Author: Alex Patterson

Review: Hide and Shriek

Hide and Shriek is a competitive multiplayer game where both players are invisible. Two players fight eachother in a creepy school, with the aim of scaring the living hell out of their opponent.
To win the game, you either have to earn the highest score at the end of the 10 minute round by collecting orbs and setting traps, whereas the second option is to scare your opponent 3 times in a row.

The catch is you are both invisible. There are multiple ways to reveal your opponent, and once you know where they are, you can activate your “shriek” which will trigger a floating head jumpscare on the enemy’s screen, and get you points.
If you shriek and your opponent isn’t close enough, you will be revealed for them to see for a short time.

The most common way to reveal your opponent is by catching them in a trap. You can collect different runes throughout the level, which all have unique powers. Sometimes you can set traps, and sometimes they will give you powers to remove any curses you might have. Runes can even be combined to give unique traits. Some can be very interesting, like sending your enemy to an alternate dimension to waste their time, or allowing you to dash through walls.

Some runes can be shot ahead of you, some can be traps set on the floor, some are on interact-able doors or closets etc. So there’s a lot to play around with.

The main way to get points is to collect orbs and put them on your altar. You can even pick up enemy orbs in order to set up traps. I like to put theirs behind transparent cupboards, and then trap them. The whole game is about outsmarting your opponent.

As you level up and get achievements, you will unlock customizables for your character, which is quite fun.

Most stuff is balanced quite well. Although I have a problem with 2 powers. One of them being a wisp that follows your enemy and teleports them to another dimension. Even if you see the wisp, it seems for no matter how long you run away from it, it will catch up to you eventually. I don’t know if there’s a long timer on it or if it just chases you indefinitely, but that just causes it to be more efficient to just run into it as soon as you see it to avoid wasting time.

The other one, is a power that reveals all runes close to you, and your opponent. It kind of defeats the entire point of the game if you can just see your enemy constantly through walls, there’s no investigation anymore. It’s not even that hard to get that power, and it seems a lot of people have realised it and are using it the majority of the time, which is why I prefer to just play with a friend and avoid using that power.

Overall, I really am loving the game. The aesthetic and music is great, the idea is fun and unique, and it’s just funny to hear your friend scream when you trap them!

Review: Rise & Shine

You play as Rise, a boy tasked with fighting off the people destroying Gamearth. You have a gun called Shine aiding you in your battle, that allows you to respawn after dying. The game is filled with small cameos and parody versions of real video game characters like Sonic and Gears of War.

To shoot your gun, you must hold down the right mouse button and actually aim. This forces your character to slow down, as the shooting mechanics in this game are quite methodical as opposed to being run and gun. You can shoot projectiles out of the air to protect yourself, or hide behind destructible cover. To shoot out of cover, you must once again hold down the aim button, but in doing so you are vulnerable. This creates a lot of intense gun fights, which is quite fun!

As you progress through the game you will earn new abilities like switching bullet types to something that can pierce shields, or being able to shoot a bullet that you guide with your mouse, that you must then navigate through mazes onto boss weakpoints.

The pacing is quite good, and the game manages to mix up combat, bosses and puzzle sections quite well. On top of that, new enemies and traps are introduced throughout the game to keep things from getting stale.

The game’s aesthetic is great. It looks nicely drawn and colourful, and is complimented with some great music.

Although the game is funny when it comes to some lines of dialogue, or background easter eggs, the main story is quite serious, and is told in the form of Comic panel-like cutscenes. There’s no voice acting, but you hear a few grunts or one-word lines to get the gist of how a character sounds.

Although the game isn’t a platformer as a lot of people might assume, there’s a decent amount of secret chests to be found if you do a little bit of exploration. And I do mean a little. So far from what I’ve played, nothing has been insanely hidden or hard to get to, but it’s a nice feeling when you find that optional chest to upgrade your ammo count.

The difficuly is just right, where you don’t rage when you die, but it also isn’t something to blow through. There are a few moments that reminded me of Limbo in the sense that you need to be aware of your surroundings as you progress, or else you’ll die to some sort of environmental weapon your first time round.
Overall, I think it’s a really fun and solid shooter with an interesting world to accompany it.

