Perspective

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Developer: Widdershins | Released: 2012 | Genre: Platform, Puzzle

Cute little puzzle platformer that only took me 1½ hours to get through. It’s free on Steam. User reviewers there claim it took them an hour or less to get through it. I also admit I was almost stuck a few times, but eventually I always figured it out. But take heed – this is no walk in the park.

The gimmick in this one was controlling the perspective for a 2D space guy. I switched between 3D mode for adjusting the perspective in first person, like lining up platforms close to each other, then switched back to controlling the space guy for jumping across. There were blue graphics for walking and jumping on, while all orange graphics killed the space guy if touched.

BABBDI

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Developer: The Lemaitre Brothers | Released: 2022 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

In case you’re wondering – yes, I discovered this game in Jacob Geller’s YouTube video.

This was a free game on Steam. At first it seemed obvious why it was free – the textures were low res and the buildings very simple – often just blocks with a few ledges. Find a train ticket and escape the city. There were few persons to meet, and most didn’t have much to say.

But the more I explored the city almost entirely made out of cement, there was something about it that fascinated me more. It didn’t make all paths easy to find, especially not upwards. In the beginning I found a barking dog (with a high resolution mouth) and a few motorcycles for traversing faster. A few secret items for a collection quest. A torch. A trumpet that could have its scales rotated.

I even found three persons dancing to a silly tune on the radio in a sewer section.

Just Cause 2

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Developer: Avalanche Studios | Released: 2010 | Genre: 3PS, Sandbox

This is a post in a nostalgic series with transcriptions of my diary sessions of the games I played many years ago, translated and adapted from Danish. There will be spoilers in these diary sessions.

February 22, 2013

I finally started the sequel to the Swedish open world agent-style game – now from 2010. I ended up playing three hours over two turns. Although the game was basically just a strong embellishment of the same game rules as in the first one, the gameplay, the graphics and the atmosphere were still improved so much that I thought significantly better of it and even seriously considered playing it through properly.

The 3D engine in particular was unparalleled. It had a totally unobstructed view to all horizons and no immediate corner cut to achieve this. Huge mountains and volumetric clouds with beautiful sunsets, foaming waves on the beaches, detailed forests and palm trees, large cities with skyscrapers but also small villages with huts on stilts. Cars and people were finely detailed, and textures were of a reasonable high quality. There was a world of difference since the first game from 2006. The music was also of a more symphonic and professional quality – although I still missed the furious Spanish guitar a bit.

Trine 2

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Developer: Frozenbyte | Released: 2011 | Genre: Platform, Puzzle

I started this sequel shortly after adding a diary blog post about the first Trine, which I completed back in 2012. That was of course the reason I transferred that, so I could refer back to that blog post.

The sequel was basically more of the same, with only a few tweaks. It had the same trio that I could freely switch between – the wizard Amadeus, the knight Pontius, and the thief Zoya.

Again the wizard could conjure metallic crates out of thin air and also levitate the things the developers allowed me to move. The knight could smash through certain barriers, fight with a sword or a hammer, and protect himself with a shield that could have its direction adjusted with the mouse. The thief could shoot arrows with various strengths, and also shoot a grappling hook for swinging to the other side.

And again the graphics was total eyegasm, with lots of exquisitely animating details. It was brighter and more saturated – perhaps too much for some, but I didn’t mind that. It looked great to me.

The wizard could now both levitate certain objects and also rotate them with left/right hotkeys. There were puzzles with air blown out of pipes where I could levitate a bent piece of pipe, rotate it to fit properly, then attach it to blow wind in another direction. This could then lift a character upwards. This was a cute idea that made good use of the levitation ability. Later the pipes could also be used for fire.

Trine

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Developer: Frozenbyte | Released: 2009 | Genre: Platform, Puzzle

This is a post in a nostalgic series with transcriptions of my diary sessions of the games I played many years ago, translated and adapted from Danish. There will be spoilers in these diary sessions.

Once again I’m back with this series again after another long hiatus. I’m going to try a few snazzy things this time. First, I’ll let Google Translate turn the Danish text into English, since it’s probably much better at it than I am these days anyway. I still have to adapt it here and there, though. Second, I’ll post this with the publish date of when I completed the game. Hopefully that will make more chronological sense.

July 30, 2012

I managed to play the first 5 levels out of a total of 16 over two rounds today. Trine was a sideways puzzle platform game, but in a very nice 3D engine with good lighting (typically wavy and sliding all over) and with nice background music and themes. The game scrolled from right to left in levels with checkpoints (so no quickload) and it was also a little harder than what I had heard.

I controlled three characters which I could switch between in the heat of battle – a wizard, a thief and a knight. With a wizard I could draw boxes and later planks in the air that materialized and fell to the ground. Then they could e.g. be stacked or squash a skeleton. It was also possible to lift certain things up with levitation, such as a platform on rails in the ceiling. A thief could swing a loose rope shot up into certain selected pieces of wood under the ceiling, or I could fire an arrow – the longer I held the button, the more powerful. And finally, a knight could strike with a sword, protect himself with a shield against arrows and sword swings, and I could lift and throw heavy things.

