Comprehensive Game Reviews
Comprehensive Game Reviews
18 articles/week
From AAA titles to indie games, we cover it all. Our comprehensive reviews provide detailed insights to help you find your next favorite game.
EA Sports College Football 25 Review - University Of Madden
EA Sports College Football 25 Review - University Of MaddenThe moment all of your uncles have been anticipating for over a decade has arrived: EA Sports College Football 25 is finally here. With it comes a wave of nostalgia for anyone who played NCAA Football 14 or any of its previous installments, and an air of curiosity for those who have only experienced Madden. After you've played a decent amount of games and that initial rush is over, does EA Sports College Football 25 live up to the hype? To my surprise, the answer was yes. At first, I was simply expecting a one-to-one Madden reskin. Yet as soon as the first game started, the presentation and pageantry on display were quick indications that this was a brand-new ball game. EA Sports College Football 25 perfectly encapsulates what attending a college football game is like. Vibrant and viciously loud crowds, hundreds of university-specific walkouts and traditions, and uniquely designed stadiums make each school's ambiance give off its own air of distinct excitement. That production isn't just for pre-rendered cutscenes, as EA Sports College Football 25 also looks impressive during its moment-to-moment gameplay. You can just about see every pore and bead of sweat running down players' skin as they bounce off each other, and movement and AI reactivity are much more realistic than what we've seen in Madden thus far. Continue Reading at GameSpot
GameSpot - Game ReviewsJul 24
Review: Flock Is a Delightful and Cozy Flight
Review: Flock Is a Delightful and Cozy Flight There aren’t many games out there like Flock . It’s a flight sim. It’s a creature collector. It’s a mystery game. It’s a puzzle game. All of these descriptions apply, but not exactly. Flock is a strange beast, which is appropriate when it’s a game all about finding strange beasts. You play as a bird rider heading to visit their zoology professor aunt Jane, who has a task for you. She wants you to document the creatures of the land around her home and lower the cloud level in the process. You achieve this through observation, documentation and a system of whistles. Gameplay in Flock is simple. You fly around a small open world, on the lookout for creatures hopping around the land. You fly close to them, observe them and use Jane’s notes to determine which creature you’re looking at, gradually filling up a creature book with details. In addition, you can find whistles for different types of creature, allowing you to charm them and get them to follow you around, which is the flock of the game’s title. That’s it. That’s the game. It’s the most basic of mechanics and yet Flock manages to be delightfully compelling. Flying around the world feels good, for a start. The lack of friction to the movement makes it feel playful. This is enhanced by ring structures that can be dashed through and chained together for a satisfying drift through the skies. You’ll be swooping, drifting and coasting around to your heart’s content and loving every minute of it. Screenshot by Siliconera Seeking out creatures is also a joy. Flock doesn’t openly point them out to you. Instead, you have to listen out for any noises they might be making while staying vigilant for movement in the grass or in the trees. A glow in the woods at night could be something, while careful examination of a lakebed might reveal a pair of eyes peering out of the sand. Flock wants you to stop and carefully examine your surroundings, leave no stone unturned and keep making new discoveries. This is the main draw of Flock , in fact. Because you have to make all these discoveries yourself, using only single line clues in the guide along with your own intuition, it’s extremely rewarding to find new creatures. You’ll see something wiggle in a rock formation and immediately work out out the correct distance to observe without spooking it. You’ll hear persistently loud chirping from tall grass and delight to find a weird duck in there. You’ll peer into a rock and be surprised to see something peering back. The vagueness of these clues may be maddening to more impatient