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Alien: Isolation - The Collection Icon
Rated M
by Scott Henderson, USA - Jun 19th 2017

I should have paid attention to the rating. Only played for about 10 minutes. Seemed like it would be interesting, but I couldn't get past the bad language.

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XCOM 2 Icon
Disappointing
by Scott Henderson, USA - May 24th 2017

Having just finished XCOM:EW and Shadow Tactics:BOTS just before starting this sequel, I was excited about starting a new turn based adventure. Excitement however, quickly turned into frustration and ultimately disappointment. This turned based play is eventually enjoyable and reminiscent of the early XCOM games. Getting there though is quite challenging and some might say annoyingly so. I can state a list of my issues: long load times, short frame rates, overly difficult levels at the Normal setting, poor tutorial, exceptionally long soldier recovery time so building a cohesive team is cumbersome, unresponsive UI in some circumstances, enemy tactics that defy the law of physics, plot that is not well thought out in relation to game play, inability for soldiers to provide a coordinated attack... in short, it didn't deliver the experience I was expecting. This may be different for others, but as for me I'd advise passing on this one.

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XCOM: Enemy Within Icon
Expansion pack makes the game
by Scott Henderson, USA - Apr 14th 2017

As others have commented, the game's main plot is virtually the same as 'Enemy Unknown'. However, I'd say if you're going to play any version, this is the one to explore. The soldier upgrades are more fun and unique and the storyline, again while similar, makes more sense overall. Running on 10.11.6, I did experience a few occasional crashes on startup. Regardless, this is a great, addictive game and well worth the price of admission.

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SUPERHOT Icon
Super Fun!
by Scott Henderson, USA - Mar 19th 2017

Took me awhile to figure out the whole game within a game concept, but the real fun is getting through the different scenes intact. Loads of fun and great replay value.

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SteamWorld Heist Icon
Just want it to end
by Scott Henderson, USA - Feb 22nd 2017

I normally only write reviews for games I've played all the way through, but I'm not sure I'll make it with this one. Game play is somewhat repetitive, level up points cannot be allocated as one would wish (your steambots are assigned predetermined traits), the variety of weapons and utilities is limited and winning some levels, since they are randomly generated, is based more on luck than skill. The way in which some of the weapons fire is quite different from one another and it's frustrating to have to decide what weapons to keep and which to discard (storage is limited in the beginning) before having full knowledge. A tutorial would have been much appreciated to get a feel for the game before launching into combat, especially since one's purchasing power is reduced everytime a mission is aborted or failed except at the easiest setting. Fun for a little while, but not very addictive or engaging.

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Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Icon
HIghly addictive!
by Scott Henderson, USA - Feb 10th 2017

One of the most enjoyable games I've played in a long time. The artwork reminds one of a Japanese ink-wash painting. Truly beautiful landscapes. Audio work from the voices to the waves crashing along the rocks is first-rate. Game play is definitely challenging at the Normal level. For the price and the number of hours you will be involved in this adventure, it is well worth the investment.

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Dark Parables: Ballad of Rapunzel Collector's Edition Icon
Good addition to series
by Scott Henderson, USA - Oct 18th 2016

While this is overall a great series of games, I got the feeling this one was not given the usual care in development as the other games I've played. The usually well thought out game design was a bit lacking and it didn't have as much detail as seen in other efforts. Not a bad addition to the series, but far from the best.

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Dark Parables: Jack and the Sky Kingdom Collector's Edition Icon
Confusing story
by Scott Henderson, USA - Oct 15th 2016

I don't often complain about the storyline, but this one was a bit convoluted. The post mini-game was a prequel that setup the main game and perhaps that information would have been helpful to know. Still, this is a very entertaining game and fits into the series well.

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SKYHILL Icon
One time only
by Scott Henderson, USA - Apr 16th 2016

Skyhill is a rudimentary RPG set in a hotel where one has to survive 100 floors to escape to the street below. In regards to the plot, given the hints throughout the game, the twist at the end wasn't a big surprise. Since the type of objects placed on the various floors are randomized, one could either have a relatively easy or hard time of it, with no fault (or skill) of their own. Still, this was a fun way to pass some time, but I doubt I'll be playing it again. There is some profanity in the game, which is disappointing considering it wasn't necessary.

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Dark Parables: The Final Cinderella Collector's Edition Icon
Thoroughly enjoyed
by Scott Henderson, USA - Apr 3rd 2016

Kudos to game designers on this one. The animation on all the scenes was very well done. Interacting with the wrong object didn't generate the same tired response, but was actually unique to the object attempted. Also to the game's credit, it was pretty obvious what object works with each intended scene. Hidden objects were pieces of objects needed in the game, not just random objects one would find in a junk room. The story was well thought out with assorted mini-stories within the game. Well worth the price of admission.

