DLC Quest Developed by: Going Loud Studios Published by: Going Loud Studios Released: March 18, 2013 Available on: Windows, Mac, Xbox 360 Genre: 2D Platformer, satire Number of players: 1 Price: $2.99 (Amazon Affiliate Link), $1.00 for each game (XBox)
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DLC Quest is a video game from Going Loud Studios.
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DLC is a satirical look at video games that tend to offer a freemium approach, or require downloadable content in order to experience the full content of the game. The central concept of the game involves a typical story of a princess captured by an evil wizard, and you control a soldier or a knight to try and get her back.
Unfortunately, due to "a rushed shipping process," the game arrives without any music or sound effects, or animation, or even the ability to jump or walk to the left. These will have to be purchased separately!
Strong Points: Humorous satire; low price Weak Points: Short game that doesn't provide much challenge Moral Warnings: Blood; one instance of the f-word; "sexy" outfits; some undead
Fortunately, you don't have to shell out any additional money to actually get this "downloadable content." You can collect gold coins by running across them in the game, and these are used to purchase the DLC. The first NPC you meet will be the DLC merchant, who will sell you the add-ons in order to make the game playable – and eventually, winnable (that's right – the game "shipped" to you without an ending, either). You will have to find some of the DLC packs while exploring the game world, and some of the packs don't actually do anything to the gameplay itself (such as the "pet pack," which adds a stationary goldfish to one part of the game).
Of course, unlocking – and purchasing – all of the DLC is required to get 100% completion in the game – partially because you need to get to the boss "fight" by purchasing it, but also to get all of the "awardments" available in the game. Each of the "awardments" also ties to a Steam achievement, if you're playing it in Steam.
DLC Quest comes with two games – the original version, and the sequel, called "Live Freemium or Die." Although the game is playable once all the necessary content is purchased, it isn't terribly challenging. The platforming aspects are fairly simplistic, and there aren't really any enemies that you have to fight. The game also isn't very long – the first game can be completed in less than an hour, and once you learn where all the coins and secret areas are located, repeated runthroughs can be accomplished in even less time. The second one has a longer length, ways to die and take damage (and checkpoints, fortunately – as DLC, of course), and even a final boss fight, but can still be completed in a couple hours. There are even achievements for completing the game and its sequel in less than a set amount of time.
Score Breakdown: Higher is better (10/10 is perfect)
Morality Score - 77% Violence - 4/10 Language - 7/10 Sexual Content - 8.5/10 Occult/Supernatural - 10/10 Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10
The game is displayed in a simplistic, 8-bit style, and it's clear enough to make sense of what's going on. The music and sound effects also share the same atmosphere, and is pretty good, fitting the setting well. The controls are handled on the keyboard and are perfectly responsive. Unfortunately, my Mac controller wouldn't function correctly – not even as downloadable content. I've heard that Windows users don't have this issue, so it could be the operating system, or simply a problem with my controller.
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There isn't a lot to worry about in the game, but there are a few aspects that merit a mention. For starters, enemies have small red sprays of red pixels when hit. When they are killed, they turn into tombstones. There aren't very many language issues, but the f-word does appear in the ending credits, as one of the developers in the game has it in their screen name. Zombies do appear in the game, but are largely useless, and thanks to the 8-bit style, not really detailed. It is possible to kill all the defenseless sheep and NPCs in the first game, once you obtain the right weapon, and there's an achievement for doing so. Finally, one of the DLC packs in the first game is called the "sexy outfits pack," and the icon depicts the princess in a bikini. Amusingly enough, unlocking this downloadable content changes the graphics for all the NPCs, so all the other characters – which are all male – appear to be wearing "sexy" 8-bit swimsuits.
The game can be entertaining, and the satire quite amusing, but short. Fortunately, it is coupled with a very low price. It often can be purchased for less than a dollar when on sale. On the Xbox, each game must be purchased separately for $1.00 – Microsoft also offers free demos of each game as well. For those looking for an amusing take on the modern gaming industry and have a fondness for retro-style, 2D platformers, this could be a fun addition to the game library.
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Lumini Developed by: Speelbaars Published by: Rising Star Games Release Date: September 3, 2015 Available on: PC, Mac, SteamOS Genre: Adventure Number of Players: Single-player ESRB Rating: Not rated Price: $12.99
Off on a distant planet somewhere are the remains of an alien species. Out of those remains, a single purple lumini springs to life. You must guide this bird/insect like creature and gather glowing energy orbs from nearby plants.
