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First Impression: Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe (Switch) ~ Let’s Explore For Tears

WoodleTree2Deluxe-featuredNintendo.com microwebsite

I remember when ChubbyPixel asked me to review Woodle Tree Deluxe on the Switch in March. I felt like there could have been done so much more with the concept of the game. Recently, the company released the sequel to the Nintendo Switch. Woodle Tree 2 Deluxe. An expanded version of Woodle Tree 2: Worlds on Steam. Now, the asked me to take a look at the sequel as well. While a review key has been provided to write this review, I’ll giving my 100% honest opinion on this game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Let’s explore for tears

WOODLE TREE2The story of this game is a direct follow up to the original. In this game, you play as a son of the hero of the original game. Now, the powers of evil have taken over the Wood Lands as revenge. It’s up to you to save the Wood Lands and find the tears again.

The way the story is being told and paced is a lot better than the original. In the original, you have a small cut scene at the start and you got thrown into the hub world. Now, the whole world is the hub world and there is a central place that acts as a sort of overview place where you can buy upgrades and cosmetics.

Before you can go explore the whole map, you go through a sort of tutorial section. The tutorial is quite decent. It teaches you the basic mechanics of the game without being too punishing.

After you have saved the three first tears, you will be allowed to find all the other tears. Right on the map screen, you can see that the game is divided up in several area’s where you can find three tears each. Right there on the map screen you can also notice that the checkpoints you activate also can be used as warp points. That’s pretty neat.

So, in each area there are three tears and at least 80 blue berries. You can find your progress of that collection on the mini map. There are also red berries but there is no counter for that on the map screen. The map screen is quite useful since it tells you where in the world you are and which level it is. The only thing I miss on the map screen is a sort of zoom in feature that you can use to have a better idea of the current area you are in. Also, it would be extremely handy that you could move the cursor freely around without being restricted to only being able to choose the warp points.

You can bring up the map screen by a simple press of the (+) button. If you use the shoulder buttons, you can use the pause menu. The menu after the map screen is the options menu. Where you can adjust the camera sensitivity, the volume, if you want to invert the X-axis or the Y-axis, if you want or don’t want anti-aliasing and the language. The controls are listed in this menu, but you can’t change them. In the most recent update, the developers added a lot of languages!

The 3rd and final screen in the pause screen is a total overview of your adventure where you can see how much red berries, blue berries you have and how many tears you have collected.

Now, most of the story is being told through text bubbles. There is no voice acting nor are there any “voice noises” in the game. There are sound effects, but I will talk more on that later in this review. You can easily notice when somebody has something to say, because there is a text box floating above their head. Now, you don’t have to worry to approach them from the wrong side since the text box sort of follows your character while staying on top of the character that’s speaking. The only thing is that the character itself doesn’t follow you.

Wall jumps and double jumps

WOODLETREEIf you played a platformer or the original, you will be right at home playing this game. The idea is that through platforming, you find the three tears. In this game, Woodle has few new moves in their arsenal. You have a double jump and a wall jump. You can also use your leaf to float around and to catch water droplets to water dead trees. To easily find your way around in the world, you can also use a telescope. Sadly enough, there isn’t a run button in sight.

It’s not that your character is moving slow, the world is a tad bit too big. It would be extremely helpful that you had a run button or some way to make the traveling faster. Thankfully the warp mechanic is really fast, so once you unlocked the way points, it’s easy to get there fast. It also helps you out in a pinch. Just take a look at this tweet. Yes, I got stuck inside a house I wasn’t supposed to get into. Or the moment I was able to let the character do a sort of moonwalk.

Now, the reason that I called this section, wall jumps and double jumps is because I feel like there is some sort of conflict in the code. I found it a bit difficult when I wanted to use my double jump to get onto a higher ledge because I jumped away from the wall since a wall kick was used.

This caused me a few deaths. Thankfully, there is no life system in place. After a few hits, you respawn at the checkpoint you used last. Checkpoints are also used as save points. So, whenever you need to save, you can easily warp to a checkpoint and the game automatically saves your progress. Now, the game only has one save slot, so it’s impossible that two or more people have their own playthrough at the same time.

Overall, the controls are quite responsive. While I sometimes have to fight the camera, I don’t think that the controls are that bad. They could use some polish, especially in the above mentioned wall jump mechanic. Now, the game drops the ball in two other area’s.

First of all, the visual presentation is something that needs some work. Overall the game looks fine and the animations are decent. Visually the game looks amazing for being a budget title. But, there are multiple popping issues and in some area’s I even had some major frame drops when the area was loading in. And in some area’s, the place suddenly totally changed like in this video/tweet.

