Artificer is a single player game that mixes several genres to create a unique and fun experience. The developers have done a great job of combining adventure, exploration, crafting, survival game and a neat story to create a very charming and fun game. The team who also made a game about their dog Balthazar, commissioned the talents of Michael Noble Music, who scored the game with hauntingly beautiful music. So, what did the game do good and bad? Lets take a look.
Crafting System. I had the pleasure of watching this game from a very early testing stage to its current form. The crafting system has come a very long way from a basic system that was very unclear of what players should do to a fully functional and unique system that is on par with games such as Minecraft and Don’t Starve.
Mini games for new recipes. There are some fun little mini games that players can do in order to unlock new crafting recipes, (see below clip) and there are several different mini games as well.
Nice assortment of monsters. There are quite a few creatures that the player will face and each has a specific weakness and strength. The player will be challenged to find and exploit these weaknesses. Once the player has defeated a new monster they can then Dissect it to learn some new recipes!
Exploring an interesting world. Players find themselves on a strange world after crashing their space craft. Searching the immediate area will net the player a few supplies to get started, but they will need to venture out and forge for the items needed for survival.
An interesting story. The game creates its own neat lore that the player will discover while they collect items for survival as well as parts for repairing their ship.
A fun and dark art style. The art of this game; all done by “Sawa” (the wife half of this development team), has a unique charm to it. The fun yet dark style sets a great mood for the gaming experience.
An active community. The Developers have set up a Discord for players, supporters and fans to come together and discuss this game, game development, and anything else that happens to come up. The developers themselves are there and always active in the conversation with the community.
A hauntingly beautiful score. As mentioned in the introduction of this review, the score for this game is absolutely marvelous! You can have a great game and then a crappy soundtrack ruins it (I’m looking at you Ghostbusters on NES!), or a crappy game that wastes a great sound track (Fallout 76 anyone?) but when you have a great game and a great sound track? Pure magic happens, and that is what we have with Michael Noble’s amazing work in Artificer!
Slow development. Having such a small team means that development can run a little slow at times.
Lack of instruction. At times in the game the player can be left wondering what to do next. The game has gotten much better with this and it is almost no longer an issue, but there are still small moments that players may be confused. Though in those moments if the player explores a little they can easily figure it out.
My opinion on this game is that it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It is my go to when I don’t know what else to play, and its great to have that! While I do my best to remain unbiased, I found myself really searching for things to place in that Cons column! I loved the charming game Balthazar’s Dream that the team started with, and I love this one too! I encourage you to check the game out yourself and you can do so on the Steam Store.
I rate this game 97 out of 100
You can check out some of my game play from the pre-early access of the game below.