completionists, however. Some creatures require some meticulous searching, while the hints can sometimes be too vague for their own good. It’s a huge appeal for someone like me, with my love of slowly figuring out puzzles, but it may not be to everyone’s taste. Screenshot by Siliconera The vibes are immaculate for this gentle kind of experience though. The visual style is all bold colors and pastel shades, which means every part of this game is gorgeous to look at. The character designs are charming too. The creatures are all bizarre little hybrids based on various fish and birds, all marked by big eyes and pronounced features. Some have goofy little beaks, some are tiny beans that are mostly all eye, and some are whale-like beasts with huge maws. One creature, the Gormless Skyfish, is a happily clueless, bug-eyed fish identified by it being “no thoughts head empty”, and I love it so much. These adorable designs even extend to the few human characters, including your own avatar. They remind me of Muppets, all big faces and noodly limbs. You can even get very silly with your characters, dressing them in a poncho and wading trousers, among other things. The silliness of these character designs is enhanced by the writing, which fills the dialogue with a ton of charm and humor. Your uncle Reg, for instance, is single-mindedly into sheep, where he’ll dismiss any earth-shattering natural discoveries you make simply because he can’t shear them for wool. Screenshot by Siliconera Sheep are also a mechanic in Flock , but they’re one of the parts that don’t feel fully realized. You can collect a flock of sheep in addition to the regular beasties, and their role is to graze on overgrown meadows. This reveals Burgling Bewls that have stolen the various whistles you need to charm creatures, as well as new clothes and space for more creatures. But they can’t be used for anything else and you can’t spread multiple sheep onto multiple meadows at once. They feel like they were added simply to have a collectible system on top of the standard creature collecting, and it doesn’t feel fully fleshed out as an idea. That said, this minor use is a step-up from how limited the actual flock of the title feels. As you find creatures, you can use the various whistles to initiate a mini-game where you must blow the whistle at the appropriate distance to charm them into following you. As the game progresses, you become a full-fledged Pied Piper, with everything you’ve charmed following you in a big group. However, they do nothing. They don’t help search for more creatures, they can’t be sent into crevices to pull out other friends and they can’t help chase down the faster beasts. They just sit there behind your bird, looking pretty and making noises if you press the right button to squawk at them. I feel it would add so much to the game if different creatures had different uses that aided in your search for the final entries. Despite the game being named after it, this flock doesn’t do much of anything, and that’s disappointing. Screenshot by Siliconera This feeling of ideas not being fully realized adds to a general feeling of repetition that runs through the game. The gameplay loop is very much swooping around, marking creatures in your book and heading off to do the next one. As a low-stakes game for short chillout gameplay sessions, this is perfect, but it does make the game feel a little tedious if you play for too long in one sitting. However, most of these criticisms are nitpicks. If you’re willing to approach Flock on its own terms, most of this washes away. It lulls you into its atmosphere with ease. It's also designed to be played co-op, as you and your fellow bird riders can soar around together. I never got to experience this aspect of the game, but I imagine it adds a lot. Flock is a comfort blanket of a game. Its simplicity isn’t for everyone but it’s hard to deny its charm. If you’re looking for something cozy to kick back with at the end of a long day, Flock is exactly what you need. Flock is available now for the PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. The post Review: Flock Is a Delightful and Cozy Flight appeared first on Siliconera .
Reviews Archives - SiliconeraJul 24
Nobody Wants to Die Review
Nobody Wants to Die ReviewA compelling cyberpunk noir with investigations that hold your hand a little too much.
