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<span class="bold">Beatbuddy: Tale of the Guardians</span>

I've often seen this game being described as a 'platformer' and I wonder why is that, since there are no platforms or jump mechanics in it. Instead, since it takes place underwater, you can freely swim in any direction you see fit. Maybe because of that it has also been compared to Aquaria, but whereas that one is basically an open world to be explored, Beatbuddy has separate levels and it's very linear in comparison.

It's very appealing visually, with its lush and colorful hand-painted backgrounds, but the indisputable star of the show is the music: it's extremely catchy and it features a marked beat that dictates the flow of the gameplay. Many elements in the game (enemies, environmental hazards, or a vehicle you get to drive) move or change to the rythm of the beat, so you need to adapt to it in order to progress and to avoid taking damage.

It's primarily a rhythm-based action/ability game, but it's also got a couple of lightweight puzzles here and there, that don't pose much of a challenge. Some timed sequences turn out to be much more difficult (they can get quite frustrating), but the biggest trial is trying to collect all the pink crystals in a level. It feels almost impossible to get them all and I never actually succeeded in that regard, not even in the first level. But considering that all these crystals do is unlock behind-the-scenes pictures from the production of the game, I didn't care that much if I missed some of them. Apart from that, the rest of the game is rather easy and can be completed in a few hours.

My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Soulless: Ray of Hope</span>

Soulless is a rather generic puzzle platformer with a couple of interesting aspects but also some severe technical and design problems. Its graphics are quite nice, but they are basically the 'LIMBO aesthetic' with its black-silhouetted foregrounds. At least the backgrounds are colorful and main character is a cute bear-shaped being. The LIMBO déjà-vu continues with the game mechanics, as most of the puzzles require operating levers, moving boxes around, and changing gravity. To the designer's credit however, some of them are quite clever.

Another thing I liked is the underlying narrative. It starts on the cute side, but it progressively makes a turn for the weird and creepy. All is supposed to make sense in the end after the 'twist' is revealed, but there were still a couple of things that remained unexplained (though it could be me not paying enough attention).

Time for the bad things. First, the controls could be a lot tighter: more often than not the jump button doesn't work when pressed near the edge of a platform, which makes running jumps quite difficult to pull off. Second, the camera is unreliable at best and it forces the player to make many 'blind jumps' which result in instant death most of the time. Finally, it's extremely short. Like, less than 2 hours short. Definitely not worth the full asking price. Fortunately I picked it up for nearly nothing on a sale, so I cannot really say I didn't get my money's worth.

My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Dreaming Sarah</span>

Another puzzle platformer, but this one wasn't apparently inspired by LIMBO. Instead, it went for some simple but effective pixel graphics. Befitting the title, the environments, characters, and situations are rather oneiric and they range from the slightly weird to the outright grotesque.

Mechanically, it's got some metroidvania elements: finding certain objects will unlock new powers and abilities, which let you gain access to new areas. But a new section can also be unlocked by completing another one. And sometimes it's not at all obvious which one has been made available, so you need to check everywhere in order to find out what opened up.

If you don't get stuck very often, you'll be able to finish it rather quickly. Plus, the ending is quite predictable, especially after you get to a certain location and witness some events. But all in all I thinks it's a nice little game that deserves to be enjoyed.

PS: Also props to the dev, who immediately updated the DRM-free builds of the game on IndieGameStand when I asked him to, after learning they were outdated.

My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">20 Clues</span> (Android)

I love word games, and this one is simple but effective. Each level contains 20 words to be guessed, and consists of a grid with parts of words (usually 2 or 3 letters long) and a couple of images as hints. And that's pretty much it: you just press the buttons with letters to form a word, and if it's the correct one both the letters and the corresponding picture will disappear, leaving their place to new pieces. Rinse and repeat until all 20 words are correctly guessed and the level is over.

The only complaint I've got is that sometimes the image clues are misleading and become more of a hindrance than a help. Despite this small criticism, I'd recommend this game as a time waster.

