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Botanicula- A Review

Last time… on the Voltatilis Channel: ‘Despite what they say… Mindless fun is okay sometimes.’

Welcome back to the Voltatilis Blog. I’ll stand by what I said last time: Mindless fun is okay sometimes.

But on the flip side, sometimes a story has something to say. Something important, something enriching… Botanicula is such a game.

Botanicula was developed by Amanita design, who also developed the much-loved Machinarium. The game grew on us on the 7th of May, 2012, earning astonished applause as a Point-and- Click Adventure Game.

Steam marks the game as Overwhelmingly Positive, with a huge reviewer count of 2,424.

It has been gifted a good 82 on Metacritic and has won the IGF Excellence in Audio Award, Game of the Year from Jayisgames.com, the Best Story and World Design award from Indiecade, the IGM Readers Choice award for best sound and music, and the Mac App Store Best of 2012.

The game supports a nice range of languages- 10, to be precise- which is good, as that’s something the previous games have been lacking. These languages are English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Polish and Czeck.

This game is available on a nice wide array of platforms, these being Windows, OSX, Linux (unfortunately, not Steam OS), iOS and Android. On both Windows and OS X, it only requires a minimal of 1GB of memory and 700 MB of storage space.

The story for this game is simple. There is a tree that plays host to it’s own micro Eco System. One day, however, dark, spidery beings come and devour the tree’s seeds. One, however, survives, and falls into the head of our avatar, who remains un-named in the game, but whom is referred to as ‘Mr. Lantern’ in some of my research sources. He, along with an assortment of other protagonists, must save that last seed and plant it.

This game is all about it’s characters. Every single one is unique. Many make unique noises. Our avatar and protagonists are all unique in design and function: Mr. Lantern stores the seed and emits light, Mrs. Mushroom can make copies and shrink, Mr. Poppyhead floats in water and is durable and heavy, Mr. Twig can grow his arms and grow flowers, and Mr. Feather can fly. This results in a lot of ways to solve puzzles. And it doesn’t stop there. Each character in the entire game is unique and… just Alien. In a cool way.

I love it.

The reward for exploring is cards of each character, that literally just show the character and make their noise when you hover over them. And you know what? To me, that’s a perfectly legitimate reward. I accepted this and went with it, trying my very best to retrieve every single card.

The game is a point-and-click adventure game- click on the environment to edit it. There are very rarely mini-games, which are cool and add to the experience There is no ‘HUD’, which I think is a very good choice for a game as artistic as this one. The game’s difficulty curve is slightly questionable, but the game’s progression as a whole is great for this style.

The Game is basically an art book. It has this way of beautifully using contrasting colours, whites and browns, yellows and greens… The music for this game is phenomenally atmospheric, and the atmosphere itself is beyond gorgeous.

This game is great. As I said, it’s the sort of game that Has Something to Say- what that something is? I don’t quite know. But whatever it is, I know that I have at least an idea now- and that this fact alone will enrich my life- maybe not on a cosmic level, hell maybe not even on a day-to-day basis, but this game is now a part of my identity in an extremely small way. And, in the end, isn’t that the whole point of Art?

Again, thank you for your time. Please remember that you can use my email: alexwattsgdeveloper@outlook.com- to send me things, and that if I use them I will credit you in this section.

I’d like to ask you guys to click the Follow Button. This is Voltatilis, and I’ll see you next week for the next review.

BIT.trip presents… Runner2 Future Legend of Rhythm Alien!

Hello again, peoples of the internet.

As you may recall, our last review on Bit Evolution was quite a bit of fun.

Despite what they say… Mindless fun is okay sometimes, but I personally think it’s better when paired with some Satire. So, scouting through my Library, I found a title by the name of BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner 2 Future Legend of Rhythm Alien.

That’s the actual title, by the way. This pretty much confirms my choice.

Runner 2- which is what I’ll call it from now on by the way- was in fact not developed by BIT.TRIP, but by Gaijin Games. It turns out, BIT.Trip is actually the name of this game series, to which Runner 2 is the latest instalment.

The game was uploaded on the 26th of February, 2013, earning praise as a rhythmic platformer- which is essentially a fusion of a rhythm game and a platformer.

Steam marks the game as Very Positive, with a nice, wide reviewer count of 2526 and counting.

It has been gifted a good 85 on Metacritic, and has an IGF award- unfortunately, the game only supports English, however.

