Tag Archives: Game Review

Haven Review: Drifting Lands

Now in my time I have played a lot of side scrolling games, starting from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) all the way to the glorious Sega Genesis and despite my enjoyment of those titles they never felt complete to me, they never felt like they were what the genre could be and what Drifting Lands accomplishes.

Humble in their beginnings they created one of the first genre of game where you have a ship of some kind that you got to blast through hordes of enemies that generally spew in from the right side of the screen. All the while you are madly dodging lasers, bullets, bombs, and explosions and everything else that is trying to kill you from giant space worms to other alien ships.

Drifting lands takes from its predecessors in the basics where you got the ship, its bullet hell in dodging and fighting. But that is where the comparisons end, they have added level select, they have added in stage difficulties, they even added a currency system and what I most absolutely love. They added the ability to buy and build a variety of ships from parts you scavenge from destroyed enemy ships.

However, this also presents a problem because with multiple ships to own, build and customize with a variety of weapons there is a downside to it all. That being you can lose your ship and all the rare parts you get while you play through stages. Which at this junction breaks my heart, because I got a really amazing rare item that boosted my ships stats through the roof, but upon fighting a enemy boss my ship was destroyed and I lost that part never to see it again.

Now, to this extent they have given the option to go classic mode where you will lose your equipment like I have. Never to be able to get it back again and you got to grind all over again for hours and hours on end if you hope to find it again OR you can do a safe mode which items will only break and you can repair them in the market place.

My only wish is that I would like an option to change between the two game modes while in game but, that is not do-able. So if you want to play it safe you got to make that choice very early on at the start of the game or else you may run the risk of losing your really good stuff.

Drifting Lands is one of the best side scrolling action games I have ever played with its very in-depth customization features, toppled with its beautiful scenery and exciting soundtrack. It stands out to me as one of the best if not to date the greatest side scrolling title to date.

The only thing I wish they did better was changing the game mode option freely, because I deeply regret being blown up, I lost a really awesome Guardians of the Galaxy Easter egg which was a old cassette.

If you are a fan of the classic side scrolling genre and have always wanted more from it, but also sticking strongly to its roots than look no further, Drifting Lands is the game for you. I’ve enjoyed it for countless hours.

Also the man in charge of the market looks suspiciously like Anthony Bourdain

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: The Surge

The Surge, now in terms of action rpg’s this game has it made with a chance to upgrade the various battle frame  parts you can get in it, as well as the exo-skeleton itself. However, I got to say this the story for me has been a tedious bore and combat itself feels very unbalanced to the point where it doesn’t even seem fair.

Like the Technomancer its combat Is best suited for one on one, but ends up for the most part being four to five vs one, the one being yourself and it doesn’t necessarily work out very well for you.
However I will point out that as you progress slowly through the game it does get easier getting pieces of equipment and upgrading your equipment to make combat easier but how long and how drawn out It can get makes the game more enjoyable as a means to kill time than a overly enjoyable fun to play title.

I will give the developers points though the very start of the game was very enjoyable and the level design was also very nice. I even found the starting story where you are a handicapped person trying to get his life back on track and also help the world really great, even up to the point where (spoiler alert) you got the exo-skeleton drilled directly into your body while you were conscious and had neither a sedative or anesthesia to put you to sleep.

Now, breaking it down the combat involves a lot of timing and dodging as most action RPG’s would have, keeping a close eye on your stamina meter to make sure you don’t run out of stamina and know also when to strike back at the enemies, like your battle frame parts you can acquire different pieces of equipment as you play through from a simple wrench, or some really amazing hidden weapon in the first stage. Each weapon has its own attack patterns, and attack speed so mastery of this compiled with knowledge of the combat system with dodging ect is crucial.

What could easily start out as a simple one on one fight could easily also turn into a multi-enemy combat situation. Which helps make this a lot more complicated, and the biggest issue is that the enemies don’t scale up properly as you fight. Even if you spend all of one stage grinding out to max out your equipment as high as it can go for that stage. When you start in the next level you will already be under leveled.

I ultimately ended up finding a exploit in the game to help scale me up to get extra life to make progression easier and even that didn’t make gameplay any easier for me. It should be worth mentioning that like a RPG you can get equipment with special properties and with that equipment you can have set bonuses such as increased speed, increased health, durability or removal of stamina restrictions. This can be helpful at times, but it still doesn’t fully aid in the situation you are faced with in combat.

I do however like the upgrading system, as you fight through the game you can lop off a enemies arm or leg, or even behead them for a higher chance of getting a equipment drop from them or a material drop that goes to that part of the body. So getting materials to upgrade your equipment is fairly easy, as is using the base scrap you get.

Now the base scrape you get is used not only in upgrading your weapons, and battle frame parts but also your power core in general. The higher your power core goes up the more passive bonuses you can get from “chips” you get along the way for a deeper level of customizing. Some chips give a passive bonus to increase your help equal to the level of your power core. So powering up your power core can be quite beneficial at times.

