Friday, January 30, 2015

Chaos Ride Impressions

Chaos Ride is an insanely fast arcade racer. Jump into a hover cycle and race against the computer, or with your friends locally. The game also supports Oculus Rift if you want to feel like you are in the driver seat. Does Chaos Ride have enough to make it a big hit like Wipeout or does it fail to deliver?

You can play the game with up to four players locally but the majority of the game is played through the single player campaign. You start off with a few tracks, but by beating challenges you unlock more tracks. There's the simple race mode where you try and get first place. Eliminator mode has you race and at the end of each lap a racer is eliminated. Survival has you race to finish each lap within a certain amount of time. If you can't finish the lap in time then it's game over. 

Now my biggest gripe is how the game plays. The controls are simple up arrow is the gas and left and right arrow moves the hover bike in the direction you want. The way you generate crazy speeds is by using the turbo button which makes controlling the bike near impossible. They fix this by adding a slow motion button which slows down time to allow you to avoid other bikes. Though you can win every race just by holding the gas and holding one of the directions. Now all you have to do is spam the turbo button and you'll zoom your way to first place. Even if you hit a bike or two you'll still win almost every race if you just spam the turbo button like a boss. The slow motion button is just a waste of time. 

The game features tons of tracks but you can't fall off the tracks since they are just large tubs. This makes the game easier since you don't have to worry about falling off the track, but it takes a lot of the challenge out. The locations are pretty cool like an underwater level, desert oasis, space station, and even a city of skyscrapers. If anything I found myself looking at the backgrounds more than actually trying to play the game. 

Best part of the game are the visuals. The hover bikes look great, and the feeling of racing at hundreds of miles an hour is pretty awesome. It's pretty cool that the game takes place from the driver seat so it really gives you the feeling of being in a hover bike. Also the locations are beautifully rendered because nothing is more fun than racing by a giant shark while on the under water track. 

Chaos Ride fails on a gameplay, so it's a game I suggest to avoid. This game had lots of potential, but it just fell short on so many levels. It looks cool and feels great to zoom in a hover bike but lacks the precise controls to be an amazing racing game. If any of this interests you then pick it up on Steam right now. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Grav Impressions

Grav is sci-fi adventure game with an open world environment. It's about exploring the open world to harvest materials, craft items, and finding some epic dungeons to raid. This whole concept would be amazing if you could actually get the game to work. If it does work good luck having any general understanding of what to do. Here's how a game with so much promise falls short. This game is in early access, but here are some problems I had with Grav. 

Lets get started with loading a game. The game literally loads you into the server list where you can choose one to play on. I live on the east coast so I picked a server with a decent ping. This is where the game takes forever to even load the game world you play in. Shortest time it took me to get into a server was four minutes and the longest time took about eight minutes. Also during the loading screen I thought the game had froze but part of the process of the game is the game not responding for a solid thirty seconds. This is the most frustrating part of the game but understandably it's loading a massive a world. 

After you finally make it into a server more problems will arise. Get ready for the game to lag to no end. Finally you can adjust the graphical settings here, but why couldn't you just fix this before you joined a server? Even when you turn turn all the settings down the game still seems to lag to a point where all your actions take a second or two to register. One second you are attacking an enemy to gain some food next second you're dead. 

Now if you happen to get everything to work here's how the game works. You start off with a knife and a multi tool. It's your job to explore the world to build new weapons, armor, bases, and scavenge food. First off I found it hard to really starve to death since the meter runs down so slow. The harder job I found was trying to find lower level enemies to kill in order to create new weapons and structures. You create all these things by finding blue prints which gives you the instructions in order to build items. Problem is you spend about a good ten to twenty minutes trying to find an enemy at your level. If it's to high it will kill you instantly if you try to attack it. 

I had a chance to only build one thing after an hour of me trying to figure out what to kill and what to harvest. There is always a certain amount of discovery in a video game but it's to the point where I had no general idea of what I was doing. It was frustrating since I really wanted to get into this game. I tried messaging other people on the server with me and there was no response. The most enjoyable action in this game I have found so far is sadly standing still and making my character dance. 

