Game reviews

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – My thoughts.

Hello there! I wholeheartedly apologise for such a lack of content recently and I’m not going to bore you with excuses but I will say that this isn’t so much of a review rather than my thoughts and experiences with the game so let’s just get on with it.

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If you own a computer or are in to strategy games and haven’t heard of the behemoth that is Sid Meier then where the fuck have you been? The strategy game giants have graced us with another instalment to their Civilization series this time however there is a twist. It’s set in the future! Instead of doing the usual business of building a famous empire from the ground up over thousands of years this time we take on the job of setting up a colony on a distant planet. Each Civ is funded by a sponsor so instead of having separate countries you have different corporations. Now for the interests of impartiality I will admit that I am quite the Civilization fan but for the sack of this article I have put aside my preconceptions and tried to play this game with an open mind.

First off I am going to address an issue that I have seen a lot of people have with this game and that is that there is a lack of personality from the A.I. leaders. I don’t really think this is as big a deal as what some are making it out to be. Yes their aren’t as many leaders(as of yet) as there have been in previous games so most playthroughs are similar but you can clearly see patterns in behaviour and individual characteristics of each one. I think the major difference in this game is that none of the names are recognisable as in previous Civ games so we have no previous ideas of what that person is like. I do agree that the level of personality isn’t as high as in previous games but it is undeniably still there. I found myself many times getting angry with how certain factions were acting and even being very spiteful in different playthroughs because of how a leader acted in a different game. Anyway rant over.

The game plays a lot like any other Civ game so if you aren’t a fan of the previous ones then this probably won’t float your boat however if you are a fan of the earlier games or the genre in general then this will be a happy edition to your collection. For most part the game is almost identical to Civ V as they run on the same engine however it is the new setting and tweaks that they have made that make the game feel drastically different. The most notable change is the tech web, previously being a tech tree, allowing for much greater variation in advancements and giving science an even greater level of strategy as it makes each technology you research that little bit more significant. It also separates the different countries/corporations quite drastically as there are now hundreds of different orders to unlocking things like buildings and new units. The next most significant feature is probably the Affinity system. By acting in certain ways or researching certain things you gain affinity points and increasing your chosen affinity will lead to stronger units, new perks and also affect how other Civs react to you. This is a welcome addition however can prove a bit distracting as sometimes you focus on growing your affinity rather than your own Civilization.

There are so many choices to make in this game that it borderlines on the ridiculous. One of the reasons there aren’t that many starting leaders(in this game they are called sponsors) is because after picking which one you want to be there are then three more choices for you to customize your Civ with such as starting bonuses etc. This can be really fun as it really feels like your Civ is your own however as all the A.I. also customize themselves can make it difficult to work out how the opponents will play. The game also runs a quest system helping you to feel like there is a progression to what you are doing and with certain quests you are given a decision to make which will change what certain buildings output or give different buffs again further customizing your Civ.

Level design is a bit lacklustre as most places feel very similar however knowing Firaxis, the company behind the game, they will be releasing a bunch of dlc maps as they normally do. This is cushioned as from day one this game came with steam workshop support so modders have already been hard at work making the game have even more content.

Civilization: Beyond Earth is another good instalment in the franchise and is well worth a play if you are a fan. There are a few things that I think don’t make this a less fun game but do impact replayabillity and so I doubt it will eat up as many hours as say Civ V will/has/is but given the history of these games once a few large expansions have been released I would not be surprised if this game could eat away around 60hours+. Let me know what you guys think and what things you would like to be included in the expansions or made as a mod, thanks for reading!

Civilization: Beyond Earth is out now for PC.

 

-Joe

Mario Kart 8- An Overdue Review

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Hello there! I apologise for the lack of content from me for the past few weeks, been a little bit mad. I’ve been meaning to review this game for absolutely ages but every time I sat down to write one up another game just came along and distracted the ever loving shit out of me. But finally I’ve gotten around to it.