Radiating blue cube structures serve as check points and from the collected orbs, more lumini are created. They come in various colors and possess unique abilities. The blue, yellow, and red lumini are easy to regain, but the purple ones are only available in the beginning of the game. If you can keep a purple lumini alive at the end, you’ll earn one of the few Steam achievements available.
Strong Points: Beautiful graphics and music; relaxing when you’re not on the dinner menu Weak Points: Only takes a couple of hours to beat Moral Warnings: Some Lumini may get eaten, references to evolution
Other Steam enhancements include cloud saves and trading cards. Controllers are fully supported and recommended. The left joystick is for guiding the flock of lumini and the triggers can activate their pulse attack which can stun hostile enemies. Some of the enemies include carnivorous plants, spikey spores shot out from plants, creatures that blast out puffs of poison smoke and baddies that can swallow luminis whole.
Other obstacles are fans and push buttons that require teamwork to open up closed doorways. Splitting the luminis requires a lot of coordination and use of both joysticks on the controller. Each joystick controls a group of luminis. On a couple of occasions there are two fans that will need to be rotated for a little while to open up a sealed doorway. If you’re good at patting your head and rubbing your belly simultaneously, you should do fine. If not, then you’ll be happy to know that some of those double fan obstacles are optional. Though you will be losing out on collecting a good amount of energy and a Steam achievement for collecting it all.
Score Breakdown: Higher is better (10/10 is perfect)
Morality Score - 95% Violence - 7.5/10 Language - 10/10 Sexual Content - 10/10 Occult/Supernatural - 10/10 Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10
Some people may grow tired of the same puzzles and enemies throughout the game, but I was not one of them. While it did drag on a little bit, the gorgeous graphics and soothing music made this a pleasant and mostly relaxing experience for me. Except when I was avoiding being eaten or being reminded about how uncoordinated I am.
Besides the ability to be eaten, Lumini is a relatively clean game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. There are some references to evolution as the world gradually cycles through the rise and fall of several species.
The asking price is $12.99 which is a little steep given that the game can be beaten in roughly two hours. After completing the game, a hard mode becomes available. I did run into some stability issues, but nothing a restart couldn’t resolve. If you find Lumini on sale, I highly recommend picking it up!
The Room Developed By: Fireproof Games Published By: Fireproof Games Released: July 28, 2014 Available On: Mobile (iOS and Android), PC (Reviewed) Genre: Puzzler| Number of Players: Single player ESRB Rating: Not rated Price: $4.99
The human mind longs to learn and to know; in some, this desire is stronger than in others. For those of us who have particularly strong desires to learn, solve, answer, and figure stuff out in general, puzzle games were developed. Games like this allow us to unlock our story or objective piece by piece, and give a feeling of accomplishment when we find the answer. This is the type of game that we find in The Room. As a puzzle game, The Room is geared towards we who simply can't rest until we've unlocked that last door and discovered what awaits us inside.
The Room begins with a note from a mysterious person with the initials A.S. While it isn't made clear who this person is, we do learn that he or she knows you, and has left this box for you to open. Personally, I got the impression of a long-lost eccentric uncle with hidden genius. Whoever A.S. may be, the game revolves around your attempts to open each box that you're presented with to discover what's inside. It is described as having been hidden away, because normal people wouldn't be able to use it properly. You must examine every aspect of the box in order to get in. But it isn't quite so simple as merely finding the key. For example, in order to get to the key, latch, switch, or whatever it is that you seek, you may first be required to find a secret compartment, which contains a clue as to how to open a drawer, which contains a screwdriver that will let you remove a plate, where you discover another clue, and so on. Each piece of the puzzle may be large or small. Concealed, or out in the open. Obvious, or obscure.
There is a large variety of methods for getting to the next section. Sometimes you need a key; other times you may need the proper combination, or a wrench, or, once, even a rubber band. The objects you find are diverse enough to keep the game interesting, and yet not so unique as to make it instantly obvious what you should do with what you find. Often, you will solve one section of the box only to have another section entirely reveal itself to you. As long as you're within the game, you will not run short of puzzles to solve. Some will be easy, others will be difficult. The game provided enough of a challenge for me to be entertained, and yet also gave a pleasant feeling of progression throughout as I solved the puzzles bit by bit.
Strong Points: Puzzles are interesting, yet give a sense of progression as well. The graphics and sounds fit in very nicely with the theme, and have an excellent effect. Weak Points: The game does move a bit slowly when it comes to transitions, with no way to speed them up; you're moving at the game's pace, not yours. The game also has little to no replay value. Moral Warnings: The game delves very deeply into the realm of the occult and demonic rituals.
