Game Review: Jydge

The sci-fi classic film Robocop is one of my all-time favourites. It was massively inspired by the Judge Dredd comics. Another thing inspired by Judge Dredd is the top-down, twin-stick shooter Jydge from developer and publisher 10tons. In it, you play as a cybernetic law enforcer known as JYDGE.

Jydge is set in a dystopian city of crime called Edenbyrg and when the crime rate is out of hand, they call in JYDGE to clean things up in his own unique way. Armed with a gun called gavel… cos he’s a judge, it’s your mission to shoot criminals in the face and rescue hostages. As mentioned this is a top-down, twin-stick shooter so if you have ever played a game like this before, you should feel right at home. The controls are simple and familiar, within a minute or two, you’ll be darting around the levels serving your own brand of justice to the scum of the city.

The missions in the game are short but sweet. There’s destructible scenery and walls that add a layer of strategy to the game. I mean, you could go in through the front door and try to take on the bad guys face to face… or you could just shoot a wall down and take them by surprise. There are only twenty levels in Jydge, which admittedly doesn’t sound like a lot. However, you are pretty much pushed into playing them several times. This may sound like a chore, but the levels are so short (in a good way) that replaying them over and over really isn’t as much of a drudge as it sounds. But why replay them I hear you inquire? Well, each level has three challenges for you to complete as well as just finishing it. Each challenge earns you a medal and you need these medals to unlock more levels.

JYDGE SCREEN 1

These challenges vary from level to level. Maybe you’ll need to finish without taking any damage or you’ll need to loot all crates. Some challenges require you to finish a level in a set time limit (usually a very short 20-30 second time limit) or perhaps you’ll have to kill every bad guy. At first, you’ll find that it is pretty much impossible to finish some of these challenges until you upgrade not just JYDGE but also his gun too. Yup, there’s an upgrade mechanic here and there’s a lot to it too. Unlock and use cybernetic implants, new types of ammo for your gun, special weapons and more. In order to upgrade, you’ll need money. You earn money for every successful mission as well as for looting crates. This is why you’ll find yourself replaying missions a lot, to earn the coin to upgrade, to complete challenges, to unlock more levels.

GAVEL

Then, you can also unlock higher difficulties for each of the twenty levels. Even though you will be playing the same level, just on a higher difficulty, these throw up new challenges. Aside from having new challenges to try and complete, the levels will also alter slightly. The hostages you need to save will move, as will the enemies and more. So even replaying the same level throws up a few surprises to keep you playing. Plus, as each level can be finished relatively quickly, they never get stale. You can spend anywhere from a few minutes to just a few seconds on a level. Play can be fast and frantic and unlocking new upgrades (like a hacking tool) can even open new paths through the levels too. So there really is quite a lot of variety here, even if you do replay the same levels over and over.

Now, going back to the same levels over and over can usually feel a bit grindy and I’m not a fan of grindy games at all. Yet with Jydge, it never honestly felt like a grind. The missions you are sent on are very enjoyable and varied and when I did have to replay a mission, I always found myself trying some new tactics or using a new upgrade to improve my performance.

To the final question I always ask, is the game worth buying? First up, the price. Depending on your platform of choice (Steam being the cheapest), Jydge is being sold for £11 to £13. It’s a good price point for the game you get, despite there only being twenty levels and those levels being short, there is still a lot of gameplay crammed into them. I loved going back and trying to better my previous attempts, trying to beat the challenges and unlock all of the medals. There’s a lot to play around with in terms of upgrades too. Mixing and matching various cyberwares and ammo types. Playing around with various setups for each mission to get the best performance that I could.

JYDGE SCREEN 2

I was recommended this game by the admin of a Facebook group that I’m in, Lockdown Gaming. And Dave, when you read this, I’m bloody glad you enticed me to try it out. I had so much fun with Jydge and I’ve still not unlocked all twenty missions yet either. The destructible scenery isn’t just there to look nice, it can actually be used to add a layer of strategy. There are so many upgrades that you can really have a lot of fun trying out different setups. And the challenges on each level kept me coming back again and again without ever getting bored. Yes, this is a big recommendation. from me. Jydge is a cracking shooter and one with a lot of content under its surface. Shooting street scum in the face has never been so satisfying.

