Age of Darkness: Final Stand Review

Age of Darkness: Final Stand

Fight off hordes of nightmarish creatures in this top down medieval RTS called Age of Darkness: Final Stand. Create your town and build up your defenses to survive the night. Explore during the day for extra resources and treasure and defend the city when darkness falls. Make your final stand in this dark and eerie world!

Visuals and Music:

The visuals in this game have some great contrast to the brown thatch roofs and walls to the blueish green enemies that lurk the woods. Colors stand out brilliant in this game. Enemies could use a bit more variance. You mainly see tons of the creatures on all fours that are like ghouls of sorts. There is also axe creatures, spear ones, and 4-legged spiderlike creatures, as well as, Elite Nightmares you can face during the night. Audio ties all this aesthetic in with the deep drums and the eerie music. The music picks up and really hypes you up when the swarm comes out on the death night.

Story:

Unfortunately since this game is early access, the scenarios are not complete, and the only available game mode is survival. As for the main concept of the story, you build and create a well defended town against an ever growing threat of horrors and nightmares that come rushing from the woods at night.

Gameplay:

Gameplay is very much like the RTS games before it, and very reminisce of Warcraft or Starcraft. Set up farms for food, lumber stations for wood, mine for stone and metal. Housing increases your available civilians to work buildings or turn into soldiers to fight and defend against the horrors. There is only one available hero at this time out of 3 total heroes planned. You can upgrade your hero with special abilities as they level up, and you can also upgrade each type of troops with bonuses (which will be a resource cost). I do wish the hero had more of a skill tree rather than just three abilities to use.

They offer a wide variety of defenses with ballistae, siege vehicles, and archer towers. They have to be manned to work so keeping a good supply of townsfolk is key. These defenses are key to surviving a swarm as this game has a technology called “Swarmtech” which helps allow the game to render over 70,000 enemies on screen at any time. The Death Nights are great and I love that they have elite nightmares to fight during the night for rewards as well. Really good job with variety of defenses and units as well as rewards for risking your units in the night.

Overview:

Age of Darkness: Final Stand offers a very cool RTS with a lot of potential, but is lacking more heroes and the scenario mode which I think would boost this game even higher. It is a really good concept for an early access title with the swarmtech which makes the Death Nights exciting and a bit stressful with the large amounts of enemies at once. Beautiful colors and great music that fits the theme and tone. Fun, classic RTS style gameplay with some great options for the player, but I wish we had a bit more depth with a story of some sort. Very good game so far, and I will be watching for the scenarios to release for this one. Definitely recommend for those who love RTS games!

Rating: 3.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The game is available to purchase on Steam.

Grime Review

Grime is metroidvania meets dark souls in a lovecraftian-esque twisted setting. This game drops you deep into the world to rise up to where you had fallen. As a monstrosity with a black hole for a head, your goal is to work your way up through each of the unique areas to the land above and to remember your past. Destroy and absorb all that oppose you in this interesting and unique game!

Visuals and Music:

Visuals on this game are extremely odd and that’s a good thing. There are a ton of interesting designs of NPCs and creatures that scatter this twisted world. Long elongated arms, tentacles,  and contorted shapes frequently appear in the creatures of this universe. Love the artwork and design in this game. 

Music and audio is on point with creepy high pitched or deep rumbling voices from npcs keep the tension up and feed into the vibe of the game. Music does a good job with an eerie soundtrack with escalating crescendos when finally absorbing an enemy that you spent multiple attempts to defeat.

Story:

The story for the game is fairly straightforward. Defeat enemies and absorb their remains to become more powerful. I feel like a vast majority of the story beats do happen late game. This causes the main backstory of your character to happen all in one section, which I felt it would have been much better spread across the game, allowing me to piece together my past. I do enjoy the characters and the smaller beats of story that do happen in each of the individual sections, so overall, I found the story pretty good.

Gameplay:

Grime’s combat is very well done with the dark souls esque style with tons of weapons with unique animations.  Combat is punishingly difficult, and as a long time souls fan, I found it more frustratingly difficult than most of the souls games. You get a meter of breath to heal but can only hold 2 breaths(heals) at a time (excluding using items), which you can refill the meter by parrying abilities with absorbs or killing enemies with one of the perks. 