This game is available on a nice wide array of platforms, these being Windows, OS X, Linux (including Steam OS), Wii U, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3, 4, and Vita, as well as iOS. On all computer platforms, it only requires a minimal of 2GB of memory and 850 MB of storage space.

The story is… well, it’s satire in the form of a Saturday Morning cartoon-like cutscene that basically says ‘does there even need to be a story? This is a rhythmic platformer!’, featuring story elements like a layer of the atmosphere called the ‘hypersphere’ and a dimension that is located ‘at the Apex of Light and Matter… (in) a wavelength of the optical spectrum’ (which apparently also features Flavours, AM, PM, and FM.).

For our avatar we have a choice of character, the defaults being Commander Video, the alternative being Command Girl Video, who is literally a pink Commander Video with a bow and… minor physiological changes. The satire is off the charts here. As I said before, we have a range of Avatars, but they are all silent protagonists- they lack even facial expressions, and all play the same: perhaps this is Satirical, again, but I honestly can’t tell at this point. These are the only real character’s in the game so let’s move on.

The game is a fairly simple platformer- jumping, sliding, kicking. The twist comes from the musical elements. As you obtain small red orbs, the beat speeds up and becomes more advanced, and your actions (such as jumping over foes) add notes to the song.

The ‘HUD’, if you can call it that, features the score- achieved through successful actions and lowered by failures- and the amount of Gold you have collected, which is a collectable in the game that can unlock bonus stages.

The game’s difficulty curve is very organic, making it perfectly enjoyable to anyone.

The game’s progression, however, has one serious flaw- the game doesn’t have enough check points, merely one each level. For longer levels, this really does become difficult.

The Game is basically a 3D Cel-Shaded Saturday morning cartoon, the characters relatively un-detailed compared to the backgrounds, to great effect when accentuating said backgrounds, which are beautiful and vibrant, featuring bright colours like pinks and reds. Brown and dingy has it’s place- just ask Warframe- but this isn’t it, and the game shows that off. Obviously, being a rhythm game, the music is phenomenal. The atmosphere’s a tad thin, but I’ll happily let that slide for a game like this.

This game is great. I am not good at it, but I enjoy it very, very much. If you really like platformers or rhythm games, this is very much your tune. And even if not, you could have a great time anyway. Just remember that it’s a tad hard.

Thank you again for reading. I was pleased to receive a comment on the Youtube Video review for BiT Evolution from Mastersnipes16: They ask if I can tackle the Watch Dogs Franchise. My answer: Yes, definitely, just give me a few weeks.

Please remember that you can use my email, VoltOfficial1@outlook.com, to send me things, if I use them I will credit you in this section.

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BiT Evolution: A Review

Hello, internet!

As you may remember, our last two reviews: the seriously flawed Binary Domain and the seriously good Warframe, have proven that merely having the same level of technology does not instantly make games equal. So for this week, let’s go a bit more retro. A good example of retro in my library would be BiT Evolution, I think.

BiT Evolution was developed by Major Games, for whom this is their first title. The game was uploaded to steam on the 9th of June, 2015, claiming itself as a platformer inspired by titles of the seventies-through-nineties.

Steam marks the game as Mostly Positive, though the reviewer count leaves much to be desired. It has escaped the vigilant eyes of Metacritic and no awards have been bestowed upon it- so either this game is really bad, or it somehow slipped under the radar for everyone that ever did anything.

The game only supports English, which is immensely unfortunate, and unfortunately for Linux Users, BiT evolution is only available on Windows and Mac OS X.

On Windows, it requires 1.2 GHz in terms of it’s CPU, 512 MB of Ram and 100 MB of storage space. On Mac OS X, however, it requires instead 2.4 GHz of CPU power, 1GB of RAM, and 100 MB of space, so those who indulge in Apple Tech should be wary of that.

Story

The story is quite entertaining, though short: the Ball from PONG escapes the game and travels onward through gaming history towards the present.

Characters

Our avatar is the aforementioned Ball, who is referred to in cutscenes as BiT- hence the game’s title. BiT is a very standard silent player Avatar; he displays emotions in cutscenes, but never speaks, allowing us to fill in the blanks. Each Era of gaming history has it’s own character who is representative of the characters of that era. Additionally, there is a character called ‘Hex’, who represents the progression of Hex Code, but she is quite mysterious and we know little of her, aside from the fact that she is trapped in the code, but has made peace with this.