Game Review: Zool Redimensioned

Back in the early nineties, there was a bit of a battle to create an iconic gaming mascot… especially within the platforming genre. Nintendo already had their moustachioed Italian plumber from New York with Mario. Sega had hit the ground running with the Blue-blur that was Sonic. The consoles were well catered for and housed some of the most endearing platform gaming characters ever. However, the home computers of the day were lagging behind in that regard. A few developers tried to introduce a new gaming mascot, there was Team 17 with SuperfrogA couple of years before that though (but slightly after Sonic had been unleashed), Gremlin Interactive introduced their new character, Zool.

Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension was an attempt to bring console-style platforming action to the Amiga 1200. In fact, Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension was bundled with the then newly released Amiga 1200 computer. The game saw ports to other home computers and even some of the consoles later too. Long story short and twenty-nine years after the game’s original 1992 release, it has been remade. From developer Sumo Digital Academy (a wonderful academy giving young coders the chance to make games) and publisher Secret Mode comes Zool Redimensioned

But is it any good? Well, that is why I’m writing this review. But before I do get into it, I just want to very quickly cover how I felt about the original game back in 1992. It was a distinctly average platformer game with some really annoying flaws. Of course, we Amiga owners lapped it up back then, because it was the closest thing we could get to playing Sonic the Hedgehog without having to buy a Mega Drive. As a game, Zool just lacked the polish and style that the far superior console platformers were doing at the time. The main selling point of Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension was that it was fast, that was why it was often considered the Amiga’s answer to Sonic the Hedgehog. As someone who wasn’t much of a fan of Sega’s then-new mascot and the Sonic game… it was still far better than Zool.

So anyway, how is this remake? It plays pretty much how I remember the original playing almost three decades ago. It still has those bright and colourful graphics. The levels are still based on things like sweets and music. You control Zool with ease, a button to jump, one to attack and one for your special spinning move. This really is basic stuff and I don’t mean that in a negative way. This is all that is really needed from a game like this, it’s not overly complex so it doesn’t need a complex control scheme. If you have ever played any 16-bit (or even 8-bit) platformer, then you already know what you are getting into with Zool Redimensioned. Run around the levels, pick up stuff for points, jump on or shoot enemies, get to the end of the level, kill boss, move onto the next area. Zool Redimensioned doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, it has just put some nice sparkly additions on the spokes.

ZOOL SCREEN 1

One of the main gripes over the original Amiga version was that the screen always felt too small. Because it was in the 4:3 aspect ratio and Zool was a speedy little character, you would often get caught out by things just off the screen as you couldn’t see more than two inches in front of the character. Thankfully this remake fixes that by having a widescreen format, so you can actually see what is happening on the screen all the time. The graphics are (obviously) nicer too, high def and all that. Yet they still retain that original look. Zool also has a double jump now, very hand for any platforming game. Also, another niggle with the original was that to finish a level, you had to collect all (or most) of the items on each level to progress. This was a massive pain in the arse as it really slowed you down and broke up the momentum, ruining the speed of the game that was supposed to rival Sonic at the time. This remake does away with that and the collectables are just there for score. Go and collect them all if you really want but you don’t have to.

However, Zool Redimensioned does come with two difficulty settings. There is the normal mode, which plays just as I described up there. Or you can opt for Ultimate Ninja mode. Here, you lose the double jump and have to collect everything on the level to progress. It’s a nice little addition as you get the best of both worlds. You can play the better and more enjoyable normal mode, or you can go old school and be taken back to the more annoying, 16-bit, original mode.

ZOOL SCREEN 2

There is something to be said about a game with a bright and colourful graphical art style like Zool Redimensioned and that thing is… it all looks a bit too ‘messy’. It can be hard to tell what is an enemy and what’s just background detail. Things blend into other things and nothing is ever truly defined. Spikes in one area look like spikes, so you know to avoid them. But move on to a new area (the toy one springs to mind right now) and the spikes don’t look like spikes at all. So you think you can jump on them, only to be dealt some damage. Some worlds have enemies that look like platforms and platforms that look like enemies… the music-themed one is a right bitch for this. As I say, it’s all a bit ‘messy’ and while that kind of worked back in 1992, it really doesn’t now.

But the main issue with Zool Redimensioned is that the gameplay itself has just has not evolved. Yeah I know, the devs are trying to recapture that 16-bit platforming and they have, perfectly. But as I said earlier in this review, I was never a big fan of the original game. This remake doesn’t move things on at all. There are a few new additions sure, but under all of that, this is still a very ‘meh’ game, just like the original.