Unfortunately, the game does have very slow transitions. When you're moving from one place to another, or when it's telling you what item you've picked up, it requires that you wait for several seconds before you can cancel an action and move on to the next section of the game. If you're taking your time with the game, this won't be a problem. It can be very pleasant to wander through at a slow pace and solve it bit by bit. But sometimes, I would get excited when I found the answer, and would want to zoom in instantly, or cancel out the tooltip, as I already knew what I had picked up. The game offered no method for speeding up these slow transitions, which was a bit disappointing. While the slow atmosphere did add to the game in general, having a feature that allows you to speed it up would have been nice.
While the game is centered mainly around the puzzling aspects, it does have a bit of a story as well. Remember A.S. from the beginning? Well, he's left behind a few other notes for you as well. While reading his notes is not required in order to solve the puzzles, they do add a lot of flavor to the game. These notes pop up in various locations as you dig deeper and deeper into the box. How he got them there, I have no idea. The notes that come last are deepest in the box, and the notes that come first are on the outer layers. But if he were locking up the box, he would be starting from the inside, and the latter notes would be on the outside. However he did it, the notes are there for you to find and read. These notes give an essence of mystery that combines excellently with the graphics and audio. The visuals are very nice, and it gives a very nice effect. There is also some soft music in the background that gives a wonderful ambiance. You can even hear the gears and mechanisms clicking each time you turn a key or flip a switch. The resulting effect compliments the game's style magnificently.
The entire game uses only the mouse: double click to zoom in, right click to zoom out, click and drag when you need to move something. As no further controls are really needed, this works fairly well. The game expects you to manually perform simple tasks like turning keys and opening lids, which, in my opinion, actually adds to the game. But the controls could do with a bit of calibration (which the gme doesn't provide). For example, if you drag an item from your inventory to the location where you desire to place it, it will follow about an inch behind your mouse, or even further if you move your mouse too quickly. While it isn't a huge problem, it does pull you out of the experience a bit, as you have to focus on where your mouse should be to make sure that the key is positioned correctly over the keyhole.
Score Breakdown: Higher is better (10/10 is perfect)
Morality Score - 85% Violence - 10/10 Language - 10/10 Sexual Content - 10/10 Occult/Supernatural - 1.5/10 Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10
Unfortunately, for Christians, there is a major problem within the game, which is that it dives into the demonic and occult. The notes from A.S. start out describing what seems to be simple scientific research, but it later becomes apparent that his research includes ancient summoning rituals, which he intends to perform. Even if you choose not to read the notes, as they are not essential to game progression, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to ignore the supernatural turn of the latter puzzles. At the end of the tutorial level, you are given a lens which you must use to solve many of the puzzles. Originally, the lens seems to work in a manner similar to an ultraviolet light, but soon begins to expand in its abilities. It allows you to see through certain objects, likely into other dimensions. If you do choose to read the notes, you'll learn that the lens itself has demonic properties. The physics don't match up quite right either. More mechanisms fit into the boxes than is actually possible. Originally I discounted it as improper planning, and a focus more on the puzzle aspect than the physics aspect. But later, I realized that the physics don't work because they were never meant to work. The game delves further and further into the supernatural, to the point where you cannot deny it.
Overall, I found this game to have accomplished its purpose quite well. It had a pleasant style, graphics and music that matched up nicely, and puzzles that contained a balanced level of difficulty. Its shortcomings as a game were not nonexistent, but were certainly few and far between. It took me about four hours to complete, and while the game does have little to no replay value, the first time playing through is quite enjoyable, and were it not for the occult nature of the game, I would have ranked this among my favorites. The game does give a vague sense of “this was a mistake” at the end, but not a very strong one. As a puzzle game, The Room is very well done. But as a Christian, please do be careful if you choose to buy it- especially as most reviews that I've seen haven't mentioned the demonic nature of the game.
Super Space Meltdown Developed by: Polyquest Games, ZXDigital Ltd. Published by: ZXDigital Ltd. Released: July 31, 2015 Available on: Windows, Mac OS X, (developing) Android, iOS Genre: Action Number of players: 1 Price: $3.99
Thank you, Polyquest Games, for sending a copy of this game to us for review!
Learn. Die. Repeat. That is the mantra to the game Super Space Meltdown, and one that you'll see frequently as you play the game. It's fitting, because you'll learn more about the game, you'll get killed, and then you'll be encouraged to play it again.
Whether you do decide to do it again... well, that can be a learning experience as well.