 

Mario Kart. Now unless you’ve had your head under a rock for the past decade you will have heard of this franchise and know what its about, so im gunna move swiftly onwards and not treat you like morons by going over the premise. Mario Kart 8 is the reason we’re here folks and Mario Kart 8 is what we’ll get. This game is fucking amazing. Period. It was actually the sole reason that I went out and bought a Wii U and boy oh boy I wasn’t disappointed.

First off let me say that this game is beautiful. Sometimes lost if you play split screen but hugely noticeable when played single player, or in the replays at the end of a race, the detail in every little thing just astonishes me. My personal favourite are the textures for DK and Bowser, It’s just something about their scales and fur that send a shiver through my body and make me go “oooooooh!”. Granted those aren’t great examples of little details as I mentioned earlier but just be patient and let me get to it, after all im just one man! Things like tracks in the sand and clouds (there’s a cloud level in case you were thinking I had gone insane and thought you could drive through the sky, what do you think Im a fucking idiot? what’s the matter with you?) that actually last for quite a while and actually make you feel like you’re driving on said object. The levels themselves are well constructed and an absolute joy to race on, granted a few take a couple of runs to get used to them but that’s the same with any racing game. The new anti-gravity sections of races adds a new element to the game and really make you think about what you’re doing because in these parts if you hit another player instead of bouncing off like a oversized grapefruit, you both get a small speed boost. this may sound like nothing but it really does factor in, say you’re on rainbow road doing some sweet drifts and some schmuck gives you a little nudge when he passes you, instead of just being slowed or both bouncing off each other you fire off like a pre-mature rocket and fall to your horrible death. Yeah not so insignificant now huh.

Babies got back!

Babies got back!

 

 

The character list although extensive I think is rather poor. They got rid of characters like Boo, Dry Bones and even Bowser Jr. and replaced them with all of the Koopalings. Now I don’t have anything against the Koopalings necessarily it’s just they all seem the same to me. I was especially shocked at no Bowser Jr. as this game has more Baby characters than ever. And don’t even get me started on Pink Gold Peach!

The new tracks are memorable and fun and the adjusted “classic tracks” are also incredibly enjoyable. Everything just seems really polished and there isn’t really one level that doesn’t have at least some redeeming part to it. It just really seems like a lot of care and effort went into each and every track. Now I can’t speak about the levels and their design without mentioning the music. this may seem sad but the music in this game is a real high point for me, They just seem to perfectly mirror the atmosphere of the level that they are being used for and give you that sense of real awe and excitement. And boy does this game have a lot of those moments (don’t want to spoil anything so you can feel the same innocent wonder that I felt when seeing these moments for the first time).

Items make an appearance as always and like with every new Mario Kart we have some new additions. The music box item is by far the most useful of the new entries as it’s the only thing that can stop you from being hit by a blue shell, yeah they done went and brung it! Speaking of blue shells they have been slightly modified in this outing, instead of doing a straight beeline for the person in 1st and flying towards them they have since had their wings clipped and now run along the ground like normal shells. Difference is that now if you get in the way of a blue shell they fuck you up too before getting on their merry way to the front runner. My least fave (Other than the god damn coins!) would have to be the piranha plant, which replaces the chain chomp I might add. This item acts in a similar way to chain chomp by eating the other racers but doesn’t do the whole bullet bill thing and drag you around the track really fast. Again doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is, When it does try and eat another driver it drags you in that direction, oh and if no one is around you it just bites at the air randomly, meaning that if you are near an edge or something and it takes a bite towards the edge then you are done! It becomes really annoying.

Overall this game is a must buy for anyone with Wii U and is a perfect game to play with your friends (I have even came up with my own drinking game for it which I will be sure to post at some point If anyone would like to try it out). This game is even so good that I would consider It a console seller and I honestly think this game and the future sales of Super Smash Bros will save the so far failing Wii U console.

Mario Kart 8 gets my highest ever score 10/10.

Subscribe and share! or Luigi will come get ya.

Subscribe and share! or Luigi will come get ya.

 

-Joe

Broforce: Testosterone Fueled Carnage!