The character is sometimes quite jittery, especially when you are floating down. You can attack during your floating down without loosing height or momentum. Textures and models pop in and out. The leaf you use sometimes just turns white, like when you are floating down… The game needs polish in the performance of the visuals.

Speaking of the visual presentation, the lighting is extremely off. Now, I can understand that when the enemies come and attack you, the scene goes dark. It are the powers of evil after all. But, for example on the beach, the lighting is so strong… the yellow that’s used for sand was sometimes quite painful to look at. Besides that, I had different lighting in a similar area without any rime or reason. I also posted that in a video on Twitter.

A final thing in the visual department I think that could have been improved is the design of some enemies. At first, I wasn’t able to tell some enemies apart from NPC’s. This was a problem during the tutorial since I was attacking an NPC that looked an awful lot like an enemy from the original game.

Now, a great thing about the visual department is how your health is being displayed. The size of the leaf is basically your health. How smaller it is, how closer you are to death. Unlike the first game, you can be hit multiple times in this game. This makes the game more forgiving and more fun to play.

It’s a shame really, since the game is looking quite charming and fun to play. If only these issues with the visual presentation weren’t present, then the game could have been so much better. Sadly enough, this isn’t the only major issue with the game.

Spooky silence

WOODLE TREE 3The game itself isn’t too hard. When you get used to the controls and the mechanics of the game, you are able to find your way around quite easily. Enemies can be easily avoided and sometimes just buying an upgrade can make the game a literal walk in the park.

Now, the 2nd big issue with this game is the audio design. Don’t misunderstand me, the music and sound effects of this game are all quite well done but there isn’t enough. Some things are lacking sound effects like hitting switches or elevators. But the biggest issue is the music. The music is amazing but there are a lot of areas where the music doesn’t play and you hear silence. You only hear the sound effects of the game.

It’s a shame, since each area has it’s own unique musical theme that really fits with the atmosphere of that area. But the area’s in between stay silent. But, sometimes the music just loops wrong as well. There are these flowers you can run into to get a speed boost. Each time you hit a flower, the musical jingle restarts. This is quite annoying in my opinion. I wish it just extended playing the jingle. And let’s not forget to mention that the animation is quite inconsistent with these speed boosts. In some area’s, a roll animation starts playing and in some area’s it looks like you are gliding over the ground.

Should I be so harsh on this game? The game is fun, has a lot of love and creativity in it. The game costs 12 bucks and is quite often on sale. The developers are quite responsive and if you find a bug and report it to them, they fix it in the next patch. Even when another game has come out. Still, I see the potential that this game has and I just wish that the game was more polished.

Something that I’m quite content with this game is the fact that this game shows a lot of potential for the following games of the studio. I have been working with this studio since the first Suicide Guy game. I have seen the quality of each of their titles improve and grow. And this game impressed me quite a lot. I’m quite thankful that I got a key from them to review this game since I think that this game shows a lot of potential for the future.

Now, something that I would love to see in a sequel to this game is less technical issues and more things to do besides looking for blue berries and the tears. Expand the game and the universe. Maybe have a cross over with the Suicide Guy series, besides being it as an easter egg.

So yeah, I think I’m going to continue playing this game. The charm of this game really has won me over. I can recommend this game to other players, but keep in mind that this game has some technical issues in it’s current state. Maybe some future patches will improve on this, who knows.

And that’s for now, everything that I have to say on this game. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

 

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First Impression: Woodle Tree Deluxe (Switch) ~ Raindrops To The End.

Woodly TreeNintendo microsite

In 2017, the developers behind Suicide Guy contacted me to ask if I would take a look at their game. Last year, they asked me to take a look at the sequel/follow-up of the game called Suicide Guy – Sleeping Deeply. Now, Chubby Pixel sent over a review copy of Woodle Tree Adventures Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch. While the developer provided me with a review copy for this game, you will find my 100% personal opinion in this article. I’m quite excited to see what this game has to offer and how different their other titles are. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the content of this article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

Raindrops To The End

Woodle Tree 1In this game, you play as a walking log. You are tasked by the Great Tree, that looks a lot like the Deku Tree from Ocarina of Time, to bring the water back to the world. Why do you have to bring the water back to the world? Because it’s going through a draught at the moment. After the Great Tree shows you the Fairy Tears you need to collect in order for you to save the world, you get teleported to the hub world. This hub world is the home that the Great Tree for you build and there you find a backpack (it’s called a rugsack in game) and your weapon, the magical leaf.

And that’s about it in terms of story. I haven’t finished the game yet, but I think the there will be a bit more story bits after I finished the last level. Now, I didn’t expect a grand story from this game. Because the stories in the Suicide Guy games was handled in the same way. It’s all about the gameplay in these games.

