This is the first in my new “ACTUAL Impressions” series. In it I will be featuring three games that I otherwise may not have covered in my ACTUAL Review series and give my thoughts on them, along with a thumbs up or thumbs down. These games may include early access titles, demos, or other games that I simply did not want to cover for my ACTUAL Review series.
So this one is only playable as a small alpha demo right now, but it is actually pretty fun regardless. The aesthetic is probably my favorite thing about it as it is a sort of steampunk medieval style that is quite fitting for a metroidvania title. However, the game takes a lighter, more comedic approach to that genre, as evident by every enemy (and the playable character) being some sort of fish-controlled robot. The environments and different enemies all look great so far, even though many of them are simple placeholders for the demo.
As for the gameplay, it is a pretty standard metroidvania setup. There is an attack, a block, and a few tools to use, such as the bomb. Movement, attacks, and dodging all feel smooth and the combat felt engaging even given its simplicity. There is also a skill tree, but it is rather limited in the demo, so I cannot speak for that yet. Exploration on the map is also in a limited state, but even then I was surprised with the amount of routes and areas to be explored.
Feudal Alloy seems to be on the right track. With additional features, and just more content in general, I can really see this shaping up to be a good game. The developer makes it very clear that the game is nowhere near complete, so it is a bit exciting to see what sort of changes are coming. I am especially interested to see how boss fights will work, as the demo implies that they will be included later on.
I imagine that the only people who would be interested in this game would be fans of the books in which it is based on. Unfortunately, I am not one of those fans, nor had I ever heard of the Beast Quest series prior to this game’s release. As such, I am able to look past the Beast Quest cover and see the game for how terrible it really is.
I had originally intended to review this game, but I could honestly only make it an hour into the game’s four-hour-long campaign. Any more of that would have just been torture. The game felt like an early access release, given how clunky and unfinished it is. Not even 15 minutes into the game and I had already run into floating trees and missing textures. Shortly after that I was presented with a sidequest requiring me to collect five red flowers. That is an immediate red flag if I have ever seen one.
Throughout all of this I was constantly being subjected to the game’s awful combat system. This system should have stayed behind in the game’s mobile version released years back, but somehow it got the OK to be ported to this version. It is slow, repetitive, and even just completely unresponsive at times. Most fights can easily be completed by just spamming light attacks and blocking when the enemy starts their ever-slow attack animation. Even with enemies that go through this block, the dodging is so finicky that it is just not even worth the effort when the game gives so many health potions anyways. Even the one boss fight I ran into was easily completed with just a single special attack and a few light attacks. The game may have actually been somewhat enjoyable had the developers approached the combat differently.
The story and the music are perhaps the game’s only redeeming features, but even then they are average at best. Considering that the game is largely based on its combat and bland puzzle design, one can easily see the problem here. Had I finished and reviewed this game, it would have likely ended up in the 1-2/10 range, but it is not even worth the time to get to that point. The target audience may be completely oblivious to the game’s problems, but that is no excuse for making such a bad game. I only hope that some poor kid is not gifted this atrocity of a game for a birthday or whatnot – no one deserves that.
Card City Nights 2
Having played the original Card City Nights, I expected more of the same with the game’s second iteration. Fortunately, Card City Nights 2 takes what made the first game fun and expands on it. The gameplay is largely the same outside of one massive change – it is no longer played on two separate boards. Instead, the player and opponent take turns placing cards onto the same board. This allows for a certain degree of strategy in that the player can now block enemy card connections by substituting his/her own cards. A good player will do this while planning out his/her own card connections. In this sense, the game becomes a lot more skill-based, although RNG is still present with any card game like this.
The sequel retains the quirky art style and great music of the original, improving on the former with a card redesign that looks a lot better than the first game. The cards are cleaner and much easier to read this time around. The setting though is a lot crazier than the first game, providing for some even weirder opponents and such to face. My biggest complaint would be with the way that deck editing is handled. The UI there is not very intuitive and it takes some getting used to, but even then though, a redesign done there would work wonders. Being able to see the contents of an entire deck at a glance would be very helpful, but as it stands the player must scroll through a list and hover over each card to see it. Definitely not the greatest design choice.
Overall though, the game is an improvement over the first one and definitely earns my recommendation. While you can play the second without playing the first, you would be doing yourself a disservice as the first game is pretty good on its own.
I was provided a free review copy of the games featured here. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.