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28 Oct 2021

REVIEW: Green Hell - PS4

Review by Staff
Green Hell is an open world survival game from developers Creepy Jar.

Played from a first-person perspective, you play as a researcher called Jake Higgins, you find yourself in the jungle in the amazon, your partner Mia left to visit a tribe in the jungle, she is a linguist and decided to make first contact with a tribe known as the Yabahuca. Now she is gone, you are alone, and you need to not only find her, but you need to survive.

And this is the main idea of the game, survival. You will start off by learning how to do simple things, like building and starting a camp fire. You will need to learn how to craft items by collecting the raw materials, and combining them. But of course, things are a bit more complicated than that, you need to keep an eye on your health, not just physical but mental. As the environment around you changes, so will your need to build camps, find places to sleep. Everything you do matters. Find yourself thirsty and you decide to drink some water from a river, great if the water is clean, not so great if it is dirty. You will only make yourself more ill.

Try and find and collect food, but what happens if you eat an unknown mushroom? Might be ok, might give you hallucinations, might make you sick. As you navigate through all of these problems, you will also need solutions, cut your arm and maybe use ants to close the wound, get an infection and use maggots to clean the wound. You see you will need to use such tricks, as bandages and medicine need to time to make. Luckily your notebook will help you keep track of things and you will slowly learn from your mistakes. And then there are the animals, think snakes, spiders and scorpions, as well as larger animals you can try to kill to eat. You might even find yourself in a fight with a native tribesman.

Your watch will be a major benefit to your survival, it helps you keep track of your vitals, as well as acting as a navigation tool, you will also make good use of a map that you will find.

As you do try to survive, trial and error really does become your friend. You will soon learn what does work and what doesn't. 

With all that, the question then remains, is the game any good?

As survival games go, Green Hell is very detailed, and very tough, there is no hand holding here. Don't waste your time with the tutorial, as it is the same as if you just start the story mode. Which seems very strange. There is also a major issue that you cannot easily save your progress. You can only save when in a camp. So, if you are playing and need to stop quickly, you can't, you have to build or find a camp, and then save. You will find yourself easily losing a lot of progress due to this.

There are 7 extra challenges you can attempt, these are away from the story mode, and are stand-alone challenges. When you have the main idea of how to play, it is worth playing the challenges to really help you figure out how to survive, the challenges include simple things like finding a camp and starting a fire, or building a raft, or killing and cooking an animal etc.

The difficulty is pretty high in the game, and you might find yourself putting the game on the easiest setting on a first playthrough, but as mentioned earlier there is no hand holding here, early help and instructions soon disappear, and you really do need to figure out much on your own, this will put off newbies to the genre. Finish the game on the easiest setting and you will want to replay on a harder setting using the knowledge you have gained.

The Good
The game is beautiful, and despite the odd graphical glitch, everything looks and plays wonderfully. Any experienced survival game fan should feel right at home.

The Bad
This is not a game for newbies to the genre, it is tough, the controls at time feel a bit clunky, especially navigating the backpack.

For experienced survival game players, you will find yourself enjoying this game, the story and the challenges are all very rewarding. For newbies, this game is tough, really tough, with the clunky controls, you might find yourself put off early on, which is a shame, because if you stick with it, the game has a lot to offer.

I score Green Hell on PS4 a fair 7/10

Review by Staff

26 Oct 2021

REVIEW: The Black Heart on PC (Steam)

Review by Staff
The Black Heart is a gothic horror 1 vs 1 fighting game, think original Streetfighter 2 but with aesthetics from Mortal Kombat and you get the idea.

Originally released on the "M.U.G.E.N engine" which was a freeware 2D fighting game engine, whereby "authors" would port characters from other fighting games into the engine, Andr├ęs Borghi took a different route, by creating totally original characters and stages for his game The Black Heart

Although moving on from that engine, it still plays in a similar way. And now gets an all-new official release on Steam with updated HD graphics and soundtrack.
The controls are as you would expect, directional control over your character and 4 buttons for punching and kicking.

Here is the story.
It's about another world in a parallel dimension where the king and ruler has been murdered. A vicious creature called Final has ripped his heart where he stored all the power, he used to create that world.

Six creatures, both from our world and the other one, chase this monster to steal the heart for their own purposes, since it's said that the bearer of the heart will wield an enormous power.

Although only 6 characters to choose from, this is a true Indie game, everything made by just one man.

The gameplay is similar in style to the classic Capcom fighting games of the 90s, you have combos, finishing moves and so on.

The Good
Simple graphics will take you back to the 1990s. A great soundtrack matches teh fun gameplay.

The Bad
Only 6 characters, and no online play.

The Black Heart is a true fighting game, made by one man, we should all try and support Independent Developers, for they are the real future of the Gaming Industry.

I score The Black Heart a fair 7/10
Review by Staff

Out Now On Steam

25 Oct 2021

REVIEW: Ragtag Racing on PC (Steam)

Review by Staff
Ragtag Racing is a cheap, small file size, racing game on Steam, it is a super simple 3D Motorsport type game.

You can play in two separate views, in the driver's seat, or from above/behind. I have never liked playing games from the driver's perspective, so straight away I chose the above/behind viewpoint.