Review: Nidhogg 2

I’ll start off by saying that if you enjoyed Nidhogg 1 and are looking for more of the same, then Nidhogg 2 is that game, only better.
Although it brings new weapons, maps and customization options, the game doesn’t feel that different. Which can be a good or bad thing depending on your opinion.
I feel like if they messed with the original formula too much, the tight gameplay we loved about the first game would be lost.

Let me now elaborate on the mechanics for new comers, and the differences for veterans.

In Nidhogg, you and one other opponent face off. By default, it’s with a Rapier sword. A long, thin stabby sword. You can jump, press the attack button to poke forward, or move up and down to adjust the height at which your sword is held. If you move up or down while above or below your enemy’s sword, you will disarm them. You also have the option to throw your sword at the enemy, which might pay off as they could not expect it. However, if they do, they can effortlessly deflect it and leave you unarmed.

That’s what makes the combat in Nidhogg so great. There’s high risk, high reward, mind games and reflex based combat constantly. It’s so satisfying to beat your opponent. Even if you are unarmed, you can still beat your opponents if you are clever and skilled enough

What Nidhogg 2 brings to the table, is more weapons. They all MOSTLY play the same as the default Rapier, but there are a few minor changes.

The broadsword is a bit thicker, and instead of poking forward when you press the attack button, your character will slash upwards or downwards. This means you have less range, however, it is great at disarming your opponents if you get close enough.

There’s also a dagger, which allows you to make short, but very frequent stabs.

Lastly, there’s a bow and arrow. This allows you to attack from a range multiple times, as opposed to a sword where you’d lose it after throwing it. The arrows shot can easily be deflected, however. If your opponent sees it coming, positioning their sword and having the arrow fly right back at you shouldn’t be too hard.

So although the new weapons add a little bit of variety to the combat, I feel that ultimately the Rapier and Broadsword are the overall winners.

Fortunately, you can turn on and off specific weapons in multiplayer matches, as well as turn on certain mutators like “low gravity” and “no throwing”.

Onto the aesthetic. This is a completely subjective matter, but I think the graphics look wonderful. When the game was initially revealed, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the way the characters looked. Nidhogg 1 was eerie. You couldn’t see any of the facial features of characters, levels were simplistic and the music was quite drone-y.

In Nidhogg 2, characters look like they’re out of the Simpsons. They look goofy, their animations are silly, but they’re drawn very well. The background art and maps are brought to life through attention to detail. Objects are animated, and there’s a large number of maps, and they all differ to eachother, as well as have their own unique “gimmicks”.

One map has you fight ontop of a bridge at some point. If any of you are knocked onto the ground, your weapon will fall BELOW the bridge, so that you are unable to pick it back up.

Another map has you fight through tall grass, that if crouched in, will completely conceal you, allowing for some funny hide and seek fights.

You can also customize your characters quite nicely. It’s not The Sims level, but it’s nice enough to allow you to feel a little bit unique.

Now, one problem that comes with the lovely visuals, is sometimes they can be distracting. I’ve only had this issue once. In the Castle level, on the last screen before you win, are giant flames in the background. They’re everywhere. On top of that, as soon as you enter the screen, big text that says “FINAL SCREEN” will pop up. It’s behind your character, but it still disoriented me a bit. It didn’t help that I was a yellow character on top of yellow flames. This didn’t happen often, but it’s something that definitely happened more than it did in the original game.

Nidhogg 2 also allows for online play, which is great. In Nidhogg 1 you were restricted to playing locally only. This will allow more people to get into the game with their friends.

A quick note, graphical options are quite limited. You can switch between windowed, fullscreen. As well as low, med, or high graphics.

You can rebind keys if you’d like to customize controls.

Also, the music is quite strange, but in a good way. All maps have their own unique music that add to the atmosphere they’re trying to portray.

Overall, I really love the game. I wouldn’t say I love it anymore than I did the 1st game, though.

If you have NOT played Nidhogg 1, I would suggest you grab this game. Although the visual distractions can be annoying, I think overall this game just gives you a few more options that the 1st game didn’t (With the option to disable them all and just play old-school-style).