When the Darkness Comes is not a game for everyone, as the warning says at the game’s start screen. The game delves into the psychology of anxiety and depression, and can therefore be upsetting for some individuates (this reviewer included). Please play with caution and remember, it’s just a game! If you find yourself needing to exit after starting I found that you will need to press CTRL-ALT-Delete, open Task Manager, and end the task from there.
Narration. This game, much like “The Stanley Parable” is narrated throughout by an unseen character. The narrator does a great job of drawing the player into the game world. The dialogue it well written and allows the player to feel like they are not just part of the story, but the story itself.
Lighting. Sirhaian did a great job using light and shadows to guide the player throughout the game. Additionally, there are small details in low lit areas, areas that are the wrong way, such as the words “wrong way” on a border block early in the game (see image below).
Music. The music in the game by Julie Maxwell sets the mood very well. The sound effects add to the pacing and help with amping up the horror aspect.
Single Developer. This game was made by one person who utilized Unity assets that he found online to help build the game world, sound effects from freesound.org and outsourced the music. That is pretty impressive!
No exit. Once the player starts the game the only way to exit that I found is to press CTRL-ALT-Delete, open Task Manager, and end the task from there. For a game that starts with a “Trigger Warning” that seems a little counter-intuitive.
When the Darkness Comes is a dark game that takes the player on a tour of the human psyche looking at depression, anxiety and suicide. While the game is not for all players, it is really well done and you can feel the passion that the developer put into his project. One of my favorite things about indie games is that they are made by developers who have a real passion for making games, for telling their stories, and for entertaining us, the players. Triple A studios could take a lesson from games like When the Darkness Comes; and I hope that, for the sake of gaming’s future, someday they do.
Does this weeks game sound interesting to you? You can pick up When the Darkness Comes for yourself on Steam or at Sirhaian‘s website for free write now and experience it now.
Game: Niche – a genetics survival game
Available Platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux
Price: $17.99 (USD)
Reviewed on: PC
Genre: Strategy Survival
Developer: Stray Fawn Studio
Release date: Sept 15, 2016
Niche is a turn based strategy survival game that allows players to breed and evolve creatures. This game explores the way that genetics work, and let players use strategy to build a strong pack of creatures capable of surviving the harsh world around them.
The possibilities. The huge combination of possible creatures that the player can breed is impressive. The player can add two potential mutations to each parent giving the offspring cool bonus features.
Adorablity. The creatures that the player can breed are absolutely adorable, even the inbreed and not all there creatures.
Challenging. This game uses a rouge like style that makes the challenge of the game massive! Between balancing food throughout the pack and the fast aging and inevitable death of the creatures, the chances of survival are not great.
Hexagonal. While historically video games have leaned toward a square/cube style world, more modern games are beginning to adapt a hexagonal map. This type of map is not by any means new, only becoming more of the norm. This is good, as it gives the player more control over where they can direct their character. In strategy games such as Niche, more control is always better.
Replay-ability. Every time that the player enters the world, they are fighting for survival. The choices that they make in breeding, exploration and foraging can mean the difference between life and death. Each time the player looses all of the creatures and the game ends, the player learns a new thing to not do. This learn-as-you-go, cause-and-effect approach tests the player’s ability to adapt and overcome, begging them to jump in and try again.
Graphics. While I’m normally not one for graphics in a game, this games graphics really are lacking. The game was released in 2016 but looks more like something from 2006.
Niche is a charming little survival game that mixes genetic and mutations with a fun survival game. The game allows players to plan the future of the pack by genetics manipulation, and targeted breeding.
Does this weeks game sound fun to you? You can pick up Niche-a genetics survival game for yourself over on their website or on Steam and join all the fun!
Game: Vintage Story
Available Platforms: Windows, Mac and Linux
Price: $12.50 (USD)
Reviewed on: PC
Genre: Survival Voxel Sandbox
Players: 1 or multiple on a server
Developer: Anego Studios
Release date: Feb 1, 2016
Hello and welcome to Jay’s Game Reviews! Today I am reviewing Anego Studio’s Early Access voxel survival sandbox game Vintage Story.
Vintage Story is a 3D voxel style survival sandbox game. Players will collect, craft and survive in a harsh but gorgeous world. The player will need to learn the unique crafting system by trial and error, using the wiki online, or watching other players through tutorial or let’s play videos.