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Mysteriumâ„¢: Lake Bliss Collector's Edition Icon
Some logic issues
by Scott Henderson, USA - Mar 26th 2016

Unfortunately, the cursor never changed to indicate if an area on the screen was interactive or not. Most of the time it was obvious, but there were times when I was required to use the hints just to know what to do next. My pet peeve with most of these games is the lack of a tailored response to a given set of objects interacting with each other. A crowbar won't open a glass cabinet? A chisel can't be used to reveal a tile, but a big chisel will? There is also a moment when you are left "stranded" in an underwater cave. However, since one can use the map to jump around town, one is never really stranded. Aside from the logic problems, the voice acting is fine and the images are well drawn. The story is fairly linear and one can't move too far ahead for fear of giving too much away. Thus fog, preventing a path from being traveled, miraculously disappears when necessary and a arcade machine, which for some reason cannot be plugged in, is suddenly able to be energized when the time is right. If the cursors work for you, be patient and enjoy the game.

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Fairy Tale Mysteries: The Beanstalk Icon
Great story and gameplay
by Scott Henderson, USA - Mar 20th 2016

While there are some traditional hidden object type scenarios, most of the gameplay revolves around the story of finding Tim who accidentally awoke a giant with his magic beans. Hidden object pieces are scattered throughout each scene which can be acquired when the time is right. I suppose that is my only complaint about the game in that it is fairly linear and clicking on things can generate the response, "Maybe I should come back later." There are some other mini-games within the story as well, but they are very easy to solve so you don't feel like stopping. Starting where one left off is also very straight forward, no cut scene to skip every time one launches the game. That is appreciated.

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Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) Icon
Can be frustrating
by Scott Henderson, USA - Mar 12th 2016

I agree with others in that the game provides insight to a culture that few people know much about. A culture, I imagine, that is dying off due to modernization. The provided video clips are fascinating and left me wanting to know more about the people. The videos are locked intially and allow play once one progresses in the game. I must not have hit all the plot points though because two of the videos remain locked after completeing the game. I imagine it's possible to go back and play a chapter of the game again in an attempt to unlock the video, but it's not easily discernable which chapters release which videos. In regards to the game, I enjoyed the game play initially, but as the game progresses (and gets harder), I found the location of the controls to be cumbersome. The Q key (which switches between characters) is located next to the Tab key which plays a video. All are near the WSAD movement keys and the Left Shift key which is also needed. Given the critical timing of some of the puzzles, hitting the wrong key at a crucial moment over and over again got to be a bit maddening. After the fox transforms, I found controlling his character's movement unnatural and that added to my frustration. Overall, that left me wanting to just get the thing over with rather than enjoying the ending.

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Dark Cases: The Blood Ruby Collector's Edition Icon
Better than most
by Scott Henderson, USA - Aug 5th 2015

This game has enough mini-games and a moderately interesting plot to almost make one forget why normal objects end up in weird, random places. Also, despite how logical you may think your choice of objects to solve a puzzle happens to be, the game mostly responds with "I don't know why I thought that would work." Hmmm. Still, this game has a good level of difficulty and a well designed Hint system should one ever get stuck.

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Shiver: Moonlit Grove Icon
Disappointing - poor design
by Scott Henderson, USA - Jul 30th 2015

Moonlit Grove suffers from a number of problems. The cursor does not change from the standard pointing arrow, even though the game is designed to do so. This created a large problem with the hidden object screens. These mini games always had an object or two that needed to be created or found. Some of these objects however were buried several layers deep. For example, in order to grab a ring, a snake needed to be lured away, which meant opening a locked cage, which meant finding a key that was hidden in a jar, which meant finding a hammer to break the jar, which meant...add this Rube Goldberg-esque scenario to a game where the cursor doesn't change and one is clicking on everything and anything that looks like it might be useful. During gameplay it meant consulting with the Hint function often to show areas of the screen one needed to click on. The game also suffers from what I call nonsensical logic. Given the objects in one's inventory, there are numerous ways to accomplish the same task in the game. However, the game wants a specific object to perform a specific task. Anything else will not do. It makes no sense. In addition, the same generic response is given whether one is trying to hammer a nail with a doughnut or break a chain with a sledgehammer. Shouldn't the latter example be given a slightly different response? Most of these games are designed to be fairly linear, which is fine. Unfortunately, this game responded with a statement regarding something the player character hadn't been told about yet. Oops. More play testing and a better design would have helped this title tremendously.

