Imscared – A Pixelated Nightmare Review

Horror games are about putting your mind into a state where the dangers and sounds that fill their worlds feel so real and for a split second, the barrier between reality and virtual are broken as you leap, jump or scream and curl up in a ball with fear. Imscared is a pixel horror indie game created and developed by the Italian, Ivan Zanotti where you awaken in a room and you must escape a pursuer as the begin to doubt the game world and your very self as you dive deeper into the world.

Imscared 01

The controls are simple enough and you’ll have to crouch to recover items, such as keys, which I wish were more obviously noticeable for I spent minutes stuck at one point only to realise I had passed by the item dozens of times. This is one of the features of the game, there is no story behind it all, no reasons it seems for your actions and no instructions on how to progress. You’re simply put into the game and it is up to you to figure out how to progress but thankfully the game never leaves you feeling too lost which is a praise.

Now how can I best describe Imscared. Simply there your moving from one area to the next along the way finding the items that will allow you to do so. The design of the environments at times really suck you in, for instance the intestine rooms and how one area will change from darkness to light as you progress and the bleeding walls, which due to a good decision on the field of view being short, you’re basically heading towards the darkness and I think the developer did a good job of making this graphic design work well in a horror setting.

Imscared 02

There are times when certain areas feel a little too bland. I think the game works well for it isn’t set in only one location, instead there are many different locations and rooms, each different from the next and diverse which make it feel like your actually progressing somewhere unlike some other indie horror games taking place inside an abandoned – (add location here).

The audio unfortunately is not as strong as it could be and takes you away from the horror experience. I understand that the game is more psychological horror but with a few ambient sounds or music cues, the game could have been taken onto a whole other level instead most of the time the only sounds are the same footsteps. Imscared sadly comes short in this area where audio, especially in a horror, is so important.

Certain areas in Imscared are unnerving.

Certain areas in Imscared are unnerving.

Now to get to why Imscared is such a different experience and how the psychological aspect comes into work.

After believing I had finished the game with the message ‘The End’ before me, after a few seconds,I went ahead and closed the window but before I could choose the tab on Chrome, another one had opened in its place. One with a picture of the pursuer, looking back at me. Surely I didn’t open this did I? Then all of a sudden, ringing through my headphones was that evil malicious laugh. I almost fell out my seat as that sneaky bugger was somehow still haunting me. That’s when two messages appeared inside the folder where the game is.

One with an image. Another with a note, stating how it isn’t over yet. There are several other instances as this one and to tell you anymore would be ruining one of the best aspects of Imscared.

Imscared 05

P&Cs

P – Interesting graphic design, truly plays with your mind in and outside the game, fun for a not to short or long experience.

C – Items hard to spot, some furniture to close to each other, confusing at moments.

Lupo Meter

Fear – More than making you jump, Imscared is about doing its best to mess with your mind.

Sound – Sound effects work though I wonder if any ambient music or sounds would have added more fear.

Horror – More psychological than anything, don’t expect much story besides

World – The game plays with your mind both in and out the game, as well as the pixellated aspect having a fear factor of its own.

Final Words

Imscared: A Pixelated Nightmare is a horror game that will unnerve you and put you on edge, everything unfolds well so our pursuer isn’t revealed to soon, the graphic design succeeds and the game’s great use of playing with your mind. Imscared a good game to play for a while though horror fans looking for scares and constant tension and fear should look for other games.

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Ildefonse

Ildefonse (2013)

Ildefonse Cover

Ildefonse is a free indie horror game inspired by Japanese, Korean and Spanish movies, the story begins in 1933 when Mr. Ildefonse betrayed by his wife and children goes on a rampage, killing all the tenants and himself in a fit of fury within the building. The game begins in 1977, as a lawyer tasked by one of the family members to recover a testament in the very place, now flats, where the infamous event occurred. Some say though that the place is still haunted from the events that unfolded back in 1933…

CONTENTS

Review (Coming 18/05/2013)

Playthrough (Coming 18/05/2013)

 

Official Download Page – http://www.indiedb.com/games/ildefonse

Hide Review

Hide is a free indie title originally released by user shouldice on the Super Friendship Forum for a gaming pageant with the theme of Justice.

You will always spawn in this small clearing inside the forest.

You will always spawn in this small clearing inside the forest.