For me, I think the best way to sum this one up is that it’s a pretty good remake of a distinctly okay-ish game. The team at Sumo Digital Academy have done the best they could with the material given. The changes and additions to this remake over the original are an improvement… just. The widescreen is far better, the fact you now don’t have to collect everything on a level to advance, etc. It’s all good, great in fact and I doff my cap in respect to everyone at Sumo Digital Academy for their efforts. But… it’s still just Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension, which I never much liked back then. 

ZOOL SCREEN 3

So, is this worth buying? For me on a personal level? No, not at all. There are better and more creative indie platformers out there right now. If I wanted to bring some Amiga classics back, Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension would be very low on the list. But if you were a huge fan of the original game(s)? Yes, I recommend it to those people, very much so. This really is a perfect slice of Zool action and I think fans will really enjoy playing this superior version. The additions and tweaks work well and they do make the game more playable than it was back in 1992. 

Game Review: Deadly Days

I’m a gamer with a wide and eclectic taste in gaming genres. I like simulations that require your full attention. I like story-driven titles that demand that you keep up with the plot. I like puzzle games that test the old noodle and more. But sometimes, you’re just in the mood to shoot the crap out of anything that moves. From developer Pixelsplit and publisher Assemble Entertainment comes such a game. This is Deadly Days.

Okay, so this isn’t quite just shoot anything that moves… though you most definitely do that. There’s actually quite a decent amount of strategy and thought going on in Deadly Days too. But before I get to all of that, a (very) quick synopsis of the plot.

So, a fast-food franchise called MKing have introduced a new burger. This burger has a top-secret ingredient that is super addictive and keeps the customers coming back for more. Oh yeah, it also turns people into zombies that just want more and more meat, even if it’s human meat. Soon, most of the world becomes infected and you find yourself in a zombie apocalypse. There’s only one thing to do… survive and kill countless zombies. Okay, two things to do. Oh and destroy the burger restaurants to try and stop the zombies. Three things then.

DEADLY DAYS ZOMBIES

Right of the bat, this game is rock solid hard. You will die and die and die and die and die… a lot. Thankfully, this is a rogue-lite game, so even though you will die (a lot), you’ll carry over some elements from previous attempts. As for how it plays and the basic gameplay? Well, do you remember the classic Cannon Fodder from Sensible Software? If so, it plays a lot like that. If you don’t remember Cannon Fodder, it still plays a lot like it.

You control a small team of survivors and you have one in-game day to leave the safety of your camp to go and scavenge what you can to stay alive. Aside from shooting endless zombies, and they are endless. You’ll have to search buildings, etc to find anything to keep yourself alive. Your main source of income is scrap. You use this scrap to repair and upgrade weapons and skills… of which there are loads. You’ll also need to keep a steady supply of apples too as these are your food that will keep you from dying of starvation. As an example, let’s say you have four survivors in your team but only two apples in your camp, then two of your survivors will die at the end of the in-game day.

DEADLY DAYS SUPERMARKET

At the start of each day, you get to select from three randomly generated missions. These vary from basic scavenge ones, to rescuing a survivor to join your team, specific building raids (warehouse, hospital, supermarket) and even missions to destroy one of the burger restaurants turning people into zombies. When/if you do manage to take out one of the burger places, you’ll be given a piece of a map. Get all four pieces of the map and locate the source of the infected burgers and destroy it to win.

Then, each of the missions have their own statistics that you’ll need to keep an eye on too. Map size, how much loot and difficulty are all displayed before you pick a mission. Then, missions can also feature random events that you will have to contend with. There may be a special zombie on the map that will drop some impressive rewards if you manage to kill it, maybe they’ll be an abandoned bus with extra loot? Maps can hold either nice and rather unpleasant bonuses, there may be a map with an abundance of apple trees for you to gain some much-needed food, or the map could be overrun with rats that will continually attack you. There really is a lot to think about when you do pick your mission at the start of each day. I mean, let’s say you are running low on apples. It might be a good idea to go for a high loot map or one with a supermarket to raid, as this will increase the chances of scoring more apples. This is where some of that strategy I previously mentioned comes into play. You really have to plan and think about your next move like a chess player, think if the risk is worth the possible gain. Even though the core of the game is shooting hundreds of zombies, there’s still a decent level of strategy here.

DEADLY DAYS MAP SELECT

When on a mission, you only get 1:30 of real-time before night comes. The time limit is tight and you may have to pick and choose what to loot as the bigger the building, the longer it takes to search it, which will eat up your very limited time. But going for bigger buildings will get you more and better loot. Plus, there’s the fact that most of the maps (unless you get one with a bonus) are shrouded in that classic gaming trope a fog of war, so you also need to uncover the map as you go. It really becomes a balancing act of you between trying to grab the loot you need to stay alive and trying to get out alive. See, when the day ends and night falls, the zombie presence increases and they get stronger. The longer you stay out at night, the more numerous and stronger the zombies become. You’ll soon be overwhelmed, so you really don’t want to spend too much time on the maps at night if you can help it.

