Tag Archives: media

Haven Review: Mysterious castle

     Mysterious Castle is an “escape the room” game, where players are given a room to hunt down different keys and components to unlock a door and exit. Essentially it’s a glorified Eye Spy game. You must click on various things in the room, such as pictures and pillows to uncover the way to open the door. Mysterious Castle isn’t even a descent one of these.

With it’s poor interface, buggy mechanics, and lousy graphics everything is just kinda lost. You can try and parse through the puzzles and click on the things you think will contain keys, but that is definitely not the most efficient way to accomplish things. Where exactly you need to click on things to access them is so finicky, You could either waste a ton of time clicking on something and it doing absolutely nothing, or clicking somewhere completely different trying to access another part of the room and end up in the place you were trying to get to earlier. It’s best to randomly click until you’ve solved the level. The sound design of the game may be even worse than the game design.

Every time you click on anything it makes this really irritating pinging noise. Given you have to click on a lot of things this becomes a constant to the game. After the first minute of playing I was forced to completely turn the sound off. Occasionally, and by that I mean rarely the game will try to do point-and-click adventure style puzzles, but these never consist of anything more than Combine hammer head with hammer stick to create hammer. It’s almost insulting to call anything this game has a puzzle.

On top of that this game reuses the same puzzles again and again. Every room, has a number lock in it. Part of solving the lock is to locate all the numbers. It gets so repetitive having to remember all the numbers scattered around the room and input them into the shitty lock, time after time. Once instead of (or possibly in addition to) numbers they use card symbols. So I thought the game was going to mix up what I had to input and make it more and more interesting. But, no such luck. They immediately drop that idea and return to the numbers.

Luckily this game is pretty short. There are only ten levels to complete. Well, only nine for me. The ninth level consists of two puzzles.

One where you flip tiles around to create a picture and the other a picture of a rainbow and a bunch of scrabble tiles. You needed to spell out a word or something that had to do with rainbows. However, Every time I tried to put something in the scrabble pieces would either get stuck in their slot and not come out. Regardless of what piece I put into a slot they’d get stuck.

Clicking on them caused them to turn a funny angle and glitch through the slot they were in. The other thing that would happen is that a slot would become unavailable. No matter what I did, I wasn’t able to put anything into a particular slot, forcing the puzzle to become unsolvable. I determined that this was a fitting end to this game and decided to quit.

MC

Haven Review: Mr Nibbles Forever

20160529144952_1Mr Nibbles is a hamster; a very tiny hamster who’s nothing but a tasty treat for vicious spiders in his path, as he traverse a deadly labyrinth, one centimeter at the time. This little fellow enjoys tasty treats, jumping really high, dressing up in flashy costumes and breaking the laws of physics.

There is much to say, yet there is almost nothing to say. Mr Nibbles is a hamster that can run and jump, and that is all he does (until I fail to make the jump). As I run through the labyrinth I can collect fruit that can be sold in order to spin a wheel of fortune, which will grant one-time bonuses and some skins to unlock.

The spiders gonna get you!
The spiders gonna get you!

 

Aside from getting a really mean and insanely high score, there is not much to be said about the game. Other than that, the vector graphics looks fantastic and the art direction is very well drawn and thought out. I truly adore the attention to detail and wacky skin effects, such as the moon walker, where Nibbles runs backwards to a different beat than the basic music. Costumes are unlocked by doing challenges, such as running a set distance or collecting fruit. The further into the weird labyrinth I went, the more the environment changed.

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Far out man!

The music is fairly enjoyable and straightforward, unless you’re a sadistic fool who likes the “Nyancat” meme. Yes, there is a skin where the pesky hamster farts a rainbow while a terrible beat runs in the background…fair warning! The biggest issue with the game is that there is not much to do, no end goal and no real plot, as far as I can see. This makes this game a brilliant time-killer and ideally something to put on a low spec laptop when traveling; a game that would work very well and fit right at home on a PS Vita, or other hand-held console. Mr Nibbles Forever is just that, a game that can go on forever, it’s a prime candidate for getting Steam achievements, however. It works with a controller, which is always a good thing. If only the menu cursor were a bit easier to see and use.

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I told you to run you fool!

Everything is not perfect in the garden though. I came across some bugs around the time this article posted. For example, pressing “A” on the controller too soon at the fortune wheel screws everything up. The only option then is to quit.

Steam store page:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/448050/?l=norwegian

nibbles

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 review.

Njål H Sand

Haven Review: Spheria

SpheriaFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Marble-rolling games occupy a special niche in the arcade game genres. Players typically take the role of a tiny ball, rolling and careening its way around obstacles and pitfalls on the way to an exit point  The game we have for you today is slightly different. It’s called Spheria; developed by Daydream Software and published by Black Shell Media.Spheria1In Spheria, the “marble” is actually a large, heavy medicine ball. Using either keyboard or mouse, the idea is to navigate compact, yet tricky tabletop maps. Positioned precariously on each map is a series of checkpoints. You must roll the ball over each in order to unlock the exit. Now here’s where it gets interesting. The checkpoints don’t instantly light up the moment you encounter them. You must stop and linger for a second as they power themselves up. This is not as easy as it sounds, for the surrounding blocks and maze walls will do whatever they can to stop you!
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The first obstacle you’ll encounter are the basic building blocks. Green blocks turn yellow when you bump into them. Yellow blocks turn red, and red blocks simply disappear when struck, leaving a gaping hole in the floor. As with most marble games, you don’t want to fall off the map if you can help it. Another type of obstacle is the blue block.

Spheria2

As in another famous puzzle game, blue is the color of repulsion; it will bounce your ball away upon contact. Unfortunately, you can’t simply avoid these blocks. Some checkpoints are nestled within groups of these bouncy nemeses!

Next, let’s examine the flooring. Most tiles are a plain gray (safe) color. However there are others to watch out for. Muddy tiles will slow you down. Icy tiles are slippery and will alter your direction of movement. Arrow tiles only allow passage in the direction they point. One of my favorite sequences involves reaching a checkpoint guarded by blue blocks and arrow tiles!Spheria5By far the trickiest mechanic I’ve come across is the dissolving floor. Green tiles are safe, but only for a short time. They quickly turn red, warning you of their impending disappearance. If you’re on a tile when it vanishes, you’ll be dropped off the map into oblivion. So you can see how levels which combine all of the aforementioned elements may get frustrating, but at the same time very rewarding when solved.Spheria4aIs there anything the player can do to acclimate to the game’s demanding skill? Indeed there is; it’s called the tutorial! These entry-level maps do a great job teaching you about the physics of the game, and the accompanying boundaries.Spheria6

So overall, is Spheria worth it? Priced on Steam at $4 (USD), the answer is yes. Despite the game’s inherent trickiness (so prevalent in arcade titles), Spheria‘s addictive nature will keep you returning for more. Add in it’s 22 Steam achievements and you have a fun, beer-and-pretzels arcade leveler with lots of replay value!

-Chris Roberts-SpheriaScale