Review: World’s End Club (Switch) ~ Child-friendly Horror?

Official siteNintendo.com micrositeWikipedia page

One of my favorite game developers is Kotaro Uchikoshi and when he and his team are working on a new game, my hype levels rise up. I loved his Zero Escape trilogy and his new series AI: The Somnium Files was amazing, and I can’t wait to play the sequel next year! Anyways, I was quite bummed when World’s End Club released as an Apple Aracade exclusive. Since I’m not an Apple user, I was unable to play the game and I didn’t want to buy an Apple product for just one game. Thankfully, the game released late May of this year on the Nintendo Switch. I have already finished this game for a few weeks now, but I wanted to let the game sink a bit before I wanted to review it since I felt that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to be critical enough. Now, is this game worth your time if you enjoy Kotaro Uchikoshi’s work or should we skip this one and wait for the sequel to AI: The Somnium Files? Well, let’s find out together in this review. . With that said, I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section with your thoughts and/or opinions on the game and/or the content of the article.

Child-friendly horror?

In this game, you take control over Reycho and his friends from the Go-Getters Club. On their school trip, they are waiting to a strange show about a murder game. In this murder game, you have to do preform a certain task to win. But, how do you know your task? Well, for that, you have a look at another person’s bracelet. Only one person can win, and death is on the menu when you fail this task.

Now, why am I explaining this TV-show? Well, because it doesn’t take long before the Go-Getters Club plays their own task game. Of course, things go horribly wrong since the tasks are interconnected and mayhem ensues. During this game, you discover that this game doesn’t really have “wrong ends” but rather game overs. These game overs aren’t that punishing, and you can restart quite closely from where you failed.

Now, after the task game took place, the Go-Getters Club escape and discover that very strange things are happening all over Japan. They quickly form a plan to get back to Tokyo, so they can try and piece together what happened during their task game, and maybe save the world in the process. All the while, strange things happen and people start developing strange and unique powers.

Most of this game is voice acted, and I think that the voice acting in this game is one of the strongest points of the game. It fits the atmosphere extremely well, and the additional emotional accents that the voice actors placed in their performance made me connect with the characters even more. Surprisingly, the writing is rather light-hearted all the while it’s dealing with various horror subjects.

If I have to judge this game on the story alone, I would have to say that it’s a 7/10 story. I think I mainly expected a darker storyline after watching the trailer, and while I didn’t get that in this game… The more light-hearted writing of the story and the structure, well it just worked nicely. I think, that if you go into this game with the right mindset that you are going to experience a story that’s more fit for a Saturday morning/afternoon cartoon than a horror game. So, yes.

While researching for this review, I wasn’t surprised to see that various other critics were ripping this game apart. While I think that some critics judged this game a bit too harshly, I have to agree that this game isn’t the best it could be. I think the story could have worked better if there was a bit more character development and that the ending wasn’t twist after twist/surprise after surprise. The pacing of the end was a bit TOO much.

Jumping over different paths

Since I want to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, I think I’ll keep the story analysis for another article. In summary, the story is good but flawed. It could have been so much more, but it tried things that made the story float between a child-friendly Saturday afternoon cartoon and a Zero Escape-style game. And it’s neither one.

Let’s move on to gameplay. This game is quite linear. In this game, you have to platform your way through various obstacles and go to the end of the level.

These levels are quite varied due to the different powers that the members of the Go-Getter Club have. This game is going to test your reflexes and understanding of each and every member’s abilities. During the levels, you get to know the in and outs of the abilities of each character so that at the ending of the game, you can be tested if you truly understand the abilities and finish the final challenge the game throws at you.

During these levels, you can also earn cards for 100% completion. Some of these cards are extremely trivial to get, but others are quite tricky and require you to backtrack a bit sometimes. Apart from adding some additional lore, I haven’t found another use for these cards then just being a collectible. And without really trying, I got 27/30 cards when beating the game. And if only I was able to quickly see in which levels I have missed a card.

