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<span class="bold">The Book of Unwritten Tales 2</span>

Finally completed the saga! For the time being, at least, as this episode ends with yet another narrative hook that forebodes new adventures for Wilbur, Ivo, and the crowd. The game card promises over 20 hours of pointing and clicking, and that's exactly what it took me to complete the game. Now, as usual I did take my sweet time to examine everything more than once, and to exhaust every possible dialogue line with all NPCs, but on the other hand I never got terribly stuck so as to wander aimlessly while wasting precious gameplay time, so I guess it all kind of balances out.

The plot is significantly denser and more convoluted than in the first episode (and definitely more so than in The Critter Chronicles), with frequent time jumps and changes of scenario and playable characters. All this can potentially lead the player to a certain degree of confusion or the feeling of not knowing what to do next, especially if the game is played at short intervals like I did. Otherwise, all of the landmarks of the franchise are back: constant pop culture references (not necessarily limited to the usual classics, be it literary, filmic, or computer games), a peculiar sense of humor, and a good dose of 4th-wall breaking.

The graphics are shinier than ever, with environments that look truly 3D. The music is good as always, and the voice acting is also stellar, except for a couple of glitches here and there, where some lines would sound faint and terribly echo-ey, or wouldn't sound at all. I also run into a game-breaking bug during Chapter 5, but luckily it happened during a totally optional side quest so I could bypass the issue and finish the game without issue (and without having to replay anything, thanks to the game's autosave feature).

All in all, a decent sequel to a great first episode, and an excellent game on itself. The only cons I've found are the uneven distribution of gameplay time between the main characters, and how some sub-plots are left unresolved or unexplained (they probably will be in an hypothetical The Book of Unwritten Tales 3, though).

My list of finished games in 2016
Sakura Fantasy Chapter 1
Another VN in the Sakura series. Having only played Sakura Spirit and Sakura Swim Club so far, it seems very similar with regards to UI and visual assets. Very common tropes are apparent between the three, however there is an extreme lack of male characters in this particular iteration, yielding many fem-fem relationships.

The story this time sets you in a magical medieval setting. There is actually a fairly good amount of different scenes (compared to other Sakura titles) providing a nice sense of actual adventure and exploration. Overall, you should already have an idea of the type of games the Sakura series are. You don't play them for the plot...unless you really have nothing to do on a weeknight; however, Sakura Fantasy Chapter 1 managed to surprise me with a relatively interesting plot and desire to see the sequel.

Very Good
- 8/10
Broforce (PS4)

This is a very fun 2D sidescrolling shooter/platformer, and I don’t even normally like that genre of game!

A lot of the fun is that you get to play as a team of famous heroes from movies and TV of the 80’s and 90’s (and even a bit more recent), each of which has their own unique attacks and abilities. The game is non-stop bullets, blood, death, explosions, acid, fire, etc. etc., it can be very chaotic at times (in a good way) and quite funny.

At first I was bit put out by the fact that whenever you rescue a Bro you get a random character (instead of being able to choose a favourite), but as I played the game more I realised that it’s actually a lot of fun this way because it forces you to change your gameplay to match your current character, it keeps the game fresh and entertaining and funny.

The game itself is fairly easy on Normal difficulty (except the final level, and even that is not too hard, after all even I managed to complete it)! There’s no real penalty for dying at all in this game, you can just keep retrying over and over and over until you pass. Furthermore, you don’t have to kill all the enemies on each level, you just have to make it to the end of each one.

I’d definitely recommend it!
Commandos Beyond the Call of Duty

8 more puzzle missions along the same lines as the original Behind Enemy Lines, except this time quite bit harder in my opinion. In BEL, once I got the game running at it's proper speed it wasn't too bad- I always found that I could at least substitute brute force for lack of finesse, methodically work around the map and kill everything which pretty much solves all your problems. But in some of the missions in BCD it was hard to do, or really tedious. For example I messed up that really annoying train yard mission (mission 4) and had alarms and patrols all over the place...I resorted to methodically taking all the soldiers out one at a time using the sappers bear trap. Eventually, after like an hour the Germans must have ran out of troops or something. And that pile of 50 German soldiers behind the train car was getting ridiculous.

At least the game had some useful new moves. Though some of the restrictions are funny, I mean your elite Green Beret doesn't even know enough about driving to be able to reverse a car down a driveway. But that's okay, just capture even the lowliest German foot soldier and he can drive anything for you. And the Green Beret and Spy are still the only ones that can move a body. WTF?

Anyway, whilst it was a pretty good overall challenge I can't help thinking the devs took things a step far with this one, the difficulty outstripped the limitations of the very sluggish and finicky controls and user interface. Some situations required a level of finesse that was hard to get out of the UI. But I got through it in the end, but I definitely preferred the base original game overall. Looking forward to the supposedly much improved UI of Commandos 2, but first I think I'll try Desperados when I next feel like this sort of thing.
01kipper: Broforce (PS4)

I’d definitely recommend it!
Really? I mean, for the pc version, sure, but the ps4 version? The game is just broken, you can't move for 1~3 seconds every time the game starts (sometimes leading to your death) and the framerate gets worse later on (less than 20fps).
01kipper: Broforce (PS4)

I’d definitely recommend it!
Cyraxpt: Really? I mean, for the pc version, sure, but the ps4 version? The game is just broken, you can't move for 1~3 seconds every time the game starts (sometimes leading to your death) and the framerate gets worse later on (less than 20fps).
No wonder the Vita version was canceled if it's that bad on ps4.
omega64: No wonder the Vita version was canceled if it's that bad on ps4.
True, if the devs responsible for the ps4 port fuck it up like this i can only imagine what the ps vita would run like...
The days are often either full or tired, so the appealing quickie-game can be a real pleasure. Hook is just the thing to fill a little over an hour with peaceful puzzling.