Now besides my negative input on the combat for the game, the sound track and the controls for the game are actually quite fluid and I really find those to be quite enjoyable, it is not very often you find a game with controls as fluid as The Surge has, not even the Technomancer had controls that were that well programmed.

Don’t get me wrong, the only real issue I encountered in The Surge was its combat, outside of that I’ve kinda blown quite a few hours just goofing off and exploring. It even gives you the opportunity to learn more of the story through audio tapes and not some wall of text which helps add another level of immersion to the title.

In conclusion, The Surge is a good title, not one of the best but good and definitely not something I would recommend to a child. The game even has a New Game+ feature so you can keep playing making it even harder to advance if you are into that.

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Reviews: several Good Old Games

Haven reviews: Several Good old games. GOG is a fantastic service that breathe new life into old titles, which may or may not run properly in new operating systems. Most of that has to do with the original game code being crap and a general lack of compatibility. Some games run fantastic even on Windows 10, while some will only run on a specific OS and some does not run at all. This is a short list of several games I bought from GOG.

Blood: One unit whole blood

It’s violent, filled with blood, mutilations and monsters. It’s a old school fast phased first person shooter, with some inventive weapons and some great sprites. The GOG release comes with the original music and the FMW sequences. Which has not aged well at all. The 3d graphics looks worse than my first attempt at modelling. Which is quite jarring, since the in game graphics are quite good, with detailed sprites. Each level has an unique design and theme, heavily inspired by horror movies. A froze Johnny can be found in a hedge maze. While the game supports different resolutions, they may or may not work entirely as intended. At least they’re there. There is only one big issue and that is the music. It can’t be turned muted, turned down or stopped. Especially in the amusement park the music is loud. Not sure if GOG can fix this.

Swat 4

It’s a game about breaching doors, busting criminals and rescue civilians. Where the biggest question is why that guy ignore teargas and where the devil a suspect dropped his gun. The Ai is questionable, but the levels are fun, with random perp placement. It runs, looks okay for the most part and sports a terrible aspect ratio. However it does come with the expansion pack. The game itself runs fine, minus one place where it had stuttering and slowdown. Apparently there are mods to improve the game. Such as the elite forces mod, that takes the realism up several notches and adds more features.

Sim City 4

Build a town, run the town, play mini games to keep earning more money. Then call in a meteorite and nuke it all to hell. Just for fun. While juggling traffic jams and air pollution. It’s fun, addictive and a great educational game, when it comes to city management and all the problems that comes with it. Runs fine, looks fine and it works.

Roller Coaster Tycooon 2

Run and operate a custom built amusement park. Build attractions and kill guests with a badly designed roller coaster. It’s a seriously fun management games, with many fantastic features. However the sprites and the interface is almost impossible to see. Since everything is so small. Usually these old games have too large interfaces if anything.

Outlaws

Lucas art made a game about a sheriff trying to rescue his wife from a big man, with a lot of money. It’s a first person shooter, with some fantastic levels, questionable physics and a insane difficulty. The dynamite has some of the worst physics I’ve ever encountered in a game. It’s also prone to random crashes.

Alien Breed: Tower Assault

Your ship has crashed and the place is over run with alien monstrosities. It has coop, challenging levels and limited ammo. With enemies that spawn in your face a lot of the time. It runs great and has a cheesy as hell intro movie. It’s top down and easy to play, very hard to complete with several paths to take.

Anachronox

A gum shoe detective has an office on the top floor of a seedy bar, set on a very odd planet. it’s a turn based RPG game, with a great story, some really interesting characters. But is littered with so many bugs, that i’d recommend watching a let’s play on Youtube. I have had all of the movie sequences go on repeat, while I was still playing. Looping them when ever I got back to the spot. At one point I also fell through the world.

Planescape: Torment

A man wakes up in a morgue, with no memory, next to a talking skull. It’s one of the few RPG games that brings the town of Sigil to life, with good graphics and for the most part avoidable combat. It’s a terrific story, with a lot of twists and turns around every corner.

Tyrian 2000

Jump from system to system, collect data logs and kill hordes of enemies. It’s a top down scrolling game, where  you control a heavily armed and poorly protected space craft. It’s an okay game, with some dry graphics and intense bosses and a hair raising difficulty.

Archimedean Dynasty


The world has gone down the crapper, along with man kind. Now everyone lives under the sea and commute with submarines. Which pilots a lot like space crafts. As far as sandbox games goes, it’s very open ended, with some catchy tunes and hard enemies. Plus a plethora of bugs. It may or may not run properly. Personally I could not see anything on the screen, followed by random crashes. Hopefully a fan patch or GOG will make it run better.

Njål H Sand