Now the objective of the game as well as the game itself is very simple. To find 5 ‘locations’ (though you’ll have to actually find 5 signs within these locations) while avoiding your pursuers. You find yourself in an ominous forest with sirens blaring behind you and light behind you light up the sky. Now is the time to run. Now is the time to hide.

The pursuers are people (or are they?) with flashlights which light up bright the area around them and they’re quicker than you so you’ll want to do your best to avoid getting anywhere near them. As you find more signs, the number of pursuers increase and Hide ramps up difficulty when it sends helicopters after you once you collect 3.

The game isn’t going to make it easy on you to find all 5 locations and while you must keep tapping w to sprint with no other controls beside the mouse to look around in first person, it sometimes seems as though the antagonists are too quick to evade once you find more locations.

The flashlights almost light up the place like stadium lights, well it feels that way when they fall onto you.

The flashlights almost light up the place like stadium lights, well it feels that way when they fall onto you.

This is not only the real difficulty for while there are the obvious landmarks where the signs could be found, it might be difficulty for most to figure out where the other locations could be as well as spotting them out, and they are indeed difficult to spot if your not looking properly. It’s a shame that the very pixel style graphics of the game hinder the player as they search for the locations.

The graphics of the game are unusual for a horror as they are very pixellated and in the area the game is set with deep snow it really is immersive as well as the heavy panting as you wade through the snow, indeed I would pause sometimes to allow the character to catch their breath. It makes you feel as if you are indeed trying with all your strength to escape and run away from these pursuers, which if they draw near, the screen becomes grainier with a red tint and if you’re too slow, the screen flashes to white telling you how many you found before the window closes, which is slightly annoying but thankfully the game starts up and loads very quickly.

Indeed the lights as they shine across the land really light up the area and make you feel as if you must evade capture at all costs. The darkness of the game and these lights which we don’t have (as is normally the norm) really work as they instill a sense of urgency and fear a title like Hide needs to work well.

They're getting closer....

They’re getting closer….

Now the pursuers are merely shadow figures but it is the sound effects that are used to truly scare you as pig noises and the continuous one key piano note playing over and over really immerse the player into this dark and cold world. Hide is a short experience as well as being simple so don’t expect nothing else from the game as well as an explanation of sorts once you find all 5 locations (though there is a hint to suggest who you and your pursuers are) but it doesn’t have to for Hide is meant to be a short different experience.

P&C’s

P – Atmospheric and immersive, pixel graphic design, sense of being pursued

C – Short and Simple, locations and signs hard to find and spot, sprint and movement seem to slow to evade fully your pursuers.

Lupo Meter

Fear – The fear to avoid capture and wading through the deep snow in the darkness otherwise there are horror games much more frightening than this one.

Sound – The sound works well and the effects really immerse you into the game.

Horror – On the run in a cold dark world from mysterious pursuers, unfortunately the length and depth of the game mean you won’t learn a whole lot more.

World – The pigmen themselves aren’t scary, merely their presence yet the world around isn’t your friend.

Final Words

Hide, while being a short and simple experience, is a fun immersive experience and with its graphics style, you can easily look over the small things and enjoy a trip into the pixellated dark cold world of Hide and try your hand for a short while to see if you too can find all five locations and discover the fate of the character once you do.

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare Game Modes

Training:

If any of you readers have decided that you already want to purchase the game and are just here for some additional info, my first suggestion to you is do the training before you dive into the harsh reality that is the multiplayer world. The training course is composed of five elements. The first what you could call basic combat training. You will learn how to block attacks, how to attack and you will have the pleasure to experience some of the little AI script. Which i personally think is of much amusement.

The Second stage is the more advanced combat training. Here you will see the different types of attacks that are available to you in the battlefield. Sadly Chivalry does not throw a huge range of attacking variety our way. You have the ability to stab, slash and swipe. Even though you can select different classes, the most difference you can really make to your combat and play style is in gaining new weapons (Even these are limited to a maximum of two ulterior upgrades to the base weapon).

The third Element the training section of the game is class training. Here you can basically test out the different classes and you will see the variation between them, even if it is not a lot, and you can give yourself a basic idea of what class suits you better. I have to say that i believe it was not necessary to add this element. Even though it may give you a “heads-up” in regards of what to expect from each class, you will most probably find yourself changing class several times depending on the game type and the given circumstances. For example it could be a poor choice to choose the archer in duel mode, there’s nothing more terrifying and frustrating than only having a bow and short sword in your garrison as a knight chases you around with a war-hammer and Tower Shield!

