Never Alone: Foxtales Review

Never Alone: Foxtales logo

When Never Alone was released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One last year (it came to Mac earlier in 2015), it was rightfully lauded as a masterpiece. Developer Upper One Games had teamed up with publisher E-Line Media to craft a brilliant adventure focused on a tale of Alaska’s native Iñupiaq people, as a young girl named Nuna and her fox, Fox, tried to save their village from a deathly blizzard.

With Upper One themselves being made up of Iñupiaq and with the game having been made with the input of Iñupiaq elders too, Never Alone successfully shone a spotlight onto the culture and ways of a group of people that most had never heard of. It wasn’t a dry, interactive textbook from your secondary/high school and it wasn’t some Chinese whispers sort of retelling by developers who’d merely seen or heard of the Iñupiaq but weren’t Iñupiaq themselves. Never Alone was authentic as it got.

So when (expansion DLC) Never Alone: Foxtales was announced, promising to showcase more of Alaska’s environment and introducing us to its spring season, plenty (myself included) were glad to have another reason to play the game. But is this expansion substantial enough? And has Upper One managed to deliver something fresh or is it more of the same? Read the rest of this Never Alone: Foxtales review to find out.

[Read more…]

Will Fight for Food Review

Will Fight for Food screenshot superhero

The first game from developer Pyrodactyl was Unrest, an adventure RPG set in ancient India that touched upon poverty, disease, and social and political change. So you’ll understand when I say that their latest game, Will Fight For Food: Super Actual Sellout: Game of the Hour, an RPG and brawler that stars a down on his luck wrestler (Jared Casey Dent) seeking revenge on the cartoon villains that betrayed him, is massively different. Even that title is a parody in and of itself.

So being such a huge tonal shift from their first title, Will Fight for Food is a huge risk. Plus, in addition to being marketed as a tongue-in-cheek fighting game, Pyrodactyl has also been keen to point out the fact that their game isn’t just punching, kicking and wish-upon-a-prayering as its dialogue system is quite rich too. But does the game deliver on all fronts or is it as hapless as Jared’s future prospects? Read our Will Fight for Food review to find out.

[Read more…]

Sunset Review (PC)

Sunset logo header

As games grow as a medium, one question that has been asked time and time again is whether or not games are art. By definition, art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination…works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power” which is certainly a category that the majority of games (even Call of Duty with its bang shooty action and its mostly hollow cutscenes) could fall into. But on the other hand, people argue that the interactivity of games and the way that many of them aren’t made for any other point than to take our money, mean that games standalone in the cultural landscape.

Sunset, the new game from Tale of Tales, is a game that looks this debate squarely in the face. Is it a game full of wild interpretation in which each person who plays it could get something or nothing out of it? Or is it a harrowing look at war, politics, and a place in a world that is not corrupt in small pockets but is rotten to the core? Or is it somewhere in the middle, its definition straddling the grey area as much as the moral compasses of its characters do? Read the rest of my Sunset review to find out.

[Read more…]

Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker Review

Kitty Powers' Matchmaker logo

Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker is a new entrant in a genre that is dominated by highly sexualised portrayals of women, mostly heterosexual plot lines or odd matchups between humans, animals and/or animations. Needless to say, they’re all bordering on exclusionary at their best, or offensive at their downright worst.

Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker is by no means inoffensive (the rude puns and jokes will surely annoy some conservative parents somewhere) but it aims to be the inclusive alternative that appeals to LGB and straight gamers alike.

But does it manage to be a standout success or does it underwhelm in comparison to its divisive competitors? Read the rest of this Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker review to find out.

[Read more…]

Never Alone Review (PS4)

Never Alone wallpaper

By many accounts, Never Alone is a risky title. Setting records as the very first of its kind, the market for a commercial game about indigenous people was untested. There was also the fact that Never Alone has been made to both pass on the stories and educate the world about the Iñupiaq people and so we could have gotten an uncomfortable experience not dissimilar to a Sunday school teaching you’ve tried to sneak out of. Could have. With the greatest risks comes the greatest rewards and so successfully living up to the potential, hype and hopes for it, Never Alone is a unique slice of video game brilliance.

[Read more…]

Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy Review (PC)

Nancy Drew The Silent Spy header

Like Levi’s and denim, Nike and sportswear and the past year of gaming and laughably bad game launches, Nancy’s Drew name is synonymous with sleuthing. Her latest point and click adventure, Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy takes the famed detective to Scotland, the place of her mother’s death. But was Kate Drew’s demise an accident or was it cold-blooded murder?

That’s what Nancy is set to find out, facing puzzles, mystery and one God awful Scottish accent on the way. Find out more in our Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy review.

[Read more…]

Devil’s Dare Review (PC) – A Hard Day’s Grind

Devil's Dare header

There’s something quite unfortunate about dying in a permadeath game. It’s like a blow to the head, a jab to the stomach and your father calling you “a disappointment” all at once. Yet Devil’s Dare, the arcade beat ’em up from Secret Base, encourages it. The point to this (and yes there is a point to the game seeing its users ground into pixellated meat paste time and time again) is that overcoming its remarkably high level of risk offers a suitable reward in response, namely more bits of level for Devil’s Dare to kick your ass with. It’s a novel concept but does it pay off? Find out in our Devil’s Dare review.

[Read more…]

A City Sleeps Review (PC) – A Dream to Play But a Nightmare to Master

A City Sleeps header

A rhythm action title from Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band, A City Sleeps is meant to be the devs’ fresh take on a genre that was once flooded with lots of the same – with a plethora of plastic peripherals to boot. But, in many ways, their new PC-only title has much more in common with the franchise that made them famous than you would expect. It has a steep difficulty curve, it’s addictive, takes a lot of practice to get good at and, most importantly, it has a killer soundtrack. These are not bad things and they are actually the precursors for a very good music game. But does it shrug off the problems of the rhythm games that came before it or does it carry them within its bloodline? Read our A City Sleeps review to find out.

[Read more…]

Iron Fisticle Review (PC) – a Little Bit Rude But a Tremendous Amount of Fun

Iron Fisticle logo

While graphics, platforms and the games industry as a whole may have changed, three core principles remain true. One, shooting waves of enemies in the face remains awesome. Two, getting out of a pinch when said enemies become threatening will make you feel like a god. And three, you never stop loving the way your heart beats in your chest when you almost died but you just about lived on to complete the level instead. When a game can do this to perfection then you know you’re onto a winner and lucky for us that twin-stick shooter Iron Fisticle is a very good example of this indeed.

[Read more…]

‘In Real Life’ Book Review

In Real Life header

I am not very good at MMOs but through the eyes of Anda I learn what it feels like to be an MMO god. Where I forget to log in regularly or give up on the daily grind, In Real Life‘s young protagonist exceeds, slashing, dashing and powering her way through enemies to hoover up XP, gold and respect from her peers, becoming one of the greatest players that the fictional MMO of Coarsegold Online has ever seen. But while Coarsegold Online may not really exist, the problems within the game are taken from the MMOs of our own world. It’s realistic without being too hard hitting but it’s jovial without being too jolly, which is perhaps why I like In Real Life so much.

[Read more…]