February was an interesting month, I committed to writing the walkthrough for "The Messenger" as well as knocked out a fair few completions, including some from my back log which I'm very happy about.
The reviews of the games I finished this month are below;
Day of the tentacle remastered:
I'm ashamed to say I missed this one up until now, so being able to play it with updated graphics and console support was a nice bonus. This game is a sequel to another double fine game "Maniac Mansion" (which is available to play within this game should you wish) both are filled with the quirky humour we all love from Tim Schafer games.
The core gameplay will be familiar to anyone that has ever played a point and click adventure game, and if you've never played one, or are convinced you don't like those types of games, this is definitely a good launching point as the game is relatively short (you can finish it in about 2 hours following a guide, probably 3-4 without a guide. I'd recommend the excellent walkthrough on here for all the achievements in one go). The puzzles all make sense within the game world, while the humour is good enough to keep you invested.
The option to switch between the original graphics and the remastered at a single button press was a nice touch, however this option probably won't be something that is selling point to many people.
This game is definitely a must play if you enjoy Tim Schafer, old school games, point and click games, or quirky humour. Even if you only enjoy one or two of those things, they're all executed well enough to keep you invested and have a good time throughout.
100% completion time 2-4hrs
After finally completing this game I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about it. On the one hand I respect the developer for making a game mostly singlehandedly, and really pouring their heart and soul into it, as well as their life savings. But on the other hand I don't really see anything groundbreaking from it. That's not to say it's not a good game, it just feels slightly derivative of other "Crafing" games.
The art style is bright and colourful, and the animation is well executed for an indie game. Gameplay wise it's difficult to put into words, it's mostly sandbox but if you're playing for the achievements your goal is to make tbe best tools and complete every puzzle and "Feat" (the in game achievements).
If you enjoy incremental games I.E make 4 of "X" to make 1 "Y" then make 4 "Y" to make 1 "Z" etc. you'll probably enjoy this, as that's what you spend most of your time doing.
100% completion time 40-60hrs
This is honestly double fine at their best. I've owned the costume quest games for ages but never got round to completing them until now.
They're fun, filled with humour, colourful and they offer a fairly unique mechanic.
If you're not a fan of turn based combat, I won't judge you for that, much... but this is a good launch point to get into that style of gameplay. One of the most interesting aspects of the combat is that the costume you have equipped before entering battle, impacts the type of special ability you have. There are a variety of different costumes to collect, each with their own unique skills.
The game is quite short unfortunately, but I think if it were much longer it would overstay it's welcome. The humour is often self referential as well as having some pop culture references, not enough to be over-bearing but enough to make you go "yep, I remember that lol"
100% completion time 6-8hrs
The Little Acre:
I love this game, the gameplay and puzzle mechanics are solid, the art style and animation are beautiful, the sound design is flawless, and the voice acting is spectacular.
It's another point and click adventure game, (seems I've played quite a few of those lately) and the developers really knew what they were doing with it. The puzzles are intuitive and well thought out, and are challenging enough to make you think without being so difficult to require obscure item combinations to succeed.
The art style is reminiscent of old school Disney, and it definitely looks hand drawn. The colours are vibrant and every animation is executed seamlessly. Which plays excellently with the voice acting, you can really tell that a lot of care and attention went into making this game.
I'd say it's a definite must play, especially as it's on game pass and is a relatively easy completion.
100% completion time 3-4hrs
I'll start this review by saying I'm pretty bad at bullet hell style games, but even so I had a pretty good time with Aliencruise.
Gameplay is what you'd expect from this type of game, extremely reminiscent of gradius on the NES. The art style is simplistic and brings to mind pop-up books or paper cut outs, however it has a sort of unique charm to it.
It's extremely short, I believe there were only 8 or 9 levels, and the replay value is quite low in my opinion. I would often find myself going back to previous levels to collect the power ups of my preference, as some of the later levels are quite sparing with the power ups they give you.