 

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Previously I have spoken about early-access games and one in particular I highlighted was Broforce. Finally I got my hands on the game and after playing for even just a few minutes I was hooked and just had to share my thoughts with other people. This game is some sort of potion of awesome with dashes of humour and charm but with a whole heap of napalm and adrenalin!

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The game itself plays out like your conventional platformer, going from left to right (mostly) and has incredibly tight controls which a game like this so desperately needs so that when you die you have no one to blame but yourself. The action element is where the gameplay shines with each bro playing differently which adds a sense of strategy into the run and gun shoot-em-up, Enemies are varied and progressively change as the campaign (which isn’t complete at the time of this article) moves forward. Boss fights are fun and help give you that feeling of accomplishment at the end of stages as well as force you to really use your experience with all the different bros to beat them as some can only be killed in certain ways.

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I love this art style! I have always been a fan of pixel art and games that do it well just make me melt inside. This game evaporates me. The characters are distinct and easy to recognise which is a feat in itself but coupled with the different environments and enemies it just makes it seem that much more cared for. Oh and speaking of environments, they are fully destructible! At first it seems funny but again its these little details that add depth to the game. It allows you to create your own path through the levels but on the flipside it can also become your downfall if you abuse it too much to the point where there is no floor left to stand on. The stages themselves get harder as the game moves forward so their isn’t some massive jump in difficulty nor is this game a cake-walk it finds a nice balance and if you can’t beat a level it doesn’t dumb it down or take it easy it just sits back and lets you keep repeating till you get it. Same with multiplayer and single player. Playing with friends while much more fun and enjoyable also can make the game easier as each level has the same amount of enemies as if you played single player. Not to say single player isn’t fun, far from it, it’s a great way to get to know the game and really progress and see what the game has to offer. I would say multiplayer = funnier not anymore fun.

Now for the part that makes this game what it is. The bros. The care and detail that has gone into every single sprite and character move set really blows your mind, especially when they are always updating the game with new bros, heck even while preparing this article an update came out adding another two more! Each character feels different and unique and really impact how you play the game. Each character is balanced well almost right off the bat which is excellent for when the game is updated because the new characters just slot right in there with the others you’ve collected. The addition of female bros will be seen by some as funny and as others by pleasing a demographic but I really don’t think that the case. Each bro has been designed specifically from the ground up, they will have been chosen not just for how recognisable a character they are but for their strengths and weaknesses and how they can add something new to the game.

This game is currently on a weekend sale on steam for £7.99 but if you go to humblebundle.com you can get it on sale for £5.99 and help charitable organizations at the same time and even when not on sale is cheaper than on steam normally. I can’t stress enough how much love I have for this game and could go on for hours ranting about it but instead I will just say go and get it and you will understand.

Im not going to give the game a rating as It isn’t actually finished but even if it were even in its current state It would get at least a 7/10. My prediction for when it finally releases will be more like 9/10.

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Thank you for reading!

-Joe

One Finger Death Punch – Review!

2014-05-05_00001This game is simply brilliant mainly due to it being brilliantly simple. All you need is a mouse, the only buttons you press are the left and right mouse buttons. That’s it. However this allows the game to be so much more than if they had decided to give you long lists of button combos, It’s enjoyable and accessible to pretty much anyone.

Ready to fight?

Ready to fight?

The game itself is a kung-fu beat em’ up type game with stickmen as the characters reminiscent of old flash animations. The game itself isn’t a button masher as you might think and actually penalises you for doing so, instead it slowly introduces new enemies that require different order combinations of the same 2 buttons you’ve been using the whole time. Honestly when I bought this game I never would of imagined how dynamic the fighting actually is whether it’s a different level type of new enemies this game keeps you engaged. What they have done with the difficulty is quite frankly genius I think and I would love to see it incorporated in all games that involve any form of fighting. It take the stats from how you play and works out your skill level and then adjusts the enemy speed and difficulty of the level accordingly, in other words the better you do the harder it gets. This makes for really balanced gameplay as there are no crazy difficulty spikes but every level does poses a challenge.

Mortal Kombat eat your heart out.

Mortal Kombat eat your heart out.

