review drafts

Pascal’s Wager was meant to be Dark Souls for mobile, and for that platform is was actually well received. The port to PC for Steam, however, was nothing short of a sloppy disaster. Controls felt clunky and almost non responsive due to the lack of full duplex input on mobile screens. Dialogue is long, drawn out, and awkwardly voice acted, which, for a mobile game, probably was sufficient. Underneath the sludge-like port and incredibly unsatisfying combat, is the skeleton of a good game. If this game were built from the ground up for PC it would likely be considered a poor man’s Dark Souls and worth a playthrough on a rainy day. In its current state? Hard pass.

Bloodroots is a speedrunner’s hack and slash where virtually anything you can put your hands on is a weapon. Levels consist of fast paced quick moves and decisions that become more challenging and frustrating as you advance. The graphical style and fluid controls are a big draw, but the lack of block, parry, or dodge, makes the “one hit kill and start over” mechanic a bit of a drag. Playing an entire area flawlessly only to misjudge the distance between you and enemy can be rage inducing. The story and dialogue are actually quite funny at times and written well enough for the game type. For players who enjoy these types of games, it is well designed and satisfying, for all the rest, probably best to skip on this one.

Mundaun immediately appealed to me because of the hand drawn aesthetic and the creepy setting. The story, premise, and writing are actually quite captivating and creative. Performance on the PS5, however, left much to be desired for. Pan and scan was a clean 60 FPS, but movement was almost jittery and dizzying. It could have been the hand drawn items and textures betraying any sense of smoothness, but whatever the reason it severely hurts the immersion of a game that needs it more than anything. Puzzle solving and progression is appropriately elusive, but the game fails to inform the player how to save at the grandfather clock, so one soft lock with the car set me back 25 minutes of progress. I’m sure this game is worth a playthrough, but be warned, it isn’t a smooth experience.

In Rays of the Light is actually a remake of the original PC game from 2012 titled simply “The Light” and was made by the same small team. The setting, environmental sounds, and music are absolutely superb. Much of the story is told purely through the way the building and places “feel”, but the game truly excels when the writing on walls, documents, or vocal narration takes center stage. I will admit there were aspects of the puzzles that required more than just trial and error and retreading areas, but also some good backseat gaming help. It’s difficult, as a streamer, to accurately judge how well some of the puzzles would have functioned, but I will say they are both the best and worst parts of the game. The entire game is well worth a playthrough as a well crafted piece of art in story telling and creating a narrative and history.

Mr. Prepper was a pleasant surprise for me as someone who is not typically drawn to these types of games. It is obviously very similar to Fallout Shelter, but it certainly maintains its own style and approach to the genre. There is an appropriate amount of pressure applied to the player that is easily adapted to on the fly, and within a short time I was getting into a groove. The loop of finding, scavenging, building, and expanding is quickly satisfying and has a good sense of progression and moving toward an ultimate end. An agent regularly visits, applying an intrusive presence which keeps you on your toes and means the house has to maintain a sense of normalcy. It might not seem like it, but the inspections keep the game from becoming a “break down everything” simulator, which is a nice touch. This is a must own for fans of this type of game.