Overall I'd say play it if you enjoy this type of game, but I wouldn't say it's an "easy" completion for most people.
Completion time 2-6hrs (depending on your skill level)
The Messenger certainly isn't for everyone, however I do think more people should play it. The action plarformer/metroidvania genre has been declining over the past few decades. There are obviously a few stand out entries (like this one) but there's just not the demand for them there once was.
This is an outstanding example of both genres, if you're older and enjoyed the original Ninja Gaiden games, Stryder, or even Mega Man this will appeal to you. The second half of the games becomes much less linear and features heavy backtracking through areas previous cleared to obtain new items to progress, extremely reminiscent of the Metroid games.
The core gameplay is tight, the movement is exactly as responsive as it needs to be for the platforming, and the combat feels satisfying, especially the boss fights all or which feel unique and well thought out.
There is a pretty interesting mechanic, where you time travel through portals in order to complete puzzles and access previously unavailable areas. The time travel is represented by a change in graphic style from "8-bit" to "16-bit", each of which is well designed and distinct.
The soundtrack is inspired and each track fits the area it plays in, there are even different tracks for the 8-bit and 16-bit areas. They really stayed with me and I found myself humming them even when I'd finished the game.
There are of course some challenging achievements with this game, and some are missable on a playthrough without prior knowledge. I'm currently writing the walkthrough for this game so stay tuned if you're waiting for that.
100% completion time 12-15hrs
So, with myself being new to Game Pass on PC. I thought I'd jump in with a relatively straightforward completion.
If you're looking for a quick 1000G this is a good game to play, especially if you only have a laptop with a not so good (read: crap) GPU. The gameplay is basically answering multiple choice questions. The art style is very twee, being reminiscent of a pop up book.
However the gameplay can feel a little samey so I'd recommend using the walkthrough available on here if you just want the achievements over and done with.
100% completion time 1hr
The book of unwritten tales 2:
I'll preface this review by saying I haven't played the first game, but I didn't really feel like I was missing out on any story as it's recapped pretty well as you play.
It has some very good humour, I physically laughed more than once, however I felt some of it was forced in, "how many pop culture references is too many" springs to mind.
The voice acting is solid, and the graphics are actually a lot better than I expected. The gameplay is quite repetitive though, even for this type of game. More often than I could count I'd start a puzzle in area "A" and have to get something from area "b" and return to area "A" only to discover I needed something from area "B" to continue, I found the loading times between areas to be quite long which didn't help with the tedium either.
Overall it's a good game, with a few tedious achievements. I'd recommend following the guide on here to minimise your backtracking and to mop up the few missable achievements.
100% completion time 16-18hrs
For a free game, this is honestly really good. It's a straightforward 1000G (there are 2 paid for DLC that cost £4 each, offering another 500G each) which I haven't got around to yet.
The core gameplay is a lot like slime rancher, you vacuum up items and shoot them out in order to progress your objective, there's also an element of investment banking (not surprisingly as this game is published by natwest bank) where everything rewards you with various currency, which you can earn interest and even have to pay tax on your earnings.
I'd definitely recommend giving this one a try, especially as it's quite rare for a free game to have easy to obtain achievements that aren't locked behind a pay wall.
100% completion time 6-8hrs
Sherlock Holmes: the devils daughter:
Honestly this game is just "OK", the graphics are looking seriously dated, which is especially apparent as the game is less than 5 years old, however they could easily haven been from the xbox 360 era.
I remember watching the trailer when it was first announced and I was quite hyped for the apparent supernatural element. I was left less than impressed, as this isn't really touched on until the last mission and not really in great detail.
The game is really short, there are only 5 cases to solve, the story that links them isn't really there, and it feels almost like a chore to play at times, the movement controls feel stiff and clunky, and the puzzle solving elements are far too simple for this type of game. It feels rushed and thrown together, almost like the developer didn't care about the game, which is the opposite feeling I got from "Crimes and Punishment" the prequel.
100% completion time 8-10hrs