For £3.99 on PC this game is also a bargain! It s great bit of fun especially if you need something you can play for a few minutes while you take a break from revision or work that will give you a real sense of enjoyment. I honour of such a simple game I’ll keep this review simple also. One finger death punch gets a 7/10 and a 10/10 for value!

 

 

 

– Joe

Our first video review! – Goat simulator 2014!

Check out our very first video review! Everything starts somewhere so where better to start than with Goats?

 

 

-Joe

Loadout QUICKPICKLE!

Loadout

 

Hey everyone! So this week I’ve been having a little play around with a free to play game that goes by the name of Loadout. Safe to say this game ain’t your normal shooter. It’s a 3rd person over the shoulder run and gun style of game but it’s the added features and art style that really set this game a part.

Hank would of got Walt way sooner with these guns!

Hank would of got Walt way sooner with these guns!

Its cartoony and silly, similar to TF2 in a sense, but with a bit more gore and adult themes which do help separate its style from games of a similar ilk. The character customization is quite extensive too though you will need in game coins to buy the majority of the items available. I would say this is one of the weaker areas of the game though as there are only 3 character bases to choose from which kind of limits your customization but it’s not really noticeable when you’re actually playing so really it’s just more of a shame rather than a bad point.

 

The other amazingly fun and interesting feature they have is that of weapon crafting! You get to pick what type of gun you have then modify it to hell then even chose what kinds of ammo you fire and how the ammo acts, there are thousands of different combinations to choose from meaning that no 2 players are ever the same. You can even name your gun so when you die and you drop your weapon other people can see how funny and clever you are! all jokes aside though it does add a really good dynamic to the game and almost adds a layer of strategy and depth to the game.

Electric laser guided triple rocket launcher? Why not!

Electric laser guided triple rocket launcher? Why not!

The other thing I’ll mention before finishing is the game modes are really fun and players will inevitably find the games that they prefer and are better at, my personal favourite is Blitz where your kills/assists only are registered if you’re able to pick up an in game item from the dead enemy you killed. I just like it because it’s a little different and again it makes you try and add a layer of strategy to how you play it.

The game is still being added to with a custom game option on the way but I thoroughly think that this game is worth your time and did I mention that its free!  and unlike most free to play games where you can pay real-life money to unlock better equipment etc. the only thing real money will buy you is outfits and customization for your character, the only way to unlock new gun parts and equipment is by actually playing the game! Which I think is great and something game companies need to do more of so you don’t keep getting beaten by players that are worse than you but that just have deeper pockets. Anyway that’s my thoughts on Loadout! thanks for reading and make sure to like our facebook, follow our twitter and share the hell out of our blog. Cheers!

 

JJ

South Park: The Stick Of Truth: A big fat ass review!

Sorry for the late upload of the full review I’m not going to make excuses all I can say is that I was just having way too much fun playing the game to actually think about reviewing it yet but the show must go on!

First off I just have to say that this game is brilliant! If you’re a fan of the show then you will be amazed at how many references they have been able to fit into this game and if you’re a new comer and this is your first experience of the franchise then you’ll be pleased at how accessible it is. You can really ell that this game was made by Matt Stone and Trey Parker as it has their touch of perfection to it from the big things like story and dialogue to even the smaller things such as menus and inventory selection, everything just feels right.

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A small barbarian wielding a smelly dildo – Just another day in South Park.

Visually It emulates the show to a tee! The seamlessness between game and cut scenes are only noticeable when they use it to make a joke (Such as any cut scene involving Jimmy you actually have to skip otherwise he just stutters forever) and it gets to the point where it doesn’t actually feel like you’re playing a game but more like an interactive episode. Actually an episode wouldn’t be doing it justice this is more like an interactive season! The story line feels like a true South Park story line where there are twists and turns that take you all over the place but then at the end it all reels back to the original thing you set out for. Not to give away any spoilers but the story line itself is bloody hilarious!

The controls for this game are solid and the navigation of menus and inventory are also very well done. It seems like an old school RPG game where you can really micromanage your character from appearance to gear which you can even customize further with dyes and boost patches(Known locally as strap-ons). It makes for a much more interesting game and gives you a greater feeling of control over your character.