Now there are tons of things going wrong with this game but It does have one redeeming quality which are it's graphics. Grav does a great job with putting you into a large open world with great character modules, and beautiful landscapes. Sadly you can't even enjoy the scenery due to the lag you encounter. Again just get back to pressing that dance button since standing still doesn't seem to make your game lag. 

Final verdict is you pass on Grav for now. It's only in alpha so it still has a long way from it being completed. I would love to revisit this game once it's in beta or fully released. No matter how great a concept, or great looking it might be it fails at execution. Though if you are willing to take the risk you can get the game on Steam right now. 


Friday, January 16, 2015

Orbital Gear Impressions

Orbital Gear is a side scrolling shooter where you utilize gravitational pull and push. There are twelve weapons to choose from but you must pick only two to go into battle with. You can also choose from one of four skills to take into battle as well. Take your chances at death match, orbital gear, or a single player mode called orbital trials. Orbitial Gear delivers an online experience that is not only fun but fast paced.

Let's start off with the game modes. First off I suggest skipping over orbital trials unless you really can't wait for your friends to get online. Orbital trails is just a series of levels with challenges to overcome. You can compete in leader boards for first place in this mode. Death Match is the best mode for this game. All you have to do is kill your team mates until you reach a score limit which defaults at 100, but I suggest setting it to 200 since 100 point matches end pretty quickly. Orbital Warfare is the team based mode where  teams fight against each other to destroy bases. This game mode is fun, but I wouldn't suggest playing this game mode with less than four players per team. First team to destroy all the structures on the opposing base wins. The nice thing about this game mode is you can make comebacks by repairing bases before they are completely destroyed, so you need a team that can play a good defense as well as offense.

Of course you play online games for the thrill, and Orbital Gear delivers that feeling. You aim at other players by using the mouse and you jump by pressing the space bar. Though where the real skill comes into play is by using the small planets which have gravitational pull and push. By jumping high in the air you can use a planets gravity to swing your character at faster speeds. The trick is jumping at the right moment because the gravity can also work against you. Sometimes you can get caught between two planets making you hover for a little bit allowing other players to take you off easily. I suggest using the outside of each map to increase your speeds and picking off players that come in your way. The faster you go the harder you make it for players to hit you. 

Now lets talk weaponry. There are twelve guns to choose from but you can only pick two at a time. Choosing the right two weapons is key to winning any good game. For instance one of my tactics is to use Phase Orb and Hornets together. Phase Orb is a gun that creates a massive energy ball that moves through planets, and does massive damage. It has it's own gravitational pull, but takes a while to fire. A good balance might be choosing Hornets a weapon that shoots missiles which lock on to enemies, but does little damage. Every gun has its pros and cons but one that I thought could use some balancing was the nail gun. I saw very few players use it and found it to do way to little damage. 

Even the skill you choose can mean the difference from surviving and dying. Booster is a skill that is great to run away from enemies, as well as avoid massive phase orb attacks. The satellite turret drops a small turret that shoots players that come by. It's a great skill for players who use sniper rifles, because it distracts the player while you line up your shots. Mines I found to be the worst skill just because they did so little damage. Once you get the hang of the whole game shield can also be a good skill to keep yourself from being damage. 

Orbital Gear keeps you on the edge of your seat. Nothing feels better then killing three people in a row while orbiting a planet at crazy speeds! It's an side scrolling shooter that you and your friends should be playing right now! You can pick it up on Steam for yourself or even in a four pack!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chroma Squad Impressions

Chroma Squad is strategy game like no other. Instead of building bases your task to build your own action show. The Chroma Squad are just like the Power Rangers and are under the guide of a director they don't like. Taking matters into their own hands they quit the show and form their own studio. With very few funds or fans it's your task to create a successful TV series with awesome action sequences and villains to battle. Can you make it through each season and keep your fans, or will you lose them past the pilot?

