Average User Score: 6.2Feb 15, 2014After 7 years, the only thing that has really changed in this series are the graphics. The game is still clinging to the pretense that it isAfter 7 years, the only thing that has really changed in this series are the graphics. The game is still clinging to the pretense that it is somehow "old school", as some sort of facade to say that it, unlike, presumably, modern AAA gaming, is not about graphics, but about deep gameplay. This is just flat false - it's exactly that: A game with the prettiest graphics the developers can afford, and the simplest, most dumbed-down gameplay they can muster.
"Enjoy" an "epic tale" consisting of just a few pages of plot that have basically nothing to do with your character, who is supposed to be the same character from the first game, in spite of it being impossible to be female in the first game, (for no adequately described reason,) but possible from the second onwards, much less what other differences actually exist between games.
As I said in reviews of the previous games - play the demo first. There is essentially nothing in the demo that isn't in the rest of the game, barring the graphics of some of the monsters, because the game doesn't add anything as you go along. All monsters share the same AI - they just walk straight at you until they reach attack range, then stand still and fire. The only difference is in the value for their HP or Attack Bonus, along with occasionally an enemy that (gasp!) attacks from more than one tile away, but is otherwise identical.
This is a game that is propped up by the elitism of people who want to claim they are "Old School" gamers in spite of apparently not recognizing what the term means, and want to dismiss all of the overwhelming criticism of the series as somehow coming from "teenagers" who "play Diablo". Even the game's own advertising tries to make itself seem grand by denigrating Diablo. I hate to break this to you kids, but as much as I hate Diablo too, this game still is even more dumbed-down than that. This is a game that has less choices, less enemy AI, less character builds, less of everything than even Diablo, which is really saying something.
Go play real old-school games (they sell them all over the place on things like Steam or GoG,) like Ultima, Wizardry, or X-Com, or much better old-school-style games like Avernum or Xenonauts, instead.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.8Nov 8, 2013Put simply, this game is Diablo if it were dumbed down to the simplest form you could possibly still call a game.
The game promises to be aPut simply, this game is Diablo if it were dumbed down to the simplest form you could possibly still call a game.
The game promises to be a combination of city-builder, tower-defense, and Diablo-style real-time-roguelike. It only vaguely manages to get the last of those three down.
The game works like this: You start off with a deceptively interesting-looking and wide array of character choices to pick from. This is the only interesting choice you ever get to make. After that, you get plopped down in a town square and have to start building.
City-building is THERE, technically, but not particularly worth playing for. Building the town is a pretty trivial affair you pretty much have to make a fairly balanced town, and except for the guard towers, it doesn't much matter where anything is, so there's little difference between one town and another.
Then, you have to pay for your town, which essentially means running around killing random things in the wide open field with a few sparse props that they call the world in this game. Each "dungeon" is nothing but a prop in the field, and there's nothing to really explore.
Oh, and remember that thing about character selection? They're all basically the same in a fight, give or take some stat bonuses. There are no special powers. No spells. No super moves. You just click on an enemy and watch both sides subtract HPs from the other until one number becomes less than one. Rinse and repeat until the "remaining enemy" counter reaches a number less than one. Then get declared winner. Yay.
Then it tells you to play again.
The recurring problem of games that try to blend many different genres is that they often tend to lack the content to really make a deep, enjoyable game of any one genre because they try to spread themselves so thin. This game didn't even have enough content to make it part of one genre, even before they spread it thinner. It feels like it was some indie developer's first project, where it was kept shoestring budget and just ran on the desire to create "my first game", even if the feature list was sparse. I can only assume Tilted Mill just plain ran out of money before building the game they were TRYING to make, because I cannot believe this game was in any way what was intended to go to market., and what we're seeing is some stripped-down premature birth game that was only half-formed, and not yet ready for alpha when it was shipped.
