Reigns Review

Reigns Review

Sep 27, 2016

So many apps are built to make our daily lives simpler. One app that has achieved true notoriety made the whole dating process as simple as swiping left or swiping right. You know the one I’m talking about, you know it’s called Tinder, don’t play dumb with me.

What’s not a simple process is reigning over a kingdom. Being a king is tough work and full of gray areas but Reigns doesn’t care. It’s a mixture of Game of Thrones and a dating app where your main aim is to stay alive for as long as possible.

This is harder than it sounds because your ‘helpers’ aren’t that helpful. They’ll tell you that the castle’s on fire and you have two choices, swipe left to save the garrison or swipe right to save the treasury. Either way, you’re screwed because if you upset the army enough, they’ll overthrow you and kill you. If your coffers run dry, the rich merchants of your kingdom will overthrow you and you’ll die, penniless, in the gutter.unnamed-19

Reigns is a totally brutal game of decisions and balancing everyone’s needs. The church, the army, the people and your finances all need to be balanced out. It’s a fairly literal in letting you know how ‘well’ you’re doing in each area, as on the screen an icon representing each element fills up. You’d think that filling up your ‘money’ meter wouldn’t end up in death, but it does. So you’re not allowed to let any bar fill all the way up or go all the way down.

It’s really as simple as that. You’re given clues as to how your decision will be perceived, as before you let go of each swipe you will see a small circle or a large circle appear over the icons that will be affected by your decision. The trick being, you’re told if the decision will be positive or negative and you instead have to read the text and infer whether it will fill up or drain the icon.

Luckily, all of this reading and very simple gameplay is hugely enjoyable and incredibly stylish. Each character you interact with clearly has their own agenda and its fun to see how their stories play out (assuming you live long enough). What keeps things interesting is the way the game dishes out and adds new characters and potential cards the more you play. You’ll be given vague clues as to targets to accomplish, such as ‘discover the traitor’, but upon finding out who’s the traitor in your court, you’ll unlock new cards that will reveal themselves in later playthroughs.

There is also an actual end to the game, though the real fun is in simply trying to see how long you can keep your king alive and how long you can get away with making bad decisions.

Reigns is incredibly simple but incredibly well polished and full of humour and style. I hereby decree that Reigns should be downloaded forthwith! Swipe right.

Always Sometimes Monsters Review

Always Sometimes Monsters Review

Jul 20, 2015

Alright, it’s probably time for disclaimer: Always Sometimes Monsters is long. I’m certain I didn’t complete even a quarter of the game, so I can’t speak for the turns that it may have later than four or so hours that I’ve spent playing it. And it is the kind of a game that you should complete before you state your opinion. So, I apologize for that, but I did play for a long time, so if the game suddenly becomes a strategy or a goat simulator later on, it’s entirely not my fault. But I do think that the game is pretty great.

On the first glance, Always Sometimes Monsters is just a pretentious indie RPG, made with RPG maker – and there’s certainly a lot of those. However, after playing it after a while, you start to understand something. This thing is devilishly great written. The story and the characters and the world are just insanely interesting and hold you for a really long while. It’s even more impressive when you consider that the game is, essentially, a life simulator. The player character needs to go to work, find a place to Always Sometimes Monsters 3sleep and eat, and remember all the little things that would bore you out of your mind in any other game – but here, it strangely works. I’ve never knew I wanted a game where I’m supposed to remember my appointments and decide if I want to spend the last dollar on a meal, or on rent. Graphically and gameplay-wise it’s really not any different from what you’d expect, but I was completely blown away at how skillfully this game simulates a life that is just a bit more exciting that your own. It probably sounds like I’m describing a cheap Sims knock-off, but it’s entirely a different thing.

Overall, I strongly suggest Always Sometimes Monsters for anyone who is alright with playing a game that looks more like a daily life simulator, than a classic “hero” perspective. It may look a bit anime-heavy, and it certainly looks somewhat bland, but it’s just too interesting to skip it.

PAX East 2011 Rundown

PAX East 2011 Rundown

Mar 13, 2011

Greetings from Boston! I’m here attending the Eastern Penny Arcade Expo on the lookout for new and upcoming Android games. The good news is, I might have found a few.

I had some hands-on time with Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack from Be-Rad Entertainment. Be-Rad Entertainment is known for the iOS game Lame Castle and were asked to work on a Serious Sam game by publisher Devolver Digital.

Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack features an interesting twist: Rather than playing as the series’ hero, Serious Sam, you play as one of the screaming, headless, kamikaze bombers. (Yes, screaming, despite being headless.) Kamikaze Attack is an auto-runner style of game where you jump and kick incoming bombs and rockets in attempt to take down Sam, himself.

I talked with the developer, Bradley Johnson, who told me that the game, developed using Unity, is coming to Android. We also discussed new modes of play and the inclusion of OpenFeint.

I really enjoyed playing Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack and will be following its development to keep you all updated.

Another game I looked at is Machine Gun Jetpack from Halfbrick.

Halfbrick are known for Fruit Ninja on Android, as well as their other outings for iOS devices and Raskulls for Xbox Live Arcade.

Machine Gun Jetpack features Barry Steakfries in another adventure. This time, in an auto-runner style game with a machine gun that functions like a jetpack. The longer you touch the screen, the higher Barry will go.

You’ll have to dodge obstacles, take out enemies and collect coins to spend on in-game items like top-hats, double-shields and more! You’ll also come across vehicle pick-ups such as a gravity suit, a giant mech suit and the “Crazy Freaking Teleporter.”

The gameplay is simple and easy to learn, but offers plenty of extras to keep it different from similar games in the same genre.

I spoke with Phil Larsen, Marketing Director for Halfbrick, about the possibility of Machine Gun Jetpack also coming to Android. He told me that, currently, their focus is on getting the game running properly on iOS before they can get to porting it. Still, a slim chance is better than no chance at all.

While the presence of Android is barely felt here at Penny Arcade Expo, keep in mind that iOS games are almost just as rare. Things can only get better, however, especially as Android devices continue to grow in popularity. As for me, it’s only Day 2 here at PAX, and I have plenty more games to see.