DigitallyDownloaded: Reviews

Review: FFFFF2P (iPhone)

 

If the title of this satirical little retro platform title comes off a bit confusing, know that it is a shortened version of a much longer title: FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE 2 PLAY! This is a game that intentionally pokes fun at the Free-to-Play business structure that developers and publishers so love right now, while daring to embrace the formula itself. Can this little platformer hop to new heights or does it fall into the ever-growing pay-to-win pits of flawed F2P titles?

The inspirations from the great Super Mario Bros. that dominated the 8-bit era is instantly apparent here. A princess is in dire need of rescuing from the evil ogre named Ug, whom floats around on the top of the screen upon a cloud with a smiling face. The simple graphical design used here emulates the notorious plumber’s world so much so that a quick glance could easily mistake it as a snippet from an early Mario game. It sounds the part too. Elevate Entertainment’s previous title, Lumena: A No-Nonsense Rhythm Game, featured a fantastic electronic soundtrack from Modbon, and the composer delivers yet again with a lively chip tune soundtrack.  [Review Score: 2.5/5 Stars]

 

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Review: AiRace Xeno (3DS eShop)

AiRace Xeno is a fitting title for this game, considering the game takes the exact same formula as its predecessor, AiRace Speed, but adds an alien-styled theme to it. “AiRace Dubstep Edition” would be an even better fit, because it’s the crazy hard hitting techno beats that set this release apart. Everything else is just more of the same with a cheaper entry fee.

For those who don’t already have an AiRace title on their 3DS, Xeno is well worth the investment. AiRace titles are all about locking the throttle to the max, and tunnelling through the twist and turns of some truly treacherous tracks at breakneck speeds. Each track offers its own unique style and track layout, with branching pathways and hidden shortcuts to be found. At first, you’ll barely touch the turbo button as you learn the ropes of each track, but to have any chance of success here you’ll need as much of that nitrous button as you can squeeze out of it. If at first you don’t succeed, go down in a fire of blazing glory and all that. [Review Score: 3.5/5 Stars]

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Review: Transistor (PC)

There’s a certain eloquence that hinges on Shakespearean tragedy intricately seamed into the fabric of Supergiant Games’ Transistor. The talented minds behind the critically acclaimed and wonderfully crafted Bastion have moulded together another beautiful world in a signature digital oil painting aesthetic.

What happens when a world goes cold? Dark, yet alluring, the utopian world of Cloudbank is intricately brushed to life with futuristic neon hazes and an opulent touch of Gothic architecture. In its opening moment, we find an oil painting depicting a beautiful woman with flowing red hair and pale skin, looking away from a man sitting in shadows with a futuristic computer chip-like great sword protruding from his chest. There’s no blood, instead there’s almost a sense of tranquility through the sorrow. Accented by the incredible lighting effects reflecting off her luxurious attire makes her seem, well… famous, possibly. [Review Score: 5/5 Stars]

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Review: Moon Chronicles – Episode 1 (3DS eShop)

I have fond memories of spending endless hours playing early home console first-person shooter (FPS) titles. We’re talking Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake, here – classic corridors, horrific monsters and ever more powerful guns to earn as you play.

While the industry today has taken the genre to new (and different) heights with giant leaps in technology and online competitive gaming, I do think there will always be room to return to the classics. Moon’s developer, Renegade Kid, is no stranger to retro-themed games, with its superb Mutant Mudds acting as a love letter to old-school platforming souls. Moon Chronicles, meanwhile, is a sci-fi throwback designed just for those looking for a shot of that FPS nostalgia. [Review Score: 3.5/5 Stars]

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Review – Lumena: A No-Nonsense Rhythm Game (iPhone)

If Terry Cavanagh’s retro rhythm game Super Hexagon was a NES title, Lumena: A No-Nonsense Rhythm Game would be its Game Boy Color younger sibling.

Fans of electronica music and brutal difficulty levels take note, Elevate Entertainment will likely be the next developer to send iPhones flying through the air in frustration, only to find them picked right back up for another go (assuming they still work, of course).

The subtitle says it all, really; “A No-Nonsense Rhythm Game” is exactly what Lumena truly is, and that’s not a bad thing at all. A static screen brings the play field to life with two neon coloured circles – the smaller of which being found in the centre of the larger one. The outer circle has eight parts which pulse and spin to the beats of the electronica soundtrack, and flicking the centre circle, or disc, into the a matching coloured side of the outer circle keeps the game in motion. Fail to flick the disc longer than four seconds or into a matching coloured side of the outer circle and it’s game over. Simple and effective. [Review Score: 4/5 Stars]

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Review: Croixleur Sigma (PC)

 

The gaming industry today is filled with a vast array of indie games, and they offer unique alternatives to major AAA releases. The recent indie movement has not only disrupted the industry, but has fundamentally changed it for the better, because now a talented development team can find great success, regardless of its size.

