Tag Archives: challenge

Haven Reviews: hellblade, senua’s sacrifice

Hellblade us a mentally challenging trudge trough Hel, the underworld of Norse vikings. It is a miserable place of malcontent. Senua is on a brutal trek into the belly of the beast, with a slew of voices in her head. The story is well executed with a very earnest story that is not for the week of mind, or those who have mental issues. Even if the end is truly well urn. The scenery is stunningly beautiful, with some of the most moody and imaginative scenery in    yet to see. As someone from a viking land up north, whom have a more than passing familiarity to Norse mythology. Hellblade does a simply wonderful job at imagining nordic inspired locations. Though I truly miss a decent fjord. Meanwhile the story has a superb narrative and narration, where the world is littered with Norse mythology snippets. That being said Hellblade is a self contained story where everything you can do is there from the start. Combat is surprisingly simple and very efficient. However the combat does fall into meat wall territory, unless set to easy. Heavy attacks are combined with light ones, timed blocking, lenient dodging and a focus mechanic that slows everything down for a short period of time. Meanwhile the other part of the game is puzzles and harrowing situations, followed by long stretches of simple puzzle solving. Essentially a door is blocked by runes, which the shape has to be found, seen and focused on. Such as a distinct shadow on the wall after lighting a torch, or lining up some specific scenery. There are also a fair share of illusions and perspective tricks in place as well.  Which is a very interesting and fun way to do puzzle solving. Instead of scrounging for keys and banging things together until it magically works.  A feature I truly enjoy is the fantastically unobtrusive hud. The music is also fantastic, moody and something I need to look up later. That being said I ran across several crashes and some minor bugs. Such as walking backwards when crawling through the engulfing darkness. All in all a great game that took me eight hours to complete. Where it is impossible to miss the achievements. That being said, the save file will not be affected by dying a lot. Then again I died a grand total of five times. This is not a game for children and the feeble minded our those easily bored by long stretches of fumbling about.

Haven Reviews: Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

20161209144753_1      Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

The true purpose of any masked murderer, is to flip out and kill people. Mostly by hiding in the shadows and deploying fiendish traps and distractions. While impaling unassuming guards with icicles, as they ponder about who’s footprints are these? It’s truly wicked world of samurai, corpse devouring bushes and a whole lot of gunpowder.

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Shadow Tactics is seen from a birds eye view, where I control a team of heroes with special abilities. Each brings a different tool and challenge to the board and they are all equally important to utilize. Since controlling two characters at once is a tricky business, one can be assigned an order. I can execute while controlling another person. Such as setting one up to throw a noisy rock at a guard and as he look away the other guy will rip him a new one. Since dead enemies can be discovered, ti is totally possible to depose of them in a myriad of ways. Such as into bushes and off cliffs. When the alarm trigger a swarm of alerted folks comes running from various doors to investigate. The plot is fairly decent, with some colorful heroes. They are fun and quirky, but over all they’re a bit stereotypical. If you look away from the way the youngest member talk. She has some really fun and disturbing lines. Especially when dropping lethal things on unassuming victims.

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When using a game pad, the A button does it all, well almost and is very finicky when multiple things are too close. Such as torches, bodies, doors and grappling points. The same struggle can happen if two corners are too close as I try to descend from the roof. Plus some enemies are virtually impossible to quick tag with the vision cone.

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Repeating dialogue. Some NPC keep repeating lines during the run of a level. This gets very old very quick. Especially the first time around, since I take a long time to complete the levels. I would really appreciate a way to turn off or down the volume of in-game NPC’s. Luckily everyone can be killed. It’s a true sign of patience to let them live. Especially that drunk man in town.

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This game is hard and that’s just on normal. On The highest difficulty the game is just mean. Luckily there are medals and steam achievements to unlock for the completionist. It will only take several playthrough of each level to do so. One thing is for certain, doing it all is a challenge all on it’s own.

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Enemies are as expected. They will fall for the same trap over and over again. Place a spring loaded floortrap, blow the whistle and watch the guard get Impaled. Naturally this usually causes panic, where the ignorant fools will comb the bushes. Only to find nothing, and return to their guard duties. With some reinforcements and replacements. There is a price to trigger the alarm after all.

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The music is quite melodic and is very fitting. A bit forgettable, filled with traditional Japanese instruments and a lot of modern sounds. It’s not bad at all. It’s there and it works. The voice-overs are quite good and can actually be set to fully Japanese, which is quite fitting for the era Shadow Tactics takes place. One thing I found very terrible though, it’s the sound of snoring guards. It’s too loud compared to anything else I’ve encountered.

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Due to the difficulty and style of gameplay, Shadow Tactics is not a game everyone can enjoy. However I still highly recommend it for anyone whom like a good stealth game. I can’t stop myself from wanting to play more. Also there are blood and decapitations within the game. There is also a demo of the game.

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Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this.

Njål Sand

Haven Reviews: Crypt of the Necrodancer

Haven Reviews: Crypt of the NecroDancer

20161209015035_1Necrodnce turns two very unlikely genres, into one sound combination. The music truly moves me, forcing me to follow it’s rhythm, as I venture into the Necrodancers crypt. A place of funky music, murderous monsters and dance floors full of treasure. The in-game music literally moves to the beat of the hearth. Within these dark dungeons, the rhythm is law and very few maleficent monsters miss a beat. Be it a humble slime stuck in a pattern, or a big bad burly boss. Even though Necrodancer is a highly addictive rogue like game, where treasure and monsters are randomly generated. 20161209022328_1 Most enemies have a fairly modest life bar, where every attack can be avoided if the timing is correct. Which makes it a game purely about skill, despite random elements. I’ve yet to actually see any hidden traps or enemies that are impossible to see. Which is quite lovely indeed. Crypt of the Necrodancer, also have a bucket load of unlockables, such as characters, modes for practicing against monsters and a plethora of fancy items. 20161209023404_1

That being said death is most certainly permanent. And the only currency that carry over are diamonds. A shiny pointy rock used for unlocking extra items and powerups that will show up randomly in the dungeon. I’m quite surprised that there is a couch coop feature, now that is a recipe for a deadly disaster. A true challenge for anyone involved. But I have not done much of that, since I live in the middle of nowhere. Within this musical canopy, there is also a fully voice acted plot, with some simple cut scenes. It’s a quite gripping story indeed.

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I picked up Necrodancer on Steam, it’s a fairly decent prized game, that provides, the player with several hours of gameplay and some real tricky challenges. Which makes this a poor Steam Achievement farming game. The underlying mechanics is a deceptively simple and well thought out. The direction keys moves the character around and if you walk towards and enemy, an attack will occur if close enough instead. Each of the stages are connected by an exit, blocked by a beefy boss. It is a game after all.

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The most negative thing I can really point out is the slow main hub, that follows the same rhythm movement the whole game is built around.

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It’s an indie game, that actually has support for a dancepad. Those fancy usb connected floor controllers, with several arrows on it. As and added bonus the game becomes easier by using one of those. Not that I have ever had a reason to invest in one.
Danny Baranowsky, is no stranger to making a good game soundtrack and it shows. The music is the best clearly the best thing within the game, and can be bought separately. Or use a custom               track if that is what you fancy instead. Even the shopkeeper sings along to the song. However I truly loathe the boink sound the arrow trap makes.

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Over all a very sound and fun challenge, that I just have to recommend everyone trying at some point.

Disclaimer:  I bought this game for fun. As such, all views in this article are my own. 

Njål Sand