2598 reviews liked by maradona


After years of drift towards third-person action, survival horror finally returns to its roots: dunking your entire arm into every single trashcan you can find and showing disobedient vending machines and lockers the righteous fury of your boot heel.

Thank God the indie market is so robust these days, because the increasing homogenization of the modern big budget game and shrinking genre space therein means you wouldn't get proper survival horror otherwise. Crow Country and others like Signalis have been filling that void, but despite clearly playing to the charm of PlayStation era horror with its visuals - especially with its character models, which look as though they've been unearthed from an old Net Yaroze kit - Crow Country is no tired pastiche. It's safe rooms, puzzles, and resource management might harken to a design ethos that was at one point more commonplace, but these elements feel authentic and borne from a place of appreciation and understanding.

Nowhere is this more strongly felt than in the park's layout and the way in which the player navigates it. The amusement park theme allows for neatly defined areas with their own theming and unique attractions, with hidden passages, back rooms, cast tunnels, and a subterranean network serving as the connective tissue between each "land" in a way that feels appropriate for the setting while serving to make the park feel highly interconnected. Crow Country is great at providing a sense of space while conveying where the player should go and what to do next. I never felt lost or completely stumped by a puzzle and was consistently engaged and encouraged to revisit old locations to explore - the part of my brain that starts processing how I want to route my way through a game activated pretty early, and as far as I'm concerned, that's a sign that a survival horror game is living up to the promise of its genre.

The setting is also small. Crow Country is less Disneyland, more Santa's Village, so one way developer SFB Games succeeds in making repeated loops through the park threatening is by gradually introducing more enemies and traps to familiar locations. As the time of day progresses, rain and darkness further obscure the player's vision, and boobytrapped pick-ups begin to litter the map to prey on the sense of trust they've developed with their environment. I sprinted my way through the opening two hours, juked most enemies and picked up any crap I saw laying on the ground. By hour five, I was walking everywhere, stopping frequently, side-eyeing boxes of ammo, and finding that I actually had to conserve what I had due to the increased expectation that I shoot some damn "guests."

I also appreciate Crow Country for telling a complete and coherent story, something I think a lot of horror games have pushed away from. I think the Five Nights series has poisoned the genre and led a lot of other indie horror creators to believe a complex and intentionally vague narrative is the best way to ensure franchise longevity. Keep posing questions, provide no answers. I get it, sometimes it's best to let the audience fill in gaps, you don't want over-explain horror, but in the hands of a weak writer, the "unknown" can just be a euphemism for "nothing."

That's not to say Crow Country fails to raise any questions of its own, rather that in true PSX survival horror fashion, you're given all the clues you need to form the big picture through memos, context, and dialog. How well you do that is entirely dependent on how much you're paying attention, and whether you view Crow Country as being so cliched that its horror can be explained by way of Resident Evil and Silent Hill. I was extremely satisfied by the ending, which leaves just enough unanswered that you'll still have something to think of without feeling like you'll need to consult a YouTube series or read like, seven fucking books and play a dozen more games. An indie horror game with a conclusion that is both cogent and earned, thank christ.

So make the most of your Memorial Day weekend and bring the whole family down to Crow Country. Come ride our newest attraction: The Seven Seas, and discover new types of bacteria. Remember, vets and children under 6 get in free!

First damn game I play on touchHLE, and the first Crash racing game I've played lmao

But yeah tbh, this one was honestly pretty impressive for one of the first ever iPhone games in general. The visuals are honestly pretty impresive for the time. Both in terms of everything being in 3D and the visuals themselves of the themes of the tracks.

The controls, of which I feared they woudn't be too responsive considering they were just tilt controls, worked DAMN better than I was expecting. Still not perfect but VERY much enjoyable and solid for what it is.

And also, this shockingly has a LOT of similarities to Nitro Kart 2 Java of which I saw Caddicarus talking about it. And, damn yeah they do have a lot in common, but also NOT at the same time.

Because yeah, for them being 1 year apart this is some DAMN solid evolution from one to another.