We’ve become accustomed to the indie scene in the west through such games as Gone Home, Dear Esther, Proteus, and so forth – but have you ever wondered about the indie scene in Japan? Lock your eyes to Nyu Media, a specialist in bringing quality Japanese indie titles outside of its native shores for the world to enjoy. And then take a look at its latest; Souvenir Circ.’s Croixleur Sigma.

The majority of DDNet readers are well-accustomed to the differences in Japanese and Western games. A lot of Japanese retail titles have niche appeal here, because they tend to focus on appealing to a specific niche group through excellence in design for that specific group, instead of the mass appeal and accessibility that’s the typical western game aims for. Croixleur Sigma falls right into its niche then. It delivers 60 FPS of glorious high-speed hack-and-slash action right to your fingertips and it’s okay with the fact that not everyone will love it. [Review Score: 3/5 Stars]

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Review: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil (PS3)

FIFA World Cup Brazil PlayStation 3

The excitement is in the air, as soccer (or football, depending on where you live) fans around the world eagerly await the World Cup kick-off in June. To capitalise on the hype, EA Sports has done the inevitable and released 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Given how good FIFA 14 was, the big question is whether this World Cup title has what it takes as a standalone game… or should fans simply wait for FIFA 15 to drop on store shelves later this year?

Even from the game’s title screen, 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is simply bathed in the kind of fresh, colourful aesthetic that you would expect people to think about when they hear the word “Brazil”. Yellow and orange warmly dominates everything in the interface; from the lights on the field to the menu screens, and the soundtrack moves from Pitbull’s thumbing beats to the drumming native Portuguese tracks from the Cup’s home country. Combined with the little nuances like the thundering drums and chants of the crowds during a heated match, these combined bits of flare do a fantastic job of immersing players in the World Cup spirit. [Review Score: 4/5 Stars]

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Review: Trials Frontier (iPhone)

RedLynx is no stranger to the iOS Marketplace; the fantastic port of its WiiWare hit MotoHeroz, Monster Truck Nitro and its DrawRace games have all been found in the top rankings of the charts throughout the years. As an avid fan of its Trials series though, it’s a little disheartening that the team hasn’t brought its trademark game play style to touchscreen devices to test not only our skills, but our nerves as well.

If you played MotoHeroz on either WiiWare or iOS, you’ll know that RedLynx took its Trials game play and dipped it into a fun-filled world packed with cutesy super deformed characters, colourful environmental aesthetics and forgiving physics, instead of the tyre treads, dirty paths and rusty warehouses we’re accustomed to from other RedLynx titles. Trials Frontier flips us into a (American) Western themed game world that’s loaded with wacky denizens, death defying courses and a host of new game play gimmicks, courtesy of the built-in F2P mechanics. There’s a lot of fun to had here, especially for Trials fans, but you’ll have to work for it – and not just on the track. [Review Score: 3/5 Stars]

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Review: Surge Deluxe (Vita)

PlayStation Vita Review

Step into a game shop and take a quick comparison between the 3DS and Vita games line-up and it’s quickly clear why it is hard to put the 3DS down these days. On the other hand, where the Vita lacks the incredible first party support that the 3DS receives from Nintendo, the Vita’s indie support just keeps on coming. Being an avid fan of indie games, titles like FuturLab’s electric puzzling title Surge Deluxe ensure that I only swap my portable consoles when a battery needs charging.

Surge Deluxe isn’t exactly a brand new title to the Vita, as a similar version of the game previously released on the PS Mobile service. That doesn’t mean that this release should zap past you though. Surge Deluxe is refined, improved and as addictive as ever, and trophy support will keep those “hunters” busy too. [Review Score: 4/5 Stars]

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Review: Jump Trials Supreme (3DS eshop)

For indie developers, the go to place for platforming titles as of late has been on Nintendo’s 3DS eShop. Titles such as Mutant Mudds and Gunman Clive have been of a consistently great quality, and the asking price has been low. It’s been a welcomed treat for an old-school gamer that grew up with these type of games, but admittedly, the genre is starting to wear thin once again – it’s been right at five years since Capcom reinvigorated the genre with the release of Mega Man 9. [Review Score: 3.5/5 Stars]

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