Combat is really fun and progresses with your player so it always keeps you guessing. Even though you can press buttons to block you only receive some reduced damage instead of no damage which as it was one of the things that worried me when I saw the combat system in a game demo as it made it look like as long as you knew the times to block you would be invincible but this isn’t the case. At the beginning of the game you choose which class you are which doesn’t really impact the game all that much just on what abilities you can use in battle, Each of the classes are balanced as well so you can choose which class you prefer rather than the one that will make the game easier or harder. The four classes are Warrior, Mage, Thief or Jew which could only happen in a South Park game.

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Who ever said South Park was a quite mountain town?

Right now I’ve had a chance to profess my love for this game there are a few things that bug me. The biggest thing is the play-time. I completed the game doing every side-mission bar one (which I missed) and the game clocked in at 12 hours. And this isn’t like I’m a super fast gamer this tends to be the norm for most players. Now there is some replay value by playing as a different class and choosing a different side of the “War” to fight in but even that doesn’t impact you game that much. The main reason to play again for most people will be so that they can re-do their favourite levels or hear their favourite jokes. DLC has been announced to be released for the game which hopefully will extend the game by a few hours though. The other thing is that once you have completed the story-line you can explore the town and finish any side-quests (apart from event enabled quests) but if you’re like me and completed them all before the actual story then all you can really do is wander around as there are no new missions or enemies to fight, I would of like even some new-side quests that were only accessible once the main game was done just so you had something to do at least other than making yourself look like David Hasslehoff (I’m not kidding, Its hilarious!).

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Hasselhoff in a crab suit holding a flaming katana. Your argument just became invalid.

With a £39.99 price tag though we do expect a little more content from our games and granted at some points it does seem a little unjustified but on the whole I would say that for a Fan like I am Its well worth it but non-fans who are looking at this to be their way into the show then maybe wait off till prices go down.

The other thing that’s rather annoying is how easy the game is. Other than the odd boss fight (Mainly Al Gore) no enemies pose much of a threat so you’re going to want to turn the difficulty up to hard as soon as you boot up the game pretty much. Especially when you add in the fact that there are location/area based things you can do to take out certain enemies before actually fighting them which isn’t dependant on level or skill or anything and it gives you the same experience as if you had fought.

My final annoyance is that you get capped at level 15 which I think is a little bit too low but I can see why they did as it makes you choose which abilities to upgrade but even then it still seems quite low. Again maybe this is something they will change when DLC is released like we see in so many games but until then this is what were stuck with.

Final thoughts: This game is everything you could possibly want from a South Park RPG, It blends the humour of the show with the game style many of us probably grew up with and honestly I think I will be playing this game again and again just like I re-watch my favourite episodes. However I’ve not mentioned something that I feel I should. If you are easily offended then do not buy this game as you will hate it. For everyone else though, Get this game now!

Now my final verdict on this game comes in 3 parts this week, Normally I say how good the game is then value for money but I didn’t think this was fair as the rating of this game I think will be quite different for fans of the show over people who aren’t.

Fans: 9.5/10                        Non-Fans:8/10                                                  Value: 7/10

South-Park-The-Stick-of-Truth

South Park: The Stick Of Truth QUICKPICKLE!

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Okay for this week’s review I’m going something slightly different, its gunna be a really quick talk about a game and might become a regular thing but till then we shall see.

Right, when I first heard about the game in question I couldn’t have been more excited. I am a huge South Park fan and as a writer I can’t help but admire Trey Parker and Matt Stone for their creation. When the game got pushed back for release It was a little bitter sweet though. On one hand bitter because I wanted to play this game more than anything but sweet because it shows that they really care about the finished product and like with much of Parker and Stone’s work they wanted it perfected. Well that’s what I hope. If gameplay footage is anything to go by then the wait has been well worth it. The game seems to play exactly like an episode and I’m very happy they went with this instead of attempting to make it 3d (I still have nightmares of their last attempt at a 3d south park game for the ps1). After a lot of deliberation I decided to spend my student loan wisely and pre-order the game for my PC however it isn’t released until this Friday so instead of differing a few days to give you my verdict I thought I’d give you a little snippet of my thinking to tithe you over till sometime this weekend(I’d wager Saturday).