Gameplay

The game is a fairly simple platformer- running, jumping, utilising the environment, you get the gist. Get to the end of the level to pass it. Simple stuff.

The ‘HUD’, if you can call it that, features the number of Pixels you have collected thus far, which I will get back to later.

There are various power ups that, again, are representative of the sort found in that era of gaming.

The game’s difficulty curve is not the best at times, but it’s perfectly manageable.

The game does have one unique mechanic that makes it all the more enjoyable: it’s death mechanic. When BiT ‘dies’, he is instead transported into the code world, where everything behind the scenes goes on. If he dies here, he is returned to the start of the level or last checkpoint, but there are portals here back to the rendered world. This, as you can imagine, opens up the doors for plenty of puzzles and boss battles based around this ability, such as the coded world having a shorter, but more dangerous path through an area, giving the player lots of ways to complete the game.

The game’s progression, however, is quite lacklustre, each level holding ‘pixels’, which have no reward for collecting aside from one of the achievements with Steam, but that’s about it.

Environments

As said many times previously, each ‘world’ features a different design based on a different era of gaming history- the first world is based on the Atari era, for example. Each new world not only changes said world, but also changes BiT themselves as they are adapted for each new platform, which is awesome, as this is historically what happens to characters who cross platforms.

The music, despite being in an 8-bit style, is remarkably catchy. It fits like a glove.

The atmosphere of this game is all fun-and-games, very mario-esque.

Conclusions

This game… is honestly debatable, just as Steam said. I, personally, very much enjoyed myself, but this is very much a niche title. If you really like platformers and humor-driven titles, then check it out, you could have a great time. Otherwise, maybe avoid this one. Additionally, you should be aware that there have been error reports- I have not suffered from this, but the Internet says that they do happen. Anyway, I personally would say that this is a good game, but I acknowledge that not everyone would agree with me.

First, I’d like to thank you for reading. Please remember that you can follow me to recieve notifications of new posts, and can like my content to lend me a hand and help me progress my blog. Remember also that I have an email for you to send me things and contact me directly: VoltOfficial1@outlook.com.

Thanks Again,

Alex Watts

Warframe: a Review

People of the internet, the question has stood for an exceptionally long time: what is awesome? Can this question actually be answered by human minds?

Sure it can.

Mech Suits are awesome. An awesome game about Mech suits can be found in the shape of the title Warframe.

The game was developed by Digital Extremes, who also developed Bioshock 2 and many other interesting titles, so we’re off to a good start.

The game touched down on the 25 of March, 2013, establishing itself well as a co-operative free to play third person online action game.

Steam marks the game as Very Positive both recently and overall, with lots of reviews- 3,855 recent reviews and an astonishing 117,528 reviews overall.

It only earned an Okay 68 on Metacritic, and has won:

The Zam 2013 Action Game of the Year

The IncGames 2013 Reader’s Awards – Best Free to Play

and finally

It was the champion of the MMOBomb.com Ultimate F2P Showdown.

The game supports fourteen languages, which is a record for us, but only English gets Full audio, as usual.

Unfortunately for Linux or Apple users, Warframe is exclusive to Windows on the computer, but it is available on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

On Windows, it requires 2 GB of Ram and 10 GB of storage space, so it’s pretty intense compared to what we’ve seen previously.

Story

The story is interesting. We are one of the last of an ancient group of godlike beings called the Tenno, who have access the a piece of ridiculous tech called a Warframe, which is essentially a Mech suit that channels their own godlike power into a machine. However, we’ve been in cryosleep for ages, only to be awoken by a being called The Lotus who says we are needed again. Before we can leave though, we are discovered by a person called Vor, who places a device on us. We escape anyway, will help from The Lotus, and must remove Vor’s device from ourselves.

Characters

Our avatar is an unnamed Tenno. We know nothing about them- we don’t even know what a Tenno looks like without their Warframe for a long time. Characters we do know of somewhat, however, are the Lotus, who acts as our guide throughout the game, and who, again, we know basically nothing of, and Ordis. Who is awesome. Ordis is the AI for the player’s old ship. Unfortunately, it’s our old ship, left ‘parked’ while we were in cryosleep, and was thus effected by time and by raiding parties. As you’d expect, being essentially left to rot and having chunks teared out of them for an undetermined (but long) period of time, they’ve gone slightly crazy. And by that I mean utterly insane, but in a very likeable way, that draws out our empathy.

