Author: <span class="vcard">pauldoyle22</span>

Metroidvania Month: Dead Cells Brings Metroidvania Elements to a Roguelike

Let’s just get this out of the way: Dead Cells isn’t really a Metroidvania. And that’s fine, because it’s a really good roguelike! But if I’d played it before this week, I might have felt weird including it in my Month of Metroidvanias. In reality, Dead Cells has much more of the modern roguelike’s DNA, complete with permadeath, procedurally generated levels, and some overarching progression mechanics that help players feel more powerful and capable across multiple runs. But despite having the standard formula of a modern roguelike, it also has a couple of major mechanics that it borrows from Metroidvanias, using them to great effect to hone and enhance this formula….


Metroidvania Month: Chasm is Interesting, but Inconsistent

Deep underground, in a hostile uncharted dungeon, I set out from a shrine in search of lost townsfolk and mysterious treasures. After battling through several rooms full of monsters and obstacles, I discovered one of the missing townsfolk. Great! Now I was presented with a choice: trudge back to the shrine and save my game, or forge on ahead looking for the next shrine. I chose to journey forward, health and supplies dwindling, more desperate with each new room I entered. And then eventually……


Humble Monthly Game: AER Memories of Old

Well, I got around to playing another Humble Monthly game all the way through, so let’s to talk about it!

AER Memories of Old is the debut commercial release by Swedish indie studio Forgotten Key. It’s an exploration-focused adventure game that, most notably, features the ability to transform into a bird and fly around a world full of floating islands. While a lot of its narrative efforts fell flat, its atmosphere was engrossing and its minimalism was unexpected, at times frustrating but often refreshing….


Into the Breach: Combining Mechanics I Dislike into a Game I Adore

Into the Breach is a newly released game by Subset Studios (the team behind beloved space travel roguelike FTL: Faster Than Light). It’s a tactical combat roguelike in which players control a team of mechs and attempt to hold off waves of murderous giant insects. Both tactics combat and roguelike elements often fall flat for me, but this game combines them in a way that makes them both work wonderfully….


Horizon’s DLC Has a Very Good Side Quest

…Early into the DLC I found myself characteristically distracted by a side quest. I found a sad looking young woman with a little exclamation mark above her head. She told me she was a musician named Laulai who, until recently, played music in a place called Deep Din. It was a place, but also a musical instrument. But something had caused it to rapidly and unexpectedly flood, leaving her without her creative outlet but also without a connection to her late father, who had taught her how to play.

It was an odd but relatively mundane quest. Go investigate the flood, see what happened, fix everyone’s problems, good to go. So I went to check it out…

SPOILER WARNING: I’m going to describe the rest of the “Waterlogged” side quest in some detail, so stop here if you intend to play it spoiler-free yourself (which I totally encourage)….


Where the Champions’ Ballad DLC Falls Short

This post contains some spoilers about the structure and content of The Champions’ Ballad DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Readers beware.

Earlier this month, Nintendo unveiled the surprise release of Breath of the Wild’s The Champions’ Ballad DLC. This was incredibly exciting news for fans of the game and for some, like myself, a reason to revisit the game. Well, earlier today I finished playing through the new DLC, and I have thoughts…


On Storytelling in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a game that I heard a lot of whispers about before ever seeing it. I knew that it was an action game by Ninja Theory, that it attempted depictions of neurodivergence, and that it supposedly had impressive audio design. Most of those descriptive elements were interesting to me. But I didn’t hear much about it beyond that. So when I started this game, I went in mostly blind, having only heard first impressions and seen a few screenshots.

Part of my enjoyment of the experience was discovering it without having many expectations.  So on that note, my spoiler-free tl;dr is as follows: Hellblade is a fascinating story delivered through high-quality visuals and narrative-integrated gameplay. It’s part story, part action game, part low-key puzzle game, with some survival horror elements included as well. It’s also a foray into the honest depiction of psychosis in video games.

If you’re comfortable with the themes in the game and curious about it, then I highly recommend you experience it for yourself. From here on, there will be heavy spoilers…


New format (again)

Just a quick update to reflect a new direction that I’m going in. I’ve played a lot of thought-provoking games this year and wanted to start openly talking about my opinions on them. I don’t intend to do full reviews, as I’d prefer to talk about specific aspects of games that interest me rather than…


ABZÛ: Further refining the Flower/Journey formula

ABZÛ is a short, beautiful storytelling game from newly-formed developer Giant Squid Studios in which players explore a breathtaking ocean environment to uncover a mysterious story.


E3 2016 Impressions

Having just returned from E3 2016, I’ve written a few brief blurbs about the games for which I saw or played any exclusive content so I could give people an idea of what I thought. The following is a breakdown of what I played/watched/interacted with and what I thought of it.

I’ll talk about some of the hands-on demos I played (ReCore, Abzû, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Song of the Deep, Masquerada, Gravity Rush 2) as well as some videos and expo setups that I saw or found interesting….