Category Archives: Puzzle

Robinson: The Journey Review – A faceful of dino

When thinking about the games I desperately want PlayStation VR to gel with, anything first-person leads the way. Doesn’t matter if it’s getting behind the wheel in DriveClub, gunning down murderous clowns and wendigos in Until Dawn: Rush of Blood or even aerial combat (I’m not traditionally a fan) in Criterion’s stunning X-Wing mission in Star Wars: Battlefront – I’ll be there, ready to push my face into it.

It can all be a bit manic though, stressful even – I’m just waiting for a good deal on Resident Evil VII, honest. I could do with something I can sit down with for a few hours and just enjoy being ‘there’. Robinson: The Journey may just be that game. Continue reading Robinson: The Journey Review – A faceful of dino

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Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse Review

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse Review

It’s seriously bad luck to be near George Stobbart. Just as his first Broken Sword adventure began with a death in Paris, someone is shot within minutes of Broken Sword 5. And so begins another adventure to find the murderer. There’s more to it this time though as the shooter’s main aim was to steal a mysterious (and quite disturbing) old painting from a Parisian gallery.

If you’re new to the Broken Sword series, don’t be put off by that daunting number in the title. This adventure works as a standalone title and instead of relying on series knowledge, merely gives the odd nod to fans via cameo appearances, and of course, irritable goats. Continue reading Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse Review

Murasaki Baby (Review)

The Colourful Heart of Darkness

Sony has repositioned the Vita as a champion of indie titles and Murasaki Baby has been on our radar for what seems like forever. The wait is over though and we finally get our hands on one of the most visually-striking games to land on the handheld in ages.

The aim of this 2D puzzle platformer is to help this incredibly creepy, yet somehow adorable, little girl find her ‘mummy’ as we guide her through the nightmare-like environments via a multitude of touchscreen and rear touchpad controls. Early Vita adopters may hear a few distant alarm bells ringing if they remember the infuriatingly clunky launch title Escape Plan. Thankfully, the controls in Murasaki Baby are much better. Mostly.

Continue reading Murasaki Baby (Review)

Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty (Review)

Abe’s Oddysee was a big hit for PS1 gamers back in the day with impressive pre-rendered backgrounds making the game one of the best looking 2D platformers ever made. It was also an absolute beast of a meanie to play. Nevertheless, when we heard Just Add Water were remaking the game with the Unity engine we couldn’t wait to see how well the game had aged. Not so sure about the name change though.

For the most part, the game is the same as the original. The action still takes place on a 2D plane and the level layouts haven’t been changed. However, some sensible changes have been implemented, and for the better too. Continue reading Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty (Review)

Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Review)

An Essential Journey

With a World War I setting, Valiant Hearts: The Great War explores relatively unfamiliar ground for gaming, or even movies to be honest, as it was generally WWII that inspired so many films and games. It’s hard to believe that the human race had the capacity for war again after the events of WWI and Valiant Hearts plays an important role in showing us that this was one of the darkest moments of humanity’s very chequered past.

Unlike most war games though, Valiant Hearts isn’t another one-man-army first-person shooter or a strategic tactical sim. It’s a heavily story-driven experience with puzzling and old-school adventuring at the core of the gameplay.

Continue reading Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Review)

Fez (PS4 Review)

Fez-PS4-ReviewDespite critical acclaim two years ago when released on XBLA and PC, Fez has taken its time to come to the PlayStation Platforms. Rather than a discount for its tardiness, the asking price of £7.99 gets you a cross-buy copy of the game that you can download to your PS4, PS3 and PS Vita complete with cloud-based cross-save functionality.

For those of you new to the world of Fez, allow me to catch you up. This is a puzzle platformer that opts for an 8-bit retro style. What’s decidedly not retro though (unless you count Echochrome and Crush as retro) is the rotating mechanic adding depth to the 2D platforming. With a tap of a shoulder button, the whole game world rotates 90 degrees. This begins simply enough when you’re just navigating a singular structure, you could even be forgiven for thinking it’s just a gimmick as it’s essentially a traditional flat 2D stage that you push forward with these ‘rotations.’

Continue reading Fez (PS4 Review)

Adam’s Venture Chronicles Review

Sometimes you need to take a break from all the cover shooters, the chequered flag chasing and alien blasting to exercise the old grey matter with some puzzles for a change. PSN has been a bit bare of late for head-scratching titles, which is why we’re so keen to give Adam’s Venture Chronicles a go.

