Preview: Ama’s Lullaby (PC) ~ Explore and Hack

AmasLullaby_Art_6.jpgKickstarter Page

Today I want to talk about a game that has still a Kickstarter running. The name of the game is Ama’s Lullaby and I have to thank the developer for notifying me about it since this game shows some great promise. This game is an adventure and puzzle game. But, enough stalling, let’s take a look at the currently released material. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

 

What is this game?

AmasLullaby_Art_2.jpgAma’s Lullaby is a point-and-click adventure game taking place in a cyberpunk environment. In the shoes of Ama, a high potential teenager, you will explore an off-world colony created by machines. By using her laptop’s command-line based system you will be able to hack any network of the city. But every action will have consequences, and Ama will become an easy prey once her identity is unveiled.

That’s the 50-word description the developer gives. As a student in network engineering and a big fan of adventure games, this premise interests me a whole lot. I’m going to be honest, right away. I wish there was a demo of this game already. I want this game in my life, like right now.

From what I have seen in the trailer footage, this game has quite interesting gameplay. But I’m going more in-depth in the next section of my article.

My thoughts

7e97c0d6c91d53a54faee47ddaea309c_original.jpgThe game features very pretty pre-rendered environments. That was something that caught me off guard when I saw the teasers. If this is the alpha stage of the game, consider me hyped. This game is going to look amazing if it has the quality from the teasers throughout the game.

What amazes me more, is that this game is a one-man project. I have a lot of respect for people who create their own games and use mostly or all original assets and content. Speaking from own experience, it’s not easy to create a game from scratch. It requires a lot of work and a lot of dedication.

I admire the honesty of the creator on the Kickstarter. He tells the whole story of the development of the game. He admits trying to get this game from the ground once in the past, but he didn’t succeed. Admitting failure isn’t always easy to do, but the professional way he does it is worth its weight in gold.

In any case, let’s talk about the game again. Something that looks really interesting is the hacking mechanic. In this game, you can also get hacked. And that’s something that made me smile. That mechanic is going to make the game for me. Since it adds that dash of realism to the game that I miss in the hacking mini-games I played in the past.

This game is going to have dialogue trees. This is something I expect more in a RPG-game. But, it might give some interesting puzzles in this game. There are also going to be fight scenes. Here is me hoping that the game doesn’t rely on QTE (quick time events) for the battles.

The game draws its inspiration from Bladerunner in a way. Fun fact, the game is going to be released in 2019. That’s the year the movie was set in too, in a similar ship. Also, taking inspiration from any movie with my favorite actor Harrison Ford is a plus in my book.

Kickstarter

So, at the moment of writing, the game’s Kickstarter is still running. In 12 days, the Kickstarter will be closed. So, if you are interested in seeing this game before everybody else OR supporting this game, go to the Kickstarter page right now!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005143815/amas-lullaby-a-point-and-click-game-in-a-cyberpunk

 There are also a lot of updates written by the developer and more video’s to see the progress of the game. So, go and have a look to that! I’m keeping an eye on the game as well. Since this game looks really interesting. I can’t wait to see where this game goes. If there is interesting news, I’ll tweet it out! Here are the links to their social media:

Facebook & Twitter

If you still have any questions about the game, go to their social media and ask a question. The developer will reply to your question.

To wrap this article up, I think I have to say in conclusion that this game has a lot of potential. Since it’s a point-&-click adventure game. And those aren’t made often. I can’t wait to see more of this game. Since what I have seen so far, is really good. All the concept art and trailers are getting me hyped!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then; take care and have a great rest of your day!

Preview: Asylopole (PC) ~ Press Release

retest4 2 blanc taille ks 1024.jpgOfficial website

Today I have the honor to take a look at an adventure game, that’s still in development, called Asylopole. I wanted to write an article earlier about this game, since the developer mail me in the beginning of this month. In any case, before I give my own opinion, I first of all want to link you guys and girls to MrLiamMills his video about it! Go and check it out here. In order to talk about this game, I took at look at the DRM-free playable teaser. Because this is a teaser, I also took a look at all the material published by the developer. So, enough stalling. Here we go. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

Keep in mind that the game is still subject to change, since it’s still in development. 

Postives

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The story is described by the developer himself:

The game take place in a dystopian future where it’s a daily struggle for the population just to stay sane. Under the huge dome that covers the megalopolis and all its inhabitants, you play the role of Adam Murdock, a psychiatrist working in an insane asylum, a gigantic building that supports the center of the dome.