IGN PC ReviewsJul 24
Review: The Operator
Review: The Operator One of my favorite sub-genres is the type of adventure game that takes place almost entirely on a fictional operating system. It allows me to play out my fantasy of not having to use Windows every day. I know, I know. I could switch to Linux, but learning new things is scary. Really, I like worming my way through fictional systems. Even hacking games like Uplink are brain candy for me, but when they’re combined with a narrative, like Hypnospace Outlaw , they’re even better. The Operator is similar to the idea, but since it casts you as a government worker, you’re at least getting paid well. Screenshot by Destructoid The Operator ( PC ) Developer: Bureau 81 Publisher: Bureau 81, Indienova Released: July 22, 2024 MSRP: $13.99 You play as Evan Tanner, a man with severe cataracts that obscure his eyesight unless he’s looking at a computer screen. You begin on his first day as an Operator in the legally distinct Federal Department of Investigation. Your job is to assist field agents by helping them dig deeper into evidence. This may surprise you, but you soon discover there’s a deeper conspiracy going on. And I’m going to tell you, it’s not all that clever about it. On your first case, you get a list. It’s barely related to that first case, but, like, everyone has seen that list and it gets brought up at every turn. There are over a hundred names on the list, most are crossed out, a few are circled, and one is mysteriously redacted. You’re given access to a database of names and a few programs that are used about once throughout the game. Very quickly, you’re contacted by a hacker who goes by the handle of HAL. They give you more details about the conspiracy in exchange for your assistance. This sort of feels like that resistance group in Papers, Please , where you have good reason to help them, but you also don’t want your employer to find out. However, unlike Papers, Please , I’m not sure you can fully be discovered, but I didn’t test to see how hard you can fail. The Operator does a lot of things decently enough, but many facets of it could have been done better. For one thing, the grand conspiracy isn’t all that interesting, nor is it that well-developed. A lot of hand-waving is done in the form of happenstance. Things fall neatly into place when they are ludicrously unlikely. If the plot had paced itself better and given some of its ideas space to breathe, the whole thing would have come out a lot more believable. Instead, it relies on fridge logic; stuff that seems logical in the moment until you walk away and think about it. The gameplay is also fun but not very deep or challenging. I thought I’d be plumbing the nooks and crannies of the presented data, but a lot of the time, it was mostly just interpreting instructions. The puzzles were more brain teasers than tests of skill. I didn’t get caught on anything and found myself trying to make my own challenge by getting ahead of the story or trying to get into inaccessible files early. It’s not always a failure on the game’s part if I try to find my own stimulation, but it does feel that way here. On the other hand, while the characters similarly lack depth, they fill the needs of the narrative quite well. The agents are extremely likable, and the central antagonist is mysterious enough to feel like a threat. They maybe won’t live on in your memory, but they fit their role well enough that you’ll probably care when the pudding hits the turbine. Screenshot by Destructoid There are only a few agents you actually work with, and each has their own case. They’ll ask for your help with something they’re stuck on and send over evidence for you to analyze with your fancy, government-funded software. They’ll ask you to find one specific thing in that evidence, whether it’s a name, an address, or something amiss. You find exactly what they’re looking for, then connect it with the keyword on the top of your screen to see if you got it right. I mentioned that the problems don’t really become apparent until you’ve walked away from The Operator , and that’s because, in the moment, it can be compelling and exciting. While the mystery is clumsy, digging into it and trying to make the connections is handled well enough, even if it should have probably slowed down a bit. The mechanics are varied. While some of it is sifting through data, toward the end you get into a sequence that feels like a single-player Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes and another where maps and security cameras come into play. There is genuine strength in the fact that these sequences take up substantial parts of the game’s runtime. There’s no time to really consider The Operator’s weaknesses when you’re so constantly immersed in its strengths. But, when all is said and done, you might find yourself unsatisfied with how superficial it all seems. It could have been much more. Screenshot by Destructoid Maybe that comes down to expectations. When I see an OS sim, I expect that the fictional file browser and command prompt are there as a way of providing the tools to get through the game’s various challenges. The Operator mostly just gives you tools that only relate to specific puzzles. The chemical composition tool isn’t there as something that might help you crack a case, it’s its own puzzle and nothing else. Instead of making you feel inventive and smart, it just makes it feel like you’re making progress. That’s fine if you go in knowing that. The Operator presents a number of fun puzzles and situations and gives you a story that is compelling, if rather clumsy. It’s about 5 hours long and manages to be entertaining throughout. Once it's over, you might find yourself unsatisfied by its strict straightforwardness and the short leash it keeps you on. However, if you’re able to settle into the rigidity, you’ll find something enjoyable but hollow. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.] The post Review: The Operator appeared first on Destructoid .
