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Energy Balance (Review)

The story is set in space, where your spaceship encounters an anomaly, causing all the ship’s systems to fail. It is up to you to distribute the available energy and get the ship moving again. Between levels, there are cut scenes telling a tale that I will not spoil here (though I will say that I found the monologues to be confusing and boring). These cut scenes feature some nicely designed imagery, backgrounds and cats. However, they stand in stark contrast to the bland and fast-moving space background.
But Energy Balance is about giving your brain a workout with its simple, engaging number puzzles. The idea is somewhat similar to the ubiquitously popular Sudoku puzzles perpetually being solved by all ages on the public transit.

In Energy Balance you have both horizontal and vertical lines which must add up to the sum at the end of the line. To do this, you are given a set of numbers in the lines, which you then can arrange to make this happen. The end sum will be different from line t…

99Vidas (Review)

99 Vidas – named after the podcast that formed  Qubyte Interactive via Kickstarter – brings back the memory of classic, side scrolling arcade games on PlayStation Vita. Storywise, this is archetypal stuff: a bunch of friends sworn to protect the titular artefact must steal it back from a villainous kingpin. The good guys have super powers and martial arts skills, while the baddie has a legion of street thugs armed with switchblades and baseball bats.

Gameplay is standard run-and-punch stuff. Enemies of varying tiers and abilities must be dispatched to move through the stages, which end in a relatively challenging boss battle. Each one of the starting heroes – representing different elemental forces – has a visually distinct set of abilities that can be upgraded in between levels. Unfortunately, these moves are mostly cosmetic and there really isn’t much difference between the main characters other than their look. Alongside basic attacks, there’s a special power that kills everything…

Unbox: Newbies Adventure (Review)

Unbox: Newbie’s Adventure stars the titular Newbie as the first of a brand new self-delivering box. It’s almost certainly the kind of future that Amazon have planned for us after they’ve perfected drone deliveries, but here the boxes have gained sentience, with a city slicker styled Boss Wild and his Wild Cards looking to take over the world.

Every platformer needs its own little twist, whether it be a grappling hook, a time-stopping device or something that allows players to traverse or manipulate their surroundings in some way. For Unbox, that twist is far less complicated. Where fans of the genre should be more than acquainted with the “double jump”, here you can do it total of six times, as Newbie boosts out of one layer of cardboard like boxy matryoshka doll.

It’s an incredibly simple revision, though one that allows players to explore the game’s sprawling worlds without the usual tedious legwork. As you propel your little box through the air it will gain momentum and travel eve…

Conga Master (Review)

Conga Master is a pixel art arcade title that sees you attracting deserted dancers to your own personal party, as you attempt to maintain your mambo momentum all the way back out of the fire escape.  By invading the personal space of isolated individuals, you can lure them into your Lambeth Walk, thus increasing the length of your line. As your conga grows, it becomes easier to attract other quick steppers, and thus you can chain together new recruits. This delays the end of your dance, and subsequently increases your score.
 In story mode you need to attract a designated quota of dancers before moving on to the next stage, while endless is all about prolonging the party. Stages include everything from a seedy club to a roller disco, each introducing different hazards such as waiters and eager cleaners keen to whip out their mop and bucket without plopping down a health and safety sign. Multiplayer modes for up to four local players riff on the formula – and popular video games. The…

Leap of fate (Review)

Leap of Fate is a basic twin-stick shooter at its core. You'll spend the majority of the campaign weaving through enemies and their projectiles as you perform attacks and try to emerge unscathed. As you progress, you'll unlock four characters that have their own distinct attacks and abilities. Aeon (the starting character) is well-balanced and has a decent ranged shot, Big Mo can use a powerful laser, Mukai is ideal for close-range encounters, and Rasimov implements soul-sucking magic. The variety of gameplay styles that these characters offer is impressive to say the least and experimenting to find your favourite of the gang is an enjoyable part of the challenge. In the end, whether you're zipping around stages via a dash ability, setting up traps or turrets to take out enemies, hacking and slashing while reflecting projectiles, or focusing a laser on a tough boss; there's a ton of rewarding gameplay to experience in Leap of Fate.
One aspect of Leap of Fate that surp…

Iron Crypticle (Review)

Iron Crypticle is played as you would expect: you run around with the left stick and shoot (or throw axes, rather) with the right. A couple of interesting complexities to the gameplay come in the form of dashing, using scrolls, and unleashing your Atomic Fist. Dashing can help you get from point A to point B faster but it's also risky if there are monsters in your vicinity. Scrolls have varying effects and are occasionally found lying around the dungeon floor. The Atomic Fist is a pretty cool move for whenever you're in a pinch as it damages all of your surrounding foes. As you work your way through room after room battling all kinds of interesting monsters, you'll pick up tons of items that can grant you more points, level you up, increase your base stats, and spell "bonus" in order to clear the screen and grant you a ton of points. Speaking of points, collecting certain items in succession will increase a multiplier which adds a layer of compulsion to the alre…

SpeedRunners (Review)

This is strictly a competitive game. You do have a single player experience but that is simply you racing against bots with a very, very basic ‘story’ introducing each level. You have multiple difficulty settings to play but to get through the sixteen stages won’t take you very long at all on the lower difficulties, Unfair difficulty is aptly named though.

  It’s the multiplayer which sits at the top of the main menu and that’s where you’ll find an incredibly enjoyable and addictive experience. The gameplay is very simple to describe but requires a similar nuance and precision to the games I mentioned earlier. Viewed as a 2D platformer the stages are actually tracks which loop, like a racing game. Up to four players race through the stage hoping not to fall behind. Like Micro Machines everyone occupies the same screen so if you fall off the screen you’re eliminated, the last person standing earns a point, first to three points wins. With this comes the similar problem/design choice…