Reviews by Daniel Steven Oles

Enclave Icon
Metal Graphics, Lots of Content, Fun Time!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Apr 19th 2019

Enclave is an unjustly forgotten third person fantasy action game with several classes to choose from, diverse maps, and a real sense of love poured into the style here. If you enjoy Warhammer, Lord of the Rings, or Dungeons and Dragons you can't go wrong. The engine is a little dated but it helps it to run smoothly on less than top of the line computers. There's a high difficutly curb, but challenging doesn't mean bad. It's a steal at the price: two campaigns, dozens of characters and armor combinations, you travel to an underwater wizard sanctuary and climb a bone fortress...I enjoyed it anyway.

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Hidden World of Art Icon
Great Casual Hidden Object Game
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 21st 2018

It's a fun little 'find the object' game that does mix up the forumla every level or so by having some lists of objects represented only by outlines, some with words, there are challenges for extra money so you can buy new cosmetics for your hub...etc. It's all fluffy and not very important but the game makes no bones about being a sturdy time waster with frills. Heck, in the menu you can draw on a little note pad! Cute and entertaining.

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DOOM 3 Icon
Spooky Scary Imps
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 21st 2018

Good creepy fun! Not exactly as fast paced as you'd expect Doom to be but they tried something new here, and yes, that includes the choice to make it impossible to hold your gun and flashlight at the same time. Top notch voice acting, graphics cutting edge for their time which still ooze menace, great soundtrack. Sticking point really is sound design: guns sound underpowered and monsters make SO LITTLE sound they can actually sneak up on you. Still, great corridoor jump scare limited ammo horror shooter :)

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Mount & Blade: Warband Icon
Giant Sandbox
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 21st 2018

Between the core game, the expansions, and the mods this is a toy box of adventure. I wish for some kind of more solid single player specific campaign, but some mods take care of that too at least. A good mix of complex controls for specific actions and easily accessible controls for mundane actions, you really do get a simulated experience of riding a horse, firing a bow, using a spear, swinging a sword...etc. For an older game the graphics are quite decent and atmospheric with a pleasant soundtrack. No voice acting (beyond grunts and shouts) but this makes the game easier to play in other languages.
If you don't mind some repetition of tasks and basically having to choose your own journey (do you want to take over a castle? be a merchant? fight bandits? join the army? Become king? Woo fair maidens? Get lots of gold or the best armor and weapons?) this game will keep you mighty busy even without the still strong community adding bizzarities like a Star Wars mod, a Lord of the Rings mod, a mod for every time in history...etc. Check it out! On sale or not it's worth it.

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Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition Icon
Use the Force to Kill Everything
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 21st 2018

A rare Star Wars game nealry entirely from the 'bad guy' perspective, this game does make you pretty near overpowered but that's part of the fun. There's tons of fun ways to dispose of jawas, robots, jedi and gigantic monsters. Nifty story and characters I found. The stumbling block is the really finicky jumping puzzles and it runs a little shaky on anything less than a good sold system. Still you might forgive it when you're using lightning to fry Stormtroopers or hurling wookies off cliffs.

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Dungeon of the Endless - Crystal Pack Icon
Great Single Player, Excellent Multiplayer
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 21st 2018

If you want a solid single player experience and a multiplayer game you'll go back to again and again this is a fantastic choice. The controls are a little bit wonky but you can start playign quickly when you realize this game is less like controlling a character then strategizing choke points, managing resources, coordinating manuvers and taking risks versus rewards every room you explore. You move only room by room. Time continues only when you open a new room. Abilities recharge with every other room...so forth. Evertything depends on rooms. It's an unusual hybrid of tower defense and dungeon runner but once the hurdle is over it's a swell time with friends. And if you'd prefer to play by yourself you get the added bonus of characters talking to one another and undergoing a little story between missions based on which you took with you before beginning a campaign. I'd love to see more innovation like this!

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Rencounter Icon
A Cross Between X-Com and Let It Die Killed by RNG
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jul 9th 2018

I wanted to like this game. The aesthetics are nifty, I like turn-based strategy games, and it seemed like a dungeon crawler with a more futuristic veneer. The problem is it is entirely too random. You can't easily plan a strategy if ever aspect of a room and encounter is randomized and too often you find yourself in situations you simply cannot win through. This is not a 'dark souls' situation where situations are fair but tough, some times things were simply unjust. I still play it on occasion, but I do have to be in a masochistic mood.