Gameplay

The game is a mostly third person shooter with lots of parkour- I mean lots. In fact, you’re basically a robot ninja. Objectives are very standard; point defence, mobile defence, hunt and destroy, reach an objective and then reach extraction, etc. They’re executed expertly, which excuses their Generic nature.

The game’s HUD is a pretty standard, but very well executed third person shooter HUD, featuring your Health, Your Ammo and current weapon, your objective, and a mini-map.

There are three kinds of weapon you will be equipped with at any one time. A Primary Weapon, which is generally some type of firearm or bow, a Secondary weapon, usually some kind of pistol or throwing knives, and a melee weapon, usually some kind of sword. These weapons have levels which increase over time. Additionally, you can get modifiers to strengthen your gear and new Warframes to use.

The game’s difficulty curve is okay, but you will need team-mates for most missions- expect a lot of matches with people you have no knowledge of.

The game’s progression unlocks new blueprints to make new equipment, and abilities for your Warframe.

The game also hosts a bunch of achievements if synchronised with Steam, and the levels are fun enough to be rewarding to reach.

Environments

The game is a joy to watch. The environments are beautiful, and well-executed. Unfortunately, these environments are reused very often, kinda draining the magic from them.

The music is very much a background thing, but it enhances the atmosphere all that much more. Said atmosphere is practically indescribable, but it’s very enjoyable.

Conclusions

This is a free to play game, but it’s free quality. So go. Go now. Play this game. Unless you’re younger than 13 years of age, or dislike high violence- and even then, the violence can be disabled in the options. I’d say that this game is probably the best I’ve reviewed so far.

First, I would like to thank you for reading. Please remember that you can use my email, voltofficial1@outlook.com, to send me things. If I use them I will credit you in this section.

I’d like to ask you guys activate your follow function. Any feedback is good feedback, as long as it’s constructive. This is Voltatilis, and I’ll see you next week for the next review.

Binary Domain

People of the internet, welcome to my first review that says…

‘Eh.’.

Today we talk about Binary Domain, a game developed by Devil’s Details, but published by Sega. Already, things get interesting. Devil’s Details also developed other products for Sega, such as the Casino Nights DLC for Sonic Generations- this is their first true game.

Released unto the world on the twenty-seventh of April, 2012, Binary Division is a third-person shooter based on the age-old, generic Man vs Machine idea.

Recent Reviews on steam are Mostly Positive, based on the 29 reviews at this time, and reviews overall on Steam are Very Positive, based on two thousand, five hundred seventy eight reviews at this time. It only rated an okay 68 on Metacritic, and has not won any awards, so I settled myself in for an okay ride.

Binary Domain is supported on Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360- it has yet to be ported to the current generation of home consoles.

It supports 5 languages; and each is gifted with both Interface and Full Audio, which is a first for us; but none have subtitles.

Again, most machines of modern computing can run this game. For those like me who like numbers, that’s any CPU higher than 2.66 GHz, any RAM greater than 2 GB, any Graphics Card of better memory than 512 MB, and it requires only 8 GB of space.

Man vs Machine is a huge cliché, and so the story is, well, cliched;

In fact, they took a bunch of cliches and fused them together to form their story. Now, I’ve seen this done before, and often done well, but these ones just… Don’t. They don’t merge. To explain what I mean, I’ll explain the story, and every time there’s a cliché, I’ll put it in italics. So the world has fallen to Global Warming and as a result the world has had to form a new set of Geneva Conventions because technology that before would be minute can now create a genuine threat by doing something like destroying a flood barrier or whatnot. One of these laws was that no-one was allowed to create robots that acted like humans, whom are referred to as Hollow Children. Surprise, surprise, someone does. These robots don’t know that they’re robots, and freak out if they find out, which results in mass panic and destruction. This causes moral issues about what life is. The future UN decides that it’s specialist military squad for robotics-related issues should go to Japan, because they think that a company there is making hollow children. This company is basically a mob, but it somehow controls the government. So that’s ten cliches in one story, which would usually put a bad taste in my mouth- and it does- but, it’s not as bad as some examples, I’ve seen.

On my bad story meter, with 1 being a blatant rip-off of previous pop culture and 10 being something revolutionary like Super Mario Bros., I’d say this is a 3 or 4. Not good, but not utterly awful.

