I want to try and make it a point to write on this blog about every game I play, and if I don’t have any particular analytical topic that I would try to tackle, then to just write a little opinion piece on it. And we start with Entwined.
Evil Islands is a Russian tactical RPG released way back in the year 2000. … Well, gee, I feel old now. As I’ve written in my last post, it has inspired my venture into the Game Design territory, and I want to talk a little bit more about it.
I am a fan of classic point & click adventure games. And as a fan of adventure games, I want to really like A New Beginning, but I can’t. Which is sad, because the story really intrigues me, but there’s just too many flaws that accumulate and are hard to look past by in a title of this genre.
Reus is what I’d call a mix between Populous and Settlers, two of my favorite strategy game series. Your goal is to create an economy eco-system (the Settlers part), but indirectly, by shaping the planet and placing and transmuting different environments and resources (the Populous part). And it’s simply a delight to play.
The thing that inspired me to try out Antichamber was how psychedelic it seemed. Ironically enough, the same thing is what put me off from the game itself. I exited the game with a sour taste in my mouth and no real desire to come back to it.
If Torchlight has solidified anything in my design preferences, then it’s my distaste for huge amounts of loot. I like Torchlight, I really do. It’s a fun isometric Action/RPG experience, with very precise, responsive and polished controls, good enemy variety, a nice skill system, and pets. When I first opened up the game and saw that you can have a dog or a cat I instantly went ‘OH MY GOD THIS IS SO COOL’, I didn’t even know what their purpose was at that point.
From the very moment I pressed ‘New Game’, I fell in love with Evoland. It’s a game that integrates evolution of the action/adventure, RPG and JRPG genres in its mechanics, starting out with a GameBoy black and white Zelda-like experience and ending with a full-fledged 3D boss battle. It’s simply amazing. But.
It doesn’t really hold up as a game that well. Ironic, isn’t it? It’s a great, and, most importantly, niche experience. If you’ve played video games for the past 15-20 years at the least, or you were/are interested in a lot of old games before your time, I think you’ll find this nostalgic trip quite enjoyable. I mean, come on, you get to buy an upgrade that removes CD loading times (that were indeed put on purpose) from the PlayStation era locations. How cool is that?
But the game is very basic. It’s got mechanics from Zelda, Final Fantasy and Diablo, and they all, while present a solid foundation, don’t have much depth to them. There are clever moments, don’t get me wrong, and the part where you time travel between Old and New graphics has got to be the most enjoyable section of the game, but it doesn’t feel enough. The soundtrack is really cool though, and game-related humor is amazing.
Still, this brings up an interesting question. Does a game need to have flawless mechanics that do not get old quickly to truly enjoy it? Perhaps that’s a topic that requires a more detailed discussion later. But at least in case of Evoland, I can honestly say – no. No it doesn’t. I loved every second of it.
If there’s anything that Thomas Was Alone proves, is that you can make characters you relate to and root for out of anybody – even if they’re just… blocks. Of different colors. And it’s also really interesting how their personalities are related to their abilities.
Chris is short and he can’t jump high, so he has developed sort of an inferiority complex, for example. John is a very tall block that runs fast and jumps really high, and he’s somewhat of an attention whore and show-off, requiring the audience of other… blocks. And they develop their personalities throughout the game! It’s amazing. And the narration is awesome.
Not to mention that the level and puzzle design is really quite smart, and there are times where it requires a very clever use of said blocks’ abilities. Thomas Was Alone is really short, though. You can beat it in around 3 hours? But it’s a very enjoyable and engaging experience, I really liked the game and would recommend you to check it out.