Stats and upgrades are really well done with the ability to gain new perks based on enemies you have absorbed. DIfferent weapons will benefit from different stats based on the playstyle you want to use. Armor is strictly cosmetic with a few pretty cool designs. Personally I wish that armor was not cosmetic only and had unique armor values so you could set a more solid playstyle.

Since this is a metroidvania game, it has plenty of platforming which I think is well done. Plenty of interesting abilities to traverse the sprawling tunnels and to get to hard to reach places for items. I did have a few glitches where I would teleport beneath the world when dashing, but for the most part graphical bugs and glitches didn’t mess up my gameplay.  

Overview:

Grime is a great dark and twisted metroidvania that I do recommend for metroidvania fans, but with a caution that this game is very punishing and difficult. The game has beautiful visuals and a soundtrack to go with it. Story is good, but could do better with it’s pacing. Gameplay is really good, but could do with a bit more in depth armor system. Nearing the end of the game, I did experience more issues with bugs, which I do feel the game could take a bit more polishing. Overall, it’s a great twisted game and definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The game is available on GFN and on Stadia via Stadia Pro.

Check out our Grime gameplay videos on Youtube!

Honey, I joined a Cult Review

Looks like our first cult is a bust, so it’s time to move on to the next one! Start a new cult in a new city, but this time let’s try to keep the heat off us. Have a blast in this top-down cult simulation game. Create a cult, customize your look, and make a name for yourself. Gain followers and cult members to earn money and reputation. Work your way up to be the biggest and best-rated cult in town in this Sim game called Honey, I Joined a Cult!

Visuals and Music:

The game goes for a comedic art style with short stubby characters that look kind of like emoji characters. This tends to do well to show that it’s intended to not be a serious style game and lends well to the wacky buildings and creations you will make.  You can create how the leader of the cult looks and the style all your cult members will look at the beginning of the game, so as your members grow, their fashion style will also follow.

There is only one real repeating song that tends to play during the game, and this song has a decent catchy tune that reminds me of elevator music. It’s quite calming and especially since you can spend countless hours on this game. The other audio cues are mostly used to notify you when a job is done or when the sermon is planned. The audio lends well to the game and helps keep track of things, especially if you like to multitask with certain games.

Story:

The game opens up with the police busting your cult, so what do you do? You escape with your things, and you create a new cult with a new theme. I decided that for fun I would create a cult called TheBros, which is why all my members have aviator glasses. The game gives you decent freedom in naming and creating fun little designs for your characters, which I think is ideal in sim-type games. Send your members on missions to increase your PR, decrease the heat on your cult from police/protestors, and acquire items. Spend your influence on researching new perks, new buildings, and items. You gain money and influence from followers and members in each of the buildings in your house. Your ultimate goal is to upgrade your cult to become the best cult in the town and create your journey.

Gameplay:

The game gives you decent freedom in naming and creating fun little designs for your characters, which I think is ideal in sim-type games. The tools they give you to build, design, and decorate your rooms are well done, and they have a ton of options to keep you busy for countless hours. I do wish they had a simple upgrade button for upgrading new items instead of having to delete then re-add new items. The game is in early access, so hopefully, we see it added in the future.

The research tree is very extensive with plenty of upgrades and new items, and the UI is similar to that of a Civilization research tree, which I really like. You can unlock some fun buildings such as an Energy Spa, Discombobulation Therapy, Infernal Heat Room, and more! Some rooms, items, and abilities can be unlocked from the Divine Inspirations, which are the dark and sinister ones. One such room is the contract room where you get more money and influence out of a particular follower in exchange for them….disappearing. I do hope that I will be able to spend my PR or Faith on more things in the future, as I tend to sit at max PR and Faith for most of the game.

You can choose which followers you want to become members which both are capped to a certain number. Once they are a member, you can upgrade and modify their abilities to suit your needs. Each stat seems to be equally important and useful for specific rooms. You will also need multiples due to certain missions requiring specific stats to succeed. I do wish they had a better UI for the rooms. Hopefully, in a later update, you will be able to click a room and easily assign a member to the room, but for the time being, you can click a member and click the room to assign them to do the role.