It's a hollow, barren land, these Hinterlands.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.9Nov 8, 2013This is a game with an intriguing premise that you can shape your own personalized hero by playing through the generations of characters,This is a game with an intriguing premise that you can shape your own personalized hero by playing through the generations of characters, aided by a dating-sim-mini-game, and selecting out the heroines who will become your final hero's (great-great-great-grand)mother. The story is basically dead-set upon tick every RPG cliche it could off the checklist, and features a generic war-of-the-light-versus-dark story, but makes up for it with colorful characters. Oftentimes characters more scantily clad in their colorful-but-threadbare outfits than may necessarily be comfortable, but at least the dialogue did its job of entertaining me as I played through it.
If it was just an average RPG with the same story and gimmicks, I would have been happy to give this game an above-average rating. The problem is that the game falls flat on its face when it comes to the actual "game" part of the game.
I have never seen so much need for an auto-battle feature before in my life. The auto-battle exists (barely), but is so mind-numbingly stupid that you generally have to go a third of the game backwards to find opponents you can auto-grind against, but it's still far superior to having to spend the hundreds of hours it takes to beat the game gaining XP the normal way.
Grinding is excruciating and necessary. On Hard, bosses will kill your characters in one hit, no matter even if you spent every single character point on NOTHING but getting more hit points. (And I did, for every character, because there's little point in anything else.) When they use their super-moves, (which they can do at will,) they often get the "overkill" bonus for dealing triple the HP of my characters in damage. Survival is a matter of packing max recovery items and spreading out so that only one character dies at a time.
Because every combo you can do has to be not just pre-planned before battle, but pre-equipped and oftentimes grinded for, itself, the theoretically tactical grid-based combat basically always comes down to getting into the exact same formations, using the exact same combos you've metered out exactly to take advantage of the exact amount of AP you can spend. There is nothing in the game to make any one given battle any seriously different from another, besides maybe the bosses, but even every boss starts looking the same after a while. (In fact, at the end, they just outright keep reusing the same boss.) Hence, auto-battling just to keep from drooling boredom. (And because the auto-battle is awful, you have to grind more on auto-battle to survive auto-battling.)
When "playing" the game usually entails just putting a weight on the button to walk upwards, and then leaving for a while so that auto-battle auto-levels your characters, just so I can do something else while "playing" the game, it's a problem.
Worst of all, there's basically no way to get the good ending without using a guide, and if you screw up anything (and the game gives you basically no hints as to how you're screwing yourself over, or even where to look,) you have to start the WHOLE GAME OVER TO TRY AGAIN. That's right, 500 hours down the drain. When you DO finally beat the game, the game says, "Congrats, now onto the TRUE FINAL BOSS, which incidentally, is level 700. What, you're only level 100? Here's a new place to grind forever in, and all your old characters back, back at level 20. No, of course there's no experience sharing. Grind harder, sucker." I estimate "beating" this game will take roughly 1,000 hours, and I'm not even exaggerating.
That's roughly where I figured I was just completely not having fun anymore, and abandoned the game for good.
Oh, but as a bonus, they include "free DLC" that they originally charged people for, which basically includes just plain BUYING exp. Yeah, that's right, their business model was to make a game where you grind forever, and then sell people exp.
In summary, the story and style of the game may or may not be to your taste, but the actual mechanics of the game get downright masochistic. When a game is best played by having a book to read to get you through the boring parts, (read: 99.999% of the game,) then it's not exactly something I can in good conscious recommend to any but the most rabid of JRPG dating-sim fans.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.8Jul 3, 2013While this is a great game in concept, in implementation, it stumbles. The procedural game setup can always be a double-edged sword, since,While this is a great game in concept, in implementation, it stumbles. The procedural game setup can always be a double-edged sword, since, even if you "never get the same layout twice" by randomizing the stages, if all the stages just consist of the same 6 things over and over, then if you've seen one, you've really seen it all. Symphony has not just too few enemies to stay entertaining, it has the same small number of enemies flying in the same small number of patterns over and over again. In fact, there are so few patterns of enemy flight paths that you frequently find ships overlapping!
