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25 Nov 2021

REVIEW: Mage Drops on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Mage Drops is a Golf/Platform/Puzzle game from the good people at Orchid of Redemption.
In recent times we have seen quite a few of these Golf/Platform/Puzzle type games, but how does Mage Drops stack up against some of the previous releases in this ever-expanding genre.

As always when reviewing an "Early Access" game, it is worth pointing out that the game is not the finished article yet, the developers are still tweaking the game, listening to player feedback, adding or removing features to try and get the game as good as possible.

When loading up the game, the first thing you will notice is how pretty everything looks. And when things look really good, you instantly know that the developers have spent a lot of time and love on crafting a game, and with Mage Drops that is very apparent from the start.

Each course/level has the basics of golf, you start at the tee, and you need to get the ball in the cup. Aiming is done with a simple dotted line, which you can lengthen, lower, and so on until you get the desired shot. The cup itself is quite large, this instantly tells you that the platforming or puzzle elements are going to be more important than a millimetre precision shot.


You can use magic to control the ball in some circumstances after you have hit it, this allows you to influence the ball mid-flight and make that seemingly impossible shot, possible. You will be able to set fire to obstacles to clear the way, use magic rings to help you fly further. Use airstreams and even set off bombs to get you to your desired location.

The courses have your usual mini golf type obstacles, but they also have magical elements, barriers that you can control, to lift or move, or a hedge you can make appear or disappear, all things you need to consider when playing your shot. There are fans to shoot you up high, there are weird magical creatures that will get in your way. And plenty of other surprises along the way. There are even some interesting collectables.

Currently there are 7 worlds with over 80 levels to complete, the final game should have 8 worlds.

There is an easy and not so easy mode, so you can just play to explore, or you can play to beat scores. On first play through it is more fun to play the easy mode and just explore and not worry too much about getting PAR etc. Each world is unique and has different challenges and obstacles, which does make the game challenging, but never too frustrating.


The Good
Beautiful graphics and engaging gameplay really does make this game stand out. The interactive element of the levels is such a nice touch and really well thought through, using magic to slow the ball down, while you clear a path, is a really nice to addition to the game, and helps it stand out.

The Bad
Sometimes it is hard to know where the end point of the level is, you can of course click a button and have a good look around, but lazy people like me, tend to just want to get on with it, perhaps the addition of a little arrow to give you the general idea of where you are going would be a good idea?

I also don't like the name. Your average person is not going to know what a Mage is, or what it means, and Drops? Eye drops? Dropping a ball? To be fair I can't think of a better name, so I won't moan too loudly about the name.

Overall
Mage Drops is screaming out to be a console game, although it works well on PC, I could see this playing so well on a Nintendo Switch.

A fun addition to the Golf/Puzzle/Platform genre which is challenging but never frustrating.
I don't usually score Early Access games, but I am happy to give Mage Drops as solid 8/10/

Review by Jon Donnis
Out now on Steam




23 Nov 2021

REVIEW: Valkyrie: Journey To Midgard on PC (Steam)

Review by GamingCouchPotato.co.uk Staff
Valkyrie: Journey To Midgard is a simple, old school RPG.

Here is the basic story

"A Dragon Orb has been stolen from Asgard. Valkyrie has been sent down to Midgard to retrieve the lost treasure. The goddess must not only overcome fierce monsters, but also to face a dark conspiracy that will affect all of nine realms."

For a start, it sounds way more exciting than it actually is. 



You play as "Valkyrie", and you find yourself in a dungeon, sadly a pretty basic looking dungeon. You will die a lot in this game, and when you do die, you have to start at the beginning, luckily you will come across Save Crystals, so if you do die, just exit the game, and continue from a save point. Because not to confuse the save crystals (clear in colour) with red ones, which are a boss fight.

Each room of the dungeon will contain multiple paths, and along the way you will find coffins that may contain helpful items, like armour or weapon upgrades. You will also find statues you can pray to; they may give you a positive benefit or a negative one. And you will also come across monsters. Battles are turn based, and pretty simple to figure out. There are boss fights that you can avoid for a while, and then when you think you are strong enough, the next time you come across one you can choose to take it on.

The graphics are simple but fine, most of the time you are in the dungeons which are dark.  The sound effects are ok for what they are.



The Good
Simple concept, easy to learn, fun to have a quick go on, and see if you can get further than you did previously.

The Bad
There's just not that much to the game. But for £1.69 what do you really expect.

Overall
Not the best RPG you will play, but also not the worst, perhaps a nice starter RPG for newbies to the genre.

I give Valkyrie: Journey To Midgard a fair 6/10
Out now at

Review by GamingCouchPotato.co.uk Staff



20 Nov 2021

REVIEW: Hyperball Tachyon on PC (Steam)

Review by GamingCouchPotato.co.uk Staff
From Rendah Games comes Hyperball Tachyon, a fast-moving 2D platform game, where you control a ball as you bounce and jump through increasingly difficult levels.

The basic idea of the game is to get from the start point to the finish line in as fast a time as possible.
At first things start out pretty simple, but soon you will face various obstacles including sand traps, water, spikes and so on.

Your ball can do a basic extra jump, but in the differing levels you will find things that help you and things that hinder you.
For example, a collectable that will allow you an extra jump, or columns of wind that will either push you along, or hold you down. This game is all about learning the physics of the ball, and using it to your advantage. 