My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Fearless Fantasy</span>

Just finished it and it was better than i expected. It's a mobile port and the mouse-wiping controls took me a bit to get used to. But after a few minutes i got the hang of the controls and it worked fairly well.

The game is short, i finished it in ~5 - 6 hours. But it has some neat homour and i enjoyed playing through it. :)
<span class="bold">Oknytt</span>
(I have an older version I got from Desura; I played it via WINE on my Mac)

This is a dark point-and-click game. By “dark” I mean it’s literally dark, it takes place entirely at night within a folklore setting, and the artwork is very dark/muted with an almost monochromatic palette. I found the game fairly fun and a bit creepy (but not in a scary way).

The puzzles mostly made sense, my main problem was finding all the interactable objects because the screen was so dark (the in-game gamma slider did nothing for me, I had to crank the brightness way up on my monitor instead which was somewhat annoying). The game is also fairly slow paced, you have to have patience to enjoy the game. The voice acting was passable.

Overall I’d rate it OK, and recommend it if you’re looking for a point-and-click game with a unique setting.
<span class="bold">Awake</span>

This is a FREE and very short point-and-click game which can be completed in under 30 minutes. I don’t want to go into many details because spoilers (I’d even recommend not reading the full game page linked above), but I enjoyed it a lot and definitely recommend it!
<span class="bold">Mini-Golf Pro</span>

This FREE game is a very short, casual, relaxing, and easy mini-golf game to play by yourself. It can be completed in less than 30 minutes. I did encounter one glitch where my ball didn’t start in the correct location on one of the greens, but it wasn’t a big deal.

I’d recommend it only if you want a quick and easy casual game, it’s not an accurate simulation.
Post edited February 21, 2017 by 01kipper
Knights of pen and paper + 1 edition.

Flight of the Amazon queen.

One of the free games on GOG, this 1995 point'n click adventure is actually surprisingly good...I certainly had much more fun with it than with e.g. Beneath a steel sky or Prisoner of ice. It's not that long, but has a nice variety of locations. Puzzles are mostly quite easy, and while I did have to look in a walkthrough a few times, they're generally fair and make sense. Best part of the game is the dialogues and the humour...the game doesn't take itself seriously at all and feels like a 1950s B-Movie, with a lot of references to e.g. Indiana Jones (at one point the character Joe King even says, he's not afraid of snakes...) or Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost world. Some of the dialogues are truly hilarious (I especially liked the ferryman Charon...nice nod to classical mythology). Evil Dr. Ironstein who gives off a vaguely Nazi vibe reminded me of the Germans in Indiana Jones and the fate of Atlantis. One thing that surprised me: the game features a temple in the Amazon, probably built by extraterrestrials, and you've got to find a crystal skull...sounds like the plot of the fourth Indiana Jones movie which came out a few years ago, doesn't it? I wonder if that's just coincidence...very strange.
Anyway, I can recommend this game to anybody who likes adventures and wants a few hours of fun, it's really quite entertaining. 3/5 for the gameplay, 4/5 for the humour.

List of my games finished in 2017:
Post edited February 21, 2017 by morolf
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (Xbox 360)
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary - Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)
Halo 2: Anniversary - Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)
Bioshock remastered - Bioshock Collection (Xbox One)
God of War - God of War Collection - PS3
Fran Bow - GOG
Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore a Fedora - GOG
Stick it to the Man! - GOG
Tales from the Borderlands - GOG
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father 20th Anniversary Edition - GOG (Feb 26)
Bioshock Challenge Rooms + Bioshock 2 + Bioshock 2 DLCs
Bioshock Infinite + Burial at Sea
Oxenfree - GOG
Post edited April 04, 2017 by opticq
Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight

One of the best shooters I've played. Played this in 2001 or something, but never completed it until now. The level design is great! Unfortunately the lightsaber fights suck and most of the time using force powers is not worth the hassle.

