Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Orwell: Ignorance is Strength

Ignorance_KeyArt_FIN-2When it comes to sequels to games I adored, I try to keep my expectations in check. It hurts when the next game in the series drops the ball.

That is not the case with Orwell: Ignorance is Strength.

I wrote a review about Orwell, the predecessor to this game back in 2017 and as you might have picked up already, I loved it. To prevent myself from repeating what I said about that game, here is the review for it if you want to check it out. Enjoy.

In Orwell, you play as an investigator who is tasked with finding incriminating evidence and information regarding the case you are working on. It is the same premise for Orwell: Ignorance is Strength but with a bit more depth and personal choice.

Durning the events of Orwell, another investigator is tasked with finding a missing informant. However, if you played the first game you will know that nothing and no one is what they seem.

You gather intel by dragging datachunks to the right profile, but be careful as you will encounter conflicting datachunks and you need to pick one and it will make an impact, for better or worse.

Orwell: Ignorance is Strength improved on an already brilliant game by adding some more depth to the gameplay. You are put into the story a bit more as you fill out a profile at the beginning which also serves as a quick tutorial on how the game works.

UntitledOn top of that, there is a more pronounced sense of working against the clock as each time you add a datachunk, ten minutes pass in the game. There are events that will happen at certain times, so you need to keep an eye on that.

The Orwell games can be completed in a few hours, but they have a fair bit of replayability as there are several choices you can make which will change how the story plays out.

As someone who loved the first game, it was great to see little references to it in Orwell: Ignorance is Strength however, that doesn’t mean you need to play the first Orwell to enjoy this one. I mean, I highly recommend you play both anyway but it isn’t necessary.

If I had to pick between the two, I would choose Orwell: Ignorance is Strength as it has a more interesting story.

If you like political games or even just simulation games, I could not recommend the Orwell games enough. Both games are great, they build a sense of dread and apprehension as you rush to stop what could be a major disaster.

They also keep you on your toes as the second you think you have got it figured out they throw a wrench into the works.

Now, investigator, time to get to work.


Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Rusty Lake

8DDr5TNH_400x400.pngWelcome to Rusty Lake.

The Rusty Lake series consists of several free games and three priced games, Rusty Lake Hotel, Rusty Lake Roots and Rusty Lake Paradise.

These point-and-click puzzle games are all in a shared universe and contain some rather disturbing content.

I finished Hotel in a few hours. I would have beaten it sooner but I messed up on the final part and had to reset the game. In this instalment, you are tasked with killing a guest each night and serve them for dinner to the other guests. If it makes you feel better, they are anthropomorphic animals.

In Roots, which I haven’t finished at the time of writing, I am at 27 out of 33, you follow the misfortunate Vanderboom family through generations as you uncover family secrets.

I found the puzzles in Hotel to be a lot more straightforward than Roots. However, I would have to say that the more interesting and creative puzzles are found in Roots.

iconBlackOn the note of puzzles, there are several different kinds from decoding ones to jigsaw puzzles. They make you think outside the box.

Also, you feel a bit more invested in the Vanderboom family’s struggles rather than the guests. I felt bad when I had to kill Mr Rabbit as he was a decent bloke but I was either indifferent or glad to kill the rest.

I love a good puzzle game with hidden lore, so this series is right up my alley. As soon as I finish Roots I will start playing Paradise, I want to see how deep this rabbit hole goes.#

If you are looking for creepy, creative and clever, might I suggest the Rusty Lake series? If you are on a budget you might prefer their free game series, Escape the Cube. Either way, good luck with those puzzles!


Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Doki Doki Literature Club!

517px-Doki_Doki_Literature_Club_CoverWhat the hell did I just play?

One day I was browsing Steam looking for something new to play. As a cheapskate and Visual Novel lover, I found myself drawn to Doki Doki Literature Club! for its adorable art style and the fact it was free to play. I downloaded it and started playing.

As the game started a warning popped up, informing me that this game is not for the faint-hearted and contained disturbing content.

Huh, weird, I thought but I didn’t pay it much attention as the menu appeared with a cute song playing. Maybe I misread it. Whatever.

In hindsight, I should have taken that warning seriously.

At the beginning, all seemed well. The music was upbeat and the four girls Sayori, Natsuki, Yuri and Monika all seemed like lovable characters. I took an immediate interest in Yuri so I focused on her. Trying to pick out the right words to win her over and favouring her every chance I got. You know, regular Visual Novel stuff.