There are lots of little hints while you play, and although the levels can be quite tricky, there is a strong feeling of accomplishment when you do finally get it right, and then the added interest of trying to beat not only your own score, but also trying to climb up that global leader-board and get as close to the top as you can. I notice that the game makers, Rendah Games, top every leader board. So, if you can manage to beat their time, then you know you have just completed a level in epic fashion.

You can change the appearance of your ball, and there are secrets to collect.

And with a small file size for a game, that will probably play on almost any computer or laptop, this is a simple platform game that you should seriously consider taking a look at.



The Good
Simple but fun graphics, easy control system, (much easier using a gamepad than the keyboard). Challenging levels with high replay-ability.

The Bad
I did notice a couple of graphics glitches, and the odd dodgy physics, but these are really small issues that will be fixed in future patches, I am sure.


Overall
A really fun, simple platform game, that is highly addictive. Definitely recommend this to your collection, if you are a fan of physics-based platform games.

I score Hyperball Tachyon on PC a solid 9/10. I really enjoyed playing, and I am going to keep playing to beat those high scores!



19 Nov 2021

REVIEW: The Legend of Tianding on PC (Steam)

Review by GamingCouchPotato.co.uk Staff
The Legend of Tianding is a hand drawn 2D side-scrolling platform/action game, you play as Liao Tianding, a legendary Taiwanese Folk Hero. Set in the early 1900s in Colonial Japanese Taiwan, this is the type of game that instantly grabs your attention. 


Let's take a quick look at the official story.

"Based on real events, real people and real situations, The Legend of Tianding is an exploration of a place and time often overlooked and presented in the style of Traditional Chinese Manga.

Battle the colonial authorities in style with a tanto, waist sash, and fast paced Kung Fu in tightly tuned technical combat. Execute advanced aerial combos, steal weapons from your enemies, use your waist sash and grappling hook to fly around the battlefield, and strike fear into the hearts of your oppressors.
Take on incredible bosses like deadly courtesans, greedy businessmen, and even military leaders, each one guaranteed to challenge you with their dynamic abilities and brutal attacks."


You play in the Dadaocheng area of Taipei city, as mentioned earlier, everything is seemingly hand drawn, and although in general you play in a 2D manner, moving from cut scenes and menus, you do get a 3D view for a few moments, which is so well done. Everything is colourful and highly detailed.

Although a platform game, fighting is a big part of the game, and you will quickly learn new styles and attacks as you play, as well as defensive techniques. You will explore underground as well as over ground, and even on moving trains, and not forgetting some pretty tough boss battles.


The first boss fight you have is against Wang, now I have to come clean here, it took me a while to figure out how to beat him, as I clearly had not been paying attention, and didn't realise that when your health bar goes low, you can gain some health simply by pressing up on the d-pad. You will find save points throughout the game which also allows you to recover health, and store 3 health teas, or soups, not sure which, but you will take a sip of those in battle, and that will give you a health boost.

Playing the game which is very much drawn in a "Retro Traditional Chinese Manga" style, at times it is like playing a comic book.

Find talismans (talismen??) and upgrade your character, which in turn can also change your playstyle. 

The game does have a Robin Hood type element to it, steal from the rich, give to the poor, etc.


The Good
The graphics are outstanding, not enough can be said about that, just glorious to see. The gameplay is easy to pick up, the character easy to control, and you never feel overwhelmed as you learn new things. 

The Bad
The text on screen you have to read through is a lot, conversations go on a bit, and sometimes you just want to actually play the game as opposed to reading a comic.

Overall
This is a really good action platformer, looks and plays brilliantly. Some great characters to interact and fight with. A good learning curve, and detailed story to be a part of.

I score The Legend of Tianding on PC (Steam) a solid 8/10

Out now on Steam

15 Nov 2021

COMPETITION! Win Faraday Protocol on Nintendo Switch or PS4


COMPETITION! Win Faraday Protocol on Nintendo Switch or PS4 

We have 2 codes to give away each for Switch and PS4.

To enter just click the link below to go to Twitter and Like and Retweet, and give us a follow @GamingCouchSpud

We will DM winners on Twitter after 2 weeks

https://twitter.com/GamingCouchSpud/status/1460198513191628803

Faraday Protocol is a first-person puzzle game that will test your wits and intelligence, challenging your critical thinking. You are Raug Zeekon: interstellar archeologist from planet Cunor. You have been sent by your company to investigate the source of a mysterious signal coming from an unexplored star.

The Bia Tool, an ancient relic of an alien civilization, is the first mystery you uncover when arriving in OPIS. Unsure of its true purpose you start wielding it to solve the challenges on your path. With its ability to absorb energy and the option to redistribute it to different machinery, you start digging deeper and deeper into the temples, encountering even harder puzzles that will test your savvy and abilities in problem solving. Are you smart enough to solve every challenge thrown at you?

You encounter a mysterious robotic voice. Her name is IRIS, an A.I. created to guard the ancient structures of OPIS. The complex seems to have been abandoned for aeons, but what was its purpose? Rooms filled with puzzles, getting more and more sophisticated and challenging as you progress through them. Who built them? Why would someone build a training facility like this on an otherwise abandoned planet?

Features:

Puzzle your way through the mysterious space station OPIS

Use the Bia-Tool to absorb and redistribute energy

Unravel the many mysteries of the station and its governing A.I. IRIS

Find hidden collectibles that reward especially attentive players

Experience a unique blend of retrofuturism