Reviews Archive – DestructoidJul 22
F1 Manager 2024 Review
F1 Manager 2024 ReviewGreat new features like creating your own team deliver a more compelling management sim.
IGN ArticlesJul 22
Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess Review - Unexpected Strategic Delight
Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess Review - Unexpected Strategic Delight Reviewed on: Xbox Series X/S Platform: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom Rating: Teen Kunitsu-Gami is the kind of wonderful, left-field Capcom release we don’t see often these days. Bound to be a cult classic in the future, Path of the Goddess is original and does not lean on any of Capcom’s established properties. Instead, it relies on an admittedly difficult-to-explain but well-executed gameplay loop that I found hard to put down with an art style that is equally challenging to look away from. Players take on the role of Soh, a masked swordsperson bound to protect the divine maiden Yoshiro as she slowly dances along the path of Mt. Kafuku to purge and cleanse it from invading demons. During the day, Yoshiro moves through a level while you explore to find experience points and villagers who can be assigned a job to help protect the maiden during the night as demons pour out from gates in all directions. The loop is intense and engaging as you rush through the levels during daylight to prepare and fight the demons under the moon. Kunitsu-Gami is undeniably original, but it is not without its inspirations. If I had to assign it a genre, I would say tower defense with a heavy dose of Pikmin, but I spent plenty of time executing combos with my sword, strategically placing troops before and during combat, and even restoring each village I saved between the action-focused levels. Kunitsu-Gami never overstays its welcome or spends too much time making you repeat yourself. The moment I got the hang of the basics, I encountered a boss who made me re-evaluate my strategies, or I was forced to play out a scenario while making my way across a lake on a series of boats. I was impressed by how Kunitsu-Gami never let me get too comfortable and forced me to try new strategies in new settings in ways that were exciting instead of frustrating. There are even levels where all you can do is direct your villagers with no opportunity to fight yourself, and even those were thrilling and fun. New Game Plus options and harder difficulties will undoubtedly test your resolve, but I appreciate that the strategy and action never got too complicated or difficult. Nothing frustrates me more in comparable genres than when I spend hours preparing for an encounter, only for it to fall apart at the end and force an extended restart. I certainly had to replay certain attempts, but I never felt fully cheated, and thankfully, no level is so long that a restart became a consistent nuisance.   Between the Yoshiro protection levels and boss fights, you return to rescued villages and assign villagers to fix up their demon-destructed homes. Restoring villages rewards experience and other goodies that can be used to upgrade Soh and the various villager classes. That simple loop frequently made me stay up late. The quiet period between action sequences serves to excite you to try out new upgrades and is perfect at setting you up for one more try – I always fell victim to it. Kunitsu-Gami’s story is light but effective, with every moment delivered through simple choreography free of dialogue. I was more invested in the upgrade loop than the story and felt it ended without an emotionally satisfying conclusion, but I enjoyed making my way along the path of Mt. Kafuku. Time will tell if Capcom pushes Kunitsu-Gami along the same track as games like Monster Hunter or Resident Evil, but I would be perfectly happy for it to forever exist as an excellent standalone experiment that delivered satisfying results. Score: 8.75 About Game Informer's review system Purchase
Game Informer ReviewsJul 22
Review: Arranger Makes You Consider Every Action
Review: Arranger Makes You Consider Every Action Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure is a game where I love the vibes and concepts, but felt rushed through things. It doesn’t fully explain or explore some of the interesting mechanical features introduced by the protagonist’s unique skill. This means even though the vibes are great and concept is cool, it can feel unsatisfying due to the execution. Gemma is weird! She was left abandoned outside a walled village as a baby. Raised by the folks within, it was soon discovered that when she would move, people and select items would as well. She’d also be able to essentially teleport by walking into walls, emerging on the path on the other side. This happens on a sort of tile-based system. She’s convinced answers lie outside. So, in search of answers about herself and her path, as well as hoping for a way to find