JK: Mysteries of the Sith

Again, great level design. Not many lightsaber fights which is a very good thing IMO...
...until the last 3 levels which were lightsaber-only. Most of the enemies there are so annoying and hard that I had to savescum through it. Great expansion pretty much ruined by the endgame enemies.
<span class="bold">Please Don't Touch Anything</span> (Android)

Excellent puzzle game, which is surprisingly complex given the apparent simplicity of its premise: a work colleague has to go to the toilet and asks you to watch his/her 'workstation', but warns you not to touch anything, please. Of course, the fun in this game involves touching lots of things, especially the big red button in the middle of the otherwise (and initially) empty panel. There are 20-something different endings, each one more bizarre than the last. The seemingly austere and minimalistic environment contains clues for a lot of those endings, although some of the hints are rather obscure and/or difficult to interpret. Each time a new ending is reached, a poster appears on the back wall as a sort of achievement badge. I managed to find most of the endings myself, but I had to resort to a guide for a couple of them (which in retrospective I don't think I would've been able to find on my own). Great fun, recommended to fans of weird and devious games.

PS: I played the original version of the game which was included in a Humble PC & Android bundle, but since then it's been overhauled and now the devs only mention the new 3D and VR versions on their website. The original doesn't seem to be available DRM-free anywhere anymore, but at least it can still be purchased on Steam for PC and on Google Play for Android.

My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">CAYNE</span>

In this day and age where day-1 paid DLCs are common, and some devs and publishers try to squeeze every last cent of their customers, how awesome is it that the fine guys from The Brotherhood decided to gift the world with this great point'n'click adventure? Of course, it was a way to draw attention to their next paid game Beautiful Desolation and its Kickstarter, but still: we're talking a 4-5 hours long game (according to HLTB) which was given away for free. Nice!

CAYNE is set in the same universe of STASIS, and like its predecessor it features some detailed isometric graphics that manage to convey the bleakness and repulsion of such a world. Narratively, it uses the typical 'amnesiac trope' as the main character wakes up in a strange place with no recollection of how she got there. Everything will become progressively clear, and all the pieces will nicely fall into place as she finds and reads many datalogs scattered throughout the facility.

Gameplay-wise, it suffers a bit at the start. It's quite easy to get stuck at the very beginning, as the first puzzle is timed and you need to act quickly, something a bit unusual in point'n'click adventures. Paradoxically, the more I progressed in the game the easier I found it, despite there being more locations available and having more items in the inventory.

On the technical side, this game was made with Unity so (unlike STASIS) it was available for everyone (Windows, Mac and Linux) on release. The only stain on its record, albeit a minor one, was that it created a 'Library' directory in my $HOME. I hate it when games don't follow the XDG spec and do that...

As a recap, I highly enjoyed CAYNE and I recommend it to everyone while I wait for the promised Linux port of STASIS and the upcoming Beautiful Desolation.

My list of finished games in 2017
<span class="bold">Oh...Sir! The Insult Simulator</span>

Silly game, both in appearance and in premise, but extremely fun to play. It's a kind of a fighting game (complete with combos, special attacks, and character weaknesses) but turn-based. This turn-based nature makes it absolutely non-reliant on agility or reflexes, and instead it favours a relaxed, tactical aproach. Because indeed, even though it isn't by any means a particularly deep game, it's more complex than it looks at first sight.

It's got both singleplayer and multiplayer modes. The former is extremely easy as the CPUs AI is quite lacking. Plus, in the Tournament if you manage to lose a match you can re-play it as many times as you need without having to restart the tournament. Still, there is a motivation to play (and win) tournaments as you can unlock new characters and locations by doing so.

So, by the time everything is unlocked (which happens after a few hours) the only way to go is the battling your wits against human opponents in the multiplayer. Be it locally in the hotseat mode (haven't tried it, but it must make a pretty fun party game) or online. I don't really know how the matchmaking works, but I've been able to play online matches with nothing else than my local copy of the game, no external client required. Props to the devs for that!

My list of finished games in 2017