When treating patients, you are able to access their inner most thoughts and help fight the phobias and other mental problems that exist in a virtual world that’s known as Mentalis.
Get inside your patients’ heads to find out what’s gone wrong. Experience totally new universes and fight your patients’ worst demons…

 I love adventure games and I have played my fair share of them like Broken Sword and Monkey Island to name a few. There are a lot of adventure games I have started but never finished. The reason why I choose to finish an adventure game is the story. Without a good story, I can’t find the motivation to continue.

The story that’s currently shown in the playable teaser and in the press material sounds very interesting. While at first glance, it looks like a story that has elements thrown together from popular adventure games, I honestly think this can be very epic. The basic idea for the story reminds me of an underrated shooter called DreamKiller.

It’s quite impressive that this game is created by one person. Of course, he got some help from other people, but most work is done by one person. I’m honestly always impressed when somebody designs a game from top to bottom. Many years ago, I tried to create games myself and I didn’t get any further than simple 2D-casual games. So, it’s quite impressive.

The atmosphere & soundtrack is very nice too. The animation and visual presentation fits the story and setting quite well. From what I have seen from the press materials, I honestly think that this game has the potential to pull me in when it’s finished. And not only that, the developer went out of his way to make the world a bit more alive. Things like a social network and references to the latest popular trends are all pretty nice to see.

Improvements?

rue9pnj53 US.pngSo, what do I recommend to the developer to improve or take a look at? Well, here are a few suggestions from me. Things that the developer should improve in a demo version and/or the full version.

First of all, I would honestly take a look at the UI. While it’s still in development, I haven’t seen where you would place the options menu. Or is the plan to only put that in the main menu? Just a side note, I got a crash while trying to save my game in the playable teaser.

What I would improve the most in terms of the UI is the fact that most menu sections lack “back buttons”. I know that you can press the “escape key” but those things aren’t always common knowledge. What I’m trying to say is that you should make the UI as accessible as possible. A good UI doesn’t need any explanation from a manual or an in-game tutorial. The developer is already doing a great job by using universal icons for most functions.

Also, try to implement support for screen sizes. My laptop resized the game to a screen as big as a screen on the Nintendo 3DS. I wish I was able to play in a bigger resolution.

While I know that developing a game is hard and asks a lot of time, I wish you had a bit more to do in the playable teaser. One mini-game, one inventory puzzle and/or a bit more action would have been lovely. Since now, I’m a bit bummed out. I want to play more. Since this game certainly caught my attention.

And honestly, that’s all I can say about this game. I encourage you guys and girls to support this developer. Since it’s quite clear this game is a work of passion and I see that there is a lot of potential in this game.

The foundation is already present, so dear developer, build on it. And I’m looking forward to in a more finished build to test out. And if you want, I’m willing to take a look at it and write another article about it.

Before I forget, congrats on the award man. I can say out of my own experience that getting a reward for your hard work is really motivating.

This game is one I’m going to keep an eye out for. I followed the developer on Twitter and I like I said earlier, I can’t wait to see more.

So, that is everything for this week. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks again to the developer of this game for giving me this chance to write about this game. This will be another game I’m looking forward too in 2017! I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then: take care and have a great rest of your day!

First Impression: Venture Forth (PC) ~ Alpha Peek

logoOfficial website

First of all, this is an impressive project. This game is made by a small indie developer and has been in development for over two years. They mailed me because they wanted me to take a look at this game after I wrote about Delver. Since this game is in the same style, they thought I might be interested in it. Indeed, I am. While it took me a while to take a look at this game since I was extremely busy, I finally found the time recently. So, let’s dive right into Venture Forth. This article is written on an unfinished build of the game, this is also mostly meant to hype the game a bit and give some feedback to the developers. Ready, let’s go! Alpha build of the 4th July, here we come!  (And as usual, feel free to give me a comment with your opinion of this game and/or the content of the game.)

Warning: This game is in one of my favourite genres. Also, I wasn’t able to make time to write this article, so I had to push it back for almost two months. And also, when I’m asked to write an article, I try to give the best feedback possible. So, prepare yourself for a longer article then you are used of me.

What needs more work?

Labyrinth 2015-03-02 00-47-36-09

The developer said to me that some of the visuals are place holders. So, I’m not going to talk too much about that. While I honestly think that some items and 3D textures look mighty fine already, others like a potion is just an arrow in this current build.

Most likely, the fact that we are missing a menu for options like key-bindings, starting a new game and all that is something that is still in development. If it’s not, please would it be possible to give the player the option to change how they want to control the game? I live in one of those weird keyboard countries where the lay-out of my keyboard is not qwerty, but azerty.