a place she belongs, she sets out on an adventure. It’s best to think of Arranger ’s world as being similar to a giant sliding puzzle, only you aren’t trying to move tiles into place to create a picture. The simplest parts involve just getting Jemma from point A to point B, as there will sometimes be immovable objects or ones that can’t phase through walls blocking your way. More challenging ones can involve moving a person to a certain place, pushing a sword against a Static enemy to dispatch them, getting an item to sit on a switch, or moving multiple items adjacent to one another so they’ll combine. Things gradually ramp up and build upon each other, with different concepts coming together to help clear situations in certain cities.  Arranger can get frustrating sometimes! It isn’t because the puzzles are challenging. Rather, it is due to abilities not always being well explained, if discussed at all. Furniture & Mattress never tells you that Jemma’s ability to shift and move the world mean you can move items from inside buildings into major areas or to other locations. It first comes up within the first 15-30 minutes, when needing to get into the Mayor’s house. There’s a switch in an empty room. Unless you realize that the tiles inside the house will change and gradually pull in tiles Gemma walked on from outside, you may not realize you could bring in the broken ladder parts from Caretaker Foffy or other furniture from other places and shift them inside to flip the switch and progress. Images via Furniture & Mattress This problem of not explaining “Jemma can do this too” goes on to become a recurring issue. Sometimes, it’s fun and narratively interesting! Once Jemma finds a place for her stuff in the introduction, you actually need to “move” it to an empty house out of the flophouse where she’s staying. It can involve new ways to move certain types of objects, which can factor into crucial situations. I learned that you can fuse certain adjacent items together by, well, having the arrows option enabled for quests on in the menu and pushing things together. When it came time to fishing, I had no idea how I made it happen for the trial since I was just moving around, and I had to relearn by doing for a quest.  While that is frustrating, and also led to a few situations in which I thought maybe I’d messed things up so badly in a boss “fight” that I’d need to save and quit, it can be satisfying when you get it right. Or, at the very least, satisfying to know you’ll never need to go through that particular type challenge again. Arranger, due to its length and design, typically only uses a new type of mechanics for a few rooms. One of my favorites involved portals being introduced. I wished it had been used more! It introduced some fun concepts, especially in terms of reaching new spaces, but it only appeared extremely briefly in a single section. Admittedly, there were a few times in Arranger when getting things right involved my happening upon a solution without even preparing for it or learning how mechanics worked. Likewise, there were also at least three situations that involved my brute-forcing my way into an eventual solution. I suppose that may be reassuring for some! Especially since people can also use an assist feature in the menu to “solve” any problem in a space that’s getting to be a problem. However, I was also a bit disappointed when I completed an area without doing so by my own merits. Images via Furniture & Mattress The fact that the Arranger speeds through Jemma’s adventure, even if you do go off the beaten path for some minor side quests (some of which aren’t well explained or tracked by the tracker), is a shame because the concept is so fun. Jemma is a cool character! The situations she happens upon are interesting. Some touch on political or societal issues we deal with in our own world, but in a clever way that isn’t overbearing. However, we just don’t get enough time with many of the situations. I especially felt this way about everything past the second town. It seemed like there should have been more opportunities to explore a bit or taken in the area. I really appreciate Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure and everything it sets out to do, as the concept is great, the story fun, and some puzzles thought-provoking. I just wish that it wasn’t so rushed, concepts were better explained, and that new puzzle elements weren’t abandoned as swiftly as they are introduced. You don't get time to appreciate all that Jemma can do or the situations around her, and you're left to stumble into new abilities or possibilities. If there had been a few more puzzles and framework, it'd been a stronger game. Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure will come to the Nintendo Switch , PlayStation 5, and PC on July 25, 2024 .   The post Review: Arranger Makes You Consider Every Action appeared first on Siliconera .
