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Haven reviws: Sonic mania

Haven reviews: Sonic mania

«Blue streak speeds by, sonic the hedgehog». Hes back, hes blue and he got an attitude. For those who grew up with the robot fighting fluff balls, this is a true blast to the past. Which for once is a good thing

Telling a story without a voice is quite an impressive feat, even if it is a bit bit bare bone, but no dialogue which good. As usual it is about the rotten egg maister himself Robotnik and his hard boiled chaos crystal schemes.

Gameplay is very simple true and tested, left movement, right movement and jump. The rest is either character specific or tied to a shied. Since knuckles can glide and climb by holding down the button, while tails can fly by spamming it. He really need a cancel flight key. Like pressing down. The most noteworthy feature though, is that going super is a separate key. Not all is good though, the special stages suck hard. The stages takes place on a horizontal track where the goal is to catch an ufo. The problem with this is two fold. The 3d models looks like low polygon glitch fest, complete with horrible character controls and physics straight out of Sonic CD. On the flip side it highlights the problem with doing sonic in three dimensions. Much like a drunk man on ice.

The Sonic Mania music score is fantastically fabulous. With remixes of old song and a slew of new ones. A music test mode is also included. But no polar icecap zone it seems-_-. At this point in time several features would be awesome. Such as having the level music play while going super mode and turning down the pick up blue sphere volume. It is very loud and intrusive. Should be mentioned when all 50 of them are done, a replay them mode opens up.

Note worthy features includes unlockable content which take some effort to acquire. Such as  & Knuckles mode. Where he can tag along as the secondary  character. A slew of stream achievement. Time trail mode and a versus multiplayer mode.

All in all a solid Sonic experience for people who enjoyed the good old 2d sonic game play and fun for the whole family. Not recommended for people whom like to grind achievements.

Always online DRM or not, which is pure bull crap and will piss of so many people.

Njål Sand

Haven Review: The World To The West

Haven Reviews: The World to the West

A fantastic adventure with four fabulous heroes, whom brings unique skills and personalities to the table. Clonington is a big hunk of muscles an unrivaled force of nature, whom strong-arm his way through boulders and beast alike.

He’s joined by the timid but brave kid whom can dig circles around his enemies while, skating across ice and lobbing dynamite at foul fiends. While the mesmerizing mercenary, dazzles her enemies with a scarf and fancy goggles, forcing them to do her bidding.

At lastly we’ve got the electric red haired teslamancer, whom can dart around the place like a bolt of lightning and much much more. Each hero is needed to complete the game and to unlock the secrets of The world to the West. Believe me it is not an easy feat, with puzzles and dangers around very twist and turn. Unlike Teslagrad, the Unity physics are less pronounced and much more solid. In turn this makes the game a lot more easy going and accessible to virtually anyone. Not to mention that the controls are fully customization, for both the gamepad and the keyboard.

Especially the monsters and colorful people inhabiting the world makes the whole experience so much more engaging. Unlike Teslagrad, which The world to the west is a sequel of, there is a lot of dialogue, that carry the story in interesting directions, with some quirky plot twists on top of it all.

The sound effects are fantastic and fits the game exceedingly well. The same can be said for the fitting music. Unless you’re struggling with that one mecha boss in the cave. That one track is rather rubbish I dare say and drove me nutters. However that is the only negative thing I can comment on, when it comes to the lovely score. Naturally the music in The World to the west can be bought separately as well, which is quite nice indeed. 

The World to the West is also littered with hidden treasure chests which require the characters unique skills to nab and grab those shiny bits. Which can be used to buy various knickknacks , from a seller in a shady pub.

Graphically the game delivers a wonderfully crafted art direction. With a lot of animations for such a stylistic game.All the Steam Achievements are linked to the secret lore scrolls within the game, making it tricky for those that likes to collect them. That being said World to the West is one of the few games that has sensible ones. After all completing a chapter is not that special in the long run. Which is way too common these days. All in all a very nicely presented package, which carries it’s inspiration on its sleeves and does something new and exiting with it. 

The price point is quite satisfactory as well, not to mention it can be bought on the Nintendo switch. I’ve not tried that port so I can’t say anything other than it makes for a lovely on the go title, with the system. Especially when sitting on a plane or a train.

Njål Sand

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.

shadowtactics

 

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