Friday, June 8, 2018

Indie Corner Episode 8: Pushing Loyal People

Pushing Loyal People: An In Depth Career Simulator or A Text Based Flop? Review By Steve T


So I'm back with another review and I have to say this is what's been clogging up my review schedule. I became totally addicted to this game! Pushing loyal people is best described as a sort of career advancement simulator. You're tasked with rising up through the ranks of your company and trying to avoid the always impending company restructure. 

So you start off as a random joe trying to build your prestige and company at the same time. When you begin the game you're given three options; Get to work, Highlight your team's contributions, and Trumpet the importance of your work. It's up to you on how you want to proceed, but keep in mind that each choice affects your overall performance for that fiscal quarter. Do you get to work and create value? Or do you go around telling people why you're important? The choice is yours, but there are right and wrong options. 

You're graded on your work performance at the end of every quarter and you need to keep a satisfactory grade or you'll be let go. Fortunately my time in business management helped me to make the right decisions and avoid termination, but I know it's possible to be dropped like a hot tamale. The game thankfully tracks how long

This is usually the time when I'd show you screen shots, but the game is entirely text based with no visual aids whatsoever. All you need is a basic reading ability and an appreciation for European humor. The game's on the short side as well, only taking about 30 or so minutes to crunch through, but it's an excellent time waster. I'm kinda scratching my head on why this isn't on ios or android. I'd love to play through this while on my lunch break!

So in conclusion I can honestly say this game is great, but I think what's holding it back is being on PC. This game was made for mobile devices and it clearly shows on my touch capable laptop. I'd also advise throwing in some pictures. A couple of stock photos of people in the office would really do wonders.

We at Shock Site give this game a 5 out of 5. It's one of the simplest we've covered, but one of the best!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Indie Corner Episode 11: Optical Ball

Optical Ball: Breakout Done Right or A Collection of Weird Experiments? Review By Steve T.


This game is awesome. No setup, punchline, or old man rant here. I really enjoyed this title and it's not hard to see why. It oozes with charm and it employs a lot of cool ideas on a retro classic. So for those not familiar with breakout it's an arcade game from the late 70's that saw you moving a  platform around to bounce a ball and break bricks above you . . . Welcome to gaming in its infancy. So with a simple goal like that one could only wonder how someone could turn that and make it more interesting.

The game persay is more of a compilation, filled with 9 different 'games' more along the line of modes if you will. The 9 different modes are drastically different and all feel really unique. My personal favorite is the space invaders mode where you not only have to keep the ball in play, but also have to destroy the aliens. If just one alien gets their hands on the ball, it's all over.

Now while I found the gameplay to be quite enjoyable, the actual presentation does leave a lot to be desired. Like the menu screen for example, I can see where the dev was trying to go for that 80's look and feel, but it just comes off as lazy and uninspired. The line work is jagged, lacking any real sort of place or purpose, it just feels like the dev rushed the menu screen. The game modes also could use a cleaner touch up. Like the tilt mode pictured above. Look at the paddle and ball . . . Neither one are using any sort of consistent theme. The paddle looks like a mangled mess of pixels, while the ball has a soft 3d shade to it. Just a little consistency will go a long way with this one.

Though that's it for this title. There's not too much more to say than this game at it's core is fun. If you can get over the wonky design choices, then I think you'll really enjoy this one and . . . It's free! One can never go wrong with free titles. We at Schock Site give this game a 4 out of 5.

Get the game here!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Indie Corner Episode 7: Blixten Quest

Blixten Quest: Another Pixelated Minecraft Clone Or An Excellent Adventure Game? Review By Steve T


Blixten Quest . . . You know this was a pretty hard review. This game is a very different beast from what I usually cover, but it had to be done. Now before I get right down to it I just wanted to say that this game was not given to me in way, shape or form. No free keys here folks, so you can trust that what I'm about to say isn't influenced by anything other than the game and it's own merits. So how is Blixten Quest? Well it's . . . interesting for sure.  I liked what I played and I was impressed with how polished the game was, but it does have a couple minor things worth bringing up.

So let's start with the game's visuals, the game looks pretty good. It's got this blocky minecraft aesthetic that's become really popular in recent years. Does anyone out there remember 3d dot game Heroes? It was the game that pretty much popularized this art style and I gotta say, it's not going anywhere. The colors in levels pop, and depending on your graphical setting, the line work is super sharp and vibrant. I actually found myself stopping to appreciate the little details scattered throughout the the stages. Though I found Blixten himself to be a little bland in comparison. The character model is rigged a little weird, but it can be forgiven.

