Riddick: The Merc Files Review

Riddick: The Merc Files Review

Apr 7, 2015

I’ll preface this by saying fictional bad boy Riddick is awesome… the perfect personification of cool, calm and deadly.

No argument.

Is Riddick: The Merc Files worthy of carrying the name?

The game utilizes an abbreviated top-down view, and from the get-go, the player gets a front row view of the game graphics. The environments are scaled relatively well, and the designer is able to evoke futuristic, foreboding places. The characters move well, with decent animations and intuitive use of lighting.

The gameplay is based on the title character, and employs his well-known deadly stealth as a major element. The storyline is fairly simple, and pays homage to the official canon with Riddick’s dysfunctional relationship with the mercenaries that are ever willing to bag him. Of course, our antihero doesn’t take to this too kindly, and brings his considerably lethal skill set to bear often.

It is leveled in nature, and each stage generally finds our protagonist emanating from the shadows, looking to make it from one point in the playing area to another. To do this, he has to dispatch armed mercs using melee combat or procured weapons. Movement is initiated by tapping on the screen; Riddick will move to the tapped area. If one taps on a merc, Riddick will get to that merc, and, ordinarily, will initiate a melee attack to incapacitate the target. Riddick can then hide the body, collect any dropped firearm and/or move on to the next target or location or complete the level.

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As one advances, the game amps up the challenge. The mercs at the beginning are fairly inept and unaware, but he game engine has better ones as ones along the way. At some point, firearms and stealth become more important; timing attacks so as to avoid alerting more enemy folks is key. Hiding bodies and shooting quickly from a distance practically become necessary. In this, strategy becomes an element that one has to contend with. It is a game of opportunity costs: does one tiptoe through or use deadly force?

There were some things I thought were present that I couldn’t find, like night vision. Also, the levels are pretty short. The artwork (with Vin Diesel voice overs) and gameplay come together nicely, but also make one feel like there should be more.

It’s a fine casual title that is fun. In some cases, that’s all one might need.

République Review

République Review

Oct 24, 2014

We’ve been wanting this one for a while.

And now that Republique is on Android, we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can stop giving Camouflaj and Darkwind Media the side eye. And we can taste of the goodness that this title unabashedly brings.

The gameplay comes in two modes: Story, which allows players to experience the story and explore environments, and Normal, which is the standard experience. Going the normal route allows one to pick an episode, and we’re off.

The opening sequence is interestingly tricky, and ominously transports the player to the persona of a person receiving communicating with a mysterious person named Hope. The dialogue helps bring the player up to speed, and we also get a feel for the gesture controls while finding out the negative nature of Hope’s dwelling. Prizrak are to be avoided, and this is where the stealth maneuvering comes into play. The elements come together, with visual cues and collectible items. The hacking concept works, giving multiple views that can assist with advancement, and helpers are cloaked in pieces that work into the gameplay.

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As pointed out, stealth actions are key; as such, carelessness leads to failure, which manifests in being “caught” and returned to a secure room.

Simply put, the graphics are well done. From the opening sequence, one gets a sense that a lot of attentions was paid to the idea of the graphics helping to carry the storyline along. Fear and desperation almost literally are baked into the pixels, and the net effect of the animations as purveyed through the unique camera views is an experience best played to really be enjoyed. The darkness is palpable, but the little things are represented very well.

Where the game excels is the ability to drag one in. Before long, the quest to avoid “recalibration” almost becomes tangible; Hope’s saga becomes our own. What really resonates are the underlying themes of totalitarianism and surveillance, and these issues weigh heavily on the minds of people today.

It’s a well-crafted caper, with subtle salutes to Orwellian topics. The season pass opion is a plus, and I like idea of easter eggs and commentary from the directors show how much the developer looks to engage the audience.

Which is just dandy, by the way, because resistance is sweet, but sticking to the man is always so much fun.

République Arrives on Android

République Arrives on Android

Oct 23, 2014

Some games are worth waiting for.

Yeah, okay. We want République NOW!

The venerable, well regarded stealth action thriller is finally on Android courtesy of Camouflaj and Darkwind Media, and it brings all the goodness iOS users have enjoyed exclusively till now.

It tells the tale of futuristic totalitarianism, and in this, it feels scarily relevant today. Using a unique view mode, the user is compelled to help our heroine, Hope, to escape a secure facility. Influences from classics like 1984 are clearly seen in the storyline.

Developed over five years by industry veterans (Metal Gear Solid, Halo, F.E.A.R.), RÉPUBLIQUE is a thrilling and topical stealth-action game that explores the perils of government surveillance in the Internet Age.

You receive a call from Hope, a woman trapped inside a mysterious totalitarian state. By hacking into the nation’s elaborate surveillance network and taking control, you guide Hope through a web of danger and deception across five thrilling episodes.

Have we said we’re excited?