Overall, these levels are quite good and enjoyable to play, but I feel that the game is a tad bit too easy. I rarely felt challenged, and I felt that I was breezing through the game without too many issues. And I even played the game on Normal mode so, I think, “I could play the easy mode without even trying”. Together with the controls, I didn’t have a lot of problems playing through this game. I did have to get used to the some things.

For example, the activation of the powers and actually using them has a bit of a delay… Which I didn’t always calculate in during battles or platforming sections. Another example is that seeing the death animation and the game over screen can’t be skipped… So, getting back into the action take a while.

But the biggest mistake that this game makes in terms of gameplay in the platforming is the lack of depth. You have this whole group of friends who can use various powers, but each level or section only focuses on one character. And if another character is using his or her power, it’s controlled by a CPU. I wish that the game did more than just scratch the surface on what’s possible.

In typical fashion for these games, the path splits at various places in the story. Surprisingly, you can only play the other paths when you have seen the normal (false) ending. So, when you decide, make it count since you won’t be able to go back.

The Journey in more ways than one.

The Go-Getters Club goes on a long journey back home, and during the game we visit various locations. Visually, this game looks quite well. While I felt that very occasionally, the 3D models and the 2D backgrounds didn’t match too well… Overall, the visual presentation is amazing.

I really liked the visual presentation of all the characters and the various locations we travelled through. At certain moments, I even felt that it was a real location. Although, I will for always wonder how this whole group is going to sleep in that small tent.

In terms of animations, I think this game is close to perfection. I didn’t have any moments that I felt that the animation could have been improved. Maybe a bit more clear loading screen? But, that’s a minor complaint. All in all, the effects and the visual presentation in this game gets two pats on the chest and a thumbs up from me.

In terms of the soundtrack, this game has a lot of amazing tracks. I would have to say that I love 99% of the soundtrack. There are a few tracks that I felt that really didn’t hit their mark or felt a bit annoying in terms of melody, but these moments are so few, I didn’t mind at all.

As usual, I was listening to the soundtrack while writing this article, and I was surprised to learn that the iOS version and the Switch version have unique tracks. And they are amazing. Yet, the sound mixing isn’t the best in some places. There were several stages where I had a hard time hearing the additional atmospheric sound effects due to the music being too loud. Thankfully, you can adjust that in the options.

It’s a shame, since the sound effects really add to the atmosphere of this game and make it that more enjoyable. But, the game recently updated, and I feel that it has improved a little. And that brings me to the UI. In terms of the UI, this game is almost perfect. The only thing I don’t like about the UI is that it’s a bit too tricky to get back to the map menu when playing a stage. You have to go around to the main menu first.

Another extremely minor gripe I have with the UI is that when you talked to everybody during the camping sights, I still get a notification box asking me that I’m sure that I want to skip talking to everybody. Maybe the wording there isn’t the best, but it confused me the first few times. I have played this game with the English (USA) translation, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that this game is playable in VARIOUS different languages like Dutch, French, Spanish, German…

Overall, this game runs at a steady framerate. Very rarely, I felt that this game lagged a bit. These moments nearly always happened during boss fights with big attacks that almost covered the whole screen. Speaking of which, sometimes I felt that the hitboxes were a bit janky. I had it in my notes to talk about it, but I struck it through since, after some testing, it’s a very occasional problem that maybe the recent patch solved. I didn’t have the time to test it again for this review.

Now, before I either ramble too much or go into spoiler territory, I think it’s high time that I write the conclusion of this article. I covered most of what I wanted to say, so, let’s wrap this one up.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Amazing soundtrack

+ Nice visuals

+ Charming story

+ …

The bad:

– Lacking depth in terms of gameplay. All the while, it’s an addictive game to play.

– While the story is charming, it could have been so much better.

– Unneeded collectables.

Final thoughts:

Reviewing this game was extremely tricky. There are some many things I liked, but there are various things where this game falls flat on its face. I totally understand the mixed reception this game is getting, since it’s a game that isn’t going to click with everyone.

