Average User Score: 7.6Sep 16, 2013Volgarr the Viking is love letter to Rastan- Taito's 1987's classic arcade platformer. Know for its quarter gobbling difficulty, tight controls, and Conan vibe, Rastan was a standard in many arcades during the late 80's and early 90's. Crazy Viking Studios uses Rastan as a template and runs with it. Even this first half of the intro stage is lifted directly from Rastan and features that well-worn breakable floor into a power up room. Many of stages are well designed with some intelligent enemy placement. The spear's use as a platform is well implemented and quite fun and its use leads to some "puzzle-like" stage solutions.
However, much like Rastan, its difficulty comes from its unforgiving, arcade era, tactics, limited chances, large volumes of enemies, and punishing the player for losing. Like Rastan, much of the game relies on rote recollection. As advertised, you will die, only because you need to die in order to network what the stage is and what to expect. Some traps and off-screen enemy placement need foresight to properly deal with. Without such foresight, prepare to lose a power up or die. But next time you know better and the challenge is circumvented with the required placement or spear throw. It is like your are scouting ahead to assess the level than beat it. It is here that Volgarr derives its paper-thin challenge. Volgarr is not a difficult game, it is a punishing one that relies on memorization. There is no saving function- so if you exit the game all progress is lost. If you lose all your money, you're done and you have to restart. The game must be finished in one sitting. It is here that the game plays you rather than you playing the game.
One of my biggest gripes with the game is that it will never capture the taste of Rastan. Rastan was a difficult game, unfairly at some points. But it had variety in both weapons and enemies- something that Volgarr has slim pickings on. (Like Lizardmen? Good, that's all you'll see most of the time.) But it was also social. This was the game you crowded around the cabinet to show off, dare others to play, learn from your buddies, josh with each other, and even meet new kids who thought they could take on this behemoth of a game. That was THE arcade experience. In 2013 as a PC exclusive, chances are you're playing this game by yourself. Without the encouragement, putdowns, and so on, the game just feels like doing your taxes. You can get bored, start to yawn, and just want to do something else, even if you're doing well.
This is the kind of game for people who like to memorize a challenge. Something that you can be sure to recall 10, 20, 30 years from now. You want it so that your fingers have muscle memory associated with a game. If you like the sound of that, Volgarr is waiting to download into your brain. If you're looking for the arcade experience, go to an arcade with your buddies.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Jul 14, 2013Rogue Legacy is a side scrolling randomly-generated hack and slash that brims with lots of unique ideas but the execution falls flat. The hero and his long line of decedents are on the quest to track down and kill Johannes; the immortal traitor who escaped into a shape shifting castle and cannot escape. Seems strange to go after him, but the family-line seems too vengeful to care. But story doesn’t matter much here, it’s all about gameplay! Let’s see how this fish flops.
In the grand tradition of rogue-likes you have one life. However, this one life is not meant to last you the game. Instead it’s a money-bag. Your goal is to loot the castle for as much money and upgrades as you stuff in a suit of armor. Instead of attempting to beat the game on one life, you are expected to die until you amassed enough gold to purchase the best equipment available and smite everything in yawn-inducing short fashion. However, gold cannot be horded as Charon, the castle guardian, demands that you fork over all your hard earned coin as an entrance fee. This means ill-fated runs that fail to produce a new upgrade mean nothing. In a game where you are expected to increase in power steadily, multiple "empty" runs can be particularly disheartening.
But wait! It wouldn’t be rouge-like without something random, right? Characters are randomly generated before each play through and have 0-2 traits and a class. Traits may be anything from P.A.D, which disables traps, to Baldness, which changes a few in game texts, to vertigo, which renders the game nearly unplayable. Classes have a few advantage and disadvantages to mold to an archetype like “mage” or “barbarian”. Mages have good magic attack but crummy physical stats. Barbarians can take more damage, but don’t have poor magic stats.
Despite the "randomly generated" dungeons, the room-types are in short supply. It feels more like the rooms are shuffled rather than generating a whole new set of challenges. Within an hour of play, I came across all the rooms available in the first stage. In addition, the game gives the illusion that you can choose different routes to play different states in whatever order you like a la Megaman. The reality is that it is best to go in a set pattern as enemies can evaporate the hero in a single hit if not upgraded properly.
Enemies are rather dull and fall into two types- laughably easy melee beefcakes or projectile spamming cannons. As the game progresses you fight the same enemies with more beef and more projectile. Patterns are simple, which isn't bad, but most enemies have little thought in placement and are punching bags riding on player error in order to sneak a sword swing or a projectile in.
Bosses are as exciting as the enemies and simply regurgitate large heavy-hitting projectiles and enemies in easily avoidable patterns. Like the enemies, they bank on human error rather than having the player learn a set of patterns or have gamepad dexterity and reaction. The final Boss is an exception and does prove to be moderately fun.
In the end, the game is not challenging but punishing. The game punishes a player for not having “stats X” or dieing too early. The game can be summed as one giant grindfest where the bosses are gear checks and little skill is needed on the player’s part once enough upgrades and equipment have been acquired. This game is for those who enjoy grinding for hours to work up to point where a player can easily smash through the game in a laughable fashion. For me, not only is this magic play though too little in entertainment value, but asks for too much time.… Expand