An annoying bug I found in the game is that when you want to switch from full screen to windowed mode, it kept running in full screen. This game uses the usual enter+alt method, which is no big deal. But they might want to look into this bug. Hopefully it’s not because of my own made pc.

This is just a feature suggestion of mine. The map is set up quite interestingly, but what if you give each area a different colour on the map. Makes it easier to see which area ends where. Just a minor thing.

Something that’s not that minor is the lack of lighting in some areas. Don’t read me wrong, I think it’s nice that they went for the realistic approach and make the areas where natural light can’t come through, it’s extremely dark. But when you use a torch, it gives off barely enough light to even properly navigate the dungeon. The area “The Nest” was a perfect example of this.

Labyrinth 2014-10-22 02-49-56-15I could complain about the lack of a tutorial yet, the game controls and plays like any other typical dungeon game. One thing I think they should really change and that is the starting area. You start out having to jump down a ravine. Not once, but if I recall correctly, about three times, you loose some health and this will set off a handful of players to not play the game. It’s not really inviting and it gives the game the first impression of using cheap tricks. At least in my opinion.

Same with some puzzles. This game uses a few puzzles where you barely get any hints. Without spoiling too much, let me tell you. When you are stuck and have nowhere to go, try a staff. It took me way too long to figure this out. I’m not saying it wasn’t rewarding to find this out, but a subtle hint when you enter the area would be nice. But really subtle. In the current version of the game, it was a nearly see-through wall. Hinting that there is something at the other side. But before you got there, it was a long hallway. Maybe put in the rocks an image that looks like the staff somewhere in that hallway? That’s what I mean with subtle, something you wouldn’t notice or easily miss.

Before I move on to the more positive parts of the game, I want to talk about something that won’t help with the first impression as well. The first enemies you encounter are a bit too strong in my taste. Actually, that’s just a nitpick, since if you know what you are doing, the enemies can be quite the pushovers.

What is already good?

Labyrinth 2015-06-04 19-04-46-54

I’m not going to give criticism on the music. Well, honestly, the ambient music that’s playing in the background. The reason is that it helps building the atmosphere quite well. That there is only one melody/track that plays, I can understand. It’s an Alpha after all. If they weren’t planning to add some more music, then a problem could arrive. Some players would get annoyed by the repetitive music and this would turn up as a negative in various reviews.

Earlier I talked about the map system. As a fan of these style of games, I could start complaining about the difficulty to see rooms and all that… Honestly, I think the map is one of the best features in this game. It’s a fully 3D view of the world you play in. It also shows some hidden things in the map, most likely put there from the developer to control the game. (read: spawning enemies or helping with the lighting of an area.) Which is a really cool touch.

That the enemies aren’t shown on the map is something I’m on the fence about. On one hand, you could say it’s annoying since you can’t plan your strategy. On the other hand, it really helps build fear into the game. You never know if an area is safe to cross or not.

The game runs quite smooth already. I got a steady 60fps, which is quite nice. The sound effects are actually perfect for this game. There weren’t many sound effects I would change. I would add a few here and there like for when an enemy switches equipment.

Yes, that’s a thing. Later in the game, the enemies will switch weapons. Long range combat, they will use a bow. Short range? Well, prepare for a sword fight. In this game, you can also prepare a few load-outs. Choose carefully though, since this game doesn’t offer an inventory system. So, that means, when you want to use your potions, you will have to use a load-out. You can also equip two items and armour. Logical, since we only have two hands. This is the reason why you need to plan out your strategy quite well.

Labyrinth 2015-05-10 05-04-07-93

So, the actual controls are mighty smooth. While I think they should add a run button in the full release, the aiming and such is extremely nice for an alpha. Also, this game would benefit from a crouch move where you can’t fall off ledges, like in Minecraft.

I think I talked about everything I wanted to talk about so it’s time to wrap up this article.

Conclusion

I really love where the game is going. I understand that this game is still in alpha and needs some polishing. But truth to be told, the base game is there. The core idea is present and it puts a new spin on exploration. It’s not simply a clone or just an explorer game. It tries to do something new with the different load-outs you can easily switch between and the amazing map.

It can become a great game, if they worked on expanding the first impressions that the game gives you. If I would give it a score in it’s current state, while keeping in mind that it’s an alpha build, it would be around a 7/10.

Thanks for letting me play this game, I actually enjoyed myself. Don’t be afraid to send me a review copy when it’s fully released guys, I will for sure write a full review about it then.

Anyway, I think I will leave it at that for this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed preparing and writing it. And please, give their official site a look, they deserve it.