Chroma Squad plays out like XCOM but of course with it's own twist. Your home base is a warehouse where a giant brain gives you direction and guidance on what to do. At home base you can put on new costumes, add additions to your studio, and pick new missions to battle. You even have to go through your email box and make decisions that could very well get you more fans. Though with each decision it could mean the difference between staying in business or moving on to your next episode.

The way you keep your studio is business is by making episodes to generate a fan base and funds. This is where the strategy part of the game comes into play. Each episode you play out has a villain with unique abilities that you must overcome with your team of five. Each person in your squad also has unique abilities and weapons to use. The way you get more fans is by taking as little damage as possible, as well as doing over the top moves. You can do a single attack or move to another squad member and team up for a team attack. When you combine all the squad members together you do an ultimate attack. You can also use other team members to move further by throwing them across the battle field.

The episode is over and now you get to know how many fans you have gained. You also get to know the reaction people have to your episode by their tweets and hash tags they create. It gives you insight on what you did right and wrong in each episode. The trick is to keep your fans on their toes with new costumes, awesome attacks, and taking as little damage as possible. If you do these things your fan base will keep growing.

What do you do with all the money you have earned? Use your funds to buy new studio additions, costumes weapons, and materials to craft your own items. Purchased items cost a bit more, but by crafting your own items you can save some money in case you make an episode that tanks. Without money you can't increase your chances or getting more fans. I suggest managing your finances well!

Right now the game is in early access so there are a few issues. My main issue with the game is mainly with how items are equipped. It's hard to tell what items are equipped or not to your characters. Half the time I went into battle I thought I had an item equipped and I didn't. My other issue is comparing items. There's no way to see how buying an item changes your characters stats until you equip it. Half the time I made a bad purchase because the item I had before was a lot better.

This game is in early access so a lot of these issues can be fixed. Chroma Squad even in beta is worth your time and money. The game feels like an awesome power rangers season mixed with an awesome strategy game. I suggest getting the game off Indie Game Stand which comes with a Steam key!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Porcunipine Impressions

Local multiplayer games seem to be on the rise in this day and age. Porcunipine pits up to four players in combat with the simple goal of killing each other. The only weapon you have is one needle that you can ricochet off walls, so each shot must be carefully timed. There is no reloading as you must run and try to pick up your shot without getting killed by other players. This game can be a lot of fun, and even in early access provides many great moments.

The game features three game modes Survival, Last Man Standing, and Arena. This game is meant to be played with your friends, so I would just skip over Survival mode for now. It's not a bad game mode, but it's just not as fun as killing your friends. Last Man Standing pits four players against each until one player is left standing. If you are the last player left you get one point. You can adjust the amount of points a player wins before the game is over. Arena simply has four players battle each other in a certain amount of time. The person with the most kills win.

What makes the game great are the different levels you can choose from.  The ice world has frozen water that you slip and slide on. Also you can use the snowman as coverage from attacks. Another world has triangle structures that you can bounce your attacks off of. This can be kinda hectic with four players for sure. Though each world has three different variations so you can change up the action.

Game play is easy just plug in a controller and play. Move around with the joystick and hit the "A" button to shoot. When you need to pick up your needle just walk over and hit the "A" button again. You can play without a controller but the controls can be awkward on a keyboard. You can also plug in multiple controllers for up to four players at once.

My biggest gripe with the game is customization. First off I wish you could customize how much the needle bounces off objects. By adding some options to change that around you could really bring new life to the game without even adding new levels. Another thing that got on my nerves was not seeing clearly which needle was mine to pick up. Though that seems like a easy fix by maybe highlighting the needle with the color character actually is. Though these things can big fixed since this game is still in early access.

Final verdict is that this game is totally worth your time and hard earned money.  You can pick it up for cheap on Indie Game Stand. The characters are adorable, and you can kill your friends in glorious battle!