Its no exaggeration to say that this game is my most anticipated for 2014 but I’m gunna give a shout out and want to know what some of your most anticipated games for this year are? Also are there any games you’d like to see reviewed on the site? Leave a comment or write on the face book page over at https://www.facebook.com/picklepantsreviews

Hero Siege, A Review

Hero Siege is the first outing for Panic Art Studios, It sells itself as a Hack ‘n’ slash with heavy rogue-like element with randomly generated levels and some player customisation but in my opinion fails to deliver in almost every category.

I know hats are funny in TF2 but c'mon!

I know hats are funny in TF2 but c’mon!

The game on the surface looks like it was going to be similar to the game Rogue Legacy (Which btw is possibly my favourite Indie game ever) so I was very excited to play this when I first caught wind of it. Now my views may be slightly biased and some of you may think it unfair that I compare this game to others rather than judge it on its own merits but that becomes seriously hard when the games are so similar.

The makers of this game Panic Art Studios were actually very helpful with answering my questions when  I spoke with them so I do feel slightly bad when I say that I dislike their game but honestly I tried my hardest to make myself like this game but it just didn’t happen. The team behind this game had previously only made 2 games for the Appstore and Google play and my god does it show! The controls are very basic and there is’nt much skill involved in playing this game. When playing I found that if you just looped the AI just tries to follow you so you can line them all up in a straight line and just blast them away, I actually died more in this game trying to get traps to kill enemies and backfiring on me then actual enemy damage. This game is way too easy! If you are going to venture into the PC indie gaming universe there are 2 things you’re going to need to know;

Who knew every enemy in the horde would explode?

Who knew every enemy in the horde would explode?

1) We like our games hard as fucking balls!           2) We love pixel art

Now even though this game has a pixel art feel I would in no way call it art. Pixel art for any art fans out there is all about simplicity, making the most of out of the least, seeing a portrait in a single block. This game however just kind of feels empty and already done.

That’s the other thing, the enemies just seem uninspired and a bit lazy it’s like they sat around and said “Guys what’s the most generic enemy?” “Umm skeletons and rats?” “Great now instead of doing any form of editing for higher levels of those enemies let’s just change their palette!” and everyone screams genius! Maybe I should cut them a break seeing as the game was made by just 3 people, some of you might be saying and I reply NO! Why should that matter? Super meat boy was made by 2 guys, Indie games don’t have massive teams but what good ones do is innovate and perfect. This game did neither.

Oh no a spider! Run Ms Muffet!

Oh no a spider! Run Ms Muffet!

The level design is pretty boring too, There are different themed levels and granted they are still working on the final level to be released but they all just kind of feel empty and the same and don’t even get me started on the poor excuse of randomly generated dungeons used in this game! When done correctly randomly generated dungeons can be brilliant however the extent to which this game goes is basically just moving traps around and placing a few box’s on the other side of the screen. It’s laughable.

They claim the inspiration for this game was taken from Diablo and The binding of Isaac, does it show? Absolutely not other than the camera angle is similar to Isaac’s.

Teslagrad ,which I covered last week so go read it if you haven’t yet, took 2 and 1/2 years to make. Hero Siege took 6 months and they had half the size team and It is glaringly obvious that they didn’t take enough time to make this game. It feels like something someone might play on their phone a few times if it was free then put it down and never open it again and yet they ask for £5.99 for the game on PC!

In conclusion I do not think this game is even worth your time as there are much better games out there that do the same thing only on a much higher level. 2/10 don’t waste your time.

Teslagrad Game Review: A Norwegian Masterpiece

Teslagrad has been on my radar since its release date 13/12/2013. During the chaos that is the Steam Winter Sale It probably slipped most of you by but there was just something about it that drew me in.

