Oh, well. That happened. I had a longer break than I had intended to, but it was all for good reason. The holidays were lovely and relaxed, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. I have also made a decision to sell my van, as it’s caused me nothing but problems, and it’s way too expensive for upkeep. I’ll be getting on the bus….
Anyway, I hope everyone had a lovely holiday period, and you are all ready to face this year head on. Here are the first picks of the year for you.
The Forest is still in Early Access, and probably will be for a good long while, much like other massive survival titles on Steam, and it’s on offer for 33% off. This particular game seems to have captured a lot of elements that players enjoy about survival. The story is solid and decent – you have survived a plane crash in a mysterious and terrifying forest full of cannibalistic mutants.
I know what you’re thinking, but The Forest is far less convoluted than the TV show Lost; in fact, it’s possibly what Lost would have been were it a movie, rather than an overly long show. Plus, there are no Lord of the Flies power struggles, you are on your own. However, in these stages, Endnight Games are trying to implement multiplayer modes, which should be really exciting.
The environment is completely exploitable in order to build things and use to survive both the cannibals and the elements. You have everything you need in order to build anything from a simple camp to a mansion, and all the tools needed to protect it, and yourself. The enemies are far more than mindless zombies, the AI is amazing. They are capable of guerrilla tactics in order to attack you, and they get more and more mad at you, the further you build and integrate yourself in their territory. They also have strict thoughts about your presence, and as a result, you will have to advance your own tactics and weapons in order to keep yourself going.
The Forest is almost a definition of sandbox survival, and I cannot wait to see what they will come up with for multiplayer.
The explosively popular Undertale is half price this week. It’s an indie RPG adventure that has become an integral part of the millennial culture. The game discusses issues facing the everyday world in a fantastic and funny way, like nothing else has done. As a result, it has a fandom like nothing else either. If you are a part of it, you already know and probably own the game; if you have heard of the game, but are put off by the fandom, don’t be. All in all, it’s a solid game with an interesting story, engaging characters, and some unique mechanics. No one will judge you for playing it.
If you have never heard of the fandom, don’t bother looking it up.
The game itself looks okay, but the character design is original and different to a lot out there. Undertale takes itself with a pinch of salt, and as a result, it really does feel like an entity of its own. It feels real and relatable.
Jotun: Valhalla Edition
I reviewed this title a while ago, and fell in love with it. I love the story, the art, the voice acting, the music and the gameplay. Jotun is an isometric action adventure, with a kick-butt woman as your playable character, and you can grab it for 50% off.
Set in Norse mythology, Thora has fallen in battle, and must complete the challenges of the gods and impress them, in order to be allowed into Valhalla. The jotun are the boss battles at the end of each area you traverse, and each battle is unique, frustrating and intense. All of the landscape is hand-drawn, and the animations are great to look at. It almost has a Studio Ghibli feel to it.
The sound design is wonderful. The voice of Thora is spoken entirely in ancient Icelandic, which is as close as to the original Viking language as we can get in this day and age, and I now want to travel on a boat through the Scottish isles, through to the Faroe Islands and up to Iceland, fishing as I go. No pillaging though. The music is also fitting and great to listen to, and adds to the feel of the environments in a fantastic way.
Sticking with the theme of beautiful art in indie titles, Lumino City is also half price. This is something really unique, in that it’s an indie title that has clearly had a heck of a lot of time and money put into it, to the point that it looks like nothing else. The closest I can get is probably LittleBigPlanet, and mechanics and settings have a clear influence, though Lumino City goes somewhere completely different. Lume came before, but Lumino City has expanded so far on it, and it’s great.
The artists are professional, and were brought in to design and create an art piece. The world is made from real world materials, photographed and put into a computer in order to add animations. It really is stunning to look at.
In terms of actual gameplay, it is short and sweet, but it makes for a great family title. It’s a puzzle point and click, with a simple and heartfelt story, and the challenges come in the from of the puzzles you solve. It might not take long, but for the sale price, it’s well worth it.
Special Mention: Over 9000 Zombies
Fancy something far less to think about? Over 9000 Zombies is exactly what it says; kill zombies for as long as you can – with or without a friend – using guns and stuff. The animations and score counts are meaty and satisfying, and the mechanics are simple and fun. Grab it for a sweet 90% off.
You can simply shoot, grenade and flamethrower the unrelenting zombies, or you can also employ building tactics and shoot from cover. It’s great fun to have for a while to kill time, and it’s even more fun with your buddy at your side. Take a break from all the story-rich, artistic and unique titles with this one.
And that’s me done for this week, friends. There are a ton more indie titles to pic from, as well as a couple of great AAA names. As for me, I’ll be juxtaposing my time between tactical and engaging survival, and mindless shooty survival. It’s going to be a great week!