To escape each map, you need to get back to the bus that you arrived in. Even something as simple as that is not that simple. When you first arrive on a map, your bus needs to ‘cool down’ before it can be used again, then you have to start the engine and that takes several seconds too. So even just getting back on the bus to escape eats into your very limited time. How the game actually plays when on the map and killing zombies is very much like the previously mentioned Cannon Fodder. Move your small team around the map, shoot zombies, buildings and scenery, etc. The controls are simple and basic. Your team will actually auto-attack, though you can also directly control that yourself with the touch of a button. Press a button to loot a building, other buttons use the various skills. Very simple, very basic but very effective and the controls really do work well.

DEADLY DAYS BASE

When back at your camp (if you survived), there are numerous things to mess around with. Any new weapons you found will need to be repaired with the scrap that you (hopefully) salvaged. Then, any unwanted weapons can be turned into spare scrap too. You also have different skills that can be upgraded and at the start of every new game, you get to choose from one of three (and one locked) skill sets. The more you play and survive, the more you’ll unlock on each of those skill sets. You can also build various rooms that will add numerous bonuses, upgrades and weapons.

The game is very fast and frantic. I died a lot without even finishing one map at first. But the more I played, the more I got used to the game’s mechanics, everything soon began to fall into place. The balance between trying to loot all you can to survive and trying to get out alive is tight but fair. Visually, Deadly Days has that pixel-art style that is very popular with indie games right now. Though the maps can tend to feel a bit ‘samey’ after a while as most of the action takes place in the same city. Even though the maps are randomly generated, you’ll still see the same assets over and over. There is some slight variation depending on the mission you choose at the start of each day, but not a great deal.

DEADLY DAYS FOG OF WAR

To finish, do I recommend Deadly Days? First, it is price-tag time and this one is currently being sold for around £16/$19 on consoles (slightly cheaper on Steam). For that cost, you do get a lot of game for your money and this is really addictive with that ‘one more go’ feel to it. However, I do need to reiterate how damn difficult Deadly Days is. This is a rogue-lite and they are notoriously tricky-dicky with hundreds of deaths and game over screens before you make any serious progress. Still, I do love a good rogue-lite and I think this is up there with the best of them. There’s loads of gameplay to be had here from trying to survive the maps to the fuck-tonne of weapons, skills, upgrades and base building to experiment with too.

When I first played this, I admit to not really feeling it. As much as I love a good rogue-lite, Deadly Days just was not doing anything for me. Still, after a couple of hours, I was hooked. The game began to make a lot more sense the more I played, the more I mastered the day/night cycle of the main action. The more I experimented with the various skills and dabbled with the upgrades. As I began to unlock more weapons, items and survivors, Deadly Days just clicked. Yes, I recommend this to those who, like me, enjoy a good rogue-lite with a steep learning and difficulty curve. This may be as hard-as-nails, but it’s also immersive and immense fun.

Game Review: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

What would happen if you took Zelda, Minecraft, Fable, Animal Crossing and a bit of Harvest Moon, threw them all in a blender and blitzed them up? Well, aside from a load of broken games, you’d probably get a new title very much like Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. Developer Prideful Sloth and publisher Merge Games have managed to put together a game that is as inviting as it is pacifist.

Originally released back in 2017, Yonder has more recently seen an update for the latest consoles and I’ve been playing the Series X version, which looks great. Visually, the game really is quite striking in a very cute and cuddly kind of way. Rolling green hills, wildlife grazing, luscious trees, arid desert and more. All with a really quite wonderful looking cartoony aesthetic that works amazingly well. I’m not going to harp on about the visuals, you just need to know that they really are fantastic. On to the basic plot.

So, you play as a young (customisable and nameless) traveller, who finds themself shipwrecked when their ship crashes into the lost island of Gemea. You are asked to meet up with a village elder and get dragged into helping clean up the beautiful land you now find yourself on. A purplish, indistinct aura-like plague called Murk has been taking over parts of the world and you agree to help clean it up… basically. That’s it for the main villain of the game, a purple haze that needs to be cleared. As I mentioned in the intro, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a very pacifist experience. There is no combat of any kind. The closest thing you get to any kind of violence is smashing barrels and rocks with a hammer. Or cutting down trees and long grass for resources.