The two characters we’re first introduced to are Dan and a soldier referred to on the menus as Big Bo. They are incredibly stereotypical, to the actually makes me slightly uncomfortable. Our Avatar is Dan, which is okay I guess, but I honestly don’t understand why the game doesn’t let us choose- I mean, Bo and Dan have different weapons and abilities and such, I think it’d be really cool to be able to choose a style- again, it’s another bizarre choice from this game.

In addition, the way that the characters treat women is highly questionable. Personally, it makes me feel really uncomfortable.

Besides this, their designs are generic, their characters are both generic and uncomfortable – though to be fair they do have a fairly good sense of Camaraderie, however this does not excuse them.

The HUD is fairly standard for third person shooters. It shows what weapon your using, as well as how many bullets and how much charge the gun has if applicable. It also shows how many credits you have- that’s the in game currency, by the way- your objective, who’s talking at the moment, etc. It also has one other thing…. But we’ll get to that later.

The mechanics are simple- they are exactly as you’d expect- multiple weapons, shooting, aiming, weapon upgrades, etc. There are a couple of nice little add-on mechanics- like the fact that robotic enemies have structural weak points, like real-life robots, and a nice consequence system.

However… they went a tad too far.

They tried to implement a voice recognition mechanic… In 2012. In a fast-paced fps. The result? Well, please guess. It’s awful. It’s set of recognised words is too low, you have to talk perfectly calmly for it to pick you up at all, even then some words just don’t seem to work. It’s a gimmick that could never have really paid off and actually lowers the experience dramatically.

To be fair, the game has a perfectly workable difficulty curve to it, with new and different foes appearing over time, each harder than the last to defeat but with new weaknesses, it’s okay.

There are achievements in the game. This is our only palpable reward aside from upgrading our weapons. Even progression in this game never really feels like a reward. To be fair, they did try by adding in the fact that Bo will complement you sometimes, which is nice.

A plus is the fact that this game has a nice tension to it. Very rarely do you feel safe in this game, and every time you do, you will only enjoy it for a little while- very much how I’d expect an actual covert op to feel.

The environments are nice, quite gloomy, but they fit the atmosphere well, if generically.

The music is entirely unremarkable, incredibly stock and generic. When I think about this game, I cannot remember a single piece of the music or sound effects.

The atmosphere of this game is fairly interesting though, to be fair, half tense and half morally questioning, but when you compare it to other titles out there, it just doesn’t stand up.

This game… Is not the best. It’s flawed. Heavily. Not the worst out there, but still about a light year from good. The voice mechanic is awful and the characters are stock and uncomfortable. The game looked promising at first, but it flops in comparison to other options out there- for stuff like this done well, check out Deus Ex or even Mass Effect.

Overall, unless it was given as a gift, I’d recommend avoiding it. If you do find it in your Steam Library though… Maybe give it a look, just to see it’s ideas and how they failed to execute them. Just don’t expect to truly enjoy it. Overall, the game leaves you with a hollow feeling, the feeling of a good concept and okay execution glaringly spoiled by a gimmicky mechanic and what could be an insensitive character designer.

Alright, so first, thank you for reading. Please remember that you can use my email in the about section or the contact form in the contact section to send me things, if I use them I will credit you in this section.

Okay, so moving on from that, I’d like to ask you guys to follow me, to rendezvous with some more great content. Feel free to send comments via the contact section. This is Voltatilis, and I’ll see you next week for the next review.

Back to Bed

Gentlepeople of the internet, welcome to Back to Bed, developed by the appropriately-named Bedtime Digital Games, who also published the unique title, Chronology.

Unleashed upon the world on the sixth of august, 2014, Back to Bed is a psychedelic, but simple puzzle game.

Reviews on steam are Very Positive, based on the 287 reviews at this time- however, it only rated an okay 57 on Metacritic-but then again it has won the Independent Games Festival Student Showcase, the Guts and Glory award for 2012, the Kill Screen Playlist Selection, the Indie Prize Europe 2014 Best Console Game Nomination, and was an award finalist at the 2012 unity awards, and a finalist for the Nordic Game Indie Night 2012.

Back to bed is supported on Windows, Mac OS X, SteamOS, Linux, the Playstation 3, 4, and Vita, iPhone, iPad, Android, Wii U, and even the Ouya. That’s a wide variety; the same can be said for it’s languages, as it supports 10; while again, only English gets Interface, Full Audio and Subtitles, ten others, those being French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese-Brazil, Russian, and both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, get Interface and Subtitles.

