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.

Cheers!

 

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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

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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 for 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 big 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.

Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Party Hard

 

party-hard-bearIt is a miracle, my wallet survived the Steam Autumn Sale! I only bought one game, Party Hard.

Party Hard is an indie strategy game made by Kverta and  Pinokl Games. You play as a guy who just wants to get to bed, but those damn kids are making too much noise. Why call noise control when you could kill everyone partying?

The gameplay is a blast. If Hotline Miami and Hitman had a pixelated love child, you would be Party Hard. You need to be quick to get the kill and hide the body. Too slow, and someone will spot you and try to call the cops. Too slow to stop them, then you need to outrun the cop. Rinse and repeat until you kill everyone on the level.

Party Hard also has a Local Co-Op mode, but I haven’t had the chance to try it out since none of my friends have this game.

00ee373ef7c0b0d92b3fa4151b0ea89c2a7aa74d.gifDon’t think that this game is repetitive. Every time you play the game, the level layout gets reset. Unlike, say, Hitman, you can’t memorise where NPCs will go. Party Hard keeps you on your toes and, like I said earlier, you need to react quickly or it is game over for you.

Not to mention, there is four extra unlockable character each character has their own unique abilities. There are also (At the time of writing) two DLC levels, one for free and one for £3.99. I haven’t played those yet. I have already downloaded the free one, and I am going to play it soon.

I am a bit of an achievement hunter, so I have been trying so hard to get all 27 achievements. I have to say, the best-named one is called “Lol, Really?” which you get if you unlock all the achievements.

This might just be me, but this game is pretty stressful. I get so involved in a game that failures drive me up the wall. So in a game where you can lose in a matter of seconds, I lose my mind while playing Party Hard. This game is hardly a walk in a park, and it is so intense. While I do like this game, my blood pressure rises every time I start up this game.

Like I said at the start of this review, I got this game during the sales. It has since gone back to its original price of £9.99 but I got my copy while it was 50% off so I only paid £4.99. With that in mind, I thought it was a fair price for this game. However, I can’t really say that I would pay £9.99 for Party Hard.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good game. If you want an intense, face paced game to play over this winter holiday, then Party Hard is the game for you. If you are looking for a calm, relaxing game to play on a frosty night by the fire, you might want to keep browsing Steam.

 

 

Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator

38038-cover.pngThis has to be one of the dumbest games I have ever played, and I love it for that!

Oh…Sir!! The Insult Simulator is an indy comedy game created by Vile Monarch. The game involves you crafting an insult out of a few words to defeat your opponent. Think of a British version of Cards against Humanity with funny voice acting and more Monty Python references.

The animation of the characters is jilted by design, which kinda reminds me of how puppets move. I love the voice acting in this game. It is like a British version of speak and spell.

There is no limit to the possible insults you can craft, as there are special ones that are exclusive to stages and characters. Also, each character has their own weaknesses. If you insult someone’s style, it might do a decent amount of damage on one character, but can destroy another. You can get a bonus if you keep using the same phrase over and over.

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There are three game modes, instant insult duel against a CPU, Tournament, and duel against another player.

The gameplay is very simple, so simple that it can get a bit repetitive. I think Vile Monarch is aware of this, as there is an achievement called It Gets Boring After An Hour for playing 100 insult duels.

On top of that, while there isn’t a limit to combinations, it does lose its punch after several plays. Maybe they should release an expansion DLC or something, but I don’t know if that will happen.

That being said, Oh…Sir!! is only a couple of pounds, so I would say it is worth buying. It is good for a chuckle, and it still gets me to giggle after multiple plays. Though that might be because I laugh at almost anything. It is not just available on Steam, but also iOS and Android.

Posted in Steam Powered

Steam Powered: Trick & Treat and Bloody Walls

Two video game reviews for the price of one! Well, not really, since both of these games are free. Trick & Treat and Bloody Walls. Thank you for the games, steam! Also, Mad Father is now on steam too with new content. Steam, you are a gift that keeps on giving, aren’t you?

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Let’s start off with Trick & Treat, a pixel-horror game by Rabbiton.

In Trick and & Treat, you play as a young maid named Amelia, her mistress Miss Charlotte drags her out of the house to go Trick and Treating and they stumble across an odd house.  Miss Charlotte claims that the house just appeared a few day ago.

You and Miss Charlotte enter this house, only to be separated. Amelia has to solve puzzles in order to be reunited with Miss Charlotte.

This game is filled with clever puzzles and genuinely freaky moments balanced with lighthearted scenes. The story is interesting as are the NPC characters you meet on your adventure. The music is also really well done, matching the tone of the game while not taking any focus of the gameplay.

Untitled.pngNeedless to say, as is the case with many pixel-horror games, there are multiple endings. There is a tonne of Halloween and Fairytale elements here, making this game perfect to play this spooky season.

This game is rather short, and the map is a bit on the small side since you play just in a house. Mad Father was also set inside a house yet that map was much bigger. However, these aren’t dealbreakers.

I adore this game. I am so glad that pixel-horror games aren’t dying out. Cute, creepy and oddly charming. Not to mention that it is free to play. If you like games such as Ib, The Witches House and the Mad Father, you will love this game.

On to the next game! Bloody Walls.

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Bloody Walls is an 8-bit zombie action game made by L. Stotch. This game is almost the exact opposite of Trick & Treat. Instead of playing a story rich game and solving puzzles, you just run around shooting zombies in the face.

Bloody Walls is a simple game, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Quite the opposite, actually. It is an absolute blast to play. Sometimes you just want to rip pixelated zombies a new one, which is exactly what this game lets you do. Also, don’t underestimate this game. While easy on the first couple of levels it gets much more challenging the further you get.

The gameplay is fast paced with great pixel art and gore. The over the top violence in this game adds to its tone. I really like the four-bit style in Bloody Walls, it helps to set it apart from other zombie games.

If I had to voice a complaint about this game, it is that there isn’t a lot of replayability. You don’t really have much of a reason to play it again. Still, this is a fun game that I recommend for your consideration.