Before I talk about the gameplay, I want to mention one thing that I didn’t like about the story. In this game, there isn’t a button to skip dialogues. When I started playing this game and I read the first dialogue and I wasn’t able to advance, I thought that my Switch froze. But, you have a wait for a bit too long in order for the game to advance. It sounds like a nitpick, but it would improve the game quite a lot.

With that said, let’s focus our attention to the gameplay. In this game, you go through various levels looking around for these Fairy Tears. There is no tutorial in the first level, but a quick look at the controls by pressing the “+” key on the right joycon explains everything you need to know. The controls are easy to grasp and understand.

The goal in each level is to find the tree hidden Fairy Tears and bring them to the three cups at the end of the level. If you reach the end of the level without all three tears, you won’t be able to finish the level. While the levels are quite linear, to find all three tears, you will have to explore off the main path and look everywhere.

Checkpoint mystery

Woodle-Tree-Adventures-Deluxe-2Whenever you fall of the edge of the level or get hit by an enemy, you respawn at a checkpoint. Now, at first, I didn’t understand how the checkpoint system worked, but after some experimentation, I think I understand it. Let’s say there are 5 checkpoints in a level. When you die past the 4th checkpoint, you respawn at checkpoint 4. If you die again, you respawn at checkpoint 3, die again -> checkpoint 2. So, the punishment of dying is respawning at an earlier checkpoint.

In this game, you don’t have hitpoints nor lives. So, if you are hit by an enemy, you are dead. But, you will never get a game over. Speaking about enemies, they die in one hit as well. Some will chase after you, others will stand in your way to make certain platforming sections trickier to complete. The enemies were a small point of frustration in this game for me, since the attack of your character is so slow, I ran into them quite often. Thankfully, you don’t loose your already collected tears whenever you die.

But, there is something that was ever more annoying, and that was the camera. You don’t have full control over the camera in this game. You can zoom in and out in most places. I’m extremely happy for that feature since it made certain platforming sections possible. In other sections, the zooming in or out mechanic didn’t work properly or not at all. Making some sections extremely tricky, especially when you have trouble seeing depth.

A cute cover

Woodle-Tree-Adventures-Deluxe-3This game is a port of the Steam game “Woodle Tree Adventures”. In this version, with get an additional level, the new camera system and better jumping mechanics.

Speaking about the jumping mechanics, the animation of the jump looks a bit weird. It looks a bit floaty. I think that a few more frames of animation for the jump would give it a more natural feel.

Visually speaking, this game looks very good. The world is very colorful and vibrant. The visual presentation of the game is one of the strongest points of this game. The game even looks stunning in some places. Especially some lighting effects like the sun’s rays peeking through some models, giving a sunset vibe.

Yet, underneath this cute cover, the game feels unfinished. For example, the controls of this game respond quite well but they can be quite slippery sometimes. I lost count how many times I died because my character took one or two additional steps and feel into the abyss.

Also, I felt that there was something missing during my playthrough of this game. There is barely any UI in this game. I missed an on screen counter for the collected fruits in each level. With these you can buy various cosmetic items for your character, but it’s tricky to know how much you have already collected. You can see this in one space in the hub world, but the counter isn’t visible at the location you can buy these cosmetics at.

All of this happens in the hub world. And there is another element that I don’t like about this game. The placement of the levels. To start a level, you have to hit the orb with your magic leaf. But these orbs appear randomly in the hub world without any indication of which ones you already finished or which one is new.

Overall, this game is quite easy. The only moment that this game can become difficult is when the controls become slippery or when the camera decides you can’t zoom in or out. But, it didn’t take me long to finish the first few levels of this game.

The music and sound effects are a bit lacking as well. While the music of this game is quite enjoyable, I wish there was a bit more to the soundtrack and a bit more sound effects. I think there are only 5 sound effects in this whole game. And that is a bummer. Speaking about sound effects, I noticed that the dying sound effect sometimes played multiple times when you fall off the edge.

Overall, this is a decent game. But, it’s lacking. The game could use a lot more polish and content. The concept is interesting and fun to play but with slippery controls, boring level design and especially an annoying camera, this game is hindered so much. This game could have been so much better then what’s released right now. With that said, I have a hard time recommending this game. While it has a ton of elements that work and work well, but there are just too many elements that need polishing or updating for me to fully recommend without any hesitation.

