It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! So What are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

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[REVIEW] The Darkside Detective

The Darkside Detective
Developer: Spooky Doorway
Publisher: Spooky Doorway
Available on: PC (reviewed), Nintendo Switch (TBA)
Price: $12.99 (Switch price may vary)
Release date: July 27, 2017 (PC)
For fans of: Less taxing point-and-click adventures with an emphasis on pop culture references.

The Darkside Detective runs amok with familiar pop culture references, from Twin Peaks and Gremlins to IT and Ghostbusters, and places hard-boiled detective Francis McQueen amidst them in six slices of supernatural, point-and-click adventure. Each case is independent of the last and gradually expands in scope and size, but the gameplay remains largely the same throughout. These appetizer portions not only allow the game to run on limited screens and interactive objects but also dial back on the copious amounts of backtracking and inventory management found in larger, meatier adventure games.

This proved to be both a blessing and a curse, however. While I ultimately enjoyed Spooky Doorway’s method of framing each case individually, it certainly made for a short, simple adventure that relied a bit too heavily on pop culture jokes and not enough on drawing me into the world they created. Perhaps that’s the point, though?

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[REVIEW] The Journey Down: Chapter Two

The Journey Down: Chapter Two
Developer: Skygoblin
Publisher: Skygoblin
Reviewed on: PC
Price: $19.99 USD
For fans of: Grim Fandango or the thought of a West-African inspired Caribbean noir adventure.

*This review is notably shorter than Chapter One’s, simply because I didn’t want to spend more time than necessary repeating myself on gameplay elements and influence, and wanted to avoid spoiling the all-important narrative expected from a sequel.

When I reviewed The Journey Down’s opening chapter a few weeks ago, my primary takeaway was that it had all the makings of a point-and-click classic but lacked any form of actual adventure. Its West-African influence could be felt deep within its character design and the late Simon D’souza’s beautiful composition, but Chapter One’s bite-sized run-time,¬†inconsistent voice-over quality, and never-ending fetch quest certainly hindered my overall enjoyment.

I’m happy to report that Chapter Two wholly improves upon its predecessor in every regard. It’s twice as long, allowing for more character engagement and world building. There’s more variety in the backdrops, though most of the game is still spent exploring dimly lit alleys. D’souza’s jazz, funk, and reggae tunes continue to elevate the experience to a higher level, eliciting the perfect emotion given the backdrop or circumstance. Voice-over fidelity has also improved tenfold, Port Artue’s inhabitants are far more interesting to converse with, and there’s an actual adventure taking place with sky pirates, murder, conspiracy, shootouts, and jailbreaks!

This is what I wanted from The Journey Down.

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[REVIEW] The Coma: Recut

The Coma: Recut
Developer: Devespresso Games
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Available on: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Steam, GOG
Price: $14.99 USD
For fans of: Claire: Extended Cut, White Day: A Labyrinth Named School

The Coma: Recut is a “definitive edition” re-release of the original game, The Coma: Cutting Class, from 2015, as well as the Korean horror title’s console debut. According to the press release, the original game’s animations, mechanics, cutscenes, and art have been updated, and the Recut version is available on PC as a free update for those of you who already own Cutting Class.

Having no prior knowledge of The Coma’s existence prior to its recent console release, I approached the 2D horror game with a general understanding of its gameplay and tone thanks to its PS4 launch trailer. The premise of being trapped inside of a high school, scouring every nook and cranny for useful items and puzzle solutions while avoiding a menacing stalker, immediately drew comparison to 2001’s White Day: A Labyrinth Named School (which I ultimately didn’t care for). However, its hand-drawn, almost comic book visual flair and 2D presentation caught my attention and I was willing to give it a fair shake.

Unfortunately, I left The Coma: Recut feeling equally unsatisfied. What exists here is a mostly forgettable horror experience that’s far more cumbersome than it is terrifying.

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