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.
Available Platforms: PS4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch, Steam
Price: $49.99 (USD)
Reviewed on: PC
Genre: Adventure, Survival Action
Developer: Dontnod Entertainment
Release date: June 5, 2018
Vampyr is a game all about controlling the “monster” and seeing that sometimes what we think we know isn’t always the truth. Players control Doctor Jonathan Reid, a surgeon turned vampire in his quest find the cure to his vampirism disease. Forced to defend against a population who sees him only as a monster, Dr. Reid will have to fight for his very survival until he can find the answers he seeks.
A really cool concept. Vampyr allows players to walk in the shoes of a man cursed to feed on humans. This is a really cool concept, and I absolutely love it.
Voice acting. The voice acting in Vampyr is really well done. You can hear the emotion in Doctor Reid’s voice throughout the game as he tries to come to terms with what he is.
Dark and grizzly. The game has a nice dark atmosphere that helps to immerse the player into the game world. I highly recommend playing in the dark and with head phones on.
Graphics. This game was released in mid 2018 and developed on the Unreal Engine. The game simply does not utilize the potential of Unreal, and lacks in the graphics department as a result. The screenshots on the game’s website, and the trailers look really good, but this unfortunately does not show in the game itself, and that is a little disappointing.
Tutorial. The game offers players a tutorial in the form of messages that pop-up on the screen while moving through the early stages of the game. Unfortunately, these tips are on screen very briefly and are quite easy to miss. I completely missed what the CTRL key did until I was editing my video and saw that it locked in on enemies (a helpful thing to know), and I completely missed the tip on how to switch targets.
All-in-all, Vampyr is a really well rounded game. It is fun and immersive with a dark and macabre plot. Jonathan Reid is a tortured and likable character who is easy to root for. Anthony Howell does an amazing job of voicing him and really brings the character to life. While the graphics are lackluster, especially for a game made in 2018; everything else is quite enjoyable. I really liked the game and would recommend it, but only to mature audiences.
Does this weeks game sound fun to you? You can pick up Vampyr for yourself on Steam or at the website and help Doctor Reid search for his cure.
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: Bright Memory – Episode 1
Available Platforms: PC
Price: $6.99 (USD)
Reviewed on: PC
Genre: Action, First Person, Shooter, Melee
Developer: FYQD Personal Studio
Release date: Nov 15, 2018
Hello and welcome to Jay’s Game Reviews! Today I am reviewing FYQD Personal Studio’s Early Access Action game Bright Memory – Episode 1.
Bright Memory is a First Person Action Shooter that mixes gun play elements with magic and sword art. The game is full of monsters that each have a weakness and it is up to the player to find and exploit that weakness.
Beautifully rendered. This game, created with the Unreal Engine, is pure art. The level of detail combined with gorgeously designed characters and worlds are something to marvel!
Plethora of enemies. This game is loaded with unique creatures and monsters all of which have a weakness to exploit. Some have shields, some fly, while still others are just freaking huge and can take a beating!
Long list of skills. As the player you will have a ton of skills and abilities at your disposal. From an EMP type blast that blasts the enemies back to a simple bullet to the skull. You can do a simple slash with your blade or perform an electrified ground pound that will send enemies flying across the screen!
Combos. Players can use the large variety of abilities to juggle monsters in the air building up massive kill combos.
A fun and interesting story. If you take the time to read it (or listen if you understand Chinese) you will experience a fun story about a war between the ancients and modern science.
Controls. Playing this game as I did with a mouse and keyboard is a massive undertaking. There are so many button combinations that it makes playing the game with anything resembling skill near impossible.
Bright Memory – Episode 1 is a terrific shooter game with a nice element of beat em up style fighting mixed in. The game is a steal at only around $7 USD and a fun, addicting masterpiece that keeps on giving. The graphics alone really make this game stand out and I highly recommend it.
Does this weeks game sound fun to you? You can pick up Bright Memory – Episode 1 yourself over on the Steam Store and kill all the things!
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 reviewing Bandai Namco’s artistic story game “11-11 Memories Retold”.
11-11 is a story driven game taking place during the last couple years of World War I. The story follows Harry, a Canadian photographer on the Allies side; and Kurt a German father searching for his son on the Axis side. Both characters join the war for different reasons and both have very interesting stories that the player will follow. The player alternates between the two stories and follows along triggering events to progress each; while collecting items that add historical articles in the form of collectibles. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons for 11-11 and see where the game shines.