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

First Impression: Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katerielle and the Millonaires’ Conspiracy (3DS) ~ Miss Layton

layton lady katrielle mystery journey.jpgWikipedia page

To be honest, when I first heard about the release of this game, I thought that Level5 was going to port the Android spin-off Layton Brothers to the 3DS. Since it has a similar concept. A team that solves smaller cases as a detective and try to solve crimes. Yet, to my surprise, the story of this game goes about the daughter of the famous professor Layton, named Katrielle. While the game first released on mobile devices, I played the 3DS version. I’m used to be playing Professor Layton games on the 3DS, so why change that if I knew that a 3DS version was coming. Since I haven’t played the mobile version, that means I won’t be talking about it in my first impression here either. So, I think it’s time that I talk about this game, is it a good entry into the Layton franchise or is it a spin-off that should only exist one time? As usual, feel free to leave your opinion on the article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

It’s Miss Layton now

Laytons-Mystery-Journey-Katrielle-and-the-Millionaires-Consipracy-Screenshot-01.jpgIn this game, you play as Katrielle, Layton’s daughter. She just opened a mystery solving shop in London and she is awaiting her first mysteries to solve. Her motto is “any mystery solved”. Together with her assistant named Ernest, you come across a talking dog. Katrielle gives the talking dog a name, Sherl. Yes, as a reference to Sherlock Holmes. The strange thing is that not everybody can hear Sherl talking. Katrielle’s first mystery is trying to solve why that is. Yet, it doesn’t take long before the first case reveals itself and Katrielle gets distracted by solving that. Not too soon after, Katrielle, Ernest, and Sherl go on different adventures to solve cases.

The writing in this game is very lighthearted and a joy to read. I really enjoy how Katrielle does anything for food, how Ernest is the clumsy romantic and Sherl the dog that knows a lot about how humans live their daily lives. The story can take itself seriously when it needs to, but overall, this is a less serious entry into the series compared to the previous games in the series. I’m currently at the 5th case in the game, so it’s possible that it can change. But, we shall see. The voice acting on the characters is also amazing. I think that the cast did an amazing job voicing these characters and make them come to life. A gold star for that!

I do have one minor complaint about the naming of certain characters in the game. The word puns in some cases made me cringe a bit. They didn’t feel creative, they felt forced in. Like, there was a couple where the lady was called Vic and the male called Tim. There were a bit more names like that and it didn’t click with me. I felt that more day-to-day names like Marc, William, Sara, Marian would be fitted better.

The story is structured in such a way that it more resembles a Saturday morning anime. Each case doesn’t take too long to solve, but each case has a nice start, middle and finale. During the case, you gather clues, that you have to fit in a puzzle. While this puzzle is extremely easy to make, I think it’s a step up from the previous Layton games since it’s more than a button that unlocks in a menu.

I do have one complaint about the story actually. I feel like the focus on the backstory of Sherl is a bit too much pushed to the background in the first cases. For real, the twist the game starts with about Sherl didn’t go anywhere substantial in the first four cases. If it did, I must have missed it.

Layton at its core

Laytons-Mystery-Journey-Katrielle-and-the-Millionaires-Consipracy-Screenshot-02While this game has a different main cast, the gameplay of this game is still the usual Layton gameplay at its core. In this game, you solve brain teasers and puzzles to get information from people. There are over 150 puzzles in this game. While you don’t have to solve them all to beat the game, there are some points in the game where you need to solve a certain amount of puzzles in order to progress. In this case, the game will clearly state how many you need to solve.

As I said earlier, this game is all about solving mysteries and finding clues to solve that mystery. Like I said before, the game is pretty lighthearted, so the mysteries aren’t; well how shall I put it? A missing pet or a missing part of a movie, that is the two of the first four cases. Yeah, I think that explains itself. So, you have to explore the London to find clues to what happened and how to solve the case.

While you are exploring, you can go to various locations and each location has various things to do. Exploration is just traveling from screen to screen. Sometimes you will have to ride a bike to another remote location, but that is about it. Also, you can only go to screens you unlocked. What I mean by this is that when for example, a lady on street tells you that your client lives a bit more down the road, the map opens up to that location.

This is how exploration always worked in the Layton games. Yet, you can do a lot on each screen. You can find hidden collectibles or puzzles, hint coins, progress the story or get interesting commentary about the object you tapped on. I really advise you to look at each screen with a lot of attention since all those things can be handy in solving the future cases. Especially the hint coins, if you can collect them, that’s always a great idea.

If you have played Layton games before, most hiding spots of the hint coins won’t be a surprise to you. Otherwise, try to tap on everything and it won’t take long before you will start to understand how this whole system works. So, why are these hint coins so handy? Well, let me tell you. You can get a hint when you are stuck in solving a brain teaser. Believe me, some will get you stumped and make you think. A great advice from me is to have a pen and notebook handy and maybe a calculator too.