We will be publishing our review based on a full pre-release version shortly; we also had the great opportunity to talk to Camouflaj chief Ryan Payton and Darkwind Media head Matthew Mikuszewski. The interview was a blast, and we look to get that out soon too.

République is available on the Play Store for $2.99 (with additional in-app purchasing). It’s also available on the Amazon Appstore for $1.99.

Deus Ex: The Fall Review

Deus Ex: The Fall Review

Feb 18, 2014

Deus Ex is one of those PC gaming franchises that defined its space. For some enthusiasts, it is to traditional big(ger) screen gaming what Angry Birds is to handheld play. And now, Square Enix brings Deus Ex: The Fall to Android OS.

For folks who like eye candy, this will be a pleasant experience. The graphics bring the action to life, and the scaled down imagery is impressive; it’s easy to get lost in the danger latent in every crouch and the adrenaline in every sleeper dart shot. The little thing, like shadows and rendering of sunlight is positively surreal. The movements, while a bit stilted in places, are fluid enough to induce random player movement.

The gameplay is a function of the cyberpunk backstory. The year is 2017, and earth, as to be expected, is quite different. Apocalyptic diseases are rampant, the rich are further separated from the poor, and a world government is nigh. Beyond ensuring that all major conspiracies are accounted for, the game introduces us to special soldiers that deus1combine humans with cybernetic body parts, thus creating super soldiers which are initially tasked with protecting the interests of the elite.

Our hero is Ben Saxon, and he gets stuff going. We learn the basics of gameplay through him: stealth attacks through brazen dispatches, and the results of such actions. One of the biggest elements is the concept of actions and consequences; a lot of the time, different options exist by way of form of attack or way to go, but each has it’s own type of resultant sequence. The basic premise is to use that, pick the right weapon for the job, avoid and or get rid of enemy combatants, and make it through to where Ben needs to be. Doing specific actions give experience points, which add up to create a valuable. “praxis” when leveling is accomplished. Credits are assigned as well, and can be used to purchase equipment and such.

It’s an exhilarating adventure, and packs in a surprisingly diverse amount of play. The built-in tutorial makes sense, and the control set is fairly logical. Some elements do stretch the imagination (beer to revive health, for example), and the sequences can be a bit dry, but the fillers work well. There is also some salty language, but the game is not too gory.

It’s not the cheapest Android game around, but it packs in enough action and mini games to make it worth it.

Announcing The Incredible Corpse, A Zombie vs Alien Action Game

Announcing The Incredible Corpse, A Zombie vs Alien Action Game

Nov 12, 2013

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Generally, being a zombie kind of sucks. But, get some weaponry, fight against an alien invasion, and be a ninja, and suddenly, life is good and doesn’t bother your existence that much. The Incredible Corpse is a cartoony stealth-action in which the players have to kick some alien asses, and the devs are asking for some help right now: The Incredible Corpse on Kickstarter.

Tiny Thief Review

Tiny Thief Review

Jul 23, 2013

Why does it necessarily have to be a thief? Whenever someone makes a stealth game, it always has some sort of thief, or assassin, as the protagonist. Stealth games can be much more! For example, a game can be about a private detective, taking up different cases, following people around, and taking pictures of someone’s wife. Or, it can be about a revolutionary, who is hiding from the police authorities, stirring up the flames of revolution, posting propaganda posters, and taking naked pictures of someone’s wife. The possibilities are endless! But here we are, with another thief, who is hiding from the guards, takes what isn’t his, and doesn’t even have a camera. At least the game is good.

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Although Tiny Thief may look like a stealth action from the first glance – and it sort of is – it’s actually more of an adventure game. It consists of many different levels, with similar goals in each one. There’s always a level goal, which has to be completed for the level to count as passed; a secondary goal, which usually requires finding the whereabouts of the main hero’s ferret friend, and a secret goal, which has to be discovered separately.

Most of the goals require finding some sort of loot that the protagonist seeks for reasons, explained in the small story comics between the levels. Each level has a different way of obtaining the loot, and finding this way is the main part of the gameplay. Thief is controlled by tapping around a level to make him run around, and when he is near an object that can be interacted with, an icon appears for the interaction, although some objects can be interacted with directly, without the Thief’s direct presence.

There’s a problem, by the way, since often, there is a guard standing nearby, ready to turn at any second, so the time is pressing, and aiming and pressing at an interaction icon takes up precious seconds. It could simply light up before Thief is coming near an object, saving lots of hassle. Anyway, besides this small problem, everything about the game is smooth and works just right. The levels in Tiny Thief are varied, and require the player to search through his surroundings and think of a plan, before actually going in.

Often, random tapping on every possible object helps the progress, but the gray matter still has to participate in the process. The graphics in Tiny Thief are nice and cute, and the game is generally well-designed. Although stealth-action purists can scorn at such a casual attempt at a stealth game, it’s a lighthearted and fun title, with more than enough challenges.