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Knights and Merchants HD Icon
Charming and Soothing For an RTS
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jun 25th 2018

Runs fine on my Mac, looks perfectly fine. This is a slow burn game for fans of games like Settlers and Stronghold who like to watch their little minions run about and construct buildings in stages. It's old school in a lot of ways (no selecting multiple units: characters go about their programming with little interaction once trained) but it does have strategy and the calm music, surroundings, and easy pace makes it a lovely time killer.

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Beckett Icon
An Uneven Nightmarish Journey
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - May 1st 2018

I want to love this game, but perhaps by design it doesn't quite allow this. The sound effects start to get to you. It only saves right before big chunks of 'gameplay' which mostly consists of clicking on and looking at things. There's no real puzzles I could find, it's more like a visual novel with elements of point-and-click to find more information about the world. But beside the hands-off feeling and irritating quirks there's some weird and wonderful ideas, some living metaphors and really catchy haunting music. It's an undeniably cool world to explore, but you can't go in expecting either an adventure game (it isn't) and you have to have a high tollerance for sucking noises.

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The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Icon
Old School Gameplay, New School Graphics
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 30th 2017

The Secret of Monkey Island is NOT an easy game, coming from another era which involves a ton of trial and error, timed actions, and flatout moon logic (one puzzle requires you to do something so obvious and yet so impossible you can forget to try it). The graphics are very pretty and stylized in a fashion by now synonomous with the series with a few short cuts (characters in cutscenes don't move their mouths) which is by no means a deal breaker. The only issues I found were a few inherent in the orginal game which were ported faithfully to the new version: LOTS of backtracking, massive maps with not a lot in them sometimes, and some pixel hunting. Still excellent humor, full dialogue, great music, and a satisfying experience!

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Breach and Clear Icon
Short Bursts of Intense Gameplay
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Dec 30th 2017

Decent graphics, high degree of customizability based on mission sucess (more money means more options for improving loadout and identifiable costumes). There's a few hiccups sometimes (enemies firing backwards) but for the most part it's determined by YOU whether you enter into a tactical situation and emerge wounded and crippled or take out the bad guys and accomplish the objective. It's turn based: each movement playing out and then each new phase tallied at the end of the mission to determine money and experience. Lots of missions and although the objectives tend to be similar and the sessions also similar (choose your door, check the rooms, kill the bad guys) each session is different because of randomized factors like enemy placement, choices for where to breach, equipment, abilties and so forth.
Great time killer that presents a lot of suspense when you kick in the door and hope you didn't miss that one guy always hiding in the corner!

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Medieval Battlefields - Black Edition Icon
Deceptively Simple, Quite a Lot of Strategy!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 25th 2017

The trailer doesn't do this game justice. It's a simple game on the surface but with a lot of little details to make your strategy. Part Turn Based Strategy game, part chess it's an intriguing tug-of-war between sides choosing to build tons of trash units or expending wealth to improve battlefield tactics such as weapons/armor or gathering more gold.
The animations are charming. The voice acting is unobtrusive and said with enough conviciton to support the atmosphere. If you don't mind a slower paced game with customizable tactics this is a fine choice.

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In Exilium Icon
Haunting
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 24th 2017

It wears its influences on its sleeve (Diablo/Fate/Titan Quest...etc) but there's something here you can't find as easily in those games: atmosphere. There's a beautiful and melencholy score which really makes the worlds you visit and even generic enemies seem that much more interesting and there's some puzzles to solve as well as exploration and crafting. A handsome, intriguing game!
A few translation errors though.

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Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy Icon
Need A Gamepad
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 13th 2017

This is a competent port of a decent game with one exception...it is COMPLETEY unoptomized for keyboards. You can't adjust the controls or even figure out what they are without outside research because everything comes up as gamepad symbols.
It's still a pretty game, runs smooth, and takes some puzzling as well as fighting to play which is lovely, but it doesn't mention this big issue so it's a difficult to reccomend nostalgia trip.