Overview:

Honey, I Joined a Cult is a fun exciting sim game with plenty of customizable features to make my time with the game a blast. The visuals and audio do a decent job of setting the tone, while the story is a straightforward simplistic goal to achieve. Managing your cult, rooms, and members are well made and is a great game to play while listening to a podcast or watching Youtube. While the game still needs some work, it is in early access, so I hope to see these ironed out in the long term. I can easily recommend this game to Simulation game fans out there as one to look forward to. I spent over 20 hours playing and had a blast!

Rating: 3.5/5

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The game is due to come to Geforce NOW this week.

41 Hours Review: Rise of a new Serious Sam?

41 hours starts off with Ethan, a man with a cyborg ally Lea, fighting against the time traveling elite soldiers, robots, and….zombies? Ethan’s world is due to be destroyed in 41 hours by the Demiurge, and it’s up to you to stop him. Travel to the forest, beach, and desert fighting these minions of the Demiurge and defeat hordes of enemies in this action-packed FPS. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, then this might be the game for you. While this sounds like a blast, let’s weigh in on if this is a game you might enjoy. 

Visuals and Music:

The game tries for a fairly realistic aesthetic, but the assets feel a bit muddy and blurry even at 1080p. I was curious about if it was the game or GeForce Now, so I double checked the game on my own PC. The game has a blurry visual style all throughout the game with comic-like sections for story beats. Guns and UI look standard and fine. Nothing too detailed or refined. Enemies look pretty standard. A soldier here or a robot there. Nothing too exceptional. Music is pretty good. A catchy doom-like metal track for combat and a more somber music for out of combat/story sections.

Story:

The story of fighting time traveling robots is wacky fun that I like, though I wish they doubled down with goofy voices for characters and go all in for the silliness. I wish they explained the main character a bit more before jumping us right into the action because I’d want to understand why he’s here and fighting. I also think they should have expanded a bit more with Lea to help grow our attachment with her. Story was decent, but could definitely be improved a bit.

Gameplay:

Gameplay is both good and bad. It plays a lot like Serious Sam. Waves of enemies in open areas for the most part with small mini-bosses. Definitely needs some more variation in the enemy department. You are a scientist and with that comes fun sci fi powers. Ethan can make himself invisible with his cloak, slow down time, send Lea to explode enemies, and use telekinetic powers. You will want to use these abilities as the game is pretty difficult. Stealth and Slow-Mo saved my life many times. Most of the abilities are great, but Lea’s speed needs to be sped up to the target and the telekinesis needs to be easier to use for combat.

The game throws objectives on higher places which forces you to use telekinesis to get to these upper areas, which can hinder the pacing of the game greatly. Personally, I think they should cut these out and make them entirely solvable from ground level and make telekinesis good for enemies. Maybe it can be used to remove armor plating off robots?

Gunplay is pretty good, but my thoughts on the guns? Needs more guns and more power. Guns fire well, but I felt that some of them were severely underpowered. With only 6 different guns to use, I think they should have added some power weapons in the game to spice up the endgame and make for a grandiose finale.

Overview:

41 hours plays a lot like an early access Serious Sam. I ran into a few issues with bugs/glitches, and some of the assets and AI aren’t super polished. Can’t shoot through windows, enemies don’t go in houses, etc. I think with some extra polishing, and adding a few of the suggestions I listed above this game could easily go above a 3 out of 5 for me. Decent game for a small studio, and I hope they continue to work to make an even better experience. Overall, I recommend it to those who love Serious Sam and want a similar experience, but for those not really into Serious Sam I would say this one is a pass. 

Rating: 2.5/5

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Cake Bash Review: The Game You Knead

Camp Fire Mini Snack Game

I’ve spent the last week with Cake Bash, the latest game from developer High Tea Frog and published by Coatsink.

Overview

In Cake Bash, the aim is to be the tastiest cake, getting ready for those customer collections. You can play with up to 4 people in either local couch mode or online.

If you can’t resist those cakes, you can even play solo and just simply throw the bots into your game so that you still have a challenge on your hands.

It’s the ideal game for Stadia and fantastic to enjoy with friends and family as those dark cold nights arrive upon us and will certainly lift your mood.

When you load the game for the first time, you are greeted with the option to undertake the tutorial or alternatively jump straight into playing the game.

It was great to have the option of the tutorial but simply paying attention to the instructions before each game mode will ensure that you never forget what you’re doing.