  So now onto the game itself! The game touts itself as an 3d side scrolling adventure game where you run through levels attacking and destroying the enemies to look for your companions. The premise is simple enough that it gets the job done, but it's not the story that this game's about. The gameplay was surprisingly in depth, giving you three options that suit gamer's diverse play style. The game comes with three classes; Warrior, mage, and ranger and each has their own abilities. The warrior equips you with a broadsword that does average damage, the mage allows you to spew fire from a staff, while the ranger is basically the archer class. 

On paper one would think those different classes would heavily influence the game and it's surroundings, but I found that the game does in fact not take advantage of these unique classes. Though I must give credit where it's do and say that the game does try to present unique obstacles for you to complete. whether it's mission based ones like  advancing forward or collecting objects to proceed, I'd say there's a healthy amount of exploration for a 2d platformer. 

The game runs . . . okay. I've noticed a bit of stuttering and frame pacing issues here and there. My suggestion to you would be to run the game on lower settings for the best performance, but that will detract from the world's beauty. 

So in conclusion, this game is fine, though it's certainly a work in progress. The developer is constantly updating the game with bug fixes and new features, so everything in this review could change. 

It's certainly got something on it's hands, but I find the execution and game engine to be too dull for my tastes. Platformers are a very pure form of gaming, and while I appreciate the developer trying to throw in some varied objectives, it just falls short in the end. My advice to the developer would be to clean up the game's technical issues and flesh out the missions a little more. 

We here at Shock Site give this game a 3.5 out of 5.  

Check out the game at this site!


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Indie Corner Episode 6: Pit Blocks 3D

Pit Blocks 3D: Shameless Tetris Clone or The Future of The Blockbusting Genre? Review By Steve T.


Tetris. One word two syllables, but over 3 decades of accolades and brand power. I like many of my peers grew up with a gameboy and that iconic copy of Tetris. I can't even begin to tell you how many hours were spent lying around, matching block by block and lining row by row. The game's one of the most recognizable I.P's in the world. When someone says Tetris you know exactly what they're talking about. Though today I'm not here to boast on the title, nope. I'm taking a look at SRM Game's latest indie outing Pit Blocks 3D. The game's development started just three short months ago, and while the game's still in development, they were kind enough to provide me with a playable demo. So how does it hold up? Is it that shameless tetris clone I was referring to? Well let's find out.

So the first thing to take note of is the presentation and I'll be the first to say that I really like the visual style. It's another one of those softly shaded games that feature a sharp filter on objects and models. I also certainly noticed a decent amount anti aliasing on the blocks themselves, but that could be an engine preset rather than intent. So to make a long story short, yes the game's pretty. It displays nicely on my HD monitor, the colors pop and It's pretty obvious that a majority of the budget went into a clean presentation. But high graphical fidelity mean nothing if the game controls terribly, and I can honestly say that the game in fact handles quite well. So on to probably the most important question . . . "Is this really different from tetris!?" Well yes and no.

The basic premise of Tetris is still present, mix and match blocks so they disappear off the game board. The only thing that really changes is the 3D perspective, which in its own right, completely changes everything. When presented with the game board your job is to drop the blocks and maneuver them in such a way that the each row/floor is cleared when it becomes completely filled. It seems simple on paper, but man is that difficult in a 3d space. When you move the simple Tetris formula to 3d, you've got a million more things to worry about. You have to 3 axis instead of two, so you have to twist the block rotate it, move it here and move it there. 

I spent about an hour playing through the demo, trying to find the best ways to clear out floors, employing all my strategic abilities, and in all my time, I think I cleared about five or so floors. This game in its current form isn't all that easy, but that's okay. An easy game doesn't mean a better game. But be warned!!

This can all seem daunting at first and I was pretty overwhelmed. The game tries it's best to walk you through it's inner workings and that I can appreciate. The tutorials are pretty intuitive, but the grunt work is still the same. The task becomes so frustrating at times that one can only wonder if Tetris can truly work in three dimensions. But despair not! The music in this game is super catchy and lively. For those who dig that awesome retro sound, you'll love this game's OST.

So that's about all I can say about the game. The demo was only a level long, and showed off just one environment. But SRM Games has made me aware that they will be adding more levels and varied environments as development continues. So that's nice and all, but the game does have one obvious attribute that will either help or hurt it . . . It's tetris in 3D. I brought up the question earlier as to whether or not the tetris formula works in 3D and I honestly believe it does, just probably not on PC. The game's controls are as good as they can get for what you have to do, but I feel that some simple controller support would really help out with this. It's so awkward to have to be constantly shifting the landscape around, doing all this geometry in your head, hoping you'll at least clear something.