First Impression: Broken Sword 5 – The Serpents Curse (PC – Steam) ~ Fan Funded!

gaming_brokensword5

Official website

Gorge and Nico are back baby! In the full 2(.5)D glory. When I saw this game being created by a kickstarter I was hyped. And the big surprise is that the studio’s budget was as big as the money donated by the fans. Sadly, I wasn’t in time to donate. But I think some promotion like this will pay my debt back. If you wonder what I’m talking about, let me explain you. I’m a big fan of this series. It’s the best point and click adventure game build in Europe. This game actually made me enjoy this genre of gaming and it stuck with me ever since. For my Christmas present I actually asked to get the collectors edition of this series. And recently, this game popped up on Steam. I’m personally fond of Steam versions instead of GOG.com games. No offence GOG, but I prefer Steam just a bit more. Also, this game is only 20 bucks! And in addition to that, the big finale, which is going to be released at the start of next year, is going to be free if you bought the first episode. Anyways, enough introduction! Let me know in the comments what you think of this game and / or my article. 

Story, not perfect.

Broken-Sword-5-22In terms of story, this game is neat. A story in this series starts with a big problem and then through-out your adventure you start to learn what has been going on. And some conspiracy is always the outcome.

The writing is again brilliant, yet it’s a bit weaker this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I think some moments are extremely funny and some thrilling. Yet, it doesn’t have the right power to be as good as the previous stories. Lots of critics complain about it. But it’s something different that destroys the story for me.

It’s the presentation of the story that’s flawed. I’ll talk about the graphics later. Just to be clear, I’m talking how the story is being told to us. One thing that bothers me is that the dialogue isn’t fluid. The next line waits until the animation is done. This makes for sometimes short and awkward pauses in a conversation and that breaks the immersion a bit.

Talking about the animation, it’s pretty well. They are pretty realistic and well made. Each character has it’s own set of animation like his or her own personality. With the brilliant voice acting, the animation is top notch. If you ignore one thing though. The lips. I don’t know how, yet sometimes when a character speaks their lips don’t seem to move. As if they were thinking. And that’s the second issue with the story for me. I start to notice that and the charm of the story goes lost.

New and better!

366993Apart from the issues with the story’s presentation I have one other complaint with this game. And that’s the movement. For one, there isn’t a run button. And secondly, you can’t really walk freely around without having to click on things. That’s what I dislike the most about this game.

Yet, the game is more newcomer friendly. With a great tutorial, that’s optional (take notes devs!), you get introduced to the game’s mechanics really easily.

Also, the fact that hints now unlock way easier is a big plus! Also the presentation of the hints is just amazing. It’s the question people ask when they are stuck. Like “I can’t get the door to open. What should I do?” And while I love to find out everything by myself, I sometimes can’t resist clicking the hint button to enjoy the writing.

Now about the graphics. They are mind blowing. If you look at screenshots and such, the characters might not really fit in. I give you that. But keep in mind that apart from that, everything is hand drawn. And I get a realistic feel. Like real characters sat in front of a green screen. And I do think that this style fits the series extremely well.

The puzzles itself are again amazing.  Some make you truly think and I honestly missed that. Also, the style of achievements like in Alan Wake to take your progress is just a neat idea. That way you have a nice list how far you are in the game. Yet, I do find it extremely silly that every achievement displays “100%”. Almost like they are somewhere visible. Yet, I do think, while it’s neat and all that, this makes for spoilers. As the achievements give some spoilers if you would display them on the steam page.

Just exploring.

Broken Sword 5 (5) (1)

The music of Broken Sword was never really my favorite to listen to. And please, don’t get me wrong. I don’t turn it of or anything, it builds the atmosphere really well. Yet, I enjoy more melodic pieces of music instead of the music of Broken Sword. So, what I am say is that this game has as a critic’s standpoint, great music. Yet, it’s out of my interest zone.

What could have used some polishing work is the sounds. I feel like the music is there to “cover up” the lack of sound effects. There were many moments where my mind added sound effects. Like in dialogue or walking sounds. That would have been amazing.

The story has been cut into two. I’m really curious to the rest of the story. Since this time it’s more then just a murder. It’s also a theft. And you are a prime suspect. Also, you can see that the characters moved with time. Some characters return and they are as great as ever.

I have only finished 19% according the achievement list, so I have a whole lot left to play. And in my full review when I full beat this game, I’ll also talk about the options and more in depth of every aspect of this game. So, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article. And now I’m going to enjoy myself a bit of Broken Sword 5! I have been waiting on it.