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Final Cut: Encore Icon
Very well designed
by Scott Henderson, USA - Jul 23rd 2015

Final Cut: Encore plays out like a well put together popcorn movie. The game is tightly designed both in terms of plot and gameplay. The cut scenes keep the story moving at just the right pace and the mini-games are integrated so well, they seem to be just another part of the story. Highly recommend.

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Monochroma Icon
Great platformer
by Scott Henderson, USA - Jul 16th 2015

As a platform game, this is one of the best I've played. Very logical and just challenging enough without being overly frustrating (although there are some puzzles that come very close). The game saves itself along the way and does so after every major hurdle, so you are not having to replay large sections of the game over and over. Again, because of some degree of difficulty, your character(s) may die repeatedly trying to get through portions of the game and those you do replay. There is no skip function.

The atmosphere/plot of the game is interesting and the sound effects and visuals really lend to the game. There are a few places where it was difficult to determine depth and what looks like a platform to jump onto is actually behind your character and you will end up jumping onto nothing. This is a minor complaint though and may not appear this way to all players.

While I don't want to give away the ending, I will tell you it is rather sad and somewhat disappointing given the hours one spends avoiding bad guys and otherwise working out difficult puzzles.

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The Emptiness: Psycho-Philosophical Quest Icon
Unique gameplay
by Scott Henderson, USA - Jul 1st 2015

This definitely a different kind of hidden object game. There are two women that present "spells" for you and your goal is to locate the letters that form the spells in the different areas of the house. The house is the same for each spell so one ends up searching the same areas repeatedly for the letters. The letters are cleverly hidden and I found myself asking for help more often than usual. There are multiple side tasks that keeps one busy between and during the search that are pertinent to the storyline. Some of which pertain to the kind of path you will follow: that of light or darkness. I followed light, but I'm curious how the game would end if I had chosen otherwise.

There are enough creepy things that jump out at you to warrant playing the game with a light on! From the beginning, you get the sense that the game is more about setting a mood than solving puzzles. Although there are enough of those as well. I will admit to chuckling a little bit when the title "The Emptiness" was spoken at the end of the opening video. It's bit melodramatic to an otherwise interesting introduction. The audio of the actors has no relation to their lips moving so it's a bit like watching a badly dubbed foreign film. Those are minor technical issues though and don't really affect gameplay. The only irritating moment for me was when the game asked for a glass to be filled with water. There are glasses and sources of water in multiple locations, but the game wanted a specific glass filled with water from a specific place. Lapses of logic like that and the repetitive nature of the location are the only criticisms of an otherwise great game.

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The Fog: Trap for Moths Icon
Mostly good story, but vague and buggy
by Scott Henderson, USA - Jun 2nd 2015

As hidden object games go, this one has a good storyline that drives the logic of why things are located in illogical places and what motivates the main character to keep going. That unfortunately doesn't last throughout the entire game and toward the end, one is just going from one room to another (back and forth) as pieces to solving puzzles are found in the opposite room.

Most of the time, the game's text and obvious logic will help one get thorugh the game, but there are many times when logic is thrown out the window and it's not obvious what the next move should be. If anyone can tell me what the authors had in mind in order to solve the diode puzzle, please let me know. There is a great video walkthrough here: http://www.gamewinners.com/Cheats/index.php/More:The_Fog:_Video_Walkthrough. However, the person who made the walkthrough accidentally hit the Skip button on the diode puzzle herself, so no luck there.

The bug that got me was when a helmet was repaired and then taken from a foot locker. That foot locker also contained a piece of a later puzzle. However, once the helmet puzzle was solved, the game considered the foot locker no longer active and wouldn't allow me to look into it again. Because the game autosaves, my only choice would have been to start over from the beginning and I honestly didn't like the game that much to play it again. I did watch the walkthrough though and I would agree that the game ends a little too abruptly and not in very satisfactory manner to answer all the questions raised during the story.

Overall not great, but started off better than most. If it weren't for the bug, I'd probably be rating this game a 3 out of 5.

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Anoxemia Icon
What's the point?
by Scott Henderson, USA - May 26th 2015

This game is rather vague in its purpose and difficult to understand in the gameplay. Things seem to kill off your character frequently and you are forced to restart at the beginning of the level, not where you left off forcing you to play sections over and over again. You have to wonder about a game that rewards your "first death" as an achievement. Not sure what I paid, but it was too much.

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