Personally, I really enjoyed the game, but I always had a nagging feeling that this game could have been so much more. I think this game could have benefitted from a more tense story and more difficult puzzles where you could switch between characters.

Would I recommend this game? Well, I do. I do recommend this game to everybody who enjoys adventure games. I hesitate to recommend this to people who love platformers, since the platforming in this game isn’t “strong enough” when you compare it to games like A Hat In Time or Mario. I really feel that this game set a nice baseline of what’s possible and can be enjoyable for a potential sequel, spin-off or future game set in the same universe… Or a game with similar mechanics.

Scoring this game will be even trickier. Since if I score it high, it might give off the wrong impression that this game is flawless while it has obvious flaws. And scoring it too low, might scare players away, while I really think this game is worthy of being played.

So, I highly recommend that you give the demo a shot and if you like and enjoy what you see… Go ahead and play the full game. If you do have second thoughts, I’m glad you gave the game a shot, but I think this game might not be for you.

As a I said before, I enjoyed my time with this game, and I’m so glad I have seen it through to the end since the pay-off is truly worth it. And yes, the Go-Getter Club will never fall apart like how this game never falls apart, although it has flaws. Once this game hooks you in, you’ll go on an amazing journey through Japan… Sort of. Kind of Japan.

And with that said, I have said everything I wanted to say about this game for now. 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 a future article, but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

Score: 75/100

First Impression: The Elder Scrolls V – Skyrim (PC) ~ Where do I need to go next?

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Official site

Skyrim, a game like Minecraft that’s being ported to every system under the sun. Now, this game has been reviewed to death. I know that I’m extremely late to the party. Skyrim is one of these games that has an extremely big and loyal fanbase. Otherwise, people wouldn’t be too excited about a portable version of the Nintendo Switch. Now, if you wonder, I play as a Khajiit, a beast-man. Yeah, I play as a cat-man. Currently, I’m level 9 and I have started the first missions of the main story. Most of my time spent in this game is wandering around. Also, the three official DLC’s are installed. Also, there are no mods installed for this review. Now, that the context is set, let’s give my first impressions of this game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article in the comment section down below. 

Where do I go next?

Now, you start off with your character being transported to a village with other prisoners. It doesn’t take long before you realize that you are on death row and you are about to be executed. Right before your execution, a dragon attacks the village and you manage to escape. Then, you discover that you are a Dragon Born. Somebody who can use the power of the dragons. What happens next, is for you to decide. If you play this game, you can create your own story like in Minecraft.

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The biggest complaint I have about the story of Skyrim is that in my opinion, you are a bit to free to explore around. What I mean with this is that every time I come around a new village or ruins, I’m afraid of defeating attackers. I don’t know if they are essential for a quest or for later in the game.

The story of this game is good but I honestly don’t like the overload of exposition in some areas. When some people are talking, I never know for sure what they are referring too. Maybe I need to get used to the world more, but honestly, I found the open world of Breath of the Wild easier to get into and learn the world.

Now, why do I feel so lost in this world? I love the exploration system in this game. Only the areas you discovered appear on the map. Areas that you discover through conversation and books do too, but you can’t fast travel to them. So, you would think that even with a map system, I wouldn’t get lost or confused about where to go next.

Well, I do. I find the compass pretty difficult to use. A mini-map would have solved this issue. I really like the minimap system in Breath of the Wild. Or, if a minimap is too much to ask, a button to get more quickly to the map screen would be very welcome.

The UI is something I really dislike in this game. I find it very annoying to use. This could have been streamlined a lot more. The inventory is a mess in my opinion too. I would have loved a screen where you can equip spells or weapons easier. Now, I have to go through various menus to get that equipped. So, if anyone who is reading this and knows some good UI-mods to make it easier to manage your inventory or have more map functionality, I’m all ears.

Click to fight.

20180506154416_1Now, let’s talk about the gameplay of Skyrim. The freedom in this game is amazing. But, it’s also a downfall of the game. To be honest, this game is a bit overwhelming. In my opinion, there is a bit too much going on from the beginning. I think it would be better if the game introduced all it’s main elements to the player a bit more before it threw you into the big world.