So in conclusion, the game is remarkably solid. It has a few problems with making the transition from a 2d concept to a 3d one, but I feel with proper optimization that this can be fixed . . .  So does this game hold the right to be crowned the true Tetris successor? Absolutely not, not even close, no way in the world . . . But that's not the point. The tagline for this game is 'This is not Tetris! It's Pit Blocks 3D'. And they're right, the game's not tetris, even though it looks and at times almost plays like it. It's still Pit Blocks 3D, it's own thing in this endless realm of Video entertainment. I think it will be an excellent game when it launches on first. We at Shock Site give this game 5 out of 5 stars.



Friday, May 11, 2018

Indie Corner Episode 5: Gauntlet of Ire

Gauntlet of Ire: The Dark Souls of Its genre or An Unbalanced Time Waster? Review By Steve T.


Oh boy . . . This game. Now I've played some hard games before, your obvious selection of dark souls, kaizo mario, cuphead, just to name a few. But none of those games were able to instill this level of deep seeded hatred for floating balls. This game quite literally made me take a step back from the computer and think about life. This is not a game for the weak of heart, but man is it fun!

Gauntlet of Ire is best described as a puzzle platformer where you're tasked with guiding a rolling marble of some kind to the next level. Sounds simple right? Wrong! This game's physics were so dastardly crafted that even the slightest misstep will result in you falling off the track and splattering into a million pieces. The game is a 35 part brutal endurance round. How many deaths will it take you to get to the next level? (P.S. It took me 9 deaths to get from level one to two). 

The ball rolls at a moderate pace lulling the player into a false sense of security. When you jump, it's more akin to tossing a bowling ball in the air, and with momentum? Platforming becomes all the trickier. The dev added this neat feature where if you hold the jump button, you can actually float in the air for a bit. It's almost a lifesaver in some situations, others it's more akin to a death wish and trust me when I say 'You'll die a lot.' KillerPokeGames was kind enough to provide me this review copy, but at times I feel like the joke's on me. It's like "Oh you wanna review our game? Well here have fun failing to beat the first level!' When I sent them an email I could practically see their smiling face, taunting me as I updated them on my progress. 

The game's graphics are quite pleasant, the tracks are varied in design, but most feature a soft shaded look, while the rest of the environment has a blocky 8 bit aesthetic to it. The game looks gorgeous, and that's that. There's also a way to change the resolution so it's not so much of a strain on hardware, I found that pretty nice. Most indie games neglect that, but I'm glad they didn't. The game also allows you to play any level you want and in in any order which is also cool, because there's not too many people who could beat all 35 levels in rapid succession.

I should also go into the fact that the studio actually incorporated Twith integration. So what this does is allows any Twitch streamer to input their username and have their followers bombard them with objects in real time. It's a neat feature that I actually tried and liked. It does make the game a buh-million times harder though, so be wary if you think you're actually going to get somewhere while doing this.

So this is where we wind it down. There's not too much else I can go into with this game, besides my own gut wrenching experiences. The game is simple in concept and brutal in execution, but I wouldn't change a pixel! This game like i said isn't for the weak. It's for this who like a good challenge, so if that's you then this is most certainly the game for you. You don't need to spend hours and hours in this game to figure out what it's about, all you need is your fingers and quick reflexes.

So in conclusion this game is what one would call 'Easy to start, Easy to quit.' If you're a quitter who doesn't like challenge, then you'll wanna bounce. This is a real gamer's game and I'm most pleased that KillerPokeGames stepped up the Ante. That's why we're giving this game a perfect 5 out of 5. 

It's available on steam for 3.99 and it's worth every single cent! Don't skip out because of the difficulty, no that should in fact drive you to pick it up. I may have been defeated today, but I will rise tomorrow with newfound resolve and conquer the challenge that is the Gauntlet of Ire! This is Steven T. signing out.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Indie Corner Episode 4: Reality Incognita

Reality Incognita: Super Sci Fi or Mundane Monstrocity? Review by Steve T.


Ah the point and click adventure. A genre so influential in the 80's and 90's, that it spawned countless titles!We've seen some great P.A.C games throughout the years, games like Day of the Tentacle and Gabriel Knight. Though we've seen some pretty bad ones like 1995's 'The Dig' *Shudder* So that brings us to Reality Incognita, what umbrella does this game fall under? Good, bad, or in between? Well let's find out.

The point and click genre is most certainly dying if not already dead. In this age of FPS and battle royale games, where's the room for a slow paced single player experience? The developer of Reality Incognita aimed to rekindle that lost spark for the genre and I think while they didn't quite hit that spot, they certainly hit something. Now let's get one thing straight right now . . . This game is by no means bad, far from it actually. It's got its own problems that are more in line with the player rather than the game.