So yeah, overal, I'm glad I was able to give it a shot, and I'm thankfull that iOS emulation is FINALLY going somewhere after all these years. Hopefully they make an iOS build of touchHLE soon and hopefully just in general touchHLE manages to go places. Fingers crossed for the development team to get bigger as they go along.

I just KNOW the clown guy stinks good.

Trabalhei como produtor e escritor em Brasileiro e Inglês!

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes feels like an anachronism. I don’t just mean this from how the game haphazardly scatters documents from 1847 and 2014 throughout the hotel set in 1962, or how it references multiple past eras of gaming with PS1 survival-horror fixed camera angles or DOS-inspired 1-bit adventure game segments hidden away on floppy disks, though these elements certainly play their part in creating what developer Simogo refers to as “collage of styles, ideas, and disparate inspirations.” No, what instantly caught my attention was how uncompromising yet thoughtful the game felt. In an era where most developers seem content to simply pay lip service to the great mystery/adventure games of old while over-simplifying their gameplay mechanics, Simogo seems to have figured out the formula of creating a final product that feels intricately designed, yet ultimately accessible.

I’ll admit that I’m not too familiar with Simogo’s previous work; the only other game I’ve played by them is Sayonara Wild Hearts. That said, I would not have immediately guessed that Lorelei was by the same developers from my first hour alone. In some ways, Lorelei presents an interesting foil to Sayonara. Sayonara’s persisting strength is its grasp on harmony: the epitome of what is essentially a playable music video, it’s pure and immediate gratification racking up points to the beat in this flashy and lush arcade game. On the other hand, Lorelei feels deliberately constructed to emphasize its dissonance. From the uncomfortably quiet manor clashing with the occasional audible off-screen disruption to the vibrating monochrome textures interspersed with low poly environment, nothing seems right in its place. It’s a much slower burn than Sayonara as well, with most players taking fifteen hours or more (in comparison to Sayonara’s two hour runtime) to navigate the sprawling hotel with no hand-holding provided whatsoever.

As different as these two titles appear however, they do have one thing in common: minimalism. For example, both games require just a d-pad/joystick and a single button to be played. Sayonara gets away with this because the available actions on input feel clearly telegraphed by the visuals and generally boil down to moving and timed dodges with the music. Lorelei similarly gets away with this because it deemphasizes more complex/technical interactions (i.e. the usage suite of adventure game verbs in look, touch, obtain, etc) with sheer puzzle intuition. Simogo describes this as forcing the player to “get a deeper understanding… and connection to [the world]” and just like Sayonara, “wanted the complexity of the game to revolve around this, and not dexterity.”

What makes this particularly impressive is how Simogo was able to strike a fair balance between simplicity and variety. According to the game’s development page, the game became “a very iterative toy box” where many different systems conceptualized over the game’s development cycle could interact and interplay with one another in different ways. Interestingly, I found that most of the solutions to these different puzzles were not that difficult or complex to determine. Even so, despite Lorelei’s simple controls and straightforward objective (figuring out passwords/key phrases to unlock new areas and information), the game is able to successfully obfuscate the means to achieve said objective by drastically changing the means in which information is presented to the player, for instance by using different camera angles and systems that allowed them to “change a lot of rendering parameters on the fly” from the aforementioned iterative toy box. Additionally, Simogo highlights key details from clues to ensure that players don’t get too confused, but leave enough ambiguity by never outright leading the players onto specific logic trains and refusing to provide any specific assistance (no in-game hint system and no specific feedback aside from telling players if they’re right/wrong). The result is a confident final product that understands the persisting strength of a good puzzle adventure game: a game that gives the player all the information they need to succeed while giving them the room to work out the connections themselves, and a game that constantly surprises the player with new opportunities to intuitively understand the world around them without ever feeling too frustrated by unfamiliar mechanics.

