Agonizing over the perfect plan, meticulously prepping all the necessary components and then having it all come apart due to an unseen circumstance. Escaping prison seems like it would be an endeavor that which I would fail miserably to execute with the perfection it requires. If nothing else, The Escapists 2 has only proven this fact as I have spent plenty of time in solitary confinement for my failed schemes. Thankfully, unlike real life, the consequences of these failed jailbreaks are minimal and with enough practice, I was eventually able to spring myself from the joint. It’s this concept that makes The Escapists 2 the perfect action puzzle game for anyone with a lot of patience looking for a real challenge.
Platforming sections in first-person games can be notoriously hard if they’re not done well. Spotting platforms while you’re jumping and nailing targets mid-air is tough as nails, but if the controls are tight enough it can feel really good. DeadCore has you steadily climbing a tower full of deadly traps and giant leaps, but as through the adversity of making it through this gauntlet, you will eventually feel like a first-person god of platforming. Not every section is strong, but what is there is challenging enough to really make you feel like you earned it.
Rubbing your stomach and patting your head has always been one of the greatest exercises in multitasking. Getting your brain to process two separate tasks simultaneously is surprisingly difficult. Creative Bytes Studios is looking to put you to the ultimate test with the new platforming adventure Embers of Mirrim. Jumping through the world as two creatures that have been combined into one, you must use the powers of each simultaneously to traverse the dangers as you cure the corruption plaguing the land. Embers of Mirrim is not only a competent and beautiful game, it is challenging and fun in a way that I haven’t seen in quite some time.
Virtual reality, in its current form, still hasn’t been around very long and many developers are actively experimenting to find what works well for the format. Off the bat, it’s been easy to see that action and horror work well in VR. Fated: The Silent Oath has taken a different path and proven that there it’s not always about the thrills and chills. Emotionally-charged silent moments in this story based in the world of Norse mythology highlight a new way of telling a story that makes you feel even more of a connection to what is happening.
Escape rooms have grown in popularity, especially in the last year or so. Many video games made an effort to emulate these popular real life attractions as well recently to varying degrees of success. Putting a horror spin on the concept, Dying: Reborn is a flawed experience that never feels great to play, while admirably attempting to create an interesting horror story.
Atmosphere, in my humble opinion, is one of the most important things a game can create. Back in 2010, Playdead introduced us all to a puzzle platformer than oozed atmosphere and created a surprisingly tense 2-D experience with Limbo. Since then many developers have tried to recapture the magic of this game by mimicking its aesthetics or gameplay. Coming from this standpoint, Lukáš Navrátil created Toby: The Secret Mine as a solo project. While it doesn’t quite recapture the tense feeling of the game it was inspired by, there are some good moments to latch onto here.