Tag Archives: Video Game Review

Video Game Review: Year Walk

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Video Game Review: Year Walk

Let’s face it: indie games have always had a reputation for being all hype and no delivery, and when it comes to horror titles, many of us find that indie games just don’t have what it takes to scare us silly – apart from a few titles, of course. However, just a few months ago, Funcom released The Park, a one- to two-hour game that puts players into the shoes of a distressed mother looking for her son in an amusement park after hours. It was an excellent showcase of what indie games could be, creating a horrifying story out of a communal fear of amusement parks after dark, and portraying the despair of a mother for her child in a unique way. Of course, The Park is a PC game, and it’s had many amazing games come before it, such as Amnesia, and we know there’s plenty of potential there.

What we rarely see, however, is indie horror games for mobile phones that do what they promise. Despite advancements in mobile technology and the obvious interest in mobile games, horror has been grossly underrated in mobile markets. According to the company behind Free Casino Hunter, 50% of all smartphone activity comes from gaming, and social gaming in particular continues to top the charts, with social games becoming worth $4 billion by the end of this year. It’s difficult to create horror games with the technology afforded by mobile phones, as the smaller screens, and slower processors are often unable to render the gore or create the ambience needed for horror titles. However, some developers have found that the answer lies in minimalist games that focus on a chilling story, and that games created with this in mind can be quite successful.

This brings us to Year Walk, a game by Simgogo, which was released in 2013 to staggeringly positive reviews. It revolves around the ancient Swedish practice of the “year walk”, in which one goes on a pilgrimage of sorts in order to see the future. In the game, the character takes a year walk to discover his future with his beloved, uncovering cryptic clues and encountering many strange creatures from Swedish mythology. The artwork is beautiful and haunting, and many of the puzzles require plenty of thinking outside of the box – and in some cases, thinking outside of the app itself. Along with the game, there is also a “Companion App”, which gives players a better understanding of the lore that the game builds upon.

One particularly interesting thing to note with Year Walk is that the game has also been released on Steam, becoming a point-and-click adventure, but losing most of its interactivity. In the mobile phone version, users would have to solve some puzzles by spinning their device around, and these elements are lost to the PC version. The experience of using the companion app is also lost, as the PC game simply makes use of a built-in encyclopedia to help guide you through your year-long vision quest.

Regardless, the game has some surprising chills. It wasn’t simply because of the occasional jumpscare either. The art was haunting, and so was the music, and the story even more so. It’s a game that showcases just what horror games can be on mobile phones, and it’s perfectly deserving of the near-perfect reviews it got from all the important critics.

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Video Game Review: The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (with some “cheats”)

The Walking Dead Survival Instinct-coverI know I’m late on this review, but this has been a highly requested review from a few of my readers.  I also decided to do this to test the possibility of maybe doing more video game reviews.

I picked up The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct the weekend it was available.  As a fan of The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker, naturally I had to give this game a try.  Like many other video games, everyone plays it differently and different people are better at certain games, like me, I suck at sports games, but I have a natural gift with this type of game.

The graphics and story line of the game were amazing.  It was nice to see the Dixon brothers get their own game.  On a scale of 1 to 10 how challenging the game was for me, at first a 7, but once I played a couple of levels, it went down to about a 4.  Below, I added a cheat of mine to make missions go a bit faster.

When the game first starts, you are playing as Daryl and Merle’s father on a hunting trip, but only for a couple minutes then you die and play as Daryl.  I loved that there was an overall mission, find Merle and evacuate,  to the game and it wasn’t about just running around and killing walkers.  There is a mission for every level whether it be saving a survivor, finding a part for your car, finding gas or of course, finding supplies.  I liked that the level of difficulty of each mission fluctuated.  Unlike most games, the missions didn’t get harder as the game went on, but went up and down.  As a matter of fact, I had the most difficulty in the middle of the game as apposed to the  end.  The game does not plateau like many others of this genre do.

I liked the over all flow of the game, but I do have a couple of complaints.  For starters, you can’t choose which Dixon you want to be, you have to be Daryl, sorry Merle fans.  I understand why this is, but it would be cool to be able to choose Merle or Daryl.  My next complaint, the way the game saves.  I don’t know if this is just for Xbox 360 or all consoles, but the only way to save was to complete a level.  If you don’t complete the level you are on, you have to start it over.  A save option would have been nice.  My final complaint is the length of the game.  It is way too short.  I would love to see a part two of this game with some more options and maybe a bit more length to it.

All in all, I really liked The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct.  Even if you’re not a big gamer, the game is fun.  It is a must have for any fan of The Walking Dead, Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker and of course, our favorite dysfunctional, fictional brothers, Daryl and Merle Dixon.

*My Personal Cheat*

At first, I struggled, but I quickly found easy ways to get through missions.  For example, when I had to find a part to fix the car, this is after you get the crossbow, I would find a car or a truck and stand on top of it.  After I was in the center of the roof, I would fire a gun and bring all of the walkers out.  They would surround the car then I would switch back to the crossbow and kill all of the faster ones that came out.  After that, you have a walker free environment and tasks become much easier.