There is another major problem in the game, in that, apparently fearing that they might make some songs too hard or others too easy, they decided to give the player infinite lives, a ship so huge you can't possibly dodge anything, but make it take tons of hits and regenerate with every enemy killed (including by ramming your ship into it), so there's basically no skill to the game at all, you just play by buying up more expensive weapons for your ship to be able to handle higher levels that give you more cash to upgrade your weapons enough to handle the next highest level.
In general, I think how much you like this game depends on how much you've played it. It's fun for the first few hours, but notably, only 0.5% of players ever actually played the game for 12 hours. That, right there, shows exactly the problem in the game. It just doesn't have enough variety to keep people coming back past playing their favorite 20 songs or so.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.0Apr 17, 2013The Gust games have become a true favorite of mine, and Atelier Rorona is one of my absolute favorites among all RPGs for combining a fun andThe Gust games have become a true favorite of mine, and Atelier Rorona is one of my absolute favorites among all RPGs for combining a fun and engaging alchemy system to play with while flooding the world with lovable and humorous characters.
The Atelier games are, at their core, probably more aimed at a female crowd than most RPGs, (and Rorona isn't just a female lead, she even wears pink!) and it's obvious that not everyone seems to care for trying something different, but if you have ever enjoyed a game's crafting system for its own sake rather than just to get something out of it, then this game is built specifically to cater to the player who enjoys building more than smashing things. (As well as humorous vignettes about pies that come to life and attack their creator afterwards.)
Overall, there are few flaws with this game, (It does become annoying to try to get all the endings, since you have to go back a whole third of the game to try to unqualify yourself for some of the endings to see the endings that have lower priority.) but I can happily call it one of the most engaging games I've ever played, and something that any serious RPG player should try, just to experience something different. In many cases, most of the negative reviews I see for this game are based simply upon its difference, and it's a shame to see it that way. Rorona and Gust in general have a lot to teach the RPG community, and it's a pity that the game isn't approached with a willingness to try something a little different.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Apr 17, 2013A puzzle-RPG mash-up, it basically performs exactly like it says on the tin. Ultimately, the game multitasks too much to let you enjoy anyA puzzle-RPG mash-up, it basically performs exactly like it says on the tin. Ultimately, the game multitasks too much to let you enjoy any one element to its fullest.
Maybe I'm just someone who likes to focus upon one goal to the exclusion of all else too much to get the most of the game, but a major stumbling block for enjoying the game is that, in order to clear the puzzle segments that give you the power to do anything in the RPG segment of the game, you have to minimize the combat, and focus upon finding those color matches. Since you need at least four gems cleared to do anything, there's a heavy emphasis on getting four-gem combos and passing on three-gem combos until you can get a better match.
This presents a real problem in the RPG section of the game, as you will often find yourself surprised to learn you're suddenly at half health and poisoned and without the dodge bar full and about to get eaten, only to flick back and mash a bunch of attacks out to wipe the floor with the enemies.
Basically, the RPG and Puzzle elements of the game seem like they are at war with one another, rather than a cohesive whole. To get the award for doing a mission well, you have to both get a good time and a good score. Unlike normal puzzle games, this means you aren't trying to get great combos or huge chains going. In fact, the game kind of punishes you for doing well in the puzzle section by largely wasting what you get. Instead, you're just doing puzzles to go back to the RPG section and throw more fireballs.
There are also some "hard" fights (especially the optional ones) that generally require some grinding to be able to stand a chance against, and can even sometimes just outright one hit kill your character. I'm an RPG veteran, but even I feel that it's sometimes cheap to just deny players the chance to use the mechanics in front of them to their fullest effect just because you don't have enough DEF+ attributes assigned. Winning these fights requires either grinding, getting lucky chains while button-mashing, or playing with your eye almost entirely upon the RPG section, rather than the puzzle section, avoiding clearing gems until you actually need them. It's a frustrating experience to feel like the game is hamstringing you from enjoying what is really the main mechanic of the game. The sentiment of the game seems to be that if you enjoy busting gems for their own sake, you might as well go back to playing Yoshi's Cookie or Bejewelled.
