Phantom Rift Review

Phantom Rift Review

Oct 29, 2014

Phantom Rift is an unusual little game with a world just as weird as its gameplay. We play as a mage who gets thrown into a limbo dimension for an unspecified reason. The only thing that the main character remembers is that (s)he was a powerful mage in the real world. A wisp that happened to be nearby explains that the rift has all sorts of entities, most of them malicious, so the mage will have to use his rich spellbook if he is to proceed through the endless levels of the rift.

Phantom Rift gameplay has two parts that seamlessly transition into each other. The character walks around a map that is literally building around him as he goes. The map contains various treasures that give precious loot, and portals that can transfer the hero to different parts of the rift, and every once in a while, a random encounter happens. Then, the game switches to the battle mode. The map shrinks into a small area, divided into two zones, three rows by three columns each. The enemies move around their half of the field, mostly at random, between the squares, and attack the hero in various ways. The hero needs to evade these attacks and try to kill the enemies, using his basic weapon and a range of spells. The spells are the most interesting part of the game, so I’ll focus on them.

There can be thirty “active” spells that the hero can use during the battle. Many more can be found and bought during the game, but from them, and their copies, the hero can only Phantom Rift 3equip thirty to use in battle. When the battle starts, the hero is presented with five random spells from the ones he equipped. Using each spell costs mana, so some of them have to be destroyed in order to generate more of it. The ones the player chose can then be cast at any time during the battle. The hero can repeat the spell cycle every several seconds. The system is very unusual, but it works great and there’s plenty of spells to choose from. At times, it almost feels like a trading card game, since the spells should compliment each other, and different spells should be used against different kinds of opponents.

Overall, Phantom Rift is pretty captivating, even though the gameplay is always the same, and the random encounters sometimes feel like grinding. It has great world and battles that are resolved by tactics as well as luck, and a loot-hoarding element, so it’s an incredible time-waster. I recommend it both to Diablo players who want something more tactical, and turn-based action players who want something more exciting.

Dawnkeeper: Last Survivors Review

Dawnkeeper: Last Survivors Review

May 5, 2014

Frankly, I didn’t expect to play a game, involving the dude from the The Witcher, Gimli, son of Gloin, and mage from Diablo II – and I certainly didn’t expect to enjoy it. Dawnkeeper: Last Survivors is an action game that by the looks of it, has borrowed visual ideas from many a popular fantasy franchise. It’s got fonts from Diablo, characters from Diablo, story from Diablo, enemies from Diablo – okay, maybe not from many franchises, after all. The twist is that gameplay – whether by chance or not – is actually quite exciting.

The player character, whichever he chose for the mission, stands behind an energy shield that is being attacked by monsters of all shapes and sizes. The player needs to kill every enemy that is coming for his juicy insides, preferably before they attack the shield and crack it. But even if it is cracked, it can be repaired by quickly tapping on a series of dots. Of course, the player can’t attack anyone during these brief repair works, but this time can be also used to refill the player’s attack. Although each character has unlimited ammo, attacking reduces the special bar. When it gets depleted, the hero stops the attack, and the less of it remains when the player stops attacking, the slower it refills.

Each character has a number of special abilities, and even his own skill tree. The good thing is that activating special abilities doesn’t require anything, but waiting for it to Dawnkeeper Last Survivors 2recharge beforehand and afterward. The bad thing is that heroes and their abilities are leveled up with only gold, and there is a single gold reserve in the game. This, of course, means that the player is likely to spend his gold outfitting and improving one hero – let’s be honest here, it’s going to be Geralt, with mage being a distant second and the dwarf getting killed a minute into any level – while disregarding the others. This isn’t good, because each of the heroes has three lives that refill in real time. This means that if the hero dies three times in a row, the player either has to play as the dimwitted friends of his hero, or wait for at least five minutes to play again – which isn’t that bad, actually. There’s no energy in Dawnkeeper: Last Survivors, and while most of the gear has a ridiculous price, the game is mostly fair – except for the god damn Lich that just won’t die already! Gosh!

Two main issues in Dawnkeeper: Last Survivors are its control scheme and the replay bug. There is no indication as to where the heroes will actually stand, when given the order to move, and as their angle of fire is very limited, this means that placing the hero just right becomes a rather frustrating process. Furthermore, when trying to replay the levels, I often found myself out of enemies, while the level didn’t end, so I had to manually go back to the map, not getting bonus gold, and losing a life, even though I technically won. Apart from that, though, Dawnkeeper: Last Survivors is a surprisingly exciting game and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly – here’s to hoping the developers will fix what small issues it has.

Archangel Review

Archangel Review

Feb 12, 2014

Archangel makes a bit weird impression. Imagine that you’re a woman, waiting for a date whose picture looks absolutely stunning, but he shows up in only his underpants, and with an half-finished bottle of cheap wine. I really think that the way Archangel stands out in the screenshots is what makes you kind of hate it the moment you launch the game and realize that it’s not a nice Diablo clone – and that it’s not a Diablo clone at all – but an awkward action game with repetitive levels and uncomfortable design. With that in mind, I honestly can’t say this game is bad.

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Archangel looks like a great demo for a game that never got past the beta stage and was artificially enlarged to look like it was supposed to look like that from the beginning. I almost wanted to say that it’s kinda good, but then I remembered that it’s not free-to-play, and my opinion changed a bit. Anyway, the game is about some sort of war between angels and demons, with the player being on the light side of the force. It all looks very strange, probably because the game is Chinese. If the awkwardly-translated game story and weird menu design doesn’t show it, then the bloody Chinese coins for currency definitely do. And the translation is really bad. Like, comically, hilariously bad.

The weird-looking archangel, whose name is for some reason unknown, can go around the level, teleport anywhere (which removes any need for walking), and cast charged fireballs. Neither of the actions require mana or recharge, meaning that the battles are mostly won with the player’s abilities. Basically, the whole gameplay consists of teleporting to and away from different groups of enemies and smashing them with fireballs, which, as fun as it sounds, becomes incredibly dull after the first three levels. The levels are vast, but for the most part – incredibly similar-looking. The same can be said for enemies. While there is a number of them, with different behaviors and abilities, it’s difficult to tell them apart.

Although I can’t say that Archangel is completely awful, I do think that it should have been either better developed, or free-to-play. I can’t even think of people to suggest it to. I’m guessing that it’s below average, but there’s no reason for anyone to buy it, really. Although breaking stone pillars and watch as they fall apart is really fun. Maybe they should’ve made the game about that, instead.

Archangel Descends On Android

Archangel Descends On Android

Jan 10, 2014

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Archangel is a Diablo-like RPG about a holy warrior, destroying legions of demons, as they tend to do. The game offers rich gameplay and incredible graphics. It’s descended from development heaven to Google Play, and here are some screenshots and a trailer.