I do have to admit however, that there are a few instances where Lorelei’s minimalism and uncompromising nature can backfire. For instance, the lack of detailed player feedback aside from a right/wrong sound effect usually isn’t a significant deterrent, given that players can fine-tune most of the game’s one-variable solutions and are encouraged to tackle the hotel’s many branching paths and puzzles at their own pace, since they may not even have the pertinent information required and might have to work out other puzzles to obtain said information. However, certain late-game puzzles require multiple sets of answers (ex: a computer that requires three different types of phrases in a password), and it can be frustrating getting barricaded by such puzzles and not knowing which part of the answer requires more investigation. I’ll also echo some of the previous complaints regarding the controls, because while I appreciate that Simogo has crafted a base system where more complex controls aren’t required, I also don’t think that it’s a huge ask to add a “cancel/back” input for a second button. As a result, it takes significantly more scrolling to get out of menus or spamming random inputs to erroneously enter passwords if I want to back out of a puzzle, and the amount of wasted time per menu/puzzle really builds up over a playthrough.

While I did find the somewhat telegraphed ending slightly underwhelming given how elaborately the game wove its lore into its many clues, I nevertheless really savored my time with Lorelei. I might not have laser eyes, but I can certainly see this game’s approach upon system cohesion influencing many puzzle adventure games to come. As it stands, it’s another solid entry for Simogo’s innovative yet familiar library, and I’ll be thinking about its many secrets for quite some time. Perhaps it's finally time to delve into Device 6.

Genuinely the most creative set of fps levels I've got to experience <3

The full characteristics of cyriak videos + old-doom level design philosophy congealed into a rocking-rollercoaster of an Office Experience. Smile on my face from start to finish, from just, incredible use of space and wonderful level gimmicks. Big shoutout to the one messing with past/future, titanfall 2 could never /s /s

If anything, my only 'real' issue is that there's a lot of jumps in terms of difficulty (although a lot of the later breathing room makes sense,, some of these maps hold nothing back), as it does always make me giggle when the Hardest challenge was Well Before the halfway point for me. Then again I do feel like just experiencing this pack front-to-back helped me buff out a lot of my amateur-ness with running these maps. I feel more equipped than ever to tackle stuff like Sunlust again.

If you have even the remote interest in trying out a Doom WAD, I think this is the best place to start, just so you can experience the true 9-5 workerman perspective.

Idk why it took me so long to finish the english translation but I finally just did... and man, I'm starting to believe that all of these games are equally good and that I'm just nitpicking when deciding which ones I like more. I don't like it as much as 1, sure, but it's still basically a perfect game that leaves a very similar impact. I'm just so, so glad it has an english translation now. Humanity needs these games.

There's a certain power in dissatisfaction. In giving players bad choices. There are many choice-based crpgs that offer perhaps too much choice in how the world is shaped. In how to influence others. Pentiment wisely pulls back on this to build an aching, intimate yearning. A yearning to make all the right decisions. A yearning to keep everyone safe, to choose a killer that will hurt the fewest people instead of choosing a killer based on evidence. A yearning to protect, and a yearning when we've failed. Our main character is not the hero deciding the fate of the world. He's just a guy, in a place and time. How we all leave our mark on history is subject to so many factors beyond our control.

Mechanically, its hard to say every skill has all the uses it could. Skills mainly make certain investigations easier, but they're always multiple avenues to uncover all the evidence you want. But this also means that every skill choice that does provide a new dialogue path feels all the more rewarding for your commitment. The skill choices in the final act of the game, compared to the others, are much more limited in their scope, but the final act is also much more on the rails than its previous story sections. Less time for choices to matter.

Still. Just kind of a truly banger game with incredible artistic sensibilities.

Gameplay is more arcade-y than past entries- which is fine- but the story is goes off the rails in a bad way. Halfway-in the plot frays into a bunch of different threads that don't really go anywhere and none of which are terribly compelling on their own. Your squad also may as well not exist, in both a gameplay and narrative sense- even with pictures to go with their radio chatter, they all kind of blend together, and everyone's personality is eventually replaced with simply praising you after every single kill- which is understandable when you see six of them struggling to take down a single enemy fighter.
I don't mean to be so harsh on what is a perfectly good game, but I'm afraid people will start with 7 and dismiss the rest of the series out of hand. The PS2 trilogy are legitimately some of the best games on the console, which is saying something. I would highly recommend going back and giving them a shot if you enjoyed AC7 but left wanting longer missions and a real story.
Hopefully they get re-releases on this new engine, because it manages to be both extremely beautiful and well optimized.