Reviews Archives - SiliconeraJul 22
Review: The Battle Cats Unite Entertains (When You Have Energy)
Review: The Battle Cats Unite Entertains (When You Have Energy) It’s always sort of weird when a game take a long time to be localized, but a welcome addition when it finally shows up worldwide. This is the situation The Battle Cats Unite faced, as the Switch game launched in Japan in 2018 and Asia in 2021 before a 2024 worldwide debut . It’s a shame it took so long too, because the RTS remains as entertaining as always. The only downside is, it keeps some of the free-to-play elements such as a stamina system. The goal in each case is that you command the heroic Battle Cats as they attempt to go around the world, through time, or across the stars to fight enemies. There’s a staggering number of stages, as you get the Empire of Cats, Into the Future, and Cats of the Cosmos campaigns, as well as some special stages. Minigame access can also be unlocked. Screenshot by Siliconera Regardless of which campaign you’re going through, The Battle Cats Unite plays the same on the Switch. Your goal in each stage is to eliminate the enemy base while protecting your own. You can equip up to 10 different kinds of cats to deploy. Each one has its own monetary cost, with a cooldown tied to them after purchasing one. You can spend money to increase your production level and rate of earning more money. Also, an energy cannon gradually builds in power, allowing you to unleash it when full. Units, rate of work production, how much money you can have, and associated stats for the base and cannon are all available to be upgraded with XP, as are the cats. Said cats can also evolve, sometimes more than once, depending on if you max out levels or have certain items. Each stage also only lasts a few minutes, making it a prompt RTS affair. There are some elements in theSwitch version of The Battle Cats Unite that feel designed to mitigate the obvious leftovers from the free-to-play mobile version of the game. The Cat Food currency is doled out sparingly, and you’ll need that for extra unit gacha pulls or if you want to have the option of buying XP or other bonuses. The energy system remains in-place, so you can only go through so many battles before you need to stop playing or pay in Cat Food to keep going. As you imagine, the further along you get in the campaign, the more energy each stage costs to complete. It’s frustrating! Image via Ponos Especially since most of the most fun and flashy characters are locked behind the golden gacha machines. These require you to earn Gold Tickets or Cat Food for a spin. (Completing in-game missions is typically the best way to earn both.) That means you also have to hope luck is on your side for some of the most ludicrous units in the game. However, the cost to deploy them is also often incredibly high, so odds are you wouldn’t get to send them out until the end of a stage anyway.  I will say that there are some elements that can feel designed to mitigate the need for stamina to keep going through fights and other issues. You’ll randomly get a chance to play through minigames. These can give you a burst of stamina, power-ups for stages, or gacha tickets, so they’re always appreciated. The co-op and VS elements also make me feel like they’re ways to deal with energy demands, since a multiplayer session would likely be shorter than a solo one.  Screenshot by Siliconera Speaking of which, multiplayer is totally fine and serviceable here. I enjoyed the co-op option more than the VS. Specifically because it does help further campaign progress and work toward those goals as well. However, I did note that playing with another person almost makes the stages too easy, so it’s not something I’d probably do outside of rare situations. Even though each person is limited to five types of units, it doesn’t feel like it is too restrictive as well. Multiplayer is fine and fun, and I appreciated that the minigames also took into account if a second person was around to allow someone else to assist in co-op. The Battle Cats Unite is absolutely entertaining and the formula for the tower defense RTS remains strong, but the remaining mobile roots get annoying. The absurdity of the various cats (or in some cases “cats”) you deploy are as entertaining as ever. Even the cooperative and versus stages are fun. I just wish more had been done to remove the obnoxious free-to-play elements such as the energy restrictions or limited Cat Food currency. If you don’t mind the grind and taking your time, it’s a fun diversion to keep on your system. The Battle Cats Unite is available on the Nintendo Switch worldwide. The post Review: The Battle Cats Unite Entertains (When You Have Energy) appeared first on Siliconera .
