Finder’s Keep Review

Finder’s Keep Review

Jun 30, 2014

Finder’s Keep is another dungeon crawling, monster bashing, loot fest in the vein of similar games. Will it loot your free time?

Finder’s Keep is, as hinted by its puntastic name a dungeon crawler. The player is thrust into a dungeon with lousy equipment and fights a series of increasingly disturbing monstrosities to gain power experience and loot in the shape of larger items to stab or avoid being stabbed with. The game uses a simple top-down view for dungeon exploration. The dungeon is shrouded in mist until the player explores it and stumbles upon treasure or combat.

Screenshot_2014-06-24-12-33-15Combat is a very simple affair. The player can unleash standard attacks, a far more powerful but less accurate attack called a haymaker or assume a defensive stance. The game tells the player what the monster is planning to do next and this introduces a modicum of strategy as the player has to react correctly to avoid being pummeled into paste, such as blocking when the monster winds up for a devastating attack. Monsters are often weak to a certain kind of damage, such as crushing and resistant to others so using the right weapon is important.

Unfortunately, Finder’s Keep critically lacks gameplay depth. While the game looks pretty, it just has no skill or interesting gameplay. The dungeons all look the same and are very short and mindless. There is never anything to do except fight monsters and occasionally combine one item with another. There is nothing wrong with simple games, but other simple but effective games like Faif have a gameplay hook and actually require more than dumb luck. Finder’s Keep does not.

Screenshot_2014-06-24-17-25-16Battles are exceedingly dull affairs which are based almost entirely on chance. If the player runs into a too tough monster, there is nothing to be done except to grind until better equipment is found. If the battle system causes the player to miss a lot, they’re dead. If the player fails to find a certain kind of weapon due to random chance and runs into a resistant monster there is nothing for it but to grind constantly until one is found. The gameplay never evolves and the limited size of the player’s inventory is a constant annoyance. A slight redeeming feature is the game’s sense of humor; there is some funny dialogue here and there.

Finders Keep doesn’t look that great either. Monster design is unimaginative, there are too many palette swaps and the creatures aren’t very interesting. There is some nice graphics for equipment however.

Finder’s Keep does have a little replay value due to the copious amount of loot to be had. Most trips to the dungeon will reward the player with new items so they can get just that little bit stronger. The gameplay never changes and the lack of even the slightest bit of strategy dooms the game to a short shelf life.

Finder’s Keep is perhaps worth a game or two and its dungeons are bite sized so it’s great for killing a few minutes.


Happy Vikings Review

Happy Vikings Review

Jun 13, 2011

If history tells us anything about the Vikings, it’s that the Scandinavian terrors were far from happy with their lot. Bored with ice, snow and inventing death metal, they set about plundering, pillaging, persecuting – and doubtless countless other unpleasant activities starting with P – their European neighbours. Of course, games hold historical accuracy in the same contempt that the Vikings held non-Viking human life, so Happy Vikings can be forgiven for seeming a little revisionist.

The game, as the title suggests, paints the Vikings as happy-go-lucky scamps, with huge ginger beards and big smiling faces. Sure, they’re out robbing, but look how cute they are, you can’t blame them for being a little boisterous. That boisterousness takes the form of a loot stacking puzzle game, which makes perfect sense if you don’t try and think about it.

You play a lone Viking, running around the bottom of a long boat as your comrades in beards catapult the spoils of war in your general direction. It’s your job to stack the herring, jewels, lumps of meat, treasure chests and barrels of mead into matching piles of three or more. This turns them into coins, which steadily fill up the boat.

Happy Vikings plays like a mix between Tetris and a classic 2D platformer. You jump around, collecting loot as it falls, whilst trying to figure out the best arrangement for all the tumbling goodies. The more loot you burst in a single go, the more points you receive. So, whilst you can finish each level by only chaining in threes, if you’re after the big score and the adoration of your Viking friends, then you have to think on your feet and plan ahead.

For some people, Happy Vikings’ constant cheeriness might be a bit off putting, others still may find the slightly clumsy control system too unwieldy. These are minor flaws, however, in what is a well put together and immensely enjoyable game.

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of Happy Vikings is the way it does something different. It may not be hugely original, but it’s far from a straight forward clone, unlike a lot of the titles that you’ll find on the Android Market. It’s fun, addictive and, best of all, won’t come to your village in the dead of night and slaughter all of your loved ones.