While you can take notes and draw on the touchscreen while you solve the puzzle, I always felt that this system didn’t work flawlessly. If you want to input an answer, you have to exit out of your notes. In addition to that, I love writing my thoughts more on paper or on a bigger screen than the 3DS’s screen to solve puzzles.

The puzzles that you can solve in this game will range from math riddles to mazes you will have to solve. If you are stuck, don’t hesitate to think outside of the box. Since a lot of answers will simpler then you think. Something I didn’t like about this game is something that Level5 stopped doing in the previous entry in the Layton series. In the first games in the series, they explained the answer. In this game, they don’t always do that. So, when I didn’t understand why I had to answer in a certain way, I was disappointed to see a simple screen saying “you do it!” and nothing more.

Compared to previous Layton games, this game has also some side quests you can perform. During your exploration, you come across various characters who give you a new puzzle that is saved in Katrielle’s trunk. Like a puzzle where you need to solve a maze with the least amount of steps and finding the perfect meal with a cryptic description. Actually, I wouldn’t call them side quests, I think a better name is a side activity or a side puzzle.

Each puzzle is worth a certain amount of picards. The side puzzles aren’t worth any picards. So, what do these picards do? Well, the more you earn, the more bonus material you unlock after finishing the game. So, try to gain as much picards if you can. Since, if you give a wrong answer to a puzzle, the number of picards you earn from that puzzle drop. Keep that in mind if you want to unlock everything.

Visual eye-candy

lady layton 2.jpgThe visual presentation of this game is just amazing. This game has some amazing artwork and is a real piece of visual eye-candy to look at. While the game doesn’t use 3D that often, or at all, I think I can’t decide which art style I like the best for the game. The overall game is 2D, but the character models are rendered in 3D. While in cutscenes, everything is in 2D. I think the screenshots will explain it better than I can with words.

But, there is one thing that I didn’t like about the presentation and that are the cutscenes. To be honest, most cutscenes are just too short. Some cutscenes aren’t longer than one sneeze and blowing your nose. This is a shame since the cutscenes look so well made. I really wish there were longer cutscenes to enjoy. I feel that they are just an afterthought, while they feel like a nice reward for finding a breakthrough or solving the case.

The music for this game is enjoyable as well. The soundtrack isn’t one where I would listen to when I’m doing other things, but it adds a lot to the atmosphere of the game and I have no complaints about that. The music really fits the Layton universe perfectly, if you didn’t know better, you would say that it’s a soundtrack from another Layton game earlier in the series. The sound design also feels right at home. While there aren’t too many sound effects in the game, when they are used, they are used to give the world a bit more life or the story a bit more punch.

Like previous Layton games, this game also has daily puzzles. But this time, I feel that the reward is better for solving them. As you might know, I’m a game collector and I love seeing artwork from the games I played. So, when you solve a daily puzzle, you will get museum points. If you get 100 museum points, you can unlock artwork from any of the previous titles. This is such a great feature since it pulls on my nostalgic strings so much. To be honest, I spend a lot of time-solving the daily puzzles. I really enjoy solving most of them and I wish that time went a bit faster so I could receive my puzzles a bit faster.

While most of the issues I have with the game are minor, I think this game is still a great game. Some issues I have with the game or some minor, they became a nitpick. For example, I really liked how in previous games, each save slot had a different character from the main cast presenting it. In this game, it’s Katrielle for all three. Yeah, major nitpick right there.

Another minor issue that I have are some parts of the controls. While you can use the “A” button, and strangely enough the arrow buttons, to continue dialogues; you can’t use the psychical buttons for anything else. Besides solving some puzzles. Everything is done using the touchscreen. I really miss some shortcut keys. Like using the circle button to move your looking glass around or the shoulder buttons to open the movement menu or a button to open the trunk like “Y” for example. That would be a great addition.

Then again, there are things in the game I really like. Like how you can decorate the mystery solving office to how you want. Changing the Fengshui if you want. Depending on how many puzzles you solve, you get a ticket to “buy” a new item to change up the decoration of your office.

That isn’t the only thing you can change, there are also outfits for Katrielle you can buy. Some even as DLC for a small fee. While they have only a visual purpose and nothing else, the ones you can buy as DLC have an additional puzzle for you to solve.

About the costumes, there is one minor flaw I have to bring up. You can change Katrielle’s costume at any time you want. Yet, I noticed that Katrielle wears special outfits during other chapters. For example, in one chapter she dresses up in a nice dress since she is going out to see a movie with Ernest. If you exit that case and go to a different case to find hint coins you missed, Katrielle is still wearing that special dress. This is a bit out of context in my eyes and shouldn’t happen. Oh well, only a minor complaint?