Reviews Archives - SiliconeraJul 21
Review: SCHiM Gets Annoying
Review: SCHiM Gets Annoying There are times when the idea behind a game is good, but the nature of it can frustrate you due to constantly finding yourself chasing after someone or something. SCHiM has an interesting concept, as it’s a small creature moving in shadows, but the ease of play, only occasional use of unusual mechanics to get from shadow to shadow, and constant near misses with the person can be a bit annoying. A schim is a frog-like creature that lives in the shadows. People’s shadows. Animals’ shadows. Inanimate objects’ shadows. They’re always there. They can influence their owners as well, causing minor actions. SCHiM starts with a particular one being separated from their human after the person trips. As a result, the rest of the adventure involves chasing after to reunite with them. Image via Ewoud van der Werf and Nils Slijkerman Each level of SCHiM after the introduction involves sending the schim leaping from shadow to shadow after a person who is constantly out of reach. You need to keep an eye on shadows of animate and inanimate objects to find your way. In some cases, you’ll have to press a button to trigger an action and potentially create a new path. Environmental elements, like car headlights along a road at night or a thunderstorm with sudden flashes of light, can force you to think about brief windows of opportunities. So to can occasional shadows with additional elements, like a windsock that will send you on a gust to a location farther away or a clothesline that acts like a spring. Part of what gets annoying about SCHiM is that it feels like it’s designed to be a puzzle and platforming game, but isn’t always good at either. In the case of puzzles, there will be situations where a mechanic will come up once, but then rarely or never used again. (I see you, umbrella on the side of the road!) Which means you can sit there in frustration, as you don’t even know that’s an option to help you proceed. As for platforming, there’s rarely any challenge. Sometimes it is only “difficult” because you need to wait for moving objects to finally appear again to allow you to progress. That, or holding the trigger to show where the “goal” is suddenly suggests it is in a different place after you already progressed to a certain point. There were a few situations during which I almost got through the entire level just by happening to luck out and jump into the shadow of the right person or car, and I’m not quite sure it was supposed to be that easy. Not to mention that while some levels do have collectible items you can find by going off the beaten path, it feels like that opportunity doesn’t happen nearly often enough. However, SCHiM also annoyed me after a while because of its premise. It really hit me once I reached a point when the schim nearly reached their person in a supermarket. It was such a disappointment to see the near misses and know that even if my platforming was perfect , there were still more levels to come and I wouldn’t reunite the two. Since it is also a wordless story and we’re never really connecting with the person, I stopped feeling any sympathy for the schim’s partner due to the constant near-misses. How do you finish a whole pizza, on your own, that quickly? When has a bus ever departed immediately after one particular person got on it? Why didn’t the schim just enter the hotel their person was staying at, when they were definitely stationary and sleeping, and just wait outside their door? Image via Ewoud van der Werf and Nils Slijkerman At least SCHiM looks and plays well. The schim’s leaps cover a decent amount of distance. You also get a second, smaller hop if you don’t immediately leap to another shadow, giving you a “second chance” to reach your next point of interest. Rotating does help with seeing prospective paths. Also, the art direction is simplistic, but both clear and detailed. I like the concept behind SCHiM and the artistic direction, but certain elements of it frustrated me after I got about 30 levels into it. I found myself wishing for more of a challenge or a story that left me less annoyed at the person I was trying to track down. I imagine it’d be more entertaining if played in shorter bursts. But marathoning it might make you feel a bit depressed as you see yourself constantly just miss someone who just won’t sit still . SCHiM will be available on July 18, 2024 for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.  The post Review: SCHiM Gets Annoying appeared first on Siliconera .