Super Space Meltdown is a top-down shooter, where you play a Space Marine named Sgt. Cutter. In each level, you will find yourself in a small maze filled with alien baddies. Your objective is to kill every single one of the alien invaders, then make your way to the exit so you can do it all over again. Oh, and you only have sixty seconds to do it, too. If you get killed by the aliens, or run out of time, then the screen will explode into a white glow, followed by a blue data screen letting you know how you did. Then, you'll be taken back in time to the very beginning to, once again, learn, die and repeat the levels.
At least you get to keep whatever equipment you picked up on your previous runs. This includes land mines, auto-turrets, grenades and "credits," which serves as currency. You can't save your progress, though. However, the levels tend to be identical; they are presented in a random order except for the first one, but with enough playthroughs you'll soon recognize them and even develop tactics for getting rid of the enemies as quickly as possible.
Strong Points: Good music; interesting concept Weak Points: Sluggish controls; ridiculously stupid AI; repetitive gameplay Moral Warnings: Aliens get shot
After finishing off every enemy, a terminal will pop up allowing you to read some of the backstory, in order to understand what's going on in the game. But these terminals always have the same messages, and will be unlocked in the order of the levels, rather than tied to specific arenas. For example, even though the map may be distinctly different, the terminal on the second level will always have the same message.
The enemy AI leaves a lot to be desired, especially considering how quirky it can be. It's hard to believe that the alien invaders were capable of taking over anything, given that the only time they can see you is when you're standing right in front of them – even if you are in a large, empty room – and if you run away, they quickly forget that you were even there and wander off to do their own thing. This applies even if you've chewed through their health bar. They will refuse to pursue you into ambushes or traps that you may have carefully set. Also, even if they've passed a particular point a dozen times before, if you plant a land mine in their path, there's a good chance they'll never step on that space again. The aliens tend to be slow to fire as well – they stop and pause for several seconds before firing any shots, which would normally make their bullets easy to dodge.
At least if this were a typical shooter, that would be the case. The weight of Sgt. Cutter's plasma rifle must be immense, because he can't move and fire his weapon at the same time. Reloading also paralyzes your character until the process is completed. Not only that, you can't fire the rifle until there's an enemy in your sights. That leads to other complications – you are only allowed to shoot at enemies which are in a straight line based on the cardinal directions, and you automatically fire at the closest enemy. This applies even if you and the alien are both in a large, open area – even if your opponent is wandering around blindly without any cover, you can't shoot it until you happen to be in the same row or column. Of course, it can't shoot you, either. In any case, because of the mechanics, the controls often feel sluggish and unresponsive. You also aren't told what the controls are at the start of the game. Unless you look it up online, you'll have to do some experimenting to figure out how to move, fire and place items. Learn, die, repeat, indeed.
Score Breakdown: Higher is better (10/10 is perfect)
Morality Score - 93% Violence - 6.5/10 Language - 10/10 Sexual Content - 10/10 Occult/Supernatural - 10/10 Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10
If the controls and AI weren't enough, there also is the sluggish load times. It takes several moments for the game and the individual levels to load, even if the level really isn't that complicated in the first place. There were a few instances when I thought my computer had locked up, with simply a black screen and the background music going. A game with this simple of graphics or action shouldn't take so long to move to the next area.
The graphics sport a pixellated, 8-bit style. It might be part of an anti-frustration feel, but every time you revisit a map, the lighting will get better. The enemies will still be in the same locations, but you'l be able to see them better, at least. The music is probably the nicest part of the game, and reminds me of an atmospheric variation of the kind of music you'd hear in the Bejeweled games. The only voice "acting" consists of a digitized voice reading the text from a device that looks like an old CRT monitor, and could very well be simply a computer-generated reading of the text, rather than an actual person.
From a moral perspective, the game isn't too bad. Aliens disappear in a flash when killed, and if your character is killed, the screen flashes white (oddly enough, you can still move for a few moments even after "dying" and the white glow is expanding). There didn't seem to be any offensive words spoken, but I didn't unlock all of the terminals to confirm this.
Super Space Meltdown has an interesting concept, and I'm pretty sure there's a good story to explain the time travel mechanics, where the aliens came from, and how these disorganized bumblers managed to take over the space station. There may also be an explanation as to why each individual room has a self-destruct sequence, but this I doubt. The game falls apart in its execution, though, partly because of it's clumsy controls, and partly because of the poor AI. The developer's Web site offers free demos for Windows and Mac users, if you're still inclined to give it a try. For some odd reason, only the Windows version is available on Steam.