Opening menu flows seamlessly into the game

Opening menu flows seamlessly into the game

Continuing the flow right into the story

Continuing the flow right into the story

After booting up the game I was met with what has to be described as a glorious soundtrack and it really felt in keep with the image the game was creating for itself. Without any time to lose I pressed new game and was on my journey. Now something you should know about Teslagrad is that there is no dialogue, however what the developers over at Rain Games have done is really quite phenomenal and this is me after just playing the opening level. They have clearly spent a huge amount of time weaving this story into the very fabric of the game so that everything you see and interact with helps tell the narrative. As a writer I can be the first to tell you that this is no easy feat.

Most tutorials in the modern day era, and this makes me sad, hold your hand and walk you through every button and action you can do with your character via information signs and sometimes simply just test levels but what Teslagrad does is reminiscent of a time forgotten a time in which the only way to know if something was good or bad was to test your theory, If you die then you were wrong and if you live you’ll know to do more of it from then on. It doesn’t give you any help whatsoever and the game works so much better for it because it really gives you that sense of adventure. Speaking with the producer Peter W. Meldahl he told me that the Metroid games were of a big influence to the games level design and that becomes very clear when you get to the main portion of the game, especially when  you gain a new item in a room it becomes a necessity to understand how to use that item to advance whether it be simply being able to leave the room that you had previously entered or dodging an obstacle you previously thought you couldn’t. there are a few occasions however where it does become a bit difficult and aggravating when you are completely stumped while doing a puzzle or not knowing where to go but the flip side of that is when you do get past that point or figure it out you do feel a greater sense of achievement than if you were just guided through.

"And the lord said let there be light... and magnet gloves!"

“And the lord said let there be light… and magnet gloves!”

I think for me what surprised me the most was the level of immersion I received when playing this game. It draws you in from the very start and doesn’t let you go (that is till you rage quit after dying on a boss fight multiple times until you can calm yourself, pick back up your controller and go again). This is helped by the fact that there are no load screens of any kind. The screen scrolls with you as you move and does stop at a certain point at the edge of an area which in most platformers would be where the level ends or the game loads up the next stage but in Teslagrad it simply takes you straight into the next part without even so much as a pause. This is also the same for dying and checkpoints. There are no clear checkpoints, no sign on the screen or anything you run through they are just placed at different intervals without you knowing which at the start does keep you on edge because you are constantly worried that if you die then you will be teleported way back in the game but this isn’t the case at all as they are quite frequent. The dying screen is another similar thing once you die the screen fades to black and without even so much as a breather you’re back at your last checkpoint. Now some of you are probably thinking it’s strange that this is something i picked up on in such great detail well this is a game where you get used to dying as you will be doing a lot of it! As I mentioned earlier this game gives you next to no hints and a lot of the time you just wait to see if something kills you just so then you have more information to complete the puzzle with. the other thing is the controls sometimes have to be unbelievably precise to actually complete a challenge or puzzle that you assume you must be wrong and try something else then come back to your original idea and realise you had been pressing a button 1/10th of a second early. This is probably the biggest flaw in the game but I feel that if the game wasn’t as hard as balls in certain places then it wouldn’t be any way near as good or satisfying.

I wonder f this thing recycles?

I wonder if this thing recycles?

Now I’ve left this point to the end but it is by far the biggest draw to this game and is what had me hooked from when I saw it had been released and that is the artwork. This game is beautiful! Rarely does a game that is this cheap look this good. At times, especially at the start, you feel as if you are walking through a painting. everything has a hand drawn feel to it and when that becomes coupled with the lighting effects and camera work it culminates into wonderfully done visuals. Even seeing screenshots hadn’t really prepared me for when I actually played the game and I can honestly say that although this is a game made by a small team it is easily worthy of a next gen title.

Punch and Judy have really stepped it up

Punch and Judy have really stepped it up

All in all I would give this game a 8/10 for the game and 10/10 for value.

Teslagrad is available on Linux, Mac and Windows via Steam for £6.99 and will have a download release date some time in 2014 for Wii U, PS3 and PS4 and PSVita. Other platforms are being worked on for release but cannot be confirmed at this date.