2016 has been a weird year when it comes to video games and certainly not in a good way. While the holiday season is quickly approaching, the majority of this year can be summed up as a bunch of Triple A let downs and a slew of decent indie games. Sure XCOM 2 and Dark Souls III came out. But even those were considered to be decent, but mainly forgettable at best. 2013, this year is not. While I hope to get a good review of XCOM 2 before the year is out, now I am stuck to reviewing indie games on Steam that my friends and I stumble upon to create a semi decent best and worst of 2016. With that being said, let’s talk about Layers of Fear. Ever since Amnesia: The Dark Descent came out, there seems to be a steady stream of copy cats and re-creators out there who are looking to capture the terror and lightning-in-a-bottle fear that that game managed to create. The exploring a random spoopy house when shit starts to go horrifically wrong whether it be by stalking evil creature or by hallucinogenic paintings, these things seem to be all over the damn place. While Layers of Fear is certainly not the worst offender of this list, the game presents a decent showing that comes part and parcel with tropes that have already been done to great extent in the past. Continue reading “Tanner Reviews Layers of Fear”
Well I finally finished it! After months of playing and delaying I finally completed Firewatch. It has been a long time coming, but I am quite happy to have finished the game and boy am I certainly happy with my experience. While this year has not been a stellar year of video gaming, it is still quite an honor to be counted as one of the best games of 2016 which is exactly where Firewatch finds themselves today.
Firewatch is the story of a man named Henry. After his wife, Julia, is unfortunately diagnosed with early onset dementia, Henry takes up a job in a firewatch tower in Wyoming. While there, he meets Delilah, his boss, over a radio chat. The two begin to hit it off, isolated in the woods. However, it is soon discovered that they are not alone. It turns out that there is someone following Henry as he goes out on his excursions and is listening to their radio conversations. The two then have to discover who it is that is stalking them and why. Continue reading “Tanner Reviews Firewatch”
This was… Interesting? I guess that is a good word for it. It certainly wasn’t a terrible experience. It was short and just kind of… there, I suppose. Please Don’t Touch Anything is one of the more experimental indie games out there on the market that attempts to challenge the preconceived notions of a video game to build a somewhat simplistic but enjoyable video game experience. Basically, you take on the role of person X who is watching a control panel for his friend who just went to the bathroom. Your job is to not touch anything. However, that would defeat the whole purpose of the game… So you start touching things. This could lead to a whole series of wacky events. Continue reading “Tanner Reviews Please Don’t Touch Anything”
So back to Steam with my latest dose of indie gaming. It truly is one of my favorite places when it comes to reviewing things. I typically enjoy them for one and if I don’t, they are at least somewhat memorable. But this time, thanks to a sit around the table, drink, and play video games sessions with my friends, I was able to get a look at a new Steam Indie Darling, Oxenfree. Oxenfree is an interesting little game that takes a few pages out of Until Dawn’s playbook and sprinkles them with just the right amount of Silent Hill and Double Fine Production animation.
Five teenagers travel to a small island known as Edwards Island to be rambunctious teenagers and party. Alex is our main character, complete with blue main character hair. She has recently lost her brother, Michael, and is looking to spend some time away from it all to wind down. The rest of the party includes Alex’s new stepbrother Jonas, her life long stoner friend Ren, Ren’s crush Nona, and the former girlfriend to the late Michael, Clarissa. After the group explores a strange cave, a large green triangle appears and all hell breaks loose. They wake up disoriented, scattered, and the island abandoned. The kids then must unravel the mysteries of the island while they try to find their own means of escape. Continue reading “Tanner Reviews Oxenfree”
Praise GabeN! Once again, the benevolent one has given me a game to play for a three-day period… Which is perfect for my critical mind. What a treat! …Well, except for the fact that the game that Steam gave me to try out was a First Person Shooter featuring divers and sharks named Depth. Depth is an interesting little title from the independent developing team, Digital Confectioners. Most certainly a novel concept and one that is at least original in design, Depth tragically falls flat on every other area besides its interesting premise.
In Depth, you enter into a competitive multiplayer arena on one of two 4v2 teams. On one side, you have the divers, a group of four players who are tasked with guarding S.T.E.V.E., a probe meant to collect treasure in sunken ruins. You have to guard it from two sharks whose job it is to kill all the humans and destroy S.T.E.V.E… What is so important about this treasure that you would be willing to risk the lives of four people just to protect a robot is beyond me… But moving on. Simply put, the goal of the game for the humans is to collect the treasure and make it back to the boat alive while the sharks goal is simply to eat the humans and destroy S.T.E.V.E. Continue reading “Tanner Reviews Depth”
I never thought I would see this… It looks like we have finally reached the point in video gaming where the concept of ‘playing a video game’ can be an optional choice. I never thought I would see the day, but here I am staring it right in the face as it mocks me with its mildly interesting graphics. I am talking about the new ‘video game’ that decided it was too cool to be a video game, Mountain. Coming from the mind of Irish-born film maker and artist, David O’Reilly this ‘game’ as I am forced to call it is one that boasts such features as 50 hours of gameplay, no controls, an audio on/off switch, and shows things growing in natural progression. In other words, you can gain more enjoyment out of watching grass grow then playing this ‘game.’
I have said it before that the video game industry is starting to dive into the more ‘artistic’ direction with games like Journey and Heavy Rain being created. So I do see it going the same way as film, that there will soon be a sub genre of ‘artistic’ focused games. But this most definitely is not the way to go about fucking doing it. Be artistic, be creative, think outside the box, all of these are good things to do when you are trying to innovate an industry that looks at innovation as if it were a leper. But there are some basic things that all games, whether a big and flashy Triple A title or small time independent art project need to have when it comes to being a video game. First and foremost, games need to be fun. Also you need to be able to do something besides look at a moving picture of a mountain for several hours. Mountain fails at both of these simplistic concepts.
I would tell you about the plot or even what the game is about. But there purposely is not one. Nope you are simply a mountain… That is it. You can’t control anything, you can’t do anything, you cannot play this game, all you can do is sit back and look at the mountain from several different pretty angles floating in the nothingness of the universe. Continue reading “Tanner Reviews Mountain”
There is a hot topic that is currently going around the world today. It can be found in both nerd circles, critic circles, and just about every point in between. That question is thus: ‘Can video games be called art?’. It is a big question, on the one hand video games at their most base level are animated drawings and images (for the most part). Not to mention that the vast majority of these video games in today’s age tell very intricate cinematic stories. Video games like BioShock, Uncharted, and The Last of Us tell very long and engaging stories just like an extended movie. So in a way, video games not only start out as art by drawing them but also include very dramatic and engaging stories like film, which is also considered art. But on the other hand there are many that would say that no, video games are not art. A lot of them site the more simplistic games like Candy Crush, Tetris, Pac-Man? Are they art? They don’t have a story and the graphics are not that artistic. Not to mention many find the whole concept of a ‘game’ to be art mind-boggling. Not to many people would consider the Monopoly board as art. Why should a video game get that privilege? In many ways, this argument kind of fits a generation gap as the older generation cannot conceive of a video game as ‘art’ while the younger generation sees the work that is put into them and says ‘hold the phone the art in this game is better than half the shit I’ve seen in an art gallery.’ Continue reading “Tanner Reviews Journey”