YONDER TREE CUT

In your journey, you are aided by sprites and the more sprites you find (they are hidden throughout the island), the more of the Murk you can clear. Clearing the Murk opens up new areas of the map and even buildings and other villages. One of the first clouds of Murk that you will have to remove in the game reveals a farm. Here you can build pens for animals, troughs to feed and water them, etc. You begin with an empty plot and can turn it into a working farm for animals and to grow crops. There really is a lot going on here with a farming system, a crafting system, trading and so much more. Then there are various guilds that you can learn new skills in too. You’ll soon be learning all sorts of new talents in construction, cooking, brewing and more.

There are also plenty of quests to keep you going and getting you to explore new areas of the map. Pretty much everyone you meet in the game will offer you a quest or seven. Sadly, most of the time, these quests are nothing more than ‘go here fetch this and bring it back’ kind of a thing. You don’t always have to physically get the item requested as you could always do a bit of trading instead. See, one quest giver could task me with getting a specific type of fish. I could’ve gone to a very specific spot and tried to catch the fish myself, which would be very hit and miss as there’s no guarantee you will definitely catch the specific fish needed. Or I could go to one of the many traders found in and around Gemea and get the fish from them instead.

YONDER TRADE

Yet, there is no coin and no currency of any kind in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, so how do you get items from traders with no currency? You just trade. The trader may say that (as an example) the fish you need has a value of 56. It is then up to you if you think the work that goes into gathering various items to total the 56 value of the fish is worth the work. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of resources throughout the island of Gemea and working with traders is actually quite a joy and there’s even a fluctuating value system for each item too.

The entire world of the game is crammed with cute details and features. You’ll find plenty of clothing, jackets, bottoms, backpacks, hats, glasses. Nothing has any effect on your character and everything is purely cosmetic but there’s so much to find and playing dress-up is quite fun. There are different hairstyles and you can dye your hair various colours too. There isn’t only a day/night cycle but an actual year. A year with seasons too, it’ll snow in winter, be gloriously sunny in summer and so on. Even more so, there are fun events tied to the time of year. As an example, It was late autumn and I was told it was Halloween. I was given the option to get dressed up and do a bit of trick or treating… so I did. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is just filled with wonderful little touches that may only be cosmetic, but you really do appreciate them being there. Plus, there’s quite a few cheeky Easter eggs to discover as you explore the island.

15-08-2021_23-37-35-izic50tl

Just talking from a purely personal perspective. I honestly found Yonder a bit too ‘simplistic’, too hand-holdy. Yet, I also have to be honest and say I still found it to be an utterly charming and enjoyable experience nonetheless. It may be just a bit too ‘easy’ for more experienced gamers, for those used to a harder edge to their crafting and action-adventure games. But I do think that if you are new to the genre or perhaps a younger gamer looking to find an entry-level title into the crafting/adventure game sub-genre, then you really can’t go wrong with Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles.

It is definitely a game that will keep you entertained, even if it doesn’t really do anything inspirational or new. The quests in the game are as generic as you can get. Yet, there is certainly something to be said for the beautiful looking world you are in and the endearing characters you will meet in the game that supply some pretty funny humour along the way. Plus, I really do have to admire a developer that removes something as bog-standard as combat from their action-adventure game. It is a bold move and one that can destroy a title like this, yet with Yonder, it just works.

This is a totally relaxing game set in a wonderfully serene world. With zero levelling up, zero combat, zero threat. There’s no health bar to worry about, no game over screen, but Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is crammed full of charm and plenty of personality.

YONDER WORLD

Which all brings to the final question that I always ask myself in my reviews, do I recommend Yonder? Currently being sold for around £25/$30 which is an average price for an indie game of this nature. I most definitely do recommend Yonder… but with a slight warning. As I already mentioned, I personally found this a bit too easy and hand-holdy. With no combat and no threat, no possible game overs, there is a certain ‘placid’ feeling to the game. Now, I don’t say that as a negative about the game at all. As easy and hand-holdy as it is, I still adore Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, I’m just trying to make it clear what type of game this is. It’s not an all action-adventure title, it’s a serene, calming and very passive experience. It’s nice to have a game like this, a much more relaxing gameplay style and one that is truly endearing too.

Game Review: Greak: Memories of Azur

Normally, when I do a review, I usually start with some pithy introduction. I’m not going to bother here as I really just want I get stuck into this one. Greak: Memories of Azur is a stylistic 2D action-platformer from developer Navegante Entertainment and publisher Team17. As I said, I just want to get stuck in with this, here’s a trailer so you can see just how ‘effing stunning the game looks.