The premise of the game is learn, die, repeat. And I did — learn (to avoid the game), die (to play something more entertaining), repeat (passing on games that need more work before they're ready for release).
Knights of Pen and Paper II Developed by: Kyy Games Published by: Paradox Interactive Release Date: October 20, 2015 Available on: Android, iOS, PC Genre: RPG Number of Players: Single-player ESRB Rating: Not rated Price: $9.99
I enjoyed playing the first Knights of Pen and Paper +1 in 2013 on PC. Other than some moral issues and DLC options, it was a pleasant experience and I looked forward to the sequel when it was announced. Knights of Pen and Paper II came out on mobile devices first and then to PC. The Steam version has twenty-five achievements and full controller support. Out of habit, I beat the game using keyboard and mouse. It took me roughly six hours to do so.
While Knights of Pen and Paper II can be enjoyed by anyone, gamers who are familiar with pen and paper RPGs will get most of the quirky humor found in this title. There are several jokes from popular video games and movies too. One reference was an ancient vault paying homage to the Fallout games. Perhaps one of my favorite jokes was whenever the grappling hook was used pull an enemy towards the front row, my character would say “Get over here!” as Scorpion did in Mortal Kombat.
The main nemesis in Knights of Pen and Paper II is the paper knight and his gang. They must be stopped but in order to defeat them, several artifacts must be collected and some of them need to be retrieved through time travel. Time travel and airships don’t come until later in the game - until then you’re stuck using a horse between towns. The first village is aptly named “Spawn Point Village.” Like many RPGs your first quest has to do with rats, but instead of killing them, you have to save them by defeating several mouse traps. Other typical quests involve delivering items and escorting NPCs and getting attacked every step of the way.
Strong Points: Great humor and fun gameplay Weak Points: Some quests drag on a bit; interface can use some tweaking like the ability to buy or sell multiple items Moral Warnings: Fantasy magic; violence; undead and alcohol references; some female characters wear bikinis
In the beginning of the game you get to set up your party of two and can later upgrade it to five. There are many classes and character types available. The typical classes of mage, paladin, warrior, thief, hunter are available from the get go and the warlock, barbarian, and ninja unlock later in the game. The classes can be human, elf or dwarven in nature. Their background determines some of their base abilities and beginning statistics. The backgrounds include jock, cheerleader, rich kid, rocker, goth, lab rat, hipster, and the exchange student is unlockable. Characters can be created at any point in the game and swapped out in towns with taverns in them.
Besides taverns, towns have stores to buy weapons, armors, trinkets, and consumables. Many consumables can be combined to make more powerful items at the crafting bench. Resting in town is free of charge and does not require a successful dice roll to let it happen. A failed rest roll out of town will result in an enemy ambush.
Enemies can also ambush you when traveling if your die roll is too low. The dice rolls in battle determine your attack strength, defense, and attacking order. In dungeons, dice rolls will decide the outcome of traps that have been tripped and the chances of picking the locks on treasure chests. Every new area on the map gives you the option to investigate it to unlock clues and helpful items. Each chance to roll will cost 5 gold. That’s the same amount to travel between points on the map as well.
Score Breakdown: Higher is better (10/10 is perfect)
Morality Score - 72% Violence - 6/10 Language - 8/10 Sexual Content - 6.5/10 Occult/Supernatural - 7/10 Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10
Decorating the game room will give you several helpful boosts and the rug I used added +1 to all of my investigative rolls. That decoration came in handy. Each stylish decoration costs money, so be sure to save it and spent it wisely. Other unlockable items are available for a price if you read the digital magazines within the game menu.
The graphics and audio have a retro look and feel to them. The levels and enemies were colorful and offered some good variety in their design. Many areas had their own chip tune themed music that was well composed.
As usual, my kids were drawn to my monitor when I was playing this game. Fortunately, the only language I noticed was the acronym WTF. With numerous battles, violence is a given and physical and magical attacks can be used. Some blood is shown when a bleeding condition is triggered. Some female characters will be shown in bikinis. Last but not least, there are references to drinking, stealing, and zombies.
Like many RPGs, grinding is necessary to be powerful enough to defeat tougher enemies. I never felt under-leveled, but I did feel that some of the quests dragged on a bit. The humor kept me going until the end though. I enjoyed my time in this adventure, but I don’t feel like grinding any more after defeating the final boss to level my characters up to thirty for another Steam achievement. The price is a reasonable $9.99 and worth picking up at full or price or holding out for a sale.
Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.
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