This week I played a whole bunch of stuff that I’m still chugging through. So, to change things up a bit, in this issue I’m gonna showcase a game I didn’t like and two I can heavily recommend if you’re in the right mindset.
A shmup roguelike dungeoncrawler? Gesundheit!
Straimium is one of those games that I got on a pretty cheap bundle – I think. Anyway, it’s one of those candidate for the “forgotten” pile, that’s gonna get bigger and bigger until the end of the world. But something kept calling me on, maybe the weird title, maybe the weird alien insect face.
And you know what? It definitely does what it says on the tin: you shoot, you unlock new weapons and gameplay modes and you crawl around a dungeon-like environment.
The 8bit sci-fi horror aestethic is refined with all kinds of modern special FX and the result is very pleasing to look at. Sometimes it’s a bit too hard trying to distinguish an object from an enemy, which is the only problem I have with it, but you can turn off all FX should you want to stick to clearer 8-bit aestethic.
It is definitely one of those little hidden gems that made me want to start a weekly column about Steam games, kudos Antony Case! I will definitely look up the rest of your games.
8$ is pretty much alright as a base price.
Many interesting games were developed in my home country, the Screamer and Tony Tough series speak for themselves. Unfortunately this week I played Face Noir: a noir game developed in Italy? Yeah, sure.
With dialogues that touch upon racial problems in the 30s, the Great Depression and New York City’s development, written by someone who studied programming and game designing?
Hmm, that might have been a tad over their heads. That is my main problem with Face Noir: it’s that guy who never shuts up while having nothing interesting to say. Not only the main character rambles on, like noir detectives are wont to do, but the first character you meet is more than happy to talk your ears off.
His brother was shot by “a redneck” who didn’t want to pay his hotel bill. In the 30s, in Harlem? And also our hero says “african american”, again, in the 30s.
From a design standpoint, Face Noir makes you pick up an item ONLY when Jack Del Nero (Nero! cause black!) says you can, which makes inventory puzzles rather obvious. And no, I didn’t play it to the end cause I couldn’t be bothered to put up with the mediocre voice acting, tedious writing and clunky interface. Also, another horrible game design sin: the game has no ending, it’s just a set up for up the sequel which, after five years, will probably never come out.
Noir stereotypes I can stomach, even though they’re a dime a dozen in adventure games. Boring writing that takes itself way too seriously and leads to nothing? Nope. Dannazione!
Full price is 10$ which is way too much, if you’re an adventure game completionist wait for a sale.
Is it possible to write a small review about this game without mentioning the Where is Waldo series of books?
Oh confound it all, I just did!
Hidden Folks is a very kawaii game where you are tasked to find specific objects and people in screens that get increasingly busy, full of small and pretty animated details. The whole game is in black and white and everything is drawn by hand.
What I loved most about it: all sound effects are done by mouth. This is something so beautiful, it reminds me of my childhood, spending hours trying to replicate songs with my mouth in front of the Commodore64 and… ok enough with my ramblings. There’s no music to speak of, you can provide some humming yourself if you want to.
That’s really all there is to the game: fire it up, find some objects or people, chuckle sensibly at the clues, lose a bit of your eyesight and then go back to whatever loud obnoxious FPS game you had been playing.
Thank heavens a game like Hidden Folks exists, it’s a kind of warm reassuring feeling that it’s sitting there in my Steam library.
I bought the game on sale for 3$ which was a righteous bargain, ordinary entry price is 8$.