Any machine of modern computing can run this game. For those like me who like numbers, that’s any CPU higher than 1.8 Ghz, any RAM greater than 2 GB, and it requires only 600 MB of space.

The word ‘story’ is barely applicable to this unique experience, but there kinda is one. Bob is a narcoleptic- which is cool to see in a game, by the way- who often falls asleep at work and unfortunately sleepwalks. It’s the player’s job, as his unconscious guardian named Subob, to protect him and direct him to bed through his dreamscape- hence the title.

The only two real characters are the silent (unless you count screaming) Narcoleptic Bob and his dreamscape guardian and Silent Player Avatar, Subob. Bob has the same great art style as the whole game, but nothing particularly unique in his design or voice. Subob, however. Oh, boy. Strange, but kinda interesting. Comfortably strange. There is also a strange… Narrator? Their lines sound like they’re random sounds spoken backwards to form words, and what he says is random- sometimes actual important details, such as the fact that Bob turns clockwise, or sometimes random things like ‘the apple is a hat’. The narrator practically is the mystery of this game.

The HUD is incredibly simple. It allows you to speed up time or pause. That’s it.

The puzzle concept is simple. Bob moves of his own accord, and turns clockwise whenever he meets an obstruction. We, as Subob, can put objects- such as supersized apples- in bob’s path to make him do this.

The game has a nice difficulty curve to it- there’s always a trick to the level, but it is never overly complex.

The game’s levels themselves are rewarding to look at, passing one reveals the next, and hence, the reward for the puzzle is more puzzles. The game also sports a nice set of achievements for an extra kick.

The game has no tension. If bob ‘dies’, he merely returns to his starting position. But a game like this doesn’t need tension- the atmosphere of these Dreamscapes is usually rather peaceful, if not a little odd.

Environments

The environments… Oh, the environments.

The music, despite all the oddity, is actually gloriously calm- the mind is, after all, a mostly tranquil place.

I think it fits, anyway.

Even more glorious than this is the musical effects. Every time Bob steps, it sounds like he’s stepping in Water. Every time Subob steps, it sounds like a pen scribble. This really enforces the difference between the two and the strange nature of this world in general.

The atmosphere of this game is bluntly phenomenal. It feels like the Dreamscape it is, not some blank voids like some movie, nor as …realistic? As some novels can portray them. This is a strange, fantasy realm of the thought, where the only limits are defined by the base nature of the subconscious.

Additional Notes

Conclusions

This is a great game. I was hooked from the start, and it just didn’t let go.

Anyone can enjoy this game. In fact, everyone should enjoy this game. I practically insist. Unless you don’t like mind games or have issues with this sort of material. That’s cool too.

Okay, so that was my second review.

I’d like to ask you guys to sleepwalk your way into following me. Also, be aware that I have an Email address. If you want to help out, you can send me stuff. I will credit you fully if I use it. Said Email Address is voltofficial1@outlook.com.

This is Voltatilis, and I’ll see you next week for the next review.

Anomaly 2

Hello and Welcome to my first Review. 

Christmas has come, and along with it, Steam Sales. One of the things that showed up for me was a title called Anomaly 2.

So… Let’s check it out.

Developed by 11 Bit Studios- who also developed This War of Mine, it was released on the 15th of May, 2013.

It claims, in loud letters, to be a Tower Defence vs Tower Defence Real Time Strategy game.

Reviews on Steam are Very Positive, based on 401 reviews at the time of writing, and it has also earned 77/100 on Metacritic. It also scored the Games Radar 25 Best Indie Games of all Time, Video Game Writers; Best of PAX, and the Best of Show PAX award RTS Guru- a rather impressive array of awards, to say the least..

An interesting observation is that, while the game can be bought on Steam, it can also be bought on the Apple Store and Google Play. This point peaked my interest because, at first glance, it seemed as if I’d bought an app ported to the computer- and yet, it has so many awards. The question arose- Is it a legendary masterpiece worthy of it’s praise, or a weird app port that got hit with a hype train…?

On another, interesting note, the game is available in six languages- though only English has a full Interface, Audio and Subtitles, five other languages have an Interface and Subtitles, which is nice; these languages are French, German, Spanish, Polish and Russian.

