Review Roundup: Darksburg, Dwarrors, & More!
The look of love
Ah February, the month of love, the penultimate stage before Spring, and apparently the one that is full of winter. I’ve no idea what our weather is doing; I just know that it’s cold and wet at the moment. Good news, though, that makes it all the more acceptable to stay indoors and play games.
Speaking of which…
Left 4 Dead is a game that brought along a whole new type of game, one where the story was largely irrelevant, and your only goal was to survive with some friends. The formula of lots of enemies and a gaggle of like-minded mates really helped to bring about this odd purity in its gameplay that allowed you to focus on the task at hand and very little else. It sort of channels arcade gaming, something that is hard to do nowadays.
Darksburg tries to channel that energy, combine it with a hero-shooter, and then chuck it into an isometric viewpoint. It results in a somewhat mixed bag, but it is fun for the most part. You get to choose one of four characters, each with their own special attacks and traits and attempt to make it through the levels or survive the horde mode. You can also fight against each other, which is fun but feels a little sparse.
Actually, the game as a whole feels a little sparse. What there is to do is fun, but it loses its sheen rather rapidly as you discover there’s little point in replaying the missions. Of course, it’s in Early Access, so this is likely to change, but it’s still kind of annoying. A good shout if you want to get in at the ground level of something that’ll be fun in a few months, but waiting a few months is perfectly understandable too.
[Reviewed on PC]
We already reviewed Hunt: Showdown on PC, and it got the same score I’m giving it today. It’s a wonderful example of a PvPvE game, one where you and your team have to try and track down horrific monsters, and the other players do the same. It’s full of tension, a constant fear of everything around you, and also these monumental victories where you somehow escape alive and unscathed.
It’s just exhilarating to play, and despite sometimes being a little slow, is often a perfect game to settle into with some friends for a good night of raucous laughter, and the occasional guttural squeak of fear as a monster warps behind you or sends a swarm of locusts after you. It’s unlike most of what you can play out there, and it holds up just as well on consoles.
[Reviewed on PS4]
Necronator: Dead Wrong
Lord, help me. I love a good card game. The only thing I love more than a good card game is a good roguelike. It is then incredibly unsurprising that I really like Necronator: Dead Wrong, which could very easily be described as Slay the Spire but strategy. Actually, that’s exactly how I’ll describe it.
You take control of an evil army with the sole aim of wiping out the goodie-two-shoes that have plagued your evil empire for years. I say your empire, you’re just a lowly recruit but damn it, you have aspirations too. You can build your deck, upgrade cards, and gain relics to give you buffs. Each battle has you slowly generating the mana needed to play your cards, and eventually conquering or being conquered by the opposing forces.
It’s another Early Access game, but one that already feels like a full release. There are loads of things to unlock, the natural replayability that comes with being a roguelike, and the “one more go” that comes from a card game. It’s just really good, and I can’t wait to see what else the game has in store for me.
[Reviewed on PC]
If you played Mutant Year Zero: The Road to Eden, then you’ll spend the entirety of Corruption 2029 with constant deja vu. It’s not an inherently bad thing; the deep tactical gameplay is still there, the approach to battles is the same, you still get to try and get into the best positions possible before each encounter. The thing is though, it lacks the same heart of Mutant Year Zero, which is a real shame.
Instead of having a cast of lovable or unlovable animals to play as you get faceless soldiers in a divided America. None of these units ever really seem to feel anything, and as a result, neither will you. It’s just a bit barren comparatively.
It’s also very hard to shake the feeling that this is a testing ground for ideas they’d like to use in the sequel to Mutant Year Zero (Mutwont Year Zero), which explains the cheaper price tag but makes it feel a little more noncommittal as well. It’s still fun, and the battles are still good, but it has a really hard time getting its hooks into you and dragging you through the story.
[Reviewed on PC]
Yes, it’s a weird title, but it’s also kind of a weird game. It’s part town-building, part adventure game. Dwarrows is set in a peaceful world where your only real aims are to get more people to your settlement and try and improve life there. It’s an incredibly relaxing experience and one that is very reminiscent of the kind of weird game we used to get many years ago. It’s a little janky in places, but the overall tone of Dwarrows is so wonderfully whimsical that you’ll struggle not to fall in love with it.
It’s also a good option for those who like the idea of Animal Crossing but are either impatient or don’t own a Nintendo Switch. It scratches a similar itch, and it does so in a very satisfying manner. The third-person perspective and little puzzles and mini-games make for an intimate and warm game, and I can honestly see myself playing it every Sunday night for the rest of the year, it’s just so damn cosy.
[Reviewed on PC]