Puzzles, platforms and the enemies along the way required regular switching between all three characters, but it often seemed like there were multiple solutions. Still, I often fell down in the same place and had to try again and again, and here the lack of quickload was quite annoying.

Murdered: Soul Suspect

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Developer: Airtight Games | Released: 2014 | Genre: 3PS, Adventure

I’m going to bring the pros and cons in the end back again. I actually like writing them, and also reading them at a later time to remind me what I originally thought about the game in few words.

This was a really pleasant surprise. I’ve had it in my backlog for years but always postponed playing it. I had seen videos of the gameplay, and although the adventure part did look very appealing (that’s why I bought the game in the first place) the patrolling demons looked like they could be frustrating. Luckily, at first the demons were not that hard to deal with, and I really liked the smooth adventure puzzles.

The game started with a police detective being thrown out of a window and subsequently shot and killed by a masked killer. The detective became a bluish ghost and was shocked to see himself dead. Shades of that movie with Patrick Swayze, no doubt about that. I then had to investigate and solve my own death. Along the way, I sometimes found other ghosts with side cases about figuring out how they died too.

I liked the voice actor for the detective – a really good film noir fit.

The pure adventure part of the game was prevalent and absolute bliss. As soon as I got close to something, an action word was shown along with one or more hotkeys shown as actual keyboard buttons or a mouse with a highlighted button. It may sound simple, but it worked really well, especially as some hotkeys were automatically disabled if an action didn’t make sense in the given situation.

Spec Ops: The Line

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Developer: Yager Entertainment | Released: 2012 | Genre: 3PS, Military

I’ve heard a lot of about this game since the game was released now more than a decade ago. About how the story was supposed to be extraordinary and really surprises you in the end. But I always imagined that it would be rock hard and for that reason I’ve always skipped it. Until now. And I’m happy to say that it’s quite playable on the easy difficulty level – even for a shooter klutz like me.

In fact, the gameplay is terrific. It’s one of the best cover shooters I’ve played.

As captain Martin Walker, I was one of three military soldiers in a squad that I commanded, dropped in Dubai after a catastrophic sandstorm, looking for survivors and also a guy named John Konrad. Turns out there was a lot alive in the ruins of Dubai – but they were not survivors. They were hostiles. And so most of the game went through buildings, cellars, parking lots, sometimes bothered by sandstorms, sometimes using a zip line to enter the next skyscraper. It was all linear too, with ammo refills in the corners.

Even in 2023 I was satisfied with the graphics. The facial animations were excellent and the voiceovers even better. The sandstorms were very convincing when they blasted through the windows.

Divinity: Original Sin – Enhanced Edition

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Developer: Larian Studios | Released: 2015 | Genre: RPG, Turn-based

It’s been a long time since I’ve played a long and relatively complicated CRPG. I think the last RPG with loads of skills and talents to adjust every level was The Witcher 3 in 2016. And if we’re talking party-based and isometric, I probably have to go all the way back to Neverwinter Nights 2 in 2014.

Suffice to say I’m a bit rusty when it comes to these RPG beasts.

Luckily, this game made it easy for me to grease those rusty RPG cogs. No doubt this game is a product of a developer who really cares about what they’re doing. Almost everything about it oozes of quality. Sensible windows with inventory, attributes and skills. Hotkeys and controls that for the most are easy to use and make sense, and tutorial tips that pops up right when we need their information.

You could even adjust number of auto- and quicksaves up to a whopping 25 files.

SpaceVenture

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Developer: Two Guys From Andromeda | Released: 2022 | Genre: Adventure, Point & Click

I was a Kickstarter backer on this one and was sent the game by the developers. For some reason it’s not on Steam, but I think I can guess why. If it’s what I think it is, perhaps it never will be. Why?

Because it’s a buggy mess with a daft user interface.

This was a game I really had to force myself to complete. The characters, the story, most of the puzzles, the humor and the graphics were all excellent. If only the user interface and bugs had not been a problem, it could have been a gem worth recommending to all adventure game fans.

The game itself was a spiritual successor to the Space Quest series, and it was even developed by the same two guys. Instead of a buffoon like Roger Wilco, the hero in this one, Ace Hardway, was more of a seasoned plumber with a rumbling voice. He reminded me of a similar character in the platform game Rochard. Ace also had a mechanical dog called Rooster with an extendable tongue for grappling things from afar.

American McGee’s Grimm

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Developer: Spicy Horse | Released: 2014 | Genre: 3PS

Ever wondered what it would be like if a game had the classic fog of war mechanic as its primary gameplay element? Changing the state of the levels just by walking around in them?

This game was pretty much like that.

I only played the first episode, “A Boy Learns What Fear Is” – and it seems the game is no longer available at the Steam store. It took about 1.3 hours to get through the six scenes of this first episode.

The goal was to walk around in small arenas, changing the state of everything from clean-and-beautiful to dark-and-smelly. Sometimes I also had to buttstomp close to a e.g. building to change it or open access to the next arena. The character in control looked and sounded like a dirty little pirate. Whenever I stopped running, he immediately started peeing. No exceptions.

Impressive bladder indeed.