Race on a track, try to get from the back of the pack to the front and progress to the next track. Sounds simple! Well, it is and it isn't. The most important part of the game is your fuel level. Run out of fuel and you are done.
Races are short, so you can't refill. Everything is about keeping up your speed, and using your boost at just the right time to help you win the race. But overuse it, or use it in the wrong place, and you will just end up coming up short and running out of fuel.

And that is pretty much the gameplay.

The computer-controlled drivers can be a pain in the behind, they will try to ram you and generally make things as hard as possible.

One mistake and it really is it; you need to drive the almost perfect race to progress.

The Graphics are super retro and simple, (hence the small download size), the sound effects are so-so, and the theme music is annoyingly catchy to say the least.

The Good
Small download size, quick pick up and play gameplay, relatively easy to get used to. Graphics are simple but fun.

The Bad
Can be a bit buggy, the game did crash a few times for me, and there is a lack of longevity, but for an Indie game it is what you would expect.

The game was made by one man on his own, it only costs a pound. If you hate it, you have only lost a pound, but you have helped out an Indie Developer. And there is a free demo you can download anyway to see if you like it before you buy.
So, you really have no excuse, if you want a simple fun racer, give Ragtag Racing a look.

I score Ragtag Racing a simple 6/10

23 Oct 2021


Review by Staff
RAYZE is one of the first games I am familiar with that comes under the "Aim Racer" genre. Put simply an Aim Racer game is a simplified game when by you select points on the screen with your left mouse button, and upon clicking on a target point you will move towards that point, as you move towards that point you will need to click on another target to move towards that, the ultimate aim to reach an end point of the level.

In RAYZE things are complicated by the fact that a successful hit of a target accelerates you, and a miss slows you down, hit a wall due to you not clicking on a target quick enough, and you die, level over, you have to start again. Find yourself going too fast and you can right click the mouse button and that also slows you down. Look for yellow areas to left click on to accelerate. (First speed you will reach is 120, and adds 60 for each new target you click on) Right button to slow down, and pressing the scroll wheel will restart the level. You can also adjust the sensitivity of the mouse too, which you will need to do, to find a speed of movement you are comfortable with.

It is a simple, yet addictive concept.

You play in first person viewpoint, there are 6 sectors, and each sector has 5 levels. Complete levels in order to unlock the next sector.

The game itself attracts you completely the levels, but you will soon find that everything becomes a challenge to get the fastest score, there are leaderboards for friends only, or for global scores. Trying to get as close to the top is an attractive prospect, if only for your ego, and the more you play a level the better you will get, often there are multiple ways to find the end of the level, and keeping your speed up, and knowing where to click next becomes easier the more you play. So, you will want to replay levels over and over until you consider that you have done the best run possible.

There is a cool electronic soundtrack by names like Lukhash and Buffout Boy, and others. And you can change the music playing, loop tracks and so on. There is even a YouTube safe mode, so you can choose copyright free tracks should you wish to stream your gameplay.

The Good
Aim Racing games are a new concept (to me anyway) and RAYZE seems to get things right. The soundtrack is great, the game play is easy to pick up, and the more you play, the better you get. Meaning that although frustrating at times, you KNOW you can finish the level, you just need to learn where and when to click, and how fast you can go.

The Bad
The graphics although bright and colourful might give some players headaches. I would have loved this concept to exist but playing in recognisable areas, or even down streets or house estates, just something different.

As Aim Racers go, this one is the best I have ever played. It is also the only one I have ever played, so it has one hell of an advantage.

Enjoyable game, that I keep wanting to play to beat my own scores. I score RAYZE as solid 8/10

Out Now on PC (Steam)

22 Oct 2021

REVIEW: Energy Cycle Edge on Nintendo Switch

Review by Staff
Some years ago, a simple puzzle game was released called Energy Cycle, well Energy Cycle Edge is a sequel to that game, if you played the original, then this new version will feel instantly familiar. The concept is the same as the original. You have different coloured "cells", when you activate one it changes colour, along with all adjacent cells in the same line as the one you activated. The aim is to make all cells on the screen the same colour, sounds easy right? WRONG. Think of how you would solve a Rubiks Cube, now instead of just having 9 blocks on one side to worry about, you have many more. Just when you think you have Energy Cycle Edge mastered, you will face a more complicated puzzle.

Not only will you have a number of cells to activate on one side, things go fully three dimensional in Energy Cycle Edge, and you can change to a different side. Again, think of a Rubiks Cube and you get the idea.

There are 44 levels to master, and a few graphical tweaks you can make, so that the game looks more like Energy Cycle if you prefer that style.

The gameplay is simple, but also tough at the same time. It really will take some brain power. If you like puzzle games, then this might be one you should check out.

The Good
Great soundtrack, and easy to learn gameplay, that will leave you frustrated but also challenged.

The Bad
The concept is simple, and perhaps a few more modes could have been added. If you do master the technique, then there isn't much more to do.
Personally, I am a long way from mastering it, and this game remains a challenge to me.

This is a tough puzzle game, that fans of the original, and the genre in general will enjoy.

I score Energy Cycle Edge is tough 8/10

Review by Staff