Friday, January 12, 2018

Tiny Metal (PS4)

Area35 & Unties' "Tiny Metal" is a cutesy military grade SRPG made possible by a controversial kickstarter campaign. It is a turn based tactical RPG not originally planned by the developer. A turn based tactical gaming experience in which you command, control, and conquer with various military units on a tiled map that has special terrain and capture points made available. You basically fight enemy units as one of the game's warring factions while capturing points to spawn new units, heal, and bank METAL coins for spawning the new units. The inclusive gameplay also uses special terrain to add in other tactical/strategic options such as height and cover advantage. Tiny Metal currently includes two modes of play including a story driven 'Campaign', and a 'Skirmish' mode outside of that. It says it has a multiplayer coming soon as well, but that has yet to be implemented as of the posting of this review.

The game's campaign story which is the core focus of the game involves the warring America-like Artemisia, the Japan-like Zipang, and some suspicious mercenaries for hire who are all involved in an ongoing war resulting from the aftermath of a Great Global War. A great war that left in it's wake an electronic corrupting miasma which rendered electronics useless. There is betrayal, suspicion, and misunderstanding involved between the two included warring nations as the stakes of the fight continue to escalate. It is through key characters such as Nathan Gries of Artemisia that the plot unfolds in a point-by-point series of battles that get progressively harder, and progressively more inclusive when it comes to features and mechanics. The art style within this inspired plot setting is kind of anime in nature as one might expect from a Japanese developer, and includes multiple language/audio options for both English and Japanese gamers.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Albert & Otto: The Adventure Begins (PS4)

Albert & Otto is an ambitious indie project in the making. It was created by the development team over at "K Bros Games", and is published by Digerati Distribution. This first part of a potentially four part mini series (assuming this game is a successful sale) mimics ever so slightly games like 'Limbo'. The game is a puzzle platformer like said game, and utilizes a similar type of flat coloring scheme with 2.5D level and character designs. The colors in this particular story driven adventure are a mixture of white, red, and black along with some other tones. Albert is represented with white, Otto with red, and the various background and environmental set pieces a mixture of said limited color palette. This, of course is all packaged with an underlying story. A story of a brother hunting for his abducted sister with the help of her left behind red rabbit.

The embedded story which takes place in 1939 Germany is suggestive at best in this entry point telling, but drops hints through in-game features as to what direction the developer/s will be taking the plot. As for me I couldn't quite figure it out due to the cryptic nature of the game, and this seems to be what the developer wants. They want the gamer invested in the story, and anxious for each new installment. They want us seeing it through to the end where everything is finally revealed as it really is. With things like message inclusive postcards featuring child-like drawings that hint at the missing sister's whereabouts, and a shattered picture puzzle made of collectible shards the journey from start to finish leaves a lot to the imagination, and could be interpreted in a couple of different ways if not more. One being a psychiatric hospitalization, and another a WWII era holocaust scenario, among other things.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

HORI Mini Gamepad (PS4)

For a thirty dollar wired controller you'd expect this latest piece of HORI manufactured hardware to at least perform well enough to warrant the price. The problem is that in some ways it works, and in other significant ways it doesn't. The wired controller, which is shaped much like a retro controller comes in a blue, and black color scheme with a USB docking cord that is quite long for such a small peripheral. Immediately you'll notice the absence of the usual center touchpad which has been replaced with a soft smaller button that unfortunately does not seem to function as it should in games that fully utilize all of the touchpad's interaction points. Furthermore you'll notice the absence of a headset port as well as a speaker, and a light. These are visible key features that a gamer would expect to have in hand, and in control while gaming on the modern-day PS4. At least some of them. Another missing feature is the rumble feature that comes native to PlayStation's DualShock 4 controllers. The HORI Mini Gamepad, for lack of a better word, is retro in every way and seems to take on the purpose of a certain gaming meme where the pictured child gamer in  the player 2 position is given an unplugged controller to make him think he is doing something.

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Glance Back At 2017's Games

I know what you're wondering. Why didn't I do the usual game of the year list? I just didn't feel bothered to do it to be honest. It's not that I don't think there were any good games, but more so that I needed a breather before getting back down to business in 2018. I also didn't want to basically sound like a parrot listing off the favorites everyone else already covered. Everybody, for the most part, seemed to enjoy what I enjoyed. While the reviewed favorites were common across most outlets I did find my leisure time preferences to be a little different than others'. To that extent I do have some things I'd like to mention before moving on into 2018's business. I'd like to take a moment to reflect on my personally favorite gaming experiences of 2017, and type about some studios that really impressed me with their offerings.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 in Retrospect

It has been a very eventful year for you, and I. We've seen our ups, and downs. I've faced trial and tribulation with family issues. My parents lost their home in a hurricane this year. Some of you have lost loved ones, and homes as well. The weather, for a lack of a better description has been catastrophic, and natural disasters even more so. There's been war, and rumors of war. The global financial situation worsens, and politics is bleeding it's filth and corruption into every aspect of our lives. We can't seem to catch a break from it all. In all the chaos though I still refuse to give up. I sojourn on trying to make the most of what life has given me. I try to maintain a positive outlook, and work hard at keeping intact that which I hold dear. Something I feel we all need to do for the sake of sanity. I close the year thinking only of how good gaming looks in 2018, and hopeful that I'll get to enjoy said games with friends as well as share my findings with you. I aim to step up my game in 2018 with a quality focus on my Youtube channel, and the furthering of coverage on my gaming blog. They may be insignificant goals in comparison to some, but it's part of what keeps me going. The connection with a hobby I love and the community who has supported me over the years.