It's a non-verbal, non-timed, try-again-if-you-slip puzzle game that doesn't get crazy. You'll learn through doing - the first level is just a big dark circle with an attendant line, and when you click a small thing happens. Then after that there are two, and three, and before you know it you're navigating diagramatic screens that aren't exactly challenging, but which take a little directed thought. Every few levels a new incremental element is introduced, and after 50 levels my brain was in a good mood and I was pleased that I had played. The mechanics are solid, and the presentation is clear and well-done.

It's been heavily bundled, so you're likely to have it - worth playing it if you do.
Post edited March 18, 2016 by LinustheBold
Card Crawl (Android)

What can i say, it's a good game when you need to waste some of your time, my meter to determine that i finish the game is that i unlocked every card available, it's a shame that the game lacks in content, you unlock some modes that are basically more of the same with slightly changes, the characters doesn't offer anything besides their aspect (it could change the health bar or give something unique as a motivation to unlocking them) and some of the ability cards that you unlock are... eh.... useless (the most expensive card gives you the ability to automatically win the game... so why bother playing?).
Can't really complain since it was "free" with Amazon Undeground and it was a nice time waster but it could have been much more... Oh well, at least it motivated me into searching for more card games.
Ico (Playstation 3)

The first game I've finished on PS3, I borrowed the game and console from a friend. Ico was a great game, with very nice visuals and soundtrack. There isn't much soundtrack during gameplay, mostly ambient sounds, such as wind or running water. The music is played when it fits, and it's pure art. There is also very little dialogue. The game is about getting through the castle, and solving the puzzles. The puzzles have a good balance, not too hard, but not too easy. This is the main focus of the game. It's very zen. There is some combat as well, but it's pretty easy, as it's not really a game about combat. I loved it. Looking forward to playing through Shadow of the Colossus as well.
01kipper: Broforce (PS4)

I’d definitely recommend it!
Cyraxpt: Really? I mean, for the pc version, sure, but the ps4 version? The game is just broken, you can't move for 1~3 seconds every time the game starts (sometimes leading to your death) and the framerate gets worse later on (less than 20fps).
I agree it's not the best port, but I didn't have any big problems along those lines. I did get the freeze a few seconds after starting sometimes, but it was only for less than half a second and it never caused me to die. Likewise, there were a few times where the framerate dropped noticeably for a short time, but it was not too severe and seemed to quickly correct itself. The thing that actually bothered me the most was when the screen would go black for 10-15 seconds while loading missions! I've never played the PC version to compare, and it's still a fun game, at least I enjoyed it!
Leroux: Fran Bow
Thanks for the inform! How long was the game if you know? I had at first passed looking at this and then was told (thanks hunter!) that it is dark and worth a look, and it's high on the to-get list now, but still curious how long the playtime is, because that matters a lot for me.
Another World

This is an old puzzle game about a scientist who gets transported to... Another World! In this otherworld you, almost everything is trying to kill you, I died within 10 seconds of getting past the opening cutscene. Despite it's age, the graphics are really good. It should only take about 30 minutes if your good, if your like me it'll take about 2 hours. You also need perseverance, there's more death than Hotline Miami. I would however highly recommend as a short game to pass a few hours.
Finished Shardlight, the latest Wadget Eye game. An excellent point'n click that lasted 5h30. Difficulty was not too difficult, like the Blackwell series. I recommand it.

Full list here.
<span class="bold">Californium</span> (played on regular Wine v1.6.2)

I've just finished playing the French version of the free episodic release of Californium. I've played the different episodes as they became available, and I've played them on Wine since this game isn't available on Linux (otherwise I might have considered buying it here on GOG).

Anyway, even though I'm by no means a P.K.D. fan (I've only read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? from him, and that was many, many years ago so I can barely remember anything about it, other that Blade Runner only resembles it very tangentially), I kind of enjoyed the experience of playing Californium. I guess that makes me a fan of boring, tedious, pretentious indie quote-games-endquote, according to most of this games' reviews. So be it. The fact is that I liked being in the shoes of Elvin Green, a booze (and other substances) addict from Berkeley CA, as he traverses parallel realities and tries to find his real self.

Of course gameplay is very minimalistic here, but still I wholeheartedly refuse the term "walking simulator" to define it, as the player's actions -albeit few and limited- are strictly necessary to move the plot forward. The psychodelic art style, the not any less trippy writing, and the superb French voice acting only round out the final product. It's pretty short though, so many people may not find it worthy of the full asking price for the English version. But if you're even slightly proficient in French or German, I'd say go for the free episodic release! (and get an infinite amount of value out of your money :P)

My list of finished games in 2016
Post edited March 19, 2016 by muntdefems