Then, everything changed.

YuriI won’t spoil it, but at a certain part something horrifying happens to one of the girls and the game is never the same after. I was shocked and felt a little sick. Then the warning made sense.

Lesson learned, always read the disclaimers.

After that, the once adorable and sweet Visual Novel became a psychological horror. I am not going to lie to you, I was a bit scared to continue playing yet I couldn’t bring myself to stop.

After I finished and the trama has worn off a bit, let’s talk about Doki Doki Literature Club!

The reason I have been purposely vague about details about the game is that its one of those games that are best experienced blind. While the internet might have spoiled elements of the game I would still recommend everyone check it out but be warned there is a fair about of disturbing content and it might be unsuitable for certain people.

If you are looking for an unsettlingly experience that will stick with you and you are broke from Christmas shopping, grab a book and join the Doki Doki Literature Club!

Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: VA-11 HALL-A

JillYou know those games you buy on Steam, more often than not during a sale and totally forget about? VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action was one of those games for me.

VA-11 HALL-A has been hanging around my Steam library for a while but I finally got around to playing it recently.

I regret not playing this game sooner.

Set in Glitch City, a cyberpunk city filled with crime, corruption, and cyborgs you play as Jill, a bartender working at VA-11 HALL-A. A small pub on the verge of being shut down.

You serve the colourful characters that call Glitch City home. That may not sound interesting, but with every conversation, you learn more about the seedy underbelly of the city and grow to love your regulars. Not to mention your charming co-workers.

VA-11 HALL-A is a text heavy game, which I know is a turn off for some and I understand that, but if you value stellar storytelling and interesting characters then this is certainly the game for you.

The majority of the game takes place in the pub as you serve drinks. Sounds easy but you need to remember the tastes of your customers. Every now and again they will order drinks in an almost cryptic way or ask for the usual.

vallAt the start of each day, you get the chance to check the news and buy items for your room. Jill will think about getting a little treat and if you buy said item you get a slight advantage in the pub parts of the game.

However, you have to keep an eye on your cash flow as you have bills to pay.

While this game certainly has its heartfelt and dramatic moments, it has a fantastic sense of humour. VA-11 HALL-A is filled with crass jokes and pop-culture gags galore. I have not laughed this hard while playing a game since Saints Row IV.

I love the design of this game, I’m a sucker for pixel art. Each character has a unique look and the overall art-style is really cute.

It doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack for this game is amazing. Even if you aren’t interested in playing VA-11 HALL-A I highly recommend you give the soundtrack a listen.

If you are looking for a fun game with unusual characters then give a VA-11 HALL-A try.



Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

rFr9ALxY_400x400I’ll be honest, I did not know what to expect from this game, outside of dating daddies.

Even before its arrival on Steam, there was a growing buzz surrounding Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator, so I felt compelled to get in on the action.

Written by Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray and Produced by the Game Grumps Dream Daddy is 50% dad jokes, 25% fussing over your daughter, 10% puns, 10% minigames and 5% actually dating.

When I started my first playthrough, I thought it was going to be a silly dating sim with corny jokes, but it is a lot more than that. In fact, this might be the best-written dating sim I have ever played because you quickly fall for these characters. Not just the datable dads but you also build a bond with your in-game daughter, Amanda.

I have gone on record multiple times to say that I am a total sap and that I burst into tears at the drop of a hat. So it comes as no surprise that I cried several times as I played this game. On the other hand, I also love a good/bad pun and dad joke so I was laughing a lot during my dad dating adventure.

AmandaI have to hand it to them, I love the art in Dream Daddy. Each character has a distinct look and the overall feel of the game is light and bright. On top of that, the opening song is stuck in my head.

Something I found interesting when I loaded up the game for the first time is that you have the option to play as a trans man. I am glad to see more LGBT representation, not to mention how it is handled in the game. Having played Dream Daddy multiple times,  let me tell you that there is no difference in how characters treat you regarding your former spouse’s gender or if you are transgender.

If I had to voice one complaint, it is that they spelt Tintin wrong. When you pick your eyes the default pair you get is called Tin Tin eyes. TINTIN IS ONE WORD, PEOPLE! IT IS NOT THAT HARD TO UNDERSTAND!

