Quick announcement

A few quick announcements

-Classics club medals will be awarded to games that i include in my list of personal “classics”. there will be a yearly recap of classics near the end of the year.

-Got a game you would like me to review? send it to me via steam! My steam name is Earlegey

-I will NOT review a game that has been critically panned unless my opinion of it may be different (I am looking at you ride to hell).

-Please leave comments and opinions, this is a safe place for discussion, also if any body is being offensive or hateful PLEASE shoot me an email with a screenshot of the post and a quick explanation of why you find it hurtful. My email is hkaplanearle@gmail.com.

CrownTakers: a grand sense of adventure

It would be easy to dismiss CrownTakers as just yet another turn based indie rogue-like but that would hardly be doing it justice. It is a witty and satisfying adventure with fantastic and charming art as well as some quality (here it comes)  emergent narrative. What I mean by emergent narrative is that the procedural generated levels feature various encounters picked out of a metaphorical hat which means that even though the third part of the game always takes place in the city two different players will have two different experiences. ONTO THE RATINGS!!!

Graphics: 1 out of 1 star

The vivid colors and varied character designs look great and the smaller depictions of them reflect he overall them of the characters. Also the UI is top notch.

Sound, music and voice: 1 out of 1 star

The colorful writing is just begging for some voice work but I understand budget decisions around that. However the music is amazing and battle sounds are not great but not bad.

Narrative: 1 out of 1 star

The main plot is a little lackluster, which is fine because the real fun lays in the encounter writing which is sharp and witty.

Gameplay: 2 out of 2 stars

The tactical hex based battle system works well for a game of this genre. The stats factor into the combat in meaningful and noticeable ways and only flesh out the existing depth which comes from character specialization. The common definition of specialization for the uninitiated is as follow: Building a character in a way that focuses on a couple core gameplay mechanics. The amount of customization is awesome allowing you to upgrade weapons and armor as you see fit. These upgrades absorb a certain type of material from your inventory and add slots for weapon and armor enhancing runes. When you are not in combat or an encounter screen you are staring at the beautiful world map which gives clear indicators as to where encounters shops and enemie bastions are.

verdict: 5 out of 5 stars

Crowntakers is hands down the best rogue-like I have ever played, and for it’s low price tag there is no reason crowntakers should not be on your phone or PC.

Awards:

Classics club medal of excellence

Dungeon souls so far

Dungeon souls is a colorful rogue lite dungeon crawler with combat more akin to nuclear throne than Diablo. It is a creative mishmash of ideas and is still in early access.The developer is constantly supporting it with patches and content boosts.

Sound, music and voice: 1 star

The voice acting is nonexistent but the music is appropriately haunting and the sound effects are satisfying.

Gameplay: 1 and a 1/2 stars

The action packed combat feels like a mixture of Dark Souls timeing and dodging and Nuclear Thrones bombastic and colorful action. Depending on which unique class you pick it leans towards one side or the other. It has very engaging short term (during the run) Progression allowing you to spec a class in a certain way very easily. My one complaint is that the long term (before a run begins) progression allows you to spend amassed coins that you did not spend during your run on upgrades. The upgrades are simple and not very interesting, also this feature will limit people from making a competitive communtity around it because the upgrades are flat attack increases instead of unlocking class abilities and content like in other games. These long term progressions feel a bit boring and are more akin to rogue legacy than binding of isaac. However they do not drag the game down a huge amount.

Narrative: 1/2 of a star

This type of game rarely has a narrative so i will not take off for it taking after genre conventions but a little more insight into the world would be nice.

Graphics: 1 star

The pixellated style meshes perfectly with the oversized weapons and shiny partivle effects.

Verdict:  4 out of 5 stars

Dungeon souls still has a while to go in early access and the long term progression will limit the size of the hardcore community but it is shaping up to be one of my favorite roguelites of 2015.

be sure to leave a comment I try to respond to everyone.

Review rules

These are the parameters in which 1]i will be reviewing games:

Out of 5 stars

1 star: Very bad.

2 star: Mediocore.

3 star: A typical score, games whith these scores have alot of give and take.

4 star: Good, would recommend this game to a freind

5 star: excellent, A game that cannot be missed.

Greys choice award: not only does this game get a 5 but it also gets a medal; ooooh shiny.

Categories

Sound, music and voice: worth 1 star

Narrative: worth 1 star

Gameplay: worth 2 stars

Graphics: worth 1 star

Keep yourself posted to refraction.com A new domain (refractionblog.com) is coming soon as well as weekly reviews and an interview with a group of young developers and public school game design.

Cheers,

Earlegrey

Playing hard to get: free to play business models 101

There has been a lot of talk about free to play models in gaming. And a lot of words have been thrown around that people may not truly understand. There has also been a fair amount of people saying that games that have a fair (more on that) business models are “Pay to win”. so here are the many types of business models you may encounter.

-Pay to win

This model ONLY counts in games that feature a dedicated Player versus player experience. A model that allows players to buy items that give them a SIGNIFICANT advantage over the ones that do not, making the game unfair.

-Pay to play

a model that severly limits the players options in content until the player puts Money into the game.

-Fair

A model that only offers cosmetics or boosters (these must only be able to help unlock gear or items that are diffrent but not just flatout better) in the cash shop.

-Co-op

As long as the game is dedicated to co-op you could offer a 100 dollar flaming dinosaur for all I care because it benefits EVERYONE on the team and does not disadvantage anyone.

Now all of these buisness models have one thing in common THEY DO NOT DETERMINE IF THE GAME IS GOOD OR BAD. Just because Zombies Monsters Robots had a huge cash grab for a buisness model doesn’t mean it isn’t a high octane B-movie thrill ride. Yeah Loadout is a little unbalanced when it comes to things you can buy in the cash shop, but it allows you too easily build some crazy fun weapons without spending a dime. So at the end of the day the progression and buisness model is only half the game and you have to consider that these developers have to support continued development of the game.

Cheers,

Earlegrey