Another nice detail is that the game is available on Windows, Mac OSX and even SteamOS and Linux, needing only very low minimal requirements for each; if you have a machine less than five years of age, it should work. For those like me who obsess over these things, that’s any 2 core 2.8 GHz CPU, any 2 Gigabyte RAM, and any graphics card of greater than 512 megabytes. 3 gigabytes of hard drive space is also needed.

The story, in a simple and unspoiled way, is the continuation of that of the previous game. It’s relatively stock. Basically, in the first game, a race of aliens called the Machines- I know, very original, showed up and fought the peoples of earth. The earthlings won. However, they showed up again only three years later, and somehow eradicated human life globally. How they did this considering humanity kicked their asses only three years earlier? Your guess is as good as mine, but it might be something to do with the fact that Earth is now a frozen wasteland.

Anyhow, we must now use the biggest, shiny-est, most future-y tech we have to kick the machines off the planet. As stories go, it’s fairly generic, but it’s not the game’s main focus, and is done well enough to give it a good pass.

Sometimes, a character makes it’s game. Unfortunately, a lot of these characters are Generic Soldier- we don’t even see most of their faces, and they have generic masculine voices. At the beginning of the game, we get to play as Captain Poise. His design is nice, if, again, a tad generic, and he’s barely different from the soldiers in terms of voice. At the end of the first level, he…

dies.

I should feel something, but he’s just too generic for me to connect to him. Added to this the fact that he plays a role- and presumably a big role- in the previous games means that he should enforce some sort of connection, but I just don’t feel it. The only character that begins to get me connected to the world is General Roberts. Who, again, is generic, but he really pulls off the feeling of a man from a dying world- tired but… determined.

The next level introduces our main cast; our avatar, First Lieutenant Simon Lynx, who we don’t actually see at this point, and his voice is very generic- though what he says is actually quite interesting, and his worries do shine through. His Commanding Officer, Colonel Ellen Bolt, also enters Stage Left. Colonel Bolt is the first character to show deviations from the generic, though she is still fairly standard. She genuinely looks pretty bad-ass, with that scar, military-grade hair, the works. Her tone is great- she sounds like an officer. In the middle of the level- a Virtual Reality simulation, by the way- the VR begins to glitch, as the convoy’s fallen under attack. She, quite calmly, instructs us to continue training, as she can deal with it. And she does. It does damage the simulator, but still.

She’s a certified bad-ass, which is good, considering that (as our CO), she’ll be talking a lot in this game. Of course, she does need your help after an ambush, but she still holds her own.

The game has a somewhat unique style- every level consists of what is essentially an escort mission, in which you move with your vehicles and utilise your Combat Suit’s Prowess- which include, but are not limited to, healing your units and sending decoy signals.

The game has a simplistic, but very effective and professional HUD system. The HUD lets you know what powers you have, the health of your and and your opponent’s units, and the rate of fire for units with variable rates of fire.

The Combat Suit’s prowess are not unlimited- you must collect uses of the powers from destroyed enemy units. Additionally, to upgrade units or get new ones, you must spend ‘Carusaurum’, the in-game currency, which, again, can be obtained from defeating units or be found on the ground.

The difficulty is fairly fair, as long as the player remembers all of the mechanics the game lays out.

As the player progresses, they unlock more and more units to use. There are many achievements in game to enhance the experience.

The game has a great tense atmosphere- this is a cold, barren, post-apocalypse planet, and it really shows.

The environments are quite incredible considering that the game is from 2013; perfect red mist and deserted urban expanses make this game look strangely beautiful.

The musical score is fairly generic, but hey, it’s well done and does fit the tone.

It is a good game. Very generic, but hey, there’s nothing new under the sun, right? The game is a masterpiece. But- it’s not a computer game. It’s a phone game on a computer, so it isn’t too deep or complex. And you know what? It doesn’t need to be. I had a lot of fun with this one.

Anyone who enjoys Real Time Strategy should probably check this one out, at least briefly. And if you’re new to the genre- somehow- and have ever thought ‘can you have a good escort mission’? Well, this’d be a good way into the style. Overall, a thumbs up from me.

Okay, so that’s my review of Anomaly 2 transcripted, with minor edits to help it work on paper. If you have anything to say, please do! Good or Bad, if it’s constructive, it’s helpful. If you want more content like this, please feel free to Follow me to see it. And with that, I’ll see you next week for the next review.