What the game really needs is to have a way to let focusing upon the puzzle part not punish the player for not paying attention to the RPG parts. Puzzle Pirates does a much better job of making the personal puzzle elements not conflict with the overall effort of the crew. Making the game have a minute of puzzle time followed by a "turn" of the RPG, where the other element of the game is paused while you focus on the part you are playing.
With that said, this is far from a bad game. It's definitely a "light" RPG that seems more focused upon the puzzle crowd than the hardcore RPG crowd, so it may be worth letting those casual gamers you know have a try at the game. The puzzle game is simple and easy to pick up, and so is the RPG element, that largely consists of just clicking an enemy, and clicking your summon creature to throw attacks out. However, I'm not entirely sure casual gamers will be able to handle the sort of multitasking that annoyed even a more hardcore gamer.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Apr 16, 2013It's $10 for a 2-hour game. The fundamental flaw with this game is that the developers were simply scared to let players have any freedom toIt's $10 for a 2-hour game. The fundamental flaw with this game is that the developers were simply scared to let players have any freedom to explore or experiment. Which is to say that the whole premise is flawed. A Portal wannabe, this game lacks any of Portal's fun, both in the sense that I really, truly missed GLaDoS making the game hilarious as well as giving the game any sort of context for what happens, as well as in the sense that simply pushing and pulling blocks isn't nearly as fun as running through a perpetual portal tunnel.
Even if Portal 1 constrained you to one solution just to teach you a new trick with the portal gun, you could still USE the portal gun wherever. The gloves in this game only do one specific thing on the handful of blocks specifically given to you in specific areas for you to accomplish your specified mandatory puzzle time.
When all you have are two to five blocks to push or pull, and you know that EVERY one of those blocks will be used, all the puzzle solutions become obvious. Even a few red herring blocks would have been welcome. What the game could have really used, however, would have been freer-floating blocks, and puzzles that actually use the character's relative position in some interesting physics puzzles (like Portal did) so everything wasn't just so scripted.
As a result, the developers seem to have quickly found out that they painted themselves into a corner, and couldn't keep coming up with new puzzles using the same block types, so they had to keep inventing new arbitrary block types or conditions. First you have color blocks you have to push with other blocks, then it's a ball. Then it's a ball on a slope with timed actions (annoying). Then you have to do everything all over again in the dark (REALLY annoying). Then some blue balls start wrecking the place for no reason (but you don't know if that's supposed to be good or bad for lack of plot). Then they start being suspiciously part of obviously pre-planned puzzles where they don't wreck things and move in set patterns to activate other blocks. Then magnet blocks. Then lasers and lenses. Then they forget the whole "blue balls wreck everything" concept entirely, and there's just rubble everywhere for no reason, even though everything still works. Then they super-charge your gloves at a Lego temple for some reason, and you can start changing the colors of different blocks (which would almost make you have to stop and think were it not for the fact that there are only 1 to 4 blocks you can change at a time, anyway, so there are still too few permutations to make puzzles challenging). Then the game ends in a completely unexpected, anti-climactic, and utterly confusing way because the game has no plot, and dumps you out to the menu screen because the devs couldn't think of anything more to do with their premise.
It's funny to see a game so utterly linear seem so utterly aimless. It just leaves me with the feeling that the developers discovered how limiting their game's premise was too late, so they just kept throwing new things at you every 5 minutes hoping that they could milk another 2 or 3 puzzles out of it before you got bored.
Plus the devs seem to spend an inordinate amount of time making you sit through cutscenes or walk in tunnels where the Lego structures jiggle in ways that cause them to clip through one another...
What this game could have really stood to try to copy would be games like Trine or Fantastic Contraption, where you DON'T have just one arbitrary solution to the puzzle. Fantastic Contraption, especially, rewards coming up with clever new ways to use the same tiny handful of pieces in new ways to solve new problems, or even to just go back and solve the old puzzles in a new way. When you complete qube, which only took about 2 hours, you never really want to go back, because there's no reason to do so.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Apr 8, 2013Of the casual puzzle games I've played on Steam, this is probably the one I keep coming back to for a 15-minute break most often. It's simpleOf the casual puzzle games I've played on Steam, this is probably the one I keep coming back to for a 15-minute break most often. It's simple in design, and can sometimes be difficult to really see the full effects of a given "push", or player action, several moves ahead, which is exactly what such a game needs to do in order to stay interesting as a strategic challenge.