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Earth 2140 Icon
Utterly Charming
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Nov 1st 2017

It's a little on the primative side (you can't select groups of units by double clicking one of them) but the graphics are so nostalgic and there's been a lot of care put into this game including the menus and breifings where the backgrounds scroll with your mouse so even then you have something to do. Voice acting is minimal and music is BIZARRE (a lot of upbeat techno for a darker toned game) but it's always catched. Reminded me of Total Anhilation but a little less polished, however no less destructive and fun.

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Ancient Rome 2 Icon
Simple, Casual and Charming!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Oct 22nd 2017

Sometimes I just want to sit down and build a city and this works out fine! Tasks to complete, a little villa to build between missions, charming graphics and animation and surprisingly epic music all makes this perfect for a pick up and play type game and it doesn't make you feel stressed out with time limits.
I loved Ceaser 3 but it was undeniably stressful at times with wolves eating citizens and random collapses and plauges destroying everything. There ARE random events but they're more like obstacles to think around.
It's cute, it's leisurely, and I found no real issues. Just a nice click-a-thon city builder.

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Battle Chasers: Nightwar Icon
Old School RPG With Beautiful Artistry
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Oct 20th 2017

I remember the Battle Chaser comic and always thought it would work as a game. I wasn't expecting an homage to JRPGs like classic Final Fantasy mixed with dungeon exploration.
This is a leisurely paced game in many ways but I appreciate that: turn based combat with gorgeous graphical touches that do justice to the stylized world the comic created.
You will grind but if you don't mind and enjoy the skillful animation you will enjoy this as much as I did. A few glitches are being patched but nothing game breaking.
Fine music, gameplay with a sense of progression, lots of characters to play with. Just a fine new game which remembers its roots!

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Doodle Kingdom Icon
An Amusing Clickathon!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Oct 4th 2017

This reminded me of classic DOS game compilations with several mini-games in one.
In this one you get a slightly truncated but no less fun combine and create game similar to Doodle God (you combine two elements to make new elements which in turn create new elements). It ranges from obvious (human and beast equals domesticated animal) to obscure (to make a dragon takes a leap of logic). You unlock three types of combining quests as you complete the main 'genesis' mode. In one you're a prince trying to fix your kingdom, in another an evil warlock, and in another a dragon.
Then there's also the surprisingly addictive if simple My Hero mode where you have a little knight running along a path and auto-fighting anything he runs into while you click hidden chest to get gold. He has a ton of upgrades to improve him over time. VERY simple game, but it runs in the background so you can always come back and see how your knight is doing.
At the price it's a lot of casual gameplay and it runs fine in windowed mode so it works great as a light distraction when you're waiting for a phone call or just have a few minutes to kill. Your progress also saves to your different devices which is a nice touch.
Overall VERY simple as stated but sometimes that's what I want. It's charming, it's speedy, it works very nicely.

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Antisquad Icon
Difficult But Rewarding
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 27th 2017

This is a mobile game thankfully divorced from microtransactions. There's a LOT of customability which requires multiple playthroughs of the same levels for cash but it's all in game, not requiring any real money.
It's a bit like X-Com except without the Random Number Generation which is good in that you can actually not miss constantly and bad in that enemies are equally capable of killing you VERY quickly. Surprisingly deep combat means you need to plan practically every move in advance and budget your action points. It's also a little frustrating because the all-important interface telling you how far enemies can move or see can be misleading and lead to you taking cheap shots.
No dialogue but there's plenty of personality in the very IncrediblesEsque art style and that style carries over to the music, cartoony effects, and environments.
It's a simple game with a lot of heart and a steep difficulty curve. If you like real time strategy and customization you could do much worse.

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Joe Dever's Lone Wolf HD Remastered Icon
A Fatihful Sequel to The Game Book Series
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 27th 2017

It's a beautifully made game book experience! Seriously: the menus, the art, the music and the animation is gorgeous. I was suprised this story took place after the Joe Dever game book series but it does pretty well informing newcomers about the plot and characters.
The game functions like a virtual novel in many aspects but in the case of certain events you tackle challenges with mouse movement based quick time events. It's not exactly Skyrim levels of interaction but you do get to make a lot of choices and when you have to jiggle a lock open yourself you feel more attatched to the events occuring.
There's a narrator but nothing in the way of additional dialogue, but the writing of the novel itself is interesting.
If you like classic game books, Lone Wolf in particualr, or virtual novels this is well worth it!

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