Now, on the other hand, it’s quite fun to discover and learn the elements of the game. How crafting and magic works for example. Or how cooking works. How you can optimize the whole system to easily get the best weapons and armor and how to get the best healing items.

It’s a balancing act, where you need to think if you would be able to go to a certain place or you need to find more items to progress.

Exploring the world is great fun too. Now, during the exploration, a lot of enemies will cross your path. The fighting mechanics could have been improved as well. The combat mechanics are fun, but the big issue is that if you want to switch between bow & arrow or magic or 2hand combat, you have to go clicking through those pesky menus.

That’s why I mainly focus on 2-handed combat weapons which make the combat unfair in some situations when you are up against some heavy magic users and they burn you alive in oil.

Now, I’m playing the game on the easy difficulty. This is my first time playing Skyrim and lets me tell you, I’m glad that I’m playing this game on easy for the first time. The game still is challenging in some areas but it’s an ideal way to learn the ropes of the game and later restart the game with a higher difficulty setting.

This game’s replayability is through the roof. So, if I replay this game on a higher difficulty setting, my playthrough will be completely different. This will be interesting. You can change the difficulty settings whenever you want in the options menu.

Speaking of the options menu, something I really like is when you run Skyrim for the first time, the game sets the most optimal visual settings for you. I notice the difference between playing Skyrim on my laptop and on my gaming desktop, but it’s a very helpful feature to have.

As well as the cloud save. Yes, if you play Skyrim on different devices like me, you don’t have to move to save files between computers. You can download Steam, then Skyrim and voila, you can continue playing Skyrim.

One thing that I would add in terms of the save files is “save slots”. It would be amazing if I would be able to have different playthroughs with different characters without having to juggle between my save files of which character is which save file…

Mods and such

20180506164810_1.jpgVisually, this game is great. The world of Skyrim is detailed and very well made. There is even an HD-texture pack for people who want more details and better textures out of the game.

So far, I have seen only the tip of the iceberg in this game. Almost literally, since I have been mostly exploring the snowy areas of the game.

The controls of the game are great. I have been playing with a mouse and keyboard but I have played this game with a controller as well. It doesn’t matter that much, this game is optimized for both input devices.

Now, one thing is clear. This game asks to be modded. So, dear reader, I have a question for you. Should I mod my game before or after I have beaten it? Which mods do you recommend?

The music in this game fits the atmosphere like a glove. Together with the sound effects and great animations, it helps me to immerse myself in the world. The things that stop me from immersing in the world is the tricky UI like I talked about at the beginning of this article.

I really see the potential of this game and I really think that this game is something for me. But I feel that the UI is holding it back for me. Ever since I got interested in open-world games since I played Breath of the Wild, I feel that some features in that game spoiled me. There are some features that I wish I could bring over to Skyrim.

Now, do I think that Breath of the Wild is a better game? Well, no. They are both completely different games and I think it’s unfair to compare them.

But, one thing is for sure. Ever since I started playing Skyrim, I want to give Oblivion and Morrowind a second chance. I got Morrowind years ago for my birthday and after playing it for a bit, I quit playing it. Oblivion I found at a garage sale.

That’s saying something. If a game makes you want to play the previous games in the series. This game makes me want to play more, even with its various flaws. I totally see where the high praise is coming from. Maybe if I continue to play this game, I might get more into it; but for now, I’m quite happy playing this game between other games when I have the time.

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game for now. I’m leaving some things for the review if I ever finish this game. There is a 40 hours adventure waiting for me and I have only beaten the first act.