Sorry, but that is a rant for another time.

Jokes aside, this is one hell of a cute game, one that I highly recommend. With laughs, cute moments and heartfelt scenes, you are going to have a great time finding your Dream Daddy.

Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Orwell


Investigator, time to get to work.

Orwell is an Indie Simulation game by Osmotic Studios which was released back in October last year. Admittedly, I was a bit sceptical of this game at first. There are so many political Indie games out there and while I love some of them, I was starting to suffer from fatigue from these games.

So, despite Steam waving this game in my face, I avoided it until recently. Not only was Orwell on sale but it had a free demo. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try so I got the demo. Needless to say, I was impressed. After finishing the demo I quickly picked up Orwell while the sale lasted.

I would say I regret putting Orwell off, but I did get it cheaper so it paid off in the long run.

In Orwell, you play as an investigator who must discover vital information to find the terrorist behind the recent attack on The Nation. As you might have guessed, it isn’t going to be an easy task. The more you investigate, the murkier the story gets. Everyone has secrets and it is your job to find them. How far into someone’s private life will you go in the name of The Nation? Are you really justified to do so?

orwell-3.0In terms of gameplay, it is a really simple game. You collect information in the form of Datachunks to create a profile of the suspects. Sometimes two pieces of information conflict with each other and you need to make a judgement call.

What makes Orwell stand out is the story, and how you play a part in unravelling the mystery. At first, it seems like an open and shut case, but then things take a turn for the worst at the end of the first chapter. With each chapter, some questions are answered while new questions and suspects pop up. Just when you think you have figured it out, a curveball is thrown.

I found the story of Orwell captivating. I couldn’t stop playing it once I started. By nature, I am a very curious person, so I had to venture on to get the answers I wanted. I would like to talk a bit more about the characters and the story, but this game is better experienced blind.

orwell-pc-cd-key.jpgI finished the game in four hours, and I am currently on my second playthrough. You see, you have the choice to collect some Datachunks and to leave some out, this gives you several different options on how you play the game and these little decisions affect the game. This gives Orwell a decent replayability factor. Plus, as I am a bit of an achievement hunter, there are 27 Steam Achievements on offer which I am determined to get.

In conclusion, I recommend Orwell to anyone who enjoyed games like Beholder and Papers Please. It kept me on my toes and on the edge of my seat. If you want an insider look on what it feels like to be Big Brother, you need to add Orwell to your Steam Library.

Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Beholder

bGames about oppressive governments seem to be very popular as of late.

Beholder is one of the few games I picked up during the steam sale, and I am really glad I did.

As the new landlord of an apartment complex, your duties don’t just include fixing pipes and telling those damn kids to turn their music down, but to spy and report on the residents. Well, that is what you should do, you could blackmail them or even help them. However, every little thing you do or don’t do changes lives.

The opening cutscene, while short, sets the stage perfectly. You are shown before the game truly starts what could happen if you don’t do your job properly. This shows you just how high the stakes are before gameplay even starts.

beholder-screenSpeaking of which, Beholder has this neverending sense of dread to it partly due to the gameplay. You see, as soon as you get a mission the countdown starts. The player is always up against the clock and you know what they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Everyone seems to compare Beholder to another popular indie game, Papers Please. While they are extremely different in terms of gameplay, they do have some striking similarities regarding themes. In both, you are placed in a position of power and forced to make a choice, follow the orders of your totalitarian government and keep you and your family safe (for the most part) or try to help those you can and get punished for it.

ss_46f961c274ec948dc9ed4697d012eeec6004b927-1920x1080While I prefer Papers Please, the choices seem a bit harder in Beholder as you live with these characters and get to know them. Beholder also makes you jump through hoops to do the right thing, which makes it even harder to be a decent person. Heck, it is easier to plant illegal objects in a resident’s room and call the cops on them than it is getting their paperwork.

One thing they do have in common is, just like in Papers Please, Beholder has several endings. Although Beholder has a slight edge when it comes to replayability as there are several ways to get the job done. Each with their own risks and rewards.

Overall, this is a good game. It is hardly a walk in the park, but if you like suspenseful gameplay with political and moral themes, this is the game for you. I picked up the game during the holiday sales, so I paid around £2.30 but it has since gone back up to its original price of £6.99. For what you get, I would say it is a fair price.