For our fourth stage to the training course we have the siege training. The game offers a number of game modes and situations where the use of a siege weapon is necessary (Battering ram in Team Objective). This part of the training course can be amusing in the view that you get to test out the siege weapons without having to worry about someone shoving a two meter sword…well anywhere.

Finally, the fifth part. This is not a part of the course itself, it is simply the choice to jump into the online mode and start playing multiplayer. Once you find yourself here, you simply choose whether you want to go over the training again or start playing the game in its intended way. If you are having mixed thoughts, have no fear. The training mode can be accessed at any point in the game, in fact when you open the game it will be directly on the main menu page.

A side note for those who may be curious. At a certain point you will be confronted by members of the ‘Mason Order’. They will demand you to join their cause, giving you the choice to accept or refuse. If you refuse you will have to fight the two men, on top of this you will be confronted once again later in the course. This part of the game will have no significant effect on the rest of the game. due to the fact that there is no sort of fixture on sides or otherwise, you will be able to choose what side or team to fight on at the beginning of each game.

The training course is nothing too exciting at all, so don’t expect anything more than a simple introduction to the game. However it is a pleasure to hear the witty banter of the AI and definitely useful before indulging fully in the game. I hope you don’t get to frustrated at the training mode like i did and i hope you’re not equally as frustrated when the first few games don’t go anywhere near as you expected, the game is definitely worth all the moments of anger and fear of being part of humiliating kill montage.

Enjoy!

Team Objective:

Out of the different game modes that Chivalry: Medieval Warfare offers, Team Objective is definitely my favorite so far. It is always conducted in the same fashion and in my opinion, depicts war conduct quite accurately. Obviously there is the key aspect to it, which is that the players split into two teams. One team defending and the other attacking.

The first objective that you will have is to kill the peasants and burn the village. Now you can look at this in two ways. There is the one view that this part is absolutely hilarious, the second is that it’s quite a cruel and immoral jest. Guess which one I chose. Either way the objective is to kill these unarmed peasants, who are more like headless chickens. Running around in circles, hawking at the top of their voices…until you bury a fifty kilogram hammer into their head. But beware, the opposing team of course, will be defending the villagers. Do not suffer my same shame of joyfully and mindlessly killing AI peasants to then be decapitated from behind with a butter knife.

Once you have finished your brutal and merciless pillaging its time to move on to something a little more challenging. The second objective, is to break down the castle gates, as much as it may sound like the whole game mode is attacking defenseless enemies, however do not be fooled just as it is with the first objective, you will have other players taking advantage of your distraction as you desperately attempt to push the battering ram to try and get you from behind, there will be archers on the wall, flooding you with unexpected arrows. Oh! and how can we forget the wonderful burning oil that can be cast onto your peacefully gate ramming head.

Finally, the last objective. Here you will either need to kill or defend the King. Can you picture anything more savage than sixteen men against sixteen men, and one poor man who is on the defending team. His name is the King and he sir, is screwed! Luckily he is also and AI. Of course he does not die like everyone else either, his health is a lot bigger. But you will see how long he lasts with sixteen people shooting, slashing and smashing at him.

That summarizes another one of Chivalry’s fun game play modes. The only criticism I can give is that of course it can be repetitive. So don’t do five team objectives all one after another or you will be serious bored of the structure. However it is the most realistic mode if you are looking for a real Battle field or War like mode to play on.

Team Death Match:

Team death match is exactly what you would expect it to be. All the participating players are divided into the two factions, Agatha knights or the mason order, and they all have to work together to make more points than the opposite team. This particular game mode has no strategy to it. Where as in Team objective, communication can be useful, in team death match it is really just sticking with your own team and having the skill not to die in the main battlefield.

The only interesting thing i can say about this mode is that each map has its particular paths and routes to sneak up on your enemies. If you avoid diving into the big battles you are more likely to fight other people doing the same, one on one or come up behind the main force of the other team and get them at their backs! If it is big, brutal and limb hacking battles you seek then the main battle is your place, just don’t expect a perfect K/D ratio.