The name may sound familiar to PC gamers as the game was originally released in episodic chunks in 2009 through 2012. So, while not exactly fresh, it’s nice to see the game eventually reach another platform. Continue reading Adam’s Venture Chronicles Review

Rain (Review)

psn ps3 game rain

The Heavens open and darkness falls


Sony have a strong history in recent years of nurturing development talent eager to try something a little offbeat, risky or arty. We’ve had Journey and The Unfinished Swan and we’re bound to see more of their kind on the PS4, but before we take that leap onto next-gen in November, we have a title many of us have been looking forward to since its initial reveal back at Gamescom 2012.

Rain takes place during one evening in the rainy streets of Paris. Hearing a noise outside, a boy looks out his window to see a ghostly silhouette of a little girl run past. He climbs outside to investigate only to discover that he himself has turned into a similar ethereal figure. There isn’t much time to dawdle though as there are sinister creatures on the prowl too, so you must guide him through the streets to help him find the girl and make his way back home.

Continue reading Rain (Review)

Journey: Collector’s Edition (Review)

The Genesis of Greatness

*This collection encompasses ThatGameCompay’s previously download-only games including Flow, Flower and Journey. I’ve reviewed all three and discussed the extras also included.

Flow

The first time I played Flow six years ago, I started it late and ended up glued to the screen until 6am. It’s an experience you can just be swallowed up in. Just as it gets difficult, it expands and resets.

You play as a basic underwater life form that must eat smaller creatures in order to grow. The game takes place on a series of 2D stages and movement is controlled by turning the PS3 SixAxis controller with a press of any button making you move faster. As with all of ThatGameCompany’s PS3 games, there isn’t a heads-up display and next-to no tutorial, but you should find this an easy experience to get into.

Continue reading Journey: Collector’s Edition (Review)

Pool Nation (Review)

With only Hustle Kings to really compete with, Pool Nation enters the digital pool hall looking to wipe the floor with the posers. No cutscenes, no irritating voice-overs, just pool. We like it already.

You can dive straight into the lengthy tournament campaigns without bothering with the tutorials if you just want to get stuck in. Basic shots are a breeze. Some very handy aiming lines are turned on by default showing the path of the white ball and a separate path for the ball you’ll hit, making even the sharpest angled shots effortlessly simple.

Continue reading Pool Nation (Review)

Voodoo Chronicles: The First Sign Review

Hidden object games are something of a rarity on PSN. I haven’t played any since a range of PSP titles in 2010 including Route 66, The Mystery of the Crystal Portal and Actual Crimes: Jack the Ripper. Sanuk have returned though with another detective puzzler to test your peering skills.

The game has already seen a mobile/PC release, so it’s unsurprising to see the game using a mouse cursor to navigate. The analogue stick or a Move controller can be used to point at objects with ease, although your arm will get tired using the Move. Continue reading Voodoo Chronicles: The First Sign Review

Lumines: Electronic Symphony (Review)

lumines-vitaIf it wasn’t for the Lumines games on the old PSP the underperforming handheld would have faded into obscurity and the back of our cupboards much sooner than it sadly eventually did. As the Vita approaches its first birthday with a distinct lack of killer apps, I’ve been looking over its back-catalogue, desperate for something to justify charging the thing up more than once a month. Now available for under a tenner, Lumines: Electronic Symphony seemed like a good place to start and certainly better value than its initial £35 price tag.

Lumines is a block-puzzler but one that bears little resemblance to games like Tetris andBejeweled 2. By rotating falling blocks of four squares you must create patterns of like colours in 2×2 or bigger blocks. These blocks will then become highlighted and the constantly sweeping timeline comes and clears them from your pile.

Continue reading Lumines: Electronic Symphony (Review)

The Unfinished Swan (Review)

Sony’s PS3 continues to lead as a platform striving to offer as many diverse experiences as possible. Admittedly, most have them have come from That Game Company in the shape of Flow, Flower and Journey. So it’s good to see a new studio emerge from under Sony’s wing to show us such a visually arresting game.

While the game is a first person title, I’d hesitate to class it as a first-person shooter, although it handles that way. There are no bullets here though, only paint and a few platforming sections.

Continue reading The Unfinished Swan (Review)

The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (Review)

The traditional point and click style adventure game is dead and buried as far as consoles are concerned, which makes Frogwares decision to bring this series to PS3 and Xbox 360 a brave one, but we’re certainly up for giving it a go.

