Game Reviews: Castle Crashers, Home, Nation Red

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Game Reviews: Castle Crashers, Home, Nation Red

Postby Siberus » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:29 am

I'm nowhere near as sophisticated a writer/critic as Luthien, nor am I as well read as Vandread or Jeshin, so I'm just gonna stick to what I know, and follow the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" ruleset. As some of you may know, another Steam sale just came to a close, and I was fortunate enough to pick up a large number of great games for a couple bucks a pop. Among these, I will be reviewing the three I have played most extensively.

Castle Crashers
Some of you may have already played this gem when it was first released for the XBox 360 Arcade, or shortly after when it was released on the Playstation Network. Having only been released on Windows/Steam back around August, I picked up Castle Crasehrs for about eight bucks. It's a fantastic, hand-drawn and stylized side-scrolling beat 'em up with an epic soundtrack, charm and enough unlockables to ensure you'll beat it more than once. Overall, the game is a strong successor to The Behemoths previous release, Alien Hominid, and shows an indie developer who knows how to kick out a simple story, gameplay mechanics and exactly the right amount of crude humor to stand head and shoulders abeve most other games in its genre.

Graphics: 4.5 / 5.
Audio: 4.5 / 5.
Controls: 4 / 5.
Replay: 4 / 5.
Bottom Line: 4 / 5.

To be absolutely honest, I'd never heard of this one until it was one of Steams flash sales, going for $2.50. Since this is about the cost of a deep breath of air, these days, I figured 'Why not?' So, Home is a horror/mystery game drawn up in a pixel-art and with gameplay mechanics similar in style to the adventure games of the early and mid 90's, but with a less mouse-oriented control scheme. While I was, at first, unimpressed with the pixely artwork, I gradually found myself immersed to the point where I jumped a time or two when something changed abruptly or a light flickered. I don't recall any kind of backgound music, so either there was none, it was forgettable, or maybe it was atmospherically perfect and so escaped my notice. The sound effects for footsteps became grating after awhile, as they only loop two sounds over and over, again. I feel that I should move away from my criticisms, now, as this was pretty clearly a very low-budget release developped by a small handful of people, and actually wasn't all that bad. For instance, the story gradually changes based on what items you do or don't pick up, what items you do or don't spend extra time investigating and the answers you provide when the game asks questions about what you think is going on. This certainly makes me want to play through the game, again, as I would love to see how it unfolds a second time through with different choices. Ultimately, I would say this game was worth my $2.50, and so long as you don't drop more than a fiver on it, yourself, you're probably getting the right amount of bang for your buck.

Graphics: 3 / 5.
Audio: 2 / 5.
Controls: 3 / 5.
Replay: 4 / 5.
Bottom Line: 3 / 5.

Nation Red
Surprise, surprise! Another game I picked up from the flash sales! Weighing in at a hefty $1.99, I couldn't possibly pass up a 4-player, cooperative game involving the shooting of zombies (or in this case, the infected). Being very similar to a top-down, twin-stick shooter, Nation Red has a strong control scheme, with only a few keybindings being potentially questionable or fairly obscure, such as the 'F' key locking your weapons (allowing you to avoid automatically switching to new weapons as you run over them). While the Steam store page seems to imply this game may have some kind of campaign/story, I haven't encountered any of it, because my foray has been entirely in the multiplayer modes. Sporting an excellent soundtrack, catchy visuals and well-varied sound effects, I thoroughly enjoyed the hours I sunk into answering the question, "Given unlimited ammo and a couple of friends, how long could I hold out against wave after wave of weapon-wielding undead looking to eat my delicious peoplemeats?"My only major complaint with this game would be a somewhat limited selection of maps to play on, and that the perks you select, and the levels you gain to earn them, are reset at the beginning of each game, rather than being globally tracked and persistent. This game definitely gets a thumbs up from me.

Graphics: 4 / 5.
Audio: 4.5 / 5.
Controls: 4 / 5.
Replay: 4 / 5.
Bottom Line: 4.5.
"It's better to burn out than it is to rust." -Neil Young

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