Detailed graphics. The level of detail in Vintage Story is mind blowing! The game is simply beautiful from the leaves and grass to the sky and blocks, everything is masterfully designed to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible.
Charming avatars. The avatars is vintage story have an odd, yet charming look to them. They would be creepy if not so adorable, and yes, their elbows bend too!
Better with a friend. Vintage Story is a blast playing solo, but where it really takes off is playing with friends. Like other games of this genre, watching the development of the community over time is an amazing feeling. Players can develop a real sense of accomplishment too!
Helpful and friendly staff. I have contacted the team for support twice (not because the game was broken but because I needed help finding information) and both times the team responded within a few hours!
Small but diverse. Speaking of the development team, they are only 7 people from 6 different countries (Austria, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Sweden & the US) and I just personally found this to be cool!
Crafting system. The crafting in this game can be difficult to grasp at first. If not for the wiki and other player’s help I would have never learned to craft anything. That being said, the crafting system is very unique and helps to separate this sandbox game from the dozen or so others.
Vintage Story is an amazing survival game set in a beautiful world. It has a fun and interesting crafting system that will keep players entertained for a long time. I enjoyed my time in the world of Vintage Story and look forward to entering it again soon!
Does this weeks game sound fun to you? You can pick up Vintage Story for yourself over on their website and join all the fun!
Hello and welcome to Jay’s Game Reviews! Today I will be reviewing Bandai Namco’s artistic story game “11-11 Memories Retold”.
11-11 is a story driven game taking place during the last couple years of World War I. The story follows Harry, a Canadian photographer on the Allies side; and Kurt a German father searching for his son on the Axis side. Both characters join the war for different reasons and both have very interesting stories that the player will follow. The player alternates between the two stories and follows along triggering events to progress each; while collecting items that add historical articles in the form of collectibles. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons for 11-11 and see where the game shines.
Obviously in a story driven game on top should be the story. This game really pulls the player in and immerses them into the plight of the characters. The player can really feel the stress and sadness of these two men as they strive to survive the rigors of combat and reunite with those they love. These are very emotional and touching stories that the player can really get lost in, and that is a great thing indeed!
Voice Acting. The voice acting in this game is top notch, and there’s a good reason why. With voice actors such as Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sin City) and Sebastian Koch (Bridge of Spies, Homeland) 11-11 really holds its own here! Both actors are able to bring the emotion into their voice that helps the player to better understand what the character is going through. In any video game, or cartoon this is a huge make or break point for me. It is so important that the actors help the viewer/player understand the emotions through their voice work.
Art style. The unique art style of this game I think is what initially pulled me in. I saw some screen shots and it looked like Bob Ross made the game! Well; maybe not Bob, more of a Rembrandt mixed with some Van Gogh and very different for a video game. Something new and fresh for an art style really gives this game a fresh feel for me, and this style looks like a painting come to life.
History telling collectibles. One of the cool features of this game is in it’s collectible items. The player collects a few matching items and then they are able to read a brief excerpt from a document from the War. These documents give historical relevance to the events happening in the game at the time of their collection. For instance, the player might be at a railway station and the collectible is an article talking about trains in World War I.
Graphical issues. There are some moments in this game (notably when playing cards in the mini games) when the graphics get blocky and do not render correctly. This hurts player immersion and really takes away from such an otherwise beautiful game.
Broken AI. There are moments when NPC’s will walk into a wall and just keep trying to move forward for (presumably) eternity. While not game breaking, this too is immersion breaking for the player.
Unclear objectives. This one I did find annoying. The player will be tasked with speaking with someone, but there is no way to know who you should speak too. If you are a completionist like me, you will want to talk to everyone that you can. With know way of knowing which NPC will progress the story I found myself accidentally talking to them before searching for collectibles and speaking to everyone else, thus loosing the opportunity to do so. Along with this is a moment when Harry was in the trenches and was tasked with obtaining a flask but the game would not let me complete it.
When everything is said and done, 11-11 Memories Retold is a beautiful look at a violent and horrible time in our world’s history. This game offers a new perspective at both sides of the conflict highlighting the personal stories of two soldiers and their reasons for being in the middle of such a traumatizing experience. War is an ugly thing, but this game is able to find a diamond in the rough.
If you’d like to experience the stories (and I’d highly recommend it) of Harry and Kurt, you can pick the game up right now from Bandai’s Site or on the Steam Store.