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...
Three Dead Zed

Three Dead Zed

There are some games that come along and remind you that sub-genres exist which are woefully under represented. Three Dead Zed, a short and charming little game, reminds me that the world needs more games like The Lost Vikings. Three Dead Zed also illustrates why it reminds me of, but isn’t a spiritual successor to, The Lost Vikings.   To start, this indie game has beautiful hand drawn artwork. The music is nice and the sounds are crisp. It’s a game that’s neither too easy nor too hard, it’s not too short nor too long. It’s a perfect little palette cleanser. Working your way through five maps, each with nine levels, you control one zombie who can exist in one of three forms. The default (or as I like to call a balanced class, the “Mario”) can walk, jump, climb ladders, pick up small boxes and press buttons. The frog shaped faster zombie form (we’ll refer to him as “Luigi”) can jump high and long, is much much faster and lower to the ground. This comes at the expense of no combat abilities, no ability to pick things up and you cannot press switches. Lastly, a hulking thug of a lady Zombie (I’d call her “Peach” but she’s far more “Bowser”) has incredible damage resistance and can dole out damage in very wide swaths but can only jump mere inches, can’t fit into many areas, cannot climb or press switches. As you can see, the three forms require a balancing act for you to utilize properly.   In each map is a kitten or two. A mysterious voice is...
Lego Marvel Heroes

Lego Marvel Heroes

It’s 2013 and TTG has released one or more licensed Lego games for the last decade. What do you do when you’re a company that takes licenses and makes the exact same game year after year? You buy the biggest license and fill it with everything you possibly can. Does it work? Well Lego Marvel Heroes tries hard to find out. Spoiler: for the most part, it does.   If you’ve never played a Lego game before, most of them are linear games where you progress from level to level replaying famous scenes from movies. Star Wars and Harry Potter are excellent examples. Because Lego Marvel Heroes doesn’t use any one movie, comic, or cartoon it was free to be as original as it wanted. As the games are designed to allow children and adults to enjoy them, it’s not very difficult and the story is basic (although it embraces everything that it’s based upon, with lots of long time comic book easter eggs). Lego Marvel Heroes also benefits from an enormous open world. The story based levels are still linear but between those missions, you can enjoy an open world that gives you a lot to do.   The game is pretty, voice acting is fine, gameplay is fun and overall it’s an easily recommendable game. But no game is without flaws. It goes on a bit too long, the game is largely the same as the others and of all the unlockable characters most are reskins of the others. In fact there’s a lot of characters that have no use whatsoever. Mary Jane or Aunt May have...
52 Week Challenge – Week 21 – Contrast

52 Week Challenge – Week 21 – Contrast

Contrast was one of those unique games that never overstays its welcome. It’s too short to do so, but not so short you are left wishing it never ended. A simple platformer with a wicked concept, I really found myself unable to put it down and beat in a single sitting. The ability to become a shadow and move along the other shadows around you is really fun and more than a few times, someone looked over my shoulder to comment on how cool it was. The little girl Didi is never annoying like so often children in video games can be (Skyrim) and the only real problem I have with the game is the mute protagonist. I don’t normally have an issue with mute characters, but there is a lot of explanation as to who Dawn is and why she can do what she can, left to the imagination. For 15 bucks, it’s hard to go wrong and if that’s too much money it often hits Steam sales. For a unique 3-4 hours, you could do worse. Oh and the title screen/end credits song is amazing. I love that old 20’s era Jazzy stuff. Growing up with Roger Rabbit, this has a certain Jessica...
52 Week Challenge – Week 15 – Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers

52 Week Challenge – Week 15 – Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers

Tiny and Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers is an indie game I grabbed in some long-forgotten Humble Bundle pack of games. I do that a lot, buy a humble bundle for a single game and end up with a slew. It’s a common problem with gamers, especially ones who love deals. The best part of that sweet deal is this game.   So far, for the 52 Week Challenge, my mindset has been focused on beating games. To that end, I usually hit up “How Long To Beat” to see the length of time before starting a game. 3-10 hours is a go, 20+ is not so much. Tiny and Big came in at 2 1/2 hours (although I took longer) but the description was what got me:   “Tiny & Big, a comic styled jump and slice platformer, gives you the unique ability to shape a whole world at your will! You are Tiny, a nerdy inventor who tries to reclaim his most beloved possession: Grandpa’s white, fine rib underpants! On his journey through a forsaken desert he will meet mysterious creatures, no clowns, a taxi robot and his arch enemy: Big!”   A puzzle platformer where you can slice the world up? Neat! I was unprepared for how neat it really is, because the game blew me away. I beat it in two lunchtime sittings at work, and it just left me wanting more. You get a laser cutter, a rocket launcher and a grapple hook to platform your way around the world. The laser cutter cuts nearly ANYTHING in the level (which *can* leave you in a situation where...