It is worth noting that the tutorial is available from the main menu whenever you need it. This will no doubt come in handy if you have friends round that need to learn how to play.

Bakery Arena

Game Modes, Bash Arena’s & Mini Snack Games

High Tea Frog have given us multiple ways to have fun with this fiendishly addictive new game.

Get Tasty is the mode where you find yourself working your way through a cafe where there is a number of matches that take place to earn gold coins in the race to be the tastiest cake. With the gold coins you’ll be able to buy all the sweet treats to go atop your cake, making it more appealing for the customer. The fight is on!

At the start of each get tasty, you and the other players or bots, will be asked to vote for which Mini game snack you want to take part in, which is also coupled with which arena the game will take place in.

Also in get tasty, it’s where you will unlock a variety of cake flavours and all the different game modes.

As an alternative, which may work well for you if you are playing on the couch with friends, you have the recipe section of the menu where you can select and play any of the game types you have unlocked, whilst selecting the arenas that you will do cake battle in.

Patio Arena

When playing through the Get Tasty mode, when you aren’t spending your chocolate coins, you enter a number of bash mode games, which gives variety.

  • Sweet Victory
  • Fruity Pie
  • Cookie Bash
  • Hundreds & Thousands
  • Sparkler

Each of those modes will see you challenged to score the most points through either collecting sweets, hundred & thousands, smashing as many cookies as possible and finally keeping hold of the sparklers for as long as you can to score points.

I found the bash modes to be a pleasant and successful intermission to the core games that are available to you.

Each of the bash modes, take place in Bash Arena’s, of which there are a total of 5.

  • Bakery
  • Factory
  • Patio
  • Beach
  • Birthday
Factory arena

You will find 8 mini snack games available which are generally shorter than the approx 2 minute long bash modes.

  • Fork Knife
  • Scones & S’mores
  • Campfire
  • Neapolitan
  • Fondue or Die
  • Bakewell Ballet
  • Caterpillar
  • Wasp Attack

I have to say I found myself having so much fun with each of the mini snack games but there were definitely a couple of stand out ones from my time so far with Cake Bash.

The first up being Fork Knife. This is gateau royale, it’s last cake standing as forks come flying from the top of the screen. The aim is to avoid the cutlery to ensure it doesn’t land in your tasty cake character, as you dash about a shrinking cake.

Fork Knife: Gateau Royale

It’s frantic, chaotic and often short lived if you aren’t too careful, it provides a tremendous amount of fun as you battle to be the last cake standing.

Neapolitan was the other mini game, where you are holding a nice Italian waffle ice cream cone as you attempt to catch and stack as many ice cream scoops as you can handle. This one is tricky because not only do you want to stack them high, you have to offset that with trying to ensure that your ice cream is carefully balanced and doesn’t topple over, meaning you have to start all over again.

Graphics

Now you may be thinking, hang on this is a cartoon based game, why are you going to talk about graphics.

All I can say is you genuinely need to take a moment to appreciate all the little intricate details that the developers have included in here. Right down to the little face animations each of the characters make whilst bashing each other.

Cake Bash runs in 4K 60FPS and it is so buttery smooth, it’s a colourful delight for the eyes.

Gameplay

As I said toward the top of this review, you are greeted at the start of the game with a tutorial, which I must admit is welcome.

The first time I played Cake Bash, I opted to skip the tutorial thinking, I’ll be fine. Now whilst I managed to work my way through it thanks to the exceptionally useful tips before each game mode starts, I certainly found that after revisiting the tutorial it helped me feel more prepared for battle.

So much so, when I fired Cake Bash up the next time, I felt like an absolute pro!

Generally speaking, it’s a very straight forward and easy game to play, which is what makes it such an attractive game to pick up and get friends or family involved.

The controls are responsive and never leave you frustrated other than with yourself when you on the odd occasion in the sheer height of tension you hit the wrong button, which normally turns out to be at the most critical point that you really don’t want to hit the wrong button.

One of the best examples of this is in Scones & S’mores where after piping the cakes with cream, you have to get timing spot on to prepare the piping bag ready for the next cake. When you’re battling it out against four others, the scores are close, sometimes you end up trigger happy and press the button too early or press the wrong button.