Oh yeah, you can go back to previous cases in order to find hint coins and puzzles you missed. The only minor complaint I have is that there is no indication when you missed another collectible in the case. Even an indication on the case brief screen would have been nice. Since, if you skipped over one collectible, have fun looking for it, since the game won’t help you there. On the other hand, I think it’s a great move that you can visit back and solve puzzles you haven’t solved or found and looking for hint coins you missed. The only tip the game gives you there is the screen you missed it on. So, have fun looking for what you missed.

So far, I’m enjoying myself with this game. While the game isn’t flawless at all, I think that the positives outweigh the negatives here. If you are still deciding if this game is for you, know that it’s a more lighthearted Layton game with the same atmosphere and gameplay but without Layton, Luke and the usual gang. This game has a completely new cast of characters. It’s a breath of fresh air for the series and I can’t wait to see where Level5 takes this. I would love to see Katrielle and Layton meet one day.

That is everything I wanted to say about this game for now. I thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

 

Game Quicky: The Last Tree (PC) ~ Now with the Full version

hnelvs

Official Steam page

So, do you guys remember when I wrote a preview about The Last Tree a while back? Well, the game has been released on the 31st of May. So, it’s time to take a look at the finished product. I have to say, that I got a review code from the developer, but I have to stress that he didn’t ask for another article. So, in this article, you will get my full honest opinion. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

The bad

highresscreenshot00001

To be very honest, I think the main menu is a bit flat. While the menu does what it’s supposed to do, I think gives an uninteresting look and is quite boring. It could use a bit more decorating. My suggestion is that it has the title card with the menu options underneath.

Something I wish that could be added is an options menu. In this menu, you can do the following things. Mute the music and/or sound effects, change the controls and make the game windowed or full screen. It would be a great feature.

The controls itself aren’t bad, but I like to use the “Z,Q,S,D” keys. And here in Belgium, we have the AZERTY-keyboard layout. This game doesn’t work with that layout.

In terms of the visuals, I would make one minor change. I would change the texture of the collapse floors to a cracked version. This gives the player a better reason to not stand still on those platforms.

This might be a nitpick, but when you reach a save point, quit the game and start the game up again and you click on “Continue”, you start again at the start of the level.

One more thing, I think it would be great if there was a jump sound effect. It would give this game a bit more punch. Actually, I think that this game could use a bit more sound effects, it would make the game come more alive.

The good

The last Tree

The price for this game is really low. You would expect a really bad game for 2€, but this isn’t true in this case!

I really like the visual presentation of the new levels. The presentation is very well done.

Gameplay-wise, I think the game is less “boring” when I compare it to the demo I played in April. The obstacles are more spaced out and you have more time to learn new obstacles and mechanics.

The music of this game is pretty good. Yet, I can understand why some players wouldn’t enjoy the soundtrack all that much. But, I enjoy the music myself.

The game is quite lengthy. With 32 levels, I think that this game has more than enough content for the price of the game. There are also Steam achievements and trading cards. The achievements are to check your progress in the game, but hey, there are triple A games that do that too!

Gameplay-wise, I think this is a really enjoyable casual game. You have to run and jump around. There are two unique mechanics in this game. You move from the right to the left AND the time slows down as you move. You can use this in order to jump over enemies and look if you can make a certain jump. I find myself returning to this game here and there. To play one more level.

There is a story in this game, this story is to raise awareness to the deforesting of the planet. Yet, it isn’t forced upon you. You can read up on the story by stopping at the notes floating around the levels, but you can also run straight passed it when the story doesn’t interest you.

That gets a thumbs up from me, but it’s your loss that you don’t have the enjoyable writing and jokes that the developer put into this game.

Also, a great feature of this game is the Steam Cloud feature! I really love this feature since I can continue to play the game on my laptop when I’m on the go without me loosing any progress.

This might be a personal thing, in case you don’t know it already, the developer actually quoted my preview article on the Steam Store page.

The last tree Steam

Thank you so much for that. 🙂

Conclusion

Is this game worth your time? I think so yes. This game might have not a lot of depth, but it’s a well-built game that can be even better with some polish. All the problems that I talked about in this review, are fixable.

Also, a game with this amount of love and effort put into it for only 2€ is a great deal. If the issues I mentioned get fixed and the game gets a bit more sound effects, I think that this game would be even more enjoyable.

Currently, I think that this game is one of the best cheap games I have in my Steam library. I’m having a lot of fun with the game and the mechanics and can’t wait to beat the game completely.

