Undertale Review

Go play Undertale right now!

Eh, need a little more than that? Well, fine! I just wanted to give you the chance to jump straight into the game without having any of the plot spoiled or any advanced knowledge of the gameplay. It truly is a game best played without any pretense. Such a feat is likely difficult to accomplish, however, seeing as if you’ve heard of the game, someone has likely already extolled its virtues and quirks. The game seems to have received quite a bit of critical acclaim and people are already talking about it, let’s playing it and singing its praises from the mountaintops. However, I truly believe it is the kind of game that should just be experienced straight, without pretense or proxy. A Let’s Play would ruin the intimacy of the game. A walkthrough would destroy reveals and suspense. In fact, even a review might dull the edge of the Undertale experience. However, I like this game so much that I still want to talk about it. I’ll try my best to withhold anything too telling, but consider this entire paragraph a strong suggestion that if you ever feel like you should stop reading and just play it, then do so.

Undertale Title Screen

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A Wolf in Autumn Review and Analysis

By some strange coincidence, the day I uploaded my review of The Music Machine, David Szymanski released another Unity-built psychological horror game on Steam. A Wolf in Autumn came out October 27th and advertised itself as “A dark, surreal psychological horror game, in which a young girl finds herself locked in a shed, in the middle of an idyllic autumn forest.” Now, having already played two of Szymanski’s games, I had a few knee-jerk reactions. Would this be another game with a bizarre take on a female character? Would I be wandering through yet another hallway? In spite of this, I still decided to buy it and give it a chance. As I’ve stated before, Szymanski has a talent for giving his games a distinct style even under the limitations that many other struggle with in Unity, and this has been obvious in all the screenshots used in advertising his games on Steam. Ultimately, this eye-catching method has always pulled me in and made me think the game would definitely be worth the meager price to give a chance. Was I wrong in the case of A Wolf in Autumn, though? Well, the answer is a little more complicated than that.

From the opening of A Wolf in Autumn

From the opening of A Wolf in Autumn

I want to stop now and say that this game contains implications of child abuse and physical disability. If either are subjects you are sensitive to or would rather just avoid, then I recommend not playing the game or reading this review any further. In addition, I plan on looking into actual plot of the game, so if you would rather play spoiler-free, then I wouldn’t read everything below. I will try to describe gameplay without revealing the plot first.

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Camera Obscura Review

It’s often said that there is beauty in simplicity. Though adages like this are so easily refuted, there are plenty of occasions in which they still ring true. In video games, simplicity can mean a lot of things. Graphics and effects could utilize the art styles of older games to evoke nostalgia. Sound and music may rely on outdated synthesizer technology or loop a relatively short soundtrack and construct a familiar aural integrity. Gameplay may use only small twists when implementing long standardized mechanics. Of course, these efforts run the risk of being too outdated and even clichéd if not implemented properly, but when done well you will often find that even with old parts you can always build something new and satisfying. The game I am looking at today is one I feel manages to do just that: it uses 16-bit style graphics and simple, yet enjoyable gameplay to construct a surprisingly good game. I’m talking about the puzzle/platformer game Camera Obscura.

Title Screen for Camera Obscura

Title Screen for Camera Obscura

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The Moon Sliver Review

Moon Sliver Title

The Moon Sliver is a adventure atmospheric horror game by David Szymanski. “Powered by Unity”, the game features a stark environment and a single vague human figure. Now before you go discounting it for the almost cliché simplicity that comes with many Unity games, it should be said that the setting of the game isn’t actually as lazy as its description may let on. Szymanski seemed to make an effort to construct a rather unnerving, haunted atmosphere for the game and in many ways he was successful. However, the game does show signs of being amateurish and includes some superfluous elements that detract from its world and can potentially throw the player out of the story.

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