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 a future article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Game Quicky: Rogue Quest: The Vault of the Lost Tyrant (PC – Steam) ~ Treasure Looting Time

header.jpgSteam page

So, today I want to talk about a point-and-click game called Rogue Quest: The Vault of the Lost Tyrant. Full disclosure, I got a press key from the developer to write this review but the developers told me that I’m allowed to say my full opinion about the game. So, this article is that, my full opinion on this game. Since this isn’t a large game, I decided to write a game quicky about this game. Also, since this game is heavily story based, I decided to only post screenshots from the first area to avoid spoilers. I hope you are ready! Since this intro is going on for long enough! Let’s go! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

The good

rogue quest

In this game, you play as Cassandra Nech, a master thief looking for a treasure from a Lost Tyrant. After she found the entrance to where the treasure is located, she gets in some trouble and your adventure begins.

Now, I really like the writing in this game. It’s really well done and made me laugh here and there. This game doesn’t have voice acting, which can be off-putting to some people, but I think it added to the atmosphere of the game.

The game tries to mimic a LucasArts point-and-click game like Monkey Island or Grim Van Dango. They succeed in this perfectly in my opinion. Together with the amazing pixel art and visuals, I really felt that I was playing a game from that long forgotten golden age for adventure games.

I really love the main menu of this game, it’s shown in the screenshot you find a bit above this paragraph.  At the left-hand side, the giant speaker, you have the options menu. Then, in the middle, you have that large metal door. That’s the new game option. To the right of that door, you have the load option. And then, that door to the right, you have the credits. The exit game button is if you click at the bottom of the screen like you would be leaving the area. I love menu systems like this.

During gameplay, the interface is really handy to use. I also love that there is a really helpful hint system to help you with the puzzles when you are stuck. Not to say that the puzzles are too hard or anything of that sort, some of them really make you think. Once or twice, I had to write down some things to solve a puzzle.

The sound design of this game is really well made. The sound effects really help you to immerse you in the game.

The controls for this game are really good too. The fact that you can press the space bar to see everything you can interact with, helped out a lot.

For those who like them, this game has Steam Achievements. The full 7 of them, and one or two are really tricky to get.

I really liked the credit scene. I’m not going to spoil it but, it made me smile from ear to ear.

The last big positive is that this game is really cheap. You can buy this game for 4€ on Steam.

The in-between

rogue quest 3

The animation in this game is pretty good, apart from three things I think can be improved. One, when you are pulling a switch, some weird pixels appear above Cassandra. Or that might be because I played this game on a big monitor.

The second thing that should improve in terms of the animation is the grab animation. In various cases when you are going to climb a ladder, pull something down or doing any action, the same animation played. I really wish there were some different animations.

And the 3rd and final thing that could be improved in terms of the animation is the inconsistencies in the skipping of animations. Sometimes I was able to skip the walking animation by clicking on a door and sometimes I wasn’t able to do that. My suggestion is that when you double click on something, the animation is skipped and you move automatically to the other location/room. Like in the screenshot above, when you would double click the rope, you would skip the animation of swinging across.

Something I think could use a small bit of improvement is the save system. Now, I don’t mind the 5-save limit. What I do mind is the fact that I can’t name my save files or know what location I saved. This is a minor detail that is always really helpful in adventure games.

Now, I was about to complain how I didn’t like the fact that the dialogue text goes automatic, but the developers said in the Steam forums that they are considering patching something in for this.

The bad

rogue quest 2

Something I really found disappointing in this game is the fact that this game is way too short. You can fully complete this game in about two hours.

The ending gives makes me want more about this game. I truly wish the game had more content since once I was getting into the game, it was over.

My other big problem with the game is the soundtrack. Now, the music in the game isn’t bad in any sense of the word, but they use music that they don’t make themselves. While there is nothing wrong with that since not everybody is a pro at making music and making music is hard work and expensive. But, I feel like they have a missed opportunity here.

It would have been more awesome if there was sometimes a bit less music and a bit more ambient background noise. The game takes place in a cave after all. Also, sometimes I felt like the atmosphere of the writing and the visuals didn’t always fit the music as a glove.

But, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game, so it’s time for my conclusion.

Conclusion & final thoughts

So, I recommend this game to casual players, adventure gamers and people who enjoy the old point-and-click games of LucasArts. This game is a really cheap 4€ adventure you should give a chance.