Obviously in a story driven game on top should be the story. This game really pulls the player in and immerses them into the plight of the characters. The player can really feel the stress and sadness of these two men as they strive to survive the rigors of combat and reunite with those they love. These are very emotional and touching stories that the player can really get lost in, and that is a great thing indeed!
Voice Acting. The voice acting in this game is top notch, and there’s a good reason why. With voice actors such as Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sin City) and Sebastian Koch (Bridge of Spies, Homeland) 11-11 really holds its own here! Both actors are able to bring the emotion into their voice that helps the player to better understand what the character is going through. In any video game, or cartoon this is a huge make or break point for me. It is so important that the actors help the viewer/player understand the emotions through their voice work.
Art style. The unique art style of this game I think is what initially pulled me in. I saw some screen shots and it looked like Bob Ross made the game! Well; maybe not Bob, more of a Rembrandt mixed with some Van Gogh and very different for a video game. Something new and fresh for an art style really gives this game a fresh feel for me, and this style looks like a painting come to life.
History telling collectibles. One of the cool features of this game is in it’s collectible items. The player collects a few matching items and then they are able to read a brief excerpt from a document from the War. These documents give historical relevance to the events happening in the game at the time of their collection. For instance, the player might be at a railway station and the collectible is an article talking about trains in World War I.
Graphical issues. There are some moments in this game (notably when playing cards in the mini games) when the graphics get blocky and do not render correctly. This hurts player immersion and really takes away from such an otherwise beautiful game.
Broken AI. There are moments when NPC’s will walk into a wall and just keep trying to move forward for (presumably) eternity. While not game breaking, this too is immersion breaking for the player.
Unclear objectives. This one I did find annoying. The player will be tasked with speaking with someone, but there is no way to know who you should speak too. If you are a completionist like me, you will want to talk to everyone that you can. With know way of knowing which NPC will progress the story I found myself accidentally talking to them before searching for collectibles and speaking to everyone else, thus loosing the opportunity to do so. Along with this is a moment when Harry was in the trenches and was tasked with obtaining a flask but the game would not let me complete it.
When everything is said and done, 11-11 Memories Retold is a beautiful look at a violent and horrible time in our world’s history. This game offers a new perspective at both sides of the conflict highlighting the personal stories of two soldiers and their reasons for being in the middle of such a traumatizing experience. War is an ugly thing, but this game is able to find a diamond in the rough.
If you’d like to experience the stories (and I’d highly recommend it) of Harry and Kurt, you can pick the game up right now from Bandai’s Site or on the Steam Store.
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.
Hello and welcome to Jay’s Game Reviews! Today I will be reviewing Klei Entertainment’s newest base building DLC “Hamlet” for their hit game “Don’t Starve”.
Klei is a game studio known for their Tim Burton styled art and quirky characters. I have been playing the Don’t Starve series since it’s debut and have yet to be disappointed. That being said; there are a few things that should be discussed with this latest addition to the Don’t Starve collection, some good and some bad. It should be noted before we begin, however, that this DLC is still in Early Access and could very well change drastically before it’s official release.
This expansion to the Don’t Starve family allows players to interact with pig villagers. Players can perform tasks for the residents and receive coins called “Oinks”. Oinks can then be traded for various goods and even used to buy a house within the Hamlet.
As with the other expansions, Hamlet introduces new playable characters! Warbucks, modeled like a big game hunter or an explorer. Wilba, the Princess of the Pig people who lost her crown.
There are new Seasons, monsters, biomes and items that can be experienced, found and crafted.
There is a new Treasure Hunting mechanic complete with traps, players can hunt for artifacts, search trap and monster filled rooms for treasure and find useful items in statues.
You can check out my “First thoughts” video below.
The only real con of this expansion is that it does not use any of the additions from the Don’t Starve Together multiplayer expansion and this is a solo venture. After many players got into the playingwithafriend aspect of DST, it was taken away.
So what do I thing of the Hamlet DLC? Well, I picked it up as soon as the early access came out and have really enjoyed it. It is, like the rest of the series, darkly charming and full of interesting adventure to be had. The only thing that could make it better would be the inclusion of the multiplayer introduced in “together”. Check out all of the Don’t Starve content over on Klei’s Don’t Starve site: https://www.klei.com/games/dont-starve
I Score this one 91 out of 100.
I also did a live stream of it and the three replay videos for that can be found below.