Instead of the usual lever-pulling puzzles we’re used to, The Testament of Sherlock Holmes will require a bit more brainpower to proceed. Solving gruesome murder mysteries is the most enticing prospect and when you’re investigating a crime scene, the game really stands out. As with many of these games though, there tends to be a reliance on bizarre puzzles too. More on those later.

Continue reading The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (Review)

Escape Plan (Review)

Within the first few months of the Vita’s release I expect we’ll be seeing this sort of thing a lot. What, artsy black and white puzzle games? No, that would be fine; I mean games with overly-reliant touchscreen and touchpad inputs hampering a potentially enjoyable experience. These aren’t the only flaws behind Escape Plan, but they certainly tip the scales towards indifference.

The premise is simple; controlling two characters you must escape a long series of 2D challenge rooms. A sideways screen swipe makes them walk and a tap stops them. Interacting with the environment on their behalf is the key to their freedom.  Drawer-like platforms can be pushed out from behind for a limited time, so timing your walks (they can’t be called runs) across them is of vital importance. Not being able to use the X button to start/stop walking is a miserly and foolish omission as the touches don’t always register first or second time.

Continue reading Escape Plan (Review)

Little Deviants (Review)

This collection of thirty minigames is aiming to tempt gamers as a launch purchase as it utilises all of the Vita’s functions. Except the analogue sticks. And the face buttons. So yes! Smear, tickle, rub, wobble and even sing your way through the world of Little Deviants!

The visual style is clearly aiming for a younger market, but nothing’s so garish as to make it unplayable for adults too. So you won’t feel like a berk playing it, unless people are watching you. You play as a race of aliens trying to rebuild their ship so they can return home. This will involve not attacking humans and defending their planet from zombies and robots. As you do.

Continue reading Little Deviants (Review)

Trine 2 (Review)

In a gaming climate that has almost killed off the humble platformer, Trine 2 shines as a reminder of how much potential is still there for developers willing to work at it as Frozenbyte has done once again.

Players of the original 2009 Trine (PS3 and PC) will be able to jump in straight away, while 360 players might experience a longer adjustment, as the game doesn’t take much time to explain the game’s mechanics to the new player.

Essentially, you control three characters at once by swapping between them on the fly to solve the platforming puzzle at hand with only one character appearing on-screen at a time. The wizard levitates objects and conjures crates and planks to help you climb upwards, the thief fires arrows and has a grappling hook to attach to wooden surfaces and swing around, and the knight provides the muscle with a sword and shield combo or a sledgehammer that can also be used to smash through walls.

Continue reading Trine 2 (Review)

Move Mind Benders (Review)

Top marks for whoever named this collection, still makes me laugh. Anyway, this disc of PSN PlayStation Move titles includes some lesser-known titles that may have passed you by originally, including Lemmings, Echochrome ii and Tumble.

Lemmings
The premise is familiar, and thankfully 2D, rescue the lemmings from their ledge-hopping doom with a variety of applicable abilities in some tasty new levels.

On paper, Lemmings controlled with the Move sounds like a good idea. In practice, it’s not great. When the lemmings are close together, the sensitive crosshairs are too awkward and struggle to pick out individuals. In addition, the buttons seemed not to work half the time. Thankfully, the game is playable with a regular controller and the analogue sticks perform admirably in the absence of a mouse.

Continue reading Move Mind Benders (Review)

Mercury Hg Heavy Elements DLC (Review)

At the end of my 8/10 review of Mercury Hg last month, I thought I’d be very happy to have some more of the same when the DLC came along. Wish granted! The £1.99 Heavy Elements DLC provides 30 challenging extra levels for this great PSN game.

For extensive details on gameplay, I’d recommend clicking the above link for my review of the main game. Essentially, you tilt obstacle course worlds to roll a blob of Mercury to the exit. Prize atoms are rewarded for finishing, maintaining 100% health, collecting all the items and for par times.

Continue reading Mercury Hg Heavy Elements DLC (Review)

Mercury Hg (Review)

Early PSP adopters may remember Mercury, but for everyone else, it’s time to play the definitive version, Mercury Hg. Put your red pens down the Hg is the Periodic Table of Elements name for Mercury. But yes, it’s essentially Mercury HD.

The game involves tilting the platform worlds around to roll a ball of liquid mercury around until you get it to the exit. If you get too close to the edge you’ll start to drip over the sides, depleting your life bar and size. An audio cue will let you know that you’ve been sloppy, so you don’t need to let your eyes wonder to the health metre when navigating a tricky part. Pushing Select will give you an instant restart if you’re on a mission for perfection.

Continue reading Mercury Hg (Review)