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

NekoJonez – July 2017 Update

BannerBlog

July is almost over, and I have a lot of updates to share with you. I decided to combine them in one article, so without any further ado, here we go. 

Rebranding

You might have noticed it already, but a month ago, I decided to rebrand my blog. I didn’t make the new artwork and icon myself since I’m honestly not good with programs like Photoshop and other art programs. I can do some really basic editing, but that’s about it.

Thankfully a friend of mine helped me out. Thanks to Zoef, we got a new amazing looking banner and icon. I can’t thank him enough since it looks amazing. It shows perfectly what my blog is about and that was exactly what I was going for.

In the past month, I have tried to look for every place that had my old artwork and changed it. I think I changed everything, but when I noticed that something has my old icon, I’ll change it as soon as I can.

NekoJonez got an award!

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So, something special happened. Last week, I got an email from Market Inspector that I was nominated for “Best Technology Blog of 2017”. I was really happy when I received it. So, I answered their questions to get my nomination in for real.

A week later, I was working on another article while I heard the notification sound on my phone. It was an email from Market Inspector, saying that I actually won in the gaming category. Here is a link to their article announcing the winners.

I’m honored to receive this award. I feel recognized for all the time I have put into this blog. So, thank you Market Inspector for this award!

Big projects and collabs

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First of all, one of my biggest projects yet I have teased on Twitter is finally here. I finished “My favorite gaming music #20“. While the writing was done for a while, I wanted each game to have a separate article with a sort of review for each game. Then I noticed that 5-6 games didn’t have its own article. So, that’s why it took so long, I had to write a couple of other articles before I was able to finish the gaming music article.

Another big project that is currently in the works is a big Zelda project. It’s going to be a project that I’m not doing alone. Currently, we are aiming to finish the article at the end of August. If anything changes, I’ll announce it on Twitter of course.

In other news, I decided to not list all articles I get quoted in, in an update article on my blog. So, if you want to know when I helped writing in an article on another blog, you should really follow me on Twitter. Otherwise, you might miss one of the vacation spots I would take in gaming.

By now, you might be wondering what the image is I added a bit above this paragraph. Well, I’m a part of the Blogger Blitz event that Adventure Rules created. This is a “battle” between bloggers to try in convince you why a chosen game character is better than another character. But here is the catch, each blogger had to choose his or her own character. I picked Indiana Jones. More information about the event can be read on the Adventure Rules blog. On the 31st July, I’ll try to convince you why Indiana Jones is the better in mass producing and selling a certain iconic item than Lightning Farron. The blogger I’m up against is Lightning Ellen. Good luck and may the best writer win!

Schedule for the 2nd part of 2017

Believe it or not, I created a sort of schedule for the 2nd part of 2017. Currently, it’s just a rough planning of the articles I want to write in 2017. Notice that I said, rough planning. That means I can still move around my schedule and/or change it completely.

As usual, I won’t share the schedule. I want to keep it a surprise to everyone and I also change so frequently in my schedule, I would go crazy writing an update article or change it every time I make a change. The only thing I’m going to reveal is that my schedule is filled with game-related articles. I mean with that, first impressions and reviews.

Also, I decided to keep my 1 article/week schedule. Yet, when I’m able to write more than one article a week and I’m in the writing mood, I won’t stop myself. But, starting from September, that might be impossible to write more than once a week. Since then evening classes start up again and I have a few things going on with my acting group.

For this week, I’m still planning a few articles. If I have the time, I might even publish more than 2 articles this week. But, that all depends if I have the time. So, no promises.

NekoJonez is on Steam

Remember that I wrote an article about a game called “The Last Tree“? Well, it’s released on Steam now. The developer emailed me to tell me, that a quote from my article was featured on the Steam Store page! Here is a screenshot:

The last tree Steam

So, that’s why I decided to write a review about the game. So, I’m going to try to finish that article before the end of August! So, keep your eyes out for that. Thank you to the developer of this game for quoting me on Steam. This means a lot to me.

End of updates

So, that are all the updates I wanted to share for this month. The past few months were quite eventful for my blog and my personal life and I’m enjoying all of it. I hope you enjoyed reading this update article as much as I enjoyed writing this.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

 

Preview: The Last Tree (PC) ~ Save The Trees

Official website

So, today we are going to take a look at a preview of “The last tree”. A game that is created by Ungrodo. It’s a game with a message. The message might be pretty clear when you read the title. It’s about the deforesting of our planet. Which is in my opinion a real big shame. Because I sometimes go to the forest and sit there. I put my headphones on and listen to some calming music to get some rest. These moments are so relaxing to me, I wouldn’t want to miss it! I go there when I feel I have no inspiration or motivation to continue. But hey, we are getting side-tracked. Let’s take a look at “The Last Tree”. And as usual, I encourage you to give it a try for yourself. Also, as usual, feel free to give your opinion about the game and/or the content of the article in the comment section down below. 

