Garshasp: Temple of the Dragon

Garshasp: Temple of the Dragon

Something that you might get by reading this blog is the idea that I love games developed by teams with a cultural perspective from outside North America. Contrast, Toren and Xenoclash are all fantastic games that are created by teams who have a viewpoint that you might not find in a traditional AAA developer team. Papo and Yo has a uniquely Brazilian take on an unfortunately universal evil. The Garshasp games are based on an Iranian/Persian hero that is developed by the Texan studio Dead Mage. Garshasp: Temple of the Dragon is a sequel to this game and while the first game wasn’t panned (nor praised) this game was rightly criticized. That is not to say the game is unplayable, but it’s something I cannot recommend.   The game is a third person action game, mostly consisting of hacking and slashing. The game has you exploring a “Temple” (although to put it more correctly, you explore three bridges, two lakes, a bit of forest and a tower) that feels all too small with no distinguishing features that would actually indicate it’s a temple. You’ll fight generic orc or demon looking enemies in a room, have a door open and generally solve a puzzle that either involves turning a wheel or dodging spikes, before going to fight more generic guys. Your character does gain new abilities but the game feels like there is no real need for using anything other than the basic attacks you start with. The game graphically is under-whelming, the designs of things are generally muddy and the voice acted notes you pick up don’t give you...
Inside

Inside

From the creators of Limbo come another atmospheric game, simple to play and thick with aesthetic. The game features no HUD, minimal music, excellent sound and well designed puzzles. Everything feels very carefully placed and integrated, as though this world is being filmed and is not constructed for a video game. The auto-save system works quite well, as you’ll probably die horribly more than a few times.   One problem with most platform / puzzle games is always the one or two nefarious puzzles that always seem to require a walk through or tip to complete. None of the puzzles were unsolvable in this game, with each one being challenging but not impossible. This was a highlight for me as I felt like I was progressing along my own path, and not simply following the path of someone else.   I highly recommend playing the game. It has atmosphere, tension and a story that will leave an impression on you. Then, if you don’t want to do it yourself, go look at the secret ending online. And then read all the theories about what the story is and what it means. Even if I wasn’t telling you to do all this, you would be doing it...
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood

Take one part Pixar, one part Labyrinth, a splash of Mario and a dash of Portal and mix them together. What you’ll find is a surprisingly fun puzzle platformer about a boy saving his little brother, full of heart.   When Max is bothered by his little brother playing with his toys (already, noting our protagonist as a brat), he takes to google (well, they call it ‘Giggle’) and finds a spell to get rid of him. Presto, we’re dragged to another place and a monster is rushing away with our brother. A crazy old woman and lots of goblin looking uglies later, you’re on your way.   The primary way you’ll interact with the game is your magic marker. It gets powered up to be a weapon of sorts, gaining power as you play the game. At first, you can raise platforms of stone. Later you’ll grow plants, move water and even explode things. The powers all combine with each other, in various ways. Cause a plant branch to fall onto a spot where you’ll raise dirt to create a ramp. Or use water to shoot yourself over to a vine.   The game itself isn’t particularly hard but it is fun and if you have a younger player in the home, they’ll enjoy giving their input as well. My daughter even figured out one nasty puzzle before I had noodled it out. The game is never very cheap and goes on sale often. Unless you have something against puzzles or platformers, you really can’t go wrong picking this game...