The winter sale on Steam is finally over! Phew! So, we go back with our regularly scheduled programming.
I’ll confess to not having bought many games during that last sale, but I have such a backlog to still get through that I didn’t really feel the need to add fuel to the fire.
So, without further ado, here we go with this week’s three titles that I’ve been playing.
THE SILENT AGE
Formerly mobile-only, this episodic adventure game has subsequently been converted for PC.
No changes to the gameplay, it still shows its Android roots in the limited inventory and locations. The developer has added some voiceovers for the Steam release and… well, that’s it.
The design choice that makes you switch between different timelines to solve puzzles, while not really unique, is indeed fun. Unfortunately the game carries it a bit too far, forcing the player to rely on it constantly for every puzzle.
The plot itself is fine, even though everything gets revealed midway through, after that there’s nothing else to find out, except waiting for a rather unsatisfying ending.
Silent Age’s message is never entirely made clear, something about society staying the same and how a poor underpaid janitor can still save the world? The ending is also vague and the entire last ten minutes are basically useless.
If you can find it on sale for less than a 1$, go for it; full price is 9$ which is not recommended for 2-3 hours of gameplay.
BENDY AND THE INK MACHINE
A first person horror game with an artstyle like a silent cartoon of the 1920’s? Sounds nightmarish-y dreamy!
For its first hour, Bendy deliveres scares and mysteries, while not straying from the drab locations you’re forced to explore.
The developers’ inspiration was clearly Bioshock, with the whole dream of a genius gone sour and the protagonist left to try and make sense of it all. Also, mandatory audio recordings to advance the plot. Unfortunately, the gameplay gets in the way pretty soon.
As long as the player is exploring and finding the way, it’s not great fun but manages to remain playable. Soon after that, the fetch quests begin and boredom ensues.
A character will make you roam an entire building, killing four enemies in order to retrieve an item on each floor. You then go back to the basement with the item and she sends you back again for another one. Again and again. Unsufferable.
Also, I’m not sure I like a “hide’n’seek” horror game where you can somehow kill some of the enemies but have to hide from others.
I can’t stand fetch quests for the sake of prolonging a game’s length. They are one of the worst crimes a modern game designer can commit. No forgiveness on my part.
Bendy is 17$ full price, which is way more than what it’s worth. There’s a demo available if you’re itching to do some fetch quests. Apparently the whole thing has also gone “brand” now, there’s even a book around. Yay.
AMONG THE SLEEP
Since I’ve briefly talked about this game in a recent article, my desire is to wipe the slate clean before moving on. I don’t want people to get the wrong impression because I’ve ranted about some of its design choices.
Among the Sleep is pretty alright as a game, really. In a comparison with Bendy, since they are both some sort of “first person horror”, it is clearly the better designed game. Surely, it does not insult the player’s time with fetch quests or by forcing to revisit locations over and over again.
The actors voicing the bear is spot-on, the graphics are Unity-good and the gameplay interesting enough to keep playing. The idea of playing as a 2 years old baby is pretty unique, even though, as I said, could have been designed differently for a much scarier experience.
For example, I would have liked it so that the baby can’t easily run away or climb, while the game always allows you to move freely.
Among the Sleep is that one rare game who manages to walk the thin line between amateur and professional steadily enough to be enjoyed by a rather large gaming public.
17$ is a bit too steep as an entry fee for what it offers, but it’s not wasted money at all.