Full disclosure: this article is written to raise awareness for this game. This isn’t a sponsored article at all. 

Warning: I played a more completed version then the demo version provided on the site. This game is still under development and is subject to change. Things might be different in the final release. 

Demo and stuff

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Update after publishing this article: I totally forgot to mention that the developer is planning to release this game on various platforms like Android and iOS. So, keep an eye out for those!

The developer of this game gets a thumbs up from me. I ran into some issues with the first build I got from him. I emailed him back telling him about it and after a few days, he emailed me back with a new and improved build. Seriously, I love when developers do that. Really listen to the feedback of the people who play their game.

The game is being developed in the Unreal 4 Engine. In this simple 2D game, time moves when you move. A trailer for this game can be found on YouTube. The story in this game is charmingly simple. It has to be since it’s a platformer.

The year is 2092, and the tree called Ungrodo is the last tree on earth, and everybody’s chasing him. He has very special skill – TIME SLOWS DOWN WHEN HE MOVES.

The story is being told by little floating notes. The game doesn’t force you to read the notes. But in most of the notes, the text is so short, you don’t have to stop in your tracks to read everything. I would recommend the developer to shorten some notes, since they stop players dead in their tracks if they want to read everything. I can image this would cause some players to not bother with the notes and skip them. The writing for this game is decent and it would be a shame if players skipped this aspect of the game. Also, I think it would benefit the atmosphere if you added some animations in the background to aid the story telling.

The screen is on fire!

the last tree2.png

Visually, this game looks pretty nice. But there are some things I would like to see improved in the final build of the game.

First of all, the game uses amazing fire effects, but they look disconnected for the visual presentation of the rest of the game. I think it would be nicer if you give the fire a more drawn look like the rest of your game.

Secondly, and this is only a minor thing, remove the lines in the menus. The reason why is: when you have a “R” in there, the line makes it look like an “A”.

Thirdly, there is a great checkpoint system in place in the game. But I would recommend a bit more visual animation when passing through the checkpoints. Sometimes, I hardly noticed I passed a checkpoint.

And finally, while the mechanic of time slowing down is great and becomes very interesting in the game, I would try and avoid the wobble effect you get when you stop moving with the character.

The controls of this game are pretty well done. The game doesn’t provide a tutorial on the controls and it doesn’t need to that, since the controls are so intuitive that they explain themselves. The only thing I would recommend is an option menu to let people to rebind their keys. Since I don’t think everybody wants to use the arrow keys to move in their games.

This game autosaves with each checkpoint. And that’s a great plus in my book. Since I’m somebody who would forget to save and shutdown the game. So, thanks for that. But speaking about saving, I have two issues with this.

One, why is there a restart game option in the pause menu? I would rather have an option to return to the main menu and restart from there.

And two, why isn’t there a prompt saying “are you sure you want to restart your game, since your save data is going to be lost” when you select, restart the game?

Run to the … left?

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So, the gameplay of this game is really simple. Go from right to… left? Yes, a reverse 2D-platform. Neat.

You will have to jump over enemies and obstacles. You can’t fight the enemies since, well, you play as a walking tree.

I love when you died and you return quickly enough, you still see parts of the animation from when you died. This is an amazing touch.

Also, I love that the danger isn’t gone when you jump over an enemy. Since they turn around when you jump over them. Adding to the immersion of the game. Since the character in this story is hunted upon.

Speaking about enemies, I think it would be a bit more fair if you don’t combine too much enemies with the blade traps. Since it’s pretty difficult to make a jump over an enemy and a blade. A good fix for this would be a sort of life-system. Where you are able to take a few hits before you die. And staying in the theme of the story, the main character could lose parts of his(/hers?) body when hit. Like the enemy or the blade was successful in cutting off a piece of him(/her?)

The soundtrack of this game really suits the atmosphere the visuals are building. I think it would improve the game if the sound effects would be changed to fit the character a bit more. Like jumping up is a branch that is being picked up out of leaves or something along those lines.

In any case, I said everything I wanted to say about this game, so it’s time to wrap this article up.

Conclusion

I think that this game has a lot of great ideas as a base, but needs a lot of polishing up. The menu system needs to be more expanded upon. The game idea is excellent. It’s a platformer that can stand out if they polished up a bit more.

The basic game is already there. It just needs some more work to expand the game and improve it.

If you enjoy unique platformers, I would highly recommend to take a look at this one and take a look for yourselves.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog. But until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!