In celebration of Playstation Plus increasing its price, we’re going to take a look at all of the Playstation Plus games coming out in 2017 in a new segment I like to call Justifying the Price. For experiences sake, I won’t be giving a full review to each game but I will play them for at least an hour in order to determine if they would be worth playing in the future. And our first contender is Day of the Tentacle.
Day of the Tentacle is one of those classic Tim Shafer Lucas Arts adventure games everyone is always going on about. In it you and your friends must go back in time in order to prevent the evil Purple Tentacle from ingesting toxic waste, growing two limbs and taking over the world. Unfortunately, something goes horribly wrong with the time machine trapping your three playable characters in three-time zones.
Bernard, the standard nerd character remains in the present, Hoagie the chubby rock music fan winds up in Colonial America on the cusp of the country’s creation, and Laverne the unstable med student stranded in the tentacle run bad future. The gameplay consists of a long series of intricate puzzles that will ultimately result in power being restored to the time machine. The complications arise in that many puzzles require doing something in the past to alter the future or transferring objects around the different time zones.
As to be expected from a Shafer produced game the story is hilarious filled with a smorgasbord of wacky ridiculous and insane characters complemented by excellent voice acting and clever writing. However, while I chuckled at the jokes none of them ever really made me laugh out loud. And many of the puzzles need to be solved in such a roundabout fashion or with such ridiculous logic that it can quickly lead to you feeling overwhelmed by the depths of your own ignorance. A risk one always takes with this type of game but since I lack the nostalgic knowledge about what to do and the time to spend rubbing every object against every possible other object searching for an outcome it can lead to a very frustrating experience. But I still respect the game enough to give it a 3.75 out of 5.
The next game is This War of Mine: The little ones. This game is about survivors in a war zone struggling to survive day by day until the war ends. The game feels like a struggle and I mean that in the best possible way. Your characters can die permanently from exposure, sickness, injury or plain murder. But even more stressful is your limited resources which will result in you agonizing over every possible decision.
The game is split into two sections, the base management where you will try to use your time as efficiently as possible as you construct items, food, and engage in trade in order to make your little shelter bearable. You’ll have to make decisions such as using your resources to make barricades to keep out raiders or try to make a workbench to make tools. Do you try to create a rat trap that has a rare chance of succeeding or do you make a garden that has a guaranteed success rate but requires time. Than there’s the constant struggle of what to give up when the trader comes around. His visits are infrequent so you have to make every encounter count.
But if things are stressful at home, they’re even more so in the actual ruins where you’ll have to scavenge vital items such as wood, materials and the all important food and medicine. Unfortunately storage is incredibly limited even for characters that specialize in scavenging so working in the field has the same stressful decision-making process along with the risk of being killed by a bandit or fellow scavenger. You will have to make difficult decisions on what you’re willing to do to survive and it’s more than likely not everyone will live or keep their humanity in tack.
The haunting music and melancholy visuals further add to the desolate feeling. And while great and atmospheric (albeit with a simple combat system ripe for exploitation if you know what you’re doing) this stress can make playing the game difficult for long sittings. If your lucky you will eventual get enough resources that you can live comfortably and will eventually reach the point of just waiting around for the game to just sort of anti-climactically stop. Though the controls aren’t as good as on PC (particularly in the base management sections) they are still designed well enough to allow you to intuitively make your way through an unforgettable albeit dreary world. 4/5.
BlazeRush is a top down racing game where you will use a variety of vehicles and power ups to win a series of wacky races. Competently designed and with a nice aesthetic it’s a solid game for those who enjoy racing games and want to take a break from Rocket League or Mario Kart. However, since this genre holds no real interest for me I can’t give it more than a 3/5.
The Swindle is a side-scrolling rogue-like game where you play a gang of thieves building up resources to pull off the ultimate heist. You see in 100 days the government will implement an AI system that will soon render crime impossible. As an enterprising criminal you can’t allow that. You’ll sneak bludgeon and steal your way through a variety of randomly generated stages contending with all manner of clockwork coppers and creatures stealing as much as you can. You can use money to unlock abilities such as hacking, double jumping with a steam punk jet pack and other tools of thievery tomfoolery.
Every time you die you are replaced with a new thief but you keep all of your abilities. This is fortunate, as security quickly gets insane with flying turrets, tougher guards, some weird robo-centipede thing and more. This is exacerbated by the fact that if any see you the alarm is sounded and the nearly unstoppable constables will arrive in minutes. It’s well designed and addicting, unfortunately its random nature can result in you having to contend with buildings that are all but impossible as you lack the resources or abilities to traverse them or even get decent loot in order to improve your abilities which is a very disheartening feeling. However, I left the game wanting more so it’s likely I’ll be revisiting this strange steam punk land very soon. 4/5.
Azkend 2 The World Beneath is based on the mobile game of the same name. It features a decent enough story of a ship dragged under the ocean in a strange world and your attempts to escape. The gameplay consists of Bejeweled style puzzles as you try to match tiles in order to clear the way for the item you need to progress the story. The more tiles you match at once they quicker you get the item (there’s a time limit so that’s important) and you can get power ups along the way to help. A decent enough game well designed in what it’s supposed to do. However, it was definitely designed to work on the phone than with a console control scheme, and it shows in the gameplay. 3/5.
Finally there’s Titan Souls, another in a long line of pixel graphic games that look more and more peculiar as systems get more and more advanced. In this game you play as a person of some sort armed only with a bow, one arrow, and the ability to call the arrow back with your mind. Except for the basic controls no other information is conveyed to you as you fight a series of titans to collect their souls.
The titans can only take one hit in their weak spot from your magic arrow before dying. However, you can only take one hit in your everywhere so it evens out. Beautifully designed with each titan fight playing out completely differently from each other the game quickly becomes addicting as you attempt to take on the titans again and again. If you now what you’re doing you could easily beat the game in under an hour with each fight taking no more than a minute.
However, you will die countless times to certain titans which can be frustrating since it seems to take at least 10 seconds to get to any fight after you die which quickly becomes tedious. Especially when compared to games like Hotline Miami where you respawn almost instantly. It’s because of this tedium that I have to deduct some points but if you enjoy games like Shadow of the Colossus or Punch Out where the whole game is a series of boss fights than this game is for you. 3.75/5.