Reviews Archives - SiliconeraJul 20
Review: Raising Pets in Hamster Playground Gets to Be a Grind
Review: Raising Pets in Hamster Playground Gets to Be a Grind When you have a free-to-play game, you also have to figure there are systems to get you to keep playing and perhaps spend real money on it. That definitely happens in Hamster Playground , a game about raising and caring for pet hamsters, but the bonus here is that it really only feels like you have to spend about $12 to get the most out of it. Like most animal or pet raising games, Hamster Playground starts by adopting a hamster. You can only have one at the start, but leveling up by completing missions allows the option to bring more home. Speaking of which, the home is a dilapidated mess to start. You also start out with no additional minigame modes and no clothing for them. So your goal is to eventually send them to the work space or complete missions to earn currency, complete missions that can be tied to tasks or purchases to upgrade and improve the home, and go through minigames (if you buy them). As hamsters grow stronger in areas, they’ll be better at certain minigame tasks. Also, you’ll get enough spending money for costumes (though some you need to buy with real cash before buying with in-game currency) and other customization options. Screenshot by Siliconera The thing about Hamster Playground is that for much of it, it’s a wait and watch game. You’ll need things like screws to repair necessary resource centers for hamsters after a while. Those are, say, your bed, shower, toilet, trampoline, water dispenser, and food dispenser. For the environment, you will use things like blue stars. Coins can go toward the clothing. Plus you’ll need sunflower seeds for bolstering things like dexterity and intelligence. Which means you’ll likely be sending the hamster to the workspace location to have your pet “work” to earn them, while stepping away from the game until the critter needs to eat, drink, wash, use the potty, play, or sleep. At which point you may be sending them back over again.  Which means if you don’t pay the about $12, Hamster Playground can feel like a repetitive grind. You’ll be going through the same routine to buy the items you want or need. When you aren’t doing that shopping or decorating, you’ll be tending to the basic needs of your hamster in the game or having them work so you can do those things. The animations are fun and lean into the silliness of the situation, rather than more serious or realistic ones. Likewise, the hamsters themselves have more human-like expressions. (I’m actually not a fan of that. I think they look a little creepy!) The details going into it are good, and it looks and runs well on the Switch. If you do pay the additional about $12 for Hamster Playground , then you get more “game” for the pet-raising sim. This is because brief Beward the Cat, Eating Contest, Skateboard, and Vehicle Pull minigames you can play alone against the CPU or against other players are locked behind DLC. The only minigame in the free version is a Maze. That involves going through timed QTEs at certain points to help the hamster get through it faster, with the sunflower-seed-based training sections improving stats for those. The other minigames, though having different elements like racing down a track on a skateboard, eating food, pulling a toy vehicle, or playing red-light-green-light with a Squid Games like cat toy, also feature the same sort of QTEs to proceed. None last more than a minute or two.  These are means of getting currency and interacting with the hamsters more. They’re fine for what they are, but I feel like you don’t really have to spend $12 for each $2.99 minigame unless you really want all gameplay elements. The Maze itself is fine, and I feel like the Beware the Cat and Eating Contest ones were the only two that felt distinct or special enough for an extra purpose. Though I’d say the Skateboard minigame is a close third. Unless you really are into dressing up hamsters and feel like paying for the other cosmetics, those are really the only paid purchases I feel like you’d have to make.  Screenshot by Siliconera Hamster Playground is a pet raising game where it can feel like you’re there to complete missions and earn enough currency for the cosmetics you want. It looks fine and has a silliness to it that I appreciate. I also like that the only essential purchases connected to it involve some affordable minigames, and like you could even just go for the one or two you like instead of all four. It’s pleasant enough, even though I can see it getting tedious as you grind to complete your personal or game-mandated objectives. Considering the base game is free though, the design quality is higher than I expected and it is an entertaining diversion. Hamster Playground is available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.  The post Review: Raising Pets in Hamster Playground Gets to Be a Grind appeared first on Siliconera .
Reviews Archives - SiliconeraJul 20