That’s the first thing I want to cover, as that was the first thing that hit me when I played, those awesome visuals. The art style is this wonderful hand-drawn thing that really is stunningly beautiful. Coupled with some amazingly smooth and detailed animation, then wrapped up in an awesome looking world that is just as visually pleasing as everything else. Greak: Memories of Azur is a very easy game to fall in love with purely based on its amazingly impressive art and animation. Sadly, in this case, I need to break out an oft-used phrase. Beauty is only skin deep.

Kicking off with the obligatory tutorial where you are introduced to the game’s controls and mechanics. Being a 2D action-platformer, you’ll pretty much know how to play Greak: Memories of Azur before you even pick up the controller. That is not necessarily a bad thing either, there’s something very comforting about familiarity and understanding a game right from the off is always very welcome. So yeah, this is pretty much your bog-standard 2D action-platformer that you have probably played dozens of times already. That is not to say that the game doesn’t have any new ideas, it does and one very specific idea that is the game’s unique selling point. Only, it’s not a good one. But before I do get to that.

GREAK SCREEN !

Honestly, Greak: Memories of Azur is perhaps a bit too familiar. Yup the core 2D action-platforming gameplay is there and in that regard, it is very competent. Alas, the quests you get sent on are all too generic and plain Jane. Fetch quests where you have to collect so many of one item and return to the quest giver. Collect ingredients to do a spot of cooking, all topped off with huge amounts of backtracking of course. Everything here has just been done so many times before that the game never really offers anything new or interesting to get your teeth into.

There is one thing that the game does differently, that unique selling point I alluded to earlier. See, you don’t control one character in Greak: Memories of Azur, you actually control three. the titular Greak is just one of three siblings in the game as he is joined by Adara and Raydel. All three have their own abilities and skills. Greak favours melee combat and has a very handy double-jump ability. Adara uses magic attacks, while her jump is aided by a floating skill. Then there is Raydel who is a hefty sword and shield type of fella and he uses a handy hookshot to get around. Now, after the introduction to the game (where you are split up), you’ll eventually get to control all three characters and use all of their skills. Swapping between characters is as easy as tapping the D-pad. Alternatively, you can actually control all three characters at once by holding down one of the trigger buttons… and this is where the game falls apart.

GREAK SCREEN 2

There are multiple times in Greak: Memories of Azur when you’ll need two or all three of the characters to get past one of the game’s many (but seen it all before) puzzles. Traversing with all three (or even just two) characters is just an utter pain in the arse. Because all three characters play differently with different jump mechanics, you can’t do something as simple as jump a gap with more than one character. As an example, there was a point where I had to jump from a platform to a swinging rope that was above a pit of spikes. Now, controlling all three characters, with each one jumping differently, only one of the three made it to the rope while the other two fell on the spikes. That is just one of many examples where the whole multi-character thing falls apart. Honestly, you’re better off just leaving the other two characters behind and playing it with just the one… which kind of destroys the whole unique selling point of the game and renders it redundant.

But of course, there are parts of Greak: Memories of Azur where you need all three characters. So you have to use the multi-character thing… which is just too damn annoying. Then there’s the stupidly restrictive inventory. You only start with three slots, which you can add to by buying upgrades… but to get the coin for those upgrades, you’ll need to grind and grind and grind some more. The thing about the restrictive inventory is that even key quest items take up a slot, sometimes more than one slot. Plus, you’ll need to carry healing items (trust me, you really, really need to carry healing items). Then you’ll also be carrying ingredients to make those healing items too. Basically, when it comes to inventory, there’s a layer of micromanagement that really shouldn’t be there in a game like this. But do you know what’s worse? There is in-game dialogue from the various NPCs that point out your lack of an inventory. So the devs went out of their way to code in NPCs that comment on your lack of an inventory instead of just giving you a bigger inventory?

GREAK SCREEN 3

Now, Greak: Memories of Azur is not a terrible game, it’s not even a bad game. It’s just a very ‘meh’ game with a few niggles that become bigger issues and ruin the gameplay later. Seriously, if this had dropped the multi-character thing and given you a bigger inventory from the start, it could’ve been a good little 2D action-platformer. Sure, it wouldn’t have broken the mould or anything, but it would’ve been so much more enjoyable and playable. With a price point of around £16/$19, I suggest waiting for a sale, even with it being as drop-dead gorgeous as it is.