Unfortunately, puzzle mode aside, much of the challenge of the game comes from either having to make quick moves (in arcade) or make matches (called blooms) in incredibly low numbers of moves, and forces you to rely upon the unpredictable dumb luck of having the game just plop tiles down in convenient locations for making more easy matches.
Especially since late-campaign or arcade mode almost entirely depend upon being able to make matches with special blocks you can't place yourself, this tends to sap most of the strategy out of the game, as you're largely just waiting for the game to give you the pieces you need to win, and it becomes quite frustrating when the game randomly decides not to give you any.
As a puzzle game, it needs to rely more upon strategy and less upon luck to really shine. I'm supposed to feel clever for doing well, not lucky, and when I do badly, I'm supposed to learn what I did wrong so I can improve for next time. This just makes it feel like a slot machine you just keep cranking the handle until you get lucky.… Expand
Average User Score: tbdApr 7, 2013Many puzzle games advertise themselves as some variation of "simple but addictive", but they're really not kidding when they call this gameMany puzzle games advertise themselves as some variation of "simple but addictive", but they're really not kidding when they call this game "simple". No blocks drop, no randomization takes place, and the only failure condition is running out of time, which is restored with combos... in Survival Mode. Endless Mode's name does not lie there is literally no lose condition at all besides quitting the game. Bizarrely, even this mode has a scoreboard, in spite of the fact that you can literally play a single round of the game for weeks on end, taking breaks whenever you feel like it. The only thing it measures is how long you are willing to go before just giving in and quitting.
It's not a terrible game by any measure, but it just doesn't add anything to an already tired formula of match-whatever games to make itself stand out. It's ultra-low-pressure casualness also led to it not really addicting me, for that matter. You see everything this game has to offer in the first 10 minutes, and it's just the same chains from there on out.… Expand
Average User Score: 4.0Apr 7, 2013As a Dwarf Fortress player, I really, really want to like this game. It promises to be Dwarf Fortress without the horrible interface.As a Dwarf Fortress player, I really, really want to like this game. It promises to be Dwarf Fortress without the horrible interface. It's... just not, however. It does have a better interface, mostly. You actually just set how much food you want produced at all times, and townies will butcher the cows on their own to fulfill your quotas that's a solid improvement, at least.
However, the problem comes with the whole "goal of the game" thing. Dwarf Fortress just lets you do whatever, and is robust enough of a game to make doing whatever crazy thing that comes to mind actually rich and enjoyable. Towns, however, lets you build your town's most basic functions in just a few minutes, then tells you to mine down for the rest, where you encounter the dungeons that are the "real" part of the game. To clear these dungeons, you need heroes, which are beyond your control. Basically, you just run an inn for the heroes who do all the game for you while you just wait for them to finish mopping up.
Then your townies run in and get eaten by monsters because you can't tell them not to pick up shiny items the monsters drop, much like Dwarf Fortress's notorious mob rushes for the socks of dead goblins years ago. Heroes and townies drop like flies at the lower levels, but there's nothing you can really do about any of that, as combat is nothing but dumb luck against monsters that are just ever-increasing numbers, and nobody listens to your orders when it comes to monsters, anyway.
Basically, this game is just Dwarf Fortress without the attention to realism, and five years of development behind, but with a better interface. That, ALONE, would still make it a recommendable game, except that you quite honestly have nothing to DO during all the time you spend "playing" the game, but watch the ant farm run itself.
The only times you are forced to act are when caravans come or sieges come and sieges are a massive pain because of interface problems, at that. The only thing you can do in this game is build more of your town, and even that is ironically best done down in the dungeons, repurposing the old rooms rather than building new ones.
There's the potential for a brilliant game, if it could just solve some of Dwarf Fortress's old problems, and actually set out to create some new territory of worth to fill, but the pathway from here to there is a loooong one, indeed.… Expand