Capture The Flag

In this mode there are no tricks or hints i can give you. You need to be good. The winner is the first team to capture and secure the flag three times. Killing the flag bearer is like trying to catch the golden snitch. Either you chase it for hours until one of you gets tired or you somehow, accidentally fly off your Nimbus 2000 and swallow it. One of those options is less likely to happen. Either way i think the point is made that the flag bearer is heavily guarded and where the Golden snitch has its speed the flag bearer has a whole team following him.

This game mode is amongst my least favorite because it can be tedious and hard to actually accomplish the objective. However it is a fun distraction from Free for all’s and Team Death Match’s.

King Of The Hill

King of the Hill involves hoarding a particular space on the map. A target location is set and the teams compete the hold that position. You win by holding the position for the full time needed to win it, which is visible in game. This mode can be fun, but remember it is chaotic! All the players are bunched up in one spot trying to push the enemy players away and kill as many as possible to gain the hold on the position. This game mode causes a lot of team kills. You will be hacking away happy as ever but you may not notice that you have diced up your team mate behind you.

If you kill someone too much they might just take a grudge on you and make it their sole objective to kill you and ruin your game…

Last Team Standing

In this mode you will have no respawns  So if you go into and die, be ready to quit. Especially if you die at the beginning of the game. It has happened to me more times than I have patience for by now. It can take a long time the entirety of the other team to collapse so if you are amongst the first three to die, quit!

Again this is another mode that you should only play if you are quiet experienced for you only get one chance. You do not lose anything if you die, except your pride.

Free For All

Free for all! no seriously, it is literally everyone vs everyone.

Duel

This is literally the ultimate test of your skill. You go one on one, Mono v Mono. They are composed of rounds of three. Duels are always fun, unless you are on a losing streak. But more to the point you get the chance to try out all the cool moves and stuff that you always dream of doing in Team games but never manage to because you get kill robbed.

The maps for duel are also really cool. They are never particularly spacious in order to stop players from distancing themselves to much. Luckily it has been made this way to stop people avoiding fights.

Seedling Review

What can I say after defeating Seedling? All I can say is that it is a crime that a gem of a game such as this, capable of drawing you into its world, making you think to solve puzzles in a wonderfully made and visually stunning world, is not well known and on every RPG/Adventure fans to play list. Seedling will take a good amount of time to finish and you could compare it to The Legend Of Zelda or Dragon Warrior or indeed any retro dungeon game, bringing a sense of nostalgia for older gamers yet newer gamers will discover a game that despite the old school graphics can measure up to the best that most paid for games have to offer.

Seedling 04

Seedling begins with our birth from the wind and immediately we are sent on our first quest through a basic dungeon, with no weapons or equipment to help us, until we recover our first item of the game, the Sword. From that point on the world opens to us with a lore of its own and a quest to recover a seed needed for our Oracle, a cyclops who meditates in a house and seems to be the b figure of the game. To be able to retrieve the seed, you must battle the Creatures of Relics, each with their own unique dungeons.

Seedling 02

So from then on the world and its dungeons are open to us, though many places are at first blocked off due to the need of different power ups, which you can tackle in any order and with no hand holding whatsoever.

filled with many different characters, each adding to the mythos of the story and helping you feel like this world has always existed and you’re just playing a part in it, which any good adventure game has to be able to pull off for it be more than just an average game. Seedling does this well as you’ll find typical inns, statues depicting moments in the history of the world and unique characters such as another Seedling alone in a cavern stating he will bring destruction to the world. Seedling may ask of you more than one playthrough so you don’t miss anything and trust me, there is a lot going on in the world that it can get overwhelming.

Seedling 01

Each dungeon is unique, whether it be the sound, the layout, the monsters or the unique boss inside, you’ll have a hard time forgetting each dungeon from towers to volcanic underground to the cold winds of the north. Add to this the fact that there is a day and night cycle and the world feels very much alive. I also liked how as you progressed through each dungeon, they got increasingly  more challenging to complete, not difficult, but challenging which makes Seedling an enjoyable experience and though you may ‘die’ many times, it will never put you off from the game.

Talking about health, you will only have three health bars, though these are charged up every time you leave or enter a different area and if you die you’re transported to the entrance of the area you came from. This approach works well and would have decreased the fun playing Seedling if done any different way. Your inventory stores the many items you will collect during your quest with assignable buttons to the weapons you will obviously find. Unfortunately the combat falls a little flat, with simple button mashing of the attack buttons capable of killing most enemies, with only one or two needing some sort of strategy to defeat.