The game's description reads as followed 'Peri Res has woken up unexpectedly in a place that resembles anything but her daily routine. Upon closer inspection she discovers it’s an eerie space vessel bound for the unknown. Finding out why her current predicament is happening sets out to be our protagonist primary goal. The quest to determine and discover forthcoming events is unfortunately riddled with suspense and many dangers wait. To make matters worse the ship is constantly being sabotaged and her efforts are proving ever more difficult. Time is not on her side as she races to find out why she has been brought to this strange and vast spacefaring vessel.'

So for those of you who didn't quite understand, you play as an amnesiac who's just woken up in a cryopod. You're then thrusted into the game and must figure out that's happened and where the ship is going. My favorite twist to the game was that the rooms were always changing. You're constantly fighting against the unknown, rushing to get to the bottom of the mystery. I won't spoil anything, but they're are some pretty challenging puzzles you're tasked with figuring out. But I'm getting ahead of myself! We'll come back to gameplay, but right now I want to focus on the game's presentation.

 So the first thing you notice is the game's graphics, which are quite pleasant. Everything's got this soft and shiny sheen to it. The dev really used high quality assets with this one and I can appreciate that. Though they do fall short on the U.I which is quite bland. All the menus and text systems are hand drawn, which is fine, but they contrast with the beautiful textures of the spaceship. When You've got an ultra polished spaceship interior with tannish brown menus, you kind of get turned off.

Next on the docket would be the voice acting and . . . I've heard better. Look it's an indie game for crying out loud So I'm not expecting Hollywood levels of voice acting, but the V.A sounds like she had trouble getting invested in her own mystery. It might be a dialect thing, but she definitely mispronounced some words. I remember her specifically calling a Stasis pod (Stay-sis) a (Sta-sis). Like I said, I get that this game was made by one person and all, but that voice acting can really turn someone off. But to be fair she did have a couple quips that got a chuckle out of me, just don't come in expecting a huge developed character (She has amnesia for crying out loud)!
Now back to gameplay because this might turn people away. The game thrusts you straight into the adventure with no explanation of anything. No little tutorial to educate you on how to do something, and certainly no partner or entity to mystically guide you through the story. You are your greatest ally and biggest stumbling block, but that's what I like about Reality Incognita.

As someone who grew up playing these types of games it's refreshing to see the dev didn't skimp out on difficulty because this gaming generation is soft. There was no one there to hold my hand as I stumbles about, desperately trying to stay alive and solve the mystery. So I applaud Dire Boar Games for that decision! Don't bend and keep the difficulty. This game will test your patience, it will test your intelligence, and it will test your resolve. Do you have what it takes to solve the mystery and survive?

So in conclusion, Reality Incognita is not for everyone, but I do feel everyone should play it. Now I get that probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but hear me out! This game may have flaws, but it has a lot of heart. This game not only invoked that special place in my heart for this genre, but it did it right. Gave me the difficulty, gave me the hardships, and made me work for the solutions! So again, Point and Click adventures aren't for everyone, but if you want a good story driven challenge? This is your game. We at Shock Site give Reality Incognita 4 stars out of 5.

And Here

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Indie Corner Episode 3: Battle Rigs

Battle Rigs: Does it Sail or Sink? Review by Steve T.


Battle Rigs is a game that harkens back to my days of playing Battleship at a friend's house. Oh the glorious hours we spent pretending that we were war generals and going about, exploding each others vessels . . . Very nostalgic, and that's what Battle Rigs does in its own way. It invokes that feeling of nostalgia for old tactical styled naval games.

So let's get the elephant out the room right away . . . The game's graphics are passable. They're serviceable in their own right as you can clearly tell what ship is supposed to be what, but the textures are just murder on the eyes. They're muddy, pixelated, and low resolution, but that doesn't mean the game itself is bad quite the contrary.

The game controls are fairly simple, all you do is click in the direction of an enemy and you're ship will automatically make its way over and attack. It works great in execution, but it does get boring not having any direct control over your ship. Though despite it's rather lackluster apparence, the game's got pretty good sound design. The battle track is surprisingly catchy and the explosion noises are realistically enough as to where I can't tell if it's stock sound or not.

I made my way through ten levels, including fighting this game's boss The Pirate King. Nothing terribly challenging, but the later levels do force you to strategize a bit, rather than tap and wait for the victory screen.

So in conclusion, I liked it. It's by no means a bad game, it's just a little unpolished and in need of a more engaging control scheme. This game would be just about perfect if you were able to actually control your ship's movement and attack, but I digress. For what it is in its current state? It's not too bad. If you can get over the rather bland visuals and unengaging control scheme, then you'll enjoy this. We give this game 3.5 stars out of 5

Battle Rigs is available on the Google Play store as well as at this link Get Battle Rigs