After I played this game, I really got interested in all other titles of this developer and I’m planning to give a few of their other games a try.

This game lacks some polish in some areas, but in most areas this game is good. If the developers polished it up a bit more like I said in this article this game would be great.

So, for those who want to hear a score from me; I give this game a 70/100.

Thank you so much for reading this game and thank you so much Expera Game Studio for giving me a review copy of your game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to see you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

My wishes for future updates of Minecraft

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Website of Minecraft

It’s no lie that I like MineCraft. But as a player since Minecraft 1.4 Beta, I think there are a lot of things lacking. In this blog I tried giving my better idea’s a chance. Dinnerbone or Jeb, if you read this, feel free to take my idea’s and use them in whatever way you want. I just placed them here to share my idea’s since I felt like it. Anyways, feel free to write in the comments what you guys think about my idea’s. Are they good  or are they bad? And what idea’s do you guys have to implement in the vanilla Minecraft game? 

Idea #1: Better durability bars.

o0IuWIn one of the recent updates of Minecraft you can see the durability of an item by pressing F3 + G. Yet, you only can see this in the inventory. What would be extremely welcome is that if you also press that shortcut, the durability is displayed above the bar.

In my original survival let’s play, I had a mod enabled for this. It’s sadly discontinued now.  But it was a welcome mod to see how much uses there was on my pickaxe or sword left. It was buggy when it had the unbreaking enchant. But in the Durability 101 mod for Minecraft 1.5.1 everything works just fine.

Idea #2: More stuff in the ocean or less ocean.

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When I was gathering idea’s for this article, a convention happened where Jeb told us that they are going to revamp the ocean biomes. Finally, since  there are simply way to much oceans in one single Minecraft world.

But also, only squids in the ocean? What’s wrong with some ocean life? Some coral plants would be lovely to have. But like DocM77 on the MindCrack panel said and I agree an awful lot, is that there should be some sharks or more ocean life.

This might not really be my original idea but it’s a much requested feature in Minecraft. But thankfully in Minecraft 1.7 it’s going to happen. Or that are at least the plans.

Idea #3: Make the Creative mode more complete.

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There is a petition on the Minecraft forums and mods like Too Much Items include this. Mobspawners in the creative inventory. They are missing and that is a sad thing.

The new Minecraft creative inventory was a very welcome change but enchants like Sharpness I aren’t in the creative inventory. Why?

Also, the big mushroom blocks aren’t present in the creative inventory. Which I think it would truly benefit from.

And why isn’t the command block in the creative inventory? It would truly benefit from being there.

Also, a feature where you can create fireworks thanks to looking to a list and enchanting the same way would be welcome addition to the creative mode of the game.

Idea #4: (Let) silk touch (keep the color).

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Why does grass or leaves change to the default color when you pick them up with silk touch? I can understand that a block need to change from color when placed  in a certain biome but what if I wanted some darker oak leaves in my build? It would give more freedom.

Like Infinity, I would remove the “I” after Silk Touch. It’s simply extremely silly to have that number there. But as amateur Java programmer, I can understand why it’s easier and more efficient to put the number there. But I think it isn’t useful at all to have it since it confused some (not that bright) players before.

Idea #5: Potion arrows

brewing-05-add-glistering-melonImage being in a PvP battle and you create a potion of poison. But you missed throwing it. That sucks so much. But also, when you want to give a potion to one person in PvP, you need to have some distance and that’s not helpful in tight combat.

But what if there was a special bow that could shoot arrows together with a random potion from your inventory?

In PvP this would make things more random and challenging. Since you might shoot off a health boost for the other player instead of a damage potion.

I talked this over with a few of my friends and they thought it would make for some new gamemodes or open a whole array of new possibilities.

There are several mods already with ice, fire or electric arrows. While this is also a good idea, I still doubt about the crafting recipes.

Finally, the end of the article.

That are all my idea’s that I currently have. To be honest, I have more idea’s but I thought they weren’t good enough to make the cut. It’s possible that I might write another article on this here, so I hope to see you next time here.