Seedling 03

Talking about strategies to defeat monsters, once you reach the end of every dungeon, you will encounter a unique boss, each wonderfully made and each with their weaknesses and strengths and you will have to solve how best to use the environment or weapons at your disposal to conquer them. Aside one or two battles falling kind of flat due to their simplicity, the battles are memorable.

Aside from exploring every dungeon, with their own puzzles which grow in difficulty from how best to move a block without getting it stuck to running away from Indiana Jones like boulders which follow you, there are also many gold chests scattered across the world which require in many cases even more thinking to figure out how to reach them. Each one fills up a piece of a puzzle and are necessary if you want to get an alternate ending.

Seedling 06

If there is one small gripe I had with Seedling was that sometimes upon receiving a new item, either I had no clue which area I would have to go to next or I had passed by the area before and completely forgot about it. The world isn’t too large and you’ll probably remember soon enough where to head off to, though a map of sorts would have been appreciated.

The sound itself, due to my days of Pokemon and Gameboy games, takes this approach and it works well, with each dungeon having a different tone to it, from sinister to fast paced, every area in this world has its own piece and the sound effects also never take away from the experience as they are all clear and on point.

Once you’ve done playing Seedling, along with a question or two posed towards the player depending on the ending you receive, you’ll have ventured through many different lands, collected many different coloured keys to open pathways, met witches, battled golems and plants, conquered legends and then…then you go back. For this is what these kind of games are capable of, making you want to repeat the experience, hopefully to be surprised once gain and marvel at the world as you notice smaller details.

Seedling 05

P&Cs

Pros – A lot to do in an engaging world that pulls you in, dungeons and bosses are unique and wonderful, challenging, collectibles, two endings, a charm of its own.

Cons – Combat simple, no map or guidance can at times be confusing as you search for the next place to go to.

Final Words

Seedling is a free online game that will offer more excitement, more dungeons to explore, more to think about, more collectibles and more story to it then most games that need to be paid for. Not only that the games design and world will draw you in and you will have a quite long and challenging experience. This is what games are meant to be, fun to play with a rich world and one that once you finish without hesitation you go back to replay to finish it all up and make sure you have soaked in as much of this world as you can.

 

Seedling is available to download or play online. While there is no save feature rest assured your browser will save your progress.

Outlast – Eye On

Outlast (2013)

Outlast Cover

Outlast is a first person horror currently being developed by Red Barrels, boasting a team with experience in games such as Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time, Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted & Splinter Cell, players will take on a role of a journalist as they break into the Mount Massive Aslyum, recently re opened by a shady corporation and discover the secrets of what is occurring within its walls.

Latest News

– Outlast was playable at PAX East during the 22-24 of March

Ongoing Commentary

Outlast is being developed by people who can claim experience in the industry which makes this title even more interesting and anticipated. This time, moving away from the norm, our protagonist, Miles Upshur, is the one willingly entering the stage of the horror that will follow. Set in Colorado, Miles breaks into the recently abandoned asylum, opened back up by the Murkoff Corporation, which has been operating in secrecy.

So following a tip from an inside source, the game will try to show us the true horror is that which the human mind can conjure. From the trailer we can gather a running infamy with the asylum, which is sure to come up during gameplay. As the trailer shows, which is claimed in game footage, the immersion will surely be a key element as things such as peeking round corners, sliding over obstacles or opening doors, are given extra depth as Miles interacts a lot with the environment.

The game claims inside we will discover will walk a line between science, religion, nature and something else. Indeed these issues may probably be addressed during the game, making us reflect on such issues though this is pure speculation at this point.

The music and atmosphere jump out as well when watching the trailer, navigating the empty halls full of corpses and destruction, Outlast takes a run and hide approach as opposed to confronting your enemies, who you’ll have to run away from and seem to not be your typical slow enemies, these will chase you down and look for you in rooms as you’ll have to use the environment to hide yourself.

Another key feature seems to be the camera, which you’ll use to light up your environment and navigate through those dark areas instead of the typical flashlight. What other uses it may be used for are unknown but with many games starting to have a different take on the iconic flashlight, a camera will be interesting to see in further action.

Keep coming back as Outlast will be followed.

Outlast’s Official Site can be found at http://redbarrelsgames.com