Reviews by Daniel Steven Oles

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
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 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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RHEM I SE: The Mysterious Land Icon
Takes Patience But Lots of Depth
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 27th 2017

Rhem is in all practicality a Myst fan game but it's a decent one. The one faltering slightly dated issue some might take is the rudimentary graphics and VERY classic movement system of clicking between frozen screens. However if you don't mind making maps to keep from being lost and you enjoy complex puzzles based on logic, memory, and manipulation of your environment, this is a fine time! Almost every major room has some kind of machine to play around with, a switch to flip, or a clue to examine.
There IS a story but it's like most things about Rhem: simple. There's also only very rudimentary sound effects and sparce music. But that's not to say there's no atmosphere here and you can get immersed in the desolate enviroment trapped behind doors opperated by strange devices. If you like Myst and want more of it this is not a bad choice.

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realMyst: Masterpiece Edition Icon
GREAT to Return!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 27th 2017

I played the original Myst decades ago and remembered it as a kid frustrating. As an adult and with Real Myst however I can tell you this is a MUCH better experience. Even at in its most classic form Myst wove a world of wonder and Real Myst really alliows you to explore it now in real time with beautiful weather effects (the rain is epseically stunning).
As far as I could tell all the puzzles and story beats were the same but as an adult I can now appreciate the puzzles and logic behind them much more as well as the zen like landscapes and atmosphere. Get lost in Myst again with high quality graphics, freedom to explore, and modern mechanics.

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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II Icon
Not Quite Dawn of War but Still Fun!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 27th 2017

The original Dawn of War is an excellent real time base-building strategy game and at first I was disappointed that the sequel didn't follow the same mold. However playing it for a LONG time now I can say it tries something different and most suceeds. It's a squad-based checkpoint taking boss-fighting action game now (sort of a stripped-down version of Company of Heroes with space marines) and it does this with flair. The graphics and voices and music are all perfect for the grim-dark future the game is set in and there is a lot of attention paid to keeping variety in the enemies, weapons, characters and scenarios.
It's not an easy game but if you like the universe or games in which you control a small specialized team in real time this is great.
Only real issues dragging it down for me is the real time makes manuvering somewhat difficult, re-doing missions for bonuses can get a little repetative, and some bosses are cheap. However all told I'm still playing and enjoing it! Not quite at home in the series but still a fun time.

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Sid Meier's Pirates! Icon
Live the Swashbucklin' Life!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Sep 5th 2017

It's a charming, fun, breezy game but it has depth and character. You end up doing A LOT of the same thing but there's been attention paid to make you advance to new challenges, uncover new secrets, and have multiple paths to victory. I like loading up and enjoying a little sailing, dueling, dancing and treasure hunting!

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Kingdom's Heyday Icon
A Charming City Builder
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jul 13th 2017

A little frantic but it's pretty and it's intuative. Lots of different scenarios and options. You spend some time sitting around waiting for taxes but it's all part of budgeting resources.
A very enjoyable game!

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PuppetShow: Destiny Undone Icon
Want to Like this Game: Keeps Crashing!
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jul 12th 2017

It's a beautiful and entertaining puzzler with an intriguing atmosphere and story...but it keeps crashing! I can't even finish the game which is very sad since I wanted to see how everything turned out and came together. I don't regret the purchase and play, but I hope at some point I can figure out why it won't stay open...

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Adelantado Trilogy - Book One Icon
Stopped Playing Long Enough to Review
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Jul 12th 2017

This game is quite a tension-filled but entertaining ride! Cute graphics with diverse locations. The tasks and goals are pretty similar from map to map but do show some variety and if you're someone like me you don't mind repeating a map to get better times, find the secrets, and just set up buildings more efficiently.
A nifty, engrossing little adventure game all told. Only a few spelling errors and sometimes the goals seem to repeat but it's still one of my favorites.

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BioShock 2 Icon
Not Bioshock 1, But Still Exciting
by Daniel Steven Oles, USA - Feb 21st 2017

Bioshock 2 is a lot like Bioshock 1 extended DLC, but the major distinction is you're playing a Big Daddy instead of a regular shmoe like the original. Because of this you end up in battles constantly and can do things ordinary people cannot (thanks in part to a new gun which allows you to hack at a distance). The downside is your story is REALLY confined. Big Daddy's don't say much or interact with people very often and Bioshock 2 I can swear is shorter than Bioshock 1. If you liked the battles in Bioshock 1 this is a fine game with some hints of the earlier atmosphere of dread but mostly it's a power trip which is smaller but because of this feels a little less grueling than Bioshock 1. Pick your poison: there's still quality here, just a different kind.

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