Order Collection: Winner Screen

Summary

Cake Bash delivers a fun filled experience that finds a way to grab your attention and keep you coming back for more. It’s must have for the library and provides hours of fun either from the couch or online with friends.

The character styles and names really bring something to the game, they are cute, friendly little characters that can get nasty when they need to.

As much as the tutorial is welcome, once you have played the Get Tasty mode a few times, the inability to skip the narrative sections, along with the reminders on how to vote for each game do become a little frustrating because a few hours in, you definitely don’t need to be reminded of how to vote for which game next or how to spend your chocolate coins but those are only minor gripes at best.

(Update from High Tea Frog relating to the above point. “If you press Start on controller or Escape on keyboard during the Get Tasty cutscenes, there is an option to skip them.”)

High Tea Frog have done a fantastic job with Cake Bash and it’s a game I’ve genuinely not been able to put down. The one thing I do hope for are more games modes and bash arena’s because I can see instantly the ways they can expand the game, giving even more variety and packing in some more fun.

It’s something I’d definitely welcome. They could invoke seasonal packs and arena’s with Halloween cakes, Christmas Cakes and a variety of easter sweet treats. Bringing in some expansion packs and seasonal extras would enhance what could be deemed as a short game but in spite of that I didn’t get bored with it in the slightest.

Scones & S’mores Mini Snack Game

In short I feel that this is only the beginning for this game and we can be sure of more to come from this fantastic developer/publisher partnership.

If you haven’t already, go and add it to your library because you won’t regret it!

It’s available in the Stadia store for £15.99 UK / $19.99, which I appreciate could be seen as a little steep for this style of game but I genuinely feel it’s worth every penny.

For the style of game, it’s polished, addictive and a dream to play. It’ll bring the fun for all the family and for those reasons and taking into account pricing I think it’s fair to give Cake Bash, 4 stars.

The only thing that stopped it getting 5 stars, is I would have liked more arena’s and game modes included for launch but like I said, I believe this is something that will come with time,

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“It’s the ideal game for Stadia and fantastic to enjoy with friends and family as those dark cold nights arrive upon us and will certainly lift your mood.”

You can head over to our YouTube channel for myself and Duncan’s first look at Cake Bash.

Finally a huge thank you to both High Tea Frog & Coatsink for supplying us with a code for us to review the game.

Get Packed Review – Co-op Chaos

Get Packed is out now for Stadia and the quick review is get it now if you want a multiplayer party game. While the game isn’t too deep for what you do in the game it does it well and is a lot of fun. However, there is a downside in that playing in single-player mode is lacking and there some noticeable bugs with some of them being quite amusing.

In Get Packed your job is that of removal men (and women) and you pack up houses and businesses into your removal van. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? Well, there is a time limit and items may get damaged or destroyed while trying to move them. There also NPCs as well some are shoppers, security guards, animals, and these also add to the chaos of the game. The biggest hindrance or help is the other people you are playing with. Some players will help in picking the van while others will try and send away your character in the van!

Each level/round lasts 3:30 seconds and this is the perfect length as it gives you the motivation to move fast to pack the van but not short enough to feel unfair. Each level you can get up 3 stars and there are also challenges for each level, for example, packing an animal away in the van. From my playthroughs, some of these challenges would very difficult to do as a single-player and would need some help.

With the single-player mode it is hard to recommend Get Packed in that way. While you can play in single-player the main campaign mode it just isn’t as fun. The game feels that it needs to be played with some sort of multiplayer component.

There are 3 modes in Campaign, Vs and Destruction and these do as they say on the tin. VS two removal vans and whoever packs the most stuff wins and destruction where you try and break as much stuff as possible.

Looking forward Crowd Play will be added to the game which should help the legs f the game as well when streamers start to implement the feature. As the game is on Stadia players will not have to worry about having re-downloading the game so I do believe that the game will be brought out as time goes on for a quick blast now and again.

As this is our first review we mark on 3 things. Fun, Graphics and General look and feel .

Fun – In Get Packed the game is a lot of fun in multiplayer mode however in single player the game loses its charm. Also its a small dosages game and if you play for a longer time it does tend to get a bit repetitive.

Graphics – I like the art style and it suits game and the gameplay.

General feel – For the majority of the game the controls are fine but there are occasions where it is hard to select what you want to select. There were a number of bugs and glitches.