Reviews by Psyringe

Racer 8 Icon
Pipe Mania with a Rally theme
by Psyringe, Germany - Sep 23rd 2017

Racer 8 plays similar to the 8-bit and arcade legend PipeMania, but with a Rally theme. A car drives (automatically) along a track, and you have to rotate pieces of that track to make the car reach checkpoints and ultimately the finish line. It's a fun and engaging puzzle game with cute graphics, many different environments, and a progression system that provides an incentive for coming back to it. However, it lacks convenience features like map rotation, rebindable controls, or volume settings. Looks like a port of a mobile game. While the port certainly could have used some more features, the gameplay remains enjoyable as-is.

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Zarya - 1: Mystery on the Moon Icon
Well written, but barely any gameplay
by Psyringe, Germany - Sep 23rd 2017

Zarya-1 plays like reading the script of am audio dra,a in "Choose your own adventure" style. You are guiding a team of four astronauts who have been sent to the moon to investigate strange radio signal. The game is presented through dialog between the astronauts and about a dozen still images. Occasionally you get to make a choice between 2-3 different things to say.

The writing is really good, the characters are distinct, and there is well-designed sense of mystery that keeps the player going. The physical conditions of an airless low-gravity environment are described in an interesting and illuminating way. Occasional scary or humorous moments provide suspense and comical relief in well-paced alternation. The game really makes you feel like a mission commander whose decisions will determine the fate of your team. It could have benefited a lot from voice acting, but at this price point, that can hardly be expected.

On the flip side, there is barely any gameplay. Most of your decisions are just fluff and don't affect the story at all. The game tries to create a sense of urgency by giving you the impression that time and air are limited, but it cannot actually keep track of these resources, and your decisions do not really affect them. Also, paradoxically, the "perfect ending" is hidden in a side track behind pretty arbitrary decisions.

I enjoyed the story and atmosphere, but wouldn't recommend approaching it like a puzzle or simulation, it simply doesn't have the mechanics for that.

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Sid Meier's Starships Icon
Enjoyable casual tactics game
by Psyringe, Germany - Sep 23rd 2017

Starships is a casual turn-based tactics game in space. You build and equip your ships and control them in short turn-based battles. It also features a similarly casual strategic layer with different factions fighting for control over star systems, but it's far from the full-fledged empire management of a 4X game - rather, it's just a framework for getting the technologies and resources that you need to build and maintain your fleet.

The game provides the experience of a strategic space conquest campaign, while keeping the overall complexity fairly low - but still high enough to keep it interesting. As such, I found it pretty enjoyable, though definitely more relaxing than challenging. Balancing seems to be off though (my fighters appeared to be much more powerful than any other type of weapon), and the AI is terrible. Replayability is limited due to the lack of more complex mechanics.

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